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The Corpus Hermeticum




As many then as understood the Herald's tidings and doused themselves in Mind, became partakers in the 
Gnosis; and when they had "received the Mind" they were made "perfect men".



But they who do not understand the tidings, these, since they possess the aid of Reason [only] and not Mind, 
are ignorant wherefor they have come into being and whereby.



5. The senses of such men are like irrational creatures'; and as their [whole] make−up is in their feelings and 
their impulses, they fail in all appreciation of those things which really are worth contemplation. These center 

all their thought upon the pleasures of the body and its appetites, in the belief that for its sake man hath come 

into being.


But they who have received some portion of God's gift, these, Tat, if we judge by their deeds, have from 

Death's bonds won their release; for they embrace in their own Mind all things, things on the earth, things in 
the heaven, and things above the heaven − if there be aught. And having raised themselves so far they sight 

the Good; and having sighted it, they look upon their sojourn here as a mischance; and in disdain of all, both 

things in body and the bodiless, they speed their way unto that One and Only One.


6. This is, O Tat, the Gnosis of the Mind, Vision of things Divine; God−knowledge is it, for the Cup is God's. 


T: Father, I, too, would be baptized.



H: Unless thou first shall hate thy Body, son, thou canst not love thy Self. But if thou lov'st thy Self thou shalt 
have Mind, and having Mind thou shalt share in the Gnosis.



T: Father, what dost thou mean?


H: It is not possible, my son, to give thyself to both − I mean to things that perish and to things divine. For 

seeing that existing things are twain, Body and Bodiless, in which the perishing and the divine are 
understood, the man who hath the will to choose is left the choice of one or the other; for it can never be the 

twain should meet. And in those souls to whom the choice is left, the waning of the one causes the other's 

growth to show itself.


7. Now the choosing of the Better not only proves a lot most fair for him who makes the choice, seeing it 

makes the man a God, but also shows his piety to God. Whereas the [choosing] of the Worse, although it doth 
destroy the "man", it doth only disturb God's harmony to this extent, that as processions pass by in the middle 

of the way, without being able to do anything but take the road from others, so do such men move in 

procession through the world led by their bodies' pleasures.


8. This being so, O Tat, what comes from God hath been and will be ours; but that which is dependent on 

ourselves, let this press onward and have no delay, for 'tis not God, 'tis we who are the cause of evil things, 
preferring them to good.



Thou see'st, son, how many are the bodies through which we have to pass, how many are the choirs of 
daimones, how vast the system of the star−courses [through which our Path doth lie], to hasten to the One 

and Only God.


For to the Good there is no other shore; It hath no bounds; It is without an end; and for Itself It is without 

beginning, too, though unto us it seemeth to have one − the Gnosis.


9. Therefore to It Gnosis is no beginning; rather is it [that Gnosis doth afford] to us the first beginning of its 

being known.


IV. The Cup or Monad 13




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