The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 25

The Twenty-Fifth Chapter

How God drove Adam out of Paradise, and laid the Cherub before the Garden

1. WHEN God had cursed the Serpent, and the earth, then the beast-man was no longer profitable in Paradise, for he could not any more enjoy the fruits of Paradise; therefore God laid upon him the labour and toil of the world; and drove him out of the Garden of Eden, and placed the Cherub with the fire-sword of judgement before it, that if the new born virgin-child of the seed of the woman would again return and enter into Paradise, this angel with the fire-sword should cut away the Serpent's beast from it, and not any more suffer it to come into Paradise. [Understand the beast]

2. The angel with the fire-sword is the right destroying angel, who carries death and life in his sword; he has therein God's love and anger, and when man dies in this world, then he comes before the gates of Paradise, before this angel: and even there the poor soul must pass through this [garden] judgement.

3. Now if it be captivated in the anger of God, then it cannot pass through this judgement; but if it be a virgin-child, born of the seed of the woman, then it can pass quite through this sword, and then the angel cuts off the beast begotten of the Serpent's ens. And even then the soul is an angel of God, and serves him in his temple, in Paradise, and expects the Day of judgement, viz. the resurrection of the outward body. When this angel with the fiery sword shall sever the earth from the curse, then the right human body returns again, for it must also pass through this sword, and the sword will cut of fits beast, that he may be only a man, and no more a beast.

4. The speech of Moses concerning this Mystery is wholly hidden to the earthly man; for Moses speaks of an angel and a sword; and albeit the outward figure was even just so (for so was Adam driven out) yet it has far another A B C internally. The natural man without God's light understands nothing thereof.

5. This sword is in man. When man converts and enters into sorrow for his committed sins, and casts away the vanity, and steps into the infant's shirt, then the Morning-Star arises in the spirit of Christ, in the virgin-like, occluse [shut up] ens, in the true, woman's seed.

6. And in this anxious sorrowful gate of true Repentance, the angel stands with the fire-flaming sword, and the virgin-bud forces quite through this fire-sword into Paradise, viz. into the light, into the life of Christ, and grows forth through this sword.

7. And now the virgin-child stands with its fair rose in the new plant in Paradise, and the poor soul which begets this child stands the whole time of this life under the reach and swing of this fire-sword, and is fast bound with a band to the gross beast in the outward world. Where the virgin-child is sufficiently thrust at and wounded with this fire-sword; for the fire-soul, which in the fire-sword of God's anger is bound to the Serpent's monster, does daily amuse itself upon the Serpent-monster, and sins. And even then this fire-sword does cut away the sins, and devours them into God's anger, where they are examined and judged.

8. Therefore the poor virgin-child which is born out of the soul must stand under Christ's cross, in Christ's death; and the piercing sword of tribulation and grief passes quite through it. It must suffer itself to be drawn quite through this flaming sword; and the fire burns away the abomination which the soul continually brings into itself from the Serpent's monster [or false image]. And even then it is in a sore strait, when that is cut of ffrom the fire-soul which it fain would have from its monster.

9. Then must the virgin-child supplicate the fire-soul, and tender it the love, that it should only forsake the monster of the Serpent. Here then arises strife and opposition; for the part of the fire-soul has introduced the Serpent's monster into it, and desires also to have its joy therein, and loves the evil beast.

10. Then Sophia, viz. the second Principle, viz. the part of the light-world, does speak against it. And hence comes up the strife betwixt the seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent; and then man goes up and down in sorrow and sadness, trouble and perplexity; sometimes the virgin-child prevails, and sometimes the Serpent-child.

11. And then the devil stirs up and incenses all monsters against the virgin-child, to strike it, to mock it, scorn it, revile, and laugh it to shame, and make it ridiculous; that it may by no means be known, lest the devil's kingdom should become manifest.

12. Thus the virgin-child must be exercised by this, in the spirit of Christ, and suffer itself to be whipped, persecuted and injuriously reproved, and often called 'one possessed by the devil'; be cursed, and continually accounted an off-scouring of the world, until the outward beast has finished its course in its constellation. And then the Cherub cuts off the gross beast, and lets it fall even unto the judgement of God. And then the part of the fire-soul must forthwith force through the judgement of this sword.

13. Now if the fire-soul has taken in [Impressed] much vanity into itself, viz. much of the Serpent's craft and lust, then the part of the fire-soul must stand under this sword, until the fire of God's anger consumes this introduced vanity, which to many a one is purgatory [Refining fire] enough; which this present too, too wise world will not believe, and will be only an adopted child from without, and so have an external washing away of sins in grace; but it has another A B C here: God will not let the Serpent's ens, neither in body nor soul, come into Paradise.

14. The fire-soul must subsist in the fire of God, and be so pure as the clear refined gold, for it is the husband of the noble [virgin] Sophia, [which is] from the woman's seed; it is the fire's tincture, and Sophia the light's tincture. If the tincture of the fire be wholly and thoroughly pure, then its Sophia will be given to it; and so Adam receives again into his arms his most precious and endeared bride, which was taken from him in his sleep, and is not any longer man or woman, but a branch on Christ's pearl-tree, which stands in the Paradise of God.

15. To the description whereof we need an angel's tongue, and yet we are understood well enough by our school-fellows. We have not written this for swine; for none but those only who have been by and at the marriage of the lamb do understand what kind of entire inward great joy and love-delight is therein; and how dearly the bride receives her bridegroom in his pure, clear and bright fire's-property; and how she gives him her love-kiss: unto others this is dumb.

16. When reason hears one speak of Paradise, then it understands only a certain place apart: and it is even so. There was a certain place which was called the Garden in Eden, where Adam and Eve were tempted, and from which place they were driven, after the fall. But yet the whole world was such a Paradise before the curse; yet, seeing God knew the fall, the holy Paradise was only opened unto them in one certain place. For to what end should the whole world bring forth paradisical fruit, seeing there was no creature upon the earth that was capable to enjoy the same?

17. But Adam and Eve were, however, brought into Paradise, that, although this first body should fall and come to ruin, yet they and their children might, by the new regeneration in the spirit of Christ, enter in again through this fire-sword. This mystery is exceeding great.

18. For prince Lucifer, before the time of the created earth, sat in the heavenly ens in the angelical world in the place of this world, wherein the ens of the earth was comprehended in the Fiat, and brought into a compaction; his false imagination had tainted the limus before the compaction: it was the place of his hierarchies. Now the outward body of man was taken out of the limus of the earth in the Verbum Fiat, and formed according to the property of the human life, which was in the Word. The Word formed (by or through the Fiat) the ens or limus of the earth according to the form of the human soul-life which was in the Word; and seeing God had set himself through his Word, to be judged against the false infection and desire of the devil, to judge him and his enkindled [wickedness which he had brought to] substance, the judicial sword was already in the limus of the earth whereof Adam was made.

19. For when God created the earth he founded its time when he would keep the judgement, and sever the evil from the good, and give the evil for a habitation to the apostate prince. But seeing the good in the occluse earth was without heavenly creatures (seeing its prince was cast out); God created Adam [as] another hierarch out of this good ens, to be a ruler of this place. And hence came the devil's envy against man and all good creatures of this world.

20. But now we are here to consider of the apostacy of man, with the sword of the Cherub. For Saint Paul says: we are chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world was laid; and even here this saying of Paul does belong. God knew that this ens, of which Adam was to be created, was already somewhat subject to false lust by reason of the devil's introduced desire. Therefore God chose [foresaw or provided for] this limus in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, out of which he would make man; that he would, through the judgement of the flaming sword, bring it through death, and through the fire, and wholly burn away the false infected desire of lust; and regenerate him anew in Jesus, in his deepest love in his Word in Jehovah, that is opened out of Jehovah, and introduce a new limus into the tainted one; and bring them together, quite through the judgement of the fire-sword, and purge and purify them wholly and thoroughly.

