young man he flirted with Swedenborg, but found him wanting.
Opposition is True Friendship
PLATE 21 of Marriage of Heaven and Hell (erdman 41-2) I have always found that Angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise; this they do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning: Thus Swedenborg boasts that what he writes is new; tho' it is only the Contents or Index of already publish'd books A man carried a monkey about for a shew, & because he was a little wiser than the monkey, grew vain, and conciev'd himself as much wiser than seven men. It is so with Swedenborg; he shews the folly of churches & exposes hypocrites, till he imagines that all are religious. & himself the single [PL 22] One on earth that ever broke a net.
Now hear a plain fact: Swedenborg has not written one new truth: Now hear another: he has written all the old falshoods....
And now hear the reason. He conversed with Angels who are all religious, & conversed not with Devils who all hate religion, for he was incapable thro' his conceited notions. Thus Swedenborgs writings are a recapitulation of all superficial opinions, and an analysis of the more sublime, but no further....
Have now another plain fact: Any man of mechanical talents may from the writings of Paracelsus or Jacob Behmen, produce ten thousand volumes of equal value with Swedenborg's. and from those of Dante or Shakespear, an infinite number. But when he has done this, let him not say that he knows better than his master, for he only holds a candle in sunshine.
Blake's values had a close affinity with Quakerism, but certain features of late
18th Century Quakerism were repellent. Like all Christian denominations the
earliest quakers were most often from the lower classes. But like Wesley said,
they got religion, quit their foolishness, saved their money, got rich, and like all
rich people exploited the poor.
Like Quakers Blake had mixed feelings about Wesley, who lived until 1791, when Blake was
35. Wesley had an orthodox theology, but wasn't able to preach in orthodox churches.
Blake was much more radical in his religious views; nevertheless he admired Wesley from a
distance. He used 'Westley' in Plate 22 and 23 of Milton:
But then I [Rintrah]
rais'd up Whitefield, Palamabron raisd up Westley, And these are the cries of the Churches before the two Witnesses['] t Faith in God the dear Saviour who took on the likeness of men: Becoming obedient to death, even the death of the Cross The Witnesses lie dead in the Street of the Great City No Faith is in all the Earth: the Book of God is trodden under Foot: He sent his two Servants Whitefield & Westley; were they Prophets Or were they Idiots or Madmen? shew us Miracles! PLATE 23  Can you have greater Miracles than these? Men who devote Their lifes whole comfort to intire scorn & injury & death
And in Jerusalem Plate 52 (Erdman 201) he wrote
Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart. This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus. Deism is the same & ends in the same. Voltaire Rousseau Gibbon Hume. charge the Spiritually Religious with Hypocrisy! but how a Monk or a Methodist either, can be a Hypocrite: I cannot concieve.
Blake disagreed with much that's considered 'Christian'. He
thought chastity was not a virtue. It's said that in his early marriage days
he proposed taking a concubine, but desisted when it made
his wife cry. Actually he and Catherine lived together faithfully
until his death.
Whereas salvation is conventionally thought to come by faith
in Christ, he thought salvation came when one forgives.
‘And throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me.
As our dear Redeemer said:
“This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’