Jakob Boehme was born in the year 1575 in a village near Gorlitz, and died in Silesia in 1624. He had but little schooling and was apprenticed at an early age to a shoemaker. He later became a journeyman shoemaker, married and had four children.
One day while tending his master’s shoe shop, a mysterious stranger entered who, while he seemed to impoverished, appeared to be most wise and noble in his spirit. The stranger asked the price of a pair of shoes, but young Boehme did not dare to name a figure, for fear that he would displease his master. The stranger insisted and Boehme finally placed a value which he felt was all that his master possibly could hope to secure for the shoes. The stranger immediately bought them and departed.
A short distance down the street the mysterious stranger stopped and cried out in a loud voice, “Jakob, Jakob, come forth.”
In amazement and fright, Boehme ran out of the house. The strange man fixed his eyes upon him. He took the boy’s right hand and addressed him as follows: “Jakob, thou art little but shall be great, and become another Man, such a one as at whom the World shall wonder. Therefore be pious, fear God, and reverence His Word. Read diligently the Holy Scriptures, wherein you have Comfort and Instruction. For thou must endure much Misery and Poverty, and suffer Persecution, but be courageous and persevere, for God loves, and is gracious to thee.”