Circulated in the Harmony Society, 1855
This Hirtenbrief or Pastoral Letter is an interesting work, one that attributes itself to Freemasonry, but in fact belongs to the theosophic tradition of Jacob Böhme (1575-1624). There is no evidence to my knowledge that George Rapp or the Harmony Society was directly connected to Freemasonry, but as I suggest in my article in Esoterica I:1, it is more than likely that Rapp was familiar with the plethora of lodges or esoteric groups that had proliferated in eighteenth century Germany, and that some of the Harmonist ceremonies in the Great Hall were indebted at least tangentially to Masonic rituals. This Hirtenbrief, distributed to every Harmonist household in 1855, some time after George Rapp's death, addresses itself to "Freemasons," but without question is in reality an anonymous theosophic work. That this work is Böhmean through and through we can see by the presence everywhere in it of specifically Böhmean theosophic terms and concepts like Ungrund, tincture, principium, spiritus mundi or spirit of this world, and so forth. In total, the Hirtenbrief represents a succinct summary of Böhmean theosophy, and as such demonstrates once again the profound importance of Böhmean theosophy to the Harmony Society. What follows is a corrected translation of much of the Hirtenbrief as it was circulated in the Harmony Society in 1855, originally published in English as an appendix to The Harmony Society at Economy, Penn'a, Aaron Williams, (Pittsburg: W.S. Haven, 1866).
- Arthur Versluis, editor -
HIRTEN BRIEF [Pastoral Letter]
OR, LETTER TO TRUE AND GENUINE FREE MASONS OF
THE ANCIENT SYSTEM, in the year 5785
General Object of the Letter - Theosophic views of the Trinity and of Creation - The "Seven Spirits," and their Office - The Cross the Fountain of all True Light, and so forth.
The chief end of this letter is to vindicate the Godhead of our most high brother-master (Christ), his identity with the Father, and then the necessity as well as the beneficent consequences of his incarnation. Yes - our object is to elucidate these three great, all-comprehensive subjects, and to impress them upon your hearts, an object of unspeakable dignity, of unutterable importance. Should we succeed, we shall have accomplished all, and shall have the pure heavenly joy of seeing you, weary and heavy laden, come to Jesus, that he may fully kindle the smoking flax and mend again the broken reed.
In order to accomplish our three-fold object, we must show you the entire venerable series or chain of truths, member by member, which comprehends the whole threefold wisdom imparted by God to your fathers from the beginning God himself not only holds the highest member of this chain, but as being independent, eternal truth, he pervades and animates all, even the most remote links or member of it. Through him they are what they are, viz., sparks, or little drops exactly harmonizing among themselves from the infinite ocean of all truth and goodness. We wish to show you the gradation or scale of these truth-drops, according to the meaeure of the spirit that impels us to place in your hands a systematic view of
|doctrine, in whicb the deepest didactic and life-truths will present themselves to you, and you will be enabled as it were to touch with the hand the whole connection of the universe. We must, however, go out into the most remote point of the creation, yea, beyond nature and creation; we must ascend to that nameless Being of all beings, whose name consists in that he is - we must, in humility and reverence, contemplate what God was before the creation, what he is now, and what he will be through all eternity. From him we descend then into nature and creation; we proceed even to their most extreme limits by the leading string of wisdom. Deeply bowed before him as children in his house, we gaze at the All-Father of the whole, as he makes worlds, causes world to arise from worlds, peoples them partly with free and partly with mechanical creatures; to the former he is at once father and bridegroom (John 10: 30, Mark 2: 19), and sows the spaces of immensity with immeasurable systems of suns. Hereupon we come upon that unhappy place of the universe where the Son of the morning forgot that he was a merely finite, limited being, and misused his freedom in the most miserable way. The consequences of this transgression we see become the occasion that God creates a new world, and peoples it with a new race of beings. Adam was the first happy inhabitant of it; but the envy of the rejected Angel plunged him down into the chaos of misery, which he has transmitted even to us.
The state of man before the fall, and then his present state, with what he must become to fulfil his destination; further, the exalted means of his transformation and the blessed consequence of the same - among which are embraced the treasure of the wise, yea, the mastery over all nature - all these things will be revealed to our inquiring eyes.
Let us for a moment, in thought, annihilate all that is created, and we shall then have nothing before us save the infinite, eternal,
|omnipresent God. Proceed we then in this way farther back, and with an eye full of timid reverence we behold the eternal generation of the Triune - we shall at length in God himself strike upon an unnamable Somewhat, to go beyond which is impossible without being lost in a boundless abyss. We would name this inexpressible Somewhat the Ungrund or the Bottomless - the eternal, independent One - the unsearchable Deep, which incessantly swallows up all finite understanding. Here we would attach our thread in order to descend into the outermost creation.
This mysterious Unfathomed is a being that produces or bears from himself; all, however, that it bears is God. The primordial will of the Fathomless to bring forth and feel himself, is that which the Holy Scripture calls the Father in the Godhead - who is greater than all, while he has in himself the immortal life-principle, - is independent in the highest sense of the word; from him also all fatherhood in heaven and earth proceeds. The pure Begotten of this primordial will is called the Son, the perfect image of the Father, the reflection of his majesty, the created light, the first-born before every creature, in whom the Father sees, tastes, and in a divine way enjoys and feels himself; to whom also he has given to have life in himself, and in whom he has his entire, sole, and undivided good pleasure. The Bond between the Father and the Son is the Holy Ghost, who constantly goes forth from both, with both is co-essential, and therefore all that he has receives from the Father and the Son, and gives to them again. For what the Father has, the Son also has, and the outflow from both is the Holy Ghost, who brings forth divine life and motion, and bears back again into the paternal abyss all that whatever the divine primordial will has begotten in and out of himself. Out of or beside this Trinne Divine Deep, before the creation of finite beings, there was naught. It was this alone that filled all in all, as once again after the ending of the determined eons in created existence, it will also be all in all. It is like an infinite
|circle, whose centre is everywhere, whose periphery is nowhere. In this circle place a fiery triangle, and you will have a faint image of the Triune independence, or self-existence, in as far as it is permitted to help forward our imagination by lines and figures.
Love, or a desire of impartation, was the motive which impelled the All-Sufflcient to become a creator. To this, passive matter or substratum was necessary, on which to establish the kingdom of the future world of spirits. At this period, however, as already said, beside the Triune in his whole immensity there was naught. He stepped then as it were out of himself, and bore from his innermost being the first foundation for creation (Psalm 33: 9). Divine bringing forth is called speaking; for when God speaks, or commands, it stands fast. The first thing, however, which God utters, or begets through speaking, is called in the Scripture, Wisdom (Proverbs 3 :19, &;c.); and as God can produce from himself nothing dead or quite lifeless, this first offspring of his Being is necessarily a two-fold substance, inasmuch as it (speaking anthropopathos, or after the manner of men) consists of the living word of the Father, as the efficient or working; and then, secondly, of the passive substratum of the word which is as it were the Feminine of the Godhead, and serves him as the mirror wherein at once and from eternity he sees and recognizes the types and ideas of all merely possible creatures.
