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The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, [1887], at

p. 341


The several grades in the Gnostic Theogony, through all of which the soul had to pass before it could attain to supreme perfection, are briefly set before us in this passage of the Pistis Sophia (247):--

"And when the Saviour had said all these things unto His disciples, Andrew came forward and spoke: 'Lord, be not wroth with me, but have compassion upon me and reveal the mystery of the word which I will ask Thee, otherwise it is a hard thing in my sight and I understand it not.' Then the Saviour answered and said unto him: 'Inquire what thou wouldst inquire and I will declare the same unto thee, face to face, and without a parable.' Then Andrew answered and said: 'Lord, I wonder and marvel greatly how men that be in this world, when they are departed from out of this body of Matter, and have gone out of the world, how shall they pass through these firmaments, and all these rulers, and lords, and gods, and all these Great Invisible Ones, and all these that belong to the Middle-space, and those that belong to the place of them upon the right hand, and all the great emanations of the same, so that they may come within (beyond) them all, so that they may inherit the kingdom of Light? This business, therefore, Lord, is full of trouble in my sight.' When Andrew had thus spoken, the spirit of the Saviour was moved within Him, and he cried out and said: How long shall I bear with you, how long shall I suffer you! Do you then not understand at all, and are ye still ignorant? Know ye not and do ye not understand that ye are all angels, and archangels, and rulers, and lords, and gods, and the other Powers, and the glory thereof; you from yourselves and in yourselves in turn, proceeding out of one mass, and one matter, and one being, and all proceeding out of one confusion*

p. 342

[paragraph continues] And by the commandment of the First Mystery this confusion must needs be, until the great emanations of Light and the glory of the same shall have cleansed it; and they shall cleanse it not of themselves, but through the compulsion of the Great Ineffable One. And they have not received torments, neither have they changed their places at all, neither have they despoiled themselves, nor transformed themselves into various figures, neither have they been in the last affliction. For this cause chiefly ye are the dregs of the Treasury-house, and ye are the dregs of them that pertain to the right hand, and ye are the dregs of the great Invisible Ones, and of all the Rulers, and in a word ye are the dregs of them all. And ye were in great sorrows, and afflictions, and transformations, and in sundry shapes of this world; and by reason of these sorrows, ye were in agony and fought with this world and all the Matter that is therein, and ye did not slacken your hands in fighting against it until ye had found out the mysteries of the kingdom of Light, which rendered you, who fought, a pure Light, and ye were made the pure Light.'"

All which implies the grand idea that Man, although made of inferior, though cognate stuff, to the Angelic Powers, is susceptible, through the attainment of knowledge, of a perfection superior to theirs.


341:* Κερασμὸς, i.e. the mixture of the Light Divine with brute Matter, which it was the object of the Saviour's coming to rectify.

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