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Cross; his brother Apostles had now been removed by death; and he was left, aged, an exile, and a prisoner, in a lonely island, for the testimony of the Truth in Christ.
As the winds blew, and the waves dashed on the rocky shores of Patmos, so the winds and waves of persecution were now beating on the Church. But the aged Apostle, who was confined within the narrow limits of Patmos, was admitted in the glorious visions of the Apocalypse to the presence of God. The Exile of earth became a Citizen of heaven; the cliffs of Patmos appeared more beautiful than Paradise. He was "in the Spirit on the Lord's Day." The Man of sorrows, Whom St. John had once seen crowned with thorns before Pilate, and bleeding on the Cross at Calvary, was now seen reigning in heaven adored by myriads of Angels, and coming on the clouds of heaven to judge the Quick and Dead.
This is very appropriate; it harmonizes well with the tender care of Christ for those who love Him, and suffer for Him. It is expressive of His love for His Church, left a widow for a while in this world. When on the Cross, He committed His Mother to St. John's care. By St. John, He reveals to His Church the future glory which will be hers, when she will be reunited to Him, and be the Bride in heaven.
Here, therefore, is a source of comfort to all Christians. Here on earth we are exiles; we are in Patmos. Especially, in these latter days, the heavens are dark; the sea is high; the waves dash upon the rock: "the floods are risen, O Lord; the floods have lift up their voice." This is an age of storms. The beach is strewn with wrecks. Yet in the gloom of this world, in this solitude and exile, we may have inward peace, and light and hope and joy. Loving Christ with St. John, suffering for Christ with him, we, like St. John, shall be visited by Christ. St. John's vision will be ours. His Revelation will be ours. Our Patmos will be Paradise. And we may pass from the storms of earth to the sunshine of heaven; and from the solitude of our worldly banishment to the mansions of our Father's House.
X. On the Text of the Apocalypse.
The History of the Original Greek Text of the APOCALYPSE is very remarkable.
Erasmus, its first Editor after the invention of printing, had only one MS., and that an imperfect one, of the Apocalypse. He supplied the last six verses, which were wanting in that MS., from the Latin Vulgate, translated by himself into Greek; and some words of Erasmus, not authorized by any MS., still remain in some editions of the Apocalypse printed at this day'.
The second edition of the New Testament was that of the Complutensian Polyglott, so called from Complutum, or Alcalà in Spain, the place at which it was printed. This was in the year 1520. The Complutensian Editors, says Wetstein', had only one MS. of the Apocalypse. They were followed in the Apocalypse by Erasmus in his fourth and fifth editions in 1527 and 1535, and by Robert Stephens in the year 1546, and again in 1549, 1550, and 1551. Wetstein affirms that Robert Stephens had only two MSS. of the Apocalypse, and that these were not accurately collated. The third edition of Stephens formed the basis of those of Theodore Beza, which appeared at Geneva in 1565, 1576, 1589, 1598, and also of the Elzevir edition, or received text, as it is commonly called, published at Leyden in 1624.
Beza's edition of 1598 was the groundwork of the English AUTHORIZED VERSION of the New Testament, published in 1611, and "appointed to be read in Churches."
Here two remarks may be made. The ENGLISH AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION of the APOCALYPSE does not rest upon the same sound foundation of MS. authority as the Authorized Translation of the other books of the New Testament. It stands in a place by itself, and ought to be regarded accordingly'.
No one need be startled by this statement. If the Apocalypse now existed only in the single MS. of Erasmus, no article of Christian doctrine would be in the least degree different from what it is. The numerous MSS. of the Apocalypse which have been collated since it was first printed, have not affected any doctrine of Christianity; but they have placed the received Articles of the Faith on a more solid basis.
1 Ps. xciii. 4.
2 See Bengel, p. 622.
3 Proleg. in Apocalyps. N. T. ii. p. 741.
1. c., p. 741), quæ ab Erasmianis profluxit, admodum infirmo nititur tibicine. Et tamen per integrum quod ab editione Stephanicâ elapsum est sæculum, viri docti etiam in corruptâ lectione quid libet potius invenire, quàm lectionem receptam vel con
5 "Lectio recepta Apocalypseos (says Wetstein, A.D. 1752, firmare vel emendare maluerunt."
