AND now, inasmuch as it is given to man, and inasmuch as God has permitted, we have spoken concerning everything; it re-mains only, therefore, that we should bless and pray to God and return to our mortal cares, having satisfied our minds by treating of sacred things which are the food of the mind.
* * * *
Therewith, coming forth from the Sanctuary, they addressed to God their oraisons, turning themselves to the south, because when the sun begins to decline, he who would praise the God should direct his gaze thither, as in like manner, at sunrise, he should look towards the orient. And even while they pronounced their invocations, Asclepios, in a low voice, spoke thus:
O Tatius, let us ask our father that our prayers may be accompanied with odours of incense and perfumes.
Trismegistos heard, and was moved.
May the omen be favourable, O Asclepios, he said. It is almost a sacrilege to burn incense or any other perfume during prayer; He Who is all and Who contains all, desires nothing. Let us give Him praise and adoration only; the divinest odours are acts of grace which mortals render to God.
We give Thee thanks, O Lord Most High, for by Thy grace we have received the light of Thy knowledge; may Thy Name be adored and venerated, only Name by which Deity is praised according to the religion of our fathers! For Thou dost vouchsafe to accord to all of us the ancestral faith, piety, love, and the most worthy and gracious gifts, in that Thou bestowest upon us consciousness, reason, and intelligence. By consciousness we discern Thee, by reason we seek Thee, and intelligence endows us with the joy of understanding Thee. Saved by Thy divine power, let us be glad in beholding the manifestation of Thyself; let us be glad that, from the hour of our sojourn in the body, Thou dost deign to consecrate us to eternity. The only joy of Man is the knowledge of Thy majesty. We have known Thee, O magnificent Light, who art apprehended by Intelligence alone! We have known Thee, O true Way of Life, inexhaustible Source of all births! We have known Thee, O generative Plenitude of all Nature, Eternal Permanence! And in this our oraison, adoring the sanctity of Thy holiness, we ask of Thee only to grant that we may persevere in the love of Thy knowledge, in such wise that we may never separate ourselves from this manner of life. With which hope being filled, we go forth to take a pure repast without animal flesh.
94:1 The words with which this Discourse on Initiation ends are full of significance. The key to the Hermetic Secret is found when the aspirant adopts the Edenic Life: the life of purity and charity which all mystics--Hebrew, Egyptian, Buddhist, Greek, Latin, Vedic, with one consent, ascribe to man in the golden age of his primeval perfection. The first outcome of the Fall, or Degeneracy, is the shedding of blood and eating of flesh. The license to kill is the sign-manual of "Paradise Lost." And the first step towards "Paradise Regained" is taken when man voluntarily returns to the manner of life indicated by his organism as that alone befitting him, and thus reunites himself to the harmony of Nature and the Will of God. No man who follows this path and faithfully keeps to it will fail to find at length the Gate of Paradise. Not necessarily in a single life-time, for the process of purification is a long one, and the past experiences of some men may be such as to shut them out for many lives from the attainment of the promised land. But, nevertheless, every step faithfully and firmly trodden, brings them nearer to the goal, every year of pure life increasingly strengthens the spirit, purges the mind, liberates the will, and augments their human royalty. On the other hand, it is idle to seek union with God in the Spirit, while the physical and magnetic organism remains insurgent against Nature. Harmony must be established between man and Nature before union can be accomplished between man and God. For Nature is the manifest God; and if man be not in perfect charity with that which is visible, how shall he love that which is invisible? Hermetic doctrine teaches the kinship and solidarity of all beings, redeemed and glorified in man. For man does not stand aloof and apart from other creatures, as though he were a fallen angel dropped from some supernal world upon the earth, but he is the child of earth, the product of evolution, the elder brother of all conscient things; their lord and king, but not their tyrant. It is his part to be to all creatures a Good Destiny; he is the keeper, the redeemer, the regenerator of the earth. If need be, he may call on his subjects to serve him as their king, but he may never, without forfeiting his kingship, maltreat and afflict them. All the children of God, in every land and age, have abstained from blood, in obedience to an occult law which asserts itself in the breast of all regenerate men. The mundane Gods are not averse to blood, for by means of it they are invigorated and enabled to manifest. For the mundane Gods are the forces of the astral element in man, which element dominates in the unregenerate. Therefore, the unregenerate are under the power of the stars, and subject to illusion. Inasmuch as a man is clean from the defilement of blood, insomuch he is less liable to be beguiled by the deceptions of the astral serpent. Therefore, let all who seek the Hermetic secret, do their utmost to attain to the Hermetic life. If entire abstinence from all forms of animal food be impossible, let a lower degree be adopted, admitting the use of the least bloody meats only--milk, fish, eggs, and the flesh of birds. But in such a case, let the intention of the aspirant be continually united with that of Nature, willing with firm desire to lead, whenever possible, a yet more perfect life; so that in a future birth he may be enabled to attain to it.
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