Plate 41, Copy A
Forgiveness, Blake knew, was the way that Jesus taught as the means of dealing with the enemy. Often we know we should forgive and we want to forgive, but our reasoning minds will not let us do it. Rationally there are obstructions like fear, self-preservation, justice, and obedience to the law, preventing us from forgiving.
Part of what Blake needed to realize was what he later stated in this passage in Jerusalem. He needed to know that God forgives without condition: that we acknowledge our participation in God's family by forgiving and being forgiven. If his reasoning mind prevented him from accepting this he must change his reasoning mind.
Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212) "Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold! There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You: That He Himself may Dwell among You."The realization that the Selfhood, the internal need of self-justification and self-preservation is the cause of the failure to forgive, led Blake to formulate his means of forgiving. This he learned to do by recognising the opposing force as a part of himself. He could not eliminate his enemy but he could identify the enemy as a part of himself which he could love.
Milton, PLATE 38 , (E 139) "In the Eastern porch of Satans Universe Milton stood & said Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to annihilate And be a greater in thy place, & be thy Tabernacle A covering for thee to do thy will, till one greater comes And smites me as I smote thee & becomes my covering. Such are the Laws of thy false Heavns! but Laws of Eternity Are not such: know thou: I come to Self Annihilation Such are the Laws of Eternity that each shall mutually Annihilate himself for others good, as I for thee[.] Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Priests & of thy Churches Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach Trembling & fear, terror, constriction; abject selfishness Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on In fearless majesty annihilating Self, laughing to scorn Thy Laws & terrors, shaking down thy Synagogues as webs" Milton, Plate 42, (E 142) "There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries The Negation is the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man This is a false Body: an Incrustation over my Immortal Spirit; a Selfhood, which must be put off & annihilated alway To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination." Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199) "A World where Man is by Nature the enemy of Man Because the Evil is Created into a State. that Men May be deliverd time after time evermore. Amen. Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels: This is the only means to Forgiveness of Enemies[.]" Letter to Hayley, ( E 757) 23 October 1804 "I thank God with entire confidence that it shall be so no longer--he is become my servant who domineered over me, he is even as a brother who was my enemy." Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 95, (E 367) "Los embracd the Spectre first as a brother Then as another Self; astonishd humanizing & in tears In Self abasement Giving up his Domineering lust"