|Yale Center for British Art|
Jerusalem, Plate 75
"And Rahab Babylon the Great hath destroyed Jerusalem"
The popular attraction of Deism was that it appealed to reason and postulated a God who did not interfere in the operation of the world. The transitions that the culture was undergoing from an agrarian to an industrialized economy, and from an authoritarian to an egalitarian political structure, were supported by the philosophies promulgated by Deists. Although there was not a uniform belief system among Deists, they undermined the belief among the masses that God could be turned to for guidance and assistance.
Blake saw that man was in danger of losing the spiritual foundations on which a society of brotherhood, community and faith could be sustained. Blake's desire was that man should awake to the possibilities within himself to reflect the benevolence, mercy, forgiveness and imagination of God. Man to Blake was Human because God was in Man and Man was in God. To him, a God who did not involve himself with man was no God at all; a society without a connection to the Divine would crumble into chaos.
Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 200) " |The Spiritual States of |the Soul are all Eternal Rahab is an | To the Deists. |Distinguish between the Eternal State | |Man, & his present State He never can be a Friend to the Human Race who is the Preacher of Natural Morality or Natural Religion. he is a flatterer who means to betray, to perpetuate Tyrant Pride & the Laws of that Babylon which he foresees shall shortly be destroyed, with the Spiritual and not the Natural Sword: He is in the State named Rahab: which State must be put off before he can be the Friend of Man. You O Deists profess yourselves the Enemies of Christianity: and you are so: you are also the Enemies of the Human Race & of Universal Nature. Man is born a Spectre or Satan & is altogether an Evil, & requires a New Selfhood continually & must continually be changed into his direct Contrary. But your Greek Philosophy (which is a remnant of Druidism) teaches that Man is Righteous in his Vegetated Spectre: an Opinion of fatal & accursed consequence to Man, as the Ancients saw plainly by Revelation to the intire abrogation of Experimental Theory. and many believed what they saw, and Prophecied of Jesus. Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God. Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine Name 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. We are Men of like passions with others & pretend not to be holier than others: therefore, when a Religious Man falls into Sin, he ought not to be calld a Hypocrite: this title is more properly to be given to a Player who falls into Sin; whose profession is Virtue & Morality & the making Men Self-Righteous. Foote in calling Whitefield, Hypocrite: was himself one: for Whitefield pretended not to be holier than others: but confessed his Sins before all the World; Voltaire! Rousseau! You cannot escape my charge that you are Pharisees & Hypocrites, for you are constantly talking of the Virtues of the Human Heart, and particularly of your own, that you may accuse others & especially the Religious, whose errors, you by this display of pretended Virtue, chiefly design to expose. Rousseau thought Men Good by Nature; he found them Evil & found no friend. Friendship cannot exist without Forgiveness of Sins continually. The Book written by Rousseau calld his Confessions is an apology & cloke for his sin & not a confession. But you also charge the poor Monks & Religious with being the causes of War: while you acquit & flatter the Alexanders & Caesars, the Lewis's & Fredericks: who alone are its causes & its actors. But the Religion of Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, can never be the cause of a War nor of a single Martyrdom. Those who Martyr others or who cause War are Deists, but never can be Forgivers of Sin. The Glory of Christianity is, To Conquer by Forgiveness. All the Destruction therefore, in Christian Europe has arisen from Deism, which is Natural Religion." Jerusalem, Plate 74, (E 229) "The Four Zoa's clouded rage; Urizen stood by Albion With Rintrah and Palamabron and Theotormon and Bromion These Four are Verulam & London & York & Edinburgh And the Four Zoa's are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona In opposition deadly, and their Wheels in poisonous And deadly stupor turn'd against each other loud & fierce Entering into the Reasoning Power, forsaking Imagination They became Spectres; & their Human Bodies were reposed In Beulah, by the Daughters of Beulah with tears & lamentations The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio Of the Things of Memory. It thence frames Laws & Moralities To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdoms & Wars Teach me O Holy Spirit the Testimony of Jesus! let me Comprehend wonderous things out of the Divine Law I behold Babylon in the opening Street of London, I behold Jerusalem in ruins wandering about from house to house This I behold the shudderings of death attend my steps ... I see a Feminine Form arise from the Four terrible Zoas Beautiful but terrible struggling to take a form of beauty Rooted in Shechem: this is Dinah, the youthful form of Erin The Wound I see in South Molton Street & Stratford place Whence Joseph & Benjamin rolld apart away from the Nations In vain they rolld apart; they are fixd into the Land of Cabul Plate 75 And Rahab Babylon the Great hath destroyed Jerusalem"