against flesh and blood – as he said (Ep 6:12) – but against the world rulers of this darkness and the spirits of wickedness.”
As long as the soul keeps running about everywhere copulating with whomever she meets and defiling herself, she exists suffering her just deserts. But when she perceives the straits she is in and weeps before the father and repents, then the father will have mercy on her and he will make her womb turn from the external domain and will turn it again inward, so that the soul will regain her proper character. For it is not so with a woman. For the womb of the body is inside the body like the other internal organs, but the womb of the soul is around the outside like the male genitalia which is external.
So when the womb of the soul, by the will of the father, turns itself inward, it is baptized and is immediately cleansed of the external pollution which was pressed upon it, just as garments, when dirty, are put into the water and turned about until their dirt is removed and they become clean. And so the cleansing of the soul is to regain the newness of her former nature and to turn herself back again. That is her baptism.
Then she will begin to rage at herself like a woman in labor, who writhes and rages in the hour of delivery. But since she is female, by herself she is powerless to beget a child. From heaven the father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride. She gave up her former prostitution and cleansed herself of the pollutions of the adulterers, and she was renewed so as to be a bride. She cleansed herself in the bridal chamber; she filled it with perfume; she sat in it waiting for the true bridegroom. No longer does she run about the market place, copulating with whomever she desires, but she continued to wait for him – (saying) “When will he come?” – and to fear him, for she did not know what he looked like: she no longer remembers since the time she fell from her father’s house. But by the will of the father
<…> And she dreamed of him like a woman in love with a man.
But then the bridegroom, according to the father’s will, came down to her into the bridal chamber, which was prepared. And he decorated the bridal chamber.
For since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden, they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire and they turn their faces from each other. But this marriage […]. But once they unite with one another, they become a single life. Wherefore the prophet said (Gn 2:24) concerning the first man and the first woman, “They will become a single flesh.” For they were originally joined one to another when they were with the father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true
love, her real master, as it is written (cf. Gn 3:16; 1 Co 11;1; Ep 5:23), “For the master of the woman is her husband.”
Then gradually she recognized him, and she rejoiced once more, weeping before him as she remembered the disgrace of her former widowhood. And she adorned herself still more so that he might be pleased to stay with her.
And the prophet said in the Psalms (Ps 45:10-11): “Hear, my daughter, and see and incline your ear and forget your people and your father’s house, for the king has desired your beauty, for he is your lord.”
For he requires her to turn her face from her people and the multitude of her adulterers, in whose midst she once was, to devote herself only to her king, her real lord, and to forget
the house of the earthly father, with whom things went badly for her, but to remember her father who is in heaven. Thus also it was said (Gn 12:1) to Abraham: “Come out from
your country and your kinsfolk and from your father`s house”
Thus when the soul had adorned herself again in her beauty […] enjoyed her beloved, and he also loved her. And when she had intercourse with him, she got from him the seed that is the life-giving spirit, so that by him she bears good children and rears them. For this is the great, perfect marvel of birth. And so this marriage is made perfect by the will of the father.
Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead. This is the ransom from captivity. This is the upward journey of ascent to heaven. This is the way of ascent to the father. Therefore the prophet said (Ps 103:1-5):
“Praise the lord, O my soul, and, all that is within me, (praise) his holy name. My soul, praise God, who forgave all your sins, who healed all your sicknesses, who ransomed your life from death, who crowned you with mercy, who satisfies your longing with good things. Your youth will be renewed like an eagle’s.”
Then when she becomes young again, she will ascend, praising the father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved. And this is due not to rote phrases or to professional skills or to book learning. Rather it is the grace of the […], it is the gift of the […]. For such is this heavenly thing. Therefore the savior cries out (Jn 6:44), “No one can come to me unless my Father draws him and brings him to me; and I myself will raise him up on the last day.”
It is therefore fitting to pray to the father and to call on him with all our soul – not externally with the lips, but with the spirit, which is inward, which came forth from the depth – sighing; repenting for the life we lived; confessing our sins; perceiving the empty deception we were in, and the empty zeal; weeping over how we were in darkness and in the wave; mourning for ourselves, that he might have pity on us; hating ourselves for how we are now.
Again the savior said (cf Mt 5:4, Lk 6:12): “Blessed are those who mourn, for it is they who will be pitied; blessed, those who are hungry, for it is they who will be filled.”
Again he said (cf. Lk 14:26), “If one does not hate his soul he cannot follow me.” For the beginning of salvation is repentance. Therefore (cf. Acts 13:24), “Before Christ`s appearance came John, preaching the baptism of repentance.”
And repentance takes place in distress and grief. But the father is good and loves humanity, and he hears the soul that calls upon him and sends it the light of salvation. Therefore he said through the spirit to the prophet (cf. 1 Cl 8:3), “Say to the children of my people, ‘If your sins extend from earth to heaven, and if they become red like scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and if you return to me with all your soul and say to me ‘my Father!’, I will heed you as a holy people.'”
Again another place (Is 30:15), “Thus says the lord, the holy one of Israel: “If you return and sigh, then you will be saved and will know where you were when you trusted in what is empty.”
Again he said in another place (Is 30:19-20), “Jerusalem wept much, saying, ‘Have pity on me.’ He will have pity on the sound of your weeping. And when he saw, he heeded you. And the lord will give you bread of affliction and water of oppression. From now on, those who deceive will not approach you again. Your eyes will see those who are deceiving you.”
