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of our ideas in terms the most expressive that can be attained. Indeed, after the conclusions to which we have arrived, we must conceive Eternity as Being absolutely and always present: but we must bear in mind that this expression may not be logically correct ; for we cannot but be aware that there is something wanting that would enable us perfectly to succeed in description. But if the reader feels with me the insufficiency of language, and it may well be that of mental power also, I am content.
am content. I shall rest in the belief that his ideas are in unison with my own. Thought is more subtle than speech, and can alone satisfy the comprehension.
“Before Abraham was, I am ; I am that I am, which is, and which was, and which is to come.”
I will here introduce, from Dr. Adam Clarke's analysis of Genesis, a few words which, although proving that the view we have taken of Time presents no feature of novelty, add materially to its effect, and increase the probability that it has been correctly drawn:
6 Before the creative acts mentioned in this [first] chapter [of Genesis], all was eternity. Time signifies duration measured by the revolutions of the heavenly bodies; but prior to the creation of these bodies there could be no measurement of duration, and consequently no time ; therefore, In the beginning must necessarily mean the commencement of time which followed, or rather was produced by God's creative acts, as an effect follows or is produced by a cause." But from this passage we may also learn how great is the caution required in treating of such subjects as time and eternity. Since in the beginning” must mean “ the commencement of time produced by creative acts,” it can scarcely be correct to say that “before these creative acts all was eternity,” or that “prior to the creation of the heavenly bodies there could be no measurement of time.” We cannot speak of existence or of Being previous to the creation of time, neither can we speak of Being subsequent to its destruction; for we can conceive neither priority nor consequence without entertaining the idea of time. We should, in fact, be describing the existence of Being in relation to time, and as measured by it previous to the creation of time and after its termination. We must therefore be careful not to imagine that time has been created and will end in the midst of a continuous existence of eternity extending itself in the past and in the future beyond the beginning and end of time.
Neither the end of time nor its beginning is the beginning of eternity; for eternity now is. Neither is it the beginning of our perception of eternity; for the believing soul during the short season of her mortal imprisonment succeeds at times in throwing aside the fetters which chain her to this world of sense, and soars again amid the infinite. Then it is that she breathes the air of immortality, and knows that she is a participator in the eternal. But we are looking forward to the end of time in the hope that in that moment the full unclouded light of the now present ever-existing perfect Eternity will be poured forth upon us, and that then we shall know even as we are known.
REPEATED MANIFESTATION OF TIME.
And here the ever-flowing stream of thought brings before us another idea for contemplation. The beginning of succession in the change of material objects was the beginning of time, and the end of that succession will be the end of time. “We
believe that matter owes its properties to a power conferred upon it by the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Creator, who first by His almighty fiat commanded matter to attract, and who, by the same almighty fiat, may at any instant will attraction to cease; when worlds would end, when time would be no more. As far as regards all material properties, He must have absolute power. moment He may dissolve the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and as instantaneously summon their particles to assume new shapes, to occupy new positions. This infinite power, or omnipotence, is totally of a different character from our power, which is derived from the properties of matter. Man's boasted power is derived from
availing himself of attraction. The Deity can control that property, and from that we infer the attribute of Omnipotence.” By Omnipotence were and are all things created. By that same infinite power, and by that alone, can be destroyed all that has been, that now is, or that ever shall be; and that saine Omnipotent Will can again create a repetition of that which is destroyed. All created things, and time itself, then, look to the Great First Cause from whom they have their being. He willed that material form should be, and that time should be the consequence. His will it is that, at the appointed hour, created form should be destroyed and time should end. And at His will can created form and time itself be again created.
May not, then, all-revealing Eternity be witnessing the creation of yet another Time, distinct from that which we now perceive,—the second creation of Time, - of another, yet of one in all respects the same ? Is, then, this our present Time the first that has been created ? May it not be that very second creation the possibility of which we have just admitted ? Nay, not the
a The Sources of Physical Science, by Alfred Smee,