In the interval of time which has elapsed between the publication of the Authorized Version and the present day, much has been effected for the confirmation and establishment of the Original Text of the Apocalypse by the labours of Bishop Fell, Dr. John Mill, Bentley, Wetstein, Bengel, Matthæi', Alter, Birch', Woide, Griesbach', Schols', Ford', Barrett', Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Mai, Scrivener, Kelly, and others; and little now remains but to use diligently and faithfully the materials collected by them.
Their attention has been devoted mainly to the critical examination of Manuscripts; and it is due to them that at this time, nearly a hundred MSS. of the Apocalypse have been collated, some of which are of great antiquity and value.
Of these the four most ancient are,
A. The Alexandrine, in the British Museum, probably of the fourth century. A fac-simile of it was published by Woide in 1786, a magnificent work, reflecting great honour upon the Editor, and on those who generously assisted him. See above, on the Gospels, p. xxxiv, new edition.
N. The Sinaitic MS. brought from Mount Sinai by Tischendorf; of the fourth century: see above on the MSS. of St. Paul's Epistles.
B. The Basilian, in the Vatican at Rome, No. 2066; of the sixth or seventh century. A transcript of it was published by Tischendorf, in 1846; and another has been published at Rome, as a Supplement to Mai's edition of the Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209.
This Basilian MS. is not to be confounded with Codex B, in the Vatican, No. 1209, containing other portions of the Greek Testament, but not comprising the Apocalypse. See above, on the Gospels, p. xxxiv.
C. The Palimpsest MS. of S. Ephraim the Syrian; so called from its having certain works of S. Ephraim written over the Greek Testament; probably of the fourth century. A transcript was published by Tischendorf in 1843.
By the goodness of Divine Providence these invaluable MSS. containing the Book of Revelation have been preserved to our own age, and have been made generally accessible at this day by means of transcripts. In this respect we of the present generation enjoy a privilege which was not granted to our forefathers, the ENGLISH TRANSLATORS, nor indeed to any of our predecessors. This circumstance will appear the more striking, when we recollect that one of these Ancient Manuscripts, the Ephraim Palimpsest, which, about a century ago, was almost illegible", has now, within the last few years, been restored, as it were, to life by a chemical process, so that the reading of nearly every letter of it has been ascertained".
XI. Notice of some ancient Commentators on the Apocalypse, whose Works are extant "2.
I. Victorinus, Bishop of Petabium, or Petavium, Pettau, in Pannonia, circ. A.D. 270 (Cave, i. p. 1471). He is said to have suffered martyrdom in the Diocletian persecution, A.D. 303. The "Commentarius in Apocalypsim," ascribed to Victorinus, printed in Bibliotheca Patrum Maxima, p. 414-421, and in a shorter form, entitled "Scholia in Apocalypsim," in Biblioth. Patrum Gallandii, iv. p. 52–65, whence it has been recently republished by the Abbé Migne. Patrologia, v. p. 318-348. The work of Victorinus was revised and modified by S. Jerome (see Ambros. Ansbert. in Bibl. P. Maxima, xiii. p. 404).
II. Auctor Anonymus, apud S. Augustinum, tom. iii. pp. 3106-3159, ed. Paris, 1837. This Exposition of the Apocalypse, which is very valuable, is in the form of Homilies or Sermons preached in the Church. It will be designated by Aug.? in the following notes; see on ii. 1.
