The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 8

The Eighth Chapter

Of the Creation of Angels, and their Dominion

1. The Creation of Angels had a Beginning, but the Powers out of which they are created never had any Beginning, but were concomitant in the Birth of the Eternal Beginning; not that they [the Powers] are the holy Trinity, or in the same, but they were conceived of the Desire of divine manifestation out of the eternal, dark, fiery and light Nature; out of the manifested Word, and introduced into creaturely Forms and Shapes.

2. 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; they are God's Instrument, in which the Spirit of God melodizes in his Kingdom of Joy; they are the Flames of Fire and Light, but in a living, understanding Dominion.

3. For the Powers of the Deity are in them, in like manner as they are in Men, as St. John says [Ch. 1.], The Life of Men was in the Word; so also the Life of the Angels was in the Word from Eternity : for it is written [Matth. 22.30], In the Resurrection they (Men) are as the Angels of God in Heaven.

4. And as we understand principal forms in the divine Manifestation through the Eternal Nature, so likewise we are to understand Archangels, or Angelical Principalities, with many Legions; but especially in three Hierarchies, according to the Property of the holy Trinity, and also the three Principles, as cannot be denied.

5. As One Hierarchy is to be understood according to the dark World with the Kingdom of Lucifer, who has plunged himself thereinto; and the other is understood with the light, fiery, and dark World; and the third is understood with the Mystery of the outward World, wherewith the internal has made itself manifest.

6. Each Hierarchy has its princely Dominion and Order, viz. they in the dark World, in God's Wrath; and those in the holy World in God's Love; and they which are in the outward World, in God's great Wonders, both according to Love and Anger.

7. They which are in the dark World bear the Name (or the Names) of the great Anger of God, according to the Properties of the Eternal Nature in the Wrath; and they which are in the Light bear the Names of the holy God, viz. of the divine Powers; and they which are in the Creation of the Wonders of the outward World, bear the Names of the manifested Powers of the outward World, viz. of the Planets, Stars, and four Elements.

8. They which are in the dark World, domineer in the Nature of the manifested Wrath, viz. in the Properties of God's Anger, and have their princely Dominions therein; and they which are in the holy World rule in the Powers of the triumphant World, viz. in the great holy Kingdom of Joy, in the Wonders of the holy Wisdom; and they which are in the outward World reign over the Powers of the Stars, and four Elements, and have also their princely Dominion over the World, and their Kingdoms and Principalities, for Defence against the Destroyer in the Wrath.

9. Each Country has its princely Angel-Protector, with its Legions; also there are Angels over the four Elements, over the Fire, and over the Air, over the Water, and over the Earth; and they are altogether only ministering Spirits of the Great God, sent forth for the Service of those which shall obtain Salvation; as it is written, The Angel of the Lord encamps about them that fear him. [Psalm 34:7] They are the Officers and Servants of God in his Dominion, who are active and full of Motion.

10. For God never moves himself but only in himself. But seeing his Manifestation of the eternal and external Nature is in Combat; thereupon the Spirits of the dark World are against the Spirits of the holy World, but especially against Man, who is manifest both in Good and Evil. God has set the one against the other, that his Glory might be manifest both in his Love and in his Anger.

11. For as we Men have Dominions upon the Earth; so likewise the superior Hosts under the Astrum [starry Sky] have their Dominions; so also the oily Spirits in the Element Air; the whole Deep between the Stars and the Earth is inhabited, and not void and empty. Each Dominion has its own Principle: Which seems somewhat ridiculous to us Men, because we see them not with our Eyes; not considering that our Eyes are not of their Essence and Property, so that we are neither able to see nor perceive them; for we live not in their Principle, therefore we cannot see them.

12. As in the Divine Manifestation of the Divine Powers one Degree proceeds in order forth from another, even to the most external Manifestation, the like also is to be understood of the Angels or Spirits: They are not all holy which dwell in the Elements; for as the Wrath of the Eternal Nature is manifest in the dark World, so likewise in the outward World, in its Property.

13. Also the Spirits of the external World are not all eternal, but some are only inchoative [having a beginning and an end, temporal], which take their Original naturally in the Spirit of the external World, and pass away through Nature, and only their Shadow remains, as of all other Beasts upon the Earth.

