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_ Cornell University Library 


Vision & vesture; a study of William Blak 

3 1924 013 437 086 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


" The Widening Vision is Imperious." 

The Spanish Gypsy 





Author of ** The Inner Life of George Eliot " 



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This book was written for the most part before the 

war. Mindful how the war has affected the mental 

outlook of us all, I turned anxiously to its pages 

to see whether I might not feel obhged to re-write 

some of the chapters. But I found nothing I wanted 

to alter: the only difference the war made was to 

defer the publication for a few months, and these 

have enabled me to stand far enough from my work 

to view it objectively. I see, again, that its sub-title 

suggests many volumes; for viewed quantitively 

there was no reason why there should not be ten, 

fifteen, twenty volumes, and my imagination 

fainted at such a dreary prospect. But my instinct 

leads all the other way; and when I asked myself 

the question, how short my work might be, the 

small volume was the only answer. 

Knowing that one's instincts are to be trusted, 

that is sufficient apology for my brevity, but to 

those who feel happier when a recognised authority 

can be quoted I will add, that August Strindberg 

has shown how much can be said in a small volume. 

Strindberg's self-revelation is not only complete 

but one can never forget it. Hardly can one say as 

much for Rousseau. When one lays down the bulky 



volume of his Confessions one has a vivid remem- 
brance of lurid passages, and a distressing con- 
sciousness that much of what one has read has 
slipped away. I might point to a greater than 
Strindberg, for are we not all coming to think that 
the greatest book of the eighteenth century was 
also one of its smallest — Blake's Marriage of Heaven 
and Hell ? 

In deahng with modern thought I have preferred 
not to treat it in the lump. By tracing thoughts 
back to the thinkers the heavy lump dissolves into 
the fine essence of men's minds, and gathers colour 
and spirit from the individual thinker. And, there- 
fore, I have dealt with persons — Goethe, Schopen- 
hauer, Nietzsche, Shaw, Yeats. The one difficulty 
has been that of selection, so many names have 
started to mind. Here, too, I have followed my 
instinct, alighting on just those men and women 
who appeared to me to supply the necessary link 
in the chain of modern thought. Some may think 
that place might have been given to Browning, 
Tennyson, Morris, Maeterlinck. I must say that 
I do not think that they would have served my 
purpose. The only possible regret I might have is 
that I did not give a chapter to Samuel Butler; but 
even of this I will not repent, for I judged deliber- 
ately at the time that Butler hved again in Shaw, 
and in treating Shaw with some fulness Butler's 
value was not really overlooked. 


Some six years ago I undertook to lecture on 
Blake in South Kensington. To equip myself I 
hastened to the British Museum to read through 
the Blake Hterature. It was a far greater under- 
taking than I had imagined, but I persevered and 
read about forty volumes. From this strenuous 
reading I discovered among other things, that most 
of those who have written on Blake have been men 
of letters approaching their subject from the literary 
point of view. While recognising the importance of 
their work, I think there is another side which is of 
exactly equal importance. Blake refers so often in 
his prophetic books to Wesley and Whitefield as to 
make it obvious that they entered into his mental 
life there to stay. Following up this hint, and hap- 
pening at the time to be lecturing on eighteenth 
century evangehcalism, I saw suddenly that there 
were remarkable lines of convergence and divergence 
between Blake and his religious contemporaries, 
and that these points seized would prove valuable 
and illuminating. That is my sufficient reason for 
bringing Wesley and Whitefield forward to elucidate 
Blake, all the more as they are almost always 
ignored by men who hold a merely literary creed. 
At the same time it accentuates the rehgious side of 
Blake's nature, and that is of immense importance 
to the present generation. To pounce on Blake's 
poems and pictures, and to see in these only the 
works of a great creative artist is to miss half his 


value. For Blake's glory and Blake's significance 
to our age is just this, that religion and art were 
passionately fused in his own soul, and it is only by 
doing full justice to both, and by presenting him 
and his message whole and undivided that one can 
hope to write worthily of a genius at once the most 
creative and the most religious produced by the 
western world. 

Charles Gardner. 

North End, Hampstead, 
February 1916. 




I. Fundamentals .... 
II. Imagination 

III. Visionary Mysticism 

IV. Nature ...... 

V. The Bright Sculptures of Los' Halls 
VI. Sex and Holiness .... 
VII. The Everlasting Gospel 
VIII. Election and Predestination 
IX. Blake's Symbolism .... 

X. Blake's Art 

XI. God and Man .... 








XII. Goethe, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche,[^Strindberg 

XIII. Some Victorians 

XIV. Bernard Shaw 
XV. W. B. Yeats .... 

XVI. Modern Religious Movements 
XVII. The Saints of the Future 

Index ..... 








William Blake's message is slowly remaking the 
world, says one of our modem writers who always 
knows what the best minds are thinking, and he 
adds: "No one can think, and escape Nietzsche; 
but Nietzsche has come after Blake, and will pass 
before Blake passes." 

WiUiam Blake's was a voice crpng in the wilder- 
ness of the eighteenth century. Arthur S3mions' 
is one of a chorus that is shouting in the renascence 
of the twentieth. For it is being acknowledged on all 
sides that Blake has uttered the word we needed, 
and that he has cast a sufficient Hght for genera- 
tions yet to come. Profound as has been the influ- 
ence of Goethe, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, they 
but carry us to the threshold of Blake. Blake must 
draw us into his temple if we would have the 
" linked eye and mind " to understand our age. 

To comprehend Blake, it is necessary to go to his 
fundamental axioms. These he has stated in a 



little book, now in the British Museum, in a way 
that /defines his position sharply and enables one 
to relate him to the teachers of the ages. The book 
being very short can be quoted entire. 


Man has no notion of moral fitness but from 
Education. Naturally he is only a natural organ 
subject to sense. 


Man's perceptions are not bounded by organs of 
perception, he perceives more than sense (though 
ever so acute) can discover. 


Reason or the ratio of all we have already known, 
is not the same that it shall be when we know more. 


From a perception of only three senses or three 
elements none could deduce a fourth or fifth. 


None could have other than natural or organic 
thoughts if he had none but organic perceptions. 

Man's desires are limited by his perceptions, none 
can desire what he has not perceived. 



The desires and perceptions of man untaught by 
anything but organs of sense, must be limited to 
objects of sense. 


God becomes as we are, that we may be as He is. 

Man cannot naturally Perceive but through his 
natural or bodily organs. 


Man by his reasoning power can only compare 
and judge of what he has already perceived. 

Here in a few words Blake sweeps away Natural 
religion, Rationalism, Deism, and all reHgions with 
an ethical basis. Like the greatest religious teachers 
he places regeneration as the first essential in order 
to spiritual perception and understanding. There 
is a unique element in Blake's teaching of regenera- 
tion which I will consider in the second chapter; 
here I want to compare the main features of his 
doctrine with that of his predecessors. 

The finest statement of regeneration is in the third 
chapter of the Gospel which bears S. John's name. 
Evidently the author has grouped together all he 
knows about the new birth, from his own experi- 


ence, from the teaching of Christ, from Philo, and 
Alexandrian Platonism. 

" Except a man be born again, he cannot see the 
Kingdom of God." 

" That which is bom of the flesh is flesh, and that 
which is bom of the Spirit is spirit." And he says 
in effect, If a man would go to heaven, he must 
first be born from heaven. 

" No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He 
that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man 
which is in heaven." 

S. Paul is equally emphatic. In his First Epistle 
to the Corinthians, Chapter i., he writes: 

" What man knoweth the things of a man, save 
the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the 
things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of 

" The Natural man receiveth not the things of the 
Spirit of God, for they are fooHshness unto him: 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritu- 
ally discerned." 

" He that is spiritual discemeth aH things." 

In these great statements we get the gist of all 
that has been said of the necessity of regeneration, 
not only in Christendom, but also in India and 
Egypt. Catholicism has identified the new birth 
with Baptism, and so has made Baptism necessary 
to salvation. Protestantism has dissociated it from 
Baptism and identified it with conversion, thus 


making conversion necessary to salvation. Radically 
there are two ways of regarding regeneration which 
I will name the apocalyptic and catastrophic. The 
catastrophic is best represented by Calvin. With 
him regeneration was a sudden new creation from 
without of a heart which was altogether depraved. 
This has been the teaching of Samuel Rutherford 
and the presbyterians, John Wesley and the 
Wesleyans, Whitefield (Blake thought highly of his 
two contemporaries, John Wesley and George 
Whitefield), the Plymouth Brethren, and the bap- 
tists, who were most consistent in their inter- 
pretation of Calvin, because they waited till a man 
was fully assured of his new birth and therefore of 
his election, before he made an open confession of 
it in Baptism. From such a view of regeneration 
many evils resulted. The converted man narrowed 
down his sjmapathies to those only who had the same 
lively experience as himself. He was apt to be con- 
temptuous of the unconverted, since he was sure no 
good thing dwelt in him; and what was far worse, 
he regarded even his own children as little reprobates 
till they showed signs of God's grace. 

The catastrophic view has also obtained widely 
in the Anglican, Greek, and Roman Churches. Here 
regeneration has been regarded as the miraculous gift 
of Holy Baptism. The system has not worked so 
badly as in protestantism, as it has taught Church 
people to regard their baptised children as children 


of God. They have been able to include more in 
their sympathies than the Calvinists, though they 
have looked askance at the quakers; and the 
greatest of the Church's teachers — St. Augustine — 
said deplorable things about unbaptised infants. 

The apocalyptic view of regeneration regards the 
new life as a renewed creation. Instead of a sudden 
miraculous new creation from without it recognises 
a gradual unveiling of what is within. This has been 
the teaching of all mystics whether inside or out- 
side of the Catholic Church. It is certainly the 
teaching of the supreme mystic who wrote the 
fourth Gospel, since before speaking of the new 
birth, he recognised that there was a " Ught that 
lighteth every man that cometh into the world." 
S. Paul probably held the same, though he has more 
frequently been understood to hold to the catas- 
trophic. S. Polycarp, S. Ignatius, Origen, S. Clement 
of Alexandria, Justin Mart}^: follow S. John; so do 
catholic mystics hke Tauler, Ruysbroeck, S. Teresa 
on to Rosimini; and protestant mystics like 
Tersteegen, Jacob Boehme, William Law, Jane 
Lead. The whole truth is that regeneration is the 
unveiling of what is within by the action of that 
which is without, but such a view can only be held 
by one who beUeves that God is both immanent 
and transcendent. 

William Blake is emphatic. His sense-bound 
man (S. Paul's natural man) perceives only the 


things of the senses. But most men and all children 
perceive at times something more than the senses 
can discover. Man can desire only what he has per- 
ceived, but his desires go beyond what the senses 
can supply. And that perception over and above 
the senses is a spiritual perception. It is the spiritual 
perception of the real spiritual man which is un- 
veiled in regeneration and brought to sovereign 
control after prolonged mental fight. Thus the 
spiritual man who discerneth all things can discern 
the hidden man even in evil men — the soul of good 
in things evil — and the command to love one's 
enemies as well as one's friends becomes at least a 
possibility, and in the fully grown spiritual man an 
achievement. Above all it gives the right attitude 
towards children. Here Blake's prime teacher — 
Swedenborg — erred. He said that a child is born in 
a natural degree. Blake who had the heart of a child 
knew that the veil that hides the Real Man was 
very thin and transparent in children; he knew 
that a man's one chance of entering the kingdom of 
heaven was by becoming like a little child ; he knew 
when his own heart was troubled that the voices and 
laughing of children could set it at rest. 

When the voices of children are heard on the green. 

And laughing is heard on the hill. 
My heart is at rest within my breast. 

And everything else is still. 

For the Holy Child in the manger reveals our 
God and Baby's smile is His smile. 


Sweet Babe, in thy face 
Holy image I can trace; 
Sweet babe, once like thee 
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me. 

Wept for me, for thee, for all, 
When He was an infant small. 
Thou His image ever see. 
Heavenly face that smiles on thee! 

Smiles on thee, on me, on all, 
Who became an infant small; 
Infant smiles are His own smiles; 
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles. 

Thus our childlike Blake in his teaching of re- 
generation follows confidently the best masters of 
the past; and he has added to them just one thing 
that is making all the difference to the modern world, 
but I must leave the unique element in his teaching 
to another chapter. 




The antithesis of art and religion did not exist for 
the great Hebrew prophets. The notion that they 
had a passion for righteousness and none for the 
beautiful is untrue to facts. It probably arose 
because the Jews painted no pictures and modelled 
no statues. The reason was obvious. The second 
commandment forbade anything of the kind, and so 
the Hebrew was obliged to find another outlet for his 
aesthetic craving. And he found it. Hebrew litera- 
ture, Hebrew music, and Hebrew poetry have always 
been her glory. Even to this day the German appears 
to need an infusion of Jewish blood before he can 
bring his music to perfection. No nation has ex- 
celled in all the arts. It is much to master two; to 
master more than two seems to exceed the bounds of 
poetic justice. The Hebrew genius had a passion for 
morality, and this was inseparable from its per- 
ception of the beautiful. Our nineteenth century 
writers, with the notable exception of George EUot, 
misread the Hebrew character. Had they listened 
to Blake instead of patronising him they would have 
known better. In the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 
Blake asked Isaiah: " Does a firm persuasion that 


a thing is so, make it so? " He replied: " All poets 
believe that it does, and in ages of imagination this 
firm persuasion removed mountains." . . . Then 
Ezekiel said: " The philosophy of the East taught 
the first principles of human perception. . . . We 
of Israel taught that the Poetic Genius (as you now 
call it) was the first principle and all the others 
merely derivative, which was the cause of our 
despising the Priests and Philosophers of other 
countries, and prophesying that all Gods would at 
last be proved to originate in ours and to be the 
tributaries of the Poetic Genius." 

Whence it happened that the finest utterances 
of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah were reUgion and 
art at their highest. 

When religion becomes diluted it falls apart from 
art, and the two go separate ways. Art becomes 
soft and corrupt, religion hardens into laws and 
moralities. In protestant countries there springs 
up a curious attitude of religious people towards 
art. Protestantism hates the world, the flesh, 
and the Devil; art cannot prosper without them, 
nor can it breathe comfortably until it has suc- 
ceeded in marrying heaven and hell. Protestantism 
produced a Wesley, a Whitefield and a Toplady 
who wrote some good hymns, notably Rock of 
Ages, and these men were orators; but in its 
vehement zeal for saving " immortal souls," it 
seemed impious and irrelevant to consider the 


beautiful at all, and the gay licence of the Italian 
Renascence was still fresh in its memory. Pro- 
testantism at its height produced fine preachers, 
when waning, Pharisaism. 

Blake was protestant of protestants in intention, 
though his ultimate scheme was not unlike that of 
Catholicism. For him, as for the Hebrew prophets, 
the dualism of art and religion did not exist, because 
he held the apocalyptic view of regeneration, and 
that the hidden man unveiled in regeneration was 
the poetic genius. 

Here let me quote his principles entire. 

There is no Natural Religion 
The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness 

THE argument 

As the true method of knowledge is experiment, 
the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty 
which experiences. This faculty I treat of. 

Principle First 

That the Poetic Genius is the true Man, and that 
the body or outward form of Man is derived from 
the Poetic Genius. Likewise, that the forms of all 
things are derived from their Genius, which by the 
Ancients was called an Angel and Spirit and Demon. 


Principle Second 

As all men are alike in outward form, so (and 
with the same infinite variety) all are alike in the 
Poetic Genius. 

Principle Third 

No man can think, write or speak from his heart, 
but he must intend truth. Thus all sects of philo- 
sophy are from the Poetic Genius adapted to the 
weaknesses of every individual. 

Principle Fourth 

As none by travelling over known lands can find 
out the unknown; so from already acquired know- 
ledge Man could not acquire more; therefore an 
universal Poetic Genius exists. 

Principle Fifth 

The reUgions of all Nations are derived from each 
Nation's different reception of the Poetic Genius, 
which is ever5nvhere called the Spirit of Prophecy. 

Principle Sixth 

The Jewish and Christian Testaments are an 
original derivation from the Poetic Genius. This is 
necessary from the confined nature of bodily 


Principle Seventh 

As all men are alike (though infinitely various), 
so all Religions, as all similars, have one source. 
The True Man is the source, he being the Poetic 

The Poetic Genius has one supreme faculty — 
imagination. Hence to be bom again, for Blake, 
meant not only to pass from death into life with 
S. John, to be a new creature with S. Paul, but to 
be a man of imagination with Michael Angelo, 
Raphael and Albert Diirer. 

The comparison with S. Paul is illimiinating. 
Christianity liberated S. Paul from Judaism which 
had become a bondage. Massive spirits like Isaiah 
and Ezekiel escaped the bondage, but for the multi- 
tude there were the iron laws of the Decalogue and 
the thunders and lightning of Sinai. Conduct was so 
minutely organised that it lost all inspiration. The 
opportunity for spontaneous action was given to 
those alone who kept the whole law, that is, actually, 
to none. The Pharisees confident that they were 
righteous occasionally brought their choice offer- 
ings, but generally they evaded their one oppor- 
tunity of a fine deed by an ingenious feat of 
casuistry. When the Christ looked back on a life 
of obedience not to the Law but to the Will of God 
working in Him, He brought His inspired oblation 
— He gave Himself. The tmattainable ideal of the 


Law was some comfort to the Pharisees who thought 
they had kept it, but to conscientious souls Uke 
Saul a terrible bondage. When Paul exulted in being 
bom again in Christ, he was inebriated with his new- 
found liberty to follow the inspiration of the Spirit. 
This liberty was felt deep down at the springs of 
action, and he realised that he could do what the 
inner or new man willed, because his soul had 
seized hold of life. Blake, too, felt the dreadful 
bondage of the laws and codes and moralities of his 
time, and also he perceived that art had fallen to the 
same dead level as religion. It was tasteful plagiar- 
ism and not inspiration. One man alone dared 
to be himself and to express fearlessly his vision. 
His contemporaries saw nothing but " pictured 
moralities " which amused: it took a twentieth 
century to discover the true greatness of Hogarth. 
Thus Blake's long travail and mental fight was for 
the new birth and freedom of Ufe and religion, 
philosophy and art, and he proclaimed that all 
these were the concern of the Real Man when 
fully awakened. 

David, in his picture of the Baptism of Christ in 
Bruges, expressed the whole s57mbol of the Christian 
rehgion coming to consciousness in Christ. And he 
was right. In the imfolding of the spiritual hfe of 
Jesus of Nazareth there was a moment in the waters 
of Jordan when he realised that He was the Christ; 
and He created the Christian consciousness. When 


S. Paul became a new creature he made conduct the 
fair fruit of inspiration. When Blake travailed 
mightily in pain to be deUvered he brought forth 
the Real Man, which is our deepest modern con- 
sciousness. He not only maintained liberty of 
conduct, but he freed the imagination and thence 
the mind. Now we are at once Christians and free- 
thinkers, and we are determined to stand fast in our 






The Real Man has one all-powerful faculty of 
imagination. Blake in realising his Real Man became 
a spiritual-imaginative man. So far I have com- 
pared him to the spiritual leaders, now it becomes' 
necessary to elucidate his use of the imagina- 
tion by comparing him to the men of genius who 
wielded most mightily the magic power of imagina- 
tion. Shakespeare will best serve the purpose. 

Shakespeare's imagination runs over the whole 
natural man and the whole natural world. He revels 
in everything on which it rests, and proceeds to find 
perfect expression for what he sees. He can under- 
stand every kind of man but the saint, and every 
aspect of nature but the mystical. For him this- 
world of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter 
with its medley of men and women is the real world, 
and he invests it with astonishing beauty. But 
Shakespeare's real world was not Blake's. Blake 
regarded this world as a shadow of the real. He 

Rivers, Mountains, Cities, Villages, 
All are Human, and when you enter into their Bosoms you walk 
In Heavens and Earths, as in your own Bosom you bear your 


And Eoirth, and all you behold, tho' it appears Without, it is 

In your Imagination, of which this World of Mortality is but 

a Shadow. • 

When one realises how much one invests the 
world with its properties from one's own imagina- 
tion, it becomes not an insane question to ask 
whether the world exists at all. It appears sub- 
stantial, but its apparent substantiality which is so 
hard to dissolve is really a proof of the absolute 
substantiality of the inner world which can never 
be shaken. This world appears everj^where to be 
bounded by outline; yet as every artist knows, the 
world has no outhne, and the seeming outline is a 
sharp reflex of the City which hath foundations. 
To seek rest in this volatile fluxual world, is to seek 
foothold in the bottomless pit; to walk the streets 
of the Celestial City is to plant one's feet on the 
firm golden pavement that never permits them to 
slip. Just as Shakespeare's imagination roves at 
its sweet will over this world, Blake's imagination 
roved over the real world. Shakespeare's most 
beautiful passages have something of the inevitable 
vagueness of the world that passes away; Blake's 
most majestic figures and poems convey the sharpest 
impression of the most definite vision of real things. 
The supposed twilight of the mystics has no place in 
Blake. In his world the sun strikes with his fiercest 
light objects of awful and indissoluble reality, for 

^Jerusalem, p. 71, lines 15-19. 


the " Infinite alone resides in Definite and Deter- 
minate Identity," 

Blake's Imagination, then, while seeing the Real 
World, far transcends the world of the senses, and 
that will serve as a definition of his visionary 

The mystic has ever found an almost insurmount- 
able difficulty in making clear to others what he has 
seen. Simple language has simple words which stand 
for direct impressions of the senses. The mystic 
moves in the world beyond sense, and for that reason, 
simple sense-words scarcely serve his purpose. It 
is true that the mystic deals frequently with the 
world of the senses for which he has a vocabulary 
ready to hand, and that it is just those parts lOf 
religion which overlap into the domain of the 
phenomenal world that can be expressed in accurate 
scientific language; — no one is simpler and more 
child-like than Blake when his subject permits — 
but the moment a mystic tries to explain what he 
sees beyond nature he is forced to use S5mabols, and 
they must be symbols with which his imagination 
is perfectly familiar. The mind of Jesus Christ was 
steeped in the apocalyptic Hterature of His country, 
hence it was natural for Him to express His direct 
vision of the truth by apocalyptic s5mibolism. When 
S. Paul laboured to proclaim his vision he used not 
only sjnnbols borrowed from the religion of Gamaliel 
but everything that had soaked into his mind from 


a Greek source while he was yet a boy at Tarsus. 
Dante had his direct vision, and was fortunate in 
living just at the time cathoHcism had become poetry 
and could supply him with beautiful symbols. 
Milton, by an amazing combination of puritanism 
and classicism expressed his vision in majestic 
s5mibols. Blake had stored his mind from many 
sources. Swedenborg was his first teacher. He had 
at his command all the sjnnbols of the Christian 
religion; Paracelsus and Fludd came to him with 
much else through Jacob Boehme; he penetrated to 
some of the mysteries of ancient Egypt; Gothic 
architecture and Florentine art kept a permanent 
place in his mind; yet these were insufficient for 
his manifold vision, and finally he was driven to 
inventing a new symbolism. 

In deahng with a mystic visionary a word of ex- 
planation is necessary. Visionary has been a term of 
reproach and is still of men who ought to know 
better. Formerly to say that a woman was visionary 
was to say she was hysterical, and a man that he was 
mad. Yet the long succession of visionaries includes 
the greatest names — Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jesus 
Christ, S. John, S. Paul, S. Catherine of Siena, S. 
Teresa, Jacob Boehme, George Fox, Swedenborg — 
and not one of these can be overlooked. 

It may be remarked first that each one of these 
visionaries expressed his vision in the terms of his 
own theology, and that some of these theologies are 


very contradictory. From this it has been inferred 
that if one believes in S. Teresa's visions one must 
become a Catholic, or in Swedenborg's, a Sweden- 
borgian, and therefore visions must be relegated 
along with over-beliefs to a very subordinate posi- 
tion, or dismissed altogether. But very Uttle thought 
shows the shallowness of this procedure. The con- 
stant difficulty of the visionary arises from his acute 
consciousness that what he sees is unutterable, and 
yet he cannot rest till he has found imaginative 
utterance. Like S. Paul he is caught up into Paradise 
and hears unspeakable words which it is not possible 
for a man to utter. If he would utter his vision, it 
must be through the s3Tnbols and images with which 
his mind is most familiar. Again there is a further 
difficulty connected with the actual faculty of seeing. 
A visionary can see the things of the other world 
only in so far as they clothe themselves with the 
whole mental imagery of the seer. Thus the mystic 
sees more directly (though not nakedly) than the 
ordinary man, and he is compelled to find a further 
symbolical vesture for his vision or remain dmnb. 

Blake has spoken the sane word when he said 
that vision depended on will. F6nelon said that 
religion was a matter of will, and thus removed it 
far away from feelings and experiences, and from 
the excesses of quietism which he saw in his friend 
Madame Guyon. Blake by insisting that vision was 
dependent on will, saved it from the charlatanry of 


his contemporary Cagliostro, and will steady us, if 
we hear his voice, amid the extravagant super- 
stitions of our own time. 

The consideration of Blake's special symboUsm 
must be left to a later chapter. 




How did Blake with his mystic vision regard 
Nature ? Ever3rwhere in his poetry one sees that he 
is passionately ahve to her alluring beauty, and 
how the name of each object lingers on his ear with 
a loving cadence. 

The barked oak, the long-limned beech, the chestnut-tree, the pine. 
The pear-tree mild, the frowning walnut, the sharp crab, apple 

The rough bark opens, twittering peep forth little beaks and 

The nightingale, the gold finch, robin, lark, linnet and thrush.^ 

But he also sees like S. Paul that the " whole 
creation groaneth and travaileth in pain; " every- 
where he sees cruelty, and his heart pities not only 
the fly devoured by the spider, but also the spider 
snapped up by the bird. He sees an inmiense differ- 
ence in her animals. Nothing is more perplexing to 
one's scheme of life and religion than a visit to 
the Zoological Gardens. One is glad to deny with 
Spinoza all final causes, and to believe that the 
Almighty created the grotesques in a humorous 
mood for His own sheer delight. Blake immediately 
relates each animal to God or to man. 

' The Four Zoas. Night II. 175-178. 


The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. 

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. 

The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. 

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the 

stormy sea, and the destructive sword are portions of 

eternity too great for the eye of man. 
The fox condemns the trap not himself. 
The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the roots; the 

lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant watch the fruits. 
The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion. 
The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction. 
When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift 

up thy head ! 

The nineteenth century was too much preoccupied 
with the cruelties of Nature which appeared a 
stumbling-block to faith. Read Tennyson on 
Nature's red tooth and claw and then turn to a 
chance passage in Blake's Four Zoas : 

Why does the raven cry aloud and no eye pities her ? 
Why faJl the sparrow and the robin in the foodless winter ? 
Faint, shivering, they sit on leafless bush or frozen stone, 
Wearied with seeking food across the snowy waste, the little 
Heart cold, the little tongue consumed that oncein thoughtless joy 
Gave songs of gratitude to waving cornfields round their nest. 
Why howl the lion and the wolf ? Why do they roam abroad ? 
Deluded by the summer's heat they sport in enormous love. 
And cast their young out to the hungry winds and desert sands. 

Why is the sheep given to the knife ? the lamb plays in the sun. 
He starts: he hears the foot of Man! He says: Take thou my wool. 
But spare my life : but he knows not that winter cometh fast. 

The spider sits in his laboured net, eager, watching for the fly. 
Presently comes a famished bird and takes away the spider. 
His web is left all desolate that his little anxious heart 
So careful wove and spread it out with sighs and weariness.' 

' The Four Zoas. Night I. 387-402. 


It is clear that Blake was equally wide awake to 
the apparent cruelties of Nature, but he regarded 
her as a vegetable mirror of man's mixed condition. 
And, therefore, he blamed neither Nature nor God, 
but man, who but for his contracted vision would 
see through her instead of his own reflection. 

Blake was attracted by Wordsworth though he 
considered him enmeshed by Nature. Wordsworth 
tried to climb to love of man through Nature, but 
he did not rise much above her. 

The mystics had said: Know thyself, and the 
knowledge of the microcosm would reveal all the 
secrets of the macrocosm. But the only sure way 
has been S. John's. Little children, love one another. 
Love to another will give understanding of man, of 
self, and of Nature. To seek this understanding 
through Nature, like Wordsworth, is to risk being 
ensnared by her witchery. 

Now Blake, while feeling the soft, alluring grace of 
Nature, saw through her. Nature binds man down 
to the five senses. Vision ranges far beyond. True 
vision sees Nature not separate but a part of man; 
not without but within man. Nature is the mirror 
of man's inner hfe. Hence Blake feels the ecstasy of 
the Hindoo mystic and 

looks out in tree and herb, and fish, and bird, and beast. 
Collecting up the scattered portions of his immortal body 
Into the elemental forms of everything that grows. 
He tries the sullen north wind, riding on its angry furrows, 
The sultry south when the sun rises, and the angry east 


When the sun sets and the clods harden and the cattle stand 
Drooping, and the birds hide in their silent nests. 
He stores his thoughts as in store houses in his memory. 
He regulates the forms of all beneath and all above, and in the 
gentle west reposes where the sun's heat dwells. 

Blake rises to the sun, he touches the remotest 
pole; he sorrows in birds, and howls in the wolf; 
he moans in the cattle and the winds, in the cries 
of birth and in the groans of death. 

Wherever a grass grows 
Or a leaf buds, the Eternal Man is seen, is heard, is felt. 
And aU his sorrows, till he reassumes his ancient bliss. 

So long as man is unspiritual, the horrors of his 
contracted state will appear mirrored in Nature. 
When man reassumes his ancient bliss. Nature will 
become a sea of glass before the throne of God flash- 
ing back a resplendent image of the eternal deUght 
of heaven 




Blake's vision of the real world and its inhabitants 
must not be confounded with modern Spiritualism. 
Clear vision of reality demands much preparation 
and self-consecration. Ezekiel's first vision of the 
Glory of the Lord overwhelmed him, and threw him, 
as it did Isaiah, Daniel and S. John, into the 
humblest attitude with his face to the groimd. 
The Spirit entering into him set him on his feet; 
but he received the Divine charge to speak to the 
children of Israel with great reluctance. He went in 
bitterness and in the heat of his spirit. He needed 
to learn thoroughly the lesson he half learned at the 
first sight of the Glory of God. When the hand of 
the Lord was upon him and led him into the plain by 
the river Chebar, he again saw the Glory of the Lord 
and utterly 3delded himself. His self-donation led 
him to clear vision. It was so with Blake. In his 
i earliest years he saw clearly. Then came twenty 
years of cloudy vision which terminated with his 
farewell to Felpham and return to London. All 
through these twenty years he was learning the way 
j of obedience and naked faith. The lesson learned, 
L^he vision returned and never left him again. 

Ezekiel's and Blake's process is the reverse of that 


of modem spiritualism. Blake lifted himself on to 
the spiritual plane, spiritualism seeks to draw 
spiritual beings on to the earthly plane; Blake re- 
quired faith and imagination, spiritualism demands 
sight and contact; Blake saw with his inner eye, 
spirituaUsm sees with the bodily; Blake's method 
led to spirituality, spiritualism to materialisation; 
Blake's vision renewed the bodily hfe ; spiritualism 
deranges it; Blake began in terror and ended in 
peace, spiritualism begins in terror and ends in 
madness. In the supreme act of Christian worship 
the heart is bidden to Uft itself up. 

Lift up your hearts. 

And the response comes immediately 

We lift them up unto the Lord. 

For we are not to bring Christ down to our level, 
but to raise ourselves up to the heavenly places 
where with angels and archangels and with all the 
glorious company of heaven, we may laud and 
glorify God's Holy Name. 

Every visionary knows the terror of passing out of 
space and time. This experience comes to many an 
imaginative child. In the night season when the 
child makes a vain attempt to awake, suddenly he 
becomes conscious of slipping out of time, and the 
present moment becomes charged with the horror 
of fiternity. Opium can produce a like result, as we 
know from De Quincey. Blake was clearly familiar 


with such an experience, and it helped him to con- 
ceive many of his designs, notably his illustrations 
to the words of Job in the Job series: " With 
dreams upon my bed thou scarest me and affrightest 
me with Visions." This is why many of Blake's 
designs seem to beginners Uke nightmares. 

Blake fought his way beyond the terror till he 
beheld the bright sculptures of the Halls of Los. 
Here he saw everything he willed to see. He 
described Los's Halls in Jerusalem : 

All things acted on Earth are seen in the bright Sculptures of 
Los's Halls, and every Age renews its powers from these Works, 
With every pathetic story possible to happen from Hate or 
Wayward Love, and every sorrow and distress is carved here; 
Every Affinity of Parents, Marriages and Friendships are here 
In all these various combinations wrought with wondrous Art. 
All that can happen to Man in his pilgrimage of seventy years. 
Such is the Divine Written Law of Horeb and Sinai ; 
And such the Holy Gospel of Mount Olivet and Calvary.^ 

Los's Halls are familiar to mystics of aU countries 
and ages. Theosophists call Los's Sculptures the 
Akashic Records. Nature's memory is stored in the 
Mther of Space, and the Seer can behold the sculp- 
tured records of the Past as veil after veil is Ufted. 

Mr. W. B. Yeats very simply calls Los's Halls the 
Great Memory, and he has said beautiful things 
about it. 

The important thing to remember is that " every 
Age renews its powers from these Works." It is 
because Blake constantly dwelt in the Halls of Los 

'■ p. i6, lines 61-69. 


he has renewed our age. The Celtic Mystics of to-day 
— Yeats, A. E. and Synge — ^have learnt where to 
find these Halls, and so have produced beautiful 
and life-giving works. 

Blake claimed that religion was renewed from the 
Halls of Los equally with art and literature. Every 
nation has had access there, and therefore " the 
antiquities of every nation under heaven are no less 
sacred than those of the Jews." Each nation has 
interpreted and coloured what it has seen according 
to its own genius. This is the religion of Jesus and 
the Everlasting Gospel. 

Blake's perception of the Everlasting Gospel 
delivered him from all delusions and conceit of hold- 
ing advanced views. He saw how one Church suc- 
ceeded another, and he counted even twenty-seven 
Churches. The members of the twenty-seventh 
Church invariably pride themselves on being ad- 
vanced and modern: in reality they have com- 
pleted the circle and are about to enter the first 
Church again and so become not merely old- 
fashioned but out of date. It is difficult to jump out 
of the revolving wheel of the religions, but it can 
be done, and Blake by entering Los's Hall not only 
escaped cheap modernism, but saw that any renewal 
of religion, art or literature depended on those 
setheric records in which no detail of the Past was 
forgotten. The Catholic Church has always felt this 
strongly and so insisted, sometimes with persecuting 


zeal, that the Faith was once delivered to the 
Saints. It is a greater glory to preach the Ancient 
Gospel than a new Gospel. At best the New is but 
a re-interpretation of the Old. 

We must not overlook the fact that there are 
strange guests in the Halls of Los. Besides the 
Imaginative Geniuses and inspired seers, the 
magicians have also the right of entry. The Alchem- 
ists and Rosicrucians, Paracelsus, and Eliphas Levi 
have practised their incantations with the definite 
purpose of beholding the Halls, and they succeeded 
in giving to unseen essences an ephemeral appear- 
ance which terrified the uninitiated. We are coming 
again to believe that the Egyptian magicians did 
verily by their Black Art call forth frogs, and 
locusts and lice. 

Since there are such diverse visitors to the Halls, 
it is necessary to distinguish them. The magician 
desires knowledge and power, the true mystic love 
and service. The decline of true religion is the 
magician's opportunity. Jacob Boehme, Sweden- 
borg and Blake, all three, knew the truth of magic 
and avoided it. They knew, like S. Paul, that one 
might ■' understand all mysteries and all knowledge," 
and yet entirely miss one's way; so they chose to 
follow after the more excellent way of love which 
not only builds up, but brings with it, in order, such 
understanding and knowledge as are necessary for 
perfecting the spiritual man. 




Each event in Blake's life set him thinking furiously. 
Even the most trivial episode partook of the signifi- 
cance of eternity. Scholfield figures prominently in 
Jerusalem, not because Blake was petty and could 
not forget a personal injury, but because Scholfield 
immediately became in Blake's mind a ssnubol, and 
Blake never forgot a sjmibol. 

Marriage was bound to colour Blake's mind 
deeply. Mr. ElUs has given a profoundly interesting 
picture of Blake's early married life, and he assures 
us that Mary and Broken Love are thinly disguised 
reminiscences of this time. It is my object not to 
repeat the story, but to draw out certain very 
important facts about Blake's temperament. 

Blake had a fuU passionate nature, which made 
vehement demands. Like us all he had his pre- 
matrimonial notions which were quickly upset by 
his matrimonial experiences. The final adjustments 
were made, but not without a good deal of pain 
on both sides. The vehement demands of Blake's 
nature worked in two directions, and besides a 
dif&cult matrimonial adjustment to effect, he was 
forced to consider sex in all its ramifications, and 


finally to enunciate a doctrine of sex, which has 
proved a great deliverance to the modem world, 

Blake's great word is: " Whatsoever lives is 
holy." A comparison of Blake's conception of holi- 
ness with that of the old ascetics will make his word 

The ascetic monk mortified his flesh and all 
fleshly motions with the purpose of freeing the spirit. 
If one overcomes a hon one gains a hon's strength, 
and if one overcomes the flesh the strength of the 
flesh passes into one's spirit. The modem world is 
scornful of asceticism and probably needs such a 
powerful spirit — a John the Baptist — ^to teach it 
the old lessons. The genial Son of Man came eating 
and drinking, but His way was prepared by the 
strong ascetic in the wilderness; and even He who 
was called a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber was 
said to have fasted forty days in the wUdemess. 
The ascetic principle is a specific principle for a 
specific end. As a gardener will nip many buds for 
the sake of one fine bloom, so the ascetic nipped 
the tender flesh in order to develop a spirit intense 
enough to call sinners to repentance. The highest 
ascetic has no grudge against the Bridegroom. 
" The friend of the bridegroom, which sttrndeth and 
heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bride- 
groom's voice," and the Bridegroom testifies that 
the ascetic is a child of wisdom. " Wisdom is 
justified of all her children." 


Unfortunately this lofty understanding was not 
maintained, and the hermits and monks were not 
content to go the way of John the Baptist, but they 
came to think in their hearts that it was the only 
way, and they bequeathed to us an unreasoning 
horror of sex. We are the victims of their fanaticism. 
Good men and women torment themselves and 
think themselves monsters because they are vital 
enough to have strong sexual motions: profligate 
men and women, who cannot think for themselves, 
tacitly accept the monkish ideal as true, and in 
their determination to ignore it bring utter confusion 
into their moral conceptions. 

We have supposed that the ascetics succeeded 
in restraining desire. Blake wrote: " Those who 
restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough 
to be restrained." This cannot have been the case 
with the majority. In the night season when the 
inhibitory powers are asleep amorous images are 
apt to become rampant. Blake, remembering how 
he suffered when his desires were restrained, wrote 
in The Visions of the Daughters of Albion : 

The youth shut up from 
The lustful joy shall forget to generate and create an amorous 

In the shadows of his curtains and in the folds of his silent pillow. 
Are not these the places of religion, the rewards of continence. 
The self-enjoyings of self-denial? Why dost thou seek religion? 
Is it because acts are not lovely, that thou seekest solitude. 
When the horrible darkness is impressed with reflections of 

desire ? 



