- HERE was a poor Soul that had wandered out of
Paradise and come into the Kingdom of this World; where the Devil met with it, and said to
it, Whither dost thou go, thou Soul that art half blind?
- The Soul said,
- I would see and speculate into the Creatures
of the World, which the Creator hath made.
- The Devil said,
- How wilt thou see and speculate into them,
when thou canst not know their Essence and Property? Thou wilt look upon their
Outside only, as upon a graven Image, and canst not know them throughly.
- The Soul said,
- How may I come to know their Essence and Property?
- The Devil said,
- Thine Eyes would be opened to see them throughly,
if thou didst but eat of that from whence the Creatures themselves are come to be
good and evil. Thou wouldst then be as God himself is, and know
what the Creature is.
- The Soul said,
- I am now a noble and holy Creature; but if I
should do so, the Creator hath said, that I should die.
- The Devil said,
- No, thou shouldst not die at all; but thy
eyes would be opened, and thou shouldst be as God himself is, and be Master of Good and
Evil. Also, thou shouldst be mighty, powerful, and very great, as I am; all the
Subtlety that is in the Creatures would be made known to thee.
- The Soul said,
- If I had the Knowledge of Nature and of the
Creatures, I would then rule the whole World as I pleased.
- The Devil said,
- The whole Ground of that Knowledge lieth in
thee. Do but turn thy Will and Desire from God or Goodness into Nature and the
Creatures, and then there will arise in thee a Lust to taste; and so thou mayest eat of
the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and by that means come to know all
- The Soul said,
- Well then, I will eat of the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil, that I may rule all Things by my own Power; and be of
myself a Lord on Earth, and do what I will, as God himself doeth.
- The Devil said,
- I am the Prince of this World; and if thou
wouldst rule on Earth, thou must turn thy Lust towards my Image, or desire to be like me,
that thou mayest get the Cunning, Wit, Reason, and Subtlety, that my Image hath.
Thus did the Devil present to the Soul the Vulcan in the Mercury (the
Power that is in the fiery Root of the Creature), that is the fiery Wheel of Essence or
Substance, in the Form of a Serpent. Upon which,
- The Soul said,
- Behold, this is the Power which can do all
Things. What must I do to get it?
- The Devil said,
- Thou thyself art also such a fiery Mercury.
If thou dost break thy Will off from God, and bring it into this Power and Skill, then thy
hidden Ground will be manifested in thee, and thou mayest work in the same Manner.
But thou must eat of that Fruit, wherein each of the four Elements in itself ruleth over
the other, and is in Strife; the Heat striving against the Cold, and the Cold against the
Heat; and so all the Properties of Nature work feelingly. And then thou wilt
instantly be as the fiery Wheel is, and so bring all Things into thine own Power, and
possess them as thine own.
- The Soul did so, and what happened
- Now when the Soul broke its Will thus off
from God, and brought it into the Mercury, or the fiery Will (which is the Root of Life
and Power), there presently arose in it a Lust to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil; and the Soul did eat thereof. Which as soon as it had done so, Vulcan
(or the artificer in the fire) instantly kindled the fiery Wheel of its substance,
and thereupon all the Properties of Nature awoke in the Soul and each began to exercise
its own Lust and Desire.
First arose the Lust of Pride; a Desire to be great, mighty and powerful; to bring all
Things under Subjection to it, and so to be Lord itself without Control; despising all
Humility and Equality, as esteeming itself the only prudent, witty and cunning One, and
accounting every Thing Folly that is not according to its own Humor and Liking.
Secondly arose the Lust of Covetousness; a Desire of Getting, which would draw all Things
to itself, into its own Possession. For when the Lust of Pride had turned away the
Will from God, then the Life of the Soul would not trust God any further, but would now
begin to take Care for itself; and therefore brought its Desire into the Creatures, viz.
into the Earth, Metals, Trees, and other Creatures. Thus the kindled fiery Life
became hungry and covetous, when it had broken itself off from the Unity, Love and
Meekness of God, and attracted to itself the four Elements and their Essence, and brought
itself into the Condition of the Beasts; and so the Life became dark, empty and wrathful;
and the heavenly Virtues and Colors went out, like a Candle extinguished.
Thirdly, there awoke in this fiery Life the stinging thorny Lust of Envy; a hellish
Poison, a Property which all Devils have, and a Torment which makes the Life a mere Enmity
to God, and to all Creatures. Which Envy raged furiously in the Desire of
Covetousness, as a venomous Sting doth in the Body. Envy cannot endure, but hateth
and would hurt or destroy that which Covetousness cannot draw to itself, by which hellish
Passion the noble Love of the Soul is smothered.
Fourthly, there awoke in this fiery Life a Torment like Fire, viz. Anger; which
would murder and remove out of the Way all who would not be subject to Pride. Thus
the Ground and Foundation of Hell, which is called the Anger of God, was wholly manifested
in this Soul. Whereby it lost the fair Paradise of God and the Kingdom of Heaven,
and became such a Worm as the fiery Serpent was, which the Devil had presented to it in
his own Image and Likeness. And so the Soul began to rule on Earth in a bestial
Manner, and did all Things according to the Will of the Devil; living in mere Pride,
Covetousness, Envy, and Anger, having no longer any true Love towards God. But there
arose in the Stead thereof an evil bestial Love of filthy Lechery, Wantonness, and Vanity,
and there was no Purity left in the Heart; for the Soul had forsaken Paradise, and taken
the Earth into its Possession. Its Mind was wholly bent upon cunning Knowledge,
Subtlety, and getting together a Multitude of earthly Things. No Righteousness nor
Virtue remained in it at all; but whatsoever Evil and Wrong it committed, it covered all
cunningly and subtly under the Cloak of its Power and Authority by Law, and called it by
the Name of Right and Justice, and accounted it good.
- The Devil came to the Soul.
- Upon this the Devil drew near to the Soul,
and brought it on from one Vice to another; for he had taken it captive in his Essence,
and set Joy and Pleasure before it therein, saying thus to it: Behold, now thou art
powerful, mighty and noble; endeavour to be greater, richer, and more powerful
still. Display thy Knowledge, Wit, and Subtlety, that every one may fear thee, and
stand in Awe of thee, and that thou mayest be respected, and get a great Name in the
- The Soul did so.
- The Soul did as the Devil counselled it, and
yet knew not that its Counsellor was the Devil; but thought it was guided by its own
Knowledge, Wit, and Understanding, and that it was doing very well and right all the
- Jesus Christ met with the Soul.
- The Soul going on in this Course of Life,
our dear and loving Lord Jesus Christ, who was come into this World with the Love and
Wrath of God, to destroy the Works of the Devil, and to execute Judgement upon all ungodly
Deeds, on a Time met with it, and spoke by a strong Power, viz. by his Passion
and Death, into it and destroyed the Works of the Devil in it, and discovered to it the
Way to his Grace, and shone upon it with his Mercy, calling it to return and repent; and
promising that he would then deliver it from that monstrous deformed Shape or Image which
it had gotten, and bring it into Paradise again.
- How Christ wrought in the Soul.
- Now when the Spark of the Love of God, or
the Divine Light, was accordingly manifested in the Soul, it presently saw itself with its
Will and Works to be in Hell, in the Wrath of God, and found that it was a misshapen ugly
Monster in the Divine Presence and the Kingdom of Heaven; at which it was so afraid, that
it fell into the greatest Anguish possible, for the Judgement of God was manifested in it.
- What Christ said.
- Upon this the Lord Christ spoke into it with
the Voice of his Grace, and said, Repent and forsake Vanity, and thou shalt attain my
- What the Soul said.
- Then the Soul in its ugly misshapen Image,
with the defiled Coat of Vanity, went before God, and entreated for Grace and the Pardon
of its Sins, and came to be strongly persuaded in itself, that the Satisfaction and
Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ did belong to it. But the evil Properties of the
Serpent, formed in the astral Spirit or Reason of the outward Man, would not suffer the
Will of the Soul to come before God, but brought their Lusts and Inclinations
thereinto. For those evil Properties would not die to their own Lusts, nor leave the
World, for they were come out of the World, and therefore they feared the Reproach of it,
in case they should have to forsake their worldly Honour and Glory.
But the poor Soul turned its Countenance towards God, and desired Grace from him, even
that he should bestow his Love upon it.
- The Devil came to it again.
- But when the Devil saw that the Soul thus
prayed to God, and would enter into Repentance, he drew near to it, and thrust the
Inclinations of the earthly Properties into its Prayers, and disturbed its good Thoughts
and Desires which pressed forward towards God, and drew its thoughts back again to earthly
Things that they might have no Access to him.
- The Soul sighed.
- The central Will of the Soul indeed sighed
after God, but the Thoughts arising in the Mind, that it should penetrate into him, were
distracted, scattered, and destroyed, so that they could not reach the Power of God.
At which the poor Soul was still more afraid, and began to pray more earnestly. But
the Devil with his Desire took hold of the Mercurial kindled fiery Wheel of Life, and
awakened the evil Properties, so that evil or false Inclinations arose in the Soul, and
went into that Thing wherein they had taken most Pleasure and Delight before.
The poor Soul would very fain go forward to God with its Will, and therefore used all its
Endeavours; but its Thoughts continually fled away from God into earthly Things, and could
not go to him.
Upon this the Soul sighed and bewailed itself to God; but it seemed as if it were quite
forsaken by him, and cast out from his Presence. It could not get so much as one
Look of Grace, but was in mere Anguish, Fear and Terror, and dreaded every Moment that the
Wrath and severe Judgement of God would be manifested in it, and that the Devil would take
hold of it and have it. And thereupon the Soul fell into such great Heaviness and
Sorrow, that it became weary of all the temporal Things, which before had been its chief
Joy and Happiness.
The earthly natural Will indeed desired those Things still, but the Soul would willingly
leave them altogether, and desired to die to all temporal Lust and Joy whatsoever, and
longed only after its first Native Country, from whence it originally came. But the
Soul found itself to be far from thence, in great Distress and Want, and knew not what to
do, yet resolved to enter into itself, and try to pray more earnestly.
- The Devil's Opposition.
- But the Devil opposed it, and withheld it so
that it could not bring itself into any greater Fervency of Repentance.
He awakened the old earthly Lusts in its Heart, that they might still keep their evil
Nature and false Right therein, and set them at Variance with the new-born Will and Desire
of the Soul. For they would not die to their own Will and Light, but would still
maintain their temporal Pleasures, and so kept the poor Soul captive in their evil
Desires, that it could not stir, though it sighed and longed even more after the Grace of
God. For whensoever it prayed, or offered to press forward towards God, then the
Lusts of the Flesh swallowed up the Rays and Ejaculations that went forth from it, and
brought them away from God into earthly Thoughts, that it might not partake of Divine
Strength. Which caused the poor Soul to think itself forsaken of God, not knowing
that he was so near it and did thus attract it.
Also the Devil got access to it, and entered into the fiery Mercury, or fiery
Wheel of its Life, and mingled his Desires with the earthly Lusts of the Flesh, and
tempted the poor Soul; saying to it in the earthly Thoughts, Why dost thou pray?
Dost thou think that God knoweth thee or regardeth thee: Consider but what Thoughts
thou hast in his Presence; are they not altogether evil? Thou hast no Faith or
Belief in God at all; how then should he hear thee? He heareth thee not, leave off;
why wilt thou needlessly torment and vex thyself? Thou has Time enough to repent at
Leisure. Wilt thou be mad? Do but look upon the World, I pray thee, a little;
doth it not live in Jollity and Mirth? Yet it will be saved well enough for that.
Hath not Christ paid the Ransom and satisfied all Men? Thou needest only
persuade and comfort thyself that it is done for thee, and then thou shalt be saved.
Thou canst not possibly in this World come to any Feeling of God; therefore leave
off, and take care for thy Body, and look after temporal Glory. What dost thou
suppose will become of thee, if thou turn to be so stupid and melancholy? Thou wilt
be the Scorn of everybody, and they will laugh at thy Folly; and so thou wilt spend thy
Days in mere Sorrow and Heaviness, which is pleasing neither to God nor Nature. I
pray thee, look upon the Beauty of the World; for God hath created and placed thee in it,
to be a Lord over all Creatures, and to rule them. Gather a Store of temporal Goods
beforehand, that thou mayest not be beholden to the World, or stand in Need hereafter.
And when Old Age cometh, or when thou growest near thy End, then there will be Time
enough to prepare thyself for Repentance. God will save thee, and receive thee into
the heavenly Mansions then. There is no need of such ado in vexing, bewailing, and
stirring up thyself, as thou makest.
- The Condition of the Soul.
- In these and the like Thoughts the Soul was
ensnared by the Devil, and brought into the Lusts of the Flesh, and earthly Desires; and
so was bound as if it were with Fetters and strong Chains, so that it did not know what to
do. It looked back a little into the World and the Pleasures thereof, but still felt
in itself a Hunger after the Divine Grace, and would always rather enter into Repentance,
and Favor with God. For the Hand of God had touched and bruised the Soul, and
therefore it could nowhere find Rest; but always sighed within itself in Sorrow for the
Sins it had committed, and longed to be rid of them. Yet it could not get true
Repentance, or even the Knowledge of Sin, though it had a mighty Hunger and longing Desire
after such penitential Sorrow.
The Soul being thus heavy and sad, and finding no Remedy or Rest, began to cast about
where it might find a fit Place to perform true Repentance in, where it might be free from
Business, Hinderances and Cares of the World; and also by what Means it might win the
Favor of God. And at length it decided to take itself to some private solitary
Place, and give up all worldly Employments and temporal Things; and hoped, that by being
bountiful and pitiful to the Poor, it should obtain God's Mercy. Thus did it devise
all Kinds of Ways to get Rest, and gain the Love, Favor, and Grace of God again. But
all that it tried would not do; for its worldly Business still followed it in the Lusts of
the Flesh, and it was ensnared in the Net of the Devil now, as well as before, and could
not attain Rest. And though for a little while it was somewhat cheered with earthly
Things, yet presently it fell to be as sad and heavy again, as it was before. The
Truth was, it felt the awakened Wrath of God in itself, but knew not how that came to pass
nor what ailed it. For many Times great Trouble and Terror fell upon it, which made
it comfortless, sick, and faint with Fear; so mightily did the first bruising Ray or
Influence of the stirring Grace work upon it. And yet it knew not that Christ was in
the Wrath and severe Justice of God, and fought therein with Satan, that Spirit of Error,
which was incorporated in the Soul and its Body; nor it understood not that the Hunger and
Desire to turn and repent came from Christ himself, by which it was drawn in this Manner;
neither did it know what hindered it from Attaining to Divine Feeling. It knew not
that itself was a Monster, and did bear the Image of the Serpent, in which the Devil had
such Power and Access to it, and had confounded all its good Desires, Thoughts, and
Motions, and brought them away from God and Goodness; concerning which Christ himself had
said, The Devil snatcheth the Word out of their Hearts, lest they should believe and
- An enlightened and regenerate Soul met
the distressed Soul.
- By the Providence of God, an enlightened and
regenerate Soul met this poor afflicted and distressed Soul, and said, What ailest thou,
thou distressed Soul, that thou art so restless and troubled?
- The distressed Soul answered,
- The Creator hath hid his Countenance from
me, so that I cannot come to his Rest; therefore I am thus troubled, and know not what I
shall do to get his Loving-kindness again. For I feel as though great Cliffs and
Rocks lie in my Way to his Grace, so that I cannot come to him. Though I sigh and
long after him ever so much, yet I am kept back so that I cannot partake of his Power,
Virtue and Strength.
- The enlightened Soul said,
- Thou bearest the monstrous Shape of the
Devil, and art clothed therewith; in which, being his own Property or Principle, he hath
Access or Power of Entrance into thee, and thereby keepeth thy Will from penetrating into
God. For if thy Will might penetrate into God, it would be anointed with the highest
Power and Strength of God, in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that Unction
would break in Pieces the Monster which thou carriest about within thee; and thy first
Image of Paradise would revive in the Centre; which would destroy the Devil's Power
therein, and thou wouldst become as an Angel again. And because the Devil envieth
thee this Happiness, he holdeth thee captive in his Desire in the Lusts of the Flesh; from
which if thou art not delivered, thou wilt be separated from God, and canst never enter
into our Society.
- The distressed Soul terrified.
- At this Speech the poor distressed Soul was
so terrified and amazed, that it could not speak one Word more. When it found that
it stood in the Form and Condition of the Serpent, which separated it from God; and that
the Devil was so near to it in that Condition, who injected evil Thoughts into the Will of
the Soul, and had so much Power over it thereby, that it was near Damnation, and sticking
fast in the Abyss or bottomless Pit of Hell, in the Anger of God; it would have even given
up any hope for the Divine Mercy; except for the Power, Virtue and Strength of the first
Stirring of the Grace of God, which had before bruised the Soul, this upheld and
preserved it from total Despair. But still it wrestled in itself between Hope and
Doubt; whatsoever Hope built up was thrown down again by Doubt. And thus was it
agitated with such continual Disquiet, that at last the World and all the Glory thereof
became loathsome to it, neither would it enjoy worldly Pleasures any more; and yet for all
this, it could not come to Rest.
- The enlightened Soul came again, and
spoke to the troubled Soul.
- On a Time the enlightened Soul came again to
this Soul, and finding it still in so great Trouble, Anguish and Grief of Mind, said to
it: What doest thou? Wilt thou destroy thyself in thy Anguish and Sorrow? Why
dost thou torment thyself in thy own Power and Will, who art but a Worm, seeing thy
Torment increaseth thereby more and more? Yea, if thou shouldst sink thyself down to
the Bottom of the Sea, or couldst fly to the uttermost Coasts of the Morning, or raise
thyself above the Stars, yet thou wouldst not be released. For the more thou
grievest, tormentest, and troublest thyself, the more painful thy Nature will be; and yet
thou wilt not be able to come to any Rest. For thy Power is quite lost; and as a dry
Stick burnt to a Coal cannot grow green and spring afresh by its own Power, nor get Sap to
flourish again with other Trees and Plants, so neither canst thou reach the Place of God
by thy own Power and Strength, and transform thyself into that Angelical Image which thou
hadst at first. For in respect to God thou art withered and dry, like a dead Plant
that hath lost its Sap and Strength, and so art become a dry tormenting Hunger. Thy
Properties are like Heat and Cold, which continually strive one against the other, and can
- The distressed Soul said,
- What then shall I do to bud forth again, and
recover the first Life, wherein I was at Rest before I became an Image?
- The enlightened Soul said,
- Thou shouldst do Nothing at all but forsake
thy own Will, viz. that which thou callest I, or thyself. By which
Means all thy evil Properties will grow weak, faint, and ready to die; and then thou wilt
sink down again into that One Thing, from which thou art originally sprung. For now
thou liest captive in the Creatures; but if thy Will forsaketh them, the Creatures, with
their evil Inclinations, will die in thee, which at present stay and hinder thee so that
thou canst not come to God. But if thou takest this Course, thy God will meet thee
with his infinite Love, which he hath manifested in Christ Jesus in the Humanity, or Human
Nature. And that will impart Sap, Life, and Vigour to thee; whereby thou mayest
bud, spring, and flourish again, and rejoice in the Living God, as a Branch growing on his
True Vine. And so thou wilt at length recover the Image of God, and be delivered
from the Image or Condition of the Serpent: Then shalt thou come to be my Brother, and
have Fellowship with the Angels.
- The poor Soul said,
- How can I forsake my Will, so that the
Creatures which lodge therein may die, seeing I must be in the World, and also have need
of it as long as I live?
- The enlightened Soul said,
- Now thou hast worldly Power and Riches,
which thou possesses as thy own, to do what thou wilt with, and regardest not how thou
gettest or usest the same; employing them in the Service and Indulgence of thy own carnal
and vain Desires. Nay, though thou seest the poor and needy Wretch, who wanteth thy
Help, and is thy Brother, yet thou helpest him not, but layest heavy Burdens upon him, by
requiring more of him than his Abilities will bear, or his Necessities afford; and
oppressest him, by forcing him to spend his Labour and Sweat for thee, and for the
Gratification of thy voluptuous Will. Thou art moreover proud, and insultest over
him, and behavest roughly and sternly to him, exalting thyself above him, and making small
Account of him in Respect to thyself. Then that poor oppressed Brother of thine
cometh, and complaineth with Sighs towards God, that he cannot reap the Benefit of his
Labour and Pains, but is forced by thee to live in Misery.
By which Sighings and Groanings of his, he raiseth up the Wrath of God in thee; which
maketh thy Flame and Unquietness still the greater. These are the Creatures which
thou art in Love with, and hast broken thyself off from God for their Sakes, and brought
thy Love into them, or them into thy Love, so that they live therein. Thou
nourishest and keepest them by continually receiving them into thy Desire, for they live
in and by thy receiving them into thy Mind; because thou thereby bringest the Lust of thy
Life into them. They are but unclean, filthy, and evil Births, and Issues of the
bestial Nature, which yet, by thy receiving them in thy Lust or Desire, have gotten an
Image, and formed themselves in thee. And that Image is a Beast with four Heads;
First, Pride. Secondly, Covetousness. Thirdly, Envy.
Fourthly, Anger. And in these four Properties the Foundation of Hell
consisteth, which thou carriest in thee and about thee. It is imprinted and engraven
in thee, and thou art wholly taken Captive thereby. For these Properties live in thy
natural Life; and thereby thou art severed or cut off from God, neither canst thou ever
come to him, unless thou so forsake these evil Creatures that they may die in thee.
But since thou desirest me to tell thee how to forsake thy own perverse creaturely Will so
that the Creatures in thee might die, and how yet thou mightest live along with them in
the World, I must assure thee that there is but one Way to do it, which is narrow
and straight, and will be very hard and irksome to thee at the Beginning, but
afterwards thou wilt walk in it cheerfully.
Thou must seriously consider, that in the Course of this worldly Life thou walkest in the
Anger of God and in the Foundation of Hell; and that this is not thy true Native Country;
but that a True Christian should, and must live in Christ, and in his Walking truly follow
him; and that he cannot be a True Christian, unless the Spirit and Power of Christ so live
in him, that he becometh wholly Subject to it. Now seeing the Kingdom of Christ is
not of this World, but in Heaven, therefore thou must always be in a continual Ascension
towards Heaven, if thou wilt follow Christ; though thy Body must dwell among the Creatures
and use them.
