Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blake and Boehme The Key

Blake and Boehme had a lot in common; they had the same values; they had visions
and lived with them.  Like few people in Blake's (or our) day, they did not live by the
material, but by a spiritual Consciousness.

Boehme was a simple shoemaker, but he received a mysterious call from
a mysterious stranger who cried out in the street, "Jakob , Jacob, come forth."
He continued "thou art little, but shall be great, and become another man,
such a one as whom the world shall wonder; therefore be pious, fear God and
reverence his Word, etc, etc. (For the rest of this story look at page 8 of
The Key of Boehme.)

Boehme read, studied and wrote reporting the Visions that came to him 
regularly, just as they did to Blake.  After he had written much, readers asked
him for help understanding so he wrote this short compendium of his many


1. It is written, The natural man receives not the things of the spirit, nor the Mystery of the kingdom of God, they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them: therefore I admonish and exhort the Christian lover of Mysteries, if he will study these high writings, and read, search, and understand them, that he does not read them outwardly only, with sharp speculation and meditation; for in so doing,he shall remain in the outward imaginary ground only, and obtain no more than a counterfeit color of them.

(Boehme starts out with the radical separation between the material
(worldly) and the spiritual.  However he used 'mystery' in a very
different way than Blake did.)

2. For a man's own reason, without the light of them. God, cannot come into the ground [of them], it is impossible; let his wit be ever so high and subtle, it apprehends but as it were the shadow of it in a glass.

(Here WB is fully in accord with Boehme; he considered 'Reason' without
Light to be 'of the devil'.)

3. For Christ says, without me you can do nothing; and he is the Light of the World, and the Life of men.
Here Boehme quotes scripture directly using the same words often used by Blake.)

4. Now if any one would search the divine ground, that is, the divine [1]
revelation, he must first consider with himself for what end he desires to know such things; whether he desires to practice that which he might obtain, and bestow it to the glory of God and the welfare of his neighbor; and whether he desires to die to earthliness, and to his own will, and to live in that which he seeks and desires, and to be one spirit with it.

(Like Blake Boehme was keenly aware of the failure to be open and
transparent.  He obviously considered the Church of his day to be
fallen into hypocrisy and the clergy to be 'false prophets.)

5. If he have not a purpose, that if God should reveal himself and his Mysteries to him, he would be one spirit and have one will with him,and wholly resign and yield himself up to him, that God's spirit might do what he pleases with him and by him, and that God might be his knowledge, will, and  deed, he is not yet fit for such knowledge and understanding.

(Here he reminds us that until we have become completely empty of
of our own will and fully submissive to His God has not yet made us
'Perfect', something that few of us would deny.

6. For there are many that seek Mysteries and hidden knowledge,merely that they might be respected and highly esteemed by the world,and for their own gain and profit; but they attain not this ground, where the spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God: as it is written.

7. It must be a totally resigned and yielded will, in which God himself searches and works, and which continually pierces into God, in yielding and resigned humility, seeking nothing but his eternal native country, and to do his neighbor service with it; and then it may be attained. And he must begin with effectual repentance and amendment, and with prayer, that his understanding might be opened from within; for then the inward will bring itself into the outward.

(In these two paragraphs Boehme simply reiterates the above.)

8. But when he reads such writings, and yet cannot understand them,he must not presently throw them away, and think it is impossible to understand them; no, but he must turn his mind to God, beseeching him for grace and understanding, and read again; and then he shall see more and more in them, till at length he be drawn by the power of God into the very depth itself, and so come into the supernatural and supersensual ground, viz. into the eternal unity of God; where he shall hear unspeakable but effectual words of God, which shall bring him back and outward again, by the divine effluence, to the very grossest and meanest matter of the earth, and then back and inwards to God again;then the spirit of God searches all things with him, and by him; and so he is rightly taught and driven by God).

(This echoes Paul who spoke of things he could not say.)

9. But since the readers desire a Clavis, or key of my writings, I am ready and willing to pleasure them in it, and will set down a short description of the ground of those strange words; some of which are taken from nature and [1] sense, and some are the words of strange [2] masters, I have tried according to sense, and found them good and fit.

10. Reason will stumble, when it sees heathenish terms and words used in the explanation of natural things, supposing we should use none but scripture phrase (or words borrowed from the Bible); but such words will not always ply and square themselves to the fundamental exposition of the properties of nature, neither can a man express the ground with them: also the wise heathen and jews have hidden the
deep ground of nature under such words, as having well understood
that the knowledge of [1] nature is not for every one, but it belongs to those only, whom God by nature has chosen for it.

(Like Blake Boehme respects words and ideas outside of the formal
scriptures, such as Jewish or others.  "The word kills, but the spirit
gives Life".)

11. But none need stumble at it; for when God reveals his Mysteries to any man, he then also brings him into a mind and faculty how to express them, as God knows to be most necessary and profitable in every age, for the setting of the confused tongues and opinions upon the true ground again: Men must not think that it comes by chance, or is done by human reason.

(The 'confusion of tongues reminds us of Balaam's ass (Numbers 22'.) 

12. The revelations of divine things are opened by the inward ground of the spiritual world, and brought into visible forms, just as the Creator will manifest them.

13. I will write but a short description of the divine manifestation, yet as much as I can comprehend in brief; and expound the strangewords for the better understanding of our books; and set down here the sum of those writings, or a model or epitome of them, for the consideration and help of beginners: The further exposition of  it is to be found in the other books or revelation. 

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