JACOB BOEHME THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS PDF

For though I see one to speak, teach, preach, and write of God, and though I hear and read the same, yet this is not sufficient for me to understand him; but if his sound and spirit out of his signature and similitude enter into my own similitude, and imprint his similitude into mine, then I may understand him really and fundamentally, be it either spoken or written, if he has the hammer that can strike my bell. By this we know, that all human properties proceed from one; that they all have but one only root and mother; otherwise one man could not understand another in the sound, for with the sound or speech the form notes and imprints itself into the similitude of another; a like tone or sound catches and moves another, and in the sound the spirit imprints its own similitude, which it has conceived in the essence, and brought to form in the principle. And then secondly we understand, that the signature or form is no spirit, but the receptacle, container, or cabinet of the spirit, wherein it lies; for the signature stands in the essence, and is as a lute that liest still, and is indeed a dumb thing that is neither heard or understood; but if it be played upon, then its form is understood, in what form and tune it stands, and according to what note it is set. Man has indeed all the forms of all the three worlds lying in him; for he is a complete image of God, or of the Being of all beings; only the order is placed in him at his incarnation; for there are three work-masters in him which prepare his form [or signature], viz. So soon as man is born into this world, his spirit plays upon his instrument, so that his innate genuine form [or signature] in good or evil is seen by his words and conversation; for as his instrument sounds, accordingly the senses and thoughts proceed from the essence of the mind, and so the external spirit of the will is carried in its behaviour, as is to be seen both in men and beasts; that there is a great difference in the procreation, that one brother and sister does not as the other.

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For though I see one to speak, teach, preach, and write of God, and though I hear and read the same, yet this is not sufficient for me to understand him; but if his sound and spirit out of his signature and similitude enter into my own similitude, and imprint his similitude into mine, then I may understand him really and fundamentally, be it either spoken or written, if he has the hammer that can strike my bell.

By this we know, that all human properties proceed from one; that they all have but one only root and mother; otherwise one man could not understand another in the sound, for with the sound or speech the form notes and imprints itself into the similitude of another; a like tone or sound catches and moves another, and in the sound the spirit imprints its own similitude, which it has conceived in the essence, and brought to form in the principle.

And then secondly we understand, that the signature or form is no spirit, but the receptacle, container, or cabinet of the spirit, wherein it lies; for the signature stands in the essence, and is as a lute that liest still, and is indeed a dumb thing that is neither heard or understood; but if it be played upon, then its form is understood, in what form and tune it stands, and according to what note it is set. Man has indeed all the forms of all the three worlds lying in him; for he is a complete image of God, or of the Being of all beings; only the order is placed in him at his incarnation; for there are three work-masters in him which prepare his form [or signature], viz.

So soon as man is born into this world, his spirit plays upon his instrument, so that his innate genuine form [or signature] in good or evil is seen by his words and conversation; for as his instrument sounds, accordingly the senses and thoughts proceed from the essence of the mind, and so the external spirit of the will is carried in its behaviour, as is to be seen both in men and beasts; that there is a great difference in the procreation, that one brother and sister does not as the other.

Further we are to know, that though one fiat thus keeps the upper hand, and figures the form according to itself, that yet the other two give their sound, if their instrument be but played upon; as it is seen that many a man, and also many a beast, though it is very much inclined either to good or evil, yet it is moved either to evil or good by a contrary tune, and often lets its inbred signature [or figure] fall, when the contrary tune is played upon his hidden lute or form: As we see that an evil man is often moved by a good man to repent of and cease from his iniquity, when the good man touches and strikes his hidden instrument with his meek and loving spirit.

And thus also it happens to the good man, that when the wicked man strikes his hidden instrument with the spirit of his wrath, that then the form of anger is stirred up also in the good man, and the one is set against the other, that so one might be the cure and healer of the other. For as the vital signature, that is, as the form of life is figured in the time of the fiat at the conception, even so is its natural spirit; for it takes its rise out of the essence of all the three principles, and such a will it acts and manifests out of its property.

For man is known herein by his daily practice, also by his course and discourse; for the upper instrument, which is most strongly drawn, is always played upon: Thus also it is with a beast that is wild, but when it is overawed and tamed, and brought to another property, it does not easily shew its first innate form, unless it be stirred up, and then it breaks forth, and appears above all other forms.

Thus it is likewise with the herbs of the earth; if an herb be transplanted out of a bad soil into a good, then it soon gets a stronger body, and a more pleasant smell and power, and shews the inward essence externally; and 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: As we know it in the power and form of this world, how the one 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.

Therefore the greatest understanding lies in the signature, wherein man viz. Everything has its mouth to manifestation; and this is the language of nature, whence everything speaks out of its property, and continually manifests, declares, and sets forth itself for what it is good or profitable; for each thing manifests its mother, which thus gives the essence and the will to the form.

And then we understand herein the cure, how the one heals another, and brings it to health; and if this were not, there were no nature, but an eternal stillness, and no will; for the contrary will makes the motion, and the original of the seeking, that the opposite sound seeks the rest, and yet in the seeking it only elevates and more enkindles itself.

And we are to understand how the cure of each thing consists in the assimulate; for in the assimulate arises the satisfaction of the will, viz. For the eternal nature has produced nothing in its desire, except a likeness out of itself; and if there were not an everlasting mixing, there would be an eternal peace in nature, but so nature would not be revealed and made manifest, in the combat it becomes manifest; so that each thing elevates itself, and would get out of the combat into the still rest, and so it runs to and fro, and thereby only awakens and stirs up the combat.

And we find clearly in the light of nature, that there is no better help and remedy for this opposition, and that it has no, higher cure than the liberty, that is, the light of nature, which is the desire of the spirit. And then we find, that the essence cannot be better remedied than with the assimulate; for the essence is a being, and its desire is after being: Now every taste desires only its like, and if it obtains it, then its hunger is satisfied, appeased and eased, and it ceases to hunger, and rejoices in itself, whereby the sickness falls into a rest in itself; for the hunger of the contrariety ceases to work.

We understand that without nature there is an eternal stillness and rest, viz. For in the nothing the will would not be manifest to itself, wherefore we know that the will seeks itself, and finds itself in itself, and its seeking is a desire, and its finding is the essence of the desire, wherein the will finds itself. It finds nothing except only the property of the hunger, which is itself, which it draws into itself, that is, draws itself into itself, and finds itself in itself; and its attraction into itself makes an overshadowing or darkness in it, which is not in the liberty, viz.

Now that the will must be in darkness is its contrariety, and it conceives in itself another will to go out from the darkness again into the liberty, viz. For in itself before the desire is the liberty, viz. Thus the compunction willeth upwards, and whirls crossways, and yet cannot effect it, for the hardness, viz. But seeing the desire, viz. This is now the original of enmity, that nature opposes the free-will, and a thing is at enmity in itself; and here we understand the centre of nature with three forms, in the original, viz.

Understand it thus: Sul is in the first principle the freewill, or the lubet in the nothing to something, it is in the liberty without nature; Phur is the desire of the free lubet, and makes in itself, in the Phur, viz.

But now the Phur, viz. The source is the cure of the free lubet, viz. Secondly, we find that the Sul, viz. This is now the form of the spiritual life, and of the essential life; Sul is the original of the joyful life, and Phur is the original of the essential life; the lubet is before and without nature, which is the true Sul; and the spirit is made manifest in nature, viz.

The second form in nature, in eternity is the Orb with the compunctive bitter essences: for there arises the essence, understand with the perturbation; for the nothing is still without motion, but the perturbation makes the nothing active: but in the third principle, viz. This form is the unquietness, and yet the seeker of rest; and with its seeking it causes unquietness, it makes itself its own enemy; its cure is twofold, for its desire is also twofold, viz.

