Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, by G.R.S. Mead, , at sacred-texts.com
THE first extract occurs on pp. 252-254 of the Askew Codex, and runs as follows:
"And they that are worthy of the mysteries which lie in the Ineffable, that is to say, those that The Immanent Limbs of the Ineffable.
have not emanated--they are prior to the First Mystery. To use a similitude and correspondence of speech that ye may understand, they are the Limbs of the Ineffable. And each is according to the dignity of its glory, the head according to the dignity of the head, the eye according to the dignity of the eye, the ear according to the dignity of the. ear, and the rest of the Limbs (or Members) [in like fashion]; so that it is manifest that 'there are many members, but only one body.' Of this I speak to you in a paradigm, a correspondence, and a similitude, but not in the reality of its configuration; I have not revealed the [whole] word in truth.
"But the Mystery of the Ineffable and every Limb which is in It--that is to say, they that The Christ is the Ineffable. dwell in the Mystery of the Ineffable and they that dwell in [that Ineffable]--and also the three Spaces which follow after them, according to the mysteries, in truth and verity, all that [is Myself]. I am the Treasure of all of them, apart from which there is no treasure, apart from which there is no individuality in the world; but there are other words [? logoi], other mysteries, and other regions.
The Gnosis of the Christ."Now, therefore, Blessed is he [among men] who hath found the mysteries of the Space towards the exterior. He is a God, who hath found the words [? logoi] of the mysteries of the second Space in the midst. He is a Saviour and free of every space who hath found the words of the mysteries, the words of the third Space towards the interior. He is the very Plērōma itself (or more excellent than the universe)--the object of desire of all who are in that third Space--who hath found the Mystery in which they [all] are, and in which they are [all] set. Wherefore is he equal to [all of them]. For he hath found also the words [? logoi] of the mysteries, which I have set down for you in a similitude, namely, the Limbs of the Ineffable. Amen, I say unto you, he who hath found the words of these mysteries in the Truth of God [? the God of Truth], that man is chief in the Truth, he is its peer, because of these words and mysteries. The universe verily oweth its being to these words and mysteries. For which cause he who hath found the words of these mysteries, is equal to the Chief [of all]. It is the gnosis of the Gnosis of the Ineffable concerning which I speak unto you this day."
The second series of extracts is far longer and comes at the end of the Codex, occupying pp. 357-390. It begins with the words:
The Initiation of the Disciples on the Mount."It came to pass, therefore, after they had crucified Jesus, our Master, that He rose from the dead on the third day. And the disciples came together unto Him and besought Him, saying: 'Master, have mercy upon us, for
we have left father and mother, and the whole world, and have followed Thee.'"
We are at once introduced to an atmosphere of ceremonies and invocations. Jesus stands by the Sea of the Ocean, surrounded by his disciples, male and female, and makes invocation with solemn prayer, saying: "Hear me, O Father, Father of all fatherhood, Boundless Light!" The prayer consists of the mystic vowels and formulæ interspersed with "authentic" names.
The disciples are grouped round Him, the women disciples stand behind, all clad in white linen robes; Jesus stands at an altar and with His disciples turns to the four quarters, invoking three times the name IAŌ. The interpretation of which is: "I, The plērōma hath gone forth; A, They shall return within; Ō, There shall be an end of ends."
This is followed by a mystic formula, which is interpreted as: "O Father of every fatherhood of the boundless [light-spaces], hear Me because of My disciples, whom I have brought into Thy presence, that they may believe in all the words of Thy truth; grant unto them all things for which I have cried unto Thee, for I know the Name of the Father of the Treasure of Light."
Then Jesus, whose mystery-name is Aberamenthō, invokes the Name of the Father of The First Veil is Drawn Aside. the Treasure, saying: "Let all the mysteries of the rulers, authorities, archangels, and all the powers and all the works of the Invisible Gods [their three mystery-names being
given] withdraw themselves and roll themselves on to the right."
Thereupon all the lower regions speed to the west, to the left of the disk of the sun and of the moon.
The disk of the sun is symbolically described as a vast dragon with its tail in its mouth, mounted on seven powers, and drawn by four others figured as horses. The car of the moon is figured as a ship, its helms, or steering oars, being two dragons, male and female; it is drawn by two. oxen, and steered by a babe on the poop, and at the prow is the face of a cat.
They enter the Way of the Midst.And Jesus and His disciples soar aloft into the aërial regions, the Way of the Midst, and come to the first order of the Way of the Midst.
