The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 23

The Twenty-Third Chapter

How God re-called Adam and his Eve when they were entered into Sin and Vanity, and awakened in the Serpent's Ens; and laid upon them the Order of this toilsome laborious world, and ordained the Serpent-Bruiser for a Help (or Saviour) to them

1. Now when Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and were become monstrous by the Serpent, Moses writes of it thus: Their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Gen. iii. 7). Here the soul did even now know the monstrous image, and was ashamed of it; that such a gross beast, with gross flesh and hard bones, should awaken [or show itself] with a bestial worm's carcass of vanity in their tender delicate body; and they would have covered the same from the eyes of God, and for shame crept behind the trees. So very ashamed were they of the soul-deformity of the beast; for the bestial ens had swallowed up the heavenly, and got the upper hand, which before they had not known; now they could not tell for shame what they should do.

2. The Serpent's craft would not here cover the shame, but did lay it only more open, and accused them, as revolting, faithless rebels; for God's anger did awake in them, and arraigned them now before the severe judgement, to devour them into itself; as into the dark world, as happened to Lucifer.

3. And this is the place [state, condition] whereby the earth trembled in the death of Christ, and the rocks clove in sunder: Here God's anger shut up in death the holy ens of the heavenly humanity; which Christ, when he destroyed death on the Cross, did again open; at which the wrath, in the curse of the earth and rocks, shook and trembled.

4. And here was the sore combat before God's anger, in which combat Christ, in the Garden (when he prayed, and was to overcome this anger), did sweat drops of blood, when he said, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; but if it be not possible, but that I must drink it, your will be done.

5. Christ, on the Cross, must drink down this wrathful anger, which was awakened in Adam's essence, into his holy heavenly ens, and change it with great love into divine joy; of which the drink of gall and vinegar, being a mixed draught which the Jews gave him, was a type, signifying what was done inwardly in the humanity of Christ.

6. For the outward image of man should also be redeemed from the anger and death, and again arise out of the earth. Therefore Christ's outward humanity from the kingdom of this world must also drink of this cup, which God the Father had filled to Adam in his anger. The same, Christ must drink of; and change the anger into love. Therefore said Christ, Is is possible, then let it pass from me: but it was not possible to overcome the anger, unless the sweet name Jesus drink it into itself; and change it into joy: Then said Christ, Father! your will be done, and not the will of my humanity.

7. God's will should also have been fulfilled in Adam; but he exalted his own will by the Serpent's craft: now the humanity of Christ upon the Cross must give this own self-will unto the anger for to devour it. But the holy name Jesus brought it into the death of selfhood, that it must die in the wrathful death, and enter again through death in his resurrection into the true resignation, viz. into the divine harmony.

8. Adam, when he had awakened the anger in him, stood in Paradise in great shame and scorn before God and all holy angels; and the devil did mock and deride him, that this image of God, which should possess his royal throne, was become a monstrous beast. And into this scorn Christ must enter, and suffer himself to be reviled, mocked, spit upon, whipped, crowned with thorns, as a false king; for Adam was a king and hierarch, but become false and rebellious.

9. Here Christ stood in his stead, and was condemned to death; for Adam also should have been judged by God's anger. Here Adam, that is, Christ in Adam's humanity, stood in his stead. Adam should have been rejected as a curse, even as a scorn before heaven and earth. And in sum, the whole process of Christ, from his Incarnation unto his Ascension, and sending of the Holy Ghost, is Adam's estate. What Adam had merited as a malefactor, Christ himself must take upon him in Adam's person, and bring again the life out of death.

10. Adam was made by the word of God, but he fell from God's love-word into his anger-word. Thus God, out of mere grace, did again awaken in Adam's wrathful image his love-word, in the deepest humility, love and mercy, and introduced the great love ens into the ens of the awakened anger, and in Christ changed the angry Adam into a holy one.

11. Moses describes it very clearly, but the veil lies before the bestial man, that he does not know him, for he says, And they heard the voice of the Lord God, which walked in the Garden when the day grew cool, and Adam and his wife hid themselves amongst the trees from the presence of the Lord God (Gen. iii. 8).

12. Moses says, they heard the voice of the Lord God, which walked in the Garden. What is now this voice which was [or stirred] in the Garden? for Adam's ears were dead to the divine hearing, and were awakened in the wrath; he could not in his own might hear any more God's holy voice, for he was dead as to the kingdom of heaven, as to the divine holiness; as God told him: in that day that you eat of this Tree, you shall die.

13. The voice was God's anger, which forced in to Adam's essence, when the day became cool; understand, the eternal day in Adam's essence was awakened in cold and heat; therefore now they heard the voice of God, the Lord, in his anger in their essence; for the turba was awakened: the tone or hearing of the dark world did sound [or ring its sad knell].

14. But that which walked in the Garden, and re-called Adam, was another voice, which brake forth out of the anger, and walked [or moved] in the Garden, for the word der im Garten ging [walking in the garden] is the difference, or note of distinction, and signifies the voice JESUS, proceeding from JEHOVAH; the voice was TETRAGRAMMA. But that which walked in the Garden was TON, viz. the centre of the light world; and the voice TETRAGRAMMA is the centre to the fire-world, viz. the First Principle, and the TON, the Second Principle. As fire and light are one, but they sever themselves in their coming forth to manifestation into a twofold source: the like also is to be considered concerning this.

15. The voice of the fire-world entered into the essence of Adam and Eve; the same they heard, therefore they were afraid, and crept among the trees: but the voice of the light-world is this, whereof Moses spoke, Der im Garten ging; the holy voice walked in the Garden of Paradise, for the word Der denotes the Person of Christ, who walked in the spirit, in the Garden, and went forth from the fire's centre, who took possession of Paradise, and would invest Adam again with it.

16. Therefore says Moses now: and the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Gen. ill. 9). Wherefore said he not, Adam and Eve where are ye? No, he called to Adam, viz. to the first image which he created in Paradise, and not unto the man and woman; for he that called was he which walked in the Garden, viz. the Word of the light-world, the voice of the Second Principle, which called back again in [and from] the enkindled anger, and espoused itself again unto the disappeared heavenly ens, that it would arise and stir up itself again therein, in the name JESUS, viz. in the deepest love of the Deity, and unite and manifest itself; in the fullness of time, in the disappeared ens, with the introducement of the holy divine ens of the heavenly world's essence thereinto, and open Paradise again; and in the meantime bruise the head of the Serpent's ens; this Serpent-Bruiser said to Adam, Where art thou?

17. Now says reason, He saw him well enough, wherefore said he then, Where art thou? He did indeed see Adam, but Adam did not see him; for his eyes were departed from Adonai, from the divine world, into time, viz. into the outward world, into the Serpent's ens, [both] evil and good, into the death and corruptibility. Out of these monstrous eyes Adam saw in the property of the fire's tincture; but the property of the light's tincture, which he had wretchedly lost, said upon him, Where art thou, Adam? Which is as much as if he had said, Seek me, and see me again: I am come to give myself again unto you. And Adam said, I heard your voice in the Garden, and was afraid, for I am naked (Gen.iii. 10).

18. This calling him was nothing else but the voice or sound of the holy word introducing itself again into the vital light, else Adam could not have heard this voice: therefore he said, I am naked, and afraid.

19. Of what was he afraid? He felt in him the world of God's anger, and feared that it would wholly enkindle itself and devour him, as happened to Lucifer. Therefore he trembled at the call of the holy voice, as the anger trembleth at the love, as may be seen on the Cross of Christ. for even here was the fear and dread of the Serpent; for it knew the voice which called into Adam's ens, and feared before the face of God; for it knew [or perceived] the falsehood which was in it, which it would hide.

20. And God said, Who told you that you art naked? (Gen. iii. 11). That is, the Serpent's ens has told you, that you shouldest imagine after the bestial property, and awaken the same.

21. And we see here very clearly, that Adam knew nothing of this naked bestial property in his innocency; but if it had been manifest in him, surely he had then known it. But now God says to him, Who has told you it; have you eaten of the tree whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? Did not I charge and command you that you should not awaken the property of nakedness in you? Wherefore have you by lust brought yourself into the bestial property? Did not I create you in the angelical property? Wherefore are you then become a beast in my power? Have not I made you in and through my word? Why has your own free will changed my word?

