Table of Contents
Extracts from the Teutonic Theosopher
by Jakob Boehme
Of Man in the Antichristian World.
37. For when a man is secure, and does not always stand in fear and trembling before the anger of God, then the Devil slippeth into the Spirit, and looketh narrowly when there is in a Man any evil Constellation of his Property and Stars, and so casteth a Man headlong into an unexpected fall, into Wrath, Murder, Whoredom, Theft, Poisoning, and Death. This is his [the Devil's] Art, which he is most diligent in.
40. For God is nothing but Goodness, and willeth not the Evil: He warneth Man before-hand, that he should still the Wrath, by turning and going out from the Anger; but when this is not done, then he suffereth that to come which Man hath awakened, viz. War, Famine, Pestilence: Now God doth not this, but Man himself, which maketh Wars, and the Heaven withdraweth its Fruitfulness, and the Spirit of this World kindleth itself in the hellish Poison and Wrath, and so Diseases and the Pestilence come forth which God is not guilty of, but Man hath awakened them, and they devour him: for thereby the Anger is sharpened, and getteth a Longing to devour: for Men awaken it in their Wickedness and Malice, and kindle it, whereas otherwise it would be at Rest.
46. O thou Antichristian World, what Mischief hast thou done with thy Ceremonies, in that thou hast set them in the place of God? If thou hadst declared to sinners God's Anger and Punishment, and the Devil's false Lust, and how a sinner must go forth from his Sins into the Will of God, and with true Sorrow and Repentance, in a right trust and confidence, be born again in God, and that God only seeketh and would have the Abyss of the Heart, viz. the Soul, and that all false and wicked Lusts and Desires must be removed out of the Heart, O how well hadst thou taught!
47. But the Councils [of Nice, Trent, ] have been brought in, only that thou mightest be Lord over Silver and Gold, and over the Souls, Minds, and Consciences of Men; and so thou art indeed the Antichrist in thy hypocrisy and appearing holiness: Thou hast instituted Ceremonies, and glitterest in Imitation of Aaron, but why do you not live in the obedience of Aaron towards God? Every one looketh upon the fine hypocritical performance of the work, and his Heart is carried away towards the hypocrisy, and supposeth, that when it keeps or celebrates the Ceremonies, that it is an atonement of the Anger of God; but it is Idolatry, and that which entangles the Heart, and leadeth it captive in the hypocrisy: It were better to use no Ceremonies, but barely to perform the express command of God, which he hath left us in his Covenant and Testament: The Congregation of Christ can well sound forth, and sing of God's Deeds of Wonder, but best of all in the Mother Tongue, [native language] which every one understandeth, and can lift up his Heart and Soul therein, and so the whole Church or Congregation of Christ, as one Body, exulteth in God, and singeth of the Wonders of God, which does stir up attention and consideration, which in a strange, or foreign Language, is but hypocrisy and seeming Divine posture in hypocrisy: for the Devil is such an Idol, for he mocketh God his Creator therewith, and so painteth forth the Antichrist before the face of God, that God should see what a potent Lord and Prince he is, who can shine as the Majesty of God shineth, and so he maketh such a Glittering in mockery to God, and bringeth the souls of Men into the Glittering [hypocritical show of Holiness].
48. O thou Proud and Covetous Antichrist, what hast thou done that thou hast thus brought thyself and many thousand souls away from God to thy own Glittering Pomp? How wilt thou be able to subsist when the Bright Countenance of God appeareth? Where will thy poor soul turn away from thy Glittering Hypocrisy when the Day of Judgment shall come? Seeing all must pass through the Fire, where will your own appearing holiness remain? Will it not remain in the Fire? For no soul can reach God, unless it be turned into the Will of God, and be Regenerated in God, else there is no subsisting in the Fire.
49. For the soul must be tried through the Fire, and must not be turned in any where, but into great Humility, unto the Love and Mercy of God, in the Humility of Jesus Christ; it must bring Christ's Body, and stand in the Wisdom of God, that must be its Body, else it will not be acknowledged for God's Child: for it must be as pure as it was when it was Created upon the Cross: It must be Regenerated upon the Cross of Christ, and enter with Christ in the flesh and blood of Christ, through the Death of Christ, through the Anger of God, into the Ninth Number, as into the Tincture of the Eternal Holy Number Three, and humbleth itself before the Number Three, and the Majesty of the Number Three embraceth it as a dear child: So the Humility is the food and strength of the Majesty, out of which the Brightness goeth forth from Eternity to Eternity.
