The Perfect Sermon, or

The Asclepius


1. The pious are not numerous, however; nay, they are very few, so that they may be counted even in the world.

Whence it doth come about, that in the many bad inheres, through defect of the Gnosis and Discernment of the things that are.

For that it is from the intelligence of Godlike Reason, by which all things are ordered, there come to birth contempt and remedy of vice throughout the world.

But when unknowingness and ignorance persist, all vicious things wax strong, and plague the soul with wounds incurable; so that, infected with them, and invitiated, it swells up, as though it were with poisons,—except for those who know the Discipline of souls and highest Cure of intellect.

2. So, then, although it may do good to few alone, ’tis proper to develope and explain this thesis:—wherefore Divinity hath deigned to share His science and intelligence with men alone. Give ear, accordingly!

When God, [our] Sire and Lord, made man, after the Gods, out of an equal mixture of a less pure cosmic part and a divine,—it [naturally] came to pass the imperfections of the cosmic part remained commingled with [our] frames, and other ones [as well], by reason of the food and sustenance we have out of necessity in common with all lives; by reason of which things it needs must be that the desires, and passions, and other vices, of the mind should occupy the souls of human kind.

3. As for the Gods, in as much as they had been made of Nature’s fairest part, and have no need of the supports of reason and of discipline,—although, indeed, their deathlessness, the very strength of being ever of one single age, stands in this case for prudence and for science, still, for the sake of reason’s unity, instead of science and of intellect (so that the Gods should not be strange to these),—He, by His everlasting law, decreed for them an order, circumscribed by the necessity of law.

While as for man, He doth distinguish him from all the other animals by reason and by discipline alone; by means of which men can remove and separate their bodies’ vices,—He helping them to hope and effort after deathlessness.

4. In fine, He hath made man both good and able to share in immortal life,—out of two natures, [one] mortal, [one] divine.

And just because he is thus fashioned by the Will of God, it is appointed that man should be superior both to the Gods, who have been made of an immortal nature only, and also to all mortal things.

It is because of this that man, being joined unto the Gods by kinsmanship, doth reverence them with piety and holy mind; while, on their side, the Gods with pious sympathy regard and guard all things of men.

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