Friday, June 08, 2012


Yale Center for British Art
Paul Mellon Collection
Jerusalem, Plate 96

In six days God created all we know as the world; these six days are the six thousand years so often mentioned by Blake. They will come to an end when man will return to Eden and partake of the tree of life. When error is consumed by truth the Outward Creation will cease to exist.  Blake speaks of this early in his career when he says that the whole creation which appears 'finite and corrupt' will appear 'infinite and holy' when it is consumed.   

Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 14, (E 39)
" The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire
at the  end of six thousand years is true. as I have heard from
   For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to 
leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole 
creation will be consumed, and appear infinite. and holy whereas
it now  appears finite & corrupt.
   This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.
   But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his
soul, is to  be expunged; this I shall do, by printing in the
infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and
medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the
infinite which was hid.
   If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would
appear  to man as it is: infinite.
   For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro'
narrow chinks of his cavern."

 In Blake's system there is a transformation which takes place when perception is altered. When man is able to see not 'through a narrow chink in his cavern' but as from a mountaintop, he will be able to distinguish truth from error, good from evil, what is permanent from what is transitory. The distortions which resulted from being unable to recognise the good, the true and the permanent will be clarified. That which belongs to the Eternal realm will be uncovered and clearly revealed. The illusions of of materiality will go up in smoke.

Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 565)
" Some People flatter themselves
that there will be No Last Judgment & that Bad Art will be
adopted & mixed with Good Art That Error or Experiment will make
a Part of Truth & they Boast that it is its Foundation these
People flatter themselves   I will not Flatter them Error is
Created Truth is Eternal Error or Creation will be Burned Up &
then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up
the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do
not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance &
not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me."

Gates of Paradise, The Keys, (E 267)
"5    Blind in Fire with shield & spear 
     Two Horn'd Reasoning Cloven Fiction 
     In Doubt which is Self contradiction
     A dark Hermaphrodite We stood             
     Rational Truth Root of Evil & Good
     Round me flew the Flaming Sword
     Round her snowy Whirlwinds roard
     Freezing her Veil the Mundane Shell"

Annotations to Lavater, (E 594)
"now both evil & good cannot exist in a 
simple being. for thus 2 contraries would. spring from one
essence which is impossible. but if man is considerd as only
evil. & god only good. how then is regeneration effected which
turns the evil to good. by casting out the evil. by the good. 
See Matthew XII. Ch. 26. 27. 28. 29 vs" 
Matthew 12
[26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
[27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
[28] But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
[29] Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

Mark 3 
[24] And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 
[25] And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 
[26] And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 

 Romans 12 
 [21] Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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