Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bible3 Prophets

"Would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets", said Moses
near the end of his life.  The common meaning of 'Prophet' for most
ordinary people was 'someone who foretells the future'.

In biblical days bands of roving prophets used to roam around the country.

Here is a more incisive definition:
"A prophet is basically a spokesman for G-d, a person chosen by G-d to speak to people on G-d's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to G-d. They set the standards for the entire community."

My definition: a prophet is someone who understands what's happening and tells people what they might expect if it continues.

Blake saw the misery resulting from the Industrial Revolution, just as some people today will tell us what may happen as a consequence of the Global Revolution. In both cases the poor will pay, many people will become poor, while a few will get rich.


The end of the preface to Milton (better known as the hymn called Jerusalem:

Would to God that all the Lords people were Prophets.
                                        Numbers XI. ch 29 v.
(or Numbers 11.29)

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 12, Erdman 38 Blake wrote:
"The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked
them how they dared so roundly to assert. that God spake to them;"
(Read on.) 


The 'Eternal Prophet' appears five times in the Book of Urizen and several times in various other books.


In the mythological writings of William BlakeLos is the fallen (earthly or human) form of Urthona, one of the four Zoas. He is referred to as the "eternal prophet" and creates the visionary city of Golgonooza.



Los, as depicted in The Book of Urizen,
copy G, in the collection of
the 
Library of Congress[1]

The later and more serious poems of William Blake are referred to as the Prophetic books.

Milton Plates 22 and 22 (Erdman 118):
"But then I rais'd up Whitefield, Palamabron raisd up Westley,    

And these are the cries of the Churches before the two 
     Witnesses[']                                               
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 [25]
Can you have greater Miracles than these? Men who devote
Their lifes whole comfort to intire scorn & injury & death
Awake thou sleeper on the Rock of Eternity Albion awake"

(A Descriptiv Catalogue Erdman 541:
"The Prophets describe what they saw in Vision
as real and existing men whom they saw with their imaginative and
immortal organs; the Apostles the same;"

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 121):
"Los is by mortals nam'd Time Enitharmon is nam'd Space
But they depict him bald & aged who is in eternal youth
All powerful and his locks flourish like the brows of morning
He is the Spirit of Prophecy the ever apparent Elias
Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Times swiftness
Which is the swiftest of all things: all were eternal torment:
All the Gods of the Kingdoms of Earth labour in Los's Halls.
Every one is a fallen Son of the Spirit of Prophecy"

3 comments:

Geir Uthaug said...

I am a Norwegian writer, and have translated Milton which is going into print. I need to know the meaning of the sentence "Men who devote their lifes Whole Comfort to intire scorn etc. (Mil 23,1-2) I don't see how it can mean "entire" in the normal sense. It seems to me to be a verb meaning chastise or critisize or something along those lines, but this does not correspond to any meaning in the dictionary. I will appreciate Your help, as I am at a loss here. The book is going into print this week, so it is very urgent.

ellie said...

I have looked at the word on Plate 23. You are right that entire does not seem appropriate. It is possible that Blake meant to write 'intice', an archaic form of 'entice'. It fits the context better and is similar in appearance.

Congratulations on your book.I hope you entice many readers to Blake.

ellie said...

"He sent his two Servants Whitefield & Westley; were they Prophets
Or were they Idiots or Madmen? shew us Miracles!

PLATE 23 [25]
Can you have greater Miracles than these? Men who devote
Their lifes whole comfort to intire scorn & injury & death"

The two Servants cared nothing about how the world received them. They sacrificed the world's comforts and invited its scorn to bring the message of the Gospel to those who could receive it.