|A Vision of the Last Judgment|
Page 51 Drawings of William Blake: 92 Pencil Studies
By Sir Geoffrey Keynes
The upper part of The Vision of the Last Judgment, surrounding the image of Jesus seated on his throne, represents conditions in the unfallen world. In the Eternal world beyond time and space man is not passing thought the states characterizing fall and return. Man has traversed the states of error which led him downward or brought him upward. Under the Lord's protection he has embraced Truth. Humanity is shown in the blissful condition of enjoying the Mental Delights of "conversing with Eternal Realities as they Exist in the Human Imagination."
A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 561) "Around the Throne Heaven is opend & the Nature of Eternal Things Displayd All Springing from the Divine Humanity All beams from him Because as he himself has said All dwells in him He is the Bread & the Wine he is the Water of Life accordingly on Each Side of the opening Heaven appears an Apostle that on the Right Represents Baptism that on the Left Represents the Lords Supper All Life consists of these Two Throwing off Error & Knaves from our company continually & recieving Truth or Wise Men into our Company Continually. he who is out of the Church & opposes it is no less an Agent of Religion than he who is in it. to be an Error & to be Cast out is a part of Gods Design No man can Embrace True Art till he has Explord & Cast out False Art such is the Nature of Mortal Things or he will be himself Cast out by those who have Already Embraced True Art Thus My Picture is a History of Art & Science Society Which is Humanity itself. What are all the Gifts of the Spirit but Mental Gifts whenever any Individual Rejects Error & Embraces Truth a Last Judgment passes upon that Individual Over the Head of the Saviour & Redeemer The Holy Spirit like a Dove is surrounded by a blue Heaven in which are the two Cherubim that bowd over the Ark for here the temple is opend in Heaven & the Ark of the Covenant is as a Dove of Peace The Curtains are drawn apart Christ having rent the Veil The Candlestick & the Table of Shew bread appear on Each side a Glorification of Angels with Harps surround the Dove The Temple stands on the Mount of God from it flows on each side the River of Life on whose banks Grows the tree of Life among whose branches temples & Pinnacles tents & pavilions Gardens & Groves Display Paradise with its Inhabitants walking up & down in Conversations concerning Mental Delights Here they are no longer talking of what is Good & Evil or of what is Right or Wrong & puzzling themselves in Satans Labyrinth But are Conversing with Eternal Realities as they Exist in the Human Imagination We are in a World of Generation & death & this world we must cast off if we would be Painters Such as Rafael Mich Angelo & the Ancient Sculptors. if we do not cast off this world we shall be only Venetian Painters who will be cast off & Lost from Art Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are seen all around him Infants emanating from him these represent the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity A Rainbow surrounds the throne & the Glory in which youthful Nuptials recieve the infants in their hands In Eternity Woman is the Emanation of Man she has No Will of her own There is no such thing in Eternity as a Female Will On the Side next Baptism are seen those calld in the Bible Nursing Fathers & Nursing Mothers they have Crowns the Spectator may suppose them to be the good Kings Queens of England they represent Education On the Side next the Lords Supper. The Holy Family consisting of Mary Joseph John the Baptist Zacharias & Elizabeth recieving the Bread & Wine among other Spirits of the Just made perfect. beneath these a Cloud of Women & Children are taken up fleeing from the rolling Cloud which separates the Wicked from the Seats of Bliss. These represent those who tho willing were too weak to Reject Error without the Assistance & Countenance of those Already in the Truth for a Man Can only Reject Error by the Advice of a Friend or by the Immediate Inspiration of God it is for this Reason among many others that I have put the Lords Supper on the Left hand of the Throne for it appears so at the Last Judgment for a Protection"