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But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even
the ornament of a mock and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
SERMON CXIX.-On the Unity of the Divine Being.
SERMON CXX.-Causes of the Ineficacy of Christianity.
SERMON CXXVII.- On the Deceitfulness of the Human Heart.
SERMONS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
SERMON LIX.-On Eternity.
1. I would fain speak of that awful subject, eternity. But how can we grasp it in our thought ? It is so vast, that the narrow mind of man is utterly unable to comprehend it. But does it not bear some affinity to another incomprehensible thing, immensity ? May not space, though an unsubstantial thing, be compared with another unsubstantial thing, duration ? But what is immensity ? It is boundless space. And what is eternity? It is boundless duration.
2. Eternity has generally been considered as divisible into two parts; which have been termed eternity a parte ante, and eternity a parte post, --that is, in plain English, that eternity which is past, and that eternity which is to come. And does there not seem to be an intimation of this distinction in the text ? " Thou art God from everlasting:"-Here is an expression of that eternity which is past : "To everlasting :"-Here is an expression of that eternity which is to come. Perhaps indeed some may think it is not strictly proper to say, there is an eternity that is past. But the meaning is easily understood: we mean thereby, duration which had no beginning; as by eternity to come, we mean that duration which will have no end.
3. It is God alone who (to use the exalted language of Scripture) “ inhabiteth eternity," in both these senses. The great Creator alone (not any of his creatures) is "from everlasting to everlasting :"it is duration alone, as it had no beginning, so it cannot have any end. On this consideration it is, that one speaks thus, in addressing Immanuel, God with us :
"Hail, God the Son, with glory crowa'd
Ere time began to be;
Of wide eternity!”
“ Hail, God ine Son, with glory crown'd
When time shall cease to be;
Of wholo eternity!" 4. “ Ere time began to be."-But what is time? It is not easy to say, as frequently as we have had the word in our mouth. We know not what it properly is : we cannot well tell how to define it. But is it not, in some sense, a fragment of eternity, broken off at both ends ? That portion of duration which commenced when the world began, which will continue as long as this world endurės, and then expire for ever? That portion of it, which is at present measured by the revolution of the sun and planets; lying (so to speak) between two eternities,