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Title: Dialogues on the Supersensual Life
Author: Böhme, Jakob, 1575-1624
Language: English
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DIALOGUES

ON

THE SUPERSENSUAL LIFE

BY

JACOB BEHMEN

EDITED BY BERNARD HOLLAND

METHUEN & CO.
36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.
LONDON
1901

_Desiderare est Mereri_



PREFACE


The Works of Jacob Behmen, the "Teutonic Theosopher," translated into
English, were first printed in England in the seventeenth century,
between 1644 and 1662. In the following century a complete edition in
This edition, completed in the year 1781, was compiled in part from the
older English edition, and in part from later fragmentary translations
by Law and others. It is not easily accessible to the general reader,
and, moreover, the greater part of Behmen's Works could not be
recommended save to those who had the time and power to plunge into that
deep sea in search of the many noble pearls which it contains.

Behmen's language and way of thought are remote and strange, and in
reading his thought one has often to pass it through a process of
intellectual translation. This is chiefly true of his earlier work, the
"Aurora" or "Morning Redness." But among those works which he wrote
during the last five years of his life there are some written in a
thought-language less difficult to be understood, yet containing the
essential teaching of this humble Master of Divine Science. From these I
have selected some which may, in a small volume, be useful. It seemed
that for this purpose it would be best to take the "Dialogues of the
Supersensual Life," including as one of them the beautiful, really
separate, Dialogue, called in the Complete Works, "The way from darkness
to true illumination." In the case of neither of these works is the
translation used that of the seventeenth century. The first three
dialogues are a translation made by William Law, one of the greatest
masters of the English language, and found in MS. after his death. This
translation from the original German is not exactly literal, but rather
a liberal version, or paraphrase, the thought of Behmen being expanded
and elucidated, though in nowise departed from. The dialogue called "The
way from darkness to true illumination" was taken by the eighteenth
century editors from a book containing translations of certain smaller
treatises of Behmen then lately printed at Bristol and made, as they
say, "in a style better adapted to the taste and more accommodated to
the apprehension of modern readers." I do not know who was the
translator, but the work seems to be excellently well done.

It will be well to say a few words first as to the life, then as to the
leading ideas of Jacob Behmen. This name is more correctly written Jacob
Boehme, but I prefer to retain the more easily pronounced spelling of
Behmen, adopted by the Editors of both the complete English editions.

Jacob Behmen's outward life was simplicity itself. He was born in the
year 1575 at Alt Seidenberg, a village among pastoral hills, near
Görlitz in Lusatia, a son of poor peasants. As a boy he watched the
herds in the fields, and was then apprenticed to a shoemaker, being not
enough robust for rural work. One day, when the master and his wife were
out, and he was alone in the house, a stranger entered the shop and
asked for a pair of shoes. Jacob had no authority to conclude a bargain
and asked a high price for the shoes in the hope that the stranger would
not buy. But the man paid the price, and when he had gone out into the
street, called out "Jacob, come forth." Jacob obeyed the call, and now
the stranger looked at him with a kindly, earnest, deep, soul-piercing
gaze, and said, "Jacob, thou art as yet but little, but the time will
come when thou shalt be great, and become another man, and the world
shall marvel at thee. Therefore be pious, fear God, and reverence his
Word; especially read diligently the Holy Scriptures, where thou hast
comfort and instruction; for thou must endure much misery and poverty,
and suffer persecution. But be courageous and persevere, for God loves,
and is gracious unto thee." So saying, the stranger clasped his hand,
and disappeared.

After this Jacob became even more pensive and serious, and would
admonish the other journeymen on the work-bench when they spoke lightly
of sacred things. His master disliked this and dismissed him, saying
that he would have no "house-prophet" to bring trouble into his house.
Thus Jacob was forced to go forth into the world as a travelling
journeyman, and, as he wandered about in that time of fierce religious
discord, the world appeared to him to be a "Babel." He was himself
afflicted by troubles and doubts, but clave to prayer and to Scripture,
and especially to the words in Luke xi.; "How much more shall your
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." And once,
when he was again engaged for a time by a master, he was lifted into a
state of blessed peace, a Sabbath of the Soul, that lasted for seven
days, during which he was, as it were, inwardly surrounded by a Divine
Light. "The triumph that was then in my soul I can neither tell nor
describe. I can only liken it to a resurrection from the dead."

Jacob returned in 1594 to Görlitz, became a master shoemaker in 1599,
married a tradesman's daughter, and had four children. In the year 1600
"sitting one day in his room, his eye fell upon a burnished pewter dish
which reflected the sunshine with such marvellous splendour that he fell
into a deep inward ecstasy and it seemed to him as if he could now look
into the principles and deepest foundations of things. He believed that
it was only a fancy, and in order to banish it from his mind he went out
upon the green. But here he remarked that he gazed into the very heart
of things; the very herbs and grass, and that Nature harmonised with
what he had inwardly seen. He said nothing about this to any one, but
praised and thanked God in silence. He continued in the honest practice
of his craft, was attentive to his domestic affairs, and was on terms of
goodwill with all men."[A]

At the age of thirty-five, in the year 1610, Jacob Behmen suddenly
perceived that all which he had seen in a fragmentary way was forming
itself into a coherent whole, and felt a "fire-like" impulse, a yearning
to write it down, as a "Memorial," not for publication, but lest he
should forget it himself. He wrote it early in the morning before work,
and late in the evening after work. This was his "Morning Redness" or
"Aurora."

A nobleman of the country, called Carl von Endern, happened to see the
MS. at the shoemaker's house, was struck by it, and had some copies
made. One of these fell into the hands of the Lutheran Clergyman of
Görlitz, Pastor Primarius Gregorius Richter, who thenceforth became a
bitter opponent of Behmen. He assailed him in sermons, in language of
savage invective, as a heretic of the most dangerous kind, until Jacob
was summoned before the Magistrates, and forbidden to write anything in
future. He was told that as a shoemaker he must confine himself to his
own trade. But the affair, as is usually the case, had an effect the
reverse of that intended by persecutors. It made him known to various
persons more learned than himself who were interested in the subject,
and from his converse with them he learned a better style, and some
Latin technical terms, which he afterwards found useful for expressing
his thoughts.

Jacob obeyed for some years the magisterial command to write nothing,
but it was very grievous to him, and he often reflected with dismay on
the parable of the talents and how "that one talent which 'tis death to
hide" was lodged with him useless. At length he would keep silence no
more. He says himself: "I had resolved to do nothing in future, but to
be quiet before God in obedience, and to let the devil, with all his
host, sweep over me. But it was with me as when a seed is hidden in the
earth. It grows up in storm and rough weather against all reason. For in
winter time all is dead, and reason says: 'It is all over with it.' But
the precious seed within me sprouted and grew green, oblivious of all
storms, and, amid disgrace and ridicule, it has blossomed forth into a
lily."

Between the year 1619 and his death in 1624, at the age of forty-nine,
he poured forth his stored up thoughts, writing a number of Works,
including those in the present volume, which were among his very latest.
He had the more time to write because his shoemaking business had fallen
off, by reason, perhaps, of the question as to his orthodoxy, but some
friends supplied him with the necessaries of life. He was now exposed
to fresh attacks from Gregorius Richter and was forced this time to go
into exile. At this period he went to the Electoral Court at Dresden
where the Prince was curious about him, and a conference took place
between him and John Gerhard and other eminent theologians. At the close
of this Dr Gerhard said: "I would not take the whole world and help to
condemn this man." And his colleague Meissner said, "My good brother,
neither would I. Who knows what stands behind this man? How can we judge
what we have not understood? May God convert this man if he is in error.
He is a man of marvellously high mental gifts who at present can neither
be condemned nor approved."

Soon afterwards, while Jacob was staying at the house of one of his
noble friends in Silesia he fell into a fever. At his own request he was
carried back to Görlitz, and there awaited his end. On Sunday, November
21st 1624, in the early hours he called his son Tobias and asked him if
he did not hear that sweet melodious music. As Tobias heard nothing,
Jacob asked him to set wide the door so that he might the better hear
it; then he asked what was the hour, and when he was told that it had
just struck two he said, "My time is not yet; three hours hence is my
time." After some silence he exclaimed, "Oh thou strong God of Sabaoth,
deliver me according to thy Will," and immediately afterwards "Thou
Crucified Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me and take me to thyself
into thy Kingdom." At six in the morning he suddenly bade them farewell
with a smile, and said, "Now I go hence into Paradise," and yielded up
his Spirit.

Frankenberg writes of him: "His bodily appearance was somewhat mean; he
was small of stature, had a low forehead but prominent temples, a rather
aquiline nose, a scanty beard, grey eyes, sparkling into heavenly blue,
a feeble but genial voice. He was modest in his bearing, unassuming in
conversation, lowly in conduct, patient in suffering, and
gentle-hearted."

As the shoemaker of Görlitz had in his life-time some disciples among
highly educated men, so has he always had a few since his departure from
this life. Men so diversely situated as the non-juror William Law in
England; St Martin, the "philosophe inconnu" of the French Revolution;
the sincere Catholic, Franz Baader, in Germany; Martensen, the
Protestant Bishop in Denmark, have found in him their Teacher.

The selections contained in the present book belong rather to the
practical or ethical side of Jacob Behmen's teaching than to his
Cosmogony, or _Vision_, as one may best call it, of the nature of all
things. I think that any old cottager, who had read nothing but his
Bible, but had lived his life, would well understand the general
teaching of most that is contained in these Dialogues, and would find
all Behmen's words most beautiful and comforting. It is not, therefore,
necessary for the present purpose to attempt fully to set forth the
whole Vision of Behmen, nor, in any case would it be within my power to
do so. But it may be of service to those readers who are not acquainted
with the writings of Behmen or of his disciples, if I here say something
as to his general teaching with regard to the nature of the soul of man
and its relation to that which is not itself, but like to itself.

The Soul, in the doctrine of Behmen, is a Being which has a will or
desire, and is aided by a mirror of understanding or imagination. Will
or Desire is of the very essence of the Soul, inseparable from its
existence. He says: "Where Desire is there is also Essence or Being."
The Soul is subject to the diverse attractions of the Centre of Divine
Life and Light, and of the Spirit of the World. Enlightened by its
understanding it has the free power to turn its will towards, and unite
itself to, this or that. "Choose well, thy choice is brief and yet
endless."

The Soul is a magic Fire derived out of, or from, God the Father's
Essence, _lumen de lumine_, and imprisoned in darkness. It is an intense
and incessant Desire after the Light; it longs to return to the
Light-centre, whence it originally came, that is, to the "heart of God."
Thus longing, it is a "Fire of Anguish," until it becomes a "Fire of
Love." It is a fire of anguish, so long as it is shut up in its dark
self. It is a fire of love when it pierces through and escapes from its
dark self-prison and burns freely and softly in union with the Divine
Love. God then comes as a Light, a soft purifying Fire into the Soul,
and changes all the wanting, hungering, empty, restless, self-tormenting
properties of the Natural Life into a sweetness of rest and peace. This
is called in Scripture the "new birth." Thus the same thing--the same
Fire,--is a cause of torment or of joy according to the conditions under
which it is. Man, who is a microcosm of the whole Universe, is a
mingling of light and darkness. His anguish comes from his Soul's
imprisonment in darkness (as a mere raging fire) and continues until it
can break forth and unite itself with _that_ whence it came and to which
it belongs.

Behmen says "The Eternal Darkness of the Soul is Hell, viz.: an aching
source of anguish, which is called the Anger of God, but the Eternal
Light in the Soul is the Kingdom of Heaven, where the fiery anguish of
darkness is turned into joy. For the _same_ nature of anguish, which, in
the Darkness, is a cause of sadness, is, in the Light, a cause of the
outward and stirring joy.... The Fire is painful and consuming, but the
Light is yielding, friendly, powerful and delightful, a sweet and
amiable Joy."

Pure delight, with no trace of doubt or fear, hope or regret, is the
sign of the presence of Love or Light. So again Behmen says: "The Fire
in the Light is a fire of Love, but the Fire in the Darkness is a fire
of Anguish, and is painful, irksome, and full of contrariety." The end
to which all things tend is the final separation of light from darkness;
the "last day" means this; but the present world is a perpetual mixture
of light and darkness, good and evil, joy and anguish. So, the Cross of
Jesus is at once the highest embodiment of Love and Hate.

It is remarkable that in this doctrine of light and darkness Behmen was
nearly followed by one who had not, I suppose, ever heard of him,
reading as he did little of anything but the Bible, who worked on the
Scriptures with his own powerful and earnest insight, the Christian
hero, Charles Gordon. In his little book called "Reflections in
Palestine" written in that one year, 1883, of unbroken repose from
action spent in the Holy Land, just before his final service at
Khartoom, Gordon dwells upon the repetition, as he calls it, _both in
the individual soul, and in the world's history_ of four processes
constantly recurring,--a state of darkness, a light breaking forth
through darkness, a division of light from darkness or gathering
together of light, a re-dispersion of light into darkness, and then a
renewal of the four processes, ever upon an ascending level of good,
directed towards the final elimination of all light from the darkness.

Fire must have fuel, something on which to feed. It must feed or perish.
But the magic Fire-spirit, the Soul, cannot perish because it is an
eternal Essence. Therefore it must either feed; or _hunger_. It desires
spiritual essence or "virtue" to allay its raging hunger. But, during
the space that it is embodied in this nature, it can feed _either_ on
the Divine Spirit, or upon the Spirit of this World. "Hence," says
Behmen, "we may understand the cause of that infinite variety which is
in the Wills and Actions of Men." For of whatsoever the Soul eateth, and
wherewith its Fire-life becometh kindled; "according to that the Soul's
life is led and governed." You become like to that which you eat. If the
Soul breaks forth out of its Nature-self and enters into "God's
Love-fire," it eats of the Divine Essence (the substance or flesh of
Christ) and it is to this that Jesus Christ referred when he spoke of
feeding upon his body, and when he spoke of the true bread from heaven
"which giveth life to the World" (John vi. 33), of which he that eateth
shall "live for ever" (John vi. 58), or the "living water," whereof
whosoever drinketh "shall never thirst," but it shall be to him "a well
of water springing up into everlasting life" (John iv. 13, 14). This
feeding is in no way metaphorical but as real and actual as physical
feeding.

Behmen says, "The Essence of that Life eateth the Flesh of Christ and
drinketh His Blood.... Now if the Soul eat of this sweet, holy and
heavenly food, then it kindleth itself with the great Love in the name
and power of Jesus, whence its fire of anguish becometh a great triumph
of joy and glory."[B]

Behmen held that man lives at once in three worlds, firstly in the
outward visible elementary world of space and time (where man "_is_ the
Time and _in_ the Time;") secondly, the "Eternal Dark World, Hell, the
centre of Eternal Nature, whence is _generated_ the Soul-fire, that
source of anguish, and thirdly, in the Eternal Light World, Heaven--the
Divine habitation." The same processes of feeding and life take place in
the three Worlds, so that physical feeding is a kind of outside sheath
of spiritual feeding.

If the Soul accustoms itself to feed in this life upon the heavenly food
(that _panem de coelo omne delectamentum in se habentem_) it gradually
itself becomes of quite heavenly substance, purged from darkness, and,
when the natural life falls off at death, stands in heaven, where indeed
it already is. But, if the Soul feeds upon the Spirit and Things of this
World, then, when by reason of death, it can no longer feed upon them,
it is left in the condition of mere "aching Desire," or eternal
unsatisfied Hunger, working in a void, in perpetual anguish. Thus Heaven
and Hell are not places, but conditions of the Soul. So Milton, who had
no doubt studied the translation of Behmen made in his own time,
writes:

    "The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

They are in this life everywhere commingled, but when this life falls
away, the Soul remains in that of the two states into which it has in
this life brought itself. The Soul, after death, remains _either_ as a
satisfied Desire, that is, a Desire no longer but a Joy, _or_ as an
aching Desire. The Persian says:--

    Heaven is the vision of fulfilled Desire
    And Hell the shadow of a Soul on fire.

Behmen says, Heaven _is_ fulfilled desire; Hell _is_ a Soul on fire, no
mere vision or shadow.

Heaven and Hell are within us, since our souls are portions of the
universe of things, in every part of which Heaven and Hell are
commingled. The gates of Heaven within us were shut in Adam, but the
Power of God, Christ in Jesus, broke open by his passion "the closed
gates of Paradise," that is, the gates of our "inward heavenly
humanity," and now the wayfarer can, if he will, pass through. We do not
spiritually live by a reasoning process, or acceptance of doctrines by
the understanding, but by the action of the Desire in feeding upon the
Spirit of Love, a process of laying hold, drawing in, and assimilating.
True prayer is like feeding, or still more, perhaps, like the
unconscious drawing in of the air: it should be as constant. By it is
introduced the heavenly life from without to nourish the like heavenly
life contained in the seed within. If a man thus rightly feeds, then, in
him, the hellish life and passions, portions of the powers of darkness,
"our creatures" as Behmen says, will be killed by starvation, wanting
their appropriate food. On the other hand, a man can feed these also
from without with their appropriate food by misdirected desire, thereby
starving the heavenly life in the Soul.

Thus the essence of Behmen's teaching as to the Soul incarnate in Man
and revealed by his body, is that it is an eternal Being, and that it is
a source of joy or anguish according as it is, or is not, purified or
tranquillised by communion with the Centre of Light, or the Fountain of
Life. He does not contemplate, as some Eastern teachers perhaps do, the
annihilation of the Will of the Soul by a kind of higher spiritual
suicide; its existence is to him the very condition of good no less than
of evil; he contemplates its liberation from the dark, contracted,
self-prison, its purification, and entrance into the full heaven-life.
This magical soul-fire, like visible fire, can rage and destroy, or it
can serve as the means and ground of all good. Here is the foundation
both of good and evil, in man as in all things.

To understand this better, one must consider the cosmic teaching lying
behind the rich profusion of images, often inconsistent and clashing, in
which Jacob Behmen embodies his Vision.

Man has fallen into Nature. But Nature itself, apart from and unfilled
by the Divine Light, is a self-torment, a mere Want, a Desire, a Hunger.
The true distinction between God and Nature is that God is an Universal
All, while Nature is an Universal Want, viz: to be filled by God.
Physical attraction is nothing but the outer sheath of this universal
desire. Nature filled by God is Heaven or fulfilled Desire.[C] Without
God it is Hell, mere Desire. Heaven is the Presence of God: Hell his
Absence. It is as true to say that Heaven is in God, as to say that God
is in Heaven.

Apart from the existence of God there could be neither Presence nor
Absence, neither Heaven nor Hell. If the Soul of Man were wholly divided
and separated from the Divine Life, it would, as a part of Nature, be a
mere hungering, restless, conscious Desire. In so far as it is so
separated it partakes of this pain. For "through all the Universe of
Things nothing is uneasy, unsatisfied, or restless, but because it is
not governed by Love, or because its Nature has not reached or attained
the full birth of the Spirit of Love. For when that is done, every
hunger is satisfied, and all complaining, murmuring, accusing,
resenting, revenging and striving are as totally suppressed and overcome
as coldness, thickness and horror of darkness are suppressed and
overcome by the breaking forth of the light. If you ask why the Spirit
of Love cannot be displeased, cannot be disappointed, cannot complain,
accuse, resent or murmur, it is because the Spirit of Love desires
nothing but itself, it is its own Good, for Love is God, and he that
dwelleth in God dwelleth in Love."[D]

Behmen's idea of the "fallen Angels" is that they are entirely and
hopelessly divided from the Life of God. They are mere embodied,
hopeless, self-tormenting Desires. They have fallen into the hell within
themselves, they _cannot but_ be hating, bitter, envious, proud,
wrathful, restless; and therefore tormentors of others. They have lost
that which man, however far astray, always possesses, the faculty of
return or regeneration through submission to and union with God. The
spark of the Life and Spirit of God which is in Men is not in the
fallen Angels. Let us hope that Beings so utterly lost do not exist.

God is outside of Nature and yet in a sense inside also, because there
is a divine life or virtue in Nature which, longing to re-unite itself
with its source, is a cause of anguish while divided, and of joy when
united. So, in the outer world, the seed buried in earth contains a
power kindred to the virtue of the sun. It is this which breaks forth
from the seed, forces itself up through the dark, imprisoning, and yet
nourishing and necessary earth, and at last, if it can win its way
through obstacles, cheerfully expands in the light of the sun and feeds
upon his warmth. That, in man's inner nature, which answers to this
power or life in the seed, is called by Behmen the Life or Spirit of
Jesus Christ. Egoism or _Ihood_, the old contracting, narrowing cell, is
destroyed as this expansive and expanding force grows and breaks forth.
Behmen says: "As the Sun in the visible world ruleth over Evil and Good,
and, with its light and power, and all whatsoever itself is, is present
everywhere, and penetrates into every Being, and wholly giveth itself to
every Being, and yet ever remaineth whole, and nothing of its being
goeth away therewith. Thus also it is to be understood concerning
Christ's person and office which ruleth in the inward spiritual world,
and penetrateth into the faithful man's soul, spirit and heart. As the
Sun worketh through a herb, so that the herb becometh filled with the
virtue of the Sun, and, as it were, so converted by the Sun that it
becometh wholly of the nature of the Sun, so Christ ruleth in the
resigned will or Soul and Body, over all evil inclinations and
generateth the man to be a new heavenly creature." The same teaching is
finely set forth in a passage of William Law.[E] He says:

"Man has a spark of the Light and Spirit of God, as a supernatural gift
of God given into the birth of his Soul to bring forth by degrees a new
birth of that life which was lost in Paradise. This holy spark of the
Divine Nature within him has a natural, strong, and almost infinite
tendency or reaching after that eternal Light and Spirit of God, from
whence it came forth. It came forth from God, it came _out_ of God, it
partaketh of the Divine Nature, and therefore it is always in a state of
tendency and return to God. All this is called the breathing, the
moving, the quickening of the Holy Spirit within us, which are so many
operations of this spark of life tending towards God. On the other hand
the Deity as considered in itself, and without the Soul of man, has an
infinite unchangeable tendency of love and desire towards the Soul of
man, to unite and communicate its own riches and glories to it, just as
the Spirit of the air _without_ Man unites and communicates its riches
and virtues to the Spirit of the air that is _within_ Man. This love or
desire of God toward the soul of Man is so great that he gave his
only-begotten Son, the brightness of his glory, to take the human nature
upon him, in its fallen state, that by this mysterious union of God and
Man, all the enemies of the Soul of Man might be overcome, and every
human creature might have a power of being born again according to that
Image of God in which he was first created. The gospel is the history of
this Love of God to Man. _Inwardly_ he has a seed of the Divine Life
given into the birth of his Soul, a seed that has all the riches of
eternity in it, and is always wanting to come to the birth in him, and
be alive in God. _Outwardly_ he has Jesus Christ, who as a Sun of
Righteousness, is always casting forth his enlivening beams on this
inward seed, to kindle and call it forth to the birth, doing that to
this Seed of Heaven in Man, which the sun in the firmament is always
doing to the vegetable seeds in the earth.

