The Signature of All Things, by Jacob Boehem, , at sacred-texts.com
CONCERNING THE ETERNAL SIGNATURE AND HEAVENLY JOY; WHY ALL THINGS WERE BROUGHT INTO EVIL AND GOOD
1. The creation of the whole creation is nothing else but a manifestation of the all-essential, unsearchable God; all whatever he is in his eternal unbeginning generation and dominion, of that is also the creation, but not in the omnipotence and power, but like an apple which grows upon the tree, which is not the tree itself, but grows from the power of the tree: Even so all things are sprung forth out of the divine desire, and created into an essence, where in the beginning there was no such essence present, but only that same mystery of the eternal generation, in which there has been an eternal perfection.
2. For God has not brought forth the creation, that he should be thereby perfect, but for his own manifestation, viz. for the great joy and glory; not that this joy first began with the creation, no, for it was from eternity in the great mystery, yet only as a spiritual melody and sport in itself.
3; The creation is the same sport out of himself, viz. a platform or instrument of the Eternal Spirit, with which he melodises: and it is even as a great harmony of manifold instruments which are all tuned into one harmony; for the eternal word, or divine sound or voice, which is a spirit, has introduced itself with the generation of the great mystery into formings, viz. into an expressed word or sound: And as the joyful melody is in itself in the spirit of the eternal generation, so likewise is the instrument, viz. the expressed form in itself, which the living eternal voice guides, and strikes with his own eternal will-spirit, that it sounds and melodises; as an organ of divers and various sounds or notes is moved with one only air, so that each note, yea every pipe has its peculiar tune, and yet there is but one manner of air or breath in all notes, which sounds in each note or pipe according as the instrument or organ is made.
4. Thus in the eternity there is only one spirit in the whole work of the divine manifestation, which is the manifestator in the expressed voice and also in the speaking voice of God, which
is the life of the grand mystery, and of all that is generated from thence; he is the manifestator of all the works of God.
5. All the angelical kingdoms are as a prepared work, viz. a manifestation of the eternal sound of the voice of God, and are as a particularity out of the great mystery, and yet are only one in the divine eternal speaking word, sound, or voice of God; for one only spirit rules them; each angelical prince is a property out of the voice of God, and bears the great name of God; as we have a type and figure of it in the stars of the firmament, and in the kingdoms and dominions upon the earth among all generations, where every lord bears his high title, respective name and office: So likewise do the stars in the firmament, which are altogether one only dominion in power under them, where the great stars bear the name and the office of the forms in the mystery of the seven properties, and the other after them, as a particularity of houses or divisions, where every one is a peculiar harmony or operation, like a kingdom, and yet all proceeds in one harmony; like a clock-work, which is entirely composed in itself, and all the pieces work mutually together in one; and yet the great fixed stars keep their peculiar property in the essence of operation, especially the seven planets according to the seven properties of nature, as an under pregnatress of the eternal mystery, or as an instrument of the spirit out of the eternal mystery.
6. This birth of the astrum begets in the four elements, viz. in its body or essence, joy and sorrow, and all is very good in itself; only the alteration of the creature proceeds from the lustful imagination, whereby the creature elevates the wrath of the fire in the properties, and brings them forth out of the likeness of their accord: Nothing is evil which remains in the equal accord; for that which the worst causes and makes with its coming forth out of the accord, that likewise the best makes in the equal accord; that which there makes sorrow, that makes also in the likeness joy; therefore no creature can blame its creator, as if he made it evil; all was very exceeding good; but with its own elevation and departure out of the likeness it becomes evil, and brings itself out of the form [or property] of the love and joy, into a painful tormenting form and property.
7. King Lucifer stood in the beginning of his creation in highest joyfulness, but he departed from the likeness, and put himself forth out of the accord [or heavenly concert] into the cold, dark, fiery generation, out of which the hot fiery generation arises; he forsook his order, and went out of the harmony,
wherein God created him; he would be lord over all, and so he entered into the austere fire's domination, and is now an instrument in the austere fire's might, upon which also the all-essential spirit strikes and sounds upon his instrument, but it sounds only according to the wrathful fire's property: as the harmony, viz. the life's-form is in each thing, so is also the sound or tone of the eternal voice therein; in the holy [it is] holy, in the perverse it is perverse: All things must praise the Creator of all beings; the devils praise him in the might of wrath, and the angels and men praise him in the might of love.
