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How Man must daily die to his own Will in Self; how he must bring
his Desire into GOD, and what he should ask and desire of GOD.
L I K E W I S E
How he must spring up out of the dying sinful Man, with a new
Mind and Will through the Spirit of CHRIST.
A L S O
What the Old and New Man are, and what each of them is in Life, Will and Practice.
by Jacob Behmen (Jakob Boehme) 1575-1624,
The Teutonic Theosopher
Matthew xvi. 24. Mark viii. 34. Luke ix. 23. John xii. 26.
Christ saith, If any Man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily, and follow Me.
Matthew xix. 27. Mark x. 28. Luke xviii. 28.
Peter saith to Christ, Behold, we have forsaken All, and followed thee.
Brought forth in the 1600's by a humble German shoemaker; translated into English over 100 years later; suppressed and hidden away until recently in theological archives around the world... a worthy personal study not just for academics but for all those who are spiritually grounded in the WORD, who are learning to hear the Lord, and who hunger for more.
E have a clear Example in Lucifer, and also in Adam the first Man, of what Self doth, when it getteth the Light of Nature to be its own, and may walk with the Understanding in its own Dominion. We see also in Men learned in Arts and Sciences, that when they get the Light of this outward World or Nature into the Possession of their Reason, nothing cometh of it but Pride of themselves. And yet all the World so vehemently desireth and seeketh after this Light as the best Treasure; and indeed it is the best Treasure this World affordeth, if it be rightly used.
2. But while Self, viz. Reason, is captivated and fast bound in a close and strong Prison, that is to say, in the Anger of God, and in Earthliness, it is very dangerous for a Man to make Use of the Light of Knowledge in Self, as if it were in the Possession of Self.
3. For the Wrath of the Eternal and Temporary Nature will soon take Pleasure in it, and then Self and a Man's own Reason, will rise up in Pride, and depart from the true resigned Humility towards God, and will no longer eat of the Fruit of Paradise, but instead eat of the Property of Self, viz. of that Dominion of Life, wherein Good and Evil are mixed as Lucifer and Adam did. Who both entered with the Desire of Self back again into the Original, out of which the Creatures were brought forth and into the Condition of the Creatures; Lucifer into the Centre and wrathful Nature, into the Matrix or Womb which bringeth forth Fire, and Adam into the earthly Nature, into the Matrix of the outward World, viz. into the Lust after Good and Evil.
4. This happened to them both, because they had the Light of Understanding shining in Self, in which they could behold themselves, whereby the Spirit of Self went into the Imagination, (viz. into a Desire to get to the Centre,) that they might exalt themselves in Might, Power, and Knowledge. Now when Lucifer sought after the Mother of Fire in his Centre, and thought to reign therewith over the Love of God and all the Angels, and when Adam also desired to try in the Essence what the Mother or Root was from whence Evil and Good did spring, and purposely brought his Desire thereinto, in order to become knowing and full of Understanding thereby: Both Lucifer and Adam were captivated in their evil or false Desire in the Mother, and broke off themselves from Resignation which proceeds from God, and so were caught by the Spirit of the Will, by the Desire in the Mother. Which Desire immediately got the Dominion in Nature; and so Lucifer stuck fast in the wrathful Source of Fire, and that Fire became manifest in the Spirit of his Will, whereby the Creature in its Desire became an Enemy to the Love and Meekness of God.
5. Adam in like Manner, was immediately caught by the earthly Mother, which is Evil and Good, created out of the Anger and Love of God, and compacted into one Substance. Whereupon the earthly Property instantly got the Dominion in Adam, and from thence Heat and Cold, Envy and Anger, and all Malice and Contrariety to God became manifest, and bore Rule in him.
6. But if they had not brought the Light of Knowledge into Self, then the Glass of the Knowledge of the Centre and of the Original of the Creature, viz. of the Power which it had in itself had not been manifested, from whence the Imagination and Lust did arise.
7. As also we often see at this Day how the same Error bringeth Danger upon the enlightened Children of God; in whom when the Sun of the great Presence of God's Holiness shineth, by which the Life passeth into Triumph, and then Reason beholds itself therein as in a Glass, and the Will goeth on in Self, in its own searching, and will try what the Centre is out of which the Light shineth, and will of its own Motion and Strength force itself into it, how that from thence arise abominable Pride and Self-Love; so that its (the Creature's) own Reason, which is but a Mirror or Glass of the Eternal Wisdom, supposeth itself to be greater than it is; and then whatsoever it doth, it thinketh God's Will doth in and by it, and that he is a Prophet; though it is moved only by itself, and goeth on in its own Desire, in which the Centre of Nature presently riseth up, and entereth into that false Desire of Self against God, and so the Will entereth into Self-Conceit and Exaltation.
8. Then the subtle Devil insinuateth himself into the Creature, and sifteth the Centre of Nature, and bringeth evil or false Desires into it, so that a Man becometh as it were drunken in Self, and still persuades himself that he is driven by God, by which Means the good Beginning, wherein the divine Light shone in Nature, cometh to be spoiled, and so the Light of God departeth from him.
9. Yet the outward Light of the outward Nature still remaineith shining in the Creature; for its own self throweth itself thereinto, and supposeth that it is still the first Light of God; but it is not so. And into this Self-Exaltation in the Light of its outward Reason, the Devil throweth himself again, (though in the first Light, which was Divine, he had been forced to depart) now returning with the seven-fold Desire, of which Christ spake, saying, When the unclean Spirit departeth out of a Man, he wandereth through dry Places seeking Rest, and findeth none; and then he taketh to himself seven Spirits worse than himself, and returneth to his first House; and finding it swept and garnished, he dwelleth therein, and so it is worse with that Man than it was before.
