|Yale center for British Art Jerusalem |
They should be carried by a chariot of fire but instead in their depleted condition, they are in vehicle constructed of three serpents, symbols of demonic intent who also guide their direction. The motive power of their vehicle comes from oxen with human faces, and the manes of lions, and the twisted horns of unicorns.
There are two human faces, both bearded old men who look troubled. Let's call them Urizen and Luvah whose contentions plagued Albion.
The small creatures on the backs of the oxen have wings and heads which could be those of eagles. Their bodies are human. They appear to be messengers giving instructions to the serpents. The scroll is passed to the hand reaching out which is connected to the brain of the human faced being through the unicorn's horn.
The overall impression is of fear and hope. Albion and Jerusalem have no control in the situation. The divisions within them have given power to entities which draw them away from recovery of their wholeness. But they, like Ezekiel's Israel, have been delivered a message which can restore their unity with the Eternal.
The whole chariot scene is surrounded by flames suggesting that it takes place in the Furnace of Affliction and may have a beneficial outcome.
 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.
 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95)
"Bring me my Bow of burning gold: Bring me my Arrows of desire: Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of fire! I will not cease from Mental Fight, Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand: Till we have built Jerusalem, In Englands green & pleasant Land." Jerusalem, Plate 36 , (E 182) "They have perswaded him of horrible falshoods! They have sown errors over all his fruitful fields! The Twenty-four heard! they came trembling on watry chariots. Borne by the Living Creatures of the third procession Of Human Majesty, the Living Creatures wept aloud as they Went along Albions roads, till they arriv'd at Albions House. O! how the torments of Eternal Death, waited on Man: And the loud-rending bars of the Creation ready to burst: That the wide world might fly from its hinges, & the immortal mansion Of Man, for ever be possess'd by monsters of the deeps: And Man himself become a Fiend, wrap'd in an endless curse, Consuming and consum'd for-ever in flames of Moral Justice." Jerusalem, Plate 55, (E 205) "(& their Words stood in Chariots in array Curbing their Tygers with golden bits & bridles of silver & ivory)" Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 257) "The Four Living Creatures Chariots of Humanity Divine Incomprehensible In beautiful Paradises expand These are the Four Rivers of Paradise And the Four Faces of Humanity fronting the Four Cardinal Points Of Heaven going forward forward irresistible from Eternity to Eternity" Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 258) "And I heard Jehovah speak Terrific from his Holy Place & saw the Words of the Mutual Covenant Divine On Chariots of gold & jewels with Living Creatures starry & flaming With every Colour, Lion, Tyger, Horse, Elephant, Eagle Dove, Fly, Worm, And the all wondrous Serpent clothed in gems & rich array Humanize In the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Covenant of Jehovah." Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560) "If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his Contemplative Thought" Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560) By the side of Seth is Elijah he comprehends all the Prophetic Characters he is seen on his fiery Chariot bowing before the throne of the Saviour. Letters, To Hayley, (E 714) Happinesses have wings and wheels; miseries are leaden legged and their whole employment is to clip the wings and to take off the wheels of our chariots. We determine, therefore, to be happy and do all that we can, tho' not all that we would." Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256) "So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became Fountains of Living Waters Howing from the Humanity Divine And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity"