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From "Incarnation of Jesus Christ"
by Jacob Boehme

4. Dear soul, if thou wouldest become God's child, prepare for temptation and tribulation. It is not easy and pleasant to enter into the child-life, especially when reason lies imprisoned in the earthly kingdom. The reason must be broken, and the will go forth from the reason and sow itself in humble obedience in God's kingdom, as a grain is sown in the field. The will must make itself as it were dead in- reason and give itself up to God; thus the new fruit grows in God's kingdom.

5. Man therefore stands in a threefold life and all belongs to God; the inner fiery essences of the first principle are incorporated with the new body in Christ, so that they may out of God's will flow into Christ's flesh and blood. Their fire is God's fire out of which burn love, gentleness and meekness, whence goes forth the Holy Spirit and helps them sustain the battle against earthly reason as also against the corrupt flesh and the devil's will. Man's yoke of the earthly will becomes easier to him, but he must in this world remain in the strife. For to the earthly life belongs sustenance; this man must seek and yet he may not set his will and heart upon it and cleave to it; he must trust in God, his earthly reason continually falls into doubt that he may suffer lack; it desires continually to see God and yet cannot, for God dwells not in the earthly kingdom but in himself.

6. Therefore reason, because it cannot see God, must be driven into hope; and there doubt runs counter against faith and would destroy hope. Then the earnest will must fight with the true image against the earthly reason. That is painful and it often goes sadly, especially when reason considers the course of this world, and recognizes its will-spirit as foolish in respect of the course of this world. Then scripture says: Be sober, watch, fast and pray that ye may benumb the earthly reason, and make it as it were dead that God's spirit may find place in you. When it appears it soon overcomes the earthly reason and looks with its love and sweetness at the will in its anguish, and each time a fair little branch is then generated out of the tree of faith, and all tribulation and temptation serve God's children for the best. For whenever God ordains for his children that they be brought into anguish and tribulation they stand each time in the birth of a new branch out of the tree of faith. When the Spirit of God appears again it draws up each time a new growth whereat the noble image greatly rejoices. It is only a question of the first serious onslaught when the earthly tree must be overcome and the noble grain sown in God's field, so that man may learn to know the earthly man. For when the will receives God's light the mirror sees itself in itself, one essence sees the other in the light. Thus the whole man finds himself in himself and knows what he is, which he cannot know in the earthly reason.

7. Therefore let no one think that the tree of Christian faith may be seen or known in the kingdom of this world. The outer reason knows it not, and although the fair tree stands already in the inner man, yet the outer, earthly reason still doubts, for the Spirit of God is to it as foolishness, which it cannot grasp. Although it may happen that the Holy Spirit reveal himself in the outer mirror so that the outer life greatly rejoices therein and becomes trembling for great joy and thinks: Now I have won the worthy guest, now I will believe it, yet there is no perfect continuance therein, for the Spirit of God does not remain evermore in the earthly source. He will have a pure vessel, and when he withdraws into his principle, namely the true image, the outer life becomes despondent and timorous. Therefore the noble image must always be in strife against the outer reason-life, and the more it strives, the greater grows that fair tree, for the image co-operates with God. For just as an earthly tree grows in wind, rain, cold and heat, so also the tree of God's image amid suffering and tribulation, in anguish and pain, in scorn and contempt, and buds forth in God's kingdom and brings forth fruit in patience.

8. Seeing then we know this we should apply our-selves thereto and not let ourselves be held back by any fear or terror, for we shall indeed enjoy and reap to all eternity what we have sown here in anguish and hardship, so that we have comfort eternally. Amen, Hallelujah!