By Jacob Boehme
THE THIRD CHAPTER
Whosoever therefore intendeth to do any good and perfect Work, wherein he hopeth eternally to rejoice, let him depart from himSELF, viz. from his OWN Desire, and enter into Resignation, into the Will of God, and work with God. And then though the earthly Desire of SELF in Flesh and Blood cleaveth to him, yet if the Will of the Soul doth not receive that Desire into it, SELF cannot perform any Work. For the resigned Will continually destroyeth the Substance of SELF again, so that the Anger of God cannot reach it. And if it should happen to reach it sometimes, as may be the Case, yet the resigned Will prevaileth with its superior Power, and then it beareth the Figure of a victorious Work in the Wonders, and may inherit the Filiation [or Childship]. Therefore it is not good to speak or do any Thing, when Reason is kindled in and by the Desire of SELF because that Desire springeth from, and worketh in, the Anger of God; by which a Man would suffer Loss. For his Work is brought into that Anger, and kept there to the great Day of God's Judgement.
2. Every evil or false Desire, whereby a Man deviseth how to gather to himSELF by Craft much worldly Gain from his Neighbor to his Neighbor's Hurt, is taken into the Anger of God, and belongeth to the Judgement. Wherein all Things shall be made manifest and every Power and Essence, every Cause and Effect, both in Good and Evil, shall be presented to every one in the Mystery of the Revelation.
3. All evil Works, done purposely, belong to the Judgement of God. But he that turneth from the SELF Will, goeth out from the Power of them, and those his Works belong to the Fire. All Things shall and must be made manifest in the End. For therefore God brought His working Power into Essence or Substance, that His Love and Anger might be made manifest, and become a Representation of His Deeds of Wonder, to His Glory.
4. And every Creature ought to know that it should continue in that Condition wherein it was created; otherwise it runneth on in Contrariety and Enmity to the Will of God, and bringeth itself into Pain. For every intelligent Creature that hath lost its Place or State wherein God first created it, is in Disorder and Misery, till it recovereth the same. A Creature which is created out of Darkness hath no Pain in the Darkness; as a venomous Serpent hath no Pain from its Venom. The Venom is its Life; but if it should lose its Venom, and have some good Thing instead brought into it, and be made manifest in its Essence, that would be Pain and Death to it. Thus Good is Torment to a Being whose nature is evil, and Evil is in like Manner Pain and Death to the Good.
5. Man was created of, for, and in Paradise; of, for and in the Love of God; but if he brings himself into Anger, which is as a poisonous Pain and Death, then that contrary Paradisical Life of Love is a Pain and Torment to him.
6. If the Devil had been created out of the wrathful Matrix, for and in Hell, and had not had the Divine Ens or Essence, he could have no Pain in Hell. But he, being created for and in Heaven, and yet having stirred up the Source or Property of Darkness in himself, and thereby brought himself totally into Darkness, therefore the Light is now a Pain to him; that is, it causeth an everlasting Despair of God's Grace, and a continual Enmity to God; because God cannot endure him in Himself, but hath cast him out. Therefore, the Devil is angry and wrathful against his own Mother, of whose Essence and Substance he hath his Original, viz. the Eternal Nature, which keepeth him Prisoner in his own Place, as a Revolter or fallen Spirit, and sporteth in him with its Property of Anger. And, seeing he would not bear his Part in promoting the Divine Joy, in and for which he was created, therefore he must now do the contrary, and be an Enemy to all Goodness. For, of God, and in Him, are all Things, Darkness and Light, Anger and Love, Fire and Light; but He calleth Himself God, only as to the Light of His Love.
7. There is an eternal Contrariety between Darkness and Light, neither of them comprehendeth the other, and neither of them is the other; and yet there is only one Essence, Being, or Substance, wherein they both subsist. But there is a Difference in the Quality and Will; yet the Essence or Substance is not divided, but a Principle maketh the Division. So that the one is a nothing in the other, and yet it is there, but not manifest in the Property of that Thing wherein it is.
8. For the Devil continued in his own Dominion or Principality, not indeed in that wherein God created him, but in the aching painful Birth of Eternity, in the Center of Nature and Property of Wrath, in the Property which begetteth Darkness, Anguish and Pain. Indeed he is a Prince in the Place of this World, but in the first Principle, in the Kingdom of Darkness, in the Pit or Abyss.
9. Not in the Kingdom of the Sun, Stars, and Elements; he is no Lord or Prince there, but only in the wrathful Part, viz. in the Root of the Evil of every Thing; and yet he hath not Power to do what he pleaseth with that.
10. For there is some Good in every Thing, which holdeth the Evil captive and shut up in the Thing; but he can walk and rule only in the evil Part or Property when it stirreth up an evil Desire in itSELF, and bringeth its Desire into Wickedness. This indeed the inanimate Creature cannot do; but Man can do it through the inanimate Creature, if he brings the Center of his Will, with the Desire out of the Eternal Center into it, which is the Ground of Enchantment and false Magic. The Will of the Devil can also enter into that Evil whereinto Man bringeth the Desire of his Soul, which is born also out of the Eternal Nature.
11. For the Original of the Soul and of Angels, out of the Eternal Nature is the same. But the Devil hath no further Power over the Time, or temporary Condition of this World, than in the great Turba or Turba Magna, the Curse; wheresoever that kindleth itself in the eternal and temporal Wrath, there he is busy, as in Wars, Fighting, and Strife, as also in great Tempests without Water. In fire he proceeds as far as the Turba (Mischief or Hurt) goeth in great Showers or Tempests of Thunder, Lightning, and Hail; but he cannot direct them, for he is not Lord or Master in them, but Servant only.
12. Thus the Creature stirreth up with its own Desire, Good and Evil, Life and Death. The human Angelical Desire standeth in the Center of the eternal Nature which is without Beginning; and wherever it kindleth itself, whether in Good or Evil, it accomplisheth its Work in that.
13. Now God created every Thing for and in that wherein it should be; the Angels for and in Heaven, and Man for and in Paradise. If therefore the Desire of the Creature goeth forth from its own Mother, then it entereth into the contrary Will and into Enmity, and it is tormented with the Contrariety therein, and so a false Will ariseth in a good; and then the good Will entereth into its nothing again, viz. into the End of Nature and Creature, and so leaveth the Creature in its OWN Evil or Wickedness, as appeareth by Lucifer and also Adam; and had not the Will of the Love of God met with Adam, and of mere Mercy entered into the Humanity or human Nature again, there could be no good Will in Man.
14. Therefore all Speculation and Inquiry about God's Will is a vain Thing, unless the Mind be converted. For when the Mind standeth captivated in the SELF-Desire of the earthly Life, it cannot comprehend what the Will of God is; it runneth on but in SELF, from one Way into another, and yet findeth no Rest; for SELF-Desire evermore bringeth Disquiet. But when it sinketh itself wholly into the Mercy of God, desiring to die from itSELF, and to have God's Will for a Guide to the Understanding, so that it acknowledgeth and esteemeth itSELF as nothing, and willeth nothing but what God willeth, then shall it both know and do the Will of God. And if the Desire of Anger in the earthly Flesh should go along or join with the Devil's Imagination, and assault the Will of the Soul, yet the resigned Desire cryeth to God and saith, Abba, loving Father, deliver me from Evil. And then, though the earthly Will should grow too strong in the Wrath of God by the Infection of the Devil, the Desire of Anger would work but in or upon itself. According to what St. Paul saith, Now, if I sin, I do it not, but Sin that dwelleth in my Flesh: Also, Now I serve the Law of God in my Mind, but in my Flesh the Law of Sin. Paul meaneth not that the Will of the Mind or Soul should consent to the Will of the Flesh; but Sin is so strong in the Flesh, viz. the awakened Anger of God in SELF, that oftentimes the Mind is brought into Lust, as it were by Force, through the evil Incitements of the wicked, or else by beholding worldly Pomp and Glory; so that it absolutely beareth down the resigned Will, and ruleth by Force.
15. Now when Sin is wrought in the Flesh, then the Wrath sporteth itself therewith, and catcheth at the resigned Will; and then the resigned Will cryeth to God for Deliverance from the Evil, and prayeth that God would remove the Guilt away from it, and bring Sin into the Centre, viz. into Death, that it might die.
16. And St. Paul saith further, Now, there is no Condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are called according to the Purpose of God; that is, those who in that Purpose of God in which He first called Man, are again called in the same Calling, to stand again in that Purpose of God, wherein he originally created Man to be His Image and Likeness.
17. So long as Man's OWN Will standeth in SELF, so long it is not in the Purpose and Calling of God; it is not called, for it is gone forth from its original right Place; but when the Mind turneth itself back again into the Calling, viz. into Resignation, then the Will is in the Calling of God, that is, in the Place for and in which God created it, and then it hath Power to become the Child of God again; as it is written, He hath given us Power to become the Children of God.
18. The Power which He hath given us is His Purpose, for and in which He created Man in His Image. This God hath brought again into the human Nature, and hath given Power unto that Power to break the Head of Sin in the Flesh, namely, the Will and Desire of the Serpent; that is, the resigned Will in Christ treadeth upon the Head of the Desire of the sinful Will of the Serpent, and killeth again the Sins which were committed. This Power that is given becometh a Death to Death, and the Power of Life to Life.
19. Therefore no Man can make any Excuse, as if he could not will. Indeed, while he sticketh fast in himSELF, in his OWN Desire, and serveth only the Law of Sin in the Flesh, he cannot. For he is kept back, as being a Servant of Sin; but when he turneth the Center of his Mind away, and directeth it into the Will and Obedience of God, then he can.
20. Now the Center of the Mind is come out of Eternity, out of God's Omnipotence; it can bring itself into what it will, and whither it will. For that which is out of the Eternal, hath no Law. But the Will hath a Law to obey God, and is born out of the Mind, and must not rend or tear itself away from that out of which God created it.
21. Now God created the Will of the Mind for and in Paradise, to be a Companion, with Him in the Kingdom of Divine Joy. It ought not to have removed itself from thence; but since it hath removed itself from thence, God hath brought His Will again into the Flesh, and in His new-brought-in Will, hath given us Power to bring our Wills into it, and to kindle a new Light therein, and so to become His Children again.
22. God hardeneth no Man; but Man's OWN Will, which goeth on in the fleshly Life of Sin, hardeneth his OWN Heart. The Will of SELF bringeth the Vanity of this World into the Mind, which is thereby shut up, and continueth so.
23. God, so far as He is called God, and is God, cannot will any Evil; for there is but one only Will in God, and that is Eternal Love, a Desire of that which is His Like, viz. Power, Beauty, and Virtue.
24. God desireth nothing but what is like His own Desire: His Desire receiveth nothing but what Itself is.
25. God receiveth no Sinner into His Power and Virtue, unless the Sinner go forth from His Sins, and enter with the Desire into God. And then, He will not cast out those that so come unto Him. He hath given to the Will an open Gate in Christ, saying, "come unto Me all ye that are heavy laden with Sins, and I will refresh you; take My Yoke upon you, that is, the Cross of the Enmity in the Flesh. This was the Yoke of Christ, which He had to bear for the Sins of all Men. This Cross or Yoke the resigned Will must also take upon itself in the evil earthly sinful Flesh, and bear it after Christ in Patience and Hope of Deliverance. It must also continually break the Head of the Serpent, in and through Christ's Will and Spirit, and kill and destroy the earthly Will in God's Anger, not letting it rest on the soft Bed when Sin is committed, and thinking to repent one Time or other.
26. No, no, the earthly Will groweth strong, fat, and wanton upon this soft Bed, but as soon as the Light of God shineth in thee, and sheweth Sin to thee, the Will of thy Soul must sink itself down into the Passion and Death of Christ, and wrap itself up close therein. It must take the Passion of Christ into its Possession, and be a Lord over the Death of Sin by the Death of Christ, and kill and destroy it in the Death of Christ.
27. The Will of Sin [thy outward SELF] must die, though it be never so unwilling. Be at Enmity therefore with the voluptuous earthly Flesh; give it not what it would have; let it fast and suffer Hunger till its tickling ceases. Account the Will of the Flesh thine Enemy, and do not do what the Desire in the Flesh willeth, and then thou shalt bring a Death upon the deathful Property in the Flesh.
28. Regard not any Scorn of the World, as considering that it doth but scorn thine Enemy, and that is become a Fool to it. Nay, do thou thyself account it thy Fool, which Adam caused thee to possess, and made to be thy false Heir. Cast out of the House the Son of the Bond-Woman, that strange Child which God did not give to be in the House of Life in Adam at the Beginning; for the Son of the Bond-Woman must not inherit with the Son of the Free-Woman.
29. The earthly Will is but the Son of the Bond-Woman. For the Four Elements should have been Man's Servants, but Adam hath brought them into the Sonship, or adopted them into himself. Therefore God said to Abraham, when He had opened the Covenant of the Promise in him, Cast out the Son of the Bond-Woman, for he shall not inherit with the Son of the Free. This Son of the Free is Christ, which God of His Grace hath brought again into the Flesh for us, namely, a new or renewed Mind, wherein the Will, viz. the Eternal Will of the Soul, may draw and drink the Water of Life, of which Christ speaketh, saying, Whosoever shall drink of this Water that I will give him, It shall spring up in him, and be a Fountain of Eternal Life. This Fountain is the Renovation of the Mind or Will of the Soul.
30. Therefore I say that all Fictions and Devices to come to God by, let them have what Name soever they will, which Men contrive and invent for Ways to God, are but lost Labor and vain Endeavours, without a new Mind. There is no other Way to God, but a new Mind, which turneth from Wickedness, and entereth into Repentance for the Sins it hath committed. Which goeth forth from its Iniquity and willeth it no more; but wrappeth its Will up in the Death of Christ, and with all Earnestness dieth from the Sin of the Soul in the Death of Christ, so that it willeth Sin no more.
31. And though all the Devils should press hard upon it, and enter with their Desire into the fleshly Mind, yet the Will of the Soul must stand still and hide itself in the Death of Christ, willing and desiring nothing but the Mercy of God.
32. No hypocritical Flattery, or outward comforting ourselves availeth at all; as when Men will cover Sin and Iniquity in the Flesh with the Satisfaction of Christ, while they remain in SELF still. Christ saith, Except ye turn and become as Children, ye shall not see the Kingdom of God. The Mind must become as wholly new, as in a Child that knoweth nothing of Sin. Christ saith also, Ye must be born anew, or else, ye shall not see the Kingdom of God. There must arise a Will wholly new in the Death of Christ. It must be brought forth out of Christ's Incarnation or Entering into the Humanity, and rise in Christ's Resurrection.
33. Now before this can be done, the Will of the Soul [SELF] must die in the Death of Christ; for in Adam it received the Son of the Bond-Woman, viz. Sin into it. This the Will must cast out, and the poor captive Soul must wrap itself up in the Death of Christ earnestly with all the Power it hath, so that the Son of the Bond-Woman, viz. the Sin that is in it may die in the Death of Christ.
34. In very deed Sin must die in the Will of the Soul, or else there can be no Vision of God. For the earthly Will, in Sin and the wrathful Nature, shall not see God. It is only the regenerated Nature, the new inward Man, that is capable of the Divine Vision or Enjoyment. The Soul must put on the Spirit and Flesh of Christ; it cannot inherit the Kingdom of God in this earthly Tabernacle. For the Kingdom of Sin hangeth to it outwardly, which must putrify in the Earth, and rise again in new Power.
35. Hypocrisy, Flattery, and verbal Forgiveness, avail nothing. We must be Children, not by outward Imputation, but by being born of God from within, in the new inward Man, which is resigned in and to God.