The narrow Way to which perpetual Ascension into Heaven and Imitation of Christ is this:
thou must despair of all thy own Power and Strength, for in and by thy own Power thou
canst not reach the Gates of God; and firmly purpose and resolve wholly to give thyself up
to the Mercy of God, and to sink down with thy whole Mind and Reason into the Passion and
Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, always desiring to persevere in the same, and to die from
all thy Creatures therein. Also thou must resolve to watch and guard thy Mind,
Thoughts and Inclinations that they admit no Evil into them, neither must thou suffer
thyself to be held fast by temporal Honour or Profit. Thou must resolve likewise to
put away from thee all Unrighteousness, and whatsoever else may hinder the Freedom of thy
Motion and Progress. Thy Will must be wholly pure, and fixed in a firm Resolution
never to return to its old Idols any more, but that thou wilt leave them the very Instant
they are known to thee, and separate thy Mind from them, and enter into the sincere Way of
Truth and Righteousness, according to the plain and full Doctrine of Christ. And as
thou dost thus purpose to forsake the Enemies of thine own inward Nature, so also must
thou forgive all thy outward Enemies, and resolve to meet them with thy Love; so that
there may be left no Creature, Person, or Thing at all able to take hold of thy Will and
captivate it; but that it may be sincere, and purged from all Creatures.
Nay further; if it should be required, thou must be willing and ready to forsake all thy
temporal Honour and Profit for Christ's sake, and regard nothing that is Earthly so as to
set thy Heart and Affections upon it; but esteem thyself in whatsoever State, Degree, and
Condition thou art, as to worldly Rank or Riches, to be but a Servant of God and of thy
Fellow-Christians; or as a Steward in the Office wherein thy Lord hath placed thee.
All Arrogance and Self-Exaltation must be humbled, brought low, and so annihilated that
nothing of thine own or of any other Creature may stay in thy Will to bring thy Thoughts
or Imagination to be set upon it.
Thou must also firmly impress it on thy Mind, that thou shalt certainly partake of the
promised Grace in the Merit of Jesus Christ, viz. of his outflowing Love, which
indeed is already in thee, and which will deliver thee from thy Creatures, and enlighten
thy Will, and kindle it with the Flame of Love, whereby thou shalt have Victory over the
Devil. Not as if thou couldst will or do anything in thine own
Strength, but only enter into the Suffering and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and take
them to thyself, and with them assault and break in Pieces the Kingdom of the Devil in
thee, and mortify thy Creatures. Thou must resolve to enter into this Way this very
Hour, and never to depart from it, but willingly to submit thyself to God in all thy
Endeavours and Doings, that he may do with thee what he pleaseth.
When thy Will is thus prepared and resolved, it hath then broken through its own
Creatures, and is sincere in the Presence of God, and clothed with the merits of Jesus
Christ. It may then freely go to the Father with the Prodigal Son, and fall down in
his Presence and pour forth its Prayers; and putting forth all its Strength in this Divine
Work, confess its Sins and Disobedience; and how far it hath departed from God. This
must be done not with bare Words, but with all its Strength, which indeed amounteth only
to a strong Purpose and Resolution; for the Soul of itself hath no Strength or Power to
effect any good Work.
Now when thou art thus ready, and that thy Heavenly Father shall see thy coming and
returning to him in such Repentance and Humility, he will inwardly speak to thee, and say
in thee, Behold this is my Son which I had lost; he was dead and is alive again. And
he will come and meet thee in thy Mind with the Grace and Love of Jesus Christ, and
embrace thee with the Beams of his Love, and kiss thee with his Spirit and Strength; and
then thou shalt receive Grace to pour out thy Confession before him, and to pray
powerfully. This indeed is the right Place where thou must wrestle in the Light of
his Countenance. And if thou standest resolutely here, and shrinkest not back, thou
shalt see or feel great Wonders. For thou shalt find Christ in thee assaulting Hell,
and crushing thy Beasts in Pieces, and that a great Tumult and Misery will arise in thee;
also thy secret undiscovered Sins will then first awake, and labour to separate thee from
God, and to keep thee back. Thus shalt thou truly find and feel how Death and Life
fight one against the other, and shalt understand by what passeth within thyself, what
Heaven and Hell are. At which Time be not moved, but stand firm and shrink not; for
at length all thy Creatures will grow faint, weak, and ready to die; and then thy Will
shall wax stronger, and be able to subdue and keep down the evil Inclinations. So
shall thy Will and Mind ascend into Heaven every day, and thy Creatures gradually die
away. Thou wilt get a Mind wholly new, and begin to be a new Creature, and getting
rid of the Bestial deformity, recover the Divine Image. Thus shalt thou be delivered
from thy present Anguish, and return to thy Original Rest.
