Of True Resignation Or Dying to Self
by Jakob Boehme
Man must daily die to his own will in self; he must bring his desire into God.
He must spring up out of the dying sinful man, with a new mind, and will, through the spirit of Christ.
What the old and new man are, and what each of them is in life, will and practice.
Composed by a soul that loves all who are children of Jesus Christ, under the Cross.
Brought forth in the 1600's by a humble shoemaker; translated into English over 100 years later; suppressed and hidden away until recently in theological archives around the world... a worthy personal study not just for academics but for all those who are spiritually grounded in the WORD, who are learning to hear the Lord, and who hunger for more.
We have a clear example in Lucifer, and also in Adam the first man, of what self does, when it gets the light of nature to be its own, and when it can walk with the understanding in its own dominion. We see also in men learned in arts and sciences, that when they get the light of this outward world or nature into the possession of their reason, nothing comes of it but pride of themselves. And yet the entire world so vehemently desires and seeks after this light as the best treasure; and indeed it is the best treasure this world affords, if it is rightly used.
But while self, i.e., reason, is captivated and fast bound in a strong prison, that is to say, in the anger of God, and in earthliness, it is very dangerous for a man to make use of the light of knowledge in self, as if it were in the possession of self. For the wrath of the eternal and temporary nature will soon take pleasure in it, and then self and man's own reason, will rise up in pride, and depart from the true resigned humility towards God, and will no longer eat of the fruit of paradise, but instead eats of the property of self, i.e., Of that dominion of life, wherein good and evil are mixed as Lucifer and Adam mixed them. Who both entered with the desire of self back again into the original, out of which the creatures were brought forth and entered into the condition of the creatures; Lucifer into the wrathful nature, into the matrix or womb which brings forth fire, and Adam into the earthly nature, into the matrix of the outward world, i.e., Into the lust after good and evil.
This happened to them both, because they had the light of understanding shining in self, in which they could behold themselves, whereby the spirit of self went into the imagination, (i.e., Into a desire to get to the center,) that they might exalt themselves in might, power, and knowledge. Now when Lucifer sought after the mother of fire in his center, and thought to reign therewith over the love of God and all the angels, and when Adam also desired to try in the essence what the mother or root was from where evil and good did spring, and purposely brought his desire into it, in order to understand it: both Lucifer and Adam were captivated in their evil, or false desire, and broke themselves off from the resignation which proceeds from God, and so were caught by the spirit of the will, and by the desire. Which desire immediately got the dominion in nature; and so Lucifer stuck fast in the wrathful source of fire, and that fire became manifest in the spirit of his will, whereby the creature in its desire became an enemy to the love and meekness of God.
Adam in like manner, was immediately caught by the earthly mother, which is evil and good, created out of the anger and love of God, and compacted into one substance. Whereupon the earthly property instantly received the dominion over Adam, and from this, heat and cold, envy and anger, and all malice and contrariety to God became manifest, and took rule in him. But if they had not brought the light of knowledge into self, then the glass of the knowledge of the center and of the original of the creature, i.e., of the power, which it had, in itself, would not have been manifested, from where the imagination and lust arose.
As also we often see today, how the same error brings danger upon the enlightened children of God; in whom when the sun of the great presence of God's holiness shined, by which the life passes into triumph, and then reason beholds itself, as in a glass, and the will goes on in self, in its own searching, and will try to find the center, and know where the light shined, and will of its own motion and strength force itself into it, how that from this arose abominable pride and self-love; so that its (the creature's) own reason, which is but a mirror or glass of the eternal wisdom, supposed itself to be greater than it is; and then whatsoever it does, it thinks God's will does in and by it, and that he is a prophet; though he is moved only by self, and goes on in "own desire," in which the center of nature presently rises up, and enters into that false desire of self, against God, and so the will enters into self-conceit and exaltation. Then the subtle Devil insinuated himself into the creature, and sifts the center of nature, and brings evil or false desires into it, so that a man becomes as it were drunken, in self, and still persuades himself that he is driven by God, by which means the good beginning, wherein the divine light shone in nature, comes to be ruined, and so the light of God departs from him. Yet the outward light of the outward nature still remains shining in the creature; for it threw itself into it, and supposed that it is still the first light of God; but it is not so. And into this self-exaltation in the light of its outward reason, the Devil threw himself again, (though in the first light, which was divine, he had been forced to depart) now returning with the seven-fold desire, of which Christ spoke, saying, when the unclean spirit departs out of a man, he wandered through dry places seeking rest, and finds none; and then he takes to himself seven spirits worse than himself, and returns to his first house; and finding it swept and garnished, he dwells in it, and so it is worse with that man than it was in the beginning.
This house, that is thus swept and garnished, is the light of reason in self. For if a man brings his desire and will into God, and then goes on in abstinence from this wicked life, and heartily desires the love of God, then that love will indeed manifest itself to him with its most friendly and cheerful countenance, by which the outward light also is kindled. For where the light of God is kindled, there all will be light; the Devil cannot stay there, but must depart from it; and then he searched through the mother of the original of life, i.e., The center, but finds that it is become a dry and feeble place. For the anger of God, i.e., the center of nature is in its own property altogether feeble, barren and dry and cannot get the dominion in its own wrathful principle. Satan continually searched through these places to find an open gate to enter with his desire, and so to sift the soul that it might come to exalt its self. And now if the spirit of the will of the creature threw itself with the light of reason back into the center, i.e., Into self, and enters into self-exaltation, then it goes forth again from the light of God, and presently the Devil finds an open gate to enter in at, and a garnished house to dwell in, i.e., The light of reason. Then he takes to himself the seven forms of the property of life in self, i.e., The flatterers which are departed from God into self; and there he enters and puts his desire into the lust of self and evil imaginations, wherein the spirit of the will beholds itself in the different forms of life in the outward light, and then the man sinks into self, as if he were drunk, (into outward reason) that he might seek the wonders of God there, so that they may manifest themselves. For all creatures groan and long after God. And though the stars cannot apprehend the Spirit of God, yet they would rather have a house of light wherein they may rejoice, than a house shut up, wherein they can have no rest.
Thus such a man goes on as if he was drunk, in the light of "outward reason," which is called the stars, and apprehends great and wonderful things, and he has a continual guide. The Devil watches to see if any gate stands open for him, through which he may kindle the center of life, so that the spirit of the will may mount aloft in pride, self-conceit, or covetousness; (from where self-arrogance arises, the will of reason desiring to be honored;) for it supposed it has attained the sum of all happiness, when it has gotten the light of reason, and can judge the house of hidden mysteries that is shut up; which nevertheless God can easily unlock. The deluded man thereupon supposed that now he has reached the mark, and that honor is due to him, because he has received the understanding of reason, and never considerate that the Devil makes himself merry with his desire in his seven forms of life of the center of nature, nor how great an error he has set up.
From this understanding of reason, false Babel is brought forth in the Christian church on earth, wherein men rule and teach by the conclusions of reason, and have set the child which is drunk in its own pride and self-desire, as a fair virgin upon the throne. But the Devil has entered into his seven forms of life of the center, i.e., into its own self-conceited reason, and continually brings his desire into this trimmed and decorated virgin, which the stars receive. He is her beast on which she rides, well adorned with her own powers of life, as may be seen in the revelation of John. Thus has this child of self, taken into its possession the outward glance of divine holiness, i.e., the light of reason, and supposed itself to be the fair child in the house, though the Devil has his lodging within it all the while.
And thus it is with all those who have been once enlightened by God, and afterwards go forth again, from true resignation, and wean themselves from the pure milk of the word, i.e., True humility.
Continue to Chapter 2