10. This House, that is thus swept and garnished, is the Light of Reason in Self. For if a Man bringeth his Desire and Will into God, and goeth on in Abstinence from this wicked Life, and heartily desireth the Love of God, then that Love will manifest itself to him with its most friendly and cheerful Countenance, by which the outward Light also is kindled. For where the Light of God is kindled, there all will be Light; the Devil cannot stay there, but must depart thence; and then he searcheth through the Mother of the Original of Life, viz. the Centre, but finds that it is become a dry feeble Place. For the Anger of God, viz, the Centre of Nature, is in its own Property altogether feeble, barren and dry and cannot get the Dominion in its own wrathful Principle. Satan searcheth through these Places to find an open Gate to enter with his Desire, and so to sift the Soul that it might come to exalt itself.
11. And now if the Spirit of the Will of the Creature throweth itself with the Light of Reason back into the Centre, viz. into Self, and entereth into Self-Exaltation, then it goeth forth again from the Light of God, and presently the Devil findeth an open Gate for him to enter in at, and a garnished House to dwell in, viz. the Light of Reason. Then he taketh to himself the seven Forms of the Property of Life in Self, viz. the Flatterers which are departed from God into Self; and there he entereth and putteth his Desire into the Lust of Self and evil Imaginations, wherein the Spirit of the Will beholdeth itself in the Forms of the Properties of Life in the outward Light, and then the Man sinketh into himself as if he were drunk, and the Stars lay hold on him, and bring their strong Influences into him, (into outward Reason) that he might seek the Wonders of God there, that so they may manifest themselves therein. For all Creatures groan and long after God. And though the Stars cannot apprehend the Spirit of God, yet they would rather have a House of Light wherein they may rejoice, than a House shut up, wherein they can have no Rest.
12. Thus such a Man goeth on as if he were drunk, in the Light of the outward Reason, which is called the Stars, and apprehendeth great and wonderful Things, and hath a continual Guide, therein. And then the Devil presently watcheth to see if any Gate standeth open for him, through which he may kindle the Centre of Life, that so the Spirit of the Will may mount aloft in Pride, Self-Conceit, or Covetousness; (from whence Self-Arrogancy ariseth, the Will of Reason desiring to be honored;) for it supposeth it hath attained the Sum of all Happiness, when it hath gotten the Light of Reason, and can judge the House of hidden Mysteries that is shut up; which nevertheless God can easily unlock. The deluded Man thereupon supposeth that now he hath reached the Mark, and that Honour is due to him, because he hath gotten the Understanding of Reason, and never considereth that the Devil maketh himself merry with his Desire in his seven Forms of Life of the Centre of Nature, nor what abominable Error he setteth up.
13. From this Understanding of Reason false Babel is brought forth in the Christian Church on Earth, wherein Men rule and teach by the Conclusions of Reason, and have set the Child which is drunk in its own Pride and Self-Desire, as a fair Virgin upon the Throne.
14. But the Devil is entered into its seven Forms of Life of the Centre, viz. into its own Self-conceited Reason, and continually bringeth his Desire into this trimmed and decorated Virgin, which the Stars receive. He is her Beast on which she rideth, well adorned with her own Powers of Life, as may be seen in the Revelation of St. John. Thus hath this Child of Self taken into its Possession the outward Glance of Divine Holiness, viz. the Light of Reason, and supposeth itself to be the fair Child in the House, though the Devil hath his Lodging within it all the while.
15. And thus it is with all those who have been once enlightened by God, and afterwards go forth again from true Resignation, and wean themselves from the pure Milk of their Mother, viz. true Humility.
ERE Reason will object and say, Is it not right for a Man to attain the Light of God, and also the Light of the outward Nature and Reason, that he may be able to order his Life wisely, as the Scripture directeth?
2. Yes, it is very right; nothing can be more profitable to a Man, neither is he capable of any Thing better; nay, it is a Treasure above all earthly Treasures for a Man to have the Light of God and of Time, for it is the Eye of Time and of Eternity.
3. But mark how thou oughtest to use it; when the Light of God first manifesteth itself in the Soul, it shineth forth as Light from a Candle, and kindleth the outward Light of Reason immediately; yet it yieldeth not itself wholly up to Reason, so as to be under the Dominion of the outward Man. No, the outward Man beholdeth himself in this through-shining Lustre, as he doth his Likeness in a Looking-Glass, whereby he presently learneth to know himself, which is good and profitable to him.
4. Now, when he doth so, Reason, which is the creaturely Self, cannot do better than to behold itself in the Self of the Creature, and not enter with the Will of the Desire into the Centre in seeking itself. If it doth, it breaketh itself off from the Substance of God, (which riseth together with the Light of God, of which the Soul ought to eat, and refresh itself therewith,) and eateth of the outward Substance and Light, and thereby draweth the Venom into itself again.
5. The Will of the Creature ought to sink wholly into itself with all its Reason and Desire, accounting itself an unworthy Child that is no whit worthy of this so high a Grace; nor should it arrogate any Knowledge or Understanding to itself, or Desire of God to have any Understanding in its creaturely Self; but sincerely and simply sink down into the Grace and Love of God in Christ Jesus, and desire to be as it were dead to itself and its own Reason, in the Divine Life, and wholly resign itself to the Spirit of God in Love, that he may do how and what he will with it, as with his own Instrument.
6. Its own Reason ought not enter upon any Speculation in divine or in the ground of human Matters; nor to will and desire any Thing but the Grace of God in Christ. And as a Child continually longeth after the Breasts of the Mother, so must its Hunger be continually entering into the Love of God, and not suffer itself to be broken off from that Hunger by any Means. When the outward Reason triumpheth in the Light, saying, I have the true Child, then the Will of the Desire must bow itself down to the Earth, and bring itself into the deepest Humility and most simple Ignorance, and say, Thou art foolish, and hast nothing but the Grace of God. Thou must wrap thyself up in that Belief with great Humility, and become nothing at all in thyself, and neither know nor love thyself. All that thou hast, or is in thee, must esteem itself as nothing but a mere Instrument of God; and thou must bring thy Desire only into God's Mercy, and go forth from all thy own knowing and willing; and esteem it as nothing at all, nor ever entertain any Will to enter into it again.
7. As soon as this is done the natural Will becometh weak and faint, and then the Devil is not able to sift it thus any more with his evil Desire, for the Places of his Rest become very powerless, barren and dry; and then the Holy Spirit proceeding from God, taketh Possession of the Forms of Life, and maketh his Dominion to prevail. He kindleth the Forms of Life with his Flames of Love, and then the high Knowledge of the Centre of all Things ariseth, according to the inward and outward Constellation or Complexion of the Creature, in a very subtle drying Fire, attended with great Delight. Whereupon the humbled Soul presently desires to sink down into that Light, and esteems itself to be nothing and quite unworthy of it.
8. And thus its own Desire pierceth into that nothing, viz.(into that wherein God createth) and doth what God wills therein, and the Spirit of God springeth forth through the Desire of the resigned Humility, and so the human Self immediately followeth the Spirit of God in Trembling and humble Joy; and thus it may behold what is in Time and Eternity, for All is present before it.
9. When the Spirit of God riseth up as a Fire and Flame of Love, then the Spirit of the Soul descendeth, and saith, Lord, Glory be to thy Name, not to me; thou art able to take to thyself Virtue, Power, Strength, Wisdom, and Knowledge; do as thou wilt; I can do nothing; I know nothing; I will go no whither but whither thou leadest me as thy Instrument; do thou in me and with me what thou wilt.
10. In such a humble and total Resignation the Spark of Divine Power falleth into the Centre of the Forms of Life, as a Spark into Tinder, and kindleth it, viz. the Fire of the Soul, which Adam made to be a dark Coal in himself, so that it glimmereth. And when the Light of Divine Power hath kindled itself therein, the Creature must go on as an Instrument of God's Spirit, and speak what the Spirit of God dictateth to it; and then it is no more in its own proper Possession, but is the Instrument of God.
11. But the Will of the Soul must without ceasing, in this fiery driving, sink into nothing, viz. into the deepest Humility in the Sight of God. For no sooner doth the Will of the Soul in the least Measure go on in its own Speculation or Searching, but Lucifer layeth hold of it in the Centre of the Forms of Life, and sifteth it so that it entereth into Self. It must therefore continue close to resigned Humility, as a Well doth to its Spring, and must suck and drink of God's Fountain, and not depart from the Ways of God at all.
12. For as soon as the Soul eateth of Self, and of the Light of outward Reason, it goeth on in its own Opinion; and then its Doings, which it sets forth for Divine, are but from the outward Constellation, or Influence of the Stars, which presently layeth hold on the Soul, and maketh it dry. And then the Soul goeth on in Errors, till it yield itself up again into Resignation, and acknowledging itself a-new to be a defiled Child, resisteth Reason and so getteth the Love of God again. Which is harder to do in that Case than it was at first; for the Devil bringeth in strong Doubts now, and will not easily leave his Fort of Prey.
13. This may be seen clearly in the Saints of God from the Beginning of the World. For many who have been driven by the Spirit of God, have yet oftentimes departed from Resignation into Self, viz. into their own Reason and Will, in which Satan hath cast them into Sins, and into the Anger of God; as appeareth by David and Solomon, also by the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles; who have oftentimes committed great Errors when they have departed from Resignation into Self, viz. into their own Reason and Lust.
14. Therefore, it is necessary for the Children of God to know how to behave themselves when they will learn the Way of God. They must beat down and cast away their very Thoughts; and desire nothing, nor have the least Will to learn any Thing, unless they find themselves to be in true Resignation; so that God's Spirit leadeth, teacheth, and guideth Man's Spirit, and that the human Will which is attached to itself, be wholly broken off from its own Lust, and resigned to God.
15. All Speculation in the Wonders of God is very dangerous, for the Spirit of the Will may soon be captivated therewith, unless the Spirit of the Will goeth or walketh after the Spirit of God, and then it hath Power in the resigned Humility to behold the Wonders of God.
16. I do not say that a Man should search and learn nothing in natural Arts and Sciences. No; such Knowledge is useful to him; but a Man must not begin with his own Reason. Man ought not only to govern his Life by the Light of outward Reason, which is good in itself; but should sink with that Light into the deepest Humility before God, and set the Spirit and Will of God foremost in all his searching, so that the Light of Reason may see and know Things through the Light of God. And though Reason may be very wise in its own Sphere, and help a Man to much Knowledge, yet it must not arrogate such Wisdom and Knowledge to itself, as if they were in its own Possession, but give the Glory thereof to God, to whom alone all Wisdom and Knowledge belongeth.
17. For the more deeply Reason sinketh itself down into simple Humility in the Sight of God, and the more unworthy it accounts itself in his Sight; the more truely it dieth from Self-desire and the more thoroughly the Spirit of God penetrateth it, and bringeth it into the highest Knowledge, so that at length it may come to behold the great Mysteries and Wonders of God. For the Spirit of God worketh only in resigned Humility, in that which neither seeketh nor desireth itself. The Spirit of God taketh hold of whatsoever desireth to be simple and lowly before him, and bringeth it into his Wonders. He hath Pleasure only in those that fear and bow themselves before him.
