The Holy Sermon


. . .The glory of all things, God, and that which is divine and the divine nature, the beginning of things that are. God, and the mind, and nature, and matter, and movement, and necessity, and the end, and CHANGE.

For there was in the chaos. . .an infinite darkness in the abyss or bottomless depth, and water, and a subtle in spirit intelligible in power; and there went out the holy light, and the elements were coagulated from the sand out of the moist substance.

And all the gods distinguished the nature full of seeds.

and when all things were determined an unraveled, the light things were divided on high. And the heavy things were founded upon the moist sand, all things being terminated or divided by fire, Heaven was seen in seven circles.

And the gods were seen in their ideas of the stars, with all their signs, and the stars were numbered with the gods in them. And the sphere was all bordered with air, carried about in a circular motion by the spirit of God.

And every god, by his internal power, did that which was commanded him; and there were made four-footed things, and creeping things, and such as live in the water, and such as fly, and every fruitful seed, and grass, and the flowers of all plants, all which had sowed in themselves the seeds of regeneration.

As also the generations of men, to the knowledge of the divine works, and a lively or working testimony of nature, and a multitude of men, and the dominion of all things under Heaven, and the knowledge of good things, and to be increased in increasing, and multiplied in multitude.

And every soul in flesh, by the wonderful working of the gods in the circles, to the beholding of heaven, the gods divine works, and the operations of nature; and for signs of the good things, and the knowledge of the divine power, and to find out every cunning working of good things.

So it begins to live in them, and to be wise according to the operation of the course of the circular gods; and to be resolved into that which shall be great monuments and the memory of the cunning works done upon earth, leaving them to be read by the darkest of times.

And every generation of living flush, of fruit, seed and all handicrafts, though they be lost, must of necessity be renewed by the renovation of the gods, and of the nature of the circle, moving in number; for it is a divine thing that every worldly temperature should be renewed by nature; for in that which is divine is nature also established.

Poèmandres VIII

. . . But to the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, and covetous, and murderous, and profane, I am far off. giving place to the revenging daemon, which applying unto him the sharpness of fire, torment such a mans senses, and arm him the more to all wickedness, that he may obtain the greater punishment. And such a man never ceases, having unfulfilled desires, and unsatisfied concupiscence, and always fighting in darkness; for the daemon always afflicts and torments him continually, and increases the fire upon him more and more . . .

I asked, You have, Oh mind, most excellently taught me all things, as I desired; but tell me, moreover, after the return is made, what then?

. . .He replied, First of all, in the resolution of the material, body, the body itself is given up to alteration, and the form which is had becomes invisible; and the idle manners are permitted, and left to the daemon, and the senses of the body return into their origins, being parts, and again made up into operations.

And anger, and concupiscence, go into the brutish or unreasonable nature; and the rest strive upward by harmony.

And to the first zone it gives the power it had of increasing and diminishing.

And to the second, machinations or plotting of evils, and one effectual deceit or craft.

to the third, the idle deceit of concupiscence.

To the fourth, the desire of rule, and insatiable ambition.

To the sixth, evil and ineffectual gluttony.

To the seventh, subtle falsehood, always lying in wait.

And then being made naked of all the operations of harmony, it comes to the eighth nature, having its proper power, and sings praise to the father with the things that are, and all they that are present rejoice, and congratulate the coming of it; and being made like to them with whom it converses, it hears also the powers that are above the eighth nature, singing praise to God in a certain voice that is strange to them.

And then in order they return unto the father, and themselves deliver themselves to the powers, and becoming powers they are part of God.

This is the good, and to them that know, to be desired.

Furthermore, why do you say, what rests, but that understanding all men thou become a guide, and leader to them that are worthy; that the kind of humanity, or mankind, may be saved by God?

When Poèmandres had thus said this to me, he was mingled among the powers.

But I, giving thanks, and blessing the father of all things, rose up, being enabled by him, and taught the nature of the nature of the whole, and having seen the greatest sight or spectacle.

And I began to preach unto men, the beauty and fairness of piety and knowledge:

Oh people, men, born and made of the earth, which have given yourselves over to drunkenness and sleep, and to the ignorance of God, be sober and cease your surfeit, by which you are allured and visited by brutish and unreasonable sleep.

