The Confessions of Jacob Boehme, by Jacob Boehme, ed. W. Scott Palmer , at sacred-texts.com
THE Simple says, God made all things out of nothing; but he knows not God, neither does he know what he himself is. When he beholds the earth together with the deep above the earth, he thinks verily all this is not God; or else he thinks God is not there. He always imagines with himself that God dwells only above the azure heaven of the stars, and rules, as it were, by means of some spirit which goes forth from him into this world; and that his body is not present here upon the earth or in the earth.
Just such opinions and tenets I have read also in the books and writings of Doctors, and there are also very many opinions, disputations and controversies
risen about this very thing among the Learned.
But seeing God opens to me the gate of his Being in his great love, and remembers the covenants which he has with man, therefore I will faithfully and earnestly, according to my gifts, set wide open all the gates of God, so far as he will give me leave.
It is not so to be understood, as that I am sufficient in these things, but only so far as I am able to comprehend.
For the Being of God is like a wheel, wherein many wheels are made one in another, upwards, downwards, crossways, and yet continually turn all of them together.
At which indeed, when a man beholds the wheel, he highly marvels, and cannot at once in its turning learn to conceive and apprehend it. But the more he beholds the wheel the more he learns its form; and the more he learns the greater
longing he has towards the wheel, for he continually sees something that is more and more wonderful, so that a man can neither behold nor learn it enough.
Thus I also. What I do not fully describe in one place concerning this great mystery, that you will find in another place; and what I cannot describe here in regard of the greatness of this mystery and my incapacity, that you will find elsewhere.
For here is the first sprouting or vegetation of this twig, which springs in its mother, and is as a child which is learning to walk and is not able to run apace at the first.
Though the spirit sees the wheel and would fain comprehend its form in every place, yet it cannot do it exactly enough because of the turning of the wheel. But when it comes about that the spirit can see the first apprehended form again, then continually it learns more and more, and
always loves and delights in the wheel, and longs after it still more and more.
Now observe: The earth has just such qualities and quality-expressing or fountain spirits as the deep above the earth, or as heaven has, and all of them together belong to one only body. The universal God is that one only body. But sin is the cause that thou dost not wholly see and know him. With and by sin thou, within this great divine body, liest shut up in the mortal flesh; and the power and virtue of God is hidden from thee, even as the marrow in the bones is hidden from the flesh.
But if thou in the spirit breakest through the death of the flesh, then thou seest the hidden God. For the mortal flesh belongs not to the moving of life, so it cannot receive or conceive the Life of the Light as proper to itself; but the Life of the Light in God rises up in the flesh and generates to itself, from out of it, another,
a heavenly and living, body, which knows and understands the Light.
The mortal body is but a husk from which the new body grows, as it is with a grain of wheat in the earth. The husk shall not rise and be living again, no more with the body than with the grain, but will remain for ever in death.
Behold the mystery of the earth: as that brings forth so must thou bring forth. The earth is not that body which is brought forth, but is the mother of that body; as also thy flesh is not the spirit but is the mother of the spirit.
And in both of them, in the earth and in thy flesh, the Light of the clear Deity is hidden, and it breaks through and gathers to itself a body for each after its kind.
As the mother is, so also is the child: man's child is the soul which is born in the astral moving from the flesh; and the earth's child is the grass, the herbs, the trees, silver, gold, and all mineral ores.
Out of the earth sprang grass, herbs and trees; and in the earth silver, gold, and all manner of ore came to be. In the deep above the earth sprang the wonderful forming of power and virtue.
I now invite all lovers of the holy and highly to be esteemed arts of philosophy and theology before this mirror wherein I lay open the root and ground of these matters.
I use not their tables, formulas, or schemes, rules and ways, for I have not learned from them. I have another teacher, which is the living fountain of nature.
What could I, simple layman, teach or write of their high art if it was not given to me by the Spirit of nature, in whom I live and am? Should I oppose the Spirit that he should not open where and in whom he pleases?
O thou child of man, open the eyes of
thy spirit, for I will show thee here the right and real proper gate of God.
Behold! that is the true, one, only God out of whom thou art created and in whom thou livest; and when thou beholdest the deep and the stars and the earth, then thou beholdest thy God. In that same thou livest and hast thy being; and that same God rules thee also, and from that same God thou hast thy senses. Thou art a creature from him and in him; else thou wouldst never have been.
Now perhaps thou wilt say that I write in a heathenish manner. Hearken and behold! Observe the distinct understanding how all this is so; for I write not heathenishly, but in the love of wisdom; neither am I a heathen, but I have the true knowledge of the one only great God who is All.
When thou beholdest the deep, the stars, the elements and the earth, then thou comprehendest not with thine eyes the
bright and clear Deity, though indeed he is there and in them; but thou seest and comprehendest, with thine eyes, first death and then the wrath of God.
But if thou liftest up thy thoughts and dost consider where God is, then thou shalt comprehend the astral moving, where love and wrath move one against another. And when by faith thou drawest near to God who rules in holiness in this dominion, then thou layest hold on him in his holy Heart.
When this is done, then thou art as God is, who himself is heaven, earth, stars and the elements.