Four Zoas Manuscript
Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 115 , (E 385) "Rahab triumphs over all she took Jerusalem Captive A Willing Captive by delusive arts impelld To worship Urizens Dragon form to offer her own Children Upon the bloody Altar. John Saw these things Reveald in Heaven On Patmos Isle & heard the Souls cry out to be deliverd He saw the Harlot of the Kings of Earth & saw her Cup Of fornication food of Orc & Satan pressd from the fruit of Mystery But when she saw the form of Ahania weeping on the Void And heard Enions voice sound from the caverns of the Grave No more spirit remained in her She secretly left the Synagogue of Satan She commund with Orc in secret She hid him with the flax That Enitharmon had numberd away from the Heavens She gatherd it together to consume her Harlot Robes In bitterest Contrition sometimes Self condemning repentant And Sometimes kissing her Robes & jewels & weeping over them Sometimes returning to the Synagogue of Satan in Pride And Sometimes weeping before Orc in humility & trembling The Synagogue of Satan therefore uniting against Mystery Satan divided against Satan resolvd in open Sanhedrim To burn Mystery with fire & form another from her ashes For God put it into their heart to fulfill all his will The Ashes of Mystery began to animate they calld it Deism And Natural Religion as of old so now anew began Babylon again in Infancy Calld Natural Religion"
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Blake was asking us to associate the images of Rahab, Babylon, Deism, Mystery, the Synagogue of Satan, crucifixion, and consuming flames. All were connected to error and the process of replacing error with truth. It is never easy to overthrow existing processes. Nor is it possible to predict the consequences of overturning current philosophies and methods. Splendid as Deism, the new sanitized religion of the rationalists, seemed to the intellectuals, Blake found it wanting in providing an environment in which man could flourish in his full humanity.
Blake felt that Christianity as it was practiced by organized religion, was mistaken in its understanding of Christ's mission. Instead of enabling man to experience the risen Christ within one's own being, the organized church substituted rituals, doctrines and morality and a hierarchy of clergy. Not knowing Christ Within, they preached Christ on the cross or Christ in the tomb. The Christ who transforms the world through loving inclusiveness was forgotten as the church supported greed, war, empire and oppression by the wealthy.
On page 111 Blake used an image of Christ consumed in fire, pierced with nails and wearing the crown of thorns. But Christ in his suffering was offering himself for mankind's salvation.
From page 264 of Blake's Apocalypse by Harold Bloom:
"These lines, which end Night VIII, present in very condensed form Blake's sardonic analysis of 'the Ashes of Mystery,' or eighteenth-century natural religion. Deism tries to prove 'Christianity Not Mysterious,' replacing supernatural revelation by natural reason. But the Deists replace the Mystery of revelation with the Mystery of nature, and their trinity of reason, nature and society is another triple-headed manifestation of Female Will. The fire of Critical Deism burns up Mystery, and then the spectral reasoning of Constructive Deism form another Rahab from her ashes, a new Babylon in its infancy. Blake's imagination could no more accept the universe of Newton than it could the god of the churches. Blake's God was human in the clear light of creative vision, and so was Blake's cosmos, if the eye could only see everything it was capable of seeing. What makes this polemic so sardonic is the Blakean conviction that Deism is providential: 'For God put it in their heart to fulfill all his will.' Deism, to Blake, is absolute error; the ultimate negation of the truth. Such negation, to Blake, must compel a vision of the last Judgment:"
A Vision of The Last Judgment, (E 554) "The Last Judgment when all those are Cast away who trouble Religion with Questions concerning Good & Evil or Eating of the Tree of those Knowledges or Reasonings which hinder the Vision of God turning all into a Consuming fire. When Imaginative Art & Science & all Intellectual Gifts all the Gifts of the Holy Ghost are despis'd lookd upon as of no use & only Contention remains to Man then the Last Judgment begins & its Vision is seen by the Imaginative Eye of Every one according to the situation he holds."