DIVINE Pymander OF
an Egyptian Philosopher
In 17 Books
translated formerly out of the Arabic into Greek, and thence into Latin, and
and now out of the Original into English by that Learned Divine Doctor Everard.
Printed by Robert White in London in 1650
This Book may justly challenge the first place for antiquity,
from all of the Books in the World, being written some hundred of years before
Moses time, as
I shall endeavour to make good. The Original (as far as it is know to us) is Arabic,
and several Translations thereof have been published, as Greek, Latin,
French, Dutch, etc., but never English before. It
is a pity that the Learned Translator [Doctor Everard] is not alive, and received
himself, the honour, and thanks due to him from Englishmen; for his
good will to, and pains for them, in translating a Book of such infinite worth,
the Original, into their Mother-tongue.
Concerning the Author of the Book itself, Four things are considered, viz His
Name, Learning, Country and Time.
1) The name by which he was commonly titled is, Hermes Trismegistus, i.e., Mercurious
Ter Maximus, or, The thrice greatest Intelligencer. And well might he be
called Hermes, for
he was the first Intelligencer in the World (as we read of) that communicated
Knowledge to the sons of Men, by Writing, or Engraving. He was called Ter Maximus, for
some Reasons, which I shall afterwards mention.
2) His Learning will appear, as by his Works; so by the right understanding the
Reason of his Name.
3) For his Country, he was King of Egypt.
4) For his Time, it is not without much Controversy, betwixt those that
write of this Divine, ancient Author, in what time he lived in. Some say he lived
after Moses time, giving this slender Reason for it, viz. Because he
was named Ter Maximus; for being preferred [Franciscus Flussar] (according
to the Egyptian Customs) being chief Philosopher, to be chief of the
Priesthood; and from thence, to be chief in Government, or King. But if this
be all their ground, you must excuse my dissent from them, and that for this
reason, Because according to the most learned of his followers, [ Geber, Paracelsus:
Henricus Nollius in Theoria Philosophia Hermeticae, tractatu priimo] he was called Ter
Maximus; for having perfect, and exact Knowledge of all things contained
in the World; which things he divided in Three Kingdoms (as he calls them), viz: Mineral,
Vegetable, Animal; Which Three, he did excel in the right understanding of; also,
because he attained to, and transmitted to Posterity (although in an enigmatic,
and obscure style) the Knowledge of the Quintessence of the whole Universe (which
Universe, as I said before, he divided into Three Parts) otherwise called, The
great Elixir of the Philosophers; which is the Receptacle of all Celestial
and Terrestrial Virtues; which Secret, many ignorantly deny, many have chargeably
sought after, yet few, but some, yea, and Englishmen, [Ripley, Bacon,
Norton, etc] have happily found
The Description of this great Treasure, is said to be found engraved upon a Smaragdine Table,
in the Valley of Ebron, after the Flood. So that the Reason before alleged
to prove this Author to live after Moses, seems invalid; neither does it anyway
appear, that he lived in Mose's time, although it be the opinion of
some, as of John Functius, who said in his Chronology, That he lived
Twenty one years before the Law was given by Moses in the Wilderness:
But the Reasons that he, and others give, are far weaker than those that I shall
give, for his living before Mose's time.
My reasons for that, are these;
First, Because it
is received amongst the Ancients, that he was the first that invented the
Art of communicating Knowledge to the World, by Writing or Engraving. Now
if so, then in all probability he was before Moses; for it is said of Moses
that he was from his childhood [Acts vii.22] skilled in all the Egyptian
Learning, which could not well have been without the help of Literature,
which we never read of any before that invented by Hermes [Chapter x.].
Secondly, he is said
by himself, to be the son of Saturn and by others to be the Scribe of Saturn.
Now Saturn according to Historians, lived in the time of
Sarug, Abraham’s great Grand-Father [Sanchoniathon]. I shall but take in
Suidas his judgment, and so rest satisfied, that he did not live only before,
but long before Moses; His words are these, Credo Mercurium Trismegistum
sapientem Egyptium floruisse ante Pharaonem [Suidas].
In this Book, though
so very old, is contained more true knowledge of God and Nature, than in all
the Books in the World besides, except only Sacred Writ;
And they that shall judiciously read it, and rightly understand it, may well
be excused from reading many Books; the Authors of which, pretend so much to
the knowledge of the Creator, and Creation. If God ever appeared in any man,
he appeared in him, as it appears by this Book. That a man who had not the benefit
of his Ancestors’ knowledge, being as I said before, The first inventor
of the Art of Communicating Knowledge to Posterity by writing, should be so high
a Divine, and so deep a Philosopher, seems to be a thing more of God than of
Man; and therefore it was the opinion of some [Goropius Becanus] That he came
from Heaven, not born upon Earth . There is contained in this Book, that true
without which, it is impossible ever to attain to the height, and exactness of
Piety, and Religion. According to this Philosophy, I call him a Philosopher,
that shall learn and study the things that are, and how they are ordered, and
governed, and by whom, and for what cause, or to what end; and he that doth so,
will acknowledge thanks to, and admire the Omnipotent Creator, Preserver, and
Director of all these things. And he that shall be thus truly thankful, may truly
be called Pious and Religious: and he that is Religious, shall more and more
know where and what the Truth is: And learning that, he shall yet be more and
The glory and splendour
of Philosophy, is an endeavouring to understand the chief Good, as the Fountain
of all Good: Now how can we come near to, or find out the
Fountain, but by making use of the Streams as a conduct to it? The operations
of Nature, are Streams running from the Fountain of Good, which is God. I am
not of the ignorant, and foolish opinion of those that say, The greatest Philosophers
are the greatest Atheists: as if to know the works of God, and to understand
his goings forth in the Way of Nature, must necessitate a man to deny God. The
[Job 38 ] Scripture disapproves of this as a sottish tenet, and experience contradicts
it: For behold! Here is the greatest Philosopher, and therefore the greatest
this ensuing Book (and for thy help thou mayest make use of that voluminous
[Hanbal Offeli Alabar] Commentary written upon it ) then it
will speak more for its Author, than can be spoken by any man, at least by me.
Thine in the love of Truth,
1. O my Son, I write this first Book, both for Humanity's sake,
and for Piety towards God.
2. For there can be no Religion
more true or just, than to know the things that are;
and to acknowledge thanks for all things, to him that
made them, which thing I shall not cease continually
3. What then should a man do, O Father, to lead his life
well, seeing there is nothing here true ?
4. Be Pious and Religious, O my Son, for he that doth so,
is the best and highest Philosopher; and without Philosophy,
it is impossible ever to attain to the height and exactness
of Piety or Religion.
5. But he that shall learn and study the things that are,
and how they are ordered and governed, and by whom and for
what cause, or to what end, will acknowledge thanks to the
Workman as to a good Father, an excellent Nurse and a faithful
Steward, and he that gives thanks shall be Pious or Religious,
and he that is Religious shall know both where the truth
is, and what it is, and learning that, he will be yet more
and more Religious.
6. For never, O Son, shall or can that Soul which while it
is in the Body lightens and lifts up itself to know and comprehend
that which is Good and True, slide back to the contrary;
for it is infinitely enamoured thereof. and forgetteth all
Evils; and when it hath learned and known its Father and
progenitor it can no more Apostatize or depart from that
7. And let this, O Son, be the end of Religion and Piety;
whereunto when thou art once arrived, thou shalt both live
well, and die blessedly, whilst thy Soul is not ignorant
whether it must return and fly back again.
8. For this only, O Son, is the way to the Truth, which our
Progenitors travelled in; and by which, making their Journey,
they at length attained to the Good. It is a Venerable way,
and plain, but hard and difficult for the Soul to go in that
is in the Body.
9. For first must it war against its own self, and after
much Strife and Dissention it must be overcome of one part;
for the Contention is of one against two, whilst it flies
away and they strive to hold and detain it.
10. But the victory of both is not like; for the one hasteth
to that which is Good, but the other is a neighbour to the
things that are Evil; and that which is Good, desireth to
be set at Liberty; but the things that are Evil, love Bondage
11. And if the two parts be overcome, they become quiet,
and are content to accept of it as their Ruler; but if the
one be overcome of the two, it is by them led and carried
to be punished by its being and continuance here.
12. This is, O Son, the Guide in the way that leads thither
for thou must first forsake the Body before thy end, and
get the victory in this Contention and Strifeful life, and
when thou hast overcome, return.
13. But now, O my Son, I will by Heads run through the things
that are: understand thou what I say, and remember what thou
14. All things that are, are moved; only that which is not,
15. Every Body is changeable.
16. Not every Body is dissolvable.
17. Some Bodies are dissolvable.
18. Every living thing is not mortal.
19. Not every living thing is immortal.
20. That which may be dissolved is also corruptible.
21. That which abides always is unchangeable.
22. That which is unchangeable is eternal.
23. That which is always made is always corrupted.
24. That which is made but once, is never corrupted, neither
becomes any other thing.
25. First, God; Secondly, the World; Thirdly, Man.
26. The World for Man, Man for God.
27. Of the Soul, that part which is Sensible is mortal, but
that which is Reasonable is immortal.
28. Every essence is immortal.
29. Every essence is unchangeable.
30. Every thing that is, is double.
31. None of the things that are stand still.
32. Not all things are moved by a Soul, but every thing that
is, is moved by a Soul.
33. Every thing that suffers is Sensible, every thing that
is Sensible suffereth.
34. Every thing that is sad rejoiceth also, and is a mortal
35. Not every thing that joyeth is also sad, but is an eternal
36. Not every Body is sick; every Body that is sick is dissolvable.
37. The Mind in God.
38. Reasoning (or disputing or discoursing) in Man,
39. Reason in the Mind.
40. The Mind is void of suffering.
41. No thing in a Body true.
42. All that is incorporeal, is void of Lying.
43. Every thing that is made is corruptible.
44. Nothing good upon Earth, nothing evil in Heaven.
45. God is good, Man is evil.
46. Good is voluntary, or of its own accord.
47. Evil is involuntary or against its will.
48. The Gods choose good things, as good things.
49. Time is a Divine thing.
50. Law is Humane.
51. Malice is the nourishment of the World.
52. Time is the Corruption of Man.
53. Whatsoever is in Heaven is unalterable.
54. All upon Earth is alterable.
55. Nothing in Heaven is servanted, nothing upon Earth free.
56. Nothing unknown in Heaven, nothing known upon Earth.
57. The things upon Earth communicate not with those in Heaven.
58. All things in Heaven are unblameable, all things upon
Earth are subject to Reprehension.
59. That which is immortal, is not mortal: that which is
mortal, is not immortal.
60. That which is sown, is not always begotten; but that
which is begotten always, is sown.
61. Of a dissolvable Body, there are two Times, one from
sowing to generation, one from generation to
62. Of an everlasting Body, the time is only from the Generation.
63. Dissolvable Bodies are increased and diminished,
64. Dissolvable matter is altered into contraries; to wit,
Corruption and Generation, but Eternal matter into its self,
and its like.
65. The Generation of Man is Corruption, the Corruption of
Man is the beginning of Generation.
66. That which off-springs or begetteth another, is itself
an offspring or begotten by another.
67. Of things that are, some are in Bodies, some in their
68. Whatsoever things belong to operation or working, are
in a Body.
69. That which is immortal, partakes not of that which is
70. That which is mortal, cometh not into a Body immortal,
but that which is immortal, cometh into that which is mortal.
71. Operations or Workings are not carried upwards, but descend
72. Things upon Earth do nothing advantage those in Heaven,
but all things in Heaven do profit and advantage the things
73. Heaven is capable and a fit receptacle of everlasting
Bodies, the Earth of corruptible Bodies.
74. The Earth is brutish, the Heaven is reasonable or rational.
75. Those things that are in Heaven are subjected or placed
under it, but the things on Earth, are placed upon it.
76. Heaven is the first Element.
77. Providence is Divine Order.
78. Necessity is the Minister or Servant of Providence.
79. Fortune is the carriage or effect of that which is without
Order; the Idol of operation, a lying fantasy or opinion.
80. What is God? The immutable or unalterable Good.
81. What is Man? An unchangeable Evil.
82. If thou perfectly remember these Heads, thou canst not
forget those things which in more words I have largely expounded
unto thee; for these are the Contents or Abridgment of them.
83. Avoid all Conversation with the multitude or common People,
for I would not have thee subject to Envy, much less to be
ridiculous unto the many.
84. For the like always takes to itself that which is like,
but the unlike never agrees with the unlike: such Discourses
as these have very few Auditors, and peradventure very few
will have, but they have something peculiar unto themselves.
85. They do rather sharpen and what evil men to their maliciousness,
therefore it behoveth to avoid the multitude and take heed
of them as not understanding the virtue and power of the
things that are said.
86. How dost Thou mean, O Father?
87. Thus, O Son, the whole Nature and Composition of those
living things called Men, is very prone to Maliciousness,
and is very familiar, and as it were nourished with it, and
therefore is delighted with it. Now this wight [a creature] if it shall
come to learn or know, that the world was once made, and
all things are done according to Providence and Necessity,
Destiny, or Fate, bearing Rule over all: Will he not be much
worse than himself, despising the whole because it was made.
And if he may lay the cause of evil upon Fate or Destiny,
he will never abstain from any evil work.
88. Wherefore we must look warily to such kind of people,
that being in ignorance, they may be less evil for fear of
that which is hidden and kept secret.
The Second Book.
1. My Thoughts being
once seriously busied about the things that are, and my Understanding
lifted up, all my bodily Senses being exceedingly holden back,
as it is with them that are very heavy of sleep, by reason either
of fulness of meat, or of bodily labour. Me thought I saw one
of an exceeding great stature, and an infinite greatness call
name, and say unto me, "What wouldest thou Hear and See? or what
wouldest thou Understand, to Learn, and Know!"
2. Then said I, " Who art
"I am," quoth he, "Poemander, the mind of the Great Lord, the most Mighty and absolute
Emperor: I know what thou wouldest have,
and I am always present with thee."
3. Then said I, "I would
Learn the Things that art, and Understand the Nature of them and know God."
"How?" said he. I answered, "That I would gladly hear.'' Then he, "Have me again
in thy mind, and whatsoever thou wouldst learn, I will teach thee."
4. When he had thus said, he was changed in his Idea or Form and straightway in
the twinkling of an eye, all things were opened unto me: and I saw an infinite
Sight, all things were become light, both sweet and exceedingly pleasant; and I
was wonderfully delighted in the beholding it.
5. But after a little while, there was a darkness made in part, coming down obliquely,
fearful and hideous, which seemed unto me to be changed into a Certain Moist Nature,
unspeakably troubled, which yielded a smoke as from fire; and from whence proceeded
a voice unutterable, and very mournful, but inarticulate, insomuch that it seemed
to have come from the Light.
6. Then from that Light, a certain Holy Word joined itself unto Nature, and out
flew the pure and unmixed Fire from the moist Nature upward on high; it is exceeding
Light, and Sharp, and Operative withal. And the Air which was also light, followed
the Spirit and mounted up to Fire (from the Earth and the Water) insomuch that
it seemed to hang and depend upon it.
7. And the Earth and the Water stayed by themselves so mingled together, that
the Earth could not be seen for the Water, but they were moved, because of the
Spiritual Word that was carried upon them.
8. Then said Poemander
unto me, "Dost thou understand this Vision, and what it
"I shall know," said I. Then said he, "I am that Light, the Mind, thy God, who am
before that Moist Nature that appeareth out of Darkness, and that Bright and Lightful
Word from the Mind, is the Son of God."
9. "How is that?" quoth I." Thus," replied he, "Understand
it, That which in thee Seeth and Heareth, the Word of the Lord, and the Mind,
the Father, God, Differeth
not One from the Other, and the Unison of these is Life."
Trismegistus. "I thank thee."
Pymander."But first conceive well the Light in thy mind and
10. When he had thus said, for a long time me looked steadfastly one upon the
other, insomuch that I trembled at his Idea or Form.
11. But when he nodded to me, I beheld in my mind the Light that is in innumerable,
and the truly indefinite Ornament or World; and that the Fire is comprehended or
contained in or by a most great Power, and constrained to keep its station.
12. These things I understood,
seeing the word of Pymander; and when I was mightily amazed, he said again unto
me, "Hast thou seen in thy mind that Archetypal Form,
which was before the Interminated and Infinite Beginning?" Thus Pymander to me."But
whence," quoth I, "or whereof are the Elements of Nature made?"
Pymander : "Of the Will and Counsel of God; which taking the Word, and beholding
the beautiful World (in the Archetype thereof) imitated it, and so made this World,
by the principles and vital Seeds or Soul-like productions of itself."
13. For the Mind being God, Male and Female, Life and Light, brought forth by
his Word; another Mind, the Workman: Which being God of the Fire, and the Spirit,
fashioned and formed seven other Governors, which in their Circles contain the
Sensible World, whose Government or Disposition is called Fate or Destiny.
14. Straightway leaped out, or exalted itself front the downward born Elements
of God, the Word of God into the clean and pure Workmanship of Nature, and was
united to the Workman, Mind, for it was Consubstantial; and so the downward born
Elements of Nature were left without Reason, that they might be the only Matter.
