Songs of Innocence & of Experience
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, (E 28) SONGS 49 "A POISON TREE. I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I waterd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night. Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine. And into my garden stole, When the night had veild the pole; In the morning glad I see; My foe outstretchd beneath the tree."
 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
Forgiveness is a two edged sword. One edge enables us to seek and accept forgiveness for the harm we do. The other edge enables us to forgive those who have done harm to us. In this world it is inadvertent that in our Selfhood we cause harm to come to others, but that we also endure the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that Shakespeare eludes to in Hamlet. The irony is that if we hold onto consciousness of the injuries we endure, we cannot accept the forgiving healing from others for the harm we have done to them.
 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to?"
The experience of forgiveness functions on two levels: between Man and Man and between God and Man. Forgiveness is essential to maintain the Brotherhood of Man by removing the barriers which grow because of the unhealed wounds which we endure and inflict on one another, it is essential too for maintaining an open channel between Man and the Divine; between the individual Soul and the Infinite Eternal Divine Presence in whom all live. Blake wrote "Throughout all Eternity I forgive you, You forgive me, So the dear redeemer said, This the wine & this the bread." This is statement addressed to God, acknowledging that Man's suffering is not all because of his own or his Brothers' failing, but the suffering of Man results from how God has constructed the world. Blake's insight was that the process of forgiveness in Man's relationship with God, both giving and receiving it, fed the spiritual and physical needs of man.
Songs & Ballads, (E 477) "Throughout all Eternity I forgive you you forgive me As our dear Redeemer said This the Wine & this the Bread
Milton, Plate 26 , (E 124) "In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power. And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory." Jerusalem, Plate 3, (E 145) "The Spirit of Jesus is continual forgiveness of Sin: he who waits to be righteous before he enters into the Saviours kingdom,the Divine Body; will never enter there. I am perhaps the most sinful of men! I pretend not to holiness! yet I pretend to love, to see, to converse with daily, as man with man, & the more to have an interest in the Friend of Sinners. Therefore [Dear] Reader, [forgive] what you do not approve, & [love] me for this energetic exertion of my talent.
Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Remove from Albion, far remove these terrible surfaces.
They are beginning to form Heavens & Hells in immense
Circles: the Hells for food to the Heavens: food of torment, Food of despair: they drink the condemnd Soul & rejoice In cruel holiness, in their Heavens of Chastity & Uncircumcision Yet they are blameless & Iniquity must be imputed only To the State they are enterd into that they may be deliverd: Satan is the State of Death, & not a Human existence: But Luvah is named Satan, because he has enterd that State. A World where Man is by Nature the enemy of Man Because the Evil is Created into a State. that Men May be deliverd time after time evermore. Amen. Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels: This is the only means to Forgiveness of Enemies[.] Therefore remove from Albion these terrible Surfaces. Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201) "Rousseau thought Men Good by Nature; he found them Evil & found no friend. Friendship cannot exist without Forgiveness of Sins continually. The Book written by Rousseau calld his Confessions is an apology & cloke for his sin & not a confession. But you also charge the poor Monks & Religious with being the causes of War: while you acquit & flatter the Alexanders & Caesars, the Lewis's & Fredericks: who alone are its causes & its actors. But the Religion of Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, can never be the cause of a War nor of a single Martyrdom. Those who Martyr others or who cause War are Deists, but never can be Forgivers of Sin. The Glory of Christianity is, To Conquer by Forgiveness. All the Destruction therefore, in Christian Europe has arisen from Deism, which is Natural Religion."
Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 211) "I heard his voice in my sleep O his Angel in my dream: Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold! There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You: That He Himself may Dwell among You."
From The Everlasting Mercy by John Masefield
"The corn that makes the holy bread
By which the soul of man is fed,
The holy bread, the food unpriced,
By which the soul of man is fed,
The holy bread, the food unpriced,
Thy everlasting mercy, Christ."