Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inner War

Speaking in general life is made up of a war between Jesus and
Satan. You can read one skirmish in the story of Jesus in the
Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Luke gave us a pattern for the story
of our lives.

Reading Blake's poetry it becomes evident that Blake's inner
life was turbulent and often violent; the inner war fills the pages
of his poetry. He described that best with these words, often
found in this blog. It's a dialogue between Blake's higher and lower

"My Spectre around me night & day
Like a Wild beast guards my way.

My Emanation far within

Weeps incessantly for my Sin

A Fathomless & boundless deep

There we wander there we weep

On the hungry craving wind

My Spectre follows thee behind

An observer:

He scents thy footsteps in the snow
Wheresoever thou dost go
Thro the wintry hail & rain

When wilt thou return again

Dost thou not in Pride & scorn

Fill with tempests all my morn

And with jealousies & fears

Fill my pleasant nights with tears

Seven of my sweet loves thy knife

Has bereaved of their life

Their marble tombs I built with tears

And with cold & shuddering fears

Seven more loves weep night & day

Round the tombs where my loves lay
And seven more loves attend each night
Around my couch with torches bright

And seven more Loves in my bed

Crown with wine my mournful head

Pitying & forgiving all

my transgressions great & small

When wilt thou return & view

My loves & them to life renew

When wilt thou return & live

When wilt thou pity as I forgive

The Spectre

Never Never I return

Still for Victory I burn

Living thee alone Ill have

And when dead Ill be thy Grave


Thro the Heavn & Earth & Hell

Thou shalt never never quell

I will fly & thou pursue

Night & Morn the flight renew

Till I turn from Female Love

And root up the Infernal Grove
I shall never worthy be
To Step into Eternity

And to end thy cruel mocks

Annihilate thee on the rocks

And another form create

To be subservient to my Fate

Let us agree to give up Love

And root up the infernal grove

Then shall we return & see

The worlds of happy Eternity

& Throughout all Eternity

I forgive you you forgive me

As our dear Redeemer said

This the Wine & this the Bread

Blake had read and certainly appreciated Romans 7,
where Paul described the war within him:

"19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

So there we have Blake's war and Paul's war; neither is a corporeal war. They are both inner wars, written perhaps by both authors as a pattern for the shape of the life of everyman. Blake, Paul, and the rest of us have this same war within. Blake's solution was to annihilate the Spectre-- not a person, but our Selfhood. We might with well do likewise.

A good way to end this post might be to show something of the war of Jesus within: his temptation in the wilderness, described for us by three of the Evangelists (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-13, and Luke 4:1-13). Here's Matthews version:

Matthew 4
"1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

"11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Wikimedia Commons
Illustration to Milton's Paradise Regained
Illustration 7

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