15. But the Workman, Mind, together with the Word, containing the Circles and
Whirling them about, turned round as a Wheel his own Workmanship, and suffered
them to be turned from an indefinite Beginning to an undeterminable End; for they
always begin where they end.
16. And the Circulation or running round of these, as the Mind willeth, out of
the lower or downward-born Elements brought forth unreasonable or brutish creatures,
for they had no reason, the Air flying things, and the Water such as swim.
17. And the Earth and the Water were separated, either from the other, as the
Mind would: and the Earth brought forth from herself such Living Creatures as she
had, four-footed and creeping Beasts, wild and tame.
18. But the Father of all things, the Mind being Life and Light, brought forth
Man, like unto himself, whom he loved as his proper Birth, for he was all beauteous,
having the Image of his Father.
19. For indeed God was exceedingly enamoured of his own Form or Shape, and delivered
unto it all his own Workmanships. But he seeing and understanding the Creation
of the Workman in the whole, would needs also himself Fall to Work, and so was
separated from the Father, being in the sphere of Generation or operation.
20. Having all Power, he considered the Operations or Workmanships of the Seven;
but they loved him, and every one made him partaker of his own Order.
21. And he learning diligently and understanding their Essence, and partaking
their nature, resolved to pierce and break through the Circumference of the Circles,
and to understand the Power of him that sits upon the Fire.
22. And having already all power of mortal things, of the Living, and of the unreasonable
Creatures of the World, stooped down and peeped through the Harmony, and breaking
through the strength of the Circles, so showed and made manifest the downward-born
Nature, the fair and beautiful Shape or Form of God.
23. Which when he saw, having in itself the unsatiable Beauty and all the Operation
of the Seven Governors, and the Form or Shape of God, he Smiled for love, as if
he had seen the Shape or Likeness in the Water, or the shadow upon the Earth of
the fairest Human form.
24. And seeing in the Water a shape, a shape like unto himself in himself he loved
it, and would cohabit with it; and immediately upon the resolution, ensued the
Operation, and brought forth the unreasonable Image or Shape.
25. Nature presently laying hold of what it so much loved, did wholly wrap herself
about it, and they were mingled, for they loved one another.
26. And for this cause, Man above all things that live upon Earth, is double;
Mortal because of his Body, and Immortal because of the substantial Man: For being
immortal, and having power of all things, he yet suffers mortal things, and such
as are subject to Fate or Destiny.
27. And therefore being; above all Harmony, he is made and become a servant to
Harmony. And being Hermaphrodite, or Male and Female, and watchful, he is governed
by and subjected to a Father, that is both Male and Female and watchful.
28. After these things,
I said: "Thou art my Mind and I am in love with Reason."
29. Then said Pymander, "This
is the Mystery that to this day is hidden, and kept secret; for Nature being
mingled with Man brought forth a Wonder most wonderful;
for he having the Nature of the Harmony of the Seven, from him whom I told thee,
the Fire and the Spirit, Nature continued not, but forth with brought forth seven
Men all Males and Females and sublime, or on high, according to the Natures of
the Seven Governors."
30. "And after these things, O Pymander," quoth I, "I
am now come into a great desire, and longing to hear, do not digress, or run
31. But he said, "Keep
silence, for I have not yet finished the first speech."
32. Trismegistus. "Behold,
I am silent."
33. Pymander."The Generation
therefore of these Seven was after this manner, the Air being Feminine and the
Water desirous of Copulation, took from the Fire
its ripeness, and from the aether Spirit; and so Nature produced bodies after
the Species and Shape of men."
34. And Man was made of Life and Light into Soul and Mind, of Life the Soul, of
Light the Mind.
35. And so all the Members of the Sensible World, continued unto the period of
the end, bearing rule, and generating.
36. Hear now the rest of that speech, thou so much desirest to hear.
37. When that period was fulfilled, the bond of all things was loosed and untied
by the Will of God; for all living Creatures being Hermaphroditical, or Male and
Female, were loosed and untied together with Man; and so the Males were apart by
themselves and the Females likewise.
38. And straightway God said to the Holy Word,. Increase in Increasing, and Multiply
in Multitude all you my Creatures and Workmanships. And let Him that is endued
with Mind, know Himself to be Immortal; and that the cause of Death is the Love
of the Body, and let Him Learn all Things that are.
39. When he had thus said, Providence by Fate and Harmony, made the mixtures,
and established the Generations, and all things were multiplied according to their
kind, and he that knew himself, came at length to the Superstantial of every way
40. But he that through the Error of Love, loved the Body, abideth wandering in
darkness, sensible, suffering the things of death.
41. Trismegistus. "But
why do they that are ignorant sin so much, that they should therefore be deprived
42. Pymander."Thou seemest
not to have understood what thou hast heard."
43. Trismegistus. "Peradventure
I seem so to thee, but I both understand and remember them."
44. Pymander. "I am glad
for thy sake, if thou understoodest them."
45. Trismegistus. "Tell
me, why are they worthy of death, that are in death?"
46. Pymander. "Because
there goeth a sad and dismal darkness before its Body; of which darkness is the
moist Nature, of which moist Nature, the Body consisteth
in the sensible World, from whence death is derived. Hast thou understood this
47. Trismegistus. "But
why or how doth he that understands himself, go or pass into God!"
48. Pymander. "That which
the Word of God said, say I: Because the Father of all things consists of Life
and Light, whereof Man is made."
49. Trismegistus. "Thou
sayest very well."
50. Pymander. "God and
the Father is Light and Life, of which Man is made. If therefore thou learn and
believe thyself to be of the Life and Light, thou shalt
again pass into Life."
51. Trismegistus. "But
yet tell me more, O my Mind, how I shall go into Life."
52. Pymander. "God saith,
Let the Man endued with a Mind, mark, consider, and know himself well."
53. Trismegistus. "Have
not all Men a mind?"
54. Pymander. "Take heed
what thou sayest, for I the Mind come unto men that are holy and good, pure and
merciful, and that live piously and religiously; and my
presence is a help unto them. And forthwith they know all things, and lovingly
they supplicate and propitiate the Father; and blessing him, they give him thanks,
and sing hymns unto him, being ordered and directed by filial Affection, and
natural Love: And before they give up their Bodies to the death of them, they
Senses, knowing their Works and Operations.
55. "Rather I that am the
Mind itself, will not suffer the Operations or Works, which happen or belong
to the body, to be finished and brought to perfection in
them; but being the Porter and Door-keeper, I will shut up the entrances of Evil,
and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works.
56. "But to the foolish,
and evil, and wicked, and envious and covetous, and murderous, and profane, I
am far off giving place to the avenging Demon, which applying unto
him the sharpness of fire, tormenteth such a man sensibly, and armeth him the
more to all wickedness, that he may obtain the greater punishment.
57. "And such a one never
ceaseth, having unfulfillable desires and unsatiable concupiscences, and always
fighting in darkness for the Demon afflicts and tormenteth
him continually, and increaseth the fire upon him more and more."
58. Trismegistus. "Thou
hast, O Mind, most excellently taught me all things, as I desired; but tell me
moreover, after the return is made, what then?"
59. Pymander. "First of
all, in the resolution of the material Body, the Body itself is given up to alteration,
and the form which it had, becometh invisible;
and the idle manners are permitted, and left to the Demon, and the Senses of
the Body return into their Fountains, being parts, and again made up into Operations.
60. "And Anger and Concupiscence
go into the brutish or unreasonable Nature; and the rest striveth upward by Harmony.
61. "And to the first Zone
it giveth the power it had of increasing and diminishing.
62. "To the second, the
machination or plotting of evils, and one effectual deceit or craft.
63. "To the third, the
idle deceit of Concupiscence.
64. "To the fourth, the
desire of Rule, and unsatiable Ambition.
65. "To the fifth, profane
Boldness, and headlong rashness of Confidence.
66. "To the sixth, Evil
and ineffectual occasions of Riches.
67. "And to the seventh
Zone, subtle Falsehood always lying in wait.
68. "And then being made
naked of all the Operations of Harmony it cometh to the eighth Nature, having
its proper power, and singeth praises to the Father with
the things that are, and all they that are present rejoice, and congratulate
the coming of it; and being made like to them with whom it converseth, it heareth
the Powers that are above the eighth Nature, singing praise to God in a certain
voice that is peculiar to them.
69. "And then in order
they return unto the Father, and themselves deliver themselves to the powers,
and becoming powers they are in God.
70. "This is the Good,
and to them that know to be deified.
71. "Furthermore, why sayest
thou, What resteth, but that understanding all men, thou become a guide, and
way-leader to them that are worthy; that the kind of Humanity
or Mankind, may be saved by God!"
72. When Pymander had thus said unto me, he was mingled among the Powers.
73. But I giving thanks, and blessing the Father of all things, rose up, being
enabled by him, and taught the Nature, of the Nature of the whole and having seen
the greatest sight or spectacle.
74. And I began to Preach unto men, the beauty and fairness of Piety and Knowledge.
75. O ye People, Men, born and made of the Earth, which have given Yourselves
over to Drunkenness, and Sleep, and to the Ignorance of God, be Sober, and Cease
your Surfeit, whereto you are allured, and invited by Brutish and Unreasonable
76. And they that heard me, come willingly, and with one accord, and then I said
77. Why, O Men of the Off-spring of the Earth, why have you delivered Yourselves
over unto Death, having Power to Partake of Immortality; Repent and Change your
Minds, you that have together Walked in Error, and have been Darkened in Ignorance.
78. Depart from that dark Light, be Partakers of Immortality, and Leave or Forsake
79. And some of Them That Heard Me, mocking and scorning, went away and delivered
themselves up to the way of death.
80. But others, casting themselves down before my feet, besought me that they
might be taught; but I causing them to rise up, became a guide of mankind, teaching
them the reasons how, and by what means they may be saved. And I sowed in them
the words of Wisdom, and nourished them with Ambrosian Water of Immortality.
81. And when it was Evening, and the Brightness of the same began wholly to go
down, I commanded them to give thanks to God; and when they had finished their
thanksgiving, everyone returned to his own lodging.
82. But I wrote in myself the bounty and beneficence of Pymander; and being filled
with what I most desired, I was exceeding glad.
83. For the sleep of the Body was the sober watchfulness of the mind; and the
shutting of my eyes the true Sight, and my silence great with child and full of
good; and the pronouncing of my words, the blossoms and fruits of good things.
84. And thus came to pass or happened unto me, which I received from my mind,
that is, Pymander, the Lord of the Word; whereby I became inspired by God with
85. For which cause, with my Soul, and whole strength, I give praise and blessing
unto God the Father.
86. Holy is God the Father of All Things.
87. Holy is God Whose Will is Performed and Accomplished by His Own Powers.
88. Holy is God, that Determineth to be Known, and is Known of His Own, or Those
that are His.
89. Holy art Thou, that by Thy Word hast established all Things.
90. Holy art Thou of Whom all Nature is the Image.
91. Holy art Thou Whom Nature hath not Formed.
92. Holy art Thou that art Stronger than all Power.
93. Holy art Thou, that art Greater than all Excellency.
94. Holy art Thou, Who art Better than all Praise.
95. Accept these Reasonable Sacrifices from a Pure Soul, and a Heart stretched
out unto Thee.
96. O Thou Unspeakable, Unutterable, to be Praised with Silence!
97. I beseech Thee, that I may never Err from the Knowledge of Thee, Look mercifully
upon me, and enable me, and enlighten with this Grace, those that are in Ignorance,
the Brothers of my Kind, but Thy Sons.
98. Therefore I believe thee, and bear Witness, and go into the Life and Light.
99. Blessed art Thou, O Father, Thy Man would be Sanctified with Thee, as Thou
hast given Him all Power.
The Third Book.
called "The Holy Sermon".
1. The glory of all
things, God, and that which is Divine, and the Divine Nature,
the beginning of things that are.
2. God, and the Mind, and Nature, and Matter, and Operation, or Working and Necessity,
and the End and Renovation.
3. For there were in the Chaos, an infinite darkness in the Abyss or bottomless
Depth, and Water, and a subtle Spirit intelligible in Power; and there went out
the Holy Light, and the Elements were coagulated from the Sand out of the moist
4. And all the Gods distinguished the Nature full of Seeds.
5. And when all things were interminated and unmade up, the light things were
divided on high. And the heavy things were founded upon the moist sand, all things
being Terminated or Divided by Fire; and being sustained or hung up by the Spirit
they were so carried, and the Heaven was seen in Seven Circles.
6. And the Gods were seen in their Ideas of the Stars, with all their Signs, and
the Stars were numbered, with the Gods in them. And the Sphere was all lined with
Air, carried about in a circular, motion by the Spirit of God.
7. And every God by his internal power, did that which was commanded him; and
there were made four footed things, and creeping things, and such as live in the
Water, and such as fly, and every fruitful Seed, and Grass, and the Flowers of
all Greens, and which had sowed in themselves the Seeds of Regeneration.
8. As also the Generations of men to the knowledge of the Divine Works, and a
lively or working Testimony of Nature, and a multitude of men, and the Dominion
of all things under Heaven and the knowledge of good things, and to be increased
in increasing, and multiplied in multitude.
9. And every Soul in flesh, by the wonderful working of the Gods in the Circles,
to the beholding of Heaven, the Gods, Divine Works, and the Operations of Nature;
and for Signs of good things, and the knowledge of the Divine Power, and to find
out every cunning workmanship of good things.
10. So it beginneth to live in them, and to be wise according to the Operation
of the course of the circular Gods; and to be resolved into that which shall be
great Monuments; and Remembrances of the cunning Works done upon Earth, leaving
them to be read by the darkness of times.
11. And every generation of living flesh, of Fruit, Seed, and all Handicrafts,
though they be lost, must of necessity be renewed by the renovation of the Gods,
and of the Nature of a Circle, moving in number; for it is a Divine thing, that
every world temperature should be renewed by nature, for in that which is Divine,
is Nature also established.
The Fourth Book.
called "The Key "
1. Yesterday's Speech,
O Asclepius, I dedicated to thee, this day's it is fit to dedicate
to Tat, because it is an Epitome of those general speeches that
were spoken to him.
2. God therefore, and the Father, and the Good, O Tat, have the same Nature, or
rather also the same Act and Operation.
3. For there is one name or appellation of Nature and Increase which concerneth
things changeable, and another about things unchangeable, and about things unmoveable,
that is to say, Things Divine and Human; every one of which, himself will have
so to be; but action or operation is of another thing, or elsewhere, as we have
taught in other things, Divine and Human, which must here also be understood.
4. For his Operation or Act, is his Will, and his Essence, to Will all Things
5. For what is God, and the Father, and the Good, but the Being of all things
that yet are not, and the existence itself, of those things that are!
6. This is God, this is the Father, this is the Good, whereunto no other thing
is present or approacheth.
7. For the World, and the Sun, which is also a Father by Participation, is not
for all that equally the cause of Good, and of Life, to living Creatures: And if
this be so, he is altogether constrained by the Will of the Good, without which
it is not possible, either to be, or to be begotten or made.
8. But the Father is the cause of his Children, who hath a will both to sow and
nourish that which is good by the Son.
9. For Good is always active or busy in making; and this cannot be in any other,
but in him that taketh nothing, and yet willeth all things to be; for I will not
say, O Tat, making them; for he that maketh is defective in much time, in which
sometimes he maketh not, as also of quantity and quality; for sometimes he maketh
those things that have quantity and quality and sometimes the contrary.
10. But God is the Father, and the Good, in being all things; for he both will
be this, and is it, and yet all this for himself (as is true) in him that can see
11. For all things else are for this, it is the property of Good to be known:
This is the Good, O Tat.
12. Tat. Thou hast filled us, O Father, with a sight both good and fair, and the
eye of my mind is almost become more holy by the sight or spectacle.
13. Trismegistus. I Wonder not at It, for the Sight of Good is not like the Beam
of the Sun, which being of a fiery shining brightness, maketh the eye blind by
his excessive Light, that gazeth upon it; rather the contrary, for it enlighteneth,
and so much increaseth the light of the eye, as any man is able to receive the
influence of this Intelligible clearness.
14. For it is more swift and sharp to pierce, and innocent or harmless withal,
and full of immortality, and they that are capable and can draw any store of this
spectacle, and sight do many times fall asleep from the Body, into this most fair
and beauteous Vision ; which thing Celius and Saturn our Progenitors obtained unto.
15. Tat. I would we also, O Father, could do so.
16. Trismegistus. I would have, could, O Son; but for the present we are less
intent to the Vision, and cannot yet open the eyes of our minds to behold the incorruptible,
and incomprehensible Beauty of that Good: But then shall we see it, when we have
nothing at all to say of it.
17. For the knowledge of it, is a Divine Silence, and the rest of all the Senses;
For neither can he that understands that understand anything else, nor he that
sees that, see any thing else, nor hear any other thing, nor in sum, move the Body.
18. For shining steadfastly upon, and round about the whole Mind it enlighteneth
all the Soul ; and loosing it from the Bodily Senses and Motions, it draweth it
from the Body, and changeth it wholly into the Essence of God.
19. For it is Possible for the Soul, O Son, to be Deified while yet it Lodgeth
in the Body of Man, if it Contemplate the Beauty of the Good.
