The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme, by Franz Hartmann, , at sacred-texts.com
"The soul originates from three principles; she lives therefore in a threefold anguish, and is held by three ties. The first tie links her to eternity and reaches within the abyss of hell (the fiery will); the second is the kingdom of heaven; the third is the region of the stars with the elements. The third kingdom is not eternal, but has a certain period of existence; nevertheless it is this kingdom that causes the man to grow up, endowing him with manners and will, and desires relating to good and to evil. It gives him beauty, riches and honours, and makes him a terrestrial god. It is with him unto the end of his time, and then it departs and as it aided him to obtain life, so it aids him in death, and cuts him loose from the astral soul.
"First the four elements break away from the one element, and thus the activity in the third principle ceases; and this is the most terrible thing, that the four elements are broken up within themselves. Then the tincture with the shadow (of what was man) enters into the other, and with this the shadow remains in the root of the element from which the four elements were born, and from which they issued. This breaking up alone is the suffering and the pain; it is the destruction of the sensitive house of the soul.
"But if the essences of the soul in the first principle have been so much attached to the ways of this world that they have desired only for the lust of the latter, for temporal honour, power, and pomp; the will, the soul, i.e., the essences out of the first principle, still retain the astral essences as their most precious treasure, and desire to dwell therein; but as
these essences are now deprived of their mother, the four elements, they become gradually consumed in the essences of the first principle.
"Then will the soul in her astral garment, floating within the doors of the depth, experience great uneasiness owing to her earthly state, and by the power that belongs to her astral constitution she may reappear in the shape of her former corporeal body, asking for this or for that, such as has been her desire before she passed away, and seeking to obtain rest; and she may also go about haunting places and trying to manifest her presence at night, according to her sidereal spirit, making noises of various kinds.
"That with which she has clothed herself during life, this will be her garment. If it is luxury, lust, ambition, riches, malevolence, anger, lies, or the illusions of the world, then will the strong power of the essences out of the first principle hold on to these things by means of the sidereal spirit, and render it active according to the astral quality. The sidereal spirit restlessly clings to that for which it desires; as is said by Christ, 'Where your treasure is, there is your heart.' Therefore it often happens that the ghosts of dead persons are seen going about in great unrest. That with which the soul has clothed herself here in the body (in her will and thought), that constitutes her anguish, and according to her anguish will be her shape and form in the astral state, until this state and anguish is consumed. Her eternal dwelling-place is the deep abyss without end or number, and the works which she performed here are embodied in the forms in her tincture, and follow her.
"There is no light neither from this world nor from God, but the ignition of her own fire is her light, it being the terrible flash of her wrath and inimical. The kind of the anguish of such souls differs according to the quality of that with which the soul has burdened herself. For such a soul there is no help; she cannot enter into the light of God; and even if St. Peter had left a thousand keys upon the earth, neither of them would unlock the door, for she has severed the bond that connected her with Divinity." (See Three Principles, xix. and foll.)
It is written that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This does not refer to the possession of wealth, but to one's vain and avaricious life; for while man grows fat, God is forgotten. None ought to imagine that he is blessed because he is poor. If he is an unbeliever and godless, he is then in the kingdom of the devil, in spite of his poverty. Neither ought the rich man throw away his money or give it to the spendthrift, thinking thereby to gain eternal bliss. The kingdom of God is in truth, justice, and love towards the needy. It condemns none who properly uses that which he has. You must not lay down your sceptre and go into a corner and lament. This is only hypocrisy. You can be of service to the law of justice and to the kingdom of God better if you keep your sceptre and protect the oppressed and weak, and work for right and justice; not according to your avarice, but in the love and fear of God." (Principles, xxv. 74.)
"All that we think and do and desire in our external being is the work of the spirit of this world acting within our constitution; for the body is nothing but the instrument of that spirit wherewith it works, and, like all other instruments that are born of the spirit of this world, it will ultimately break and be decomposed. Therefore no man shall despise or condemn another man if the latter has not the same qualifications as he; for the natural heaven (the constellation) builds up each man according to the nature of the ruling influences. It gives to every person his or her ways and manners and shape, and also his desires and instincts, and this cannot be taken away from the external man as long as the external heaven does not break up his animal constitution. But if the external man does not do that which the spirit of the external world desires in him, but is forced to depart from that which is false and illusive; then such a power does not come from the external heaven, but from the new-born man within, he being from eternity, and battling with the earthly man; and often he gains a victory over the latter." (Three Principles, xxv. 6.)