8. The Being of all beings is but one only Being, but in its generation it separates itself into two principles, viz. into light and darkness, into joy and sorrow, into evil and good, into love and anger, into fire and light, and out of these two eternal beginnings [or principles] into the third beginning, viz. into the creation, to its own love-play and melody, according to the property of both eternal desires.
9. Thus each thing goes into its harmony, and is guided [or driven] by one only spirit, which is in each thing according to the property of the thing; and this is the clock [or watch-work] of the great mystery of eternity in each principle according to the property of the principle, and then according to the innate form of the composed instrument of the same creatures, even in all these beginnings [or principles].
10. Death is the bound-mark of all whatever is temporal, whereby the evil may be destroyed; but that which arises out of the eternal beginnings, and in its harmony and life's-form enters into another figure, that departs out of God's harmony, out of the true order wherein God created it, and is cast out of the same harmony into its likeness, as a dissonant discording melody or sound in the great excellent well-tuned harmony; for it is an opposite contrary thing, and bears another tone, sound, and will, and so it is introduced into its likeness; and therefore hell is given to the devil for his house and habitation, because he introduced his life's-form into the anger of God, and into the fiery wrath of the eternal nature, so that now he is the instrument in the eternal fire of God, and the anger-spirit strikes his instrument, and yet it must stand to the honour and admiration of God, and be the sport and play in the desire and property of the wrathful anger.
11. The anger and wrath of God are now his joy, not as if he feared, sorrowed, and lived in impotency; no, but in great strength and fiery might, as a potent king and lord, yet only
in the same property of which he himself is, viz. in the first principle in the dark world.
12. The like also we are to know concerning the angelical world, viz. the second principle, where God's light and glorious beauty shine in every being [or thing], and the divine voice or sound rises up in all creatures in great joyfulness; where the spirit proceeding from the divine voice makes a joyfulness, and an incessant continual love-desire in those creatures, and in all the divine angelical beings: As there is an anguish-source and trembling in the painful fire, so in like manner there is a trembling joyfulness in the light and love-fire, viz. a great elevation of the voice of God, which makes in the angels and in the like creatures, as the souls of men, a great manifestation of the divine joyfulness.
13. The voice [or breath] of God continually and eternally brings forth its joy through the creature, as through an instrument; the creature is the manifestation of the voice of God: What God is in the eternal generation of his eternal word out of the great mystery of the Father's property, that the creature is in the image as a joyful harmony, wherewith the Eternal Spirit plays or melodises.
14. All properties of the great eternal mystery of the pregnatress of all beings are manifest in the holy angelical and humane creatures; and we are not to think thereof, as if the creatures only stood still and rejoiced at the glory of God, and admired only in joy; not, but it is as the Eternal Spirit of God works from eternity to eternity in the great mystery of the divine generation, and continually manifests the infinite and numberless wisdom of God; even as the earth brings forth always fair blossoms, herbs, and trees, so also metals and all manner of beings, and puts them forth sometimes more sovereign, powerful, and fair, than at other times; and as one arises in the essence, another falls down, and there is an incessant lasting enjoyment. and labour.
15. Thus likewise is the eternal generation of the holy mystery in great power and reprocreation [or paradisical pullulation] where one divine fruit of the great love-desire stands with another in the divine essence; and all is as a continual love-combat or wrestling delight; a blooming of fair colours, and a pleasant ravishing smell of the divine Mercury, according to the divine nature's property, a continual good taste of love from the divine desire.
16. Of all whatever this world is an earthly type and
resemblance, that is in the divine kingdom in great perfection in the spiritual essence; not only spirit, as a will, or thought, but essence, corporeal essence, sap and power; but as incomprehensible in reference to the outward world: For this visible world was generated and created out of the same spiritual essence in which the pure element is; and also out of the dark essence in the mystery of the wrath (being the original of the eternal manifest essence from whence the properties arise) as an out-spoken breath out of the Being of all beings: Not that it was made of the eternal essence, but out of the breathing forth or [expression] of the eternal essence; out of love and anger, out of evil and good, as a peculiar generation of a peculiar principle in the hand of the Eternal Spirit.
17. Therefore all whatever is in this world is a type and figure of the angelical world: not that the evil, which is alike manifest with the good in this world, is also manifest in heaven; no, they are separated into two principles; in heaven all is good which is evil in hell; whatever is anguish and torment in hell, that is good and a joy in heaven; for there all stands in the light's source; and in hell all stands in the wrath in the dark source.
