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The Corpus Hermeticum




Now that which ever−liveth, differs from the Eternal; for He hath not been brought to being by another, and 
even if He have been brought to being, He hath not been brought to being by Himself, but ever is brought into 

being.


For the Eternal, in that It is eternal, is the all. The Father is Himself eternal of Himself, but Cosmos hath 

become eternal and immortal by the Father.


3. And of the matter stored beneath it, the Father made of it a universal body, and packing it together made it 

spherical − wrapping it round the life − [a sphere] which is immortal in itself, and that doth make materiality 

eternal.


But He, the Father, full−filled with His ideas, did sow the lives into the sphere, and shut them in as in a cave, 

willing to order forth the life with every kind of living.


So He with deathlessness enclosed the universal body, that matter might not wish to separate itself from 

body's composition, and so dissolve into its own [original] unorder.


For matter, son, when it was yet incorporate, was in unorder. And it doth still retain down here this [nature of 

unorder] enveloping the rest of the small lives − that increase−and−decrease which men call death.


4. It is round earthly lives that this unorder doth exist. For that the bodies of the heavenly ones preserve one 

order allotted to them by the Father as their rule; and it is by the restoration of each one [of them] this order is 
preserved indissolute.



The "restoration" of bodies on the earth is thus their composition, whereas their dissolution restores them to 
those bodies which can never be dissolved, that is to say, which know no death. Privation, thus, of sense is 

brought about, not loss of bodies.


5. Now the third life − Man, after the image of the Cosmos made, [and] having mind, after the Father's will, 

beyond all earthly lives − not only doth have feeling with the second God, but also hath conception of the 

first; for of the one 'tis sensible as of a body, while of the other it conceives as bodiless and the Good Mind.


Tat: Doth then this life not perish?


Hermes: Hush, son! and understand what God, what Cosmos [is], what is a life that cannot die, and what a 

life subject to dissolution.


Yea, understand the Cosmos is by God and in God; but Man by Cosmos and in Cosmos. 



The source and limit and the constitution of all things is God.


IX. On Thought and Sense



1. I gave the Perfect Sermon (Logos) yesterday, Asclepius; today I think it right, as sequel thereunto, to go 

through point by point the Sermon about Sense.


Now sense and thought do seem to differ, in that the former has to do with matter, the latter has to do with 

substance. But unto me both seem to be at−one and not to differ − in men I mean. In other lives sense is 
at−oned with Nature, but in men thought.





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