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CONCERNING THE END FOR WHICH GOD
CREATED THE WORLD.
Containing Explanations of Terms, and general
To avoid all confusion in our inquiries and reasonings, concerning the end for which God created the world, a distinction should be observed between the chief end for which an agent or efficient exerts any act and performs any work, and the ultimate end. These two phrases are not always precisely of the same signification : And though the shief end bé always an ultimate end, yet every ultimate end, is not always a chief end.
A chief end is opposite to an inferior end : An ultimate end is opposite to a subordinate end. A subordinate end is something that an agent seeks and aims at in what he does ; but yet does not seek it, or regard it at all upon its own account, but wholly on the account of a further end, or in order to some other thing, which it is con sidered as a means of. Thus, when a man that goes a journey to obtain a medicine, to cure bim of some disease, and restore his health, the obtaining that medicine is 'his subordinate end; because it is not an end that he seeks for itself, or values at all upon its own account, but wholly as a means of a further end, viz. his VOL. VI.
health. Separate the medicine from that further end, and it is esteemed good for nothing; nor is it at all desired.
An ultimate end is that which the agent seeks in what he does, for its own sake: That he has respect to, as what he loves, values and takes pleasure in on its own account, and not merely as a means of a further end. As when a man loves the taste of some particular sort of fruit, and is at pains and cost to obtain it, for the sake of the pleasure of that taste, which he values upon its own account, as he loves his own pleasure ; and not merely for the sake of any other good, which he supposes his enjoying that pleasure will be the means of.
Some ends are subordinate ends, not only as they are subordinated to an ultimate end, but also to another end that is itself but a subordinate end : Yea, there may be a succession or chain of many subordinate ends, one dependent on another....one sought for another : The first for the next, and that for the sake of the next to that, and so on in a long series before you come to any thing, that the agent aims at and seeks for its own sake : As when a man sells a garment to get money....to buy tools....to till his land....to obtain a crop....to supply him with food....to gratify the appetite. And he seeks to gratify his appetite, on its own account, as what is grateful in itself. Here the end of his selling his garment, is to get money ; but getting money is only a subordinate end : It is not only subordinate to the last end, his gratifying his appetite; but to a nearer end, viz. his buying husbandry tools; and his obtaining these, is only a subordinate end, being only for the sake of tilling land; And the tillage of land is an end not sought on its own account, but for the sake of the crop to be produced ; and the crop produced is not an ultimate end, or an end sought for itself, but only for the sake of making bread; and the having bread, is not sought on its own account, but for the sake of gratifying the appetite.
Here the gratifying the appetite, is called the ultimate end ; because it is the last in the chain, where a man's aim and pursuit stops and rests, obtaining in that, the thing finally aimed at. So whenever a man comes to that in which his desire terminates and rests, it being something valued on its own account, then he comes to an ultimate end, let the chain be longer or shorter ; yea, if there be but one link or one step that he takes before he comes to this end. As when a man that loves honey puts it into his mouth, for the sake of the pleasure of the taste, without aiming at any thing further. So that an end which an agent has in view, may be both his immediate and his ultimate end ; his next and his last end. That end which is sought for the sake of itself, and not for the sake of a further end, is an ultimate end ; it is ultimate or last, as it has no other beyond it, for whose sake it is, it being for the sake of itself: So that here the aim of the agent stops and rests (without going further) being come to the good which he esteems a recompense of its pursuit for its own value.
Here it is to be noted that a thing sought, may have the nature of an ultimate, and also of a subordinate end ; as it may be sought partly on its own account, and partly for the sake of a further end. Thus a man in what he does, may seek the love and respect of a particular person, partly on its own account, because it is in itself agreeable to men to be the objects of others' esteem and love : And partly, because he hopes, through the friendship of that person to have his assistance in other affairs ; and so to be put under advantage for the obtaining further ends.
A chief end or highest end, which is opposite not properly to a subordinate end, but to an inferior end, is something diverse from an ultimate end. The chief end is an end that is most valued ; and therefore most sought after by the agent in what he does. It is evident, that to be an end more valued than another end, is not exactly the same thing as to be an end valued ultimately, or for its owp sake.
This will appear, if it be considered.
1. That two different ends may be both ultimate ends, and yet not be chief ends. They may be both valued for their own sake, and both sought in the same work or acts, and yet one valued more highly and sought more than anoth: