Jerusalem, PLATE 54 (E 203)In his poem Jerusalem, Blake uses his character Jerusalem as the carrier of the Light Within. I read the following words as Jerusalem's testimony of faith.
"In Great Eternity, every particular Form gives
forth or Emanates
Its own peculiar Light, & the Form is the Divine
And the Light is his Garment This is Jerusalem
in every Man"
Jerusalem, Plate 60, (E 211)
"But the Divine Lamb stood beside Jerusalem. oft she saw
The lineaments Divine & oft the Voice heard, & oft she said:
O Lord & Saviour, have the Gods of the Heathen pierced thee?
Or hast thou been pierced in the House of thy Friends?
Art thou alive! & livest thou for-evermore? or art thou
Not: but a delusive shadow, a thought that liveth not.
Babel mocks saying, there is no God nor Son of God
That thou O Human Imagination, O Divine Body art all
A delusion. but I know thee O Lord when thou arisest upon
My weary eyes even in this dungeon & this iron mill.
The Stars of Albion cruel rise; thou bindest to sweet influences:
For thou also sufferest with me altho I behold thee not;
And altho I sin & blaspheme thy holy name, thou pitiest me;
Because thou knowest I am deluded by the turning mills.
And by these visions of pity & love because of Albions death.
Thus spake Jerusalem, & thus the Divine Voice replied.
Mild Shade of Man, pitiest thou these Visions of terror & woe!
Give forth thy pity & love. fear not! lo I am with thee always.
Only believe in me that I have power to raise from death
Thy Brother who Sleepeth in Albion: fear not trembling Shade"
Here is my paraphrase of the above passage:
Jerusalem can feel and see and hear the presence of Christ. She asks if those who have confessed loyalty to Christ are not the ones who are hurting him. She see that those within the church don't acknowledge the living Christ and the nature of Eternity. Eternal things are being called shadow and delusion and lifeless. God and Christ are denied as unreal. Jerusalem has an inner knowledge of Christ even when outer circumstances are harsh and deadening. She knows that Christ is with her in her suffering even if she fails to recognize him. Jerusalem knows that the illusory world deceives her and obscures her vision because of its brokenness from Eternity.
Jerusalem hears the reply of Christ affirming the love and pity she has for the broken shadowy inhabitants of her world. Christ assures Jerusalem that he will not depart from her. She should continue to affirm his presence and the true spiritual nature of Eternity which is being restored to its unity.
In making this paraphrase I came to realize that this passage can be seen as a critique of deism which had become the respected form of Christianity in Blake's day. Blake often referred to it as natural religion in contrast to revealed religion. There was no place for vision or mystical experience in deism. Blake's religious experience was that of a God who is present to man as an internal reality. Blake's God is not accessed through reason or external proofs; his God is manifest in lives of faith, love, forgiveness and brotherhood.
Gospel of Matthew
28:8 - Then the women went away quickly from the tomb, their hearts filled with awe and great joy, and ran to give the news to his disciples.
28:9-10 - But quite suddenly , Jesus stood before them in their path, and said, "Peace be with you!" And they went forward to meet him and, clasping his feet, worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go now and tell my brothers to go into Galilee and they shall see me there"