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CHAPTER XVIII

AND once more behold, trouble!3232   Jer. xiv. 19. So once more cometh sorrow and grief to me that sought after joy and gladness.3333   Ps. li. 8. My soul hoped but now to be filled, and behold, once more is she bowed down by want. I sought to eat and be satisfied, and lo, I am more hungry than 32before. I strove to rise up into the light of God, and have fallen back into mine own darkness. Nay, not only have I fallen into the darkness, but I perceive myself encompassed about thereby. I fell into it before my mother conceived me.3434   Ps. li. 5. Surely I was conceived in darkness, and was born under the shadow thereof. Surely we all fell in him, in whom we all have sinned.3535   Rom. v. 12. The Vulgate (like A.V. marg.) renders the last words of this verse: in whom all have sinned. We all lost in him who might easily have kept it and lost it to his own sorrow and ours, that which when we desire to seek, we know not: when we seek, we find not: when we find, is not that which we seek. Help me then, according to Thy goodness! Lord, I have sought Thy face; Thy face, Lord, will I seek; O hide not Thou Thy face from me.3636   Ps. xxvii. 9, 10. Raise me up out of myself unto Thee.3737   Reading Releva. Cleanse, heal, quicken, enlighten the eye of my mind that it may look upon Thee. Grant that my soul may collect her strength once more and with all the power of her understanding strive after Thee, O Lord. What art Thou, O Lord, what art Thou? How shall my heart understand what Thou art? Surely Thou art life and wisdom and truth and goodness and blessedness and eternity and everything that is truly good. These indeed are many; but my narrow understanding 33cannot see so many good things in one apprehension at one and the same time, so as to be delighted by the presence of all at once. How then, O Lord, art Thou all these? Are they parts of Thee, or is rather everyone of these wholly what Thou art? For whatsoever is composed of parts is not in all respects one, but in a certain respect many and diverse from itself; and either actually or in thought can be dissolved: but to be many and not one, or to be capable of dissolution even in thought is far from Thy nature, since Thou art that than which no better can be conceived. Thus there are no parts in Thee, O Lord, nor art Thou many and not one: but Thou art one and the same with Thyself, so that in nothing art Thou unlike Thyself, nay, rather Thou art very Oneness, indivisible by any understanding. Therefore life and wisdom and Thine other attributes are not parts of Thee but are all one, and everyone of them is wholly what Thou art and what the other attributes are. And as Thou hast no parts, so neither is Thine eternity which is Thyself, at any place or time a part of Thee or of Thy whole eternity; but Thou art wholly everywhere and Thine eternity is wholly at all times.3838   St Anselm here explains that, as God’s attributes cannot be distinguished from Himself, as our attributes can be distinguished from ourselves—see chap. xiii.—so they cannot be so distinguished from one another, as to be looked upon in the light of parts which added together make up the composite notion of God’s nature. We may only be able to think first of one divine attribute, then of another; but we must not suppose God’s nature to be divisible, even in thought: we can conceive of many things as divided which we cannot actually cut up into parts; and many things which we always find together we can think of as separate; but we must think of God as so perfectly one that no division or dissolution into constituent elements or parts can for a moment be thought of in His case. Otherwise He would not be the original and ultimate Reality, but would have grown out of the coalescence of simpler elements into one complex being.

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