18. Hell, viz. the dark world has also its generation of fruits; and there is even such an essence and dominion in them as in heaven, but in nature and manner of the wrathful property; for the fiery property makes all evil in the darkness, and in the light it makes all things good; and in sum, all is wholly one in both eternal worlds; but light and darkness separates them, so that they stand as an eternal enmity opposite one to another, to the end that it may be known what is evil or good, joy or sorrow, love or anger: There is only a distinction between the love-desire of the light, and the anger-desire of the darkness.
19. In the original of the eternal nature, in the Father's property in the great mystery of all beings, it is wholly one: for the same only fire is even in the angelical world, but in another source, viz. a love-fire, which is a poison, and a fire of anger to the devils, and to hell; for the love-fire is a death, mortification, and an enmity of the anger-fire; it deprives the wrath of its might, and this the wrath wills not, and it also cannot be; for if there were no wrath, there would be no fire, and also no light: If the eternal wrath were not, the eternal joy also would not be; in the light the wrath is changed into joy; the wrathful fire's essence is mortified as to the darkness in the wrathful fire, and out of the same dying the light and love-fire arise; as the light
burns forth from the candle, and yet in the candle the fire and light are but one thing.
20. Thus also the great mystery of all beings is in the eternity in itself only one thing, but in its explication and manifestation it goes from eternity to eternity into two essences, viz. into evil and good; what is evil to one thing, that is good to another. Hell is evil to the angels, for they were not created thereunto; but it is good to the hellish creatures: So also heaven is evil to the hellish creatures, for it is their poison and death, an eternal dying, and an eternal captivity.
21. Therefore there is an eternal enmity, and God is only called God according to the light of his love; he is indeed himself all, but according to the darkness he saith, "I am an angry jealous God, and a consuming fire."
22. Every creature must remain in its place wherein it was apprehended in its creation and formed into an image, and not depart out of that same harmony, or else it becomes an enemy of the Being of all beings.
23. And thus hell is even an enemy of the devil, for he is a strange guest therein, viz. a perjured fiend cast out of heaven: he will be lord in that wherein he was not created; the whole creation accuses him for a false perjured apostate spirit, which is departed from his order; yea even the nature in the wrath is his enemy though he be of the same property; yet he is a stranger, and will be lord, though he has lost his kingdom, and is only an inmate in the wrath of God; he that was too rich, is now become too poor; he had all when he stood in humility, and now he has nothing, and is moreover captivated in the gulf: this is his shame, that he is a king, and yet has fooled away his kingdom in pride; the royal creature remains, but the dominion is taken away; of a king he is become an executioner; what God's anger apprehends, there he is a judge, viz. an officer of God's anger, yet he must do what his Lord and Master wills.
24. This reason most ignorantly gainsays, and says, "God is omnipotent, and omniscient, he has made it: Even he hath done with his work as he hath pleased, who will contend with the Most High?" Yes, dear reason, now thou thinkest thou hittest it right; but first learn the A B C in the great mystery: All whatever is risen out of the eternal will, viz. out of the great eternal mystery of all beings (as angels and the souls of men are), stands in equal weight 1 in evil and good in the free will as God himself; that desire which powerfully and predominantly
works in the creature, and quite overtops the other, of that property the creature is. As a candle puts forth out of itself a fire, and out of the fire the wind, which wind the fire draws again into itself, and yet gives it forth again; and when this spirit is gone forth from the fire and light, then it is free from the fire and light; what property it again receives, of that it is: The first mystery wherein the creature consists is the all-essential mystery, and the other in the forth-going spirit is its propriety, and a self-ful will. Has not every angel its own peculiar spirit, which is generated out of its own mystery, which has its original out of eternity? Why will this spirit be a tempter of God, and tempt the mystery, which immediately captivates it in the wrath, as happened to Lucifer? It has the drawing to God's wrath and to God's love in it; why does not the spirit (which is generated out of both) which is the similitude of the Spirit of God, continue in its place in obedience, as a child before the mother in humility?
25. Thou sayst it cannot; It is not so: 1 Every spirit stands in the place where it was created in equal weight, and has its free will; it is a spirit with the all-essential Eternal Spirit, and may take to itself a lubet in the all-essential Eternal Spirit as it wills, either in God's love or anger; whereinto it introduces its longing imagination, the essence and property of that it receives in the great mystery of all beings.
