Friday, November 26, 2010


Blake did not think that Jesus was sent to uphold the law or teach moral virtue. In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Blake presents Jesus as a law breaker justifying his later statement that the Lamb of God was numbered among the transgressors. (Isaiah 53)

MHH, Plate 21, (E 43)
"if Jesus Christ is the
greatest man, you ought to love him in the greatest degree; now
hear how he has given his sanction to the law of ten
commandments: did he not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the
sabbaths God? murder those who were murderd because of him? turn
away the law from the woman taken in adultery? steal the labor of
others to support him? bear false witness when he omitted making
a defence before Pilate? covet when he pray'd for his disciples,
and when he bid them shake off the dust of their feet against
such as refused to lodge them? I tell you, no virtue can exist
without breaking these ten commandments: Jesus was all virtue,
and acted from impulse: not from rules."

The moral principle which Blake subscribed to was Forgiveness which replaced the whole system of law, accusation, judgment and punishment. Blake along with the apostle Paul was convinced that encountering hegemony of the law created a consciousness of sin, which resulted in a bondage to the 'law of sin and death'. Paul stated in the 8th chapter of Romans that 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set [us] free from the law of sin and death'. Blake agreed that the hold of the law on the minds of men would be broken by the continual practice of forgiveness exemplified by Jesus. Vengeance, which resulted from enforcement of the law, had no place in Blake's religion or morality.

Everlasting Gospel, (E 876)
"It was when Jesus said to Me
Thy Sins are all forgiven thee
The Christian trumpets loud proclaim
Thro all the World in Jesus name
Mutual forgiveness of each Vice
And oped the Gates of Paradise
The Moral Virtues in Great fear
Formed the Cross & Nails & Spear
And the Accuser standing by
Cried out Crucify Crucify
Our Moral Virtues neer can be
Nor Warlike pomp & Majesty
For Moral Virtues all begin
In the Accusations of Sin"

Image from Milton's Paradise Regained

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