The passivity of wisdom is called in Scripture the "glory of Glod" (Exodus 16 :10), inasmuch as from it, as from his inexhaustible treasury, he draws all his attributes of majesty, glory, wrath, vengeance, and so forth, which are impartable to the creatures (1 Chron. 29:11). She is that fruitful mothor who is above, by whom God is constantly accompanied, who is with him equally eternal, infinite, and omnipresent, and without whom he can impart himself to or be enjoyed in a conscious way, by no created being. :From it, under the old covenant, God took the material of that incombustible
|fire in which he appeared to Moses (Exodus 3: 2, Heb. 12: 29). From it he formed that visible cloud which filled the Tabernacle, and from which he spoke mouth to mouth with our Egyptian brother-master. Yea, and without it the incarnation of the word would have been impossible, as we shall show in the proper place.
The outspoken wisdom is not only the dwelling of the word, but the passive part of the same contains also the potential matter of all that is made. The Father has made all by the Son (Eph. 3 :9). Wisdom is a breath of the divine omnipotence - a reflection of the everlasting light - an unstained mirror of omnipotence, and an image of the divine goodness. In the Scripture she describes herself, (Prov. 8, Rev. 19: 13). In the womb of this wisdom the matter of creation is only potentially present. This potential matter becomes real matter, the essential foundation of the worlds of spirits and bodies, by means of the word through the agency of the "seven spirits" who constantly stand before the throne of God, and who are subordinated to him who has all power in heaven and in earth. Thus the leading strings, the middle of the whole creation, are in his hands. These seven spirits are called the "seven eyes of the Lamb, which are sent forth into all lands" (Rev. 5: 6). By means of these spirits, then, God, through his glory as the passive of the Godhead, brings forth all that is not God. In the co-operation of these spirits, the spirit of the word, and in this the primordial will of the Father, is the moving spring. That these spirits may cooperate with one another, their essential or primary powers must be different, else neither action nor reaction could take place. Therefore according to the number of these spirits, there are seven general primary powers, as well in temporal as in eternal nature, by means of which, outside of God all that is has received its being. Their manner of operation consists in this - that, according to the laws of their nature, in the potential matter of the object to be produced, they arouse reacting qualities - partly in order thus to bring forth a movable creature-life,
|according to the idea of the forming spirit, partly in order to render substantial the incorporeal life-matter; for it is the unchangeable will of God that that which is invisible and spiritual in himself shall be presented Corporeally, even as already his whole Godhead dwells bodily in Christ. It is difficult to expross in our corporeal speech the individual operations of each of these seven spirits.
The first nature-spirit imparts to the matter of creation the attractive primary power) and the second, the expansive primary, which consequently are grounded in eternal nature, and constitute the innermost moving springs of the spiritual and corporeal worlds; yea, they present the principle or ground of all energizing creature-life, but with various modifications in the different orders of existence, as men, angels, vegetation, but without losing their central resemblance, also without losing the power of ascending the scale (or ladder) upon which they have descended, when this may bccome necessary according to the plan of the Creator. The susceptibility of all corporeal things to become again spiritual is an established and demonstrated principle in our secret school. Dissolution and corruption must take place before body can be exalted to spirit, for what we sow will not b~ecome alive unless it die, and so forth.
As there is a natural body, there is a spiritual. Adam was invested with natural life; the second Adam, on the other hand, has spiritual (1 Cor. 15). This spiritual life is the result of the seven spirits, or natural powers, of which we are here speaking. The attractive primary power is the origin of all matter and all corporeality, while the repulsive power is the origin of all dissolution, subtilization, and spirituality. When both work with equal power, they produce the circular motion, that wheel of nature (see James 3: 6), as the third quality of the matter of creation, which may be called the womb of creature life. In the midst of the operations of the fourth spirit, in the
|middlepoint of the above mentioned wheel of nature, there arises a flashing crucial intersection, which fully generate creature-life. This is quite developed in the following working periods of the fifth and sixth nature-spirit, and by the power of the seventh spirit is made steadfast, or fixed over its substrato. We must, as you see, dear brother, use some scholastic terms occasionally to express our meaning, our own tongue is so poor. Even with that assistance how little is effected in the way of explanation !
Most gladly would we make comprehensible to you the mysteries of the fourth natural quality, as by it is brought about the separation of light and darkness. We should, however, overstep tbe limits of a letter. So much we must say, that in the crucially intersecting flash of the fourth nature-form, the inaccessible light of the Godhead is communicated to the creature, or is again withdrawn from it. The three first natural powers are equally appropriate to angels and to men, for out of them aro constituted the souls of angels as of men; but in the fourth form is the separating boundary between evil and good, light and darkness, life and death, amidst which is the freedom to choose one or the other. Life consisting of the three first forms, that of all free creatures, is called evil, in as far as it is viewed in its own nature, and is alienated from the life of God. The all-sufficient God is alone good, who in his Son imparts himself to creatures as a light, has life and immortality, and changes the darkness of the creature into light, life, and goodness. All this takes place at the cross, for, as already said, the life-center in its innermost part presents a cross-like intersecting light-ray, from whose contral point, so long as the creature stands in the divine order, the light of the Godhead streams forth and illuminates the ground of life, in itself dark. O the gentle, the beneficent cross! The cross is the fountain of all true light; and oh how gently, how full of blessing flowed this cross in the beginning from the hands of God! But Lucifer and Adam have changed it into a cross of torture, deprived
|of all truth and light, to which we are now fastened through our whole lives, and on which at last love itself must die, in order to make the faded light again radiant on the cross on which it was once quenched.
Behold, beloved cross-brother, so deep is the sign grounded which you bear, which you have received from us as your order-symbol. It reaches to the centre of all worlds, yea, it is co-terminous with the very Godhead. Ah! surely must Jesus suffer all that he suffered; for at the cross was lost the life from God, and only at the cross could it be restored again (Luke 24: 26).
The operations of the seven spirits must not be considered as taking place successively, but simultaneously, in one and the same moment; nor are the objects mentioned to be conceived of as separate in place; they are spiritual, and so penetrable, able to work in and through one another without any displacement. With our corporeal and material bodies and modes of thought, it is impossible to give to another a correct idea of all this. It can be conceived in the spirit, but not expressed. Conceive of a substance animated with seven different powers, which incessantly produce one another actu purissimo, and are changed into one another; which so intimately interpenetrate one another as to form only a single highly simple whole, that is inseparable; thus you will get a feeble image of what we have endeavored to set forth. Add to this, that these seven powers are dominated by another power, which does not belong to their own essence, but guides and directs them according to its will, and illumines them with its independent light, and you will have an image of a good creature; take away this lightpower, so that it remains in its own character, and you have an evil creature. To all this ls applicable what the apostle says, (l Cor. 2: 15), "The spiritual man discerneth all things."
The Chaos produced by the Fall of Lucifer, son of the Dawn, and his subject legions, was reduced to Kosmos by the Almighty, and prepared for the habitation of a new being to be created, viz., of Man.
He was designed to be a spectacle of wonder to the unfallen angelic choirs, a subject of bitterest envy to Satan, and a perennial fountain of indescribable blessedness to himself The Almighty took his body from the quintessence of the new creation, his soul from eternal nature, and his spirit from the very spring of divine life, which He imparted to him by an animating breath, and thus constituted him a Triune being, which was consequently, in the strictest sense a living image of his own Godhead.