18. For God hath not created us for ourselves only, but to be Instruments of his Wonders, by which he desireth to manifest his Wonders. The resigned Will trusteth God, and expecteth all Good from him alone; but Self-Will ruleth itself, for it is broken off from God. All that Self-Will doth is Sin and is against God; for it is gone out of that Order wherein he created it, into Disobedience, and desireth to be its own Lord and Master.
19. When a Man's own Will dieth from itself, then it is free from Sin, for it desireth nothing but that which God desireth of his Creature; it desireth only to do that for which God hath created it and that which God will do by it; and though it is and must be the Doing, yet it is but the Instrument of the Doing, by which God doth what he will.
20. For this is the true Faith in Man, viz. to die from himself; that is, from his own Desire; and in all his Undertakings and Designs to bring his Desire into the Will of God, and arrogate the doing of nothing to himself, but esteem himself in all his Doings to be a Servant or Minister of God, and to think that all he doeth, and undertaketh, is for God. For in such a Disposition the Spirit of God leadeth him into true Uprightness and Faithfullness towards his Neighbour. For he thinketh thus within himself, I do my Work not for myself, but for God, who hath called and appointed me to do it; I am but a Servant in his Vineyard. He listeneth continually after the Voice of his Master, who within him commandeth him what he shall do. The Lord speaketh in him, and biddeth him do what he would have to be done by him.
21. But Self doeth what outward Reason from the Stars commandeth, into which Reason the Devil flyeth with his Desire. All whatever Self doth is without the Will of God, and is done altogether in the Phantasy, that the Anger of God may accomplish its Pastime therewith.
22. No Work done without the Will of God can reach the Kingdom of God; it is all but an unprofitable Imagery, or self-wrought Work, in this great Agitation of Mankind. For nothing is pleasing to God, but what he himself doth by the resigned Will, as his Instrument. For there is but one only God in the Essence of all Essences, and all that which worketh with him in that Essence, is one Spirit with him; but that which worketh in itself only, in its own Will, is in itself only, and not in his Dominion. It is indeed under that universal Dominion of Nature, whereby he holdeth subject to him every Life, evil and good, but not under that special Divine Government in himself, which comprehendeth the good only. Nothing is Divine which walketh and worketh not in the Will of God.
23. Christ saith, Every Plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted out and burned in the Fire. All the Works of Man, which he hath wrought without the Will of God, shall be burnt up in the last Fire and given to the Wrath of God, viz. to the Pit of Darkness to recreate itself withal. For Christ saith, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. Whosoever worketh, and doth it not in a resigned Will with Confidence in God, doth but make desolate and scatter; it is not acceptable to God. For nothing is pleasing to him but that which he willeth with his Spirit, and doth by his own Instrument.
24. Therefore, whatsoever is done by the Conclusions of human Self in Matters of Religion, is a mere Fiction. It is Babel, and but a Work of the Stars, and of the outward World, and not acknowledged by God to be his Work. It is only the Play of the wrestling Wheel of Nature, wherein Good and Evil wrestle one with the other; what the one buildeth, the other destroyeth. And this is the great Misery of the vain Turmoylings of Men, the Issue whereof must be left to the Judgement of God.
25. Whosoever therefore stirreth or laboureth much in such Turmoylings, worketh but for the Judgement of God; for no whit of it is perfect and permanent. It must all be separated in the Putrefaction. For that which is wrought in the Anger of God will be received thereby, and kept in the Mystery of its Desire to the Day of God's Judgement, when Evil and Good shall be severed.
26. But if a Man turn and go forth from himself, and enter into the Will of God, then also that Good which hath been wrought in and by him, shall be freed from the Evil which he hath wrought. As Isaiah saith, Though your Sins be as red as Scarlet, yet if ye turn and repent, they shall become as Wool, yea, as white as Snow. For the Evil shall be swallowed up in the Wrath of God into Death, and the Good shall spring forth as a Sprout out of the wild Earth.
HOSOEVER therefore that intendeth to do any good and perfect Work, wherein he hopeth eternally to rejoice, let him depart from himself, viz. from his own Desire, and enter into Resignation, into the Will of God, and work with God. And then though the earthly Desire of Self in Flesh and Blood cleaveth to him, yet if the Will of the Soul doth not receive that Desire into it, Self cannot perform any Work. For the resigned Will continually destroyeth the Substance of Self again, so that the Anger of God cannot reach it. And if it should happen to reach it sometimes, as may be the Case, yet the resigned Will prevaileth with its superiour Power, and then it beareth the Figure of a victorious Work in the Wonders, and may inherit the Filiation or Childship. Therefore it is not good to speak or do any Thing, when Reason is kindled in and by the Desire of Self. Because that Desire springeth from, and worketh in, the Anger of God; by which a Man would suffer Loss. For his Work is brought into that Anger, and kept there to the great Day of God's Judgement.
2. Every evil or false Desire, whereby a Man deviseth how to gather to himself by Craft much worldly Gain from his Neighbour to his Neighbour's Hurt, is taken into the Anger of God, and belongeth to the Judgement. Wherein all Things shall be made manifest and every Power and Essence, every Cause and Effect, both in Good and Evil, shall be presented to every one in the Mystery of the Revelation.
