JACOB BOEHME (1575-1624) was the son of peasant farmers, a shoemaker by trade, and had only a rudimentary education. One morning, watching the sunlight play on a pewter bowl, he experienced an extraordinary spiritual illumination, and started writing books. Amazing books. Scholars at the great German Universities were astounded that an unlearned craftsman could produce works like The Three Principles of the Divine Essence and The Threefold Life of Man. But Jacob Boehme explains: I never desired to know anything of the Divine Mystery, much less understood I the way how to seek or find it. I sought only after the heart of Jesus Christ… In this my earnest Christian seeking and desire, the gate was opened unto me, so that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an University… For I saw and knew the Being of all Beings, the Byss and Abyss; also the eternal generation of the Holy Trinity; the descent, and origin of this world, and of all creatures, through the divine Wisdom; I knew and saw in myself all the three Worlds; namely, the Divine, Angelical, and Paradisical World and then the Dark World, the original of the Nature to the Fire; and then thirdly, the external, visible World, being a Procreation, or External Birth, from the two internal and spiritual Worlds; and I saw, and knew the whole working Essence in the evil, and in the good; and the mutual origin, and existence of each of them; and likewise how the fruitful bearing Womb of Eternity brought forth… And presently it came powerfully into my mind to set the same down in writing… Thus now I have written, not from the instruction or knowledge received from men, not from the learning or reading of books; but I have written out of my own book which was opened in me, being the noble similitude of God, the book of the noble and precious image (understand God’s own similitude or likeness) was bestowed upon me to read; and therein I have studied, as a child in the house of its mother, which beholdeth what the father doth, and in his child-like play doth imitate his father; I have no need of any other book.
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