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181

CHAPTER XII

ConcerningHoly of holies,” ”King of kings,” ”Lord of lords,” ”God of gods.”

1. Forasmuch as the things which needed to be said concerning this matter have been brought, I think, to a proper ending, we must praise God (whose Names are infinite) as “Holy of holies” and “King of kings,” reigning through Eternity and unto the end of Eternity and beyond it, and as “Lord of lords” and “God of gods.” And we must begin by saying what we understand by “Very Holiness,” what by “Royalty,” “Dominion,” and “Deity,” and what the Scripture means by the reduplication of the titles.

2. Now Holiness is that which we conceive as a freedom from all defilement and a complete and utterly untainted purity. And Royalty is the power to assign all limit, order, law, and rank. And Dominion is not only the superiority to inferiors, but is also the entirely complete and universal possession of fair and good things and is a true and steadfast firmness; wherefore the name is derived from a word meaning “validity” and words meaning severally “that which possesseth validity” and “which exerciseth” it.486486D. holds that God’s dominion is an absolute quality in Himself apart from all reference to the creation. The Greek word, as he truly says, supports his view.    The Latin Dominus, on the other hand, implies the notion of governing, and so has a necessary reference to the creation. Hence St. Augustine says that God could not actually be spoken of as “Lord” before the world or the angels were made. Eckhart says that before the creation God was not God, ”Er war was Er war.“ D. holds that the title “God” is relative to us. But then he holds—and here explains—that the roots of this relationship exist timelessly in the undifferentiated Godhead. And Deity is the Providence which contemplates all things and which, in perfect Goodness, 182goes round about all things and holds them together and fills them with Itself and transcends all things that enjoy the blessings of Its providential care.

3. These titles, then, must be given in an absolute sense to the All-Transcendent Cause, and we must add that It is a Transcendent Holiness and Dominion, that It is a Supreme Royalty and an altogether Simple Deity.487487“Transcendent,” “Supreme,” “Simple,” all express the same fact—that, being Super-Essential, it is above the multiplicity of the creatures. For out of It there hath, in one single act, come forth collectively and been distributed throughout the world all the unmixed Perfection of all untainted Purity; all that Law and Order of the world, which expels all disharmony, inequality and disproportion, and breaks forth into a smiling aspect of ordered Consistency488488Cf. Shelley, Adonais: “That Light whose smile kindles the universe.” and Rightness, bringing into their proper place all things which are held worthy to participate in It; all the perfect Possession of all fair qualities; and all that good Providence which contemplates and maintains in being the objects of Its own activity, bounteously bestowing Itself for the Deification of those creatures which are converted unto It.

4.. And since the Creator of all things is brim-full with them all in one transcendent excess thereof. He is called “Holy of Holies,” etc., by virtue of His overflowing Causality and excess of Transcendence.489489“Holiness” especially contains the notion of Transcendence. Which meaneth that just as things that have no substantial Being490490i. e. The material things (cf. Myst. Theol. I.). This is the ordinary meaning of the phrase in D. are transcended by things that have such Being, together with Sanctity, Divinity, Dominion, or Royalty; and just as the things that 183participate in these Qualities are transcended by the Very Qualities themselves—even so all things that have Being are surpassed by Him that is beyond them all, and all the Participants and all the Very Qualities are surpassed by the Unparticipated491491Material things are surpassed by angels and perfected human souls, anal these by the Divine Grace which they all share; and this, together with the whole creation on which it is bestowed, is surpassed by God from Whom it emanates. For while this emanation can be communicated the Godhead cannot. (Cf. Via Negativa. See esp. Myst. Theol. I.). Creator. And Holy Ones and Kings and Lords and Gods, in the language of Scripture, are the higher Ranks in each Kind492492i. e. The higher ranks whether among angels or among human souls. (Cf. “I have said, ‘Ye are gods,’” “hath made us kings and priests,” etc.) through which the secondary Ranks receiving of their gifts from God, show forth the abundance of that Unity thus distributed among them in their own manifold qualities—which various qualities the First Ranks in their providential, godlike activity draw together into the Unity of their own being.493493The highest ranks (i. e. the Seraphim and the Contemplative Saints) have a direct version of God, Whom they behold by an act of complete spiritual contemplation.    Others, learning from them, behold God truly but less directly—by knowing rather than by Unknowing, by discursive Meditation rather than by intuitive Contemplation—or are called to serve Him chiefly in practical works. Contemplation is a complete activity of the concentrated spirit, unifying it within itself and uniting it to all kindred spirits (for true Mysticism is the same in every age and place). Meditation and practical works are partial activities which imply a succession of different images in the same mind and a shifting variety of different mental types and interests in the same Community.


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