THE PERFECTIONS OF ADAM. Shall we say, Adam was a God? That is indeed to say very much, and yet, nevertheless it is perfectly true. Not merely an angel, not at all a mere creature of the world of light - no, beloved, he was something more than this, he was a second Divinity, subordinate only to the Triune. The end of his being, his dignity, his nobility, his destination, were so perfect and exalted, that he surpassed all hitherto created epirits; for these two latter inhabit only the two inner spheres of creation, viz., the worlds of light and of fire; Adam, on the other hand, was a confluence of the whole; was an inhabitant of a threefold world, and consequently was present there also from where other blessed spirits are excluded, and, bowed in reverence, only long to gaze into. To understand this, recollect we have seen that in order to bring forth creatures God must awaken opposite qualities in eternal nature, that a creature-life different from his own may result. Now the sphere of these opposite or contrary vital powers, this fiery triangle in the midst of a quadrangle, constitutes a peculiar world for itself, which is called the dark world of fire, inasmuch as without the light inhabited by the spirit, it is thick darkness and gnawing, consuming
|fire. This world, which forms the ground of hell, and is present in the deepest interior of all creatures, had no inhabitant before the fall of Lucifer, but was merely the necessary basis of another world, which is called the domain of light - while in it the dark powers of fire were swallowed up of Light and anointed with the oil of the divine goodness. Now the world of light was the proper abode of all angels and spirits, and at the same time the throne of the divine spirit, which accordingly was built upon the ground of hell; for without the powers of the world of fire neither were creatures possible, nor could light itself have been raised to the splendor of the divine majesty, as, for illustration, we see that without the burning or consuming powers of fire, earthly light can neither appear nor shine forth in its full brightness.
Besides these two worlds there was joined in Adam also the third, viz., this external visible world, as not only was his ethereal body formed out of the quintessence of the earth, but also even the divine breath by which God imparted to him life and motion, was a threefold existence partaking of all three worlds. This divine breath of life consisted namely, not only of the immortal fire-spirit and light-spirit of both the inner worlds, but also of the spirit of this outer world, yet all in the greatest barmony and order, so indeed that the fire-spirit and the worldspirit were subordinate to the spirit of the realm of light, by means of which also they had essential communion with the spirit of the word. How noble, how exalted, how divine was then the internal and external condition of this more than blessed creature! Like God, he was present in all three worlds; yet like God again, dwelt only in the angelic world of light. Besides, Adam was, only on a small scale, essentially three-in-one like God. Nay, more. He possessed indeed a three-fold tri-unity; for the above three worlds exist like their seven vital powers, one in another, and the most intimate centre of them all is God, in whom they are all destined to be swallowed up as in the consecreated decade or number ten.
The Godhead of Adam was shown on another side in the most splendid light. Like God, he was a being capable of bearing or producing from himself; for he possessed truth the male and female powers of generation, powers which we will in future designate as the fire-tincture and the light-tincture. God created him a male and a female (Genesis 5 1: 27) - that is, he gave to Adam both faculties of propagation, and formed him a real masculine maiden. In this condition, it was intended that he should produce his kind in a magical way - that is, through the imaginative powers of attraction and chaste enkindling in the spirit of the word which he bore within him, the union of the fire-tincture and the light-tincture should take place for the generation of his race, in which no animal organs or vessels would be needed, seeing that the embryo produced by this heavenly union would come to light immediately and in its entire perfection, without having passed through the many stages of development necessary to the completion of every animal offspring. In brief, not from blood or from the will of the flesh, but in, through, and from God, Adam would have begotten an innumerable posterity. He was in general like the angels and blessed spirits, who neither marry nor are given in marriage for the propagation of their kind, but in the chaste embrace of Sophia (Wisdom), the general mother who is above, are prolific, and propagate themselves in a magical supersensual way.
...And what shall we say of the external Godhead of Adam? As all that is created is subjected to the omnipotence of. the Infinite, and is dependent on his orders, so to Adam were subject all spheres of the external world, and he without restraint ruled over all that God had separated and brought forth from the deteriorated elements of chaos; for in order to impart to him this dominion in the fullest measure, God created him out of the purest quintessence of the whole outer creation, for the reason that without this inestimable advantage such
|dominion could not have continued, nay, would not have been possible. Thus the influences of the inner realm of Light came to his support, and as he possessed the magic power of vision, so also he possessed an infallible knowledge of the properties and distinctive marks of all things, by aid of which he bestowed upon them their appropriate names (Gen. 2: 20.). The animal nature was already manifest in innumerable animals; but his (Adam's) own animality was present in him only potentially, and most deeply concealed in the temperature of light; whence it follows that to him only the way of the imagination was left in which he could sin - that is, depart from his dependence on God and become unfaithful to his Spirit, seeing that his powers of generation were not yet separated, and he consequently had as yet no external helper with whom he could - as some would affirm - unite himself in a corporeal manner and after the way of animals. To wish for this, or imagine himself in this, was all he could do - and which, alas! compelled God, through the separation of the power of light, to give him the longed-for helper.
In reference to the other functions (or parts) of animality, he needed as little any animal organs, either for the digestion of food eaten, or for the separation of heterogeneous portions, He enjoyed, indeed, of all; but ever only paradisaical fruit and with paradisalcal mouth, in which likewise was the central point of the faculties of separation, by means of which the things enjoyed were indeed tasted, but also dissolved with the gentlest sensation, and each conveyed back into its own domain. Of what use would have been the animal stomach and intestines, with the other instruments of assimilation, when not only no revealed curse was present, but the Adamic appetite for nourishment was directed solely upon paradisaical power-essence - that is, upon things which existed in the most perfect temperature of light, and were consequently indestructible? As to the perfection of his external and internal senses, this is beyond all present conception
|of man Iying under the curse - for while the subjects, the objects of these senses, were partly divine, partly paradisaical, necessarily the senses to be affected by them must possess a corresponding power of apprehension and receptivity. But who are men, dearest brother, that they should be able to give account of a matter which to them is more utterly lost than to the unhappy father of our race himself? How should blind moles speak fitly of the splendor of the sun, and beings born in darkness declare the majesty of the beneficent radiance of light?
It was a part of the Adamic Godhead that the elements of the external world were wholly under his command. His body had not the clumsy gravity of ours, nor was it bound down to the sluggish clods that press so many drops of sweat from our brows; therefore he moved through the air and through the water without difficulty; not only so, he visited the deepest bowels of the earth to refresh his spirit in the view of their manifold treasures. The mobility of his body was like the swiftness of his thoughts, and his will was inviolable law for the elements, as also for the creatures formed from them; they were incapable of making injurious impressions upon him, inasmuch as he was created in an invulnerable condition, was endowed with penetrability (the susceptibility of being passed through by another body), and could neither be touched nor hurt by anything outside of himself. Physical evil, with its numberless consequences, was to him utterly unknown, and to guard against moral evil was also in his power. He was subject to no corporeal necessities; he stood in want of nothing; he was naked without knowing it, as he was invested with light which shone from within him and filled his whole atmosphere with light and love - like the glorification of Jesus on Mount Tabor. The internal and external energies of his soul knew no weariness or exhaustion such as the powers of our present bodies experience, which we are
|compelled to resuscitate in Sleep - a state resembling death. The heavenly bodies, indeed, by their revolution, formed day and night; but both were alike to Adam, who was raised above all changes of external nature; for he was sun and moon to himself, he had essentially in himself that light which shines from without upon those creatures who live under the dominion of the world-spirit; yea, he bore within himself the purest extract, or quintessence of all outer constellations. Light was his outer garment, and from within again streamed other modifications of the principle of light through the pores of his ethereal body, visible to the naked eye - as not only the pores but the whole bodily structure of Adam were endowed with the most perfect diaphaneity.