It has been ascribed by some to Tichonius, the celebrated Donatist Expositor, contemporary with S. Augustine, circ. A.D. 390. (Cave, i. p. 285.) Tichonius is known to have composed an
29 July, 1716), that it cost him two hours to read a page. Bentley's Correspondence, p. 510. Cp. p. 519.
11 By means of the "tinctura Giobertina," in 1842. See Monitum Editoris, Pars ii. p. xvii.
12 Compare Calovius, Bibl. Illust. N. T. Proleg. in Apoc. p. 1715, sq. Lücke, Geschichte der Auslegung d. Apoc. in vol. iv. of his Kommentar über die Schriften d. Evang. Joannes, pp. 951-1012, 2nd ed. The Rev. E. B. Elliott's Hora Apocalypticæ, iv. p. 307, 4th ed. Dr. Todd on the Apocalypse, p. 269. See also particularly, Le Long, Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. ii. 13 Ed. Basil. 1741.
exegetical work on the Apocalypse (see Bede's Commentary, passim 1), and it is probable that these Homilies contain considerable portions of that treatise, adapted to the use of the Church.
III. Primasius, Bishop of Adrumetum in Africa, flourished A.D. 550. His "Commentarius in Apocalypsim" is contained in Bibl. Patrum Maxima, x. pp. 287-340, and has been published by the Abbé Migne in his Patrologia, tom. lxviii. pp. 794-956.
IV. Cassiodorus Aurelius Magnus, "Senator Romanus, deinde Monachus Vivariensis in Calabria." (See Cave, Hist. Lit. i. p. 501.) He wrote his work, "De Divinis Lectionibus," circ. A.D. 556. His Complexiones in Apocalypsim" were published at Rotterdam, 1723, 12mo. pp. 213-243, and are inserted in the Abbé Migne's Patrologia, tom. lxxx. pp. 1406-1418. Cassiodorus, in p. 9 of his work De Divinis Lectionibus, speaks of Primasius as his own contemporary, and refers to his work on the Apocalypse.
V. Andreas, Archbishop of Crete, supposed by some to have been afterwards Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, probably in the sixth or seventh century. (Cave, i. p. 467. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. viii. 696, xi. p. 62, ed. Harles.) His Commentary on the Apocalypse is printed in Morell's edition of S. Chrysostom, tom. viii., and a Latin translation of it in Bibl. Patr. Max. tom. v. pp. 589-633. We may here mention the two other Greek Expositors, who derive their materials mainly from Andreas, Arethas and Ecumenius.
VI. Arethas, Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, in the tenth century. (Fabric. Bibl. Græc. viii. p. 698, ed. Harles. Cave, i. p. 520, in Ecumenii Opera, ed. Paris, pp. 640-837, A.D. 1631.) A Latin translation of his Exposition is found in Bibl. P. Max. ix. pp. 741-791.
VII. Ecumenius, Bishop of Tricca, in Thessaly, probably in the tenth century. (Cave, ii. p. 112. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. viii. p. 692.)
Much has been effected recently towards an improved edition of these two Expositors by the late lamented Dr. Cramer, in his publication "Ecumenii et Aretha in Apocalypsim," Oxonii, 1840. "Nobis," says he in his Preface, "plenissimum forsan Antiquorum Græcorum Patrum Commentarium, qui extat, in Apocalypsim, licuit vulgare." The learned Editor has printed new Scholia of Ecumenius, and has added to those already published of Arethas. The Exposition of Ecumenius commences at p. 497 and ends at p. 582 of Dr. Cramer's volume.
VIII. Beda Venerabilis; born near the mouth of the Tyne, in the county of Durham, A.D. 672, died A.D. 735. (Cave, i. p. 612.) Explanatio Apocalypsis in tom. xii. pp. 337-452 of Bedæ A valuable and interesting Exposition.
Opera, Lond. 1844.
IX. Ambrosius Ansbertus, Gallus Presbyter (obiit A.D. 778), in S. Johannis Apocalypsim libri x. ad sanctissimum in Christo Patrem ac Dominum D. Stephanum Divinâ Gratiâ Papam; ed. princ. Col. 1536, fol. p. 442. Bibl. P. Max. xiii. pp. 403-639. (Cave, i. p. 631.)
