These activities which dominate our contemporary culture may be manifestations of our devotion to Natural Religion:
preoccupation with appearance of one's body,
desire to exploit the resources of nature,
fear of dying,
willingness to exploit the weak for the benefit of the strong.
|Yale Center for British Art
Copy E, Plate 24
On Plate 24 of Jerusalem we see Albion, the Universal Man, being tortured by Rahab, Vala and Tirzah, three aspects of Natural Religion. All three are manifestations in the fallen world of Eternal realities which have been debased. Rahab as Moral Virture imputes sin or righteousness to individuals rather than to the states through they pass. Vala spreads her veil to prevent man from perceiving the Eternal through the world in which he lives. Tirzah provides man with a physical body to lure him from consciousness of his spiritual body.
Blake saw the danger of replacing revealed religion with the worship of the material world, and spoke out with great force against Natural Religion.
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 115, (E 386) "The Synagogue of Satan therefore uniting against Mystery Satan divided against Satan resolvd in open Sanhedrim To burn Mystery with fire & form another from her ashes For God put it into their heart to fulfill all his will The Ashes of Mystery began to animate they calld it Deism And Natural Religion as of old so now anew began Babylon again in Infancy Calld Natural Religion" Jerusalem, Plate 90, (E 250) "So Los spoke. And the Giants of Albion terrified & ashamed With Los's thunderous Words, began to build trembling rocking Stones For his Words roll in thunders & lightnings among the Temples Terrified rocking to & fro upon the earth, & sometimes Resting in a Circle in Maiden or in Strathness or Dura. Plotting to devour Albion & Los the friend of Albion Denying in private: mocking God & Eternal Life: & in Public Collusion, calling themselves Deists, Worshipping the Maternal Humanity; calling it Nature, and Natural Religion But still the thunder of Los peals loud & thus the thunder's cry These beautiful Witchcrafts of Albion, are gratifyd by Cruelty"
Milton, Plate 40 , (E 141) "Before Ololon Milton stood & percievd the Eternal Form Of that mild Vision; wondrous were their acts by me unknown Except remotely; and I heard Ololon say to Milton I see thee strive upon the Brooks of Arnon. there a dread And awful Man I see, oercoverd with the mantle of years. I behold Los & Urizen. I behold Orc & Tharmas; The Four Zoa's of Albion & thy Spirit with them striving In Self annihilation giving thy life to thy enemies 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 Is Ololon the cause of this? O where shall I hide my face These tears fall for the little-ones: the Children of Jerusalem Lest they be annihilated in thy annihilation. No sooner she had spoke but Rahab Babylon appeard Eastward upon the Paved work across Europe & Asia Glorious as the midday Sun in Satans bosom glowing: A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War Namd Moral Virtue; cruel two-fold Monster shining bright A Dragon red & hidden Harlot which John in Patmos saw ... But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty Milton Replied. Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man All that can be annihilated must be annihilated That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from slavery"
If we are inclined to think that it is science that upholds the notion that the world is matter only, we should note what Max Planck had to say:
"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."
Max Planck, Das Wesen der Materie, 1944