20. Tat. How dost thou mean deifying, Father!
21. Trismegistus. There are differences, O Son, of every Soul.
22. Tat. But how dost thou again divide the changes?
23. Trismegistus. Hast thou not heard in the general Speeches, that from one Soul
of the Universe, are all those Souls, which in all the world are tossed up and
down, as it were, and severally divided? Of these Souls there are many changes,
some into a more fortunate estate, and some quite contrary; for they which are
of creeping things, are changed into those of watery things and those of things
living in the water, to those of things living upon the Land; and Airy ones are
changed into men, and human Souls, that lay hold of immortality, are changed into
24. And so they go on into the Sphere or Region of the fixed Gods, for there are
two choirs or companies of Gods, one of them that wander, and another of them that
are fixed. And this is the most perfect glory of the Soul.
25. But the Soul entering into the Body of a Man, if it continue evil, shall neither
taste of immortality, nor is partaker of the good.
26. But being drawn back the same way, it returneth into creeping things. And
this is the condemnation of an evil Soul.
27. And the wickedness of a Soul is ignorance; for the Soul that knows nothing
of the things that are, neither the Nature of them, nor that which is good, but
is blinded, rusheth and dasheth against the bodily Passions, and unhappy as it
is, not knowing itself, it serveth strange Bodies, and evil ones, carrying the
Body as a burden, and not ruling, but ruled. And this is the mischief of the Soul.
28. On the contrary, the virtue of the Soul is Knowledge; for he that knows is
both good and religious, and already Divine.
29. Tat. But who is such a one, O Father!
30. Trismegistus. He that neither speaks, nor hears many things; for he, O Son,
that heareth two speeches or hearings, fighteth in the shadow.
31. For God, and the Father, and Good, is neither spoken nor heard.
32. This being so in all things that are, are the Senses, because they cannot
be without them.
33. But Knowledge differs much from Sense; for Sense is of things that surmount
it, but Knowledge is the end of Sense.
34. Knowledge is the gift of God ; for all Knowledge is unbodily but useth the
Mind as an Instrument, as the Mind useth the Body.
35. Therefore both intelligible and material things go both of them into bodies;
for, of contraposition, That is Setting One against Another, and Contrariety, all
Things must Consist. And it is impossible it should be otherwise,
36. Tat. who therefore is this material God?
37. Trismegistus. The fair and beautiful world, and yet it is not good; for it
is material and easily passible, nay, it is the first of all passible things; and
the second of the things that are, and needy or wanting somewhat else. And it was
once made and is always, and is ever in generation, and made, and continually makes,
or generates things that have quantity and quality.
38. For it is moveable, and every material motion is generation; but the intellectual
stability moves the material motion after this manner.
39. Because the World Is a Sphere, that is a Head, and above the head there is
nothing material, as beneath the feet there is nothing intellectual.
40. The whole universe is material; The Mind is the head, and it is moved spherically,
that is like a head.
41. Whatsoever therefore is joined or united to the Membrane or Film of this head,
wherein the Soul is, is immortal, and as in the Soul of a made Body, hath its Soul
full of the Body; but those that are further from that Membrane, have the Body
full of Soul.
42. The whole is a living wight [a creature], and therefore consisteth of material and intellectual.
43. And the World is the first, and Man the second living wight [a creature] after the World;
but the first of things that are mortal and therefore hath whatsoever benefit of
the Soul all the others have: And yet for all this, he is not only not good, but
flatly evil, as being mortal.
44. For the World is not good as it is moveable; nor evil as it is immortal.
45. But man is evil, both as he is moveable, and as he is mortal.
46. But the Soul of Man is carried in this manner, The Mind is in Reason, Reason
in the Soul, the Soul in the Spirit, the Spirit in the Body.
47. The Spirit being diffused and going through the veins, and arteries, and blood,
both moveth the living Creature, and after a certain manner beareth it.
48. Wherefore some also have thought the Soul to be blood, being deceived in Nature,
not knowing that first the Spirit must return into the Soul, and then the blood
is congealed, the veins and arteries emptied, and then the living thing dieth:
And this is the death of the Body.
49. All things depend of one beginning, and the beginning depends of that which
is one and alone.
50. And the beginning is moved, that it may again be a beginning; but that which
is one, standeth and abideth, and is not moved,
51. There are therefore these three, God the Father, and the Good, the World and
Man: God hath the World, and the World hath Man; and the World is the Son of God,
and Man as it were the Offspring of the World.
52. For God is not ignorant of R/Ian, but knows him perfectly, and will be known
by him. This only is healthful to man; the Knowledge of God: this is the return
of Olympus; by this only the Soul is made good, and not sometimes good, and sometimes
evil, but of necessity Good.
53. Tat. What meanest thou, O Father.
54. Trismegistus. Consider, O Son, the Soul of a Child, when as yet it hath received
no dissolution of its Body, which is not yet grown, but is very small; how then
if it look upon itself, it sees itself beautiful, as not having been yet spotted
with the Passions of the Body, but as it were depending yet upon the Soul of the
55. But when the Body is grown and distracteth, the Soul it engenders Forgetfulness,
and partakes no more of the Fair and the Good, and Forgetfulness is Evilness.
56. The like also happeneth to them that go out of the Body, for when the Soul
runs back into itself the Spirit is contracted into the blood and the Soul into
the Spirit; but the Mind being made pure, and free from these clothings; and being
Divine by Nature, taking a fiery Body rangeth abroad in every place, leaving the
Soul to judgment, and to the punishment it hath deserved.
57. Tat. Why dost thou say so, O Father, that the Mind is separated from the Soul,
and the Soul from the Spirit? When even now thou sayest the Soul was the Clothing
or Apparel of the Mind, and the Body of the Soul.
58. Trismegistus. O Son, he that hears must co-understand and conspire in thought
with him that speaks; yea, he must have his hearing swifter and sharper than the
voice of the speaker.
59. The disposition of these Clothings or Covers, is done in an Earthly Body;
for it is impossible, that the mind should establish or rest itself, naked, and
of itself; in an Earthly Body; neither is the Earthly Body able to bear such immortality;
and therefore that it might suffer so great virtue the Mind compacted as it were,
and took to itself the passible Body of the Soul, as a Covering or Clothing. And
the Soul being also in some sort Divine, useth the Spirit as her Minister and Servant,
and the Spirit governeth the living thing.
60. When therefore the Mind is separated, and departeth from the earthly Body,
presently it puts on its Fiery Coat, which it could not do having to dwell in an
61. For the Earth cannot suffer fire, for it is all burned of a small spark; therefore
is the water poured round about the Earth, as a Wall or defence, to withstand the
flame of fire.
62. But the Mind being the most sharp or swift of all the Divine Cogitations,
and more swift than all the Elements, hath the fire for its Body.
63. For the Mind which is the Workman of all useth the fire as his instrument
in his Workmanship; and he that is the Workman of all, used it to the making of
all things, as it is used by man, to the making of Earthly things only; for the
Mind that is upon Earth, void, or naked of fire, cannot do the business of men.
nor that which is otherwise the affairs of God.
64. But the Soul of Man, and yet not everyone, but that which is pious and religious,
is Angelical and Divine. And such a Soul, after it is departed from the Body, having
striven the strife of Piety, becomes either Mind or God.
65. And the strife of Piety is to know God, and to injure no Man, and this way
it becomes Mind.
66. But an impious Soul abideth in its own essence, punished of itself, and seeking
an earthly and human Body to enter into.
67. For no other Body is capable of a Human Soul, neither is it lawful for a Man's
Soul to fall into the Body of an unreasonable living thing: For it is the Law or
Decree of God, to preserve a Human Soul from so great a contumely and reproach.
68. Tat. How then is the Soul of Man punished, O Father; and what is its greatest
69. Hermes. Impiety, O my Son; for what Fire hath so great a flame as it? Or what
biting Beast doth so tear the Body as it doth the Soul.
70. Or dost thou not see how many evils the wicked Soul suffereth, roaring and
crying out, I am Burned, I am Consumed, I know not what to Say, or Do, I am Devoured,
Unhappy Wretch, of the Evils that compass and lay-hold upon me; Miserable that
I am, I neither See nor Hear anything.
71. These are the voices of a punished and tormented Soul, and not as many; and
thou, O Son, thinkest that the Soul going out of the Body grows brutish or enters
into a Beast: which is a very great Error, for the Soul punished after this manner.
72. For the Mind, when it is ordered or appointed to get a fiery Body for the
services of God, coming down into the wicked Soul, torments it with the whips of
Sins, wherewith the wicked Soul being scourged, turns itself to Murders, and Contumelies,
and Blasphemies, and divers Violences, and other things by which men are injured
73. But into a pious Soul, the Mind entering, leads it into the Light of Knowledge.
74. And such a Soul is never satisfied with singing praise to God, and speaking
well of all men; and both in words and deeds, always doing good in imitation of
75. Therefore, O Son, we must give thanks, and pray, that we may obtain a good
76. The Soul therefore may be altered or changed into the better, but into the
worse it is impossible.
77. But there is a communion of Souls, and those of Gods, communicate with those
of men; and those of men, with those of Beasts.
78. And the better always take of the worse, Gods of Men, Men of brute Beasts,
but God of all: For he is the best of all, and all things are less than he.
79. Therefore is the World subject unto God, Man unto the World and unreasonable
things to Man.
80. But God is above all, and about all; and the beams of God are operations;
and the beams of the World are Natures; and the beams of Man are Arts and Sciences.
81. And Operations do act by the World, and upon man by the natural beams of the
World, but Natures work by the Elements, and man by Arts and Sciences.
82. And this is the Government of the whole, depending upon the Nature of the
One, and piercing or coming down by the One Mind, than which nothing is more Divine,
and more efficacious or operative; and nothing more uniting, or nothing is more
One. The Communion of Gods to Men, and of Men to God.
83. This is the Bonus Genius, or good Demon, blessed Soul that is fullest of it!
and unhappy Soul that is empty of it!
84. Tat. And wherefore Father?
85. Trismegistus. Know Son, that every Soul hath the Good Mind; for of that it
is we now speak, and not of that Minister of which we said before, That he was
sent from the Judgment.
86. For the Soul without the Mind, can neither do, nor say any thing; for many
times the Mind flies away from the Soul, and in that hour the Soul neither seeth
nor heareth, but is like an unreasonable thing; so great is the power of the Mind.
87. But neither brooketh it an idle or lazy Soul, but leaves such a one fastened
to the Body, and by it
88. And such a Soul, O Son, hath no mind, wherefore neither must such a one be
called a Man.
89. For man is a Divine living thing and is not to be compared to any brute Beast
that lives upon Earth, but to them that are above in Heaven, that are called Gods.
90. Rather, if we shall be bold to speak the truth, he that is a man indeed, is
above them, or at least they are equal in power, one to the other, For none of
the things in Heaven will come down upon Earth, and leave the limits of Heaven,
but a man ascends up into Heaven, and measures it.
91. And he knoweth what things are on high, and what below, and learneth all other
92. And that which is the greatest of all, he leaveth not the Earth, and yet is
above: So great is the greatness of his Nature.
93. Wherefore we must be bold to say, That an Earthly Man is a Mortal God, and
That the Heavenly God is an Immortal Man.
94. Wherefore, by these two are all things governed, the World and Man; but they
and all things else, of that which is One.
The Fifth Book
called "That God is not Manifest and yet most Manifest"
1. This Discourse I
will also make to thee, O Tat, that thou mayest not be ignorant
of the more excellent Name of God.
2. But do thou contemplate in thy Mind, how that which to many seems hidden and
unmanifest, may be most manifest unto thee.
3. For it were not all, if it were apparent, for whatsoever is apparent, is generated
or made; for it was made manifest, but that which is not manifest is ever.
4. For it needeth not to be manifested, for it is always.
5. And he maketh all other things manifest, being unmanifest as being always,
and making other things manifest, he is not made manifest.
9. Himself is not made, yet in fantasy he fantasieth all things, or in appearance
he maketh them appear, for appearance is only of those things that are generated
or made, for appearance is nothing but generation.
7. But he is that One, that is not made nor generated, is also unapparent and
8. But making all things appear, he appeareth in all and by all; but especially
he is manifested, to or in those things wherein himself listeth.
9. Thou therefore, O Tat, my Son, pray first to the Lord and Father, and to the
Alone and to the One from whom is one to be merciful to thee, that thou mayest
knowest and understand so great a God; and that he would shine one of his beams
upon thee In thy understanding.
10. For only the Understanding sees that which is not manifest or apparent, as
being itself not manifest or apparent; and if thou canst, O Tat, it will appear
to the eyes of thy Mind.
11. For the Lord, void of envy, appeareth through the whole world. Thou mayest
see the intelligence, and take it in thy hands, and contemplate the Image of God.
12. But if that which is in thee, be not known or apparent unto thee, how shall
he in thee be seen, and appear unto thee by the eyes?
13. But if thou wilt see him, consider and understand the Sun, consider the course
of the Moon, consider the order of the Stars.
14. Who is he that keepeth order? for all order is circumscribed or terminated
in number and place.
15. The Sun is the greatest of the Gods in heaven, to whom all the heavenly Gods
give place, as to a King and potentate; and yet he being such a one, greater than
the Earth or the Sea, is content to suffer infinite lesser stars to walk and move
above himself; whom doth he fear the while, O Son?
16. Every one of these Stars that are in Heaven, do not make the like, or an equal
course; who is it that hath prescribed unto every one, the manner and the greatness
of their course!
17. This Bear that turns round about its own self; and carries round the whole
World with her, who possessed and made such an Instrument.
18. Who hath set the Bounds to the Sea? who hath established the Earth? for there
is some body, O Tat, that is the Maker and Lord of these things.
19. For it is impossible, O Son, that either place, or number, or measure, should
be observed without a Maker.
20. For no order can be made by disorder or disproportion.
21. I would it were possible for thee, O my Son, to have wings, and to fly into
the Air, and being taken up in the midst, between Heaven and Earth, to see the
stability of the Earth, the fluidness of the Sea, the courses of the Rivers, the
largeness of the Air, the sharpness or swiftness of the Fire, the motion of the
Stars; and the speediness of the Heaven, by which it goeth round about all these.
22. O Son, what a happy sight it were, at one instant, to see all these, that
which is unmovable moved, and that which is hidden appear and be manifest.
23. And if thou wilt see and behold this Workman, even by mortal things that are
upon Earth, and in the deep. Consider, O Son, how Man is made and framed in the
Womb; and examine diligently the skill and cunning of the Workman, and learn who
it was that wrought and fashioned the beautiful and Divine shape of Man; who circumscribed
and marked out his eyes? who bored his nostrils and ears? who opened his mouth?
who stretched out and tied together his sinews! who channelled the veins? who hardened
and made strong the bones! who clothed the flesh with skin? who divided the fingers
and the joints! who flatted and made broad the soles of the feet! who digged the
pores! who stretched out the spleen, who made the Heart like a Pyramis? who made
the Liver broad! who made the Lights spungy, and full of holes! who made the belly
large and capacious? who set to outward view the more honourable parts and hid
the filthy ones.
24. See how many Arts in one Matter, and how many Works in one Superscription,
and all exceedingly beautiful, and all done in measure, and yet all differing.
25. Who hath made all these things! what Mother! what Father! save only God that
is not manifest! that made all things by his own Will.
26;: And no man says that a statue or an image is made without a Carver or a Painter,
and was this Workmanship made without a Workman? O great Blindness, O great Impiety,
O great Ignorance.
27. Never, O Son Tat, canst thou deprive the Workmanship of the Workman, rather
it is the best Name of all the Names of God, to call him the Father of all, for
so he is alone; and this is his Work to be the Father.
28. And if thou wilt force me to say anything more boldly, it is his Essence to
be pregnant, or great with all things, and to make them.
29. And as without a Maker, it is impossible that anything should be made, so
it is that he should not always be, and always be making all things in Heaven,
in the Air, in the Earth, in the Deep, in the whole World, and in every part of
the whole that is, or that is not.
30. For there is nothing in the whole World, that is not himself both the things
that are and the things that are not.
31. For the things that are, he hath made manifest; and the things that are not,
he hath hid in himself.
32. This is God that is better than any name; this is he that is secret; this
is he that is most manifest; this is he that is to be seen by the Mind; this is
he that is visible to the eye; this is he that hath no body; and this is he that
hath many bodies, rather there is nothing of any body, which is not He.
33. For he alone is all things.
34. And for this cause He hath all Names, because He is the One Father; and therefore
He hath no Name, because He is the Father of all.
35. Who therefore can bless thee, or give thanks for thee, or to thee.
36. Which way shall I look, when I praise thee? upward? downward? outward? inward?
37. For about thee there is no manner, nor place, nor anything else of all things
38. But all things are in thee; all things from thee, thou givest all things,
and takest nothing; for thou hast all things and there is nothing that thou hast
39. When shall I praise thee, O Father; for it is neither possible to comprehend
thy hour, nor thy time?
40. For what shall I praise thee? for what thou hast made, or for what thou hast
not made! for those things thou hast manifested, or for those things thou hast
41. Wherefore shall I praise thee as being of myself, or having anything of mine
own, or rather being another's?
42. For thou art what I am, thou art what I do, thou art what I say.
43. Thou art all things, and there is nothing else thou art not.
44. Thou art Thou, all that is made, and all that is not made.
45. The Mind that understandeth.
46. The Father that Maketh and Frameth.
47. The Good that Worketh.
48. The Good that doth all Things.
49. Of the Matter, the most subtle and slender part is Air, of the Air the Soul,
of the Soul the Mind, of the Mind God.
