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Seventeenth Century A.D.


The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment

Last Revised: 2 January 2005

Enlightenment Teachings and Experiences

Details of bibliographic acronyms are available here .

Subject: Jacob Boehme
Dates: 1575-1624
Tradition: Lutheran

I knew the Bible from beginning to end, but could find no consolation in Holy Writ; and my spirit, as if moving in a great storm, arose in God, carrying with it my whole heart, mind and will and wrestled with the love and mercy of God, that his blessing might descend upon me, that my mind might be illumined with his Holy Spirit, that I might understand his will and get rid of my sorrow . . .

I had always thought much of how I might inherit the kingdom of heaven; but finding in myself a powerful opposition, in the desires that belong to the flesh and blood, I began a battle against my corrupted nature; and with the aid of God, I made up my mind to overcome the inherited evil will, . . . break it, and enter wholly into the love of God in Christ Jesus . . . I sought the heart of Jesus Christ, the center of all truth; and I resolved to regard myself as dead in my inherited form, until the Spirit of God would take form in me, so that in and through him, I might conduct my life.

I stood in this resolution, fighting a battle with myself, until the light of the Spirit, a light entirely foreign to my unruly nature, began to break through the clouds. Then, after some farther hard fights with the powers of darkness, my spirit broke through the doors of hell, and penetrated even unto the innermost essence of its newly born divinity where it was received with great love, as a bridegroom welcomes his beloved bride.

No word can express the great joy and triumph I experienced, as of a life out of death, as of a resurrection from the dead! . . . While in this state, as I was walking through a field of flowers, in fifteen minutes, I saw through the mystery of creation, the original of this world and of all creatures. . . . Then for seven days I was in a continual state of ecstasy, surrounded by the light of the Spirit, which immersed me in contemplation and happiness. I learned what God is, and what is his will. . . . I knew not how this happened to me, but my heart admired and praised the Lord for it!(, downloaded 2 January 2005.)

A wonderful light arose within my soul. In it I recognized the nature of God and man. (CC, 183.)

The gate was opened to me that in one-quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an university. (CC, 130.)

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. (WTC, 35.)

O Conqueror of death, ... clothe my breath that lives in me and ... let me once again see Your salvation. (WTC, 36.)

Subject: Brother Lawrence (born Nicholas Herman)
Dates: 1611 (? 1691 A.D.
Tradition: Roman Catholic

[The] habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God ... often causes me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them and to prevent their appearance to others. (PPG, 33.)

The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment

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