Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blake Cities and Churches

The unfortunate mistake over Golgonooza had a happy outcome because it led to another post, namely this one. I should have said Babylon perhaps rather than Golgonooza.

Blake had much to say about cities:

They were fourfold; you might say Babel (Babylon), Golgonooza, London, Jerusalem.
In the Book of Milton Blake mentioned many times the 'twenty seven' motif:
It begins with twenty seven folds of (what?), which then become 27 heavens;
eventually the heavens become Churches. He uses this figure to trace the progression of the Israelite religion (before and after its primacy).

Here are some selections from Milton:
 "The Mundane Shell, is a vast Concave Earth: an immense
Hardend shadow of all things upon our Vegetated Earth
Enlarg'd into dimension & deform'd into indefinite space,
In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells; with Chaos
And Ancient Night; & Purgatory. It is a cavernous Earth
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of opakeness
And finishes where the lark mounts; here Milton journeyed
In that Region calld Midian among the Rocks of Horeb
For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza.
The Shadowy Female seeing Milton, howl'd in her lamentation
Over the Deeps. outstretching her Twenty seven Heavens over Albion"

(Erdman 110-11)

But Blake also referred to the twenty-seven as Churches:
."Distinguish therefore States from Individuals in those States, States Change: but Individual Identities never change nor cease:
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can never Die.
Satan & Adam are States Created into Twenty-seven Churches"

He also referred to these magic numbers as cities:
As the Twenty-four Cities of Albion, who became the 24 who in Revelations were commissioned to judge the Nations:

 "And I beheld the Twenty-four Cities of Albion
Arise upon their Thrones to Judge the Nations of the Earth
And the Immortal Four in whom the Twenty-four appear Four-fold
Arose around Albions body: Jesus wept & walked forth
From Felphams Vale clothed in Clouds of blood, to enter into
Albions Bosom, the bosom of death & the Four surrounded him
In the Column of Fire in Felphams Vale; then to their mouths the Four
Applied their Four Trumpets & them sounded to the Four winds""

Here Blake named the Churches:
"And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens and their Churches
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch,
Methuselah, Lamech; these are the Giants mighty, Hermaphroditic
Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the Second, Salah, Heber,
Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah: these are the Female Males:
A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains.
Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine,
Luther. these Seven are the Male Females: the Dragon Forms
The Female hid within a Male: thus Rahab is reveald
Mystery Babylon the Great: the Abomination of Desolation
Religion hid in War: a Dragon red, & hidden Harlot
But Jesus breaking thro' the Central Zones of Death & Hell
Opens Eternity in Time & Space; triumphant in Mercy

Thus are the Heavens formd by Los within the Mundane Shell
And where Luther ends Adam begins again in Eternal Circle
To awake the Prisoners of Death; to bring Albion again
With Luvah into light eternal, in his eternal day."

 (Erdman 230-31)

This list owes something to Luke 3:
"Luke 3:36-38
King James Version (KJV)
36Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
37Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
38Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."

The last four: "Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine, Luther" refer to the Christian epochs:
   Paul was considered by many scholars, and perhaps by Blake to some extent,
as having adulterated the primitive Christian gospel. Coming from Pharisaism he added a number of legalistic elements to the 'Christian faith'.

Constantine required all Christians to believe the same thing in every particular, putting a strait jacket on organized Christianity.

Charlemaine, a great European emperor took some similar steps.

Likewise Luther, who trusted the Bible; but when his Reformation had succeeded he had his own set of legalistic requirements.

In Blake's opinion each of the four of them had a part in making the organized Church into a stifling legalistic institution instead of the community of love that Jesus had initiated.

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