The Confessions of Jacob Boehme, by Jacob Boehme, ed. W. Scott Palmer , at sacred-texts.com
WHEN thou beholdest the deep above the earth thou oughtest not to say that it is not the gate of God where God in his holiness dwells: No, no, think not so, for the whole Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, dwells in the centre under the firmament of heaven, though that very firmament cannot comprehend him.
Indeed all is as it were one body, the outermost and the innermost moving together with the firmament of heaven, as also the astral moving therein, in and with which the wrath of God unfolds; but yet they are one to another as the government, frame or constitution in man.
The flesh marks the outward moving,
which is the house of death. The second moving in man is the astral, in which the life stands, and wherein love and wrath wrestle one with another. Thus far man himself knows himself, for the astral generates the life in the outermost, that is, in the flesh. The third moving is generated between the astral and the outermost, and is called the animated or soulish moving, or the soul, and is as great as the whole man.
That moving the outward man neither knows nor comprehends, neither does the astral comprehend it; but every fountain spirit comprehends its innate source, which resembles the heaven.
The animated or soulish man must press through the firmament of heaven to God, and live with God, else the whole man cannot come into heaven to God.
Man cannot be wholly pure from wrath and sin, for the movings of the depth in
this world are not fully pure before the Heart of God; always love and wrath wrestle one with another.
In the second, the astral, wherein now the love and the wrath are against one another, is a spirit of the life, and of the firmament of heaven which is of the midst of the spirit.
And the Devil can reach half into this moving, so far as the wrath reaches and no farther; therefore the Devil cannot know how the other part in this moving has its source. This other part of the astral, which abides in the love, is the firmament of heaven holding captive the kindled wrath; together with all the devils, for they cannot enter thereinto. In that heaven dwells the Holy Spirit, which goes forth from the Heart of God, and strives against the wrath, and generates to himself a temple in the midst of the fierceness of the wrath of God.
And in this heaven dwells the man that fears God, even while alive in the body here upon earth; for that heaven is as well in man as in the deep above the earth. And as the deep above the earth is, so is man also, both in love and wrath, till after the departure of the soul; but when the soul departs from the body, then it abides either only in the heaven of love or only in the wrath.
And in this heaven the holy angels dwell amongst us, and the devils in the other part. In this heaven man lives between heaven and hell, and must suffer from the wrath and endure many hard blows, temptations, persecutions; and, many times, torments and oppression.
The wrath is called the Cross, and the love-heaven is called patience, and the spirit that rises up therein is called hope and faith, which unites with God and wrestles with the wrath till it overcomes and gets the victory.
O ye theologists, the spirit here opens a door and gate for you! If you will not now see and feed your sheep and lambs on a green meadow, instead of a dry, parched heath, you must be accountable for it before the severe, earnest and wrathful judgement of God; therefore look to it.
I take heaven to witness that I do here what I must. The Spirit drives me to it, so that I am wholly led captive thereby, and cannot be freed from it whatever may befal me hereafter, or ensue upon it.
The third moving in the body of God in this world is hidden. In it is the almighty and holy Heart of God, wherein our King, Jesus Christ, with his natural body, sits at the right hand of God, as a King and Lord of the whole body of this world.
The body of Christ is no more in the hard palpability, but in the divine palpability, of nature, like the angels. Our bodies also at the resurrection will have no
more such hard flesh and bones, but be like the angels; and though indeed all forms and powers shall be therein, yet we shall not have the hard palpability.
Christ says to Mary Magdalen in Joseph's garden at the Sepulchre, after his resurrection, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my God and to your God, as if he would say, I have not now the animal body any more, although I show myself to thee in my form or shape which I had, because otherwise thou in thy animal body couldst not see me.
So during the forty days after his resurrection he did not always walk visibly among the disciples, but invisibly, according to his heavenly and angelical property. When he would speak or talk with his disciples, then he showed himself in a palpable manner and form, that thereby he might speak natural words with them, for corruption cannot apprehend the divine. Also it sufficiently appears that his body
was of an angelical kind, in that he went to his disciples through the doors, being shut.
Thus thou must know that his body unites with all the seven spirits in nature in the astral moving in the part of love; and holds sin, death and the Devil captive in its wrath part.
Thou seest also how thou art in this world everywhere in heaven and also in hell, and dwellest between heaven and hell in great danger. Thou seest how heaven is in a holy man, and that everywhere, wheresoever thou standest, goest or liest, if thy spirit does but co-operate with God, then as to that part thou art in heaven and thy soul is in God. Therefore says Christ: My sheep are in my hands, no man can pull them away from me.
In like manner thou seest also how thou art always in hell among all the devils as to the wrath; if thine eyes were but open thou wouldst see wonderful things, but
thou standest between heaven and hell, and canst see neither of them, and walkest upon a very narrow bridge.
Some men have many times, in the astral spirit, entered in thither, being ravished in an ecstasy, as men term it, and have in this life known the gates of heaven and of hell, and have shown and declared how that many men dwell in hell with their living bodies. Such indeed have been scorned, derided or laughed at, but with great ignorance and indiscretion, for it is just so as they declare.