The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 33

The Thirty-Third Chapter

Of the beginning of the Second monarchy, and of the Covenant of God withNoah, and all Creatures

1. AND Moses says, Then God spoke with Noah, and commanded him to go forth, with every living thing, each with its kind. But Noah built an altar unto the Lord, and took every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and said in his heart, I will not henceforth curse the earth any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will not any more smite every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease (Gen. viii. 16 et seq.). Moses says that God smelled a sweet savour, and said in his heart, he would not again curse the earth, or smite every living creature any more for man's sake. This is a figure or mystical type, as is before mentioned in the offering of Abel.

2. For his heart is the Word in the Covenant, which took the prayer and will-spirit of Noah through the holy fire in the offering, and brought it in the Word to substance; and withal smelled, in the divine power, the humanity of Christ, who was to resign himself in the Covenant into the Word of power; that is, it desired to have the humanity in his power and virtue, as a pleasant savour; and from this smell [or sweet savour of holy rest in the paradisical property] the spirit of God declared that he would not again destroy man and the creatures any more; so long as the earth should endure, these creatures should also continue.

3. For Noah offered all manner of clean beasts and fowl; and the spirit says that God smelled herein a sweet savour [of rest]. Now [Moses does not mean] that God took pleasure in the smell or savour of the offering, for all beasts are in his power, and are continually before him; but Moses spoke it in reference to the hidden offering in the Covenant, which the inward world in the creatures did smell, which hereafter would deliver them from the abomination of vanity by its own peculiar offering, [1] and set their figure into the holy wisdom, viz. into the spiritual world.

[1. That is, the inward central fire, which shall purge the floor, and crystallise the earth into transparent gold.]

4. When Noah offered, then the Lord (that is, God manifested in the offering by the unmanifest holy name JEHOVAH, through JESUS) did smell the holy disappeared humanity in Adam; that is, he did taste in the lubet or good pleasure of his wisdom how the same should be again manifest in the holy name Jesus. And then he blessed Noah and his children, and said, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear and dread of you be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air; even upon all that creeps upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands they are all delivered. Every living thing shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But the flesh with the life thereof, [3] that is, with the blood thereof, you shall not eat. For I will require the blood of your lives, of every beast will I require the same; and at the hand of every man will I require the life of man, seeing that he is his brother; and whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for God created man in his own image. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply, and be industrious upon the earth, that you may increase abundantly. (Gen. ix. 1-7)

[3. Or which yet lives in the blood.]

5. When God blessed Noah and his children through the offering proceeding from the Covenant, and bade them be fruitful, he gave them again the whole world, with all its hosts, in possession; all whatsoever that lives and moves should be subservient to them, and be their own. And he gave it them all in common, he made there no difference between Noah and his children, no lord [4] nor servant, but he made them all alike, none noble or ignoble. But like as many branches and twigs grow out of one tree, and yet all together are but one only tree, so also he established the human tree upon the earth, and gave them all beasts, fishes and fowls in common, with no distinction, restriction or prohibition, save only that they should not eat their life in the blood, lest they should become monstrous in their life with the bestial life. [5]

[4. Master.]

[5. Or with the eating the life of the beasts.]

6. God commanded them to rule over all the beasts and creatures, but in this place he gave them no peculiar domination or ruling power over one another. For all domination, lordly rule and authority, whereby one man rules over another, does arise out of Ararat, that is, from or through the order of nature, according to its properties, according to the constellations, and outward dominion of the princes under the constellations or astrum.

7. The true image of God has no other dominion in its members than the body has in its members, or the tree in its branches. But the bestial image from the stars and four elements makes itself a dominion and government, according to its mother, whence it takes its rise, and wherein it lives.

8. Also all laws and external ordinances which God has appointed man, do all belong unto the order of nature, viz. unto the expressed formed Word. The same, God has given man for a property, that he should rule therein with the inward spiritual man of understanding, according to the wisdom of God, and make himself [laws and] order (according to the spirit of wisdom).

9. Over which orders and ordinances of men, which they make unto themselves, he [viz. the Lord] has set himself as judge, and thereupon has appointed the Last judgement, to separate wrong from right. And whatsoever proceeds not from truth, righteousness and love, against that the judgement of God is set; for it is generated or hatched through the false spirits of darkness in turba magna, and introduced into the human property as a false lust and subtlety; and is a stranger or bastard wisdom, which shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

10. All royal and princely highness and excellency, together with all governments and dominions, do arise froin the order of nature. In the image of God there is no compulsion [nor force, violence or oppression], but a mere free-willing, desirous love-service, as one member in the body, or as one branch of the tree, does freely and readily serve each other, and rejoice in each other.

11. But seeing that man has introduced himself into the outward formed Word, evil and good, viz. into the kingdom of nature; the kingdom of nature has deprived him of the holy dominion; and has placed itself with its power over the human property. Therefore, if he will have the same again, he must be born anew of God, and then he may rule with the new regenerated life in the spirit of God, over the kingdom of nature.

12. Indeed there are orders of princely angels or hierarchies in the spiritual world; but all without compulsion, in one harmonious delightful love-service and will; as one member in the body doth readily serve another.

13. All whatsoever that man in the kingdom of nature doth draw under his power, and abuses it to superfluity and excess, and thereby withdraws from his fellow-members, whereby they are put to want, poverty and distress, and their freely-given right and due is wholly withheld from them; the same is imprinted [or comprehended] in turba magna, as an abomination of nature, and put into the judgement of God, to the day of separation.

14. Nature requires only order, and gives distinction of places and offices; but the turba brings its abomination from the dark world's desire thereinto, viz. pride, covetousness, envy, anger and falsehood.

15. These five vices or iniquities in the kingdom of nature are the whore's brats, and shall not inherit the kingdom of God. God holds the kingdom of nature for his order, and has given the same into the power of man, that he [as God's instrument in this world] should sever the evil from the good, and choose himself a judge to pass righteous judgement upon the iniquity and malice of the false desire and lust [of man]. For he says, Whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood he shed, viz. by the order and institution of nature. Not that any should revenge himself upon others by his own selfish power [or force of arms], but through the order of nature, through God's law [and appointment]; the same is the true avengeress; for God said, I will avenge your lift's blood, and will avenge it upon every beast. Here he means, by the order of his law, and its officers who officiate in the right and due execution of the same.

16. Not that a prince or lord has power to shed blood without the law of God; if he does so, then the law of God condemns him also to death. Here there is no peculiar self-full power given over man's blood; let him be king or prince; for they are only officers over the order of the divine law, and they ought not to go further than the command of God gives leave. Indeed they have the law of nature committed to their charge, as servants of the same; but they must deal therein only according to righteousness and truth, and not do anything through selfish [covetous, proud and envious] desire, for God has created man in his own image. Now the kingdom of nature in its offices has no power over this divine image to kill the same, but the office or commission in God's order passes only upon [6] the outward image of nature.

[6. Or has power over.]

17. Therefore if an officer of nature [viz. any magistrate] takes away the life of a righteous man, him, nature appoints unto the judgement of God to the day of separation [wherein God will judge all the unrighteous acts of man]. What then will become of the tyrants who turn the truth into lies, and shamefully abuse and condemn the children of God for their divine knowledge and profession's sake, and stir up war and contention, to desolate and destroy country and people? All these belong unto turba magna, to the judgement of God; for they manage the sword of the turba in self-full lust and pleasure; unless the Spirit of God command them, and then they must do it for their office and charge's sake [and execute the just judgement of God upon those who have filled up the measure of their iniquity], as Israel was commanded to do among the heathen.

18. Whosoever sheds blood out of his own pleasure, to advance his authority, without urgent, absolute necessity, or God's command, he is moved, acted and driven by the wrathful fire of God's anger, and falls at last to be a captive in the same kingdom.

