Friday, September 07, 2012
The fourth feature of Jesus came into Blake's consciousness as a new experience. It
came from Beyond. That is to say it was not an inward expression of Blake's psyche; it
came like the Son of God who had joined the three friends in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.
It wasn't something he thought of; it was something that happened to him.
It was the experience of forgiveness and self-annihilation, which are two sides of the
same coin. No one forgives until he has found the grace to annihilate at least momentarily
the law bound accusing spectre which is his Selfhood. And this is only possible as an act
of the Imagination, which is eternal, which is Christ. Whenever you successfully
nnihilate your old self to the point of truly forgiving another, the eternal Christ is alive
and at work in your soul. In fact it is he who does it. He is in you, and you are in him;
that's eternal life.
Reduced to its barest essential that's what Jesus finally came to mean for Blake. The only
unique thing about the man of Nazareth was that he taught forgiveness of one's enemies.
In this sense he incarnated God. God is love, is forgiveness. "If Morality was Christianity,
Socrates was the Saviour." Unlike Socrates Jesus was a man in whom God dwelt through
his vision and his acts of forgiveness.
The significance of the resurrection lies in the coming to life of Forgiveness, Jesus, in you
and me. In this way we defeat death.
"There is not one Moral Virtue that Jesus Inculcated
but Plato and Cicero did Inculcate before him; what then did Christ Inculcate?
Forgiveness of Sins. This alone is the Gospel,
and this is the Life and Immortality brought to light by Jesus,
Even the Covenant of Jehovah, which is This: If you forgive
one another your Trespasses, so shall Jehovah forgive you,
That he himself may dwell among you; but if you Avenge, you
Murder the Divine Image, and he cannot dwell among you; because
you Murder him he arises again, and you deny that he is Arisen,
and are blind to Spirit."
(Textual note for EG; E875)
It's quite a trick (or gift) to go from time to eternity.
Realms of Day:
"God appears, and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day."
(End of Auguries of Innocence)
The Divine Vision represented the radiance of the spiritual realm in its ascendance over
the material. In the Christian world its primary appearance of course is Jesus.
The term appears 48 times in Blake's major poems (The Four Zoas and Jerusalem)
according to the Blake concordance. Here is one instance: "For the Divine Lamb Even
Jesus who is the Divine Vision.." (Four Zoas [Nt 2], 33.11; E321.
Blake used the word divine in many other senses:
the Divine Image, another name for Christ:
"For the Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Vision" (FZ night ii 33:11)
"the Divine Family for the communion of saints, the bride of Christ; close in they are a
multitude; from afar they are One, Christ." (For this idea he leaned heavily on John 17.)
In Blake's 'Milton' the poet, Milton, "goes to Eternal Death" from his home in heaven, like
Jesus had done or Buddha, to rescue "the nations" from the toils of the God of this World
(Milton Plate 14:14).
I find it very interesting that at the age of four C.G.Jung is reported to have had a dream
in which a gigantic turd fell from the sky and landed on the local cathedral.
In 1800 at the invitation of the famous poet William Hayley, the Blakes moved to
Felpham in Sussex, near the sea. By 1803 they were back in London.
Blake used "the God of this world" 7 times according to the Blake concordance. Two of
them occur near the end of The Everlasting Gospel (page 523).
More blood has been shed in the name of Christ than almost any other source.
Urizen was one of the four zoas:
Broadly speaking the four zoas were
Tharmas- the body.
Urizen- the mind.
Los- the imagination
Luvah- the feelings
The Selfhood is one of many super complex metaphors that fill Blake's works. We can
see three different levels in which he used it:
1. At the moral level it represents the egocentricity, the term Blake gave for the fallen
man, He also calls it the Spectre and Satan. In modern psychological parlance it has the
meaning of the egocentric self as opposed to the Self, which Jung equated with Christ- the
2. The blindness to the spiritual (Eternal) shown by the person (or culture) who depends
exclusively upon the material, the life that one lives in the Sea of Time and Space.
3. A necessity to act in the material world. This led to Blake's understanding of the
necessity to continually annihilate and continually regenerate the Selfhood. The Selfhood
acts in the light of good and evil, chooses good to adhere to and evil to abhor or confront.
In Eternity this is no longer necessary, but in this vale of tears there's no other way to
Christ gives the Christian work to do, and it must be done in the realm of materiality.
Mortal life means materiality (among other things of course).
(For an introduction to Self-Annilation look at Plate 40 of Milton. To read this is a
difficult assignment, but it abounds in the particular Blake ideas that will help you
understand the whole bit.)
"Each man is in his Spectre's power
until the arrival of that hour
when his Humanity awake
and cast his Spectre in the lake." (Jerusalem)
Clicking on the label, God-a will show all of this series in sequence.
An earlier version of this theme can be found at God.