That is the average experience of the average man 
who restrains desire. But what are we to say of the 
Saints? When we remember the erotic language in 
which many constantly expressed their vision of 
divine things, can we beheve that they had crucified 
the flesh as thoroughly as they imagined? It would 
be truer to say that while they aimed at holiness by 
the crucifixion of part of their nature, they actually 
transmuted passion into higher energy. 

Blake's aim was clear. He would crucify no part 
of his nature but bring all the parts into order. The 
holy man is at unity with himself. Therefore he could 
not regard sex feeling either with horror or repug- 
nance. Sex is simply Energy of Life. Just as 
Nature is not without uian, but within, so "Man 
has no body distinct from his Soul, for that called 
Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five 
Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age." Enefgy 
which " is the only life and is from the Body " is 
the Energy of the Soul itself and this " Energy is 
Eternal Delight." 

Thus the sex power of the individual is his motor 
power. To kiU sex — ^were it possible — ^is to rob the 
engine of its steam. 

This point of view at once places the harlot in 
a new light. She is a frail vessel with immense 
energies, and therefore far nearer the Kingdom of 
Heaven than the religious pharisee. Blake was 
attracted by Mary Magdalene and he painted her 


in ecstasy. Mary Magdalene, the seven-devilled 
harlot repentant at the feet of Christ had experi- 
enced the whole gamut of vital ecstasy from s^x to 
religion and thereby her name became to Blake a 
symbol of the progress of a living soul. Passion is 
never Avithout light as it contains much imagination. 
Mary the harlot had a lurid Hght on the mysteries 
of life, Mary repentant had a chequered light on 
the mysteries of the Kingdom, Mary the Saint had 
a white hght by which she divined the rnysteries 
of God and her soul, of man and the universe. 

I speak of the genuine harlot. We have come to 
understand now that many a harlot is driven on to 
the streets, not by the strength of her energies, but 
by the iniquity of our social system. Nor is reUgion 
without blame. So long as religious people mis- 
understand the sex problem and remain wilfully 
ignorant of it, they will be helping to swell the 
number of harlots. Blake's daring paradox still 
remains terribly true: " Brothels are built with 
bricks of ReHgion." 

Sex passion when it sweeps in with irresistible 
force has its rhythm, its beauty and its ecstasy. It 
transfigures all it touches, and beautifies the human 
body. For it nothing connected with the body is 
common or unclean. Raised to its highest power it 
sees in the human form a direct revelation of the 
divine; and when trusted leads a man as it led 
Michael Angelo to the Fountain source of Beauty 


whence all forms are but partial manifestations. 
Here it is inseparable from religion. The Supreme 
self-surrender of the passionate soul to its Beloved 
is a drama of that other surrender of the soul to 
God by which it finds itself and enters on its true 
reUgious life. 

Blake thus would not eliminate passion, but trans- 
mute it. Just as spirit transmutes pain to joyous 
energy, so it transmutes passion to finest beauty. 
It is only when the Real Man has passion as 
driving force that his genius becomes creative, and 
he grows wings strong enough to soar over the 
Aonian Mount. 




Blake's large, unsuspicious nature was most trustful 
of his fellow-men, and it laid him open to rude 
shocks and sudden resentments. How hopeful and 
glad he was at the beginning of Hayley's patronage 
at Felpham! And how hopelessly exasperating 
Hayley turned out to be after a few weeks ! 

When H y finds out what you cannot do, 

That is the very thing he will set you to do. 
If you break not your back 'tis not his fault, 
But pecks of poison are not pecks of salt. 


Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache: 
Do be my enemy for friendship's sake. 

But Blake's fiercest resentment was against Cromek: 

A petty, sneaking knave I knew. . . . 
Oh, Mr. Cromek, how d'you do ? 

No man appreciates being called gentle or harm- 
less, and Hayley's gentle visionary Blake was 
naturally aroused to wrath. Blake, conscious of 
great powers of anger and resentment, cast about 
to see whether those were not essential quaUties of a 
great man. 

Another mental process is discernible in Blake 


while at Felpham. From the time Mr. Matthews 
advised him to polish his verses on to Mr. Hayley's 
assimiption of the ofifice of spiritual director, Blake 
was much exercised in his mind as to whether he 
should order himself lowly and reverently to his 
" betters " or whether he should trust himself. 

One remembers how terribly S. Teresa suffered at 
the hands of her spiritual advisers who did not 
understand her. She, at least, had the joy afterwards 
of being assured that she was right by her friend 
S. Peter of Alcantara. The sunny soul of S. Francis 
of Assisi became fearfully clouded when he started 
preaching corpse-like obedience to authority. Sim- 
shine returned only when S. Clare brought him back 
to himself. 

Blake's was a simple, childlike soul, and it was 
difficult enough for him to discern the path of true 
humiHty. Humility appears to dictate submission. 
Yet Blake knew well that to submit was to put an 
extinguisher on his genius, and he finally cut his 
way through the maze by trusting himself. He 
seems henceforth to have confounded humility with 
sneaking submission. Blake's self-confidence not 
only incurred the charge of egotism, but it soon 
made him a law-breaker. Could self-will be made 
to coincide with God's will? One may well doubt 
whether all the modern apostles of egoism do God's 
will; but there is no doubt about Blake. The self 
he trusted was the inner Real Man whose language 


is ever: Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire: 
mine ears hast thou opened : burnt offering and sin 
offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I 
come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 
I deUght to do thy will, my God: yea, thy law is 
within my heart ! * 

The Will of the Real Man is the Will of God. 
Obedience to this Will is disobedience to the laws. 
Blake, finding these great principles working them- 
selves out in his life, turned afresh to the Gospels, 
and there he saw in the story of Christ's life th3 
sublimest setting forth of his own deepest experi- 

The immediate cause of writing The Everlasting 
Gospel was resentment against Stothard. The joint 
behaviour of Cromek and Stothard in the production 
of The Canterbury Pilgrims infuriated Blake and he 
turned to Jesus Christ to justify his anger. 

Was Jesus gentle? Nay the wrath of the Lamb 
was terrible. Was Jesus humble ? 

This is the race that Jesus ran: 
Humble to God, haughty to man 

If thou humblest thyself thou humblest Me. 
Thou also dwellest in eternity. 
Thou art a man. God is no more. 
Thy own humanity learn to adore; 
For that is my spirit of life. 

Humility is only doubt, 

And does the sun and moon blot out. 

■ Psalm xl. 6-8. 


Roofing over with thorns and stems 
The buried soul and all its gems. 

Was Jesus chaste ? 

He from the adultress turned away 
God's righteous law that lost its prey. 

Was Jesus obedient ? He was crucified for 
breaking the laws. Thus Jesus was not humble or 
gentle, chaste or obedient. He was proud, wrathful, 
gentle to unchastity, and disobedient. 

But as Blake studied this strange life deeper and 
deeper his spirit kindled. Jesus always forgave sins. 
Every sin was forgiven except that of the man who 
obstinately shut his eyes to the Hght. As Blake 
read and pondered he arose above his excrementitious 
resentments and gained the Christ level where he 
could understand everything and forgive. Hence- 
forth he knew: 

Mutual forgiveness of each vice, 
Such are the gates of Paradise. 

And this is the Everlasting Gospel. 

The Everlasting Gospel is as ancient as the Halls 
of Los. Men receive it and by a deadly process harden 
it into laws and moralities. Then nothing but the 
defiance of the law-breaker can avail to renew the 
old, old Gospel. Here and there one may be found, 
but it is at the cost of all that he hath, if not of 
life itself. 

Blake gave a new reading of Christ's life. His 


contemporaries, Wesley, Whitefield, Toplady and 
Fletcher of Madeley, saw in the Ufe of Christ a 
mechanical obedience to the law, and in His death a 
substitutionary atonement for the sin of their soul. 
Blake saw in His life a persistent disobedience to 
the law, and in His death the penalty of the rebel's 
obedience to the Will of God who by His agony and 
bloody sweat, by His Cross and Passion advances 
the Day of the Lord when the Kingdoms of this 
world shall become the Kingdoms of God and of 
His Anointed. 




When Blake succeeded in marrying Heaven and 
Hell, he discovered in Hell a rich, unworked mine. 
He at once proceeded to rescue passion from Hell's 
clutches with fruitful results, and then seized such 
reprobate words as excess, exuberance, impulse, and 
found that they were excellent servants of passion. 

The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisdom. 

Exuberance is beauty. 

Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules. 

These aphorisms first shock, and then are dis- 
covered to be pearls of wisdom. 

The business of life is to find out what the Real 
Man in us really Hkes and wills, and to follow his 
commands with unswerving loyalty. The first duty 
of a parent and schoolmaster is to educate (lead out) 
the Real Man. Samuel Butler in his masterly Way 
of all Flesh wrote a biting satire on the way they 
did it. No doubt schoolmasters are improving, yet 
even now headmasters can be found who have a fine 
capacity for suffocating the Real Man in their 
pupils, and cramming their tender minds with 
masses of irrelevant knowledge. The road of excess 
is an experimental way of discovering the Real Man. 
It is true what Blake says : " You never know what 


is enough unless you know what is more than 
enough "^and a strong soul that yields to all 
temptations in turn soon knows what it Ukes and 
what it wills. But there are obvious limitations to 
this rule. We must not cast ourselves down from 
the pinnacle of the temple to see whether God's 
angels will bear us up. Here the written word of 
wisdom must be our guide. The road of excess, if 
it brings bruising or a general upheaval and not 
maiming or death certainly leads to wisdom; and 
while we are learning what we like, we shaU at the 
same time rid our minds of many illusions and false 
values. So we may readily admit that this road 
is safe for elect souls, but how about the weak? 
Many undeniably stumble and fall and never rise to 
their feet again. " Let them, "says a pupil of Nietzsche, 
" they are not wanted," yet Christianity has wanted 
them and generally uses them to confound the wise. 
Blake's doctrine brings the old problem of election 
to view again, for in some form or other it must 
always reappear. The elect soul prospers in hell, 
and the reprobate turns heaven to hell. And why 
do they fundamentally differ? Since the difference 
does not depend on the will of man, then it must 
ultimately depend on the will of God " Who worketh 
all things after the counsel of His own will." And 
so men may argue. But one must insist that life 
is greater than logic, and though election cannot 
be stated satisfactorily in terms of logic, it can be 


known in the higher synthesis of life. Jeremiah, 
Jesus Christ, S. Paul, S. Augustine, Calvin, Blake, 
all beheve in election. Yet how vastly different 
their treatment ! Jeremiah is tender and firm, as he 
writes of God the Potter, and Man the Clay. S. Paul 
is harsh in the extreme in his Epistle to the Romans 
and can quote with equanimity, " Jacob have I 
loved, Esau have I hated; " yet he catches the 
Spirit of Christ when he writes to the Corinthians: 
" For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not 
many wise men after t^^e flesh, not many mighty, 
not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; 
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world 
to confound the things which are mighty; and base 
things of the world, and things which are despised, 
hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to 
bring to nought things that are ; that no flesh should 
glory in His presence." Calvin is logicsil and grim. 
Blake's great name has been seized by a narrow 
coterie who fondly imagine they are elect. Blake's 
doctrine was balanced in his own mind, while he 
emphasised the value of excess, just because it was 
a truth that had been overlooked. History teaches 
a curious lesson of election. What contemporary 
dreamt that Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Hogarth, 
Samuel Butler, Blake, was elect? And to whom 
did it occur as Christ hung on the Cross that He 
was God's Elect in whom He delighted? 


It is true that the road of excess leads to the 
palace of wisdom for it cuts away unrealities and 
conventions, and what value may lie hidden in a 
man it brings to the surface; but it also would lead 
many to destruction, whom it is the special glory of 
Christianity to save. S. Augustine came to wisdom 
by the road of excess ; and so did Christ, but there was 
a wide divergence in the ways their excesses led them. 

Blake divined Christ's secret of growth when he 
wrote that He acted from impulse. The man of 
impulse is always a power and attraction. The 
villain acts from impulse hke Milton's Satan, and 
our imagination is rightly enthralled. The irritating 
person is th6 one stretching and straining far beyond 
his proper spiritual stature. He repels by his 
unnatural and abortive attempts to be other than 
himself, and therefore we love the impulsive villain 
and hate the plaster saint. Christ's native impulses 
led him to put aside His parents, to break the law 
of the Sabbath, to drive the money-changers out of 
the Temple, to denounce the Scribes and Pharisees 
in white-heat anger, to defy authority, and rather 
than submit to it to die. It was by trusting His 
impulses that He grew in favour with God and man. 
" Consider the lilies how they grow," He had said. 
The supreme attraction of Jesus has lain in the fact 
that He grew Hke the lilies of the field, and so His 
personality was inevitably beautiful. 




It is necessary now to return to Blake's s3niibolism. 

Blake's symbolism had one great disadvantage, 
that much of it was new. A s3nnbol is like wine, the 
better for being old. The eighteenth century had 
no fine old symbolism that had not been fully used. 
The nineteenth century was more fortunate, and 
Wagner seized the spoil of Scandinavian mythology 
and expressed his vision not in party terms of 
Schopenhauer and Roeckelian Sociahsm, but in 
symbols of a m3rthology which was old enough to 
have become of rich and universal significance. 

Blake used the old Christian s3nmbols freely and 
with great beauty, but his manifold vision and 
spirit of prophecy demanded a larger vesture, and 
he was compelled to create new mythic personaUties. 
It is his elaborate new S3miboUsm for which we have 
not a satisfactory key that makes him so difficult 
to follow and his prophetic books so crude to the 

Blake always paid a tribute to Milton's massive 
power. His own mental build was massive, and we 
must reckon him among the men of inunensg power 
like Michael Angelo, Luther, Oliver Cromwell. 


Power without art becomes destructive and icono- 
clastic; united with art, it becomes creative not 
only of worlds on a colossal scale, but also of little 
flowers that grow at the foot of great mountains. 
Milton revelled in his huge Angels and Devils, in 
his abysses and immensities. These things were for 
him the revelation of the Infinite. We find very 
small things even to mites and microbes hkewise a 
revelation of the Infinite. Blake loved equally with 
Milton the Titanic figures, but he also came to insist 
on the minute particulars and to feel that the enor- 
mous and the minute are interchangeable manifesta- 
tions of " the Eternal which is always present to the 
wise." Urizen and Los, Luvah and Tharmas are 
Miltonic figures and move on a Miltonic scale. 

Blake uses the old ssmibols and sometimes pours 
a fuller meaning into them. Thus Jesus is not only 
God, Saviour, Redeemer, Wisdom, Power, High 
Priest, Prophet, King, but also and pre-eminently 
Imagination, and Imagination is all these. Water 
is still the symbol of the new birth; and Bread and 
Wine are the food of the Real Man. Blake makes 
full use of the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of 
Life, though he much prefers the Tree of Life. Hell 
is sometimes used to express the state of those who 
have no imagination and are therefore dead in 
trespasses and sins, but it also stands for excess, 
feStuberance, impulse, vitality, energy, sex, passion, 
and all these are taken over by the Real Man. 



S. Paul's famous pair, Law and Grace, received a 
wider application. S. Paul thought of the Moral 
Law which, unable to give life, increased the bondage 
and condemnation of those who did not keep it. 
Blake includes all that S. Paul meant, but he wanted 
a symbol to express also the mental processes of the 
rational man, his works from the making of the Law 
of the Decalogue to " the Prisons which are built 
with stones of Law," and the hard Philistine spirit 
which despises the works of the Imagination;, and 
for this he created a terrible figure and called him 
Urizen. Thus Urizen is the false Jehovah. Urizen's 
opposite is soon comprehended. The Real Man, 
Imagination, Inspiration, these are the Eternal 
things wherein hfe and salvation consist. They are 
the sun in the spiritual heavens, the Sol which 
easily becomes Los. 

In fallen man, there is an immense amount of 
feeling which is separated on the one side from 
divine love which has mind, and on the other from 
desire which always contains a measure of imagina- 
tion. This unthinking, unimaginative love Blake 
called by the feminine word Luvah. Luvah ever 
tends to luU life into a deadly sleep. Just as Urizen 
is false Jehovah, so Luvah is false Christ. 

Tharmas is another feminine word (perhaps 
derived from Tammuz, Ezek. viii. 14) to express 
Nature in her contracted form. Nature is the 
matrix, also the vegetable mirror of the natural 


man bound by his five senses. Urthona is the regent 
of dark fire. He is vital material energy struggling 
for fuller life, and Uke the Holy Spirit seeks to bring 
order out of chaos. Los has four sons, Rintrah, 
Palamabron, Theotormon and Bromion. Many 
other symbols occur, as Bowlahoola, the region of 
digestion, Allamanda, the nerves of reason and 
reproduction, Entuthon Benython, solid abstract, 
Udan Adan, liquid abstract. Jfere I want to return 
tq Blake^ primary four. Urizen, Luvah, Tharmas, 
and Urthona represent states, and states are eternal. 
Man may be in any state. If he is in the state of 
Urizen, he is a rationalist, in the state Urthona he 
is strugghng with dark, vital passions. Man's 
redemption consists in being led by Los — ^imagina- 
tion and inspiration — and so bringing the other 
states into their proper place. There is no expulsion 
required but regulation resulting in a man being at 
unity with himself. One may hate a state, but never 
the man that is in it. A clear vision of a man's state 
renders it quite easy to forgive him even to seventy 
times seven; and as to the state itself, there is 
safety in having something on which to spend one's 
righteous wrath. 

Blake would offer little difficulty, if his symbols 
stopped here, but he has complicated matters 
enormously by introducing the names of innumer- 
able places in the United Kingdom. Correspond- 
ing to Urizen, Luvah, Tharmas, and Urthona he 


has Verulam, London, York and Edinburgh, 
also Battersea, Chelsea, London and Canterbury. 
Blake's feeling for place was intense, and to find a 
parallel one must go to the early Semitic peoples. 
German research has made it clear that they had 
highly organised, sensitive bodies, and undeveloped 
intellects. These sensitive bodies were excessively 
responsive to the unseen world, hence a Semite's 
normal approach to it was by physical means rather 
than intellectual. A place where an Israelite en- 
countered a heavenly visitant became holy and 
another Israelite who might chance to aUght on the 
spot would become conscious that it was charged 
with a divine Presence. Hence there were holy 
places like Bethel and Penial, a holy movmtain like 
Horeb, a holy city hke Jerusalem, a holy land like 
Palestine. These names became symbols, and at the 
same time Egypt, Babylon, PhUistia took on repre- 
hensible significance. 

If a place could become charged with the Divine, 
this was much more so with a Tabernacle or a 
Temple. The Holy of HoUes in the Tabernacle was 
not safe and no one could enter it except the High 
Priest " lest he die." The High Priest entered once 
a year after due precautions. The usual method to 
dissipate the Divine energy was by carefully regu- 
lated vibrations and this was effected by an arrange- 
ment of bells. For the same reason the Israelites 
might not touch the Holy Mount " lest they die." 


And Uzzah in his rash attempt to steady the Ark 
died on the spot. 

Gradually a change was effected. The intellect 
was pushed forward at the expense of the body, and 
by the time it had advanced sufficiently to produce 
an Isaiah, the body had become comparatively dull. 
Still even in Christ's time the Jews retained suffi- 
cient bodily sensitiveness to make them hable to 
possession. Since then we have pushed the intellect 
to the extreme, and little has remained of the old 
order except in the Sacraments of the Church, and 
in the Consecration of Churches and burial grounds. 

