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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Mark 10
[42] But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
[43] But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
[44] And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
[45] For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
[46] And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
[47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
[48] And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
[49] And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
[50] And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
[51] And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
[52] And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Yale Center for British Art
Christ Giving Sight to Bartimaeus
Blake chose to illustrate another biblical incident of healing in his picture of Christ Giving Sight to  Bartimaeus. The event which is told only in Mark's gospel appears immediately following the explanation Jesus gives to the disciples of the difference between worldly authority and authority among his followers. The healing of Bartimaeus is a demonstration of the type of servanthood which should be practised by those who would be great among his disciples. The blind man sought mercy, he responded to the call from Jesus, he unencumbered himself, he asked for what he needed, he exercised faith and he responded to Jesus's gift by following the master. 

The physical blindness of Bartimaeus did not result in spiritual blindness. Through faith he cried out and was made whole. Blake shows in his illustration (as does Mark) that the faith of the three disciples may still be in question. 

The Everlasting Gospel, (E 522)
"My Sin thou hast forgiven me        
Canst thou forgive my Blasphemy
Canst thou return to this dark Hell
And in my burning bosom dwell
And canst thou Die that I may live
And canst thou Pity & forgive       
Then Rolld the shadowy Man away
From the Limbs of Jesus to make them his prey
An Ever devo[u]ring appetite
Glittering with festering Venoms bright
Crying Crucify this cause of distress        
Who dont keep the secrets of Holiness
All Mental Powers by Diseases we bind
But he heals the Deaf & the Dumb & the Blind
Whom God has afflicted for Secret Ends
He comforts & Heals & calls them Friends"   

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