By Clement Salaman
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Extra info for Asclepius: The Perfect Discourse of Hermes Trismegistus
Obedience to laws, bishops, and councils, and verbal declarations of belief might or might not assist that life, but they could never be a substitute for it. Gnosis was the true knowledge; the rest was just information, right or wrong. A light went out of the Church with the departure of the Gnostics, and with the take-over by Constantine and his successors the darkness deepened. But the fire of the spirit can never be extinguished and the centre of spiritual practice, the essence of Gnosticism, retreated to the monasteries and hermitages of Egypt, and later of Europe.
Thus the force of reason leads me to think that a man should be called a man only to the degree that, through contemplation of the divine, he looks down and sets little value on that part of him which is mortal, and which is joined to himself so that the lower world may be cared for. ‘In order that both parts of man may be complete, note that both are formed of four elements.
There is another class of living being, a class without soul, which yet does not lack senses so that it benefits from good treatment, while it is weakened and injured by bad treatment. I am speaking of all those things which take life from the health of their roots in the ground and their shoots; their forms are scattered throughout the whole earth. Heaven itself is totally filled by God. But the archetypes of which I have spoken dwell in the space co-extensive with their forms; and insofar as they belong to their archetypes the forms are immortal.