"If you wish to follow the path (of light), you must use great earnest. It must not be mere talk or pretence, while the heart is far away; for in this way you will attain nothing. You must gather together your whole mind, with all your senses and reason, into one single will, if you wish to become reformed, and to come out of your abominations. You must put your sense into God, into His charity, with full confidence and assurance, and then you will attain it. And if the devil in you says, 'It cannot be; you are too great a sinner;' let not this terrify you; for he is a liar and the father of doubt.
"There are not more than two kingdoms moving within you. One is the kingdom of God, wherein is Christ, desiring you; the other is the kingdom of hell, wherein is the devil, and he desires you also. Then will the poor soul have to battle, for she is in the middle. Christ offers to her the new robe, and the devil the cloth of sins; and whenever you have a good thought or desire for God, and wish to enter into the true atonement (becoming one with the Divine), that thought is most certainly not from yourself, but from the love of God, and the noble virgin is calling to you to come, and not to desist in your efforts. But if on this way you are met by your great sins, that seek to detain you like mountains, so that you can find no peace in your heart; then is this most surely the work of the devil, who causes you to think that God is not willing to listen to you. Let not in such moments anything detain or terrify you; for the devil is your enemy. It is written that if your sins were as red as blood, if you truly repent, they will become as white as snow." (Principles, xxiv. 34.)
"Thus the precious jewel is sown; but remember well, it does not immediately grow into a tree. Often will the devil brush over it and seek to uproot the mustard-seed; the soul will often have to weather heavy storms, and be covered with the shadows of her sins. But if you constantly battle against the powers of evil, then will the tree grow and blossom, and you will obtain the fruit." (Comp. Three Principles, xxiv. 37.)
The cross with the image of a dying person nailed thereon is the symbol of regeneration and initiation. It reminds the true follower of Christ that he must pass through the mystic death and become regenerated in the spirit before he can enter into the glory of eternal life. The cross represents terrestrial life, and the crown of thorns the sufferings of the soul within the elementary body, but also the victory of the spirit over the elements of darkness. The body is naked, to indicate that the candidate for immortality must divest himself of all desires for terrestrial things. The figure is nailed to the cross, which symbolises the death and surrender of the self-will, and that it should not attempt to accomplish anything by its own power, but merely serve as an instrument wherein the Divine will is executed. Above the head are inscribed the letters:
I. N. R. J.
whose most important meaning is:
In Nobis Regnat Jesus.
(Within ourselves reigns Jesus.)
[paragraph continues] But the signification of this inscription can be practically known only to those who have actually died relatively to the world of desires, and risen above the temptation for personal existence; or, to express it in other words, those who have become alive in Christ, and in whom thus the kingdom of Jesus (the holy love-will issuing from the heart of God) has been established.
To the cynic, sophist, and fool this symbol will be incomprehensible, and in the hands of the bigot and hypocrite it is a token of his disgrace, and a testimonial of his own godlessness and self-condemnation.
"The external world or the external life is not a valley of suffering for those who enjoy it, but only for those who know of a higher life. The animal enjoys animal life; the intellect the intellectual realm; but he who has entered into regeneration recognises his terrestrial existence as a burden and prison. With this recognition he takes upon himself the Cross of Christ." (Epistles, ii. 34.)
"The holy and heavenly man, hidden in the monstrous (external) man, is as much in heaven as God, and heaven is in him, and the heart or light of God is begotten and born in him. Thus is God in him and he in God. God is nearer to him than his bestial body.
"The animal body is not his own native country, wherein he is at home; the true man, regenerated and new-born in Christ, is not in this world, but in the paradise of God; and although he is in the body, nevertheless he is in God. And although the animal body dies, nevertheless nothing happens to the new man, but he comes forth out of the contrary will and torment-house into his native country. There needs to be no removing to any distance or place, whither he may have to go, that it might be better with him, for God is everywhere revealed in him." (The Epistles, xxv. 13.)