There are signs that we are discovering again the 
lost power of our bodies. If we learn to approach 
Reality not only by our intellects but also by our 
subtihsed bodies then there may soon be an immense 
advance in our spiritual consciousness. 

Blake's strong feeling for place had every oppor- 
tunity for development in his life. Both before and 
after his marriage he was a great walker. The 
rhythmic exercise of walking brought him, sensitive 
as he was to all rhythm, into immediate perception 
of the spirit of whatever place he might happen to 
visit. England entered into his mental strife, and he 
sought to find in Battersea and Chelsea, Highgate 
and Hampstead, London and Canterbury, symbols 
of man's states as simple to understand as the 
symbols Egypt and Goshen, Babylon and Assj^a, 
Judah and Jerusalem to the spiritual Israelite. 


The strange array of places in Jerusalem may at 
first repel, but Blake was on the right road in restor- 
ing a primitive instinct of place which, it is likely, 
will be very fruitful in the near future. 

But did those feet in ancient time 
Walk upon England's mountains green, 
And was the Holy Lamb of God 
On England's pleasant pastures seen? 

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 ray hand. 
Till we have built Jerusalem 
In England's green and pleasant land. 



blake's art 

Blake's vision was manifold, and he was richly 
endowed with a loVe for drawing, painting, poetry 
and music. This opulence was embarrassing, but he 
eventually found that drawing, painting and poetry 
supplied the most effective vesture for his vision, 
and the music fell into the background. 

We have seen that religion and art were one in 
Blake's soul, that the Real Man perceives spiritual 
realities and works by imagination, and therefore 
of necessity when Blake's Real Man came to express 
himself, he used an art medium. That is Blake's 
unique glory as a mystic. The Hebrew prophets 
used prose and so transfigured it that it is almost 
indistinguishable from poetry. The great Christian 
mystics expressed themselves theologically; Blake's 
contemporary, Wilham Law, had command of a 
very fine prose; but Blake himself by an inherent 
necessity uttered himself as an artist and thus not 
only inwardly but also outwardly effected the union 
of religion and art. This is sufficient to put Blake 
among the Gods, but he has not escaped the fate of 
the Gods. The human instinct which demands that 
a man shall be a synthesis of all human perfections 


is a very old one. Religious orthodoxy in its attempts 
to see in the Son of Man the representative man has 
only succeeded in making Him unreal. Jesus cannot 
be all-inclusive man ; it is the mystical Christ that, 
like the white diamond, contains a thousand facets 
each flashing the colour of some human perfection. 
Blake is very far from being an embodiment of even 
all our modern feelings and consciousness, and equally 
far from being a tjrpe of that all-embracing culture 
which admires everything without partiality. His 
prime value was his definite vision, and that resulted 
in his finest work and his fiercest resentments. His 
resentments against Titian, Rubens, and Sir Joshua 
Reynolds may in turn irritate us, and we shall need 
to keep in mind his finest work and his everlasting 
Gospel if we would forgive him. 

S': Blake's art was rooted in his vision of the Real 
World of which this world is the vegetable mirror. 
All things pertaining to the Real World have the 

/ clearest outline which is only reflected in Nature's 
mirror. Since the function of Art is to pierce through 
to the Real World, then it follows that the Artist 

/cannot be too definite in his outhnes, and that good 
drawing is the foundation of all great art. 

Blake was bound to formiolate such a canon of 
art and to apply it without compromise to the 
Masters. Michael Angelo, Raphael, Albert Diirer 
remain; Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian are swept 
away. One is reminded of Tolstoi whose ultimate . 


definition of art allowed no room for Shakespeare and 
Beethoven among the Gods. Blake was wrathful 
at Rembrandt's t^urred outline, and still more at 
his treatment of the minute particulars in which 
Christ generally figured like a brewer's drayman. 
Rubens' art was merely the blurred apotheosis of the 
fleshj and Blake was blind to the beauty of his fat 
Venuses. None of the Venetians, not even Cor- 
reggio and Titian, could draw. They attained to an 
amazing harmony of colour — an over-elaboration 
which amounted to a fault in Blake's eyes. Blake 
would have raved in a modern art gallery. One can 
imagine his fierce denunciation of Monet and Manet, 
to say nothing of Gauguin and Van Gogh. Yet in 
one matter Blake might have appreciated at least 
the aims of the post-impressionists. He loved pure, 
^^lshaded colour. Colour was the soul of his figures 
and each elemental colour was a symbol — and so he 
might have been beguiled into involuntary admira- 
tion of the vivid pure colour effects of a Signac. It 
is to the Pre-Rap^jaehtes and not to the Impres- 
sionists we must look for a parallel with Blake's 
aims. Like them he was reactionary, and for his 
technique he looked to the past, and he found in 
Michael Angelo all he, needed to express his pro- 
phetic visions. His reed love was for the old 
Florentines; yet a comparison with Michael Angelo 
wiU bring out certain important differences. Both 
loved working on a massive scale, and both created 


immense figures, and by the side of their immense 
figures they loved to place lovely, slight, ethereal 
beings. Both showed a prodigious creative force 
and selected the same subject to exercise it — The 
Creation of Adam. Both met in the supreme value 
they set on outhne, and here they separated. 

■Michael Angelo aimed at soHdity and depth, Blake 
at dignity by long unbroken lines. Michael Angelo 

I appeared to work in three dimensions, Blake in two. 
Michael Angelo worked through a storm of passion 

' excited by the human body till he beheld the Face 
of God; Blake saw God from the beginning and man 
the definite revelation of God. Michael Angelo 
ended by transfiguring the flesh, Blake gazed at the 
flesh till it became translucent and through it shone 
the Eternal definite world of the Imagination. 

Blake's fierce creative power showed itself again 
and again, in the Ancient of Days, in the figures of 
Job, Ezekiel, Caiaphas, Nebuchadnezzar. In his 
picture of Nebuchadnezzar driven out into the 
fields, with the look of horrible madness in his eyes 
and mouth, one sees the inevitable chmax when 
rationahsm has run its full course. For sheer loveli- 
ness one must turn to such pictures as The River 
of Life, Jacob's Ladder and The Nativity. Jacob's 
Ladder is fine ,in conception and execution. The 
upward progress of the human spirit is by a series of 
spiral rounds, and it was a happy inspiration that 
made Blake first conceive Jacob's Ladder as a 


spiral. In this picture the drawing and pure colour- 
ing are alike beautiful. The River of Life is almost 
perfect, yet Blake had an ineradicable dislike of 
technical perfection, and just when a picture was 
nearing completion, he would wilfully mis-draw a leg, 
or a foot or a forefinger and insist that the crooked 
finger weis a road of genius. Rodin's word to Arthur 
Symons — " He should have looked again " — ^is just. 
Another look at the husband's leg and foot in the 
River of Life would have made the picture an irre- 
sistibly lovely masterpiece. The Nativity, which was 
the design for Milton's Hymn for the Nativity, is 
exquisite, and it is pure Blake. Blake saw all that 
his predecessors saw in Christmas and something 
more. The lovely figure of Nature lying in the snow 
and gazing with clasped hands at the Mother and 
Child is Nature rightly related to God, to Man, to 
the Mother, to the Child. With pure colours that 
Blake has learnt from Nature herself he paints a 
little world in whose bosom is the mystery of the 

Blake did not found a school of art. His influence 
can be traced in the early works of George Richmond, 
Samuel Palmer, John Linnell and Edward Calvert 
and there ends. Yet he was not merely the tail end 
of the Florentines. He accomplished designs which 
were unique and adequate presentments of his 
unique vision; and as if that were not enough, he 
commanded another medium of expression, and in 


the effort to convey his revolutionary message, 
Hurst through the traditions even of blank verse Eind 
made poetry a rhythmic vehicle of his highest 

Swinburne has written so finely of Blake's Lyrics 
' that I shall not presmne to add another word. I will 
only insist on the fact that Blake's love for " crooked 
roads " manifested itself from the beginning. His 
aphorism in reply to Mr. Matthews when he sug- 
gested that he should correct his poetical sketches 
v' was prompt and final: " Improvement makes 
. straight roads, but the crooked roads witho^t 
: Improvement are roads of Genius." Blake's im- 
patience of Titian's technical perfections and of the 
small perfections of polished verse was like our 
modern rebound from mere prettiness which has 
made some of our young artists deny that art is 
, necessarily concerned with the beautiful. Blank 
I verse appeared to Blake slightly artificial. He was 
I supremely sensitive to rhythm for he was a magician, 
and rhythm is the evocative power in the magician's 
^incantations, but he could not bear that the rh3^1mi 
, should be broken by regular lines, yet an unbroken 
' rhythm Hke a fast spinning wheel maddened his 
brain, and he felt himself compelled to twitch at 
the wheel from time to time in order to maintain 
his mental equilibrium. 

Blake naturally suggests a comparison with Waif 
Whitman who though half a century later was yet 


before his time. Mr. Yeats (father of the poet) and 
Professor Dowden hailed the poet, but it was many 
years before the claims of Lowell gave place to Walt 
Whitman's. Walt Whitman sinned less than Blake. 
In both was the pulsing spirit of life. The rhythm of 
Walt Whitman's pulse was perfectly discernible in 
his irregular lines. Blake's vision of hfe of which his 
contemporaries had no inkling intoxicated his brain 
and made his pulse beat fiercely irregular. 

Thus Blake in his designs looked to the past, and 
in his poetry to the future. Blank verse had become 
too strait for him. His widening vision imperiously 
demanded a wider medium, and his prophetic books 
are a challenge to us either to deny his pretentious 
claims or tohailTiim as the apostle of a new order of 




Blake in all his Prophecies pressed vehemently 
towards the realisation of the great conception 
which possessed his mind — the conception of the 
divine humanity. His conception of God is in terms 
of Man. He has a horror of a God who is abstract, 
vague, or indefinite, for though God is infinite and 
all-present, yet He is terrible to the imagination 
unless he has outline. Man is God's outline. In the 
Everlasting Gospel ^ Blake hurls his word hke a pro- 
jectile: " Thou art a man, God is no more," and 
therefore, once for all, let it be understood that God 
is known only through man; man is the continuous 
revelation of God. Jesus said to Thomas: If ye had 
known me, ye should have known my Father also.^ 
Blake heartily believed that word, and applied it 
more universally than theologians had hitherto 
dared. In every man there lies hidden the Real 
Man which is God's Image. Therefore as every man 
discovers his Real Man, he discovers God. The Real 
Man in every man is one in essence with the Keal 
Man in all men, but he differs in identity, and there- 
fore as each man discovers his real self, he unveils 

• The Everlasting Gospel, 71. ' John xiv. 7. 


another letter in God's Name and ensures to 
humanity the progressive revelation of God. 

In the natural or unregenerate man the Real 
Man lies bound hand and foot, and can scarcely 
make his voice heard from his prison house. Blake, 
who instinctively worked by symbols, turned to 
the s3mibolist Evangelist and took over j Laza rus 
enswathed with grave-clothes as the symbol of the 
natural man. Throughout The Four Zoas and Jeru- 
salem Blake is haunted by the language of S. John, 
and weaves in its every sentence and word as he 
describes the new birth and final judgment of man 
in his passage from death into Ufe. But Blake never 
confines himself long to one image, and he passes 
with lightning speed from Lazarus and his chamel 
house, and sees fallen man as Albion fixed to a rock. 
Around him beat the storms and snows. " Howling 
winds cover him, roaring seas dash furious against 
him, in the deep darkness broad lightnings glare, 
long thunders roll." ^ And so Albion remains, hard, 
cold, contracted, opaque, isolated, miserable, asleep, 
till the Divine voice pierces to the hidden man and 
awakens him to eternal life. 

Perfect man is a creature of four-fold vision: 
fallen his vision is quenched. Whereas he was able 
to explore the inner world of reality with inward 
vision, he finds that what is within is turned ruth- 
lessly without. The heavens appear above, the earth 

• Jerusalem, 94, 1-4. 


around, and his body becomes the object of his five 
senses. He has now only the five senses to inform and 
instruct him. Therefore if he is driven to make a 
reUgion it is a natural rehgion, if a philosophy it is 
the sensual philosophy of Locke. Himself contracted, 
he is compelled to live in a contracted world. Yet 
he cannot rest satisfied, for deep within is the Real 
Man bound and almost inarticulate, and he has the 
crowning sorrow of vaguely remembering happier 
things. Mercifully there is a limit to this contraction, 
otherwise the real man would sink into eternal 
death never to rise again. Man's contracted state is 
called by Blake Adam. Blake en^Efses the great 
statements made by S. P&,ul concerning Adam, in the 
Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians: — 

" Through the offence of one (Adam) many be 

" Judgment was by one (Adam) to condemna- 

" By one man's (Adam's) disobedience many were 
made sinners." 

" In Adam all die." 

" The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy." 

Blake, while conserving all the values that S. Paul 
attaches to Adam, adds to the s3mibol. In the con- 
tracted man the place of the imagination has been 
usurped by the reason, and so Adam stands also for 
the unimaginative man governed by reason. 

BeslHes Geing contracted fallen man has become 


opaque. Perfect man is translucent. He is a stream 
of transparent depth hiding nothing. His simpHcity, 
innocence, and guilelessness reflect the beauty of 
God. Opaque man loses the simplicity of Christ and 
its place is taken by the subtlety of the serpent. 
What is still worse, he loses fellowship by which 
Man lives. Fellowship is effected by the inter- 
penetration and flowing together of human spirits. 
Man's personahty is not fixed but in the making. 
When he attains to true personahty he flows into 
other spirits and yet retains his identity. In his 
capacity to live in his brother's bosom lies his 
capacity to live the more abundant life. Fallen man 
by his opacity has lost this power and become hard 
and exclusive. His isolation shuts him up in self- 
hood. Mercifully, again, there is a limit to opacity 
(Satan), otherwise the real man could never emerge 
from within his stone walls. 

The natural man is always contracted and opaque, 
but his qualities vary according as one state merges 
into another. He may be a slave to corporeal 
passions, or follow a blind instinct of unthinking, 
unimaginative love, and in either case possess little 
reasoning power. Blake shows an immense variety 
of combinations in The Four Zoas and Jerusalem. 
Generally, however, natural man is characterised by 
his reasoning power which has taken the leadership, 
reducing all the other qualities to servitude. Blake 
traces the origin of the reasoning power to the " two 


contraries " with which every substance is clothed. 
Natural man calls these two contraries good and 
evil, and at once proceeds to make an " abstract " of 
them. This " abstract " is a negation, and negatives 
" every substance," " its own body," " every Divine 
Member," in short, " everything." ^ This is the 
" Holy Reasoning Power," and in its Holiness is 
closed " the Abomination of Desolation." The 
Reasoning power is man's spectre. 

Each man is in his Spectre's power 
Until the arrival of that hour, 
When his humanity awake ; 
And cast his Spectre into the Lake.' 

It is the part of reason to work on everything 
that is supplied to it by the inlets of the soul and 
body. In perfect man there are a thousand inlets, 
and the reason can exercise itself on those intuitions 
which have a far deeper origin than itself. But in 
natural man these thousand gates are closed, and 
he has only the five inlets of the senses. The 
Reason, with so little to work upon, is thus doomed 
to failure. Having lost the divine vision and in 
consequence faith, it is compelled to live by sight. 
It believes only what it can touch, see, and handle. 
It pursues the positive sciences and stamps out 
imagination and inspiration, calling them super- 
stition. It sees a part and takes it for the whole. 
True, its part is immense, though but a small mani- 

^ Jerusalem, lo, 7-16. 'Jerusalem, 41, 32. 


festation of the Infinite. It can measure the earth 
with its compasses, but heaven is hidden from its 
downward gaze. It can explore the heavens with 
telescopes, but it finds not God. It looks at, not 
through Nature. It worships efficiency and despises 
God's gifts in others. Restlessly it works by demon- 
stration, but is never satisfied with its demonstration. 
It is finally driven by its sense of an aching void to 
fashion a religion. With the aid of its rehgion it 
feels competent to run the world and steer humanity 
into a safe haven. One has only to think how 
stupendous are the works of reason, to reaUse how 
inevitably Blake personalised it. Urizen is a magni- 
ficent figure to be approached with fear and 
trembling and awful respect. He has many sons and 
daughters whose names tower in the history of man- 
kind. Bacon, Newton, Locke, Rousseau, Darwin, 
George Eliot are formidable names among moderns, 
worthy of such an illustrious father. When Urizen 
is renewed, and his master, man, once more flings 
wide his gates, he will take his rightful place in the 
mental life of the Real Man; and his sons and 
daughters will be remembered in the sculptured 
halls of Los' Palace, because by giving body and 
substance to Reason, they enabled man to cast him 

Man's reasoning power affects most of all his 
religion with disastrous results. " Man must and 
will have some religion; if he has not the religion 


of Jesus, he will have the religion of Satan, and will 
erect the synagogue of Satan calUng the Prince of 
this World, God; and destroying all who do not 
worship Satan under the name of God." ^ 

Natural man begins his rehgion with ideas of good 
and evil. We have already seen that Blake held 
that every substance consists of two contraries 
which mutually exist. The natural man separates 
these contraries and calls them good and evil. He 
has varied ways of dealing with these distinctions, 
but he generally looks on the distinction as eternal 
and especially thinks of his abstract law of good aS 
the eternal, unchanging law of God. In order to 
preserve the good, the evil must be destroyed. But 
this is impossible. Light and darkness mutually 
exist, and without darkness there can be no hght. 
One does not destroy darkness to obtain light. 
When the light shines the darkness vanishes, but 
it is not destroyed, it has become the medium of the 
light. The same is true of all contraries. Joy and 
pain mutually exist. The pain is felt when sepeirated 
from joy; when united, conscious pain vanishes, 
yet it is the medium by which alone joy takes 
possession. Natural man having abstracted his 
notions of good and evil, proceeds to elaborate a 
code of moral laws which he calls God's command- 
ments. As such they must never be violated, and the 
penalty of disobedience must be severe to ensure 

^Jerusalem, 52. 


obedience. Yet obedience is impossible. " They are 
death to every energy of man and forbid the springs 
of life." ^ When the natural religious man breaks 
them he condemns himself, when he thinks he 
keeps them he condemns others, and in either case 
he is miserable. His failure urges him to repres- 
sive measures. He sets himself severe rules of self- 
discipline, fasting, and even self - chastisement. 
Occasionally, by sheer will, or by help of philosophy 
and reason, he succeeds in chaining his passions; 
but when these energies of life are very strong, they 
burst out afresh, and drive the natural, religious man 
to despair. The consequences are no better when he 
succeeds in his repression. The passions repressed 
turn to poison and mounting to the brain infect it 
with morbid fancies. The character that is ulti- 
mately formed by such a process is nerveless, self- 
conscious, studied, severe, and entirely lacking in 
sweet spontaneity, in beautiful impassioned words 
and actions, and in creative genius. Again and again 
the natural religious man goes through the agonies 
of repentance, and each time the iron is more 
riveted in his soul. His consciousness is now almost 
completely obsessed with the notion of sin, and in 
his despair he is driven to formulate a doctrine of 
atonement for his sin. He turns to God, but it is 
a God he has created in his own image by means of 
his senses and reasoning power. Since violation of 

•^ Jerusalem, 35, 11. 


the commandments must in his own code be 
severely punished, he necessarily thinks of God as 
the Avenger exacting the penalty to the last 
farthing. The debtor failing entirely to pay his debt, 
God at last provides for him a righteous substitute 
who meekly offers Himself to the Avenger of Sin, 
receiving on His head the lightning of God's wrath, 
and thereby satisfying His righteousness and His 
mercy. Thus the sinner comes to shelter himself 
under the vicarious sufferings of Christ. He is not 
purged of his sins, but his misery is dulled and made 
bearable. But liberty he has none. His reasoning 
power has already killed every happy inspiration, 
and bound his higher powers. No longer able to see 
through Nature, he is ensnared by her witchery; 
and God being the offspring of his own binding 
reason, he ends by falling completely into bondage 
to his God. 

