The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, , at sacred-texts.com
(Pist.--Soph. 282). "And when the Saviour had spoken these things, he continuing in his discourse said unto Mary: Now, therefore Mary, hear concerning the thing whereof thou askest of me, Who is it that constraineth man to commit sin?" Now therefore when (the parents) have begotten the child, when there exists in him a small power, and a small soul, and a small "counterfeit of the spirit" (conscience); * in a word, all the three in him being small together. No one of them understandeth anything at all, whether it be good or evil, by reason of the weight of the heavy oblivion (of the former life) that holdeth them; the body likewise being small. And the child eateth of the meats of the world of the Rulers. And the soul gathereth to itself out of the portion of the soul that is concealed in these meats, and the Counterfeit of the spirit gathereth to itself out of the portion of evil that resideth in the meats and in the lusts thereof; the body, likewise, gathereth the insensible Matter that is in the meats. But the Fate herself taketh not out of the meats, inasmuch as she is not mixed up with them, but in what shape she came into the world, in the same she continueth. And little by little, the power, the soul, and the counterpart of the spirit grow to their full stature, and each one thereof is sensible after its own kind. † The power is sensible to seek after the Light above; the soul is sensible to seek after the place of Righteousness of the mixture, which same is the place of
confusion; the counterfeit of the spirit also seeketh after all wickedness and lusts and sins; and the body is sensible to nothing save how it may draw strength out of Matter, thus the three are forthwith sensible, each one according to its own nature, and the contentious ones (ἐριδαῖοι) also send ministers who shall follow them in order to bear witness against all the sins that they may commit, to regulate the manner in which they shall punish them when they come up for judgment, the counterfeit of the spirit also thinks upon and is sensible to all the sins and the evils that come near to that soul, which proceedeth from the Rulers of the Great Fate, and bringeth them into the soul. * But the inner power seeketh after the Place of Light, and all the godhead, whilst the counterfeit of the spirit turneth the soul awry, and constraineth it to work all its own unlawful deeds, and all its passions, and all its wickedness continually; and it abideth a different creature from the soul, and is an enemy to the soul, and causeth it to commit all these sins and wickednesses; and also stirreth up the ministers of contention, to bear witness against the sins that it is about to cause the soul to commit. And it cometh to pass that it resteth not day or night, and it troubleth the soul in dreams and in the lusts of this world, and maketh it to lust after all the things of this world; in a word, it urgeth the soul to do all the things that the Rulers have laid before it, and it is at war with the soul, contriving that it shall do the things it would not. Now therefore this is the enemy of the soul and constraineth it to do all kinds of sins; and when it comes to pass that the time of that man is accomplished, then cometh his Fate, which driveth that man unto the death appointed him by the Rulers, and by means of the bonds wherewith men are tied by Destiny. Then come the contentious Receivers to conduct that soul out of the body; and after that these Receivers go about with the soul through all the regions shewing unto it the Æons of the world, † whilst the counterfeit of the spirit and fate follow after that soul: but the power
that was in it goes up unto the Virgin of Light. And after those three days the Receivers lead that soul down from above into the hell of Chaos, they deliver it unto the tormentors (and. the Receivers return again into their own places), who punish the same according to the measure of its sins as ordained by the Archons for the discharge of souls. And the counterfeit of the spirit becomes the guard over the soul, appointed over it, convicting it, in one place of punishment after the other, of the sins which it hath committed, and it leadeth the soul into the region of the Archons of the Middle space. And when it hath arrived in their presence, they lead it unto the Mysteries of Fate, and if they find them not (sealed upon the soul), they seek after their own share; and those Archons punish the soul according to its sins, according to its deserts; of those punishments I will declare the form unto you in the 'Emanation of the Universe.' But after it has come to pass that the time of the soul's different punishments is accomplished in the prisons of the Archons of the Middle-space, then the counterfeit of the spirit leadeth the soul upwards out of all their regions, and bringeth it before. the light of the Sun, according to the commandment of the Primal Man * , and bringeth it before the judge, the Virgin of Light. And she trieth that soul; and in case she shall find it to be sinful, she planteth within the same (a particle of) the power of her own light, according unto its station in life, its body, and its share of sensibility. Then the Virgin of Light putteth her seal upon that soul and delivereth it unto one of her Receivers, who will see that it be placed in a body befitting the sins that it hath committed (in a former life). And verily I say unto you she shall not let the soul be released from the changes of its bodies (various metempsychoses), until it shall have accomplished its uttermost cycle in the shapes whereof it may be deserving; of all which I will tell you the form, and likewise the form of the several bodies into which they shall place the souls, according to the sins of each.
