Saturday, July 28, 2012

AGONY IN THE GARDEN

Luke 22
[39] And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
[40] And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
[41] And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
[42] Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
[43] And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
[44] And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
[45] And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
[46] And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
[47] And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

Agony in the Garden
Art Resource
In Blake's image called 'Agony in the Garden' the two central figures, Jesus and the comforter, are in the light. The disciples who accompanied Jesus are barely visible in the surrounding shadows. The title of the picture aptly describes the state of mind of Jesus as he struggles to understand and accept the role he is to play in the redemption of humanity. But the figure reaching down to support Jesus is portrayed as equally central to the dynamic event. We may name this figure, who is in the human form although reaching out of a cloud and the source of radiating  energy and light, the Holy Spirit.

Many times Blake reiterated the theme that man is not alone in his situation no matter how bleak the circumstances look. God has made provisions for the return of man to the eternal condition of unity, forgiveness and brotherhood.


Four Zoas, Page 56, (E 338)
"And first he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan
In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand
And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam
While yet those beings were not born nor knew of good or Evil

Then wondrously the Starry Wheels felt the divine hand. Limit
Was put to Eternal Death
Los felt the Limit & saw
The Finger of God touch the Seventh furnace in terror
And Los beheld the hand of God over his furnaces
Beneath the Deeps in dismal Darkness beneath immensity
And he who takes vengeance alone is the criminal of Providence;"



Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
"Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities.
Tho thou art taken to prison & judgment, starved in the streets
I will command the cloud to give thee food & the hard rock       
To flow with milk & wine, tho thou seest me not a season
Even a long season & a hard journey & a howling wilderness!
Tho Valas cloud hide thee & Luvahs fires follow thee!
Only believe & trust in me, Lo. I am always with thee!"
 
Jerusalem, Plate 82, (E 241)
"Los saw & was comforted at his Furnaces uttering thus his voice. 
I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion! my brother!
Plate 83
Corruptibility appears upon thy limbs, and never more 
Can I arise and leave thy side, but labour here incessant
Till thy awaking! yet alas I shall forget Eternity!
Against the Patriarchal pomp and cruelty, labouring incessant
I shall become an Infant horror. Enion! Tharmas! friends      
Absorb me not in such dire grief: O Albion, my brother!
Jerusalem hungers in the desart! affection to her children!
The scorn'd and contemnd youthful girl, where shall she fly?
Sussex shuts up her Villages. Hants, Devon & Wilts
Surrounded with masses of stone in orderd forms, determine then 
A form for Vala and a form for Luvah, here on the Thames
Where the Victim nightly howls beneath the Druids knife:
A Form of Vegetation, nail them down on the stems of Mystery:
O when shall the Saxon return with the English his redeemed brother!
O when shall the Lamb of God descend among the Reprobate!"

Much of Blake's vision is the ability to recognize and understand the 'ways of God' as he provides the means that man may perceive his own Divine Humanity. For Blake the spirit is always reaching down and lifting up and becoming one with his beloved mankind.

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