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; 3dly, 'Tis worthy of Observation, as Serm? to the Manner of our conceiving the IV. Eternity of God; that the Scholastick m Writers have generally described it to be, not a Real Perpetual Duration, but One Point or Instant comprehending Eternity, and wherein all things are really coexistent at once. But unintelligible Ways of Speaking, have (I think) never done any Service to Religion. The true Notion of the Divine Eternity does not consist in making past things to be still present, and things future to be already come ; ( which is an express contradiction :] But it consists in This, and in This it infinitely transcends the manner of existence of all created Beings, even of those which shall continue for ever ; that whereas Their finite Minds can by no means comprehend all that is paft, or understand perfectly the things that are present, much less know, or have in their power, the things that are to come ; but their Thoughts and Knowledge and Power must of necessity have degrees and periods, and be fucceffive and transient as the Things themselves ; The eternal, TuVoi,l. G
Ser M. preme Cause, on the contrary, has such IV.
a perfect, independent, and unchangeable comprehension of all things ; that in every Point or Instant of his eternal Duration, all things past, present, and to come, must be, not indeed themselves present at once, (for That is a manifest contradiction;) but they must be as entirely known and represented to him in one fingle Thought or View, and all things present and future be as absolutely under his Power and Direction; as if there was really no Succession at all, and as if all things had been, (not that they really are,) actually present at
A Thousand years in thy hight, are but as yesterday, Ps. xc. 4. And 2. Pet. iii. 8, One day is with the Lord as a Thousand years, and a Thousand years as one day. Not, a Thousand years are one day; but are to Him, as if they were only one Day.
HAVING premised these few Observations concerning the Nature, Manner, and Proof of the Eternity of God; it remains in the Third and last place, (which is the most material, ) that we consider of
what Use this Meditation may be to us in SÈ R M.
And ift, This Attribute of Eternity absolute, neceffary, and independent; is one of the principal Characters, by which the True God of the Universe, the One Maker and Governour of all things, the alone Author and Fountain of all Being and Power, is distinguished from false Deities, from falfe Gods, worshipped in oppostion to him, without any Power from him, without any Authority whatsoever either in Nature or Reason, either inherent in themselves, or communicated from him that has it of himself. Idols, are Gods but of yefterday, and which
pea rish to morrow: Beings, which have no Authority and Dominion over us; or perhaps, not real Beings at all, but mere Fictions and Imaginations only: Lying Vanities, as the Scripture elegantly stiles them; that is, mere Nothings; having nothing of reality in them ; either no Being, or at leaft no Dominion and Authority over
But the True God of the Universe thus defcribes himself, If. xliii. 10, I am He: Before me there was no God, nei
SERM.ther shall there be after me.
He was before IV.
all things, and he shall be after all things Eternal, Immutable, and Self-sufficient,
He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning The High, and the End; which is, and which was and One, that which is to come. inhabitkth Eternity
2dly, The Consideration of the. Eternity of God, is an Argument why his Providence ought not to be cavilled at, nor his Promises doubted of; even though there be no present appearance of the Performance of his Promises ; and no present way of explaining, the Methods of his Providence. All other Beings, having Command only of the present Time; if they cannot immediately accomplish what they undertake, 'tis never certain but some Change in their own state, or some alteration in the Nature and Course of Things, may prevent them from being able to accomplish it at all. But God having in his Hands the Power of all Time alike, can never be involved in any difficulty, nor hindred by any intervening accidents, nor perplexed by any change of things or circumstances, nor influenced by any Length or Periods of Time; so as
either to become unable or unwilling to Serm.
3dly, The Consideration of God's Eter-,
This is the excellency described by
Lord thou haft