3. All evil Works, done purposely, belong to the Judgement of God. But he that turneth from the Will, goeth out from the Power of them, and those his Works belong to the Fire. All Things shall and must be made manifest in the End. For therefore God brought his working Power into Essence or Substance, that his Love and Anger might be made manifest, and become a Representation of his Deeds of Wonder, to his Glory.
4. And every Creature ought to know that it should continue in that Condition wherein it was created; otherwise it runneth on in Contrariety and Enmity to the Will of God, and bringeth itself into Pain. For every intelligent Creature that hath lost its Place or State wherein God first created it, is in Disorder and Misery, till it recovereth the same. A Creature which is created out of Darkness hath no Pain in the Darkness; as a venomous Serpent hath no Pain from its Venom. The Venom is its Life; but if it should lose its Venom, and have some good Thing instead thereof brought into it, and be made manifest in its Essence, that would be Pain and Death to it. Thus Good is Torment to a Being whose Nature is evil, and Evil is in like Manner Pain and Death to the Good.
5. Man was created of, for, and in Paradise; of, for and in the Love of God; but if he brings himself into Anger, which is as a poisonous Pain and Death, then that contrary Paradisical Life of Love is a Pain and Torment to him.
6. If the Devil had been created out of the wrathful Matrix, for and in Hell, and had not had the Divine Ens or Essence, he could have no Pain in Hell. But he, being created for and in Heaven, and yet having stirred up the Source or Property of Darkness in himself, and thereby brought himself totally into Darkness, therefore the Light is now a Pain to him; that is, it causeth an everlasting Despair of God's Grace, and a continual Enmity to God; because God cannot endure him in himself, but hath cast him out. Therefore, the Devil is angry and wrathful against his own Mother, of whose Essence and Substance he hath his Original, viz. the Eternal Nature, which keepeth him Prisoner in his own Place, as a Revolter or fallen Spirit, and sporteth in him with its Property of Anger. And, seeing he would not bear his Part in promoting the Divine Joy, in and for which he was created, therefore he must now do the contrary, and be an Enemy to all Goodness. For, of God, and in him, are all Things, Darkness and Light, Anger and Love, Fire and Light; but he calleth himself God, only as to the Light of his Love.
7. There is an eternal Contrariety between Darkness and Light; neither of them comprehendeth the other, and neither of them is the other; and yet there is only one Essence, Being, or Substance, wherein they both subsist. But there is a Difference in the Quality and Will; yet the Essence or Substance is not divided, but a Principle maketh the Division. So that the one is a nothing in the other, and yet it is there, but not manifest in the Property of that Thing wherein it is.
8. For the Devil continued in his own Dominion or Principality, not indeed in that wherein God created him, but in the aching painful Birth of Eternity, in the Centre of Nature and Property of Wrath, in the Property which begetteth Darkness, Anguish and Pain. Indeed he is a Prince in the Place of this World, but in the first Principle, in the Kingdom of Darkness, in the Pit or Abyss.
9. Not in the Kingdom of the Sun, Stars, and Elements; he is no Lord or Prince there, but in the wrathful Part, viz. in the Root of the Evil of every Thing; and yet he hath not Power to do what he pleaseth with that.
10. For there is some Good in every Thing, which holdeth the Evil captive and shut up in the Thing; but he can walk and rule only in the evil Part or Property; when it stirreth up an evil Desire in itself, and bringeth its Desire into Wickedness. This indeed the inanimate Creature cannot do; but Man can do it through the inanimate Creature, if he brings the Centre of his Will, with the Desire out of the Eternal Centre into it, which is the Ground of Enchantment and false Magic. The Will of the Devil can also enter into that Evil whereinto Man bringeth the Desire of his Soul, which is born also out of the Eternal Nature.
11. For the Original of the Soul and of Angels, out of the Eternal Nature is the same. But the Devil hath no further Power over the Time, or temporary Condition of this World, than in the great Turba or Turba Magna, the Curse; wheresoever that kindleth itself in the eternal and temporal Wrath, there he is busy, as in Wars, Fighting, and Strife, as also in great Tempests without Water. In the Fire he proceedeth as far as the Turba (Mischief or Hurt) goeth in great Showers or Tempests of Thunder, Lightning, and Hail; but he cannot direct them, for he is not Lord or Master in them, but Servant only.
12. Thus the Creature stirreth up with its own Desire, Good and Evil, Life and Death. The human Angelical Desire standeth in the Centre of the eternal Nature which is without Beginning; and wherever it kindleth itself, whether in Good or Evil, it accomplisheth its Work in that.
13. Now God created every Thing for and in that wherein it should be; the Angels for and in Heaven, and Man for and in Paradise. If therefore the Desire of the Creature goeth forth from its own Mother, then it entereth into the contrary Will and into Enmity, and it is tormented with the Contrariety therein, and so a false Will ariseth in a good; and then the good Will entereth into its nothing again, viz. into the End of Nature and Creature, and so leaveth the Creature in its own Evil or Wickedness, as appeareth by Lucifer and also Adam; and had not the Will of the Love of God met with Adam, and of mere Mercy entered into the Humanity or human Nature again, there could be no good Will in Man.
