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tor is the happy God, by excellence, and that because he is eternal and omniscient, he must for these very reasons be infinitely happy. This article also is sufficiently proved.
These three ideas of the Deity are three sources of proofs, in favor of St. Peter's proposition in the words of my text, a thousand years before the Lord are as one day, and one day as a thousand years.
God is an eternal Being. Then a thousand years with him are as one day, and one day as a thousand years ; that is to say, a thousand years and
a one day are such inconsiderable measures of duration, that whatever disproportion they have to each other, they appear to have none when compared with the duration of eternity. There is a great difference between one drop of water and the twenty thousand baths, which were contained in that famouş vessel in Solomon's temple, which, on account of its matter and capacity, was called the sea of brass, 1 Chron. xviii. 8. but this vessel itself, in comparison of the sea, properly so called, was so small, that when we compare all it could contain with the sea, the twenty thousand baths, that is, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds weight, appear only as a drop of water. The extreme dif ference between that quantity of water and a little drop vanishes when compared with the ocean. One drop of water with the sea is as twenty thousand baths, and twenty thousand baths are as one drop of water. There is a great difference between the light of a taper and that of a flambeau : but expose both to the light of the sun, and their difference will be imperceptible. The light of a light taper before the sun is as the light of a flambeau, and the light of a flambeau as that of a little taper. In like manner, eternal duration is so great an object, that it causeth every
thing to disappear that can be compared with it. A thousand years are no more before this than one day nor one day than a thousand years ; and these two terms, so unequal in themselves, seem to have a prefect equality when compared with eternity. We, minute creatures, we consider a day, an hour, a quarter of an hour, as a very little space in the course of our lives : we lose without scruple a day, an hour, a quarter of an hour: but we are very much to blame; for this day, this hour, this quarter of an hour, should we even live a whole age, would be a
, considerable portion of our life. But, if we attend to the little probability of our living a whole age; if we reflect that this little space of time, of which we are so profuse, is the only space we can call our own; if we seriously think that one quarter of an hour, that one hour, that one day is perhaps the only time given us to prepare our accounts, and to decide our eternal destiny; we should have reason to acknowledge, that it was madness to lose the least part of so short a life. But God revolves (if I may venture to say so) in the immense space of eternity. Heap millions of ages upon millions of ages, add new millions to new millions, all this is nothing in comparison of the duration of the eternal Being. In this sense, a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years.
2. God knows all. Then, a thousand years are with him as one day, and one day as a thousand years ; because he sees no more in a thousand years than in one day ; because he sees as much in
; one day as he can see in a thousand years. Ignorance and uncertainty are the principal causes that make us think a short space of time a long duration; especially, when our ignorance and uncertainty respect things which we ardently desire to know: Hope deferred
maketh the heart sick, is a saying
to a state, in which moments appear ages ; in which sorrows of the body, and sorrows of the mind, frequently less tolerable than those of the body, so powerfully apply our minds to each indivisible space of time spent in pain, that we think our sufferings have been long, when we have scarcely begun to suffer. But God is always happy, and always supremely happy; he always enjoys that perfect fe
' licity, which makes a thousand years, ten thousand millions of years, vanish with an inconceivable rapidity. It would be unhappy not to enjoy this kind of felicity more than ten or twelve millions of years, because the impression which that felicity would make on the soul would be so powerful and lively, that it would render him who enjoyed it insensible to time; time would expire, and he would hardly perceive he had enjoyed any thing, even when he had possessed happiness as long as I have supposed. God would be unhappy (allow me this expression) if his felicity were not eternal. But this is one of the subjects which must intimidate a preacher through the difficulty he meets with in furnishing matter. We must have ideas beyond human. We must have terms, which mankind have not yet invented. We ourselves must have participated the felicity of God; we must speak to men who also had partaken of it; and afterwards, we must have agreed together on a new language to express each idea excited by the happiness, of which we had made so blessed an experience. Represent to yourselves a Being, or rather think, think, my dear hearers, on the difficulty of representing a Being, who, having in the infinite capacity of his intelligence all possible plans of this universe, hath preferred that which appeared to him the wisest, the best, and the most comfortable to the holiness of his attributes : represent a Being who
hath executed this plan, a Being who hath created in this vast extent which our imagination fancies, in that which our whole mind, more capable still of conceiving grand objects than our imagination alone or our senses admires : represent to yourselves a Being who hath created whatever is most capable of contributing to perfect felicity : represent a Being who loves and who is beloved by, objects worthy of his esteem ; a Being who knows how to repress the madness of those who rebel against his empire; a Being who shares his felicity with spirits, whom he esteems, and by whom he is esteemed above all things ; a Being who hath the pleasure of rendering the objects of his esteem happy, and who acknowledge that all their happiness comes from him: spirits continually praising the author of their felicity, casting their crowns at his feet, and incēssantly crying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of thy glory, Isa. vi. 3. Represent to yourselves a Being who is approved by intelligences skilful in virtues, in grandeurs, in objects worthy of praise ! a Being who loves only order, and who hath power to maintain it; a Being who is at the summit of felicity, and who knows he shall be sofor ever. O ages ! O millions of ages! O thousands
) of millions of ages ! O duration the longest that
! can be imagined by an intelligence composed (if I may speak so) of all intelligences, how short must ye appear to so happy a Being! There is no time with him ; there is no measure of time. One thousand years, ten thousand years, one quarter of an hour, one instant, is almost the same. A thousand years are with him as one day, and one day as a thousand years.
We have considered our text in itself; we will now shew the end of the Apostle in proposing it,