Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Dedication to the Queen

THE SACRED THEORY OF THE EARTH

by Thomas Burnet

THE THEORY OF THE EARTH

THE TWO LAST BOOKS

Concerning theBURNING of theWORLD AND Concerning the NEW HEAVENS and NEW EARTH.

LONDON,

Printed by R. Norton, for Walter Kettilby, at the Biƒhops-Head in S. Paul's Church-Yard, 1690.


TO THE QUEEN'S MOST Excellent Majesty

MADAM,

HAVING had the honour to present the first part of this Theory to Your ROYAL UNCLE, I presume to offer the Second to Your Majesty. This part of the Subject, I hope, will be no less acceptable, for certainly ’tis of no less importance. They both indeed agree in this, That there is a WORLD made and destroyed in either Treatise. But we are more concerned in what is to come, than in what is past. And as the former Books represented to us the Rise and Fall of the First World; so These give an account of the present Frame of Nature labouring under the last Flames, and of the Resurrection of it in the New Heavensand New Earth:which, according to the Divine Promises, we are to expect.

Cities that are burnt, are commonly rebuilt more beautiful and regular than they were before. And when this World is demolished by the last Fire, He that undertakes to rear it up again, will supply the defects, if there were any, of the former Fabrick. This Theory supposes the present Earth to be little better than an Heap of Ruines: where yet there is room enough for Sea and Land, for Islands and Continents, for several Countries and Dominions: But when these are all melted down, and refined in the general Fire, they will be cast into a better mould, and the Form and Qualities of the Earth will become Paradisiacal.

But, I fear, it may be thought no very proper address, to shew Your Majesty a World laid in ashes, where You have so great an interest Your Self, and such fair Dominions; and then, to recompence the loss by giving a Reversion in a Future Earth. But if that future Earth be a second Paradise, to be enjoyed for a Thousand Years; with Peace, Innocency, and constant health: An Inheritance there will be an happy exchange for the best Crown in this World.

I confess, I could never perswade my self, that the Kingdom of Christ and of his Saints, which the Scripture speaks of so frequently, was designed to be upon this present Earth. But however, upon all suppositions, They that have done some eminent Good in this Life, will be sharers in the happiness of that State. To humble the Oppressors, and rescue the Oppressed, is a work of Generosity and Charity that cannot want its reward; Yet, MADAM, They are the greatest Benefactors to Mankind, that dispose the World to become Vertuous: and by their example, Influence, and Authority, retrieve that TRUTHand JUSTICE, that have been lost, amongst men, for many Ages. The School-Divines tell us, Those that act or suffer great things for the Publick Good, are distinguished in Heaven by a Circle of Gold about their Heads. One would not willingly vouch for that: but one may safely for what the Prophet says, which is far greater: namely, that They shall shine like Stars in the Firmament, that turn many to Righteousness. Which is not to be understood, so much, of the Conversion of single Souls, as of the turning of Nations and People, The turning of the World to Righteousness. They that lead on that great and happy Work, shall be distinguished in Glory from the rest of Mankind.

We are sensible, MADAM, from Your Great Example, that Piety and Vertue seated upon a Throne, draw many to imitation, whom ill Principles, or the course of the World, might have led another way. These are the best, as well as easiest Victories, that are gained without Contest. And as Princes are the Vicegerents of God upon Earth, so when their Majesty is in Conjunction with Goodness, it hath a double Character of Divinity upon it: and we owe them a double Tribute, of Fear and Love. Which, with constant Prayers for Your MAJESTY'Spresent and future Happiness, shall be always Dutifully paid, by

YOUR MAJESTY'S

Most Humble and most

Obedient Subject,

T. BURNET.


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