JACOB BOEHME (1575-1624) was the son of peasant farmers, a shoemaker by trade, and had only a rudimentary education. One morning, watching the sunlight play on a pewter bowl, he experienced an extraordinary spiritual illumination, and started writing books. Amazing books. Scholars at the great German Universities were astounded that an unlearned craftsman could produce works like The Three Principles of the Divine Essence and The Threefold Life of Man.
But Jacob Boehme explains:
I never desired to know anything of the Divine Mystery, much less understood I the way how to seek or find it. I sought only after the heart of Jesus Christ...
In this my earnest Christian seeking and desire, the gate was opened unto me, so that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an University...
For I saw and knew the Being of all Beings, the Byss and Abyss; also the eternal generation of the Holy Trinity; the descent, and origin of this world, and of all creatures, through the divine Wisdom; I knew and saw in myself all the three Worlds; namely, the Divine, Angelical, and Paradisical World and then the Dark World, the original of the Nature to the Fire; and then thirdly, the external, visible World, being a Procreation, or External Birth, from the two internal and spiritual Worlds; and I saw, and knew the whole working Essence in the evil, and in the good; and the mutual origin, and existence of each of them; and likewise how the fruitful bearing Womb of Eternity brought forth...
And presently it came powerfully into my mind to set the same down in writing...
Thus now I have written, not from the instruction or knowledge received from men, not from the learning or reading of books; but I have written out of my own book which was opened in me, being the noble similitude of God, the book of the noble and precious image (understand God's own similitude or likeness) was bestowed upon me to read; and therein I have studied, as a child in the house of its mother, which beholdeth what the father doth, and in his child-like play doth imitate his father; I have no need of any other book.
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. ( Jesus, Matt. 11:25)
For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (see 1Corinthians 1:17-31)
For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7-8)
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 18:3)
I know well that I can do Nothing in my own Might or Strength. But Faith, which can receive where there is Nothing, can do it: If I cast my Will into God’s Will, then GOD believeth in My Will; and then I can receive, for nothing is Impossible to Faith: I can receive to myself the Incarnation of Christ; if My Will willeth - yet I cannot do it, but God can do it in and through me.
I know nothing, and desire to know nothing, nor have I at any time sought any skill or knowledge; for I am a child in knowledge, and a nothing; I would also fain know nothing, that I might in knowledge, be dead and a nothing, that God in the Spirit of Christ, may be my knowing, willing, and doing, that I may run in his knowing and willing, and that not I, but he; that I may be only his Instrument, and he the Hand and the Labour.
Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
The rational Man understands nothing in reference to God. The true Understanding must flow from the inward Ground, out of the living Word of God. In which inward Ground, all my Knowledge concerning the Divine and natural Ground, has taken its Rise, Beginning, and Understanding. I am not born of the School of this World, and am a plain simple Man; but by God's Spirit and Will I am brought, without my own Purpose and Desire, into Divine Knowledge in high natural Searchings.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God...
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned...
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2)
All our disputations and intellectual speculations in regard to the divine mysteries are useless; because they originate from external sources. God's mysteries can be only known by God, and to know them we must first seek God in our own center. Our reason and will must return to the inner source from which they originated; then will we arrive at a true science of God and His attributes.
Man's will and imagination have become perverted from their original state, Man has surrounded himself by a world of will and imagination of his own. He has therefore lost sight of God, and can only regain his former state and become wise if he brings the activity of his soul and mind again in harmony with the divine Spirit.
(COLLECTIONS 1 & 2)
WORKS OF JACOB BEHMEN: WILLIAM LAW EDITION
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