The Life Of Jacob Boehme

" The f ltnrss of timr -> taken place, av! he singdon >f God has arrived. Repent and believe in the gospel of truth."- I. B.

Jacob Boehme was born in the year 157s, at Alt Seidenburg, a place about two miles distant from Goerlitz in Germany. He was the son of poor country people, and in hib youth he herded the cattle of his parents. He was then sent to school, where he learned to read and to write, and afterwards he entered as an apprentic a shoemaker's shop.

It seems that even in early youth he was able to enter into an abnormal state ot consciousness, and to aehold images in the astral light ; for once, while herding the cattle and standing on the top of a hill, he suddenly saw an arched opening of a vault, bui't >f large red stones, and surrounded by bushes. He went through that opening into the vault, and in its depths he beheld a vessel tilled with money.

He. however, experienced no desire to possess himself of that treasure ; but supposing that it was a product of the spirits of darkness mad.: to lead him into temptation, he fled.

On a later occasion, while left alone in the shoemaker's shop, an unknown stranger entered, asking to buy a pair of shoes. Boehme, supposing himself not entitled to make such a bargain in the absence of his master, asked an extraordinary high price, hoping thus to get rid of the person who desired to purchase. ever-theless, the stranger bought the shoes and left the shop. After leaving, he stopped in front of the shop, and.

with a loud and solemn voice, called to Boehme : " "acob, come outside."

Boehme was very much astonished to see that the stranger knew his name. He went out in the street to meet irn, and there the stranger, grasping him by the hand, and, with deeply penetrating eyes looking into his eyes, spoke the following words : '' Jacob, you are now little ; but you will become a great man, and the world will wonder about you. Be pious, live in the fear of God, ano honor His word. Especially do I admonish you to read the Bible; herein you will find comfort and consolation ; for you will have to suffer a great deal of trouble, poverty, and persecution. Nevertheless, do not fear, but remain firm; tor God loves you, and is gracious to vou." He then again pressed Boehme s hand, gave him another kind look, and went away

This remarkable event made a great impression on the mind of Jacob Boehme. He earnestly went through the exercises necessary in the study of practical occu t ism : that is to say, he practiced patience, piety, simplicity of thought and purpose, modesty, resignation ot' his self-will to divine law, and he kept in nr'tid the promise given in the Bible, that those who earnestly ask the Father in heaven for the communication of His Holy (ihost will have the spirit of sanctity awakened within themselves, and be illuminated with His wisdom.

Such an illumination, indeed, took place within his mind, and for seven daj-s in succession Jacob Boehme was in an ecstatic state, during which he was surrounded by the light of the Spirit, and his consciousncss immersed in contemplation and happiness. It is not stated what he saw during those visions, nor would such a statement have the result of gratifying the curiosity of the reader; for the things of the Spirit are inconceivable to the external mind, and can only be realised by those who, rising above the realm of the senses and entering a state of superior consciousness, can perceive them. Such a state does not necessarily exclude the exercise of the external faculties ; for while Plato says, about Socrates, that he once stood immovable for a day and a half upon one spot in a state of such ecstasy, in the case of Jacob Boehme we find that during a similar condition he continued the external occupations of his profession.

Afterwards, in the year 1594, he became master-shoemaker, and married a woman, with whom he lived for thirty years, and there were four sons born to him, who followed a profession like himself.

In the year i6co, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, another divine illumination took place in his mir.d, and this time he learned to know the innermost foundation of nature, and acquired the capacity to see hencefonh with the eyes of the soul into the heart of all things, a faculty which remained with him even in his normal condition.

Ten years afterward, anno 1610, his third illumination took place, and that which in former visions had appeared to him chaotic and multifarious was now recognized by him as aunity, like a harp of many strings, of wl :ch each string is a separate instrument, while t 3 whole is only one harp. He now recognized the divine order of nature, and how from the trunk of the tree of life spring different branches, bearing manifold leaves and flowers and fruits, and he became impressed with the necessity of writing down what he saw and preserving the record

Thus, beginning with the year 1612, and up to his end in the year r 14. he wrote many books about the things which he saw in the light of his own divine spirit, comprising thirty books full of the deepest mysteries regarding God and the angels, Christ and ms.n, heaven and hell and nature, and Ifce secret things of the world, such as before him no man is known to have communicated to this sinful world ; and all this he did, not for the purpose of earthly gain, but for the glorification of God and for the redemption of mankind from ignorance regarding the things of the Spirit.

He taught a conception of God which was far too grand to . e grasped by the narrow-minded clergy, who saw their au ority weakened by a poor shoemaker, and who therefore became his unrelenting enemies ; for the God of whom they conceived was a limited Being a Person who at the time of His death had given His divine powers into the hands of the clergy, while the i

God of Jacob Boenme was still living and filling the universe with His glory. He says :—

" I acknowledge a universal God, being a Unity, and the primordial power of Good in the universe ; self existent, independent of forms, needing no locality for its existence, unmeasurable and not subject to the intellectual comprehension of any being. I acknowledge this power to be a Trinity in One, each of the Three being of equal power, being called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I acknowledge that this triune principle fills at one and the same time all things: that it has been, and still continues to be, the cause, foundation, and beginning of all things. I believe and acknowledge that the eternal power of this principle caused the existence of the universe ; that its power, in a manner comparable to a breath or speech (the Word, the Son or Christ), radiated from its center, and produced the germs out of which grow visible forms, and that in this exhaled Breath or Word (the Logos) is contained the inner heaven and the visible world with all things existing within them." *

Moreover, he taught that to be a true Christian it was not sufficient to subscribe to a certain set of beliefs ; but that only he in whom the Christ is living is a true follower of Christ in spirit and in truth.

" He alone is a true Christiai whose soul and mind has entered again into the original matrix, out of w hich the life of man has taken its origin; that is to say, the eternal Word (^otus). This Word has been revealed in our human nature, which is blind to the presence of God, and he who absorbs this Word with his hungry soul, and thereby returns to the original spiritual state

*This conception or the Holy Trinity is very difteren' frora ¿hat -i the orthodox reed, which rjakes of he Father, .. e Son, anu tile Holy Ghost three separated beings, or an ui intelligible and uni.atura monstrosity According to Boehme, the Fat&e" Is tL e manifested primordial 1'owei the Son is the eternal Word! the Holy Ghost is ip power issuing from the Father through His odtspo-en Word. Thu« a man ana nis c apacity to "peak ap-1 tw o different beings, and the language «hich God ak° through III« Wordi* not a i i >rp' ireai and separate being, b't His wn Spi J his Spirit, manifested in forms, is the origin and foundation if all the world of corporeal appearances, whi'-h constitute visible nature It is . ; Power i-r.J the Ligi.; of the Logos, while the Legos itself is the Will of the Father, manifesting Lself as dh me and universal Love.

life of jacob boeisme.

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