Sir Isaac Newton
Pencil Drawing, 1795
The Web of Life, Page 19:
"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the medieval world-view, based on Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology, changed radically. The notion of an organic, living, and spiritual universe was replaced by that of the world as a machine, and the world machine became the dominant metaphor of the modern era. This radical change was brought about by the new discoveries in physics, astronomy, and mathematics known as the Scientific Revolution and associated with the names of Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, and Newton."
"The first strong opposition to the mechanistic Cartesian paradigm came from the Romantic movement in art, literature, and philosophy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. William Blake, the great mystical poet and painter who exerted a strong influence on English Romanticism, was a passionate critic of Newton. He summarized his critique in these celebrated lines:
May God us keep
from single vision and Newton's sleep."
Newton's role in initiating a scientific and philosophical revolution is noted in this passage in which Newton seized the trumpet and announced the apocalypse when Albion's Angel hesitated to signal the last doom.
Europe, Plate 12, (E 65) Between the clouds of Urizen the flames of Orc roll heavy Around the limbs of Albions Guardian, his flesh consuming. Howlings & hissings, shrieks & groans, & voices of despair Arise around him in the cloudy Heavens of Albion, Furious Plate 13 The red limb'd Angel siez'd, in horror and torment; The Trump of the last doom; but he could not blow the iron tube! Thrice he assay'd presumptuous to awake the dead to Judgment. A mighty Spirit leap'd from the land of Albion, Nam'd Newton; he siez'd the Trump, & blow'd the enormous blast!Here we see Urizen turning over to Newton & Locke the sense based philosophy of analyzing every living thing into non-living parts.
Song of Los, Plate 4, (E 68) "Thus the terrible race of Los & Enitharmon gave Laws & Religions to the sons of Har binding them more And more to Earth: closing and restraining: Till a Philosophy of Five Senses was complete Urizen wept & gave it into the hands of Newton & Locke"Blake identifies Satan as Newton's pantocrator in this passage. The clockwork universe whose wheels turn like the cogged wheels of the machines in a mill, eliminates the presence of a Divine Providence. The eternal dimension doesn't have a place in a world explained by the laws and forces defined by Newton.
Milton, Plate 4, (E 98) "O Satan my youngest born, art thou not Prince of the Starry Hosts And of the Wheels of Heaven, to turn the Mills day & night? Art thou not Newtons Pantocrator weaving the Woof of Locke To Mortals thy Mills seem every thing & the Harrow of Shaddai A scheme of Human conduct invisible & incomprehensible"This passage is a continuation of the idea that the connection between God and man is destroyed in a religion which leaves no place for man to be influenced by Divine intervention.
Milton, Plate 40 , (E 141) Are those who contemn Religion & seek to annihilate it Become in their Femin[in]e portions the causes & promoters Of these Religions, how is this thing? this Newtonian Phantasm This Voltaire & Rousseau: this Hume & Gibbon & Bolingbroke This Natural Religion! this impossible absurdity"The consequences of the revolution in understanding the structure of the universe as capable of being explained by analyzing its parts as material objects is emphatically rejected by Blake.
Milton, Plate 40 , (E 142) "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. Plate 41  To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albions covering To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration"