Sunday, June 03, 2012

Plate 77

                     To the Christians.

Devils are                I give you the end of a golden string, 
False Religions            Only wind it into a ball:
       "Saul Saul"         It will lead you in at Heavens gate,
"Why persecutest thou me." Built in Jerusalems wall.
 We are told to abstain from fleshly desires that we may lose no
time from the Work of the Lord. Every moment lost, is a moment
that cannot be redeemed every pleasure that intermingles with the duty of our station is a folly unredeemable & is planted like the
seed of a wild flower among our wheat.
All the tortures of
repentance. are tortures of self-reproach on account of our
leaving the Divine Harvest to the Enemy, the struggles of
intanglement with incoherent roots. I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination. 
 Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more. The Apostles knew of no other Gospel. What were
all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy
Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the
Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours? What is that Talent which it is a curse to hide? What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than Mental Studies & Performances? What are all the Gifts. of the Gospel, are they not all Mental Gifts? Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in Spirit & in Truth and are not the Gifts of the Spirit Every-thing to Man? O ye Religious discountenance every one among you who shall pretend to despise Art & Science! I call upon you in the Name of Jesus! What is the Life of Man but Art & Science? is it Meat & Drink? is not the Body more than Raiment? What is obvious Mortality but the things relating to the Body, which Dies? What is Immortality but the things relating to the Spirit, which Lives Eternally! What is the joy of Heaven but Improvement in the things of the Spirit? What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance, Bodily Lust, Idleness & devastation of the things of the Spirit[?] 
 Answer this to yourselves, & expel from among you those who
pretend to despise the labours of Art & Science, which alone are the labours of the Gospel: Is not this plain & manifest to the thought? Can you think at all & not pronounce heartily! That to Labour in Knowledge. is to Build up Jerusalem: and to Despise Knowledge, is to Despise Jerusalem & her Builders. 
 And remember: He who despises & mocks a Mental Gift in another; calling it pride & selfishness & sin; mocks Jesus the giver of every Mental Gift, which always appear to the ignorance-loving Hypocrite, as Sins. but that which is a Sin in the sight of cruel Man, is not so in the sight of our kind God. 
 Let every Christian as much as in him lies engage himself openly & publicly before all the World in some Mental pursuit for
the Building up of Jerusalem 
I stood among my valleys of the south
And saw a flame of fire, even as a Wheel
Of fire surrounding all the heavens: it went
From west to cast against the current of
Creation and devourd all things in its loud
Fury & thundering course round heaven & earth
By it the Sun was rolld into an orb:
By it the Moon faded into a globe,
Travelling thro the night: for from its dire
And restless fury, Man himself shrunk up
Into a little root a fathom long.
And I asked a Watcher & a Holy-One
Its Name? he answerd. It is the Wheel of Religion
I wept & said. Is this the law of Jesus
This terrible devouring sword turning every way 
He answerd; Jesus died because he strove
Against the current of this Wheel: its Name
Is Caiaphas, the dark Preacher of Death
Of sin, of sorrow, & of punishment;
Opposing Nature! It is Natural Religion
But Jesus is the bright Preacher of Life
Creating Nature from this fiery Law,
By self-denial & forgiveness of Sin.
Go therefore, cast out devils in Christs name
Heal thou the sick of spiritual disease
Pity the evil, for thou art not sent
To smite with terror & with punishments
Those that are sick, like the Pharisees
Crucifying &,encompassing sea & land
For proselytes to tyranny & wrath,
But to the Publicans & Harlots go!
Teach them True Happiness, but let no curse
Go forth out of thy mouth to blight their peace
For Hell is opend to heaven; thine eyes beheld
The dungeons burst & the Prisoners set free.
England! awake! awake! awake!
 Jerusalem thy Sister calls!
Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death?
 And close her from thy ancient walls.
              Thy hills & valleys felt her feet,
                Gently upon their bosoms move:
              Thy gates beheld sweet Zions ways;
                Then was a time of joy and love.
    And now the time returns again:
      Our souls exult & Londons towers,
    Recieve the Lamb of God to dwell
      In Englands green & pleasant bowers.
[The Real Self[hood] in the
   is the ?Imagination Divine ?Man]
(Erdman 231-33)


The last sentence, about the Real Selfhood, is  surrounded by square parens, indicating that Blake was deleting it;
In the Plate it does not appear.

This Plate begins Chapter Four of Jerusalem (To The Christians)

“a moment that cannot be redeemed”: 
The first paragraph is an  illusion to Paul’s redeem the time:
Eph.5 [16] “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

(You may notice that this section, probably all four chapters begin with a prose statement, rather than the more usual poetry.)

In the second paragraph Blake defined Christianity and the Gospel as the “liberty both of body & mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.”

He defined the Holy Spirit as an ‘intellectual fountain’.

“He continues describing Immortality, the Joys of Heaven and the Pains of Hell (you may want to study this Plate carefully.

“I stood among my valleys of the south”
In the Bible we can find a multitude of valleys-- of every name and description.  It might take a combination ‘Blake and Bible scholar’ to identify Blake’s “valleys of the south”:

Joel 3:14 "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision."

Psalm 23 “valley of the shadow of death”

“the Wheel of Religion”: the deadly progression of the fallen culture of pure materialism, like the wheels of the Industrial Revolution; Caiaphas, the dark Preacher of Death; Natural Religion (See Erdman page 2).

The Plate concludes with a peaen reminiscent of the Preface of the Book of Milton.

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