Monday, April 27, 2015

pilgrim 8


"My dark and cloudy words, they do but hold The truth, as cabinets enclose the gold." Bunyan
Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress  
Plate 28
At the Gates of Heaven
Norvig attempts to enlighten her audience on Blake's practice of Visionary Hermeneutics which she learned from her teacher William Blake by studying his illustrations to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The heart of her book is her commentary on each of Blake's 28 illustrations. But the illustrations are not to be viewed individually but as a whole, commenting on one another and complementing others as do Blake's Illustration to the Book of Job. She compares, in detail, the process that they illustrate to the process delineated in Gates of Paradise. In the illustrations toPilgrim's Progress as in his work from beginning to end, Blake sought to open to his readers the avenue to the visionary world he experienced.
In Blake's iIllustration Pilgrim and Hopeful, together with the two Ministering Spirits, arise as a quaternity, signifying in Blake's system the wholeness that has been achieved by passing through the stages of spiritual development discernable to Blake in Pilgrim's journey.
Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan
"Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.
{393} Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate."
{396} Now while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a
company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom it was
said, by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have
loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all
for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have
brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go
in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.  Then the heavenly
host gave a great shout, saying, "Blessed are they which are called
unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."  [Rev. 19:9] There came out
also at this time to meet them, several of the King's trumpeters,
clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises,
and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound.  These
trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand
welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting, and sound
of trumpet.

{397} This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went
before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left,
(as it were to guard them through the upper regions), continually
sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high:  so
that the very sight was, to them that could behold it, as if heaven
itself was come down to meet them.  Thus, therefore, they walked
on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters,
even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and
gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother, how welcome
they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to
meet them; and now were these two men, as it were, in heaven, before
they came at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and
with hearing of their melodious notes.  Here also they had the city
itself in view, and they thought they heard all the bells therein
to ring, to welcome them thereto.  But above all, the warm and
joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there, with
such company, and that for ever and ever.  Oh, by what tongue or
pen can their glorious joy be expressed!  And thus they came up to
the gate.

{398} Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over
it in letters of gold, "Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city."  [Rev. 22:14]

{399} Then I saw in my dream that the Shining Men bid them call
at the gate; the which, when they did, some looked from above over
the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, &c., to whom it was
said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for
the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the
Pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they
had received in the beginning; those, therefore, were carried in
to the King, who, when he had read them, said, Where are the men?
To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate.  The
King then commanded to open the gate, "That the righteous nation,"
said he, "which keepeth the truth, may enter in."  [Isa. 26:2]

{400} Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the
gate:  and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they
had raiment put on that shone like gold.  There was also that met
them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them--the harps to
praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour.  Then I heard
in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and
that it was said unto them, "ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD."
I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice,
[Rev. 5:13]

{401} Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men,
I looked in after them, and, behold, the City shone like the sun;
the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many
men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden
harps to sing praises withal.

{402} There were also of them that had wings, and they answered
one another without intermission, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the
Lord."  [Rev. 4:8] And after that they shut up the gates; which,
when I had seen, I wished myself among them.

{403} Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my
head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side;
but he soon got over, and that without half that difficulty which
the other two men met with.  For it happened that there was then
in that place, one Vain-hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped
him over; so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come
up to the gate, only he came alone; neither did any man meet him
with the least encouragement.  When he was come up to the gate, he
looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock,
supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to
him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the
gate, Whence came you, and what would you have?  He answered, I
have eat and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught
in our streets.  Then they asked him for his certificate, that they
might go in and show it to the King; so he fumbled in his bosom
for one, and found none.  Then said they, Have you none?  But the
man answered never a word.  So they told the King, but he would
not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that
conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City, to go out and take
Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away.  Then
they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that
I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there.  Then I saw
that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as
well as from the City of Destruction.  So I awoke, and behold it
was a dream.

{404} The Conclusion.

  Now, Reader, I have told my dream to thee;
  See if thou canst interpret it to me,
  Or to thyself, or neighbour; but take heed
  Of misinterpreting; for that, instead
  Of doing good, will but thyself abuse:
  By misinterpreting, evil ensues.

  Take heed, also, that thou be not extreme,
  In playing with the outside of my dream:
  Nor let my figure or similitude
  Put thee into a laughter or a feud.
  Leave this for boys and fools; but as for thee,
  Do thou the substance of my matter see.

  Put by the curtains, look within my veil,
  Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail,
  There, if thou seekest them, such things to find,
  As will be helpful to an honest mind.

  What of my dross thou findest there, be bold
  To throw away, but yet preserve the gold;
  What if my gold be wrapped up in ore?--
  None throws away the apple for the core.
  But if thou shalt cast all away as vain,
  I know not but 'twill make me dream again.
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

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