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THE SUPERSENSUAL LIFE
AUTHOR: Boehme, Jacob
PUBLISHED ON: March 31, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN

THE SUPERSENSUAL LIFE
by
Jacob Boehme

translated by
William Law

scanned and checked by
John H. Richards
(jhr@elidor.demon.co.uk)

and presented as a Public Domain file to the Internet
March 1995

=============================================================

The Supersensual Life

The Disciple said to his Master: Sir, how may I come to the
Supersensual Life, so that I may see God, and 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 Impressions 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 that 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 with 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 the 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. Inasmuch 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 this 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
into 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 can’st not go out thence, or come to that
State which is Supernatural and Supersensual.

  Disciple. But being as 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 mayest be able to
bear the Temptations of Nature and Creature. And if thou dost
thus, know that God will speak into 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 into 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 Man 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 well betwixt the Thing,
and that which only is an image thereof; betwixt that Sovereignty
which is substantial, and in the inward Ground or Nature, and
that which is imaginary, and in an outward Form, or Semblance,
betwixt that which is properly Angelical, and that which is no
more than bestial. If thou rulest now over the Creatures
externally only, and not from the right internal Ground of the
renewed Nature; then thy Will and ruling is verily in a bestial
Kind or Manner, and thine at best is but a Sort of imaginary and
transitory Government, being void of that which is substantial
and permanent, the which only thou art to desire and press after.
Thus by thy outwardly lording it over the Creatures, it is most
easy for thee to lose the Substance and the Reality, while thou
hast nought remaining but the Image or Shadow only of thy first
and original Lordship; wherein thou art made capable to be again
invested, if thou beest but wise, and takest thy Investiture from
the Supreme Lord in the right Course and Manner. Whereas by thy
willing and ruling thus after 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 and ferine Nature, and if thou hast left the
imaginary Life, and quitted the low imaged Condition of it; then
thou art come into the superimaginariness, 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 thine Original, in that very Ground or
Source, out of which they were and are created; and henceforth
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; neither can there
be a better Way 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 on 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 turn thy Desire away from them All,
and not desire or hanker after any of them; thou must not extend
thy Will to possess that for thy own, or as thine own, which is
Something, whatsoever 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 to 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 to 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 sensibly affecting or touching thy
Perception, even in that Manner 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 Sight of All Things in God, 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
Fumes 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 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. Wouldest thou arrive at
this; wouldest thou remain untouched by Sensibles; wouldest thou
behold Light in the very Light of God, and see all Things
thereby; then consider the Words of Christ, Who is that Light,
and Who is the Truth. O consider now His Words, who said, ”
Without Me ye can do nothing,” 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 worketh 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 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 so much as touch
thee. Which when thou shalt, by 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
the Reason, and inwardly 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, 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 in 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 go into the Creature, then thou
hast broken off thereby thyself from Him; and then thou canst not
any otherwise keep thyself but by abiding continually in the most
resigned Humility, and by entering into a constant Course of
Penitence, wherein thou wilt be always grieved at thy own
creaturely, and that Creatures do live still 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 abide continually 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 Imagination 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 shall I be now able to subsist in this Anxiety
and Tribulation arising from the World, so as not to lose the
Eternal Peace, or not 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 that 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 under 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 never
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 little Courage, could break off itself
for one Hour, or even but for one 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 exceedingly well indeed:
But what would then become of the Body seeing that it must of
Necessity live in the Creature?

  Master. The Body would by this Means be put into the Imitation
of our Lord Christ, and of His Body: It would stand in the
Communion of that most Blessed Body, which was 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 unto 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
Shadow, 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 amuse 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; where I would
fain maintain my 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 any 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 ye 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
Enemy to all the Pomps thereof, and to all the Gaudery,
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 so consequently that which
is subject to it, 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 then 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 Straight betwixt two, not
feeling yet enough of that blessed Influence upon me. O how
willingly should my Body bear that, could this be safely depended
upon by me, according to what is urged! 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 thee, 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
from 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 Love and Joy 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, the which indeed is stronger than all Things, and
makes a Man hence invulnerable both from within and without, by
taking out the Sting and Poison of the Creatures, 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 that 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 His
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 every Thing: 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 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 in 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 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 Death, 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 out
of some certain Respects; yet in their Hearts they cannot but
cleave to him. For though they be not yet actually incorporated
into one Body with him, yet they cannot resist being of one Mind
with him, and being united in Affection for the great Regard they
bear to the Truth, which shines forth in his Words and in his
Life. By which they are made either his declared or his secret
Friends; and he doth so get their Hearts, as 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 unto 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
Off-scouring thereof.

  Master. That which now seems so hard and heavy to thee, thou
wilt yet hereafter be most of all in Love with. 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
be by it 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,
by working our 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 that 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, or 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
in thy Interior, 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: 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 mayst
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 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 inexpressible; 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 principiating 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 no
longer be either Vegetation or Animation upon it; yea, the very
Pillars of it be 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
shouldst 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 the 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 Power of Love, and what the
Height and Greatness thereof is; how that it is indeed the Virtue
of all Virtues, though it be invisible, and as 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 mayest 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 Archangels and the 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 an 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, as I before observed, 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 Christ was in Hell, Hell was not
the Mansion of God or of Christ; Hell was 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, or 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 also 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 humble and hearty 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 which to the Children of
Wisdom is All Things.

DIALOGUE II

ARGUMENT

Herein is described and set forth the Manner of passing the Gulf
which divides betwixt the two Principles or States of Heaven and
Hell: and it is particularly shewn how this Transaction is
carried on in the Soul; what the Partition Wall therein is, which
separates from God.

  What the breaking down of this Partition Wall, and how
effected; what the Centre of Light is, and the pressing into that
Centre is; What the Light of God, and the Light of Nature are;
how they are operative in their several Spheres, and how to be
kept from interfering with each other; with some Account of the
two Wills and their Contraposition in the Fallen State; of the
Magical Wheel of the Will, and how the Motion thereof may be
regulated; of the Eye in the Midst thereof, what the Right Eye
is to the Soul, and what the Left is, but especially what the
Single Eye is, and in what Manner it is to be obtained; of
Purification from the Contagion of Matter, of the Destruction of
Evil, and of the very Annihilation of it, by the Subsidence of
the Will from its own Something into Nothing; of the Naked and
Magical Faith, and the Attraction thereby of a certain Divine
Substantiality and Vestment; how all consists in the Will, and
proceeds but from one Point; where that Point is placed, and how
it may be found out; and which is both the safest and nearest Way
to attain to the high supersensual State, and the internal
Kingdom of Christ, according to the true Heavenly Magia or
Wisdom.

  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 the 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 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 so to
recollect my Soul in the Presence of God, and to cast myself into
that 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 pronounced. 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 by which alone Divine Objects are discoverable, as
till this be broken down, 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 by 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 and 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 thine own
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 thy 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 my Life wisely and
prudently?

  Master. It is right, I confess, 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 distinct 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 that superior Light
appointed to govern the Day, rising in the true East, which is
the Centre of Paradise; and in great Might breaking forth as out
of the Darkness within thee, through a Pillar of Fire and Thunder
Clouds, and thereby also reflecting 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 every Thing abide in its proper Sphere.

  Disciple. Therefore, unless 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 be always 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 but 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 all 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 that 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 Band 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 the Soul two Wills, an inferior Will,
which is for driving thee to Things without and below; and a
superior Will, which is for drawing 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 sheweth the Necessity that this
Malady, arising from the Dis-union 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 also two Eyes within, one against
another 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 to 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, or 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 b 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 the into
Time. If now thou sufferest thyself. to be always looking into
Nature, and the Things of Time, and to be leading the Will and
to be seeking somewhat for itself in the Desire, 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 in, nor to fill itself with, that which is
without thee: neither look thou backward upon thyself; but quit
thyself, and look forward upon 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 back this Left, and
attract it to thee, so that it may not gad abroad into the
Wonders and Delights of Nature. 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 this
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
mayest 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 this 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
somewhat very terrible and shocking to human Nature, as 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 those Wonders by Union with that heavenly
internal Eye, 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, but 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 out 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. Since this is opening a Door for him who reigneth in the
Corruption of Matter, possibly the Devil may roar at thee for
this Refusal; because nothing can vex him worse than such a
silent Abstraction of the Soul, and Controversion thereof to the
Point of Rest from all that is worldly and circumferential: But
regard him not; neither admit the least Dust of that Matter into
which he may pretend any Claim to. 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
is it 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 any Thing 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 presently 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 lusteth 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 and Affections upon the
Work of. his own Hands 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
herein, 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 Supernatural 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, where 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, though never so many Devils should be
in the Confederacy against 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; forasmuch 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, 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 couldest thou with all thy seeking, have comprehended it;
but it hath apprehended thee. Much less couldest thou have
comprehended it: But now 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 but that somewhat only, and taketh up its Rest
therein, until it 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 naked and stripped 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 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 which letteth.

  Disciple. But if the Love should proffer itself to a Soul,
could not that Soul find it, nor lay hold on 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, neither 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 Supersensual and Supernatural 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 would it find no
Place in them at all, 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 up itself 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,
and Fountain of thy Being. And when this enkindling is made in
thee, then the Love doth so exceedingly rejoice in thy Fire, as
thou wouldst not for all the World be out of it; yea, would
rather suffer thyself to be killed, than to enter into thy
something again. This Fire now must grow hotter and hotter, till
it shall have perfected its Office with respect to thee, and
therefore will not give over, till it come to the seventh Degree.
Its Flame hence 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 in 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 any one, thereby
to create to thyself any Misery or Unquietness. This is not what
I mean by walking contrary in every Thing to the World. But
because the World, as the World, loveth only 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 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
either 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
besides themselves. But to the Children of God, that which is
despised of the World is the Greatest Treasure; yea, so great a
Treasure it is, 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 any Thing 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.

The End

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