The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 21

The Twenty-First Chapter

Of the Impression and Original of the Bestial Man; and of the Beginning and Ground of his Sickness and Mortality

1. WHEN Adam and Eve were become monstrous, the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the part of the heavenly limbus, departed; for the part of the heavenly property disappeared in the soul, in which [part] the divine light shone, and in which the divine power of the holy tincture dwelt.

2. Understand, the power of the light departed from him into the centre, in manner as a shining light which flames forth from a candle, extinguisheth, and only the fire-source of the light remains; even so likewise only the magical fire-source of the soul's property remained, viz. the centre of the eternal nature, viz. the fire-world, and darkness.

3. And on the outward part of the soul the air-spirit, with its astrum, remained, wherein the light of the outward nature shone, which now the fire-soul must make use of; for the Fiat was enraged in the wrath of God, viz. in the fiery property of the soul, and also of the body; and in a fiery hunger, in the awakened flagrat of God's anger, had entered into and taken possession of the essence in soul and body, and with hard attraction did impress itself in the essence of the substance, in the limbus [limus] of the body; whereupon the flesh became gross, hard, thick and corruptible.

4. For in the flagrat of the wrath all the properties of each astrum, according to the property of all the creatures, did awake in the essence, whence the enmity, antipathy and contrariety did arise in the essence of the body and soul, so that one property is against another, one taste against another's, for all departed out of the temperament; thence arose in them pain, tormenting malady, and sickness.

5. For if an opposite essence enters into another, it makes an enmity, and a hateful overmastering and destroying, each the other. One property annoys, weakens and destroys another, whence the death and dissolution of the body is arisen.

6. For whatsoever stands not in the temperature cannot subsist eternally; but whatsoever stands in the temperature, that has no destroyer; for all properties do [there] mutually love one another: and in the love is the growth and preservation of the life.

7. And we are here fundamentally to understand how the gross properties in the wrath of the Fiat in the essence of the body have obscured and wholly shut up the heavenly essentiality in the Sulphur, so that the heavenly man was no longer known; as lead does hold the gold's-spirit avalled in itself; that it is not known [or discerned].

8. For the desire, viz. the first form of nature, which is the Fiat, has swallowed, in the grossness, the heavenly part both in man and metals, as also in all herbs, and all other fruits. All the sovereign power of [or from] the holy world's essence lies shut up in the wrath and curse of God, in the dark world's property in the earth; and springs forth by the strength of the sun, and the light of the outward nature, in the essence, through the curse and wrath; which budding or pullulation gives a sovereign power and healing virtue for the malignant essence in the living bodies, whence the physician is arisen, who seeks and learns to know the virtue [and temperature thereof], that he may resist and remedy the opposite essence in the body; which, notwithstanding, is only a lukewarm and faint sparkle thereof; if he be not able and skilful first to separate the gross raw wildness (which is from the dark world's property) from his cure.

9. For if the captivated essence of the heavenly world's property may be redeemed from the curse and wrath of nature, then it stands in the temperature; and if it then so comes into a living body it does awaken also the shut-up [or imprisoned] life of the heavenly world's ens [Essence or substance], if that likewise be in the body; and expels the wrath, whereby the sickness is destroyed, and the essence enters into the temperature.

10. That this is certainly thus, we may see by Adam and Eve, when the wrath did awaken in their essence, and the Fiat did impress the bestial properties, and formed (them) in the essence, that when the soul, viz. the image of God, did experimentally know this, it was ashamed of the bestial deformity, and of its being in a bestial vessel, viz. in another Principle.

11. For the outward part of the soul, viz. the air with its astrum, did arise and obtain the upperhand; as we may plainly see that amongst the greatest part of men the outward part of the soul bears the sway and domination over the whole body, in that the bestial man does seek and labour only after the pleasure of this world, viz. after external honours, authority and beauty, and also how to pamper, fill and gluttonise the beast; and so to vapour and proudly prank with the beast, as with a god, and yet it is only a corruptible, evil beast, in which the real true man lies shut up, without life.

12. Also this gross beast shall not possess the kingdom of God; and also it profits not at all (John vi. 63). But [the kingdom of God profits] the hidden man [alone], which lies shut up in this beast, as the gold in the gross ore. Which [hidden inward] man the gross beast scarce regards or gives any respect unto, save only that it does sometimes a little play the hypocrite with it, and comforts it with devout words, but exalts itself in its place, as a proud peacock; and bravely trims, adorns and fattens his beast, that the devil may have a horse to ride upon, and thereby mock God: and he rides thereupon in the vanity [of this world], in the kingdom of God's anger, as upon a false whore which desires to live in its own self-full might and wit.

13. For such a [beast] the Serpent's craft did awaken and stir up in Eve, in her awakened bestial, monstrous property; that now almost every man carries a beast in the body, which does plague, molest and burden the poor captive soul, whereby it does make itself also monstrous, and amuse itself on the beast, and brings itself into a bestial figure; which, so long as it has this image and figure in it, cannot see or feel the kingdom of God. It must be again transmuted into an angel's form, or else there is no remedy for it; therefore says Christ, Unless you be born anew, you shall not see the kingdom of God.

14. The enclosed body of the heavenly part must be again born anew in the water of the heaven, viz. in the pure element's water, in the matrix of the water, and in the spirit of Christ out of the heavenly essence; that the soul's holy part of the angelical world may be revived and quickened, and live and work in its disappeared, and again new-born, body in the divine heavenly essence; and therein receive its food from the divine power of the second Principle. Otherwise the heavenly image, which God created in Adam, is not capable of the kingdom of God; and without the same also it cannot possess it. No glistering shows of devout hypocrisy, flattery [seeming holiness, or soothing the mind with an outward application of Christ's merits] or tickling consolations, do avail anything; it must be born [anew] or [be] quite forlorn; for the pearl-tree is withered in Adam and Eve, it must re-obtain divine essence, and die to the beast; or else it cannot spring forth and bear fruit for the soul to eat.

15. Now when Adam and Eve were awakened in the bestial property the beast stood then naked and bare; for before, the heaven's image did wholly penetrate the outward man, and clothed it with divine power; for the beast was not afore manifest. This property lay hidden in the temperature, as likewise it is so, outside the creature; but now, when the image of the heavenly essence did disappear, then the beast, viz. the bestial property, was manifest; so that now the poor soul, which was from the first Principle, stood forth encompassed with this beast, wholly naked and bare.

16. But if the beast had been manifest in the beginning of man, then it had also brought its clothing along with it from its essence, as other beasts did. But the man was not created unto the bestial life; and though God knew that it would so come to pass (for which end he created so many kinds and sorts of beasts for his food and raiment), yet he created man in and unto the true image of God out of the heavenly essence; so that if this image fell he might again bring it, through a new motion and regeneration, into its first state, as it is brought to pass in Christ.

17. The scope and eye-mark of our writing is, to search out the image of God; how it was created, and how it is corrupted, and how it shall come again into its first estate: thereby to understand aright the new birth out of Christ, and to know the inward and outward man, even what the mortal and immortal [man] is, and how he is become mortal; and what he is to do that he may come again into his first estate.

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