Book: The Golden Tractate Of Hermes Trismegistus by Hermes TrismegistusIn order to form a just estimate of the following Treatise, attributed to Hermes Trismegistus - as the Greeks termed Thoth - it will be necessary to consider that in all time there has been two opposing schools of science, or, as we may perhaps be permitted to term them, the positive and negative schools of thought - Theosophical and Materialistic Science.
The Grand old Egyptian culte proceeded in its researches upon the axiom that as all things were produced from primordial or first matter by the will and meditation of the One eternal mind, so all things were again resolvable to their first principle. The Father, of all Being, was the Sun, symbolising Spirit, the Mother the Moon, symbolising first matter and generation; and from these all nature had birth. It was the belief of the Adepts that in immense cycles everything would again be resolved into first principles. It was upon this basis that Theosophic Science proceeded, and sought by art the mode of transmuting one thing into another, or, to take one instance, to transform the baser metals into pure gold.
Amongst the occult sciences carefully studied by the Egyptian priesthood were Astrology and Alchemy. It is not possible, in our present knowledge, to assign an approximate date when Alchemy, the father of modern Chemistry, became a recognised science, or even to follow its development with precision. But whether we accept the Hebrew story of the Golden Calf as a literal fact, or an allegory of the time of Solomon, it at any rate proves that if Moses, or a later priest, could resolve gold to powder, the Egyptians, from whom that chemical problem was derived, were advanced in the science. This assumed qualification of Moses was greedily seized upon by the old Alchemists as a proof that the ancient lawgiver was an Adept of their secret fraternity; and they even gave out that an apocryphal work on the science was written by the Jewish king, Solomon. They also applied the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece to allegorise transmutation.
We consider that there is internal evidence in the works attributed to Hermes to prove that, though garbled by the later Greeks, they yet enshrine, with perhaps some redundancy, the actual doctrine of the Egyptian Thoth. The Egyptian priests are said by the various writers to have preserved the original scriptures down to the period of Greek domination; but those that have come down to us under the name of Hermes are the oral versions received in the course of secret initiation. The original books of Thoth, being in a language known only to the priests of Mizraim, have hence become lost to our generation.
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