21. And here also is Christ's descension into hell, where the love of God in Christ entered into this fire-sword and changed the wrath into love; and did also destroy the sting of death which was insinuated into the limus of the earth, out of which Adam was created according to the outward humanity; and this fire-sword had its raising and original in the corruption of Lucifer.

22. For albeit Adam was created as to one part out of the heavenly essentiality (that was in the Word of man's life, which was inspired and breathed into his outward and inward limus), yet this fire-sword lay hidden as a glimmering incentive in the earthly limus of the outward body, which also assaulted Adam, so that he lusted against the command of God and the kingdom of heaven. In which incentive the devil also introduced his desire into him, and provoked him to fall; [for] which [fall], seeing God well knew that the poor man would not stand, God ordained a help and Saviour in Christ, to guide and bring him into that holy ens, whereinto he should be brought, viz. into the true sabbath and eternal rest.

23. Indeed Adam was set wholly perfect, in equal harmony and accord, and brought into Paradise, [to try] if the soul could have overcome the incentive [of vain lust]. And therefore the Tree of Temptation was represented to him, to see if it were possible for the soul to overpower this contamination of lust, and remain wholly and fully in the likeness [and harmony].

24. But it was not possible: therefore Christ must afterwards come into this place, and be tempted forty days in the wilderness, in Adam's ens, and in his new introduced heavenly ens, to see whether the fire-soul would stand in perfect purity. And seeing it did now stand in Christ, the new introduced heavenly ens did destroy the sword in the death of the outward body of Christ, and brought the outward body which he, in Mary, received from her seed, quite through this sword of the anger of God, into the holy ens. And in this power the outward body did arise from death, and got victory over death and this fire-sword, and took the fire-sword into its power; wherewith, at the end of the world, he will purge his floor; as a judge over devils and men, as well as of the earth.

25. For the main ambition was about the fire-sword, for king Lucifer had changed it from the pure clear light into fire, wherewith he willed to domineer and rule as a God. But God sent to him another prince and king, who took it from him, and thrust him from this throne, and should turn this sword in the ens of the earth again into the divine property, and cast out and judge the devil with this sword.

26. And there is not such a silly and narrow meaning of the fire-sword as hitherto has been generally understood. Although it has been hidden by the counsel of God, yet we should now open our eyes and deeply consider what this manifestation imports; that it does even foretell and signify the judgement of this sword; that he will come, who carries it in his mouth; and it is also a messenger [declaring] that Babel shall [soon] come to its end by this sword, and be given to this sword to be devoured.

27. Now says reason. Wherefore did not God examine this ens afore, out of which he created the earth, and man out of the same earth, before he created the earth and man? Forsooth, dear reason, here you have hit the matter right; God's omnipotence and omniscience must serve your turn, whereby you are able to bring all things into God's will, as rational fancy dictates. Hearken, O reason, do you know whence the earth is generated? You say, through the Word, viz. in the Verbum Fiat, I say so too. Now, what was this Word? Here look upon the earth and the whole creation, and you wilt see what the desire of the Word has brought into being or essence out of the spiritual ens. You will everywhere see good, and evil, and find out God's love and anger.

28. The Word was a full spiration from the spiritual fire- and light-world, according to which God calls himself a strong, jealous, angry God, as to the fire, and a merciful, loving God as to the light.

29. Now if God should have quelled [taken away] the first Principle, viz. the fire-source, in the ens of the earth (out of which it was created), whence should the light have its might? Does not the Father, viz. the fire-world, beget the Son, viz. the light-world? But now, seeing the Word in the fire-world was vehemently enkindled by God's motion to the creation, as we may see by the coagulation of the stones, (if we were not blocks, and had only calfish understandings), where-with then should this fire, but especially the enkindled ens in the coagulation, be reduced and brought again into the light, into the equal temperature and harmony? God's love alone must then do it.

30. Now, how will [or can] a creature, viz. a fire-soul or angel, come into a creatural being or formation, if the fire-source were not moved and stirred in an especial manner. Like would only then remain in like; and if it be only a mere likeness, then it has its sport with and in itself; as it was from [and in] eternity. And therefore the unchangeable God has moved himself according to the fire and light, and stirred up the fire's property, that he may make him a play and melody, viz. a formed Word out of himself, that there might be a play before and in the unformable Word.

