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An ABC on
32. That men in Popery have invocated great Saints that are dead, and that they also have appeared to men, and wrought Wonders [Margin Note: or Miracles], we acknowledge it, and it is true; and although it be now taught against, it is by those that are indeed quite ignorant in it: It hath another A.B.C. which all of them on both sides do not at all understand.
33. The Faith of one receives the Faith of another; the Faith of the living took hold on the Faith of the Saints departed, and the Faith, [Margin Note: viz. the will that is strong], has wrought Wonders.
34. Yea it is so powerful, that it can throw down Mountains! Shall then the pure Faith of the Saints in the Faith of the living be able to do nothing? Indeed it could even dissolve [Margin Note: or break in pieces] the whole World, if God would but suffer it.
35. As he has permitted it to work so far sometimes, that the Heathen have been converted by such means, when they have seen such Wonders wrought at the Death [Margin Note: or departure or burial] of the Saints.
36. Should not a soul in Heaven be willing to put forth its Faith for the glory of God, and the working of wonders for him? This is done by the Holy Ghost, who hath wrought the Wonders by the Faith of both parties; and they are only the Wonders of God and his Children.
37. But this is wholly cast to the Ground; and now there is so learned a school, that it condemneth all Gods Wonders [Margin Note: or miracles]: but it is Babel, and not the Spirit of God; it is envious Pride; they stand up and cry: Come ye all to me; here is Christ, here is the Gospel: indeed there is Pride, Covetousness, Ambition, Self-seeking, and Vain-glory, an exaltation of proud Babel.
38. It is even the Old Antichrist, and they are young Twigs sprung out of the old Tree, and they have stirred up the Turba with their strong wrathful Sap: which Turba shall root up the whole Tree, for God hath cursed it: it is wholly evil, and worm-eaten; it must fall.
39. For there is a young Tree grown out of the Root, out of the old Root, which shall discover what the old Tree hath been in its Wonders.
40. Yet we would not upbraid any, but only speak of our Wonders; and say that the Servant shall enter into the House, and be free; for the Time is at hand, that he should eat with the Son, and be merry and rejoice with him.
41. Thus we answer this your Question summarily, that indeed, the holy Souls do certainly know of our holy Works, and approve of them; but they do not at all regard false works; for they dwell in another Principle, into which no evil Work can come, neither do they look upon or regard it; they do not enquire after that which belongs to the Devil; they know nothing but that which reaches to their Principle.
42. Children, Parents, Friends, and Strangers are alike to them; for in Heaven we are all Brethren: they take no greater care of Parents, or Children, than they do of others, unless they serve God; and then their service of God is acceptable and joyful to them; but they enter not into their Turba [Margin Note: the Evil which they do or suffer justly].
43. For after the last Day, honest Parents shall know nothing of their Children which are in Hell; therefore it is sufficiently and plainly known to us, that they now also take no care about wicked matters.
Jacob Boehme's "Forty Questions
concerning the Soul" ,
On the Broad and
1. DEAR Children of God, let us heartily and seriously consider, from whence we are, and whither we are to go, and what we do and purpose, that we may not lose the eternal and highest Good: wherefore do we so very much labour after temporary pleasure and voluptuousness, after Honour, Money, and Goods? are we not in this World strange Guests, and Pilgrims, which should continually expect when this life shall end? we are not created for the pleasure and lust of this life; but for Paradisiacal Joy, and to lead a simple child-like life; we should not know of any pomp, state, or haughtiness: but live together as children in a loving sport of Joy: we are gone out from our true, pure, Paradisiacal Mother; wherein we should live in her as dear and loving children.
2. We are shut up in the Mother [the temporary Nature] which generates the Evil Beast; and have received beastial Properties; we do not otherwise, than as Evil Beasts; we have given up our selves to a strange Mother, which educates us, and leads us captive in her bands: and we must at length leave the outward Man to the Earthly Mother; we cannot get away from her, for she hath captivated us in flesh and blood: she breeds us, and brings us up in herself, and keeps us for her children: But yet we have a very precious Jewel hidden therein, with which we are God's children: with that let us endeavour after the highest Good, that we may attain it.
3. Dear Children, our strife about the Highest Good, consists not in the sword, in killing and slaying, that we should make Wars and fight for the Cause of God and his Kingdom, and so persecute and murder one another: neither does it consist in much knowing: but merely in a simple child-like obedience, that we should go out from the will of our flesh, which is Beastial, wherein the Devil dwells, and enter into the will of God: it lies in no man's opinion or knowledge; for the Spirit of God gives knowledge to every one out of the Wonders, out of which he is born.
4. You see how we are put under subjection to the Spirit of this world: for when a child is sown in [into] its mothers womb [body], that Spirit is there ready, and forms it according to the wheel of the outward Nature; that gives condition, will, and disposition to it: that shows the wonders of its secret Mystery, and opens to it the way of the will [of the Spirit of the outward world] thereof, that leads it into the entrance into its Mother, and out of its Mother through this world: that gives its body to the Earth, and its soul to Hell.
5. Therefore since we know this, we ought to lift up the Spirit of our soul, and make war only against that Evil Earthly Spirit, and oppose it with our soul and body, and not against our brethren and sisters; we cannot overcome the Devil with disputing and knowing much; neither can we maintain Gods Word, with wars and the sword, but with the simple obedient life of God [A Godly or Divine Life], that we be contented with that little which we have, and depart from the Evil lust after Pride, into an humble child-like life, wherein every one should with all diligence perform his work, for the benefit and profit of his brethren and sisters, endeavouring thereby to serve God his Creator, and to pleasure his brother: not seeking his own honour, but with a desire to do so well, that his brother and sister may sincerely love him, and wish all happiness and welfare to him.
6. If you will serve God, give offence to none, that your good and benefit be not hindered; Let not Satan have Power over your heart to sift [or prevail with] you; Put away all Evil thoughts, instigations, and influxes [of the mind]; for Satan insinuates himself, in the influxes from the Spirit of this world, and possesses your mind; be continually watchful, and strive against him; cast those false and Evil influxes upon his head, and send him away with them; and consider that you walk upon a very narrow path between Heaven and Hell in very great danger; be at no time secure or careless, for you know not, when the Spirit of this World will take away from you its own, for your limit was set in your Mother's womb [or Body], which you cannot pass, neither do you know the day and hour, wherein the Spirit of this World will leave you, and then your poor soul will stand quite naked, hungry and empty, and then if it has not Christs Body on it, it will be captivated by the Devil.
7. Dear Children, it is a very strait narrow way that leadeth into Gods Kingdom; he that will walk therein in this life, must [submit and] prepare himself for affliction; for every thing is against him; the Devil is altogether against him; his own flesh and blood set themselves earnestly against him; for the Spirit of this World in flesh and blood, seeketh only the Matters and Dominion of this world: the Devil continually sets on his children and servants against him: he [that walks towards Heaven] must be trampled upon and despised: he is not in this World acknowledged to be a child of God.
8. Dear Children, look well to yourselves in this world: at present men lead you on in hypocritical ways: they Boast much of Faith, and lead people on in an Historical Faith, which is but mere Notion [Or Knowledge] and he that doth not stick to that, is accounted an Heretic: O how dead is the present Faith! It stays at the Knowledge or the Notion: they suppose that when People know how to speak much of God, of Christ's merits, sufferings and death for mankind, and comfort themselves therewith, that it is the way to eternal life.