The Sixth Book.
called "That in God alone is Good"
1. Good, O Asclepius,
is in nothing but in God alone; or rather God himself is the
2. And if it be so, then must he be an Essence or Substance void of all motion
and generation; but nothing is void or empty of him.
3. And this Essence hath about or in himself a Stable, and firm Operation, wanting
nothing, most full, and giving abundantly.
4. One thing is the Beginning of all things, for it giveth all things; and when
I name the Good, I mean that which is altogether and always Good.
5. This is present to none, but God alone; for he wanteth nothing, that he should
desire to have it, nor can anything be taken from him; the loss whereof may grieve
him; for sorrow is a part of evilness.
6. Nothing is stronger than he, that he should be opposed by it; nor nothing equal
to him, that he should be in love with it; nothing unheard of, to be angry, with
nothing wiser to be envious at.
7. And none of these being in his Essence, what remains, but only the Good?
8. For as in this, being such an Essence, there is none of the evils; so in none
of the other things shall the Good be found.
9. For in all other things, are all those other things. as well in the small as
the great ; and as well in the particulars as in this living Creature the greater
and mightiest of all.
10. For all things that are made or generated are full of Passion, Generation
itself being a Passion ; and where Passion is there is not the Good; where the
Good is, there is no Passion; where it is day, it is not night, and where it is
night, it is not day.
11. Wherefore it is impossible, that in Generation should be the Good, but only
in that which is not generated or made.
12. Yet as the Participation of all things is in the Matter bound, so also of
that which is Good. After this manner is the World good, as it maketh all things,
and in the part of making or doing it is Good, but in all other things not good.
13. For it is passible, and movable, and the Maker of passible things.
14. In Man also the Good is ordered (or Taketh Denomination) in comparison of
that which is evil; for that which is not very evil, is here good; and that which
is here called good, is the least particle, or proportion of evil.
15. It is impossible therefore, that the Good should be here pure from Evil; for
here the Good groweth Evil, and growing Evil, it doth not still abide Good; and
not abiding Good it becomes Evil.
16. Therefore in God alone is the Good, or rather God is the Good.
17. Therefore, O Asclepius, there is nothing in men (or among men) but the name
of Good, the thing itself is not, for it is impossible; for a material Body receiveth
(or comprehendeth), is not as being on every side encompassed and coarcted with
evilness, and labours, and griefs, and desires, and wrath, and deceits, and foolish
18. And in that which is the worst of all, Asclepius, every one of the forenamed
things, is here believed to be the greatest good, especially that supreme mischief
the pleasures of the Belly, and the ring-leader of all evils; Error is here the
absence of the Good.
19. And I give thanks unto God, that concerning the knowledge of Good, put this
assurance in my mind, that it is impossible it should be in the World.
20. For the World is the fulness of evilness ; but God is the fulness of Good,
or Good of God.
21. For the eminencies of all appearing Beauty, are in the Essence more pure,
more sincere, and peradventure they are also the Essence of it.
22. For we must be bold to say, Asclepius, that the Essence of God, if he have
an Essence, is that which is fair or beautiful; but no good is comprehended in
23. For all things that are subject to the eye, are Idols, and as it were shadows;
but those things that are not subject to the eye, are ever, especially the Essence
of the Fair and the Good.
24. And as the eye cannot see God, so neither the Fair, and the Good.
25. For these are the parts of God that partake the Nature of the whole, proper,
and familiar unto him alone, inseparable, most lovely, whereof either God is enamoured,
or they are enamoured of God.
26. If thou canst understand God, thou shalt understand the Fair, and the Good
which is most shining, and enlightening, and most enlightened by God.
27. For that Beauty is above comparison, and that Good is inimitable, as God himself.
28. As therefore thou understandest God, so understand the Fair and the Good,
for these are incommunicable to any other living Creatures because they are inseparable
29. If thou seek concerning God, thou seekest or askest also of the Fair, for
there is one way that leads to the same thing, that is Piety with Knowledge.
30. Wherefore, they that are ignorant, and go not in the way of Piety, dare call
Man Fair and Good, never seeing so much as in a dream, what Good is; but being
enfolded and wrapped upon all evil, and believing that the evil is the Good, they
by that means, both use it unsatiably, and are afraid to be deprived of it; and
therefore they strive by all possible means, that they may not only have it, but
also increase it.
31. Such, O Asclepius, are the Good and Fair things of men, which we can neither
love nor hate, for this is the hardest thing of all, that we have need of them,
and cannot live without them.
The Seventh Book
His Secret Sermon in the Mount
Of Regeneration, and the Profession of Silence.
To His Son Tat.
1. Tat. In the general
Speeches, O Father, discoursing of the Divinity, thou speakest
enigmatically, and didst not clearly reveal thyself, saying,
That no man can be saved before Regeneration.
2. And when I did humbly entreat thee, at the going up the Mountain after thou
hadst discoursed unto me, having a great desire, to learn this Argument of Regeneration
; because among all the rest, I am ignorant only of this thou toldst me thou wouldst
impart it unto me, when I would estrange myself from the World: whereupon I made
myself ready, and have vindicated the understanding that is in me, from the deceit
of the World.
3. Now then fulfill my defects, and as thou saidst instruct me of Regeneration,
either by word of mouth or secretly; for I know not, O Trismegistus, of what Substance,
or what Womb or what Seed a Man is thus born.
4. Hermes. O Son, this Wisdom is to be understood in silence, and the Seed is
the true Good.
5. Tat. Who soweth it, O Father, for I am utterly ignorant and doubtful.
6. Hermes. The Will of God, O Son.
7. And what manner of Man is he that is thus born? for in this point, I am clean
deprived of the Essence that understandeth in me.
8. Hermes. The Son of God will be another, God made the universe, that in everything
consisteth of all powers.
9. Tat. Thou tellest me a Riddle, Father, and dost not speak as a Father to his
10. Hermes. Son, things of this kind are not taught, but are by God, when he pleaseth,
brought to remembrance.
11. Tat. Thou speakest of things strained, or far fetched, and impossible, Father;
and therefore I will directly contradict them.
12. Hermes. Wilt thou prove a stranger, Son, to thy Father's kind.
13. Do not envy me, Father, or pardon me, I am thy Natural Son; discourse unto
me the manner of Regeneration.
14. Hermes. What shall I say, O my Son? I have nothing to say more than this,
that I see in myself an unfeigned sight or spectacle, made by the mercy of God,
and I am gone out of myself into an immortal body, and am not now what I was before,
but was begotten in Mind.
15. This thing is not taught, nor is it to be seen in this formed Element; for
which the first compound form was neglected by me; and that I am now separated
from it ; for I have both the touch and the measure of it, yet am I now estranged
16. Thou seest, O Son, with thine eyes; but though thou look never so steadfastly
upon me, with the Body, and bodily sight, thou canst not see, nor understand what
I am now.
17. Tat. Thou hast driven me, O Father, into no small fury and distraction of
mind, for I do not now see my self.
18. Hermes. I would, O Son, that thou also wert gone out of thyself, like them
that dream in their sleep.
19. Tat. Then tell me this, who is the Author and Maker of Regeneration ?
20. Hermes. The child of God, one Man by the Will of God.
21. Tat. Now, O Father, thou hast put me to silence for ever and all my former
thoughts have quite left and forsaken me, for I see the greatness, and shape of
all things here below, and nothing but falsehood in them all.
22. And since this mortal Form is daily changed, and turned by this time into
increase, and diminution, as being falsehood; what therefore is true, O Trismegistus?
23. Trismegistus. That, O Son, which is not troubled, nor bounded; not coloured,
not figured, not changed; that which is naked, bright, comprehensible only of itself,
24. Tat. Now I am mad, indeed, Father; for when I thought me to have been made
a wise man by thee, with these thoughts thou hast quite dulled all my senses.
25. Hermes. Yet is it so, as I say, O Son, He that Looketh Only upon that which
is carried upward as Fire, that which is carried downward as Earth, that which
is moist as Water, and that which bloweth or is subject to blast as Air; how can
he sensibly understand that which is neither hard, nor moist, nor tangible, nor
perspicuous, seeing it is only understood in power and operation; but I beseech
and pray to the Mind which alone can understand the Generation, which is in God.
26. Tat. Then am I, O Father, utterly unable to do it.
27. Hermes. God forbid, Son, rather draw or pull him unto thee (or Study to Know
Him) and he will come, be but willing, and it shall be done; quiet (or make idle)
the Senses of the Body, purging thyself from unreasonable brutish torments of matter.
28. Tat. Have I any revengers or tormentors in myself, Father ?
29. Hermes. Yes, and those, not a few, but many and fearful ones.
30. Tat. I do not know them, Father.
31. Hermes. One Torment, Son, is Ignorance, a second, Sorrow, a third, Intemperance,
a fourth Concupiscence, a fifth, Injustice, a sixth, Covetousness, a seventh, Deceit,
an eighth, Envy, a ninth, Fraud or Guile, a tenth, Wrath, an eleventh, Rashness,
a twelfth, Maliciousness.
32. They are in number twelve, and under these many more; some which through the
prison of the body, do force the inwardly placed Man to suffer sensibly
33. And they do not suddenly, or easily depart from him, that hath obtained mercy
of God; and herein consists, both the manner and the reason of Regeneration.
34. For the rest, O Son, hold thy peace, and praise God in silence, and by that
means, the mercy of God will not cease, or be wanting unto us.
35. Therefore rejoice, my Son, from henceforward, being purged by the powers of
God, to the Knowledge of the Truth.
36. For the revelation of God is come to us, and when that came all Ignorance
was cast out.
37. The knowledge of Joy is come unto us, and when that comes, Sorrow shall fly
away to them that are capable of it.
38. I call unto Joy, the power of Temperance, a power whose Virtue is most sweet;
Let us take her unto ourselves, O Son, most willingly, for how at her coming hath
she put away Intemperance.
39. Now I call the fourth, Continence, the power which is over Concupiscence.
This, O Son, is the stable and firm foundation of Justice.
40. For see, how without labour, she hath chased away injustice; and we are justified,
O Son, when Injustice is away.
41. The sixth Virtue which comes into us, I call Communion, which is against Covetousness.
42. And when that (Covetousness) is gone, I call Truth ; and when she cometh,
Error and Deceit vanisheth.
43. See, O Son, how the Good is fulfilled by the access of Truth; for by this
mean, Envy is gone from us; for Truth is accompanied with the Good, together also
with Life and Light.
44. And there came no more any torment of Darkness, but being overcome, they are
all fled away suddenly, and tumultuarily.
45. Thou hast understood, O Son, the manner of Regeneration; for upon the coming
of these Ten, the Intellectual Generation is perfected, and then it driveth away
the twelve; and we have seen it in the Generation itself.
46. Whosoever therefore hath of Mercy obtained this Generation which is according
to God, he leaving all bodily sense, knoweth himself to consist of divine things,
and rejoiceth, being made by God stable and immutable.
47. Tat. O Father, I conceive and understand, not by the sight of mine eyes, but
by the Intellectual Operation, which is by the Powers. I am in Heaven, in the Earth,
in the Water, in the Air, I am in living Creatures, in the Plants, in the Womb,
48. Yet tell me further, this one thing, How are the torments of Darkness, being
in number Twelve, driven away and expelled by the Ten powers. What is the manner
of it, Trismegistus?
49. Hermes. This Tabernacle, O Son, consists of the Zodiacal Circle; and this
consisting of twelve numbers, the Idea of one; but all formed Nature admit of divers
Conjugations to the deceiving of Man.
50. And though they be different in themselves, yet are they united in practice
(as for example, Rashness is inseparable from Anger) and they are also indeterminate:
Therefore with good Reason, do they make their departure, being driven away by
the Ten powers; that is to say, By the dead.
51. For the number of Ten, O Son, is the Begetter of Souls. And there Life and
Light are united, where the number of Unity is born of the Spirit.
52. Therefore according to Reason, Unity bath the number of Ten, and the number
of Ten hath Unity.
53. Tat. O Father, I now see the Universe, and myself in the Mind.
54. Hermes. This is Regeneration, O Son, that we should not any longer fix our
imagination upon this Body, subject to the three dimensions, according to this
Speech which we have now commented. That we may not at all calumniate the Universe.
55. Tat. Tell me, O Father, This Body that consists of Powers shall it ever admit
of any Dissolution?
56. Hermes. Good words, Son, and speak not things impossible; for so thou shalt
sin, and the eye of thy mind grow wicked.
57. The sensible Body of Nature is far from the Essential Generation; for that
is subject to Dissolution, but this not; and that is mortal, but this immortal.
Dost thou not know that thou art born a God and the Son of the One, as I am.
58. Tat. How fain would I, O Father, hear that praise given by a Hymn, which thou
saidst, thou heardst from the Powers when I was in the Octonary.
59. Hermes. As Pymander said by way of Oracle to the Octonary, Thou dost well,
O Son, to desire the Solution of the Tabernacle, for thou art purified.
60. Pymander, the Mind of absolute Power and Authority, hath delivered no more
unto me, than those that are written; knowing that of myself, I can understand
all things, and hear, and see what I will. And he commanded me to do those things
that are good; and therefore all the Powers that are in me sing.
61. Tat. I would hear thee, O Father, and understand these things.
62. Hermes. Be quiet, O Son, and now hearken to that harmonious blessing and thanksgiving:
the hymn of Regeneration, which I did not determine to have spoken of so plainly,
but to thyself in the end of all.
63. Wherefore this is not taught, but hid in silence.
64. So then, O Son, do thou standing in the open Air, worship looking to the North
Wind, about the going down of the Sun, and to the South, when the Sun ariseth;
And now keep silence, Son.
The Holy Speech.
65. Let all the
Nature of the world entertain the hearing of this Hymn.
66. Be opened, O Earth, and let all the Treasure of the Rain
67. You Trees tremble not, for I will sing and praise the Lord
of the Creation, and the All and the One.
68. Be opened you Heavens, ye Winds stand still, and let the
Immortal Circle of God receive these words.
69. For I will sing, and praise him that created all things,
that fixed the Earth, and hung up the Heavens, and commanded
the sweet Water to come out of the Ocean; into all the World
inhabited, and not inhabited, to the use and nourishment of
all things, or men.
70. That commanded the fire to shine for very action, both
to Gods and Men.
71. Let us altogether give him blessing, which rideth upon
the Heavens, the Creator of all Nature.
72. This is he that is the Eye of the Mind, and Will accept
the praise of my Powers.
73. O all ye Powers that are in me, praise the One and the
74. Sing together with my Will, all you Powers that are in
75. O Holy Knowledge, being enlightened by thee, I magnify
the intelligible Light, and rejoice in the Joy of the Mind.
76. All my Powers sing praise with me, and thou my Continence,
sing praise my Righteousness by me; praise that which is righteous.
77. O Communion which is in me, praise the All.
78. By me the Truth sings praise to the Truth, the Good praiseth
79. O Life, O Light from us, unto you comes this praise and
80. I give thanks unto thee, O Father, the operation or act
of my Powers.
81. I give thanks unto thee, O God, the power of my operations.
82. By me thy Word sings praise unto thee, receive by me this
reasonable (or verbal) sacrifice in words.
83. The powers that are in me cry these things, they praise
the All, they fulfil thy Will; thy Will and Counsel is from
thee unto thee.
84. O All, receive a reasonable Sacrifice from all things.
85. O Life, save all that is in us: O Light enlighten, O God
the Spirit; for the Mind guideth or feedeth the Word ; O Spirit
86. Thou art God, thy Man crieth these things unto thee through
by the Fire, by the Air, by the Earth, by the Water, by the
Spirit, by thy Creatures.
87. From eternity I have found (means to) bless and praise
thee, and I have what I seek, for I rest in thy Will.
88. Tat. O Father,
I see thou hast sung this Song of praise and blessing with
thy whole Will; and therefore have I put and placed it in
89. Hermes. Say
in thy intelligible World, O Son.
90. Tat. I do mean
in my Intelligible World, for by thy Hymn and Song of Praise
my mind is enlightened: and gladly would I send from my Understanding
a Thanksgiving unto God.
91. Hermes. Not
rashly, O Son.
92. Tat. In my mind,
93. Hermes. Those
things that I see and contemplate, I infuse into thee; and
therefore say, thou son Tat, the Author of thy succeeding
Generations, I send unto God these reasonable Sacrifices.
94. O God, Thou
art the Father, Thou art the Lord, Thou art the Mind, accept
these reasonable Sacrifices which Thou requirest of Me.
95. For all things
are done as the Mind willeth.
96. Thou, O Son,
send this acceptable Sacrifice to God, the Father of all
things; but propound it also, O Son, by Word.
97. Tat. I thank
thee, Father, thou hast advised and instructed me thus to
give praise and thanks.
98. Hermes. I am
glad, O Son, to see the Truth bring forth the Fruits of Good
things, and such immortal branches.
99. And learn this
of me: Above all other virtues entertain Silence, and impart
unto no man, O Son, the tradition of Regeneration, lest we
be reputed Calumniators; For we both have now sufficiently
meditated, I in speaking, thou in hearing. And now thou dost
intellectually know thyself and our Father.