14. Therefore all Speculation and Inquiry about God's Will is a vain Thing, unless the Mind be converted. For when the Mind standeth captivated in the Self-Desire of the earthly Life, it cannot comprehend what the Will of God is; it runneth on but in Self, from one Way into another, and yet findeth no Rest; for Self-Desire evermore bringeth Disquiet. But when it sinketh itself wholly into the Mercy of God, desiring to die from itself, and to have God's Will for a Guide to the Understanding, so that it acknowledgeth and esteemeth itself as nothing, and willeth nothing but what God willeth, then shall it both know and do the Will of God. And if the Desire of Anger in the earthly Flesh should go along or join with the Devil's Imagination, and assault the Will of the Soul, yet the resigned Desire cryeth to God and saith, Abba, loving Father, deliver me from Evil. And then, though the earthly Will should grow too strong in the Wrath of God by the Infection of the Devil, the Desire of Anger would work but in or upon itself. According to what St. Paul saith, Now, if I sin, I do it not, but Sin that dwelleth in my Flesh: Also, Now I serve the Law of God in my Mind, but in my Flesh the Law of Sin. Paul meaneth not that the Will of the Mind or Soul should consent to the Will of the Flesh; but Sin is so strong in the Flesh, viz. the awakened Anger of God in Self, that oftentimes the Mind is brought into Lust, as it were by Force, through the evil Incitements of the wicked, or else by beholding worldly Pomp and Glory; so that it absolutely beareth down the resigned Will, and ruleth by Force.
15. Now when Sin is wrought in the Flesh, then the Wrath sporteth itself therewith, and catcheth at the resigned Will; and then the resigned Will cryeth to God for Deliverance from the Evil, and prayeth that God would remove the Guilt away from it, and bring Sin into the Centre, viz. into Death, that it might die.
16. And St. Paul saith further, Now, there is no Condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are called according to the Purpose of God; that is, those who in that Purpose of God in which he first called Man, are again called in the same Calling, to stand again in that Purpose of God, wherein he originally created Man to be his Image and Likeness.
17. So long as Man's own Will standeth in Self, so long it is not in the Purpose and Calling of God; it is not called, for it is gone forth from its original right Place; but when the Mind turneth itself back again into the Calling, viz. into Resignation, then the Will is in the Calling of God, that is, in the Place for and in which God created it, and then it hath Power to become the Child of God again; as it is written, He hath given us Power to become the Children of God.
18. The Power which he hath given us is his Purpose, for and in which he created Man in his Image. This God hath brought again into the human Nature, and hath given Power unto that Power to break the Head of Sin in the Flesh, namely, the Will and Desire of the Serpent; that is, the resigned Will in Christ treadeth upon the Head of the Desire of the sinful Will of the Serpent, and killeth again the Sins which were committed. This Power that is given becometh a Death to Death, and the Power of Life to Life.
19. Therefore no Man can make any Excuse, as if he could not will. Indeed, while he sticketh fast in himself, in his own Desire, and serveth only the Law of Sin in the Flesh, he cannot. For he is kept back, as being a Servant of Sin; but when he turneth the Centre of his Mind away, and directeth it into the Will and Obedience of God, then he can.
20. Now the Centre of the Mind is come out of Eternity, out of God's Omnipotence; it can bring itself into what it will, and whither it will. For that which is out of the Eternal, hath no Law. But the Will hath a Law to obey God, and is born out of the Mind, and must not rend itself away from that out of which God created it.
21. Now God created the Will of the Mind for and in Paradise, to be a Companion, with him in the Kingdom of Divine Joy. It ought not to have removed itself from thence; but since it hath removed itself from thence, God hath brought his Will again into the Flesh, and in his new-brought-in Will, hath given us Power to bring our Wills into it, and to kindle a new Light therein, and so to become his Children again.
22. God hardeneth no Man; but Man's own Will, which goeth on in the fleshly Life of Sin, hardeneth his own Heart. The Will of Self bringeth the Vanity of this World into the Mind, which is thereby shut up, and continueth so.
23. God, so far as he is called God, and is God, cannot will any Evil; for there is but one only Will in God, and that is Eternal Love, a Desire of that which is his Like, viz. Power, Beauty, and Virtue.
24. God desireth nothing but what is like his own Desire: his Desire receiveth nothing but what itself is.
25. God receiveth no Sinner into his Power and Virtue, unless the Sinner go forth from his Sins, and enter with the Desire into God. And then, he will not cast out those that so come unto him. He hath given to the Will an open Gate in Christ, saying, Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden with Sins, and I will refresh you; take my Yoke upon you, that is, the Cross of the Enmity in the Flesh. This was the Yoke of Christ, which he had to bear for the Sins of all Men. This Cross or Yoke the resigned Will must also take upon itself in the evil earthly sinful Flesh, and bear it after Christ in Patience and Hope of Deliverance. It must also continually break the Head of the Serpent, in and through Christ's Will and Spirit, and kill and destroy the earthly Will in God's Anger, not letting it rest on the soft Bed when Sin is committed, and thinking to repent one Time or other.
26. No, no, the earthly Will groweth strong, fat, and wanton upon this soft Bed, but as soon as the Light of God shineth in thee, and sheweth Sin to thee, the Will of thy Soul must sink itself down into the Passion and Death of Christ, and wrap itself up close therein. It must take the Passion of Christ into its Possession, and be a Lord over the Death of Sin by the Death of Christ, and kill and destroy it in the Death of Christ.
27. The Will of Sin must die, though it be never so unwilling. Be at Enmity therefore with the voluptuous earthly Flesh; give it not what it would have; let it fast and suffer Hunger till its tickling ceases. Account the Will of the Flesh thine Enemy, and do not do what the Desire in the Flesh willeth, and then thou shalt bring a Death upon the deathful Property in the Flesh.
28. Regard not any Scorn of the World, as considering that it doth but scorn thine Enemy, and that is become a Fool to it. Nay, do thou thyself account it thy Fool, which Adam caused thee to possess, and made to be thy false Heir. Cast out of the House the Son of the Bond-Woman, that strange Child which God did not give to be in the House of Life in Adam at the Beginning; for the Son of the Bond-Woman must not inherit with the Son of the Free-Woman.
