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

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ART has not wrote this, neither was there any time to consider how to set it punctually down, according to the right understanding of letters, but all was ordered according to the direction of the Spirit, which often went in haste; so that in many words letters may be wanting, and in some places a capital letter for a word. The Penman's hand, by reason he was not accustomed to it, did often shake; and though I could have wrote in a more accurate, fair, and plain manner, yet the reason I did not was this, that the burning fire often forced forward with speed, and

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the hand and pen must hasten directly after it; for that fire comes and goes as a sudden shower. I can write nothing of myself but as a child which neither knows nor understands anything, which neither has ever been learnt; and I write only that which the Lord vouchsafes to know in me according to the measure as himself manifests in me.

I never desired to know anything of the Divine Mystery, much less understood I the way to seek and find it. I knew nothing of it, which is the condition of poor laymen in their simplicity.

I sought only after the heart of Jesus Christ, that I might hide myself therein from the wrathful anger of God and the violent assaults of the Devil. And I besought the Lord earnestly for his Holy Spirit and his grace, that he would please to bless and guide me in him, and take that away from me which turned me from him. I resigned myself wholly to him,

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that I might not live to my own will, but his; and that he only might lead and direct me, to the end I might be his child in his son Jesus.

In this my earnest and Christian seeking and desire (wherein I suffered many a shrewd repulse, but at last resolved rather to put myself in hazard than leave off), the Gate was opened to me, that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an University, at which I exceedingly admired and thereupon turned my praise to God for it.

So that I did not only greatly wonder at it, but did also exceedingly rejoice; and presently it came powerfully into my mind to set the same down in writing, for a memorial for myself, though I could very hardly apprehend the same in my external man and express it with the pen. Yet, however, I must begin to labour in this great mystery as a child that goes to school.

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I saw it as in a great deep in the internal; for I had a thorough view of the Universe, as a complex moving fulness wherein all things are couched and wrapped up; but it was impossible for me to explain the same.

Yet it opened itself in me, from time to time, as in a young plant. It was with me for the space of twelve years, and was as it were breeding. I found a powerful instigation within me before I could bring it forth into external form of writing; but whatever I could apprehend with the external principle of my mind, that I wrote down.

Afterwards, however, the Sun shone upon me a good while, but not constantly, for sometimes the Sun hid itself, and then I knew not nor well understood my own labour. Man must confess that his knowledge is not his own but from God, who manifests the Ideas of Wisdom to the soul, in what measure he pleases.

It is not to be understood that my reason is greater or higher than that of all other

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men living; but I am the Lord's twig or branch, and a very mean and little spark of his light; he may set me where he pleases, I cannot hinder him in that.

Neither is this my natural will, that I can do it by my own small ability; for if the Spirit were withdrawn from me, then I could neither know nor understand my own writings.


O gracious amiable Blessedness and great Love, how sweet art thou! How friendly and courteous art thou! How pleasant and lovely is thy relish and taste! How ravishing sweetly dost thou smell! O noble Light, and bright Glory, who can apprehend thy exceeding beauty? How comely adorned is thy love! How curious and excellent are thy colours! And all this eternally. Who can express it?

Or why and what do I write, whose tongue does but stammer like a child which is learning to speak? With what shall I

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compare it? or to what shall I liken it? Shall I compare it with the love of this world? No, that is but a mere dark valley to it.

O immense Greatness! I cannot compare thee with any thing, but only with the resurrection from the dead; there will the Love-Fire rise up again in us, and rekindle again our astringent, bitter, and cold, dark and dead powers, and embrace us most courteously and friendly.

O gracious, amiable, blessed Love and clear bright Light, tarry with us, I pray thee, for the evening is at hand.

Next: Chapter II