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The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 2

by G.R.S. Mead


1. [V. M.] But, O Asclepius, I see that thou with swift desire of mind art in a hurry to be told how man can have a love and worship of the Heaven, or of the things that are therein. Hear, then, Asclepius!

The love of God and Heaven, together with all them that are therein, is one perpetual act of worship. 1

No other thing ensouled, of Gods or animals, can do this thing, save man alone. 2 ’Tis in the admiration, adoration, [and] the praise of men, and [in their] acts of worship, that Heaven and Heaven’s hosts find their delight.

2. Nor is it without cause the Muses’ choir hath been sent down by Highest Deity unto the host of men; in order that, forsooth, the terrene world should not seem too uncultured, had it lacked the charm of measures, but rather that with songs and praise of men accompanied with

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music, 1 He might be lauded,—He who alone is all, or is the Sire of all; and so not even on the earths, 2 should there have been an absence of the sweetness of the harmony of heavenly praise.

3. Some, then, though they be very few, endowed with the Pure Mind, 3 have been entrusted with the sacred charge of contemplating Heaven.

Whereas those men who, from the two-fold blending of their nature, have not as yet withdrawn their inner reason from their body’s mass, 4 these are appointed for the study of the elements, and [all] that is below them.

4. Thus man’s an animal; yet not indeed less potent in that he’s partly mortal, but rather doth he seem to be all the more fit and efficacious for reaching Certain Reason, since he has had mortality bestowed on him as well.

For it is plain he could not have sustained the strain of both, unless he had been formed out of both natures, 5 so that he could possess the powers of cultivating Earthly things and loving Heaven.

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1. The Reason of a thesis such as this, O [my] Asclepius, I would that thou should’st grasp, not only with the keen attention of thy soul, but also with its living power 1 [as well].

For ’tis a Reason that most men cannot believe; the Perfect and the True are to be grasped by the more holy minds. 2 Hence, then, will I begin.


323:1 Una est obsequiorum frequentatio. Cf. Ex. i. 3.

323:2 Cf. C. H., xvi. 11: “The duty of mankind is to give worship.”

324:1 Musicatis; or perhaps “Muse-inspired”; a word which, like so many others, occurs only in the Latin of this treatise.

324:2 In terris, pl.

324:3 Cf. vii. 1 and 2 above.

324:4 The reading is “interiorem intelligentiam mole corporis resederunt,” of which I can make nothing; resederunt is evidently an error.

324:5 There is here a “double” in the text, which the editor has not removed.

325:1 Vivacitate. Cf. C. H., x. (xi.) 17; and xix. 1 below.

325:2 Cf. C. H., ix. (x.) 10.

Next: Part VI