29. The earthly Will is but the Son of the Bond-Woman. For the Four Elements should have been Man's Servants, but Adam hath brought them into the Sonship, or adopted them into himself. Therefore God said to Abraham, when he had opened the Covenant of the Promise in him, Cast out the Son of the Bond-Woman, for he shall not inherit with the Son of the Free. This Son of the Free is Christ, which God of his Grace hath brought again into the Flesh for us, namely, a new or renewed Mind, wherein the Will, viz. the Eternal Will of the Soul, may draw and drink the Water of Life, of which Christ speaketh, saying, Whosoever shall drink of this Water that I will give him, it shall spring up in him, and be a Fountain of eternal Life. This Fountain is the Renovation of the Mind or Will of the Soul.
30. Therefore I say that all Fictions and Devices to come to God by, let them have what Name soever they will, which Men contrive and invent for Ways to God, are but lost Labour and vain Endeavours, without a new Mind. There is no other Way to God, but a new Mind, which turneth from Wickedness, and entereth into Repentance for the Sins it hath committed. Which goeth forth from its Iniquity and willeth it no more; but wrappeth its Will up in the Death of Christ, and with all Earnestness dieth from the Sin of the Soul in the Death of Christ, so that it willeth Sin no more.
31. And though all the Devils should press hard upon it, and enter with their Desire into the fleshly Mind, yet the Will of the Soul must stand still and hide itself in the Death of Christ, willing and desiring nothing but the Mercy of God.
32. No hypocritical Flattery, or outward comforting ourselves availeth at all; as when Men will cover Sin and Iniquity in the Flesh with the Satisfaction of Christ, while they remain in Self still. Christ saith, Except ye turn and become as Children, ye shall not see the Kingdom of God. The Mind must become as wholly new, as in a Child that knoweth nothing of Sin. Christ saith also, Ye must be born anew, or else ye shall not see the Kingdom of God. There must arise a Will wholly new in the Death of Christ. It must be brought forth out of Christ's Incarnation or Entering into the Humanity, and rise in Christ's Resurrection.
33. Now before this can be done, the Will of the Soul must die in the Death of Christ; for in Adam it received the Son of the Bond-Woman, viz. Sin into it. This the Will must cast out, and the poor captive Soul must wrap itself up in the Death of Christ earnestly with all the Power it hath, so that the Son of the Bond-Woman, viz. the Sin that is in it may die in the Death of Christ.
34. In very deed Sin must die in the Will of the Soul, or else there can be no Vision of God. For the earthly Will, in Sin and the wrathful Nature, shall not see God. It is the regenerated Nature only that is capable of the Divine Vision or Enjoyment. The Soul must put on the Spirit and Flesh of Christ; it cannot inherit the Kingdom of God in this earthly Tabernacle. For the Kingdom of Sin hangeth to it outwardly, which must putrify in the Earth, and rise again in new Power.
35. Hypocrisy, Flattery, and verbal Forgiveness, avail nothing. We must be Children, not by outward Imputation, but by being born of God from within, in the new Man, which is resigned in and to God.
36. All such Flattery of ourselves by saying, Christ hath paid the Ransom, and made satisfaction for Sin, and that he died for our Sins, if we also do not die from Sin in him, and put on his Merit in new Obedience, and live therein, is a false and vain Comfort.
37. He that is a bitter Enemy and Hater of Sin, can and may comfort himself with the Sufferings of Christ. He that doth not willingly see, hear, or taste Sin, but is at Enmity with it, and would willingly always do that which is well and right, if he knew but what he ought to do; such a one hath indeed put on the Spirit and Will of Christ, and is his true Disciple.
38. But the outward Flattery of being accounted a Child of God by Imputation or external Application, is false and vain. The Work done in, or by, the outward Flesh only, doth not make the Child of God; but the working of Christ in the Spirit maketh, and indeed is, the Child of God. Which inward Working is so powerful that it shineth forth as a new Light in the outward Life; and proveth itself to be the Child of God by its external Conduct and Actions.
39. For if the Eye of the Soul be Light, then the whole Body is Light in all its Members. Now if any boast himself to be a Child of God, and yet suffereth the Body to burn in Sins, he is no true Child, nor capable of the Inheritance; but lieth bound by the Chains of the Devil in gross Darkness. And if he doth not find in himself an earnest and sincere Desire of Well-doing in Love, then his Pretence to the Childship is but an Invention of Reason proceeding from Self. He cannot see God, unless he be born a-new, and shew forth by his Power and Life, that he is his true Child. For there is no Fire but hath Light in it; and if the Divine Fire be in the Mind, it will shine forth, and the Mind will do that which God will have to be done.
40. But perhaps thou wilt say, I have a Will indeed to do so; I would willingly do it, but I am so hindered that I cannot.
41. Nay, thou vile Man, God draweth thee to be his Child, but thou wilt not; the soft Cushion in Evil is dearer to thee than to be so readily parted with. Thou preferrest the Joy of Wickedness to the Joy of God. Thou art wholly swallowed up in Self still, and livest according to the Law of Sin, and that hindereth thee. Thou art unwilling to die from the Pleasure of the Flesh, and therefore thou art not in the Filiation. God draweth thee to it, but thou thyself wilt not.
42. O how fine a Thing would Adam think it, if he might be taken into Heaven with this Will of the voluptuous Flesh about him, and have the Child of Wickedness, that is full of Deceit, set upon the Throne of God. Lucifer also would fain have had it so, but he was spewed out.
