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The four elements are in reality only properties of the true fifth element, which remains concealed being the outer elements.
“What we now call four elements are not elementa, bus only properties of the true element" (Myst. 104 ».
The real element stands concealed behind the outer burning elements" (Drei. Prine. 14, 54).
"The quinta essentia is paradisical life in the beavey world, and shut up in the outer world (i. e. not fred or retained by her, only not visible)” (Clavis specialis).
Fire, air, water, and earth proceeded out of the centre of nature, and before the conflagration existed, in oze being. But since the conflagration they show themselves in four forms, which are called four elements; but they are still in each other as one, and, in truth, only one exists. There are not four elements in heaven, but one, yet all four forms lie concealed in that one” (Dreif. Leben, 5, 105).
From this celestial ground the outward, terrestrial elements proceeded; and first fire, then air, then water, and last the earth element, was here distinguished.
As the elements proceeded from an original unity, they long eagerly for each other, but are also involved at the same time in strife and adversity.
"The four elements are only properties of the one divided element; therefore is such great anguish and desire among them. Internally, they have only one single basis; therefore one must long after the other, and seek that inner basis in the other" (Clav. 106).
"After the element which has only one will produced four elements, which now govern in one body, adversity and strife commenced among them. Heat is now opposed to cold, fire to water, air to earth; each is the death and destruction of the other" (Sign. 15, 4).
*Böhme does not intend to maintain, either here or else where, that the quadrupleness of the elements is abolished in the heavenly region. Of a certainty, even the lower forms of nature must exist in the eternal, and especially so; that the higher ones may reveal themselves in full glory
therefore the different elements exist equally even in heavenly nature, but not in their division, neither in mutual restraint, but rather in harmony, and adapted to their reciprocal glorification. "As long," says our author, emphatically (Gnadenwahl, 6, 4), "as these four-fire, light, air, and water-separate from each other, the Eternal is not there; but when they endure the companionship of each other, and do not fly asunder, then the Eternal is present."
In the products of the earth, as, for instance, in so many minerals, the true essence appears enclosed in death, but from others, especially the valuable metals and precious stones, it shines out upon us in some degree.
"It appears strange to the understanding, when it considers the earth with its hard stones and its rough, harsh existence, and sees how great rocks and stones are formed, of which a part are of no use, or are only a hindrance to the creatures of the world" (Myst. x. 1).
"The terrestrial torment destroyed the heavenly, and became a Turba to the latter, as the Fiat made earth and stones out of the eternal essence" (Menschw. i. 9, 8).
"But we find in the earth another essence, which has community with the heavenly, especially in the precious metals" (Sechs theos. Punkte, vi. 6, 2.)
"Gold approaches to the divine essence or celestial corporealness, as we should perceive if we could dissolve its dead body and make it a living spirit, which is only possible by the movement of God" (Sign. iii. 39).
"As regards the precious stones, such as carbuncles, rubies, emeralds, delphinite, onyx, and such, they have their origin where the lightning of light and love has arisen (comp. § 31). This lightning is born in gentleness, and is the very centre of the source-spirits; therefore these stones are so sweet and lovely and withal so strong" (Aur. xviii. 17).
OF THE NATURE OF MAN AFTER THE FALL.
As God himself from eternity bears the focus of light in himself, so there exists in the soul the desire of penetrating into the second principle, and of living on the light of God.
"The soul is in its substance a magic source of fire and of the nature of God the father,-a great desire after light." "But if the soul, as was the case with Adam, does not abandon its will to God, the divine Idea in it, although not destroyed, is rendered inactive.
"One must not think that man's heavenly being is become a nonentity. It has remained to him, but was as a nonentity in his life. It was concealed in God, and was incomprehensible to man without life" (Myst. xx. 28).
"The soul's essence out of the unfathomable will is not dead; she will destroy nothing, but remains eternally a free will. But she has lost the holy essence in which God's light and fire of love burned; neither is she become a nonentity, although to the creature soul both a nonentity and insensitive; but the holy power, i. e., the spirit of God, in which was the active life, concealed itself" (Gnadenw. vii. 11).