"The nothing wherein the devil resides. Doubt is the negation of that faith which is God. It is the outcome of selfishness and of that blindness which causes man not to recognise the possession of what he already has." (See Threefold Life, xiv. 41.)
"God is eternal unity, the unmeasurable one good, having nothing before or after it that could possibly endow it with something or move it. It is without any inclinations or qualities, without any beginning in time, within itself only one. It is purity itself, without any contact; requiring neither place nor locality for its dwelling, being at once outside of and within the world. Into its depth no thought can penetrate, neither can its greatness be expressed in numbers, for it is infinity itself. All that can be counted or measured is natural or figurative, but the unity of God cannot be defined. It is everything, and has been recognised as good,
and is called 'good,' because it is eternal mildness and beneficence within the sensitivity of nature and creature, the sweetest love. For the unity in its aspect as good issues out of itself, introducing itself into willing and moving. There the unity lives and penetrates the willing or moving, and the willing and moving experiences the mildness of the unity. This is the foundation of love in the unity, of which Moses says, 'The Lord our God is an holy God, and there is no other besides Him.'" (Theos. quest. i. 1.)
"God is the centre of man, but he resides only within himself, unless the spirit of man becomes one spirit with him; in which case he will become manifest in human nature, in soul, mind and desire, whereby he becomes perceptible to the inner senses of man. The will sends the senses into God, and God impresses the senses and becomes one being with them. Then the senses carry the power of God to the will, and the will receives them joyfully but tremblingly; for it recognises itself as being unworthy knowing that it comes from an unsteady dwelling. Thus it receives that power by sinking down before God and out of its triumph arises a sweet humility. This is the true essence of God, and this conceived essence within the will is the celestial body, and is called the true and just faith, which the will has received in the power of God. It sinks within the mind and resides in the fire of the soul." (Menschw. x. 8.)
"In the fifth quality the glory and majesty of God becomes manifest as the light of love. It is written that God resides in a light into which none can enter. This means that no created being has ever been born out of the central fire of love, for it is the most holy fire, and even God Himself in His Trinity. Out of this holy fire has emanated the JAH, a ray of the sensitive unity. This is the dear name of Jesus, redeeming the poor soul from the wrath-fire, and in taking up human nature, giving itself up to the central fire of God in the soul, in the wrath of God within the soul;
kindling her again with the love-fire, and uniting her with God." (Theos. quest. iii. 25.)
"Christ is he that is regenerated of human quality; the mother of regeneration, the anointed one." (See Stief, 19.) 1
"The virgin says: I have something against you. I have raised you up from among the thorns. When you were a wild animal, I have configured in you my own image. But the wild animal is among the thorns: this I will not take unto my bosom. You are still living within your wild animal. When the world takes that animal, because it belongs to it, then will I take you. Thus each one will take its own belongings. Why do you therefore love so much that wild animal which causes to you nothing but sorrow? You cannot take it with you. It does not belong to you, but to the world. Let the world use it as it may, but remain you with me. It will be only a little while; then will your animal break, and you will be rid of it, and remain with me. How will you then rejoice, if you think of that animal, which afflicted you day and night, and of which you are then free. As a flower grows up out of the earth, so do you rise up out of your wild animal. You say, 'I am your animal; you are born in me.' Listen, my animal! I am greater than you. When you was to become, I was your constructor. My essences are out of the root of eternity; but you are of this world. You will break; but I remain eternally in my power. Therefore I am far nobler than you. You live in the wrath; but I will put my fearful wrath into the light, into eternal joy. My works are in power, while yours remain as shadows. When I am once rid of you, I will then never accept you again as my animal; but (I take) my new body which I am regenerating within the deepest root of the holy element." (Principles, xxi. 69.)
"Lift up your mind in the spirit, and see that the whole of
nature, with all the powers therein, with its depth, width, and height, heaven and earth, and all that is therein and above the heavens, is the body of God, and the powers of the stars are the arteries in the natural body of God in this world." (Aurora, ii. 16.)