The Eighth Book.
That The Greatest Evil In Man, Is
The Not Knowing God.
1. Whither are you
carried, O Men, drunken with drinking up the strong Wine of Ignorance?
which seeing you cannot bear: Why do you not vomit
it up again?
2. Stand, and be sober, and look up again with the eyes of your heart; and if
you cannot all do so, yet do as many as you can.
3. For the malice of Ignorance surroundeth all the Earth, and corrupteth the Soul,
shut up in the Body not suffering it to arrive at the Havens of Salvation.
4. Suffer not yourselves to be carried with the great stream, but stem the tide,
you that can lay hold of the Haven of Safety, and make your full course towards
5. Seek one that may lead you by the hand, and conduct you to the door of Truth
and Knowledge, where the clear Light is that is pure from Darkness, where there
is not one drunken, but all are sober and in their heart look up to him, whose
pleasure it is to be seen.
6. For he cannot be heard with ears, nor seen with eyes, nor expressed in words;
but only in mind and heart.
7. But first thou must tear to pieces and break through the garment thou wearest;
the web of Ignorance, the foundation of all Mischief; the bond of Corruption ;
the dark Coverture; the living Death ; the sensible Carcass, the Sepulchre, carried
about with us; the domestical Thief which in what he loves us, hates us, envies
8. Such is the hurtful Apparel, wherewith thou art clothed, which draws and pulls
thee downward by its own self; lest looking up, and seeing the beauty of Truth,
and the Good that is reposed therein, thou shouldst hate the wickedness of this
garment, and understand the traps and ambushes, which it hath laid for thee.
9. Therefore doth it labour to make good those things that seem and are by the
Senses, judged and determined; and the things that are truly, it hides, and envelopeth
in such matter, filling what it presents unto thee, with hateful pleasure, that
thou canst neither hear what thou shouldst hear, nor see what thou shouldst
The Ninth Book.
A Universal Sermon to Asclepius.
1. Hermes. All that
is moved, O Asclepius, is it not moved in some thing, and by
2. Asclepius. Yes, indeed.
3. Hermes. Must not that, in which a thing is moved, of necessity be greater than
the thing that is moved?
4. Of necessity.
5. And that which moveth, is it not stronger than that which is moved?
6. Asclepius. It is stronger.
7. Hermes. That in which a thing is moved, must it not needs have a Nature, contrary
to that of the thing that is moved?
8. Asclepius. It must needs.
9. Hermes. Is not this great World a Body, than which there is no greater?
10. Asclepius. Yes, confessedly.
11. Hermes. And is it not solid, as filled with many great Bodies, and indeed,
with all the Bodies that are
12. Asclepius. It is so.
13. Hermes. And is not the World a Body, and a Body that is moved.
14. Asclepius. It is.
15. Hermes. Then what kind of a place must it be, wherein it is moved, and of
what Nature? Must it not be much bigger, that it may receive the continuity of
Motion? and lest that which is moved should for want of room, be stayed, and hindered
in the Motion ?
16. Asclepius. It must needs be an immense thing, Trismegistus, but of what Nature.
17. Hermes. Of a contrary Nature, O Asclepius; but is not the Nature of things
unbodily, contrary to a Body.
18. Asclepius. Confessedly.
19. Hermes. Therefore the place is unbodily; but that which is unbodily, is either
some Divine thing or God himself. And by some thing Divine, I do not mean that
which was made or begotten.
20. If therefore it be Divine, it is an Essence or Substance but if it be God,
it is above Essence; but he is otherwise intelligible.
21. For the first, God is intelligible, not to himself, but to us, for that which
is intelligible, is subject to that which understandeth by Sense.
22. Therefore God is not intelligible to himself, for not being any other thing
from that which is understood, he cannot be understood by himself.
23. But he is another thing from us, and therefore he is understood by us.
24. If therefore Place be intelligible, it is not Place but God, but if God be
intelligible, he is intelligible not as Place, but as a capable Operation.
25. Now everything that is moved, is moved, not in or by that which is moved,
but in that which standeth or resteth, and that which moveth standeth or resteth,
for it is impossible it should be moved with it.
26. Asclepius. How then, O Trismegistus, are those things that are here moved
with the things that are moved? for thou sayest that the Spheres that wander are
moved by the Sphere that wanders not.
27. Hermes. That, O Asclepius, is not a moving together, but a counter motion,
for they are not moved after a like manner, but contrary one to the other; and
contrariety hath a standing resistance of motion for resistance is a staying of
28. Therefore the wandering Spheres being moved contrarily to that Sphere which
wandereth not, shall have one from another contrariety standing of itself.
29. For this Bear which thou seest neither rise nor go down, but turning always
about the same; dost thou think it moveth or standeth still?
30. Asclepius. I think it moves, Trismegistus.
31. What motion, O Asclepius?
32. Asclepius. A motion that is always carried about the same.
33. But the Circulation which is about the same, and the motion about the same,
are both hidden by Station; for that which is about the same forbids that which
is above the same, if it stand to that which is about the same.
34. And so the contrary motion stands fast always, being always established by
35. But I will give thee concerning this matter, an earthly example that may be
seen with eyes.
36. Look upon any of these living Creatures upon Earth, as Man for example, and
see him swimming; for as the Water is carried one way, the reluctation or resistance
of his feet and hands is made a station to the man, that he should not be carried
with the Water, nor sink underneath it.
37. Asclepius. Thou hast laid down a very clear example, Trismegistus.
38. Hermes. Therefore every motion is in station, and is moved of station.
39. The motion then of the World, and of every material living thing, happeneth
not to be done by those things that are without the World, but by those things
within it, a Soul, or Spirit, or some other unbodily thing, to those things which
are without it.
40. For an inanimated Body, doth not know, much less a Body if it be wholly inanimate.
41. Asclepius. What meaneth thou by this, O Trismegistus, Wood and Stones, and
all other inanimate things, are they not moving Bodies?
42. Hermes. By no means, O Asclepius, for that within the Body which moves the
inanimate thing, is not the Body, that moves both as well the Body of that which
beareth, as the Body of that which is born; for one dead or inanimate thing, cannot
move another; that which moveth, must needs be alive if it move.
43. Thou seest therefore how the Soul is surcharged, when it carrieth two Bodies.
44. And now it is manifest, that the things that are moved are moved in something,
and by something.
45. Asclepius. The things that are moved, O Trismegistus, must needs be moved
in that which is void or empty, Vacuum.
46. Be advised, O Asclepius, for of all the things that are, there is nothing
empty, only that which is not, is empty and a stranger to existence or being.
47. But that which is, could not be if it were not full of existence, for that
which is in being or existence can never be made empty.
48. Asclepius. Are there not therefore some things that are empty, O Trismegistus,
as an empty Barrel, an empty Hogshead, an empty Well, an empty Wine- Press, and
many such like?
49. Hermes. O the grossness of thy Error, O Asclepius, those things that are most
full and replenished, dost thou account them void and empty.
50. Asclepius. What may be thy meaning, Trismegistus?
51. Hermes. Is not the Air a Body?
52. Asclepius. It is a Body.
53. Hermes. Why then this Body doth it not pass through all things that are and
passing through them, fill them? and that Body doth it not consist of the mixture
of the four? therefore all those things which thou callest empty are full of Air.
54. Therefore those things that thou callest empty, thou oughtest to call them
hollow, not empty, for they exist and are full of Air and Spirit.
55. Asclepius. This reason is beyond all contradiction, O Trismegistus, but what
shall we call the Place in which the whole Universe is moved?
56. Hermes. Call it incorporeal, O Asclepius.
57. Asclepius. What is that incorporeal or unbodily?
58. Hermes. The Mind and Reason, the whole, wholly comprehending itself, free
from all Body, undeceivable, invisible, impassible from a Body itself, standing
fast in itself, capable of all things, and that favour of the things that are.
59. Whereof the Good, the Truth, the Archetypal Light, the Archetype of the Soul,
are as it were Beams.
60. Asclepius. Why then, what is God?
61. Hermes. That which is none of these things, yet is, and is the cause of Being
to all; and every one of the things that are; for he left nothing destitute of
62. And all things are made of things that are, and not of things that are not;
for the things that are not, have not the nature to be able to be made; and again,
the things that are, have not the nature never to be, or not to be at all.
63. Asclepius. What dost thou then say at length, that God is?
64. Hermes. God is not a Mind, but the Cause that the Mind is; not a Spirit, but
the Cause that the Spirit is; not Light, but the Cause that Light is.
65. Therefore we must worship God by these two Appellations which are proper to
him alone, and to no other
66. For neither of all the other, which are called Gods, nor of Men, nor Demons,
or Angels, can anyone be, though never so little, good, save only God alone.
67. And this He is, and nothing else; but all other things are separable from
the nature of Good.
68. For the Body and the Soul have no place that is capable of or can contain
69. For the greatness of
Good, is as great as the Existence of all things, that are both bodily and Unbodily,
both sensible and intelligible.
70. This is the Good, even God.
71. See therefore that thou do not at any time, call ought else Good, for so thou
shalt be impious, or any else God, but only the Good, for so thou shalt again be
72. In Word it is often said by all men the Good, but all men do not understand
what it is; but through Ignorance they call both the Gods, and some men Good, that
can never either be or be made so.
73. Therefore all the other Gods are honoured with the title and appellation of
God, but God is the Good, not according to Heaven, but Nature.
74. For there is one Nature of God, even the Good, and one kind of them both,
from whence are all kinds.
75. For he that is Good, is the giver of all things, and takes nothing and therefore
God gives all things and receives nothing.
76. The other title and appellation, is the Father, because of his making all
things; for it is the part of a Father to make.
77. Therefore it bath been the greatest and most Religious care in this life,
to them that are wise, and well-minded, to beget children.
78. As likewise it is the greatest misfortune and impiety for any to be separated
from men, without children; and this man is punished after death by the Demons,
and the punishment is this, To have the Soul of this childless man, adjudged and
condemned to a Body, that neither bath the nature of a man, nor of a woman, which
is an accursed thing under the Sun.
79. Therefore, O Asclepius, never congratulate any man that is childless; but
on the contrary, pity his misfortune, knowing what punishment abides, and is prepared
80. Let so many, and such manner of things, O Asclepius, be said as a certain
precognition of all things in Nature.
The Tenth Book.
The Mind to Hermes.
1. Forbear thy speech,
O Hermes Trismegistus, and call to mind those things that are
said: but I will not delay to speak what comes into my mind,
since many men have spoken many things, and those very different,
concerning the Universe and Good; but I have not learned the
2. Therefore, the Lord make it plain to me in this point ; for I will believe
thee only, for the manifestation of these things.
3. Then said the Mind how the case stands.
4. God and all.
5. God, Eternity, the World, Time, Generation,
6. God made Eternity, Eternity the World; the World Time, and Time Generation.
7. Of God, as it were the Substance, is the Good, the Fair, Blessedness, Wisdom.
8. Of Eternity, Identity, or Selfness.
9. Of the World, Order.
10. Of Time, Change.
11. Of Generation, Life, and Death.
12. But the Operation of God, is Mind and Soul.
13. Of Eternity, Permanence, or Long-lasting, and Immortality
14. Of the World, Restitution, and Decay or Destruction.
15. Of Time, Augmentation and Diminution.
16. And of Generation, Qualities.
17. Therefore Eternity is in God.
18. The World in Eternity.
19. Time in the World.
20. And Generation in Time.
21. And Eternity standeth about God.
22. The World is moved in Eternity.
23. Time is determined in the World.
24. Generation is done in Time.
25. Therefore the Spring and Fountain of all things is God.
26. The Substance Eternity.
27. The Matter is the World.
28. The Power of God is Eternity.
29. And the Work of Eternity is the World not yet made, and yet ever made by Eternity.
30. Therefore shall nothing be at any time destroyed, for Eternity is incorruptible.
31. Neither can anything perish, or be destroyed in the World, the World being
contained and embraced by eternity.
32. But what is the Wisdom of God? Even the Good, and the Fair and Blessedness,
and every Virtue, and Eternity.
33. Eternity therefore put into the Matter Immortality and Everlastingness; for
the Generation of that depends upon Eternity, even as Eternity doth of God.
34. For Generation and Time, in Heaven, and in Earth, are of a double Nature;
in Heaven they are unchangeable and incorruptible, but on Earth they are changeable
35. And the Soul of Eternity is God; and the Soul of the World, Eternity; and
of the Earth, Heaven.
36. God is in the Mind, the Mind in the Soul; the Soul in the Matter, all things
37. All this Universal Body, in which are all Bodies, is full of Soul, the Soul
full of Mind, the Mind full of God.
38. For within he fills them, and without he contains them, quickening the Universe.
39. Without he quickens this perfect living thing the World, and within all living
40. And above in Heaven he abides in Identity or Selfness, but below upon Earth
he changeth Generation.
41. Eternity comprehendeth the World, either by Necessity, or Providence, or Nature.
42. And if any man shall think any other thing, it is God that actuateth, or operateth
43. But the operation or Act of God, is power insuperable, to which none may compare
anything, either Human or Divine.
44. Therefore, O Hermes, think none of these things below, or the things above,
in any wise like unto God, for if thou dost thou errest from the Truth.
45. For nothing can be like the unlike, and only and One; nor mayest thou think,
that he bath given of his Power to any other thing.
46. For who after him can make anything, either of Life, or Immortality; of Change
or of Quality, and himself what other thing should he make.
47. For God is not idle, for then all things would be idle ; for all things are
full of God.
48. But there is not anywhere in the world such a thing as Idleness; for Idleness
is a name that implieth a thing void or empty, both of a Doer and a thing done.
49. But all things must necessarily be made or done both always and according
to the nature of every place.
50. For he that maketh or doth, is in all things, yet not fastened or comprehended
in anything, nor making or doing one thing, but all things.
51. For being an active or operating Power and sufficient of himself for the things
that are made, and the things that are made are under him.
52. Look upon, through me, the World is subject to thy sight, and understand exactly
the Beauty thereof.
53. A Body immarcessible, than the which, there is nothing more ancient, yet always
vigorous and young.
54. See also the seven Worlds set over us, adorned with an everlasting Order,
and filling Eternity, with a different course.
55. For all things are full of Light, but the Fire is nowhere.
56. For the friendship and commixture of contraries and unlike, became Light shining
from the Act or Operation of God, the Father of all Good, the Prince of all Order,
and the Ruler of the seven Worlds.
57. Look also upon the Moon, the forerunner of them all, the Instrument of Nature,
and which changeth the Matter here below.
58. Behold the Earth, the middle of the whole, the firm and stable Foundation
of the Fair World, the Feeder and Nurse of Earthly things.
59. Consider moreover, how great the multitude is of immortal living things, and
of mortal ones also; and see the Moon going about in the midst of both, to wit,
of things immortal and mortal.
60. But all things are full of Soul, and all things are properly moved by it;
some things about the Heaven, and some things about the Earth, and neither of those
on the right hand to the left; nor those on the left hand to the right; nor those
things that are above, downward; nor those things that are below, upwards.
61. And that all these things are made, O beloved Hermes, thou needst not learn
62. For they are Bodies, and have a Soul, and are moved.
63. And that all these should come together into one, it is impossible without
some thing, to gather them together.
64. Therefore there must be some such ones, and he altogether One.
65. For seeing that the motions are divers, and many, and the Bodies not alike,
and yet one ordered swiftness among them all; It is impossible there should be
two or more Makers.
66. For one order is not kept by many.
67. But in the weaker, there would be jealousy of the stronger and thence also
68. And if there were one Maker of mutable and mortal living wight [a creature]s, he would
desire also to make immortal ones, as he that were the Maker of immortal ones,
would do to make mortal.
69. Moreover also, if there were two, the Matter being one, who should be chief,
or have the disposing of the facture?
70. Or if both of them, which of them the greater part?
71. But think thus that every living Body bath its consistence of Matter and Soul;
and of that which is immortal, and that which is mortal, and unreasonable.
72. For all living Bodies have a Soul; and those things that are not living are
only matter by itself.
73. And the Soul likewise of itself drawing near her Maker, is the Cause of Life,
and Being, and Being the cause of Life, is after a manner, the cause of immortal
74. How then are mortal wight [a creature]s, other from immortal?
75. Or how cannot he make living wight [a creature]s that causeth immortal things and immortality
76. That there is some Body that doth these things it is apparent, and that he
is also one, it is most manifest.
77. For there is one Soul, one Life and one Matter.
78. Who is this? Who can it be other than the One God.
79. For whom else can it benefit, to make living things, save only God alone?
80. There is therefore one God.
81. For it is a ridiculous thing to confess the World to be, one Sun, one Moon,
one Divinity; and yet to have I know not how many gods.
82. He therefore being One, doth all things in many things.
83. And what great thing is it for God to make Life and Soul, and Immortality,
and Change, when thy self dost so many things.
84. For thou both seest, speakest and hearest, smellest, tastest, and touchest,
walkest, understandest, and breathest.
85. And it is not one that seeth, and another that heareth, and another that speaketh,
and another that toucheth, and another that smelleth, and another that walketh,
and another that understandeth, and another that breatheth, but One that doth all
86. Yet neither can these things possibly be without God.
87. For as thou, if thou shouldst cease from doing these things, were not a living
wight [a creature]; so if God should cease from those, he were not (which is not lawful to say)
any longer God.
