belong to his Second coming, when the World shall
be renew'd or regenerated: and the Righteous shall
possess the Earth.
Other places of Scripture that foretel the fate of
this material World, represent it always as a Change,
not as an Annihilation. St. Paul says, The Figure of this
World passes away: 1 Cor. 7. 31. The form, fashion,
and disposition of its parts: but the substance still remains. As a Body that is melted down and dissolv'd,
the Form perishes, but the Matter is not destroy'd.
And the Psalmist says, The Heavens and the Earth
shall be chang'd: which answers to this Transformation we speak of. The same Apostle, in the Eight
Chapter to the Romans, shows also that this change
shall be, and shall be for the better: and calls it a Deliverance of the Creation from vanity and corruption: and
a participation of the glorious liberty of the Children of
God. Being a sort of Redemption, as they have a Redemption of their Bodies.
But, seeing the Renovation of the World is a Doctrine generally receiv'd, both by ancient and modern
Authors, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter:
We need add no more, in this place, for confirmation
of it. Some Men are willing to throw all things into a state of Nothing at the Conflagration, and bury
them there, that they may not be oblig'd to give an
account of that state of things, that is to succeed it.
Those who think themselves bound in honour, to
know every thing in Theology that is knowable:
and find it uneasie to answer such questions and speculations, as would arise upon their admitting a new
World, think it more adviseable to stifle it in the
birth, and so to bound all knowledge at the Conflagration. But surely, so far as Reason or Scripture
lead us, we may and ought to follow: otherwise we
should be ungrateful to Providence, that sent us those
Guides. Provided, we be always duly sensible of our
own weakness: and, according to the difficulty of the
subject, and the measure of light that falls upon it,
proceed with that modesty and ingenuity, that becomes such fallible enquirers after Truth, as we are.
And this rule I desire to prescribe to my self, as in all
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