The Confessions of Jacob Boehme, by Jacob Boehme, ed. W. Scott Palmer , at sacred-texts.com
THOU Sophister, I know thou wilt accuse me of pride because I saw so far into the Deep. But it is said that you look only upon the wisdom of this world: I do not esteem it or care for it; it affords me no joy at all. I rejoice at this, that my soul moveth in wonders to the praise of God, so that I know his wondrous works, in which my soul delighteth.
Now, since I know the wonders shall I be silent? Am I not born to this, as are all creatures, that I should open the wonders of God? Therefore now I labour in my work and another in his; and thou, proud Sophister, in thine.
We stand all in God's field, and we
grow to God's glory and to his works of wonder, as well the wicked as the godly. But every fruit groweth in its own manner: when the mower shall cut it down, then every fruit shall come into its own barn, each receiveth that which is its own. Then the field in its nature, out of which each is grown, shall be made manifest; there are two centres in eternity, the love and the wrath, and each centre brings forth its own crop.
Therefore consider, O man, what you condemn, that you fall not upon the sword of the Spirit of God, and that your work be not consumed in the fire of wrath.
Thou, Sophister, runnest on wittingly to the Devil, for thine own profit, for thy transitory voluptuousness and honour, and dost not see the open gate which the Spirit showeth thee. If thou wilt not, then it is as was said: We have piped unto you but ye have not danced. We have called you, but you are not come to us;
[paragraph continues] I have been hungry after you, but you have not fed me; you are not grown in my garden of roses, therefore you are none of my food; your heart hath not been found in my praise, therefore you are not my food. And the bridegroom passeth by; then cometh the other, and gathereth what he findeth into his barn.
O dear children, if you understood this, how would you tread underfoot the contentions of the Sophisters! Much consisteth therein which shall hereafter be shown you, so far as we ought; let none be wilfully blinded, nor be offended by the simplicity of this hand.
If we will enter into the kingdom of heaven we must be children, and not cunning and wise in the understanding of this world; we must depart from our earthly reason and enter into obedience to our eternal first Mother. So we shall receive the spirit and life of our
[paragraph continues] Mother, and then also we shall know her habitation.
No wit of our own attaineth the crown of the mystery of God. It is indeed revealed in the writings of the Saints, but the spirit of this world apprehendeth it not. No Doctors, though they have studied ever so much, have any ability in their own wit to attain the crown of God's hidden mysteries.
No one can in his own power apprehend anything of the depths of God and teach it to another; all are children and scholars in their A B C. Although I write and speak in high fashion thereof, yet the understanding is not my own; the spirit of the Mother speaketh out of her children what it will; it revealeth itself in many ways, in one otherwise than in another, for its wondrous wisdom is a deep without measure, and you should not marvel that the children of God have not one manner of speech and word, for each speaketh
out of the wisdom of the eternal Nature-Mother whose diversity is infinite.
But the goal is the Heart of God; they all run thither, and herein lies the test whereby you shall know whether the spirit of a man speaketh from God or from the Devil.
Hereby we know that we are God's children and generated of God. God is himself the Being of all beings; and we are as Gods in him, through whom he revealeth himself.
Now therefore I set before you the ground of the heavens, the stars and elements, that you may see what is heavenly and what is earthly, what is transitory and mortal, and what is eternal and enduring. To which end I have now purposed to myself to write; not to boast of my high knowledge but out of love in Christ, as a servant and minister of Christ.
For the Lord hath both the willing and
the doing in his hands; I am able to do nothing; also my earthly reason understandeth nothing: I am yielded into our Mother's bosom and do as the Mother showeth me; I know not from anybody else, I am not born with knowledge from the wisdom of this world, neither do I understand it; but what is bestowed upon me that I bestow again. I have no other purpose herein, neither do I know to what end I must write these high things: what the Spirit showeth me, that I set down.
Thus I labour in my vineyard, in which the Master of the house hath put me; hoping also to eat of the pleasant sweet grapes, which indeed I have very often received out of the paradise of God. I will so speak as for the use of many, and yet I think I write it but for myself: the fiery driving will have it so as if I did speak of and for many; and yet I know nothing of this while I write.
Therefore if it shall happen to be read,
let none account it for a work of the outward reason; for it hath proceeded from the inward hidden man, according to which this hand hath written it without respect of any person.
I exhort the reader that he will enter into himself and behold himself in the inward man; then I shall be welcome to him. This I speak seriously and faithfully.
When we consider ourselves aright in this knowledge we see clearly that we have been locked up and led as it were blindfold. The wise of this world have shut and barred us up in their art and reason, so that we are made to see with their eyes. And this spirit which hath so long led us captive may well be called Antichrist; I find no other name in the light of nature, which I can call it by, but Antichrist in Babel.