Jakob Böhme (/ˈbeɪmə, ˈboʊ-/; 1575 – 17 November 1624) was a German Christian mystic and theologian. He was considered an original thinker by many of his contemporaries within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as Aurora, caused a great scandal. In contemporary English, his name may be spelled Jacob Boehme; in seventeenth-century England it was also spelled Behmen, approximating the contemporary English pronunciation of the German Böhme.
O great, unsearchable, holy God, Lord of all being, who in Christ Jesus, out of pure love for us, revealed your holy being in our humanity, I, a poor, unworthy, sinful man, come before your revealed face, in the humanity of Jesus Christ, even though I am unworthy to raise my eyes to You, and I implore You, and confess to You that I have been faithless and disloyal to Your great love and grace that You have given us. I have forsaken the covenant that You, out of pure grace, made with me in baptism, in which You took me as a child and heir of eternal life. I have led my desire into the vanity of this world, and defiled my soul thereby, and made it completely bestial and earthly, so that, because of the mire of the sin, my soul does not know itself, and sees itself wholly as a strange child before Your sight, unworthy to desire Your grace. I lie as deep as my soul’s lips in the mire of sin and in the vanity of my corrupted flesh, and have only a small spark of breath in me that seeks Your grace. In vanity I have thus become dead to myself so that, in this vanity, I dare not raise my eyes to You.
O God in Christ Jesus, who for the sake of poor sinners became man so that You could help them, to You I cry; I still have a spark of refuge for You in my soul. I have not regarded Your purchased inheritance that through Your bitter death You purchased for us, and I have shared the inheritance of vanity in Your Father’s wrath, in the curse of the Earth, and am trapped by sin and half dead to Your kingdom. I lie in weakness before your power, and angry death waits for me. The devil has poisoned me so that I do not recognize my Savior. I have become a wild shoot in Your tree and have devoured my inheritance from You with with the devil’s pits. What shall I say before You, I who am not worthy of Your grace? I lie in the sleep of death that has trapped me, and I am bound fast with three strong chains. O help me, You Breaker of death. I can and am able to do nothing. I have become dead to myself and have no power before you, and dare not lift my eyes to you because of my great shame. I am a defiled swineherd and have spent my inheritance with the false adulterous whore of vanity, wasting it in the lusts of the flesh. In my own lust I have sought myself and not You. Now I have become a fool in myself and am naked and bare; my shame stands before my eyes; I cannot hide it. Your judgment waits for me. What am I to say to You, You who are the judge of the world? I have nothing more that I can bring to You. Here I stand before You naked and bare, and fall down before Your face, and complain to You of my misery, and cry for Your great mercy. Although I am not worthy, take me into Your death and let me die Your death in my death. Strike down my assumed “I” and destroy by Your death my “I,” so that I no longer live, since in myself I only sin. Kill the evil beast full of false cunning and self-desire, and redeem the poor soul from its heavy bondage.
O merciful God, it is because of Your love and patience that I am not already lying in hell. I give myself up with my whole will, thought, and mind to Your grace, and ask for Your mercy. By Your death I call out of the small spark of my life surrounded by death and hell, which open their jaws to me, and seek to swallow me up in death. You have promised You will not put out the glimmering wick. I have no other road by which to come to You than by Your suffering and death, because You have made our death life by means of Your humanity and have broken the chains of death. Therefore I sink my soul’s desire into Your death, into the broken gates of Your death.
O great Fountain of the love of God, let me die to my vanity and sin in the death of my Redeemer Jesus Christ.
O Breath of the great love of God, revive my weak breath in me so that it may begin to hunger and thirst after You. O Jesus, sweet power, in Your fountains of grace give my soul to drink the sweet water of eternal life so that it may wake from death and thirst after You. O how it has become completely exhausted in Your power. O merciful God, convert me; I cannot. O Conqueror of death, help me to strive since the enemy holds me with his three chains and will not let my soul’s desire come before You. Come, and take my soul’s desire into You. Be my pull to the Father, and redeem me from the devil’s bonds. Do not look upon my deformity, that I stand naked before You, and have lost my cloak. Clothe my breath that lives in me and desires Your grace and let me once again see Your salvation.
O deepest Love of all, take my soul’s desire into You, and, by Your death, lead it into You out of death’s bonds through Your death into Your resurrection. Revive me in Your power so that my desire and will begin to grow anew. O Conqueror of death and God’s wrath, conquer my “I” in me. Break its will, and crush my soul so that it is in fear before You, continually falling on the ground before You, and make it ashamed of its own will before Your judgment so that it may become an instrument obedient to You. Bend it in death’s bonds; remove its power so that it wills nothing without You.
O God, Holy Spirit, my Savior in Christ, teach me what I ought to do so that I might turn to You. Redirect my will in me to You. Draw me, in Christ, to the Father, and help me so that from now on I might leave sin and vanity and nevermore enter into them. Awake true sorrow for past sins in me. Keep me in Your bonds, and do not let me loose from deaths. Enlighten my spirit so that I may see the divine way, and continually walk in it. Take me from myself and give me completely to Yourself alone. Do not let me begin, will, think, nor do anything without You. O how long, Lord, will I not be worthy of what I desire of You? Let my soul’s desire dwell merely in the doorways of Your outer room. Make it a servant to Your servants. Preserve it from the horrible pit in which there is no solace or refreshment.
O God in Christ Jesus, I am blind to myself. I do not know myself because of vanity. In my blindness You are hidden from me, You who are yet close by me. Yet Your anger that my own desire has ignited has made me dark. Take the breath of my soul’s desire to Yourself. Test it, Lord, and shatter it, so that my soul may reach Your beam of sweet grace.
I lie before You as a dead man whose life, like a small spark, hovers at his lips. Ignite it, Lord. Direct my soul’s breath to You. Lord, I wait on Your promise, for You have said, As I truly live, I have no desire in the death of the sinner, but that he turn and live, (Ezekiel 33:11). I sink myself into the death of my Savior Jesus Christ, and wait on You, Your word is truth and life.