Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job
atan Going Forth from the Presence of the Lord and Job's Charity
Butts Set

There is a lot to be seen in this illustration to the book of Job. Job and his wife are conforming to the standards of their religion by giving alms to the poor represented by a man who is old, blind and crippled, led by his faithful dog. Angels to the right and left give their approval. But Satan is descending with God's permission to pour his woes on the head of Job.

God in the picture is hidden from Job in clouds. He is the God afar off in the sky with his book of law and scroll of the elect. You might say that he is the God whom Job has created in his own image sitting on the same sort of stone platform. His relationship to Job is equivalent to Job's relationship to the beggar: distant but proper, involved at a superficial level.

To the left of Job is a trilithon which to Blake represented the Druid religion of sacrifice or Natural Religion. As Damon writes in A Blake Dictionary:
"Blake objected to the deist God, remote, and inaccessible, as he believed that God exists actively in our bosoms. He objected to the deistic nature worship, with its idea that the world of three dimensions is all, and that it operates by cause and effect." (Page 101)

In this passage Blake equates the Religion of Satan, Deism, Natural Religion, Natural Philosophy, Natural Morality and Self-Righteousness.

Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)
"Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion
of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the
Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and
destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God.
Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the
Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches
Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not
the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine
Name Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God
of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and
Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or
Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart.
This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus. Deism
is the same & ends in the same."

Blake suggests that although Job originally worships the God of this world who goes by the name Satan, his error is made known to him by bitter experience. He comes to know the ever present God who has the power to reveal the Eternal World to man.

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