The Ordering of the Fate-Sphere is Described.Here the disciples are instructed on the nature of this space and its rulers. They are told that above them there are Twelve Æons, six being ruled by Adamas and six by Iabraōth. The six under Iabraōth have repented and practised the mysteries of light, and have therefore been carried by Ieou, "the father of My father," to a pure atmosphere near the light of the sun. The six under Adamas have refused the mysteries of light, and persisted in the mystery of intercourse, or sexual union, and procreated rulers and archangels, and angels, workmen, and decans. They have accordingly been bound by Ieou in the Fate-Sphere. There are now three hundred and sixty of this brood, and again eighteen hundred (1800 = 360 × 5) in each æon. Over them Ieou has set five other Great Rulers, called in the world of human kind by these names: Kronos, Arēs,
[paragraph continues] Hermēs, Aphroditē, and Zeus. Their incorruptible mystery-names and their genesis is also given.
Zeus is the head of the four, for Ieou reflected "that they had need of a helm to steer the world and the æons of the spheres." Zeus is good, and passes three months in the revolutions of the remaining four ruling powers, "so that every ruler in which he cometh is freed from his iniquity." The peculiarity of Zeus is that he has two æons for his habitation.
All this refers to the ordering of the Fate-Sphere; but Mary, who is also in these Extracts represented as the chief questioner, desires to be informed as to why the aërial Ways of the Midst, in which they are, and which lie below the Fate-Sphere, are "set over great torments." She beseeches the Saviour to have mercy upon them, "lest the receivers carry off our souls to the judgments of the Ways of the Midst."
The Master in answer promises to give them the mysteries of all gnosis: the mystery of the Twelve All Mysteries up to those of the Light-Treasure are Promised them. Æons of the Rulers, their seals, their numbers, and the manner of invocation to enter into their regions; in like manner the mystery of the Thirteenth Æon (the Left); the mystery of the Baptism of them of the Midst; the mystery of the Baptism of them of the Right; and the great mystery of the Treasure of Light.
"I will give unto you all the mysteries and every gnosis, that ye may be called the Sons of the Plērōma, perfect in every gnosis and every mystery. Blessed indeed are ye beyond all men who are on the earth, for the Sons of Light have come in your time."
In these Ways of the Midst are further bound
The Punishments of the Ways of he Midst.by Ieou three hundred and sixty of the brood of Adamas, and five great rulers are further established over them, in a sort of reflection of the space above. The authentic names, types, and sub-hierarchies of these five are given. It is explained how all is ordered by Ieou, who is the providence of all the rulers and gods and powers which are in the matter of the Light of the Treasure, and by Zorokothora (Melchizedec), the legate of all the light-powers which are purified among the Rulers. These two great Lights descend at appointed seasons, to gather together the pure radiance of the light from those they have cleansed among the Rulers; this is done when the number and time of their task come to pass. But when the great Lights withdraw again, then the Rulers again rebel because of the "wrath of their iniquity," and march against the light-powers of the souls, and "hurry off all the souls that they can harry and ravish, to destroy them in the smoke of their darkness and their evil fire."
The Duration of the Punishments.The times that souls must pass in each of these regions of punishment of the five dæmonial hierarchies are given, and how these times are brought to an end. To take the first as an example: "It cometh to pass after these years, when the sphere of the Little Sabaōth (that is to say, Zeus) revolveth so as to come into the first æon of the Sphere, which is called in the world the Ram of Bubastis (that is to say, Aphroditē); when, then, she [Aphroditē] shall have come into the seventh house of the Sphere, which is the Balance, [it cometh to pass that] the veils between them of the Right and
them of the Left are drawn aside, and there glanceth forth from the height, among them of the Right, the Great Sabaōth, the Good, [lord] of the whole world and of all the Sphere. But before he glanceth forth, he gazeth down on the regions of Paraplēx [the ruler of the first dæmonian hierarchy], that they may be dissolved and perish, and that, all the souls which are in her torments may be brought forth and again led into the Sphere, for they are perishing in the torments of Paraplēx."
And so for the other four of the five, with appropriate modifications. It appears that Ieou and Melchizedec are powers behind or symbolized by the sun and moon.
"These then are the operations of the Ways of the Midst concerning which ye have questioned Me."
And when the disciples had heard this, they bowed down and adored Him, saying: "Save us, The Disciples Pray for Mercy to Sinners. O Master, have mercy upon us, that we may be preserved from these malignant torments which are prepared for sinners. Woe unto them! woe unto the children of men! for they are like the blind feeling in the darkness, and seeing not. Have mercy upon us, O Master, in the great blindness in which we are, and have mercy upon the whole race of human kind; for they lie in wait for their souls, as lions for their prey, to tear them in pieces and make food for their torments, because of the forgetfulness and ignorance in which they are. Have mercy, therefore, upon us, O Master, our Saviour, have mercy upon us, preserve us from this great stupor!"