X. Berengaudus, Monachus Benedictinus, circ. A.D. 800. Expositio super vii. Visiones Apocalypseos, inter S. Ambrosii Opera, ed. Bened. tom. ii. pt. ii. pp. 499-589.
XI. Haymo, "Episcopus Halberstattensis, Alcuini discipulus," obiit A.D. 853; an excellent Expositor. Commentariorum in Apocalypsim Beati Joannis libri vii. jam primum in lucem editi, et ad multorum scriptorum Codicum fidem castigati Coloniæ, 1531, 12mo. (Cave, ii. p. 28.) Commentaries on the Apocalypse were written by Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus (Trithem. 251. 267), contemporaries of Haymo, but are not now extant.
XII. Anselmus Laudunensis (Laon, in Picardy) Benedictinus, Petri Abælardi magister; fl. A.D. 1103. In Apocalypsim Enarrationes, Coloniæ, 1612, inter Anselmi Cantuariensis Opera, ii. p. 471, sqq. (Cave, ii. p. 187.)
XIII. Bruno, Abbas Monte-Cassinas, ob. 1125. (Cave, ii. p. 158.) Commentarius in Apocalypsim, Opera, Venet. 1651. 2 tom. fol.
XIV. Rupertus Tuitensis (propè Coloniam Agrippinæ), ob. 1135. Comment. in Apocalypsim, lib. xii. ad Fredericum, Archiepiscopum Coloniensem, Colon. 1541, p. cxcv; Noriberg, 1526, ed. Paris, ii. p. 450, sqq. (Cave, ii. p. 193.)
XV. Anselmus, Episcopus Havilbergensis, de Sigillis Apocalypticis scripsit, A.D. 1145. (Cave, ii. p. 224.) Some further account of this important treatise has been given, and some extracts from
E. g. Bede, Explan. Apocalyps. Epist. ad Euseb., "Has ergo regulas non in Apocalypsi tantùm, id est, in Revelatione Sancti Joannis Apostoli, quam idem Tichonius et vivaciter intellexit, et veridicè satisque catholicè disseruit, præter ea duntaxat loca, in quibus suæ partis, id est, Donatistarum schisma defendere nisus." "Cujus quidem auctoris et nos in hoc opere sensum secuti, nonnulla quæ extrinsecus posuit, breviandi causâ, omisimus."
2 Andreas of Crete was probably a different person from Andreas of Cappadocia. In the MSS. the Commentary on the Apocalypse is attributed, sometimes to the one, sometimes to the other. Arethas assigns it to his predecessor in the See of Cappadocia.
it have been printed, by the present writer in his Edition of the Greek Text of the Apocalypse, London, 1849, Appendix B.
XVI. Ricardus de Sancto Victore, propè Parisios, "natione Scotus, S. Bernardi familiaris," obiit 1173. In Apocalypsim S. Joannis libri vii. (Cave, ii. p. 228.) Opera, Rothomagi, 1650. 2 tom. folio.
XVII. Joachimus Calaber, Abbas Florensis sive de Flore, fl. A.D. 1200. (Cave, ii. p. 278.) His work on the Apocalypse was first published with the following title:
"Expositio magni Prophetæ Abbatis Joachim in Apocalypsim: Opus illud celebre; Aurea, ac præ ceteris longè altior et profundior Explanatio in Apocalypsim Abbatis Joachim de statu Universali Reipublicæ Christianæ, deque Ecclesiâ Carnali in proximo reformandá, atque in primævam sui ætatem redigenda; triplici priùs tamen percutiendâ flagello, moxque omnium Infidelium ad Christi fidem conversione; jam multis sepulta sæculis, sed adimplenda tempore instante ad utilitatem et consolationem fidelium nutu divino detecta atque reserata in lucem primo venit," Venetiis, 1527, 4to.
The date of Joachim's prefatory Epistle is printed "Floris. anno Dominicæ Incarnationis MC." It ought to be мCC.
A further account of Joachim's expositions of the Apocalyptic prophecies is given in Appendix C of the present Editor's volume above quoted, Lond. 1849; and Gieseler, Eccl. Hist. § 70.