To understand Blake it is necessary to see what 
was his attitude to the great Evangelical movement 
of his time. In his prophetical books he always 
refers with approval to Wesley, Whitefield, and even 
Hervey whose Meditations in a Country Church 
Yard are now unreadable. These men and others — 
Venn, Fletcher, Beveridge, Romaine — taught as 
necessary to salvation a substitutionary view of 
atonement which Blake vigorously repudiated. 
The real point of contact with them was their insist- 
ence on the new birth. It was through their experi- 


cnce of the ftew birth and not through their doctrine 
of atonement that Blake beUeved they attained to 
liberty. John Wesley is a specially interesting case 
in point. At Oxford he was intensely religious, and 
full of prescribed good works. In after years he 
testified that he had known nothing of the new birth, 
nor did he till he went to America, and learned from 
Peter Bohler the truth that freed his soul. Wesley 
then at Oxford was confessedly only a natural 
religious man. 

Blake's understanding and appreciation of the 
evangelicals and methodists can hardly have been 
reciprocated. Wesley never really understood 
mysticism. He designated William Law's book on 
the new birth as " philosophical, speculative, pre- 
carious, Behmenish, void, and vain! " Boehme 
was " fustian," and Swedenborg " one of the most 
ingenious, Uvely, entertaining madmen that ever set 
pen to paper." However, Blake was far too much 
before his time to be understood by his contem- 
poraries. It is enough that he understood them, 
and did them full justice. 

To return to Blake's natural religious man. Once 
one has grasped the prevailing characteristics of his 
mind, one sees how impossible it is for the gracious 
fruit of the spirit to grow out of such a soil. Self- 
condemnation and despair are the best fruits of 
the natural religious man's failure. There is a deep 
human experience, which repeats itself in every age, 


and in all pronounced cases of conversion. When the 
good man is racked with bankruptcy and despair 
just then a door within opens. He becomes conscious 
of hfe and strength flowing in. He knows that the 
life does not originate from himself, he has nothing 
to bring; but as he remains quietly receptive, the 
new hfe takes hold of him and renews the springs of 
his being; and he sees in a flash that henceforth if 
only he can abide in this Life and this Life in him, he 
can go from strength to strength, from faith to faith, 
from victory to victory, from glory to glory, till he 
comes face to face with Him who renewed his soul. 
This was the experience of Wesley and Whitefield, 
and of many of their followers. They believed that 
it was in consequence of their faith in the atone- 
ment. But their distorted view of atonement was 
rejected by Blake. Happily saving truth is con- 
veyed to lives even through misstated doctrines. 
The methodists and Calvinists looking to Christ on 
the Cross often grasped the Divine Love and Mercy 
which thus manifested itself in supreme self- 
oblation. They learned that man's highest life was 
a life of service, and they reahsed in the hour of 
their weakness and despair that hfe and power were 
not of themselves but of God. It is in a later stage 
of the regenerate life that a wrong view of the 
Atonement is apt to warp the hfe because it must 
always lead to a false conception of God. The 
methodists and Calvinists were compelled to reaUse 


by their own doctrine their impotence and God's 
sufficient Life. The moment of that realisation was 
their deUvery as they passed from death into Ufe. 
Blake passed through the same deep experience 
without becoming entangled in an immoral version 
of the Atonement. Many convicted souls did not 
obtain to liberty. They took shelter beneath the 
Cross but were not renewed. They testified in public 
that they were saved, while their deeds testified 
against them. This was the side of methodism 
observed by Fielding, and which he was quick to 
Satirise in his novels. Such results were bad enough, 
but they are far worse when the natural religious 
man is successful in repressing his passions and 
becoming virtuous. The virtues he cultivates 
are chastity, righteousness, self-control, economy, 
prudence, discretion, punctuality, regularity, utiUty 
and such like. Viewed closely these virtues are 
seen to be manufactured not grown. They bear 
the same relation to the fruit of the spirit, as the 
fruits of a Christmas tree to the apples of the 
orchard. And they also bring with them some ugly 
mahgnant growths. Pride, contempt, and con- 
demnation of others spring up like toad-stools in 
the night. The natural religious moral man thanks 
God that he is not hke other men; he despises God's 
gifts in others; he stamps out imagination and 
inspiration. He hates all innovators and rebels; he 
punishes offenders relentlessly; he upholds law. 


custom, and authority; he worships efficiency; and 
the everlasting word on his hps is duty. 

Like all other men the natural religious man 
cannot live to himself, for though his religion con- 
tracts and isolates him, yet he cannot fall out of his 
place as a unit in the social organism, and as such 
he affects society to its furthest limits. His first 
care is his own soul which he tries to save at all 
costs. He never realises that it can only be saved 
along with the society of which he is a member. 
The social organism may also react relentlessly on 
him, catching him up in its wheels and tearing him 
to pieces. He is much too intent on making virtues 
to be aUve to the iniquities of the state. Next to 
himself the religious man is preoccupied with his 
family. His pride insists on his building his house. 
He seizes all the prizes he can for his sons and 
daughters, and his family prospers at the expense 
of others in a less favoured part of the social 

Is this thy soft Family-Love, 
Thy cruel patriarchal pride. 
Planting thy family alone. 
Destroying all the world beside? ' 

There is a terrible nemesis to the man who seeks 
the good of his family apart from the good of society, 
as Job's sons learnt when they were crushed by the 
pillars of their own houses. 

^Jerusalem, 27, 20. 


A man's worst enemies are those 
, Of his own house and family; 

And he who makes his law a curse, 
By his own law shall surely die. 

For Jerusalem the City of God can only be biiilt 
when men and nations walk ' ' heart in heart and hand 
in hand." 

In my exchanges every land 

Shall walk, and mine in every land. 

Mutual shall build Jerusalem 

Both heart in heart and hand in hand. 

Next to planting his family the natural religious 
man is anxious to secure friends. These are what 
Blake calls " corporeal friends." They have nothing 
to do with the real man, they rather hinder him 
and therefore are spiritual enemies. They are useful 
when the time comes for launching the sons into the 
world; then their " interest " is often able to secure 
a high official place. They are also useful as patrons 
even to genius which ineffectually beats its wings 
for recognition without their help. True friends are 
meant for the evil days, as well as prosperous times, 
but it is here that corporeal friends fail. They come 
and preach patience, endurance, and indeed aU the 
virtues which the rehgious man considers he has 
mastered. It may happen that they hold a mirror 
to the natural rehgious man of himself and drive him 
to desperation and curses hke Job. He must then 
either perish or turn from his corporeal friends and 
cast himself on God. In the meantime man, with his 


family and friends, having seized for himself a 
monopoly, some one has to pay, and in that way 
poverty is created in the social organism. With 
poverty comes a long train of evils — sickness, disease, 
misery, crime, prostitution; and the prosperous 
religious man becomes conscious that he has always 
the poor with him. He cannot be easy at their 
presence. He may even be vaguely aware of his 
real relation to them. His conscience is perturbed, 
and he seeks to soothe it and the poor by deaUng 
out doles and organising lectures on thrift, hygiene 
and temperance. Then the churches are enlisted, and 
the clergy with the facility offered by the parochial 
system visit the houses of the poor, distributing the 
charities and exhorting the victims to repent. 
Repentance is seldom effected. The poor man con- 
tinues to drown his cares in drink, and his per- 
sistent drunkenness satisfies the religious man that 
nothing more can be done with him. Then he must 
be handed over to the cruelties of the penal system. 
The religious man's family is endangered by the 
criminals at large and by the prostitutes driven on 
to the streets. For his family safety, he must build 
prisons for the criminals, and for his family purity, 
brothels for the prostitutes. That is not the end 
of the natural religious man's action on the social 
organism. The mind he has fabricated for himself is 
penal and forensic. Pity and forgiveness are slowly 
banished until he becomes quite " blind to the 


simple rules of life." ^ He then " leaves the plough, 
and harrow and loom, the hammer and chisel and 
the rule and the compasses," and forges the " sword, 
the chariot of war, the battle-axe, the trumpet fitted 
to the battle," and all the arts of life he changes into 
the arts of death. Since there are thousands of 
natural reUgious men impressing continually their 
mentality on the social organism, the State neces- 
sarily becomes like a powder magazine, and then 
a spark is sufficient to precipitate a whole nation into 
revolution or war. 

The natural religious man's development is now 
as steady as the Rake's Progress. Job's boils typify 
his shame, doubt, and despair. All the time there 
is a hardening process. His pride will not allow 
other men to differ from himself, and he will com- 
pass land and sea to make one proselyte. He is so 
accustomed to think of himself as the child of 
privilege that he invents a doctrine of election by 
which he can reject all but himself and his corporeal 
friends, and so becomes a bigot. His isolation and 
the shrinkage of his universe consequent on his 
undue simplification of life, concentrate the rays of 
his sun into one burning spot which kindles his eye, 
and betrays to the observer that he has become a 
fanatic. His zeal for the faith intensifies. He per- 
secutes relentlessly all heretics, and when circum- 
stance permits casts them into the fires which he has 

^ The Four Zoas. Night VII, 660 etc. 


kindled. The Christ within dies after a long cruci- 
fixion. But the man knows not that the hidden 
lamp in his temple has been extinguished. Without 
its light he calls evil good and good evil. When he 
comes face to face with the incarnate Christ, he 
shouts. Crucify Him, Crucify Him, and hands him 
over with fearful exultation to the cruellest death 
he can devise. Thus he and his corporeal friends sin 
against the Holy Ghost for which the Christ said there 
was no forgiveness. Thank God, that was not His 
last word. As he fell a victim to their bitter hatred 
He cried, " Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." To the natural religious man, Blake 
says as Christ said to the religious Nicodemus: " Ye 
must be born again." We have seen that the man 
who has followed the path indicated by his reason 
and five senses, brought through repeated failure to 
despair, finds in his last extremity that a door opens 
within, and he passes from death into fife. This is 
a frequent way to the new birth, but it is not the 
normal or the most healthy. There are some like 
John the Baptist who are full of the Holy Ghost 
from their Mother's womb. In all cases there is 
something mysterious. " The wind bloweth where 
it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but 
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : 
so is every one that is bom of the Spirit." ^ There 
are very many (perhaps the greater number) who 

» S. John iii. 8. 


cannot put their finger on any crisis in their hfe and 
say when they were born again. That, of course, is 
not important. It is important that a man should 
know that he has been bom of the Spirit, otherwise 
there can be no stability in his spiritual life. This 
knowledge comes sooner or later when the man 
gains the inward witness of the Spirit. The Spiritual 
birth then becomes as certain to him as his natural 
birth. Blake traces magnificently the course of the 
new birth in Jerusalem. " The Breath Divine 
Breathed over Albion. ... He opened his eyelids 
in pain; in pain he moved his stony members. . . . 
Albion rose." To him troubled in conscience and 
affrighted, Jesus says: " Fear not, Albion, unless I 
die thou canst not live, but if I die I shall rise again 
and thou with me." . . . Albion replied: "Cannot 
man exist without mysterious offering of self for 
another? Is this friendship and brotherhood ? " . . . 
Jesus said: " Wouldst 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 and giveth 
not Himself eternally for Man, Man could not exist, 
for Man is Love, as God is Love; every kindness to 
another is a Uttle Death in the Divine Image, nor 
can Man exist but by Brotherhood." ^ 

Here in a few sublimely simple words Blake reveals 
the true and innermost meaning of the Atonement, 
which is an eternal process, enacted in history, 

1 Jerusalem, 96, 1-28. 


repeated in the spiritual life of every member of 
Christ, and when apprehended by conscience- 
stricken, pained, and despairing man enables him 
to take hold of Life and start on his upward course 
with peace, joy and hope in his heart, and the inward 
assurance of ultimate victory. The insistence on the 
new birth, then, was the great point which Blake 
had in common with his protestant contemporaries. 
His attitude to the natural man was, however, very 
different from theirs. Whitefield regarded the 
natural man as entirely depraved. He had not a 
spark of original righteousness. He was a goat, a 
tare, a vessel of wrath, a child of the devil. The man 
who had been born again was righteous in God's eyes, 
a sheep, pure wheat, an heir of grace and a child of 
God. The saved man who claimed to discern all 
things could infalUbly decide who was saved and 
who lost. This sharply defined distinction between 
the saved and unsaved made the way of the evange- 
list very simple, for it was easy to say to a man: 
You are lost, I am saved, I will tell you how to 
become saved. But a price must be paid for this 
simple method. The saved saw no good thing in the 
unsaved. He was reprobate and as such the saved 
man must separate himself from his company; he 
must not touch him lest he be defiled; and when he 
took this Pharisaic attitude it was only one step 
further to say: Depart from me for I am holier than 
thou. To this day many a protestant condemns 


another as unsaved who is intrinsically better than 
himself. Blake saw that the Real Man lay hidden in 
the natural man, yet not so hidden but that he made 
his presence f^lt from time to time. It was just this 
recognition which softened the distinction between 
the spiritual and natural man which Calvinism had 
made so rigid. Because there is a limit to contrac- 
tion and opacity, therefore Blake's natural man is 
not altogether depraved, his original righteousness 
is deeper than his original sin, and in his deeds there 
gleams fitfully the presence of the Real Man. A 
man may be sexually passionate, in which case the 
lightning of his Real Man striking his passion into 
flame will give him illumination and insight. For 
this reason the passionate man has more under- 
standing of hfe than the cold intellectual, and he is 
nearer to the Kingdom. When he enters the King- 
dom his passion undergoes transmutation, and as it 
penetrates his every thought and action makes them 
vital and beautiful. Again, sinners, tramps, thieves 
are natural men; but they often have more reality 
in them than natural religious men or settled nien 
whose morahty is merely imitative. This touch of 
reality makes them respond to the truth when they 
hear it. Therefore Blake, Uke all men of real spiritual- 
imaginative discernment, detected unerringly the 
Real Man in natural men. By seeing the inner 
beauty, he could love them, and his love at once 
put him into simple human relationship with them 


which was wholly right and wholly Christian. To 
eat with publicans and sinners, for Christ, was 
neither to set a good example nor condescension, it 
was the swift detection of the pulse of Ufe by Him 
who was the Life indeed. To have separated Him- 
self from them would have seemed to Him the worst 
kind of self-righteousness and spiritual pride. 

Blake's twice-born man is further to be distin- 
guished from Whitefield's convert, though he 
approaches more nearly to Wesley's sanctified man. 
When a man is bom again, he must pass on to hdi- 
ness, or else his new spiritual hfe will dwindle away 
and leave him in a worse state than the first. White- 
field and Toplady were frightened at any doc- 
trine of Christian perfection, and for many years 
Whitefield could not regard Wesley as a brother for 
teaching Arminian doctrine and Christian perfec- 
tion. Wesley's doctrine of the " seccmd blessing " 
or " entire sanctification " or " a clean heart," as it 
was variously called, when carefully sifted and re- 
stated was in reality a revival of the old catholic 
doctrine of sanctity. A Wesleyan saint was equiva- 
lent to a Catholic saint who had reached the 
unitive way. Like Wesley, Blake saw that the con- 
verted man might have a great deal of the old man 
in him, and the old man would ultimately prevail 
unless the converted man passed on to the life of 
imity. So far Blake's regenerate man and Wesley's 
are alike, but Blake brings out a difference of para- 


mount importance. The imagination of his twice- 
born man has been set free from the tyranny of the 
reasoning power. His imagination urges him to 
music, art, poetry or sculpture, and when his Ufe 
of unity is reached, the Real Imaginative Man takes 
the supreme control and starts on creative work. 
Between the new birth and this perfect hberty 
there is a long period of temptation and bitter con- 
flict. Through this the man must win his way with 
all his courage and valour. He may pass through a 
horror of great darkness, he may faint many times, 
but if he carries on his mental fight manfully to the 
end, his dire conflict will resolve into victory and 
liberty; and then if he does not create a beautiful 
work of art, he will in any case hand down a beauti- 
ful legend of his life, and a life that has become a 
poem is the highest work of art a man can leave the 
race. In man's life there are two great spiritual 
crises which theologically are called conversion and 
sanctification. Either of them may be sudden or 
gradual. Usually conversion takes place at adoles- 
cence, and sanctification stretches over the remain- 
ing lifetime: but the realisation of the truth of 
conversion and sanctification is frequently in the 
flash of a moment. 

In the Old Testament Scriptures there are many 
examples. Abraham's sanctification was immedi- 
ately preceded by " a horror of great darkness " 
and a symbolical act expressing the complete sur- 


render of himself by faith to God. He became father 
to the child of promise, and saw in vision the whole 
of the promised land to be possessed by his posterity. 
Jacob's conversion was effected by his vision of a 
ladder joining heaven and earth, and his sanctifica- 
tion began by his wrestling all night with an angel 
till the day dawned. From being Jacob the sup- 
planter he became Israel the Prince with God. 
Subsequently his people in the person of Moses was 
taken into a high mountain, and shown the promised 
land. Having seen the blessed vision, he was taken 
down into the valley, and told to fight his way inch 
by inch until he should take possession. Isaiah was 
sanctified by his vision of the Glory of God which 
convicted him of uncleanness. A live coal off the 
altar of God pressed to his lips purged him, and he 
became God's spokesman. Ezekiel's gradual jdeld- 
ing of himself while the Hand of the Lord was heavy 
■ upon him, made him a sharp instrument in the 
Hand of the Lord. The classical exposition of the 
whole process of sanctification is in the story of Job. 
There through terrible afflictions we see Job stripped 
of his natural and patriarchal religion, brought 
through horrible suffering tUl at the vision of God he 
repents in dust and ashes. Blake in his Job series 
has seized every element in the story of Job, and 
because of its universal significance has been able to 
incorporate his own experience of darkness and 
mental fight till he had reached the life of unity. 


In the New Testament the deeper experience is 
called the baptism of fire or of the Holy Ghost. The 
Christ's sanctification began in Jordan when the 
Heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended 
upon Him like a Dove. It was continued through 
the temptation and suffering in the wilderness; it 
reached its darkest hour in the Garden of Geth- 
semane ; and was finally consummated on the Cross 
when he calmly committed His Spirit into the Hands 
of His Father. 

The disciples entered on their sanctification on 
the Day of Pentecost. The change in their lives was 
speedily manifested in boldness, purity and power. 

These two inward experiences were linked from 
the beginning of the Apostles' ministry with two 
outward rites — Baptism and the Laying on of Hands 
(Confirmation), and the Church, built on the founda- 
tion of the Apostles and Prophets, has preserved 
these two rites ever since. 

Catholicism has enriched the doctrine of sanctifi- 
cation in her doctrine of Saints. As usual catholic 
theology has systematised this part of man's spiritual 
progress with passionate precision. Whether we 
turn to the pages of the theological Saint Thomas 
Aquinas, to the mystical Saints John of the Cross, 
Teresa, Peter of Alcantara, or the modem Jesuit 
Poulain, we shall find mapped out every inch of the 
way to hoHness which was trodden by the Saints. 

Protestantism has added much of deep interest 


to the literature of holiness. Jacob Boehme wrote 
fully of what he had known by experience. George 
Fox has revealed the history of his sanctification in 
his Journal. John Bunyan has given a harrowing 
account of his own " dark night " in Grace Abound- 
ing. Among Blake's contemporaries William Law, 
deepened by his' study of Boehme, wrote his beauti- 
ful Spirit of Love, and Spirit of Prayer, dealing with 
the soul's passage out of the vanity of time into 
the riches of Eternity. For the most part, Calvinist 
protestants like Whitefield and Toplady were 
frightened at doctrines of Christian perfection. It 
is to Wesley that honour must be paid for reviving 
the old catholic doctrine, and making it practicable 
to many thousands of his followers. 