14. Whatsoever reaches not the holy Element and the eternal Fire-world, that is void of an eternal Life; for it arises out of Time : And that which proceeds out of Time, is consumed and eaten up of Time; except it has an Eternal [Being, Essence, Property, Life and Principle] in its Temporal; that the Eternal upholds the Temporal.

15. For the Eternal dwells not in Time; and although it be cloathed with the Essence of Time, yet the Eternal dwells in the Eternal in itself, and the Temporal in the Temporal as it is to be understood with the Soul and Body of Man; where the Soul is from the Eternal, and the external Body from Time; and yet there is an Eternal in the Temporal Body, which verily disappeared in Adam as to the Eternal Light, which must be born again through Christ.

16. And we are not to understand, that the holy Angels dwell only above the Stars without the Place of this World, as Reason, which understands nothing of God, fancies; indeed they dwell without the Dominion and Source of this World, but in the Place of this World, although there is no Place in the Eternity; the Place of this World, and also the Place without this World, is all one to them.

17. For the Beginning of the Source, viz. of the four Elements, together with the Astrum [or Planetary Orb], make only one Place; there is no Place in the Internal, but All wholly entire; whatsoever is above the Stars without this World, that is likewise internally without the four Elements in the Place of this World; else God were divided.

18. The Angelical World is in the Place of this World internally; and this same World's Abyss is the great Darkness, where the Devils have their Dominion; which also is not confined or shut up in any Place; for the Eternity is also their Place, where there is no Byss; only the Essence and Property of their World is the Byss of their Habitation; as the four Elements are the Habitation of our external Humanity. They have also in the Darkness an Element, according to the dark World's Property, else God were divided in his Wrath; for wherever I can say, here is God in his Love, even there I can also say, that God is in his Anger, only a Principle severs it.

19. Like as we Men see not the Angels and Devils with our Eyes; and yet they are about us, and among us. The Reason is, because they dwell not in the Source and Dominion of our World; neither have they the Property of the external World on them; but each Spirit is cloathed with his own World's Property wherein it dwells.

20. The Beginning of each World's Source is that Limit which divides one World from the View and Observation of the other; for the Devils are a Nothing in the heavenly Source, for they have not its Source in them; and although they have it, yet it is to them as if it were shut up in Death; like as an Iron that is red hot; so long as the Fire pierces it, it is Fire; and when the Fire goes out, it is a dark Iron : The like is to be understood concerning the Spirits.

21. So likewise the Angels are a Nothing in the Darkness; they are verily in it, but they neither see nor feel it; that which is a Pain to the Devils, that same is a Joy to the Angels in their Source; and so, what is pleasing and delightful to the Devils, that the Angels cannot endure; there is a great Gulf between them, that is, a whole Birth.

22. For what else is able to sever the Light from the Darkness, but only a Birth of Sight, or Light: [ John 1.] The Light dwells in the Darkness, and the Darkness comprehends it not. As the external Sunshine dwells and shines in the Darkness of this World, and the Darkness comprehends it not; but when the Light of the Sun withdraws, then the Darkness is manifest : Here is no other Gulf between them, but only a Birth.

23. Thus we are likewise to conceive of the Eternal Light of God, and the Eternal Darkness of God's Anger. There is but one only Ground of All; and that is the manifested God: But it is severed into divers Principles and Properties; for the Scripture says, that the Holy is unto God a good Savour to Life; understand to the holy divine Life, viz. in the Power of the Light; and the Wicked is unto God a good Savour to Death, that is, in his Wrath, viz. in the Essence, Source, and Dominion of the dark World.

24. For the God of the holy World, and the God of the dark World, are not two Gods; there is but one only God. He himself is the whole Being; he is Evil [In his Wrath Plagues, and Hell-Torment] and Good; Heaven and Hell; Light and Darkness; Eternity and Time; Beginning and End: Where his Love is hid in any Thing [Being, Essence or Substance], there his Anger is manifest. In many a Thing Love and Anger are in equal Measure and Weight; as is to be understood in this outward World's Essence.

25. But now he is only called a God, according to his Light in his Love, and not according to the Darkness, also not according to this outward World : Although he himself be ALL, yet we must consider the Degrees, how one Thing mutually proceeds from another: For I can neither say of Heaven, nor of Darkness, or of this outward World, that they are God; none of them are God; but the expressed and formed Word of God; a Mirror of the Spirit which is called God; wherewith the Spirit manifests itself, and plays in its Lubet to itself with this Manifestation as with its own Essence, which it has made; and yet the Essence is not set asunder from the Spirit of God; and yet also the Essence comprehends not the Deity.

26. As Body and Soul are one, and yet the one is not the other; or as the Fire and the Water, or the Air and the Earth, are from one Original, and yet they are particularly distinct, but yet they are mutually bound to each other; and the one were a Nothing without the other; thus we are to conceive and consider likewise of the Divine Essence, and also of the Divine Power.

27. The Power in the Light is God's Love-fire, and the Power in the Darkness is the Fire of God's Anger, and yet it is but one only Fire, but divided into two Principles, that the one might be manifest in the other; for the Flame of Anger is the Manifestation of the great Love, and in the Darkness the Light is made known, else it were not manifest to itself.

28. Thus we are to understand that the Evil and Good Angels dwell near one another, and yet there is the greatest immense Distance [between them] : for the Heaven is in Hell, and the Hell is in Heaven, and yet the one is not manifest to the other; and although the Devil should go many Millions of Miles, desiring to enter into Heaven, and to see it, yet he would be still in Hell, and not see it; also the Angels see not the Darkness, for their Sight is mere Light of divine Power; and the Devil's Sight is mere Darkness of God's Anger. The like is also to be understood of the Saints, and again of the Wicked : Therefore in that we in Adam have lost the Divine Sight, in which Adam saw by the Divine Power, Christ says, You must be born again, else you cannot see the Kingdom of God.

29. In the Fire-spirit we are to understand the angelical Creation; where the Will of the Abyss introduces itself into Byss, and manifests the Eternal Speaking Word or Life with the fiery Birth, viz. with the first Principle, where the spiritual Dominion is manifest by the Fire-birth. In this spiritual Fire, all Angels take their Original, viz. out of the Forms to the Fire-source; for no Creature can be created out of the Fire, for it is no Essence: But out of the Properties to the Fire a Creature may be apprehended in the Desire, viz. in the Verbum Fiat, and introduced into a creaturely form and Property.

30. And therefore there are many, and divers sorts of Angels; also in many distinct Offices: And as there are three forms to the Fire-source, so there are also three Hierarchies, and therein their Princely Dominions; and likewise three Worlds in one another as one, which make three Principles or Beginnings. for each Property of the Eternal Nature has its Degrees; for they explicate and mutually unfold themselves in the Fire-blaze, and out of those Degrees the different Distinction of Spirits is created.

31. And we are to understand nothing else by the Creation of the Angels, and of all other Spirits, but that the Abyssal God has introduced himself into his manifested Properties, and out of these Properties into living Creatures; by which he possesses the Degrees, and therewith plays in the Properties. They are his Strings in the All-Essential Speaking, and are all of them tuned for the great Harmony of his Eternal Speaking Word; so that in all Degrees and Properties the Voice of the unsearchable God is manifest and made known; they are all created for the praise of God.

32. For all whatsoever has Life, lives in the Speaking Word; the Angels in the Eternal Speaking and the Temporal Spirits in the Re-expression or Echoing forth of the Formings of Time, out of the Sound, or Breath of Time, and the Angels out of the Sound of Eternity, viz. out of the Voice of the manifested Word of God.

33. And therefore they bear the Names of the several Degrees in the manifested Voice of God; and one Degree is more holy in the Power than another. Therefore the Angels also in their Choirs are differenced in the Power of the Divine Might; and one has a more holy Function to discharge than another; an Example whereof we have by the Priests in the Old Testament in their Ordinances, which were instituted after an angelical Manner.

34. Although it was earthly, yet there was even such an angelical Understanding and Meaning couched therein; which God did represent upon Jesus which was to come into the humane Property, and so alluded with Israel in the Type at the Eternal which was to come, which Jesus out of Jehova Restored, and introduced into the humane Property; which the earthly Reason has neither apprehended, or understood. But seeing the Time is born [or manifest], and the Beginning has again found the End, it shall be manifest, for a Witness unto all Nations, to show the Spirit of Wonders.

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