9. O no, all that avails nothing, that thou knowest and ticklest thyselves with it: True Faith in Christ is quite another thing; it lies not barely in the History, and in the Letter: the [bare] Letter is not the Word, it is but a leader and director to the Word: The Word is Living, and hath the Spirit, the right Faith is the right will, which entereth into the Living Word.
10. If you comfort your self never so long with the suffering of Christ, and yet your will and purpose remains in deceit and wickedness, the spirit which proceeds out of your will, is a thief and a murderer; you teach one thing, and do another: God desires no flattering Hypocrisy, but an Earnest sincere purpose and will, which enters into him by obedience, and this is right Believing in the Holy Ghost [or Faith]; and therein is the Word and Death of Christ fruitful indeed.
11. Christ said, Thou must turn and be as little children, who are not yet conscious of any falsehood, deceit, or wickedness, and in Christ, through Christ's death, be born of his flesh and blood, if you will see the Kingdom of Heaven; for he that eateth not the flesh of the Son of Man, and drinketh not his blood, hath no part in him.
12. Dear brethren, it consists not in the Host only which you deliver to the people, and in the Cup or Chalice: No, but when the soul converteth and brings the body under subjection, and gives itself up wholly in obedience unto God, and into his will, and desires to go in at Christ's Entrance to the Father; then it goes out from the Life of this world: and goes with Christ into the Father, who gives it Christ's flesh and blood; for it eateth of the Word of the Lord at Gods Table, and gets Christ's flesh for its body, and Christ's blood for its refreshment and habitation; for the soul dwells in the Heart, and burns out of the Heart-blood, as a kindled light; and has its principal Dominion in the Head, in the Brain, and there it hath five open Gates [the five senses], in which it governs, with the spirit of its life.
13. And therefore if the Tincture in the Soul in the Heart-blood, be entered into Christ's will, then that Will governs the spirit of the soul in the Head; and though it have many obstacles, and hindrances from the Earthly beastial Spirit; as also from the Devil, who infects the Earthly spirit, (so often as the soul is secure or careless) and brings it into fleshy lust: yet nevertheless, when the soul does but reject the Earthly beastial thoughts and influences, or instigations, then it remains in Christ still; for the body of Christ, which the soul has, is too hard a bit for the Devil to overcome: and yet a harder bit it is for the soul to turn away from the Spirit of this world, and enter into the Obedience of God.
14. Dear Brethren, it is not a handful of Historical Faith that will do it, for men to set the merits of Christ aloft: It must be sincere and earnest: You must earnestly enter through Death and Hell of the Devils into the merits of Christ. You must overcome the Spirit of this world. Your will must press itself with all its reason and thoughts into the will of God, and then you will well see how little the Historical knowledge can do.
15. If you will not drive the Devil out of your heart, then he will not let you enter into Gods will; if you will keep the iniquity of falsehood in your heart, and so fight [only] with the merits and satisfaction of Christ against him, then you will be hindered; for the Devil opposes it strongly. He strives against the soul as long as he can; he lets not the soul go, before it heap all Earthliness upon his neck, and departs from it; when the soul does so, then it departs out of his Country, and then he is overcome. But O how does he continually lay that [as a net] before it, and goes always about like a Fowler; and if he can possibly, he will cast the Earthly Garment on to it again.
16. O How hard a Combat must the poor soul hold out, against the Devil; but therein the sufferings, merit, satisfaction, and death of Christ are available, when the Devil hath insnared the poor soul again, and will not let it go, but goes down with it into the Abyss into despair: There the soul must take with it the sufferings and death of Christ, and walk with the Devil through Hell into the Death of Christ; and out of Christs death spring up with Christ into God again; and then it is the Lily which the Devil does not like to smell upon.
17. But for you to depend wholly on the History, and so to apply the merit, suffering and death of Christ, and still keep the Devil lodging in your soul, that is a reproach to Christ; what does it avail you to pray, that God would forgive you for Christ's sake; when you forgive not all others? Your heart sticks full of revenge and robbery.
18. You go to Church, into the Congregation of Christ, and you bring a false hypocrite, liar, a covetous, angry adulterous, proud person and soul, in with you, and the same you bring out with you again; what benefit have you thereby? You go into the Congregation to the Supper of Christ, and desire Christ's flesh and blood, and yet keep the black Devil in you for a Guest. What mean you? You receive nothing but the severe Anger of God. How will you feed upon Christs flesh and blood, if your soul be not inclined with all earnestness and sincerity into God? Do you suppose that Christ's body and blood dwells so in the Earthly Element, that you can chew it with your teeth? No, friend, it is a more pure and subtle thing; the soul must apprehend it, the mouth of the soul must receive it; but how shall it receive Christ, if the Devil be still lodging in the soul? The soul must be in the Will of God, if it will feed upon God; indeed it can continually eat of Christ's flesh, if it live in the flesh of Christ; for every Spirit eats of its own body.
19. This Testament is ordained to that End, that in the Congregation we should there eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink his Blood. That we should thereby commemorate his Death, and teach the same to our children, and tell them what Christ has done for us, that we might be preserved in one mind and will, and that we should be one body in Christ, and walk together in one Love. And therefore we should eat of one and the same Bread, and drink of one and the same Cup, and acknowledge, that Christ has begotten us again to one Body in himself, and that he has, through his death brought us again through Hell and the Fire of Gods wrath, into his Father in himself, that we might wholly put our wills into his will, and love one another, and make one another rejoice in him, and sing, speak of, and declare his marvelous Deeds and Benefits, and thereby renounce the old Devil, who had held us captive, and tread him under foot in our Mind.
20. This is the right Catholic way of true Faith: He that teacheth and liveth otherwise, is not appointed for a Shepherd, by Christ: but is a Shepherd sprung up of himself from his own Art and Reason, which, in the Kingdom of Christ, according to the Outward Man, should be continually dead, that Christ in us may live; None is a true Shepherd over Christ's sheep, unless he have the Spirit of Christ; if he have not that, then he hath not the true Apostolical Power and authority of Excommunication: He must in Christ's Spirit have the Key to Heaven and to Hell, else he is but a vizard and Image without Life: How can such a one who is captivated by the Devil, judge in the Congregation of Christ? Can the Word and Commandment of such a one be the Word of God, whereas he speaketh but from a false Spirit?
21. O you false Bishops [come] from the Universities, how hath the Devil of Pride blinded you, that you set Shepherds over the Lambs of Christ, according to your own favour and respect! Saint Paul teaches you, do but read it, what an heavy Account you are to give: Nothing avails with you but Art: and in the Kingdom of Christ, Art is but dross and dung: God leadeth a pure heart by his own Spirit; if one inclines towards him, and submit unto his Will, to such a one he teaches heavenly Art.
22. The Congregation of Christ should be in one will, and the Shepherds thereof, should have the spirit and will [consent] of the Congregation: It is not so slight a matter to put on the Garment of Christ, as many suppose, who seek only covetousness and honour therein, and they find nothing but the Anger of God therein.
