by Jacob Behmen (Jakob Boehme) 1575-1624, The Teutonic Theosopher
SHOWING How Man must DAILY die to his OWN Will in SELF; how he must bring his Desire into God, and what he should ask and desire of God. LIKEWISE How he must spring up out of the dying sinful Man, with a new Mind and Will through the Spirit of Christ. ALSO What the Old and New Man are, and what each of them is in Life, Will and Practice.
Composed by a Soul that loveth 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 CHAPTER
We have a clear Example in Lucifer, and also in Adam the first Man, of what SELF doeth, when it getteth the Light of Nature to be its OWN, and when it can walk with the Understanding in its OWN Dominion. We see also in Men learned in Arts and Sciences, that when they get the Light of this outward World or Nature into the Possession of their Reason, nothing cometh of it but Pride of themSELVES. And yet all the World so vehemently desireth and seeketh after this Light as the best Treasure; and indeed it is the best Treasure this World affordeth, if it be rightly used.
2. But while SELF, viz. Reason, is captivated and fast bound in a close and strong Prison, that is to say, in the Anger of God, and in Earthliness, it is very dangerous for a Man to make Use of the Light of Knowledge in SELF, as if it were in the Possession of SELF.
3. For the Wrath of the Eternal and Temporary Nature will soon take Pleasure in it, and then SELF and a Man's own Reason, will rise up in Pride, and depart from the true resigned Humility towards God, and will no longer eat of the Fruit of Paradise, but instead eat of the Property of SELF, viz. of that Dominion of Life, wherein Good and Evil are mixed as Lucifer and Adam did. Who both entered with the Desire of SELF back again into the Original, out of which the Creatures were brought forth and entered into the Condition of the Creatures; Lucifer into the Center and wrathful Nature, into the Matrix or Womb which bringeth forth Fire, and Adam into the earthly Nature, into the Matrix of the outward World, viz. into the Lust after Good and Evil.
4. This happened to them both, because they had the Light of Understanding shining in SELF, in which they could behold themselves, whereby the Spirit of SELF went into the Imagination, (viz. into a Desire to get to the Center,) that they might exalt themselves in Might, Power, and Knowledge. Now when Lucifer sought after the Mother of Fire in his Center, and thought to reign therewith over the Love of God and all the Angels, and when Adam also desired to try in the Essence what the Mother or Root was from whence Evil and Good did spring, and purposely brought his Desire thereinto, in order to thereby become knowing and full of Understanding thereby: Both Lucifer and Adam were captivated in their evil or false Desire in the Mother, and broke off themselves from Resignation which proceeds from God, and so were caught by the Spirit of the Will, by the Desire in the Mother. Which Desire immediately got the Dominion in Nature; and so Lucifer stuck fast in the wrathful Source of Fire, and that Fire became manifest in the Spirit of his Will, whereby the Creature in its Desire became an Enemy to the Love and Meekness of God.
5. Adam in like Manner, was immediately caught by the earthly Mother, which is Evil and Good, created out of the Anger and Love of God, and compacted into one Substance. Whereupon the earthly Property instantly got the Dominion in Adam, and from thence Heat and Cold, Envy and Anger, and all Malice and Contrariety to God became manifest, and bore Rule in him.
6. But if they had not brought the Light of Knowledge into SELF, then the Glass of the Knowledge of the Center and of the Original of the Creature, viz. of the Power which it had in itself would not have been manifested, from whence the Imagination and Lust did arise.
7. As also we often see at this Day how the same Error bringeth Danger upon the enlightened Children of God; in whom when the Sun of the great Presence of God's Holiness shineth, by which the Life passeth into Triumph, and then Reason beholds itself therein as in a Glass, and the Will goeth on in SELF, in its OWN searching, and will try what the Center is out of which the Light shineth, and will of its OWN Motion and Strength force itSELF into it, how that from thence arise abominable Pride and SELF-Love; so that its (the Creature's) own Reason, which is but a Mirror or Glass of the Eternal Wisdom, supposeth itSELF to be greater than it is; and then whatsoever it doeth, it thinketh God's Will doeth in and by it, and that he is a Prophet; though it is moved only by itSELF, and goeth on in its OWN Desire, in which the Center of Nature presently riseth up, and entereth into that false Desire of SELF against God, and so the Will entereth into SELF-Conceit and Exaltation.
