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CHAPTER XX

THOU therefore dost fill and embrace all things; Thou art before and beyond all things. And indeed Thou art before all things; because before they were made, Thou art.4040   John viii. 58. But how art Thou before all things? For in what manner art Thou beyond those things which are to have no end?4141   He has probably in view angels and human souls. Is it because they can in no wise be without Thee; but Thou, even though they should return into nothingness, no less art? In this way then Thou art in a manner of speaking beyond them. Or is it again because they can be conceived of as having an end, but Thou canst not? For in this way indeed they have in some sense an end;4242   That is, they might possibly have an end, though they will not. God who created them out of nothing, might annihilate them; though such is not His will. but Thou in no sense. And certainly that which in no sense hath an end is beyond that which in any sense hath an end. Dost Thou then thus also transcend all things, even though they be eternal, in that Thine eternity and theirs is 36present to Thee in their entirety, while they have not yet that part of their eternity which is to come, as they have no longer that part which is past. Thus Thou ever transcendest them; both in that Thou art always present to them, and because that is ever present to Thee whereunto they have not yet come.


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