Wesley called sanctification the " second blessing," 
or " entire sanctification " or " the clean heart." 
He seems to have experienced it without partaking 
of Job's terrors; but many of his followers were 
plunged into the dark night, and in their struggles 
through to light, they often learned much mysticism 
which was embodied in Charles Wesley's hymns, 
and has lived on to this day. Present-day reli- 
gious movements like the Salvation Army and 
the Pentecostal League are really off-shoots of 
methodism. The Salvation Army distinguishes the 
two blessings of conversion and sanctification by 
the vivid symbols of blood and fire ; and the Pente- 
costal League insists that man must be baptised 


with the Holy Ghost and with fire before he can be 
endued with power for service. 

This long dark period subsequent to the new birth, 
and leading to entire sanctification, is called by 
Saint Thomas Aquinas the way of purgation; by 
S. John of the Cross, the dark night of the soul; 
by Bunyan, the valley of the Shadow of Death; 
and by Blake, the Day of Judgment. 

So far as I know, Blake is the first to call the 
purgative way the Day of Judgment, though mystics 
had always known that it was a process of judgment, 
as was shown in the Gospel according to S. John. 
Blake besides illustrating Job's day of judgment 
gives a whole Night of The Four Zoas to Albion's day 
of judgment. Here his language is largely taken from 
the Bible, and as in the Bible, he pictures it as a 
general judgment of the nations. But he leaves no 
doubt that he is dealing with an experience of 
Albion's inner life, and as such it is the way to his 
liberty and the building of Jerusalem. 

The day of judgment begins with trouble. The 
man finds his sun darkened, his moon torn down, 
and his heavens cracked across. It is a terrible time 
when those things are shaken which he has always 
taken for granted. It seems then as if everything 
would go and he must find himself in the terrors of 
Non-existence. To add to his sufferings the fires of 
eternity fall with " loud and shrill sound of loud 
trumpet thundering along from heaven to heaven." 


These fires are never quenched until they have 
accompUshed their work by searching out every 
minutest particular in man's soul and body. The 
man is plunged without power to draw back into a 
baptism of fire. The fire flaming through aU the 
intricate labyrinths of man's inward being releases 
aU that the natural reUgious man has repressed. 
Passion flares up in a " fierce raving fire," and the 
man is pursued by the things he has oppressed. 
The trumpet continues to sound till everything in 
man starts forth trembling subject to the " flames of 
mental fire." All that has been built up by natural 
religion, which Blake calls mystery is cast into the 
flames, till " Mystery's tyrants are cut off and not 
one left on earth." Then the " living flames winged 
with intellect and reason " invade the Holy City of 
man's spirit. The man, his heart weak and his head 
faint, is distracted by the war within his members, 
and cries to his reasoning power (Urizen) to help him. 
He finds that no help is forthcoming. His eyes are 
sufficiently open to see Urizen in his real nature, 
and he denounces his self-destrojdng, beast-formed 
science, and curses him as the first author of war by 
his religion and destroyer of honest mind into con- 
fused perturbation, and strife, and horror, and pride. 
For Urizen devoiured by the flame of judgment, 
nothing remains, unless he repents, but to be left 
" as a rotten branch to bum, with Mystery the 
harlot and with Satan for ever and ever." Urizen 


is convicted of sin and weeps. He sees that in spite 
of all the cities and towers he has built, he has 
utterly failed to find pleasure, joy or wisdom. He 
has sought in " Spaces remote the eternal which 
is always present to the wise; " and " for pleasure, 
which, unsought, falls round the infant's path." ^ 
He, the labourer of ages, at last turns his back on 
the void which he has made, discovering that 
" Futurity is in this moment." He then ceases 
from all repressive measures, and releasing passion 
allows it to rage as it will. Urizen has persisted in 
his folly, till he has become wise. Shaking off his 
cold snows, he renews his radiant youth, and rises 
into the heavens in naked majesty. Thus the man 
passes through the first great phase of his day of 
judgment. Natural religion has been consumed, 
false methods of morality abandoned, and the youth 
of his reasoning power renewed. 

Man is still very far. from unity. The trumpet 
continues to sound, and the dead arise and " flock to 
the trumpet, fluttering over the sides of the grave 
and cr3dng in the fierce wind round the heavy rocks 
and mountains filled with groans." ^ 

There is a strange miscellaneous company, fathers, 
friends, and mothers, infants, kings, and warriors, 
priests, captives, slaves, merchants, warriors, 
tyrants. Here Blake is compelled to keep to the 

1 The Four Zoas. Night IX. 169-173. 
' The Four Zoas. Night IX. 241 et seq. 


general language of the Day of Judgment since it is 
hardly possible to press it into the subjective experi- 
ence of the individual man without being over- 
ingenious. Still one thing is very clear. After Urizen 
has ascended to the Heavens, and man's manifold 
powers are let loose, it must seem to the man that 
unity is further off than ever; and amid the wild 
confusion and mutual recriminations of his inimical 
powers, his brain reels till he hardly knows whether 
he has not gone mad. 

The effort to keep sane must be made, for the 
renewed reason has a great work to perform. 
Urizen and his sons, who had originally forged 
weapons of war, now abandon " the spear, the bow, 
the gun, the mortar. They level the fortifications. 
They beat the iron engines of destruction into 
wedges." ^ The wars of this world are the outward 
manifestation of the lusts that wage in man's 
members. In spite of the fearful confusion, man 
has advanced a long way when he renounces the 
weapons of destruction. In their place the sons of 
Urizen seize the plough and harrow, the spade, the 
mattock and axe, and the heavy roller to break the 
clods. With the help of these peaceful tools Urizen 
proceeds to deal with the rocky, mountainous, and 
sandy parts of man's inner condition. In addition 
to the fire that rages all the time man is subjected to 
the plough and harrow, which can only seem to him 

• The Four Zoas. Night IX. 302. 


instruments of torture. But Urizen having set his 
hand to the plough never turns back. He prepared 
the land; then seizing the trembling souls of all the 
dead who stand before him, flings them as seed into 
the imiversal field. After that, he and his wearied 
sons sit down to rest and quietly await the human 

We have seen that, when Urizen removed his 
restraining hand, all the repressed powers of man 
rose up. Foremost among these was passion (Ore). 
At first passion rages with increased fury and 
regenerate man is tempted as never before. Every 
moment threatens to engulf him ; and he feels him- 
self plunged into the hell of voluptuousness. But 
Ore (passion) flaming encounters the mental flames, 
and he consumes himself " expending all his energy 
against the fuel of fire." ^ The man can then take 
Ore and hand him over to Urizen once more, who 
having learned the value of passion, no longer desires 
to repress it. Ore had set himself above the human 
form divine. From that high station he had 
been thrown down into dark obUvion. Then after 
" incessant pangs " and " stern repentance " he 
" renews his brightness " till he resumes the image 
of the human. He then co-operates in the bUss of 
man, obeys his will and becomes a servant " to the 
infinite and eternal of the human form." The 
supreme value of passion in Blake's teaching has 

' The Four Zoas. Night IX. 356. 


become apparent. His havoc in unregenerate man 
may be terrible; but once a servant of the re- 
generate man, he becomes the best of all servants, 
serving in all man's mental pursuits, quickening 
all man's joyous perception of beauty, beautif3dng 
all man's social dealings with his brother. 

Closely connected with Ore are Luvah and Vala. 
Luvah's victims are love-sick youths and maidens. 
The regenerate man is as susceptible to Cupid's 
arrow as the unregenerate; in many cases he is more 
so. The nerve centres of love and religion are next 
to each other, and what stirs the one stirs the other. 
Many a devout and conscientious youth is dis- 
tracted because just when he is enjopng a sudden 
religious exaltation, his senses take fire, and his 
religious emotion degenerates into gross eroticism. 
This is well known to the saints; and man does not 
gain his liberty till he has passed through his day of 
judgment to the bitter end. Thus to his other woes 
regenerate man has added the pangs of love-sick- 
ness. He cannot sing or dance, he can only howl and 
writhe in shoals of torment and fierce flames con- 
suming. To sharpen his miseries his love often 
takes a sadistic or masochistic form, when Luvah's 
daughters take " a cruel joy " in " lacerating with 
knives and whips their victims," and Luvah's sons 
indulge in " deadly sport." In this unveiling of 
hidden lusts effected by man's day of judgment, he 
comes face to face with palpable evil. He can make 


no terms with it. Here resentment is his safeguard. 
The triumph of lust is the triumph of the sat}^:, the 
beast, the gargoyle, and the destruction of the man. 
With resolute scorn he must arise and cast out the 
beast if ever he is to attain to his divine humanity. 
In the first love affairs of youths and maidens, there 
is much innocence, poetry and beauty, but being 
largely based on curiosity they are also fleeting. 
It is not until men and women have been purged 
by the fierce fires of the day of judgment that they 
can form lasting attachments, in which they main- 
tain mutual self-respect and reverence for each 
other's identity. Here, too, renewed Ore is a servant. 
By joining man and woman in pure passion, he 
contributes to their innocent joy, and crowns their 
happiness with fruit. For the reader to see Luvah 
and Vala renewed I must refer them to the surpass- 
ingly beautiful passages in The Four Zoas^ where 
Blake shows them in their pastoral innocence. And 
so man's redemption draws near. Besides his 
natural rehgion being consumed, his false moraUty 
abandoned, and his reason renewed, he has made 
passion his servant, and instead of a torment love 
has become a joy in his hfe. 

Throughout all his fiery judgment man is un- 
learning as well as learning; and unlearning is 
accompanied by terrors which contribute to the 
desolate misery of the overburdened man. The 

1 The Four Zoas. Night IX. 420 et seq. 


natural man created God in his own image. The 
image of the natural man was fashioned by his 
reason working on what was supplied by the five 
senses. Hence his God was limited, contracted, 
wrathful, exacting, penal, sternly heaping his 
punishments on the disobedient even to everlast- 
ing punishment, and preparing rewairds for the 
righteous even to everlasting bliss. When man is 
regenerate he is still for a long time impeded by 
worshipping a God with feet of clay, and by seeing 
his God only through the distorting medium of false 
religious doctrines. False religions are devils, and 
these devils are exorcised and cast into the deep 
only when the Day of Judgment has accomplished 
its work. Every false conception of God is an idol 
set up in the heart. In the " chamber of man's 
imagery " are engraven " every form of creeping 
things, and abominable beasts," ^ while he himself 
stands in the centre swinging his censer to the 
creatures of his own hand. Man becomes hke the 
image of his worship, but God is the true Image of 
Man's worship, and the false image must be melted 
and destroyed in the fires of the Judgment Day. 
While the image is melting man is terrified at the 
prospect of atheism, but all the time the Refiner of 
gold sits gazing into the turgid seething mass. He 
continues to gaze till the dross is purged, and His 
own Image reflected in the pure molten gold: then 
' Ezekiel viii. 9-12. 


He knows it is time to draw the gold out of the fires 
because the fires have done their work. Man's 
religious doctrines are judged one by one. His 
doctrine of substitutionary Atonement must go. 
Through this doctrine man saw a wrathful God pro- 
pitiated by the death of His Son, and through Him 
induced to forgive the sinner who takes hold of the 
innocent victim and offers him in his stead. Such a 
God is wrathful, cruel, arbitrary, penal, vindictive; 
and He must be obliterated out of man's heart before 
man can see Him as everlasting mercy, forgiving 
sins always and sorrowing in all the pangs of His 
creatures. Christ hanging on the Cross finally teaches 
the judged man that God lives by self-oblation; 
that the Man who offers Himself to do God's will is 
ever the victim of the natural religious man — the 
Lamb slain before the foundation of the world; — and 
that the suffering Christ is the sjrmbol of God's 
suffering till His creatures return to Him, and by 
living their lives joyfully in Him, put an end to the 
sorrow and crjdng of a world that has gone astray. 
" Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see 
God," and they see Him as a God whose love burns 
in judgment, till the fire becomes a fount of living 
waters, Again the fires of judgment deliver man 
from the bondage of the letter into the freedom of 
the spirit. While he is in bondage to the letter he is 
terrified at higher critics, and in the name of the 
letter denounces and persecutes men of the Spirit 


as the worst enemies of religion. Yet it is the man 
who worships the letter who is killed by the letter, 
and he always has the fear of the letter giving way, 
and leaving him without a religion. Man has to 
learn the value of words, and the value of nominalism, 
but he has also to go behind the words and names 
of things, and until he does so, he cannot have 
fellowship with his brother who adopts different 
words and a different sjmibolism to himself. If a 
man lets go the letter of Scripture for its spirit, he 
will find that the spirit will ultimately give him back 
the letter. And so little by little the Day of Judg- 
ment releases contracted and opaque man out of 
his prison. No longer contracted, he no longer con- 
tracts God. His opacity imprisoned him, now he 
finds his prison was the hollow of God's hand. God 
is all -present, all -knowing, all -mighty. In that 
vision of God he has burst his fetters. He now 
knows that he is God's Image. In finding God he has 
found himself, and in finding himself he has found 
God. He can look back over the fiery way, and see 
that as his false conceptions of Incarnation and 
Atonement, of Resurrection and Ascension, of 
Inspiration, and of the Church were burned away, he 
gained a true conception of these things ; and as no 
man's life can be right unless his beliefs are right, in 
purifying his behefs he has purged his life of smoke 
and dirt, and made it a pure flame off the Altar of 


One is compelled to deal singly with the parts of 
man as they are brought through the fire of judg- 
ment. But one must not be led into regarding man 
as multiple. All divisions of man into spirit, soul 
and body, or more simply into soul and body are 
useful only for purposes of analysis. Even man's 
body in Blake's teaching is a part of the soul dis- 
cerned by the five senses, for man is one. After 
analysing him in parts, one must get back as quickly 
as possible to regarding him as a unit, for the breath 
of life escapes in an ansilytical process, and we should 
rapidly find ourselves working in an anatomy 
laboratory or an evil-smelling charnel house. 

It is not easy — owing doubtlessly to perverse 
habits of thought — to think of man as one even 
when we come to deal with his self-hood. At once 
we find ourselves speaking of a higher self and lower 
self or a real self and a phenomenal self. Christ's 
reiterated words: " He who would save his life will 
lose it, and he who loses his life shall find it," avoid the 
duahty but the words necessarily remain a paradox. 

In modern thought the preaching of self-realisa- 
tion easily becomes the worst kind of egotism, and 
to avoid misunderstanding one is driven back to the 
lower and higher self and to explain that the reaUsa- 
tion of the lower self is egotism, even if as refined 
as Sir Willoughby Patterne's; and the realisation 
of the higher self is hfe and salvation, and the only 
thing ultimately that is of value to the social 


organism. If I still use this language let it be clearly 
understood that I do not mean that there are really 
two selves. There is one self, and one desire. When 
the desire fixes on any object, immediately it draws 
into the self the essence of the object, and man is 
transformed into the image of that which he desires. 
The desire is a great thirst which remains unslaked 
until it centres in God. Then it draws God into the 
self, and the self is changed into the image of God. 
The Real-self loves God, desires God, gives itself to 
God, but ofttimes it is only after many false roads 
have been tried that it finds itself at last at the feet 
of God. During its passage it has taken the colour 
of its surroundings; if they have been low, it has 
appeared as a lower self, if its environment is God, it 
shines out in human majesty, and makes itself felt 
by its convincing reality. 

The great work of the Day of Judgment is to 
deliver man from self-hood which binds him in a 
narrow prison ; and to break down all barriers until 
man, one with the pulsing life of the universe and 
with God, attains to perfect liberty. Man's con- 
tracted and opaque state makes him appear to him- 
self a detached unit. For a long time he never 
questions his detachment, and every political and 
religious step that he takes is dictated by this con- 
viction. Politically he must always be conservative 
if he is fortunate in this world's goods, lest a change 
should endanger his possessions; if he is unfor- 


tunate, he will be a radical or socialist, with the 
hope that his own condition will improve. Religi- 
ously, we have seen, his first thought is to save his 
soul, and his second to preserve his family. His 
rehgion need not be entirely selfish, it may make 
him zealous to help others to maintain themselves. 
His philanthropy is entirely directed to this end. 
His good works, his charities, even to bestowing all 
his goods to feed the poor, help to keep man from 
■'losing himself." His religion and poHtics tend to 
isolate him more and more tiU all communication 
with the spirit of life in the universe is broken. No 
longer able to delight in the earth and sea, the sky 
and the clouds, the meadows and trees which cost 
nothing, he seeks artificial pleasures for which he 
pays a heavy price. His unnatural life tells on his 
health, and he goes on the first opportunity for 
change of air. If he is rich he goes to Monte-Carlo 
and enjoys the feverish excitement of gambling, 
forgetful of the blue depths of the Mediterranean. 
If he is not ijch he goes to a popular watering-place. 
Through him the sea-side places are spoilt one by 
one. The popular sea-side resort reeks with an 
atmosphere which would quickly poison man's 
spiritual springs, were it not for the sea-breezes which 
happily he cannot escape. Blake knew well how 
priceless a little home by the sea might be, when he 
lived at Felpham. Even now Felpham is not spoilt, 
and much of it remains as Blake saw it. The sudden 



transition from Felpham to Bognor is apalling as 
it makes one realize what man does with his 
favourite watering towns. Man's self-hood blinds 
him to the true value of things. He builds vulgar 
houses in which he can make an ostentatious 
display of wealth; he vitiates the cinematograph; 
he demands bad plays and kills good ones (and 
good playwrights !). by refusing to go to them; he 
devours sentimental novels, buys gaudy pictures, 
listens to luscious music, and leaves the creators of 
beautiful things to die by neglect. 

Man's self-hood is slowly rent by the fires of 
judgment. The vision of One who died for him 
teaches him that God Uves only by self-oblation 
which means God is love; and that he can only live 
on the same terms because man is love also. The 
self is finally lost " in the contemplation of faith and 
wonder at the Divine Mercy." ^ Even as he gazes 
his afflictions pass away, for the furnaces which 
tortured him, become Fountains of Living Waters 
flowing from the Humanity Divine. He becomes 
what he beholds. All barriers and all separateness 
are consumed. Man loses himself in the larger life 
of the universe. Yet just when his self-hood is torn 
to shreds he finds himself. For 

The Lamb of God has rent the veil of mystery, soon to return 
In clouds and fires around the rock, and thy mysterious tree. 
And as the seed waits eagerly watching for its flower and fruit, 
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse 

1 Jerusalem 96, 31. 


To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible array. 
So Man looks out in tree, and herb, and fish and bird and beast. 
Collecting up the scattered portions of his immortal body 
Into the elemental forms of everything that grows. 
He tries the sullen north wind, riding on its angry furrows. 
The sultry south when the sun rises, and the angry east 
When the sun sets and the clods harden and the cattle stand 
Drooping, and the birds hide in their silent nests. He stores his 

As in store-houses in his memory. He regulates the forms 
Of all beneath and all above, and in the gentle west 
Reposes where the Sun's heat dwells. He rises to the Sun, 
And to the planets of the night, and to the stars that gild 
The Zodiacs, and the stars that sullen stand to north and south: 
He touches the remotest pole, and in the centre weeps 
That Man should labour and sorrow, and learn and forget and 

To the dark valley whence he came, and begin his labours anew. 
In pain he sighs, in pain he labours, and, his universe 
Sorrowing in birds over the deep, or howling in the wolf 
Over the slain, and moaning in the cattle, and in the winds. 
And weeping over Ore and Urizen in clouds and dismal fires. 
And in the cries of birth and in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the universe. Wherever a grass grows 
Or a leaf buds, the Eternal Man is seen, is heard, is felt. 
And aU his sorrows, till he re-assumes his ancient bliss. 

At last after long mental fight out of the fires of 
judgment Blake's Real Man emerges. He is the 
Ancient of Days, he is Job redeemed, he is Ezekiel, 
he is Blake himself, he is the beginning of new ages. 
Let us try to seize his salient characteristics. 

Real Man is a unity containing four Mighty 
Ones. Foremost he has, more, he is a splendid 
imagination. His imagination is vision. Imagina- 
tion is Eternal. Through imagination he feasts 
at Messiah's table, drinking the wine of Eternity. 


Through imagination he enters the great com- 
munion of Saints, and with piercing vision detects 
brothers and sisters among the fallen and outcast. 
He has passed through the valley of the shadow of 
Death, and henceforth starts at no shadows, and 
neither tastes nor sees Death. Through imagination 
he ranges over all the Past, and in joy creates the 
Future. Every picture he paints is a window into 
Eternity; his poems are the wine of Eternity; his 
music the passion of Eternity; his architecture the 
grand forms of Eternity. Through Imagination he 
is Lord of Heaven and Earth and Hell, and these 
three are One. Through Imagination he is a child 
and a God. Besides Imagination he has Reason. 
His reason inspired by imagination becomes winged 
intellect. His intellect is swift and clean, and cuts 
hke a sharp sword. It informs all his words making 
them the Word of God. It delivers him from ab- 
straction and vagueness, from sentimentalism and 
softness, from wooUiness and unreality, from fog, 
mist and dreams. Through his greatest love and pity, 
mercy and tenderness, his intellect gleams, assuring 
one that under all there is a hard steel-hke quality 
which preserves him from becoming a mush of soft- 
ness. His intellect discovers to him the comic even in 
himself, and as he laughs with hearty good humour 
he infects all with a spirit of cleanhness and health. 
His imaginative intellect informs his affections 
and einotions. As he no longer lives to himself but 


for his brother, he sanctifies himself for the sake of 
his brother. Having suffered from corporeal friends, 
he will bind to his bosom spiritual friends whose 
identity he will above all things respect. His friend- 
ships in the eye of the world may appear cold; but 
they will be cemented by the invisible fire of the 
spirit and able to defy space and time, height and 
depth, hfe and death, and be a perennial source of 
joy and bliss. 

The Real Man is a sociable being. He does not 
imagine he can love all alike, but by keeping the 
central fire of his loves pure and passionate, there 
flows forth a stream of brotherly love, which, taking 
its rise from the Eternal Fount, never dwindles; 
and he is able to love his brothers according to the 
measure of their receptivity. In simple reality he 
and they have become essentially one, whUe each 
preserves his identity; and he never dreams of 
seeking his good apart from his brothers' welfare. 
He may differ in the social measures to be adopted; 
but the measures are always with a single eye to his 
brothers' well-being. 

In his love he is a romantic, but never an erotic. 
His Real life began by self-oblation, and in his love 
he gives himself continually. The woman is fre- 
quently tempted to give even to her identity — to be 
as the dust beneath her Lord's chariot wheel, and 
the man too in his hot youth is in dajtiger of letting 
love encroach on his identity. If he does, he forfeits 


for a time his manhood ; and for a few brief ecstatic 
days, lets slip the highest human prize. The Real 
Man gives his essence and guards zealously his 
identity, and is thereby enabled to maintain a high, 
chivalrous, romantic love, which, taking its rise in the 
imagination, is stamped and sealed with the per- 
manent quality of the imagination itself. 

The Real Man is above all things a creature of 
passion. When he learned in his day of judgment that 
passion was not to be repressed, he quickly gauged 
its real value. The mental fires fed by imagination 
caught the passional fires and purged them. The 
fire of passion then mounted like fiery sap into the 
imagination itself, into the intellect and the emotions 
until it penetrated every part of the Real Man. The 
man found he was not called to build up a laborious 
character, or compelled to do continually the things 
he hated, but to trust and follow his real instincts 
and impulses. At once his life began to grow like 
the liUes. He had at last found the thing which he 
passionately loved to do. There were incidental 
pains and unavoidable drudgery, but these were 
willingly endured by his passionate love of his work. 
There came, too, a note of spontaneity and mystery. 
No one could tell what he would say or do next. 
His words and deeds had gained an arresting beauty. 
He was much preoccupied with social service. He 
thought of himself among his brethren as one that 
serveth. And he had much to give. Yet all was 


given in great simplicity. Nothing was calculated. 
He lived and thought, and spoke and acted with 
passion, and in that passion was created his own 
character. Whether or not he left works of art 
behind him, he was an artist in character. He was 
simple and guileless, understanding and forgiving, 
unchanging in love and quick to perceive; a lamb 
yfet also a lion; meek yet capable of terrible wrath; 
a master of wit and God-like humour, of satire and 
tender heaUng words; of masculine force and 
maternal solicitude; and with all he kept the sweet, 
transparent innocency of a child who could never 
grow old. 

Of recent years attempts have been made to 
throw out fresh conceptions of human values. At first 
vaguely and then much more definitely the new type 
took shape in Nietzsche's mind, and he called it 
superman. He claimed that superman was a better 
type than the Christ type; that if Jesus Christ 
had not died so young. He might even have lived 
to realise it Himself. In the name of this new 
conception a vigorous attack has been made on 
Christianity. I hope to show later on, that Nietzsche, 
like Schopenhauer, made a capital mistake in con- 
founding Christianity with Buddhism. In extenua- 
tion one might point out that Christianity has not 
been able to escape the fate which awaits all 
religions which make disciples. The disciples claim 
to have the mind of the Master, but even while the 


Master is striving to pass on his message to his dis- 
ciples, it becomes diluted and more diluted until 
a religious genius arises and restores again the 
Master's Gospel. If Christianity is what Nietzsche 
took it to be, it deserves all he said against it. But 
was Christ Himself like the portrait Christianity 
has given of Him? Christ has suffered in becoming 
a universal ssnnbol; it has allowed Christians to 
make Christ in their own image, just as they have 
created God in their own image. Owing to this 
tendency and also to the fragmentary nature of the 
gospel according to the four Evangelists, it is ex- 
tremely difficult to gain a clear conception of the 
Person of Christ. The higher criticism of the last 
hundred years has done much to make Him live 
again. Side by side with modern criticism, the 
modern type of superhuman value has striven to com- 
plete itself. In spite of blurred Unes, and weaknesses 
and palpable extravagancies, its main Uneaments 
stand out clear and beautiful. Now the startling 
fact is that on turning to Blake's long neglected 
Prophetical Books, all these lineaments are there 
discovered; and what is still more startling is that 
Blake claimed no new conception. He hacked his 
way through false Christianities which distorted 
the Image of Christ, until he saw the Face of Christ 
Himself, and at once he dedicated his magnificent 
imagination to deUneating in his prophetic books 
what he had seen; and to portrasdng with all his 


might the picture of Christ which stands out in 
strong rehef in his Everlasting Gospel. By his power 
to enter into the sculptured Halls of Los' Palace, 
Blake renewed the blurred Image of Christ Himself, 
and this Image is the realised ideal of the modem 



There can be no doubt that Nietzsche's influence 
in our time has been enormous. Our young men, 
whether they read him or not, are steeped in him; 
and in every coimtry of the world where there is any 
pretence to culture he is read. Not only the young 
men, but men of renown in philosophy, hterature, 
poetry and art aU betray that Nietzsche has been 
a large factor in their mental development. In his 
Ecce Homo Nietzsche wrote of Thus Spake Zara- 
thustra, " There is not a single passage in this revela- 
tion of truth which had already been anticipated 
and divined by even the greatest among men." He 
looked to Shakespeare and Goethe, Dante, and the 
priestly poets of the Veda, in vain, for a peer. No 
doubt Dante is seven heavens removed from 
Nietzsche; but Goethe on his Olympian Mount 
could have breathed in his atmosphere; and cer- 
tainly the creator of the superman Caesar might 
have written not a few passages of the superman 
Zarathustra. In looking for a peer, Nietzsche over- 



looked Blake, who, though a century before him, 
yet now looms larger, and has entered on a surer 
immortality. Nietzsche's great feat was the redemp- 
tion of hell. Blake had done more than redeem hell, 
he had presented her as a chaste bride to heaven. 
It is this marriage which satisfies our modem need; 
and it is because Nietzsche falls short of it that he 
must, in our estimation, take a second place to 
Blake. The relation between the two men becomes 
much clearer if one studies Nietzsche's relation to 
his century. 

The nineteenth century made one long effort and 
failed ignobly to effect a union of art and religion. 
The mightiest Christian artists had been much more 
than Christian. Michael Angelo and Leonardo da 
Vinci were children of the renascence of Greek 
culture: the most Christian soul — Fra Angelico — 
could paint exquisite angels, but not robust men. 
For the greatest artists need to look upon many 
things with love, from which the Giottos and 
Angelicos would have turned away with dismay. 
Art had flourished most just before the advent of 
the great religious reformers ; and when Savonarola 
and Luther hurled their " Shalt nots," it was 
inevitable that they should be regarded as icono- 
clasts whose doctrines struck at the roots of all 
vigorous art. Christianity incurred the reproach of 
being the great negation. As the nineteenth century 
advanced it became clearer and clearer that great 


art was a creation of great vitality, and that passion 
was the sap of vitaUty. To kill passion was to dry 
up the tree and render it unfruitful. The Christianity 
of the past had been hostile to passion, and the 
approved saints had crucified it. Hence it seemed 
only too clear to the nineteenth century thinkers 
that no passion meant no art, and that specifically 
Christian art was bloodless. Goethe was the first 
great example. He was brought up in protestantism. 
As his feeling for the beautiful grew more intense, 
his Christian conscience became uneasy and finally 
uttered its prohibition. At once he formulated the 
great dilemma which has persisted ever since. Either 
reHgion or art; and he chose art not only to 
satisfy his aesthetic cravings, but also to fill up the 
void left by religion. Goethe's immediate successor 
was Schopenhauer. 

Schopenhauer took the dualism for granted. In 
him the fires of life were waning, and he was 
temperamentally compelled to declare that life was 
an unmitigated evil. Pain is inseparable from Ufe, 
therefore cease to live. The world is the pictorial 
idea cast by the will of the observer, and so long as 
there is a will to live, it must persist. Kill the will 
to Uve and the universe dissolves into nothing. 
Schopenhauer was quite aware that his pessimistic 
philosophy was Buddhism, but he made the curious 
mistake of thinking that Christianity was nihilistic 
too in its essence — a notion he imbibed unthinkingly 


from Goethe who had fallen into the error when he 
conceived that Christianity was antagonistic to art. 
Allowing for this mistake, Schopenhauer translated 
the dogmas of Christianity fairly accurately into 
the terms of his philosophy. The system was quite 
simple. Buddhism, Christianity and Schopenhauer 
aimed at the denial to live as a means to the peace 
of nothingness: till that was accomplished the 
pain of living must be cheated as much as possible. 
Schopenhauer cheated his pain by wine, cigars and 
the most seductive art. The process made the gulf 
between religion and art, heaven and hell, wider 
than ever. 

Schopenhauer's mantle was taken up by Nietzsche 
and donned with youthful enthusiasm. By this 
time the divorce between heaven and hell was so 
wide that Nietzsche could not beb'eve that heaven 
was more than a pious fiction, and he plunged into 
the fires of hell, and by its fires fashioned, after 
many years of horrible pain, his new creation — 

Nietzsche having i^queezed the utmost out of 
Schopenhauer transcended him, and that was his 
finest achievement. It was a transition from the 
denial of the will to live to the completest yea to 
hfe. With his yea to life he mounted with eagle 
wing till he accepted pain, reset tragedy, redeemed 
the past, and dancing with BacchanaHan gaiety 
shouted, Encore. Thus he accomplished a magnifi-, 


cent progress from a muling nay to life to a 
Dionysian Amen to the eternal recurrence ot 

Nietzsche did not attain all at once to his passion- 
ate yea to life. When he overcame Schopenhauer he 
passed through a long positivist stage. His posi- 
tivism was a reaction not only to the vague Christian 
idealism which still Hved on in him unconsciously, 
but also to some centuries of German mysticism 
which had survived in philosophical form in Kant 
and Fichte, and which modern apostles of CTilture 
still read and rather Uked. German mysticism from 
Tauler to Boehme and then to Novalis was vulner- 
able to criticism as were all mysticisms of the past. 
Henry Suso could enjoy his ecstasies almost con- 
tinuously and remain rapturously unconscious of 
what was going on in the world. Besides this, he and 
the rest preached an unnatural doctrine of death to 
self. We may know, if we take the trouble to probe 
to the bottom of the mystics, that they aimed at 
death to self in order to attain to the real self; but 
their language was less clear than their aims, and 
those whose intelligence was unequal to piercing 
through the verbiage, caught up the language in its 
first and obvious meaning, and set about morbidly 
to kill self, and only succeeded in keeping it alive in 
its most disagreeable form. Jacob Boehme over- 
came the confusion; his disciple Gichtel was its 
victim. Nietzsche rebounded from these distortions 


of nature, and protested against all idealisms as a 
denial of realism, against heaven as a denial of earth, 
against the supernatural as a denial of the natural, 
and against death to self as a denial of the only real 
value in each man. His hearty advocacy of earth 
brought a breezy atmosphere into his spirit, and 
deUvered him from squeamishness. He dehghted 
in the frank pagan earthiness of Petronius and 
pronounced him clean; he was drawn by the abound- 
ing energy of the Italian humanists, whatever 
direction the energy might take, and imagined with 
delight the possibilities with Caesar Borgia as Pope. 
He was specially in sympathy with the intellectual 
cleanness of such a modern French atheist as Prosper 
Merimee. His grip of reality reminds one of Ibsen. 
It made him suspicious of all but positive values, 
and was at the root of his criticism of Christ. Dis- 
missing with contempt Renan's explanation of the 
type of Jesus as the idea of genius and the idea of 
hero, he proceeds to accuse Him of an instinctive 
hatred of all reality, and as only able to be at ease 
in the unreal inner world of the Kingdom of God. 
The criticism is deeply characteristic of Nietzsche, 
but can hardly be proved of Jesus, as it depends too 
much on the gaps and silences of the Gospel story- 
omissions that have proved equally useful to the 
cathoUe reading of Christ. This sense for reality led 
Nietzsche to affirm the value of self. The doctrine is 
less revolutionary than appeared at the time. At 


bottom it was the same recognition of the Real Self 
which Blake discovered by his experience of re- 
generation, which the German mystics had stvmibled 
upon unwittingly, and which Jesus Himself had 
taught in His, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself, and which He exemplified by His hfe of 
sublime egotism. Nietzsche did not stop at posi- 
tivism, naturalism, realism, their values remained 
with him to the end, but he disengaged from them 
the spirit of rationalism; and when he came com- 
pletely to himself in Zarathustra they had fallen 
into their right places, and the sentences of Zara- 
thustra might easily be taken for the inspired 
utterances of a lofty mystic. 

At this time, too, Nietzsche freed himself from the 
conception of absolute morals. He instanced Kant 
and George Eliot as examples of those who over- 
throw the Christian God and retain the Christian 
morals. His knowledge of George Eliot was super- 
ficial, and so he could not knowthat her ethical system 
was not Christian. Still it is quite true that Kant 
tried to keep Christian Ethics, and that many have 
failed to realize that if it is necessary to transvalue 
Christian dogmas, it is equally necessary to trans- 
value Christian morals; but the very fact tha:t 
morals can be transvalued at once proves that though 
they are absolute in God,^ in man they are evolving. 
Nietzsche's transvaluation is fine; but here again it 

1 I.e. in the Trinitarian God, the Unitarian God has no morals. 


was hardly as original as he imagined. Nietzsche's 
morality (one cannot get rid of the word !) was a yea to 
life for each individual. The most vital man is 
the most moral. Practically whatever the wholly 
" living " man does is right. Some have taken excep- 
tion to Christ's treatment of the Pharisees, to His 
treatment of His Mother, to His words to the Syro- 
Phoenician woman, to His angry cleansing of 
the Temple. The Catholic Church and Protestant 
Churches too, have insisted on His sinlessness. It 
would be difficult to defend His conduct by any 
known code of morals, or even by His Sermon on 
the Mount; but if these acts were examples of 
exuberant Hfe, then from a Nietzschean point of 
view they were right, and a sinless Christ is once 
more given back to us. Apart from the Gospel story, 
however, many instances might be given of the 
tendency to antinomianism in the writings of 
catholic mystics, and of sound protestant evan- 
gelicals. Bunyan's dislike of the Town MoraUty 
is an instance; and when analysed the protes- 
tant's scorn of good works as dead works and his 
insistence on conversion preceding acceptable works, 
means that only the works of living men are good; 
and this doctrine is wonderfully like Nietzsche's. 

Nietzsche's positivism was a stage to himself. 
Zarathustra is the yea to life carried to the creative 
point — the point in which all the human values are 
transvalued, and instead of man, there emerges 



Superman. Schopenhauer in spite of his pessimism 
left one magnificent conception — the will to live. 
It was this will to live which freed Europe from the 
paralysing grip of Darwinism, for it made evolution 
depend, not on a mechanical law, but on will and 
life. Professor Hering of Prague and then Samuel 
Butler were the links leading to Bergson's fine con- 
ception — Creative Evolution. Nietzsche inherited 
from Schopenhauer the idea of the will to hve, but 
finding hfe inseparable from power, he changed the 
phrase, and made his superman the creation of the 
will to power. Hence Superman is emphatically not 
a Darwinian. He is a new organ of the hfe-power 
which, having made many attempts and become dis- 
satisfied with them, tries again, and produces some- 
thing which surpasses man. Superman is rooted 
deep down in earth and is in consequence clean, 
sweet and real. He is always faithful to the Real 
Self, for how else could he find his work ? This faith- 
fulness delivers him from servility and weakness. 
He finds that not only self-pity but other-pity is 
enervating, and having passed through his Geth- 
semane gains the heights like Him on the cross who 
reviewing His life attains to the mystic imion of 
tragedy and comedy as He utters His, It is finished. 
Having exorcised the spirit of gravity by the spirit 
of laughter, his feet become light and he dances; 
he turns from the sorcery of Wagner's music and 
sings to the sunnier music of the South, Should his 


irrepressible mirth thirst for a melancholy draught, 
Chopin can give him exquisite delight. He is not 
understood, and the Scribes and Pharisees, the 
Priests and the Scholars deride him. He no longer 
inveighs against them with bitter tongue, but, 
having overcome all resentment, rises far above 
them by forgiving them. He disdains to be other 
than himself. Is he not conscious of a pulsing life? 
Are not his instincts to be trusted ? The life within 
is strong enough to fashion him without his taking 
thought for his stature. One pauses. Is one dealing 
with the Saint or the Superman? Not the Saint. 
True, the Saint is elect, and Zarathustra believes 
in election, but in his self-election he becomes 
contemptuous. The herding mob is poisoned by 
resentment. It promulgates its sociaHsms and demo- 
cracies to drag higher men down to its level. In his 
disdain Zarathustra cannot conceive that among the 
herd may be higher men crushed by the tyranny of 
circumstance. In his jealousy for the Superman he 
overlooks human values. Like Heraclitus he denies 
Being, and casts himself into the vortex of Becoming. 
He buries the dead God, but God always rises again 
the third day. He sees Him with his dimming vision 
and mistakes Him for his shadow. In the icy region 
of his superb spiritual isolation, his self-worship 
glows like a furnace. Dionysus or Christ ? Nay, I — 
I am God, he shrieks, till the fires wane, and the 
frenzied God becomes a mild madman handed over 


to the tender human hands of one who shared his 
flesh and blood. 

