Page:Eureka; a prose poem (1848).djvu/34

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EUREKA.

possible for us to attain any given point in space, we should still find, on all sides of us, an interminable succession of stars. This was the untenable idea of Pascal when making perhaps the most successful attempt ever made, at periphrasing the conception for which we struggle in the word "Universe." "It is a sphere," he says, "of which the centre is everywhere, the circumference, nowhere." But although this intended definition is, in fact, no definition of the Universe of stars, we may accept it, with some mental reservation, as a definition (rigorous enough for all practical purposes) of the Universe proper—that is to say, of the Universe of space. This latter, then, let us regard as "a sphere of which the centre is everywhere, the circumference nowhere." In fact, while we find it impossible to fancy an end to space, we have no difficulty in picturing to ourselves any one of an infinity of beginnings.

As our starting-point, then, let us adopt the Godhead. Of this Godhead, in itself, he alone is not imbecile—he alone is not impious who propounds——nothing. "Nous ne connaissons rien" says the Baron de Bielfeld—"Nous ne connaissons rien de la nature ou de l'essence de Dieu:—pour savoir ce qu'il est, il faut être Dieu même."—"We know absolutely nothing of the nature or essence of God:—in order to comprehend what he is, we should have to be God ourselves."

"We should have to be God ourselves!"—With a phrase so startling as this yet ringing in my ears, I nevertheless venture to demand if this our present ignorance of the Deity is an ignorance to which the soul is everlastingly condemned.

By Him, however—now, at least, the Incomprehensible