But when should we finish enumerating all the great unspeakable advantages which the highest Master-Builder had conjoined in the body of Adam? We have already said much, but how little in comparison with what is not said.
For we have said nothing of the aptitudes of his spirit, of his magical way of knowledge, his exalted understanding, his unlimited insight into the being of things; nothing of his intimate intercourse with God, and the inner world of spirits, of his capability of growth in the divine life, and generally nothing of his adaptation for that nameless blossedness, happiness, and fullness of God, which awaited him when through the good use of his freedom he should have rendered to God the homage required of him. But what mortal dare presume himself qualified for the treatment of these subjects, without being himself a God, or at least Adam ?
In order finally to render the Godhead of Adam complete, God imparted to him also unlimited freedom of will, such as he had once given to the reigning Princes, now fallen. This prerogative which assimilated him to the most exalted spirits of the inner world, was designed to qualify him to receive from the hand of his Maker the manifold treasures of blessedness that he enjoyed and should
|continue to enjoy, not merely as a mechanical gift, but as a reward of his reciprocal love and faithfulness. With respect to this, trial was nocessary in order to see whether or not Adam would persevere, out of free love to God, in the heavenly sphere in which he was created, and so render himself worthy of his blessedness. The Divine Light had united these in itself to a jubilant reciprocation of affection. The dark world of fire delighted in the holy world of light, and these again in the eternal world as their revelation ad extra. Thus was Adam the theatre of a three-fold fundamental impulse or inclination, which, however, by means of the light possessed the most perfect unity. But outside of him this unity of light did not exist in so high a degree, for both the world of fire and the outer creation were already broken off from the realm of light, and had established themselves in their own possession, although the outer world was still in some measure dominated by the inner realm of light, and held in bounds. Even by this state of things was the Adamic freedom to be put to the test, viz., into which of these three worlds it in imagination would enter. The garden in Eden was appointed for this trial - a place of our planet where God allowed the holy element of the inner world to bloom forth through the earth to produce paradisaical fruits for Adam.
ADAM'S TRIAL AND FALL. - The trial itself was three-fold; for each one of the three worlds obtained permission, as it were, to attempt to gain a victory over the other two in Adam. To these were joined the envy and malice of the fallen Angel, who put forth all his strokes of art to involve Adam in his own fate, and to secure the issue for the kingdom of darkness. However, on the side of the dark world of fire, which alone permitted free access to him as its inhabitant, he could effect nothing. Adam was too well entrenched, and was surrounded with a two-fold breast-work,viz., of outer and inner light, by which he frustrated all attempts to raise against him the powers of fire. Satan therefore abandoned his first purpose, and
|now endeavored to render Adam at least susceptible to the enticements of the external world, and thus ruin his happiness in another way. He therefore inflamed his imagination - showed him, as to our Lord in the wilderness, all the kingdoms, beauties, and witcheries of the world; described the pleasure of knowing good and evil; caused him to long for one like himself in order to propagate himself like those animals who live under the spirit of the world; in brief, he called to his aid all that the Scripture comprehends under "the lust of the eye, the lust of the f;esh, and the pride of life," in order to gain the victory over him. And, alas! his devilish toil was not in vain; for he had struck the weak side of Adam, who, caught in this net, lost his harmony vvith the kingdom of light, and along with this his whole godhood. For as soon as he imagined himself in the enjoyment of this lure, his desires, his volition, his magical power of representation, were fettered and become the slave of the object to which he had turned his affection, as the direction of his will. This was Adam's first transgression, from which the loss of the magical power of propagation was the necessary consequence. For as soon as he so grossly misused his freedom as to let himself be dragged by his imagination into animal nature, generation out of God - who is so jealous of his honor - could not possibly take place. Whenever God saw that, through Adam's sin, matters were come to such a pass that his honor and holiness did not permit him to remain so closely united with him, He - who in the beginning had pronounced all which he had made, "very good" - said, "It is not good that man should continue longer alone, else he may lose himself yet more, and render himself still more unworthy of my grace." He therefore let him feel the first consequence of his sin while he threw him into a deep sleep - which in his state of innocence had not been possible - and deprived him of his feminine power of propagation. He also lost the heavenly indwelling of Sophia at the time God created for him a helper with whom he
|could gratify his false desire and propagate himself in an animal way. As soon as he saw her he recognized her for flesh of his flesh - an irresistible proof that God had made him a male and a female, that is, had united in him the male and female generative powere.
ADAM AFTER THE FALL. - With what abyss of distraction and misery shall we let our pen, dipped in tears, begin to be the recorder of Adam's history? Shall we take the material of our lamentations from within, or from without ? Was body, soul, or spirit more injured, rendered more void of their Glodhood, and more thrust down, more deeply degraded, from the throne of their original nobility? Alas ~ the whole Adam, the whole Eve, were equally wounded, saw themselves surrounded by the goads and stings of one and the same Death and Hell, and had now the additional mortification of being mocked by God and by the Devil. "See.then," it was said, "Adam is become as one of us" (Gen. 3:22). The deadly mouthful indeed did not operate at once. After its enjoyment, Eve still had time to persuade her husband also to a like transgression. But it operated the more certainly, the more its operation allowed them time to satisfy their whole desire upon it. Now, however, unhappy Adam! blinded Eve! this costly mouthful is swallowed; already its poison is creeping through the innermost passages of your ethereal body; it is mingling with the most subtile juices full of paradisaic light; it is imparting to them the leaven which will cause their dissolution, the separation of their qualities; with mortal tooth it is gnawing at the pillar of the divine life, and without immediate consciousness, the animal nature is beginning to unfold itself, to turn itself outward, and from possibility to attain to reality, and to subordinate the Life of Light to the domain of the external world-spirit.
Pitiable progenitors of a whole humanity still buried in the chaos of the futurel What will shortly become of you? Your divine light
|from within is losing its radiant splendor. The animating glance of the Water of Light is visibly swallowed up by the predominating Ground of Fire. The image of God grows dim. The Spirit of the Word, which hitherto possessed you as the king of all humanity, withdraws back into the divine abyss. The magical power of vision is changed into animal shortsightedness and deceptive night. Your spiritual power of propagation passes over into animal generative appetite, full of shame and sorrow, and all your spiritual aptitudes are converted into obtuse sensuous feeling. Unhappy Adam, whither art thou falling? Outwardly, after the loss of thy clothing of light, thou feelest the nakedness of a hateful animal body, of which thou hast the more to be ashamed the greater it is in comparison with all other animals. The four external elements, since thou hast lost and broken up their temperature, storm against thee without restraint; beat, cold, and all the disagreeablenesses of entire external nature, make thee the target of their rage; and hunger and thirst, and all the corporeal needs of the most rugged animal, are now thy lot. In order to digest animal food, and to separate the everywhere diffused curse from the pure portion of the means of nourishment, thou possesses now a stomach and entrails; and in order to propagate a race like thyself, to thee, and to thee alone among all animal creatures, are given organs which are associated with shame. Instead of being able to move thy body freely through all elements without hindrance, thou art utterly bound to the earthly burden of thy animal body, that almost every step causes thee to shed a drop of sweat, forces from thee a sigh. Formerly thy ethereal body was the pure quintessence of all animality; now it is degraded to an animal of all animals; yea, instead of reigning over all animals, thou art now their general slave. In future, thou wilst daily through animal sleep renew the image of thy death in the inner spiritual life, and the outward sun, whioh fortunately for thee is still there, will never go down to thee, without, to thy ever-enduring sorrow, reminding
|thee of the eternal day which formerly shone upon thee. Poor Adam, worthy of compassion, where art thou? Whither hast thou wandered? Already the measure of thy unhappiness is so full; how will it be when first the judgments of God upon thee shall awake? When also God himself shall exercise righteousness upon thee? What says to thee, even now, thy inexorable conscience?
