The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, , at sacred-texts.com
THE Lord, the Creator of immortal forms, O Tatios, after having accomplished His work, made nothing further, nor does He now make anything. Once consigned to themselves and united to one another, these eternal forms move without having need of anything; or if, indeed, they are necessary one to another, they have at least no need of any extraneous impulsion, since they are immortal. Such ought, indeed, to be the nature of the creations of the supreme God. But our (immediate) maker has a body; he has brought us forth, and unceasingly he brings forth, and will bring forth dissoluble and mortal bodies, for he ought not to imitate his own Creator, and, moreover, he cannot. For the first has evolved His
creations from His own essence, primordial and incorporeal; the second has formed us of that which is corporeal and engendered. Whence it follows naturally, that heavenly forms born of incorporeal essence are imperishable, while our bodies, being constituted of corporeal matter, are consequently weak in themselves, and need extraneous assistance.
For how, indeed, could the combination which composes our bodies be sustained, if it were not continually fed and supported by elements of the same nature? The earth, the water, the fire, and the air flow into us and renew our covering. We are so weak that we cannot even endure a single day of movement. Thou knowest well, my son, that without the repose of the night our bodies would not resist the day's toil. For this reason our good creator, in his universal providence, has ensured the continual life of his creatures by devising sleep, the restorer of movement, and by assigning to repose an equal or even longer time (than to labour). Meditate, my son, on this virtue of sleep, opposed to that of the soul, and not less energetic. For if the function of the soul be movement, bodies cannot live without slumber, which loosens and unbinds the yoke of the organism, and by its restoring action dispenses to it the matter which it needs, giving water to the blood, earth to the bones, air to the nerves and vessels, fire to the eyes. And hence the great pleasure which the body finds in sleep.
[NOTE.--The opening passage of this fragmentary discourse will not lead the reader into error if he bears in mind the pantheistic character of all Hermetic teaching. The influx of the divine substance into the universe is perpetual, but the channels or forms through which p. 132 it flows are immutable, unchangeable, and self-sustaining. The method of nature is determined from the beginning, and is incapable of variation or of intermittance. But the descent of soul into generation is a continual process, and will not cease until the creative period or "Day of Manifestation" closes. There has never been any suspension of the divine energies since the commencement of their primordial operation. The outflow of Being into Existence is unending, otherwise natural generation would cease, and evolution be arrested. The secondary creator mentioned in this fragment is the Demiourgos, the fabricator of the material universe.