43. It is a troublesome Thing to mortify the evil Will; none are willing to do it. We would all gladly be the Children of God, if we might be so with this rough Garment of fallen Nature about us. But that cannot be. This World passeth away, and the outward Life must die; what Good can the Adoption in the mortal Body of Flesh and Blood only do me?
44. If we would inherit the Filiation, we must also put on the new Man which alone can inherit it, as being like the Deity. God will have no Sinners in Heaven, but only such as are born a-new and become Children, and to have put on Heaven.
45. Therefore it is not so easy a Matter to become a Child of God, as Men imagine. Indeed, it is not a troublesome Thing to him that hath put on the Filiation, whose Light shineth; for it is Joy to such a one. But to turn the Mind and destroy Self, there is a strong and continued Earnestness requisite, and such a stout and steady Purpose, that if the Body and Soul should part asunder by it, yet the Will would persevere constantly, and not enter again into Self.
46. A Man must wrestle till the dark Centre that is shut up tight, break open, and the Spark lying hid therein kindleth and from thence the noble Lily-Branch sprouteth, as from the divine Grain of Mustard-Seed as Christ saith. A Man must pray earnestly, with great Humility, and for a while become a Fool in his own Reason, and see himself void of Understanding therein, until Christ be formed in this new Incarnation.
47. And then when Christ is born, Herod is ready to kill the Child, which he seeketh to do outwardly by Persecutions, and inwardly by Temptations, to try whether this Lily-Branch will be strong enough to destroy the Kingdom of the Devil, which is manifested in the Flesh.
48. Then this Destroyer of the Serpent is brought into the Wilderness, after he is baptized with the Holy Spirit, and tempted and tried whether or not he will continue in Resignation to the Will of God. In which Temptation he must stand so fast, that if Need require, he would leave all earthly Things, and even the outward Life, to be a Child of God.
49. No temporal Honour must be preferred before Filiation. But he must with his Will leave and forsake it all, and not account it his own, but esteem himself as a Servant only in it, who is to obey his Master. He must leave all worldly Propriety. We do not mean that he may not have or possess any Thing; but his Heart must forsake it, and not bring his Will into it, nor count it his own. For if he setteth his Heart upon it, he hath no Power to serve them that stand in Need with it.
50. Self is but a Slave to its temporal Possessions, but Resignation ruleth over all that it hath. Self must do what the Devil will have it do in fleshly Voluptuousness and Pride of Life; but Resignation treadth it all under with the Feet of the Mind. Self despiseth that which is lowly and simple; but Resignation sitteth down with the lowly in the Dust. It saith, I will be simple in myself, and understand nothing, lest my Understanding should exalt itself and sin. I will lie down in the Courts of my God at his Feet, that I may serve my Lord in that which he commandeth me. I will know nothing of myself, that the Will and Power of my Lord may lead and guide me, and that I may only do what God doth through me, and will have done by me. I will sleep in myself until the Lord awaken me with his Spirit; and if he will not, then will I look up to him in Silence, and wait his Commands.
51. Beloved Brethren: Men at this Time boast much of Faith; but where is it to be found? The modern Faith is but the History. Where is that Child which believeth that Jesus is born? If that Child were in Being, and did believe that Jesus is born, it would also draw near to the sweet Child Jesus, and receive him and nurse him.
52. Alas! the Faith of this Day is but historical, a mere Assent to the matter of Fact that Jesus Christ lived and died; that the Jews killed him; that he left this World, and is not King on Earth in the outward Man; but that Men may do what they list, and need not die from Sin, and their evil Lusts. All this the wicked Child Self rejoiceth in, that it may fatten the Devil by living deliciously.
53. This sheweth plainly that true Faith was never weaker since Christ's Time, than it is now. When nevertheless the World cryeth aloud, and saith, We have got the true Faith; and contend about a Child, with a Contention, than which there was never worse, since Men were on Earth.
54. If thou art truly Zion, and hast that new born Child which was lost and is found again, then let it be seen in Power and Virtue. Let us all openly see the sweet Child Jesus brought forth by thee, and that thou art his Nurse. If not, then the Children in Christ will say, thou hast found nothing but the Cradle of the Child, that is, the History.
55. Where hast thou the sweet Child Jesus, thou that art so exalted with the History, and with thy false and seeming Faith? O how will the Child Jesus visit thee one Day in the Father's Property, the Property of Anger, in thy own Turba which thou hast fatted! It calleth thee now in Love, but thou wilt not hear, for thine Ears are stopped with Covetousness and Voluptuousness. Therefore the Sound of the Trumpet shall one Day alarm thee with the hard Thunder-clap of thy Turba, and rouse thee up, if haply thou wilt then seek and find the sweet Child Jesus.
56. Beloved Brethren, this is a Time of seeking, of seeking and finding. It is a Time of Earnestness; whom it toucheth, it toucheth home. He that watcheth shall hear and see it; but he that sleepeth in Sin, and saith in the fat Days of his Belly, All is peace and quiet; we hear no Sound from the Lord, shall be blind. But the Voice of the Lord hath sounded in all the Ends of the Earth, and a Smoke riseth, and in the Midst of the Smoke there is a great Brightness and Splendor. Hallelujah. Amen.
Shout unto the Lord in Zion, for all Mountains and Hills are full of his Glory. He flourisheth like a green Branch, and who shall hinder it. Hallelujah.
End of: Jacob Boehme's "Of True Resignation, or Dying to Self "
Transcription from: " The Works of Jacob Behmen, The Teutonic
Reverend William Law's Edition in English: Volume Four; London, 1764,
Printed for M. Richardson, in Pater-noster Row.
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