"Consider this matter in the following similitude. A grain of wheat has
the air and light of this world enclosed or incorporated in it. This is
the mystery of its life, this is its power of growing, by this it has a
strong continual tendency of uniting again with that ocean of light and
air from whence it came forth. On the other hand that great ocean of
light and air, having its own offspring hidden in the heart of the grain
has a perpetual strong tendency to unite and communicate with it again.
From this _desire of union on both sides_, the vegetable life arises and
all the virtues and powers contained in it. But let it be well observed
that this desire on both sides cannot have its effect till the husk and
gross part of the grain falls into a state of corruption and death; till
this begins, the mystery of life hidden in it cannot come forth."

The sun only acts by stirring up in each thing, and calling into
activity, its own imprisoned, dormant, heat or life. Save by the same
nature-process, working in an inner sphere, there cannot come to pass
the flower and fruit of the Soul. The Sun, true emblem of the Redeeming
Spirit, helps each vital force to break forth from its state of
death--even though, like the grains of wheat found in Egyptian graves
and then new-planted, it has been immured there thousands of years--and
to enter into its highest possible state of life. Indeed, in this school
of wisdom, the natural visible light, of which the Sun is the dispensing
medium to our solar system, and other suns to other circles of planets,
is actually an outer manifestation of the inner supernatural light, and
warmth, not a mere emblem at all. We speak more truly than we know, when
we speak of a "heavenly day." All Nature is a series of "out-births" of
the Deity. "The outward world," says Behmen, "is sprung out of the
inward spiritual world, viz., out of Light and Darkness." And his
English interpreter says: "Whatever is delightful and ravishing, sublime
and glorious in spirits, minds, or bodies, either in heaven, or on
earth, is from the power of the Supernatural Light opening its endless
wonders in them. Hell has no misery, horror or distraction, but because
it has no communication with the supernatural Light. And did not the
supernatural Light stream forth its blessings into this world, through
the materiality of the Sun, all outward Nature would be full of the
horror of Hell." And elsewhere, "There is no meekness, benevolence or
goodness in Angel, Man, _or any other Creature_, but where Light is the
Lord of its life. Life itself begins no sooner, rises no higher, has no
other glory, than as the Light begins it, and leads it on. Sounds have
no softness, flowers and germs no sweetness, plants and fruits have no
growth, but as the Mystery of Light opens itself in them."[F] And so
Behmen himself says: "There is nothing that is created or born in Nature
but it also manifests its internal form externally; for the internal
continually labours or works itself forth to manifestation. We know in
the power and form of this World, how the only Essence has manifested
itself with the external birth in the desire of the similitude; how it
has manifested itself in so many forms and shapes, which we see and know
in the stars and elements, likewise in the living creatures, and also in
the trees and herbs." Thus there is a real communion between all beauty,
sweetness, and glory, within and without the Soul of man.

It is this truth, not of the analogy between the essential life of Man
and Nature, but of the unity in all things, that is now opening itself
out in many ways. Wordsworth, a true seer, has given to it its highest
expression in English Poetry. Modern science all tends to confirmation
of this unity.

God, then, must become Man, there must be a birth of the Life of God in
the Soul, in order that the Soul may live its highest life. Only in
this way can the wild properties of Nature be subordinated and turned to
their proper use, their restless hunger pacified. Goodness and happiness
can be expected from nothing else but from the Divine Life united to and
dwelling in the Nature Life. It is the "ingrafted Word" of St James'
Epistle.

The plant cannot but grow towards the sun. If it is too deep in earth,
or prevented by a strong soil, or withered by dryness, so that it cannot
attain to its end, the fault is not with it. But, in the spiritual inner
world (in which the plant dwells not) the Soul of man has this
freedom--that it can consciously turn towards God, whose Spirit and Life
will then come forth to meet it, or can turn towards the Things of this
World. Upon this freedom of choice is founded Behmen's moral teaching.
The Soul is like a woman (and all nations have testified in their
languages and parables to their sense of this) who can freely choose to
submit and surrender her body to this Lover, or to that. When she has
chosen her free power ends. As she has chosen, so her life-faculty will
be fertilised by good or evil; so will be the new life that arises
within her, and so will be her future joy or sorrow.

In a deep sense, the desire of the spark of Life in the Soul to return
to its Original Source is part of the longing desire of the universal
Life for its own heart or centre. Of this longing the universal
attraction, striving against resistance, towards an universal centre,
proved to govern the phenomenal or physical world, is but the outer
sheath and visible working. It has been said that Sir Isaac Newton (who
was a diligent reader of Behmen's Works) "ploughed with Jacob Behmen's
heifer." There is in truth but one Religion, that founded upon the
eternal, immutable, universal processes of the actual Nature of things,
and of this Christianity, rightly apprehended, is the supreme
Revelation. This will be seen better by all as the Religion unfolds
itself. Rightly speaking there is no such thing as _supernatural_
religion; there is but one Religion, that of Nature. It is the work of
visible religion to teach by signs and parables, embodying the mystery
in symbols, and clothing it with adoration.

Jacob Behmen's mode of expression is all his own, and there is much in
the fabric of his thought which men of our time, if they take a
superficial view, would not find it easy to accept. The doctrine of
Evolution now profoundly influences every corner of the field of
thought. We now incline to think rather of the rise of Man out of Nature
than of his fall into it, though, perhaps, there can no more be a rise
without a precedent fall, than there can be a return without a precedent
out-going. Evolution may be the time-form of Attraction. But all this
affects the outside form, not the essence of the doctrine. Behmen is
concerned with the real nature of things, apart from time and space,
with their apparent, but so misleading, facts. He appeals to each Soul's
knowledge of itself, and, on the principle that _all is in everything_,
draws from the nature of Man, that little Universe (and we can no
otherwise learn things as they are in themselves), his teaching as to
Universal Nature. "In Man (he says) lies all whatsoever the Sun shines
upon, or Heaven contains, as also Hell and all the Deeps." His Iliad is
the struggle between light and darkness, life and death, expansion and
contraction, the centripetal and centrifugal force, heat and cold, love
and hatred, peace and wrath, humility and pride, self-sacrifice and
self-seeking, joy and anguish, repose and restlessness, in the whole of
Nature and in the Soul of Man. Does not every man, who has lived his
full life, know the truth and reality of all this? It is known more
especially and actually by those ardent and adventurous spirits who have
sailed in far seas of thought or action, not merely coasting along the
shores of tradition, authority and established rule. Sinners know some
things more vividly than those who ever and easily have been good. Only
the man who has been sick knows the difference between sickness and
health. The prodigal who had wandered in a far country and had lived as
he would, understood the meaning of peace and love better than the
brother who had always stayed at home.

These wanderers, if they return in time, know best, taught by the
heart-rending lessons of experience, the difference between the Heaven
and Hell within them; the Hell of wrath, self-torment, fear, anxiety,
envy, malice, evil-will, pride, cruelty, sensual passion, longing to
domineer, and the Heaven of love, benevolence, meekness, humility,
compassion, peace, joy, long-suffering.

They know that Heaven and Hell can alike be revealed in the Soul. From
youth they have felt something in them striving, often feebly enough,
against passionate desires for wealth, honour, success, and for mastery
over the minds, affections, and bodies of others. Behind all this
turmoil and ever unsatisfied anguish of seeking that which satisfies
not, they have been aware of a diviner life slowly growing towards
heaven, ever and again thwarted and driven back by the renewed assaults
of the Spirit of the World, yet never quite destroyed. At the moments of
fiercest fight against rebel passions they have felt the divine
assisting strength flow into them, if only they powerfully invoked it,
turning towards its source as a babe towards its mother's breast. They
have heard the "Peace be still" amid the wildest spiritual storms. They
know that if they have been saved, it is not by their own strength nor
by reasoning, but by this power from without.

They know the impotence, in action, of the merely reflective or
spectator faculty. In this sense of the word "reason," they would agree
with him who wrote "Your Heart is the best and greatest gift of God to
you; it is the highest, greatest, strongest, and noblest Power of your
Nature; it forms your whole Life, be it what it will; all Evil and all
Good comes from it; your Heart alone has the key of Life and Death; it
does all that it will; Reason is but its plaything; and whether in Time
or Eternity, can only be a mere Beholder of the wonders of happiness, or
forms of misery, which the right or wrong working of the Heart is
entered into."[G]

William Law remarks that Jesus Christ, though he had all wisdom, yet
gives but a small number of doctrines to mankind "whilst every moral
teacher writes volumes upon every single virtue." It is, he adds,
because our Lord "knew what they know not, that our whole malady lies
in this, that the Will of our Mind is turned into this World, and that
nothing can relieve us, or set us right, but the _turning_ of the Will
of our Mind and the Desire of our Hearts to God. And hence it is that he
calls us to nothing but a total denial of ourselves and the Life of this
World and to faith in him as the Worker of a new birth and life in us."
On this one root of the whole matter Jacob Behmen insisted, expressing
one truth in a thousand ways and through images, which to him are not
images but the same process working in other spheres. His whole
practical, moral teaching enforces the right direction of Desire. _Mali
mores sunt mali amores_, said one who also truly _saw_; the profound
Augustine. The hunger of the Soul must be turned to the source of
eternal joy. All that is good and beautiful in nature or in the heart of
man flows from that fountain. Desire _is_ everything in Nature; _does_
everything. Heaven is Nature filled with divine Life attracted by
Desire.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] From the Danish Bishop Martensen's book "Jacob Boehme"; an excellent
study well translated from Danish into English by Mr T. Rhys Evans,
(Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1885). An account of Behmen's life is
given in the preface to the first volume of the last century English
edition of the Works.

[B] It should be noted that Jacob Behmen held strongly to the Sacrament
of the Lord's Supper, the actual bread and wine as a "permissive medium"
of the real feeding, in order that there may be "a visible sign of what
is done in the inward ground." But he says "We should not _depend_ on
this means or medium _alone_, and think that Christ's Flesh and Blood is
_only_ and alone participated in this use of bread and wine, as Reason
in this present time miserably erreth therein. No, that is not so.
Faith, when it hungereth after God's love and grace, always eateth and
drinketh of Christ's Flesh and Blood. Christ hath not bound himself to
bread and wine _alone_, but hath bound himself to the _faith_, that he
will be in men." Works, vol. iv. p. 208. Charles Gordon took the same
view of the visible "eating," as being a great assistance to the
spiritual feeding, but not indispensable to it. (Gordon's "Letters to
his Sister.")

[C] Dante's "ricchezza senza brama."

[D] Law's Works, vol. viii., p. 177.

[E] Works, vol. vii., p. 65, ed. 1765.

[F] Law's Works, vol. viii., p. 189.

[G] Law's Works, vol. vii., p. 162.



PRELIMINARY NOTE


Before entering upon the Dialogues I have thought it well to insert some
sentences taken from a treatise of Behmen's called "Regeneration,"
together with some taken from another treatise of his on "Christ's
Testament" because they show well the spirit in which he thought and
wrote. The freedom of thought and expression which he claims is,
happily, far more readily accorded now than it was in his own day.

I have only one thing to add. In the eighteenth century English
translation of Behmen's Works, all the substantives, as was then the
frequent custom, are printed with capital letters. There is a
philosophic basis for this practice, because a substantive is an attempt
to denote a "thing in itself" and is therefore of greater weight than an
adjective, which only expresses qualities which we attribute to it. To
Behmen's Works this mode of printing seems especially appropriate. In
our now too literary language, many words have become so trite and
carelessly used that they have almost ceased to have reference to real
existing things. But Behmen never uses words in this merely literary
way, being indeed in nowise a man of letters. It might have been said of
him, as indeed his enemies did at the time say, that which was said by
the Jews of our Lord, "How knoweth this man letters having never
learned?" When he speaks of the "_glory_" of God, he means something as
real as if he spoke of the "_leaves_ on that tree," and so with all his
words. I was therefore somewhat inclined, in order to mark this, to
adhere altogether to the old custom in this case, and though I have not
done so, fearing it might annoy the eye of the unaccustomed reader, I
have preserved the capital letters in many cases, where it is especially
desirable to dwell on the expression of real existences by the words. It
is of course an illogical compromise between two customs.

The title "Supersensual Life" is not altogether a good one, but it is
that which is used in former editions of Behmen. The idea is rather of
Life behind, than above, the life of sense.



_Sentences Selected from Jacob Behmen's Treatises "Regeneration" and
"Christ's Testaments"_


1

A true Christian, who is born anew of the Spirit of Christ, is in the
simplicity of Christ, and hath no strife or contention with any man
about religion.


2

The Christendom that is in Babel striveth about the manner how men ought
to serve God and glorify him; also, how they are to know him, and what
he is in his Essence and Will. And they preach positively that whosoever
is not one and the same with them in every particular of knowledge and
opinion, is no Christian, but a heretic.


3

But a Christian is of no sect. He can dwell in the midst of sects, and
appear in their services, without being attached or bound to any. He
hath but one knowledge, and that is, Christ in him. He seeketh but one
way, which is the desire always to do and teach that which is right;
and he putteth all his knowing and willing into the Life of Christ. He
sigheth and wisheth continually that the Will of God might be done in
him, and that his Kingdom might be manifested in him. His faith is a
desire after God and Goodness, which he wrappeth up in a sure hope,
trusting to the words of the promise, and liveth and dieth therein;
though as to the _true man_, he never dieth.


4

For Christ saith: _Whosoever believeth in me shall never die, but hath
pierced through from death to life_; and, _Rivers of living water shall
flow from him_, viz. good doctrine and works.


5

Therefore I say that whosoever fighteth and contendeth about the Letter,
is all Babel. The Letters of the Word proceed from, and stand all in,
one Root, which is the Spirit of God; as the various flowers stand all
in the earth, and grow about one another. They fight not with each other
about their difference of colour, smell, and taste, but suffer the
earth, the sun, the rain, the wind, the heat, and cold, to do with them
as they please; and yet every one of them groweth in its own peculiar
essence and property.


6

Even so it is with the Children of God; they have various gifts and
degrees of knowledge, yet all form one Spirit. They all rejoice at the
great Wonders of God, and give thanks to the Most High in his Wisdom.
Why then should they contend about him in _Whom they live and have their
being_, and of whose substance they themselves are?


7

It is the greatest folly that is in Babel for people to strive about
religion, so that they contend vehemently about opinions of their own
forging, viz. about the Letter. When the Kingdom of God consisteth of no
Opinion, but in Power and Love.


8

As Christ said to his disciples, and left it with them at the last,
saying: _Love one another as I have loved you: for thereby men shall
know that ye are My disciples_. If men would as fervently seek after
love and righteousness as they do after opinions, there would be no
strife on earth, and we should be as children of one father, and should
need no law or ordinance. For God is not served by any law, but only by
obedience. Laws are for the wicked, who will not enhance love and
righteousness; they are, and must be, compelled by laws.


9

We all have but one Order, Law, or Ordinance, which is to stand still to
the Lord of all Beings, and resign our wills up to him, and suffer his
Spirit to play what music he will. And thus we give to him again as his
own fruits that which he worketh and manifesteth in us.


10

Now if we did not contend about our different fruits, gifts, kinds, and
degrees of knowledge, but did acknowledge them in one another, like
Children of the Spirit of God, what could condemn us? For the Kingdom of
God consisteth not in our knowing and supposing, but in Power.


11

If we did not know half so much, and were more like children, and had
but a brotherly mind and goodwill towards one another, and lived like
children of one mother, and as branches of one tree, taking our Sap all
from one Root, we should be far more holy than we are.


12

Knowledge serves only to this end, viz., to know that we have lost the
Divine Power in Adam, and are now become inclined to sin; that we have
evil properties in us, and that doing evil pleaseth not God; so that
with our knowledge we learn to do right. Now if we have the Power of God
in us, and desire with all our hearts to act and to live aright, then
our knowledge is but our sport, or matter of pleasure, wherein we
rejoice.


13

For true knowledge is the manifestation of the Spirit of God through the
Eternal Wisdom. He knoweth what he will in his children; he sheweth his
wisdom and wonders by his children, as the earth putteth forth her
various flowers.


14

Now if we dwell with one another, like humble children, in the Spirit of
Christ, are rejoicing at the gift or knowledge of another, who would
judge or condemn us? Who judgeth or condemneth the birds in the woods
that praise the Lord of all Beings with various voices, every one in
its own essence? Doth the Spirit of God reprove them for not bringing
their voices into one harmony? Doth not the melody of them all proceed
from his Power, and do they not sport before him?


15

Those men therefore that strive and wrangle about the knowledge and will
of God, and despise one another on that account, are more foolish than
the birds in the woods, and the wild beasts that have no true
understanding. They are more unprofitable in the sight of the holy God
than the flowers of the field, which stand still in quiet submission to
the Spirit of God, and suffer him to manifest the Divine Wisdom and
Power through them.


16

All Christian Religion consisteth wholly on this, to learn _to know
ourselves_; whence we came, and what we are; how we are gone forth from
the Unity into dissension, wickedness, and unrighteousness; how we have
awakened and stirred up these evils in us; and how we may be delivered
from them again, and recover our original blessedness.


17

_First_; How we were in the Unity, when we were the Children of God in
Adam before he fell. _Secondly_; How we are now in dissension and
disunion, in strife and contrariety. _Thirdly_; Whither we go when we
pass out of this corruptible condition; whither with the unnatural, and
whither with the natural part. And _lastly_; How we came forth from
disunion and vanity, and enter into that one Tree, Christ in us, out of
which we all sprung in Adam. In these four points all the necessary
knowledge of a Christian consisteth.


18

So that we need not strive about any thing; we have no cause of
contention with each other. Let every one only exercise himself in
learning how he may enter again into the Love of God and his Brother.


19

The written Word is but an instrument whereby the Spirit leadeth us to
itself within us. That Word which will teach must be living in the
literal Word. The Spirit of God must be in the literal sound, or else
none is a Teacher of God, but a mere Teacher of the Letter, a knower of
the history, and not of the Spirit of God in Christ.


20

All that men will serve God with must be done in Faith, viz. in the
Spirit. It is the Spirit that maketh the work perfect, and acceptable in
the sight of God. All that a man undertaketh and doeth in Faith, he doth
in the Spirit of God, which Spirit of God doth co-operate in the work,
and then it is acceptable to God. For he hath done it himself, and his
Power and Virtue is in it. It is holy.


21

Strife and misunderstanding concerning Christ's Person, Office, and
Being, or Substance, as also concerning his Testaments which he left
behind him, wherein he worketh at present, ariseth from the deflected
creaturely Reason, which runneth on only in an Image-like opinion, and
reacheth not the ground of this mystery, and yet will be a mistress of
all things or beings, and will judge all things. It doth but lose itself
in such Image-likeness, and breaketh itself off from its Centre, and
disperseth the thoughts, and runneth on in the multiplicity, whereby its
ground is confused and the mind is disquieted, and knoweth not itself.


22

No Life can stand in certainty, except it continue in its Centre, out of
which it is sprung.


23

When the Soul that is sprung from God's Word and Will is entered into
its own desire to will of itself, it will run in mere uncertainty till
it return to its Original again.


24

Seeing that human life is an outflowing of the Divine Power,
Understanding and Skill, the same ought to continue in its Original, or
else it loseth the Divine Knowledge, Power and Skill, and with
self-speculation bringeth itself into centres of its own, and strange
imaging, wherewith its Original becometh darkened and strange.

Therefore say I, that this is the only cause that men dispute about God,
his Word, Essence or Being, and Will, that the understanding of man hath
broken itself off from its Original, and now runneth on in mere
self-will, thoughts and images in its own lust to selfishness, wherein
there is no true knowledge, nor can be, till the Life returneth to its
Original, viz. into the Divine Outflowing and Will.


25

If this be done, then God's Will speaketh forth the Divine Power and
Wonders again through the human willing. In which Divine Speaking, the
Life may know and comprehend God's Will, and frame itself therein. Then
there is true Divine Knowledge and Understanding in man's skill, when
his skill is continually renewed with Divine Power.


26

As Christ hath taught us when he said, _Unless ye be converted and
become as a Child, ye shall not come into the Kingdom of God_. That is,
that the Life turn itself again unto God out of whom it is proceeded,
and forsake all its own imaging and lust, and so come to the Divine
Vision again.


27

All disputation concerning God's Being or Essence or Will is performed
in the images of the senses or thoughts without God. For if any liveth
in God, and willeth with God, what needeth he dispute about God, who, or
what God is? That he disputeth about it is a sign that he hath never
felt it at all in his mind or senses, and it is not given to him that
God is in him, and willeth in him what he will. It is a certain sign
that he exalts his own meaning and image above others, and desireth
dominion.


28

Men should friendly confer together, and offer one another their gifts
and knowledge in love, and try things one with another, and hold that
which is best, and not so stand in their own opinion as if they could
not err. It lyeth in no man's person that men should suppose that the
Divine Understanding must come only from such and such. For the
Scripture says, _Try all things and hold that which is good_, 1 Thess.
v. 21.


29

The touchstone to true knowledge is first, the Corner-stone, Christ;
that men should see whether a thing enter out of love into love, or
whether alone purely the love of God be sought and desired; whether it
be done out of humility or pride; Secondly, whether it be according to
the Holy Scripture; Thirdly, is it according to the human heart and
soul, wherein the Book of the Life of God is incorporated, and may very
well be read by the Children of God? Here the true mind hath its
touchstone in itself, and can distinguish all things. If it be so that
the Holy Ghost dwell in the ground of the mind, that man hath touchstone
enough; that will lead him into all truth.


30

All strife concerning Christ's testaments cometh hence that men do not
understand that Heaven wherein Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
They understand not that he is in this World, and that the World
standeth in Heaven, and Heaven in the World, and are in one another, as
Day and Night.

     1 COR. ii. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

     _We speak the hidden mystical wisdom of God; which God
     ordained before the world into our glory; which none of the
     Princes of this World knew. For had they known it, they
     would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. But, as it is
     written, Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it
     entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which
     God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath
     revealed them unto us by his Spirit. For the Spirit
     searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. Now we
     have received, not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit
     which is of God; that we might know the things that are
     freely given us of God. Which things also we speak, not in
     the words which men's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy
     Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
     But the Natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
     of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he
     know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he
     that is spiritual judgeth, or discerneth all things._



OF THE SUPERSENSUAL LIFE

IN DIALOGUES

BETWEEN A SCHOLAR OR DISCIPLE AND HIS MASTER



DIALOGUE I


The Disciple said to his Master: Sir, how may I come to the Supersensual
Life, so that I may see God, and may hear God speak?

The Master answered and said: Son, when thou canst throw thyself into
THAT, where no Creature dwelleth, though it be but for a moment, then
thou hearest what God speaketh?

DISCIPLE

Is that where no Creature dwelleth near at hand, or is it afar off?

MASTER

It is _in thee_. And if thou canst, my Son, for a while but cease from
all thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable words
of God.

DISCIPLE

How can I hear him speak, when I stand still from thinking and willing?

MASTER

When thou standest still from the thinking of Self, and the willing of
Self. When both thy intellect and will are quiet, and passive to the
expressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; and when thy soul is winged
up and above that which is temporal, the outward senses and the
imagination being locked up by holy abstraction, then the Eternal
Hearing, Seeing and Speaking will be revealed in thee, and so God
heareth and seeth through thee, being now the organ of _his_ Spirit, and
so God speaketh in _thee_, and whispereth to thy Spirit, and thy Spirit
heareth his voice. Blessed art thou therefore if thou canst stand still
from self-thinking and self-willing, and canst stop the wheel of thy
imagination and senses; forasmuch as hereby thou mayest arrive at length
to see the great Salvation of God, being made capable of all manner of
divine sensations and heavenly communications. Since it is nought indeed
but thine own hearing and willing that do hinder thee, so that thou dost
not see and hear God.

DISCIPLE

But wherewith shall I hear and see God, forasmuch as he is above Nature
and Creature?

MASTER

Son, when thou art quiet and silent, then art thou as God was before
Nature and Creature; thou art that which God then was; thou art that
whereof he made thy nature and creature. Then thou hearest and seest
even that wherewith God himself saw and heard in thee, before ever thine
own willing or thine own seeing began.

DISCIPLE

What now hinders or keeps me back, so that I cannot come to _that_,
wherewith God is to be seen and heard?

MASTER

Nothing truly but thine own willing, hearing, and seeing do keep thee
back from it, and do hinder thee from coming to this supersensual state.
And it is because thou strivest so against that, out of which thou
thyself art descended and derived, that thou thus breakest thyself off,
with thine own willing, from God's willing, and with thine own seeing
from God's seeing. In as much as in thine own seeing thou dost see in
thine own willing only, and with thine own understanding thou dost
understand but in and according to thine own willing, as the same
stands divided from the Divine Will. This thy willing, moreover, stops
thy hearing, and maketh thee deaf towards God, through thy own thinking
upon terrestrial things, and thy attending to that which is without
thee, and so it brings thee to a ground where thou art laid hold on and
captivated in Nature. And having brought thee hither, it overshadows
thee with that which thou willest, it binds thee with thine own chains,
and it keeps thee in thine own dark prison which thou makest for
thyself, so that thou canst not go out thence, or come to that state
which is Supernatural and Supersensual.

DISCIPLE

But being I am in Nature, and thus bound as with my own chains, and by
my own natural will, pray be so kind, Sir, as to tell me, how I may come
_through_ Nature into the Supersensual and Supernatural Ground, without
the destroying of Nature?

MASTER

Three things are requisite in order to this. The first is, Thou must
resign up thy Will to God, and must sink thyself down to the dust in his
mercy. The second is, Thou must hate thy own Will, and forbear from
doing that to which thy own Will doth drive thee. The third is, Thou
must bow thy soul under the Cross, heartily submitting thyself to it,
that thou mayst be able to bear the temptations of Nature and Creature.
And if thou dost this, know that God will speak unto thee, and will
bring thy resigned Will into Himself, in the supernatural ground, and
then thou shalt hear, my son, what the Lord speaketh in thee.

DISCIPLE

This is a hard saying, Master, for I must forsake the World and my life
too, if I should do thus.

MASTER

Be not discouraged hereat. If thou forsakest the World, then thou comest
unto that out of which the World is made, and if thou losest thy life,
then thy life is in that for whose sake thou forsakest it. Thy life is
in God, from whence it came into the body, and as thou comest to have
thine own power faint and weak and dying, the power of God will then
work in thee and through thee.

DISCIPLE

Nevertheless, as God hath created man in and for the natural life, to
rule over all creatures on earth, and to be a lord over all things in
this world, it seems not to be at all unreasonable that God should
therefore possess this world and the things therein for his own.

MASTER

If thou rulest over all creatures but outwardly there cannot be much in
that. But if thou hast a mind to possess all things, and to be a lord
indeed over all things in this world, there is quite another method to
be taken by thee.

DISCIPLE

Pray, how is that? And what method must I take, whereby to arrive at
this sovereignty?

MASTER

Thou must learn to distinguish between the Thing, and that which is only
an image thereof; between that sovereignty which is substantial and in
the inward ground of Nature, and that which is imaginary and in outward
form of semblance; between that which is properly angelical and that
which is no more than bestial. If thou rulest over the creatures
externally only and not from the right internal ground of thy inward
nature, then thy will and ruling is in a bestial kind or matter, and
thine at best is but a sort of imaginary and transitory government,
being void of that which is substantial and permanent, that which only
thou art to desire and press after. Thus by thy outward lording it over
the creatures it is most easy for thee to lose the substance and the
reality, whilst thou hast naught remaining but the image and shadow only
of thy first and original lordship wherein thou art made capable to be
again invested, if thou art but wise, and takest thy investiture from
the Supreme Lord in the right course and matter. Whereas by thy willing
and ruling them in a bestial manner, thou bringest also thy desire into
a bestial essence, by which means thou becomest infected and captivated
therein, and gettest therewith a bestial nature and condition of life.
But if thou shalt have put off the bestial nature, and left the
imaginary life, and quitted the low-imaged condition of it, then art
thou come into the super-imaginariness and into the intellectual life,
which is a state of living above images, figures and shadows. And so
thou rulest over all creatures, being re-united with thy Original, in
that very ground or source, out of which they were and are created, and
thenceforth nothing on earth can hurt thee. For thou art like All
Things, and nothing is unlike thee.

DISCIPLE

O loving Master, pray teach me how I may come the shortest way to be
like unto _All Things_.

MASTER

With all my heart. Do but think on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ
when he said: "Except ye be converted and become as little children ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." There is no shorter way
than this, nor can a better way be found. Verily, Jesus saith unto thee,
Unless thou turn and become as a child, hanging upon him for all things,
thou shalt not see the Kingdom of God. This do and nothing shall hurt
thee; for thou shalt be at friendship with all the things that are, as
thou dependest upon the author and fountain of them, and becomest like
him, by such dependence, and by the Union of thy Will with his Will. But
mark what I have further to say, and be not thou startled at it, though
it may seem hard for thee at first to conceive. If thou wilt be like All
Things thou must forsake all things; thou must not extend thy will to
possess that for thine own, or as thine own, which is _Something_,
whatever that Something be. For as soon as ever thou takest _Something_
into thy desire, and receivest it into thee for thine own, or in
propriety, then this very Something (of what nature soever it is) is
the _same_ with thyself; and this worketh with thee in thy will, and
thou art thence bound to protect it, and take care of it, even as of thy
own being. But if thou dost receive _no thing_ into thy desire then thou
art free from all things, and rulest over all things at once, as a
Prince of God. For thou hast received nothing for thine own, and art
nothing to all things, and all things are as nothing unto thee. Thou art
as a child, which understands not what a thing is; and though thou dost
perhaps understand it, yet thou understandest it without mixing with it,
and without it sensibly affecting or touching thy perception, even in
that matter wherein God doth rule and see all things, he comprehending
All, and yet nothing comprehending him.

DISCIPLE

Ah! how shall I arrive at this heavenly understanding, at this pure and
naked knowledge, which is abstracted from the senses, at this light
above Nature and Creature, and at this participation of the Divine
Wisdom which oversees all things, and governs through all intellectual
beings? For, alas, I am touched every moment by the things which are
about me, and overshadowed by the clouds and perfumes which rise up out
of the earth. I desire, therefore, to be taught, if possible, how I may
attain such a state and condition as that no creature may be able to
touch me to hurt me; and how my mind, being purged from sensible objects
and things, may be prepared for the entrance and habitation of the
Divine Wisdom in me.

MASTER

Thou desirest that I would teach thee how thou art to attain it; and I
will direct thee to our Master, from whom I have been taught it, that
thou mayest learn it thyself from him, who alone teacheth the heart.
Hear thou him. Wouldst thou arrive at this; wouldst thou remain
untouched by sensibles; wouldst thou behold light in the very Light of
God, and see all things thereby; then consider the words of Christ, who
is the Light and who is the Truth. O consider now his words, who said,
_Without me ye can do nothing_ (John xix. 5) and defer not to apply
thyself unto him, who is the strength of thy salvation, and the _power_
of thy life; and _with whom thou canst do all things_, by the faith
which he waketh in thee. But unless thou wholly givest thyself up to the
life of our Lord Jesus Christ, and resignest thy Will wholly to him, and
desirest nothing and willest nothing without him, thou shalt never come
to such a rest as no creature can disturb. Think what thou pleasest,
and be never so much delighted in the activity of thine own reason, thou
shalt find that, in thine own power and without such a total surrender
to God and to the life of God, thou canst never arrive at such a rest as
this, or the true Quiet of the Soul, wherein no creature can molest
thee, or even so much as touch thee. Which when thou shalt, with Grace,
have attained to, then with thy Body thou art in the World, as in the
properties of outward Nature; and, with thy Reason, under the Cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ; but with thy _Will_ thou walkest in heaven, and
art at the end from whence all creatures are proceeded forth, and _to_
which they return again. And then thou canst in this End, which is the
same with the _Beginning_, behold all things outwardly with _reason_ and
liberally with the _mind_; and so mayest thou rule in all things and
over all things, with Christ; unto whom all power is given both in
heaven and on earth.

DISCIPLE

O, Master, the creatures which live in me do withhold me, so that I
cannot so wholly yield and give up myself as I willingly would. What am
I to do in this case?

MASTER

Let not this trouble thee. Doth thy Will go forth from the creatures?
Then the creatures are forsaken in thee. They are in the world, and thy
body, which is in the world, is with the creatures. But spiritually thou
walkest with God, and conversest in heaven; being in thy mind redeemed
from earth, and separated from creatures, to live the life of God. And
if thy Will thus leaveth the creatures, and goeth forth from them, even
as the spirit goeth forth from the body at death; then are the creatures
dead in it, and do live only in the body in the world. Since if thy Will
do not bring itself into them, they cannot bring themselves into it,
neither can they by any means touch the soul. And hence St Paul saith,
_Our conversation is in heaven; and also, Ye are the temple of God, and
the Spirit of God dwelleth in you_. So, then, true Christians are the
very temples of the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in them; that is, the Holy
Ghost dwelleth in the Will, and the Creature dwelleth in the Body.

DISCIPLE

If now the Holy Spirit doth dwell in the Will of the Mind, how ought I
to keep myself so that he depart not from me again.

MASTER

Mark, my son, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: _If ye abide in my
words_, then my words abide in you. If thou abidest with thy Will in the
Words of Christ; then his Word and Spirit abideth in thee, and all shall
be done for thee that thou canst ask of him. But if thy Will goeth into
the creature, then thou hast broken off thyself thereby from him. And
then thou canst not any otherwise keep thyself but by abiding
continually with that resigned humility, and by entering into a constant
course of penitence, wherein thou wilt always be grieved at thine own
creaturely Will, and that creatures do still live in thee, that is, in
thy bodily appetite. If thou dost thus, thou standest in a daily dying
from the creatures, and in a daily ascending into heaven in thy will,
which will is also the Will of thy Heavenly Father.

DISCIPLE

O my loving Master, pray teach me how I may come to such a constant
course of holy penitence, and to such a daily dying from all creaturely
objects, for how can I abide continually in repentance?

MASTER

When thou leavest that which loveth thee, and lovest that which hateth
thee; then thou mayest continually abide in repentance.

DISCIPLE

What is it that I must thus leave?

MASTER

All things that love and entertain thee, because thy Will loves and
entertains them. All things that please and feed thee, because thy Will
feeds and cherishes them. All creatures in flesh and blood; in a word,
all visibles and sensibles, by which either the imaginative or sensitive
appetite in men are delighted and refreshed. These the Will of thy mind,
or thy supreme part, must leave and forsake, and must even account them
all its enemies. This is the leaving of what loves thee. And the loving
of what hates thee is the embracing the reproach of the World. Thou must
learn then to love the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for his sake
to be pleased with the reproach of the World which hates thee and
derides thee; and let this be thy daily exercise of penitence to be
crucified to the World, and the World to thee. And so thou shalt have
continual cause to hate thyself _in the Creature_, and to seek the
eternal rest which is _in Christ_. To which rest thou having thus
attained, thy Will may therein safely rest and repose itself, according
as thy Lord Christ hath said: In me ye may have rest, but in the World
ye shall have anxiety: In me ye may have peace, but in the World ye
shall have tribulation.

DISCIPLE

How now shall I be able to subsist in this anxiety and tribulation
arising from the World so as not to lose the eternal peace, or not to
enter into this rest? And how may I recover myself in such a temptation
as this is, by not sinking under the World, but rising above it by a
life which is truly heavenly and supersensual?

MASTER

If thou dost once every hour throw thyself by faith beyond all
creatures, beyond and above all sensual perception and apprehension,
yea, above discourse and reasoning into the abyssal mercy of God, into
the sufferings of our Lord, and into the fellowship of his interceding,
and yieldest thyself fully and absolutely thereinto; then thou shalt
receive power from above to rule over Death and the Devil and to subdue
Hell and the World unto thee. And then thou mayest subsist in all
temptations, and be the brighter for them.

DISCIPLE

Blessed is the man that arriveth to such a state as this. But, alas,
poor man that I am, how is this possible as to me? And what, O my
Master, would become of me, if I should ever attain with my mind to that
where no creature is? Must I not cry out, _I am undone_?

MASTER

Son, why art thou so dispirited? Be of good heart still; for thou mayest
certainly yet attain to it. Do but believe, and all things are made
possible to thee. If it were that thy Will, O thou of so little courage,
could break off itself for an hour, or even but for a half hour, from
all creatures, and plunge itself into that where no creature is, or can
be; presently it would be penetrated and clothed upon with the supreme
splendour of the Divine Glory, would taste in itself the most sweet Love
of Jesus, the sweetness whereof no tongue can express, and would find in
itself the unspeakable words of our Lord concerning his great mercy. Thy
spirit would then feel in itself the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ to
be very pleasing to it; and would thereupon love the Cross more than the
honours and goods of the World.

DISCIPLE

This for the Soul would be exceeding well indeed. But what would then
become of the Body, seeing that it must of necessity live in _Creature_?

MASTER

The body would by this means be put into the imitation of our Lord Jesus
Christ and of his body. It would stand in the communion of that most
blessed Body, which is the true temple of the Deity, and in the
participation of all its gracious effects, virtues, and influences. It
would live in the Creature, not of choice, but only as it is made
subject to vanity, and in the World, as it is placed therein by the
ordination of the Creator, for its cultivation and higher advancement,
and as groaning to be delivered out of it in God's time and manner, for
its perfection and resuscitation in eternal liberty and glory, like unto
the glorified body of our Lord and his risen Saints.

DISCIPLE

But the body, being in its present constitution, so made subject to
vanity, and living in a vain image and creaturely shadows according to
the life of the undergraduated creatures or brutes, whose breath goeth
downward to the earth; I am still very much afraid thereof, lest it
should continue to depress the mind which is lifted up to God, by
hanging as a dead weight thereto; and go on to abuse and perplex the
same, as formerly, with dreams and trifles, by letting in the objects
from without, in order to draw me down into the World and the hurry
thereof; whereas I would fain maintain by conversation in Heaven even
while I am living in the World. What, therefore, must I do with this
body, that I may be able to keep up so desirable a conversation, and not
to be under subjection to it any longer?

MASTER

There is no other way for thee that I know but to present the body
whereof thou complainest (which is the beast to be sacrificed) _a living
sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God_. And this shall be thy rational
service whereby this thy body will be put, as thou desirest, into the
imitation of Jesus Christ, who said his Kingdom was not of this World.
Be not thou then _conformed_ to it, but be _transformed_ by the renewing
of thy mind; which renewed mind is to have dominion over the body, that
so thou mayest prove, both in body and mind, what is the perfect Will of
God, and accordingly perform the same with and by his grace operating
in thee. Whereupon the body, or the _animal life_ would, being thus
offered up, begin to die, both from without and from within. From
_without_, that is, from the vanity and evil customs and fashions of the
World; it would be an utter change to all the parts thereof, and to all
the pageantry, pride, ambition, and haughtiness therein. From _within_
it would die as to all the lusts and appetites of the flesh, and would
get a mind and will wholly new for its government and management; being
now made subject to the Spirit, which would continually be directed to
God. And thus thy very body is become the temple of God and of his
Spirit, in imitation of thy Lord's Body.

DISCIPLE

But the World would hate it and despise it for so doing, seeing it must
hereby contradict the World, and must live and act quite otherwise than
the World doth. This is most certain. And how can this be taken?

MASTER

It would not take that as any harm done to it, but would rather rejoice
that it is become worthy to be like unto the image of our Lord Jesus
Christ, being transformed from that of the World. And it would be most
willing to bear that cross after our Lord, merely that our Lord might
bestow upon it the influence of his sweet and precious love.

DISCIPLE

I do not doubt but in some this may be even so. Nevertheless, for my own
part, I am in a strait between two, not feeling yet enough of that
blessed influence upon me. Oh how willingly should my body bear _that_,
could _this_ be safely depended upon by me! Wherefore pardon me, loving
Sir, in this one thing, if my impatience doth still further demand,
"What would become of it, if the anger of God from within, and the
wicked World also from without, should at once assault it, as the same
really happened to our Lord Christ?"

MASTER

Be that unto it, even as unto our Lord Christ, when he was reproached,
reviled and crucified by the World, and when the anger of God so
fiercely assaulted him for our sake. Now what did he under this most
terrible assault both from without and within? Why; he commended his
soul into the hands of his Father, and so departed from the anguish of
this World into the eternal joy. Do thou likewise, and his death shall
be thy life.

DISCIPLE

Be it unto me as unto the Lord Christ, and unto my body as unto his,
which into his hands I have commended, and for the sake of his name do
offer up, according to his revealed Will. Nevertheless I am desirous to
know what would become of my body in its pressing forth from the anguish
of this miserable World into the power of the Heavenly Kingdom.

MASTER

It would get forth from the reproach and contradiction of the World by a
conformity to the passion of Jesus Christ; and from the sorrows and
pains in the flesh, which are only the effects of some sensible
impression of things without, by a quiet introversion of the spirit and
secret communion with the Deity manifesting itself for that end. It
would penetrate into itself; it would sink into the great love of God;
it would be sustained and refreshed by the most sweet name _Jesus_, and
it would see and find within itself a new world springing forth, as
through the anger of God, into the joy and love eternal. And then should
a man wrap his soul in this, even in the great Love of God, and clothe
himself therewith as with a garment; and should account thence all
things alike; because in the Creature he finds nothing that can give
him, without God, the least satisfaction, and because also nothing of
harm can touch him more while he remains in this Love. For this Love is
indeed stronger than all things, and makes a man invulnerable both from
within and without, by taking out the sting and poison of the Creature,
and destroying the power of death. And whether the body be in hell or on
earth, all is alike to him; for whether it be there or here, his mind is
still in the greatest Love of God; which is no less than to say that he
is in heaven.