31. Now we do here understand this, that if God should have again introduced the enkindled ens, out of which the earth and man were created, into the unformable Word, viz. wholly and fully into the likeness, into the love, then no creature might have been produced or brought forth; for every soul's spirit, yea the angels, and whatsoever lives, must be a stirring [or working] fire.

32. Now no fire-source can be generated out of the perfect likeness, unless the likeness does move itself. Yet the eternal likeness, viz. God, had before moved himself in his Mystery with the creation of the angelical thrones. Now if he should have changed this motion (which was enkindled, and also poisoned by the hierarch Lucifer with false distemper) into love, before he had created the earth and man, then he must yet once more have moved himself according to the fire's property, if he would have created another hierarch and angelical prince.

33. But seeing that might not be, he created the earth, and out of the earth, man, out of the first motion; and breathed into man the light- and fire-soul, out of that breath of his manifested and moved Word, viz. out of the first motion. For out of the first motion of the Word another prince should come into the princely created throne of Lucifer, and take in and possess the first motion.

34. And God appointed the judgement to the first motion, and took away Lucifer's domineering fire-sword, and gave it unto Adam; and afterwards introduced the deepest love of God in Christ into Adam, and brought the moved Word again into the likeness, viz. into an eternal confirmation, and gave Adam in Christ the fire-sword over the fallen prince Lucifer.

35. For Adam, viz. the corrupted limus of the earth, should, in Christ its first enjoyed prince, judge with this flaming sword; as Paul has told us, that the saints shall judge the world. Understand, the enkindled ens of man and of the earth should judge the false prince of lies, who had perversely changed the truth in the holy ens into lies, and corrupted it with such [false desire].

36. But seeing the ens of man was corrupted, and could not, God, out of his deepest hiddenness, introduced the most holy ens into the corrupt ens of man, viz. into the heavenly part, and brought the outward [part] also through the sword of the fire and death into the inward, into an eternal likeness [or temperature]. And thus there is here a looking-glass for reason. If reason be illuminated of God it will then understand us here; but if it be not, then there is not any possibility to understand this.

37. And we faithfully and seriously warn the caviller and carper, not to say it is a blasphemy. Let him first put away his calfish and bestial eyes; and look us here in the face, before he takes upon him to censure and cavil at us; it has far another A B C than reason has. It must have its birth a degree deeper.

38. Thus we are able very well to understand the casting out of Adam, wherefore he was tempted, and driven out of Paradise. Seeing his ens was somewhat enkindled by the devil's poison he could not possess Paradise; and therefore God drove him out from thence with the sword of judgement into death and corruption. And yet gave the promised Word of his deepest love to be with and in him in the ens of the heavenly world's being, for a sure and certain Covenant; wherein Adam and his children should trust, and believe that at the end and accomplishment of this time he would in this incorporated Word bring them again, with the introduction of the holy ens, out of death through the fire-sword; and clean cut off the false infection and lust with the sword of judgement, and set them as angels of God in the place of fallen Lucifer: And this is the mystery of the angel and sword of Paradise.

39. The angel did bear the name of the Covenant, out of which God would manifest Jesus, viz. the high and almighty prince. And it was even this angel which afterwards wrought many wonders upon the earth, who was with Abel, Shem, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses; who appeared to Moses in the fire-sword of flame in the bush, and brought Israel out of Egypt, and went before them in a fiery pillar [by night], and in a cloudy pillar by day; who gave them the Law in the fire, and at last brought them by Joshua (being the type of Him who was to be born out of the fire-sword) into the Land [of] Israel.

40. This fire-angel turned its internal light outwards, and manifested itself in Christ's person in the humanity, with whom [or in which] Christ, viz. the holy anointing oil of the deepest hidden love, changed the fire-sword of the angel into a love-sword and holy dominion.

41. And this is the true Cherub which drove the false Adam out of Paradise, and brings him in again by Christ, the virgin's child, new born out of Adam in Christ; and it has no other ground or meaning.

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