XVIII. Thomas Aquinas, nat. 1224, ob. 1274. Thomæ Aquinatis in B. Joannis Apocalypsim Expositio nunc primum è tenebris eruta, Florentiæ, 1549, 12mo. p. 654. The preface speaks of it unhesitatingly as the work of Aquinas. Cave (i. p. 306) denies the genuineness of this exposition, and conjectures that it was written by Thomas Anglicus, the monk of Ely, of the twelfth century.
XIX. Joannes Petrus Olivi, a Franciscan, of Languedoc, ob. 1297. Postilla in Apocalypsim. For a further account of Peter Olivi, and of his memorable labours on the Apocalypse, see Gieseler, Eccl. Hist. § 70, and Appendix D of the present Editor's Greek Text of the Apocalypse. Lond.
XX. Albertus Magnus, Provincial of the Dominicans, Master of Aquinas, Bishop of Ratisbon, died at Cologne, A.D. 1280. (Cave, ii. p. 311.) Commentarii in Apocalypsim. Basil, 1506.
XXI. Petrus Aureolus, sive Petrus de Verberia, Doctor facundus, Archiepiscopus Aquensis (of Aix), fl. 1310. (Cave, ii. p. 25, App.) His Breviarium Bibliorum contains his comment on the Apocalypse.
XXII. Nicolas de Gorham, of Merton College, in the fourteenth century. Comment. in Apocalypsim, Antwerp, 1617-1620, p. 178 sqq. (Cave, ii. p. 86 in Appendice.)
XXIII. Jacobus de Paradiso, Carthusianus, A.D. 1449. "De Septem Statibus Ecclesiæ in Apocalypsi descriptis, deque authoritate Ecclesiæ et ejus Reformatione." A valuable and interesting treatise, printed in Browne's Fasciculus Rerum Expetendarum, &c., ii. p. 102. Lond. 1690.
a 1 John 1. 1.
b Rom. 13. 11. James 5. 8.
1 Pet. 4. 7.
ch. 22.7 10.
c Exod. 3. 14. ver. 8.
Ι. 1'ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ, 2 * ὃς ἐμαρτύρησε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅσα εἶδε. 3 * Μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων, ó καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας, καὶ τηροῦντες τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ γεγραμμένα· ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς.
4 Ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ταῖς ἐν τῇ ̓Ασίᾳ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη 11. 17. 2 1 3. ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος· καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων, ἃ ἐνώπιον
ch. 3. 1. & 4.5, 8.
& & 16. 5.
CH. I. 1. Αποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, κ.τ.λ.] The Apocalypse, or Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show to His servants what things must come to pass shortly. The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth (John v. 20); and the Everlasting Son, the WORD of God, God with us (Matt. i. 23), God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. iii. 16), reveals God's will to the world (see Matt. xi. 27. Luke x. 22. John i. 18). Hence the Apocalypse is the Revelation of Jesus Christ (cp. Gal. i. 12. 2 Cor. xii. 1). John (says Bengel) is the writer of this book, but its Author is Christ.
By some English Writers this Book is sometimes called, in the plural number, "the Revelations," but this is erroneous. The Book is 'ATокáλv↓is, Apocalypse, an unfolding or revealing of what is secret; as Andreas expresses it, it is Tŵν KрUTTŵv | Swois (see the LXX, in 1 Sam. xx. 30). Hence S. Irenæus (v. 30) says, "the Apocalypse was seen "(¿wpáłn); a passage which shows that this title of the book, "the Apocalypse," is very ancient, probably from St. John himself.