The divine threat - on the day thou eatest thereof, death shall be the consequence - was only too punctually fulfilled. They truly died - not, indeed, that death which now robs men of their animal life. Alas! that odious animal was as yet by no means developed in them. They died in the inner life, as to essential communion with God, and on the other hand, fell within the realm of the outer world, which Jesus names the kingdom of darkness, and which the apostle names the region of the air, ruled by Lucifer. Dying is nothing else but the separation of the principles of life, of which death is the necessary consequence. Now Adam was made in the kingdom of light. His ethereal body was the habitation of the two inner worlds; and as the purest extract of the enrth which was found in thc solar point of terrestrial natural light, the elements of this body existed in the most absolute harmony - which invested hirn, as to his body, with the immortality which he already possessed to his soul. But the unfortunate indulgence of their appetite for delicate food had ruined them (Adam and Eve) with respect to both, had separated both bonds. They first died as to the inner life from God, and after they had borne long enough the consequences of tneir sin, bodily death also followed, as the inheritance of all the children of Eve who should be begotten after the flesh. In the strictest understanding, they also died a three-fold death: first, in (or, as to) the inner kingdom of light, which retired back again into its holy darkness, and left them in their own - namely, in the lightless abyss of fire. Then ensued the dissolution of their ethereal body into its contradictory elements - by means of which they not only became
|susceptible of the influence of the spirit of the outer world and of the four elements, but also, as already said, had the misfortune to see themselves changed into an animal of all animals - in the full meaning of the word - as their animality was the aggregate of all animal attributes. Finally, this animal must also die, and go the way of all flesh, as it is impossible that flesh and blood should either see, or ever again possess, the kingdom of God, which Adam lost through his aeparation from the world of light (1 Cor. 15 20).
This, dearest brother, was the mournful end of the Adamic Fall. As an animal, he was now no more susceptible of the paradisaic life of light, and therefore according to his condemnation he was banished not only from Eden, but alao from all Paradise - that is to say, out of the temperature of the Holy Element.
We must know Paradise was a certain place of our planet, where God allowed the holy element to bloom greenly through the four externa1 elements, as the abode of animals, in which also paradisaic fruits were produced - and changed this locality into a heavenlky garden full of splendor and manifold beauty. It was the purpose of God, that in proportion as man multiplied his race in a magical way, Paradise should gradually be extended from this place, until it should by degrees cover the whole earth. But unhappily by the abuse of his freedom man reduced himself to an animal, and thus frustrated the views of his Maker, as he became incapable of multiplying in Paradise, or of longer enjoying it. For even after his separation into man and woman he might still have propagated in Paradise, if by eating the forbidden fruit he had not utterly deprived himself of the privilege. Hence it is clear that Adam committed a two-fold sin. His first offense was the imagination of animal propagation, of which the separation of the feminine power of light, or the formation of Eve, was the consequence; and the enjoyment of the forbidden fruit was a second sin independent of the former -
|upon which followed the development of the animal nature, the evolution of the curse, and the utter loss of Paradise; notwithstanding that Adam had as yet by no means known his helper carnally, else his first-born Cain could not possibly have carried with him a fratricidal impulse; an irresistible proof that he was not begotten by Adam in Paradise.
We have shown that it was simply the inseparable possession of God which Adam lost in the fall. It was God himself, the Spirit of his Word who essentially possessed him in light; who ruled him, embraced him in love as his bride, furnished him all his goods and treasures; briefly, it was God himself, his light, his love, his essential communion, wherein the life and the nobility of Adam consisted. Consequently there neither has been nor is outside of this God any created being, not even the highest seraph, capable of retrieving or compensating Adam's loss; for even the most exalted of all blessed spirits is only from and out of God that which he is; and therefore if he were so unhappy as, like Adam, to forsake the divine communion, he could obtain his restoration only from God himself; ae it is impossible that any finite being can serve as a vehicle of the Infinite.
Weigh well, brother, what we say, and impress it deeply on your memory, for we have uttered a truth so ponderous that it alone is sufficient to countervail all your doubts in regard to the divinity of Jeeus. We therefore repeat it: what Adam possessed was God, and what he lost in the fall was also God, with whom through Wisdom he was essentially united. God is that illimitable sea of blessedness wherein all angels and spirits are more or less immersed, and in which alone they are and abide, blessed, holy, good, righteous - or in one word, in which they are and continue even Gods so long as they do not issue from it in imagination. Suppose, now, that one of these divinities were so unhappy as to abandon the fountain of life - or, abiding by our similitude, to go out of the divine sea of infinity
| - tell us, brother, whether any other being that swims in this sea, would be able to restore Godhood to the apostate creature? Or still more plainly say, whether it were, if we may thus speak, in the power of God's omnipotence, to employ creatures so limited that they are hardly competent to grasp so much of the divine essence as is required for their own salvation, as a means by which to imbue again an entire humanity with light and with the fulness of God? No, brother; that which neither has nor can receive, cannot impart to others. The Seraph is perhaps the being most full of divinity, the humanity of Jesus excepted; but he nevertheless possesses only a creatural measure of it, and is only as a mote in a sunbeam to the sun. Assuming also that it involved no impossibility, that a creature could receive as much as were required, and could also impart it to others - yet could it never receive the whole Godhead, which the Father of all had resolved to introduce into fallen humanity. This reaches away beyond all power of the creature, and is only the property of Wisdom in the Word - which is co-eternal with God, equally infinite, so long as it has not passed over into nature and creation.
This is, indeed mere stammering, dear brother; however, see to it well, what we have here said, as it were in passing, and in our stammering speech you will find truth full of unction. When doubts in regard to the deity of Jesus assail you, forget not that only Wisdom, dwelling outside of nature and creation, equally eternal and infinite with God, is or can be receptive of the whole Godhead. This truth we declare incontestible, and boldly challenge all reason to overthrow it. That, however, the purpose of God was to impart his whole divine fulness to separated humanity, is clear - partly from his nature, which is indivisible, consequently in every instance can and must be imparted entire though gradually - and partly from the need of man, whom God in the very beginning so constructed that out of God absolutely he can be satisfied with nothing else.
