1. Forasmuch as the things which needed to be said concerning this matter have been brought, I think, to a proper ending, we must praise God (whose Names are infinite) as “Holy of holies” and “King of kings,” reigning through Eternity and unto the end of Eternity and beyond it, and as “Lord of lords” and “God of gods.” And we must begin by saying what we understand by “Very Holiness,” what by “Royalty,” “Dominion,” and “Deity,” and what the Scripture means by the reduplication of the titles.
2. Now Holiness is that which we conceive as a freedom from all defilement and a complete and utterly untainted purity. And Royalty is the power to assign all limit, order, law, and rank. And Dominion is not only the superiority to inferiors, but is also the entirely complete and universal possession of fair and good things and is a true and steadfast firmness; wherefore the name is derived from a word meaning “validity” and words meaning severally “that which possesseth validity” and “which exerciseth” it. And Deity is the Providence which contemplates all things and which, in perfect Goodness, goes round about all things and holds them together and fills them with Itself and transcends all things that enjoy the blessings of Its providential care.
3. These titles, then, must be given in an absolute sense to the All-Transcendent Cause, and we must add that It is a Transcendent Holiness and Dominion, that It is a Supreme Royalty and an altogether Simple Deity. For out of It there hath, in one single act, come forth collectively and been distributed throughout the world all the unmixed Perfection of all untainted Purity; all that Law and Order of the world, which expels all disharmony, inequality and disproportion, and breaks forth into a smiling aspect of ordered Consistency and Rightness, bringing into their proper place all things which are held worthy to participate in It; all the perfect Possession of all fair qualities; and all that good Providence which contemplates and maintains in being the objects of Its own activity, bounteously bestowing Itself for the Deification of those creatures which are converted unto It.
4.. And since the Creator of all things is brim-full with them all in one transcendent excess thereof. He is called “Holy of Holies,” etc., by virtue of His overflowing Causality and excess of Transcendence. Which meaneth that just as things that have no substantial Being are transcended by things that have such Being, together with Sanctity, Divinity, Dominion, or Royalty; and just as the things that participate in these Qualities are transcended by the Very Qualities themselves—even so all things that have Being are surpassed by Him that is beyond them all, and all the Participants and all the Very Qualities are surpassed by the Unparticipated Creator. And Holy Ones and Kings and Lords and Gods, in the language of Scripture, are the higher Ranks in each Kind through which the secondary Ranks receiving of their gifts from God, show forth the abundance of that Unity thus distributed among them in their own manifold qualities—which various qualities the First Ranks in their providential, godlike activity draw together into the Unity of their own being.
- Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagyte, The Divine Names, Chapter 12