26. In God the birth is manifest in love and anger; why not also in the creature which is created out of God's essence and will, out of his voice and breath into an image? What property [or note] of the voice the creature awakes in itself, the same sounds in, and rules the creature: God's will to the creature was only one, viz. a general manifestation of the spirit, as each [creature] was apprehended in the property of the eternal mystery; yet, Lucifer was apprehended in the good angelical property, which plainly testifies that he was an angel in heaven; but his own incorporised will-spirit forced itself into the wrathful mother, to awaken the same in it, and thereby to be a lord over every created being. Now the will-spirit is free, it is the eternal original, let it do what it will.
27. Therefore we are to know this, and it is no otherwise, that the will-spirit which takes its original out of love and anger, out of both eternal principles, has given itself into the wrath, whereby the wrath has powerfully got the upper hand and dominion, and put itself out of the equal harmony into a dissonance or discord,
and so he must be driven into his likeness; this is his fall, and so it is also the fall of all evil men.
28. Now self-reason alledges the Scripture, where it is written, "Many are called, but few are chosen: "Also, "I have loved Jacob and hated Esau;" also, "Hath not a potter power to make of one lump [of earth] what he pleaseth?" I say the same also, "That many are called, but few are chosen;" for they will not; they give their free will into God's anger, where they are even apprehended, and so are chosen to be "children of wrath;" whereas they were all called in Adam into paradise, and in Christ into the regeneration; but they would not, the free will would not, it exalted itself into the wrath of God which apprehended it, and so they were not chosen children; for God's love chooses only its likeness, and so likewise God's anger; yet the gate of the regeneration stands open to the wicked, whom the anger of God has apprehended. Man has the death in him, whereby he may die to the evil; but the devil has not, for he was created to the highest perfection.
29. Thus it is also with Jacob and Esau: In Jacob the line of Christ got the upper hand in the wrestling wheel; and in Esau the fall of Adam; now Christ was therefore promised into the humanity, that he might heal the fall of Adam, and redeem Esau, which was captivated in the wrath, from the wrath; Jacob denotes Christ; and Esau Adam; now Christ is to redeem Adam from death and wrath, wherein he was captivated: But did Esau continue 1 in sin? That I know not; the Scripture also does not declare it; the blessing belonged to Esau, that is, to Adam, but he fooled it away in the Fall, and so the blessing fell upon Jacob, that is upon Christ, who should bless Adam and Esau, so that the kingdom and blessing might be given of free grace again to Adam and Esau; though he was apprehended in the curse, yet the door of grace stood open in Jacob, that is, in Christ; therefore Jacob said afterward, that is Christ, when he was entered into Adam's soul and flesh, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden with your sins, and I will refresh you: "Also, "I am come to call the sinner to repentance;" not Jacob, who needs it not, but Esau, who needs it; and when he (viz. Esau) is come, then says Christ, "There is more joy in heaven for him, than for ninety-nine righteous ones, which need no repentance;" [viz. for one Esau that repents] there is more joy than for ninety-nine Jacobs, who in the centre of the life's original are apprehended in the line of
[paragraph continues] Christ: There is more joy for one poor sinner, whom the anger has apprehended in the centre of God's wrath in the life's original, and chosen to condemnation, if he brings the sins of death again into the mortification or death of sin, than for ninety-nine righteous ones that need no repentance.
30. But who are the righteous, for we are all become sinners in Adam? Answer, They are those whom the line of Christ in the humanity apprehends in the life's rise [or at the first point of opening of life in them], not that they cannot fall as Adam, but that they are apprehended in Christ's will-spirit in the wrestling wheel, where love and anger are counterpoised, and chosen to life; as happened to Jacob, so also to Isaac, and Abel: But this line should be the preacher and teacher of Cain, Ishmael, and Esau, and exhort them to repentance, and to turn out of the anger: And this line did give itself into the anger which was enkindled in Adam, Cain, Ishmael, and destroyed the devil's sting with love, that Cain, Ishmael, and Esau had an open gate to grace; if they would but turn and die in Jacob, that is, if they would enter into Christ's death, and die to sin in Abel, Isaac, and Jacob, and Christ, then they should be received into the election of grace.
31. Jacob took Esau's place in the blessing: Why did that come to pass? In Jacob was the promised seed of Abraham and Adam; from this line the blessing should come upon the sinful Adam and Esau; Jacob must be filled with God's blessing, that he might bless the first-born of angry Adam and Esau; for the blessing, that is, Christ must be born in our flesh and soul, that the seed of the woman might bruise the head of the serpent.