8. Then the subtle Devil insinuateth himself into the Creature, and sifteth the Center of Nature, and bringeth evil or false Desires into it, so that a Man becometh as it were drunken in SELF, and still persuades himself that he is driven by God, by which Means the good Beginning, wherein the Divine Light shone in Nature, cometh to be spoiled, and so the Light of God departeth from him.
9. Yet the outward Light of the outward Nature still remaineith shining in the Creature; for its own SELF throweth itself thereinto, and supposeth that it is still the first Light of God; but it is not so. And into this SELF-Exaltation in the Light of its outward Reason, the Devil throweth himself again, (though in the first Light, which was Divine, he had been forced to depart) now returning with the seven-fold Desire, of which Christ spake, saying, When the unclean Spirit departeth out of a Man, he wandereth through dry Places seeking Rest, and findeth none; and then he taketh to himself seven Spirits worse than himself, and returneth to his first House; and finding it swept and garnished, he dwelleth therein, and so it is worse with that Man than it was before.
10. This House, that is thus swept and garnished, is the Light of Reason in SELF. For if a Man bringeth his Desire and Will into God, and then goeth on in Abstinence from this wicked Life, and heartily desireth the Love of God, then that Love will indeed manifest itself to him with its most friendly and cheerful Countenance, by which the outward Light also is kindled. For where the Light of God is kindled, there all will be Light; the Devil cannot stay there, but must depart thence; and then he searcheth through the Mother of the Original of Life, viz. the Center, but finds that it is become a dry feeble Place. For the Anger of God, viz, the Center of Nature, is in its own Property altogether feeble, barren and dry and cannot get the Dominion in its own wrathful Principle. Satan continually searcheth through these Places to find an open Gate to enter with his Desire, and so to sift the Soul that it might come to exalt its SELF.
11. And now if the Spirit of the Will of the Creature throweth itself with the Light of Reason back into the Center, viz. into SELF, and entereth into SELF-Exaltation, then it goeth forth again from the Light of God, and presently the Devil findeth an open Gate for him to enter in at, and a garnished House to dwell in, viz. the Light of Reason. Then he taketh to himself the seven Forms of the Property of Life in SELF, viz. the Flatterers which are departed from God into SELF; and there he entereth and putteth his Desire into the Lust of SELF and evil Imaginations, wherein the Spirit of the Will beholdeth itself in the Forms of the Properties of Life in the outward Light, and then the Man sinketh into himself as if he were drunk, and the Stars lay hold on him, and bring their strong Influences into him, (into outward Reason) that he might seek the Wonders of God there, that so they may manifest themselves therein. For all Creatures groan and long after God. And though the Stars cannot apprehend the Spirit of God, yet they would rather have a House of Light wherein they may rejoice, than a House shut up, wherein they can have no Rest.
12. Thus such a Man goeth on as if he were drunk, in the Light of the outward Reason, which is called the Stars, and apprehendeth great and wonderful Things, and hath a continual Guide, therein. And then the Devil presently watcheth to see if any Gate standeth open for him, through which he may kindle the Centre of Life, that so the Spirit of the Will may mount aloft in Pride, Self-Conceit, or Covetousness; (from whence Self-Arrogancy ariseth, the Will of Reason desiring to be honored;) for it supposeth it hath attained the Sum of all Happiness, when it hath gotten the Light of Reason, and can judge the House of hidden Mysteries that is shut up; which nevertheless God can easily unlock. The deluded Man thereupon supposeth that now he hath reached the Mark, and that Honour is due to him, because he hath gotten the Understanding of Reason, and never considereth that the Devil maketh himself merry with his Desire in his seven Forms of Life of the Center of Nature, nor what abominable Error he setteth up.
13. From this Understanding of Reason false Babel is brought forth in the Christian Church on Earth, wherein Men rule and teach by the Conclusions of Reason, and have set the Child which is drunk in its own Pride and SELF-Desire, as a fair Virgin upon the Throne.
14. But the Devil is entered into its seven Forms of Life of the Center, viz. into its own SELF-conceited Reason, and continually bringeth his Desire into this trimmed and decorated Virgin, which the Stars receive. He is her Beast on which she rideth, well adorned with her own Powers of Life, as may be seen in the Revelation of St. John. Thus hath this Child of SELF taken into its Possession the outward Glance of Divine Holiness, viz. the Light of Reason, and supposeth itSELF to be the fair Child in the House, though the Devil hath his Lodging within it all the while.
15. And thus it is with all those who have been once enlightened by God, and afterwards go forth again from true Resignation, and wean themselves from the pure Milk of their Mother, viz. true Humility.