Saturday, February 04, 2017


Wikipedia Commons Satan Smiting Job with Boils
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Page 6
Job 1
[20] Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
[21] And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
[22] In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 2
[6] And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
[7] So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
[8] And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
[9] Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
[10] But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

This is the Legend on the engraving which Blake later made of this image:

"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord (Job 1:21)
. . . and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown (Job 2:7)"
The previous image on Page 5 pictured three levels: that of God, that of Satan and that of Job. It was titled Satan Going Forth from the Presence of the Lord. On Page 6 we see only Job's level on which Satan has joined Job. The implication was that the struggle between Job and Satan would take place outside of the presence of God. The image which Job held of a punishing and rewarding God would be tested as Job experienced the physical pain of excruciating boils covering his body from head to foot. The title associated with Page 5 is Satan Smiting Job with Boils.

If Job had associated God with Satan the Tempter and Accuser, he would have followed his wife's advice and cursed God and died either spiritually or physically. Instead he chose to recognize the debt of life which he owed to God in spite of the affliction he suffered.

At this stage of Job's evolution, Satan was no longer located outside of Job. This was the first of Blake's images in which Job himself was enduring the suffering within himself. Job directly confronted Satan, not as a distant force which destroys his property, his wealth and his family, but as one which was breaking down the integrity of the physical body which the natural man associates with life itself. Job achieved the radical affirmation that it was God who gave life, not the physical body: that the essential "I" endures before the birth and after the death of the body.

Blake presented in this image the beginning of the unleashing of all the troubles and sorrows of the world upon Job. Satan has gone from an agent through which God might test Job's image of the divine to the means through which mankind may experience the consequences of living without consciousness of the Divine Presence. 

Four Zoas, Night III, Page 41, (E 328)
"Like a dark lamp. Eternal death haunts all my expectation
Rent from Eternal Brotherhood we die & are no more

I heard the Voice of Albion starting from his sleep

"Whence is this voice crying Enion that soundeth in my ears 
O cruel pity! O dark deceit! can Love seek for dominion         

And Luvah strove to gain dominion over the mighty Albion     
They strove together above the Body where Vala was inclos'd
And the dark Body of Albion left prostrate upon the crystal pavement
Coverd with boils from head to foot. the terrible smitings of Luvah

Then frownd the Fallen Man & put forth Luvah from his presence 
(I heard him: frown not Urizen: but listen to my Vision)

Page 42     
Saying, Go & die the Death of Man for Vala the sweet wanderer
I will turn the volutions of your Ears outward; & bend your Nostrils
Downward; & your fluxile Eyes englob'd, roll round in fear
Your withring Lips & Tongue shrink up into a narrow circle
Till into narrow forms you creep. Go take your fiery way         
And learn what 'tis to absorb the Man you Spirits of Pity & Love

O Urizen why art thou pale at the visions of Ahania          
Listen to her who loves thee lest we also are driven away."

Phillips Translation
2ND Corinthians 4
We wish you could see how all this is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.

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