(Part 1 here, 2 here, 3 here, 4 here)

Yet now did I see another danger, for the mud was caked upon my feet, binding me fast to the earth and, perceiving with mine eye, I beheld some moving thing – nay thingS burrowing through the ground beneath me. Looking down into the ground I beheld parasites veritably filling the earth below me; grouping together as great schools of fish, which swarmed freely through the ground as though it were water; these appeared as something like eels, and all of varying sizes. Some hung lower in the earth but were of great length and fat, appearing fully as pythons, others were of more moderate size; yet the most were like little leeches, swerving and darting through the dust in great hordes. They are worms in the earth – the spirits of the dust.

Though invisible in the land of the living, these parasites are quite real, and great danger to man, for dust is the serpent’s meat… and dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return. These have the power of the dust for of it they shall eat all the days of their life. Beware of your affections for the realm below is their playing field. Rise above, now therefore, O ye sons of men, and take unto you the image of the heavenly – only in this will ye be elevated above that villain who reigns supreme over the realm of earth.

So looking upon the examples about me – one of whom I had now become (and beset with mine own carnality (claim it not brethren, but despise it because the Spirit will not always strive with man for that he also is flesh)) – I saw that these serpents of the dust sought to crush the heels of the sons of men; these are the shadows (though not the seed) of that one serpent spoken about from the beginning who has grown through the ages to become a seven headed dragon, and is prince of the power of the air: the lord of the world below – that world in which man lives.

And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

And looking down at them, I found there were parasites inhabiting the mud about my feet and ankles, for they swam simply through the earth, and directly up to me through that dust which clung to my feet. Slick serpents wound themselves about my feet and ankles, slithering about in the mud and nipping with their jaws. As much of the earth as I allow to cling to me makes free invitation to these creatures who will constrict as boas, poison as asps, and suck blood as leeches.

Which is the greater danger to the saints, the dust, or the serpents that dwell therein? Just as a man washes his hands – not to kill the germs on them, but to remove their habitat from his flesh thus ridding himself both of the germ, and also the place in which the germ may thrive – so I adjure you, also: be rid of the flesh, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. While one enemy bears intelligence, and is of witting malice… yet the very carnality of man is the soil in which the serpent’s seed is planted. Which has power to draw us into sin to the detriment of the soul? Which has power to take the seed from you? Wherefore we have a twofold enemy, and neither to be lightly esteemed. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the FAITH (wherein we are given the secret trowel for plucking up the serpent’s seed – open thine eyes).

Now look to the garden – for the ground was cursed for our sake by which we strive and toil in the dust and the sweat of our brow; by it we can CHOOSE the carnal over the heavenly and so perish; so fear not the power of the dragon over you – whom the Lord has crushed under his heel – fear him not above your own deceitful heart which will cry “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace with God. One enemy is guaranteed conquered, the other is your own uncircumcised heart which will likewise perish except ye repent. Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life – and let not that germ of the adversary dwell therein, for I show you a secret, and pray you heed it: the seed of the serpent is doubt (‘Yea, hath God said…?’) and they that live thereby. So:

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Now look to the judgment – for the condemnation of the dragon was first to come, after that the judgment of man; and from the days of the first Adam this dragon has been a manslayer, and a liar; but the seed of the woman was caught up to God and to his throne – and: God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: thus all who are made one with him are counted as the Seed of God, for ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost – a temple may be destroyed (the heel crushed; for unto dust thou shalt return), but the Word of God abideth forever (Therefore: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.).

And so I found myself locked in the battle of the ages, for the ground is an inconspicuous enemy, and serpents hide themselves in holes of the dust, invisible. I found me with the clods of mud to be trapped in the world below, where the serpent reigns, and has power over the nations; indeed, I was in such a state that it seemed I was more aware of the realm of the land of the living than up here where my spirit is seated with Christ in heavenly places! Such is not befitting the sons of God, would that we remained with the eyes of faith, and let not the earth grow up around us!

But the speed of the ostrich outgoes that of the steed for the newly born has greater zeal than the seasoned warrior; so now the grave below me both grew up around my legs, and pulled me down to the realm of death, the serpent also with as much degree doth climb up that he may also plant his seed in our hearts, and pluck up that seed of Truth from the surface as it is scattered.

Thus forcing myself with great assertion to move, and flee from the plot of ground on which I stood that the serpent seed strike not my heel, I did with much labor begin to break free of the crusting clods of dirt holding me to the earth. I pushed on, and the ground did slowly break and crumble until at last I was able to lift my foot with great effort (for it remained quite heavy with the soil that clung to me). Thus also my other foot, until both were free from that earth immediately beneath me, yet knowing that to slow, or to take interest in the landscape that it stop me in my motion would bring a growing buildup of the soil once more.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

I continued until I had come to a moving cadence over the ground; yet even as I moved the serpents that had climbed up through the soil about my feet did at once begin to coil and constrict about my feet and ankles lest they fall from the earth at my feet. Their tightening strength made my motion that much more difficult, and inconvenient so that rather than the weight of the soil falling immediately off, the constriction of the reptiles kept a sense of heaviness to them – and the tighter they became, the greater that sense of heaviness became.

Part VI