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The Corpus Hermeticum




20. What is the so great fault, said I, the ignorant commit, that they should be deprived of deathlessness? 


Thou seem'st, He said, O thou, not to have given heed to what thou heardest. Did I not bid thee think? 


Yea do I think, and I remember, and therefore give Thee thanks.



If thou didst think [thereon], [said He], tell me: Why do they merit death who are in Death?


It is because the gloomy Darkness is the root and base of the material frame; from it came the Moist Nature; 

from this the body in the sense−world was composed; and from this [body] Death doth the Water drain.


21. Right was thy thought, O thou! But how doth "he who knows himself, go unto Him", as God's Word 

(Logos) hath declared?


And I reply: the Father of the universals doth consist of Light and Life, from Him Man was born. 


Thou sayest well, [thus] speaking. Light and Life is Father−God, and from Him Man was born.



If then thou learnest that thou art thyself of Life and Light, and that thou [happen'st] to be out of them, thou 
shalt return again to Life. Thus did Man−Shepherd speak.



But tell me further, Mind of me, I cried, how shall I come to Life again...for God doth say: "The man who 
hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself [is deathless]."



22. Have not all men then Mind?


Thou sayest well, O thou, thus speaking. I, Mind, myself am present with holy men and good, the pure and 

merciful, men who live piously.


[To such] my presence doth become an aid, and straightway they gain gnosis of all things, and win the

Father's love by their pure lives, and give Him thanks, invoking on Him blessings, and chanting hymns, intent 
on Him with ardent love.



And ere they give up the body unto its proper death, they turn them with disgust from its sensations, from 
knowledge of what things they operate. Nay, it is I, the Mind, that will not let the operations which befall the 

body, work to their [natural] end. For being door−keeper I'll close up [all] the entrances, and cut the mental 

actions off which base and evil energies induce.


23. But to the Mind−less ones, the wicked and depraved, the envious and covetous, and those who mured do 

and love impiety, I am far off, yielding my place to the Avenging Daimon, who sharpening the fire, 
tormenteth him and addeth fire to fire upon him, and rusheth upon him through his senses, thus rendering him 

readier for transgressions of the law, so that he meets with greater torment; nor doth he ever cease to have 

desire for appetites inordinate, insatiately striving in the dark.


24. Well hast thou taught me all, as I desired, O Mind. And now, pray, tell me further of the nature of the 

Way Above as now it is [for me].


To this Man−Shepherd said: When the material body is to be dissolved, first thou surrenderest the body by 

itself unto the work of change, and thus the form thou hadst doth vanish, and thou surrenderest thy way of 
life, void of its energy, unto the Daimon. The body's senses next pass back into their sources, becoming 

separate, and resurrect as energies; and passion and desire withdraw unto that nature which is void of reason.


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