"But if it be a soul that hath not obeyed the counterfeit of the spirit in all its doings, but is righteous, and hath received the mysteries of Light that be in the First Court, or those that be in the
[paragraph continues] Second Court, or those in the Third which is the innermost part (adytum)--when the time of that soul in the body is accomplished, and when the counterfeit of the spirit followeth after that soul, together with fate, whilst the soul is on the road that leadeth on high, and before it is far distant therefrom, it uttereth the mystery for the breaking * of all the seals and all the bonds of the counterfeit of the spirit wherewith the Archons have bound it unto the soul. And it having uttered those words, the bonds of the counterfeit of the spirit are loosed so that it ceaseth to persecute that soul, and lets it go according to the commandment given unto it by the Archons of the Great Fate, who said unto it: Let not that soul go free, unless it shall utter unto thee the mystery for the breaking of the bonds wherewith we have bound thee unto it. Thereupon the soul, thus set free, leaves fate behind unto the Archons of the way of the Middle-space, and destroys the counterfeit of the spirit leaving it for the Archons in the place wherein they had bound it (at first) unto the soul; and in that moment it becometh a great flood of light, shining exceedingly; and the Receivers who had fetched it out of the body are afraid of that light, so that they fall down upon their faces, and the soul is made as it were a wing † of light, and passeth through all the regions of the Archons, and through all the courses of the Light, until it entereth into the place of its own kingdom for which it hath received the mystery.
"But if it be a soul that hath received the mystery in the First Court, which is the outer part, and after receiving and performing the mystery and being converted shall again have sinned, and when its time in the body is accomplished, and the Receivers come to fetch it, and the counterfeit of the spirit and fate pursue it by reason of the seals and bonds wherewith it hath been bound together with them by the Archons--then if the soul whilst yet in the way of its pursuers should utter the mystery that breaketh those seals and bonds, forthwith they are all loosed and the counterfeit of the spirit ceases to follow after the
soul. And the soul leaves its pursuers behind, for none of them have their own power, but the soul keeps its own power. Then the Receivers that belong to the mystery which the soul hath received come and snatch it away from the contentious Receivers, and these return to do the business of the Archons in the occupation of fetching away souls. But the Receivers of the soul, who pertain to the Light, themselves become a wing of light to that soul, and a vesture of light unto it. And they lead it not into Chaos, because it is not lawful to lead a soul, that hath obtained the mysteries, into Chaos; but they bring it into the road of the Archons of the Middle-space. And when they are come before the Archons of the Middle-space, the Archons depart out of the way of that soul, being in great fear, and in cruel burning, and in divers shapes, in a word being in great fear unto which there is no measure. And in that moment the soul utters the mystery of its defence before them; and they fall upon their faces out of fear of the mystery and of the defence which it hath uttered. And the soul leaves with them their fate, * saying unto them: Take to yourselves your fate, I am not coming into your place from henceforth, I am made a stranger unto you for ever, I am coming into the place of my own inheritance. And after the soul hath said this, the Receivers of the Light fly away with it on high, and bring it before the Æons of Destiny, giving it the proper speech of defence for the place and the seals thereof, and the soul shews to them the counterfeit of the spirit and utters the mystery that sundereth the bonds wherewith they had bound them both together, saying to them: Take to yourselves your counterfeit of the spirit, henceforth I come not in your place, I am made a stranger unto you for ever. And it shews them the seal of each and the form of defence. Then the Receivers fly away with the soul and bring it through all the Æons, she wing the seal, and the defence, in all the regions of King Adamas, and of all the Rulers of the places of the left hand (which defences and seals I will declare to you when I explain to you the emanation of the mystery). Then they bring the soul before the Virgin of Light, and it giveth to the Virgin her own seal, defence, and
the glory of hymns, and the Virgin of Light with the seven other Virgins examine that soul--all of them, that they may all find their own marks, their own seals, their own baptisms, and their own unctions upon it. (292) Then the Virgin of Light sealeth that soul, and the Receivers of Light baptize the same and give unto it the spiritual unction. And each of the Virgins of Light sealeth it with her own seal. Furthermore the Receivers deliver it over to the great Sabaoth, the Good One, who is hard by the gate of Life in the region of those pertaining unto the right hand, whom they call 'the Father'; and the soul rendereth unto him the glory of his hymns, of his seals, and of his justification. Then the great good Sabaoth sealeth it with his own seals, and the soul rendereth the knowledge, and the glory of hymns, and the seals belonging to the whole region of those that pertain unto the right hand. These also all seal it with their own seal; and Melchisedek, the great gatherer of Light--who is in the region of those pertaining to the right hand--also sealeth that soul. Then Melchisedek's gatherers also seal it and lead it into the Treasury of Light, and the soul rendereth glory and honour and their proper seals in all the regions of Light. Then those pertaining to all the regions of the Treasury of Light seal it with their own seals, and so it entereth into the place of its inheritance."
349:* Ἀντίμιμον πνεύματος.
349:† I.e. adapted by its constitution.
350:* The Platonic "divinæ particula auræ;"; the extrication of which from the confusion, μίγμα, was the real object of Christ's descent on earth, according to Valentinus.
350:† The sense seems to require the translation, "exhibit the soul unto the Æons."
351:* The Seir Anpin of the Rabbis.
352:* I.e. the formula, perhaps the "mystery of the seven vowels," so highly lauded elsewhere.
352:† I.e. a winged thing; referring p. 353 perhaps to the ancient emblem of the human-headed bird used in the same sense.
353:* Viz., the separate portion of its composition implanted in it by these Archons at its birth.