23. Or, what shall we say? The Priest-Devil has blindfolded the Kingdom of Christ, so that the Congregation of Christ is stark blind, where men suppose they are Gods, and that they teach from the Holy Ghost, whereas their own honour and covetousness are merely sought after in deceit and falsehood: Men see how great mischief they have caused in the world: How many Countries have they caused to be laid waste, and murdered many hundred thousand persons with their false Opinions, and have only served the Devil, in the Garment of Christ? If the Congregation did but discern it, they would presently consider it; but all this comes to pass, in that they afford not honour to the Spirit of Christ: Men will choose Shepherds themselves, whereas the Devil is in all mere humane Elections, when it concerns the honour and doctrine of God.
24. The Bishops that are grown up of themselves and chosen for favour without the Spirit of God, are as profitable to the world, as a fifth wheel to a wagon: Indeed they do but little, except it be to make the Congregation go astray, slander, jangle and dispute, as their scandalous Pamphlets testify, in many of which there is as much of the fear of God, and love to their Neighbour, as the Devil in Hell has: Bloody provocations are the Devil's Drums and Trumpets, by which he reproaches the simple Congregation of Christ.
25. O dear Children, open your eyes wide, go out from the Priest's Contentions, and enter into Combat against the Devil, against your own voluptuous flesh and blood : A Christian is not a wrathful Soldier or Warriour, who desireth the Kingdom of this world: For Christ saith, my Kingdom is not of this world, else my servants would contend for it: Saint Paul saith : Seek that which is above, where Christ is; we are called by Christ out of this world; that so we might serve God with the soul, and be in Christ; but with the body in this world, that we may have maintenance and sustenance for it: therefore the Earthly life ought to labour and maintain its body, but the soul should be Lord and Governor, and rule the Body, it should not suffer the Starry-Spirit to practice any falsehood, and fill it self with lies and deceit, for such things are so brought into the soul.
26. The poor soul is here in this life in very great danger, where the Jaws of Hell continually reach to its lips, for it is infected with the Spirit of the Stars and Elements, which fight against it day and night; Consider thyself now, thou dear Mind, and think in what vessel thy soul, viz. thy best Treasure lies, and thou wilt surely awake out the sleep of the Bestial Life, and consider what will follow hereafter, when the Spirit of the Stars and Elements will leave thee. . .
Jacob Boehme's "The Threefold Life of
Of the Company and Assistance of the Holy Angels
57. As we that are Men in this world, if we be the children of God, assist and help one another in necessity and distress, and readily deliver one another from misery and trouble: thus also it is in Heaven, concerning the children of God, while the soul belongeth to the fellowship of Angels, they affect the company of honest, virtuous, and chaste Men, that fear God, and stand by them in necessity: for the Scripture saith; They are all Ministering Spirits, sent forth for the service of those that are to inherit the Kingdom of God; they often avert the fiery darts of wickedness: what mischief would the Devil often do, if he were not opposed and hindered by the Throne-Princes of the Legions? How often would he terrify and cast men headlong to the ground?
58. But the Angels are our servants and keepers, if we be Christians, and not Beasts; though indeed the Devil sets upon Christians most of all; how very often would many be drowned and killed by a fall, who yet receive wonderful deliverance from Angels: they are ready about people, who sing and speak of God; they have great delight amongst little Infants, so that they many times manifest themselves to an Infant, and play with it, if it be the child of God.
59. How Many Examples are there in the Scripture, of the Angels leading and conducting of the Children of God; especially the Example of Tobiah: though our School-Rabies will rather have it cast out of the Bible [than believe it]: but consider of the Three Angels with Abraham, and the two Angels with Lot: also how they have plainly foretold and declared the Conception of highly worthy Men [as of Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Samson, &c.] especially of John [the Baptist] and of CHRIST: consider what was done at his birth [to the Shepherds in the Field] and to the Wisemen of the East [or Magi]: and at length to Joseph [how he was directed] to go with Mary and the Babe into Egypt: whereby we may sufficiently perceive their great carefulness about us; for they are God's Ministers; he sends them to conduct us, [through this valley of misery, through this World of Thistles and Thorns] and to defend us from the Devil: O how great joy they have for one poor soul, when it is delivered from the snares of the Devil, yea more than for Ninety-Nine righteous, as Christ saith.
60. Therefore we should not so suddenly despair [be dejected and discouraged] in adversity, when we are in necessity [straits and afflictions], when we often suppose, that the whole World is against us, yet the Choir or Host of Angels, and the Spirit of God, are with us; it is often with us, as with the Canaanitish Woman, so that we cannot find the Countenance of God; but we must wait; for the proof and trial must pass over the soul; the more Gold is Purified, the finer it is; so also the soul; the more it is brought into Trial, if it holds out, the fairer and brighter it is: and God's aim is to have fair lovely children, and such as are of understanding, and do learn to discover [the deceits of] the old Devil.
61. But you must know, that the Angels are very pure, chaste, modest Spirits, also humble and friendly, and are like to Infants, who know of no deceit or iniquity, but what is innate [or generated] in them.
62. Now whosoever will enjoy the company and assistance of Angels, must not be a Lustful Bull or Heifer, or a lascivious wanton Venus, or have a false wicked mind, which day and night studieth nothing but cunning tricks and deceit, how to get money and wealth: neither must always dabble and swim in the world's back-biting, scoffing jests and conceits, and tickle and feed the soul with them, in which the World uses to provoke one another, and to take exceptions [or find fault and stir up malice] at one another: No, No Angel will stay with such Men, but the black Devil, who possesseth the Hearts of these Men, so that they take pleasure in wickedness.
63. Whosoever will have the assistance of Angels, need not call upon them or pray to them; for they accept not of that honour, they give all honour to God, but [he] ought only to turn away from uncleanness of heart, and enter through true Repentance into God's will, and continually put away Evil thoughts and influences [influxes and instigations]; he must continually incline his will to God [and Goodness] and pray to God for the guidance of his holy Spirit.
64. And though the Devil holds fast, and will not let go, and lays open his uncleanness before him, there is no better course to be taken, than to leave all his uncleanness and filthiness upon the Devil's neck, and wind himself out from it, in spite of all [carnal] reason, and cast himself in humility into God's will, and commit himself to it, and leave all doubting to the Devil, (for that is his lodging), and he must consider that it is a great Sin to continue in doubting; he should consider, that doubting is the Devil's Band wherewith he holds the soul fast: When any Man's uncleanness meets him and represents itself before him, so that the soul can receive no strength; that is not God's hardening [of the heart], but the Devil wraps himself about the soul, and will not let the soul come to the light, that it may receive strength and virtue; and there the words and promises of Christ, with his blood-shedding, suffering and death, is a soveraigne Medicine; when the soul wraps itself up in them, and leaves all its uncleanness upon the Devil's neck, that is poison to the Devil, which makes him faint and feeble; and so the soul then presses forth into the Light of God, and receives strength and virtue; and there it must earnestly enter into humility, and then it treads upon the Devil's Head, and destroys his Hell; and then the Angels associate with that Man, and have great Joy, that the Devil is overcome, who intended to be God and Creator in the Soul.