- The poor Soul's Practice.
- Then the poor Soul began to practice this
Course with such Earnestness, that it conceived it should get the Victory presently; but
it found that the Gates of Heaven were shut against it in its own Strength and Power and
it was as if it were rejected and forsaken by God, and received not so much as one Look or
Glimpse of Grace from him. Upon which it said to itself, Surely thou hast not
sincerely submitted thyself to God. Desire Nothing at all of him, but only submit
thyself to his Judgement and Condemnation, that he may kill thy evil Inclinations.
Sink down into him beyond the Limits of Nature and Creature, and submit thyself to him,
that he may do with thee what he will, for thou art not worthy to speak to him.
Accordingly the Soul took a Resolution to sink down, and to forsake its own Will; and when
it had done so, there fell upon it presently the greatest Repentance that could be for the
Sins it had committed; and it bewailed bitterly its ugly Shape, and was truly and deeply
sorry that the evil Creatures did dwell within it. And because of its Sorrow it
could not speak one more Word in the Presence of God, but began in its Repentance to
realize the bitter Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, viz. what great Anguish and
Torment he had suffered for its Sake, in order to deliver it out of its Anguish, and
change it into the Image of God. In which Consideration it wholly sunk down, and did
Nothing but complain of its Ignorance and Negligence, and that it had not been thankful to
its Redeemer, nor once considered the great Love he had shewn to it, but had idly spent
its Time, and not at all regarded how it might come to partake of his purchased and
proffered Grace; but instead thereof had formed in itself the Images and Figures of
earthly Things, with the vain Lusts and Pleasures of the World. Whereby it had
gotten such bestial Inclinations, that now it must lie captive in great Misery, and for
very shame dared not lift up its Eyes to God, who hid the Light of his Countenance from
it, and would not so much as look upon it. And as it was thus sighing and crying, it
was drawn into the Abyss or Pit of Horror, and laid itself as it were at the Gates of
Hell, there to perish.
Upon which the poor troubled Soul was as it were bereft of Sense, and wholly forsaken, so
that it in a Manner forgot all its Doings, and would willingly yield itself to Death, and
cease to be a Creature. Accordingly it did yield itself to Death, and desired
Nothing else but to die and perish in the Death of its Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who had
suffered such Torments and Death for its Sake. And in this Perishing it began to
sigh and pray in itself very inwardly to the Divine Goodness, and to sink down into the
mere Mercy of God.
Upon this there suddenly appeared unto it the amiable Countenance of the Love of God,
which penetrated through it as a great Light, and made it exceedingly joyful. It
then began to pray aright, and to thank the Most High for such Grace, and to rejoice
abundantly, that it was delivered from the Death and Anguish of Hell. Now it tasted
of the Sweetness of God, and of his promised Truth; and now all the evil Spirits which had
harassed it before, and kept it back from the Grace, Love, and inward Presence of God,
were forced to depart from it. The Wedding of the Lamb was now kept and
solemnized, that is, the Noble Sophia [or the Eternal Wisdom] espoused or
betrothed herself to the Soul; and the Seal-Ring of Christ's Victory was
impressed into its Essence, and it was received to be a Child and Heir of God again.
When this was done, the Soul became very joyful, and began to work in this new Power, and
to celebrate with Praise the Wonders of God, and thought thenceforth to walk continually
in the same Light, Strength, and Joy. But it was soon assaulted; from without, by
the Shame and Reproach of the World, and from within, by great Temptation, so that it
began to doubt whether its Ground was truly from God, and whether it had really partaken
of his Grace.
For the Accuser, Satan, went to it, and would fain lead it out of this Course, and make it
doubtful whether it was the true Way; whispering thus to it inwardly: This happy
Change in thy Spirit is not from God, but only from thine own Imagination.
Also the Divine Light retired in the Soul, and shone but in the inward Ground, as Fire
raked up in Embers, so that Reason was perplexed, and thought itself forsaken, and the
Soul knew not what had happened to itself, nor whether it had really and truly tasted of
the heavenly Gift or not.
