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Friday, October 30, 2009

No Other Gospel

From Plate 77 of Jerusalem:

To the Christians.

"We are told to abstain from fleshly
desires that we may lose no time from the
Work of the Lord. Every moment lost, is a
moment that cannot be redeemed every
pleasure that intermingles with the duty
of our station is a folly unredeemable and
is planted like the seed of a wild flower
among our wheat." (cf Matthew 13:25)

This is quite a departure from the young 'pleasure lover'
who wrote MHH. It seems like Blake had stopped reading
Swedenberg and taken up Wesley. He had very likely been
reading the first chapter of Galatians when he wrote the

"I know of no other Christianity and of no
other Gospel than the liberty both of body
and mind to exercise the Divine Arts of

Blake, a voracious reader and student of
religion, had seen many other
Christianities and Gospels, but now in his
forties, he had his own Visions of these
Divine Realities.

"Imagination the real and eternal World of
which this Vegetable Universe is but a
faint shadow and in which we shall live in
our Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when
these Vegetable Mortal Bodies are no

Blake carefully differentiated between ''our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies" and our
"Vegetable Mortal Bodies".

"The Apostles knew of no other Gospel.
What were all their spiritual gifts?
What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy Ghost
any other than an Intellectual Fountain?"

A really daring redefinition of the Holy Ghost!

"What is the Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours?
What is that Talent which it is a curse to hide?
What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are
to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than
Mental Studies & Performances? What are all the
Gifts. of the Gospel, are they not all Mental Gifts?
Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in Spirit
& in Truth and are not the Gifts of the Spirit
Everything to Man? ( Erdman- 231)

"you who shall pretend to despise Art & Science!
I call upon you in the Name of
Jesus! What is the Life of Man but Art &
Science? is it Meat & Drink? is not the
Body more than Raiment? What is Mortality
but the things relating to the Body, which
Dies? What is Immortality but the things
relating to the Spirit, which Lives
Eternally! What is the joy of Heaven but
Improvement in the things of the Spirit?
What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance,
Bodily Lust, Idleness & devastation of the
things of the Spirit[?]

Answer this to yourselves, & expel from
among you those who pretend to despise the
labours of Art & Science, which alone are
the labours of the Gospel: Is not this
plain & manifest to the thought? Can you
think at all & not pronounce heartily!
That to Labour in Knowledge. is to Build
up Jerusalem: and to Despise Knowledge, is
to Despise Jerusalem & her Builders."

Here Blake slams the 'know nothings', the
proudly ignorant of whom we have a fair
number in the 21st century.

" And remember: He who despises mocks a
Mental Gift in another; calling it pride &
selfishness & sin; mocks Jesus the giver
of every Mental Gift, which always appear
to the ignorance-loving Hypocrite, as
Sins. but that which is a Sin in the sight
of cruel Man, is not so in the sight of
our kind God.

"Let every Christian as much as in him
lies engage himself openly & publicly
before all the World in some Mental
pursuit for the Building up of Jerusalem "

Urizen, Los and Enitharmon build Jerusalem

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