Now Howe returns to the Psalm and raises his question concerning the end and purpose of man – particularly the end and purpose of God making man – as he is now – vain:
Since the blessed God himself is to be considered as the principal Agent and Designer in this inquiry, “Why hast thou made all men in vain?” it is with modest and humble reverence to be considered, What end, worthy of that infinitely perfect Being, he may be supposed to have propounded to himself in forming such a creature, of so improveable a nature, and furnished with so noble faculties and powers, for so transient and temporary a state: and how well it will consist with the most obvious and unquestionable notions we can have of an absolutely perfect Being, and the attributes which he most peculiarly challenges and appropriates to himself, (so as not only to own, but to glory in them,) that he should give being not to some few only, but to the whole species of human creatures, and therein communicate to them a nature capable of knowing, of loving, and enjoying himself in a blessed eternity, with a design to continue them only for some short space on earth, in a low imperfect state, wherein they shall be liable to sink still lower, to the vilest debasement of their natures; and yet not for their transgression herein, (for it is the mortality of man, not by sin, but by creation, or the design of the Creator only, that is now supposed,) but for his mere pleasure, to bereave them of being, and reduce them all again to nothing. It is to be considered, Whether thus to resolve and do can any way agree to God, according to our clearest and most assured conceptions of him, not from our reasoning only, but his discovery of himself. For otherwise we see the imputation falls where we should dread to let it rest, of having made man in vain.
John Howe, The Works of the Reverend John Howe, Volume 2 (London: William Tegg and Co., 1848), 281.