And they that heard me come willingly can with one accord; and then I said father:

Why, Oh men of the offspring of Earth, Why have you delivered yourselves over unto death, having power to partake of immortality? repent and change your minds, you that have together walked in error, and have been darkened in ignorance.

Depart from that dark light, be partakers of immortality, and forsake corruption.

And some of them that heard me, mocking and scorning went away, and delivered themselves up to the way of Death.

But others casting themselves down before my feet, besought me that they might be taught; but I, causing them to rise up, became a guide of mankind, teaching them the reasons how, and by what means they may be saved. And I sowed in them the words of Wisdom, and nourished them with ambrosia of immortality.

And when it was evening and the brightness of the same began wholly to go down, I commanded them to go down, I commanded them to give thanks to God; and when they had finished their thanksgiving, everyone returned to their own lodging.

But I wrote in myself the bounty and benevolence of Poèmandres; and being filled with what I most desired, I was exceedingly glad.

For the sleep of the body was the sober watchfulness of the mind; and the shutting of my eyes the true sight, and my silence great with child and full of good; and the pronouncing of my words the blossoms and fruits of good things.

And thus it came to pass, which I received from my mind, that is Poèmandres, the lord of the word; whereby I became inspired by God with the truth.

For which cause, with my soul and whole strenth, I give praise and blessing unto God the father.

Holy is God, the father of all things.
Holy is God, whose will is performed and accomplished by his own powers.
Holy is God, that determines to be known, and is known by his own.
Holy art thou, that by your word has established All things.
Holy art Thou, of whom all nature is the image.
Holy art Thou, whom nature did not form.
Holy art Thou, that are stronger than all power.
Holy art Thou, that are stronger than all excellency.
Holy art Thou, that are better than all praise.

Accept these reasonable sacrifices from a. pure soul, and a heart that stretched out to you.

Oh unspeakable, unutterable, to be praised with Silence.

I beseech you, that I may never err from the knowledge of you, Lord. Look mercifully upon me, and enable me, and enlighten with this grace those that are in ignorance, the brothers of my kind, but your sons.

Therefore I believe in you, and bear witness, and go into the life and light.

Blessed art thou, Oh Father; thy man would be sanctified with you, as you have given him all power.

Poèmandrès VII

After these things, I said, you are my mind, and I am in love with reason.

Staff of Hermès

Then said Poèmander, This is the mystery that to this day is hidden and kept secret; for nature being mingled with man, brought forth a wonder most great; for he/man having the nature of the harmony of the seven, from him who I told you, the fire, and the spirit, nature, continued not, but forthwith brought forth seven men, all hermaphrodites, and sublime, or on high, according to the natures of the seven governors.

for nature being mingled with man, brought forth a wonder most great; for he/man having the nature of the harmony of the seven, from him who I told you, the fire, and the spirit, nature, continued not, but forthwith brought forth seven men, all hermaphrodites, and sublime, or on high, according to the natures of the seven governors.

And after these things, Oh Poèmander, I said, I am now coming into a great desire and longing to hear, and to listen; do not digress or leave.

But he said, KEEP SILENCE, for I have not yet finished the first speech.

I said, behold, I am silent.


The generation therefore of these seven was after this manner:
The air being feminine and the water desirous of copulation, took from the fire its ripeness, and from the ethereal spirit, and so nature produced bodies after the species and shape of men.

And man was made of life and light, into soul and mind;
of life the Soul, and of light the Mind.

And so all the members of the sensible world, continued unto the period of the end, bearing rule and generating.

Hear now the rest of that speech you so much desire to hear.

When that period was fulfilled, the bond of all things was loosened and untied by the will of God; for all living creatures of being are hermaphrodites, or male and female twain, were loosened and untied together with man;

and so the males were apart by themselves
and the females likewise.

And straightway God said to the holy word:
increase in increasing and multiplying in multitude all you my creatures and creations. And let him that is imbued with a mind, know himself to be immortal; and that the cause of death is the love of the body, and let him learn all things that are.

When he had thus said, Providence by fate of harmony, made the mixtures and established the generations, and all things were multiplied according to their kind. And he that knew himself, came at length to the possessed of every substantial good.

