William Blake's Jerusalem Explained.

Chapter 4: Plate 96

  As the Sun & Moon lead forward the
  Visions of Heaven & Earth
England who is Brittannia entered
  Albions bosom rejoicing

Then Jesus appeared standing by
  Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath
  found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Human
  -ity, & Albion saw his Form
A Man, & they conversed as Man
  with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was
  the likeness & similitude of Los

Albion said. O Lord what can
  I do: my Selfhood cruel
Marches against thee deceitful
  from Sinai & from Edom
Into the Wilderness of Judah to
  meet thee in his pride
I behold the Visions of my deadly
  Sleep of Six Thousand Years
Dazling around thy skirts like
  a Serpent of precious stones &
         gold
I know it is my Self; O my Divine
  Creator & Redeemer


Jesus replied Fear not Albion
  unlefs I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again
& thou with me
This is Friendship & Brotherhood
  without it Man Is Not

So Jesus spoke: the Covering
  Cherub coming on in darkness
Overshadowd them & Jesus
  said Thus do Men in Eternity
One for another to put off by
  forgiveness, every sin


Albion replyd. Cannot Man
  exist without Mysterious
Offering of Self for Another. is
  this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness and
  similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou
  love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one
  who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for
 Man & giveth not himself
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up: rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing 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	

Plate 96: Analysis.

  As the Sun & Moon lead forward the
  Visions of Heaven & Earth
England who is Brittannia entered
  Albions bosom rejoicing

Then Jesus appeared standing by
  Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath
  found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Human
  -ity, & Albion saw his Form
A Man, & they conversed as Man
  with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was
  the likeness & similitude of Los

1-14

It seems to me the cosmic expansion in the poetry of the lines, "As the Sun & Moon lead forward the Visions of Heaven & Earth/England who is Brittannia entered Albion's bosom rejoicing", prepares the reader's visionary expectations for the resurrected Christ: "Then Jesus appeared standing by Albion as the Good Shepherd/By the lost Sheep that he hath found".

Christ lived, "& Albion knew that it/Was the Lord the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form/A Man, & they conversed as Man with Man in Ages of Eternity". The free self-manifestation of the glorified Christ, "the Divine Appearance" was the "likeness & similitude of Los".

An extended discussion of the theology of the image/likeness of God is outside the scope of this study; my focus is the narrative causality or plot of Blake's myth of redemption. Important here is Blake's vision of the human form Divine. For Blake, art was directly inspired image, granted in Christ to the human as a whole. Blake rejects the notion that all knowledge, including knowledge of God, is derived entirely through the senses; and Blake rejects the Platonic/Gnostic spiritualism in which God is beyond sense experience, hence unknowable, for thus mystical knowledge itself can only have a symbolic and indirect knowledge.

Blake's vision is seen in the words he gives Christ in the opening lines to the poem: Blake sees "the Saviour over" him, and Christ says "I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine" (1:4; 7). Blake sees the source of Divine radiance and grace as within, as a living reality in a religion of the incarnation and resurrection. As I have outlined, Blake is a Christian prophet, and he writes an Anglo-Celtic, not a Mediterranean, Christian myth.

Albion said. O Lord what can
  I do: my Selfhood cruel
Marches against thee deceitful
  from Sinai & from Edom
Into the Wilderness of Judah to
  meet thee in his pride
I behold the Visions of my deadly
  Sleep of Six Thousand Years
Dazling around thy skirts like
  a Serpent of precious stones &
         gold
I know it is my Self; O my Divine
  Creator & Redeemer

15-27

Albion faces God: the consequences of turning away from God haunt his vision "O Lord what can I do" he asks of Jesus, "my Selfhood cruel/Marches against thee" to defy and "to meet thee in his pride". Within Albion are the residual forms of death of his inner collapse: "I behold the Visions of my deadly Sleep of Six Thousand Years/Dazling around thy skirts like a Serpent of precious stones & gold". Albion knows the finite beauty of stone and metals and the power of serpent nature. All of finitude is a vision now, or shadow; and the substance of waking life, the risen Christ, is before him.

Albion knows he is in existential self-contradiction. He exists as a self and must assert selfhood, and the resplendent possibilities of "Dazling" beauty and generative potency: "I know it is my Self". At the same time he knows now he is absolutely contingent upon a personal God who is his personal creator and cries out "O my Divine Creator & Redeemer". He stands, despairing and believing, in pride of self, before omnipotence.

Jesus replied Fear not Albion
  unlefs I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again
& thou with me
This is Friendship & Brotherhood
  without it Man Is Not

So Jesus spoke: the Covering
  Cherub coming on in darkness
Overshadowd them & Jesus
  said Thus do Men in Eternity
One for another to put off by
  forgiveness, every sin

28-39

Christ redeems Albion. Blake's vision shows Christ's sacrifice as absolute and unsurpassable: "Jesus replied ‘Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live/But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me". Proof of the truth of the resurrection is Christ, standing, and conversing with the awakened, living Albion: "This is Friendship & Brotherhood without it Man Is Not". All being lives in the bosom of Christ: "So Jesus spoke: the Covering Cherub" of Albion's selfhood, "coming on in darkness", in pride "Overshadowed them". Without the giving of life there is no resurrection: "Thus do Men in Eternity/One for another to put off by forgiveness, every sin".