36. All such Flattery of ourselves by saying, Christ hath paid the Ransom, and made satisfaction for Sin, and that He died for our Sins, is a false and vain Comfort, if we also do not die from Sin in Him, and put on His Merit in new Obedience, and live therein.
37. He that is a bitter Enemy and Hater of Sin, can and may comfort himself with the Sufferings of Christ. He that doth not willingly see, hear, or taste Sin, but is at Enmity with it, and would willingly always do that which is well and right, if he knew but what he ought to do; such a one hath indeed put on the Sprirt and Will of Christ, and is His true Disciple.
38. But the outward Flattery of being accounted a Child of God by Imputation or external Application, is false and vain. The Work done in, or by, the outward Flesh only, doth not make the Child of God; but the working of Christ in the Spirit maketh, and indeed is, the Child of God. Which inward Working is so powerful that it shineth forth as a new Light in the outward Life; and proveth itself to be the Child of God by its external Conduct and Actions.
39. For if the Eye of the Soul be Light, then the whole Body is Light in all its Members. Now if any Man boast himself to be a Child of God, and yet suffereth his Body to burn in Sins, he is no true Child, nor capable of the Inheritance; but lieth bound by the Chains of the Devil in gross Darkness. And if he doth not find in himself an earnest and sincere Desire of Well-doing in Love, then his Pretence to the Childship is but an Invention of Reason proceeding from SELF. He cannot see God, unless he be born a-new, and show forth by his Power and Life, that he is His true Child. For there is no Fire but hath Light in it; and if the Divine Fire be in the Mind, it will shine forth, and the Mind will do that which God will have to be done.
40. But perhaps thou wilt say, I have a Will indeed to do so; I would willingly do it, but I am so hindered that I cannot.
41. Nay, thou vile Man, God draweth thee to be His Child, but thou wilt not; the soft Cushion in Evil is dearer to thee than to be so readily parted with. Thou preferrest the Joy of Wickedness to the Joy of God. Thou art wholly swallowed up in SELF still, and livest according to the Law of Sin, and that is what hindereth thee. Thou art unwilling to die from the Pleasure of the Flesh, and therefore thou art not in the Filiation (Sonship). God draweth thee to it, but thou thySELF wilt not yield.
42. O how fine a Thing would Adam think it, if he might be taken into Heaven with this Will of the voluptuous Flesh about him, and have the Child of Wickedness, that is full of Deceit, set upon the Throne of God. Lucifer also would fain have had it so, but he was spewed out.
43. It is a troublesome Thing to mortify the evil Will of SELF; none are willing to do it. We would all gladly be the Children of God, if we might be so with this rough Garment of fallen Nature about us. But that cannot be. This World passeth away, and the outward Life must die; what Good can the Adoption in the mortal Body of Flesh and Blood only do me?
44. If we would inherit the Filiation, we must also put on the new Man which alone can inherit it, as being like the Deity. God will have no Sinners in Heaven, but only such as have been born a-new and become Children, and to have put on Heaven.
45. Therefore it is not so easy a Matter to become a Child of God, as Men imagine. Indeed, it is not a troublesome Thing to him that hath put on the Filiation, whose Light shineth; for it is Joy to such a one. But to turn the Mind and destroy SELF, there is a strong and continued Earnestness requisite, and such a stout and steady Purpose, that if the Body and Soul should part asunder by it, yet the Will would persevere constantly, and not enter again into SELF.
46. A Man must wrestle till the dark Center that is shut up tight, breaketh open, and the Spark lying hid therein kindleth and from thence the noble Lily-Branch sprouteth, as from the divine Grain of Mustard-Seed as Christ saith. A Man must pray earnestly, with great Humility, and for a while become a Fool in his own Reason, and see himself void of Understanding therein, until Christ be formed in this new Incarnation.
47. And then when Christ is born, Herod is ready to kill the Child, which he seeketh to do outwardly by Persecutions, and inwardly by Temptations, to try whether this Lily-Branch will be strong enough to destroy the Kingdom of the Devil, which is manifested in the Flesh.
