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

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Blake gives attention to two forms of sacrifice: the sacrifice of others, and the sacrifice of self. To Blake nothing could be farther from God's intent for man than that he sacrifice others for his own benefit. Blake would include war, corporal punishment, prostitution, slavery and child labor among the ways man sacrifices others for himself. These are perversions of the sacrifice which characterizes Eternity: the continual mutual forgiveness of the debt that is owed.
Jerusalem, Plate 27, (E 174)
  "If Humility is Christianity; you O Jews are the true
Christians; If your tradition that Man contained in his Limbs,
all Animals, is True & they were separated from him by cruel
Sacrifices: and when compulsory cruel Sacrifices had brought
Humanity into a Feminine Tabernacle, in the loins of Abraham &
David: the Lamb of God, the Saviour became apparent on Earth as
the Prophets had foretold? The Return of Israel is a Return to
Mental Sacrifice & War.  Take up the Cross O Israel & follow

Jerusalem, Plate 28, (E 174)
"He sat by Tyburns brook, and underneath his heel, shot up!
A deadly Tree, he nam'd it Moral Virtue, and the Law             
Of God who dwells in Chaos hidden from the human sight.

The Tree spread over him its cold shadows, (Albion groand)
They bent down, they felt the earth and again enrooting
Shot into many a Tree! an endless labyrinth of woe!

From willing sacrifice of Self, to sacrifice of (miscall'd) Enemies  
For Atonement: Albion began to erect twelve Altars,
Of rough unhewn rocks, before the Potters Furnace
He nam'd them Justice, and Truth. And Albions Sons
Must have become the first Victims, being the first transgressors
But they fled to the mountains to seek ransom: building A Strong 
Fortification against the Divine Humanity and Mercy,
In Shame & Jealousy to annihilate Jerusalem!"

Jerusalem, Plate 48, (E 197)
"The Place of Holy Sacrifice! 
Where Friends Die for each other: will become the Place,
Of Murder, & Unforgiving, Never-awaking Sacrifice of Enemies
The Children must be sacrific'd! (a horror never known
Till now in Beulah.) unless a Refuge can be found
To hide them from the wrath of Albions Law that freezes sore     
Upon his Sons & Daughters, self-exiled from his bosom"

British Museum
Illustration to Young's Night Thoughts
Christian Triumph
Sacrifice in Eternity bears no resemblance to the sacrifice of others in time which prevents individuals from becoming expressions of the Holy Spirit within them. In Eternity there is no tally sheet to track the debt of each to each. Being part of the Brotherhood enables each to give and receive without thought of repayment. Each does not even owe a debt of gratitude for all share in the mercy whose supply is unlimited. Jesus is the Elder Brother who stands beside us. He willingly shares our burdens and sorrows for he took on the Robe of Blood and becomes a mortal man.
Milton Percival in William Blake's Circle of Destiny expands our understanding of the role of Christ as a sacrifice:
"Since Christ descends to take on and put off mortality, we see him in two forms - an eternal form and a mortal form, a 'human' form and a 'sexual' form. The one is the supernal Christ, embodied in the Divine Vision, which man need never have lost. The other is the mortal and sexual Christ, image of the spirit of forgiveness reborn after ages of struggle between the sundered contraries. He has assumed the body of death that he may put it off in a spiritual rebirth. This body of death - the whole religious structure reared on the selfhood - is the 'mortal' body which is crucified on the 'stems of Mystery.' Christ descends into the grave of time and the 'dark religions,' but he leaves there his mortal body and rises again into eternal life. In the life of the mortal Christ there is, then, an image of man's spiritual history. Christ's maternal birth, his crucifixion, and his resurrection have all a symbolic cosmic value." (Page 141)

The self sacrifice that is required of man is not pain and torture but the willingness to relinquish everything that separates then from reaching the full potential as Children of God.

First John 3
[2] Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Jerusalem, Plate 60, (E 211)
"I heard his voice in my sleep O his Angel in my dream:

'Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall
Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity
That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven
Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the    
Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation
Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins
In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold!
There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant
Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You:    
That He Himself may Dwell among You.'"
Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious          
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend     
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour"

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 98 [96], (E 371) 
"As the Eldest brother is the fathers image So Orc became
As Los a father to his brethren & he joyd in the dark lake
Tho bound with chains of Jealousy & in scales of iron & brass

But Los loved them & refusd to Sacrifice their infant limbs   
And Enitharmons smiles & tears prevaild over self protection
They rather chose to meet Eternal death than to destroy
The offspring of their Care & Pity Urthonas spectre was comforted"

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 17 [115],  (E 381) 
"Jerusalem pitying them wove them mantles of life & death
Times after times And those in Eden sent Lucifer for their Guard
Lucifer refusd to die for Satan & in pride he forsook his charge
Then they sent Molech Molech was impatient They sent
Molech impatient They Sent Elohim who created Adam
To die for Satan Adam refusd but was compelld to die
By Satans arts. Then the Eternals Sent Shaddai
Shaddai was angry Pachad descended Pachad was terrified
And then they Sent Jehovah who leprous stretchd his hand to Eternity
Then Jesus Came & Died willing beneath Tirzah & Rahab" 

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