“Chief End”

QUESTION 1: What is meant by the chief end of man?

ANSWER: The chief end of man, is that which man ought to aim at or design, to desire, seek after, and endeavor to obtain, as his chief good and happiness; unto which his life and his actions should be referred and directed.

QUESTION 2: May men have no other chief end than the glorifying and enjoying of God?

ANSWER: Men ought to have no other chief end than the glorifying of God, but they may have subordinate ends. For example:

1. Men ought to be diligent in their particular callings, for this end, that they may provide for themselves and their families. “Do your own business, and work with your own hands, that ye may have lack of nothing” (1 Thess. 4:11, 12).

2. Men may eat, and drink, and sleep, for this end, that they may nourish and refresh their bodies. It is lawful to design, and desire, and seek such things as these in such actions, subordinately, or less principally; but in these and all actions, men ought principally and chiefly to design and seek the glory of God: “Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

3. Men may moderately desire and endeavor after the enjoyment of such a portion of the good things of the world as is needful and useful; but they ought to make choice of God for their chief good, and desire the eternal enjoyment of him as their chief portion. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee, or in comparison with thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever” (Ps. 73:25, 26).

Thomas Vincent



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