32. The anger must be drowned and appeased in the humanity; an offering did not do it, but this resigning into the wrath, that the love might drown the wrath. Jacob in Christ must drown Esau in the love-power in his blood, that Esau might also become a Jacob in Christ: But Esau was not willing to receive his brother Jacob, and contended about the first birth; 1 that is, Adam in sin will not, cannot receive [or accept of] Christ, he shall and must die to the sinful flesh and will.
33. Therefore Esau has ever fought against Jacob; for Jacob should drown him in Christ in his blood; this the evil Adam in Esau would not have, he would live in his self-hood, therefore he strove with the earthly Adam against Jacob; but when Jacob met him with his gifts, that is, when Christ came with his free love-gift into the humanity, then Esau fell upon his brother
[paragraph continues] Jacob's neck and wept; for when Christ entered into the humanity, Adam wept in Esau, and repented him of his sins and evil intent, that he would kill Jacob: For when God's love in the humanity entered into God's anger, the angry Father bewailed our sins and misery, and Jacob with his humility drove forth mournful tears out of his brother Esau; that is, the love in the humanity brought forth the great compassion out of and through the angry Father; so that the angry Father in the midst of his enkindled wrath in the humanity did set open a gate of mercy for Adam and all his children; for his love broke the anger, which [love] put itself into death, and made an open gate for poor sinners in the death to his grace.
34. Now it is commanded the poor sinner, whom the anger has chosen to the condemnation of eternal death, that he enter into this same death, and die in Christ's death to sin, and then Christ drowns it in his blood, and chuses him again to be God's child.
35. Here is the calling: Christ calls us into his death, into his dying; this the sinner will not have: Here is now strife in the sinner between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; which now overcomes, that conceives the child: Now the free will may reach to which it pleases; both gates stand open to him. Many who are in Christ's line are also brought through imagination and lust, as Adam was, into iniquity; they are indeed called, but they persevere not in the election, for the election is set upon him who departs from sin; he is elected that dies to sin in Christ's death, and rises in Christ's resurrection, who receives God in Christ, not only in the mouth, but in divine desire in the will and new-birth, as a new fiery generation: Knowledge apprehends it not, only the earnest desire and breaking of the sinful will, that apprehends it.
36. Thus there is no sufficient ground in the election of grace as reason holds it forth: Adam is chosen in Christ; but that many a twig withers on the tree, is not the tree's fault, for it withdraws its sap from no twig, only the twig gives forth itself too eagerly with the desire; it runs on in self-will, viz. it is taken by the inflammation of the sun and the fire, before it can draw sap again in its mother, and refresh itself.
37. Thus also man perishes among the evil company in evil vain ways: God offers him his grace that he should repent; but evil company and the devil lead him in wicked ways, till he be even too hard captivated in the anger; and then it goes very hardly with him; he indeed was called, but he is evil; God
chuses only children: Seeing he is evil, the choice passes over him; but if he again reforms and amends, the eternal choice [or election] does again receive him.
38. Thus says the Scripture, "Many are called;" but when the choice in Christ's suffering and death comes upon them, then they are not capable of the same, by reason of the self-ful evil will which they had before embraced, and so they are not the elected, but evil children; and here it is then rightly said, "We have piped unto you, but you have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented unto us: 1 O Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not: "It is not said, "thou couldest not," but " thou wouldest not;" and while they remain in the iniquity of sin, they also cannot: God will not cast his pearl before swine; but to the children which draw near to him he gives the pearl and his bread.
39. Therefore whoever blames God, despises his mercy, which he has introduced into the humanity, and brings the judgement headlong upon his body and soul.
40. Thus I have truly warned the reader, and set before his eyes what the Lord of all beings has given me: He may behold himself in this looking-glass both within and without, and find what and who he is: Every reader shall find his profit therein, be he either good or evil: It is a very clear gate of the mystery of all beings. With glosses and self-wit none shall apprehend it in its own ground; but it may well embrace the real seeker, and create him much profit and joy, and even be helpful to him in all natural things, provided he applies himself right, and seeks it in the fear of God, seeing it is now a time of seeking; for a lily blossoms upon the mountains and valleys in all the ends of the earth: He that seeketh findeth. Amen.
216:1 Or, This is spoken without any ground or foundation.
217:1 Or die.
218:1 Or birthright.
220:1 Text, comforted us.