Archive for the ‘Jakob Bohme’ Tag

Feast of Jakob Bohme (April 23)   3 comments

Above:  Jakob Böhme

Image in the Public Domain

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JAKOB BÖHME (APRIL 24, 1575-NOVEMBER 17, 1624)

German Lutheran Mystic

Jakob Böhme comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via William Law (1686-1761), whom he influenced.

Böhme, born in Alteidenberg, near Görlitz, circa April 24, 1575, was a shoemaker-turned-mystic.  In 1600, he had a mystical experience.  He realized that

Yes and no, all things exist.

Böhme spent the rest of his life struggling with difficult questions.  He, always rooted in Christianity, wrote 29 books and tracts, some of which renamed incomplete when he died.  Our saint struggled with questions of sin, good and evil, yes and no, and darkness and light in the context of God and spiritual unity in God.  How, Böhme wondered, could the divided world become one in God?  Many of his early writings caused theological controversy.  Our saint disavowed some of the earliest writings as he matured theologically and spiritually.  Yet he never stopped wrestling with difficult matters of faith.  Some of his later works included On the Election of Grace (1623), Mysterium Magnum (1623), and The Way to Christ (1623).

Böhme died on November 17, 1624.  He was 49 years old.

His influence continued, however.  Aside from William Law, the diverse group of thinkers Böhme influenced included theologians and philosophers, such as:

  1. George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Religious Society of Friends;
  2. Paul Tillich (1886-1965), a prominent theologian;
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), a philosopher;
  4. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), a philosopher; and
  5. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), a philosopher.

May each of us, like Jakob Böhme, struggle with difficult questions faithfully.

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Loving God, you have granted us intellects

and a thirst to know you as well as we can.

Thank you for these gifts.

May we, like your servant Jakob Böhme,

use them to maximum effect,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Psalm 63

Ephesians 2:11-22

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI; AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DIVINE SAVIOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE, 203

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Feast of William Law (April 10)   1 comment

Above:  Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM LAW (1686-APRIL 9, 1761)

Anglican Priest, Mystic, and Spiritual Writer

Feast Day (Anglican Church of Canada) = April 9

Feast Day (The Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) = April 10

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If we are to follow Christ, it must be in our common way of spending every day.  If we are to live unto God at any time or in any place, we are to live unto him in all times and in all places.  If we are to use anything as a gift of God, we are to use everything as his gift.

–William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728)

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William Law changed his mind about certain major points throughout his life. He did, of course; he was a human being.  He was consistent in obeying his conscience, however.  He was simultaneously conservative and revolutionary.  Law was sui generis.

Law became an academic and a churchman.  He, born in King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England, in 1686, matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1705.  He, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1711, became a fellow of Emmanuel College later that year.  He had to leave four years later, though.

Law affirmed the divine right of the House of Stuart.  In 1714, when Georg, the Elector of Hanover, became George I, the King of Great Britain, our saint refused to swear loyalty to the new monarch.  Law lost his position at Emmanuel College in 1715.  The state and the church were far from separate.

Law spoke and wrote his mind freely; he was a controversialist.  On March 31, 1717, Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, preached before King George I on John 18:36.  Bishop Hoadly insisted that the Gospels provide no warrant for any visible ecclesiastical authority.  Law participated in the Bangorite Controversy; he wrote Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor (1717), defending High Church principles.  Likewise, Law vigorously opposed Deistic, rationalistic influence in The Church of England.  In The Case of Reason (1732), he argued against the Latitudinarian downplaying of dogma, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization.  Law also opposed wars of empire.

Law, although a High Church Anglican who affirmed the divine right of kings, became an influential figure among many Anglican Evangelicals.  Our saint, the tutor to the young Edward Gibbon (the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire decades later) from 1727 to 1737, had published The Absolute Unlawfulness of Stage Entertainment Fully Demonstrated (1726) and Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection (1726).  His screed against plays proved to be controversial.  (I refuse to defend anti-theater moralizing excesses.)  A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), a work of mysticism and moral discipline well within traditional bounds, became influential for a long time.

Law, ordained a priest in 1728, moved back to King’s Cliffe in 1740; he had inherited an estate.  Our saint spent the rest of his life praying, writing, living simply, and founding schools and almshouses.  He also moved deeper into mysticism, past the bounds many of his contemporaries considered acceptable.  Law read works by German mystic Jakob Böhme (1575-1624) then moved to the edge of the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light.  Our saint wrote The Spirit of Prayer (1749, 1752), The Way to Divine Knowledge (1752), and The Spirit of Love (1752-1754).  All of these works were controversial.  John Wesley, once an admirer of Law, disapproved of these works.

Law, aged about 75 years, died in King’s Cliffe on April 9, 1761.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES I THE GREAT, CATHOLICOS OF THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH; AND SAINT MESROP, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AGNES TSAO KOU YING, AGATHA LIN ZHAO, AND LUCY YI ZHENMEI, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHISTS AND MARTYRS, 1856, 1858, AND 1862; SAINT AUGUSTE CHAPDELAINE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR, 1856; AND SAINT LAURENTIUS BAI XIAOMAN, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CONVERT AND MARTYR, 1856

THE FEAST OF BERNARD BARTON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MASSEY H. SHEPHERD, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST, ECUMENIST, AND LITURGIST; DEAN OF AMERICAN LITURGISTS

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Almighty God, who called your servant William Law to a devout and holy life:

grant that by your spirit of love and through a faithfulness in prayer,

we may find the way to divine knowledge and so come to see the hidden things of God;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Common Worship:  Daily Prayer (2005), 462

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Holy and merciful God, you filled the heart of William Law

with devotion and zeal in your service;

set us afire with love and obedience, that,

encouraged by his teaching, we may grow in true holiness of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or 

God, you called us to hunger and thirst for what is right,

and to follow your servant William in his serious call to devout and holy living;

grant that we who preach to others may never find ourselves rejected.  Amen.

Tobit 1:16-18

Psalm 119:113-120 or 119:137-144

Romans 6:20-23

Luke 11:33-36

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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O God, you kindled the flame of your love in the heart of William Law

and made him a shining light and sure guide in calling many to a devout and holy life.

Grant us so to practice the rule and discipline of faith,

that we walk in the ways of your love as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 103:1-5

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

–The Anglican Church of Canada

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Almighty God, whose servant William Law taught us to hear and follow your call to a holy life,

grant that we, loving you above all things and in all things,

may seek your purpose and shape our actions to your will,

that we may grow in all virtue and be diligent in prayer all the days of our lives,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Ghost

be all honor and glory now and forever.  Amen.

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 1

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 227

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