22. And he said, The woman which you did join with me, gave me, and I did eat of the tree. And God said to the woman, wherefore have you done this? And she said, the Serpent beguiled me, and I did eat (Gen. iii. 12, 13). Herein it is plainly and clearly laid open, that the devil, in the ens of the Serpent, did deceive man, as it is before mentioned; and that they both, Adam and his wife, were made monstrous by the Serpent.

23. For God said to the Serpent (by whose property the devil had made himself a seat and habitation in man's image): Because you have done this, be you accursed above all cattle, and above all the beasts of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life (Gen. iii. 14).

24. But here the veil lies before the face of Moses, who passes by the Serpent, and does not describe what it was. But seeing how God said unto it, that it should go upon the belly, and eat earth, and no law was given to it in the beginning, thereupon we are here well able to find what it was; seeing it was the most subtle beast among all the beasts, and slew Eve her virgin-like chastity, that she lusted after the bestial copulation. Thereupon we understand in the Serpent's property the desire of [carnal] brutal copulation, and all unchastity, wanton uncleanness, and bestial whoredom of man.

25. For it, viz. the Serpent in its inward limus whereinto the devil introduced his desire, was [Or had been ] a virgin-like ens; understand, in the good part of the heavenly ens, which was taken in the Verbum Fiat, and brought into a creatural image according to each property; as also the devil's ens, before his creature[ship], was a virgin-like ens of angelical property.

26. This Serpent's ens was modelised and engrafted in Adam and Eve, for the desire of Eve took hold of this bestial property, and imprinted it into herself, as a blemish [or foul mark], into the right pure virginity, into the pregnant matrix. Therefore God cursed the image of the outward Serpent, and bid it go upon the belly, and eat earth; and herewith also the mark [or blemish] of the impressed monstrous Serpent [was enstamped] in man.

27. For as now the outward Serpent must go upon the belly and eat earth, which had brought its figure into the matrix in Eve's belly, so must now the belly of Eve eat of the cursed earth, and the matrix goes as a subtle Serpent upon its belly, and beguileth the limbus of the fire's tincture. Thus it longeth after its belly and Serpent-creeping, whereas it is only that this Serpent's matrix might exercise whoredom, and effect a bestial work. As Eve did deceive Adam, so that he did eat of the fruit, and as the outward Serpent was cursed, so also the Serpent's matrix of the bestial property in Eve [was accursed], from whence all her children are corrupted, and are all born of a monstrous matrix, which is a deflowered maid in the sight of God; for Adam had already corrupted it when as he stood in both tinctures; but when Eve was separated from Adam it came with her into act.

28. And God said, I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall sting it on the heel (Gen. iii. 15). Now the ground does lie herein; for God did not mean hereby the outward bestial serpent without man, which hides itself in holes and crannies of the rocks, and inhabites in the rude solitary places [of the earth], but the monstrous bestial Serpent in man, which was figured in the woman's matrix.

29. For when God called Adam when he hid himself among the trees, and was ashamed and feared, then the voice of the holy Word entered again into the vital light. And here, when God said, I will put enmity, the seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpent's head, then the holy voice of God went forth out of JEHOVAH, (which would once more move itself in time, and manifest JESUS) in the woman's matrix, in the disappeared heavenly ens, and incorporated itself anew with the holy Word [therein], as into an aim [bound] of an eternal covenant.

30. And this word, which did promise, inhest [introduce] and incorporate itself into the woman's seed, was that same word which did move itself in Mary's seed, and opened the name JESUS out of the centre of the deepest love in the word, and quickened the disappeared heavenly ens with the introducing of the holy living ens into the disappeared ens of Mary.

31. Understand, the heavenly chaste virginity was again revived in the name of JESUS in the seed of Mary in the motion of the incorporated Word; and this incorporated [or engrafted or in-spoken] Word stood in Eve her seed in the matrix as an aim of a certain Covenant; and was all along propagated in Eve's seed, from man to man in the heavenly part, as a sound or incentive of the divine holy light's-fire, wherein the name JESUS was all along propagated in an aim and Covenant, as a glimmering incentive, until the time of the awakening [or manifestation] of it in Mary, where the Covenant was fulfilled, and the doors of the shut chamber were again opened. And this is that holy fire out of which the name JESUS was manifest, which holy fire did burn in the Jewish offerings, which appeased [or atoned] the anger of God, and bruised the head of the monstrous Serpent in man, viz. the monstrous fire-spirit, and will.

