Seven exhortations to the dead, written by Basilides in Alexandria, the city where East and West meet.
The Seventh Sermon
At night the dead came back again and amidst complaining said: "One more thing we must know, because we had forgotten to discuss it: teach us concerning man!"
-- Man is a portal through which one enters from the outer world of the gods, demons and souls, into the inner world, from the greater world into the smaller world. Small and insignificant is man; one leaves him soon behind, and thus one enters once more into infinite space, into the microcosm, into the inner eternity.
In immeasurable distance there glimmers a solitary star on the highest point of heaven. This is the only god of this lonely one. This is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity.
In this world, man is Abraxas. who gives birth to and devours
his own world.
This star is man's god and goal.
It is his guiding divinity; in man finds repose.
To it goes the long journey of the soul after death; in it shine all things which otherwise might keep man from the greater world with the brilliance of a great light.
To this One, man ought to pray.
Such prayer increases the light of the star.
Such a prayer builds a bridge over death.
It increases the life of the microcosm; when the outer world grows cold, this star still shines.
There is nothing that can separate man from his own God, if man can only turn his gaze away from the fiery spectacle of Abraxas.
Man here, God there. Weakness and insignificance here, eternal creative power there. Here is but dampness and dark cold. There all is sunshine.
Upon hearing this the dead fell silent, and they rose up like smoke rises over the fire of the shepherd, who guards his flock by night.