Now that which is found desires to enter again into the will of the still nothing, that it may have peace and rest therein; and the nothing is its cure; and the wrath and poison is the remedy of the seeker and finder, that is their life which they find, an example whereof we have in the poisonous gall, whence in the life arises joy and sorrow, wherein we also understand a twofold will, viz.

And here we understand the third will which takes its original out of both these, viz. If the tune of love be played, viz. And thus likewise is it to be understood of the enmity and contrary will; if the instrument be struck according to the desire to nature, viz.

And we are to understand, that it is no divided essence, but one holds the other hidden or closed up in it, and the one is the beginning and cause of the other, also its healing and cure; that which is awaked and stirred up, that gets dominion, and manifests itself externally with its character, and makes a form and signature according to its will in the external after itself. The third form is the anxiousness which arises in nature from the first and second form, and is the upholder or preserver of the first and second; it is in itself the sharp fiat; and the second form has the Verbum, viz.

Now we are to consider the hunger of the anxiety, or the salt-spirit, and then also its satiating or fulfilling: The anguish has in it two wills, from the original of the first will out of the liberty to the manifestation of itself; viz.

Thus it has two properties; with the seeking in itself it makes the centre of nature: For it is like a poison, a will of dreadful aspiring, like a lightning and thunder-clap; for this desire desires only anguish, and to be horrible, to find itself in itself, out of the nothing in the something; and the second form proceeds forth as a flagrat, or produces sound out of itself; for it is not the desire of the first will to continue in the horrible death, but only thus to educe itself out of the nothing, and to find itself.

And we understand by the centre in itself, with the aspiring wrathfulness, with the wrathful will to nature, the dark world, and with the egress out of itself to manifestation, the outward world; and with the second will out of the first, which enters again into the liberty, we understand the light world, or the kingdom of joy, or the true Deity. The desire of the dark world is after the manifestation, viz.

Its desire in itself is the wonder of eternity, a mystery, or mirror, or what is comprehended of the first will to nature. Each desire desires only the essentiality of salt according to its property; for salt is diverse; one part is sharpness of cold, and one part sharpness of heat; also one part brimstone; and one part salniter from Mercury.

These properties are in one another as one, but they sever themselves, each dwelling in itself; for they are of a different essence, and when one enters into another, then there is enmity, and a flagrat. A similitude whereof we may apprehend in thunder and lightning, which comes to pass when the great Anguish, viz. Thus we see this ground very exactly and properly in thunder and lightning; for the flash, or lightning, or ethereal blaze, goes always before, for it is the enkindled salniter; thereupon follows the stroke in the flagrat of the coldness; as you see, as soon as the stroke is given the astringent chamber is opened, and a cool wind follows, and oftentimes whirling and wheeling; for the forms of nature are awakened, and are as a turning wheel, and so they carry their spirit the wind.

And this form [or likeness] is the eternal wisdom of the Deity; and we understand herein the Trinity of the only Deity, whose ground we must not know, how the first will arises in the abyss from eternity, which is called Father; only we know the eternal birth, and distinguish the Deity, viz. And as we have shewn you concerning the original of thunder and lightning with the tempestuous stroke; so likewise the inward nature of the inward world is, and stands in the generation: For the outward birth takes its original from the inward; the inward birth is unapprehensible to the creature, but the outward is apprehensible to it; yet each property apprehends its mother from whence it is brought forth.

As the soul comprehends the inward eternal nature, and the spirit of the soul, viz. Therefore we will set down the generation of all essences out of all mothers and beginnings, how one generation proceeds from another, and how one is the cause of another, and this we will do from the eyesight of all the three mothers.

