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The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 2

by G.R.S. Mead

3. [XI. M.] All things, then, being thus,

p. 368

there’s nothing stable, nothing fixed, nothing immoveable, of things that are being born, in Heaven or on the Earth.

Immoveable 1 [is] God alone, and rightly [He] alone; for He Himself is in Himself, and by Himself, and round Himself, completely full and perfect.

He is His own immoveable stability. Nor by the pressure of some other one can He be moved, nor in the space [of anyone].

4. For in Him are all [spaces], and He Himself alone is in them all; unless someone should venture to assert that God’s own motion’s in Eternity 2; nay, rather, it is just Immoveable Eternity itself, back into which the motion of all times is funded, and out of which the motion of all times takes its beginning.


1. God, then, hath [ever] been unchanging, 3 and ever, in like fashion, with Himself hath the Eternity consisted,—having within itself Cosmos ingenerate, which we correctly call [God] Sensible. 4

Of that [transcendent] Deity this Image 5 hath been made,—Cosmos the imitator of Eternity.

p. 369

Time, further, hath the strength and nature of its own stability, in spite of its being in perpetual motion,—from its necessity of [ever] from itself reverting to itself.

2. And so, although Eternity is stable, motionless, and fixed, still, seeing that the movement of [this] Time (which is subject to motion) is ever being recalled into Eternity,—and for that reason Time’s mobility is circular,—it comes to pass that the Eternity itself, although in its own self, is motionless, [yet] on account of Time, in which it is—(and it is in it),—it seems to be in movement as all motion.

So that it comes to pass, that both Eternity’s stability becometh moved, and Time’s mobility becometh stable.

So may we ever hold that God Himself is moved into Himself by [ever-] same transcendency of motion. 1

For that stability is in His vastness motion motionless; for by His vastness is [His] law exempt from change. 2

3. That, then, which so transcends, which is not subject unto sense, [which is] beyond all bounds, [and which] cannot be grasped,—That

p. 370

transcends all appraisement; That cannot be supported, nor borne up, nor can it be tracked out. 1

For where, and when, and whence, and how, and what, He is,—is known to none. 2 For He’s borne up by [His] supreme stability, and His stability is in Himself [alone],—whether [this mystery] be God, or the Eternity, or both, or one in other, or both in either.

4. And for this cause, just as Eternity transcends the bounds of Time; so Time [itself], in that it cannot have bounds set to it by number, or by change, or by the period of the revolution of some second [kind of Time],—is of the nature of Eternity.

Both, then, seem boundless, both eternal. And so stability, though naturally fixed, yet seeing that it can sustain the things that are in motion,—because of all the good it does by reason of its firmness, deservedly doth hold the chiefest place.


1. The principals of all that are, are, therefore, God and Æon. 3

The Cosmos, on the other hand, in that ’tis moveable, is not a principal. 4

p. 371

For its mobility exceeds its own stability by treating the immoveable fixation as the law of everlasting movement.

The Whole Sense, 1 then, of the Divinity, though like [to Him] in its own self immoveable, doth set itself in motion within its own stability.

’Tis holy, incorruptible, and everlasting, and if there can be any better attribute to give to it, [’tis its],—Eternity of God supreme, in Truth itself subsisting, the Fullness of all things, of Sense, and of the whole of Science, consisting, so to say, with God. 2

2. The Cosmic Sense is the container 3 of all sensibles, [all] species, and [all] sciences.

The human [higher sense consists] in the retentiveness of memory, in that it can recall all things that it hath done.

p. 372

For only just as far as the man-animal has the divinity of Sense 1 descended; in that God hath not willed the highest Sense divine should be commingled with the rest of animals; lest it should blush for shame 2 on being mingled with the other lives.

For whatsoever be the quality, or the extent, of the intelligence of a man’s Sense, the whole of it consists in power of recollecting what is past.

It is through his retentiveness of memory, that man’s been made the ruler of the earth.

3. Now the intelligence of Nature 3 can be won by quality of Cosmic Sense,—from all the things in Cosmos which sense can perceive.

Concerning [this] Eternity, which is the second [one],—the Sense of this we get from out the senses’ Cosmos, and we discern its quality [by the same means].

But the intelligence of Quality [itself], the “Whatness” of the Sense of God Supreme, is Truth alone,—of which [pure] Truth not even the most tenuous sketch, or [faintest] shade, in Cosmos is discerned.

For where is aught [of it] discerned by measurement of times,—wherein are seen untruths, and births [-and-deaths], and errors?

p. 373

4. Thou seest, then, Asclepius, on what we are [already] founded, with what we occupy ourselves, and after what we dare to strive.

But unto Thee, O God most high, I give my thanks, in that Thou hast enlightened me with Light to see Divinity!

And ye, O Tat, Asclepius and Ammon, in silence hide the mysteries divine within the secret places of your hearts, 1 and breathe no word of their concealment 2!

5. Now in our case the intellect doth differ from the sense in this,—that by the mind’s extension intellect can reach to the intelligence and the discernment of the quality of Cosmic Sense.

The Intellect of Cosmos, on the other hand, extends to the Eternity and to the Gnosis of the Gods who are above itself. 3

And thus it comes to pass for men, that we perceive the things in Heaven, as it were through a mist, as far as the condition of the human sense allows.

’Tis true that the extension [of the mind] which we possess for the survey of such transcendent things, is very narrow [still]; but [it

p. 374

will be] most ample when it shall perceive with the felicity of [true] self-consciousness.


368:1 That is, changeless.

368:2 That is, again, in the Æon.

368:3 Stabilis.

368:4 Cf. viii. 1 above.

368:5 Cf. x. 3 above.

369:1 Eadem immobilitate. The whole is an endeavour to at-one the “Platonic” root-opposites “same” (ταὐτόν) and “other” (θάτερον)—the “Self” and the “not-Self,” sat-asat, ātmānātman, of the Upaniṣhads.

369:2 Lit. motionless.

370:1 Cf. C. H., xiii. (xiv.) 6; also xxxiv. 3 below.

370:2 Compare the Hymn in C. H., v. (vi.) 10, 11.

370:3 Or Eternity.

370:4 Lit. does not hold the chief place.

371:1 Cf. 3 below.

371:2 Consistens, ut ita dixerim, cum deo. Is there possibly here underlying the Latin consistens cum deo the expanded form of the peculiar and elliptical πρὸς τὸν θεὸν of the Proem to the Fourth Gospel (the apud deum of the Vulgate)? This was explained by the Gnostic Ptolemy, somewhere about the middle of the second century, as “at-one-ment with God,” in his exegesis of the opening words, which he glosses as: “The at-one-ment with each other, together with their at-one-ment with the Father” (ἡ πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἄμα καὶ ἡ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἕνωσις). So that the first verse of the Proem would run: “In the Beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was (one) with God; yea, the Logos was God. He was in the Beginning (one) with God”—? consistens cum deo. See Irenæus, Ref. Om. Hær., I. viii. 5—Stieren (Leipzig; 1853), i. 102; also F. F. F., p. 388.

371:3 Or receptacle.

372:1 That is, the divine or higher sense, connected with memory in its beginnings and with the Platonic “reminiscence” (the Pythagorean mathēsis) in its maturity.

372:2 Cf. C. H., x. (xi.) 19.

372:3 That is, Cosmos.

373:1 Lit. breasts.

373:2 Cf. C. H., xiii. (xiv.) 22.

373:3 The super-cosmic Gods, or beings of the Intelligible Cosmos; the Æons of the Gnostics.

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