British Museum Small Book of Designs from Book of Urizen
The Last Judgment for Blake is such a transition. What is consumed is the Old Man so that the New Man may be born. Or we may say that the accumulation of error which limits man's growth is burned up and he is left with a fresh slate. To be consumed is not to be punished or tortured but to be purified or refined in order to release man from his imprisonments.
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 52, (E 30) To Tirzah "Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth, Must be consumed with the Earth To rise from Generation free; Then what have I to do with thee?" Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 14, (E 39) "The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true. as I have heard from Hell. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite. and holy whereas it now appears finite & corrupt. Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 22, (E 43) "When he had so spoken: I beheld the Angel who stretched out his arms embracing the flame of fire & he was consumed and arose as Elijah." Milton, Plate 18 , (E 111) "Orc answerd. Take not the Human Form O loveliest. Take not Terror upon thee! Behold how I am & tremble lest thou also Consume in my Consummation; but thou maist take a Form Female & lovely, that cannot consume in Mans consummation Wherefore dost thou Create & Weave this Satan for a Covering[?] When thou attemptest to put on the Human Form, my wrath Burns to the top of heaven against thee in Jealousy & Fear. Then I rend thee asunder, then I howl over thy clay & ashes When wilt thou put on the Female Form as in times of old With a Garment of Pity & Compassion like the Garment of God His garments are long sufferings for the Children of Men Jerusalem is his Garment & not thy Covering Cherub O lovely Shadow of my delight who wanderest seeking for the prey." Milton, Plate 25 , (E 122) "The other two Classes; The Reprobate who never cease to Believe, and the Redeemd, Who live in doubts & fears perpetually tormented by the Elect These you shall bind in a twin-bundle for the Consummation-- But the Elect must be saved [from] fires of Eternal Death, To be formed into the Churches of Beulah that they destroy not the Earth" Milton, Plate 25 , (E 122) "Crave not for the mortal & perishing delights, but leave them To the weak, and pity the weak as your infant care; Break not Forth in your wrath lest you also are vegetated by Tirzah Wait till the Judgement is past, till the Creation is consumed And then rush forward with me into the glorious spiritual Vegetation; the Supper of the Lamb & his Bride; and the Awaking of Albion our friend and ancient companion. So Los spoke. But lightnings of discontent broke on all sides round And murmurs of thunder rolling heavy long & loud over the mountains While Los calld his Sons around him to the Harvest & the Vintage." A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 565) The Last Judgment is an Overwhelming of Bad Art & Science. Mental Things are alone Real what is Calld Corporeal Nobody Knows of its Dwelling Place it is in Fallacy & its Existence an Imposture Where is the Existence Out of Mind or Thought Where is it but in the Mind of a Fool. Some People flatter themselves that there will be No Last Judgment & that Bad Art will be adopted & mixed with Good Art That Error or Experiment will make a Part of Truth & they Boast that it is its Foundation these People flatter themselves I will not Flatter them Error is Created Truth is Eternal Error or Creation will be Burned Up & then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance & not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it." A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 562) "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"
 "You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I make you hear new things, hidden things which you have not known.
 They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, `Behold, I knew them.'
 You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and that from birth you were called a rebel.
 "For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.
 Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Mid'ian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.
 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
 and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
 His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven."
 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain.
 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe;
 for our God is a consuming fire.