19. Every warrior [or soldier] is a rod of God's anger, wherewith he does, through his wrath and indignation, rebuke and devour the iniquity and malice of man. And it does not belong at all unto the order [or ordinance] of nature, but unto the wrathful desire in turba magna, unto the order of the eager, fierce-devouring wrath, whereby God's anger does overturn and lay waste countries and kingdoms.

20. Understand, it is the order of the dark world's property, which, by God's permission, advances its mighty force in the time of man's wickedness. And then it goes as the wrath will have it, until the same be well 'satiated in the blood of man.

21. For this is even the revenge of God's anger, of which he says, that he would take vengeance for [or require] the blood of man; therefore he often takes one man, and by him in anger slays another that has deserved death.

22. When the great and potent rulers shed innocent blood, then comes the anger of God, with its officers, and sheds their peoples' blood, and brings the sword of the turba upon them, whence war arises. But this is not from the divine order of the good nature, in which God governs with his wisdom.

23. The wisdom of God desires no war, but the anger of God, according to the dark world's nature, doth eagerly desire it, and effects the same in the vanity and iniquity of man.

24. If we lived as the children of God one among another, we need not have any warring and fighting. But that we wage war, we do thereby testify and declare that we are only children of this world, and fight for a strange inheritance, which yet we must forego, and thereby we serve the God of anger, as obedient servants. For no warrior or soldier shall inherit the kingdom of God, while he is such a one; but [he that is] a child, new-born of the spirit of God, which forsakes this world.

25. And God said further to Noah, and to his sons with him: saying, Lo I, even I, establish my Covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, and of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth that is with you, even of all that came forth out of the ark; that henceforth all flesh shall not any more be cut off by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more come a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the Covenant which I have made between me and you and every living creature that is with you, from henceforth for ever: I have set my bow in the clouds, the same shall he for a token of a Covenant between me and the earth; and it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, the bow shall be seen in the cloud. And then I will remember the Covenant, which is between me and you. (Gen. ix. 8-16) This Covenant with man is a type of the Three Principles of the divine being, viz. of the Being of all beings.

26. For the rainbow is the sign and token of this Covenant, that God does here mind, and very intimately look upon, that man was created out of three Principles into an image, and that he should live in all three; and beheld now the unability and great peril of mankind; and set the sign of this Covenant before him, as a representation that his wrath should not any more be stirred so to destroy every life.

27. For the rainbow has the colour of all the three Principles, viz. the colour of the first Principle is red, and darkish-brown; which betokens the dark and fire-world, that is, the first Principle, the kingdom of God's anger. The colour of the second Principle is white, and yellow; this is the majestical colour, signifying, as a type of the holy world, God's love. The third Principle's colour is green, and blue; blue from the chaos, and green from the water or saltpetre; where, in the flagrat or crack of the fire, the Sulphur and Mercury do sever themselves, and produce distinct, various and several colours, which betoken unto us the inward spiritual worlds, [7] which are hidden in the four elements.

[7. Or world.]

28. This bow is a figure of the Last judgement, showing how the inward spiritual world will again manifest itself and swallow up or avall into itself this outward world of four elements.

29. And this is even the sign or token of the Covenant of grace, which sign in the Covenant betokens the Judge of the world, viz. Christ, who, at the end of days, will appear in all the three Principles, viz. according to the fire-sign as a severe Judge over the turba, and all whatsoever that shall be found therein; he will manifest the fiery judgement, and enkindle the turba, so that the first Principle shall appear in its fiery property, for all things of this world's being must be tried or purified in the fire of the first Principle, viz. in the centre of the eternal nature. And even then the turba of all beings shall be swallowed up in the fire.

30. And according to the light's sign he shall appear as a pleasant visage to all the saints, even in the midst of the fire; and defend his, in his love and meekness, from the flames of the fire.