In Blake's vision of reciprocation in Divine circularity, God gives life to every living being, the given life is freely self-sacrificed and given back to God in love and in grace.

Albion replyd. Cannot Man
  exist without Mysterious
Offering of Self for Another. is
  this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness and
  similitude of Los my Friend

40-45

It is his selfhood that rises against God, that Albion knows, yet he still fails to grasp the meaning of sacrifice, namely that death of self is life in Christ: "Cannot Man exist without mysterious/Offering of Self for Another?" asks Albion "Is this Friendship & Brotherhood". Christ's resurrection is foreshadowed in the prophetic voice and likeness therein of Los". Albion sees Christ in another, and thus, in all others: "I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend". As discussed, Christ is "the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form/A Man" and "the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los"(4: 96; 4-5)

Jesus said. Wouldest thou
  love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one
  who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for
 Man & giveth not himself
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

46-54

God is within and without and transcends all, in Chapter 3, the world of Generation Jesus revealed his divinity to Jerusalem: "I am the Resurrection & the Life/I die & pass the limits of possibility". Here, in Beulah, Jesus reveals the simplicity and absolute commitment of his freely given self-sacrifice: "Jesus said; ‘Wouldst thou love one who never died/For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee". Christ transcends infinitely within and infinitely without "And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself/Eternally for Man, Man could not exist", for "Man is Love/As God is Love". Thus mercy and forgiveness in self-sacrifice is the Divine image: "every kindness to another is a little Death/In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood". Every act of kindness is seen as a form of self-sacrifice; it is a gift of love. The self-sacrifice is modelled on and inspired by the typos of Christ's absolute sacrifice. Thus for Blake, every act of kindness is an act of self-sacrifice; it is a little death that participates by analogy in the resurrection, and so in grace and not through its own power, in the eternal life of the glorified Christ.

So saying the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up: rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

55-60

Albion's selfhood, the spectre or anti-Christ, is condensed in finitude as the covering cherub in the circumference of finitude. It is this, as discussed, that Albion knows as his "Selfhood cruel" marching to "Meet" Christ "in his pride". It is this selfhood that now as "the Cloud overshadowing" them "divided them asunder", or, divided Albion from Christ. Thus for Albion to heal the division between them, he must follow Christ in Christ's Divine kenosis; Albion's selfhood is bound to finite time; time has ended and so must the condensed form of the selfhood.

Albion thus confronts his past as the dream or vision of self-exile and selfhood. He envisions the space-time continuum as a whole, with its memories of self-exile as a dream. No longer turned away from the presence of God, his perceptions are ‘outward all', and he faces the greatness of universal humanity before him, in eternal light; and Albion is humbled: "Albion stood in terror" but "not for himself but for his Friend/Divine", Christ, who died for him and rose from the dead, and Albion's "Self was lost in the contemplation of faith/And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los s sublime honour".

His selfhood is deficient, a mirrored apparent form; it is negation, and it is shadow. That which it mirrored, the anarchy of Albion's collapse into finite time, is now ended, and negation is no longer sustainable. It is dissolved in the infinite energies of the absolute truth and life revealed in the resurrection.

Albion awakes the universal forms of consciousness of his landscapes: "Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties/Do you sleep! Rouze up! Eternal Death is abroad".

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing 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

61-69

He freely sacrifices himself: "So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction". In each Chapter, the furnaces of affliction set in motion the event complex of the reversed vortex: for examples, it is the place where God set the limits; it is the energy potency that re-forges finitude in elemental intensities; it is the energy core of cleansed vision. In each chapter the furnaces reveal from the outside what previously was known only from the inside.

Here in Chapter 4 the furnace is the energy core into which Albion sacrifices himself. All the forms of auto-idolatry, death, self-predation, war, slavery and child sacrifice and all other forms of evil, are condensed into the selfhood and are consumed in the intensities of the furnaces of affliction. Thus all that divided him from Christ no longer exists: "All that was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became/Fountains of Living Waters flowing from the Humanity Divine".

It is in Chapter 3, appropriately in the world of Generation, that Christ is born of Mary who "is with Child by the Holy Ghost/Then Mary burst forth into a Song! She flowed like a River of/Many Streams", embraced by Joseph, and "gave forth her tears of joy/Like many waters", that emanate "into gardens & palaces" upon the new Eden, bounded by the four rivers of Eden (3: 61 28-35).

The incarnation happened at the centre of the world of Generation, in the living centre of Jerusalem, in the finite, or shadow world where she witnessed Joseph, Mary and the birth of Christ as a human child, in the infinite substance of the "Visions of Jehovah" and was told by Christ "Repose on me till the morning of the Grave. I am thy life"(3: 62; 1-2). Now in Chapter 4 the resurrected Christ subsumes all boundaries to connectivity in the cleansed world of Beulah. The infinite within Albion meets the infinite without, the waters of life baptise and flow through creation, and "All/The Sons & Daughters of Albion", his warring components, are restored in peace, "on soft clouds Waking from Sleep" in the grave of Beulah's night.

Resonating throughout his being is the cleansing potency of Christ's revelation, and "Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with the flaming "apocalyptic "fires" of the furnace of affliction, and Albion's four zoas within "arose into/Albion's bosom" in regenerate four-fold harmony. Then Albion, cleansed of pride, is no longer divided within from himself and divided without from Christ. He stood, his vision restored and his selfhood cleansed, "before Jesus in the Clouds/Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity".