The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 1

De Mysterio Magno
OF THE GRAND MYSTERY

THAT IS

Of the Manifestation of the Divine Word through the Three Principles of the Divine Essence

The First Chapter

What the Manifested God is: and of the Trinity

1. IF we would understand what the new birth is, and how it is brought [1] to pass, then we must first know what man is, and how he is the image of God; and what the divine indwelling [2] is; also what the revealed God is; of whom man is an image.

[1. Wrought, or effected.]

[2. Or how God dwells in man, and fills all things with his presence.]

2. When I consider what God is, then I say, He is the One; in reference to the creature, as an eternal Nothing; he has neither foundation, beginning, nor abode; he possesses nothing, save only himself; he is the will of the abyss; he is in himself only one; he needs neither space, nor place; he begets himself in himself; from eternity to eternity; he is neither like nor resembles any thing; and has no peculiar place where he dwells; [3] the eternal wisdom or understanding is his dwelling; he is the will of the wisdom; the wisdom is his manifestation.

[3. Or no sundry habitation above the stars in an empyrean heaven, as reason fancies.]

3. In this eternal generation we are to understand three things, viz. 1. An eternal will. 2. An eternal mind of the will. 3. The egress [4] from the will and mind, which is a spirit of the will and mind.

4. The will is father; the mind is the conceived [5] of the will, viz. the seat or habitation of the will, or the centre to something; and it is the will's heart; and the egress of the will and mind is the power and spirit.

[4. Efflux, effluence, the proceeding-forth.]

[5. Comprehension or receptacle.]

5. This threefold [6] spirit is one only essence, and yet it is no essence, but the eternal understanding, an original of the something: and yet it is the eternal hiddenness [7] (just as the understanding of man is not confined in time and place, but is its own comprehension and seat), and the egress of the spirit is the eternal original contemplation, viz. a lubet [imagination, desire, or magia] of the spirit.

[6. Or Tri-Une.]

[7. Or mystical Mystery.]

6. The egressed [8] is called the lubet of the Deity, or the eternal wisdom, which is the eternal original of all powers, colours and virtues; by which the threefold spirit comes, in this lubet, to a desiring, namely, of the powers, colours, and virtues; and its desiring is an impressing, a conceiving itself: The will conceives the wisdom in the mind, and the conceived in the understanding is the eternal word of all colours, powers, and virtues; which the eternal will expresses [9] by the spirit from the understanding of the mind.

[8. That which is flown forth from the one eternal will.]

[9. Or speaks forth.]

7. And this speaking is the motion or life of the Deity, an eye of the eternal seeing, where one power, colour and virtue does know each of the others, and does distinguish each from the other; and yet they all stand in equal proportion [10] or analogy, devoid of weight, limit or measure, also undivided one from another. All the powers, colours and virtues lie in one; and it is a distinct, mutual, well-tuned, pregnant harmony; or, as I might say, a speaking word, in which word or speaking all speeches, powers, colours and virtues are contained, and with the pronouncing or speaking they unfold themselves, and bring themselves into sight and ken.

[10. Text, property.]

8. This is now the eye of the abyss, the eternal chaos, wherein all (whatsoever eternity and time has) is contained; and it is called Counsel, Power, Wonder and Virtue. Its peculiar and proper name is called GOD, or JEOVA, or JEHOVAH, who is outside of all nature, without all beginnings of any essence, a working in himself; generating, finding, or perceiving himself; without any kind of source from any thing, or by any thing: He has neither beginning nor end, he is immeasurable, no number can express his largeness, and greatness, he is deeper than any thought can reach; he is nowhere far from any thing, or nigh unto any thing; he is through all, and in all: his birth is everywhere, and without and besides him there is nothing else: he is time and eternity, byss [ground or foundation] and abyss, and yet nothing comprehends him save the true understanding, which is God himself.

top of page