Hymn of the Initiants (Manual of Discipline)

1[Day and night will I offer my praise] and at all the appointed times which God has prescribed. When daylight begins its rule, when it reaches its turning-point,1 and when it again withdraws to its appointed abode; When the watches of darkness begin, when God opens the storehouse thereof,2 when He sets that darkness against the light,8 when it reaches its turning-point,4 and when it again withdraws in face of the light; When sun and moon shine forth from the holy Height, and when they again withdraw to the glorious Abode;5 When the formal seasons come on the days of new moon,6 when they reach their turning points,7 and when they yield place to one another, as each comes round anew;*

5 When the natural seasons come, at whatever time may be;

*The text here incorporates a series of esoteric glosses which have been omitted from the translation.

when, too, the months begin; on their feasts and on holy days, as they come in order due, each as a memorial in its season8-I shall hold it as one of the laws engraven of old on the tablets9 to render to God as my tribute the blessings of my lips.1O When the [natural] years begin; at the turning-points of their seasons, and when each completes its term on its natural day, yielding each to each-reaping-time to summer, sowing4ime to verdure;

In the [formal] years of weeks, in the several seasons thereof, and when, at the jubilee, the series of weeks begins11-yea, throughout my life, I shall hold it as one of the laws engraven of old on the tablets to offer to God as my fruits-the praises of my tongue, and to cull for him as my tithe the skilled melody of my lips. 12 All my music shall be for the glory of God; my lyre and my harp shall be devoted to tell of His holy dispensation; I shall put the flute to my lips to rehearse the due poise of His judgments.

10 With the coming of day and night I shall come ever anew into God’s covenant; and when evening and morning depart, shall ob<ser>ve how He sets their bounds.13 Only where God sets bounds. the unchangeable bounds of His Law-will I too set my domain.14 I shall hold it as one of the laws engraven of old on the tablets to face my sin and transgression and avouch the justice of God. I shall say unto God: ‘You, for me, art the Right!’ and unto the Most High: ‘For me You art cause of all good!’ Fountain of all knowledge, Spring of holiness, Zenith of all glory, Might omnipotent, Beauty that never fades, I will choose the path He shows me, and be content with His judgments.

Whenever I first put forth my hand or foot, I will bless His name;15 when first I go or come, when I sit and when I rise,16 when I lie down on my couch, I will sing unto Him. At the common board, or ever I raise my hand to enjoy the rich yield of the earth, with the fruit of my own lips I will bless Him as with an oblation.17

At the onset of fear and alarm, or when trouble and stress are at hand, I will bless him with special thanksgiving and muse upon His power, and rely on His mercies always, and come thereby to know that in His hand lies the judgment of all living, and that all His works are truth.18 Whenever distress breaks out, I still will praise Him; and when His salvation comes, join the chorus of praise.19 I will heap no evil on any, but pursue all men with good,20 knowing that only with God lies the judgment of all living, and He it is will award each man his deserts. I will not be envious of the profit of wickedness; for wealth unrighteously gotten my soul shall not 1ust21 I will not engage in strife with reprobate men,22 forestalling the Day of Requital.23 I will not turn back my wrath from froward men, nor rest content until justice be affirmed.

I will harbor no angry grudge against those that indeed repent,24 but neither will I show compassion to any that turn from the way. I will not console the smitten until they amend their course. I will cherish no baseness in my heart, nor shall there be heard in my mouth coarseness25 or wanton deceit; neither shall there be found upon my lips deception and lies.28

The fruit of holiness shall be on my tongue, and no heathen filth be found thereon. I will open my mouth with thanksgiving, and my tongue shall ever relate the righteousness of God and the perfidy of men until men’s transgressions be ended. Empty words will I banish from my lips; filth and perverseness from my mind. I will hedge in knowledge with sound counsel,

25 and protect [it] with shrewdness of mind. I will [set] a sober limit to all defending of faith and exacting of justice by force. I will bound God’s righteousness by the measuring-line of occasion. [I will temper] justice [with mercy], will show kindness to men downtrodden,

xi,1 bring firmness to fearful hearts, discernment to spirits that stray, enlighten the bowed with sound doctrine, reply to the proud with meekness, with humility answer the base -men rich in worldly goods, who point the finger of scorn and utter iniquitous thoughts.

To God I commit my cause. It is His to perfect my way, His to make straight my heart. He, in His charity, will wipe away my transgression. For He from the Wellspring of Knowledge has made His light to burst forth, and mine eye has gazed on His wonders; and the light that is in my heart has pierced the deep things of existence. He is ever the stay of my right hand.27 The path beneath my feet is set on a mighty rock28 unshaken before all things. For that rock beneath my feet 5 is the truth of God, and His power is the stay of my right hand; from the fount of His charity my vindication goes forth. Through His mysterious wonder light is come into my heart; mine eye has set its gaze on everlasting things. A virtue hidden from man, a knowledge and subtle lore concealed from human kind; a fount of righteousness, a reservoir of strength, a wellspring of all glory wherewith no flesh has converse-these has God bestowed on them that He has chosen, to possess them for ever. He has given them an inheritance in the lot of the Holy Beings, and joined them in communion with the Sons of Heaven,29 to form one congregation, one single communion, a fabric of holiness, a plant evergreen,30 for all time to come. But I—I belong to wicked mankind, to the communion of sinful flesh. My transgressions, my iniquities and sins, and the waywardness of my heart

10 condemn me to communion with the worm and with all that walk in darkness. For a mortal’s way is [not] of himself, neither can a man direct his own steps. The judgment lies with God, and ‘it is His to perfect man’s way. Only through His knowledge have all things come to be, and all that is, is ordained by His thought; and apart from Him is nothing wrought.31 Behold, if I should totter, God’s mercies will be my salvation. If I stumble in the waywardness of flesh, I shall be set aright through God’s righteousness ever-enduring. If distress break out, He will snatch my soul from perdition, and set my foot on the path. For He, in His compassion, has drawn me near unto Him,32 and His judgment upon me shall be rendered in His mercy. In his righteous truth He has judged me, and in His abundant goodness will shrive my iniquities, and in His righteousness cleanse me from all the pollution of man

15 and the sin of human kind, that I may acknowledge unto God His righteousness, and unto the Most High His majestic splendor. Blessed art You, 0 my God, Who have opened the heart of Thy servant unto knowledge. Direct all his works in righteousness, and vouchsafe unto the son of Your handmaid the favor which You have assured to all the mortal elect, to stand in Thy presence for ever. For apart from Thee no man’s way can be perfect, and without Thy will is nothing wrought. You it is that have taught all knowledge, and all things exist by Thy will; and there is none beside Thee to controvert Thy plan; none to understand all Thy holy thought, none to gaze into the depths of Thy secrets, none to perceive all Thy wonders and the might of Thy power.

20 Who can compass the sum of Thy glory? And what is mere mortal man amid Thy wondrous works? And what the child of woman to sit in Thy presence? For, behold, he is kneaded of dust, and his [ ] is the food of worms. He is but a molded heap,83 a thing nipped out of clay,34 whose attachment is but to the dust. What can such clay reply, or that which is molded by hand? What thought can it comprehend?

Leave a Reply