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

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WE cannot say that the outward world is God, or the speaking Word; or that the outward man is God. That is only the expressed Word, which has stiffened itself in union with the elements. I say, the inward world is the heaven where God dwells; and the outward world is expressed out of the inward, through the moving of the eternal speaking Word, and enclosed between a beginning and an end.

The inward world abides in the eternal speaking Word. The eternal Word speaks it into Being through Wisdom, out of its own powers, colours, and virtue, as a great mystery from eternity. This Being is a breathing from the Word in the

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[paragraph continues] Wisdom; it has the power of generation in itself, and introduces itself into forms, after the manner of the generation of the eternal Word, or, as I might say, out of the Wisdom in the Word.

Therefore there is nothing nigh unto or far off from God; one world is in the other and all are one as soul and body are in each other, and time and eternity. The eternal speaking Word rules through and over all; it works from eternity to eternity; and though it can neither be apprehended nor conceived, yet its work is conceived, for this is the formed Word, of which the working Word is the life.

The eternal speaking Word is the divine understanding or sound. That which is brought forth from the love-desire into forms, that, I say, is the natural and creaturely understanding and sound which was in the Word; as it is said, In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

The harmony of hearing, seeing, feeling.

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tasting, and smelling, is the true intellective life. When one power enters into another, then they embrace each other in the sound; and when they are become one they mutually awaken and know each other. In this knowledge consists the true understanding, which, according to the nature of the eternal wisdom, is immeasurable and abyssal, being of the One which is All.

Therefore one only will, if it has divine light in it, may draw from this fountain and behold infinity. From which contemplation this pen has wrote.

In the light of God (which is called the kingdom of heaven) the sound is wholly soft, pleasant, lovely and pure; yea, as a stillness in comparison with our outward gross speaking and sounding. It is as if the mind did play and melodize in a kingdom of joy within itself, and did then hear in a most entire inward manner a sweet, pleasing melody and tune; and

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yet outwardly did neither hear nor understand it. For in the divine light all is subtle, in manner as the thoughts play and make mutual melody in one another.

And yet there is a real, intelligible, distinct sound and speech used by the angels, according to their own property, in the kingdom of glory. The powers of the formed and manifested Word, in their love-desire, do introduce themselves, according to the property of all the powers, into an external being, where, as in a mansion, they may act their love-play, and so have somewhat wherewith and wherein mutually to play and melodize one with another, in their wrestling sport of love.

God, who is a Spirit, has by and through his manifestation introduced himself into distinct spirits, which are the voices of his eternal pregnant harmony in the manifested Word of his great kingdom of joy:

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they are God's instrument, in which his Spirit melodizes in his kingdom of joy; they are angels, the flames of fire and light, in a living, understanding dominion.

We are not to think that the holy angels dwell only above the stars beyond the place of this world, as the outward reason, which knows nothing of God, fancies. Indeed they dwell beyond the dominion of this world, but the place of this world (although there is no place in eternity), and also the place beyond this world, is all one to them. We men see not the angels or the devils with our eyes; yet they are about us and among us. The evil and the good angels dwell near one another, and yet there is the greatest immense distance between them. For heaven is in hell and hell is in heaven, and yet the one is not manifest to the other. Although the Devil should go many millions of miles, desiring to enter

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heaven and to see it, yet he would still be in hell and not see it.


If evil was not known, joy would not be manifest. But if joy be manifest, then is the eternal Word spoken in joy, to which end the Word, with nature, has brought itself into a creation. Whosoever rightly sees and understands this has no further question about any thing, for he sees that he lives and subsists in God, and that he may further know and will through him and speak what and how he will. Such a man seeks only the estate of lowliness, that God may alone be accounted high.

My will-spirit, which now is in Christ's humanity, lives in Christ's spirit, that shall in his power give sap to the dry tree, that it may arise in the sound of the trumpet of the divine breath in Christ's voice, which is also my voice in his breath, and spring afresh in paradise. Paradise shall

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be in me; all whatever God has and is shall appear in me as an image of the divine world's being; all colours, powers and virtues of his eternal Wisdom shall be manifest in me, as in his likeness. I shall be the manifestation of the divine and spiritual world and an instrument of God's Spirit, wherein he makes melody with himself, with this voice which I myself am. I shall be his instrument, an organ of his expressed Word and Voice; and not only I, but all my fellow-members in the glorious choir and instrument of God. We are all strings in the concert of his joy; the spirit from his mouth strikes the note and tune of our strings.

Therefore God became man, that he might repair his glorious instrument of praise, which would not sound according to the desire of his joy and of his love. He would bring again the true love-sound into the strings; he has brought the voice which sounds in his presence again into

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us; he is become that which I am and has made me that which he is, so I may say that in my humility I am in him his trumpet and the sound of his instrument and his divine voice.

Next: Chapter XV