But he that through the error of vanity loved the body, continues wandering in darkness, sensible, suffering the things of Death.

I said, but why do they that are ignorant, sin so much, that they should therefore be deprived of immortality?

He replied, You seem not to have understood what you have heard.

I said, I seem so to you; but I both understand and remember them.

He said, I am glad for your sake if thou understood them.

I replied, Tell me why are they worthy of death, that are in Death?

He replied, Because there goes a sad and dismal darkness before its body; of which darkness is the moist nature, of which moist nature the body consists in the sensible world, from where death is derived.

Do you understand?

I replied, But why, or how does he that understands, go or pass into God?

He replied, That which the word of God said, say I:
Because the father of all things consists of life and light whereof man is made.

I replied, You reply very well.

He said, God and the father is light and life of which man is made. If therefore you learn and believe yourself to be of the life and light, you will again pass into life.

I replied, But yet tell me more, Oh my mind, how I shall go into Life.

He replied, God says:
let man, imbued with a mind, take heed, consider, and know himself well.

I asked, Have not all men a mind?

Poèmandres then said:

Take heed what you say.

for I the mind come unto men that are holy and good, pure and merciful, and that live piously and religiously; and my presence is a help unto them. And forthwith they know all things, and lovingly they supplicate and propitiate the father; and blessing him, they give him thanks, and sing hymns unto him, being ordered and directed by filial affection and natural love. And before they give up their bodies to the death of them, they hate their senses, knowing their works and operations.

Rather I that am the mind itself, will not suffer the operations or works, which happen or belong to the body, to be finished and brought to perfection in them; but being the porter or doorkeeper, I will shut up the entrances of evil, and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works.


For the mind being God, male and female, life and light, brought forth his word, another mind or workman; which by being God of the fire, and of the spirit, fashioned and formed seven other governors, which in their circles contain the tangible world, whose government or disposition is called fate or destiny.

It straightway came forth, or exalted itself from the downward elements of God, The word of God, into the clean and pure workmanship of nature, and was united to the workman, mind, for it was con-substantial; and so the downward born elements of nature were left without reason, that they might be the only matter.

But the workman, mind, together with the word, containing the circles, and spinning them about, turned round as a wheel, his own workmanship; and suffered them to be turned from an indefinite beginning to an indeterminable end., for the always begin where they end.

And the circulation or running round of these, as the mind wills, out of the lower or downward-born elements, brought forth unreasonable or brutish creatures, for they had no reason, the air flying things and the water such as swim.

and the Earth and the water were separated, one from the other as the mind willed; and the Earth brought forth from herself, such living creatures as she had, four-footed and creeping beasts, wild and tame.

But the father of all things, the mind being life and light, brought forth man like unto himself, whom he loved as his proper birth; for he was all beauteous, having the image of his father.


Poèmandrès IV

Hermetic Cross


. . . When he had said these things, he was changed in his idea or form, and straightaway, in the twinkling of an eye, ALL things were opened unto me. And I saw an infinite sight, all things were becoming light, both sweet and exceedingly pleasant; and I was wonderfully delighted in seeing it.

But after a little while, there was a darkness made in part, coming down obliquely, fearful and hideous, which seemed to me to be changed into a certain moist nature, unspeakably troubled, which yielded a smoke as from fire; and from which proceeded a voice unutterable, and very mournful, but inarticulate, inasmuch as it seemed to have come from the light.

Then from the light, a certain holy word joined itself into nature, and then came the pure and unmixed fire from the moist nature upwards on high; it was exceeding light, and sharp, and dynamic as well. And the air, which was also light, followed the spirit and mourned up to fire insomuch that it seemed to hang and depend upon it.

And the Earth and the water stayed by themselves so mingled together, that the Earth could not be seen for the water, but they were moved because of the spiritual word that was carried upon them.

Then said Poèmander to me, Do you understand this vision, and what it means? I shall know, said I. Then said he, I am that light, the mind, thy God, who am before the moist nature that appeared out of the darkness; and that bright and shining word from the mind is the Son of God.

How is that,
I asked?
he replied, by understanding it:

That which in you that sees and hears the word of the Lord and the mind of the Father. God, differs not one from the other; and the union of these is Life.

I said, I thank thee.
He said, but first conceive well the light in your mind, and know it.

