3. What, then, can this be, this something in virtue of which we declare the entire divine Realm to be Eternal, everlasting? We must come to some understanding of this perpetuity with which Eternity is either identical or in conformity.
It must at once, be at once something in the nature of unity and yet a notion compact of diversity, or a Kind, a Nature, that waits upon the Existents of that Other World, either associated with them or known in and upon them, they collectively being this Nature which, with all its unity, is yet diverse in power and essence. Considering this multifarious power, we declare it to be Essence in its relation to this sphere which is substratum or underlie to it; where we see life we think of it as Movement; where all is unvaried self-identity we call it Repose; and we know it as, at once, Difference and Identity when we recognize that all is unity with variety.
Then we reconstruct; we sum all into a collected unity once more, a sole Life in the Supreme; we concentrate Diversity and all the endless production of act: thus we know Identity, a concept or, rather, a Life never varying, not becoming what previously it was not, the thing immutably itself, broken by no interval; and knowing this, we know Eternity.
We know it as a Life changelessly motionless and ever holding the Universal content [time, space, and phenomena] in actual presence; not this now and now that other, but always all; not existing now in one mode and now in another, but a consummation without part or interval. All its content is in immediate concentration as at one point; nothing in it ever knows development: all remains identical within itself, knowing nothing of change, for ever in a Now since nothing of it has passed away or will come into being, but what it is now, that it is ever.
Eternity, therefore- while not the Substratum [not the essential foundation of the Divine or Intellectual Principle]- may be considered as the radiation of this Substratum: it exists as the announcement of the Identity in the Divine, of that state- of being thus and not otherwise- which characterizes what has no futurity but eternally is.
What future, in fact, could bring to that Being anything which it now does not possess; and could it come to be anything which it is not once for all?
There exists no source or ground from which anything could make its way into that standing present; any imagined entrant will prove to be not alien but already integral. And as it can never come to be anything at present outside it, so, necessarily, it cannot include any past; what can there be that once was in it and now is gone? Futurity, similarly, is banned; nothing could be yet to come to it. Thus no ground is left for its existence but that it be what it is.
That which neither has been nor will be, but simply possesses being; that which enjoys stable existence as neither in process of change nor having ever changed- that is Eternity. Thus we come to the definition: the Life- instantaneously entire, complete, at no point broken into period or part- which belongs to the Authentic Existent by its very existence, this is the thing we were probing for- this is Eternity.