Note [original edition] : A day whose space is fifty thousand years
This is supposed to be the space which would be required for their
ascent from the lowest part of creation to the throne of God,
if it were to be
measured; or the time which it would take a man up to perform that journey;
and this is not contradictory to what is said elsewhere
(if it be to be
interpreted of the ascent of the angels,) that the length of the day whereon
they ascend is one thousand years; because that is meant only of their ascent
from earth to the lower heaven, including also the time of their descent.
But the commentators generally taking the day spoken of in both these
passages to be the day of judgment, have recourse to several expedients to
reconcile them, some of which we have mentioned in another place2
and as both
passages seem to contradict what the Mohammedan
doctors teach, that God
judge all creatures in the space of half a day3
they suppose those large
number of years are designed to express the time of the previous attendance of
those who are to be judged4
or else to the space wherein God
will judge the
unbelieving nations, of which they say there will be fifty, the trial of each
nation taking up 1000 years, though that of the true believers will be
over in the short space above mentioned5
Chap. 32. p. 338.
Prelim. Disc. §. IV. p. 84.
See ib. p. 88, 89.
See ib. p. 86.