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

Thursday, December 4, 2014


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
When we compare the three following statements made by Paine, Watson and Blake we get an idea of the theological positions which divided them. Their political attitudes were aligned closely with their religious commitments. Paine was the revolutionary: his hopes were in bringing justice, mercy and happiness into the world in which he lived. Watson was the conformist: his hopes were in preserving the status quo which included the ruling monarchy and the church which was established by the government. The Bible was the instrument through which the conventional practices were supported. Blake was oriented toward the Kingdom of Heaven not earthly kingdoms: the change he most sought was that all mankind may be awakened to the presence of God within.   

Paine, The Age o Reason, Part 1:
"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy."

Watson, Apology for the Bible:
"The Supreme Being selected one family from an idolatrous world; nursed it up, by various acts of his providence, into a great nation; communicated to that nation a knowledge of his holiness, justice, mercy, power, and wisdom; disseminated them, at various times, through every part of the earth, that they might be a 'leaven to leaven the whole lump,' that they might assure all other nations of the existence of one Supreme God, the creator and preserver of the world, the only proper object of adoration."

Blake, There is no Natural Religion:
"The desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite
& himself Infinite
     Conclusion,   If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic
character. the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the
ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat
the same dull round over again
     Application.   He who sees the Infinite in all things sees
God.  He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.

Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is"

Blake and Paine were dissenters from the religion authorized and paid for by the state through the tithes of everyone. Bishop Watson was employed by the state religion, the Anglican Church, and his salary was paid by those compulsory tithes. Blake and Paine went further than most dissenters in that they joined no religious organization. The kept their worship private and publicly served their fellow man according the conscience God planted within. 


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