DISCIPLE

But how would a man's body be maintained in the World; or how would he
be able to maintain those who are his, if he should by such a
conversation incur the displeasure of all the World?

MASTER

Such a man gets greater favours than the world is able to bestow upon
him: he hath God for his friend; he hath all the Angels for his friends.
In all dangers and necessities these protect and relieve him; so that he
need fear no manner of evil; no creature can hurt him. God is his
helper, and that is sufficient. Also God is his blessing in everything.
And though sometimes it may seem as if God would not bless him, yet is
this but for a trial to him, and for the attraction of the Divine Love,
to the end he may more fervently pray to God, and commit all his ways
unto him.

DISCIPLE

He loses, however, by this all his good friends, and there will be none
to help him in his necessity.

MASTER

Nay, but he gets the hearts of all his good friends into his possession,
and loses none but his enemies, who before loved his vanity and
wickedness.

DISCIPLE

How is it that he can get his good friends into his possession?

MASTER

He gets the very hearts and souls of all those that belong to our Lord
Jesus to be his brethren, and the members of his own very life. For all
the children of God are but ONE in Christ, which one is Christ _in All_.
And therefore he gets them all to be his fellow-members in the Body of
Christ, whence they have all the same heavenly goods in common and all
live in one and the same Love of God, as the branches of a tree in one
and the same root, and spring all from one and the same source of life
in them. So that he can have no want of spiritual friends and relations,
who are all rooted with him together in the Love which is from above,
who are all of the same blood and kindred in Christ Jesus; and who are
cherished all by the same quickening sap and spirit diffusing itself
through them universally from the one true Vine, which is the tree of
life and love. These are friends worth having; and though here they may
be unknown to him, will abide his friends beyond doubt to all eternity.
But neither can he want even outward natural friends, as our Lord
Christ, when on earth, did not want such also. For though, indeed, the
High-Priests and Potentates of the World could not have a love to him,
because they belonged not to him, neither stood in any kind of relation
to him, as being not of this world, yet those loved him who were capable
of his love, and receptive of his words. So, in like manner, those who
love truth and righteousness will love that man, and will associate
themselves unto him, yea, though they may perhaps be outwardly at some
distance or seeming disagreement, from the situation of their worldly
affairs, or from other reasons, yet in their hearts they cannot but
cleave to him. For though they be not actually incorporated into one
body with him, yet they cannot resist being of one mind with him, and
being united in affliction, for the great regard they bear to the truth,
which shines forth in his words and in his life. By this they are made
either his declared or his secret friends; and he doth so get their
hearts that they will be delighted above all things in his company, for
the sake thereof, and will court his friendship and will come unto him
by stealth, if openly they dare not, for the benefit of his conversation
and advice; even as Nicodemus did to Christ, who came to him by night,
and in his heart loved Jesus for the truth's sake, though outwardly he
feared the World. And thus thou shalt have many friends that are not
known to thee; and some known to thee, who may not appear so before the
World.

DISCIPLE

Nevertheless it is very grievous to be generally despised of the World,
and to be trampled upon by men as the very offscouring thereof.

MASTER

That which now seems so hard and heavy to thee, thou wilt yet hereafter
be most in love with.

DISCIPLE

How can it ever be that I should love that which hates me?

MASTER

Though thou lovest the Earthly Wisdom now, yet when thou shalt be
clothed upon with the Heavenly Wisdom, then wilt thou see that all the
wisdom of the World is folly; and wilt see also that the World hates not
so much thee, as thine enemy, which is this mortal life. And when thou
thyself shalt come to hate the will thereof, by means of a habitual
separation of thy mind from the World, then thou also wilt begin to love
that despising of the mortal life, and the reproach of the World for
Christ's sake. And so shalt thou be able to stand under every
temptation, and to hold out to the end by the means hereof in a course
of life above the World and above sense.

In this course thou wilt hate thyself, and thou wilt also love thyself,
I say, love thyself, and that even more than thou ever didst yet.

DISCIPLE

But how can these two subsist together, that a person should both _love_
and _hate_ himself?

MASTER

_In loving thyself_, thou lovest not thyself _as thine own_, but thou
lovest the divine ground in thee, as given thee from the Love of God. By
which, and in which, thou lovest the Divine Wisdom, the Divine Goodness,
the Divine Beauty; thou lovest also by it God's works of wonders; and in
this ground thou lovest also thy brethren. But _in hating thyself_, thou
hatest only that which is _thine own_, and wherein the Evil sticks close
to thee. And this thou dost, that so thou mayest wholly destroy that
which thou callest _thine_, as when thou sayest I or MYSELF do this, or
do that. All which is wrong and a downright mistake in thee; for nothing
canst thou properly call _thine_ but the evil Self, neither canst thou
do anything of thyself that is to be accounted of. This _Self_ therefore
thou must labour wholly to destroy in thee, that so thou mayest become a
ground wholly divine. There can be no _selfishness_ in love; they are
opposite to each other. Love, that is, Divine Love (of which only we are
now discoursing), hates all Egoity, hates all that which we call I, or
IHOOD, hates all such restrictions and confinements, even all that
springs from a contracted spirit, or this evil _Self-hood_, because it
is an hateful and deadly thing. And it is impossible that these two
should stand together, or subsist in one person; the one driving out the
other by a necessity of nature. For _Love_ possesses Heaven, and dwells
in itself, which is dwelling in Heaven; but that which is called I, this
vile self-hood, possesses the world and worldly things; and dwells also
in itself, which is dwelling _in Hell_, because this is the very root of
Hell itself. And, therefore, as Heaven rules the World, and as Eternity
rules Time, even so ought Love to rule the natural temporal Life; for no
other method is there, neither can there be of attaining to that Life
which is supernatural and eternal, and which thou so much desirest to be
led into.

DISCIPLE

Loving Master, I am well content that this Love should rule in me over
the natural Life, that so I may attain to that which is supernatural and
supersensual; but, pray tell me now, why must Love and Hatred, friend
and foe, thus be together? Would not Love alone be better? Wherefore, I
say, are Love and Trouble thus joined?

MASTER

If Love dwelt not in Trouble, it could have nothing to love. But its
substance which it loves, namely the poor soul, being in trouble and
pain, it hath thence cause to love this its own substance and to deliver
it from pain, that so itself may by it be again beloved. Neither could
any one know what Love is, if there were no Hatred; or what friendship
is, if there were no foe to contend with. Or, in one word, if Love had
not something which it might love, and manifest the virtue and power of
love in working out deliverance to the Beloved from all pain and
trouble.

DISCIPLE

Pray what is the virtue, the power, the height, and the greatness of
Love?

MASTER

The virtue of Love is NOTHING and ALL, or that _Nothing visible_ out of
which All Things proceed. Its power is through All Things; its height is
as high as God; its greatness is as great as God. Its virtue is the
principle of all principles; its power supports the Heavens and upholds
the Earth; its height is higher than the highest Heavens, and its
greatness is even greater than the very Manifestation of the Godhead in
the glorious light of the Divine Essence, as being infinitely capable of
greater and greater manifestations in all Eternity. What can I say
more? Love is higher than the Highest. Love is greater than the
Greatest. Yea, it _is in a certain sense_ greater than God; while yet,
in the highest sense of all, God is Love, and Love is God. Love being
the highest principle is the virtue of all virtues; from whence they
flow forth. Love, being the greatest Majesty, is the Power of all
Powers, from whence they severally operate. And it is the Holy Magical
Root, a Ghostly Power from whence all the wonders of God have been
wrought by the hands of his elect servants, in all their generations
successively, Whosoever finds it, finds _Nothing and All Things_.

DISCIPLE

Dear Master, pray tell me how I may understand this?

MASTER

First, then, in that I said, its _virtue is Nothing, or that Nothing_
which is the beginning of All Things, thou must understand it thus; When
thou art gone forth wholly from the Creature, and from that which is
visible; and art become Nothing to all that is Nature and Creature, then
thou art in that Eternal One, which is God himself; and then thou shalt
perceive and feel within thee the highest virtue of Love. But in that I
said, Its power is through All Things, this is that which thou
perceivest and findest in thy own soul and body experimentally, whenever
this great Love is enkindled within thee; seeing that it will burn more
than the fire can do, as it did in the Prophets of old, and afterwards
in the Apostles, when God conversed with them bodily, and when his
Spirit descended upon them in the Oratory of Zion. Thou shalt then see
also in all the works of God, how Love hath poured forth itself into all
things, and penetrated all things, and is the most inward and most
outward ground in all things. Inwardly in the virtue and power of every
thing, and outwardly in the figure and form thereof.

And in that I said, _Its height is as high as God_; thou mayest
understand this in thyself: forasmuch as it brings thee to be as high as
God himself is, by being united to God; as may be seen by our beloved
Lord Jesus Christ in our humanity. Which humanity Love hath brought up
into the highest throne, above all angelical principalities and powers,
into the very Power of the Deity itself.

But in that I also said, _Its greatness is as great as God_, thou art
hereby to understand that there is a certain greatness and latitude of
heart in Love, which is unexpressible, for it enlarges the soul as wide
as the whole Creation of God. And this shall be truly experienced by
thee, beyond all words, when the throne of Love shall be set up in thy
heart.

Moreover in that I said, _Its virtue is the principle of all
principles_; hereby it is given thee to understand that Love is the
principal cause of all created beings, both spiritual and corporeal, by
virtue whereof the second causes do move and act occasionally, according
to certain Eternal Laws, from the beginning implanted in the very
constitution of things thus originated. This virtue which is in Love is
the very life and energy of all the principles of Nature, superior and
inferior. It reaches to all Worlds, and to all manner of beings in them
contained, they being the workmanship of Divine Love, and is the _first
mover_ and _first moveable_, both in heaven above, and in the earth
beneath, and in the water under the earth. And hence there is given to
it the name of the _Lucid Aleph_ or _Alpha_; by which is expressed the
beginning of the _Alphabet of Nature_, and of the Book of Creation and
Providence or the _Divine Archetypal Book_, in which is the Light of
Wisdom and the source of all lights and forms.

And in that I said, _Its power supports the Heavens_; by this thou wilt
come to understand that as the Heavens, visible and invisible, are
originated from this great principle, so are they likewise necessarily
sustained by it; and that therefore if this should be but never so
little withdrawn, all the lights, glories, beauties and forms of the
heavenly worlds would presently sink into darkness and chaos.

And whereas I further said _that it upholds the Earth_; this will appear
to thee no less evident than the former, and thou shalt perceive it in
thyself by daily and hourly experience; forasmuch as the Earth _without
it_, even thy _own earth_ also (that is, thy body) would certainly be
without form and void. By the power thereof the Earth hath been thus
long upheld, notwithstanding a foreign usurped power introduced by the
folly of sin. And should this but once fail or recede there could be no
longer either vegetation or animation upon it; yea, the very pillars of
it being overthrown quite, and the band of union, which is that of
attraction or magnetism, called the centripetal power, being broken and
dissolved, all must thence run into the utmost disorder, and falling
away as into shivers, would be dispersed as loose dust before the wind.

But in that I said, _Its height is higher than the highest Heavens_;
this thou mayest also understand within thyself. For shouldest thou
ascend in spirit through all the orders of Angels and heavenly Powers,
yet the Power of Love still is undeniably superior to them all. And as
the Throne of God, who sits upon the Heaven of Heavens, is higher than
the highest of them, even so must Love also be, which fills them all,
and comprehends them all.

And whereas I said of the _Greatness of Love that it is greater than the
very Manifestation of Godhead in the light of the Divine Essence_; that
is also true. For Love enters even into that where the Godhead is not
manifested in this glorious light, and where God may be said not to
dwell. And entering thereinto, Love begins to manifest to the soul the
light of the Godhead; and thus is the darkness broken through, and the
wonders of the new creation successively manifested.

Thus shalt thou be brought to understand really and fundamentally what
is the virtue and the power of Love, and what the height and greatness
thereof is; how that is indeed the _virtue of all virtues_, though it be
invisible, and as a _Nothing_ in appearance, inasmuch as it is the
worker of all things, and a powerful _vital energy_ passing through all
virtues and powers natural and supernatural, and the _power of all
powers_, nothing being able to let or obstruct the _Omnipotence_ of
Love, or to resist its invincible penetrating might, which passes
through the whole Creation of God, inspecting and governing all things.

And in that I said; _It is higher than the highest and greater than the
greatest_; thou mayst hereby perceive as in a glimpse the supreme height
and greatness of _Omnipotent Love_ which infinitely transcends all that
human sense and reason can reach to. The highest Archangel and greatest
Powers of Heaven, are in comparison of it, but as dwarfs. Nothing can be
conceived higher and greater in God himself, by the very highest and
greatest of his creatures. There is such infinity in it as comprehends
and surpasses all the divine attributes.

But in that it was also said, _Its greatness is greater than God_; that
likewise is very true in the sense wherein it was spoken. For Love can
there enter where God dwelleth not, since the most high God dwelleth not
in darkness, but in the Light, the hellish darkness being put under his
feet. Thus, for instance, when our beloved Lord Jesus Christ was in
Hell, Hell was not the mansion of God or of Christ, Hell sees not God,
neither was it with God, nor could it be at all with him; Hell stood in
the darkness and anxiety of Nature, and no light of the Divine Majesty
did there enter; God was not there, for he is not in the darkness nor in
the anguish; but Love was there; and Love destroyed Death and conquered
Hell. So also when thou art in anguish or trouble, which is _hell
within_, God is not the anguish or trouble, neither is he in the anguish
or trouble; but his Love is there, and brings thee out of the anguish
and trouble into God, leading thee into the light and joy of his
presence. When God hides himself in thee, Love is still there, and makes
him manifest in thee. Such is the inconceivable greatness and largeness
of Love, which will hence appear to thee as great as God _above Nature_
and greater than God _in Nature_, or as considered in his manifestative
glory.

Lastly, whereas I said, _Whosoever finds it finds Nothing and all
Things_; that is also certain and true. But how finds he _Nothing_? Why,
I will tell thee how. He that findeth it findeth a supernatural,
supersensual Abyss, which hath no ground or Byss to stand on, and where
there is no place to dwell in; and he findeth also nothing is like unto
it and therefore it may fitly be compared to _Nothing_, for it is deeper
than any _Thing_, and is as Nothing with respect to All Things,
forasmuch as it is not comprehensible by any of them. And because it is
Nothing respectively, it is therefore free from All Things, and is that
only Good, which a man cannot express or utter what it is, there being
Nothing to which it may be compared, to express it by.

But in that I lastly said; _Whosoever finds it finds All Things_; there
is nothing can be more true than this assertion. It hath been the
Beginning of All Things; and it ruleth All Things. It is also the End of
All Things; and will thence comprehend All Things within its circle. All
Things are from it, and in it, and by it. If thou findest it thou comest
into that ground from whence All Things are proceeded, and wherein they
subsist; and thou art in it a King over all the works of God.

Here the Disciple was exceedingly ravished with what his Master had so
wonderfully and surprisingly declared, and returned his most hearty and
humble thanks for that light which he had been an instrument of
conveying to him. But being desirous to hear further concerning these
high matters, and to know somewhat more particularly, he requested him
that he would give him leave to wait on him the next day again; and that
he would then be pleased to show him _how_ and _where_ he might find
this which was so much beyond all price and value, and whereabout the
seat and abode of it might be in human nature, with the entire process
of the discovery and bringing it forth to light.

The Master said to him: This then we will discourse about at our next
conference, as God shall reveal the same to us by his Spirit, which is
a searcher of All Things. And if thou dost remember well what I answered
thee in the beginning, thou shalt soon come thereby to understand that
hidden mystical wisdom of God; which none of the wise men of the world
know; and where the Mine thereof is to be found in thee shall be given
thee from above to discern. Be silent therefore in thy spirit, and watch
unto prayer; that, when we meet again to-morrow in the love of Christ,
thy mind may be disposed for finding that noble Pearl, which to the
World appears _Nothing_, but to the Children of Wisdom is _All Things_.



DIALOGUE II


The Disciple being very earnest to be more fully instructed how he might
arrive at the supersensual life, and how, having found all things, he
might come to be a king over all God's works, came again to his Master
next morning, having watched the night in prayer, that he might be
disposed to receive and apprehend the instructions that should be given
him by a divine irradiation upon his mind. And the Disciple, after a
little space of silence, bowed himself, and thus brake forth.

DISCIPLE

O my Master, my Master! I have now endeavoured to recollect my soul in
the presence of God, and to cast myself into the Deep where no creature
doth nor can dwell; that I might hear the voice of my Lord speaking in
me, and be initiated into that high life whereof I heard yesterday such
great and amazing things. But alas I neither hear nor see as I should.
There is still such a partition wall in me which beats back the heavenly
sounds in their passage, and obstructs the entrance of that light
whereby alone divine objects are discoverable, as till this be gone I
can have but small hopes, yea, even none at all, of arriving at those
glorious attainments which you pressed me to, or of entering into _that
where no creature dwells_, and which you call _Nothing_ and _All
Things_. Wherefore be so kind as to inform me what is required on my
part, that this partition which hinders may be broken or removed.

MASTER

This partition is the creaturely will in thee, and this can be broken by
nothing but the Grace of self-denial, which is the entrance into the
true following of Christ, and totally removed by nothing but a perfect
conformity with the Divine Will.

DISCIPLE

But how shall I be able to _break_ this creaturely will which is in me,
and is at enmity with the Divine Will? Or what shall I do to follow
Christ in so difficult a path, and not to faint in a continual course of
self-denial or resignation to the Will of God.

MASTER

This is not to be done by thyself; but by the light and grace of God
received into thy soul, which will, if thou gainsay not, break the
darkness that is in thee, and melt down thy old will, which worketh in
the darkness and corruption of Nature, and bring it into the obedience
of Christ, whereby the partition of the creaturely self is removed from
betwixt God and thee.

DISCIPLE

I know that I cannot do it of myself. But I would fain learn how I must
receive this Divine Light and Grace into me, which is to do it for me,
if I hinder it not my own self. What is then required of me in order to
admit this Breaker of the partition, and to promote the attainment of
the ends of such admission?

MASTER

There is nothing more required of thee at first than not to resist this
grace, which is manifested in thee; and nothing in the whole process of
the work, but to be obedient and passive to the Light of God shining
through the darkness of thy creaturely being, which comprehendeth it
not, as reaching no higher than the _Light of Nature_.

DISCIPLE

But is it not for me to attain, if I can, both the Light of God, and
the Light of the outward Nature too, and to make use of them both for
the ordering of my life wisely and prudently?

MASTER

It is right so to do. And it is indeed a treasure above all earthly
treasures to be possessed of the Light of God and Nature operating in
their spheres, and to have both the Eye of Time and Eternity at once
open together, and yet not to interfere with each other.

DISCIPLE

This is a great satisfaction to me to hear; having been very uneasy
about it for some time. But how this can be without interfering with
each other, there is the difficulty. Wherefore fain would I know, if it
were lawful, the boundaries of the one and the other, and how both the
Divine and the Natural Light may in their several spheres respectively
act and operate for the Manifestation of the Mysteries of God and
Nature, and for the conduct of my outward and inward life?

MASTER

That each of these may be preserved distinctly in their several spheres,
without confounding Things Heavenly and Things Earthly, or breaking the
golden Chain of Wisdom, it will be necessary, my child, in the first
place to wait for and attend the Supernatural and Divine Light, as this
superior Light appointed to govern the day, rising in the true East,
which is the Centre of Paradise, and the great Light breaking forth as
out of the darkness within thee, through a pillar of fire and
thunder-clouds, and thereby reflecting also upon the inferior Light of
Nature a sort of image of itself, whereby only it can be kept in its due
subordination; that which is _below_ being made subservient to that
which is _above_, and that which is _without_ to that which is _within_.
Thus there will be no danger of interfering, but all will go right, and
everything abide in its proper sphere.

DISCIPLE

Therefore without Reason or the Light of Nature be sanctified in my
soul, and illuminated by this superior Light, as from the central East
of the holy Light-World, by the Eternal and Intellectual Sun, I perceive
there will always be some confusion, and I shall never be able to manage
aright either what concerneth Time or Eternity. But I must always be at
a loss, or break the links of Wisdom's Chain.

MASTER

It is even so as thou hast said. All is confusion if thou hast no more
than the dim Light of Nature, or unsanctified and unregenerated Reason
to guide thee by, and if only the Eye of Time be opened in thee, which
cannot pierce beyond its own limit. Wherefore seek the Fountain of
Light, waiting in the deep ground of thy soul for the rising there of
the Sun of Righteousness, whereby the Light of Nature in thee, with the
properties thereof, will be made to shine seven times brighter than
ordinary. For it shall receive the stamp, image and impression of the
Supersensual and Supernatural, so that the sensual and rational life
will hence be brought into the most perfect order and harmony.

DISCIPLE

But how am I to wait for the rising of this glorious Sun, and how am I
to seek in the Centre this Fountain of Light, which may enlighten me
throughout and bring my properties into perfect harmony? I am in Nature,
as I said before, and which way shall I pass through Nature, and the
light thereof, so that I may come into the Supernatural and Supersensual
ground whence this true light, which is the Light of Minds, doth arise;
and this without the destruction of my nature, or quenching the Light of
it, which is my reason?

