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Distance of Time foever, there had been an Eternity past before that Beginning; and this Beginning of Time, had it not yet been begun, could not have lengthen’d the Eternity past before the Beginning : But with respect to us, the Time past since the Beginning has Length and Duration, and so it must be to all created Beings. But now the supreme infinite Being includes, in his Eternity, all things as present; as, for Instance, when he sent Moses to the Israelites, and Moses requir'd his Name, Tell them, saith the Almighty, I AM bath sent thee ; by which Word is fully comprehended his eternal Existence. Now that this was the Son of God, who was to be our Redeemer, that spoke to Mofès, may indeed be made a Dispute and Cavil by those who will not allow his Divi
but our Blessed Saviour's own Expresfion to the Jews, Before Abraham was, I AM, will easily solve it, as having the very same Word, and therefore the same Weight and Force in it: For had our Saviour been a Being created in Time, (as some have had the Boldness to assert) he would not have us’d that emphatical Expression, which can imply no less than eternal Exiftence, viz. Before Abraham was, I AM: On the contrary, he must have said, Before Abraham was, I was; and as such an Expreffion would as naturally have shewn him to have had a Creation as it did Abraham,
so the Expression I AM does as naturally Thew his eternal Existence.
Now when we consider the Works of the supreme, infinite, and eternal Being, (who out of Eternity produced Time, and out of infinite Space produced Place) we may be convinced that they are of no Use to himself, but to his Creatures only: But whether the whole Creation of every thing was produc'd at once, or when this Globe in particular, which we inhabit, was created, is a Question, which, after all Researches, cannot be known in this State; tho' some have believ'd on the negative. All those glorious Bodies of the fixed Stars are indeed, with very good Reason, believ'd to be so many Suns, with Planets revolving about them, with various and numerous Inhabitants, rational and irrațional; and some have question'd whether the whole univerfal Space may not be throughly interspers’d and furnish'd with like heavenly Bodies, because, notwithstanding their vast Distances from us, besides what we can discover by the naked Eye, there are every Day more and more discover'd by good Glaffes. Now whether any or all of these were created before this Earth or Solar System of ours, or all together with it, is in vain to seek to determine ; since 'twas all one to the Almighty Creator whether he began all this Work at once, or at different Times, for fo I may call it, be
cause Time must commence to all created Beings at the Time of their Creation : 'Tis sufficient to us that we find ourselves launch'd into Being, which we may from hence look upon as an eternal one, it having been the Pleasure of our Creator to endue us with immortal Souls, which, during their Stay in these Bodies, are capable of searching into and admiring the rest of his wonderful Works, and if truly prepar’d for their Exit from them, shall then be made perfect in all Knowledge, and fully enjoy this supreme Infinite, than which nothing less can satisfy the unbounded Desires of the Soul, or yield her true Happiness: And as the Soul is more or less spiritually refined here, so much the more or less will she be capable to receive those unlimited Enjoyments. These Treasures we cannot too much covet and breathe after; for the more we hunger and thirst after Righteousness, the more nourishing will the Bread and Water of Life be; or the more we seek to be familiar with the Works of the Great Creator, and covet to have those things made plain to us, which now we only see as thro' a glass darkly, and thereby bave our conversation in heaven, and spiritually breathe and long after it, having lodg'd our Treasures and our Hearts there I say, the
the greater Attainments we make herein, the greater Felicities will await our Reception there; and the more spiritual Virtues
we carry thither, the brighter will our Souls shine with them.
Now as to the universal Space being thoroughly interspers’d or furnish'd with heavenly Bodies, I am, for my own Part, apt to judge on the negative ; else there are no Bounds to the Creation, which I think has Bounds as well as Time, or we make the Works of the Creation infinite. 'Tis true, we cannot put Bounds to his Power, which is unlimited: God fills the universal Space ; but to imagine that he has thoroughly interspers’d it with heavenly Bodies, (which if so must be infinite) is almost the same as to imagine he has never been without Creatures; and that no Creature could be from Eternity, is manifest from its
Creation; and tho' God may have had Creatures ten · Thousand times ten Thousand Millions of this World's Ages before its Creation, yet all things created must necessarily have a Beginning : From which I would infer, that it is still most probable that there are Bounds to the material Creation, and still an universal Space unfurnish'd or uninterspers’d with heavenly and material Bodies, and may be to all Eternity, tho' God should ever continue to create new Suns and Planets at never so great Distances, which still make the Room never the less for more ; for universal Space, like Eternity, admits no Beginning nor End; and every Body therein created is still exact
ly in the Middle of it*, just as Time prefént is to Eternity: For supposing a Body to move in a strait Line with the greatest Velocity imaginable, even as swift as Lightning or Light from the Sun, when it has moved with this Swiftness Millions of Ages, 'tis no nearer the End of infinite Space, but the fame, as to it, as if it had stood perfectly still all the while: Similar to which is God's Eternity, which admits of neither Measure nor Progression; for his Eternity past can never be lengthen'd, no more than his Eternity to come can be shorten'd; and therefore his Existence has been, is, and will be always the same, and is therefore fully express’d in his comprehensive Name, I AM.
Now the late Discoveries from the Princie ples of Sir Isaac Newton, concerning the fixed Stars being fo many Suns, with Planets revolving round them, and respecting them as their Centres, and receiving Light and Heat from them, afford us very great Matter of Admiration of the wonderful Works of the Great Creator, as containing in them, I think, more than a bare Probability of Truth; For to what End must all these glorious Bodies be created, if not for further Uses than only to be serviceable to us on this Globe?
Is * Hence it is that every Part of the Surface of Globes does agreeably attract its proper Inhabitants, and that the Inhabitants on every Side do agreeably gravitate to its Centre, and in their Walking observe a Posturc accordingly.