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III.

GERM. his existence. In other beings, their du

ration brings a continued series of varia-
tions. They are in a continual flux,
passing from one state to another, and
constantly altered in their circumstances
by time, either verging toward some far-
ther perfection, or they are declining,
and coming to an end: but as he is eter-
nal, there can be no alteration in him.
All past, present, and future events, can
produce no change in him. And though
he comprehends them in one view, and
sees them, as they are, in their various
succession, he cannot be so affected by
them, as to suffer any variation in him-
self.
3.
We
may

observe from the Eternity of God, that as he has existed through an infinite time, all the space elapsed from the first beginning of created things must be but as a moment, or nothing, when compared to his duration. It is a finite quantity compared to an infinite, or less than a drop of water in proportion to the ocean. And hence, the holy Psalmist expresses himself thus-A thousand years in thy hight are but as yesterday, when it is past, and as a watch in the night, Pfal. xc. 4. And St. Peter, 2 Ep. iii.

says,

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III.

says, One day is with the Lord, as a thou- SERM. Jand years, and a thousand years as one day ; by which he means, that a thousand years bears no more proportion to his eternal existence than one day, and that the one, as well as the other, has no proportion to his duration. Not as if the apostle signified, that there was no difference with God between the space of a thousand

years and a day, but only that the greatest finite time, as well as the smallest, bears no proportion to his eternal duration.

4. Again, we may observe the vanity of that distinction, made by some Divines, between Eternity and time. That Eternity is something fixed like an Instant, that wholly exists in every moment ;

; but that time, and the parts of it, come in their order by continued succession ; fo that in created things, with regard to their duration, there are some first and last by succession, which they think has no place in Eternity. For on the contrary, it is plain, that Eternity differs only from time, as an infinite quantity does from a finite, that are the same in kind. We cannot separate duration, or time, from our notion of any thing that

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exists

III.

SER M. exists; we must either consider it, as hav

ing been through a longer, or shorter period. And therefore, time cannot be separated from our notion of the existence of the divine being himself. We must consider him, as having been through an infinite time, of which, though the parts of it come in succession, they cannot affect the manner of his being, because time may be considered, as distinguished from the being itself, which may,

without any succession, invariably continue.

In the last place, we may observe from the Eternity of God, that he can be but

For it is evident, there cannot be two, or more absolutely eternal beings, because more than one cannot exist by a necessity of their nature. One, eternal, necessary cause, is sufficient for the existence of all things, and therefore, there must be but one. Hence, in some pafsages, when the words eternal and everlasting, are applied to material things, or those of a moral nature, the meaning can only be, that they continue for a long time, when compared with other things, or as long as the nature of the subject will allow, or while the present frame of the world can sublist, of which

it

one.

it would be easy to give a variety of in- SERM. stances.

III.

Let us now in the last place, make fome practical reflections from the whole that has been said. And

1. The Eternity of God, is a just and r'easonable ground of our adoration of him. For when we consider him as the eternal king, who was for ever before all things, this must give us awful sentiments of his transcendent nature and perfection. This must represent him, as incomprehensible to us, as infinitely exalted be yond our thoughts. Other beings, whose origin we can trace, whose beginning lies within the reach of our imagination, cannot strike us with fo fublime thoughts of their nature. As they approach to us in our condition, we cannot have that reverence and inward admiration enough for them to make them truly objects of our worship. But the contemplation of him, who is from everlasting to everlasting, must command our most inward regard; him we cannot but revere, as the eternal author of our being, and of all other existence; who (to use the words of the prophet Isaiah) before the day was, existed, and before whom there was no God formed,

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nor

III.

SER M. nor shall there be after him; and who in

the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of bis bands.

2. The consideration of the Eternity of God, leads us to reflect on the tranfitory state of all other things. He only continues the same for ever, while all other beings are in a fluctuating state. All material things are continually changing ; even nature herfelf, the vast machine of the universe, may come to a period, or its laws may change; but the eternal God, after millions of years have revolved, shall be for ever. To use the words of the prophet, the heavens may nish away like smoke, and the earth may wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein fall die in like manner; but his salvation shall be for ever, and his righteoufness Mall not be abolished. And therefore, the happiness that flows from him shall be fecure. It cannot fade with time, if it depends upon him. Nothing but fin, and rebellion against him, can deprive us of his favour to Eternity. So that, from a review of the uncertain and unstable nature of things; a good man may fay with the Psalmist, Vibom bave I

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