Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to Forgive God

That's the primary job in life-- for all of us. Blake was no exception. Jacob wrestled with God all night. Blake accused God, denounced Him, despised Him, annihilated Him, but God always returned as He always does sooner or later. This is the way he finally learned to deal with God; he addressed God as follows:
"And throughout Eternity
I forgive you I forgive you You forgive me
As the dear Redeemer said
This the wine and this the bread"

How did Blake deal with God before he learned that. I've posted and posted on that subject, and there's still much to say:

Consider the 'four year old' angry God at the window; many or most of us have had this experience in some form: there was
something out there that you didn't know, didn't trust, not like Mom (sad are you if Mom was like that; unfortunately there are too many such people). For many this experience of an unfriendly Reality deeply covers their lives.

But note the 'tree full of angels'; that's archetypal, too. "
Somebody up there likes me". Good things happen to people, and they have no idea how or why or by whom. Blake was surrounded by angels all his life (not the angels of MHH, but there was that, too).

So Blake's earliest days witnessed the essential otherness and ambiguity of Divinity, a quandary that he spent his life resolving. Blake was a mortal, but his true life was in Eternity, as was that of Jesus, and perhaps us all.

As a projection Blake was able to 'wrestle with God', and he did that for many years; he projected a multitude of (frequently unpleasant) experiences on God:

His matrimonial endeavors suffered a setback and then a glad recovery when Catherine offered herself (she pitied him!) For forty years she proved to be his greatest friend.

Blake was disappointment at the Royal Academy in the person of Joshua Reynolds. This led to comparative artistic obscurity the rest of his life.
However to say that he lived as an isolate would not be quite true:

He had a chance to associate with some creative people: James Basire, the kindly engraver who gave Blake many opportunities at creative work;
the kindly publisher, Joseph Johnson, who not only published some of his work, but invited him into the inner circle where other intellectuals gathered; John Flaxman introduced him to Mrs Henry Matthew who invited him into her drawing room where he met many artists and musicians; she and Flaxman also arranged for the publication of Poetical Sketches (1783); Robert Blake, William's brother was a kindred spirit who meant a great deal to him (even after death Blake often met Robert and got advice from); the Swiss Painter, Fuseli, was another kindred spirit:
("The only man that ever I knew

Who did not make me almost spew

Was Fuseli: he was both Turk and Jew -

And so, dear Christian Friends, how do you do?")

(Erdman 507)

And of course in his last years Blake enjoyed the friendship and encouragement of the Shoreham Ancients, who sat at his feet and gladly took in much of his wisdom.

Each of these friends, and all of them together showed Blake that 'somebody up there liked him'. The fully mature Blake was happy in his acquaintance with and love of the God who had emerged after all the struggles of his youth.
"I rose up at the dawn of day
Get thee away get thee away
Prayst thou for Riches away away
This is the Throne of Mammon grey

Said I this sure is very odd
I took it to be the Throne of God
For every Thing besides I have
It is only for Riches that I can crave

I have Mental Joy & Mental Health
And Mental Friends & Mental wealth
I've a Wife I love & that loves me
I've all But Riches Bodily

I am in Gods presence night & day
And he never turns his face away
The accuser of sins by my side does stand
And he holds my money bag in his hand"
(Erdman 481)

At this point in his life Blake was keenly aware of the
loving God--and his accuser (Satan, the Spectre, the Selfhood.

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