The Third Book of Regeneration, or The New Birth – By Jakob Boehme

Chapter 1

Of Regeneration

Showing how Man should consider himself

Christ said, `Except ye turn and become asChildren, ye shall not see the kingdom of God.’ Again, he said toNicodemus; `Except a Man be born again, of Water and of the Spirit,he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; for that which is born of the Fleshis Flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.’

2. Also the Scripture positively declareth,that `the Fleshly natural Man receiveth not the Things of the Spirit of God,for they are Foolishness unto him, neither can he know or conceive them.’

3. Now seeing that all of us have Fleshand Blood and are mortal, as we find by Experience, andyet the Scripture saith, that `We are the Temples of the Holy Ghost,who dwelleth in us,’ and that `the Kingdom of God is within us,’ and that`Christ must be formed in us;’ also that `He will give us his Flesh for Food,and his Blood for Drink:’ And that, `Whosoever shall not eat of the Fleshof the Son of Man, and drink his Blood hath no Life in him.’ Therefore weshould seriously consider, what kind of Man in us it is, that is capableof being thus like the Deity.

4. For it cannot be said of the mortalFlesh that turneth to Earth again, and liveth in the Vanityof this World, and continually lusteth against God, that it isthe Temple of the Holy Ghost; much less can it be said that the NewBirth cometh to pass in this earthly Flesh, which dieth andputrifieth, and is a continual House of Sin.

5. Yet seeing that it remaineth certain, thata True Christian is born of Christ, and that the New Birthis the Temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us, and that theNet Man only, that is born of Christ, partaketh of the Fleshand Blood of Christ; it appeareth that is is not so easy a Matter tobe a Christian.

6. And that Christianity doth not consistin the mere knowing of the History, and applying the Knowledge thereof to ourselves, saying that `Christ died for us, and hath destroyedDeath and turned it into Life in us, and that He hath paid the Ransom forus, so that we need do nothing but comfort ourselves therewith, and steadfastlybelieve that it is so.’

7. For we find of ourselves that Sin isliving, lusting, strong, and powerfully working in theFlesh, and therefore it must be somewhat else, which doth not co-operatewith Sin in the Flesh, nor Willeth it, that is the New-birthin Christ.

8. For St Paul saith, `Thereis no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.’ And further, `Shouldwe that are Christians be yet Sinners? God forbid, seeing we are dead toSin in Christ.’

9. Besides, the Man of Sin cannot bethe `Temple of the Holy Ghost;’ and yet, there is no Man that sinneth not,for `God hath shut up all under Sin.’ As the Scripture saith, `Noone living is righteous in thy Sight, if thou imputest his Sins to him. Therighteous Man falleth seven Times a Day; and yet it cannot be meant thatthe righteous falleth and sinneth, but his mortal and sinful Man.For the righteousness of a Christian in Christ cannotSin.

10. Moreover, St Paul saith, `Our Conversationis in Heaven, from whence we expect our Saviour Jesus Christ.’ Now, if ourConversation be in Heaven, then Heaven must be in us;Christ dwelleth in Heaven, and then if we are hisTemple, that Temple Heaven must be in us.

11. But for all this, seeing Sin temptethus within us, whereby the Devil hath within us an Accessto us, therefore Hell also must be in us too, for the Devildwelleth in Hell; wheresoever he is, he is in Hell. and cannotcome out of it. Yea, when he possesseth a Man, he swelleth in Hell, viz.,in the Anger of God in that Man.

12. Therefore we ought to consider well whatMan is, and how he is a Man; and then we shall find that a trueChristian is not a mere Historical New Man, as if it were enoughfor us outwardly to confess Christ, and believe that he isthe Son of God, and hath paid the Ransom for us. For Righteousnessavaileth nothing, imputed. But it is an inherent Righteousnessborn in us, by which we become the Children of God, that availeth.

13. And as the earthly Flesh must die,so also the Life and Will must die from sin, and be as a Child thatknoweth nothing, but longeth only after the Mother which brought it forth.So likewise must the Will of a Christian enter again into its Mother,viz., into the Spirit of Christ, and become a Child in itself,in its own Will and Power, having its Will and Desire inclined anddirected only towards its Mother. And a New Will and Obediencein Righteousness, which Willeth Sin no more, must rise from Deathout of the Spirit of Christ in Him.

14. For that Will is not born anew,which desireth and admitteth Vanity into itself; and yet there remainetha Will which longeth after Vanity, and sinneth, even in theNew-born or Regenerate Man. Therefore the Image orNature of Man should be well understood, and how the New-birthcometh to pass; seeing it is not wrought in the mortal Flesh, andyet is wrought truly and really in us, in Flesh and Blood, in Water andSpirit, as the Scripture saith.

