"My writings are only for those who are willing to receive the truth in a simple and childlike state of mind, for it is they who are to possess the kingdom of God. I have written only for those that seek; to the cunning and worldly-wise I have nothing to say." (Threefold Life, xv. 65.)
"Neither money nor worldly possessions, neither science nor authority, will bring to you the sweet rest of paradise, at which you can arrive only by the noble knowledge of self. In that you may clothe your soul; it is the pearl which is not eaten by moths, and which no thief takes away. Seek it, and you will find a noble treasure." (Three Principles, ix. 1.)
"I write for no other purpose than that man may learn how to know himself." (Three Principles, iv. 64.)
The following is an attempt to present an epitome of the principal doctrines of Jacob Boehme in a certain systematic order, so as to afford a general view of them and to serve as an introduction to the study of Boehme's works. I have herein followed the plan laid down in Dr. J. Hamberger's excellent but now very rare book. The headings of the paragraphs are for the purpose of summarising the quotations that follow. These quotations have in many instances been condensed, and in some cases I have attempted to render them in a more modern and comprehensible phraseology than that of the original text, the latter being very often obscure and untranslatable. This I did because it seemed to me of far more importance that the public, for whom this book is written, should obtain a comprehensive view of the doctrines of Boehme than that merely the learned philologist should find his curiosity gratified by getting the exact form in which Boehme clothed his thoughts. In adding some remarks of my own, my object was not such a presumptuous one as to amend, comment upon, explain, or make clearer the writings of Boehme; for it is self-evident that in order to be able to criticise, amend, or explain the contents of a divinely inspired book, the critic or explainer would have to be divinely inspired himself. I have no such arrogant claims to advance; but I wanted to call the attention of the reader to certain points that may aid in their understanding.
I have carefully compared the doctrines of Boehme with those of the Eastern sages, as laid down in the "Secret Doctrine" and in the religious literature of the East, and I find the most remarkable harmony between them in their esoteric meaning; in fact, the religion of Buddha, Krishna, and that of the Christ seem to me to be one and identical. The greatest obstacle to the understanding of the mysteries of the religion of the living Christ is the very narrow view which we have become accustomed to take of them, according to the merely external and superficial interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, such as is given by the modern churches and by fashionable clericalism, which regards these doctrines from a merely historical or emotional point of view.
A study of Boehme's writings, by means of entering into the spirit in which they were written, is sure to expand the mind and to elevate the heart of the reader, giving him a greater and more sublime conception of God, Nature, and Man, than any other book of which I know.
I am under many obligations to Mrs. E. B. Penny, of Cullompton, for her assistance in this difficult work, and also to Mr. G. W. Medway for valuable suggestions.
The extracts are taken from the 1682 Amsterdam (German) edition of Boehme's Complete Works.
Vienna, September 1890.
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