88. For if it be already demonstrated, that nothing can be idle or empty, how
much more may be affirmed of God?
89. For if there be any thing which he doth not do, then is he (if it were lawful
to say so) imperfect.
90. Whereas feeling he is not idle, but perfect, certainly he doth all things.
91. Now give thy self unto me, O Hermes, for a little while thou shalt the more
easily understand, that it is the necessary work of God that all things should
be made or done, that are done, or were once done, or shall be done.
92. And this, O best Beloved, is life.
93. And this is the Fair.
94. And this is the Good.
95. And this is God.
96. And if thou wilt understand this by work also, mark what happens to thy self,
when thou wilt generate.
97. And yet this is not like unto him; for he is not sensible of pleasure, for
neither hath he any other Fellow-workman.
98. But being himself the only Workman he is always in the Work, himself being
that which he doth or maketh.
99. For all things, if they were separated from him, must needs fall and die,
as there being no life in them.
100. And again, if all things be living wight [a creature]s, both which are in Heaven, and
upon Earth; and that there be one Life in all things which are made by God, and
that is God, then certainly all things are made, or done by God.
101. Life is the union of the Mind and the Soul.
102. But death is not the destruction of those things that were gathered together,
but a dissolving of the Union.
103. The Image therefore of God is Eternity, of Eternity the World, of the World
the Sun, of the Sun Man.
104. But the people say, That changing is Death, because the Body is dissolved,
and the Life goeth into that which appeareth not.
105. By this discourse, my dearest Hermes, I affirm as thou hearest, That the
World is changed, because every day part thereof becomes invisible ; but that it
is never dissolved.
106. And these are the Passions of the World, Revolutions and Occultations, and
Revolution is a turning, but Occultation is Renovation.
107. And the World being all formed, bath not the forms lying without it, but
itself changeth in itself.
108. Seeing then the World is all formed, what must he be that made it? for without
form he cannot be.
109. And if he be all formed, he will be kept like the World, but if he have but
one form, he shall be in this regard less then the World.
110. What do we then say that he is? we will not raise any doubts by our speech;
for nothing that is doubtful concerning God, is yet known.
111. He hath therefore one Idea which is proper to him, which because it is unbodily
is not subject to the sight, and yet shows all forms by the Bodies.
112. And do not wonder, if there be an incorruptible Idea.
113. For they are like the Margents of that Speech which is in writing; for they
seem to be high and swelling, hut they are by nature smooth and even.
114. But understand well this that I say, more boldly, for it is more true; As
a man cannot live without life, so neither can God live, not doing good.
115. For this is, as it were, the Life and Motion of God, to move all things,
and quicken them.
116. But some of the things I have said, must have a particular explication; Understand
then what I say.
117. All things are in God, not as lying in a place; for Place is both a Body,
and unmoveable, and those things that are there placed, have no motion.
118. For they lie otherwise in that which is unbodily, than in the fantasy or
119. Consider him that contains all things, and understand, that nothing is more
capacious, than that which is incorporeal, nothing more swift, nothing more powerful,
but it is most capacious, most swift and most strong.
120. And judge of this by thyself, command thy Soul to go into India, and sooner
than thou canst bid it, it will be there.
121. Bid it likewise pass over the Ocean, and suddenly it will be there; Not as
passing from place to place, but suddenly it will be there.
122. Command it to fly into Heaven, and it will need no Wings, neither shall anything
hinder it; not the fire of the Sun, not the Aether, not the turning of the Spheres,
not the bodies of any of the other Stars, but cutting through all, it will fly
up to the last, and furthest Body.
123. And if thou wilt even break the whole, and see those things that are without
the World (if there be any thing without) thou mayest.
124. Behold how great power, how great swiftness thou hast! Canst thou do all
these things, and cannot God?
125. After this manner therefore contemplate God to have all the whole World to
himself, as it were all thoughts, or intellections.
126. If therefore thou wilt not equal thy self to God, thou canst not understand
127. For the like is intelligible by the like.
128. Increase thy self into an immeasurable greatness, leaping beyond every Body;
and transcending all Time, become Eternity and thou shalt understand God: If thou
believe in thyself that nothing is impossible, but accountest thy self immortal,
and that thou canst understand all things, every Art, every Science and the manner
and custom of every living thing.
129. Become higher than all height, lower than all depths, comprehend in thy self,
the qualities of all the Creatures, of the Fire, the Water, the Dry and Moist;
and conceive likewise, that thou canst at once be everywhere in the Sea, in the
130. Thou shalt at once understand thy self, not yet begotten in the Womb, young,
old, to be dead, the things after death, and all these together as also times,
places, deeds, qualities, quantities, or else thou canst not yet understand God.
131. But if thou shut up thy Soul in the Body and abuse it, and say, I understand
nothing, I can do nothing, I am afraid of the Sea, I cannot climb up into Heaven,
I know not who I am, I cannot tell what I shall be; what hast thou to do with God;
for thou canst understand none of those Fair and Good things; be a lover of the
Body, and Evil.
132. For it is the greatest evil, not to know God.
133. But to be able to know and to will, and to hope, is the straight way, and
Divine way, proper to the Good; and it will everywhere meet thee, and everywhere
be seen of thee, plain and easy, when thou dost not expect or look for it; it will
meet thee, waking, sleeping, sailing, travelling, by night, by day, when thou speakest,
and when thou keepest silence.
134. For there is nothing which is not the Image of God.
135. And yet thou sayest, God is invisible, but be advised, for who is more manifest
136. For therefore hath he made all things, that thou by all things mayest see
137. This is the Good of God, this is his Virtue, to appear, and to be seen in
138. There is nothing invisible, no, not of those things that are incorporeal.
139. The Mind is seen in Understanding, and God is seen in doing or making.
140. Let these things thus far forth, be made manifest unto thee, O Trismegistus.
141. Understand in like manner, all other things by thy self, and thou shalt not
Of the Common Mind to Tat.
1. The Mind, O Tat,
is of the very Essence of God, if yet there be any Essence of
2. What kind of Essence that is, he alone knows himself exactly.
3. The Mind therefore is not cut off, or divided from the essentiality of God,
but united as the light of the sun.
4. And this mind in men, is God, and therefore are some men Divine, and their
Humanity is near Divinity.
5. For the good Demon called the Gods immortal men, and men mortal Gods.
6. But in the brute Beasts, or unreasonable living wight [a creature]s, the Mind is their Nature.
7. For where there is a Soul, there is the Mind, as where there is Life, there
is also a Soul.
8. In living Creatures therefore, that are without Reason, the Soul is Life, void
of the operations of the Mind.
9. For the Mind is the Benefactor of the Souls of men, and worketh to the proper
10. And in unreasonable things it co-operateth with the Nature of everyone of
them, but in men it worketh against their Natures.
11. For the Soul being in the Body, is straightway made Evil by Sorrow, and Grief
and Pleasure or Delight.
12. For Grief and Pleasure flow like Juices from the compound Body, where into,
when the Soul entereth, or descendeth, she is moistened and tincted with them.
13. As many Souls therefore, as the Mind governeth or overruleth, to them it shows
its own Light, resisting their prepossessions or presumptions.
14. As a good Physician grieveth the Body, prepossessed of a disease, by burning
or lancing it for health's sake.
15. After the same manner also, the Mind grieveth the Soul, by drawing it out
of Pleasure, from whence every disease of the Soul proceedeth.
16. But the great Disease of the Soul is Atheism because that opinion followeth
to all Evil and no Good.
17. Therefore the Mind resisting it procureth Good to the Soul, as a Physician
health to the Body.
18. But as many Souls of Men, as do not admit or entertain the Mind for their
Governor, do suffer the same thing that the Soul of unreasonable living things.
19. For the Soul being a Co-operator with them, permits or leaves them to their
concupiscences, whereunto they are carried by the torrent of their Appetite, and
so tend to brutishness.
20. And as brute Beasts, they are angry without reason, and they desire without
reason, and never cease, nor are satisfied with evil.
21. For unreasonable Angers and Desires, are the most exceeding Evils.
22. And therefore hath God set the Mind over these, as a Revenger and Reprover
23. Tat. Here, O Father, that discourse of Fate or Destiny which thou madest to
me, is in danger to be overthrown; For if it be fatal for any man to commit Adultery
or Sacrilege or do any evil, he is punished also, though he of necessity do the
work of Fate or Destiny.
24. Hermes. All things, O Son, are the work of Fate, and without it, can no bodily
thing, either Good or Evil, be done.
25. For it is decreed by Fate, that he that doth any evil, should also suffer
26. And therefore he doth it, that he may suffer that which he suffereth, because
he did it.
27. But for the present let alone that speech, concerning Evil and Fate, for at
other times we have spoken of it.
28. Now our discourse is about the Mind, and what it can do, and how it differs,
and is in men such a one, but in brute Beasts changed
29. And again, in brute Beasts it is not beneficial, but in men by quenching both
their Anger and Concupiscences.
3o. And of men thou must understand some to be rational or governed by reason,
and some irrational.
31. But all men are subject to Fate, and to Generation, and Change, for these
are the beginning and end of Fate or Destiny.
32. And all men suffer those things that are decreed by Fate.
33. But rational men, over whom as we said, the Mind bears rule, do not suffer
like unto other men, but being free from viciousness, and being not evil, they
do suffer evil.
34. Tat. How sayest thou this again, Father? An Adulterer, is he not evil? a Murderer,
is he not evil? and so all others.
35. Hermes. But the rational man, O Son, will not suffer for Adultery, but as
the Adulterer, nor for Murder, but as the Murderer.
36. And it is impossible to escape the Quality of Change, as of Generation, but
the Viciousness, he that hath the Mind, may escape.
37. And therefore, O Son, I have always heard the good Demon say, and if he had
delivered it in writing, he had much profited all mankind: For he alone, O Son,
as the first born, God, seeing all things, truly spake Divine words. I have heard
him say sometimes, That all Things are one thing, Especially Intelligible Bodies,
or that all Especially Intelligible Bodies are one.
38. We live in Power, in Act and in Eternity.
39. Therefore a good Mind, is that which the Soul of him is.
40. And if this be so, then no intelligible thing differs from intelligible things.
41. As therefore it is possible, that the Mind, the Prince of all things; so likewise,
that the Soul that is of God, can do whatsoever it will.
42. But understand thou well, for this Discourse I have made to the question which
thou askest of me before, I mean concerning Fate and the Mind.
43. First, if, O Son, thou shalt diligently withdraw thy self from all Contentious
speeches, thou shalt find that in Truth, the Mind, the Soul of God bears rule over
all things, both over Fate and Law and all other things.
44. And nothing is impossible to him, no not of the things that are of Fate.
45. Therefore, though the Soul of man be above it, let it not neglect the things
that happen to be under Fate.
46. And these thus far, were the excellent sayings of the good Demon.
47. Tat. Most divinely spoken, O Father, and truly and profitably, yet clear this
one thing unto me
48. Thou sayest, that in brute Beasts the Mind worketh or acteth after the manner
of Nature, co-operating also with their (impetus) inclinations.
49. Now the impetuous inclinations of brute Beasts, as I conceive, are Passions.
If therefore the Mind do co-operate with these impetuous Inclinations, and that
they are the Passions in brute Beasts, certainly the Mind is also a Passion, conforming
itself to Passions.
50. Hermes. Well done, Son, thou askest nobly, and yet it is just that I should
51. All incorporeal things, O Son, that are in the Body, are possible, nay, they
are properly Passions.
52. Everything that moveth is incorporeal; everything that is moved is a Body,
and it is moved into the Bodies by the Mind. Now motion is Passion, and there they
both suffer; as well that which moveth, as that which is moved, as well that which
ruleth, as that which is ruled.
53. But being freed from the Body, it is freed likewise from Passion.
54. But especially, O Son, there is nothing impassible, but all things are passible.
55. But Passion differs from that which is passible, for that (Passion) acteth
but this suffers.
56. Bodies also of themselves do act, for either they are unmovable, or else are
moved, and which soever it be, it is a Passion.
57. But incorporeal things do always act, or work, and therefore they are passible.
58. Let not therefore the appellations or names trouble thee, for Action and Passion
are the same thing, but that it is not grievous to use the more honourable name.
59. Tat. O Father. thou has delivered this Discourse most plainly.
60. Hermes. Consider this also, O Son, That God hath freely bestowed upon man,
above all other living things, these two, to wit, Mind and Speech, or Reason, equal
61. These if any man use, or employ upon what he ought, he shall differ nothing
from the Immortals.
62. Yea, rather going out of the Body, he shall be guided and led by them, both
into the Choir and Society of the Gods, and blessed Ones.
63. Tat. Do not other living Creatures use Speech, O Father?
64. Hermes. No, Son, but only Voice; now Speech and Voice do differ exceeding
much; for Speech is common to all men, but Voice is proper unto every kind of living
65. Tat. Yea, but the Speech of men is different. O Father, every man according
to his Nation.
66. Hermes. It is true, O Son, they do differ: Yet as man is one, so is Speech
one also; and it is interpreted and found the same, both in Egypt, Persia, and
67. But thou seemest unto me, Son, to be ignorant of the Virtue, or Power, and
Greatness of Speech.
68. For the blessed God, the good Demon said or commanded the Soul to be in the
Body, the Mind, in the Soul, the Word, or Speech, or Reason in the Mind, and the
Mind in God, and that God is the Father of them all.
69. Therefore the Word is the Image of the Mind, and the Mind of God, and the
Body of the Idea, and the Idea of the Soul.
70. Therefore of the Matter, the subtlest or smallest part is Air, of the Air
the Soul, of the Soul the Mind, of the Mind God.
71. And God is about all things, and through all things, but the Mind about the
Soul, the Soul about the Air, and the Air about the Matter.
72. But Necessity, and Providence, and Nature, are the Organs or Instruments of
the World, and of the Order of Matter.
73. For of those things that are intelligible, every one is; but the Essence of
them is Identity.
74. But of the Bodies of the whole, or universe, every one is many things.
75: For the Bodies that are put together, and that have, and make their changes
into other, having this Identity, do always save and preserve the uncorruption
of the Identity.
76. But in every one of the compound Bodies, there is a number.
77. For without number it is impossible there should be consistence or constitution,
or composition, or dissolution.
78. But Unities do both beget and increase Numbers, and again being dissolved,
come into themselves.
79. And the Matter is One.
80. But this whole World, the great God, and the Image of the Greater, and united
unto him, and conserving the Order and Will of the Father, is the fulness of Life.
81. And there is nothing therein, through all the Eternity of the Revolutions,
neither of the whole, nor of the parts which cloth not live.
82. For there is nothing dead, that either hath been, or is, or shall be in the
83. For the Father would have it as long as it lasts, to be a living thing; and
therefore it must needs be God also.
84, How therefore, O Son, can there be in God, in the Image of the Universe, in
the fulness of Life, any dead things?
85. For dying is corruption, and corruption is destruction.
86. How then can any part of the incorruptible be corrupted, or of God be destroyed?
87. Tat. Therefore, O Father, do not the living things in the World die, though
they be parts thereof.
88. Hermes. Be wary in thy Speech, O Son, and not deceived in the names of things.
89. For they do not die, O Son, but as compound Bodies they are dissolved.
90. But dissolution is not death; and they are dissolved, not that they may be
destroyed, but that they may be made new.
91. Tat. What then is the operation of Life? Is it not Motion?
92. Hermes. And what is there in the World unmovable? Nothing at all, O Son.
93. Tat. Why, doth not the Earth seem unmovable to thee, O Father?
94. Hermes. No, but subject to many motions, though after a manner, it alone be
95. What a ridiculous thing it were, that the Nurse of all things should be unmovable,
which beareth and bringeth forth all things.
96. For it is impossible, that anything that bringeth forth, should bring forth
97. .And a ridiculous question it is, Whether the fourth part of the whole, be
idle: For the word immovable, or without Motion, signifies nothing else, but idleness.
98. Know generally, O Son, That whatsoever is in the World is moved either according
to Augmentation or Diminution.
99. But that which is moved, liveth also, yet it is not necessary, that a living
thing should be or continue the same.
100. For while the whole World is together, it is unchangeable, O Son, but all
the parts thereof are changeable.
101. Yet nothing is corrupted or destroyed, and quite abolished but the names
102. For Generation is not Life, but Sense; neither is Change Death, but Forgetfulness,
or rather Occultation, and lying hid. Or better thus. For Generation is not a Creation
of Life, but a Production of Things to Sense, and making them Manifest. Neither
is Change Death, but an Occultation or Hiding of that which was.
103. These things being so, all things are Immortal, Matter, Life, Spirit, Soul,
Mind, whereof every living thing consisteth.
104. Every living thing therefore is Immortal, because of the Mind, but especially
Man, who both receiveth God, and converseth with him.
105. For with this living wight [a creature] alone is God familiar; in the night by dreams,
in the day by Symbols or Signs.
106. And by all things doth he foretell him of things to come, by Birds, by Fowls,
by the Spirit, or Wind, and by an Oak.
107. Wherefore also Man professeth to know things that have been, things that
are present, and things to come.
108. Consider this also, O Son, That every living Creature goeth upon one part
of the World, Swimming things in Water, Land wight [a creature]s upon the Earth, Flying Fowls
in the Air.