MASTER

Cease but from thine own activity, steadfastly fixing thine Eye upon
_one Point_, and with a strong purpose relying upon the promised Grace
of God in Christ, to bring thee out of thy Darkness into his marvellous
Light. For this end gather in all thy thoughts, and by faith press into
the Centre, laying hold upon the Word of God, which is infallible, and
which hath called thee. Be thou then obedient to this call, and be
silent before the Lord, sitting alone with him in thy inmost and most
hidden cell, thy mind being centrally united in itself, and attending
his Will in the patience of hope. So shall thy Light break forth as the
Morning, and after the redness thereof is passed, the Sun himself which
thou waitest for, shall arise unto thee, and under his most healing
wings thou shalt greatly rejoice; ascending and descending in his bright
and salutiferous beams. Behold this is the true Supersensual Ground of
Life.

DISCIPLE

I believe it indeed to be even so. But will not this destroy Nature?
Will not the Light of Nature in me be extinguished by this greater
Light? Or, must not the outward Life hence perish, with the earthly body
which I carry?

MASTER

By no means at all. It is true, the evil Nature will be destroyed by it;
but by the destruction thereof you can be no loser, but very much a
gainer. The Eternal Bond of Nature is the same afterward as before; and
the properties are the same. So that Nature hereby is only advanced and
meliorated, and the Light thereof, or human Reason, by being kept within
its due bounds, and regulated by a superior Light, is only made useful.

DISCIPLE

Pray, therefore, let me know how this inferior Light ought to be used by
me; how it is to be kept within its due bounds; and after what manner
the superior Light doth regulate it and ennoble it.

MASTER

Know then, my beloved son, that if thou wilt keep the Light of Nature
within its own proper bounds, and make use thereof in just subordination
to the Light of God, thou must consider that there are in thy soul two
_Wills_, an _inferior_ Will, which is for driving thee to Things without
and below; and a _superior_ Will, which is for drawing thee to Things
within and above. These two Wills are now set together, as it were back
to back, and in a direct contrariety to each other; but in the beginning
it was not so. For this contraposition of the soul in these two is no
more than the effect of the Fallen State; since before that they were
placed one under the other, that is, the _superior_ Will _above_, as the
Lord, and the inferior _below_, as the subject. And thus it ought to
have continued. Thou must also further consider that, answering to these
two Wills, there are likewise two Eyes in the soul, whereby they are
severally directed, forasmuch as these Eyes are not united in one single
view, but look quite contrary ways at once. They are in a like manner
set one against the other, without a common medium to join them. And
hence, so long as this double-sightedness doth remain, it is impossible
there should be any agreement in the determination of this or that Will.
This is very plain. And it showeth the necessity that this malady,
arising from the disunion of the rays of vision, be some way remedied
and redressed, in order to a true discernment in the mind. Both these
eyes therefore must be made to unite by a concentration of rays, there
being nothing more dangerous than for the mind to abide thus in the
Duplicity and not to seek to arrive at the Unity. Thou perceivest, I
know, that thou hast two Wills in thee, one set against the other, the
superior and the inferior, and that thou hast always two Eyes within,
one against the other, whereof the one Eye may be called the Right Eye,
and the other the Left Eye. Thou perceivest too, doubtless, that it is
according to the Right Eye that the wheel of the superior Will is moved;
and that it is according to the motion of the Left Eye that the contrary
wheel in the lower is turned about.

DISCIPLE

I perceive this, Sir, to be very true; and this it is which causeth a
continual combat in me, and createth in me greater anxiety than I am
able to express. Nor am I unacquainted with the disease of my own soul,
which you have so clearly declared. Alas! I perceive and lament this
malady, which so miserably disturbeth my sight; whence I feel such
irregular and convulsive motions drawing me on this side and that side.
The Spirit seeth not as the Flesh seeth, neither doth, nor can, the
Flesh see as the Spirit seeth. Hence the Spirit willeth against the
Flesh; and the Flesh willeth against the Spirit in me. This hath been
my hard case. And how shall it be remedied? O how may I arrive at the
Unity of Will, and how come into the Unity of Vision?

MASTER

Mark now what I say. The Right Eye looketh forward in thee into
Eternity. The Left Eye looketh backward in thee into Time. If thou now
sufferest thyself to be always looking into Nature, and the Things of
Time, it will be impossible for thee ever to arrive at the Unity, which
thou wishest for. Remember this, and be upon thy watch. Give not thy
mind leave to enter into nor to fill itself with that which is without
thee; neither look thou backward upon thyself; but quit thyself, and
look forward to Christ. Let not thy Left Eye deceive thee by making
continually one representation after another, and stirring up thereby an
earnest longing in the self-propriety; but let thy right eye command
this left, and attract it to thee. Yea it is better to pluck it quite
out and to cast it from thee, than to suffer it to proceed forth without
restraint into Nature, and to follow its own lusts. However there is for
this no necessity, since both eyes may become very useful, if ordered
aright, and both the Divine and Natural Light may in the soul subsist
together, and be of mutual service to each other. But never shalt thou
arrive at the Unity of Vision or Uniformity of Will, but by entering
fully into the Will of our Saviour Christ, and therein bringing the Eye
of Time into the Eye of Eternity, and then descending by means of these
united through the Light of God into the Light of Nature.

DISCIPLE

So then if I can but enter into the Will of my Lord, and abide therein,
I am safe, and may both attain to the Light of God in the Spirit of my
soul and see with the Eye of God, that is, the Eye of Eternity in the
Eternal Ground of my Will; and may also at the same time enjoy the Light
of this World nevertheless, not degrading but adorning the Light of
Nature, and beholding as with the Eye of Eternity things Eternal, so
with the Eye of Nature, things Natural, and both contemplating therein
the Wonders of God, and sustaining also thereby the life of my outward
vehicle or body.

MASTER

It is very right. Thou hast well understood, and thou desirest now to
enter into the Will of God, and to abide therein as in the Supersensual
Ground of Light and Life, where thou mayst in his Light behold both Time
and Eternity, and bring all the wonders created of God for the exterior
into the interior life, and so eternally rejoice in them to the glory of
Christ; the partition of thy Creaturely Will being broken down and the
Eye of thy Spirit simplified in and through the Eye of God manifesting
itself in the Centre of thy Life. Let this be so now, for it is God's
Will.

DISCIPLE

But it is very hard to be always looking forwards into Eternity, and
consequently to attain to the single eye, and simplicity of Divine
Vision. The entrance of a soul naked into the Will of God, shutting out
all imaginations and desires, and breaking down the strong partition
which you mention, is indeed somehow very terrible and shocking to human
nature in its present state. O what shall I do, that I may reach this
which I so much long for?

MASTER

My Son, let not the Eye of Nature with the Will of the Wonders depart
from that Eye which is introverted into the Divine Liberty, and into the
Eternal Light of the Holy Majesty. But let it draw to thee by union
with that heavenly internal Eye those wonders which are externally
wrought out and manifested in visible Nature. For while thou art in the
world, and hast an honest employment, thou art certainly by the Order of
Providence obliged to labour in it, and to finish the work given thee,
according to thy best ability, without repining in the least; seeking
out and manifesting for God's glory the Wonders of Nature and Art. Since
let the Nature be what it will it is all the Work and Art of God. And
let the Art also be what it will, it is still God's Work and his Art,
rather than any art or cunning of man. And all both in Art and Nature
serveth but abundantly to manifest the wonderful Works of God, that he
for all and in all may be glorified. Yea, all serveth, if thou knowest
rightly how to use them, only to recollect thee more inwards, and to
draw thy Spirit into that majestic Light wherein the original patterns
and forms of things visible are to be seen. Keep, therefore, in the
Centre, and stir not from the Presence of God revealed within thy Soul;
let the world and the devil make never so great a noise and bustle to
draw thee out, mind them not; they cannot hurt thee. It is permitted to
the Eye of thy Reason to seek food, and to thy hands by their labour to
get food for the terrestrial body. But then this Eye ought not with its
desire to enter into the food prepared, which would be covetousness; but
must in resignation simply bring it before the Eye of God in thy Spirit,
and then thou must seek to place it close to this very Eye, without
letting it go. Mark this lesson well.

Let the hands or the head be at labour, thy Heart ought nevertheless to
rest in God. God is a Spirit; dwell in the Spirit; work in the Spirit;
pray in the Spirit; and do every thing in the Spirit; for remember thou
also art a Spirit, and thereby created in the Image of God. Therefore
see thou attract not in thy desire _Matter_ unto thee, but as much as
possible abstract thyself from all Matter whatever; and so, standing in
the Centre, present thyself as a naked Spirit before God, in simplicity
and purity; and be sure thy Spirit draw in nothing but Spirit.

Thou wilt yet be greatly enticed to draw Matter, and to gather that
which the World calls _substance_; thereby to have somewhat visible to
trust to. But by no means consent to the Tempter, nor yield to the
lustings of thy Flesh against the Spirit. For in so doing thou wilt
infallibly obscure the Divine Light in thee; thy Spirit will stick in
the dark Covetous Root, and from the fiery Source of thy soul will it
blaze out in pride and anger; thy Will shall be chained in Earthliness,
and shall sink through the Anguish into Darkness and Materiality; and
never shalt thou be able to reach the still Liberty, or to stand before
the Majesty of God. It will be all darkness to thee, as much Matter as
is drawn in by the Desire of thy Will. It will darken God's Majesty to
thee, and will close the seeing Eye, by hiding from thee the light of
his beloved countenance. This the Serpent longeth to do, but in vain,
except thou permittest thy _Imagination_, upon his suggestion, to
receive in the alluring Matter; else he can never get in. Behold then,
if thou desirest to see God's Light in thy Soul, and be divinely
illuminated and conducted, this is the short way that thou art to take;
not to let the Eye of thy Spirit enter into Matter, or fill itself with
any Thing whatever, either in Heaven or Earth, but to let it enter by a
_naked faith_ into the Light of the Majesty; and so receive by _pure
love_ the Light of God, and attract the Divine Power into itself,
putting on the Divine Body, and growing up in it to the full maturity of
the Humanity of Christ.

DISCIPLE

As I said before, so I say again, this is very hard. I conceive indeed
well enough that my Spirit ought to be free from the contagion of
Matter, and wholly empty, that it may admit into it the Spirit of God.
Also, that this Spirit will not enter, but where the Will entereth into
_Nothing_, and resigneth itself up in the _nakedness of faith_, and in
the _purity of love_, to its conduct, feeding magically upon the Word of
God, and clothing itself thereby with a _Divine Substantiality_. But,
alas, how hard it is for the Will to sink into nothing, to attract
nothing, to imagine nothing.

MASTER

Let it be granted that it is so. Is it not surely worth thy while, and
all that thou canst ever do?

DISCIPLE

It is so, I must needs confess.

MASTER

But perhaps it may not be so hard as at first it appeareth to be; make
but the trial and be in earnest. What is there required of thee but to
stand still and see the salvation of thy God? And couldst thou desire
anything less? Where is the hardship in this? Thou hast nothing to care
for, nothing to desire in this life, nothing to imagine or attract. Thou
needest only cast thy care upon God, who careth for thee, and leave him
to dispose of thee according to his good will and pleasure, even as if
thou hadst no will at all in thee. For he knoweth what is best; and if
thou canst but trust him, he will most certainly do better for thee,
than if thou wert left to thine own choice.

DISCIPLE

This I most firmly believe.

MASTER

If thou believest, then go and do accordingly. _All_ is in the _Will_,
as I have shown thee. When the Will imagineth after _Somewhat_, then
entereth it into that somewhat, and this somewhat taketh the Will into
itself, and overcloudeth it, so as it can have no Light, but must dwell
in Darkness, unless it return back out of that somewhat into _Nothing_.
But when the Will imagineth or hasteth after nothing, then it entereth
into _Nothing_, where it receiveth the Will of God into itself, and so
dwelleth in Light, and worketh all its works in it.

DISCIPLE

I am now satisfied that the main cause of any one's spiritual blindness,
is his letting his Will into Somewhat, or into that which he hath
wrought, of what nature soever it be, good or evil, and his setting his
heart or affections upon the work of his own hand or brain, and that
when the earthly body perisheth, then the Soul must be imprisoned in
that very thing which it shall have received and let in; and if the
Light of God be not in it, being deprived of the Light of this World, it
cannot but be found in a dark prison.

MASTER

This is a very precious Gate of Knowledge; I am glad thou takest it into
such consideration. The understanding of the whole Scripture is
contained in it; and all that hath been written from the beginning of
the World to this day may be found therein, by him that having entered
with his Will into Nothing, hath there found All Things, by finding God,
from Whom, and to Whom, and in Whom are All Things. By this means thou
shalt come to hear and see God; and after this earthly life is ended to
see with the Eye of Eternity all the Wonders of God and of Nature, and
more particularly those which shall be wrought by thee in the flesh, or
all that the Spirit of God shall have given thee to labour out for
thyself and thy neighbour, or all that the Eye of Reason enlightened
from above, may at any time have manifested to thee. Delay not therefore
to enter in by this Gate, which if thou seest in the Spirit, as some
highly favoured souls have seen it, thou seest in the Supersensual
Ground _all that God is and can do_; thou seest also therewith, as one
hath said who was taken thereinto, _through Heaven, Hell, and Earth; and
through the Essence of all Essences_. Whosoever findeth it, hath found
all that he can desire. Here is the Virtue and Power of the Love of God
displayed. Here is the Height and Depth, here is the Breadth and Length
thereof manifested, as ever the capacity of thy soul can contain. By
this thou shalt come into that Ground out of which all Things are
originated, and in which they subsist; and in it thou shalt reign over
all God's Works, as a Prince of God.

DISCIPLE

Pray tell me, dear Master, where dwelleth it _in Man_?

MASTER

Where Man dwelleth not: there hath it its seat in Man.

DISCIPLE

Where is that in a Man, when Man dwelleth not in himself?

MASTER

It is the resigned Ground of a Soul to which nothing cleaveth.

DISCIPLE

Where is the Ground in any Soul, to which there will nothing stick? Or
where is that which abideth and dwelleth not in something?

MASTER

It is the Centre of Rest and Motion in the resigned Will of a truly
contrite Spirit, which is Crucified to the World. This Centre of the
Will is impenetrable consequently to the World, the Devil, and Hell.
Nothing in all the World can enter into it, or adhere to it, because the
Will is dead with Christ unto the World, but quickened with him in the
Centre thereof, after his blessed Image. Here it is where Man dwelleth
not, and where no Self abideth or can abide.

DISCIPLE

O where is this naked Ground of the Soul void of all Self? And how shall
I come at the hidden Centre, where God dwelleth, and not Man? Tell me
plainly, loving Sir, where it is, and how it is to be found of me, and
entered into?

MASTER

There where the Soul hath slain its own Will, and willeth no more any
Thing as from itself, but only as God willeth, and as his Spirit moveth
upon the Soul shall this appear. Where the Love of Self is banished
there dwelleth the Love of God. For so much of the Soul's own Will as is
dead unto itself even so much room hath the Will of God, which is his
Love, taken up in that Soul. The reason whereof is this: Where its own
Will did before sit, there is now nothing; and where nothing is, there
it is that the Love of God worketh alone.

DISCIPLE

But how shall I comprehend it?

MASTER

If thou goest about to comprehend it, then it will fly away from thee;
but if thou dost surrender thyself wholly up to it, then it will abide
with thee, and become the Life of thy Life, and be natural to thee.

DISCIPLE

And how can this be without dying, or the whole destruction of my Will?

MASTER

Upon this entire surrender and yielding up of thy Will, the Love of God
in thee becometh the Life of thy Nature; it killeth thee not, but
quickeneth thee, who art now dead to thyself in thine own Will,
according to its proper Life, even the Life of God. And then thou
livest, yet not to thy own Will, but thou livest to its Will; for as
much as thy Will is henceforth become its Will. So then it is no longer
thy Will, but the Will of God; no longer the Love of thyself, but the
Love of God, which moveth and operateth in thee; and then, thou being
thus comprehended in it, thou art dead indeed as to thyself, but art
alive unto God. So being dead thou livest, or rather God liveth in thee
by his Spirit; and his Love is made to thee Life from the Dead. Never
couldst thou with all thy seeking have apprehended it, but it hath
apprehended thee. Much less couldst thou have comprehended it, but it
hath comprehended thee; and so the Treasure of Treasures is found.

DISCIPLE

How is it that so few Souls do find it, when yet all would be glad
enough to have it?

MASTER

They all seek it in _somewhat_, and so they find it not. For where there
is Somewhat for the Soul to adhere to, there the Soul findeth _that
somewhat only_, and taketh up its rest therein, until she seeth that it
is to be found in Nothing, and goeth out of the Somewhat into Nothing,
even into that Nothing out of which all Things may be made. The Soul
here saith "_I have nothing_, for I am utterly stripped and naked of
every Thing; _I can do nothing_, for I have no manner of power, but am
as water poured out; _I am nothing_, for all that I am is no more than
an Image of Being, and only God is to me I AM; and so, sitting down in
my own Nothingness, I give glory to the Eternal Being, and _will
nothing_ of myself, that so God may _will all_ in me, being unto me my
God and All Things." Herein now it is that so very few find this most
precious treasure in the Soul, though every one would so fain have it;
and might also have it, were it not for this Somewhat in every one that
letteth.

DISCIPLE

But if the Love should proffer itself to a Soul, could not that Soul
find it, nor lay hold of it, without going for it into Nothing?

MASTER

No verily. Men seek and find not, because they seek it not in the naked
Ground where it lieth; but in something or other where it never will be,
nor can be. They seek it in their _own Will_, and they find it not. They
seek it in their _Self-Desire_, and they meet not with it. They look for
it in an _Image_, or in an _Opinion_, or in _Affection_, or a natural
_Devotion_ and _Fervour_, and they lose the substance by thus hunting
after a shadow. They search for it in something sensible or imaginary,
in somewhat which they may have a more peculiar natural inclination for,
and adhesion to; and so they miss of what they seek, for want of diving
into the Supernatural and Supersensual Ground, where the Treasure is
hid. Now, should the Love graciously condescend to proffer itself to
such as these, and even to present itself evidently before the Eye of
their Spirit, yet could it find no place at all in them, neither could
it be held by them, or remain with them.

DISCIPLE

Why not, if the Love should be willing and ready to offer itself, and to
stay with them?

MASTER

Because the _Imaginariness_ which is in their own Will hath set itself
up in the place thereof. And so this Imaginariness would have the Love
in it, but the Love fleeth away, for it is its prison. The Love may
offer itself; but it cannot abide where the _Self-Desire_ attracteth or
imagineth. That Will which attracteth Nothing, and to which Nothing
adhereth, is only capable of receiving it; for it dwelleth only in
Nothing, as I said, and therefore they find it not.

DISCIPLE

If it dwell only in Nothing, what is now the office of it in Nothing?

MASTER

The office of the Love here is to penetrate incessantly into Something;
and if it penetrate into, and find a place in Something which is
standing still and at rest, then its business is to take possession
thereof. And when it hath there taken possession, then it rejoiceth
therein with its flaming Love-fire, even as the sun doth in the visible
world. And then the office of it is without intermission to enkindle a
fire in this Something which may burn it up; and then with the flames
thereof exceedingly to enflame itself, and raise the heat of the
Love-fire by it, even seven degrees higher.

DISCIPLE

O, loving Master, how shall I understand this?

MASTER

If it but once kindle a fire within thee, my son, thou shalt then
certainly feel how it consumeth all that which it toucheth, thou shalt
feel it in the burning up thyself, and swiftly devouring all _Egoity_ or
that which thou callest _I and Me_, as standing in a separate Root, and
divided from the Deity, the Fountain of thy Being. And when this
enkindling is made in thee, then the Love doth so exceedingly rejoice in
thy fire, as thou wouldest not for all the world be out of it; yea,
wouldst rather suffer thyself to be killed, than to enter into _thy
something_ again. This fire must now grow hotter and hotter, till it
shall have perfected its office with respect to thee. Its flame also
will be so very great that it will never leave thee, though it should
even cost thee thy temporal life, but it would go with thee with its
sweet loving fire into death; and if thou wentest also into Hell, it
would break Hell in pieces also for thy sake. Nothing is more certain
than this, for it is stronger than Death and Hell.

DISCIPLE

Enough, my dearest Master, I can no longer endure that any Thing should
divert me from it. But how shall I find the nearest way to it?

MASTER

Where the way is hardest, there go thou; and what the World casteth
away, that take thou up. What the World doth, that do thou not; but in
all things walk thou contrary to the World. So thou comest the nearest
way to that which thou art seeking.

DISCIPLE

If I should in all things walk contrary to other people, I must needs be
in a very unquiet and sad state, and the World would not fail to account
me for a madman.

MASTER

I bid thee not, Child, to do harm to anyone, thereby to create to
thyself any misery or unquietness. This is not what I mean by walking
contrary in everything to the World. But because the World, as the
World, loveth all deceit and vanity, and walketh in false and
treacherous ways, thence, if thou hast a mind to act a clean contrary
part to the ways thereof, without any exception or reserve whatsoever,
walk thou only in the right way, which is called the _Way of Light_, as
that of the World is properly the _Way of Darkness_. For the right way,
even the Path of Light, is contrary to all the ways of the World.