65. But a soul in Christ must be a continual Warrior [soldier, champion, or resister], and although the Devil cannot get possession of the Soul, yet he still holds before it the unclean forbidden Tree, that it should, taste of unchastity, iniquity, lies and deceit, of Anger and Envy: and if he can bring it to pass, that the soul lets in the Evil lust and desire into itself; O how does he hide and cover it! How he does strew sugar upon it! And if he should once draw it into Venuss Heaven, he will spare no pains to get his fortress [his Fort of Prey in the soul] again. For the Devil is never better at ease, than in Man, for there he can be Lord of this world, and perform his work, and accomplish his will; which he cannot do, [In Spiritu Mundi, Extra Hominem] in the Spirit of this world, without Man, for his Kingdom is not in the outward Dominion of this world, but in the inward, in the Root in the Abyss.
66. He can do nothing in this world, in the External [part], unless the Turba Magna in the wrath of God, be kindled, and there he is busy, especially when the Elements are kindled [or inflamed] with Tempestuous storms [of thunder and lightning]; and then if the Anger of God burneth therein, there he is a busy Executioner; if he could ruin the whole world, he would do it; but he hath no further room, than the fierce wrath in the Turba affords him; The Turba [plague, vengeance and destruction] is his Master; he is but a Juggler and Destroyer, so far as the Anger in the Turba is kindled.
67. Know also, that the Devil often strives and fights with the Angels; and when the soul is careless and secure, he sets upon it strongly: but he is held off, that he cannot do what he will; but so soon as the soul Imagines and is captivated by Lust, [like Adam and Eve] then the Devil overcomes; but then again so soon as the soul casteth away that Evil Lust [and enters into Repentance] then he [the Devil] is driven away by the Angels.
68. And there is a continual strife about the soul of Man; God desireth to have it; the Devil also would have it; and the Cause of this is, that the two Kingdoms do part in the Cross: the one is the Love of God, the Kingdom in Ternario Sancto: viz. the Angelical one: and the other is the fierce wrath out of the Center of Nature, which is the Anger and severity [or sharpness] of God.
69. And therefore it is, that God manifests his will to us, and sets before Man Light and Darkness; he [Man] may endeavour after which he will: And that we might know, that God would have the soul into his holy Kingdom, he affords us Teaching and Instruction, and shows us the way to Life; [or Light]: he stirs up by his Spirit highly worthy Teachers, who are the Light of the world, that Men might beware of his Anger and fierce Wrath, and not awaken it in themselves.
70. For the Anger must indeed be in every Life; [as the Gall in living Creatures]; but where the love and meekness prevail over it, it is not manifested in Eternity, but is only a Cause of the Life; for in the Love, the Anger maketh the great exulting Joy and Paradise. The Anger [or Mars] in the Kingdom of God is the great Wonderous Joy, where nothing of the Anger is perceived. As Weeping and Laughing come from one place, and the Weeping is turned into Joy: after such a manner is it with the Love and Anger of God.
71. Therefore it is, that Christ so earnestly teaches us, Love, Humility, and Mercifulness; and the cause why God is become Man, is for our Salvation and Happiness sake, that we should not turn back from his Love: God hath spent his Heart, that we might be his Children, and remain so Eternally: When there was no remedy neither in Heaven, nor in this world, then he Moved himself for Mans sake, that he might be delivered from the Devil, and from his Anger, [into which he was fallen in Adam].
72. Therefore dearly beloved Children, do not so reject and cast from you the Love and Grace of God, else you will lament it in Eternity: for after this Time [of the Temporary Life] there is no more Remedy or Help [than this]: Pray learn Divine Wisdom, and learn to know what God is; and do not imagine or set an Image of any Thing before you, thinking God to be an Image any way but in Christ: We live and are in God, we are of his [Essence or] substance [or Being]: We have Heaven and Hell in ourselves. What we make of ourselves, that we are; if we make of ourselves an Angel in the Light of God in Christ, we are so: but if we make of ourselves, a fierce angry, false and wicked, haughty, flying Devil, which flies aloft above all Love and Meekness, in mere Covetousness, greedy hunger and thirst: then also we are so: for after this Life, it is otherwise with us there, than here; what the soul here embraces that it hath there; and so, though the outward breaks in Death, yet the will retains that embraced thing in its source [or property] and that is its sustenance [food or recreation]: but how that will subsist before the Paradisiacal source and dominion of God, and before his Angels, you your self may consider: We would have it faithfully set before you [for a warning], as it is given to us [for that purpose].
Jacob Boehme's "The Threefold Life of
How Men ought to Pray - Excerpt One
86. That Fancy about the Intercession of the Saints, is unprofitable; it is but a vexation, whereby you disquiet the Saints in their Rest. Does not God himself call you continually? And does not your Virgin wait for you with a longing Desire? Do but come, and she is yours: you need not send any foreign Embassadors; it is not here, as at Court; Christ would always willingly increase his Heaven, in his Joy. Why stand you so long in doubt because of your Sins? Is not the Mercy of God greater than Heaven and Earth? What do you mean? There is nothing nearer you than the Mercy of God; only in your sinful impenitent Life, you are with the Devil, and not with Christ say what you will; though you sent a Million of Embassadors to him, if yourself be wicked, you are but with the Devil still; and there is no Remedy, but you must yourself rise with Christ, and be born anew, in the Body of Jesus Christ, (through the Power of the Holy Ghost) in the Father, in your own Soul. If thou makest a Feast or keepest a Solemnity, do it for the Benefit and Relief of the Afflicted and Needy, whereby God is praised in thy Love, and that is well; but if it be for the Rich Glutton, who only uses it out of Pride and Laziness, thou hast not Benefit of that; for God is not praised therewith, neither does Paradise grow therein.
87. And do not rely upon the Hypocrisy of the Antichrist; he is a Lyar, and Covetous, and a Dissembler; he minds only his Idol the Belly, and is a Thief, in the Sight of God; he devours the Bread that belongs to the Needy; he is the Devil's Hell-hound; learn to know him.
94. Behold, a true Christian (who lives in the Spirit of Christ) must also walk in the Conversation of Christ; he must not walk in the fierce stern revenging Spirit of this World, but as Christ lived and conversed in this World, after his Resurrection, and yet not in the Source of Property of this World. And though it is not possible for us (while we live in the Source of this World) to do so, yet in the new Man in Christ (whom the Devil hides and obscures) we may; if we live in Meekness, then we overcome the World in Christ; if we recompence Good for Evil, then we witness, that the Spirit of Christ is in us; and then we are dead, to the Spirit of this World, for the Sake of the Spirit of Christ, which is in us; and though we are in this World, yet the World does but hang to us, as it hung to Christ after his Resurrection; and yet he lived in the Father in the Heaven, even so do we also if we be born in Christ.
Jacob Boehme's "Three Principles of the
How Men ought to Pray - Excerpt Two
18. Therefore, when you will pray, put away the Abominations out of your soul, and enter into yourself; that is, you must loathe the Abominations, and frame a will and purpose in your soul, that you will not let such Abominations into you any more; also you must not suffer your will to stick to any Abomination and despair: for when you despair, you sink yourself down into the Abyss.
19. But consider, that is the precious will and pleasure of God, that you press earnestly and strongly through, and leave the Abominations of the Devil upon his neck, and come very humbly, praying as a sinful child to God: he is the Father of the Lost son; you have vainly rioted and spent your beauty and righteousness with the Devil, and with the Antichristian Whore; you are amongst the swine at Babel: and having lost your Goods, you eat grains and husks with the swine: you are naked and torn, and are not worthy to be called his son. Consider and Imagine this in yourself, for it is true, and so come with true Conversion out of the filth and mire of the swine, to our Ancient Loving Father, and pray for his Grace and Favour, that he would but make thee as one of his hired servants in his Court: acknowledge to him thy Evil deeds, and that thou are not worthy to be called his son. Behold dear soul, observe it; it is the very precious truth.
20. When you thus enter into yourself, and search out your Abominations, and the husks of the Devil, and of the World, which you have so long devoured: and consider of God and his Mercy, then turn not again into the Hogsty; and say not, I am ashamed to come before my good old Father; I dare not come into his sight, for great Shame and Abomination: for I was a glorious Son, and now I am a naked Swineherd; but consider, that your Father taketh more care about you who are his lost prodigal Son, then you do about his Favour and Love, which you have willfully trifled away.
21. Frame but a loving, humble, submissive, obedient Will and Purpose, and come, come away from the Swine, leave the husks to the World, let the Swine devour them and feed themselves fat: but enter you into yourself, and knock at your evil Heart; break in through the Doors and Gates: and though all Swine cry, and Devils should howl for their Keeper; yet come you to your Father with any humble demeanour and words; you need not trouble yourself about the adorning of them with accurate Eloquence; for though you have no more words then the poor Publican, it is no matter; it lies not in them, but in an earnest constant Purpose without ceasing: and though Hell should break in pieces, and Body and Soul part asunder, yet stand still, and go not forth again out of the Doors of your Father.
22. For as soon as you will open the Door in your Soul, and will go out of the Mire, towards the Ancient Father, that he does but perceive that it is you his son, and that you are returned to him, then he saith: This is my Son which was lost, for whom my Heart was troubled, and is entered into the Humanity, into this World, and hath sought him, and now I have found him.
23. And there he sendeth the Holy Ghost to meet him, and falleth kindly about his Neck, and receives him with Joy, and for a token of his Love, he puts the Seal and the Ring of the Holy Trinity, in the suffering and death of Christ on the Hand of the Soul: and there he brings the blessed Virgin of his Wisdom, the New Angelical Garment (viz. the flesh of Christ) and puts it on to the Soul; and all the servants of God (viz. the Holy Angels in the House of the Father) must rejoice and be merry with the lost Son; and there the Ancient Father slays the fatted Calf, and feeds his Son at his Table, (of the Heavenly Substantiality) with the Power and with the Flesh of his Obedient Son Christ, and gives him to drink of the Water of Eternal Life, in the Blood of Christ, in the first Mother, out of which the Soul hath been created; and there is Joy in Heaven among the Ninety-Nine Angels or holy Souls, which are with God, that a dear Brother is come into their Society.
Jacob Boehme's "The Threefold Life of
Christ is the Gate
91. . . . If Adam would have continued in God, he should have continued the child of God, and God would have continued in his Will, and so the Majesty would have shined through the Will.
92. But he went out from the Will of God, into this World, and so was captivated by the World, Death, Devils, and Hell, and they dwelt in Adam.
93. Adam was in this World; dwelling in the Elements, and God breathed the Air also into his Nostrils; but he should not have put his Will into it, to eat of Earthly Fruit, which makes Earthly Flesh. That was his Fall, that he did eat Earthly Fruit; and therefore his Essences also became Earthly; and the Soul became captivated by the Earthly Dominion.
94. And there the Word of the Lord said to the Soul, Adam where art thou? and his Body did hide itself; so very much ashamed was the poor Soul: And Adam said, I am naked; the precious heavenly Virgin (which he was clothed withal) was lost, as also, the Light of the Majesty; and Adam was without the Word.
95. O how terrible it is to those that understand it; the Soul trembles at it, and it may well be afraid of this captivity, when the poor Soul must be captivated by the Devil, and must swim in [the Lake of] Gods Anger. And this is the Cause why God became Man, that he might bring us again in Ternarium Sanctum, into the Angelical World.
96. And as we are all with Adam, gone out from God, for we have all Adams Soul and Flesh, so God has regenerated us all in Christ, and in Christ, the divine Kingdom stands open, every one that will may enter in; whosoever puts his Will away from himself, and puts it into Christ, and lets all worldly Reason go, though it has never so fair a Lustre, shall be regenerated in Christ: And his Soul attains the Eternal Flesh again, in which God became Man, an incomprehensible Flesh, of eternal Substantiality.
Jacob Boehme's "Threefold Life of
1. When Jacob had received the Blessing, then he must depart from his native Home, from Father and Mother, and fly from the Wrath of Esau: This is now a Figure of Christ, shewing how that after that he had assumed and anointed our Humanity, should flee with our Humanity out of his Father's Adamical House again into the first Paradisiacal House.
2. And it further denotes, that the Children of Christ (after they have received the Unction and Blessing, and the New-Birth begins to spring forth in them in the Blessing) shall and must immediately flee with their Thoughts and Mind from their Father Adams House of the depraved Nature; and it shews that the Devil and the World soon hate them, and they must immediately give themselves to the Pilgrims Path of Christ, and live under the World's slavish Yoke, in Misery and Oppression; in Disfavour and Disrespect; for God brings them forth with their Thoughts and Mind out of their Fathers House, viz. out of the Desire in Flesh and Blood, so that they do nothing at all regard the Pleasure of the World, and flee from it, as Jacob from his Fathers House.
3. And then we see how wonderfully God guides his Children, and defends them from their Enemies; that the Devil in Gods Anger cannot kill them, unless it be Gods Will; as he defended Jacob from the Fury of Esau, and led him away from him: And we have here an excellent Example in Jacob, in that he forsook his native Home, also his Father and Mother, for the Sake of this Blessing, and loved God more than all temporal Goods, and willingly left all to Esau; that so he might but be the Blessed of God.
4. And we see, that when he had left the Riches of the World in his Fathers House, the Lord appeared to him with the eternal Goods, and shewed him a Ladder, whereupon he could ascend into Gods eternal Kingdom: which Ladder was no other than Christ, whom he had put on, in the Line of the Covenant; and here now the Type was represented to him, shewing him what Person Christ should be.
5. For this Ladder (as to his Apprehension) was upon the Earth, and the Top of it reached into Heaven; and thereon the Angels of God did ascend and descend; which signifies, that Gods eternal Word with the Power of Heaven, viz. with the angelical divine Worlds Essence, should descend or immerse it self into our Essence, departed from God, and blind as to God, and assume our Humanity, and so unite the Heaven with the World in Man; that the Humanity, through this Entrance of the Deity into the Humanity, might have a Ladder unto God.
6. And it shews that Mankind should come, through Christ's Humanity, into the Society of the Angels. And this is clearly signified here, in that the Angels of God do ascend and descend on this Ladder; also that the Heaven in Man should be again opened through this Entrance of the divine Essence into the Humanity, and that the Children of God should have the Angels for Companions in this World; which God shewed to Jacob, in that the Angels came up and down to him on this Ladder.
7. Which shall be a very great Comfort to the Children of God, who turn themselves from their Father's House, viz. from this Worlds Vanity, to this Jacobs Ladder; for they shall certainly know that God's Angels do come to them upon this Ladder, to which they have turned themselves, and are willingly about them to serve them.
8. For this Ladder signifies properly the Pilgrims Path of Christ through this World into Gods Kingdom, in that the Kingdom of the corrupt Adamical Nature does always yet cleave to the Children of God, and hinders them in Flesh and Blood in the Spirit of this World; and therefore they must, according to the inward Man in Christs Spirit, continually ascend up in much Crosses and Tribulation on this Ladder, and follow Christ under his Cross, and red Banner.
9. On the contrary, the World lives in the Pleasure of their Father Adams House, in Scorn, Jeering, and Mocking, in Envy, Spite, and Malice; whatsoever they can do to cross and vex these Jacobs Children, that they rejoice and take Delight in, and laugh and leer at them; as we have an Example of it in Esau; how that he took, in Contempt, Disdain, and Spite to his Father and Mother, Ismaelitish Wives, who were of the Line of Mockery or Reviling, which were meer Bitterness of Spirit, and Grief of Heart both to Isaac and Rebecca.
10. Where we clearly see, that the Devil has his Power in the Kingdom of this World in the corrupt human Property, and does continually resist Gods Children, and vexes and plagues them, and fights with them for his Kingdom, which he has lost, and doth not willingly allow it them.
11. And we see very finely, how the Lord stands above upon this Ladder of the Pilgrimage of Christ, as with Jacob, and without ceasing calls the Children of Christ, and comforts them, that they should cheerfully ascend upon it: He will not leave them, but comes to them and blesses them, so that their Seed and Fruit shall grow, increase, and be as the Dust upon the Earth; [Margin Note: Gen. xxviii. 14] that is, that they in their Toil, Labour, and Anxiety, shall spring up and flourish in the inward divine Kingdom.
12. For so much as the Children of Christ go out of this World, and forsake it in their Mind, so much they spring up in the inward Kingdom of Christ, where then God stands above upon this Ladder, and continually inspires or inspeaks his Blessing & Power into them, so that they grow as Branches of his Vine, which he hath planted again in our Humanity, in this Jacobs Blessing in Christ.
13. And we hereby clearly see, that this whole Type, from Abraham to Jacob, contains mere Figures of the Kingdom and Person of Christ and his Children; for here God renews the promised Covenant of Abraham concerning the Seed of the Woman with Jacob also; that out of his Seed, as out of the Line of the Covenant, he should come who should bless all Nations; for which reason also Jacob was led from his Fathers House, God having set before him outwardly the Kingdom of Christ in the Figure, for whose Sake he caused his Wrath to cease from the Children of Unbelief, and did not destroy them, but afforded them Time to repent, and so appeased his Wrath in this Type, which pointed at the fulfilling which was to come.
14. We have here also a firm Ground and Assurance, that Christ has truly taken upon him our Adamical Soul and Humanity in the Body of Mary, and has destroyed Death, Hell, and the Anger of God in our Humanity which he assumed, and has set up this Ladder of Jacob; for God said to Jacob, Through thee and thy Seed shall all the Generations of the Earth be Blessed; [Margin Note: Gen. xxviii. 14] through thee Jacob, through thine own Seed, which is God and Man, viz. the heavenly divine Ens and Substance, and the human Ens and Substance, in the Power of the eternal Word.
15. In which Word the holy Name Jesus, viz. the highest Love of the Deity, has unfolded and manifested itself in our Humanity which he has assumed; which sole Love of God, in the Name Jesus, has overcome the Wrath of the eternal Nature in our Souls from the Fathers Property in the Anger, and has changed it into the Love of the divine Joy, and has broke the still Death, which has severed us from the Life of God, and has manifested the Divine Life of the highest holy Tincture, in the eternal speaking Word of the divine Power, in Death, and has made Death to be Life, and so our Soul, in this divine Power, is together penetrated and pressed through Death and the Anger of God.
16. And it is nowise to be so taken, as some say, that the Substance wherein the Word is become Man proceeded not from Adam; but (as some erroneously say) the Virgin Mary proceeded not from Mankind; she hath outwardly only taken upon her a human Body from Anna, and is not the Seed of Joachim, but is an eternal Virgin chosen by God for this Purpose before the World was.
17. This Text teaches us otherwise, where God says, Through thee, and thy Seed, not through a strange divine Seed only, but through thee and thy Seed, with the Entrance of the divine Substance, Christ should break Death in Adams Soul and Body, and destroy Hell in Adams Soul and Body, which was manifested or revealed in Paradise.
18. For here laid our Sickness and Misery, which Christ took upon him as a Yoke: Christ sacrificed his Fathers Wrath which was kindled in our Humanity, and awakened his highest Love in our Humanity; and his holy Blood, his holy Tincture, entered into our human Death, and tinctured our heavenly Substantiality faded in Adam; which faded in Adam when he brought Earthliness and the false Will thereinto, and raised up our faded heavenly Substance with his heavenly living Substance, so that Life sprung up through Death; and this was signified by the dry Rod of Aaron.
19. Therefore that is not the true Meaning, as some say; Christ has assumed a Soul from the Word in the eternal Virgin Mary, so that Christ, as one come from God, and his Soul in the Humanity of Christ, have one and the same Beginning.
20. They were indeed united in the Incarnation, or the becoming Man, so that they are inseparable; but the true Ens of the Soul, which the Word assumed in the Name Jesus, was of us Men from the Female Tincture, viz. from the true Adamical Soul, yet from the Property of the Light, which was severed from Adam, and put into the Woman, that this Property of the Light, might transmute or change the fiery masculine Property again into the Love and Divine Humility, and that the Masculine and Feminine Property might be quite changed into one Image again, as Adam was before his Eve, when he was neither Man nor Woman, but a Masculine Virgin.
21. Therefore Christ took his Soul from a Woman, viz. from a Virgin, and yet was a Man, so that he rightly stood in the Adamical Image, and brought the averted severed Properties of Life, in which our Will had broke itself off from God again into the Temperature and Union, viz. into that ONE.
22. For Adam turned his Will from the only Will of God, and Jesus Christ took our Soul again into the only Will of God, and turned the Will of our Soul in our Humanity, which he assumed, into the only Will of God again.
23. But that the Reader may be thoroughly and fundamentally informed, what our Soul is, and what the Word that became Man is, comparing one with the other, it is thus; our Soul, before the Beginning of the human Soul's Creature, was an Ens of the Word of God, in the Word, [John.1.] and yet it was inspired or inspoken from the speaking Word of God, into the human Image in a natural and creaturely Life, and formed in an Image of the eternal speaking Word. This creaturely Life of the Soul, turned itself in Adam away, from the divine Speaking, into an own Will and Speaking, and was in this Respect broken off from the most unsearchable Substance, and separated from God.
24. Into this Separated Word, viz. into the Soul; the only eternal divine speaking Word gave itself in again, and turned the Will of the Soul again into the eternal one, viz. into Gods eternal Speaking: Therefore the Soul is indeed from the eternal Word; but Christ, viz. the highest Love of the Deity, did not take a new Soul out of the eternal Speaking; but our Soul, viz. the Word which was once spoken or formed in Adam, viz. our human Soul, into his Love-speaking in the Grace and Union of the Deity.
