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hearer. 'hight como express
" utter. By this is meant, that what he • heard was so infinitely different from any
thing which he had heard in this world, " that it was impossible to express it in • such words as might convey a notion of . it to his hearers.
It is very natural for us to take delight in enquiries concerning any fo. reign Country, where we are some time or other to make our abode ; and
as we all hope to be admitted into this • glorious place, it is both a laudable
and useful curiosity, to get what infor• mations we can of it, whilst we make
use of revelation for our guide. When
these everlasting doors shall be open to o us, we may be sure thar the pleasures 6 and beauties of this place will infinitely • tranfcend our present hopes and expec• tations, and that the glorious appearsance of the throne of God will rise + infinitely beyond whatever we are able • to conceive of it. We might here « entertain ourselves with many other o speculations on this subject, from those « several hints which we find of it in
the holy scriptures; as whether there may not be different mansions, and go partments of glory, to Beings of different natures ; whether as they excel one
another in perfection, they are not admitted nearer to the throne of the Al& mighty, and enjoy greater manifestations • of his presence; whether there are not • solemn times and occasions, when all
the multitude of heaven celebrate the « presence of their Maker in more extra• ordinary forms of praise and adoration ; • as Adam, though he had continued in a • state of innocence, would, in the opinion 6 of our Divines, have kept holy the • Sabbath-day, in a more particular man"ner than any other of the seven. These, 6 and the like fpeculations, we may very
innocently indulge, so long as we make " use of them to inspire us with a de
fire of becoming inhabitants of this delightful place.
I have in this, and in two foregoing • letters treated on the most serious sub
ject that can employ the mind of man,
the Omnipresence of the Deity; a < subject which, if possible, should ne( ver depart from our meditations. We • have considered the divine Being, as
he inhabits infinitude, as he dwells a6 mong his works, as he is present to the
mind of man, and as he discover's him• self in a more glorious manner among o the regions of the Blest. Such a con
• fideration , sideration should be kept awake in us.
at all times, and in all places, and pöffess our minds with a perpetual awe
and reverence, it should be interwo+ ven with all our thoughts and percep<cions, and become one with the con<sciousness of our own Being. It is not " to be reflected on in the coldness of 6 philosophy, but ought to sink us into s the lowest prostration before him, who
is so astonishingly great, wonderful and & holy."
Aliduo labuntur tempora motu
Ovid. Met. VITE consider infinite space as an ex
V pansion without a circumference : We consider eternity, or infinite duration, as a line that has neither a beginning nor end. In our speculations of infinite space, we consider that particular place in which we exist, as a kind of center to the whole expansion. In our
fpeculations of eternity we consider the time which is prefent to us as the middle, which divides the whole line into two equal parts. For this reason, many witty authors compare the present time to an Isthmus or narrow neck of land, that rises in the midst of an ocean, immeasurably diffused on either side of it.
Philosophy, and indeed common sense, naturally throws eternity under two divifions ; which we may call in English, that eternity which is paft, and that erernity which is to come. The learned terms of æternitas à parte ante, and æternitas à parte poft, may be more amusing to the reader, but can have no other idea affixed to them than what is conveyed to us by those words, an eternity that is past, and an éternity that is to come. Each of these eternities is bounded at the one extreme; or, in other words, the former has an end, and the latter a beginning...
Let us first of all consider that eternity which is past, reserving that which is to come for the subject of another paper. The nature of this eternity is utterly inconceiveable by the mind of man: Our reason demonstrates to us that it has been, but at the same time can frame no idea of it, but what is big with abfurdity and
contradiction. We can have no other conception of any duration which is paft, than that all of it was once prefent; and whatever was once present, is at some certain distance from us ; and whatever is at any certain distance from us, be the distance never so remote, cannot be eternity. The very notion of any duration's being past, implies that it was once prefent ; for the idea of being once present, is actually included in the idea of its being past. This therefore is a depth not, to be founded by human understanding. We are sure that there has been an eternity, and yet contradict ourselves when we measure this eternity by any notion which we can frame of it.
If we go to the bottom of this matter, we shall find, that the difficulties we meet with in our conceptions of eternity proceed from this single reason, that we can have no other idea of any kind of duration, than that by which we ourselves, and all other created Beings, do exist; which is, a successive duration made up of past, present, and to come.
There is nothing which exists after this manner, all the parts of whose existence were not once actually present, and confequently may be reached by a certain