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The Confessions of Jacob Boehme, by Jacob Boehme, ed. W. Scott Palmer [1920], at

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WHEN Christ asked his disciples, Whom do the people say that the Son of Man is? they answered: Some say thou art Elijah, some, that thou art John the Baptist. Then he asked them and said: Whom say ye that I am? Peter answered him, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God. And he answered them and said, Of a truth, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father in heaven.

Seeing it is a familiar, intimate and native work to the children of God, wherewith they should exercise themselves daily and hourly, go forth from the earthly reason to enter into the incarnation of Christ, and so in this miserable life be

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born in the birth of Christ; I have therefore undertaken to write of this high mystery, according to my knowledge and gifts, for a memorial. Seeing that I also, together with others the children of God and Christ, stand in this birth, I have undertaken it as an exercise of faith, whereby my soul may thus, as a branch in its tree Jesus Christ, quicken itself from his sap and virtue.

And that not with wise and high eloquence of art, or from the reason of this world, but according to the knowledge which I have from Christ. But though I search sublimely and deep, and shall set it down very clearly, yet this must be said to the reader, that without the Spirit of God it will be to him a hidden mystery.

We should rightly understand the incarnation of Christ, the Son of God, thus: he is not become man in the Virgin Mary only, so that his divinity was confined thereto. No, it is in another manner.

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As little as God, who is the fulness of all things, dwells alone in one only place, so little also has God manifested himself by one spark of his light.

God is not measurable; for him is no place found unless he makes a place for himself in a creature; yet he is totally within the creature and without and beyond the creature. He is not divisible, but total everywhere; where he manifests himself there he is totally manifest.

Understand it right: God has longed to become flesh and blood; and although the pure clear Deity continues Spirit, yet it is become the Spirit and Life of flesh and works in the flesh. So we may say that when we with our imagination enter into God, and wholly give up ourselves unto him, we enter into God's flesh and blood and live in God. For the Word is become man, and God is the Word.

We do not thus take away the creature of Christ, that he should not be a creature;

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[paragraph continues] I will give you a similitude thereof in the sun and its lustre and take it thus: in a similitude we liken the sun to the creature of Christ, which is indeed a body; and we liken the whole deep of this world to the eternal Word in the Father.

Now we see plainly that the sun shines in the whole deep, and gives it warmth and power. But we cannot say that in the deep beyond the body of the sun there is not also the power of the sun; if that was not there then would the deep not receive the power and lustre of the sun. One power and one lustre receives the other; the deep with its lustre is hidden.

If God would please, the whole deep would be a mere sun; then would the lustre of the sun shine everywhere.

Know also that I understand that the Heart of God hath rested from eternity; but that with the moving and entering into the Wisdom it is become manifested in all places; though in God there is neither

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place nor mark but merely in the creature of Christ, where the total holy Trinity has manifested itself in a creature and so by the creature through the whole heaven.

He is gone thither and has prepared the place for us, where we shall see his light and dwell in his wisdom and share in his divine substantiality.

Were we not in the beginning made out of God's substantiality? Why should we not also abide therein?

For this has the Heart of God moved itself, destroyed death, and regenerated the Life.

Thus now to us the birth and incarnation of Christ is a joyful and very weighty matter. The abyssal Heart of God hath moved itself; and therewith the heavenly substantiality, which was shut up in death, is become living again.

So we may now say with good ground that God himself hath withstood his anger, and with the centre of his Heart, which

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filleth eternity, has again opened himself, taken away the power of death, and broke the sting of the fierce wrath, inasmuch as love has opened itself and quenched the power of the fire.

In our imagination we become impregnated of his opened Word and of the power of the heavenly and divine substantiality, which indeed is not strange to us though it seems strange to our earthliness.

The Word has opened itself everywhere, in every man's light of life; and there is wanting only this, that the soul-spirit give itself up thereto. In that soul-spirit God is born.

Next: Chapter XIII