Friday, February 06, 2015


Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan
"{16} Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, Flee from the wrath to come. [Matt. 3.7]

{17} The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket-gate? [Matt. 7:13,14] The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder shining light? [Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19] He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto: so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.
{18} So I saw in my dream that the man began to run.
 So, in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, 'Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' [Matt 7:8]

{60} "He that will enter in must first without
Stand knocking at the Gate, nor need he doubt
That is A KNOCKER but to enter in;
For God can love him, and forgive his sin."

He knocked, therefore, more than once or twice, saying--

"May I now enter here? Will he within
Open to sorry me, though I have been
An undeserving rebel? Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high."

At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Good-will, who asked who was there? and whence he came? and what he would have?

{61} CHR. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in?

GOOD-WILL. I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate."

Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress
Plate 10
Christian Knocks at the Wicket Gate
Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress
Plate 11
The Gate is Opened by Good-will


 Two of Blake's illustrations for Pilgrim's Progress, Plates 10 and 11, are devoted to the scene at the wicket-gate. Blake saw passing though gates as symbolic of undergoing transition to altered states of consciousness. Blake's Gates of Paradise depicts man passing through 18 gates as he traverses life from birth to death. Bunyan's Pilgrim was directed to pass through the wicket-gate in order to proceed in his quest to escape the 'wrath to come.'

In his illustrations Blake desires to change the emphasis on wrath to an emphasis on forgiveness. In the prologue to Gates of Paradise Blake states: "Mutual Forgiveness of each Vice Such are the Gates of Paradise." Jesus called himself "the door" and ''the way" indicating that his function is not to limit or restrict but to advance man as he progresses toward completion. Through Jesus man is able to forgive God, himself and his brothers, thereby receiving forgiveness in return.

The gate which Pilgrim passes through in Blake's images is the process of embracing the essence of forgiveness and being embraced by it. The potential energy of forgiveness has been changed to kinetic action.  

Matthew 7
[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
[14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7
[7] Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
[8] For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Matthew 9
[2] And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
[3] And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
[4] And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
[5] For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
[6] But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
[7] And he arose, and departed to his house.

John 10
[7] Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
[8] All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
[9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Gates of Paradise, (E 259)
"For The Sexes
Mutual Forgiveness of each Vice
Such are the Gates of Paradise"

Songs and Ballads, My Spectre, (E 477)
"Then shall we return & see
The worlds of happy Eternity

& Throughout all Eternity      
I forgive you you forgive me
As our dear Redeemer said                                   
This the Wine & this the Bread"

Everlasting Gospel, [Textural Notes], (E 876)
"It was when Jesus said to Me
     Thy Sins are all forgiven thee
     The Christian trumpets loud proclaim
     Thro all the World in Jesus name
     Mutual forgiveness of each Vice
     And oped the Gates of Paradise
     The Moral Virtues in Great fear
     Formed the Cross & Nails & Spear
     And the Accuser standing by
     Cried out Crucify Crucify
     Our Moral Virtues neer can be
     Nor Warlike pomp & Majesty
     For Moral Virtues all begin
     In the Accusations of Sin"

No comments: