I never desired to know anything of the Divine Mystery, much less understood I the way how to seek or find it. I sought only after the heart of Jesus Christ...
In this my earnest Christian seeking and desire, the gate was opened unto me, so that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an University...
For I saw and knew the Being of all Beings, the Byss and Abyss; also the eternal generation of the Holy Trinity; the descent, and origin of this world, and of all creatures, through the divine Wisdom; I knew and saw in myself all the three Worlds; namely, the Divine, Angelical, and Paradisical World and then the Dark World, the original of the Nature to the Fire; and then thirdly, the external, visible World, being a Procreation, or External Birth, from the two internal and spiritual Worlds; and I saw, and knew the whole working Essence in the evil, and in the good; and the mutual origin, and existence of each of them; and likewise how the fruitful bearing Womb of Eternity brought forth...
And presently it came powerfully into my mind to set the same down in writing...
Thus now I have written, not from the instruction or knowledge received from men, not from the learning or reading of books; but I have written out of my own book which was opened in me, being the noble similitude of God, the book of the noble and precious image (understand God's own similitude or likeness) was bestowed upon me to read; and therein I have studied, as a child in the house of its mother, which beholds what the father does, and in his childlike play does imitate his father; I have no need of any other book.
I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. ( Jesus, Matt. 11:25)
For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (see 1Corinthians 1:17-31)
For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)
Marvel not that I say to you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes: so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7-8)
Truly I say to you, Unless you are converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
I know well that I can do Nothing in my own Might or Strength. But Faith, which can receive where there is Nothing, can do it: If I cast my Will into God's Will, then GOD believes in My Will; and then I can receive, for nothing is Impossible to Faith: I can receive to myself the Incarnation of Christ; if My Will wills it - yet I cannot do it, but God can do it in and through me.
I know nothing, and desire to know nothing, nor have I at any time sought any skill or knowledge; for I am a child in knowledge, and a nothing; I want to know nothing, that I might in knowledge be dead and a nothing, that God in the Spirit of Christ may be my knowing, willing, and doing, that I may run in his knowing and willing, and that not I, but he; that I may be only his Instrument, and he the Hand and the Laborer.
These things we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned...
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2)
The rational Man understands nothing in reference to God. The true Understanding must flow from the inward Ground, out of the living Word of God. In which inward Ground, all my Knowledge concerning the Divine and natural Ground, has taken its Rise, Beginning, and Understanding. I am not born of the School of this World, and am a plain simple Man; but by God's Spirit and Will I am brought, without my own Purpose and Desire, into Divine Knowledge in high natural Searchings.
All our disputations and intellectual speculations in regard to the divine mysteries are useless; because they originate from external sources. God's mysteries can be only known by God, and to know them we must first seek God in our own center. Our reason and will must return to the inner source from which they originated; then will we arrive at a true science of God and His attributes.
Man's will and imagination have become perverted from their original state, Man has surrounded himself by a world of will and imagination of his own. He has therefore lost sight of God, and can only regain his former state and become wise if he brings the activity of his soul and mind again in harmony with the divine Spirit.
The Three Principles Of The Divine Essence -- The Fourth Chapter
out of which were generated, born, and at length created, this World, with the Stars and Elements, and all whatsoever moves, stirs, or lives therein.
The open Gate of the great Depth.
Here I must encounter with the proud and seeming conceited Wise, who does but grope in the Dark, and knows or understands nothing of the Spirit of God, and must comfort both him, and also the desirous longing Reader who loves God, and must show them a little Door to the heavenly Essence; and show them in what Manner they should understand these Writings, before I come to the Chapter itself.
2. I know very well, and my Spirit and Mind show me as much, that many will be offended at the Simplicity and Meanness of the Author, for offering to write of such high Things; and many will think, (with themselves,) he has no Authority to do it, and that he acts very sinfully in it, and runs quite contrary to God and his Will, in presuming, being but a Man, to go about to Speak and say what God is.
3. For it is lamentable, that since the fall of Adam, we should be so continually cheated and befooled by the Devil, to think that we are not the Children of God, nor of his d Essence. He continually puts the monstrous Shape or Form into our Thoughts, as he did into our Mother Eve, which she gazed too much upon, and by her representing it in her Imagination, she became a Child of this World, wholly naked and vain, and void of Understanding: And so he does to us also still continually; he would bring us into another Image, as he did Eve, that we might be ashamed to appear in the Presence of the Light and Power of God, as Adam and Eve were, when they hid themselves behind the Trees, (that is, behind the monstrous Shape or Form,) when the Lord appeared in the Center of the Birth of their Lives, and said, Where are you, Adam? And he said, I am naked, and am afraid; which was nothing else, but that his Belief [or Faith] and Knowledge of the Holy God was put out; for he beheld the monstrous Shape which he had made to himself by his Imagination and Lust, by the Devil's [Instigation,] Representation, and false Persuading, to eat of the third Principle wherein Corruption was.
4. And now when he saw and knew by that which God had told him, that he should die and perish, if he did eat of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it made him continually imagine that he was now no more the Child of God, and that he was not created out of God's own Essence or Substance, out of the first Principle. He conceived that he was now but a mere Child of this World, when he beheld his Corruptibility, and also the monstrous Image which he f was in; and that the paradisiacal Understanding, Delight and Joy were departed from him, so that his Spirit and Perfection were driven out of Paradise, (that is, out of the second Principle of God, where the Light or the Heart of God is generated from Eternity to Eternity, and where the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son;) and that he now lived no more merely by the Word of God, but did eat and drink, viz. the h Birth of his Life henceforward consisted, in the third Principle, that is, in the [Region,] Kingdom, or Dominion of the Stars and Elements, and he must now eat of the Virtue and Fruit thereof, and live thereby: And upon this he then supposed, that he was past Recovery, and that the noble Image of God was destroyed. And besides, the Devil also continually represented his Corruptibility and Mortality to him, and himself could see nothing else, seeing he was gone out of Paradise, that is, out of the incorruptible holy Geniture [or Operation] of God; wherein he was God's holy Image and Child, in which God created him to continue therein for ever. And if the merciful Love of God had not appeared to him again in the Center of the Birth of his Life, and comforted him, he would have thought that he was wholly departed, or quite separated from the eternal divine Birth, and that he was no more in God, nor God any more in him, and that he was no more of God's Essence.
5. But the favorable Love, (that is, the k only begotten Son of God, or that I may set it down so that it may be understood, the lovely Fountain where the Light of God is l generated,) sprung up, and grew again in Adam in the Center of the Birth of his Life, in the fifth Form of his Birth; whereby Adam perceived that he was not broken off from the divine Root, but that he was still the Child of God, and repented him of his first evil Lust: And thereupon the Lord showed him the Treader upon the Serpent, who should destroy his monstrous Birth; and so he should from the monstrous Birth be regenerated anew, in the Shape, Form, Power and Virtue of the Treader upon the Serpent, and be brought with Power again into Paradise, into the holy Birth, and eat of the Word of the Lord again, and live eternally, in Spite of all the n Gates of the Wrathfulness, wherein the Devil lives; concerning which there shall be farther mention made in its due Place.
6. But mark and consider this well, dear Reader, and let not your Simplicity deceive you, the Author is not greater than others, he knows no more, neither has he any greater Authority than other Children of God. Do but look upon yourself, why have you earthly Thoughts of yourself? Why will you be mocked by the Devil, and be fooled by the World, [so as to be led to think] that you are but a Kind of Figure like God, and not generated or begotten of God ?
7. Your monstrous Form or Shape indeed is not God, nor of his Essence, or Substance, but the hidden Man, o which is the Soul, p is the proper Essence of God, for as much as the Love in the Light of God is sprung up in your own Center, out of which the Holy Ghost proceeds, wherein the second Principle of God consists: How then should you not have Power and Authority to speak of God, who is your Father, of whose Essence you are? Behold, is not the World God's, and the Light of God being in you, it must needs be also yours, as it is written, the Father has given all Things to the Son, and the Son has given all to you. The Father is the eternal Power, or Virtue, and the Son is the Heart and Light continuing eternally in the Father, and you continue in the Father and the Son. And now seeing the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, and that the eternal Power or Virtue of the Father is in you, and that the eternal Light of the Son shines in you, why will you be fooled? Know you not what Paul said ? that our Conversation is in Heaven, from whence we expect our Savior Jesus Christ, who will bring us out of this monstrous Image, or Birth, (in the Corruption of the third Principle of this World,) in the q paradisiacal Birth to eat the Word of the Lord.
8. Why will you be fooled by Antichrist, by his Laws [Precepts] and Pratings? Where will you seek God? In the Deep above the Stars? You will not be able to find him there. Seek him in your Heart, r in the Center of the Birth of your Life, and there you shall find him, as our Father Adam and Mother Eve did. r) Or in the Ground or Foundation of the Beginning and Sustaining of Man's Life.
9. For it is written, you must be born anew through the Water and the Spirit, or else you shall not see the Kingdom of God. This Birth must be done within you: The Heart, or the Son of God must arise in the Birth of your Life; and then the Savior Christ is your faithful Shepherd, and you are in Him, and He in you, and all that He and his Father have is yours, and none shall pluck you out of his Hands; and as the Son (viz. the Heart of the Father) is one [with the Father,] so also the new Man is one in the Father and the Son, one Virtue or Power, one Light, one Life, one eternal Paradise, one eternal heavenly Birth, one Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and you his Child.
10. Does not the Son see plainly what the Father does in his House? And now if the Son learns to do the same thereby, what Displeasure will the Father have towards his Son for it? Nay, will not the Father be well pleased that his Son is so apt [and forward to learn ?] Then why should the heavenly Father be so displeased with his Children in this World, which depend upon him, and inquire after him, which would willingly learn to know him, willingly labor in his Works, and do his Will? Does not the Regenerator bid us come to him, and whosoever comes to him, he will not reject? Why should any resist the Spirit of Prophesy, which is God's ? Look upon Christ's Apostles, did any other teach them than God, who was in them, and they in Him ? t) Or withstand the Spirit of the Manifestation of the hidden Things of God.
11. O dear Children of God in Christ, fly away from Antichrist, who has set up himself over all the Coasts of the Earth, and who sets a painted Image before you, as the Serpent did before our Mother Eve, and u paints your own Image of God [as if it were] far off from God: But consider what is written, the Word is near you, yea in your Heart and Lips. And God himself is the Word which is in your Heart and Lips.
12. But Antichrist has never sought any Thing else but his own Pleasure in the third Principle, and to fulfill it in the House of Flesh; and therefore he has detained People with Laws of his own inventing, which are neither grounded in Nature, nor in the Paradise of God, neither are they to be found in the Center of the Birth of Life.
13. Dear Children, consider, how mightily and powerfully, with Wonders, Miracles, and Works, the Spirit of God went forth in Word and Deed in the Times of the Apostles, and after, till Antichrist and the Spirit of Self-Pride, with his invented Laws and astral Wisdom, broke forth, and set himself up by that worldly and fleshly Arm, [or by the Authority of the worldly Magistrate,] merely for his own Pleasure and Honor's Sake, where the most precious Words of Christ (who gave no Laws to Man, but the Law of Nature and the Law of Love, which is his own Heart,) must be a Cloak for him, vis. for Antichrist, who is a Prince in the third Principle; what he ordains must be as the Voice to Moses out of the Bush: And so the Man of Pride makes as if himself had x Divine Power upon Earth, and knows not in his Blindness the Holy Ghost will not be y tied, [or bound up to their Canons and human Inventions.
14. But if any would attain Salvation, he must be born again, through the Water in the z Center of the Birth of Life, which springs up in the Center of the Light of God; for which End God the Father has by his Son commanded Baptism, that so we might have a Law, and a remarkable Sign of Remembrance, signifying how a Child void of Understanding receives an outward Sign, and the inward Man the Power and the new Birth in the Center of the Birth of Life; and that there arises the Confirmation, which the Light of God brought into Adam, when the Light of God the Father, in the Center of the fifth Form of the Birth of the Life of Adam, broke forth or sprung up. Thus it is both in the Baptism of an Infant or Child, and also in the repenting Convert, that in Christ returns again to the Father. z) In the Ground where the Grain of Mustard Seed is sown and springs up.
15. The last Supper of Christ with his Disciples is just such another Covenant as the Baptism of Infants. That which is done to the Infant in Baptism, that is done also to the poor Sinner which awakens from the Sleep of Antichrist, and comes to the Father in and through Christ; as shall be handled in its Place.
16. I have therefore been desirous to warn you, and tell you beforehand, that you must not look upon Flesh and Blood in these high Things, nor upon the worldly Wisdom of the Universities, or high Schools; but that you should consider, that this Wisdom is planted and sown by God himself in the first, and last, and in all Men: And you need only to return with the prodigal lost Son to the Father, and then he will clothe you with a new Garment, and put a Seal-Ring upon the Hand of your Mind; and in this Garment only you have Power to speak of the a Birth of God.
17. But if you have not got this Garment on, and will prattle and talk much of God, then you are a Thief and a Murderer, and you enter not into the Sheepfold of Christ by the Door, but you climb over into the Sheepfold with Antichrist and the Robbers, and you will do nothing but murder and steal, seek your own Reputation, Esteem, and Pleasure, and are far from the Kingdom of God. Your university Learning and Arts will avail you nothing: It is your Poison, that you are promoted by the Favor of Man to sit in great Authority and Place, for you sit upon the Stool of Pestilence; you are but a mere Servant or Minister of the Antichrist. But if you be new born, and taught by the Holy Ghost, then your Place or Office is very pleasing and acceptable to God, and your Sheep will hear your Voice, and you shall feed them and bring them to the chief Shepherd: God will require this at your Hands, therefore take Heed what you teach and speak of God without the Knowledge of his Spirit, that you be not found to be a Liar.
A Short Essay On Jacob Boehme, By Doug Eblen
It has been the opinion of many that Jacob Boehme, the 17th century German mystic was one of the most influential men in all of history. But just who were these people and what did they do? Most students of Boehme are either philosophers , scholars ,poets, theologians , etc. People like G.W.F. Hegel, Isaac Newton ,William Blake, Soren Kierkegaard and William Law, all great thinkers in their own right ,but not like most of the rest of us.
Was it J.B.'s intent that his great vision into the Being of God and consequently the being of man something that the common man be found wanting of ? I think not ,since he was himself not an educated man but a simple cobbler who just had an earnest and sincere desire to understand God.
But just what is it that makes this simple shoemaker so difficult for the average man ? Seeing that he was an uneducated man he was forced to use symbolic language much like John did with his book of Revelation. Things like the planets, alchemy, as well certain elements were used by him to describe certain processes called principals that he found in God ,man and nature. These corresponded with what he called The Seven Spirits of God. To put it into today's perspective we could say that Einstein sought to put his theory of relativity into symbols that his contemporaries could relate to i.e.: E=MC2. Do you see the correlation?
Many there have been that did not understand this and tried to make sense of what he said on face value of his words alone. Perhaps this was meant to be as he said himself that to seek this knowledge for knowledge's sake alone would be futile. But to the true seeker of wisdom the husk begin to fall away and the truth that lay therein will find its way to their heart.
Just what did J. B. have to say that was so Important and why does it bear repeating today? I will not try to get too laborious with his symbolism ,but simply try to restate and put what he said into perspective, maybe extracting the practical from the mystical, by using the one thing that he sought guidance from ,the Holy Scriptures.
We shall use James chapter 4 for our text.
James 4:1 -- From whence come wars and fighting's among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
I will also go ahead and introduce a brief description of the Seven principles of Jacob Boehme so the reader may follow along and perhaps see the process that J.B. so clearly understood.
All of being is to be understood in DESIRE. Just what it is and how it operates in both God and man and nature is what Boehme so clearly understood and how its use and misuse could be seen in all things.
The great Isaac Newton who was also a student of J. B. said that an object would remain at rest forever unless it was acted upon by some other force. While he applied this maxim to physics, it is safe for us to apply it to the development of consciousness for the same process takes place within each one of us upon this earth.
We humans are full of potential desires or to use the language of the scripture the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life (for we know that the Greek word for lust is properly translated desire). Yet until some outside stimulus comes to our attention these desires lay as it were; hidden from our sense and reasoning.
The philosopher Descartes coined a phrase that I think might stand up to some literary license and that was .".I think, therefore I am". I would make better use of it by saying ... I desire, therefore I am... ,for it is through our desire that self consciousness is obtained and we find out that our intellect then comes to our service to establish our being.
This was signified by Adam and Eve in the Garden when tempted to eat the fruit .God first warned them of the consequences of a desire turned in a wrong direction but also knew that this was the only way for them to become fully functional human beings, to be confronted with a desire and to discover how they were to properly handle it; hence finding out that not only were they desiring creatures but that they were also willing creatures, for will and desire are but opposite sides of the same coin. Satan tempted them not with an evil thing but with a good thing and knew that if he could get them to turn their desire unto themselves for its fulfillment that he would have them for they would be like as unto him, someone in whom he would always be able to control as he knew that their will would always follow their wants as this is the way of all self for self living.
J.B., with his tremendous insight into the Being of God and man, knew full well what mans plight was and sought through the use of symbol and metaphor to show man both what the problem was and that a solution was to be had through his Lord Jesus Christ as well.
James was the psychologist of the Bible, he knew what made man tick. He was able to look beyond appearances and see into the situation and pinpoint the underlying cause back of all things, but even he is considered by some to difficult to understand. Let us now begin to try and relate what this man of God saw with what Boehme saw and perhaps come to a deeper understanding of our selves and of God.
James begins his argument with some what of a rhetorical question and that is "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"
We find here a simple explanation of cause and effect. But is it that simple ? Outer actions come as a result of inner choices but what is it that motivates us in what we choose? To understand this lets look at J.B. s First principle. He relates this as Attraction ,an attempt at seizing something ,or quite simply put, DESIRE. James begins in quite the same spot when he says "you desire to have". Let us pay close attention to the direction of this desire for it shall have great importance in our discussion later on.
As we said earlier, all of life begins at this point, but something crucial happens at this point. Boehme's Second principle, Resistance, comes to action here. As we begin to desire something we become painfully aware that we do not have ,it somehow opposes us. James says "yet you obtain not". I use the word painful here because it is this inner agony that brings us to self consciousness as human beings. And this is good as God created us to be responding creatures not simply automata.
Sir Isaac Newton , whom we said earlier was a student of J.B. can perhaps shed some light on this point with another of his famous maxims ,and that is "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Simply put, what we desire ,resists us and the more we desire it the more it resist us. This is the beginning of motion, a function critical to all life.
So ,where does this now bring us? Boehme's Third principle, Rotation, also called anguish or wrath. For this is the natural outcome of the first two principles. It is a whirling motion something like a hurricane with its spinning, and its force driven by its strong warm winds opposed by the cool wind that it faces. James answer, as we earlier stated is clearly under stood in light of this revelation ,for he has put his finger squarely on the problem to all of our outer conflicts and stresses of daily life by pointing to its true inner original cause.
We can begin to see by this threefold action , of our desiring to have and becoming conscious of the fact that we do not have the thing desired with its accompanying anguish or wrath that we have struck the heart of the matter of our very existence. This process brings us to place of action .This all important action is what separates us and causes us to stand apart from all of the rest of Gods creation . This action is called CHOICE. Its appearance is as spontaneous from the first three principles that I have said that it is almost like two sides of the same coin. Boehme called this Fourth principle Fire .It is our will that is so closely linked to our to our desires because we find that our wills control the final out come of the inner process that we have just described. Why is our will so crucial to this process? It is simply this, that a desire that is not acted upon would lead to eternal misery. It would be a very cruel God who would create us with such strong capacities yet give us no way to satisfy them, wouldn't it ?
Will and desire go hand in hand. They are the formers and shapers of our destiny. Just what we desire, why we desire it and how we act upon it is some thing that both James an Boehme had evidently spent long hours before the Lord in prayer to get this matter into complete focus. Let us not fool ourselves here for if we are truly seeking light on this subject we must become brutally honest with ourselves and let the light of God shine into our hearts. It is precisely here that we need a larger understanding on just what it means to discern soul and spirit.
We should know that the fundamental issue of our existence is what type of a person will we be . By that I mean will we be like our creator ,a Person whose entire being is fixed eternally in being wholly for others .Someone in whom every desire is fixed solely on what is best for His creation, us created persons in HIS own image. Or will we be some one who uses these God given abilities of will and desire to achieve his own ends at the expense of others. The fact is that TWO possibilities exist and we must face this issue head on and become eternally fixed in what type of person we shall be.
We know that this is precisely what was done by one of God's highest created beings ,Lucifer ,as the Scripture records this fact in Isaiah. Instead of willing only that which God willed, he turned his desire inward upon himself and willed that he should have all of the greatness that the imagined it be in himself ,not knowing that the greatness that he imagined to be his belonged to another. With an act of his will he spoke the word that would fix him eternally and give to him the consequence of his choice. He got all of the greatness that he imagined in himself , NOTHING, for all was but illusion seeing that the true greatness belonged solely to the Creator and not the creature.
We also know that Adam was tempted in like manner. The two trees in the Garden signifying that he was to become aware of his ability to choose and that his choice would have immediate consequences. We know that his choice brought with it some dire effects and also that God meant for him to have them. It is the very fact that we are meant to get precisely what we choose that God allowed man, or should we say purposed the event so that man could learn exactly what it meant to be a person who could both desire and choose.
It might appear that we have digressed from the subject at hand but it shall become clear as to why the above has been brought up.
Boehme's Fifth principle is Light. Light comes from fire . Without one the other could not exist .But Boehme was not so much speaking of fire and light in purely objective terms as much as he was pointing to the subjective terminology much like a revelation. I guess the best way to describe this would be to call to your remembrance what happened to the Apostle Paul on the Damascus Road. Not only did he see an out ward great and blinding light but he saw inwardly what his heart had long been desiring . He came to inward revelation of the truth and for the first time knew who the Light really was.
Depending on our choice, which Boehme characterized as to a Dark fire or a Light fire ,the fifth principal would become manifest. We shall for the moment discuss only this Dark side. This Dark fire signifies a choice that has been made from this Self for Self attitude discussed earlier with respects to Lucifer and Adam. A Dark fire produces a dark light. Does this sound like a contradiction in terms? Lets explore for a moment. Jesus Himself can shed light on this subject Mat 6:23 (KJV) "If your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Just how we see a thing is determined from the choices we make. If we have chosen to be a self for self then the light we have is darkness, our inner seeing will be from this perspective as Jesus said "how great is that darkness". If our viewpoint is solely from the natural then all we can say about what we are desiring is false.
There is no need to continue on at this point with the Dark side of the issue since the whole tragic outcome of Adam's choice is evidenced in all of creation including mankind. What we will do is take a look back at what Boehme found to be the ultimate resolution to the dialectic and paradoxes of life.
Return with me for a moment to J.B.'s Fourth principle . We have already seen what a choice made from a self for self perspective yields. But if we are to continue with the rules from which logic dictates we find ourselves with two other alternatives ,the first of which is to totally deny our desires, giving us a supposed safety; but this perspective is precisely what Buddhism purports to do. It would have us believe that all of our desires were evil and the only thing we could do to not practice evil would be to practice this belief. Such self effort would supposedly make us happy, but we would soon find our selves failing miserably necessitating further dogma such as karma and reincarnation.
So what is the other alternative? The revelation which came to Boehme was found to be within the Godhead itself and was to be the most supreme of all mysteries, and that was the CROSS. Long before the cross was revealed on Calvary, its eternal principle was practiced within the Godhead itself. In the eternal abysmal depths of God, when (and we must speak as men regarding such things) confronted with his own selfhood, a choice was made as to the type of self He would be . Would He take His desiring fire self and be a "self for self" God or would He forever "die " to this possibility and begat that glorious light Son and the Spirit proceed from both? The scriptures record that choice in a most peculiar way in Titus where it says of God "that He cannot lie". To do so would mean he was being a "self for self" deity.
With all of creation based on this principle, it becomes the most profound concept -- no ,the most profound reality that mankind shall ever know. Let he who would know anything know this ,and he would know all.
When we take our desires to the cross, we are not denying them. Rather, we placing them into Gods eternal purposes, the alchemists fiery furnace where they are transformed into the thing which our heavenly Father purposed for them from the beginning of time.
Nature itself shows us some what of this mystery if we consider something as simple as an apple on a tree. Take a green apple for example. It is very sour ,bitter ,astringent and sometimes even poisonous as it first begins to form. But some thing happens when these properties are acted upon from another source, the sun. They are transformed by some "horticultural photosynthesis" into the ripe, red ,sweet and pleasant tasting fruit that we all enjoy.
You might say that all works fine in nature but show me where this works out in mankind. This is precisely the point that Boehme grasped as working the same when he saw how these principles found in God, also were to be found in nature and man.
Let us consider the Temptations of Jesus as he was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness (the Garden grown wild, if we would have eyes to see it) to face the devil. These are not mere trivial episodes showing simply the desires of the flesh, but their importance is perhaps best understood if we consider one of the most prolific pieces of literature ever written -- and that is from "the legend of the Grand Inquisitor" taken from the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.
He begins his story with Jesus appearing in the crowd of people watching and listening as the Grand Inquisitor meets out the cruel and unjust punishments to the people of that time .He represents the false church and its ideology so prevalent in its day. When his eyes fix upon the stranger in the crowd ,he recognizes Him, Jesus, and begins to angrily verbally attack Him, saying , "Why have you returned? IF you had done it right the first time we wouldn't have to be doing this now." He goes on to say that the church feeds the masses, thereby gaining control over their flesh ,and he says that they perform the miraculous ,gaining control over their minds and last but not least they would tell them whether or not the would go to heaven, taking control of their wills ,thus totally controlling man for their own selfish purposes. He says to Jesus ,"Why didn't you do this to begin with......" And this is precisely the point. All of the temptations Jesus was faced with centered around the fact that He knew who He was and what His mission was on this earth. He was The ultimate super human man. Would he take His human desires for recognition as the Son God and misuse them by being a self for self? Or would he employ the grand mystery, the Cross and die to fulfilling the desires as the flesh and Satan would have Him to do? We know the choice that He made but let us look at its outcome.
By refusing to act upon those desires as He first became aware of them He wasn't denying their existence but He took them to the cross and "died" to them as they first appeared. But what happened next is the wonderful message that this story brings to light. All of the desires were fulfilled but in away that is so wonderful we almost miss it. The Father through the Spirit took every desire and transformed them into what only Love could do. Jesus fed the multitudes because He loved them ,not so He could gain control over them. He also healed them, performing the miraculous because he loved them and most important of all when it came to matter of their salvation He died for them because He loved them. And because He took the Cross the Father was glorified in the Son and the Son glorified by the Father.
Our blueprint for living, tried and proven by no less than our Savior Himself Jesus Christ. Can we do any thing less? Does the verse "never the less, not my will but your will be done" begin to show you somewhat of that which has been said? We shall continue...
Let us look once again at Boehme's Fifth principle. The principle of Light shall have greater meaning for us when we see that it is the introduction of the supernatural deity into our wills that begins the flash which turns into light. Not only light but also love for our delight is to be found in doing the Fathers will. We find that it is His love perfected in us that brings such great joy. But light also takes on a deeper significance here as we shall see. When Jesus said, "that which I see my Father do ,that I do ", He was not talking of some long range vision, rather an inner revelation as to His fathers perfect plan in whatever situation he found Himself to be in. His own desires transformed by His Fathers love and expressed to a world that was in such desperate need.
He showed us a new way to look at life, not the old way of judging by appearances but the new ,by judging a righteous judgment. This new way was not from a false light which has a selfish motive always at heart, but from the true light which is from above. One might say that we see clearly now. And with this confidence we are now in a position to function as true sons of God and acting on his behalf and authority with only love as our motive. This is what the Father has purposed for His sons through out all of eternity.
Having seen things from this deeper level, we are now prepared to move onto Boehme's Sixth principle, which is Sound or understanding. To simply see a thing is not what God would have for us. His purpose is directed towards a goal which we shall soon see. This sound, according to J.B., is inherent in all things. He likens it to that which a piece of metal makes when struck a certain way. He calls it a signature, the same way with a piece of fruit when eaten has a certain taste peculiar to it alone.
One thing to note here is the direction of this sound .It is outgoing, its purpose is to go away from itself. This is of supreme importance when we consider this in relationship to desire which from the natural has an attracting motion as previously mentioned. When we begin to see things from Gods perspective it is given on our behalf the authority to act as a son of God.
Just what does the Son of God do ? By His very name, the Word, we are given a glimpse as to our role in life. He spoke that which He saw in the Father into existence. And the Holy Spirit brought it into manifestation. We are to do exactly the same. We have come to operate under a new set of laws, that which we all know as the kingdom principle of "Give, and it shall be given unto you". This is a direct contradiction to the order of things given earlier when we begin to look at the motive which lay behind the individual described earlier by James, as he says we have not because ..."we seek to consume it upon our own lusts". With our desires now transformed, even our motives are purified and take on a God like quality. We do what we do Because we love the other one.
In looking at the Seventh and final principle of Boehme, called Manifestation, we find that we have a completion of things. The kingdom principle says we now "Get" after having given. That which we now desired is brought into manifestation by the Holy Spirit. It is completely opposite from the first order of things. Desires are purified and motives sanctified by the love of God so that we can finally begin to take our rightful place as sons of the living God.
We speak our words of faith with authority, knowing that is the Fathers will that they come into manifestation, not in fear, but with the utmost certainty of faith which the Holy Spirit cannot but help to bring forth because the Father and son are now Glorified IN US.
What Boehme has shown us is that the negative pulls and situations of this life are the necessary prerequisites in this life for God to be recognized as the God who is All and in All. What seems to be confusion and disorder, wrath and conflict, is to the eye of faith the natural ingredients to a Supernatural manifestation of the Living God.
It was William Blake who said "without contraries nothing exists..."
If we understand this, then we most certainly have found the key to life ,which Paul said was a stumbling block to the Jews ,an offense; but us ward that believe it was the POWER OF GOD.
Do you see how the first three principles are transformed into the last three, their order and action reversed, "tinctured" to use Boehme's terminology, these three by the power of the fourth?
Listen once again to words of the Master, and this time listen with the ear of faith and perhaps , and it is my prayer, that you understand what God is speaking to you today... John 9:1-5 (KJV) "As Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
GO, AND DO YOU LIKEWISE
29. No, no; in this comfortable bed the earthly will grows strong, fat and lascivious. But as soon as the breath of God stirs in you, and points out your sin, then the soul is to sink itself into the suffering and death of Christ, firmly wrapping itself in it, and take Christ's sufferings as its possessions, being (with Christ's death) lord over the death of sin and breaking and killing it in Christ's death.
30. Although unwilling, [sin] must [die]. Struggle against the pleasure-seeking, earthly flesh; do not give it what it wishes, let it fast and hunger until appetite ceases. Hold the flesh's will to be your enemy and do not do what the desire in the flesh wishes. Thus you will lead the death of the flesh into death. Do not attend to the scorn of the world. Think that they only scorn your enemy because he is become a fool to them. Hold him also yourself to be a fool whom Adam awakened in you and gave you a false inheritance. Cast out the maid's son from the house, as a strange son whom God gave you in the beginning, in Adam, not in the house of life, for the maid's son is not to inherit with the freewoman's son (Galatians 4:30).
31. The earthly will is only the maid's son. The four elements were to have been servants to man but Adam led them to sonship. God therefore said to Abraham as He revealed the covenant of promise in him: Cast away the maid's son, for he is not to inherit with the freewoman's son, Genesis 21:10]. The freewoman's son is Christ, whom God, of His grace, brought to us in the flesh as a new mind, where the will, that is, the eternal will of the soul, might fetch, and drink the water of eternal life, concerning which Christ says: Whosoever drinks of this water that He will give us, for him it will be a fountain-source springing into eternal life (John 4:14). This source is a renewal of the soul's mind, the eternal star of eternal nature, the characteristic of the soul- creature.
32. Therefore I say, any pretense to God, whatever name it is given, by which a man might pretend to approach God, is a fruitless, useless thing outside of a regenerated mind. There is no other way to God than a new mind that turns from evil and enters into regret for its past sins, departs from iniquity, wills it no more, but wraps its will in Christ's death, and kills off the sins of the soul with earnestness in Christ's death, so that the soul's mind no longer will sin. Even though all the devils tormented it and brought their desires into its flesh, the soul's will must stand silent in the death of Christ, shelter itself [therein], and will nothing other than the mercy of God.
34. No hypocrisy and external comfort helps in any way, where a man, while still remaining firm in the self, wishes to cover with Christ's payment the rogue of sin in the flesh, and remain in the self. Christ said: Unless you are converted, and become as children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). So much must there be a new mind, like [that] in the child who knows nothing of sin. Christ further says: You must be born anew or you cannot see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). An entirely new will must arise out of Christ's death. Yes, it must be born out of Christ's entrance into humanity and arise in Christ's resurrection.
35. If this is to occur the soul's will must first die in Christ's death, for in Adam it took up the maid's son, sin. This one [sin] he must first cast out from the will, and the poor captive soul must wrap itself, with all that it is, in Christ's death, sop that the maid's son, sin in it, dies in Christ's death. Yes, sin must die in the soul's will or else there can be no vision of God. The earthly will, in sin and in God's wrath, shall not see God but Christ who came in the flesh [shall see God]. The soul must put on Christ's spirit and flesh. In this earthly tent it may not inherit God's kingdom; even though sin's kingdom hangs on eternally to it [the flesh], it must rot in the earth and [then] is to rise in new power.
36. There is no hypocritical forgiveness or one of mere words. We must not be externally accepted children, but children internally reborn out of God, in a new man, given over to God.
37. All hypocrisy by which we say, "Christ has paid and made satisfaction for sin; He has died for our sins," is all false deception and empty useless comfort) if we also do not die to our sins in Him and draw on His merit on new obedience and live in it.
38. He who is antagonistic to and an enemy of sin has Christ's suffering for comfort. He who neither eagerly sess nor hears not tastes [it], who is its enemy, who continually wishes the right and to do it if he only knew what he is to do, such a person has put on Christ's spirit and will. But the external hypocrisy, the externally accepted sonship, is false and useless.
39. Work done I the external flesh alone does not make sonship, but the work of Christ in the spirit, which is powerful in its external work and shows itself as a new light and reveals the sonship in the external work of the flesh, is and makes sonship.
40. For if the eye is the light of the soul [Luke 11:34], the whole body is the light in all its members. Anyone who boasts of sonship, and permits the body to burn in sin, or lies heavy in darkness, yet, in the fetters of the devil, is not capable of sonship. If he does not find the earnest will for good deeds in love burning in him, all his attempt [at sonship] is only a rational pretense for his self that may not see God unless he is born anew and shows himself in the power of sonship. There is no fire without light. If the divine fire is now in the mind it will certainly shine forth and do that which God will have [it do].
41: But you say, "I have a will for it. I would eagerly do it. But I am held back. I cannot."
42. Yes, dear dirtied stick, that is true. God draws you to sonship, but you do not wish [it]. Your soft pillow in evil is much dearer to you. You place the joy of earthly evil before God's joy. You still stick fast completely in self, and live according to the law of sin that holds you. You do not wish to die to the pleasures of the flesh and therefore yo are not in the sonship. God draws you to it but you yourself do not wish it. Oh, how good it would have seemed to Adam if, with this will, he could have been taken into heaven, and set the evil child, full of falsehood, on God's throne. Lucifer wishes to have it so, but he was thrown out.
43. The dying of the vil will is painful; no one wishes it. All of us would eagerly like to be children, of one would take us with this covering, but it cannot be so in any way. This world passes away; so too the external life must die, what [good], then is sonship to me in a mortal body.
44. Whoever wants to inherit sonship must also put on a new man who can inherit sonship and is like to the Godhead. God wishes to have no sinner in heaven, but only simple newborn children who have put on heaven.
45. Therefor it is not so easy a thing to become or be a child of God, ,as one tells us. It is very easy to him has put on the sonship, whose light shines, and who has his joy in it. However, to convert the mind and to break self there must be strict, irremissible earnestness and such a resolution that, although body and soul were to spring apart, yet the will would remain firm and never again enter into self..
46. This must be striven for until the dark, hard, locked centrum springs apart and the spark in the centrum ignites so that immediately the noble lily-branch as out of the divine grain of mustard seed [Luke 13:19], as Christ says begins to sprout forth. There must be earnest prayer with great humiliation, and for a time one must be a fool to one's own reason, and [one must] consider oneself foolish until Christ becomes a form in this new incarnation.
Boehme, Jacob. The Way to Christ. Trans. Peter Erb. New York: Paulist P, 1978. 130-135.
By Jacob Behmen (Jakob Boehme) 1575-1624, The Teutonic Theosopher
Two Dialogues Between A Disciple And His Master, Concerning The Life Which Is Above Sense.
Showing how the Soul may attain to Divine HEARING and VISION - to a life above sense; and What its Childship in the Natural and Supernatural Life is; and How it passes out of Nature into God, and out of God into Nature and Self again; also What its Salvation and Perdition are and What is the Partition Wall that separates the Soul from God and How the Breaking down of this Partition is effected; of the two Wills and two Eyes within the Fallen Soul; and What is the shortest WAY to the attainment of the Internal Kingdom of God and Why so few Souls do find It.
Composed by a Soul that loves all who are Children of JESUS CHRIST, under the Cross. Brought forth in the 1600's by a humble shoemaker; translated into English over 100 years later; suppressed and hidden away until recently in theological archives around the world... a worthy personal study not just for academics but for all those who are spiritually grounded in the WORD, who are learning to hear the Lord, and who hunger for more.
THE FIRST DIALOGUE
The Disciple said to his Master: Sir, How may I come to the Place that I may SEE with God, and may HEAR God speak - to a Life that is above my Senses and Feelings - to the Supersensual Life?
The Master answered and said: Son, when you can throw yourself into THAT, where no Creature dwells, though it be but for a Moment, then you HEAR what God speaks.
Disciple: Is that Place where no Creature dwells near at Hand; or is it afar off?
Master: It is IN YOU. And if you can, my Son, for a while but cease from all your OWN Thinking and Willing, then you shall hear the unspeakable Words of God.
Disciple: How is it that I can hear Him speak, when I stand still from Thinking and Willing?
Master: When you stand still from the Thinking of SELF, and the Willing of SELF; when both your Intellect and Will are quiet and passive to the Impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; when your Soul is winged up, and above that which is temporal with the outward Senses and the Imagination being locked up by Holy Abstraction; then the Eternal Hearing, Seeing, and Speaking will be revealed IN YOU; and so God hears and sees through you, being now the Organ of His Spirit; and so God speak in you, and whispers to your Spirit, and your Spirit hears his Voice. Blessed art you therefore if that you can stand still from SELF-Thinking and SELF-Willing, and can stop the Wheel of your Imagination and Senses; for it is hereby that you may arrive at Length to see the great Salvation of God, being made capable of all Manner of Divine Sensations and Heavenly Communications. Since it is nothing indeed but your OWN Hearing and Willing that do hinder you, so that you will not see and hear God.
Disciple: But wherewith shall I hear and see God, for as much as He is above Nature and Creature?
Master: Son, when you art quiet and silent, then art you as God was before Nature and Creature; you art that which God then was; you art that whereof He made your Nature and Creature: Then you hear and see even with that wherewith God Himself saw and heard in you, before ever your OWN Willing or your OWN Seeing began.
Disciple: What now hinders or keeps me back, so that I cannot come to that, where with God is to be seen and heard?
Master: Nothing truly but your OWN Willing, Hearing, and Seeing do keep you back from it, and do hinder you from coming to this Supersensual State or the Life which is above Sense. And it is because you strive so against that, out of which you yourself are descended and derived, that you thus break yourself off, with your OWN Willing, from God's Willing, and with your OWN Seeing from God's Seeing. In as much as in your OWN Seeing you will see in your OWN Willing only, and with your OWN Understanding you will understand but in and according to this your OWN Willing, as the same stands divided from the Divine Will. This your Willing moreover stops your Hearing, and makes you deaf towards God, through your OWN Thinking upon terrestrial Things, and your Attending to that which is without you; and so it brings you into a Ground, where you art laid hold on and captivated in Nature. And having brought you hither, it overshadows you with that which you will; it binds you with your own Chains, and it keeps you in your own dark Prison which you make for yourself; so that you can not go out thence, or come to that State which is above Nature and above Sense.
Disciple: But being I am in Nature, and thus bound, as with my own Chains, and by my own natural Will; pray be so kind, Sir, as to tell me, how I may come through Nature into the Supersensual and Supernatural Ground, without the destroying of Nature?
Master: Three Things are requisite in order to do this. The First is, You must resign up your Will to God; and must sink your SELF down to the Dust in His Mercy. The Second is, You must hate your OWN Will, and forbear from doing that to which your own Will would drive you. The Third is, You must bow your Soul under the Cross, heartily submitting yourself to It, that you may be able to bear the Temptations of Nature and Creature. And if you do thus, know that God will speak into you, and will bring your resigned Will in to Himself, in the supernatural Ground; and then you shall hear, my Son, what the Lord speaks in you.
Disciple: This is a hard Saying, Master; for I must forsake the World, and my Life too, if I should do thus.
Master: Be not discouraged over this. If you forsake the World, then you come into that out of which the World is made; and if you lose your Life, then your Life is in that, for whose Sake you forsake it. Your Life is in God, from whence it came into the Body; and as you come to have your OWN Power faint and weak and dying, the Power of God will then work in you and through you.
Disciple: Nevertheless as God hath created Man in and for the natural Life, to rule over all Creatures on Earth, and to be a Lord over all Things in this World, it seems not to be at all unreasonable, that Man should therefore possess this World, and the Things therein for his own.
Master: If you rule over all Creatures but outwardly, there cannot be much in that. But if you has a Mind to possess all Things, and to be a Lord indeed over all Things in this World, there is quite another Method to be taken by you.
Disciple: Pray, how is that? And what Method must I take, whereby to arrive at this Sovereignty?
Master: You must learn to distinguish well betwixt the Thing, and that which only is an Image thereof; betwixt that Sovereignty which is substantial, and in the inward Ground or Nature, and that which is imaginary, and in an outward Form, or Semblance; betwixt that which is properly Angelical, and that which is no more than bestial. If you rule now over the Creatures externally only, and not from the right internal Ground of your renewed Nature; then your Will and Ruling is verily in a bestial Kind or Manner, and your at best is but a Sort of imaginary and transitory Government, being void of that which is substantial and permanent, the which only you art to desire and press after. Thus by your outwardly Lording it over the Creatures, it is most easy for you to lose the Substance and the Reality, while you have nothing remaining but the Image or Shadow only of your first and original Lordship; wherein you art made capable to be again invested, if you would be but wise, and take your Investiture from the Supreme Lord in the right Course and Manner. Whereas by your willing and ruling thus after a bestial Manner, you bring also your Desire into a bestial Essence, by which Means you become infected and captivated therein, and get therewith a bestial Nature and Condition of Life. But if you shall have put off the bestial and ferine Nature, and if you has left the imaginary Life, and quitted the low imaged Condition of it; then art you come into the Super-Imaginariness, and into the intellectual Life, which is a State of living above Images, Figures and Shadows. And so you rule over all Creatures, being reunited with your Original, in that very Ground or Source, out of which they were and are created; and henceforth Nothing on Earth can hurt you. For you art like all Things and Nothing is unlike you.
Disciple: O loving Master, pray teach me how I may come the shortest Way to be like unto All Things.
Master: With all my Heart. Do but think on the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He said, "Except you be converted, and become as little Children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." There is no shorter Way than this; neither can there be a better Way found. Verily, Jesus said unto you, Unless you turn and become as a Child, hanging upon Him for All Things, you shall not see the Kingdom of God. This do, and Nothing shall hurt you; for you shall be at Friendship with all the Things that are, as you depend on the Author and Fountain of them, and become like Him, by such Dependence, and by the Union of your Will with His Will. But mark what I have further to say; and be not you startled at it, though it may seem hard for you at first to conceive. If you wilt be like All Things, you must forsake All Things; you must turn your Desire away from them All, and not desire or hanker after any of them; you must not extend your Will to possess that for your own, or as your own, which is Something, whatsoever that Something be. For as soon as ever you take Something into your Desire, and receive it into you for your OWN, or in Propriety, then this very Something (of what Nature soever it is) is the same with yourself; and this works with you in your Will, and you art thence bound to protect it, and to take Care of it even as of your own Being. But if you will receive no Thing into your Desire, then you art free from All Things, and rule over all Things at once, as a Prince of God. For you has received Nothing for your own, and art Nothing to all Things; and all Things are as Nothing to you. You art as a Child, which understands not what a Thing is, and though you will perhaps understand it, yet you understand it without mixing with it, and without its sensibly affecting or touching your Perception, even in that Manner wherein God would rule and see all Things; He comprehending All, and yet Nothing comprehending Him.
Disciple: Ah! How shall I arrive at this Heavenly Understanding, at this Sight of All Things in God, at this pure and naked Knowledge which is abstracted from the Senses; at this Light above Nature and Creature; and at this Participation of the Divine Wisdom which oversees all Things, and governs through all intellectual Beings? For, alas, I am touched every Moment by the Things which are about me; and overshadowed by the Clouds and Fumes which rise up out of the Earth. I desire therefore to be taught, if possible, how I may attain such a State and Conditions as no Creature may be able to touch me to hurt me; and how my Mind, being purged from sensible Objects and Things, may be prepared for the Entrance and Habitation of the Divine Wisdom in me?
Master: You desire that I would teach you how you art to attain it; and I will direct you to our Master, from Whom I have been taught it, that you may learn it yourself from Him, Who alone teaches the Heart. Hear you Him. Would you arrive at this; would you remain untouched by Sensibles; would you behold Light in the very Light of God, and see all Things thereby; then consider the Words of Christ, Who is that Light; and Who is the Truth. O consider now His Words, Who said, "Without Me you can do nothing" and defer not to apply yourself unto Him, Who is the Strength of your Salvation, and the Power of your Life; and with Whom you can do all Things, by the Faith which He works in you. But unless you wholly give yourself up to the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, and resign your Will wholly to Him, and desire Nothing and will Nothing without Him, you shall never come to such a Rest as no Creature can disturb. Think what you please, and be never so much delighted in the Activity of your OWN Reason, you shall find that in your OWN Power, and without such a total Surrender to God, and to the Life of God, you can never arrive at such a Rest as this, or the true Quiet of the Soul, wherein no Creature can molest you, or so much as touch you. Which when you shall, by Grace, have attained to, then with your Body you art in the World, as in the Properties of outward Nature; and with your Reason, under the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; but with your Will you walk in Heaven, and art at the End from whence all Creatures are proceeded forth, and to which they return again. And then you can in this END, which is the same with the BEGINNING, behold all Things outwardly with Reason, and inwardly with the Mind; and so may you rule in all Things and over all Things, with Christ; unto Whom all Power is given both in Heaven and on Earth.
Disciple: O Master, the Creatures which live in me do withhold me, that I cannot so wholly yield and give up myself as I willingly would. What am I to do in this Case?
Master: Let not this trouble you. Does your Will go forth from the Creatures? Then the Creatures are forsaken in you. They are in the World, and your Body, which is in the World, is with the Creatures. But spiritually you walk with God, and converse in Heaven, being in your Mind redeemed from Earth, and separated from Creatures, to live the Life of God. And if your Will thus leaves the Creatures, and goes forth from them, even as the Spirit goes forth from the Body at Death; then are the Creatures dead in it, and do live only in the Body in the World. Since if your Will would not bring itself into them, they cannot bring themselves into it, neither can they by any Means touch the Soul. And hence St. Paul said, "Our Conversation is in Heaven"; and also, "You are the Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you." So then True Christians are the very Temples of the Holy Ghost, Who dwells in them; that is, the Holy Ghost dwells in the Will, and the Creatures dwells in the Body.
Disciple: If now the Holy Spirit would dwell in the Will of the Mind, how ought I to keep myself so that He depart not from me again?
Master: Mark, my Son, the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ; "If you abide in My Words, then My Words abide in you." If you abide with your Will, in the Words of Christ; then His Word and Spirit abides in you, and all shall be done for you that you can ask of Him. But if your Will goes into the Creature, then you has broken off thereby yourself from Him. And then you can not any otherwise keep yourself but by abiding continually in the most resigned Humility, and by entering into a constant Course of Penitence, wherein you wilt be always grieved at your own Creatureliness and that Creatures do still live in you, that is, in your bodily Appetites. If you do thus, you stand in a daily dying from the Creatures, and in a daily ascending into Heaven in your Will; which Will is also the Will of your Heavenly Father.
Disciple: O my loving Master, pray teach me how I may come to such a constant Course of holy Penitence, and to such a daily Dying from all creaturely Objects; for how can I abide continually in Repentance?
Master: When you leave that which loves you, and love that which hates you; then you may abide continually in Repentance.
Disciple: What is it that I must thus leave?
Master: All Things that love and entertain you, because your Will loves and entertains them; all Things that please and feed you, because your Will feeds and cherishes them; all Creatures in Flesh and Blood; in a Word, all Visibles and Sensibles, by which either the Imagination or sensitive Appetite in Men are delighted and refreshed. These the Will of your Mind, or your supreme Part must leave and forsake; and must even account them all its Enemies. This is the Leaving of what loves you. And the Loving of what hates you, is the Embracing of the Reproach of the World. You must learn then to love the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for His Sake to be pleased with the Reproach of the World which hates and derides you; and let this be your daily Exercise of Penitence - to be crucified to the World, and the World to you. And so you shall have continual Cause to hate yourself in the Creature, and to seek the Eternal Rest which is in Christ. To which Rest you having thus attained, your Will may therein safely rest and repose itself, according as your Lord Christ hath said: "In Me you may have Rest, but in the World you shall have Anxiety; In Me you may have Peace, but in the World you shall have Tribulation."
Disciple: How shall I now be able to subsist in this Anxiety and Tribulation arising from the World, so as not to lose the Eternal Peace, or not enter into this Rest? And how may I recover myself in such a Temptation as this is, by not sinking under the World, but rising above it by a Life that is truly Heavenly or Supersensual?
Master: If you will once every Hour throw yourself by Faith beyond all Creatures, beyond and above all sensual Perception and Apprehension, yea, above Discourse and Reasoning into the abyssal Mercy of God, into the Sufferings of our Lord, and into the Fellowship of His Interceding, and yield yourself fully and absolutely there into; then you shall receive Power from above to rule over Death and the Devil, and so subdue Hell and the World under you: And then you may subsist in all Temptations, and be the brighter for them.
Disciple: Blessed is the Man that arrives to such a State as this. But alas! Poor Man that I am, how is this possible as to me? And what, O my Master, would become of me, if I should ever attain with my Mind to that, where no Creature is? Must I not cry out, I am undone!
Master: Son why art you so dispirited? Be of good Heart still; for you may certainly yet attain to it. Do but believe, and all Things are made possible to you. If it were that your Will, O you of little Courage, could break off itself for one Hour, or even but for one half Hour, from all Creatures, and plunge itself into That where no Creature is, or can be; presently it would be penetrated and clothed upon with the supreme Splendor of the Divine Glory, would taste in itself the most sweet Love of Jesus, the Sweetness whereof no Tongue can express, and would find in itself the unspeakable Words of our Lord concerning His great Mercy. Your Spirit would then feel in itself the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ to be very pleasing to it; and would thereupon love the Cross more than the Honors and Goods of the World.
Disciple: This for the Soul would be exceeding well indeed: But what would then become of the Body seeing that it must of Necessity live in the Creature?
Master: The Body would by this Means be put into the Imitation of our Lord Christ, and of His Body: It would stand in the Communion of that most blessed Body, which was the true Temple of the Deity; and in the Participation of all its gracious Effects, Virtues and Influences. It would live in the Creature not of Choice, but only as it is made subject unto Vanity, and in the World, as it is placed therein by the Ordination of the Creator, for its Cultivation and the higher Advancement; and as groaning to be delivered out of it in God's Time and Manner, for its Perfection and Resuscitation in Eternal Liberty and Glory, like unto the Glorified Body of our Lord and His risen Saints.
Disciple: But the Body being in its present Constitution, so made subject to Vanity, and living in a vain Image and creaturely Shadow, according to the Life of the undergraduated Creatures or Brutes, whose Breath goes downwards to the Earth; I am still very much afraid thereof, lest it should continue to depress the Mind which is lifted up to God, by hanging as dead Weight thereto; and go on to amuse and perplex the Same, as formerly, with Dreams and Trifles, by letting in the Objects from without, in order to draw me down into the World and the Hurry thereof; where I would fain maintain my Conversation in Heaven, even while I am living in the World. What therefore must I do with this Body, that I may be able to keep up so desirable a Conversation; and not to be under any Subjection to it any longer?
Master: There is no other Way for you that I know, but to present the Body whereof you complain (which is the Beast to be sacrificed) "a living Sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God": And this shall be your "rational Service", whereby this your Body will be put, as you desire, into the Imitation of Jesus Christ, who said, His Kingdom was not of this World. Be not you then "conformed to it, but be transformed by the Renewing of your Mind"; which renewed Mind is to have Dominion over the Body, that so you may prove, both in Body and Mind, what is the perfect Will of God, and accordingly perform the same with and by his Grace operating IN YOU. Whereupon the Body, or the Animal Life would, being thus offered up, begin to die, both from without and from within. From without, that is, from the Vanity and evil Customs and Fashions of the World. It would be an utter Enemy to all the Pomp thereof, and to all the Gaudery, Pageantry, Pride, Ambition, and Haughtiness therein. From within, it would die as to all the Lusts and Appetites of the Flesh, and would get a Mind and Will wholly new, for its Government and Management; being now made subject to the Spirit, which would continually be directed to God, as would all that is subject to your Body. And thus your very Body is become the Temple of God and of His Spirit, in Imitation of your Lord's Body.
Disciple: But the World would hate it, and despise it for so doing; seeing it must hereby contradict the World, and must live and act quite otherwise than the World would. This is most certain. And how can this then be taken?
Master: It would not take that as any Harm done to it, but would rather rejoice that it is become worthy to be like unto the Image of our Lord Jesus Christ, being transformed from that of the World: And it would be most willing to bear that Cross after our Lord; merely that our Lord might bestow upon it the Influence of His sweet and precious Love.
Disciple: I do not doubt but in some this may be even so. Nevertheless for my own Part, I am in a Straight betwixt two, not feeling yet enough of that blessed Influence upon me. O how willingly should my Body bear that, could this be safely depended upon by me, according to what is urged! Wherefore pardon me, loving Sir, in this one Thing, if my Impatience would still further demand what would become of it, if the Anger of God from within, and the wicked World also from without, should at once assault it, as the same really happened to our Lord Christ?
Master: Be that unto it, even as unto our Lord Christ, when He was reproached, reviled and crucified by the World; and when the Anger of God so fiercely assaulted Him for our Sake. Now what did He do under this most terrible Assault both from without and from within? Why, He commended his Soul into the Hands of his Father, and so departed from the Anguish of this World into the Eternal Joy. Do you likewise; and His Death shall become your Life.
Disciple: Be it unto me as unto the Lord Christ; and unto my Body as unto His; which into His Hands I have commended, and for the Sake of His Name do offer up, according to His revealed Will. Nevertheless I am desirous to know what would become of my Body in its pressing forth from the Anguish of this miserable World into the Power of the Heavenly Kingdom?
Master: It would get forth from the Reproach and Contradiction of the World, by a Conformity to the Passion of Jesus Christ; and from the Sorrows and Pains in the Flesh, which are only the Effects of some sensible Impression of Things without, by a quiet Introversion of the Spirit, and secret Communion with the Deity manifesting Itself for that End. It would penetrate into itself; it would sink into the great Love of God; it would be sustained and refreshed by the most sweet name JESUS; and it would see and find within itself a new World springing forth as through the Anger of God, into the Love and Joy Eternal. And then should a Man wrap his Soul in this, even in the great Love of God, and clothe himself Therewith as with a Garment; and should account thence all Things alike; because in the Creature he finds nothing that can give him, without God, the least Satisfaction; and because also Nothing of Harm can touch him more, while he remains in this Love, which indeed is stronger that all Things, and makes a Man hence invulnerable both from within and without, by taking out the Sting and Poison of the Creatures, and destroying the Power of Death. And whether the Body be in Hell or on Earth, all is alike to him; for whether it be there or here, his Mind is still in the greatest Love of God; which is no less than to say, that he is in Heaven.
Disciple: But how would a Man's Body be maintained in the World; or how would he be able to maintain those that are his, if he should by such a Conversation incur the Displeasure of all the World?
Master: Such a Man gets greater Favors than the World is able to bestow upon him. He hath God for his Friend; he hath all His Angels for his Friends: In all Dangers and Necessities these protect and relieve him; so that he need fear no Manner of Evil; no Creature can hurt him. God is his Helper; and that is sufficient. Also God is his Blessing in every Thing; and though sometimes it may seem as if God would not bless him, yet is this but for a Trial to him, and for the Attraction of the Divine Love; to the End he may more fervently pray to God, and commit all his Ways unto Him.
Disciple: He loses however by this all his good Friends; and there will be none to help him in his Necessity.
Master: Nay, but he gets the Hearts of all his true Friends into his Possession, and loses none but his Enemies, who before loved his Vanity and Wickedness.
Disciple: How it is that he can get his true Friends into his Possession?
Master: He gets the very Hearts and Souls of all those that belong to our Lord Jesus to be his Brethren, and the Members of his own very Life. For all the Children of God are but One in Christ, which One is Christ in All; and therefore he gets them all to be his Fellow Members in the Body of Christ, whence they have all the same Heavenly Goods in common; and all live in one and the same Love of God, as the Branches of a Tree in one and the same Root, and spring all from one and the same Source of Life in them. So that he can have no Want of spiritual Friends and Relations, who are all rooted with him together in the Love which is from above; who are all of the same Blood and Kindred in Christ Jesus; and who are all nourished by the same quickening Sap and Spirit diffusing Itself through them universally from the one True Vine, which is the Tree of Life and Love. These are Friends worth having; and though Here they may be unknown to him, will abide his Friends beyond Death, to all Eternity. But neither can he want even outward natural Friends, as our Lord Christ when on Earth did not want such also. For though indeed the High-Priests and Potentates of the World could not have a Love for Him because they belonged not to Him, neither stood in any Kind of Relation to Him, since He was not of this World; yet those loved Him who were capable of His Love, and receptive of His Words. So in like Manner, those who love Truth and Righteousness will love that Man, and will associate themselves unto him, yea, though they may perhaps be outwardly at some Distance or seeming Disagreement, from the Situation of their worldly Affairs, or out of some certain Respects; yet in their Hearts they cannot but cleave to him. For though they be not yet actually incorporated into one Body with him, yet they cannot resist being of one Mind with him, and being united in Affection, for the great Regard they bear to the Truth, which shines forth in his Words and in his Life. By which they are made either his declared or his secret Friends; and he would so get their Hearts, as they will be delighted above all Things in his Company, for the Sake thereof, and will court his Friendship, and will come unto him by Stealth, if openly they dare not, for the Benefit of his Conversation and Advice; even as Nicodemus did unto Christ, who came to Him by Night, and in his Heart loved Jesus for the Truth's Sake, though outwardly he feared the World. And thus you shall have many Friends that are not known to you; and some known to you, who may not appear so before the World.
Disciple: Nevertheless it is very grievous to be generally despised of the World, and to be trampled upon by Men as the very Off scouring thereof.
Master: That which now seems so hard and heavy to you, you wilt yet hereafter be most of all in Love with.
Disciple: How can it be that I should ever love that which hates me?
Master: Though you love the earthly Wisdom now, yet when you shall be clothed upon with the Heavenly Wisdom, then you wilt see that all the Wisdom of the World is Folly; and wilt see also that the World hates not so much you, as it does your Enemy, which is the Mortal Life. And when you yourself shall come to hate the Will thereof, by Means of a habitual Separation of your Mind from the World, then you also wilt begin to love that despising of the Mortal Life, and the Reproach of the World for Christ's Sake . And so shall you be able to stand under every Temptation, and to hold out to the End by the Means hereof in the Course of Life above the World, and above Sense. In this Course you wilt hate yourself; and you wilt also love yourself; I say love yourself, and that even more than ever you did yet.
Disciple: But how can these two subsist together, that a Person should both love and hate himself?
Master: In loving yourself, you love not yourself as your OWN; but as given you from the Love of God you love the Divine Ground in you; by which and in which you love the Divine Wisdom, the Divine Goodness, the Divine Beauty; you love also by it God's Works of Wonders; and in this Ground you love likewise your Brethren. But in hating yourself, you hate only that which is your OWN, and wherein the Evil sticks close to you. And this you will, that so you may wholly destroy that which you call your; as when you say I or MYSELF do this, or do that. All which is wrong, and a downright Mistake in you; for nothing can you properly call your but the Evil SELF, neither can you do any Thing of yourself that is to be accounted of. This SELF therefore you must labor wholly to destroy IN YOU, that so you may become a Ground wholly Divine. There is, there can be no Selfishness in Love; they are opposite to each other. Love, that is, Divine Love (of which only we are now discoursing) hates all Egoity, hates all that which we call I, or I-HOOD; hates all such Restrictions and Confinements, yea even all that springs from a contracted Spirit, or this evil Selfhood, because it is a hateful and deadly Thing. And it is impossible that these two should stand together, or subsist in one Person; the one driving out the other by a Necessity of Nature. For Love possesses Heaven, and dwells in Itself, which is dwelling in Heaven; but that which is called I, this vile Selfhood possesses the World and worldly Things; and dwells also in itself, which is dwelling in Hell, because this is the very Root of Hell itself. And therefore as Heaven rules above the World and as Eternity rules above Time, even so ought Love to rule above the natural temporal Life; for no other Method is there, neither can there be of attaining to that Life which is Supernatural and Eternal, and which you so much desire to be led into.
Disciple: Loving Master, I am well content that this Love should rule in me over the natural Life, so that I may attain to that which is Supernatural and Supersensual; but pray tell me now, why must Love and Hatred, Friend and Foe thus be together? Would not Love alone be better? Wherefore, I say, are Love and Trouble thus joined?
Master: If Love dwelt not in Trouble, It could have Nothing to love; but when Its Substance which It loves, namely, the poor Soul, is in Trouble and Pain, Love hath thence Cause to love this, Its own Substance, and to deliver it from its Pain; that so the Soul, itself, may by the indwelling Love be again Beloved. Neither could any one know what Love is, if there were no Hatred; or what Friendship is, if there were no Foe to contend with. Or in one Word, for Love to be known It must have Something which It might Love, and where Its Virtue and Power may be manifested, by working out Deliverance to the Beloved from all Pain and Trouble.
Disciple: Pray what is the Virtue, Power, the Height and the Greatness of Love?
Master: The Virtue of Love is NOTHING and ALL, or that Nothing visible out of which All Things proceed; Its Power is through All Things; Its Height is as high as God; Its Greatness is as great as God. Its Virtue is the Principle of all Principles; Its Power supports the Heavens and upholds the Earth; Its Height is higher than the highest Heavens; and Its Greatness is even greater than the very Manifestation of the Godhead in the glorious Light of the Divine Essence, as being infinitely capable of greater and greater Manifestations in all Eternity. What can I say more? Love is higher than the Highest. Love is greater than the Greatest. Yea, It is in a certain Sense greater than God; while yet in the highest Sense of all, God is Love, and Love is God. Love being the highest Principle, is the Virtue of all Virtues; from whence they all flow forth. Love being the greatest Majesty, is the Power of all Powers, from whence they severally operate; and It is the Holy Magical Root, or Ghostly Power from whence all the Wonders of God have been wrought by the Hands of his elect Servants, in all their Generations successively. Whosoever finds It, finds Nothing and All Things.
Disciple: Dear Master, pray tell me how to understand this.
Master: First then, in that I said, Its Virtue is Nothing, or that NOTHING which is the BEGINNING of All Things, you must understand It thus; when you art gone forth wholly from the Creature, and from that which is visible, and art become Nothing to all that is Nature and Creature, then you art in that Eternal One, which is God Himself. And then you shall perceive and feel in your Interior, the highest Virtue of Love. But in that I said, Its Power is through All Things, this is that which you perceive and find in your own Soul and Body experimentally, whenever this great Love is enkindled within you; seeing that It will burn more than the Fire can do, as It did in the Prophets of old, and afterwards in the Apostles, when God conversed with them bodily, and when His Spirit descended upon them in the Oratory of Zion. You shall then see also in all the Works of God, how Love hath poured Itself into all Things, and penetrates all Things, and is the most inward and most outward Ground in all Things - inwardly in the Virtue and Power of every Thing, and outwardly in the Figure and Form thereof. And in that I said, Its Height is as high as God; you may understand this in yourself; forasmuch as It brings you to be as high as God Himself is, by being united to God - as may be seen by our beloved Lord Christ in our Humanity. Which Humanity Love hath brought up into the highest Throne, above all Angelical Principalities and Powers, into the very Power of the Deity itself. But in that I also said, Its Greatness is as great as God, you art hereby to understand, that there is a certain Greatness and Latitude of Heart in Love, which is inexpressible; for It enlarges the Soul as wide as the whole Creation of God. And this shall be truly experienced by you, beyond all Words, when the Throne of Love shall be set up in your Heart. Moreover in that I said, Its Virtue is the Principle of all Principles, hereby it is given you to understand, that Love is the principle Cause of all created Beings, both spiritual and corporeal, by Virtue whereof the second Causes do move and act occasionally according to certain Eternal Laws from the Beginning implanted in the very Life and Energy of all the Principles of Nature, superior and inferior -It reaches to all Worlds, and to all Manner of Beings in them contained, they being the Workmanship of Divine Love; and It is the first Mover, and first Moveable both in Heaven above and in the Earth beneath, and in the Water under the Earth. And hence there is given to It the Name of Lucid Aleph, or Alpha; by which is expressed the Beginning of the Alphabet of Nature, and of the Book of Creation and Providence, or the Divine Archetypal Book, in which is the Light of Wisdom, and the Source of all Lights and Forms. And in that I said, Its Power supports the Heavens; by this you wilt come to understand, that as the Heavens, visible and invisible, are originated from this great Principle, so are they likewise necessarily sustained by It; and that therefore if This should be but never so little withdrawn, all the Lights, Glories, Beauties, and Forms of the heavenly Worlds, would presently sink into Darkness and Chaos. And whereas I further said, that It upholds the Earth; this will appear to you no less evident than the former, and you shall perceive It in yourself by daily and hourly Experience; forasmuch as the Earth without It, even your own Earth also, (that is, your Body) would certainly be without Form and Void. By the Power thereof the Earth hath been thus long upheld, notwithstanding a foreign usurped Power introduced by the Folly of Sin. And should this but once fail or recede, there could no longer be either Vegetation or Animation upon it; yea, the very Pillars of it would be quite overthrown, and the Band of Union, which is that of Attraction or Magnetism, called the Centripetal Power, being broken and dissolved, all must thence run into the utmost Disorder, and falling away as into Shivers, would be dispersed as loose Dust before the Wind. But in that I said, Its Height is higher than the highest Heavens; this you may also understand within yourself; so should you ascend in Spirit through all the Orders of Angels and heavenly Powers, yet the Power of Love still is undeniably superior to them all. And as the Throne of God, Who sits upon the Heaven of Heavens, is higher than the highest of them, even so must Love also be, which fills them all, and comprehends them all. And whereas I said of the Greatness of Love, that It is greater than the very Manifestation of the Godhead in the Light of the Divine Essence; that is also true. For Love enters even into that where the Godhead is not manifested in this glorious Light, and where God may be said not to dwell. And entering there into, Love begins to manifest to the Soul the Light of the Godhead; and thus is the Darkness broken through, and the Wonders of the new Creation successively manifested. Thus shall you be brought to understand really and fundamentally, what is the Virtue and Power of Love, and what the Height and Greatness thereof is; how that It is indeed the Virtue of all Virtues, though It be invisible, and as a Nothing in Appearance, inasmuch as It is the Worker of all Things, and a powerful vital Energy passing through all Virtues and Powers natural and supernatural; and the Power of all Powers, nothing being able to let or obstruct the Omnipotence of Love, or to resist Its invincible penetrating Might, which passes through the whole Creation of God, inspecting and governing all Things. And in that I said, It is higher than the Highest, and greater than the Greatest; you may hereby perceive as in a Glimpse, the supreme Height and Greatness of Omnipotent Love, which infinitely transcends all that human Reason can reach to. The highest Archangels and the greatest Powers of Heaven are, in Comparison of it, but as Dwarfs. Nothing can be conceived higher and greater in God Himself, by the very Highest and Greatest of His Creatures. There is such an Infinity in It, as comprehends and surpasses all the Divine Attributes. But in that it was also said, Its Greatness is greater than God; that likewise is very true in the Sense wherein it was spoken; For Love, as I before observed, can there enter where God dwells not, since the most high God dwells not in Darkness, but in the Light - the hellish Darkness being put under His Feet. Thus for Instance, when our beloved Lord Christ was in Hell, Hell was not the Mansion of God or of Christ; Hell was not God, neither was it with God, nor could it be at all with Him; Hell stood in the Darkness and Anxiety of Nature, and no Light of the Divine Majesty did there enter. God was not there; for He is not in the Darkness or in the Anguish; but Love was there; and Love destroyed Death and conquered Hell. So also when you art in Anguish or Trouble, which is Hell within, God is not the Anguish or Trouble; neither is He in the Anguish or Trouble; but His Love is there, and brings you out of the Anguish and Trouble into God, leading you into the Light and Joy of His Presence. When God hides Himself in you, Love is still there, and makes Him manifest in you. Such is the inconceivable Greatness and Largeness of Love; which will hence appear to you as great as God above Nature, and greater than God in Nature, so as considered in his manifestative Glory. Lastly, whereas I also said, Whosoever finds It, finds Nothing and All Things; that is also certain and true. But how finds he Nothing? Why, I will tell you how. He that finds it, finds a Supernatural Supersensual Abyss, which hath no Ground or Byss to stand on, and where there is no Place to dwell in; and he finds also Nothing is like unto It, and therefore It may fitly be compared to Nothing; for It is deeper than any Thing, and is as Nothing with respect to All Things, forasmuch as It is not comprehensible by any of them. And because It is Nothing respectively, It is therefore free from All Things; and is that only Good, which a Man cannot express or utter what It is; there being Nothing to which It may be compared, to express It by. But in that I lastly said, Whosoever finds It, finds All Things; there is nothing can be more true than this Assertion. It hath been the BEGINNING of All Things; and It rules All Things. It is also the END of All Things; and will thence comprehend All Things within Its Circle. All Things are from It, and in It, and by It. If you find It, you come into that Ground from whence All Things are proceeded, and wherein they subsist; and you art in It a KING over all the Works of God. Here the Disciple was exceedingly ravished with what his Master had so wonderfully and surprisingly declared, and returned his most humble and hearty Thanks for that Light, which his Master had been an Instrument of conveying to him. But being desirous to hear further concerning these high Matters, and to know Somewhat more particularly, he requested him that he would give him Leave to wait on him the next Day again; and that he would then be pleased to show him how and where he might find this which was so much beyond all Price and Value, and where about the Seat and Abode of it might be in human Nature; with the entire Process of the Discovery and bringing it forth to Light.
The Master said to him: This then we will discourse about at our next Conference, as God shall reveal the same to us by his SPIRIT, which is the Searcher of All Things. And if you will remember well what I answered you in the Beginning, you shall soon come thereby to understand that hidden mystical Wisdom of God, which none of the Wise Men of the World know; and where the MIND thereof is to be found in you, shall be given you from above to discern. Be silent therefore in your Spirit, and watch unto Prayer; that when we meet again Tomorrow in the Love of Christ, your Mind may be disposed for finding that noble PEARL, which to the World appears Nothing, but which to the Children of Wisdom is All Things.