48. Then this Destroyer of the Serpent is brought into the Wilderness, after he is baptized with the Holy Spirit, and tempted and tried whether or not he will continue in Resignation to the Will of God. In which Temptation he must stand so fast, that if Need require, he would leave all earthly Things, and even the outward Life, to be a Child of God.
49. No temporal Honor must be preferred before Filiation. But he must with his Will leave and forsake it all, and not account it his OWN, but esteem himself as a Servant only in it, who is to obey his Master. He must leave all worldly Propriety. We do not mean that he may not have or possess any Thing; but his Heart must forsake it, and not bring his Will into it, nor count it his OWN. For if he setteth his Heart upon it, he hath no Power to serve them that stand in Need with it.
50. SELF is but a Slave to its temporal Possessions, but Resignation ruleth over all that it hath. SELF must do what the Devil will have it do in fleshly Voluptuousness and Pride of Life; but Resignation treadth it all under with the Feet of the Mind. SELF despiseth that which is lowly and simple; but Resignation sitteth down with the lowly in the Dust. It saith, I will be simple in myself, and understand nothing, lest my Understanding should exalt itself and sin. I will lie down in the Courts of my God at His Feet, that I may serve my Lord in that which He commandeth me. I will know nothing of myself, that the Will and Power of my Lord may lead and guide me, and that I may only do what God doth through me, and will have done by me. I will sleep in myself until the Lord awaken me with His Spirit; and if He will not, then will I look up to Him in Silence, and wait for His Commands.
51. Beloved Brethren: Men at this Time boast much of Faith; but where is it to be found? The modern Faith is but the History. Where is that Child which believeth that Jesus has been born within his own soul? If that Child were in Being, and did believe that Jesus is born, it would also draw near to the sweet Child Jesus, and receive Him and nurse Him.
52. Alas! the Faith of this Day is but historical, a mere Assent to the matter of Fact that Jesus Christ was born,lived and died; that the Jews killed Him; that He left this World, and is not King on Earth in the outward Man; and the Faith of this Day allows that Men may do what they please, and need not die from Sin and their evil Lusts. All this the wicked Child SELF rejoiceth in, that it may fatten the Devil by living deliciously.
53. This showeth plainly that true Faith was never weaker since Christ's Time, than it is now. When nevertheless the World cryeth aloud, and saith, We have got the true Faith; and contend about a Child, with a Contention which has never been worse since Men have been on Earth.
54. If thou art truly Zion, and hast that new born Child which was lost and is found again, then let It be seen in Power and Virtue. Let us all openly see the sweet Child Jesus brought forth by thee, and that thou art His Nurse. If not, then the true Children in Christ will say, thou hast found nothing but the Cradle of the Child, that is, the History.
55. Where hast thou the sweet Child Jesus, thou that art so exalted with the History, and with thy false and seeming Faith? O how will the Child Jesus visit thee one Day in the Father's Property, the Property of Anger, in thy own Turba which thou hast fatted! It calleth thee now in Love, but thou wilt not hear, for thine Ears are stopped with Covetousness and Voluptuousness. Therefore the Sound of the Trumpet shall one Day alarm thee with the hard Thunder-clap of thy Turba, and rouse thee up, if perhaps thou wilt then seek and find the sweet Child Jesus.
56. Beloved Brethren, this is a Time of Seeking, of Seeking and Finding. It is a Time of Earnestness; whom it toucheth, it toucheth Home. He that watcheth shall hear and see it; but he that sleepeth in Sin, and saith in the fat Days of his Belly, All is peace and quiet; we hear no Sound from the Lord, shall be blind. But the Voice of the Lord hath sounded in all the Ends of the Earth, and a Smoke riseth, and in the Midst of the Smoke there is a great Brightness and Splendor. Hallelujah. Amen.
Shout unto the Lord in Zion, for all Mountains and Hills are full of His Glory. He flourisheth like a green Branch, and who shall hinder It. Hallelujah.