Theologica Germanica

Chapter 43

Whereby we may know a Man who is made a partaker of the divine Nature, and what belongeth unto him; and further, what is the token of a False Light, and a False Free-Thinker.

Further mark ye; that when the True Love and True Light are in a man, the Perfect Good is known and loved for itself and as itself; and yet not so that it loveth itself of itself and as itself, but the one True and Perfect Good can and will love nothing else, in so far as it is in itself, save the one, true Goodness. Now if this is itself, it must love itself, yet not as itself nor as of itself, but in this wise: that the One true Good loveth the One Perfect Goodness, and the One Perfect Goodness is loved of the One, true and Perfect Good. And in this sense that saying is true, that ’God loveth not Himself as Himself.’ For if there were ought better than God, God would love that, and not Himself. For in this True Light and True Love there neither is nor can remain any I, Me, Mine, Thou, Thine, and the like, but that Light perceiveth and knoweth that there is a Good which is all Good and above all Good, and that all good things are of one substance in the One Good, and that without that One, there is no good thing. And therefore, where this Light is, the man’s end and aim is not this or that, Me or Thee, or the like, but only the One, who is neither I nor Thou, this nor that, but is above all I and Thou, this and that; and in Him all Goodness is loved as One Good, according to that saying: ’All in One as One, and One in All as All, and One and all Good, is loved through the One in One, and for the sake of the One, for the love that man hath to the One.’

Behold, in such a man must all thought of Self, all self-seeking, self-will, and what cometh thereof, be utterly lost and surrendered and given over to God, except in so far as they are necessary to make up a person. And whatever cometh to pass in a man who is truly Godlike, whether he do or suffer, all is done in this Light and this Love, and from the same, through the same, unto the same again. And in his heart there is a content and a quietness, so that he doth not desire to know more or less, to have, to live, to die, to be, or not to be, or anything of the kind; these become all one and alike to him, and he complaineth of nothing but of sin only. And what sin is, we have said already, namely, to desire or will anything otherwise than the One Perfect Good and the One Eternal Will, and apart from and contrary to them, or to wish to have a will of one’s own. And what is done of sin, such as lies, fraud, injustice, treachery, and all iniquity, in short, all that we call sin, cometh hence, that man hath another will than God and the True Good; for were there no will but the One Will, no sin could ever be committed. Therefore we may well say that all self-will is sin, and there is no sin but what springeth therefrom. And this is the only thing which a truly Godlike man complaineth of; but to him, this is such a sore pain and grief, that he would die a hundred deaths in agony and shame, rather than endure it; and this his grief must last until death, and where it is not, there be sure that the man is not truly Godlike, or a partaker of the divine nature.

Now, seeing that in this Light and Love, all Good is loved in One and as One, and the One in all things, and in all things as One and as All, therefore all those things must be loved that rightly are of good report; such as virtue, order, seemliness, justice, truth, and the like; and all that belongeth to God is the true Good and is His own, is loved and praised; and all that is without this Good, and contrary to it, is a sorrow and a pain, and is hated as sin, for it is of a truth sin. And he who liveth in the true Light and true Love, hath the best, noblest, and worthiest life that ever was or will be, and therefore it cannot but be loved and praised above any other life. This life was and is in Christ to perfection, else He were not the Christ.

And the love wherewith the man loveth this noble life and all goodness, maketh, that all which he is called upon to do, or suffer, or pass through, and which must needs be, he doeth or endureth willingly and worthily, however hard it may be to nature. Therefore saith Christ: ’My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ This cometh of the love which loveth this admirable life. This we may see in the beloved Apostles and Martyrs; they suffered willingly and gladly all that was done unto them, and never asked of God that their suffering and tortures might be made shorter, or lighter or fewer, but only that they might remain steadfast and endure to the end. Of a truth all that is the fruit of divine Love in a truly Godlike man is so simple, plain, and straightforward, that he can never properly give an account of it by writing or by speech, but only say that so it is. And he who hath it not doth not even believe in it; how then can he come to know it?

On the other hand, the life of the natural man, where he hath a lively, subtle, cunning nature, is so manifold and complex, and seeketh and inventeth so many turnings and windings and falsehoods for its own ends, and that so continually, that this also is neither to be uttered nor set forth.

Now, since all falsehood is deceived, and all deception beginneth in self-deception, so is it also with this false Light and Life, for he who deceiveth is also deceived, as we have said before. And in this false Light and Life is found everything that belongeth to the Evil Spirit and is his, insomuch that they cannot be discerned apart; for the false Light is the Evil Spirit, and the Evil Spirit is this false Light. Hereby we may know this. For even as the Evil Spirit thinketh himself to be God, or would fain be God, or be thought to be God, and in all this is so utterly deceived that he doth not think himself to be deceived, so is it also with this false Light, and the Love and Life that is thereof. And as the Devil would fain deceive all men, and draw them to himself and his works, and make them like himself, and useth much art and cunning to this end, so is it also with this false Light; and as no one may turn the Evil Spirit from his own way, so no one can turn this deceived and deceitful Light from its errors. And the cause thereof is, that both these two, the Devil and Nature, vainly think that they are not deceived, and that it standeth quite well with them. And this is the very worst and most mischievous delusion. Thus the Devil and Nature are one, and where nature is conquered the Devil is also conquered, and, in like manner, where nature is not conquered the Devil is not conquered. Whether as touching the outward life in the world, or the inward life of the spirit, this false Light continueth in its state of blindness and falsehood, so that it is both deceived itself and deceiveth others with it, wheresoever it may.

From what hath here been said, ye may understand and perceive more than hath been expressly set forth. For whenever we speak of the Adam, and disobedience, and of the old man, of self-seeking, self-will, and self-serving, of the I, the Me, and the Mine, nature, falsehood, the Devil, sin; it is all one and the same thing. These are all contrary to God, and remain without God.

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