But whereas thou art afraid of creating to thyself hereby trouble and
inquietude, that indeed will be so according to the flesh. In the world
thou must have trouble, and thy flesh will not fail to be unquiet, and
to give thee occasion of continual repentance. Nevertheless in this very
_anxiety of soul_ arising from the world or the flesh, the Love doth
most willingly enkindle itself, and its cheering and conquering fire is
but made to blaze forth with greater strength for the destruction of
that evil. And whereas thou dost also say, that the World will for this
esteem thee mad; it is true the World will be apt enough to censure thee
for a madman in walking contrary to it, and thou art not to be surprised
if the children thereof laugh at thee, calling thee silly Fool. For the
Way to the Love of God is Folly to the World, but is Wisdom to the
Children of God. Hence, whenever the World perceiveth this holy Fire of
Love in God's Children, it concludeth immediately that they are turned
fools, and are beside themselves. But to the Children of God that which
is despised of the World is the greatest Treasure, yea, so great a
Treasure is it as no life can express, nor tongue so much as name what
this enflaming, all-conquering Love of God is. It is brighter than the
Sun; it is sweeter than anything that is called sweet; it is stronger
than all strength; it is more nutrimental than food; more cheering to
the heart than wine, and more pleasant than all the joy and pleasantness
of this world. Whosoever obtaineth it is richer than any Monarch on
earth; and he who getteth it, is nobler than any Emperor can be, and
more potent and absolute than all Power and Authority.



DIALOGUE III

BETWEEN JUNIUS, A SCHOLAR, AND THEOPHORUS, HIS MASTER, CONCERNING HEAVEN
AND HELL


The Scholar asked his Master "Whither goeth the Soul when the Body
dieth?"

His Master answered him: There is no necessity for it to go any whither.

How not, said the inquisitive Junius, must not the Soul leave the body
at death and go either to Heaven or Hell?

It needs no going forth, replied the venerable Theophorus. Only the
outward Mortal Life with the body shall separate themselves from the
Soul. The Soul hath Heaven and Hell within itself before, according as
it is written. _The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither
shall they say Lo here! or Lo there! For behold the Kingdom of God is
within you._ And which soever of the two, that is, either Heaven or
Hell, is manifested in it, in that the Soul standeth.

Here Junius said to his Master: This is hard to understand. Doth it not
enter into Heaven or Hell, as a man entereth into a house; or as one
goeth through a hole or casement into an unknown place; so goeth it not
into another world?

The Master spoke and said: No, there is verily no such kind of entering
in; forasmuch as Heaven and Hell are every where, being universally
co-extended.

How is that possible? said the Scholar. What, can Heaven and Hell be
here present, where we are now sitting? And if one of them might, can
you ever make me believe that ever both should be here together?

Then spoke the Master in this manner: I have said that Heaven is
everywhere present and it is true. For God is in Heaven; and God is
everywhere. I have said also that Hell must be in like manner
everywhere. For the _Wicked One_, who is the Devil, is in Hell, and the
whole World, as the Apostle hath taught us, lyeth in the _Wicked One_,
or the _Evil One_; which is as much as to say, not only that the Devil
is in the World, but that the World is in the Devil; and if in the
Devil, then in Hell too, because he is there. So Hell therefore is
everywhere, as well as Heaven; which is the thing that was to be proved.

The Scholar, startled hereat, said: Pray make me to understand this.

To whom the Master: Understand then what Heaven is. It is but the
_turning in of the Will to the Love of God_. Wheresoever thou findest
God manifesting himself in Love, there thou findest Heaven, without
travelling for it so much as one foot. And by this understand also what
Hell is and where it is. I say unto thee it is but the _turning in of
the Will into the wrath of God_. Wheresoever the Anger of God doth more
or less manifest itself, there certainly is more or less of Hell, in
whatsoever place it be. So that it is but the turning in of thy will
either into his Love, or into his Anger; and thou art accordingly either
in Heaven or in Hell. Mark it well. And this now cometh to pass in this
present life, whereof St Paul speaking saith, _Our conversation is in
Heaven_. And the Lord Christ saith also, _My sheep hear my voice, and I
know them, and they follow me, and I give them the Eternal Life, and
none shall pluck them out of my hand_. Observe, he saith not, I _will
give_ them, after this life is ended, but I _give_ them, that is, now in
the time of this life. And what else is this gift of Christ to his
followers, but an Eternity of Life, which for certain can be no where
but in Heaven. Yea, moreover, none shall be able to pluck them out of
Heaven, because it is he who holdeth them there, and they are in his
hand which nothing can resist. All therefore doth consist in the
turning in, or entering of the Will into Heaven, by hearing the the
voice of Christ, and both _knowing_ him, and _following_ him. And so on
the contrary it is also. Understandest thou this?

His Scholar said to him: I think, in part, I do. But how cometh this
entering of the Will into Heaven to pass?

The Master answered him: This then will I endeavour to satisfy thee in;
but thou must be very attentive to what I shall say unto thee. Know
then, my son, that when the Ground of the Will yieldeth itself up to
God, then it sinketh out of its own Self, and out of and beyond all
ground and place, that is or can be imagined, into a certain unknown
Deep, where God only is manifest, and where he only worketh and willeth.
And then it becometh nothing to itself, as to its own working and
willing, and so God worketh and willeth in it. And God dwells in this
designed Will, by which the Soul is sanctified, and so fitted to come
into Divine Rest. Now, in this case, when the body breaketh, the Soul is
so thoroughly penetrated all over with the Divine Light, even as a
glowing hot iron is by the fire, by which being penetrated throughout,
it loseth its darkness, and becomes bright and shining. Now this is the
_hand of Christ_, where God's Love thoroughly inhabits the Soul, and is
in it a shining Light, and a new glorious Life. And then the Soul is in
Heaven, and is a Temple of the Holy Ghost, and is itself the very Heaven
of God, wherein he dwelleth. Lo, this is the entering of the Will into
Heaven; and thus it cometh to pass.

Be pleased, Sir, to proceed, said the Scholar, and let me know how it
fareth on the other side.

The Master said: The godly Soul, you see, is in the _hand of Christ_,
that is in Heaven, as he himself hath told us, and in what manner this
cometh to be so, you have also heard. But the ungodly Soul is not
willing in this life-time to come into the Divine Resignation of its
Will, or to enter into the Will of God; but goeth on still in its own
lust and desire, in vanity and falsehood, and so entereth into the Will
of the Devil. It receiveth, thereupon, into itself nothing but
wickedness; nothing but lying, pride, covetousness, envy and wrath; and
thereunto it giveth up its Will and whole Desire. This is the Vanity of
the Will; and this same Vanity or vain shadow must also in like manner
be manifested in the Soul, which hath yielded itself up also to be its
servant; and must work therein even as the Love of God worketh in the
regenerated Will; and penetrate it all over, as fire doth iron.

And it is not possible for this Soul to come into the Rest of God,
because God's Anger is manifested in it, and worketh in it. Now when a
body is parted from the Soul, then beginneth the Eternal Melancholy and
Despair, because it now findeth that it is become altogether Vanity,
even a Vanity most vexatious to itself, and a distracting Fury, and a
self-tormenting Abomination. Now it perceiveth itself disappointed of
every Thing which it had before fancied, and blind, and naked, and
wounded, and hungry, and thirsty, without the least prospect of ever
being relieved, or obtaining so much as one drop of the water of Eternal
Life. And it feeleth itself to be its own vile executioner and
tormentor; and is affrighted at its own ugly dark form, and fain would
flee from itself if it could, but it cannot, being fast bound with the
chains of the Dark Nature, whereinto it had sunk itself when in the
flesh. And so, not having learned or accustomed itself to sink down into
the Divine Grace, and being also strongly possessed with the Idea of
God, as an angry and jealous God, the poor Soul is both afraid and
ashamed to bring its Will into God, by which deliverance might possibly
come to it. The Soul is afraid to do it, as fearing to be consumed by so
doing, under the apprehension of the Deity as a mere devouring Fire.
The Soul is also _ashamed_ to do it, as being confounded at its own
nakedness and monstrosity, and therefore would, if it were possible,
hide itself from the Majesty of God, and cover its abominable form from
his most holy eye, though by casting itself still deeper into the
Darkness. Therefore it _will not_ enter into God, nay, it _cannot_ enter
with its false Will; yea, though it should strive to enter, yet can it
not enter into the Love, because of the Will which hath reigned in it.
For such a Soul is thereby captivated in the Wrath, yea, is itself but
_mere Wrath_, having by its false Desire, which it had awakened in
itself, comprehended and shut itself up therewith, and so transformed
itself into the nature and property thereof.

And since also the Light of God doth not shine in it, nor the Love of
God enclose it, the Soul is moreover a _great Darkness_, and is withal
an anxious Fire-source, carrying about an Hell in itself, and not being
able to discern the least glimpse of the Light of God, or to feel the
least spark of his Love. Thus it dwelleth in itself as in Hell, and
needeth no entering into Hell at all, or being carried thither, for in
what place soever it may be, so long as it is in itself, it is in the
Hell. And though it should travel far and cast itself many hundred
thousand leagues from its present place, to be out of Hell; yet still
would it remain in its hellish source and darkness.

If this be so, how then cometh it, said the Scholar to Theophorus, that
an Heavenly Soul doth not in the time of this life perfectly perceive
the Heavenly Light and Joy, and the Soul which is without God in the
World, doth not also here feel Hell, as well as hereafter? Why should
they not both be perceived and felt as well in this life as in the next,
seeing that both of them are in Man, and one of them as you have shewed,
worketh in every man?

To whom Theophorus presently returned this answer: The Kingdom of Heaven
is in the Saints operative and manifestative of itself by _Faith_. They
who carry God within them, and live by his Spirit, find the Kingdom of
God in their Faith, and they feel the Love of God in their Faith, by
which the Will hath given up itself unto God, and is made Godlike. All
is transacted within them _by Faith_, which is to them the evidence of
the Eternal Invisibles, and a great manifestation in their Spirit of
this Divine Kingdom, which is within them. But their natural life is
nevertheless encompassed with flesh and blood; and this standing in a
contrariety thereto, and being placed through the Fall in the principle
of God's Anger, and environed about with the World, which by no means
can be reconciled to Faith, these faithful Souls cannot but be very much
exposed to attacks from this World, wherein they are sojourners; neither
can they be insensible of their being thus encompassed about with flesh
and blood, and with the World's vain lust, which ceaseth not continually
to penetrate the outward mortal life, and to tempt them manifold ways,
even as it did Christ. Whence the World on one side and the Devil on the
other, not without the curse of God's Anger in flesh and blood, do
thoroughly sift and penetrate the Life, whereby it cometh to pass that
the Soul is often in anxiety when these three are all set upon it
together, and when Hell thus assaulteth the Life, and would manifest
itself in the Soul. But the Soul hereupon sinketh down into the hope of
the Grace of God, and standeth like a beautiful Rose in the midst of
Thorns, until the Kingdom of this World shall fall from it in the death
of the body. And then the Soul first becometh truly manifest in the Love
of God, and of his Kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love; having
henceforth nothing more to hinder it. But during this life she must walk
with Christ in this world, and then Christ delivereth her out of her own
Hell, by penetrating her with his Love throughout, and standing by her
in Hell, and even changing her Hell into Heaven.

But in that thou sayest, Why do not the Souls which are without God feel
Hell in this World? I answer; They bear it about with them in their
wicked consciences, but they know it not; because the World hath put out
their eyes, and its deadly cup hath cast them likewise into a sleep, a
most fatal sleep. Notwithstanding which it must be owned that the Wicked
do frequently feel Hell within them during the time of this mortal life,
though they may not apprehend that it is Hell, because of the earthly
vanity which cleaveth to them from without, and the sensible pleasures
and amusements wherewith they are intoxicated. And moreover it is to be
noted that the outward Life in every such one hath yet the Light of the
outward Nature, which ruleth in this Life, and so the Pain of Hell
cannot, so long as that hath the rule, be revealed. But when the body
dyeth or breaketh away, so as the Soul cannot any longer enjoy such
temporal pleasure and delight, nor the Light of this outward World,
which is wholly thereupon extinguished as to it, then the Soul stands in
an eternal hunger and thirst after such vanities as it was here in love
withal, but yet can reach nothing but that false Will, which it had
impressed in itself while in the body; and wherein it had abounded to
its great loss. And now whereas it had too much of its Will in this
life, and yet was not contented therewith, it hath, after the separation
by death, as little of it; which createth in it an everlasting thirst
after that which it can henceforth never obtain more, and causeth it to
be in a perpetual anxious lust after Vanity, according to its former
impression, and in a continual rage of hunger after those sorts of
wickedness and lewdness whereinto it was immersed, being in the flesh.
Fain would it do more evil still, but that it hath not either wherein or
wherewith to effect the same, and therefore it doth perform this only
_in itself_. All is not literally transacted, as if it were outward; and
so the ungodly is tormented by those Furies which are in his own mind,
and begotten upon himself by himself. For he is verily become his own
Devil and Tormentor; and that by which he sinned here, when the Shadow
of this World is passed away, abideth still with him in the impression,
and is made his prison and his Hell. But this hellish hunger and thirst
cannot be fully manifested in the Soul, till the Body, which ministered
to the Soul that it lusted after, and with which the Soul was so
bewitched, as to doat thereupon, and pursue all its cravings, be
stripped off from it.

I perceive then, said _Junius_ to his Master, that the Soul, having
played the wanton with the Body in all voluptuousness, and served the
lusts thereof during this life, retaineth still the very same
inclinations and affections which it had before, then when it hath no
opportunity or capacity to satisfy them longer; and that when this
cannot be, there is then Hell opened in that Soul, which had been shut
up in it before by means of the outward Life in the Body, and of the
Light of this World. Do I rightly understand?

_Theophorus_ said: It is very rightly understood by you. Go on.

On the other hand (said he) I clearly perceive by what I have heard,
that Heaven cannot but be in a loving Soul which is possessed of God,
and hath subdued thereby the Body to the obedience of the Spirit in all
things, and perfectly immersed itself into the Will and Love of God. And
when the Body dyeth, and the Soul is hence redeemed from the Earth, it
is now evident to me that the Life of God, which was hidden in it, will
display itself gloriously, and Heaven consequently be then manifested.
But, notwithstanding, if there be not a local Heaven besides and a local
Hell, I am still at a loss where to place no small part of the Creation,
if not the greatest. For where must all the intellectual inhabitants of
it abide?

In their own Principle, answered the Master, whether it be of Light or
of Darkness. For every created intellectual Being remaineth in its deeds
and essences, in its wonders and properties, in its life and image; and
therein it beholdeth and feeleth God, as who is everywhere, whether it
be in the Love or in the Wrath.

If it be in the Love of God, then beholdeth it God accordingly, and
feeleth him as he is, Love. But if it hath captivated itself in the
Wrath of God, then it cannot behold God otherwise than in the Wrathful
Nature, nor perceive him otherwise than as an incensed and vindictive
Spirit. All places are alike to it, if it be in God's Love; and, if it
be not there, every place is Hell alike. What Place can bound a Thought?
Or what needeth any understanding Spirit to be kept here or there, in
order to its happiness or misery? Verily, wheresoever it is, it is in
the Abyssal World, where there is neither end nor limit. And whither, I
pray, should it go? since though it should go a thousand miles off, or a
thousand times ten thousand miles, and this ten thousand times over
beyond the bounds of the Universe, and into the imagining spaces above
the stars, yet it were then still in the very same point from whence it
went out. For God is the _Place_ of Spirit, if it may be lawful to
attribute to him such a name to the which Body hath a relation. And in
God there is no limit; both near and far off is here all one; and be it
in his Love, or be it in his Anger, the abyssal Will of the Spirit is
altogether unconfined. It is swift as thought, passing through all
things; it is magical, and nothing corporeal or from without can let it;
it dwelleth in its wonders, and they are its house.

Thus it is with every Intellectual, whether of the Order of Angels or of
human Souls, and you need not fear but there will be room enough for
them all, be they ever so many; and such also as shall best suit them,
even according to their election and determination, and which may thence
very well be called the "_own place_" of each.

At which said the Scholar, I remember, indeed, that it is written
concerning the great traitor, that he went after death to his _own
place_.

The Master said: The same is true of every Soul, when it departeth this
mortal life. And it is true in like manner of every Angel and Spirit
whatsoever, which is necessarily determined by its own choice. As God is
everywhere, so also the Angels are everywhere; but each one in its own
Principle, and in its own Property or (if you had rather) in its _own
Place_. The same Essence of God, which is as a Place to Spirits, is
confessed to be everywhere, but the appropriation or participation
hereof is different to everyone, according as each hath attracted it
magically in the earnestness of Will. The same Divine Essence which is
with the Angels of God above, is with us also below. And the same Divine
Nature which is with us is likewise with them; but after different
manners and in different degrees communicated and participated.

And what I have said here of the Divine, is no less to be considered by
you in the participation of the Diabolical Essence and Nature, which is
the Power of Darkness, as to the manifold modes, degrees, and
appropriations thereof in the false Will. In this World there is strife
between them, but when this World hath reached in anyone the Limit, then
the Principle catcheth that which is its own, and so the Soul receiveth
companions accordingly, that is, either Angels or Devils.

To whom the Scholar again: Heaven and Hell then being in us at strife in
the time of this life, and God himself being also thus near to us, where
can Angels and Devils dwell?

And the Master answered him thus: Where thou dost not dwell as to thy
_Self-hood_ and to thine _own Will_, there the holy Angels dwell with
thee, and every where all over round about thee. Remember this well. On
the contrary, where thou dwellest as to thyself, or in Self-seeking, and
Self-will, there to be sure the Devils will be with thee, and will take
up their abode with thee, and dwell all over thee, and round about thee
everywhere, which God in his mercy prevent.

I understand not this, said the Scholar, so perfectly well as I could
wish. Be pleased to make it a little more plain to me.

The Master then spake: Mark well what I am going to say. Where the Will
of God in anything willeth, there is God manifested. And in this very
manifestation of God the Angels do dwell. But where God in any Creature
willeth not with the Will of that Creature, there God is not manifested
to it, neither can he be; but dwelleth in himself, without the
co-operation thereof, and subjection to him in humility. There God is an
unmanifested God to the Creature. So the Angels dwell not with such an
one; for wherever they dwell, there is the Glory of God; and they make
his Glory. What then dwelleth in such a Creature as this? God dwelleth
not therein; the Angels dwell not therein; God willeth not therein; the
Angels also will not therein. The case is evidently this; in that Soul
or Creature its own will is without God's Will; and there the Devil
dwelleth; and with him all that is without God, and without Christ. This
is the truth; lay it to heart.

The _Scholar_ said: It is possible I may ask several impertinent
questions; but I beseech you, good Sir, to have patience with me, and to
pity my ignorance, if I ask what may appear to you perhaps ridiculous,
or may not be at all fit for me to expect an answer to. For I have
several questions still to propound to you; but I am ashamed of my own
thoughts in this matter.

The _Master_ said: Be plain with me, and propose whatever is upon your
mind; yea, be not ashamed even to appear ridiculous, so that by querying
you may but become wiser.

The _Scholar_ thanked his Master for this liberty and said: How far then
are Heaven and Hell asunder?

To whom he answered thus: As far as Day and Night; or as far as
Something and Nothing. They are in one another and yet they are at the
greater distance one from the other. Nay, the one of them is as nothing
to the other; and yet notwithstanding they cause joy and grief to one
another. Heaven is throughout the whole World, and it is also without
the World over all, even everywhere that is, or that can be even so much
as imagined. It filleth all, it is within all, it is without all, it
encompasseth all; without division, without place; working by a Divine
Manifestation, and flowing forth universally, but not going in the least
out of itself. For only in itself it worketh and is revealed, being one
and undivided in all. It appeareth only through the Manifestation of
God; and never but in itself only. And in that Being which cometh into
it, or in that wherein it is manifested; there also it is that God is
manifested. Because Heaven is nothing else but a Manifestation or
Revelation of the Eternal One, wherein all the working and willing is in
quiet love.

So in like manner Hell also is through the whole World, and dwelleth and
worketh but in itself, and in that wherein the Foundation of Hell is
manifested, namely, in Self-hood and in the False Will. The visible
World hath both in it; and there is no place but Heaven and Hell may be
found or revealed in it. Now Man as to his temporal life is only of the
visible World; and therefore during the time of his life he seeth not
the spiritual World. For the Outward World with its substance is a cover
to the Spiritual World, even as the Body is to the Soul. But when the
outward Man dyeth, then the Spiritual World is manifested to the Soul,
which hath now its covering taken away. And it is manifested either in
the Eternal Light with the holy Angels, or in the Eternal Darkness, with
the Devils.

The _Scholar_ further queried: What is an Angel, or an human Soul, that
they can be thus manifested either in God's Love or Anger, either in
Light or Darkness?

To whom Theophorus answered: They come from one and the self-same
Original. They are little branches of the Divine Wisdom, of the Divine
Will, sprung from the Divine Word, and made objects of the Divine Love.
They are out of the Ground of Eternity; whence Light and Darkness do
spring; Darkness which consisteth in the receiving of Self-Desire; and
Light which consisteth in willing the same thing with God. For the
conformity of the Will with God's Will is Heaven; and wheresoever there
is this willing with God, there the Love of God is undoubtedly in the
working, and his Light will not fail to manifest itself. But in the
Self-attraction of the Soul's desire, or in the reception of Self into
the willing of any Spirit, angelical or human, the Will of God worketh
with difficulty, and is to that Soul and Spirit nought but Darkness; out
of which, notwithstanding, the Light may be manifested. And this
Darkness is the Hell of that Spirit wherein it is. For _Heaven_ and
_Hell_ are nought else but a _Manifestation of the Divine Will either
in Light or Darkness, according to the Properties of the Spiritual
World_.

SCHOLAR

What then is the Body of Man?

MASTER

It is the visible World, an Image and Quintessence, or Compound of all
that the World is; and the visible World is a manifestation of the
inward spiritual World, come out of the Eternal Light, and out of the
Eternal Darkness, out of the spiritual compaction or connection; and it
is also an Image or Figure of Eternity, whereby Eternity hath made
itself visible; where Self-Will and resigned Will, viz., Evil and Good,
work one with the other.

