Monday, April 04, 2011

Blake Uses the Bible

This is essentially a long lost post in a Blake yahoo group:

The 17th chapter of John may be seen as the central passage of scripture for Blake's myth, both before and after the Moment of Grace. In it Jesus prays to the Holy Father:

"that they may be one, as we are one....That
they all may be one: as thou, Father, art in me
and I in thee, that they also may be one is
us... that they may be one, even as we are
one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be
made perfect in one;"

Blake's visionary experience from his earliest days had centered on this image of oneness. All of his reading in the heterodox tradition had reinforced it as the basic shape of reality. The Gnostics, the Neo-platonists, the alchemists, the cabbalists, the Christian mystics, all had emphasized the supernal oneness of God and Man and life. Blake had seen all trouble and sorrow and brokenness in terms of the fracture and separation or division from the primeval oneness. This was the basic idea of his myth:

    "Daughters of Beulah, Sing His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity."

    And now on the sands of Felpham he had met the One,been folded into his bosom and heard himself affectionately named by the One ("Thou Ram Horn'd with Gold"). Turning to scripture with new eyes, irradiated with his First Vision of Light he finds the Saviour praying that we might be one as he is one with the Father.

In the eternal realm the sequence is reversed: the divine prayer had in earliest childhood fallen into the deepest levels of Blake's being. Like the veritable mustard seed it lay there exerting an unconscious force, guiding him to the Gnostics (who knew more about oneness than did the Church Fathers), the Neoplatonists, and the others. And when the soil of Blake's psyche was fully prepared, the seed burst out in the full embodiment of the vision of Light, when for Blake the One became flesh.

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