Yet it could not leave off struggling; for the burning Fire of Love was sown in it, which
had raised in it a vehement and continual Hunger and Thirst after Divine Sweetness.
So at length it began to pray aright, and to humble itself in the Presence of God, and to
examine and try its evil Inclinations and Thoughts and to put them away. By which
means the Will of its Reason was broken, and the evil Inclinations inherent in it were
killed and extirpated more and more. This Process was very severe and painful to the
Nature of the Body, for it made it faint and weak, as if it had been very sick; and yet it
was no natural Sickness that it had, but only the Melancholy of its earthly Nature which
was feeling and lamenting the Destruction of its evil Lusts.
Now when the earthly Reason found itself thus forsaken, and the poor Soul saw that it was
despised outwardly, and derided by the World, because it would no longer walk in the Way
of Wickedness and Vanity; and also that it was inwardly assaulted by the Accuser, Satan,
who mocked it, and continually set before it the Beauty, Riches, and Glory of the World,
and called it a Fool for not embracing them; it began to think and say thus within itself;
O eternal God! What shall I now do to come to Rest?
- The enlightened Soul met it again, and
spoke to it.
- While it was in this Consideration, the
enlightened Soul met with it again, and said, What ailest thou, my Brother, that thou art
so heavy and sad?
- The distressed Soul said,
- I have followed thy Counsel, and thereby
attained a Ray, or Emanation of the Divine Sweetness, but it is gone from me again, and I
am now deserted. Moreover I have outwardly very great Trials and Afflictions in the
World; for all my good Friends forsake and scorn me; and am also inwardly assaulted with
Anguish and Doubt, and know not what to do.
- The enlightened Soul said,
- Now I like thee very well; for now our
beloved Lord Jesus Christ is performing that same Pilgrimage or Process on Earth with thee
and in thee, which he did himself when he was in this World, who was continually reviled,
despised, and evil spoken of and had nothing of his own in it; and now thou bearest his
Mark or Badge. But do not wonder at it, or think it strange; for it must be so, in
order that thou mayest be tried, refined, and purified. In this Anguish and Distress
thou wilt necessarily hunger and cry after Deliverance; and by such Hunger and Prayer thou
wilt attract Grace to thee both from within and from without.
For thou must grow from above and from beneath to be the Image of God again. Just as
a young Plant is agitated by the Wind, and must stand its Ground in Heat and Cold, drawing
Strength and Virtue to it from above and from beneath by that Agitation, and must endure
many a Tempest, and undergo much Danger before it can come to be a Tree, and bring forth
Fruit. For through that Agitation the Virtue of the Sun moveth in the Plant, whereby
its wild Properties come to be penetrated and tinctured with the Solar Virtue, and grow
And this is the Time wherein thou must play the Part of a valiant Soldier in the Spirit of
Christ, and co-operate thyself Therewith. For now the Eternal Father by his fiery
Power begetteth his Son in thee, who changeth the Fire of the Father, namely, the first
Principle, or wrathful Property of the Soul, into the Flame of Love, so that out of Fire
and Light (viz. Wrath and Love) there cometh to be one Essence, Being, or
Substance, which is the true Temple of God. And now thou shalt bud forth out of the
Vine Christ, in the Vineyard of God, and bring forth Fruit in thy Life, and by assisting
and instructing others, shew forth thy Love in Abundance, as a good Tree. For
Paradise must thus spring up again in thee through the Wrath of God, and Hell be changed
into Heaven in thee.
Therefore be not dismayed at the Temptations of the Devil, who seeketh and striveth for
the Kingdom which he once had in thee; but having now lost it, he must be confounded, and
depart from thee. And he covereth thee outwardly with the Shame and Reproach of the
World, that his own Shame may not be known, and that thou mayest be hidden to the World.
For with thy New Birth or regenerated Nature, thou art in the Divine Harmony in Heaven.
Be patient, therefore, and wait upon the Lord; and whatsoever shall befall thee,
take it all from his Hands, as intended by him for thy highest Good. And so the
enlightened Soul departed from it.
- The distressed Soul's Course.
- The distressed soul began its Course now
under the patient Suffering of Christ, and depending solely upon the Strength and Power of
God in it, entered into Hope. Thenceforth it grew stronger every Day, and its evil
Inclinations died more and more in it. So that it arrived at length to a High State
or Degree of Grace; and the Gates of the Divine Revelation and the Kingdom of Heaven, were
opened to, and manifested in it.
And thus the Soul through Repentance, Faith, and Prayer, returned to its Original and True
Rest, and became a Right and Beloved Child of God again; to which may he of his Infinite
Mercy help us all. Amen.