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 nigh 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 despaired of divine mercy; but that the power, virtue, and strength of the first stirring of the grace of God, which had before bruised the soul, upheld and preserved it from total despair.
But still it wrestled in itself between hope and doubt; whatsoever hope built up, that doubt threw down again. 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, could it not come to rest.
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 dost thou? Wilt thou destroy thyself in thy anguish and sorrow? Why dost 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 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 never unite.
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 shalt 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, that thou canst not come to God. But if thou takest this course, thy God will meet thee with his infinite love, which he path 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, 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 Signature of all Things, Jacob Boehme