Friday, July 19, 2019


Fitzwilliam Museum
Milton's Paradise Regained
Andrew and Peter searching for Christ
Paradise Regained, Book 2

"Meanwhile the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd
Jesus Messiah Son of God declar'd,
And on that high Authority had believ'd, [ 5 ]
And with him talkt, and with him lodg'd, I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known
With others though in Holy Writ not nam'd,
Now missing him thir joy so lately found,
So lately found, and so abruptly gone, [ 10 ]
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And as the days increas'd, increas'd thir doubt:
Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,
And for a time caught up to God,
Behold the kings of the Earth how they oppress
Thy chosen, to what highth thir pow'r unjust [ 45 ]
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of thee, arise and vindicate
Thy Glory, free thy people from thir yoke,
But let us wait; thus far He hath perform'd,
Sent his Anointed, and to us reveal'd him,"

Mark 1
[13] And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
[14] Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
[15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
[16] Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
[17] And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
[18] And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Book Two of Paradise Regained returns the scene to the Jordon River where John the Baptist and his followers remember the baptism of Jesus and Voice which identified him as the Son of God. Andrew and his brother Simon were among the group who hoped that they had witnessed the coming of the Messiah. As they saw no tangible results of the event they had witnessed, they became disheartened. When they thought of the patience that was required of their ancestors as they waited for the Lord to act, they determined to be patient and wait because they had themselves witnessed a revelation of the Lord's Anointed.

The biblical account does not indicate that Andrew and Simon were present at Jesus' baptism. The two fishermen instead responded to the call which Jesus initiated. It was Milton who created the concept of Andrew and Simon seeking Jesus after an initial observation at the baptism. In creating his illustrations Blake chose to give prominence to the idea that the fishermen had been made ready to answer the call of Jesus by their internal preparation of recognition of the unique event at the baptism of Jesus, association with accounts in their scriptures, seeking to keep sight of the man who was singled out a the Son of God, and waiting until they had the opportunity to follow him.

The gestures of the four figures in Blake's illustration suggest recognition and acceptance on the part of the two disciples; and praise and gratitude on the part of the two angels. 
Descriptive Catalogue, (E 541)
"The Prophets describe what they saw in Vision
as real and existing men whom they saw with their imaginative and
immortal organs; the Apostles the same; the clearer the organ the
more distinct the object.  A Spirit and a Vision are not, as the 
modern philosophy supposes, a cloudy vapour or a
nothing: they are organized and minutely articulated beyond all
that the mortal and perishing nature can produce.  He who does
not imagine in stronger and better lineaments, and in stronger
and better light than his perishing mortal eye can see does not
imagine at all."  
John 1
[35] Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
[36] And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
[37] And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
[38] Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
[39] He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
[40] One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
[41] He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
[42] And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

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