25. God spoke again into our poor fallen Soul in Paradise, immediately after the Fall, the Covenant and Root of his highest Love and Grace through the Word, as a Center of Grace to Conception, and to the New Regeneration.
26. And in Abraham he manifested the Covenant, which Abraham laid hold on with his Desire, and received it after a spiritual Manner, as an Ens to the Tree; but it laid without Substance in Man, only as a spiritual Form and Model, or Idea of the powerful Word.
27. Which Word in its spiritual Figure in the Virgin Mary was at the Limit, viz. at the End of the spiritual Form, where that same spiritual Form of the Word of God was comprehended in a substantial Ens, and therewith also in like Manner our human Substance, as to the Soul, was comprised in the Image of the Word, and as to the Substance of the Body, in a human Form; and was a Self-subsisting God-Man.
28. This comprised spiritual Image, which was the Seed of Faith which Abraham laid hold on in the Faith, was invested on Isaac, and from Isaac on Jacob, and to Jacob God said, Through thee and thy Seed shall all the People of the Earth be blessed; viz. through this Seed of Faith which Jacob had received from his Father Isaac in this Line of the Covenant, which Line of Faith had incorporated itself in the human Property according to the inward Ground of the second Principle, viz. in that Image of the heavenly Worlds Substance extinguished in Adam.
29. In which incorporated Ground the Limit of Gods Covenant remained in a spiritual Form till Mary, and was propagated from Man to Man, as from Adam and Eve along to Mary; and there the Word of the divine Power was moved, and essentially assumed our human Flesh and Blood together with the Soul, and quickened the extinguished heavenly Ens in the Seed of Mary as to our Part, which Manifestation penetrated and pressed also into Marys heavenly Substantiality, so that she became living as to that heavenly Virginity which disappeared in Eve; and in this living Virginity, viz. in Adams heavenly Matrix, God became Man.
30. And this is the Blessing of Mary above all other Women, that she is the first from Adam, in whom the heavenly Matrix became opened, in which the dry Rod of Aaron rightly budded, viz. the Kingdom of God: She is the first in whom the hidden Virtue was manifested, for in her the Limit of the Covenant in the spiritual Image or Type was at an End, and in her it was fulfilled with [Margin Note: in or by] our Humanity.
31. Nevertheless she is truly the Daughter of Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, both as to the Humanity, and as to the Covenant of the spiritual Figure; and in her Conception, when the Inward incorporated Image or Type of the inspired or inspoken Covenant of Grace, which was laid hold on in the Faith, assumed our human Property, then was the Kingdom of Christ manifested in the Flesh.
32. Wherein afterwards the Faithful put on Christ, in the Flesh, in their Faith, yet only as to that heavenly Image extinguished in Adam, as Mary [did] where Christ embraces the poor Soul in his Arms, and encompasses them with the Power of God, and infuses, and flows in with his Love into them, which Love preserves and defends them from the Anger of God, from Sin, Death, the Devil, and Hell.
33. This is a brief Summary of the true Ground, what the Spirit of God has prefigured and typified by the Patriarchs, in that he has led them so wonderfully, and has thus alluded with the Figure of Christ, how it would come to pass afterwards.
34. For Jacob was now the Stock, out of which the great and wide Tree of Israel, should spread abroad in the dividing of its Branches as a Genealogy; therefore must he go away from his Fathers House and take Wives of his Fathers Genealogy, viz. of Abrahams Brother's Son, that the People Israel, viz. the Line of the Covenant, might come of one Stock.
35. Now when Jacob awaked from the Dream of the divine Vision, where the Lord appeared to him and established the Covenant, He said, Surely the Lord is in this Place and I knew it not, and was afraid and said, How holy is this Place! Here is no other than the House of God! Here is the Gate of Heaven. This is a Figure, showing how it would go with Gods Children, when God is manifest in them, that they continue to be in Fear and Trembling, and suppose God is afar off, and has forsaken them.
36. For where God withdraws himself in Man, there will always Sin and the Anger of God be first manifested in that Man, so that he will acknowledge and tremble at his Sin, and enter into Repentance; then appears to him Gods friendly Countenance and comforts him: For if the Soul goes forth from Sin, then Gods Grace enters into it; and then it says, Surely the Lord was with me in my Anxiety, and I knew it not; now I see that the Lord is with the troubled Heart, which is troubled in a divine Zeal or Jealousy; There is the Place of God and the Gate of Heaven.
37. Further, It signifies, how the highest Love of God, in this Covenant in Christ, would be immersed into our Humanity; and how the Humanity of Christ, would be conversant in Trouble, in that he took upon him all our Trouble and Misery, and how the Humanity of Christ would be astonished before the Anger of God and Hell; as it was in the Mount of Olives, where in his Agony he sweat a bloody Sweat; and Christ in his Humanity said; Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me; where instantly the Gates of God appeared and comforted the Humanity: As here to Jacob, when he must in Trouble depart from his Fathers House, in Fear and Trembling at his Brother Esau, who lay in wait to murder him, all which is a Figure concerning Christ, when Gods Anger in our Humanity did lie in wait to murder him, that he would be in an Agony, Heaviness and Distress, and how he would pray to his Father, and how his Father would comfort him; all which was done before he was crucified, especially in the Mount of Olives, in which Place this Figure of Jacob was fulfilled.
38. And as Jacob took the Stone, which he laid under his Head, and set it up for a Remembrance, and poured Oil thereupon; so has Christ set up his Anguish or Agony for a Remembrance to us poor Men, and poured forth his Oil of Joy and Victory upon it in our troubled terrified Hearts; and of that same Stone has erected his Church for a continual Remembrance; of all which this Type of Jacob was a Prefiguration.
39. Which Jacob signifies in plain Words, where he says; If God will be with me and defend me in the Way which I travel, and give me Bread to eat and Clothes to put on, and bring me Home with Peace to my Father, then shall the Lord be my God, and this Stone, which I have set up for a Pillar, shall be Gods House, and of all which thou givest unto me I will give the Tenth to thee; where he clearly, under this Figure, signifies the Levitical and afterwards the Evangelical Priesthood, as it would be hereafter.
Jacob Boehme's "Mysterium Magnum", or An Explanation of the first Book of Moses,
"Dear Sir, my fellow-member, and brother in Christ our saviour; my cordial wish and cooperative desire of the divine love and grace premised: I desire to let you know in Christian love, that I have considered your condition in a Christian sympathy and fellow-feeling; and have brought it before the gracious compassion of the Most High, to see what He would be pleased to let me know therein.
Whereupon Sir, I must tell you, that I in the same gracious compassion obtained such an insight and vision of your condition and temptation, that the ground and cause of it is made known to me; and I will set it down in brief for a memorandum, that you may consider and ponder it seriously by your self.
The first cause of such strong working temptation, is the supernatural super-abundant and unspeakable love of God; (that is, the Divine good will, and then the creatural will of man struggling one against another) that the humane will refuseth fully to resigne and give itself up with total confidence unto such great grace of God, which is tendred unto it out of pure love; but seeketh itself and its own love of transitory things; and loveth itself, and the beings of this world more than God.
Therefore mans own nature (which in its own centre without the love of God, standeth in mere anguish, strife, enmity, and unquiet contrariety) tempteth him; into which also the devil shooteth his false desire, to lead man astray from such high grace, and love of God.