"Nature is not God, no more than the body of a man is man. Nature is the echo and image of eternal nature, made manifest by the power of the Word." (Tabulæ Principiæ, li.)
"Neither in the sky, nor upon the earth, or among the stars or the elements, can we find any way by which we may enter into rest. We behold merely the entrance into life, and next to that its end, when our body will be borne back to the earth and all our works, labour, and sciences, and glory will be inherited by another, who also troubles himself for a while with such things, and then follows us (into death). This continues from the beginning of the world unto its end. During our misery we can never know where our spirit remains while the body breaks and becomes a corpse, unless we are new-born out of this world; so that although we live in this world in our body, nevertheless we dwell in our soul and spirit in another eternal, perfect, and new life. Therein a new man will be found in our spirit and soul, and therein shall and will he live eternally. Only in this new form will we learn to know what we are and where our true home is." (Principles, xxii. 5.)
The seven planets refer not only to certain visible stars, but to the seven qualities of eternal nature, namely—
2. ♃Jupiter—The active desire within the astringency.
3. ♂ Mars—The fiery strength.
4. ☉ Sun—The light of nature.
5. ♀ Venus—The beginning of substantiality.
6. ☿ Mercury—Life; sound; the verbum fiat.
7. ☾ Luna—Moon; corporeity.
"If the first three qualities have their superiority in the dark principle, then will the other qualities be dormant in their centres; and all the seven are then evil, as follows:—
7. Luna—The flesh.
"If the three first qualities have their superiority in the principle of light and are born out of the dark centre, then will they have in them the nature of light. They will then all the seven be good, as follows:—
7. Luna—The substantiality of the body of Christ."
"A principle (beginning) is nothing else but a new birth, a new life. There is only one principle in which is eternal life, namely, the eternal divinity, and this would not become manifest if God had not created within himself creatures, such as men and angels, who know the indissoluble band, and how the birth of eternal light in God takes place." (Principles, v. 6.)
"God had no other material out of which to create anything, except his own essence. But God is a spirit, intangible, and having neither beginning nor end. His depth and greatness is everything. A spirit does nothing except that it rises, and stirs, and moves, and gives birth to its own self. In its birth there are especially three forms—bitterness, astringency, and heat; but in these three forms there is neither a first, nor a second, nor a third; but they are all three only one, and
each one gives birth to the other and to the third." (Principles, l. 3.)
"The male is the head, and has in him the upper regiment with the tincture of the fire, and in his tincture he has the soul that desires for Venus as its corporeal matrix. The soul longs to have spirit and body, and this has the matrix of woman. But the lower regiment is the female one, and her regiment stands in the Moon; for the Sun gives the heart, and Venus the tincture, not of a fiery, but of a watery kind. The spirit furnishes the air, and its tincture is not in the heat.
"The female desires the male, and the Moon longs for the Sun; for she is of a material nature, and desires a celestial heart. Thus the female matrix desires for the heart of man and for his tincture the soul; for the soul is eternal good. Thus exists sexual desire among all creatures, and they wish to mingle with each other. The body does not understand this, neither is it understood by the air-spirit; but the two tinctures, the male and the female ones, know it well." (Threefold Life, ix. 106.)
"The fiery soul, pure as clear gold, and tested in the fire of God, is the husband of the noble Sophia, for she is the tincture of the light. If the tincture of the fire is perfectly pure, then will Sophia be united with it, and thus Adam receives again the most noble bride that was taken away from him during his sleep, and will take her into his arms. This is neither a man nor a woman, but a branch on the pearl-tree standing in God's paradise. But how the bride receives her groom in his clear and bright fire-quality, and how she gives him the kiss of love, this will be understood only by him who has been at the marriage of the Lamb. To all others it will be a mystery." (Mysterium Magnum, xxv. 14.)
"If you boast of being a Christian, why do you then not believe Christ's words when he said, 'I am with you even to
the end of the world;' and furthermore, that he will give us his body for food and his blood to drink? You say, 'Christ has gone to heaven; how then could he be in this world?' Perhaps you agree that he is present with us in his Holy Spirit. But what would become of the new-born man in you if he were fed only by spirit, this being merely food for the soul? Each life eats of its own mother. The soul is spirit, and eats spiritual food; the new-born man eats of the pure element, and the external man of the outcome of the four elements.