Such a substance is the outward Man. For God created Man out of the
outward World, and breathed into him the inward spiritual World for a
Soul and an intelligent Life, and therefore in the things of the outward
World, Man can receive and work Evil and Good.

SCHOLAR

What shall be after this World, when all things perish and come to an
end?

MASTER

The material substance only ceaseth; viz., the four Elements, the Sun,
Moon and Stars. And then the inward world will be wholly visible and
manifest. But whatsoever hath been wrought by the Will or Spirit of Man
in this World's time, whether evil or good shall there separate itself
in a spiritual matter, either into the Eternal Light or into the Eternal
Darkness. For that which is born from each Will penetrateth and passeth
again into that which is like itself. And there the Darkness is called
Hell, and is an eternal forgetting of all Good, and the Light is called
the Kingdom of God, and is an eternal joy in and to the Saints, who
continually glorify and praise God, for having delivered them from the
torment of evil.

The last Judgment is a kindling of the Fire both of God's Love and
Anger, in which the matter of every substance perisheth, and each Fire
shall attract into itself its own, that is, the substance which is like
itself. Thus God's Fire of Love will draw into itself what is wrought in
the Anger of God in Darkness, and consume the false substance; and then
there will remain only the painful, aching Will in its own proper
nature, image, and figure.

SCHOLAR

With what matter and form shall the human Body rise?

MASTER

It is sown a natural gross and elementary Body; yet in this gross Body
there is a subtle Power and Virtue. As in the Earth also there is a
subtle good Virtue, which is like the Sun, and is one and the same with
the Sun, which also did in the beginning of time spring and proceed out
of the Divine Power and Virtue, whence all the good Virtue of the Body
is likewise derived. This good Virtue of the mortal Body shall come
again and live for ever in a kind of transparent crystalline material
property, in spiritual flesh and blood; as shall return also the good
Virtue of the Earth, for the Earth, likewise shall become crystalline,
and the Divine Light shine in everything that hath a being, essence, or
substance. And as the gross Earth shall perish and never return, so also
the gross flesh of Man shall perish and not live for ever. But all
Things must appear before the Judgment, and in the Judgment be separated
by the Fire; yea, both the Earth, and also the ashes of the human Body.
For when God shall once move the spiritual World, every Spirit shall
attract its spiritual substance to itself. A good Spirit and Soul shall
draw to itself its own substance, and an evil one its evil substance.

SCHOLAR

Shall we not rise again with our visible bodies, and live in them for
ever?

MASTER

When the visible world perisheth, then all that hath come out of it, and
hath been external, shall perish with it. There shall remain of the
World only the crystalline Nature and Form, and of Man also only the
spiritual Earth, for Man shall be then wholly like the crystalline
World, which as yet is hidden.

SCHOLAR

Shall all then have eternal joy and glorification alike?

MASTER

St Paul saith: In the Resurrection one shall differ from another in
glory, as do the Sun, Moon and Stars. Therefore know that the Blessed
shall indeed all enjoy the divine working in and upon them, but their
virtue and illumination or glory shall be very different according as
they have endured in this life with different measures and degrees of
power and virtue in their painful workings.

SCHOLAR

How shall all people and nations be brought to judgment?

MASTER

The Eternal Word of God, out of which every creaturely spiritual Life
hath proceeded will move itself at that hour, according to Love and
Anger, in every Life which is come out of the Eternity, and will draw
every Creature before the Judgment of Christ, to be sentenced by this
motion of the Word. The Life will then be manifested in all its works,
and every Soul shall see and feel its judgment and sentence in itself.
For the Judgment is, indeed, immediately at the departure of the Body
manifested in and to every Soul. And the last Judgment is but a return
of the spiritual Body, and a separation of the World, when the Evil
shall be separated from the Good, in the substance of the World, and of
the human Body, and everything enter into its eternal receptacle. And
thus it is a manifestation of the Mystery of God in every substance and
life.

SCHOLAR

How will the sentence be pronounced?

MASTER

Here consider the words of Christ. He will say to those on his right
hand; _Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and ye gave me
meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took
me in; naked and ye clothed me. I was sick and ye visited me, in prison
and ye came unto me._

_Then shall they answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry,
thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison, and ministered thus unto
thee?_

Then shall the King answer and say unto them; _Inasmuch as ye have done
it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me._

And unto the wicked on his left hand he will say; _Depart from me, ye
Cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels.
For I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, and in prison, and ye
ministered not unto me._

And they shall also answer him and say; _When did we see thee thus and
ministered not unto thee?_

And he will answer them, _Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have not
done it unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me._

_And these shall depart into everlasting punishment, but the Righteous
into Life Eternal._

SCHOLAR

Loving Master, pray tell me why Christ saith, _What you have done to the
least of these you have done to me; and what you have not done to them,
neither have you done it to me_? And how doth a Man this _so_, as that
he doth it to Christ himself?

MASTER

Christ dwelleth really and essentially in the faith of those that wholly
yield up themselves to him, and giveth them his Flesh for food and his
Blood for drink; and thus possesseth the ground of their faith,
according to the interior or inward Man. And a Christian is called a
Branch of the Vine Christ, and a Christian, because Christ dwelleth
spiritually in him; therefore, whatsoever good any shall do to such a
Christian in his bodily necessities, it is done to Christ himself, who
dwelleth in him. For such a Christian is not his own, but is wholly
resigned to Christ, and become his peculiar possession, and consequently
the good deed is done to Christ _himself_. Therefore also whosoever
shall withhold their help from such a needy Christian, and forbear to
serve him in his necessity, they thrust Christ away from themselves, and
despise him in his members. When a poor person that belongeth thus to
Christ asketh anything of thee, and thou deniest it him in his
necessity, thou deniest it to Christ himself. And whatsoever hurt any
shall do to such a Christian, they do it to Christ himself. When any
mock, scorn, revile, reject, or thrust away such an one they do all that
to Christ, but he that receiveth him, giveth him meat, and drink, or
apparel, and assisteth him in his necessities, doth it likewise to
Christ, and to a fellow-member of his own Body. Nay he doth it to
himself if it be a Christian; for we are all one in Christ, as a tree
and its branches are.

SCHOLAR

How then will those subsist in the day of the last Judgment, who afflict
and vex the poor and distressed, and deprive them of their very sweat,
necessitating and constraining them by force to submit to their wills,
and trampling upon them as their footstools, only that they themselves
may live in pomp and power, and spend the fruits of this poor people's
sweat and labour in voluptuousness, pride, and vanity?

MASTER

Christ suffereth in the persecution of his members. Therefore all the
wrong that such hard executors do to the poor wretches under their
control is done to Christ himself; and falleth under his severe sentence
and judgment. And besides that by such oppression of the Poor they draw
them off from Christ, and make them seek unlawful ways to fill their
bellies. Nay, they work for and with the Devil himself, doing the very
same thing which he doth: who, without intermission opposeth the Kingdom
of Christ, which consisteth only in Love. All these oppressors, if they
do not turn with their whole hearts unto Christ, and minister to or
serve him, must go into Hell-fire, which is fed and kept alive by
nothing else but such mere Self, which they have exercised over the Poor
here.

SCHOLAR

But how will it fare with those who in this time do so fiercely contend
about the kingdom of Christ, and slander, revile and persecute one
another for their religion?

MASTER

All such have not yet known Christ; and they are but as a type or figure
of Heaven and Hell, striving for each other for the victory.

All rising, swelling pride, which contendeth about opinions, is an image
of Self. And whosoever hath not faith and humility, nor liveth in the
Spirit of Christ, which is Love, is only armed with the Anger of God,
and helpeth forward the victory of the imaginary Self, that is, the
Kingdom of Darkness, and the Anger of God. For at the day of Judgment
all Self shall be given to the Darkness as shall also all the
unprofitable contentions of men; in which they seek not after Love, but
merely after their imaginary Self. All such things belong to the
Judgment, which will separate the false from the true; and then all
images or opinions shall cease, and all the Children of God shall dwell
for ever in the Love of Christ, and _that_ in them. For in Heaven all
serve God their Creator in humble love.

SCHOLAR

Wherefore then doth God suffer such strife and contention to be in this
time?

MASTER

The Life itself standeth in strife, that it may be made manifest,
sensible, and palpable, and that the wisdom may be made separable and
known.

The Strife also constituteth the Eternal Joy of the victory. For there
will arise great praise and thanksgiving in the Saints from the
experimental sense and knowledge that Christ in them hath overcome
Darkness, and all the Self of Nature, and that they are at length
totally delivered from the Strife, at which they shall rejoice
eternally. And therefore God suffereth all Souls to stand in a
free-will, that the Eternal Dominion both of Love and Anger, of Light
and of Darkness, may be made manifest and known; and that every Life
might cause and find its own sentence in itself. For that which is now a
strife and pain to the Saints in their wretched warfare here, shall in
the end be turned into great joy to them; and that which hath been a joy
and pleasure to ungodly persons in this world, shall afterwards be
turned into eternal torment and shame to them. Therefore the joy of the
Saints must arise to them out of death, as the light ariseth out of a
candle by the destruction and consumption of it in its fire, that so the
Life may be freed from the painfulness of Nature, and possess another
World.

And as the Light hath quite another property than the Fire has, for it
giveth and yieldeth itself forth; whereas the Fire draweth in and
consumeth itself, so the holy Life of Meekness springeth forth through
the Death of Self-will, and then God's Will of Love only ruleth, and
doth all in all. For thus the Eternal One hath attained Feeling and
Separability, and brought itself forth again with the feeling, through
Death, in great Joyfulness, that there might be an Eternal Delight in
the Infinite Unity, and an Eternal Cause of Joy; and therefore that
which was before Painfulness, must now be the Ground and Cause of this
motion or stirring to the Manifestation of all Things. And herein lyeth
the Mystery of the hidden Wisdom of God.

_Every one that asketh receiveth, every one that seeketh findeth, and to
every one that knocketh it shall be opened. The Grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost, be
with us all. Amen._



DIALOGUE IV

THE WAY FROM DARKNESS TO TRUE ILLUMINATION


There was a poor Soul that had wandered out of Paradise, and come into
the kingdom of this World; where the Devil met it, and said to it:
Whither dost thou go, thou Soul that art half blind?

THE SOUL SAID

I would see and speculate into the Creatures of the World, which their
Creator hath made.

THE DEVIL SAID

How wilt thou see and speculate into them, when thou canst not know
their essence and property? Thou wilt look upon their outside only, as
upon a graven image, and canst not know them thoroughly.

THE SOUL SAID

How may I come to know their essence and property?

THE DEVIL SAID

Thine eyes would be opened to see them thoroughly, if thou didst but eat
of _that_, from whence the Creatures themselves are come to be _good_
and _evil_. Thou wouldst then be as God himself is, and know what the
Creature is.

THE SOUL SAID

I am now a noble and holy Creature: but if I should do so, the Creator
hath said that I should die.

THE DEVIL SAID

No, thou shouldst not die at all; but thy eyes would be opened, and thou
wouldst be as God himself, and be Master of Good and Evil. Also, thou
wouldst be mighty, powerful and very great, as I am; all the subtlety
that is in the Creatures would be made known to thee.

THE SOUL SAID

If I had the knowledge of Nature and of the Creatures, I would then rule
the whole World as I listed.

THE DEVIL SAID

The whole ground of their knowledge lieth in thee. Do but turn thy Will
and Desire from God or Goodness into Nature and the Creatures, and then
there will arise in thee a lust to taste; and so thou mayest eat of the
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and by that means come to know all
things.

THE SOUL SAID

Well then, I will eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that I
may rule all things by my own power, and be of myself a Lord on Earth,
and do what I will, even as God himself doth.

THE DEVIL SAID

I am the Prince of this World; and if thou wouldst rule on earth thou
must turn thy lust towards my Image, and desire to be like me, that thou
mayst get the cunning, wit, reason, and subtlety that my Image hath.

Thus did the Devil present to the Soul the Power that is in the fiery
root of the Creature, that is the fiery Wheel of Essence in the form of
a Serpent. Upon which,

THE SOUL SAID

Behold this is the Power which can do all things. What must I do to get
it?

THE DEVIL SAID

If thou dost break thy Will off from God, and bring it into this power
and skill, then thy hidden Ground will be manifested in thee, and thou
mayest work in the same manner. But thou must eat of that Fruit, wherein
each of the four elements in itself ruleth over the other, and is in
strife. And then thou wilt be instantly as the fiery Wheel is, and so
bring all things into thine own power, and possess them as thine own.

THE SOUL DID SO AND WHAT HAPPENED THEREUPON

Now when the Soul broke its will off thus from God, and brought it into
the fiery Will (which is the Root of Life and Power), there presently
arose in it a lust to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; and
the Soul did eat thereof. Which as soon as it had done, instantly was
kindled the fiery Wheel of its Essence, and thereupon all the properties
of Nature awoke in the Soul, and exercised each its own desire.

First arose the lust of Pride; a desire to be great, mighty, and
powerful; to bring all things in subjection to it, and to be Lord itself
without control, despising all humility and equality, as esteeming
itself the only prudent, witty and cunning one, and accounting
everything folly that is not according to its own humour and liking.

Secondly, arose the lust of Covetousness, a desire of getting, which
would draw all things to itself, into its own possession. For when the
lust of Pride had turned away the Will from God, then the Life of the
Soul would not trust God any further, but would take care for itself;
and therefore brought its desire into the Creatures, viz., into the
earth, metals, trees, and other Creatures. Thus the kindled fiery Life
became hungry and covetous, when it had broken itself off from the
Unity, Love, and Meekness of God, and attracted to itself the four
Elements and New Essence, and brought itself into the Condition of the
beasts, and so the Life became dark, empty, and wrathful; and the
heavenly Virtues and Colours went out, like a candle extinguished.

Thirdly, there awoke in this fiery Life the stinging thorny lust of
Envy: a hellish poison, and a torment which makes the Life a mere enmity
to God and to all Creatures. Which Envy raged furiously in the sting of
Covetousness, as a venomous sting doth in the body. Envy cannot endure,
but hateth and would hurt or destroy that which Covetousness cannot
draw to itself by which hellish passion the Noble Love of the Soul is
smothered.

Fourthly, there awoke in this fiery Life a torment like fire, viz.,
Anger; which would murder and remove out of the way all who would not be
subject to Pride. Thus the Ground and Foundation of Hell, which is
called the Anger of God, was wholly manifested in this Soul. Whereby it
lost the fair Paradise of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, and became such
a worm as the fiery Serpent was, which the Devil presented to it in his
own image and likeness. And so the Soul began to rule on earth in a
bestial manner, and did all things according to the Will of the Devil,
living in mere Pride, Covetousness, Envy, and Anger, having no longer
any true love towards God. But there arose in the stead thereof an evil
bestial love of Wantonness and Vanity, and there was no purity left in
the heart, for the Soul had forsaken Paradise, and taken the Earth into
its possession. Its mind was wholly bent upon cunning knowledge,
subtility, and getting together a multitude of earthly things. No
righteousness nor virtue remained in it at all; but whatsoever evil and
wrong it committed, it covered all cunningly under the cloak of its
power and authority by law, and called it by the name of Right and
Justice, and accounted it good.

THE DEVIL CAME TO THE SOUL

Upon this the Devil drew near the Soul, and brought it on from one vice
to another, for he had taken it captive in his Essence, and set joy and
pleasure before it, therein, saying thus to it: Behold now thou art
powerful, mighty, and noble, endeavour to be greater, richer, and more
powerful still. Display thy knowledge, wit and subtlety, that every one
may fear thee, and stand in awe of thee, and that thou mayst be
respected, and get a great name in the World.

THE SOUL DID SO

The Soul did as the Devil counselled it, and yet knew not that its
counsellor was the Devil; but thought it was guided by its own
knowledge, wit, and understanding, and that it did very well and right
all the while.

JESUS CHRIST MET WITH THE SOUL

The Soul going on in this course of life, our dear and loving Lord Jesus
Christ, Who was come into this World with the Love and Wrath of God, to
destroy the works of the Devil, and to execute judgment upon all ungodly
deeds, on a time met with it, and spake by a strong power, viz., by his
passion and death into it, and destroyed the works of the Devil in it,
and discovered to it the way to his Grace, and shone upon it with his
mercy, calling it to return and repent, and promising that he would then
deliver it from that monstrous deformed shape and image which it had
gotten, and bring it into Paradise again.

HOW CHRIST BROUGHT IN THE SOUL

Now when the Spark of the Love of God, or the Divine Light, was
accordingly manifested in the Soul, it presently saw itself with its
will and works to be in Hell, in the Wrath of God, and found it was an
ugly, misshapen monster in the Divine Presence and the Kingdom of
Heaven: at which it was so affrighted, that it fell into the greatest
anguish possible, for the Judgment of God was manifested in it.

WHAT CHRIST SAID

Upon this the Lord Christ spake unto it with the Voice of his Grace, and
said: _Repent and forsake Vanity, and thou shalt attain My Grace_.

WHAT THE SOUL SAID

Then the Soul with its ugly misshapen image went before God and
entreated for Grace and the pardon of its sins, and came to be strongly
persuaded in itself that the satisfaction and atonement of our Lord
Jesus Christ did belong to it. But the evil properties of the Serpent,
formed in the Astral Spirit, or Reason, of the outward Man, would not
suffer the Will of the Soul to come before God, but brought their lusts
and inclinations thereinto.

But the poor Soul turned its countenance towards God, and desired Grace
from him, even that he would bestow his Love upon it.

THE DEVIL CAME TO IT AGAIN

But when the Devil saw that the Soul thus prayed to God, and would enter
into repentance, he drew near to it, and thrust the inclinations of the
earthly properties into its prayers, and disturbed its good thoughts and
desires which pressed forwards towards God, and drew them back again to
earthly things that they might have no access to him.

THE SOUL SIGHED

The central Will of the Soul indeed sighed after God, but the thoughts
arising in the mind that it should penetrate into him, were distracted,
scattered and destroyed, so that they could not reach the Power of God.
At which the poor Soul was still more affrighted and began to pray more
earnestly. But the Devil with his desire took hold of the kindled, fiery
Wheel of Life, and awakened the evil properties, so that evil or false
inclinations arose in the Soul, and went into that thing wherein they
had taken most pleasure and delight before.

The poor Soul would very fain go forward to God with its Will, and
therefore used all its endeavours; but its thoughts continually fled
away from God into earthly things, and would not go to him.

Upon this the Soul sighed and bewailed itself to God; but was as if it
were quite forsaken by him, and cast out from its Presence. It could not
get so much as one look of Grace, but was in mere anguish, fear and
terror, and dreaded every moment that the Wrath and severe Judgment of
God would be manifested in it, and that the Devil would take hold of it
and have it. And thereupon fell into such great heaviness and sorrow,
that it became weary of all the temporal things, which were before its
chief joy and happiness.

The earthly natural Will indeed desired those things still, but the Soul
would willingly leave them altogether, and desired to die to all
temporal lust and joy whatsoever, and longed only after its first native
country, from whence it originally came. But it found itself to be far
from thence in great distress and want, and knew not what to do, yet
resolved to enter into itself, and try to pray more earnestly.

THE DEVIL'S OPPOSITION

But the Devil opposed it, and withheld it so that it could not bring
itself into any greater fervency of repentance.

He awakened the earthly lusts in its heart, that they might still keep
their evil nature and false right therein, and set them at variance with
the new-born Will and Desire of the Soul. For they would not die to
their own Will and Light, but would still maintain their temporal
pleasures, and so kept the poor Soul captive in their evil desires, that
it could not stir, though it sighed and longed never so much after the
Grace of God. For whensoever it prayed, or offered to press forward
towards God, then the lusts of the flesh swallowed up the rays and
ejaculations that went forth from it, and brought them away from God
into earthly thoughts, that it might not partake of Divine Strength.
Which caused the poor Soul to think itself forsaken of God, not knowing
that he was so near it, and did thus attract it. Also the Devil tempted
the poor Soul, saying to it in the earthly thoughts:

"Why dost thou pray? Dost thou think that God knoweth thee or regardeth
thee? Consider but what thoughts thou hast in his presence; are they not
altogether evil? Thou hast no faith or belief in God at all; how then
should he hear thee? He heareth thee not, leave off; why wilt thou
needlessly torment and vex thyself! Thou hast time enough to repent at
leisure. Wilt thou be mad? Do but look upon the world I pray thee a
little; doth it not live in jollity and mirth, yet it will be saved well
enough for all that. Hath not Christ paid the ransom and satisfied for
all men? Thou needest only persuade and comfort thyself that it is done
for thee, and then thou shalt be saved. Thou canst not possibly in this
world come to any feeling of God, therefore leave off, and take care for
thy body, and look after temporal glory. What dost thou suppose will
become of thee, if thou turn to be so stupid and melancholy? Thou wilt
be the scorn of everybody, and they will laugh at thy folly; and so thou
wilt pass thy days in mere sorrow and heaviness, which is pleasing
neither to God nor Nature. I pray thee, look upon the beauty of the
World, for God hath so erected and placed thee in it, to be a Lord over
all Creatures and to rule them. Gather store of temporal goods
beforehand, that thou mayest not be beholden to the World, or stand in
need hereafter. And when old age cometh, or that thou growest near thy
end, then prepare thyself for repentance. God will save thee, and
receive thee into the heavenly mansions there. There is no need of such
ado in vexing, bewailing, and stirring up thyself, as thou makest."