109. But Man useth all these, the Earth, the Water, the Air, and the Fire, nay,
he seeth and toucheth Heaven by his Sense.
110. But God is both about all things, and through all things, for he is both
Act and Power.
111. And it is no hard thing, O Son, to understand God.
112. And if thou wilt also see him, look upon the Necessity of things that appear,
and the Providence of things that have been, and are done.
113. See the Matter being most full of Life, and so great a God moved with all
Good, and Fair, both Gods, and Demons, and Men.
114. Tat. But these, O Father, are wholly Acts or Operations.
115. Hermes. If they be therefore wholly Acts or Operations, O Son, by whom are
they acted or operated, but by God?
116. Or art thou ignorant, that as the parts of the World, are Heaven, and Earth,
and Water, and Air; after the same manner the Members of God, are Life, and Immortality,
and Eternity, and Spirit, and Necessity, and Providence, and Nature, and Soul,
and Mind, and the Continuance or Perseverance of all these which is called Good.
117. And there is not any thing of all that hath been, and al1 that is, where
God is not.
118. Tat. What in the Matter, O Father?
119. Hermes. The Matter, Son, what is it without God, that thou shouldst ascribe
a proper place to it?
120. Or what doth thou think it to be? peradventure some heap that is not actuated
121. But if it be actuated, by whom is it actuated? for we have said, that Acts
or Operations, are the parts of God.
122. By whom are all living things quickened? and the Immortal, by whom are they
immortalized? the things that are changeable, by whom are they changed?
123. Whether thou speak of Matter, or Body, or Essence, know that all these are
acts of God.
124. And that the Act of Matter is materiality, and of the Bodies corporality,
and of Essence essentiality; and this is God the whole.
125. And in the whole, there is nothing that is not God.
126. Wherefore about God, there is neither Greatness, Place, Quality, Figure,
or Time; for he is All, and the All, through all, and about all.
127. This Word, O Son, worship and adore. And the only service of God, is not
to be evil.
The Twelfth Book.
His Crater or Monas.
1. The Workman made
this Universal World, not with his Hands, but his
2. Therefore thus think of him, as present everywhere, and being always, and making
all things, and one above, that by his Will hath framed the things that are.
3. For that is his Body, not tangible, nor visible, nor measurable, nor extensible,
nor like any other body.
4. For it is neither Fire, nor Water, nor Air, nor Wind, but all these things
are of him, for being Good, he hath dedicated that name unto himself alone.
5. But he would also adorn the Earth, but with the Ornament of a Divine Body.
6. And he sent Man an Immortal and a Mortal wight [a creature].
7. And Man had more than all living Creatures, and the World, because of his Speech,
8. For Man became the spectator of the Works of God, and wondered, and acknowledged
9. For he divided Speech among all men, but not Mind, and yet he envied not any,
for Envy comes not thither, but is of abode here below in the Souls of men, that
have not the Mind.
10. Tat. But wherefore, Father, did not God distribute the Mind to all men?
11. Because it pleased him, O Son, to set that in the middle among all souls as
a reward to strive for.
12. Tat. And where hath he set it?
13. Hermes. Filling a large Cup or Bowl therewith, he sent it down, giving also
a Cryer or Proclaimer.
14. And he commanded him to proclaim these things to the souls of men.
15. Dip and wash thyself,
thou that art able, in this Cup or Bowl; Thou that believeth",
that thou shalt return to him that sent this Cup; thou that acknowledgest whereunto
thou were made.
16. As many therefore as understood the Proclamation, and were baptised or dowsed
into the Mind, these were made partakers of Knowledge, and became perfect men,
receiving the Mind.
17. But as many as missed of the Proclamation, they received Speech, but not Mind,
being ignorant whereunto they were made, or by whom.
18. But their senses are just like to brute Beasts, and having their temper in
Anger and Wrath, they do not admire the things worthy of looking on.
19. But wholly addicted to the pleasures and desires of the Bodies, they believe
that man was made for them.
20. But as many as partook of the gift of God, these, O Tat, in comparison of
their works, are rather immortal than mortal men.
21. Comprehending all things in their Mind, which are upon the Earth, which are
in Heaven, and if there be anything above Heaven.
22. And lifting up themselves so high, they see the Good, and seeing it, they
account it a miserable calamity to make their abode here.
23. And despising all things bodily and unbodily, they make haste to the One and
24. Thus, O Tat, is the Knowledge of the Mind, the beholding of Divine Things,
and the Understanding of God, the Cup itself being Divine.
25. Tat. And I, O Father, would be baptised and drenched therein.
26. Hermes. Except thou first hate thy body, O Son, thou canst not love thy self;
but loving thy self, thou shalt have the Mind, and having the Mind, thou shalt
also partake the Knowledge or Science.
27. Tat. How meanest thou that, O Father?
28. Hermes. Because it is impossible, O Son, to be conversant about things Mortal
29. For the things that are, being two Bodies, and things incorporeal, wherein
is the Mortal and the Divine, the Election or Choice of either is left to him that
will choose; For no man can choose both.
30. And of which soever the choice is made, the other being diminished or overcome,
magnifieth the act and operation of the other.
31. The choice of the better therefore is not only best for him that chooseth
it, by deifying a man; but it also showeth Piety and Religion towards God.
32. But the choice of the worse destroys a man, but cloth nothing against God;
save that as Pomps or Pageants, when they come abroad, cannot do any thing themselves,
but hinder; after the same manner also do these make Pomps or Pageants in the World,
being seduced by the pleasures of the Body.
33. These things being so, O Tat, that things have been, and are so plenteously
ministered to us from God; let them proceed also from us, without any scarcity
34. For God is innocent or guiltless, but we are the causes of Evil, preferring
them before the Good.
35. Thou seest, O Son, how many Bodies we must go beyond, and how many choirs
of Demons, and what continuity and courses of Stars, that we may make haste to
the One, and only God.
36. For the Good is not to be transcended, it is unbounded and infinite; unto
itself without beginning, but unto us, seeming to have a beginning, even our knowledge
37. For our knowledge is not the beginning of it, but shows us the beginning
of its being known unto us.
38. Let us therefore lay hold of the beginning and we shall quickly go through
39. It is indeed a difficult thing, to leave those things that are accustomable,
and present, and turn us to those things that are ancient, and according to the
40. For these things that appear, delight us, but make the things that appear
not, hard to believe, or the things that appear not, are hard to believe.
4I. The things most apparent are Evil, but the Good is secret, or hid in, or to
the things that appear for it hath neither Form nor Figure.
42. For this cause it is like to itself, but unlike everything else; for it is
impossible, that any thing incorporeal, should be made known, or appear to a Body.
43. For this is the difference between the like and the unlike, and the unlike
wanteth always somewhat of the like.
44. For the Unity, Beginning, and Root of all things, as being the Root and Beginning.
45. Nothing is without a beginning, but the Beginning is of nothing, but of itself;
for it is the Beginning of all other things.
46. Therefore it is, seeing it is not from another beginning.
47. Unity therefore being the Beginning, containeth every number, but itself is
contained of none, and begetteth every number, itself being begotten of no other
48. Every thing that is begotten (or made) is imperfect, and may be divided, increased,
49. But to the perfect, there happeneth none of these.
50. And that which is increased, is increased by Unity, but is consumed and vanished
through weakness, being not able to receive the Unity.
51. This Image of God, have I described to thee, O Tat, as well as I could; which
if thou do diligently consider, and view by the eyes of thy mind, and heart, believe
me, Son, thou shalt find the way to the things above, or rather the Image itself
will lead thee.
52. But the spectacle or sight, hath this peculiar and proper; Them that can see,
and behold it, it holds fast and draws unto it, as they say, the Loadstone doth
Of Sense and Understanding.
1. Yesterday, Asclepius,
I delivered a perfect Discourse; but now I think it necessary,
in suite of that, to dispute also of Sense.
2. For Sense and Understanding seem to differ, because the one is material, the
3. But unto me, they appear to be both one, or united, and not divided in men,
4. For in other living Creatures, Sense is united unto Nature but in men to Understanding.
5. But the Mind differs from Understanding, as much as God from Divinity.
6. For Divinity is from or under God, and Understanding from the Mind, being the
sister of the Word or Speech, and they the Instruments one of another.
7. For-neither is the Word pronounced without Understanding, neither is Understanding
manifested without the Word.
8. Therefore Sense and Understanding do both flow together into a man, as if they
were infolded one within another.
9. For neither is it possible without Sense to Understand, nor can we have Sense
10. And yet it is possible (for the Time being) that the Understanding may understand
without Sense, as they that fantasy Visions in their Dreams.
11. But it seems unto me, that both the operations are in the Visions of Dreams,
and that the Sense is stirred up out of sleep, unto awaking.
12. For man is divided into a Body and a Soul; when both parts of the Sense accord
one with another, then is the understanding childed, or brought forth by the Mind
13. For the Mind brings forth all Intellections or Understandings; Good ones
when it receiveth good Seed from God; and the contrary when it receives them from
14. For there is no part of the World void of the Devil, which entering in privately,
sowed the seed of his own proper operation; and the Mind did make pregnant, or
did bring forth that which was sown, Adulteries, Murders, Striking of Parents,
Sacrileges, Impieties, Stranglings, throwing down headlong, and all other things
which are the works of evil Demons.
15. And the Seeds of God are few but Great, and Fair, and Good, Virtue and Temperance,
I6. And the Piety is the Knowledge of God, whom whosoever knoweth being full of
all good things, hath Divine Understanding and not like the Many.
17. And therefore they that have that Knowledge neither please the multitude,
nor the multitude them, but they seem to be mad, and to move laughter, hated and
despised, and many times also murdered.
18. For we have already said, That wickedness must dwell here, being in her own
19. For her region is the Earth, and not the World, as some will sometimes say,
20. But the Godly or God-worshipping Man laying hold on Knowledge, will despise
or tread under all these things; for though they be evil to other men, yet to him
all things are good.
21. And upon mature consideration, he refers all things to Knowledge, and that
which is most to be wondered at, he alone makes evil things good.
22. But I return again to my Discourse of Sense.
23. It is therefore a thing proper to Man, to communicate and conjoin Sense and
24. But every man, as I said before, doth not enjoy Understanding; for one man
is material, another essential.
25. And he that is material with wickedness as I said, received from the Devils
the Seed of Understanding; but they that are with the Good essentially, are saved
26. For God is the Workman of all things; and when he worketh he useth Nature.
27. He maketh all things
good like himself£
28. But these things that are made good, are in the use of Operation, unlawful.
29. For the Motion of the World stirring up Generations, makes Qualities, infecting
some with evilness, and purifying some with good.
30 And the World, Asclepius, hath a peculiar Sense and Understanding, not like
to Man's, nor so various or manifold, but a better and more simple.
31. For this Sense and Understanding of the World is One, in that it makes all
things, and unmakes them again into itself; for it is the Organ or Instrument of
the Will of God.
32. And it is so organized or framed, and made for an Instrument by God; that
receiving all Seeds into itself from God, and keeping them in itself, it maketh
all things effectually and dissolving them, reneweth all things.
33. And therefore like a good Husband-man of Life, when things are dissolved or
loosened, he affords by the casting of Seed, renovation to all things that grow.
34. There is nothing that it (the World) cloth not beget or bring forth alive;
and by its Motion, it makes all things alive.
35. And it is at once, both the Place and the Workman of Life.
36. But the Bodies are from the Matter, in a different manner; for some are of
the Earth, some of Water, some of Air, some of Fire, and all are compounded, but
some are more compounded, and some are more simple.
37. They that are compounded, are the heavier, and they that are less, are the
38. And the swiftness of the Motion of the World, makes the varieties of the Qualities
of Generation, for the spiration or influence, being most frequent, extendeth unto
the Bodies qualities with one fulness, which is of Life.
39. Therefore, God is the Father of the World, but the World is the Father of
things in the World.
40. And the World is the Son of God, but things in the World are the Sons of the
41. And therefore it is well called the World, that is an Ornament, because it
adorneth and beautifieth all things with the variety of Generation, and indeficiency
of Life, which the unweariedness of Operation, and the swiftness of Necessity with
the mingling of Elements, and the order of things done.
42. Therefore it is necessarily and properly called the World.
43. For of all living things, both the Sense and the Understanding, cometh into
them from without, inspired by that which compasseth them about, and continueth
44. And the World receiving it once from God as soon as it was made, hath it still,
What Ever it Once Had.
45. But God is not as it seems to some who Blaspheme through superstition, without
Sense, and without Mind, or Understanding.
46. For all things that are, O Asclepius, are in God, and made by him, and depend
of him, some working by Bodies, some moving by a Soul-like Essence, some quickening
by a Spirit, and some receiving the things that are weary, and all very fitly.
47. Or rather, I say, that he hath them not, but I declare the Truth, He is All
Things, not receiving them from without, but exhibiting them outwardly.
48. And this is the Sense and Understanding of God, to move all things always.
49. And there never shall be any time, when any of those things that are, shall
fail or be wanting.
50. When I say the things that are, I mean God, for the things that are, God hath;
and neither is there anything without him, nor he without anything.
51. These things, O Asclepius, will appear to be true, if thou understand them,
but if thou understand them not, incredible.
52. For to understand, is to believe, but not to believe, is not to understand;
For my speech or words reach not unto the Truth, but the Mind is great, and being
led or conducted for a while by Speech, is able to attain to the Truth.
53. And understanding all things round about, and finding them consonant, and
agreeable to those things that were delivered and interpreted by Speech, believeth;
and in that good belief, resteth.
54. To them, therefore, that understand the things that have been said of God,
they are credible, but to them that understand them not, incredible.
55. And let these, and thus many things be spoken concerning Understanding and
Of Operation and Sense.
1. Tat. Thou hast well
explained these things, Father: Teach me furthermore these things;
for thou sayest, that Science and Art were the Operations of
the rational, but now thou sayest that Beasts are unreasonable,
and for want of reason, both are, and are called Brutes; so that
by this Reason, it must needs follow, that unreasonable Creatures
partake not of Science, or Art, because they come short of
2. Hermes. It must needs be so, Son.
3. Tat. Why then, O Father, do we see some unreasonable living Creatures use both
Science and Art? as the Pismires treasure up for themselves food against the Winter,
and Fowls of the Air likewise make them Nests, and four-footed Beasts know their
4. These things they do, O Son, not by Science or Art, but by Nature; for Science
or Art are things that are taught, but none of these brute Beasts are taught any
of these things.
5. But these things being Natural unto them, are wrought by Nature, whereas Art
and Science do not happen unto all, but unto some.
6. As men are Musicians, but not all; neither are all Archers or Huntsmen, or
the rest, but some of them have learned something by the working of Science or
7. After the same manner also, if some Pismires did so, and some not, thou mightest
well say, they gather their food according to Science and Art.
8. But seeing they are all led by Nature, to the same thing, even against their
wills, it is manifest they do not do it by Science or Art.
9. For Operations, O Tat, being unbodily, are in Bodies, and work by Bodies.
10. Wherefore, O Tat, in as much as they are unbodily, thou must needs say they
11. But in as much as they cannot act without Bodies, I say, they are always in
12. For those things that are to any thing, or for the cause of any thing made
subject to Providence or Necessity, cannot possibly remain idle of their own proper
13. For that which is, shall ever be; for both the Body, and the Life of it, is
14. And by this reason, it follows, that the Bodies also are always, because I
affirm: That this corporiety is always by the Act and Operation, or for them.
15. For although earthly bodies be subject to dissolution; yet these bodies must
be the Places, and the Organs, and Instruments of Acts or Operations.
16. But Acts or Operations are immortal, and that which is immortal, is always
in Act, and therefore also Corporification if it be always.
17. Acts or Operations do follow the Soul, yet come not suddenly or promiscuously,
but some of them come together with being made man, being about brutish or unreasonable
18, But the purer Operations do insensibly in the change of time, work with the
oblique part of the Soul.
19. And these Operations depend upon Bodies, and truly they that are Corporifying,
come from the Divine Bodies into Mortal ones.
20. But every one of them acteth both about the Body and the Soul, and are present
with the Soul, even without the Body.
21. And they are always Acts or Operations, but the Soul is not always in a Mortal
Body, for it can be without a Body, but Acts or Operations cannot be without Bodies.
22 This is a sacred speech, Son, the Body cannot Consist without a Soul.
23. Tat. How meanest thou that, Father?
24. Hermes. Understand it thus, O Tat, When the Soul is separated from the Body,
there remaineth that same Body.
25. And this same Body according to the time of its abode, is actuated or operated
in that it is dissolved and becomes invisible.
26. And these things the Body cannot suffer without act or operation, and consequently
there remaineth with the Body the same act or operation.
27. This then is the difference between an Immortal Body, and a Mortal one, that
the immortal one consists of one Matter, and so doth not the mortal one; and the
immortal one doth, but this suffereth.
28. And everything that acteth or operateth is stronger, and ruleth; but that
which is actuated or operated, is ruled.
29. And that which ruleth, directeth and governeth as free, but the other is ruled,
30. Acts or Operations do not only actuate or operate living or breathing or,
insouled Bodies, but also breathless Bodies, or without Souls, Wood, and Stones,
like, increasing and hearing fruit, ripening, corrupting, rotting, putrifying and
breaking, or working such like things, and whatsoever inanimate Bodies can suffer.