It is this act of revealing which the title describes. Compare the use of this word in Rom. ii. 5; viii. 19; xvi. 25. 1 Cor. i. 7; xiv. 6. 2 Co xii. 1. 7. Gal. i. 12; ii. 2. Eph. i. 17; iii. 3. 2 Thess. i. 7. 1 Pet. i. 7. 13; it is the office of revealing the future which is assigned to Christ by God, and this truth is declared in the name and contents of the Apocalypse. Accordingly we shall see that it is Christ, Who commands John to write the seven Epistles to the Seven Churches, and reveals what some of them will suffer (i. 11. 19); it is Christ, Who opens the Book sealed with the Seven Seals (v. 7. 9), and reveals the future sufferings and final triumph of the Church (vi. 1-17; vii. 1-17); it is Christ, Who offers the prayers of all the Saints, which lead to the sounding of the Seven Trumpets which announce God's Judgments on His enemies (viii. 3-13; ix. 1—21; xi. 15); it is Christ, Who delivers the little Book opened to St. John, and gives him a commission to prophesy again (x. 1—11).
The Divinity of Christ is declared by what follows; "He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John," Compare xxii. 16. The Angels are Christ's Angels, because He is God. See Matt. xxiv. 31.
à deî yevéolai év Táxei] which must come to pass shortly. This expression is not inconsistent with the fact that some of these things would seem long in their accomplishment, to human calculation; as is evident from Luke xviii. 8, where Christ says that God is long-suffering (μaxpo@vu@r) and yet executes His purposes év Taxe, and so here He says, xxii. 7, idov epxoμaι Taxi, and still He is not yet come: cp. below v. 3, and v. 7.
τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ] to His servant John. The blessed Apostle, the beloved Disciple, who was admitted to see the heavenly visions which he is about to describe, is not "exalted by the abundance of his revelations" (2 Cor. xii. 7), but describes
himself by this title, "the servant of Christ." revealed unto the meek." Ecclus. iii. 19.
2. ds éμapтúpnoe K.T.λ.] who bare witness of the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as many things as he saw. St. John thus intimates, that what he writes in the Apocalypse, is not from himself, but from God; that it is not from any private imagination, but that it is the testimony of Christ; and that he writes whatever he saw in the visions of God. Therefore he adds, "blessed is he who readeth, and who heareth (i. e. hearkens to, and obeys) the words of the prophecy, and observeth the things which are written therein." On the sense of aкośw with an accusative as here, see Acts ix. 7. On the meaning of ora see note, John xxi. 25, and on the promise of blessedness to him that readeth and keepeth, see on James i. 22.
3. 8 yàp kaiрds eyyús] for the season is at hand: the season (kaipòs) at which they will come to pass is near. This assertion is always true, even to the end of time. For since the prophecies in this book extend from the Apostolic age to the Day of Judg. ment, some of them are continually on the eve of their accomplishment. Besides, since the duration of the present world is but a span when compared with Eternity, the season of Judgment is at hand; the Judge standeth before the door (James v. 9). Cp. 2 Pet. iii. 8, 9. Arethas.
4. Ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις] John to the Seven Churches that are in Asia. The Asia here mentioned is the district more commonly known as Ionia and Lydia, and was called in Roman language Proconsular Asia. It was a province of not more than one hundred miles square, watered on the north by the river Caycus, on the south by the Mæander, and bounded on the east by the Phrygian hills, and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea. See on Acts ii. 9, and Abp. Ussher's Treatise on the Original of Bishops and Metropolitans, Oxf. 1641, p. 53, and following. Its capital was Ephesus, in which city St. John resided, wrote his Gospel, and died, and which is now named after him. See above, Introduction to St. John's Gospel, p. 267.
On these Epistles to the Seven Churches see further below, i. 11; ii. 1.
Xápis iμîv kal eiphon] Grace be to you, and Peace. The salutation with which St. Peter's two Epistles, and all St. Paul's Epistles to Churches begin (see on 1 Thess. i. 1); and serving as a bond of Christian fellowship between St. John and those two Apostles. The Apocalypse also ends with the final salutation which was characteristic of St. Paul, The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. See above, on 1 Thess. v. 28.
ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος] from Him Who is, and and is to come. 'O v means more than " Who is ;" it means "the Being One," the "Ever Self-existing One," the First Cause of all existence.
This remarkable structure, in which the preposition and is