Index  Previous  Next 

The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 2

by G.R.S. Mead

2. [II. M.] Heaven, then, God Sensible, is the

p. 312

director of all bodies; bodies’ increasings and decreasings are ruled by Sun and Moon.

But He who is the Ruler of the Heaven, and of its Soul as well, and of all things within the Cosmos,—He is God, who is the Maker of all things.

For from all those that have been said above, 1 o’er which the same God rules, there floweth forth a flood of all things streaming through the Cosmos and the Soul, of every class and kind, throughout the Nature of [all] things.

The Cosmos hath, moreover, been prepared by God as the receptacle of forms of every kind. 2

Forth-thinking Nature by these kinds of things, He hath extended Cosmos unto Heaven by means of the Four Elements,—all to give pleasure to the eye of God.


1. And all dependent from Above 3 are subdivided into species in the fashion 4 which I am to tell.

p. 313

The genera of all things company with their own species; so that the genus is a class in its entirety, the species is part of a genus.

The genus of the Gods will, therefore, make the species of the Gods out of itself.

In like way, too, the genus of the daimons, and of men, likewise of birds, and of all [animals] the Cosmos doth contain within itself, brings into being species like itself.

There is besides a genus other than the animal,—a genus, or indeed a soul, in that it’s not without sensation,—in consequence of which it both finds happiness in suitable conditions, and pines and spoils in adverse ones;—I mean [the class] of all things on the earth which owe their life to the sound state of roots and shoots, of which the various kinds are scattered through the length and breadth of Earth.

2. The Heaven itself is full of God. The genera we have just mentioned, therefore, occupy up to the spaces of all things whose species are immortal.

For that a species is part of a genus,—as man, for instance, of mankind,—and that a part must follow its own class’s quality.

From which it comes to pass that though all genera are deathless, all species are not so.

The genus of Divinity is in itself and in its species 1 [also] deathless.

p. 314

As for the genera of other things,—as to their genus, they [too] are everlasting; [for] though [the genus] perish in its species, yet it persists through its fecundity in being born. And for this cause its species are beneath the sway of death; so that man mortal is, mankind immortal.


1. And yet the species of all genera are interblended with all genera; some 1 which have previously been made, some which are made from these.

The latter, then, which are being made,—either by Gods, or daimons, or by men,—are species all most closely like to their own several genera.

For that it is impossible that bodies should be formed without the will of God; or species be configured without the help of daimons; or animals be taught and trained without the help of men. 2

2. Whoever of the daimons, then, transcending their own genus, are, by chance, united with a species, 3 by reason of the neighbourhood of any species of the Godlike class,—these are considered like to Gods. 4

p. 315

Whereas those species of the daimons which continue in the quality of their own class,—these love men’s rational nature [and occupy themselves with men], and are called daimons proper.

Likewise is it the case with men, or more so even. Diverse and multiform, the species of mankind. And coming in itself from the association spoken of above, it of necessity doth bring about a multitude of combinations of all other species and almost of all things.

3. Wherefore doth man draw nigh unto the Gods, if he have joined himself unto the Gods with Godlike piety by reason of his mind, whereby he is joined to the Gods; and [nigh] unto the daimons, in that he is joined unto them [as well].

Whereas those men who are contented with the mediocrity of their own class, and the remaining species of mankind, will be like those unto the species of whose class they’ve joined themselves. 1


312:1 This seems to refer to the Elements.

312:2 Omniformium specierum.

312:3 Omnia autem desuper pendentia. Compare with this the famous Psalm of Valentius, “All things depending from Spirit I see”—πάντα κρεμάμενα πνεύματι βλέπω—Hippolytus, Philos., vi. 37. For revised text see Hilgenfeld’s (A.) Ketzergeschichte, p. 304 (Leipzig, 1884), and for a translation, my Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, p. 307 (London; 1900). See also end of xix. 4 below, and C. H., xvi. 17.

312:4 Genere.

313:1 That is, the Gods.

314:1 Sc. species.

314:2 Cf. C. H., xvi. 18, for the hierarchy of Gods and daimones; and for the “intercourse of souls,” C. H., x. (xi.) 22.

314:3 That is, one of the immortal species, or a God.

314:4 That is, they become Gods.

315:1 A suggestion of man’s attraction to the various species of the animal nature.

Next: Part III