"What will it benefit the (ethereal) body if the soul eats of the pure divinity? for you know that the soul and the body are not one and the same thing. The soul is spirit, and needs spiritual food. Or do you think that you can feed the new man with earthly food? If so, you are then still far from the kingdom of God." (Principles, xxiii. 6.)
"The word Sul means and is the soul of a thing; for in the word Sulphur it is the oil or the light, which is born from the syllable Phur. It is the beauty or goodness of a thing; its love or best beloved. In a creature it is the intelligence and sense, and it is the spirit born from the syllable Phur. The word or syllable Phur is Prima Materia, entering into the third principle within itself, the Macrocosm wherefrom the elemental (terrestrial) kingdom or essence is born; but in the first principle it is the essence of the innermost generation, wherefrom God the Father from eternity gives birth to his Son. In man it is also the light born from the sidereal spirit within the other centre in the Microcosm, but in the Spiraculum it is a soul-spirit in the inner centre. It is the light of God, which alone possesses that soul which is in the love of God, for it is kindled and breathed upon by the Holy Spirit." (Three Principles, ii. 7.)
"Sal is Prima Materia, astringency. In the strong astringency arises the bitterness; for in the powerful attraction arises the uneasiness of the spirit. For instance, if a person becomes angry, his spirit attracts that which causes him to become embittered and trembling; and if he does not
resist and put it down, then the fire of wrath becomes kindled in him, so as to make him burn in malice. Then in his mind and soul this becomes substantial and a being." (Three Principles, i. 9.)
"Mercury, an astringent bitter fire—sulphur—water; the most terrible of all states; but you must not imagine it to be a Materia or a tangible thing; it is spirit and the source of the first beginning of nature." (Three Principles, i. 10.)
"It comprehends all the four qualities wherein arises the life; but it has its beginning not in the centre, like Phur, but according to the fire-flash within the terror of the dark quality." (Threefold Life, ii. 42.)
"The whole power of the Father speaks out of all the qualities the Word, i.e., the Son of God. The same word, or the same sound, spoken by the Father issues out of the Salniter, or the powers of the Father, and out of the Father's Mercurius or sound. Thus the Father speaks the word out of himself, and the same sound is the glory of all his powers; and after it is spoken out, it is no longer contained within the powers of the Father, but sounds and rings in the whole of the Father in all powers. This power outspoken by the Father has such a strength that the sound of the word immediately and rapidly penetrates through the whole depth of the Father, and this strength is the Holy Spirit; for the outspoken word remains as a glory or majestic command before the king; but the sound, issuing through the word, executes the command of the Father which he has spoken out through the word, and in this is the birth of the Holy Trinity. The same takes place in an angel or man. The power in the whole of his body has all the qualities as in God the Father." (Auror. vi. 2.)
"In the spirit of the word is to be understood the whole of Divinity, with all its powers and effects, and with its whole essence; its uprising, penetrating, and changing; the whole action and the whole generation." (Auror. xix. 72.)
"Thus every creature has its own centre for its out-speaking, or the sound of the formed word within itself, both the eternal and temporal beings; the unreasoning ones as well as
man; for the first Ens has been spoken out of the sound of God, by wisdom, out of her centre into the fire and light, and has been formed into the fiat, and entered into 'compaction.' The Ens is out of the eternal, but the compaction is out of the temporal; and therefore in everything there is something eternal hidden in time." (Mysterium Magnum, xxii. 2.)
"In that quality in which each word in the human voice in the act of outspeaking forms and manifests itself, either in the love of God, as in the holy Ens, or in the wrath of God; in the same quality will it be taken up again therein after it has been spoken out. The false word becomes infected by the devil, and sealed up for (future) detriment, and is received within the Mysterium of the wrath, as in the quality of the dark world. Each thing returns with its Ens to that wherefrom it has originated." (Mysterium Magnum, xxii. 6.)
The word is near to thee, even within thy heart and lips, and God himself is the word which is in thy heart and lips." (Three Principles, iv. 10.)
328:1 Jesus represents the Logos and Christ the Karana sharira in Eastern terminology.