Let none account it impossible, seeing man is a likeness according to and in God, an image of the Being of all beings; and yet it stands not in the power of the creature, but in the might of God; for the sight and science of all essences consist alone in the clearest light. We have made mention before how the external birth, viz. For Sulphur in the eternal beginning consists in two forms, and so also in the outward beginning of this world: viz. Sul in the internal is God, and Phur is the nature; for it makes a spirit of the nature of brimstone, as is to be seen externally in the property of brimstone; for its substance is a dry constringent matter, and is of a painful anxious fiery property, forcing itself forth; it attracts eagerly and hardly into itself, and parches up as a dry hunger, and its painful property does eagerly and anxiously force itself forth: The cause and original is this, because it stands in two beginnings, viz.

The desire, viz. For Mercury is generated in Sulphur: It is the severing, viz. Mercury has in the beginning of his birth three properties, viz. For the lubet of the liberty does again set its desire into the stillness, viz. Further, we are to know the dying with the enkindling of the fire, all which is done in the flagrat; for it is a flagrat to death, and to life; one part immerses itself into the property of death, viz.

But seeing this water does also separate itself in the salnitral flagrat, and before the salniter was all mutually enwrapt together, thereupon it obtains different properties in the separation, and there is a diversity of water; and this various diversity of properties gives in each property also a bodily or corporeal essence, all according to the first separation of mercury in sulphur, for in the mortification in the salnitral flagrat two things are effected and come forth, viz.

Now we must consider this from the first original; as 1 from the lubet of the liberty; and 2 from the desire to nature, or the manifestation of the abyss. First, in the salnitral flagrat there is produced through the anxious mortification a sulphureous water from the anguish, which affords a brimstone, as we plainly see, and all whatever is of the like sort and resemblance.

Thirdly, there is brought forth through the salnitral flagrat out of the property of the bitter compunctive attraction, in the first impression in the spirit, an earthly property of water; its materia is earth; for the same arises from the dark essentiality, where the darkness impresses itself in the first desire, wherein the darkness arises, as is before mentioned: Thus it begets out of its property in the impression a mist, smoaky steam, or vapour, which the flagrat in the salniter apprehends, and its essence is dismayed or dies, and falls downwards; this is the materia of the earth, though the earth is not of one only sort, but has in it all whatever became corporeal in the flagrat, all which springs through the death of the earth, according as it was wrapt and driven together in the creation into a lump, as we plainly see.

Further, we are to consider of the highest arcanum, viz. We see that the metals have another manner of body than the living creatures, or are otherwise than the earth and stones are: Now reason asks, How is the original of everything, seeing that in the beginning all arose out of one mother, and yet the eternity has no temporal beginning?

Here we must again consider the mother of the first pregnatrix, where, and how one essence separates itself from another, viz. After the creation of the highest spirits, God created this visible world with the stars and elements as an external birth out of the mother of all essences; all which proceeded out of the eternal beginning, and took a temporal beginning: For here we are to consider, that the eternal pregnatrix moved itself, and enkindled its own form [or similitude], where then the one became corporeal in the other; but afterwards God created the earth, which we are thus to consider of.

The first desire to nature impresses itself, and introduces itself with the impression into three forms, viz. And there is the separation of two wills, viz. Further, we are also to consider of the other metals and minerals, which in like manner do thus take their original; but in the salnitral flagrat each property is separated; as we see that the property of the fire and light is different, and all from the first impression; where before the impression the lubet and desire of the liberty stand mutually in each other, as a chaos, a complexion of great wonders, where all colours, powers, and virtues are contained in this only Chaos, or wonder-eye; which Chaos is God himself, viz.

As the mind acts and moves the thoughts and senses from the highest to the lowest, and comprehends and commands by the thoughts from the highest to the lowest; so the eternal mind has manifested itself from the highest majesty, even to the lowest [meanest, or outermost thing], viz.

And all things consist in these first three forms, viz. In like manner also the astrum is thus generated out of the first mother; and all put together is only one body, and it all takes its rise from the inward spirit; as a hand or foot grows forth from the inward centre, and has already its form in the centre, viz. The first mother of all things, viz. The third form is the great anguish in the impression, which causes two wills, viz.

Now the fourth form is the fire itself, viz. The fifth form is now the second desire, which is effected after the separation, and that according to two properties; viz. The love gives essence; for it is expressive, and yielding, viz.

The sixth form arises from the turning wheel before the fire, where the multiplication of the essence arises out of the property of Mercurius in the salnitral flagrat; with the enkindling of the fire one form is introduced into another; and if now the love-desire penetrates all the forms, then all the forms grow very desirous the one after the other, for the dear lovely child Venus is in all.

Here begin the taste, smell, hearing, seeing, feeling, and speaking; for the light opens another principle of another source, and fills all; and here springs up the life in death, viz. The seventh form arises from all the other, and is the body, mansion-house, or food of the other, and it is thus effected; when the other forms taste each other in their mutual penetration in the love-desire, then in each form there is an hunger or desire after the love, viz.

The first hunger in the centre before the fire is a spiritual hunger, which makes the dark world; and the hunger of the free lubet makes the light world; both which are only spirit, till they pass both together through the enkindling of the fire, where then they are mortified to the spirit, and are a likeness of the first spirit, viz. Further we are to know, that there is a separation made in the creation of this world; for this is to be seen in the sun and stars; so likewise in all creatures; also in metals, stones, and earths; for this same is the manifestation of God.

We see in the firmament seven planets, and in the earth seven metals which are fixed, and also seven planets only which are fixed in their property; the rest are minerals, and so of the stars: And as the planetary orb has its predominant stamp or influence, so is also the birth of each thing.

As the Deity, viz. Whatever has its beginning out of the lubet of the liberty stands with the root in an heavenly property, and with the body in an earthly; but the eternal stands in time, and manifests itself with time. Sulphur is on one part in the internal heavenly, and as to the body earthly, yet puts forth an heavenly likeness according to the eternal out of itself, which is fixed and stedfast; as is to be seen in gold, and is much more to be understood in the human body, if it were not corrupted in the desire in Mercury; for the spiritual or heavenly man consists in Sulphur, and in Mercury the corporeal, viz.

But if the same spirituality longs to manifest itself in a similitude, both according to the property of the spirit, and the essentiality too, according to the Trinity of the Deity, according to the mortal and immortal essence, then that image is represented in the stars and elements; and lastly it is set forth in man, who is a lively image of the whole essence according to the divine and outward world; also the inward and outward worlds are represented with the metals in a mortal image, as a resemblance and similitude of the living heavenly essentiality.

The beginning is in Sulphur; for Sul is the lubet of the light, or the liberty, which longs to manifestation, and it cannot otherwise be effected but through fire: In Phur arises the desire, viz. Then thou art not born to the highest knowledge of the spagirical science.

Further, we are to consider of the degrees, what the liberty, viz. The birth of the highest degree turns round viz. Now as the superior is, so is likewise the inferior namely metals , therefore silver is the next degree to gold; and as gold is generated, so is also silver: Venus clothes it, which Mercury cannot endure, seeing he is the master-worker, and he gives his garment also; but the silver has neither the property of Venus nor Mercury, for it retains the property of its mother, viz.

Saturn also is the house of silver, he is likewise the cause of the first conception, but he turns his desire only upon the golden child, and leaves the silver its garment, and takes it into his stony earthly property, and lets Mercury hatch it.

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The Signature of All Things

There are few figures in history more strange and beautiful than that of Jacob Boehme. With a few exceptions the outward events of his life were unremarkable. He was born in at the village Alt Seidenberg, two miles from Goerlitz in Germany and close to the Bohemian border. His parents were poor, and in childhood he was put to mind their cattle. It was in the solitude of the fields that he first beheld a vision, and assuredly his contemplative spirit must have been well nourished by the continual companionship of nature.

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