When he had said thus, for a long time we looked steadfastly one upon the other, insomuch that I trembled in his Idea or form.

But when he nodded to me, I beheld in my mind the light that is innumberable, and the truly indefinite ornament or world; and that fire is comprehended or contained in by a great moist power, and constrained to keep its place and form.

These things I understood, seeing the word, or Poèmander; and when I was mightily amazed.

he said again unto me, Have you seen in your mind that archetypal form which was before the indeterminate and infinite beginning?
Thus said Poèmander to me.

But how, I said, or from what substance are the elements of nature made?

He said, Of the Will and Counsel of God; which taking the word and beholding the beautiful world imitated it, and so made this world, by the principles and vtial seeds or soul-like productions of itself.

– The Hermetist

Poèmandrès III

“Avoid all conversation with the multitude or common people; for I would not have you subject to envy, much less to be ridiculous unto the multitude.

For the like always takes to itself that which is like, but the unlike never agrees with the unlike. Such discourses as these have very few auditors, and peradventure very few will have, but they have something peculiar unto themselves.

They do rather sharpen and whet evil men to their maliciousness; therefore it behooves to avoid the multitude, and take heed of them as not understanding the virtue and power of the things that are said.”

– Hermès Trismegistus

What do you mean, Oh Father?

This, Oh son: the whole of nature and composition of those living things called men, is very prone to maliciousness, and is very familiar, and as it were nourished with it., and therefore is delighted with it; now this wight, if it shall come to learn or know that the world was once made, and all things are done according to Providence or necessity, destiny or fate, bearing rule over all, will he not be much worse than himself, despising the whole because it was made? And if he may lay the cause of evil upon fate or destiny, he will never abstain from any evil work.

Wherefore we must look warily to such kind of people, that being in ignorance, they may be less evil for fear of that which is hidden and kept secret.

– Hermès Trismegistus

My thoughts being once seriously busied about things that are, and my understanding lifted up, all my bodily senses being exceedingly held back, as it is with them that are very tired, by reason either of fullness of meat, or of exhaustion: I thought I saw one of an exceeding great stature, and of an infinite greatness, call me by my name, and say to me, What do you wish to see and Hear? Or what would you understand to learn and know?

Then said I, Who are you?

– The Hermetist

I am, he said, Poemander, the mind of the great Lord, the most mighty and absolute emperor: I know what you wish, and I am always present with you.

– Hermès Trismegistus

Then I said, “I would learn the things that are, and understand the nature of them, and know God.

How? said he.

I answered that I would gladly hear and be open to the voice of the dweller.

Then said he, Have me again in thy mind, and whatsoever you wish to learn, I will teach you.

Poèmandrès II

Hermès Trismegistus: His First Book

But now, Oh my son, I will by heads run through the things that are. Understand what I say, and remember what you hear.