This temptation is the greatest; and it is even the combat which Christ maintaineth with his love (shed forth into the nature of man) against such selfness, also against Gods anger, sin, death, Devil, and hell, in which combat, the humane Dragon must be devoured by the love of Christ, and changed into an angelical Image.
And if the love of God in Christ had not an influence in you, you should have none of this combat, but the Dragon (viz. The false devilish will) would maintain his natural right [and possession without any such conflict or disturbance.]
Now therefore this perplexing, and distressing temptation is wrought very sensibly in nature by the Dragon, who is in travelling anguish with his own nature, when such great love of God commeth into him and would change his natural right into a divine [self-denying] will .
For here Christ [the Serpent-destroyer] standeth in man, in hell, and stormeth, or assaulteth the strong prey-fort of the Devil, whence ariseth such strife; where Christ and Lucifer fight for the soul, as God hath given you to see, and know experimentally in the first temptation.
Thus Christ bruiseth the head of the serpent, and the serpent stingeth Christ in the heel, and the poor soul standeth in the middest in great trembling and sadness, and can do nothing, but only stand still in hope; it is not able also to lift up its face before God; and power forth its effectual prayers; for the Dragon turneth its face towards the vanity of this world, and shewes it the beauty, and glory of this world; and mocketh it, because it will become another creature; and represent unto it the kingdom in which it liveth and its natural ground.
And here the soul standeth with Christ in the wilderness, the forty days temptation; where the might, glory, riches, and pleasure of this world is tendred unto it; alluring it to elevate itself, and enter into its own self-will.
The second temptation of Lucifer, and the selfish Dragon of nature, is this, that when the soul has tasted the divine love, and hath been once illuminated, then the soul will have that same light for its own propriety, and work therein in its own power and ability as in its own peculiar possession; understand, the nature of the soul, which being without God's light is a Dragon as Lucifer, that I say will have it for its own propriety; but this Dragon will not resign up his natural light; he will be a maker and disposer of the Divine power, and live therein in great joy in his fiery [selfish] nature; and this cannot be.
This Dragon (viz. The fiery nature) must be changed with its own will into a love-fire and forgoe his natural rights; but he is unwilling to do it; but he in such a change or transmutation looketh for an own-self power, and yet findeth none, and therefore he beginneth to doubt of grace, because he seeth that in such working he must forsake his natural desire and will; and hence he continually is afraid, and will not dye in the Divine light from his own natural Right, but always thinketh that the light of Grace (which worketh without such sharpness and fiery might) is false light.
Whence it commeth, that the outward reason (which however is blind [and seeth nothing aright if itself]) continually thinketh: O! who knoweth how it is with thee, whether it be true or not, that God hath illuminated thee, that he is in thee? It may likely proceed from such a fansie; thou seest not the like in other people, and yet they think to be saved as well as thou; thou makest thyself thereby only the fool of the world, and standest in fear and trembling at Gods anger, more then those who comfort themselves only with the promise of grace upon the future revelation.
Thus it commeth to pass, that then the internal ground doth fight and pant after the inflammation and motion of the light, and faine would have it; but the nature is able to do nothing; it is as if it were wholly rejected of God, which is also true, as to the self-will; for God hath planted a new will into it; it must die to its own will, and be changed into Gods will.
And because the will of nature must here dye and resign up its own right to the will of God, therefore such grievous temptations are therein; for the Devil will not have his Prey-Fort to fall, or be demolished; for if Christ shall live in Man, then the spirit of self-lust and imagination must dye; and yet it doth not wholly dye in the time of this life by reason of the flesh, but it dyeth dayly, and and yet liveth; and therefore there is such contest, which no wicked man feeleth; but only those who have put on Christ, in whom Christ fighteth with Lucifer.
The Third temptation is in the strong hold of the devil, namely, in the will, and mind, as also in flesh and blood; where the false centres lye in man, as a peculiar self-will to the proud temporal life, to the lust of the flesh, to earthly things; also many curses of men which have been wished upon his body and soul, through his temptation; all the sins which have grounded and concentred, and yet stand in the Astral spirit as a strong Fort; in which Christ now fighteth, and will destroy it; which strong hold of might, pleasure, and beauty of this world, the humane will doth still esteem and hold for its propriety and best treasure, and will not resign it up, and be obedient to Christ.
Therefore beloved Sir, and Christian brother, I tell you, and give you to understand what our loving Lord Jesus Christ hath shewn me in my consideration; examine yourself, what your temptation is; our dear Lord said, We must forsake all, and follow him; and so we should be right Christ-like poor.
Now if you yet stick with your mind in the self lust, imagination, and love of the earthly things, then therein (namely in those Centres which yet work in you) you have such Temptation.
But if you will follow my child-like councell, I tell you this, that when such temptation doth arise in you, you must then imagine nothing else to yourself, save the bitter suffering and dying of our Lord, and consider his reproach and scorn, his contempt, and poverty in this world, which he hath undergone and done for us poor men; and resign your desire and whole will there into, that you would very faine be conformable to his Image, and with all unfaigned willingness follow him in this process (or way of life), and patiently endure whatsoever is laid upon you to suffer, and that willingly for his sake; and desire only to be conformable or like unto him; and for his love sake and will, be content to be abject, despised, in contempt, and affliction, that you might but maintain and keep this his Love in you, and will no longer to your self, but only what Christ willeth through you.
Dear Sir, I fear me, there is yet somewhat in you, that is displeasing to Christ, by reason whereof there is such strife in you; Christ willeth, that you should with him dye to your own will, in his death, and arise in his will, and live with him; and Christ is at present in your soul, and striveth for your soul.
Let all earthly will go, and resign up your self wholly and fully; let joy and sadness, comfort and conflict, be all one unto you; and so you shall with Christ be a conqueror over the world, Devil, Death, and Hell; and at last find by experience what Christ hath been in you; and wherefore this happened unto you, which hath been the process of all children of Christ: I speak out of Christian affection.
Dated on the day of Christ going to
his suffering and dying: An. Dom. 1623."
Epistles of Jacob Behmen", aliter, the
London, 1649, John
Sparows first English Edition,
On Christian Tolerance
43. I have no controversy with the Children of God, by reason of the variety, and diversity of their gifts; I can reconcile them all in my self [I can make a good construction, and understanding of them to my self]. I only bring them to the Centre; and there I have the proof, and touchstone of all things. Now then if you will imitate and follow me, then you shall find it to be my experience; and afterward perhaps better understand what I have written.
44. A real true Christian hath no
controversy or contention with anybody, for in the resignation in Christ, he dyeth from
all controversy and strife; he asketh no more after the way of God, but wholly
surrenders himself to the Mother; namely, unto the spirit of Christ; and
whatsoever it doth with him it is all one to him; be it prosperity or adversity in
this world, life or death; it is all alike unto him; no adversity or calamity
reacheth the new man, but only the old man of this world; with the same the
world may do what it pleaseth; it belongeth unto the world, but the new man
belongeth to God.
"The Epistles of Jacob Behmen", aliter, the teutonicus philosophus,
London, 1649, John
Sparows first English Edition,
End of: A Sampler of Extracts from the Writings of Jacob Boehme
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