|Four Zoas, Night I|
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 2, (E 301)
"Rest before Labour"
"4 lines of Greek text
Ephesians 6: 12
[King James version:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
The implication of Blake's text on Page 2 of the Four Zoas, "Rest before Labour," is that he will undertake the task which the apostle Paul recommends to his readers in Ephesus. The task is not to be undertaken lightly or without preparation. Although Blake quotes only one verse from Ephesians, a longer passage is applicable to the rest and labour to which he refers.
 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The preparation is for the labour of doing battle with the spiritual forces which rule this world. Blake calls this intellectual battle. The preparation which must come before the labour is rest: not physical rest but faith which provides the whole armour of God.
The author of Hebrews equates entering into rest with being able to believe or keep one's heart open to receiving the promise.
 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
We need to begin with rest if we are to enter the labour of reading Blake's tour through the battlefields where the the Four Mighty Ones struggle to become One as Jesus prayed we might become. With belief or assurance we may travel through a wilderness, but we will not be left without hope.
 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.