THE CONDITION OF THE SOUL

In these and the like thoughts the Soul was ensnared by the Devil, and
brought into the lust of the flesh, and earthly desires; and so bound as
it were with fetters and strong chains that it did not know what to do.
It looked back a little into the World and the pleasures thereof, but
still felt in itself a hunger after Divine Grace, and would rather enter
into repentance and favour with God. For the Hand of God had touched and
bruised it, and therefore it could rest nowhere; but always sighed in
itself after sorrow for the sins it had committed, and would fain be rid
of them. Yet could not get true repentance, or even the knowledge of
sin, though it had a mighty hunger and longing desire after such
penitential sorrow.

The Soul being thus heavy and sad, and finding no remedy or rest, began
to cast about where it might find a fit place to perform true repentance
in, where it might be free from business, cares, and the hinderances of
the World; and also by what means it might win the favour of God. And at
length purposed to betake itself to some private solitary place, and
give over all worldly employments and temporal things, and hoped that by
being bountiful and pitiful to the Poor, it should obtain God's mercy.
Thus did it devise all kinds of ways to get rest, and to gain the love,
favour, and grace of God again. But all would not do; for its worldly
business still followed it in the lusts of the flesh, and it was
ensnared in the net of the Devil now, as well as before, and could not
attain rest. And though for a little while it was somewhat cheered with
earthly things, yet presently it fell to be as sad and heavy again as it
was before. The truth was it felt the awakened Wrath of God in itself,
but knew not how that came to pass, nor what ailed it. For many times
great trouble and terror fell upon it, which made it comfortless, sick,
and faint with very fear; so mightily did the first bruising it with the
ray or influence of the stirring of Grace work upon it. And yet it knew
not that Christ was in the Wrath and severe Justice of God and fought
therein with that Spirit of Error incorporated in Soul and Body, nor
understood that the hunger and desire to turn and repent came from
Christ Himself, neither did it know what hindered it that it could not
yet attain to Divine Feeling. It knew not that itself was a monster, and
did bear the Image of the Serpent.

AN ENLIGHTENED AND REGENERATE SOUL MET THE DISTRESSED SOUL

By the Providence of God, an enlightened and regenerate Soul met the
distressed Soul, and said: What ailest thou, thou distressed Soul, that
thou art so restless and troubled!

THE DISTRESSED SOUL ANSWERED

The Creator hath hid his Countenance from me, so that I cannot come to
his Rest; therefore I am thus troubled, and know not what I shall do to
get his Loving-kindness again. For great cliffs and rocks lie in my way
to his Grace, so that I cannot come to him. Though I sigh and long after
him never so much, yet I am kept back, so that I cannot partake of his
Power, Virtue, and Strength.

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL SAID

Thou bearest the monstrous shape of the Devil, and art clothed
therewith; in which, being his own Property or Principle, he hath access
or power of entrance into thee, and thereby keepeth thy Will from
penetrating into God. For if thy Will might penetrate into God, it would
be anointed with the highest Power and Strength of God, in the
Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that unction would break in
pieces the monster which thou carriest about thee; and thy first Image
of Paradise would revive in the Centre; which would destroy the Devil's
Power therein, and thou wouldst become an Angel again. And because the
Devil envieth thee this happiness, he holdeth thee captive in his Desire
in the lusts of the flesh, from which if thou art not delivered, thou
wilt be separated from God, and canst never enter into our Society.

THE DISTRESSED SOUL TERRIFIED

At this speech the poor distressed Soul was so terrified and amazed,
that it could not speak one word more. When it found that it stood in
the form and condition of the Serpent which separated it from God, and
that the Devil was so nigh it in that condition, who injected evil
thoughts into the Will of the Soul, and had so much power over it
thereby that it was near damnation and sticking fast in the Abyss or
bottomless pit of Hell in the Anger of God, it would have even despaired
of Divine Mercy; but that the Power, Virtue and Strength of the first
stirring of the Grace of God, which had before bruised the Soul, upheld
and preserved it from total despair. But still it wrestled in itself
between Hope and Doubt; whatsoever Hope built up, that Doubt threw down
again. And thus was it agitated with such continued disquiet, that at
last the World and all the glory thereof became loathsome to it, neither
would it enjoy worldly pleasures any more; and yet for all this could it
not come to Rest.

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL CAME AGAIN, AND SPOKE TO THE TROUBLED SOUL

On a time the enlightened Soul came again to this Soul, and finding it
still in so great trouble, anguish, and grief, said to it.

What dost thou? Wilt thou destroy thyself in thy anguish and sorrow? Why
dost thou torment thyself in thy own Power and Will, seeing thy torment
increaseth thereby more and more? Yea, if thou shouldst sink thyself
down to the bottom of the sea, or fly to the uttermost coasts of the
morning, or raise thyself above the stars, yet thou wouldst not be
released. For the more thou grievest, tormentest, and troublest thyself,
the more painful thy nature will be; and yet thou wilt not be able to
come to Rest. For thy Power is quite lost, and as a dry stick burnt to a
coal cannot grow green and spring afresh by its own power, nor get sap
to flourish again with other trees and plants; so neither canst thou
reach the Place of God by thy own power and strength, and transform
thyself into that Angelical Image which thou hadst at first. For in
respect to God thou art withered and dry, like a dead plant that hath
lost its sap and strength, and so art become a dry tormenting Hunger.
Thy Properties are like Heat and Cold which continually strive one
against the other, and can never unite.

THE DISTRESSED SOUL SAID

What then shall I do to bud forth again, and recover the first Life,
wherein I was at rest before I became an Image?

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL SAID

Thou shalt do nothing at all but forsake thy own Will, viz., that which
thou callest _I_, or _thyself_. By which means all thy evil properties
will grow weak, faint, and ready to die; and then thou wilt sink down
again into that One Thing from which thou art originally sprung. For now
thou liest captive in the Creatures; but if thy Will forsaketh them,
they will die in thee, with their evil inclinations, which at present
stay and hinder thee that thou canst not come to God. But if thou takest
this course, thy God will meet thee with his infinite Love, which he
hath manifested in Christ Jesus in the Humanity, or human Nature. And
that will impart sap, life and vigour to thee, whereby thou mayst bud,
spring, flourish again, and rejoice in the Living God, as a branch
growing on his true Vine. And so thou wilt at length recover the Image
of God, and be delivered from that of the Serpent. Then shalt thou come
to be my brother and have fellowship with the Angels.

THE POOR SOUL SAID

How can I forsake my Will, so that the Creatures which lodge therein may
die, seeing I must be in the World, and also have need of it as long as
I live?

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL SAID

Now thou hast worldly power and riches, which thou possesses! as thy
own, to do what thou wilt with, and regardest not how thou gettest or
invest the same, employing them in the service or indulgence of thy
carnal and vain desires. Nay though thou seest the poor and needy wretch
who wanteth thy help, and is thy brother, yet thou helpest him not, but
layest heavy burdens upon him, by requiring more of him than his
abilities will bear, or his necessities afford, and oppressest him, by
forcing him to spend his labour and sweat for thee and the gratification
of thy voluptuous Will. Thou art moreover proud and exultest over him,
and behavest roughly and sternly to him, exalting thyself above him, and
making small account of him in respect of thyself. Then that poor
oppressed brother of thine cometh, and complaineth with sighs towards
God, that he cannot reap the benefit of his labours and pains, but is
forced by thee to live in misery. By which sighings and groanings of his
he raiseth up the wrath of God in thee, which maketh thy flame and
unquietness still the greater.

These are the Creatures which thou art in love with, and hast broken
thyself off from God for their sakes, and brought thy Love into them or
them into thy Love, so that they live therein. Thou nourishest and
keepest them by continually receiving them into thy desire, for they
live in and by thy receiving them into thy mind, because thou thereby
bringest the lust of thy Life into them. They are but unclean and evil
births and issues of the Bestial Nature, which yet by thy receiving them
in thy Desire, have gotten an Image and formed themselves in thee. And
that Image is a beast with four heads. First, _Pride_. Secondly,
_Covetousness_. Thirdly, _Envy_. Fourthly, _Anger_. And in these four
properties the Foundation of Hell consisteth, which thou earnest in thee
and about thee. It is imprinted and engraven in thee, and thou art
wholly taken captive thereby. For these properties live in thy Natural
Life; and thereby thou art severed from God, neither canst thou ever
come to him, unless thou so forsake these evil Creatures that they may
die in thee.

But since thou desirest me to tell thee how to forsake thy own, perverse
creaturely Will, that the Creatures might die, and that yet thou
mightest live with them in the World, I must assure thee that there is
but one way to do it, which is _narrow_ and _straight_, and will be very
hard and irksome to thee in the beginning, but afterwards thou wilt walk
in it cheerfully.

Thou must seriously consider that in the course of this worldly life
thou walkest in the Anger of God and in the Foundation of Hell; and that
this is not thy true native country; but that a Christian should and
must live in Christ, and in his walking truly follow him; and that he
cannot be a Christian unless the Spirit and Power of Christ so live in
him that he becometh wholly subject to it. Now seeing the Kingdom of
Christ is not of the world, but in Heaven, therefore thou must be always
in a continual ascension towards Heaven, if thou wilt follow Christ;
though thy body must dwell among the Creatures and use them.

The narrow way to which perpetual ascension into Heaven and imitation of
Christ is this. Thou must despair of all thy own power and strength, for
in and by thy own thou canst not reach the Gates of God, and firmly
purpose and resolve wholly to give thyself up to the Mercy of God, and
to sink down with thy whole mind and reason into the Passion and Death
of our Lord Jesus Christ, always desiring to persevere in the same and
to die from all thy Creatures therein. Also thou must resolve to watch
and guard thy mind, thoughts, and inclinations that they admit no evil
into them, neither must thou suffer thyself to be held fast by temporal
honour or profit. Thou must resolve likewise to put away from thee all
Unrighteousness and whatsoever else may hinder the freedom of thy motion
and progress. Thy Will must be wholly pure and fixed in a firm
resolution never to return to its old idols any more, but that thou
wilt, that very instant leave them, and separate thy mind from them, and
enter into the sincere way of truth and righteousness, according to the
plain and full doctrine of Christ. And as thou dost thus purpose to
forsake the enemies of thine own inward Nature, so thou must also
forgive all thy outward enemies and resolve to meet them with thy Love,
that there may be left no Creature, Person, or Thing at all able to
take hold of thy Will and captivate it; but that it may be sincere and
purged from all Creatures. Nay, further, if it should be required, thou
must be willing and ready to forsake all thy temporal honour and profit
for Christ's sake, and regard nothing that is earthly so as to set thy
heart and affections upon it; but esteem thyself in whatsoever state,
degree and condition thou art, as to worldly rank and riches, to be but
a servant of God, and of thy fellow-Christians; or as a steward in the
office wherein thy Lord hath placed thee. All arrogance and
self-exaltation must be humbled, brought low, and so annihilated that
nothing of thine own or of any other Creature may stay in thy Will to
bring the thoughts or imagination to be set upon it.

Thou must also firmly impress it on thy mind that thou shalt certainly
partake of the promised Grace in the Merit of Jesus Christ, viz., of his
outflowing Love, which indeed is already in thee, and which will deliver
thee from thy Creatures, and enlighten thy Will, and kindle it with the
Flame of Love, whereby thou shalt have victory over the Devil. Not as if
thou couldst will or do anything in thy own strength, but only enter
into the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and take them to
thyself, and with them assault and break in pieces the kingdom of the
Devil in thee. Thou must resolve to enter into this way this very hour,
and never to depart from it, but willingly to submit thyself to God in
all thy endeavours and doings, that he may do with thee what he
pleaseth.

When thy Will is thus prepared and resolved, it hath then broken through
its own Creatures, and is sincere in the Presence of God, and clothed
with the Merits of Jesus Christ. It may then freely go to the Father
with the Prodigal Son, and fall down in his Presence and pour forth its
prayers; and putting forth all its strength in this Divine Work, confess
its sins and disobedience; and how far it hath departed from God. This
must be done not with bare words, but with all its strength, which
indeed amounteth only to a strong purpose and resolution; for the Soul
of itself hath no strength or power to effect any good work.

Now when thou art thus ready, and thy heavenly Father shall see thee
coming and returning to him in such repentance and humility, he will
inwardly speak to thee, and say in thee; _Behold, this is my son which I
had lost, he was dead and is alive again._ And he will come to meet thee
in thy mind with the Grace and Love of Jesus Christ, and embrace thee
with the beams of his Love, and kiss thee with his Spirit and Strength,
and then thou shalt receive Grace to pour out thy confession before him
and to pray powerfully. This indeed is the right place where thou must
wrestle in the Light of his Countenance. And if thou standest resolutely
here and shrinkest not back, thou shalt see or feel great wonders. For
thou shalt find Christ in thee assaulting Hell, and crushing thy Beasts
in pieces, and that a great tumult and misery will arise in thee; also
thy secret undiscovered sins will then first awake and labour to
separate thee from God, and to keep thee back. Thus shalt thou truly
find and feel how Death and Life fight one against the other, and shalt
understand by what passeth within thyself what Heaven and Hell are. At
all which be not moved, but stand firm and shrink not; for at length all
thy Creatures will grow faint, weak, and ready to die; and then thy Will
shall wax stronger, and be able to subdue and keep down the evil
inclinations. So shall thy Will and Mind ascend into Heaven every day,
and thy Creatures gradually die away. Thou wilt get a Mind wholly new,
and begin to be a new Creature, and, getting rid of the Bestial
Deformity, recover the Divine Image. Thus shalt thou be delivered from
thy present Anguish, and return to thy original Rest.

THE POOR SOUL'S PRACTICE

Then the poor Soul began to practise this course with so much
earnestness that it conceived it should get the victory presently, but
it found that the Gates of Heaven were shut against it in its own
strength and power, and it was, as it were, rejected and forsaken by
God, and received not so much as one look or glimpse of Grace from him.
Upon which it said to itself; _Surely thou hast not sincerely submitted
thyself to God. Desire nothing at all of him, but only submit thyself to
his judgment and condemnation, that he may kill thy evil inclinations.
Sink down into him beyond the Limits of Nature and Creature, and submit
thyself to him, that he may do with thee what he will, for thou art not
worthy to speak to him._ Accordingly the Soul took a resolution to sink
down, and to forsake its own will; and when it had done so there fell
upon it presently the greatest repentance that could be for the sins it
had committed; and it bewailed bitterly its ugly shape, and was truly
and deeply sorry that the evil Creatures did dwell in it. And because of
its sorrow it could not speak one word more in the Presence of God, but
in this repentance did consider the bitter Passion and Death of Jesus
Christ, viz., what great anguish and torment he had suffered for its
sake, in order to deliver it out of its anguish, and change it into the
Image of God. In which consideration it wholly sank down, and did
nothing but complain of its ignorance and negligence, and that it had
not been thankful to its Redeemer, nor once considered the great love he
had shown to it, but had idly spent its time, and not at all regarded
how it might come to partake of his purchased and proffered Grace; but
instead thereof had formed in itself the images and figures of earthly
things, with the vain lusts and pleasures of the World. Whereby it had
gotten such bestial inclinations that now it must lie captive in great
misery, and for very shame dared not lift up its eyes to God, Who hid
the light of his countenance from it and would not so much as look upon
it. And as it was thus sighing and crying it was drawn into the Abyss or
Pit of Horror, and laid as it were at the Gates of Hell there to perish.
Upon which the poor troubled Soul was, as it were, bereft of sense, and
wholly forsaken, so that it in a manner forgot all its doings, and would
willingly yield itself to Death, and cease to be a Creature. Accordingly
it did yield itself to Death, and desired nothing else but to die and
perish in the Death of its Redeemer Jesus Christ, who had suffered such
torments and death for its sake. And in this perishing it began to sigh
and pray in itself very inwardly to the Divine Goodness, and to sink
down into the mere Mercy of God.

Upon this there suddenly appeared unto it the Love of God, as a great
Light which penetrated through it, and made it exceedingly joyful. It
then began to pray aright, and to thank the Most High for such Grace,
and to rejoice abundantly that it was delivered from the Death and
Anguish of Hell. Now it tasted of the Sweetness of God, and of his
promised Truth; and how all the evil Spirits which had harassed it
before, and kept it back from the Grace, Love, and inward Presence of
God, were forced to depart from it. The wedding of the Lamb was now kept
and solemnised, that is, the Noble _Sophia_ espoused or betrothed
herself to the Soul, and the Seal-Ring of Christ's victory was impressed
into its Essence, and it was received to be a Child and Heir of God
again.

When this was done the Soul became very joyful, and began to work in
this new power, and to celebrate with praise the wonders of God, and
thought thenceforth to walk continually in the same Light, Strength, and
Joy. But it was soon assaulted: from _without_ by the shame and reproach
of the World, and from _within_ by great temptation, so that it began to
doubt whether its ground was truly from God, and whether it had really
partaken of his Grace. For the accuser Satan went to it, and would fain
lead it out of its course, and make it doubtful whether it was the true
way, whispering thus to it inwardly; _This happy change in thy Spirit is
not from God, but only from thy own imagination._ Also the Divine Light
retired in the Soul, and shone but in the inward ground, as fire raked
up in embers, so that Reason was perplexed, and thought itself forsaken,
and the Soul knew not what had happened to itself, nor whether it had
really and truly tasted of the heavenly gift or not. Yet it could not
leave off struggling; for the burning Fire of Love was sown in it, which
had raised in it a vehement and continual Hunger and Thirst after the
Divine Sweetness. So at length it began to pray aright, and to humble
itself in the Presence of God, and to examine and try its evil
inclinations and thoughts, and to put them away. By which means the Will
of Reason was broken, and the evil inclinations inherent in it were
killed and extirpated more and more. This process was very severe and
painful to the Nature of the Body, for it made it faint and weak as if
it had been very sick; and yet it was no natural sickness that it had,
but only the melancholy of its earthly Nature, feeling and lamenting
the destruction of its evil lusts.

Now when the earthly Reason found itself thus forsaken, and the poor
Soul saw that it was despised outwardly and derided by the World,
because it would walk no longer in the way of Wickedness and Vanity; and
also that it was inwardly assaulted by the accuser Satan, who mocked it,
and continually set before it the beauty, riches and glory of the World,
and called it a fool for not embracing them; it began to think and say
thus within itself: _O eternal God, what shall I now do to come to
Rest?_

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL MET IT AGAIN AND SPOKE TO IT

While it was in this consideration, the enlightened Soul met with it
again, and said: What ailest thou, my Brother, that thou art so heavy
and sad!

THE DISTRESSED SOUL SAID

I have followed thy counsel, and thereby attained a ray or emanation of
the Divine Sweetness, but it is gone from me again, and I am now
deserted. Moreover I have outwardly very great trials and afflictions in
the World, for all my good friends forsake and scorn me; and am also
inwardly assaulted with anguish and doubt, and know not what to do.

THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL SAID

Now I like thee very well; for now our beloved Lord Jesus Christ is
performing that Pilgrimage or Process on Earth with thee and in thee,
which he did himself when he was in this World, who was continually
reviled, despised, and evil spoken of, and had nothing of his own in it;
and now thou bearest his mark or badge. But do not wonder at it, or
think it strange; for it must be so, in order that thou mayst be tried,
refined, and purified. In this Anguish and Distress thou wilt
necessarily hunger and cry after deliverance; and by such Hunger and
Prayer thou wilt attract Grace to thee both from within and from
without. For thou must grow from above and from beneath to be the Image
of God again. Just as a young plant is agitated by the wind, and must
stand its ground in heat and cold, drawing strength and virtue to it
from above and from beneath by that agitation, and must endure many a
tempest, and undergo much danger before it can come to be a tree and
bring forth much fruit. For through that agitation the virtue of the sun
moveth in the plant, whereby its wild properties come to be penetrated
and tinctured with the solar virtue, and grow thereby.

And this is the time wherein thou must play the part of a valiant
soldier in the Spirit of Christ, and co-operate thyself therewith. For
now the Eternal Father by his fiery Power begetteth his Son in thee, who
changeth the Fire of the Father, namely, the first Principle, or
Wrathful Property of the Soul, into the Flame of Love, so that out of
Fire and Light (viz. Wrath and Love) there cometh to be one Essence,
Being, or Substance, which is the true Temple of God. And now thou shalt
bud forth out of the Vine Christ, in the Vineyard of God, and bring
forth fruit in thy life, and by assisting and instructing others, show
forth thy Love in abundance, as a good tree. For Paradise must then
spring up again in thee, through the Wrath of God, and Hell be changed
into Heaven in thee. Therefore be not dismayed at the temptations of the
Devil, who seeketh and striveth for the Kingdom which he once had in
thee, but, having now lost it, must be confounded, and depart from thee.
And he covereth thee outwardly with the shame and reproach of the World,
that his own shame may not be known, and that thou mayst be hidden to
the World. For with thy New Birth or regenerated Nature thou art in the
Divine Harmony in Heaven. Be patient, therefore, and wait upon the Lord,
and whatsoever shall befall thee, take it all from his hands as intended
by him for thy highest good. And so the enlightened Soul departed from
it.

THE DISTRESSED SOUL'S COURSE

The distressed Soul began its course now under the patient Suffering of
Christ, and depending solely upon the Strength and Power of God in it,
entered into Hope. Thenceforth it grew stronger every day, and its evil
inclinations died more and more in it. So that it arrived at length to a
high state or degree of Grace; and the Gates of the Divine Revelation
and the Kingdom of Heaven were opened to and manifested in it.

And thus the Soul, through Repentance, Faith, and Prayer, returned to
its true Rest, and became a right and beloved Child of God again; to
which may He of his infinite Mercy help us all. Amen.

TURNBULL AND SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.





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