Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 9

9. Everything brought into being under some principle not itself is contained either within its maker or, if there is any intermediate, within that: having a prior essential to its being, it needs that prior always, otherwise it would not be contained at all. It is the order of nature: The last in the immediately preceding lasts, things of the order of the Firsts within their prior-firsts, and so thing within thing up to the very pinnacle of source.

That Source, having no prior, cannot be contained: uncontained by any of those other forms of being, each held within the series of priors, it is orbed round all, but so as not to be pointed off to hold them part for part; it possesses but is not possessed. Holding all- though itself nowhere held- it is omnipresent, for where its presence failed something would elude its hold. At the same time, in the sense that it is nowhere held, it is not present: thus it is both present and not present; not present as not being circumscribed by anything; yet, as being utterly unattached, not inhibited from presence at any point. That inhibition would mean that the First was determined by some other being; the later series, then, would be without part in the Supreme; God has His limit and is no longer self-governed but mastered by inferiors.

While the contained must be where its container is, what is uncontained by place is not debarred from any: for, imagine a place where it is not and evidently some other place retains it; at once it is contained and there is an end of its placelessness.

But if the "nowhere" is to stand and the ascription of a "where," implying station in the extern, is to fall, then nothing can be left void; and at once- nothing void, yet no point containing- God is sovereignly present through all. We cannot think of something of God here and something else there, nor of all God gathered at some one spot: there is an instantaneous presence everywhere, nothing containing and nothing left void, everything therefore fully held by the divine.

Consider our universe. There is none before it and therefore it is not, itself, in a universe or in any place- what place was there before the universe came to be?- its linked members form and occupy the whole. But Soul is not in the universe, on the contrary the universe is in the Soul; bodily substance is not a place to the Soul; Soul is contained in Intellectual-Principle and is the container of body. The Intellectual-Principle in turn is contained in something else; but that prior principle has nothing in which to be: the First is therefore in nothing, and, therefore, nowhere. But all the rest must be somewhere; and where but in the First?

This can mean only that the First is neither remote from things nor directly within them; there is nothing containing it; it contains all. It is The Good to the universe if only in this way, that towards it all things have their being, all dependent upon it, each in its mode, so that thing rises above thing in goodness according to its fuller possession of authentic being.

Next: Section 10