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Chapter V.—Explanation of the System of the Naasseni Taken from One of Their Hymns.

The foregoing remarks, then, though few out of many, we have thought proper to bring forward. For innumerable are the silly and crazy attempts of folly. But since, to the best of our ability, we have explained the unknown Gnosis, it seemed expedient likewise to adduce the following point. This psalm of theirs has been composed, by which they seem to celebrate all the mysteries of the error (advanced by) them in a hymn, couched in the following terms:—

The world’s producing law was Primal Mind,452452    The text of this hymn is very corrupt. The Abbe Cruice explains the connection of the hymn with the foregoing exposition, and considers it to have a reference to the Metempsychosis, which forms part of the system of the Naasseni. [Bunsen, i. 36.]

And next was First-born’s outpoured Chaos;

And third, the soul received its law of toil:

Encircl’d, therefore, with an aqueous453453    Or, “nimble.” form,

With care o’erpowered it succumbs to death.

Now holding sway, it eyes the light,

And now it weeps on misery flung;

Now it mourns, now it thrills with joy;

Now it wails, now it hears its doom;

Now it hears its doom, now it dies,

And now it leaves us, never to return.

It, hapless straying, treads the maze of ills.

But Jesus said, Father, behold,

A strife of ills across the earth

Wanders from thy breath (of wrath);

But bitter Chaos (man) seeks to shun,

And knows not how to pass it through.

On this account, O Father, send me;

Bearing seals, I shall descend;

Through ages whole I’ll sweep,

All mysteries I’ll unravel,

And forms of Gods I’ll show;

And secrets of the saintly path,

Styled “Gnosis,” I’ll impart.

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