Eternity is the total and perfect possession of an interminable life. As time is the measure of change, so eternity is the measure of permanency. Though this permanency be- longs primarily to God, it applies also to the immortality of angels and men. Eternity may be considered: (1) in itself, (2) as a peculiarity of the happiness of heaven, (3) and as a quality of the pains of hell.
Eternity is called '' the possession of interminable life "to emphasize its inalienable immutability and permanence of activity. It is called "total possession" because it combines variety and intensity of activity in the permanence of its action. It is finally called "perfect possession” because this varied and intense activity is secure and complete. In this life man may concentrate all his energy on the exercise of one faculty, and that only for a time. In the next life, however, he will permanently exercise every faculty in the highest degree for endless ages.
In heaven “eternal rest” emphasizes the security of happiness in this permanence of life. There the human mind will see God face to face, recognizing Him as the one necessary Being, the infinite Truth, the only real Good, and the perfect Beauty. In God man will contemplate the wonder and harmony of His works, and the love, mercy and justice of His dealings with His creatures. At the same time the human heart will overflow in an ecstasy of delight in the possession of the infinite Good and Beauty, while every other faculty will en- joy the pleasure and security of this interminable life. The pleasures of the elect will be further enhanced by the friendship of all the children of God in the mansions prepared for them from the beginning of the world.
In hell, however, "eternal misery'' is stamped on the interminable life of the reprobate. There the mind will brood over the vast misfortune of losing God and heaven forever. The heart will there drain the cup of this misfortune and acknowledge this loss to be the final consequence of its own fault. Like Dives, the reprobate see the happiness of the blessed, and are consumed with remorse and despair because it will ever be beyond their reach. Here the soul that refused to serve God on earth becomes the slave of the devil; here the soul that abused the liberty of a child of God pines in the dungeon of hell; here the soul that was the willing slave of the flesh is permeated by "the fire that dieth not” (Mark ix. 42).