But let us return to the history of Adam. It would surely have been impossible for him to recover his lost inheritance, if God had not come to his aid. And oh! the incomprehensible goodness! Already before Adam's creation this loving Father had provided for the possible abuse of human freedom, in a manner which must draw tears of love and joy from the least feeling creature. For even before the foundation of the earth was laid we were chosen in Christ, the bruiser of the serpent; that is to say, even before God had restored to order the chaos produced by the fall of Lucifer. He resolved, in case man should fail in his trial, nevertheless to carry out his decree, and to introduce again into humanity the whole treasure of his love and compassion in and through the only saving name of Jesus (Eph. 1: 4). Moreover, God. according to the Fire-abyss of the dark world, had known beforehand that Adam would fall, and had therefore determined beforehand the means of restoration. Oh the boundless goodness and love of our God! Who will give us the mouth of all created worlds, that we may be able sufficiently to adore, magnify and laud him ? Truly, brother, if God had already possessed no such exalted means of recovery in the treasure of his wisdom, he would never have exposed man by his creation, to the peril of rendering himself irretrievably miserable.
God showed Adam still anothor favor which may stand by the side of the former, namely: as he foresaw that Adam would have to undergo the sharpest temptation from the envy of Lucifer, he left in him from the distracted chaos, a little tinder, a small unregenerate particle, which should aerve him as a counterpoise, when during the trial Satan might draw him somewhat more toward the inner world of flre than toward outward animal life: for, however wretched the fate of humanity became through the latter, yet it would have been much more miserable, if Adam had, like Lucifer, grasped after the inner world of fire. Take notice, beloved brother,
|even when the purpose not in any degree to encroach upon human freedom, necessitates the Creator to permit evil to take place, yet he seeks beforehand in the most amiable way to mitigate it. How unutterably miserable our condition would have been, if we, with Lucifer, had fallen into the power of the abyss of fire! We are miserable, but we have a Saviour who, through the partaking of his flesh and blood, will impart to us again the lost spiritual life, the temperature of light (John 6: 53). Besides, we also now live in a very tolerable habitation. We have the earthly sun which illumines us, and the external light of nature which for brief moments can satisfy the hunger of our souls. The variety and beauty of the productions of the earth, the animal and vegetable kingdoms, the changing seasons of the year, and even all the four elements, have for us something beneficent: and the general spirit of the world, how busy is this in entertaining our senses with innumerable juggleries - What an inestimable advantage we enjoy in the single circumstance, that through this earthly life, God offers us a means, at once short and frequently sweetened with his grace, of attaining to regeneration by the hand of Jesus! All this, and inflnitely more than this, we know or understand, must Satan dispense with in his dark prisonhouse; and we also, after our earthly life, shall have a like fate, unless we take with us into eternity the life of Jesus, unless we shall be born anew from above out of water and spirit.
How kindly also did God provide for Adam, notwithstanding the antecedent knowledge of his unfaithfulness! It is also to be seen in the whole history of Adam, how obviously this counterpoise always operated with him; for Lucifer soon saw that on the side of the Fire-abyss nothing could be effected, and therefore he directed his dark powers outward, where both worlds were still good and evil in disjunction.
Restoration of Our Fallen Humanity in Christ
The divine conduct toward Adam after the fall is known from the books of Moses. We learn that when he had withdrawn himself a whole birth from God and his light, and now, in deep grief for his nakedness, wove aprons. God summoned him to account, cursed the serpent as the unhappy instrument of the seduction; and after he had delivered the sentence of his sufferings and death, he made him the consolatory promise, that he would place enmity between the seed of the woman and that of the serpent, and through the former, would finally subjugate and destroy the whole kingdom of death and darkness (Gen. 3: 15). This was an unexpected lesson for the mocking spirit of lies; for though, as an inhabitant of the dark world, he had, like God, foreseen the consequences of Adam's fall, and even learned them by his own experience, yet according to the divine abyss of light, as to which he had died before Adam's creation, it was impossible for him even to guess, much less to anticipate, the divine means of restoration. Even the loving mouth which before uttered curse and mortality, now gave expression to life and blessedness. The speech of God is, however, the most perfect doing. In the moment also in which God uttered the aforesaid promise, he again essentially imparted himself in and through Jehovah to the extinguished Light-abyss in Eve, as an immortal pledge of his promise; imperceptible, however, to the animal senses and understanding, as in a quite foreign land, and unable to attain again to their inheritance without mystical as well as corporeal death. This impartation did not accrue to the Fire-abyss of Adam, but to the extinguished Light-abyss in the womb of Eve, as it alone had receptivity for the spirit of the vivifying word, and so could properly be the dwelling place of the same. Besides, God had resolved through a real humanifying of his only begotten Son, to reconsecrate the feminine light-essence, and thereby restore
|again the divine image in all mankind. Therefore the love of the Father again came forth from the divine Triad, and anew married itself with the extinguished light-tincture of Eve. This adorable memorial of the divine compassion was like glimmering tinder, an undying spark of light, which was capable of kindling into love all the seven powers of life of the abyss of fire, and in general of re-establishing in all humanity the lost kingdom of light. Even this celestial lifespark is that grain of mustard seed, that leaven, to which Jesus likened the kingdom of God - or, to say all in a word, it is the living seed of the divine kingdom which all men without distinction receive; which, however, with most of them, falls among thorns, or into otherwise unfruitful ground (Matt. 13: 33, Luke 8: 11,1 Peter 1: 23, Matt. 13: 24). This divine seed of life was transplanted through Eve into her sons and daughters, and through them, from generation to generation, even to the blessed point of time when the Life and Light himself appeared (vita erat lux, John 1), in order to enlighten and vivify all men whom the will of the flesh had begotten in and for the outward animal world. But as light can subjugate darkness, and life can snbjugate death in no other way than by overcoming them in contest - both, however, sometimes conquer, sometimes are conquered - so did it happen in this case. The light indeed possessed sufflcient superiority of strength and power to overcome all opposition, and to be victorious everywhere - of which we have a speaking illustration in the sudden conversion of Paul (Acts 9: 4); but man's free will, which God permitted still to continue after the fall, embarrassed the light in the employment of its omnipotence; for God will have no people under constraint, he will have them enjoy the utmost freedom of will (Lev. 21 - X81 2 Chron.17 :16).
Hence it has happened, that, ever since men have existed, the divine light-spark has, without cessation, sometimes prevailed, sometimes been overcome. As it has also not seldom happened that the light
|gained the upper hand already in the transplantation and production of the soul, it becomes quite comprehensible how God could hate the Esaus on the one side, and love the Jacobs on the other, even before their birth. O brother, what a happiness then it is to be born of pious parents ~ How numerous are the examples of unhappy souls, who owe their existence merely to the tumultuous desire of the flesh! Alas! of those begotten under the cross the instances are too few, else we should certainly be in a position to draw the most convincing parallels.