31. Act or Operation, O Son, is called, whatsoever is, or is made or done, and
there are always many things made, or rather all things.
32 For the World is never widowed or forsaken of any of those things that are,
but being always carried or moved in itself, it is in labour to bring forth the
things that are, which shall never be left by it to corruption.
33. Let therefore every act or operation be understood to be always immortal,
in what manner of Body so ever it be.
34. But some Acts or Operations be of Divine, some of corruptible Bodies, some
universal, some peculiar, and some of the generals, and some of the parts of every
35. Divine Acts or Operations therefore there be, and such as work or operate
upon their proper Bodies, and these also are perfect, and being upon or in perfect
36. Particular are they which work by any of the living Creatures.
37. Proper, be they that work upon any of the things that are.
38. By this Discourse, therefore, O Son, it is gathered that all things are full
of Acts or Operations.
39. For if necessarily they be in every Body, and that there be many Bodies in
the World, I may very well affirm, that there be many other Acts or Operations.
40. For many times in one Body, there is one, and a second, and a third, besides
these universal ones that follow.
41. And universal Operations, I call them that are indeed bodily, and are done
by the Senses and Motions.
42. For without these it is impossible that the Body should consist.
43. But other Operations are proper to the Souls of Men, by Arts, Sciences, Studies,
44. The Senses also follow these Operations, or rather are the effects or perfections
45, Understand therefore, O Son, the difference of Operations, it is sent from
46. But sense being in the Body, and having its essence from it, when it receiveth
Act or Operation, manifesteth it, making it as it were corporeal.
47. Therefore, I say, that the Senses are both corporeal and mortal, having so
much existence as the Body, for they are born with the Body, and die with it.
48. But mortal things themselves have not Sense, as Not consisting of such an
49. For Sense can be no other than a corporeal apprehension, either of evil or
good that comes to the Body.
50. But to Eternal Bodies there is nothing comes, nothing departs; therefore there
is no sense in them.
51. Tat. Doth the Sense therefore perceive or apprehend in every Body.
52. Hermes. In every Body, O Son.
53. Tat. And do the Acts or Operations work in all things?
54. Hermes. Even in things inanimate, O Son, but there are differences of Senses.
55. For the Senses of things rational, are with Reason; of things unreasonable,
Corporeal only, but the Senses of things inanimate are passive only, according
to Augmentation and Diminution.
56. But Passion and Sense depend both upon one head, or height, and are gathered
together into the same, by Acts or Operations.
57. But in living wight [a creature]s there be two other Operations that follow the Senses
and Passions, to wit, Grief and Pleasure.
58. And without these, it is impossible that a living wight [a creature], especially a reasonable
one, should perceive or apprehend.
59. And therefore, I say, that these are the Ideas of Passions that bear rule,
especially in reasonable living wight [a creature]s.
60. The Operations work indeed, but the Senses do declare and manifest the Operations,
and they being bodily, are moved by the brutish parts of the Soul therefore I say,
they are both maleficial or doers of evil.
61. For that which affords the Sense to rejoice with Pleasure is straightway the
cause of many evils happening to him that suffers it.
62. But Sorrows gives stronger torments and Anguish, therefore doubtless are they
63. The same may be said of the Sense of the Soul.
64. Tat. Is not the Soul incorporeal, and the Sense a Body, Father? or is it rather
in the Body.
65. Hermes. If we put it in a Body, O Son, we shall make it like the Soul or the
Operations, for these being unbodily, we say are in Bodies.
66. But Sense is neither Operation, nor Soul, nor anything else that belongs to
the Body, but as we have said, and therefore it is not incorporeal.
67. And if it be not incorporeal it must needs be a Body; for we always say, that
of things that are, some are Bodies and some incorporeal.
Of Truth to His Son Tat.
1. Hermes. Of Truth,
O Tat, it is not possible that man being an imperfect wight [a creature],
compounded of imperfect Members, and having his Tabernacle consisting
of different and many Bodies, should speak with
2. But as far as it is possible, and just, I say, That Truth is only in the Eternal
Bodies, whose very Bodies be also true.
3. The Fire is fire itself only, and nothing else; the Earth is earth itself and
nothing else; the air is air itself and nothing else; the Water, water itself and
4. But our Bodies consist of all these; for they have of the Fire, they have of
the Earth, they have of the Water, and Air, and yet there is neither Fire, nor
Earth, nor Water, nor Air, nor anything true.
5. And if at the Beginning our Constitution had not Truth, how could men either
see the Truth, or speak it, or understand it only, except God would?
6. All things therefore upon Earth, O Tat, are not Truth, but imitations of the
Truth, and yet not all things neither, for they are but few that are so.
7. But the other things are Falsehood, and Deceit, O Tat, and Opinions like the
Images of the fantasy or appearance.
8. And when the fantasy hath an influence from above, then it is an imitation
of Truth, but without that operation from above, it is left a lie.
9. And as an Image shows the Body described, and yet is not the Body of that which
is seen, as it seems to be, and it is seen to have eyes, but it sees nothing, and
ears, but hears nothing at all; and all other things hath the picture, but they
are false, deceiving the eyes of the beholder, whilst they think they see the Truth,
and yet they are indeed but lies.
10. As many therefore as see not Falsehood, see the Truth.
11. If therefore we do so understand, and see every one of these things as it
is, then we see and understand true things.
12. But if we see or understand any thing besides, or otherwise, than that which
is, we shall neither understand, nor know the Truth.
13. Tat. Is Truth therefore upon Earth, O Father?
14. Hermes. Thou doth not miss the mark, O Son. Truth indeed is nowhere at
all upon Earth, O Tat, for it cannot be generated or made.
15. But concerning the Truth, it may be that some men, to whom God will give the
good seeing Power, may understand it.
16. So that unto the Mind and reason, there is nothing true indeed upon Earth.
17. But unto the True Mind and Reason, all things are fantasies or appearances,
18. Tat. Must we not therefore call it Truth, to understand and speak the things
19. Hermes. But there is nothing true upon Earth.
20. Tat. How then is this true, That we do not know anything true? how can that
be done here?
21. Hermes. O Son, Truth is the most perfect Virtue, and the highest Good itself,
not troubled by Matter, not encompassed by a Body, naked, clear, unchangeable,
venerable, unalterable Good.
22 But the things that are here, O Son, are visible, incapable of Good, corruptible,
passible, dissolvable, changeable, continually altered, and made of another.
23. The things therefore that are not true to themselves, how can they be true?
24. For every thing that is altered, is a lie, not abiding in what it is; but
being changed it shows us always, other and other appearances.
25. Tat. Is not man true, O Father?
26. Hermes. As far forth as he is a Man, he is not true, Son; for that which
is true, hath of itself alone its constitution and remains, and abides according
itself, such as it is.
27. But man consists of many things and doth not abide of himself but is turned
and changed, age after age, Idea after Idea, or form after form, and this while
he is yet in the Tabernacle.
28. And many have not known their own children after a little while, and many
children likewise have not known their own Parents.
29. Is it then possible, O Tat, that he who is so changed, is not to be known,
should be true? No, on the contrary, he is Falsehood, being in many Appearances
30. But do thou understand the true to be that which abides the same, and is Eternal,
but man is not ever, therefore not True, but man is a certain Appearance, and Appearance
is the highest Lie or Falsehood.
31. Tat. But these Eternal Bodies, Father, are they not true though they be changed?
32. Hermes. Everything that is begotten or made, and changed is not true, but
being made by our Progenitor, they might have had true Matter.
33. But these also have in themselves, something that is false in regard of their
34. For nothing that remains not in itself, is True.
35. Tat. What shall one say then, Father, that only the Sun which besides the
Nature of other things, is not changed, but abides in itself, is Truth?
36. Hermes. It is Truth, and therefore is he only intrusted with the Workmanship
of the World, ruling and making all things whom I do both honour, and adore his
Truth; and after the One, and First, I acknowledge him the Workman.
37. Tat. What therefore doth thou affirm to be the first Truth, O Father?
38. Hermes. The One and Only, O Tat, that is not of Matter, that is not in a body,
that is without Colour, without Figure or Shape, Immutable, Unalterable, which
always is; but Falsehood, O Son, is corrupted.
39. And corruption hath laid hold upon all things on Earth, and the Providence
of the True encompasseth, and will encompass them.
40. For without corruption, there can no Generation consist.
41. For Corruption followeth every Generation, that it may again be generated.
42. For those things that are generated, must of necessity be generated of those
things that are corrupted, and the things generated must needs be corrupted, that
the Generation of things being, may not stand still or cease.
43. Acknowledge therefore the first Workman by the Generation of things.
44. Consequently the things that are generated of Corruption are false, as being
sometimes one thing, sometimes another: For it is impossible they should be made
the same things again, and that which is not the same, how is it true?
45. Therefore, O Son, we must call these things fantasies or appearances.
46. And if we will give a man his right name, we must call him the appearance
of Manhood; and a Child, the fantasy or appearance of a Child; an old man, the
appearance of an old man; a young man, the appearance of a young man; and a man
of ripe age, the appearance of a man of ripe age.
47. For neither is a man, a man; nor a child, a child; nor a young man, a young
man; nor an old man, an old man.
48 But the things that pre-exist and that are, being changed are false.
49. These things understand thus, O Son, as these false Operations, having their
dependence from above, even of the truth itself.
50. Which being so, I do affirm that Falsehood is the Work of Truth.
That None of the Things that are, can Perish.
1. Hermes. We must
now speak of the Soul and Body, O Son; after what manner the
Soul is Immortal, and what operation that is, which constitutes
the Body, and dissolves it.
2. But in none of these is Death, for it is a conception of a name, which is either
an empty word, or else it is wrongly called Death (by the taking away the first
letter,) instead of Immortal.
3. For Death is destruction, but there is nothing in the whole world that is destroyed.
4. For if the World be a second God, and an Immortal living wight [a creature], it is impossible
that any part of an Immortal living wight [a creature] should die.
5. But all things that are in the World, are members of the World, especially
Man, the reasonable living wight [a creature].
6. For the first of all is God, the Eternal and Unmade, and the Workman of all
7. The second is the World, made by him, after his own Image and by him holden
together, and nourished, and immortalized; and as from its own Father, ever
8. So that as Immortal, it is ever living, and ever immortal.
9. For that which is ever living, differs from that which is eternal.
10. For the Eternal was not begotten, or made by another; and if it were begotten
or made, yet it was made by itself, not by any other, but it is always made.
11. For the Eternal, as it is Eternal, is the Universe.
12. For the Father himself, is Eternal of himself, but the World was made by the
Father, ever living and immortal.
13. And as much Matter as there was laid up by him, the Father made it all into
a Body, and swelling it, made it round like a Sphere, endued it with Quality, being
itself immortal, and having Eternal Materiality.
14. The Father being full of Ideas, sowed Qualities in the Sphere, and shut them
up, as in a Circle, deliberating to beautify with every Quality, that which should
afterwards be made.
15. Then clothing the Universal Body with Immortality, lest the Matter, if it
would depart from this Composition, should be dissolved into its own disorder.
16. For when the Matter was incorporeal, O Son, it was disordered, and it hath
here the same confusion daily revolved about other little things, endued with Qualities,
in point of Augmentation, and Diminution, which men call Death, being indeed a
disorder happening about earthly living wight [a creature]s.
17. For the Bodies of Heavenly things have one order, which they have received
from the Father at the Beginning, and is by the instauration of each of them, kept
18. But the instauration of earthly Bodies, is their consistence; and their dissolution
restores them into indissoluble, that is, Immortal.
19. And so there is made a privation of Sense, but not a destruction of Bodies.
20. Now the third living wight [a creature] is Man, made after the Image of the World; and
having by the Will of the Father, a Mind above other earthly wight [a creature]s.
21. And he hath not only a sympathy with the second God, but also an understanding
of the first.
22. For the second God, he apprehends as a Body but the first, he understands
as Incorporeal, and the Mind of the Good.
23. Tat. And doth not this living wight [a creature] perish?
24. Hermes. Speak advisedly, O Son, and learn what God is, what the World, what
an Immortal wight [a creature], and what a dissolvable One is.
25. And understand that the World is of God and in God; but Man of the World and
in the World.
26. The Beginning, and End, and Consistence of all, is God.
To Asclepius, to be Truly Wise.
1. Because my Son Tat,
in thy absence, would needs learn the Nature of the things that
are: He would not suffer me to give over (as coming very young
to the knowledge of every individual) till I was forced to discourse
to him many things at large, that his contemplation might from
point to point, be more easy and successful.
2. But to thee I have thought good to write in few words, choosing out the principal
heads of the things then spoken, and to interpret them more mystically, because
thou hast, both more years, and more knowledge of Nature.
3. All things that appear, were made, and are made.
4. Those things that are made, are not made by themselves, but by another.
5. And there are many things made, but especially all things that appear, and
which are different, and not like.
6. If the things that be made and done, be made and done by another, there must
be one that must make, and do them; and he unmade, and more ancient than the things
that are made.
7. For I affirm the things that are made, to be made by another; and it is impossible,
that of the things that are made any should be more ancient than all, but only
that which is not made.
8. He is stronger, and One, and only knowing all things indeed, as not having
any thing more ancient than himself.
9. For he bears rule, both over multitude, and greatness, and the diversity of
the things that are made, and the continuity of the Facture and of the Operation.
10. Moreover, the things that are made, are visible, but he is invisible; and
for this cause, he maketh them, that he may be visible; and therefore he makes
11. Thus it is fit to understand and understanding to admire and admiring to think
thy self happy, that knowest thy natural Father.
12. For what is sweeter than a Natural Father?
13. Who therefore is this, or how shall we know him?
14. Or is it just to ascribe unto him alone, the Title and Appellation of God,
or of the Maker, or of the Father, or of all Three? That of God because of his
Power; the Maker because of his Working and Operation; and the Father, because
of his Goodness.
15. For Power is different from the things that are made, but Act or Operation,
in that all things are made.
16. Wherefore, letting go all much and vain talking, we must understand these
two things, That Which is Made, and Him Which is the Maker; for there is nothing
in the middle, between these Two, nor is there any third.
17. Therefore understanding All things, remember these Two; and think that these
are All things, putting nothing into doubt; neither of the things above, nor of
the things below; neither of things changeable, nor things that are in darkness
18. For All things, are but two Things, That which Maketh, and that which is Made,
and the One of them cannot depart, or be divided from the Other.
19. For neither is it possible that the maker should be without the thing made,
for either of them is the self-same thing; therefore cannot the One of them be
separated from the other, no more than a thing can be separated from itself.
20. For if he that makes be nothing else, but that which makes alone, Simple,
Uncompounded, it is of necessity, that he makes the same thing to himself, to whom
it is the Generation of him that maketh to be also All that is made.
21. For that which is generated or made, must necessarily be generated or made
by another, but without the Maker that which is made, neither is made, nor is;
for the one of them without the other, hath lost his proper Nature by the privation
of the other.
22. So if these Two be confessed, That which maketh, and that which is made, then
they are One in Union, this going before, and that following.
23. And that which goeth before, is, God the Maker, and that which follows is,
that which is made, be it what it will.
24. And let no man be afraid because of the variety of things that are made or
done, lest he should cast an aspersion of baseness, or infamy upon God, for it
is the only Glory of him to do, or make All things.
25. And this making, or facture is as it were the Body of God, and to him that
maketh or doth, there is nothing evil, or filthy to be imputed, or There is Nothing
thought Evil or Filthy.
26. For these are Passions that follow Generation as Rust doth Copper, or as Excrements
do the Body.
27. But neither did the Copper-smith make the Rust, nor the Maker the Filth, nor
God the Evilness.
28. But the vicissitude of Generation doth make them, as it were to blossom out;
and for this cause did make Change to be, as one should say, The Purgation of Generation.
29. Moreover, is it lawful for the same Painter to make both Heaven, and the Gods,
and the Earth, and the Sea, and Men, and brute Beasts, and inanimate Things, and
Trees; and is it impossible for God to make these things? O the great madness,
and ignorance of men in things that concern God!
30. For men that think so, suffer that which is most ridiculous of all; for professing
to bless and praise God yet in not ascribing to him the making or doing of All
things, they know him not.
31. And besides their not knowing him, they are extremely impious against him,
attributing unto him Passions, as Pride, or Oversight, or Weakness, or Ignorance,
32. For if he do not make or do all things, he is either proud or not able, or
ignorant, or envious, which is impious to affirm.
33. For God hath only one Passion, namely Good and he that is good is neither
proud, nor impotent, nor the rest, but God is Good itself.
34. For Good is all power, to do or make all things, and every thing that is made,
is made by God, that is by the Good and that can make or do all things.
35. See then how he maketh all things, and how the things are done, that are done,
and if thou wilt learn, thou mayest see an Image thereof, very beautiful, and like.
36. Look upon the Husbandman, how he casteth Seeds into the Earth, here Wheat,
there Barley, and elsewhere some other Seeds.
37. Look upon the same Man, planting a Vine, or an Apple-Tree, or a Fig-Tree,
or some other Tree.
38. So doth God in Heaven sow Immortality, in the Earth Change in the whole Life,
39. And these things are not many, but few, and easily numbered for they are all
but four, God and Generation, in which are all things.