Monday, July 05, 2010


God's Providence

At critical junctures in Blake's poetry the Divine Hand intervenes to change the direction of the developing myth. The interventions usually involve the limits - contraction and opacity, Adam and Satan.

Adam, man who is formed to live as a physical body in a physical world with spiritual consciousness, is the limit of contraction. The Eternal Man, Albion may fall and divide but within him is planted a seed which connects him to the Eternal world. Humanity is not to become animal or vegetable but he is limited to remaining human. This is the condition which is preserved in the state called generation which will be put off in regeneration, or mortality which will be put off in immortality.

Jerusalem, Plate 31 [35], (E 177)
Yale Center for British Art
Satan the limit of opacity has lost his ability to perceive the spiritual world but he has not lost his reasoning power. He is unable to accept the Divine Vision, Jesus, the Imagination, but he attempts to use reason to build a world based on moral law to replace the Divine Vision he has lost. The state of Satan, selfhood, which tries to impose the temporal on the eternal, the finite on the infinite, will be recognized as error when it appears as it is.

The limits were set by the Divine Hand that the fall may be reversed and fallen man may be regenerated. The Divine Hand is a name for God's providence, for his protective guidance in providing that man may return to the Eternal source. The Divine Hand seems to be the transcendent God who acts from outside of the individual to provide a framework through which the Divine Vision (the incarnate Jesus) may act through the Divine Body (the Imagination).


The Divine Hand finds the two limits and names them:
Milton, Plate 13[14], (E 107)
"The Divine hand found the Two Limits: first of Opacity, then of
Opacity was named Satan, Contraction was named Adam."

The Divine Hand provides the sleep of Albion:
Jerusalem, Plate 15, (E 159)
"But first Albion must sleep, divided from the Nations

I see Albion sitting upon his Rock in the first Winter
And thence I see the Chaos of Satan & the World of Adam
When the Divine Hand went forth on Albion in the mid Winter
And at the place of Death when Albion sat in Eternal Death"

The Limits are found within each man:
Jerusalem, Plate 31, (E 177)
"Then the Divine hand found the Two Limits, Satan and Adam,
In Albions bosom: for in every Human bosom those Limits stand."

The Divine Hand strengthens Los as he awaits the fury of the dead:
Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
"Los stood before his Furnaces awaiting the fury of the Dead:
And the Divine hand was upon him, strengthening him mightily."

The Divine Hand assists Los and Enitharmon as they escape:
Jerusalem, PLATE 44 [30], (E 193)
"And the Divine hand was upon them bearing them thro darkness
Back safe to their Humanity as doves to their windows:"

The Divine Hand provides that vengeance not be taken against sinners:
Jerusalem, Plate 45, (E 194)
"I could not dare to take vengeance; for all things are so
And builded by the Divine hand, that the sinner shall always

The Divine Hand who set the limits of Satan and Adam, sets the limit to Eternal Death and touches Los' furnaces. Los knows that his furnaces are not punishment for sin:
Four Zoas, Page 56, (E 338)
"And first he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan
In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand
And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam
While yet those beings were not born nor knew of good or Evil

Then wondrously the Starry Wheels felt the divine hand. Limit
Was put to Eternal Death Los felt the Limit & saw
The Finger of God touch the Seventh furnace in terror
And Los beheld the hand of God over his furnaces
Beneath the Deeps in dismal Darkness beneath immensity
And he who takes vengeance alone is the criminal of Providence;"

The work of the Divine Hand may be unseen but discerned through hope: 

Four Zoas, Page 9,(E 305)
"They saw not yet the Hand Divine for it was not yet reveald
But they went on in Silent Hope & Feminine repose"

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