Through the two ways in which the divine spark of life was transplanted arose among the posterity of Adam two lines of birth, viz., the line of light, and then the line of the world-spirit, or of darkness. Both uninterruptedly run parallel with each other. The former brought forth the children of God, the latter brought forth the daughters and the sons of men (Rom. 9: 8, Rom. 8 :14, etc.). Eve was indeed the original possessor of the light glimmering up again in darkness; but the world-spirit nevertheless proved his first claim on her children; for Cain, the first-born of Eve, of whom she even believed that in him she possessed already the man Jehovah who should bruise the serpent's head, was a fratricide. Abel, her second son, first gave its beginning to the line of life, which was propagated continuously beside the former, to Mary, the purest of virgins. At last appeared the long wished for world-day of four thousand years, which, in the counsels of God (as the fourth day of creation was destined for the concentration of the outward natural light in the orb of the sun), was appointed for the revelation in human nature of the Word as the sun of the world of spirits. All heaven, the whole world of light, prepared for the novel spectacle, in which the compassionate love of the Father assumed so incomprehensible and so humiliating a character. The most important embassage possible between heaven and earth, between God and his creature, was constituted. Gabriel, in the name of the Most
|High, must solicit the free human will of Mary for her consent to the incarnation of the Word in her person. After a short consultation with herself, she consents; submits entirely to the good pleasure of God; is hereupon filled with the Spirit of the Word; the power of the Most High, that is, his glory as the embodied power, or the passivity of the Godhead, overshadows her maidenly light-ground, wherein the Spirit of the Word, through excitation of the magical igneous triangle, of which we have spoken above, forms a real masculine soul of fire, imbues the same likewise with its divine light, constructs for both out of the holy element, an ethereal body, connects the same also with a body out of the four elements, and finallv it is born as a real man. This, dearest brother, is that unspeakable mystery of the love of our God, whose breadth, depth, and weight are greater than the creaturely understanding will be able to comprehend even in eternity; yea, greater than the making of a thousand systems of worlds; for these are the result of flrmly established laws, which are comprehensible, at least by higher intelligences, and even depend upon their guidance. But the incarnation of Him whom the seraphim trembling adore, without being able to comprehend even the very least of his depths, this is an abysm of all abysms, a bottomless gulf into which even the most exalted world of angels cannot look without being lost. And, beloved brother, can we, filled with holy horror, under the strongest feeling of awe and thankfulness, do less than keep silence?( Eph. 3: 18, John 14, 1 Cor. 4: 9).
The Word, or the first-born before every creature, and God of God, revealed himself in the flesh thereby that he himself became flesh, and combined miserable, pitiable bewildered humanity with his eternal Godhead, in the view to replace the awakened wrath of the world of fire in the kingdom of light, to reunite the separated principles of life, and to reconcile the enraged justice of the Father through regeneration. Under this fleshly veil, the God-man grew
|up like other sons of Adam; he waxed in favor with God and men; he was subject to his parents; for thirty years he led a poor, obscure, self-denying life; he finally stepped forth as the Son and ambassador of his heavenly Father; he taught his brethren the vital truths up to that time for the most part concealed; he showed them that the salvation of his sheep made it necessary that he should shed his blood and give his life for them; he also confirmed his words by the fearless offering of himself, as after a course of the most crue1 maltreatment, between two murderers who were preferred to him, he died on the infamous cross, praying for those who crucified him (Luke 2: 52, 2 Sam. 7 :14, Rom. 8: 3, Matt. 17: 12, Mark 15: 27, Luke 23: 34). This was the tragical end of the God-man, at whose birth heaven kept novel festival, and whom during his life the inhabitants of the angelic world strove in rivalry to wait upon, with the reverence due to God.
Yea, the Word became flesh, and we have seen his glory under a human veil. The Word, which in the beginning was with God, yea, which was, is, and shall be God himself, by a hypostatical inseparable union of the Godhead with human nature, hath kindled again the spark of life transplanted from Eve to Mary; hath anointed the wrath of nature with the oil of gentleness; hath changed hell into heaven, darkness into light, death into life and immortality, and in general, hath again re-established the image of God, the inner kingdom of light, first in his own person, and then also in the souls of those firstlings of the faith, who in the moment of his death flowed together into one with him in the newly opened abyss of life, being the first members of the body of Jesus, and appeared to many citizens of Jerusalem. The necessity of the sufferings of Jesus was also grounded in eternal nature; for know you not, said Jesus himself, that Christ must suffer all that in order to enter into his glory? (Luke 24: 26). Say not the prophets the same? Has not the Spirit in manifold ways declared it beforehand? and have ye not
|learned from the Mosaic offerings, that the Anointed of God could enter into the Holy Of Holies only through tile shedding of his blood, only through the sacrifice of himself ?
Alas! O Jesus! thou well namest us fools and beings of slow and hard hearts! How blind, how insensible we are, without the influence of thy grace, in regard to everything pertaining to God. We have broken ourselves off by a whole birth from thee and from thy kingdom of light. Our spirit, soul, and body are equally corrupt, equally empty of all that can satisfy our magical fire-hunger. Nevertheless we feel not our loss, and are seized with sadness when we see that in order to place the Light again on the throne, the birth of the flesh, even in thee, O divine brother-master, must necessarily die, and all the seven powers of life (which out of connection with thee are only miserable slaves of the world-spirit) must be brought to dissolution and corruption. For be assured, most beloved brother, that the proposition, the dissolution of the one is the foundation for the bearing of the other, is general, and especially applies to the regeneration of man, and indeed the more certainly in proportion as the same has operated on the person of Christ. Besides, how could or should the disciple be more favored than the master? (Matt. lO: 24). Nay, brother, even there must you pass through where your Master has gone before, let flesh and blood revolt at it as they may. Bemember that you are a brother of the cross, that you have sworn to the consecrated gibbet, which is folly to the heathen, an offense to the Jew, and a stone of stumbling to the nominal Christian.
Comprehend it well, dear brother, wherein the work of redemption through Christ peculiarly consisted. First, by a natural birth through Mary, God combined the lost principle of light with buman nature in Christ. The Godhead of Jesus was consequently united with a real or true human soul, and this with a human spirit and body. He took upon himself all the seven degenerate powers of life, without,
|however, becoming participant in their sinful outgoings; was in all points tempted like as we are; however, he steadfastly overcame the temptation to sin, as yonder in the wilderness, through the inner power of his Godhead, and finally allowed the tinder of sin utterly to perish by the most painful death of the body. These lifeless ashes, this dead matter he revivified anew with his divine spirit of light, he thus transmuted (tinctured) the dead curse into life and light; he restored the principles of the outer body to their former temperaturo; he thus reopened lost Paradise, and glorified his external body into that luminous, resplendent, celestial body which formerly he had permitted partially to show radiant on Mount Tabor; with it he passed through closed doors, walked on the water, ruled the elements, and finally returned into the bosom of his Father, in order to send the spirit of truth to his germinating community-body (his church) (John 20: 26, Mark 6: 48, Matt. 8: 27, John 16: 13). How true it is, therefore, that as through the sin of one condemnation came upon all men (Rom. 5: 18, 1 Cor. 15: 22). For as we all die in Adam, so shall we all be made alive in Christ.
Dear brother, these are surely comforting, beneficent, bliss-breathing truths. However, all this took place in that time only in the humanity of Christ, and all the other children of Adam who, through faith in the promised Messiah, had not been engrafted into the tree of life, remained, even as such remain to-day, buried in sin and under the curse. For Christ in the human nature has not mitigated the paternal wrath in such a sense, that it is enough for us to know in a historical way what he did, and to believe, or at most to confess ourselves sinners, that we may expect confidently an interest in his merits, and at the same time retain the old man
with his animal appetites, and daily nourish them to greater power. Oh no, beloved! That is the most dangerous and yet, ales t the most common of all self-deception; for it is simply an irrefragable, though for the life of the animal man, a terrible truth - whosoever
|loves his own life or his soul will lose it, but whosoever for Jesus' sake shall lose it, shall save it unto life eternal (Matt. 10: 30, Mark 8: 35, Luke 17: 33, John 12: 26). This is of course a fearful lesson for the life of the flesh, a lesson which forced the sweat of overwhelming anguish even from the God-man. However, not a syllable of its contents shall fail. Every thing which took place in Christ externally and internally must take place on a smaller scale in us also, though in a spiritual way. In us also must Christ become a man - must bring forth his Godhead essentially in us; all the seven powers of life through the sword of the cherub which guards the entrance into Paradise, he must slay, must then revivify them with the breath of his Spirit, must raise them from the dead, and exalt them with him to heaven. Then first, dear brethren, the merits of Christ are in essence reckoned to our account, as we then essentially feel within us the fruits of the same, viz., the satisfaction of our dark soul-hunger as that wherein even the true forgiveness of sins consists. Also, then first are we real Christians, or better, little Jesuses and living members of his body, as we are inseparably united with him, as the branches are united with the vine; only from him draw sap and nourishment, and as true sheep, hear, love, and follow his voice.
