Friday, August 11, 2017


Wikipedia Commons
Illustrations to Milton's Paradise Lost
Illustration 11
Michael Foretells the Crucifixion
Luke 10
[17] And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
[18] And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
[19] Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
[20] Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Paradise Lost 
John Milton 
Book 12
Line 368
  "A virgin is his mother, but his sire
The power of the Most High: He shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens.
He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy
Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears,
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.
Oh prophet of glad tidings, finisher
Of utmost hope, now clear I understand
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain;
Why our great Expectation should be called
The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail,
High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son
Of God Most High: so God with man unites!
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise
Expect with mortal pain: Say where and when
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel.
To whom thus Michael. Dream not of their fight,
As of a duel, or the local wounds
Of head or heel: Not therefore joins the Son
Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil
Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise,
Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound:
Which he, who comes thy Savior, shall recur,
Not by destroying Satan, but his works
In thee, and in thy seed: Nor can this be,
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
Obedience to the law of God, imposed
On penalty of death, and suffering death;
The penalty to thy transgression due,
And due to theirs which out of thine will grow:
So only can high Justice rest appaid.
The law of God exact he shall fulfill
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfill the law; thy punishment
He shall endure, by coming in the flesh
To a reproachful life, and cursed death;
Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
In his redemption; and that his obedience
Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal, works."

Line 574
To whom thus also the angel last replied.
This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoyedst,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come called charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far.
Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation; for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence; and see the guards,
By me encamped on yonder hill, expect
Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round:
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed
Portending good, and all her spirits composed
To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind:
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered
With meditation on the happy end.
He ended, and they both descend the hill;
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;
And thus with words not sad she him received." 

Four Zoas (E 369)
"Then Los plucked the fruit & Eat & sat down in Despair
And must have given himself to death Eternal But
Urthonas spectre in part mingling with him comforted him  
Being a medium between him & Enitharmon   But This Union
Was not to be Effected without Cares & Sorrows & Troubles
Of six thousand Years of self denial and of bitter Contrition 
Urthonas Spectre terrified beheld the Spectres of the Dead
Each Male formd without a counterpart without a concentering vision
The Spectre of Urthona wept before Los Saying I am the cause
That this dire state commences I began the dreadful state
Of Separation & on my dark head the curse & punishment
Must fall unless a way be found to Ransom & Redeem     

But I have thee my [Counterpart Vegetating] miraculous 
These Spectres have no Counterparts therefore they ravin
Without the food of life Let us Create them Counterparts
For without a Created body the Spectre is Eternal Death

Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance
Tremble not so my Enitharmon at the awful gates    
Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering
As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort!
Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem
O Spectre of Urthona take comfort O Enitharmon   
Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright
When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries 
Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain
Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror
Come hither be patient let us converse together because  
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending
To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he
Will give us to Eternal Death fit punishment for such
Hideous offenders Uttermost extinction in eternal pain    
An ever dying life of stifling & obstruction shut out
Of existence to be a sign & terror to all who behold
Lest any should in futurity do as we have done in heaven
Such is our state nor will the Son of God redeem us but destroy

PAGE 98 [90] 
So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears"
Much of Milton's Paradise Lost was told by the voices of angels who were messengers from God. Satan, who had much to say, of course was the angel Lucifer who rebelled and fell from heaven. The angel Gabriel was sent to Eden to warn Adam and Eve when Satan was threatening to destroy God's new creation. When Adam and Eve failed to heed the warning and lost their place in the garden, it was the angel Michael who was sent to escort them out of the gate which would be closed and guarded behind them. Michael is the same angel who was a leader in God's army which in battle expelled Satan from heaven and wounded him in the process.

In the final books of Paradise Lost Michael was called upon to give hope to humanity in the form of Adam and Eve as they entered a world which would challenge their abilities to survive and mature. Michael revealed the future including the promise of salvation through which mankind by faith would overcome the 'law of sin and death.' This passage in Romans carries the message Michael was conveying to Adam and Eve.

Romans 5
[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
[2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
[3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
[4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
[5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
[7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
[8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  

Milton and Blake agreed that the Christ was sent to redeem the fallen creation by altering the relationship between God and man. There, however, is a further step in the process. The created world of time and space will succumb to Eternity and Infinity. The journey on which Adam and Eve embarked culminated in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The new age which Jesus introduced culminates in the entry into the New Jerusalem where man is not encumbered by materiality or limited by the opaqueness that clouds his vision.

In Illustration eleven to Paradise Lost, Blake pictured Michael's vision in which he showed Adam seeing Jesus giving his life by hanging on the cross. The accomplishment of the work of redemption was indicated by the representations of the Serpent, Sin and Death lying dead at the feet of Jesus. Eve whom Milton indicated was not present when Michael presented the future of mankind, lies asleep, where she received in a dream a message tailored to her own circumstance.

The sleeping, dreaming Eve held great significance for Blake. His myth of creation, fall, redemption and apocalypse, included female characters - especially Enitharmon and Vala - whose dream states incorporated the idea that the dominance of woman over man epitomized the fallen state of turmoil and suffering. The image of Eve lying asleep in a grave-like depression represented for Blake a foretelling of the end of female (the outer, material) dominance which was required when mankind entered Eternity.
Jerusalem, Plate 92, (E 252)
"So Los spoke. Enitharmon answerd in great terror in Lambeths Vale

The Poets Song draws to its period & Enitharmon is no more.
For if he be that Albion I can never weave him in my Looms
But when he touches the first fibrous thread, like filmy dew   
My Looms will be no more & I annihilate vanish for ever
Then thou wilt Create another Female according to thy Will.

Los answerd swift as the shuttle of gold. Sexes must vanish & cease
To be, when Albion arises from his dread repose O lovely Enitharmon:
When all their Crimes, their Punishments their Accusations of Sin: 
All their Jealousies Revenges. Murders. hidings of Cruelty in Deceit
Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary Space and Time.
In the shadows of Possibility by Mutual Forgiveness forevermore
And in the Vision & in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & Avoid
The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment." 

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