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The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 3

by G.R.S. Mead

p. 58



(I have added the title, the excerpt not being found in Patrizzi.

Text: Stob., Phys., iii. 52, under the vague heading: “Of Hermes”; G. p. 50; M. i. 33, 34; W. i. 62, 63.

Ménard, Livre IV., No. iv. of “Fragments from the Books of Hermes to his Son Tat,” p. 240.)

1. [Her.] For there hath been appointed, O [my] son, a very mighty Daimon turning in the universe’s midst, that sees all things that men do on the earth.

Just as Foreknowledge 1 and Necessity have been set o’er the Order of the gods, in the same way is Justice set o’er men, causing the same to act on them.

For they rule o’er the order of the things existing as divine, which have no will, nor any power, to err.

For the Divine cannot be made to wander; from which the incapacity to err accrues [to it].

p. 59

But Justice is appointed to correct the errors men commit on earth.

2. For, seeing that their race is under sway of death, and made out of bad matter, [it naturally errs], and failure is the natural thing, especially to those who are without the power of seeing the Divine. 1

’Tis over these that Justice doth have special sway. They’re subject both to Fate through the activities of birth, 2 and unto Justice through the mistakes [they make] in life. 3


The title and place of this excerpt has been discussed in the Commentary on C. H., xii. (xiii.) 6. It belongs to the Tat-Sermons, and in the collection of Lactantius probably stood prior to the Sermon of Hermes to Tat, “About the General Mind.” 4


58:1 Or Providence. Cf. Ex. i. 15, note.

59:1 This recalls Philo’s description of the Therapeuts, who were “taught ever more and more to see,” and strive for the “intuition” or “sight of that which is,”—τῆς τοῦ ὄντος θέας (Philo, D. V. C., 891 P., 473 M.).

59:2 That is, through the natural accidents that attend life in a body.

59:3 That is, in their way of living—ἐν τῷ βίω.

59:4 Compare with it Exx. x., xii., xiii.

Next: Excerpt XII. Of Providence and Fate