You see, children, wherefore Jesus said, if ye eat not the fiesh of the Son of man, and drink not his blood, ye have no life in you; for in this glorified fiesh and blood dwells the whole fullness of the Godhead bodily. It is that general tincture of life, that panacea which Jesus, the loving chemist, prepared in and out of himself amidst the bitterest suffering on the cross. With this divine tincture we must be interpenetrated, we must mingle it essentially with ourselves; we must really enjoy this precious flesh and blood; not, however, merely with the animal mouth, also not with respect to the gross external animal of burden, as which it is irrevocably destined to a death of corruption. Our soul has its own mouth, which stands in
|no connection with the animal mouth, and which can open when the latter is shut. This mouth is the magical desire, the soul's power of attraction, the hunger and thirst for heavenly bread and the water of life, which alone can permanently satisfy this magical vortex of fire. Even this magical desire, when united with confidence and love, is called living faith, to which all things are possible, and without which Jesus himself could have wrought no miracles; for it is a particle of the divine power out of eternal nature, wanting which even God would not be omnipotent. Its peculiarity is that whatever it grasps in imagination, it holds fast, attracts, appropriates, and unites with its own nature, and also modifies it according to its own prevailing quality. To love is also the same as to enjoy. Into whatever, accordingly, the soul loves, eats thereof, and nourishes itself therewith - into whatever the soul enjoys - it will be transformed. Adam imagined himself into the animal principle, and became an animal. Earthly animal men imagine according to vanity, according to whatever flatters their sensuality and originates from the epirit of this world; heavenly men, on the contrary, trample nature underfoot, imagine, to the exclusion of everything else, in the spirit of Jesus, their divine lover, whom they attract through the magnetism of their souls, grasp in faith, and allow themselves to be essentially possessed by him. Through whatever may encounter them in this world they look to him alone. Jesus is the spirit of their spirit, and the life of their life. Out of him there is neither will, nor power, nor knowledge, nor desire, for them. They are dead to the world and to whatever is not Jesus, their life is hid with Christ in God. For they only, beloved brother, are true children of God who are born of God and are impelled by the spirit of God. One, therefore, who has not the spirit of Christ, is none of his, is no Christian; and may not expect, either in this world or the next, the inheritance of true Christians.
|Oh that we could sufflciently impress upon your hearts the peculiar and essential thing in genuine Christianity as the only infallible way to the treasures of both lights. No hypocrisy, no merely external imputation of the merits of Christ is of any avail - as is very generally taught and believed. Either to die with Christ and rise again with him, or to be cast out into uttermost darkness, one of these two things is our inevitable doom. There is no third, no middle way between the two. Either all or nothing, life or death, light or darkness, are the two extremes which are submitted to our choice; and although, of course, in the eternal fields there are stages of purification, by means of which there may still be roads from one utmost limit to the other, yet they will merely serve to fix us in one of the two extremes for long eternities. Whatever of the merit of Jesus we do not really feel within us, do not experience in our own soul, does not touch us, and is an affair which takes place outside of us and is alien to our heart. The spirit of Jesus himself must really utter within us the comforting words: Son, be of good courage, thy sins are forgiven thee (Matt. 9: 2). Then first, brother, then first we begin to be Christians, and come the more joyfully to Jesus, that we may be quickened by him. Here knowledge without practice is of no avail.
Christ alone then makes us true Christians, as he imparts to us of his own Spirit, and at length takes such entire possession of the faculties of our souls, that it is no longer we who live and work, but it is Jesus who lives in and through us His Spirit it is which possesses and impels us, and transforms us into real children of God. The humanity slain on the cross and vivified again, is the vehicle of this animating spirit of Christ, whereby we, according to the measure of our receptivity, really attain even to the fullnese of God, which dwells bodily in Christ as the head of its body, and the highest brother-master of our order. However, this renovation of our humanity takes place only conditionally and according to
|firmly fixed laws, not through a mere imputation without reality, without divine substance passing over from Jesus into our soul, but through a real, active, essential impartation of that Spirit who shall actuate us. In order to become children of God, we must verily be born out of the principium in which it has pleased the Author of the whole to reveal himself as Father. The Son must be essentially begotten out of the Father if he shall rightfully bear the name of son. Who of you will affirm that the lower metals can be exalted to the degree of the earthly sun [i. e. gold], without necessarily coming into real contact with the transmuting tincture? without being most intimately pervaded by it in all their particles? Now the flesh and blood of Jesus is the tincture for our souls as the earthly nature-savior is for the metals. Jesus was the first cross-brother who, through an essential union of Godhead and humanity, became projectionable, and prepared the panacea (universalissimum) for our souls. Those twelve humble persons whom he chose as his apostles, with Mary his mother, and a few family connections, all gathered together in one mind and in hope of projection, were the first of Eve's children who yet in life were baptized with the Holy Ghost and received this vital tincture. On the same day on which the Divine Spirit had formed so entirely novel kind of enthusiasts out of the apostles, that nearly every one was confounded by the circumstance, projection took place in three thousand persons; yea, and so gracious was the Lord, that from day to day he added more, so that in a short while the number of these happy children of light amounted to five thousand souls. Since then the number of the faithful has grown to such a multitude, that John, who saw them in spirit, compares them to a band that no man could count; and in order that there may not be the least doubt that this multitude consists wholly of souls regenerated by the vital tincture of Jesus, John was instructed that these souls had all come out of great tribulation, and had washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.
Dear brother, we cannot too strongly and emphatically declare to you, that the glorified fesh and blood of Jesus is the universal life-tincture of all humanity, which has existed, exists, and will exist. Souls which, in the process of their regeneration, have already advanced so far that they have received this tincture in an especial measure, are then medium-tinctures, or genuine channels of projection, whereby Christ will gradually extend the reign of his Spirit over the whole surface of the earth. O children! for what mysteries would this subject afford us matter, if this were the place to pursue it to exhaustion. However, if you will meditate upon different matters that took place at your entrance into the Holy Order, and of which, both in our Decrees and in the genuine Order-tables, such far-glancing hints have been given, the blinding mist which has hitherto disturbed. for you the true point of view, will be finally overpowered by the splendor of the truth, and will permit you to look without veil into the sanctuary of the Order. Gladly would we here, in help of your love of truth, still more draw back the curtain behind which lie hidden the jewels, the treasures of both Lights; but we know too well how weak your shoulders still are, to dare openly to burden them with matters of such weight. Besides, it were all too perilous to exhibit the mysteries of Wisdom unveiled. What a sharp knife is in the hand of a child, such would be certain mysteries of the Order among brethren to whom is wanting the needful temper.