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The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite, tr. by John Parker, [1897], at


Concerning Sovereign Lord, "Ancient of days" in which also, concerning Age and Time 54 .


THE time, then, is come for our discourse, to sing the God of many Names, as "Sovereign Lord," and as "Ancient of days." For He is called the former, by reason that He is an all-controlling basis, binding and embracing the whole, and establishing and supporting, and tightening, and completing the whole. Continuous in itself, and from itself, producing the whole, as it were from a Sovereign root, and turning to itself the whole, as to a sovereign parent stock, and holding them together as an all-embracing basis of all, securing all the things embraced, within one grasp superior to all, and not permitting them, when p. 110 fallen from itself to be destroyed, as moved from an all-perfect sanctuary. But the Godhead is called Sovereign, both as controlling and governing the members of His household, purely, and as being desired and beloved by all, and as placing upon all the voluntary yokes, and the sweet pangs of the Divine and Sovereign, and in dissolvable love of the Goodness itself,


But Almighty God is celebrated as "Ancient of days" because He is of all things both Age and Time,--and before Days, and before Age and Time. And yet we must affirm that He is Time and Day, and appointed Time, and Age, in a sense befitting God, as being throughout every movement unchangeable and unmoved, and in His ever moving remaining in Himself, and as being Author of Age and Time and Days. Wherefore, in the sacred Divine manifestations of the mystic visions, He is represented as both old and young; the former indeed signifying the "Ancient" and being from the beginning, and the latter His never growing old; or both teaching that He advances through all things from beginning to end,--or as our Divine initiator says, "since each manifests the priority of God, the Elder having the first place in Time, but the Younger the priority in number; because the unit, and things near the unit, are nearer the beginning than numbers further advanced. p. 111


But we must, as I think, see from the Oracles the nature of Time and Eternity, for they do not always (merely) call all the things absolutely unoriginated and really everlasting, eternal, but also things imperishable and immortal and unchangeable, and things which are in like fashion, as when they say, "be ye opened, eternal doors," and the like. And often they characterize the things the most ancient by the name of Eternity; and again they call the whole duration of our time Eternity, in so far as the ancient and unchangeable, and the measurement of existence throughout, is a characteristic of Eternity. But they call time that concerned in generation and decay and change, and sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. Wherefore also, the Word of God says that even we, who are bounded here by time, shall partake of Eternity, when we have reached the Eternity which is imperishable and ever the same. But sometimes eternity is celebrated in the Oracles, even as temporal, and time as eternal. But if we know them better and more accurately, things spiritual 55 are spoken of and denoted by Eternity, and things subject to generation by time. It is necessary then to suppose that things called eternal are not absolutely co-eternal with God, Who is before Eternity, but that following unswervingly the most august Oracles, we should understand things eternal and temporal according to the hopes recognized by p. 112 them, hut whatever participates partly in eternity and partly in time, as things midway between things spiritual and things being born. But Almighty God we ought to celebrate, both as eternity and time, as Author of every time and eternity, and "Ancient of days," as before time, and above time; and as changing appointed seasons and times; and again as being before ages, in so far as He is both before eternity and above eternity and His kingdom, a kingdom of all the Ages. Amen.


109:54 Dulac, p. 226.

111:55 τὰ ὄντα--actual.

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