31. And according to the kingdom of the outward nature of this world, he shall appear in his assumed humanity; and the whole outward mystery of the four elements, according to Sulphur, Mercury and Salt, even according to all the properties of the wonders of the expressed and formed Word, even all shall be made manifest before him according to light and darkness [viz. according to their good and evil].

32. Of this the rainbow is a type and figure, for it is a reflex [antitype] or contra-glance of the sun; showing what kind of property [or virtue] there is in the deep. The sun casts its shining lustre into the four elements towards the chaos, and then the chaos, whence the four elements do proceed, does manifest itself according to the Principles, with its colours; and it denotes and points out the hidden or mystical ground of the four elements, viz. the hidden world, and also the hiddenness of the humanity. For in this hidden-ness [or secret mystery] of the creation, God did set forth his Covenant, that he would not destroy its image any more with water; that the fountains of the deep should not be any more opened in the chaos, as came to pass in the Flood, and in the creation of the world.

33. The rainbow is an opening of the chaos in nature; and it may very well, if the sun be in a good aspect in the elements, produce and bring forth a wonderful birth, both in the vegetables and animals. Also there may thereby be a creatural living being produced in the deep, even according to the property of the sun's powerful influence; according as it finds in the elements a property from the astrum or constellations, either to evil or good; as oftentimes to worms, flies, grasshoppers, and the like; and also to a good life, according as Saturn and Mercury are enkindled in their desire.

34. For when the chaos does open itself; then the harsh-astringent Saturnine property does attract, as a hunger or desire, unto itself and takes the property of the chaos (wherein the hidden powers are contained) into its desire, and coagulates the same; and forthwith Mercury becomes quick in Sulphur, for the sun enkindles the fiery Mars in its property, whereupon Mercury is stirred up or becomes active. This, Saturn frames [amasses] into a body, viz. into an ens. Now the saltpetre cannot agree or unite itself with Mars, and therefore there is a severation or motion; and seeing that they cannot get rid of [8] Saturn, viz. the fiat of the outward world; it becomes a flying life [or creature], according to the property of that same constellation.

[8. Or escape.]

35. Saturn [has such a power or property in it as that it] may, if the sun be in a good aspect, take in the distilling dew out of the rainbow into itself; (understand, into the Saturnine property), which afterwards falls upon the water, which some fish do eat down, and coagulate in them, whence precious pearls may arise.

36. For the Paradisical property doth open itself all along in the chaos, if it be not hindered by evil malignant aspects; which Master Wiseling [9] will scarce believe. He can speak of the ground of nature exactly, and has it at his fingers' ends, and yet is blind in the Mystery, and understands not either the inward or outward [part of nature]. For such I have not written anything, for I need not such animals 10 to the understanding of my writings, but good, clear, quick-sighted, illuminated eyes; unto all others they are dumb and absurd, let them be as wise and learned as they will.

[9. The false philosopher or sophister.]

[10. Text, calves.]

37. The chaos is the root of nature, and yields of itself nothing else but a good property; but if the constellation be evil, the evil malignant desire takes the good property into itself; and changes it into evil; as a good man among evil company does change his good also into an evil.

38. And the rainbow is especially represented [or freely given] unto man for a token of the divine grace; so that he might behold and view himself as in an open and perspicuous glass, what he is. For in the rainbow the sign of good and evil is manifest as a type of the centre of nature, out of which evil and good take their rise; over which the Son of Man was set by God, to be Judge.

39. For the type or form of the ark of Noah is also in the rainbow; if we were not blind it would plainly appear so unto us; also the Trinity of the Deity is therein portrayed: for the red colour betokens the Father, the yellow and white the Son, and the blue the Spirit.

40. And God has set forth himself in a figure, according to his manifestation in the sign of the Covenant, that we should flee unto his grace, and receive his Covenant, and be always mindful of his revelation to come, where he will again manifest the spiritual world; as he has set it forth unto us by way of similitude in the rainbow; [to the end] that we should see what is in secret [and how his Covenant is] eternally established [with us in secret], and stands ever before him.

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