Jesus said unto His disciples: "Have courage, fear not, for ye are blessed; nay, I will make you lords over all these, and place them in subjection under your feet. Ye remember that I have already said unto you before My crucifixion: 'I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens.' Now again I say unto you, I will give them unto you."
They Enter an Atmosphere of Exceeding Great Light.When Jesus had thus spoken, He chanted an invocation in the Great Name, and the regions of the Ways of the Midst were hidden from view and Jesus and His disciples remained in an atmosphere of exceeding great light.
Jesus said unto His disciples: "Come unto Me." And they came unto Him. He turned towards the four angles of the world; He uttered the Great Name over their heads, and blessed them and breathed on their eyes. Jesus said unto them: "Look up, and mark what ye see!"
The Vision of the Baptism Mysteries.And they raised their eyes unto the height and saw a great light, exceedingly brilliant, which no man in the world could describe.
He said unto them a second time: "Look into the light, and mark what ye see!"
They said: "We see fire and water, and wine and blood."
Jesus, that is to say Aberamenthō, said unto His disciples: "Amen, I say unto you, I have brought nothing into the world when I came, save this fire and water, this wine and blood. I brought down the water and fire from the region of the Light of light, from the Treasure of Light; I brought down the wine and the blood from the region of Barbēlō.
[paragraph continues] And shortly after My Father sent unto Me the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
"The fire, the water, and the wine are for cleansing all the sins of the world; the blood I had as a sign of the body of human kind, and I received it in the region of Barbēlō, the great power of the Divine Invisible [? the Thirteenth Æon]; while the Spirit draweth all souls and bringeth them into the region of Light."
This is the "fire" He came to "cast on the earth" according to a former saying; this the "living water" the Samaritan woman should have asked for; this the "cup of wine" in the eucharist; this the "water" that came from His side.
"These are the mysteries of the light which remit sins"--that is to say, their names merely.
After this Jesus again gives the command that the powers of the Left return to their own region, They Return to Earth. and the disciples find themselves once more on the Mount of Galilee.
Hereupon Jesus celebrates the mystic eucharist and the first Baptism of Water, with ceremonies The Celebration of the Mystic Eucharist. and invocations almost identical to those in the Codex Brucianus. The disciples enquire further as to the nature of the Baptism of Incense [? Fire], the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Spiritual Chrism, and ask that the "Mystery of the Light of Thy Father" be revealed to them.
Jesus said unto them: "As to these mysteries which ye seek after, there is no mystery which is The Mysteries that are to be Revealed. higher than them. They will bring your souls that into the Light of lights, into the regions of Truth
and Righteousness, into the region of the Holy of all Holies, into the region where there is neither female nor male, nor form in that region, but only Light, unceasing, ineffable.
"No mystery is higher than the mysteries ye seek after, save only the mystery of the Seven Voices and their Nine-and-Forty Powers and Numbers; and the Name which is higher than them all, the Name which sums up all their names, all their lights, and all their powers."
The Punishments of Sinners in the Lower Regions and the Evil Bodies the Receive when Reborn. Here follows a lacuna, and the text is resumed in the middle of a totally different subject. It treats of the punishment of him that curseth, of the slanderer, of the murderer, of the thief, of the contemptuous, of the blasphemer, of him who hath intercourse with males, and of a still fouler act of sorcery, the mention of which stirs the infinite compassion of the Master to wrath and denunciation.
The few remaining pages of the Codex are taken up with a description of the after-death state of the righteous man who has not received the mysteries; a man must suffer for each separate sin, but even the greatest of sinners, if he repent, shall inherit the Kingdom. The time favourable for the birth of those who shall find the mysteries is described.
The Cup of Wisdom.As for the righteous man who has not been initiated, in his next birth he shall not be given the draught of oblivion, but "there cometh a receiver of the little Sabaōth, the Good, him of the Midst; he bringeth a cup full of intuition and wisdom, and also prudence, and giveth it to the soul, and casteth the soul into a body which will not be
able to fall asleep and forget, because of the cup of prudence which hath been given unto it, but will be ever pure in heart and seeking after the mysteries of light, until it hath found them, by order of the Virgin of Light, in order [that that soul] may inherit the Light for ever."
The Extracts end with the disciples again beseeching Jesus to have mercy upon them; and The Note of a Scribe. the whole Codex is terminated by the note of a scribe describing the preaching of the apostles:
"They went forth three by three to the four points of heaven; they preached the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom in the whole world, the Christ being active with them in the words of confirmation and the signs and wonders which accompanied them. And thus was known the Kingdom of God in all the land and in all the world of Israel, [and this] is a testimony for all the nations which are from the east even unto the west."