– Hermès Trismegistus

All things that are moved, only that which is not is immovable.
Every body is able to be changed.
Not every body is dissoluble.
Every living being is not mortal.
Nor every living thing is immortal.
That which may be dissolved is also corruptible.
That which abides is always unchangeable.
That which is unchangeable is Eternal.
That which is always made is always corrupted.
That which is made but once is never corrupted, neither becomes any other thing.
Firstly, God; secondly, the world; thirdly, man.
The World for man; man for God.
Of the Soul; that part which is sensible is mortal, but that part which is reasonable is immortal.
Every essence is immortal.
Every essence is unchangeable.
Everything that is, is paired.
None of the things that are paired stand still.
not all things are moved by a soul, but everything that is, is moved by a soul.
Everything that suffers is sensible; everything that is sensible, suffers.
Everything that is sad, rejoices also; and is a mortal living creature.
Not everything that has joy is also sad, but is an eternal living thing.
Not every body is sick; every body that is sick is corruptible.
The Mind is in God.
Reasoning (or disputing or discoursing) in Man.
Reason is in the mind.
The mind is absent of suffering.
No thing in a body is true.
All that is incorporeal, is void of lying.
Everything that is made is corruptible.
Nothing good is upon Earth; nothing evil is in Heaven.
God is good; man is evil.
Good is voluntary, or of its own accord.
Evil is involuntary, or against its will.
The gods choose good things, as good things.
Time is a divine thing.
Law is Human.
malice is the nourishment of the world.
Time is the corruption of man.
Whatsoever is in Heaven in unalterable.
All upon Earth is alterable.
Nothing in Heaven is enslaved; nothing upon Earth is Free.
Nothing is unknown in Heaven; nothing is known upon Earth.
The things upon Earth communicate not with those in Heaven.
All things in Heaven are beyond guilt; all things upon Earth are subject to reprehension.
That which is immortal is not mortal; that which is mortal is not immortal.
That which is sown is not always begotten; but that which is begotten always is sown.
Of a dissoluble body, there are two times; one for sowing generation, one from generation to death.
Of an everlasting body, the time is only from the generation.
Corruptible Bodies are increased and diminished.
Corruptible matter is altered into contraries; to wit, corruption and generation, but eternal matter goes only into itself, and its kind.
The generation of man is corruption; the corruption of man is the beginning of generation.
That which reproduces or begets another, is itself an offspring or begotten by another.
Of things that are, some are in bodies, some in their ideas.
Whatsoever things belong to operation or working, are in a body.
That which is immortal, partakes not of that which is mortal.
That which is mortal comes not into a body immortal; but that which is immortal comes into that which is mortal.
Operations or working are not carried upwards, but descend downwards.
Things upon Earth, do not advantage those in Heaven; but all things in Heaven do profit and advantage all tings upon Earth.
Heaven is capable, and a fit receptacle of everlasting bodies; the Earth of corruptible bodies.
The Earth is brutish; the Heaven is reasonable or rational.
Those things that are in Heaven are subjected or placed under it, but the things on Earth are place upon it.
Heaven is the first Element.
Providence is divine order. Necessity is the minister or servant of Providence.
Fortune is the carriage or effect of that which is without order; the idol of operation, a lying fantasy or opinion.
What is God? The immutable or unalterable good.
What is man? An unchangeable evil.

If you perfectly remember these heads, you cannot forget those things which in more words I have largely expounded unto you; for these are the contents or abridgment of them.

– Hermès Trismegistus


Hermès Trismegistus: His First Book

Oh my son, write this First Book, both for humanity’s sake, and for piety towards god

For there can be no religion more true or just, than to know the things that are; and to acknowledge thanks for all things, to Him that made them, which thing I shall not cease continually to do,.

What then should a man do, Oh Father, to lead his life well; seeing there is nothing here true?

Be Pious and Religious, Oh my son; for he that does so, is the best and highest philosopher, and without philosophy it is impossible ever to attain to the height and exactness of piety and religion.

But he that shall learn and study the things that are, and how they are ordered and governed, and by whom, and for what cause, or to what end, will acknowledge thanks to the workman, as to a good father, an excellent nurse, and a faithful steward, and he that gives thanks shall be pious or religious, and he that is religious shall know both where the truth is, and what it is, and learning that he will be yet more and more religious.

For never, Oh my son, shall, or can that soul, which, while it is in the body, lightens and lifts up itself to know and comprehends that which is good and true, slide back to the contrary. For it is infinitely enamored by this, and forgets all evils; and when it hath learned and known its father and progenitor, it can no more apostatize or depart from that good.

And let this, Oh son, be the end of religion and piety; by which when one arrives, you will both live well and die blessedly, while your soul is not ignorant wither it must return, and fly back again.

For this only, Oh son, is the way to truth, which our progenitors traveled in; and by which making their journey, they at length attained to the good. It is a venerable way and plain, but hard and difficult for the soul to go in that which is a body.

For first must it war against its own self, and after much strife and dissension, it must be overcome of the part; for the contention is of one against two, while it ascends and they strive to hold and detain it.

But the victory of both is not alike, for the one hastens to that which is good, but the other is a neighbor to the things that are evil; and that which is good, desires to be set at liberty, but the things that are evil love bondage and slavery.

And if the two parts be overcome, they become quiet, and are content to accept of it as their ruler; but if the one be overcome of the two, it is by them led and carried to be punished by its being and continuance here.

This is, Oh son, the guide in the way that leads thither; for you must first forsake the body before your death, and get the victory in this contention and difficult life, and when you have overcome, RETURN.