The Grave - Page 4
The Grave - Page 4
Fuseli - IV. THE STRONG AND WICKED MAN DYING.
Book - 4 The Counseller, King, Warrior, Mother and Child in the Tomb
If we are looking at Eternal Death as passage through the material world by the Soul or Identity, we encounter both righteousness and wickedness. Fuseli places the image of The Strong and Wicked Man Dying at the beginning of the journey. The implication is that there is an accumulation of darkness or wickedness which enters worldly life when the Soul first puts on the garment of flesh.
Some religious people would call the baggage man carries into the world original sin which originated with the disobedience of Eve and Adam in Eden. John Wesley in his sermon Original Sin emphasized that the only escape from the wickedness which is the natural condition of fallen man is God's grace through which man is reborn as a new man with a new mind.
Excerpt from Wesley's sermon 44, Original Sin:
"Keep to the plain, old faith, "once delivered to the saints," and delivered by the Spirit of God to our hearts. Know your disease! Know your cure! Ye were born in sin: Therefore, "ye must be born again," born of God. By nature ye are wholly corrupted. By grace ye shall be wholly renewed. In Adam ye all died: In the second Adam, in Christ, ye all are made alive. "You that were dead in sins hath he quickened:" He hath already given you a principle of life, even faith in him who loved you and gave himself for you! Now, "go on from faith to faith," until your whole sickness be healed; and all that "mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus!""
Blake's image of The Strong and Wicked Man Dying can be seen as the death of the old man from the wickedness in which he lived, in preparation for the new birth into the knowledge of God which had been foreign to him in life. If Blake is illustrating mankind as carrying the burden of original sin as he enters The Door of Death - the gateway to the journey leading to Eternity - we see the wicked man being prepared to shed the error which had created his burden. As in his poem The Mental Traveller, Blake presented the life of man in terms of both his soul and his body whose influence may alternate as he gains experience. Using Wesley's imagery, in order for the sickness of man to be healed, he must undergo the process of receiving new life by dying to the old life.
Jerusalem, Plate 27, (E 171
"Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion! Can it be? Is it a
Truth that the Learned have explored? Was Britain the Primitive Seat of the Patriarchal Religion? If it is true: my title-page is also True, that Jerusalem was & is the Emanation of the Giant Albion. It is True, and cannot be controverted. Ye are united O ye Inhabitants of Earth in One Religion. The Religion of Jesus: the most Ancient, the Eternal: & the Everlasting Gospel--The Wicked will turn it to Wickedness, the Righteous to Righteousness. Amen! Huzza! Selah! "All things Begin & End in Albions Ancient Druid Rocky Shore.""
Four Zoas, Night II, Page 3, (E 300) PAGE 3 [4 lines of Greek text Ephesians 6:12] [For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (King James version)] A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 560) "The Graves beneath are opend & the Dead awake & obey the call of the Trumpet those on the Right hand awake in joy those on the Left in Horror. beneath the Dragons Cavern a Skeleton begins to Animate starting into life at the Trumpets sound while the Wicked contend with each other on the brink of perdition." A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 563) "beneath these a Cloud of Women & Children are taken up fleeing from the rolling Cloud which separates the Wicked from the Seats of Bliss. These represent those who tho willing were too weak to Reject Error without the Assistance & Countenance of those Already in the Truth for a Man Can only Reject Error by the Advice of a Friend or by the Immediate Inspiration of God it is for this Reason among many others that I have put the Lords Supper on the Left hand of the Throne for it appears so at the Last Judgment for a Protection" A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 563) "By this it will be seen that I do not consider either the Just or the Wicked to be in a Supreme State but to be every one of them States of the Sleep which the Soul may fall into in its Deadly Dreams of Good & Evil when it leaves Paradise following the Serpent" Annotations to Watson, (E 618) "This sense of the Bible is equally true to all & equally plain to all. none can doubt the impression which he recieves from a book of Examples. If he is good he will abhor wickedness in David or Abraham if he is wicked he will make their wickedness an excuse for his & so he would do by any other book" Annotations to Reynolds, (E 634) "the grandest Poetry is Immoral the Grandest characters Wicked. Very Satan. Capanius Othello a murderer. Prometheus. Jupiter. Jehovah, Jesus a wine bibber Cunning & Morality are not Poetry but Philosophy the Poet is Independent & Wicked the Philosopher is Dependent & Good Poetry is to excuse Vice & show its reason & necessary purgation"