32. The bruising of the head is nothing else but to destroy the abomination of the Serpent, to take away its power by a right desire of faith; and by such a strong importunate imagination of faith on the promised Word, to take the same Word and introduce it into the Serpent's ens, and therewith destroy and ruin the devil's theft-fort; and thereby kill the matrix of the whorish desire, and introduce the matrix with its desire into the virgin-like ens, into the aim of the Covenant.

33. In which Covenant the woman and the man [female and male property] shall and must die; and the chaste virgin must be born out of the death in the Word of the Covenant, with both tinctures of peculiar love; and then the Serpent, in its desire in the anger of God, will sting on the heel the virgin-child of the new-birth in the faith.

34. For all this lifetime the virgin-like child is fast bound by the heel with a strong chain unto the monstrous image; and is not able to get quite rid of the Serpent's chain all this lifetime. This chain is the brutal bestial monstrous man, in whom lieth the monster of the whore and Serpent; a figure whereofwe have in the Revelation of John, where the woman stands, with the crown and twelve stars, upon the moon.

35. The moon signifies the bestial man, and the woman signifies the virgin-like matrix in the aim of the Covenant, out of which the virgin-child is born.

36. When as Adam was man and woman, and yet none of them both, the virginity according to the light's tincture in the holy ens was poisoned and infected in him by false desire, for the fiery property of the soul carried [or directed] its lust into the earthliness; and out of that virginity the woman, by the adjoining of all the three Principles, was made; and the woman made herself monstrous by the Serpent, and corrupted the virgin-like matrix, and by her lust did introduce a bestial monstrous serpentine [matrix] thereinto, infected with the devil's will and desire.

37. Now this holy virgin-like matrix in Eve was captivated by the monstrous property, and the image of the heavenly ens did disappear in her. And in this heavenly ens, (understand, in the right virgin-like seed of chastity, sanctity and purity, which was captived in Eve by the monstrous Serpent and bestial whore's-desire), the Word of God did inhest [infuse] itself with the dear, precious and holy name JESUS; that it would again introduce [a] living heavenly ens into this captived disappeared ens, and bruise the head of the Serpent's ens, viz. the whore's monster, and mortify its desire, and cast away the whore's image [or bastard] and overpower and allay the enkindled anger of God in this virgin-like matrix with the deepest love of God, and wholly kill and null the monster [of the Serpent in flesh and blood]. And this is that which God said, the seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpent's head.

38. Understand it aright: The virgin-like seed of Eve in the Word of God should do it in the name and sweet power of JESUS : the seed included in the Covenant of God, whereout the virgin-child is born as the dew out of the morning, that (I say) should and must do it.

39. For the child which is from the blood of the man and woman shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven; but that which is [born] of the virgin-like ens, in the aim of the Covenant, out of the promised Word of God. The child of the man and woman is a monstrum, and must die, and putrify and rot in the earth; but the virgin-like ens which lies hidden in this monstrum is the true seed, of which the children of Christ are born; yea, even in this life-time, for the life of this child is the true faith and great divine desire.

40. This virgin-like child does live in Christ's children in the spirit and flesh of Christ, in a spiritual body, outwardly covered with the monstrum in the child of the whore and Serpent; there is no man which does not outwardly carry on him the Serpent's child.

41. But the virgin's child, born of the divine virgin-like ens of JESUS, does not live in all: there is indeed in many a one a glimmering incentive thereunto, viz. a weak faith and divine desire; but the true, holy and precious life of the virginity is not born: it stands captivated in the judgement of God.

42. Yet well for those who have but an incentive in them; to those we give this direction: that their soul's desire should in the spirit of Christ dive itself into the divine incentive; and with the fire-desire enkindle that incentive, and also forsake and hate the Serpent's monster and bastard, and introduce their great hunger and thirst into the virgin-like ens, into the Word of God's Covenant, and into the fulfilling of the Covenant, viz. into the humanity of Christ; and ever mortify and trample under foot the whore's monster in the will of the desire, as a venomous stinging evil Serpent, a false bastard, that cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and is only a hinderance to the virgin's child.

43. For the Word of the Promise in the Covenant would not incorporate itself into the man's tincture, viz. in the soul's fire-ens, but into the woman's, viz. into the light's tincture, into the virginlike centre, which should have brought forth magically in Adam; even into the heavenly matrix of the holy pregnatress; in which light's tincture the fiery soul's ens was weaker than in the man's fire-ens.

44. In this light's ens God would arouse the fire-ens, viz. the true soul, and as it were beget it anew, as may be seen in the person of Christ according to the humanity, who in this virgin-like ens did assume a manly fire-soul from the woman's property, from the female virgin-like seed, wholly contrary to nature's proper and peculiar ability, for the image of God is a man-like virgin, neither woman nor man.

45. And if a man will rightly consider both properties according to the divine property, then let him ascribe the male to God the Father, viz. to the first Principle, where God's Word does manifest itself with the fire-world, which is the first centre of the creature; and the female let him ascribe to God the Son, viz. to the second Principle, where the divine eternal Word does manifest itself in the light of love, and opens another centre in the love-desire, and comes into the fire's centre; in manner as the fire produces a light; and the light [is] a great meekness of an oily, watery and aery property, which property the fire draws in again, whence it receives its shining lustre, and also its life to burn, else it would smother and suffocate.

46. And as these three, viz. the fire, light and air, have one only original, yet they give a very evident distinction in their property. The like also we are here to mind: into this property in the life of man's soul the most sweet name JESUS has incorporated itself in the Word of Promise, as into the likeness which stood in the light's centre of the heavenly matrix, viz. in the right virgin-like ens, inspired out of the light's property into Adam; and has awaked [itself] in the same limus, as a true centre of the second Principle, viz. of the angelical world, a real temple of the spirit of God; an open, and wide [or stirring] gate of the divine wisdom, in the highest beauty, excellency and love, wherein the holy angelical life consists, and bears therein the name of the great holy God, viz. the holy Word of the Deity.

47. Into this property the Word of God did betroth and espouse itself in the Covenant; for it was opened out of the holy Word in Adam. God would not forsake his holy manifested Word, which, with the creating of Adam, had introduced itself into an ens, which the devil obscured and darkened in in the Serpent's ens from the anger; but would again open the same, and thereby bruise the head of the Serpent's ens, and beget the human soul out of this divine ens, to a manlike virgin, viz. to an angel, servant and child of God.

48. We do not mean that this holy ens did receive the Serpent's desire into itself when Adam and Eve became monstrous. No, but it disappeared; yet the soul, according to the first Principle, took it into the fire's property, viz. into the Fiat, and introduced the Serpent's ens, with the desire of the Fiat, into the earthly limus, whereupon out of the one only element four elements were manifest in man.

49. Therefore the virgin-like ens of the one only element must now bruise the head of the introduced Serpent's ens in the four elements; and the man of the four elements must die and putrify, and the first [man] must return at the last day clothed with the virginlike ens in the one only element wherein all things lie in equal weight [or perfect harmony].

50. For this virgin-like ens, new-born in the spirit of Christ, dies not any more, although the four-elements man, viz. the image of this world, dies; but it lives in God's kingdom, and shall in the resurrection of the dead embrace and put on the limus of the earth, viz. the third Principle, as a garment of the wonder-deeds of God. But the Serpent's ens remains in the earth, and shall be burnt away at the last day through the fire, from the pure limus of the earth, where the dark world shall devour it with all its works.

51. Thus we herein understand very clearly, how God out of great love has promised the Serpent-Bruiser to the fallen man, and espoused and betrothed it unto the virgin-like and disappeared centre, and given in itself therewith for a help and companion. For when they were fallen from God, and had made themselves monstrous, then the image out of the limus of the earth became wholly brutal, and lived in opposition, in distemper, in sickness, and also in heat and cold, as all other beasts.

52. Now therefore God told them what their labour, work and employment should be in this world, viz. that they should bring forth children in sorrow, with painful smart, in trouble and distress, and eat the herb of the field, and now clothe their bestial image in turmoil and cumbring care, in toil and labour, until the four-elements man in the bestial Serpent's image should again be broken and dissolved, and return unto the earth, from whence it was taken and extracted as a limus.

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