Therefore it is fitting to pray to God night and day, spreading out our hands towards him as do people sailing in the middle of the sea: they pray to God with all their heart without hypocrisy. For those who pray hypocritically deceive only themselves. Indeed, it is in order that he might know who is worthy of salvation that God examines the inward parts and searches the bottom of the heart. For no one is worthy of salvation who still loves the place of deception.
Therefore it is written in the poet (Homer, Odyssey 1.48-1.59), “Odysseus sat on the island weeping and grieving and turning his face from the words of Calypso and from her tricks, longing to see his village and smoke coming forth from it. And had he not received help from heaven, he would not have been able to return to his village.”
Again Helen <…> saying (Odyssey 4.260-261), “My heart turned itself from me. It is to my house that I want to return.”
For she sighed, saying (Odyssey 4.261-4.264), “It is Aphrodite who deceived me and brought me out of my village. My only daughter I left behind me, and my good, understanding, handsome husband.”
For when the soul leaves her perfect husband because of the treachery of Aphrodite, who exists here in the act of begetting, then she will suffer harm. But if she sighs and repents, she will be restored to her house.
Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place, to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not sighed to God and wept for the oppression of its labors.
Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9), “I was greatly troubled in my groaning. I will bathe my bed and my cover each night with my tears. I have become old in the midst of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you who work at lawlessness, for behold the lord has heard the cry of my weeping and the lord has heard my prayer.”
If we repent, truly God will heed us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen!
The Expository Treatise on the Soul
Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990.
THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY
The Nag Hammadi Library
The Gospel of the Egyptians
Translated by Alexander Bohlig and Frederik Wisse
The holy book of the Egyptians about the great invisible Spirit, the Father whose name cannot be uttered, he who came forth from the heights of the perfection, the light of the light of the aeons of light, the light of the silence of the providence <and> the Father of the silence, the light of the word and the truth, the light of the incorruptions, the infinite light, the radiance from the aeons of light of the unrevealable, unmarked, ageless, unproclaimable Father, the aeon of the aeons, Autogenes, self-begotten, self-producing, alien, the really true aeon.
Three powers came forth from him; they are the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son, from the living silence, what came forth from the incorruptible Father. These came forth from the silence of the unknown Father.
And from that place, Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons and the light of each one of their powers. And thus the Son came forth fourth; the Mother fifth; the Father sixth. He was […] but unheralded; it is he who is unmarked among all the powers, the glories, and the incorruptions.
From that place, the three powers came forth, the three ogdoads that the Father brings forth in silence with his providence, from his bosom, i.e., the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son.
The <first> ogdoad, because of which the thrice-male child came forth, which is the thought, and the word, and the incorruption, and the eternal life, the will, the mind, and the foreknowledge, the androgynous Father.
The second ogdoad-power, the Mother, the virginal Barbelon, epititioch[…]ai, memeneaimen[…], who presides over the heaven, karb[…], the uninterpretable power, the ineffable Mother. She originated from herself […]; she came forth; she agreed with the Father of the silent silence.
The third ogdoad-power, the Son of the silent silence, and the crown of the silent silence, and the glory of the Father, and the virtue of the Mother, he brings forth from the bosom the seven powers of the great light of the seven voices. And the word is their completion.
These are the three powers, the three ogdoads that the Father, through his providence, brought forth from his bosom. He brought them forth at that place.
Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons, and the throne which is in him, and the powers which surround him, the glories and the incorruptions. The Father of the great light who came forth from the silence, he is the great Doxomedon-aeon, in which the thrice- male child rests. And the throne of his glory was established in it, this one on which his unrevealable name is inscribed, on the tablet […] one is the word, the Father of the light of everything, he who came forth from the silence, while he rests in the silence, he whose name is in an invisible symbol. A hidden, invisible mystery came forth: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE oooooooooooooooooooooo uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (the 7 vowels, 22 times each).
And in this way, the three powers gave praise to the great, invisible, unnameable, virginal, uncallable Spirit, and his male virgin. They asked for a power. A silence of living silence came forth, namely glories and incorruptions in the aeons […] aeons, myriads added on […], the three males, the three male offspring, the male races …
(IV 55, 5-7 adds: … the glories of the Father, the glories of the great Christ, and the male offspring, the races …)
… filled the great Doxomedon-aeon with the power of the word of the whole pleroma.
Then the thrice-male child of the great Christ, whom the great invisible Spirit had anointed – he whose power was called ‘Ainon’ – gave praise to the great invisible Spirit and his male virgin Yoel, and the silence of silent silence, and the greatness that […] ineffable. […] ineffable […] unanswerable and uninterpretable, the first one who has come forth, and (who is) unproclaimable, […] which is wonderful […] ineffable […], he who has all the greatnesses of greatness of the silence at that place. The thrice-male child brought praise, and asked for a power from the great, invisible, virginal Spirit.
Then there appeared at that place […], who […], who sees glories […] treasures in a […] invisible mysteries to […] of the silence, who is the male virgin Youel.
Then the child of the child, Esephech, appeared.
And thus he was completed, namely, the Father, the Mother, the Son, the five seals, the unconquerable power which is the great Christ of all the incorruptible ones. …
… (one line unrecoverable)
… holy […] the end, the incorruptible […], and […], they are powers and glories and incorruptions […]. They came forth …
… (5 lines unrecoverable)
… This one brought praise to the unrevealable, hidden mystery […] the hidden …
… (4 lines unrecoverable)
… him in the […], and the aeons […] thrones, […] and each one […] myriads of powers
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