Thursday, August 30, 2012


[Epilogue] to The Gates of Paradise (For the Sexes)
To The Accuser Who is
The God of This World
Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce
And dost not know the Garment from the Man
Every Harlot was a Virgin once
Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan
Tho thou art Worshipd by the Names Divine
Of Jesus & Jehovah thou art still
The Son of Morn in weary Nights decline
The lost Travellers Dream under the Hill 

Who is the God of this World? He is the God of those whose life is based upon the
physical senses and centered in material existence, in this world. They provide for
themselves now because there is no Other. They use law and power for their own 
advantage at the expense of others and consider that to be the nature of reality. These
are the worshippers of the God of this World. In the end nothing could be more authentically biblical.

Once he began to focus upon the God of this World, Blake found in the Bible much 
positive information: he masquerades as an angel of light; he tempts; he accuses: 
"We do not find anywhere that Satan is accused of sin. He is only accused of Unbelief and thereby drawing man into sin that he may accuse him." 

Satan is particularly attached to the rulers of the world--economic, political, and 
ecclesiastical--and they to him. He is "Worshipped as God by the Mighty Ones of the 
Earth" (Jerusalem 29:18). They naturally regard him as God because their faithfulness to 
his values and methods has led them to great prosperity.

But in Satan's kingdom more basic than oppressive power is fear and timidity.Northrup 
Frye explains: "The morally good man tries to obey an external God instead of bringing 
out the God in himself. The external God [is] only the shadow of Caesar." Tyranny is
only possible because men are willing victims. That's why the flaming rebel has such an important place in the renewal of life .

Interpreters have greatly misunderstood the role of Satan in Blake's structure of thought 
because he used the image of the devil to represent two different things. The Satan of
'Paradise Lost' was a flaming rebel against a ridiculous God, and in MHH Blake 
ironically identified himself with this devil and even claimed that Milton belonged to the devil's party without knowing it. 

But the God of this World is an altogether sinister image. The devils of MHH represent 
fiery creativity. The God of this World opposes creativity of every sort in favor of rigid 
obedience to the powers that be. They are his powers. A lineal descendant of Urizen, he 
claims everything he can touch for Eternal Death

Blake's reversal of symbols is admittedly confusing. But then everyone has or should 
take the freedom to change his values and symbols as he goes through life. Actually in 
the course of his development as a poet and thinker Blake used 'Satan' with a variety of 
meanings. The God of this World is a less ambiguous term. It connotes Deceiver,
Tempter, Perverter, Accuser, Killer. The God of this World is the God of Eternal Death. 

The third temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was to fall down and worship the God of 
this World. Had he succumbed, the Jews would have had their political messiah, and the 
spiritual history of the world would have been different. The story of this temptation is a 
critical element in Blake's system of thought. He doesn't apply it to the historical Jesus so much; he applies it to the members of Christ. 

When a pilgrim sets out to pursue the narrow path, his primary problem remains the 
temptation to worship the God of this World. With great interest Blake watched the
careers of his fellow men as they met and responded to that moment. 'The Four Zoas', as 
its biblical superscription suggests, is largely devoted to wrestling against the rulers of the darkness of this world. 

In CHAPTER ONE we saw how Blake's life may be interpreted in terms of this fundamental psychic and spiritual event.

The Felpham Moment represented the ultimate level of the problem posed to him. Blake knew that Hayley was his friend and wished him well. But at Felpham he came to
realize that life offers us two kinds of friends. "Corporeal friends are spiritual enemies.
A corporeal friend may offer you the world and take your soul. Hayley was Blake's 
corporeal friend; he wanted for him the best that he knew; he wanted to help him make his way in the world!
Hayley was a worldling; he knew nothing of the Realms of day. His corporeal friendship 
was eternally dangerous to his protege. As a matter of fact he had sponsored
Godwin, before that spiritually oriented poet went crazy. It took Blake a while to work 
all this out, but when he did, the whole problem of God became clear. The God of this
World was clarified, named, cast into the lake, and soon thereafter the Divine Vision 
came to him with power. We have already quoted Blake's eloquent poetic description of
the event:
"Each man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that Hour
When his Humanity awake
And cast his Spectre into the lake."
(To find the source of this quatrain go to Jerusalem Plate 41 and put it before a mirror.)

In the circumstances of the Felpham visit Hayley incarnated to Blake the Spectre, the 
God of this World--not Hayley the man, but Hayley the spiritual principle who had acted 
upon Blake at his point of weakness to take his soul. Hayley the man was simply a 
fellow sufferer whom Blake continued to encourage through the years ahead, but what he 
had represented in Blake's mind, the smiling worldling, no longer had influence upon 
Blake's life. The Spectre was cast into the lake. 

The Spectre is the individual internal form of Satan or the God of this World. Another 
name for him is the Selfhood. He is the internal egocentric principle that causes a man
to see himself over against the rest of humanity. In his poem, 'Milton', Blake makes this 
identity clear with the words of Milton at the conclusion of the "Bard's Song", which has 
been devoted to an elaborate description of how Satan arises and acts in human life: 
"I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One!/ He is my Spectre!"

The Job series shows more eloquently than any words could how the conventional idea 
of God, a part of a man's psyche, eventually proves to be satanic. Job, a ruler of the
\world, comes to recognize that his God is satanic, passes through a spiritual death, and 
is reborn with a clarified vision. That's Job's story and Blake's story and everyman's

The gospel truth reveals that the satanic God of this World, our Spectre, our Selfhood, 
will die, and the Divine Image in us will rise to meet the true God in the Realms of day.
The theology here is a composite of Job and Revelation. Blake's life and work both attest 
that the way in which the satanic God dies is through our becoming aware of him.

Blake strove to do this consciously as an artist through what he called "building 
Golgonooza", but the Moment of Grace for him as always was not something that he
did, but something that happened to him when he had made himself ready.

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