century; Blake in the late 18th and early
19th century. But what did they have in
Anyone familiar with the Pendle Hill
pamphlets should look at
No 177: Woolman and Blake
Titus! Constantine! Charlemagne Luther:
what did all these men have in common?
Blake cited them as names of churches
(heavens), but what else did they have in
common? They were all involved in war!
Many Christians consider Constantine a
great hero because he legalized
Christianity in the Roman Empire. Less
well known is the fact that he ordained
(and required) uniformity of belief among
Christians. Thereafter it was the
non-orthodox who were illegal, a long line
of them going all the way down to Quakers
and beyond. What they all had in common
was insisting on a direct relationship with
God, not through a priest. Blake was one
Why Luther? well he supported the
Protestant Princes' war against the Pope
(it was called the Thirty Years War). On
occasion he incited people to violence;
Blake virtually equated the state church
with war; he wrote:
"How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
oppressed en mass without resisting,
to be ruled by foreigners. Oh no!
In the New Age Blake looked
forward to the end of war:
"Empire is no more! and now the
lion and wolf shall cease."
Tell me what you think.