* God has not left the soul, but the soul God, as Böhme emphatically says. "God," he says, (Gnadenw. vii. 12) "did not withdraw himself from the soul, but the science of the free will withdrew itself from God, in the same way as the sun does not withdraw himself from the thistle, but the thistle from the sun." Only through itself, and completely without and against the divine will, has the soul lost the light of the eternal, which formerly could be active in her, and by whose light she was penetrated. godlike essence of man is not even completely lost by the fall, but is only gone back out of the state of actual being into a state of mere potentiality, in which sense our author compares it with an extinguished taper, which evidently has the flame in it as a power, but only as such. "If the light of the divine principle," says he (Myst. xx. tinguished, the being in which it burned and
27), "is ex shone is a
dead and as a nonentity. It is like a taper, which so long as it burns in a dark place makes the whole room light; but if extinguished, it leaves no trace behind, and the power comes to nothing."
If the soul allow the true light and life in her to be thus extinguished, it is natural, that their wrathful and hostile power will be felt.
"As God's word or heart takes its origin in the life of majesty, in the eternal fire-essence of the Father, thus also the image of the soul. The true image of God dwells in the light of the soul-fire, and this light must derive its ardent being from God's fountains of love, from his majesty, through her imagination and inspiration! But if the soul does not do this, but imagines in herself awful forms of the fiery torment, and not of the fountain of love, and in the light of God, the results in her will be sharpness and bitterness (comp. § 71 and § 72), her own torment, and thus the image of God will be swallowed up in wrath."
Thus has man by his fall attracted God's wrath, opened to himself the kingdom of hell, and forms to himself hellish figures.
"When man had lost the pure and clear image, the soul stood only in the property of the father, i. e. in eternal nature, which, apart from the light of God, is wrath and a destroying fire" (Tinct. i. 285).
"By means of the fall there was, in God's anger, opened in man a gate of the dark world, namely hell, the pit of the devil; and thus was also opened in him the realm of fancy" (Gnadenw. vii. 7).
"If we are to speak of the soul's substance, and of the essences, we must say that she is the very rudest part of man, fiery, harsh, bitter, and rough. If she entirely loses the virginity of divine strength given to her, from which the light of God is born in the soul, she becomes a devil" (Drei Princ. xiii. 30).
"After man had established himself in his own inclinations, and had turned his will from God, he began to form carthly and hellish figures; such as curses, oaths, lies, and such like."
We, poor children of Eve, must feel great pain, grief, and misery in us, when the wrath reaches us, leads and
torments us, so that we live no longer as the children of God in love amongst each other, but persecute, abuse, slander, and calumniate one another, with envy, hatred, murder, and poison, and always wish each other only evil" (Tinct. i. 4). "What wicked men in this world do in their wickedness and falseness, is done in the world of darkness by the devils" (Sechs, theos. Punkte, ix. 18).
"One man torments another, and is, therefore, the devil of the other" (Dreif. Leben, xvii. 10).
* When Böhme says that man in consequence of the fall has incurred the anger and wrath of God, and that his soul is only the Father's properties, which are a consuming fire, this must evidently not be understood of God's nature itself, but only from the reflected divine properties contained in man. In God himself, a separation of the principles is utterly incomprehensible. With such a supposition the eternity and immutability of the highest would be straightway destroyed. But as far as the said destruction takes place in man, the light of the eternal glory must of course fall in a perverted, troublesome manner on him, and thus indeed make itself felt by him as a consuming fire, and the endless love appear to him as wrath and anger.
But God has preserved him that he should not so easily become a devil, and especially by permitting him to enter into the outward terrestrial life.
"God placed the soul in flesh and blood, that she might not be so susceptible of the wrathful essence. Thus she can meanwhile enjoy the reflection of the sun, and rejoice in the sidereal essence" (Sechs theos. Punkte, vii. 19). “It was not without reason that God breathed into Adam's nostrils the outer spirit, the outer life. Adam might also like Lucifer have become a devil, but the outward mirror prevented it" (Vierz. Fragen, xvi. 11). "Many a soul would. in her wickedness become a devil in an hour, if the outward life did not prevent it, so that the soul cannot quite inflame herself" (Ebend. xvi. 12).
"If we consider ourselves as a whole, we find the outer spirit very useful. Many souls would be destroyed if the animal spirit did not keep the fire a prisoner, and represent to the fire-spirit, mundane, animal work and joy, in which