15. We should therefore rightly understandwhat Kind of Man it is in us, that is the Member of Christ,and Temple of God who dwelleth in Heaven. And then also whatKind of Man it is, that the Devil ruleth and driveth; for hecannot meddle with the Temple of Christ, nor doth he care much forthe mortal Flesh; and yet there are not three Men in one another,for all make but one Man.

16. Now if we will understand this rightly,we must consider Time and Eternity, and how they are in one another;also Light and Darkness, Good and Evil; but especially theOriginal of Man, which may be thus apprehended.

17. The outward World with the Starsand four Elements, wherein Man and all Creatures live, neitheris, nor is called God. Indeed God dwelleth in it, but theSubstance of the outward World comprehendedeth him not.

18. We see also that the Light shinethin Darkness, and the Darkness comprehendeth not the Light,and yet they both dwell in one another. The four Elements are also an Exampleof this; which in their Original are but one Element, which is neither hotnor cold, nor dry, nor moist, and yet by its stirring separateth itself intofour Properties, viz., into Fire, Air, Water, and Earth.

19. Who would believe that Fireproduceth or generateth Water? And that the Original of Firecould be in Water, if we did not see it with our Eyes in Tempestsof Thunder, Lightning, and Rain; and did not find also, that in living Creatures,the essential Fire of the Body dwelleth in the Blood, and thatthe Blood is the Mother of the Fire, and the Fireis the Father of the Blood.

20. And as God dwelleth in the World,and filleth all Things, and yet possesseth nothing; and as the Firedwelleth in Water, and yet possesseth it not; Also, as the Light dwellethin Darkness, and yet possesseth not the Darkness; as the Day is in the Night,and the Night in the Day, Time in Eternity, and Eternity in Time; so isMan created according to the outward Humanity, he is theTime, and in the Time, and the Time is the outward World, andit is also the outward Man.

21. The inward Man is Eternityand the Spiritual Time and World, which also consisteth ofLight and Darkness, viz., of the Love of God, as to theeternal Light, and of the Anger of God as to the eternalDarkness; whichsoever of these is manifest in him, his Spirit dwellethin that, be it Darkness or Light.

22. For Light and Darkness areboth in him, but each of them dwelleth in itself, and neither of them possesseththe other; but if one of them entereth into the other, and will possess it,then that other loseth its Right and Power.

23. The passive loseth its Power; forif the Light is made manifest in the Darkness, then theDarkness loseth its Darkness, and is not known or discerned.Also on the contrary, if the Darkness arise in the Light andget the Upper hand, then the Light and the Power thereof are extinguished.This is to be observed also in Man.

24. The eternal Darkness of the Soulis Hell, viz., an aching Source of Anguish, which is called the Angerof God; but the eternal Light in the Soul is the Kingdom ofHeaven, where the fiery Anguish of Darkness is changedinto joy.

25. For the same Nature of Anguish,which in the Darkness is a Cause of Sadness, is in the Lighta Cause of the outward and stirring Joy. For the Sourceor Original in Light, and the Source in Darkness are but oneeternal Source, and one Nature, and yet they, viz., the Lightand Darkness, have a mighty Difference in the Source; the onedwelleth in the other and begetteth the other, and yet is not the other.The Fire is painful and consuming, but the Lightis yielding, friendly, powerful, and delightful, a sweet and amiableJoy.

26. This may be found also in Man; isis and liveth in three Worlds; the First is the eternal dark World,viz., the Center of the eternal Nature which produceth or generateththe Fire, viz., the Source or Property of Anguish.

27. The second is the eternallight World, which begetteth the eternal Joy, which is the DivineHabitation wherein the Spirit of God dwelleth, and wherein theSpirit of Christ receiveth the human Substance, and subdueththe Darkness, so that it must be a Cause of Joy in the Spiritof Christ in the Light.

28. The Third is the outwardvisible World in the four Elements and the visible Stars; though indeedevery Element hath its peculiar Constellation in itself, whence theDesire and Property arise, and is like a Mind.

29. Thus you may understand, that the Firein the Light is a Fire of Love, a Desire of Meekness andDelightfulness; but the Fire in the Darkness is a Fire of Anguish,and is painful, irksome, inimical and full of Contrariety inits Essence. The Fire of the Light hath a good Relish or Taste, butthe Taste in the Essence of Darkness is unpleasant, loathsome andirksome. For all the Forms or Properties in the eternal Nature,till they reach to Fire, are in great Anguish.