50. Where wilt thou, Hypocrite, remain with thy Glittering Luster, which is generated out of Covetousness and Pride? O ye children of God, Go out from this Whore! She standeth on the Devil's Stage, and is carried in a show of Triumph to God's disgrace and contempt.
57.Therefore observe, there are many that think with themselves, saying, I will pray to God to take away my sins from me, that I may be released of my old sins: and when it comes to pass that they attain the Love of God, they think the old sins are passed away and forgiven; [saying,] I may now sin a-new; I will afterwards Repent once again, and cast the abomination away from me: Indeed that were a good way, if the purpose were at hand: But hear, when thou goest out from the Love of God, then thou hast all thy sins, which thou hast committed all thy life long, upon thy neck again: for thou turnest back again into the house of sin, and foresakest God; thou goest out from God into the Kingdom of the Devil, and thy Works follow thee whithersoever thou goest; The Purpose cannot help you, unless you go on in your Purpose.
95. But the Antichristian kingdom lives in many Trees; they run from one to another, and know not which is the best; for they are gone forth from the Paradise of Christ; they boast of the doctrine of Christ, and deny the power of it, and thereby they testify that Christ is not in them: nay, they desire not to have him in them: they thrust him, with his body and blood, with his Humanity out of the Congregation, they will have a sign from him, whereby they may in their Pride possess his place, and so keep up their rich fat Bellies: Christ, in this outward Life upon Earth, was poor, and had not whereon to lay his head: But they in Christ's place will be rich and fat: they say, He is in Heaven, we will therefore erect a stately glorious pompous Kingdom to his honour, that we may enjoy good times, and Honour in his Office. We are the highest in this world, for we are Gods Stewards [Embassadors, or Vice-regents], we manage the office of Christ, and have the Mysterium Magnum [The Great Mystery, the office of the Ministry]: How dare any speak against us? We will quickly make them hold their peace.
96. O beloved children of Christ, open your eyes, and see; do not run so after the Devil; Do you not see? Pray learn to see! Do you not see how all is done for Money? If one gives them a store of Money, they praise him for a gracious Christian, who is beneficial and bountiful to the Church: If one dies, though all his Life long he was an unjust false Usurer, Whoremonger, Thief, and Murderer, and they knew it very well, if he or his bestow much upon the Church, O how is he applauded for a blessed and glorious Man! What great Sermons [monuments, epitaphs and poems] do they make for him, that other unrighteous men may hear and consider, and follow their example to do the like? But stay, does the Kingdom of Christ consist in such [giving of] Money and in the mouth of the Priest? No, it shall not prosper; here the Wine-press yieldeth much blood, as the Revelation of John speaketh.
97. And thus the innocent are seduced, [or the poor souls hereby fall into despair,] for he that gives not to them much, or has it not to give, is no honest man with them: He is not beneficial to the Ministry: if but the least mote is found amiss in his life, Oh how they divulge it, and make a great matter of it; how is he trodden underfoot! However at length they devoutly send a good wish after him, and say, God forgive him. Open your eyes, ye children of Christ, this is the Antichrist, go not a whoring after him: Many such have been sinners, and have turned from their sins, and have entered into Christ, and their soul is in Christ, an Angel of God; and therefore how dare you, proud Antichrist, according to your own pleasure, despise one that is the Angel of God? O thou blind man, dost thou not see this? Art thou the Shepherd and Minister of Christ, and Steward of God? Hast thou the Mysterium Magnum about thee? Is any office the office of Christ, as thou boastest? Why then art thou a Liar, in applauding the wicked for Money? Have Christ and his Apostles done so?
98. Hearken, thou opposer of Christ, look into the Acts of the Apostles; Where one sold his Possessions, and laid a part of the Price of the Money at the Apostle's feet: And Peter asked him, saying, Have you sold the field for so much? and he said yea; and had a false, doubtful [and deceitful] Mind: then said Peter, thou hast lied unto the Holy Ghost; behold the feet of them that stand at the door, they shall carry you away out of the Congregation of Truth: what think you now of yourself? seeing this has happened to the Hearers of Peter, what would have been done to Peter himself, if he had thus lied for greediness of Money, and so blasphemed the Holy Ghost? But thou art he that doth so: thou applaudest the unrighteous, that thou mayest but get money; but thou regardest not his soul, neither dost thou regard how thou broachest thy lies in the Congregation. How many times do some stand and bewail the wickedness and deceit of those thou praisest, wherewith they unjustly oppressed and wronged the needy, and also bewail thy flattering hypocrisy and lies?
99. Hearken! Is not the Name of Christ blasphemed thereby, and the Congregation of Christ scandalized? When they say, The Priest tells lies in the Pulpit for Money; if it were a sin, he would not do it: and so in like manner, when any lie and deceive people to get money, goods, and honour, if they can but cover it with a fine pretence, what matter is it? For [they think] if it was so great a sin, the Priest would not do it; they think they will once repent of it, and the priest has Grace enough in store for them.
100. Behold, thou false and wicked Antichrist, thus thou liest to the Holy Ghost (in Christ's office) who trieth the Heart; and thou liest to the Congregation of Christ, and dost scandalize it therewith; it were a great deal better, they had never heard thy lies, and then their hearts would not have been so filled with lies.
101. How canst thou say, that thou executest the office of Christ, seeing thou art a liar and mocker of Christ? Thou art not born of Christ, but of lies; and when thou speakest lies, thou speakest from thy Beast, on which thou ridest in the Revelation; thou speakest of thy own, from the Spirit which is in thee, and yet wilt [take upon thee] to feed the sheep of Christ; thou shouldst feed them in a green meadow, in the fat pasture of Jesus Christ, and tell them the Truth; but thou feedest them upon the Devil's Rocks, and the Mountains of the Abyss, in his lustful Grass.
102. If you be a Minister of Christ, then serve him in Spirit and Truth; reprove sins without any respect of Persons; spare not; lift up your voice like a Trumpet; reprove all wickedness of all persons, both superior and inferior; teach the way of Christ rightly; praise [or soothe] none for his money and honour's sake; for Christ praised none of the potentates for gain sake; neither did he reprove any of them out of Envy of their Greatness and Honour; for he commendeth order and saith, Give to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's: but he reproveth the Hypocrites, the Pharisees, in that they made long prayers, and stood in the streets, making a devout show, and would be seen of people, and sought only after Praise; and such a one is the Antichrist also: and therefore the Spirit in the Revelation of Christ saith, Go out from her my People, that you be not made partakers of her sins; for he that allows of sin, is one spirit with the sin; he that for favour confirms the lie of a Liar, he is guilty of that lie, and of the wickedness of it.
103. God the Father has regenerated us in Christ, out of the Truth, therefore we should not be the servants of lies; for when we enter into Lies, we go out from Christ, and are with the Devil, who is the Father of Lies; and so is the Antichrist also, and all that depend on him, and serve him; it were better to be far absent, and to have Christ formed in the Heart [the life of Christ imprinted in us], than to hear Lies in the Antichristian office [of the ministry].
104. I know, thou Evil Beast wilt cry out upon me for an envious Person, as if I did grudge what good people give thee; no, that is not my ground [or meaning] for Christ saith, Whosoever ministreth the Gospel, should live of the Gospel; you must not muzzle the mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn, it must feed: they cleave not all to the Antichrist; we have only set forth the wicked Antichrist, who rideth in the hearts of Men; we despise none for their good Conscience: Only the Antichrist shall stand Naked for a Witness to All people: He rideth over the face of the Earth in all Countries and Nations. [Note, wheresoever Pride, Covetousness, Envy, and Wrath, are predominant in falsehood, deceit, self-seeking, and an hypocritical show of holiness, there is the Greatest Antichrist of all.]
105. People now suppose they have rooted him out, and are now in strife and contention about him, every one will slay him: O thou blind simplicity, thou slayest him not; do but go out from him, and enter into the Temple of Christ, and let Antichrist's houses stand, and then he will fall of himself, and at length be ashamed of his own abominations and whoredom: only do not worship him; do not bow the knee before him; but worship God.
Extract from Jacob Boehme's "Threefold Life of Man",
From: " The Works of Jacob Behmen, The Teutonic Theosopher."
Reverend William Law's Edition: Volume Two; London, 1764,
Printed for M. Richardson, in Pater-noster Row.
Chapter 11: Paragraphs 37,40,46-50,57,95-105.