“The Kingdom of Hell, and of fierce wrath, always gape after the Soul, and set their jaws wide open to devour the captive soul; which is held fettered with two strong chains; the one of the Kingdom of Hell; the other of the Kingdom of this World, and it is continually led by the heavy, lumpish, bestial, and sickly Body, as a thief who is often led to the place of execution, and still by a petition reprieved, and laid in prison again, and the poor soul must lie thus in prison the whole time of the body; where the Devil on the one side very suddenly rushes upon it with his devouring fierceness, wrath, and malice, and would carry it into the abyss. Then instantly the glistening world with pomp, bravery, covetousness, and voluptuousness of Perdition; presenting sickness and fear, and it is continually trembling and quaking; and when Man goes but in the dark, how is it amazed, and continually afraid that the executioner will take it, and do execution upon it!
“If we did well considering the abominations and great sins of man before God, … then we should scarce ever be merry in this world at all, if the spirit of this world did not cast foolish fancies and seeming joys and pleasures before us, in our imprisonment; ; or if the regeneration did not cause us to rejoice, that we shall be delivered out of this prison; for in this life we find nothing but abomination, sin, misery, and death.” ~Jacob Boehme
Devour the Captive Soul
The Kingdom of Hell does want to “devour” every soul. There is no doubt that Jacob Boehme is correct in saying that. It wants to claim as many souls as it can get. It is like a magnet drawing them to it. The good news is that an even more powerful force draws the soul towards heaven. More powerful, and yet, if we choose to embrace the clutches of Hell, hell will win the struggle and claim our captive soul—at least for a time.
The soul is a captive because it does not wish to be here, it did not choose to be here, and it is out of place here. The soul is a spirit and doesn’t do well in a physical world of matter. It is like a fish out of water, if not worse. This is why we enter this world with our spirit and soul in a dormant state something like being in a coma. It is not a healthy place for them. Nonetheless, we must awaken them and develop them while we are still trapped in a physical body. It is the only hope we have of freeing ourselves of the clutches of Hell and the fallen world of matter.
Hell of Fierce Wrath?
I don’t think I would consider the function and behavior of Hell to be one of “fierce wrath”. That expression sounds emotional to me, and I don’t know that there are any emotions involved in it at all. It is like sticking your hand in a five. You don’t get burned because the fire is angry with you, you get burned simply because that is the nature of fire. But hell does have fierce wrath of sorts because once it claims a being it is almost impossible to get away. That is why the smart course for man is to stop where we are trapped in the third dimension, turn around, and go up to higher, more spiritual dimensions, rather than falling one more level into the second dimension which is Hell (or Hades). Once the captive soul reaches the second dimension, it has no hope of redemption for a very long time. Hell has many sub-levels, and it must slowly descend through all of them, one lifetime in each until it reaches the lowest. Only then can it start over.
Kingdom of the World
But even without the problems of dealing with Hell and the Devil, we have those of the fallen world of matter that we dwell in, the realm of the Demiurge, the false god. The captive soul is just as much a captive of this world as it is of Hell. As Boehme says, this world grabs us with foolish fancies, joys, and pleasures. Joys and pleasures that are temporary and harmful to our real Self. Fancies and dreams of greatness in a world where real greatness doesn’t exist. When we listen to those siren calls, our captive soul becomes the bird in the gilded cage. The glistening, glittering world is attractive to the body and mind but helps to keep the captive soul from awakening and growing.
Rejoice in Regeneration
The captive soul may find little to be joyful about in the world of matter, despite the efforts of the body and mind to convince it otherwise, but it can look forward to eternal life in the higher worlds of spirit. But contrary to what many believe, the soul doesn’t earn this great privilege simply by having the physical body die.
You don’t reach the mountaintop by sitting in a bar at the base of the mountain and dreaming of being at the top. You have to get out there and climb the mountain. Likewise, you don’t get to Heaven by wising for it. You have to work and awakening and developing your captive soul so you earn the privilege of that great reward.