Nietzsche's Ufe work was an attempt to trans- 
value all values. That is the great need of our time, 
and Nietzsche brought the finest gifts towards its 
accomplishment. But he omitted some values of 
prime importance. We have seen that Nietzsche 
gained his first notions of Christianity from Schopen- 
hauer, and that Schopenhauer confounded Chris- 
tianity with Buddhism, and so conceived of it as 
nihilistic. As Nietzche's yea to hfe ascended, he 
came more and more to hate Christianity as the 
great nay to life, and to see in it a poor version 
of the twilight nihilism of Buddhism which had 
retained an afterglow of beauty, and was fitting 
for a race of decadents. He distinguished between 
Christianity and Christ and believed that Christ's 
teaching perished with Himself, but he made the 
Christ equally responsible for the nay to Ufe. Late 
in life he read Tolstoi, and through Tolstoi arrived at 
a truer understanding of Christ. Christ had taken 
the great Jewish concepts of resurrection, judgment 
and life and transmuted them into present experi- 
ence. I AM the Resurrection and the Life, The 
Kingdom of God is within you The kernel of 
Christ's teaching is in the words: I am come that 
they might have Hfe, and that they might have it 
more abundantly. This in reality makes Christ's 
teaching diametrically opposite to Buddha's. Both 


teachers found pain in existence. Buddha said: 
Kill desire that you may get out of the wheel of 
existence, and so find peace. Christ said: Live 
more abundantly that your pain may vanish in a 
fuller life. Buddhism is negative and morbid; 
Christianity is positive and vital. Nietzsche saw 
something of this late in life, but it was too late to 
enter into the warp and woof of his mind. All his 
characteristic thoughts of Christ and Christianity 
are governed by his early conception. Had he 
realised twenty years sooner Christ's teaching that 
Eternal Life is a present possession, he would have 
seen Christianity in an entirely different light; the 
concept eternal life might have gained possession of 
his mind; and with its aid his attempt to transvEilue 
all values might have been successful. Nietzsche's 
vitaUsm plunged him into the sensuous Ufe of 
Becoming. Christ's eternal life connects this Ufe 
with Being which Nietzsche denied. No one as yet 
has S5nithesised Becoming with Being, sensuous 
life with spiritual hfe. When this S37nthesis is accom- 
plished (Blake came nearest to it!) it will be found 
that all Nietzsche's positive values were held in the 
hollow of Christ's hand, and can only be conserved 
so long as Christ's values hold the paramount place 
in men's minds. Without Christ all attempts are 
sterile. Nietzsche may insist on the innocence of 
voluptuousness, the relativity of morals, the value 
of selfishness, pride, and passion — ^in doing so he 


redeems hell — ^but if he stops there, these values 
will be lost in the bottomless pit. Blake accom- 
plished the redemption of hell and more. Starting 
with no arbitrary duaUsm of art and religion, on the 
contrary, these two things being mystically one in his 
own soul, he was able to see hell reaching up to 
heaven, and heaven bending down to hell tiU the two 
were one, and in his mystic marriage of heaven and 
hell made it possible as Nietzsche never could for 
us to get the utmost value out of art without 
sacrificing one jot of our rehgion. 

The inner life of August Strindberg is an interest- 
ing commentary on the nineteenth century and its 
emergence into the twentieth. Strindberg started 
at adolescence as an ardent advocate of pietism 
which is well known to us in England as evangeh- 
calism. When he surrendered his pietism he did 
not like so many of his predecessors pass through a 
stage of altruism, but jumped at once to Ibsenism 
and became an apostle of the ego. He then set about 
with evangeUcal earnestness to shape his ego on a 
Nietzschean pattern. He took over with a child- 
like spirit the nineteenth-century duahsm of art and 
religion and strove to develop the art. It was 
not easy to obliterate the sharp moral distinctions 
which Christianity had left in his consciousness, 
but he did what he could, and was thoroughly dis- 
appointed with the results. He then read Kierke- 
gaard who had also adopted Goethe's Either . 


or. As religion was the passion of Kierkegaard's 
life, he was able to sacrifice art with little com- 
punction and to declare for an uncompromising 
reUgion. How hard and inhuman that religion was 
we all know from Ibsen's Brand. It was not possible 
that Strindberg could be satisfied with Kierke- 
gaard's version of Chiistianity, and while he 
pondered on his Either ... or, he received a happy 
flash of inspiration and exclaimed — Both. Kierke- 
gaard persistently opposed ethics and aesthetics. 
Strindberg after endless struggles " discovered that 
work and duty are forms of enjoyment, and that 
enjo5mient itself, well used, is a duty." By his union 
of the two, he overcame the dualism and surpassed 
Nietzsche. Any one following his development here 
might have exclaimed " Now we shall have a new 
Christ, a new Gospel and a new Church! " Blake 
with his understanding of the twenty-seven churches 
would have known better. There is not a twenty- 
eighth. When you leave the twenty-seventh, having 
completed the circle, you must begin again. Strind- 
berg to the disappointment, no doubt, of many 
friends, looked long at medieval magic, and then 
allowed Swedenborg to bring him back to mystical 

Swedenborg is valuable when he is not regarded 
as the founder of a new church. Many of his thoughts 
have passed into the spiritual currency of Europe, 
and one cannot forget that he was Blake's first 


teacher; but one must not forget either that Blake 
far surpassed him, and that his judgment of him 
though severe is just. " This Swedenborg boasts 
that what he writes is new, though it is only the 
Contents or Index of already published books. He 
shows the folly of Churches, and exposes hypocrites, 
till he imagines that all are religious, and himself 
the single one on earth that ever broke a net. . . . 
Swedenborg has not written one new truth. . . . 
He has written all the old falsehoods. Any man of 
mechanical talents may, from the writings of 
Paracelsus or Jacob Boehme, produce ten thousand 
volumes of equal value with Swedenborg' s, and from 
those of Dante and Shakespeare an infinite number. 
But when he has done this, let him not say that he 
knows better than his master for he only holds a 
candle in sunshine." Finally—" Swedenborg is the 
angel sitting at the tomb." It is Blake himself who 
leads us away from the tomb which so many sire 
wilUng reverently to guard, to a jojrful resurrection 
and opened heavens, where we may see, as of old, 
angels of God ascending and descending on the Son 
of Man, 

Thus as one looks back over the course of the 
nineteenth century one sees that it was mainly 
employed in an arid and thankless task of recovering 
lost values. Christianity had guarded heaven, while 
it kept hell only for lost souls and earth not at all. 
Hence there arose passionate votaries of earth and 


hell who lost sight of heaven. The votaries were 
poets, philosophers, naturalists, novelists, dramatists ; 
and they all, conscious that the fires of life were 
burning in them, were affectedly contemptuous of 
heaven, knowing that they could not be lost souls 
so long as they stoked and kept the fires ablaze. The 
one word which covers their ardent spirit is vitalism, 
and it was a vitalism rooted in earth and hell. 
Such being the case it is strange that they did not 
recognise that Blake confirmed most of their values 
in his hell. It is for us to see that by wedding hell 
to heaven he while including their values surpassed 
them; and we, if we are wise, will go forward where 
Blake, and not they, left off, our eyes already 
kindled by the wonderful things we shall see. 




Before leaving the nineteenth century let us glance 
at some Victorians and see what they contributed 
towards modern thought. In the early part of the 
century there were mainly two schools of thought 
in the EngUsh Church, the High Church which had 
become dry and stiff, and the Low Church which was 
thedeclining after-glow of the vigorous though narrow 
Evangelical movement of the eighteenth century. 
Then came the Oxford Movement led by Keble, 
Pusey and Newman; and while the choice spirits in 
Uterature, poetry and art were yet in the heyday of 
youth, the only thing going was Tractarianism which 
offered to guide them mentally and spiritually, and 
to lead them back into the arms of Holy Mother 
Church where they might partake of her Bread and 
Wine to satisfy their hunger and thirst. 

We can see now that the Oxford Movement has 
renewed the entire Enghsh Church, but only by 
dying again and again to rise into a fuller life. It 
restored the conception of the Holy Catholic Church; 
it bound its members together in social sacraments; 
it realised that the aesthetic side of man's nature 
was redeemed; it insisted on the importance of 


Bishops and Priests, of theology and dogma, of 
ritual and form. But while saving for the English 
Church this priceless inheritance of the Church of 
the first four centuries, it was wholly uncritical in 
temper, and insularly blind to the widening vision 
which the best European minds had been winning 
through much travail and pain of thought during the 
last three hundred years. Through this blindness it 
lost to the English Church the best and strongest 
minds of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately the 
leaders of the Oxford Movement had no touch of 
genius with the exception of Newman, and he was 
lost to the cause. 

Newman had personality and genius enough to 
compel attention. Every one watched his move- 
ments; and when he entered the Roman Catholic 
Church, the Roman question was once more thrust 
on men's notice in England. Some regarded New- 
man's conversion as the despairing surrender of a 
mind essentially sceptical. Others remarked on the 
gradual sophistication of his mind as it strove to 
believe what was aUen to it. His refined and trench- 
ant victory in controversy over Kingsley and Glad- 
stone was keenly enjoyed. His Apologia was read by 
every one and praised for its style. Men waited for 
him to utter the word, and there came the wail of a 
soul " amid the encircling gloom " crsring to the 
" kindly light " that he might take even one step 
forward through the darkness of the night. It was 


not known then, as it has become plain to us through 
the pages of Wilfrid Ward, that Newman had con- 
ceived a great constructive work. Reviewing the 
past he had seen that once and again the Catholic 
Faith had known how to clothe itself in modes of 
thought other than those it had used at its birth. 
In the Middle Ages when Catholicism, Judaism and 
Islamism were fighting their way through a revived 
AristoteUanism, S. Thomas Aquinas had trium- 
phantly used the modes of thought supplied by Aris- 
totle to embody the Christian Revelation. Newman 
believed that he might adapt the Christian Revela- 
tion to modern thought without sacrificing one jot of 
Catholic tradition, and so accomplish a great service 
for his age and his Church. But as decade after 
decade passed in the bosom of the Holy Roman 
Church, it became reluctantly plain to him that 
Rome had no intention whatever of allowing him to 
fulfil his dream. She tossed him a Cardinal's Hat in 
his old age; but his was the bitterness of one who 
had seen the vision and tottered down to the grave 
with his vision unachieved. 

Among Newman's Usteners when he preached 
his memorable sermons at S. Mary's was Matthew 
Arnold. Already he had found Oxford religion and 
Enghsh thought too strait for him, and looking 
across the North Sea he hailed Goethe as a prophet. 
Arnold was strongest where the Oxford leaders were 
weakest, his critical faculty enabled him easily to 


withstand the glamour of Newman to which so many 
young men succumbed. With Goethe as leader he 
became the apostle of culture and criticism — culture 
that should know the best that had been thought 
and said; criticism that should see a thing as it 
really is. There was still the need of a religion since 
criticism had killed with rapier thrust the notion of 
infallibility whether of the Church of Catholicism or 
of the Book of Protestantism. Goethe pointed to 
Spinoza. Arnold and many others adopted Spinoza 
and proclaimed pantheism and self-realisation as the 
best that could be done for the time being in the 
way of religion. He defined the modern mind as the 
imaginative reason which he thought had best been 
shown in the old world by Simonides, Pindar, 
.(Eschylus and Sophocles, and of which his own 
poetry and prose were admirable examples. Yet he 
realised fully that he and his contemporaries stood 
" between two worlds," and that though the one was 
dead, yet the other was " powerless to be bom." 

The sea of faith 

Was once, too, at the full and round earth's shore 

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd; 

But now I only hear 

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar. 

Retreating to the breath 

Of the night wind down the vast edges drear 

And naked shingles of the world. "^ 

Arnold believed that the sea of faith would again 
he hke the folds of a bright girdle furl'd round the 

1 Dover Beach. 


shore of the new earth, but he knew that any attempt 
to compel the sea to come in was abortive, and that 
he assuredly should not see it in his own time. 

Thomas Carlyle even more than Arnold soaked 
himself in German, and enthusiastically acknow- 
ledged Goethe as his master and teacher. With all 
his genius he was a mass of prejudices, deferential 
to obscure German authors, and heavily deaf to such 
divine singers as SheUey, Keats and Coleridge. His 
moral influence was greater than Goethe's, his in- 
sight far less sure than the serene Olympian seer's. 
With none of the sweetness and light of Arnold, his 
pantheistic gospel consisted of intermittent light- 
ning, prolonged growhng thunder, and much smoke. 

George Eliot was another who passing from under 
a narrow and repressive Evangelicalism turned to 
Goethe and then to Spinoza for light. She looked at 
tractarianism from afar, and pronounced it " like 
Jansenism, a recherche form of piety " ; and then 
tried like Arnold and Carlyle to build of pantheism 
a temple in which to worship. But she could not be 
contented with pantheism for long. Her one burning 
conviction which she never doubted was that only 
that religion was good which deepened human 
sympathy. She found that pantheism was not 
deepening hers, and that was sufficient for her, 
without any further metaphysical justification being 
necessary, to abandon pantheism, and to seek else- 
where for a religion. George Ehot's criticism of 


pantheism is every bit as much needed now as then. 
Pantheism coupled with self-realisation leads to 
the worst form of egotism. Granted that self- 
reaHsation is the truth which the twentieth century 
has grasped, yet it has not yet learned that self- 
realisation must be balanced not with a pantheistic 
but a transcendent conception of God, for only thus 
can a man be saved from the worship of self to the 
worship of God. 

George EUot turned from Spinoza to Comte as 
she found in him the idealisation of human relation- 
ships. Compte fostered her human sympathy but 
kept her strongly rationalistic. It was not till many 
years later when she studied Judaism that she began 
to free her imagination from the thraldom of her 
reason. Spiritual Judaism had had a wonderful 
history especially in the Middle Ages. Jehudah ha 
Levi had shown how tradition could be adapted to 
the growing light and reason of the time without 
being sapped at ther oot. George Eliot henceforth 
declared that reason and tradition were the two 
lamps of life. Reason, modified by tradition which 
kept alive the finest memory of the triumphs of 
thought and imagination, gave her the finest hope 
for the future. In the symboUsm of Blake Los 
was overcoming Urizen. George Eliot like Moses 
viewed the promised land from her high mountain, 
but she died before she could take possession. 

Some of the great Victorian minds sought to retain 


the Christian Spirit with as little dogma as possible. 
Chariotte and Emily Bronte took thankfully what 
food Maurice could give them out of his christened 
platonism. Tennyson and Charies Kingsley were 
glad to receive of the same. Ruskin drew of himself 
and the Bible what he needed. Browning, reaUsing, 
perhaps, more than these the decomposing action of 
criticism, yet believed that the Christ-Face would 

That one Face, far from vanish, rather grows. 

Or decomposes but to recompose. 

Become my universe that feels and knows.^ 

Carlyle, George Eliot and Matthew Arnold had 
Goethe for Godfather in the new faith before they 
finally diverged. George EUot retained least of him, 
Carlyle worshipped him most devoutly but never 
saw his idol quite as he was; and Arnold assimilated 
both the pantheistic and pagan sides of his teacher. 

Goethe's was the first great European influence 
of the nineteenth century, and after his was 
Schopenhauer's which at once reflected itself in 
Uterature. Schopenhauer's pessimism was Buddhism 
stripped of its picturesque oriental setting, and 
dressed in the sad weeds of a bereaved widow. 
Pessimism destroys the " sweet illusions " of life, 
revealing them as " effects of colour that we know 
to be made up of tinsel, broken glass, and rags." ^ 
Christianity had ever been willing that illusions 

' Epilogue. » The Lifted Veil. 


should be pricked, believing that they were the 
shadows that proved the substance truth. Schopen- 
hauer and Leopardi regarded truth as the last 
illusion which made it possible for man to drag on 
his existence. Schopenhauer's influence worked like 
leaven in Tolstoi's mind, and in England this leaven 
informs from end to end the novels of Thomas 
Hardy. At first one might rashly conclude that there 
is nothing but the ache of modernism in The Return 
of the Native or Jude the Obscure ; in reality Hardy 
has accomplished the magical work of viewing life 
from the tragic point of view, and seeing it of an 
infinite sad loveliness. He has baptised it in the wine 
of his imagination till one would think the sadness 
must dissolve into joy. He has not redeemed tragedy 
like Nietzsche: he has composed the theme in the 
minor key in the s3miphony of modern thought pre- 
paratory to the joyous outburst of the wedding 
march at the nuptials of Heaven and Hell. 

George Meredith was another novelist of finest 
imagination. From him came the full flower of 
Goethe's revived paganism. Paganism aimed at 
the perfection of the natural man. For it there was 
no dualism of body and soul such as a monkish 
Christianity exaggerated at a later date; and there- 
fore it could see the flower of a spiritual life growing 
out of the natural man just as it saw a lily growing 
out of the soil. Meredith accepted and worshipped 
the soil. Earth was mother, renewer, sweetener. 



The tendency of Christianity has been to despise 

Each moment draw from earth away 
My heart that lowly waits Thy call. ^ 

It has produced an other-worldly spirituality 
with poor thin sap in its veins. George Eliot had 
reacted against this other - worldly egotism and 
returned to mother-earth; but it was Meredith who 
wrote and sang of the paramount importance of 
earth in reUgion, finding in it his prime inspiration. 
He did not, hke so many pagans, stop short of 
sensualism, — the senses were a stage to the spirit. 
" The spirit must brand the flesh, that it may live," ^ 
for " all life is a lesson that we live to enjoy but in 
the spirit." 2 The flower of the spirit is Love which 
" signifies a new start in our existence, a finer shoot 
of the tree stoutly planted in good gross earth; the 
senses running their hve sap, and the minds com- 
panioned and the spirits made one by the whole- 
natured conjunction." ^ The guardian of this 
healthy growth is intelligence, which detects un- 
erringly sentimentaUsm — " the pinnacle flame- 
spire of sensualism; " ^ which will not be mastered 
by appearances; which does not " like veterans in 
their armchairs strip the bloom of life by giving its 
sensations in the present; " ^ but which " casts an 
oblique hght " * on men; on " whatever is out of 

' Tersteegen. ' Diana of the Crossways. 

' Rhoda Fleming. * The Comic Spirit. 


proportion, overblown, affected, pretentious, bom- 
bastical, hypocritical, pedantic, fantastically deli- 
cate; whenever it sees them self-deceived or hood- 
winked, given to run in idolatries, drifting into 
vanities, congregating in absurdities, planning 
short-sightedly, plotting dementedly, whenever they 
are at variance with their professions, and violate 
the unwritten but perceptible laws binding them in 
consideration one to another; whenever they offend 
sound reason, fair justice; are false in humility or 
mined with conceit, individually or in the bulk; " 
and looking " humanely malign " on these foUows 
" by volleys of silvery laughter. That is the Comic 
Spirit." Meredith's Comic Spirit is the finest, 
subtlest, and most spiritual product of Mother Earth, 
It is cleansing and healing; it is earth's sword by 
which earthiness is overcome; it robs tragedy and 
death of their sting and opens the gates of heaven; 
it is the eternal sweet laughter and sanity of God. 

Swinburne was another who sought to restore 
pagan ideals. His ruhng passions were a love of the 
beautiful and a desire for liberty. He, Meredith, 
and Hardy were later in date than Carlyle, Arnold, 
and George Eliot, and so further removed from the 
pietism on which they had been nourished and which 
coloured their minds to the end. Still they accus- 
tomed the minds of their younger brethren to liberty 
of thought ; and Swinburne was quick to catch the 
infection and to strike for liberty of body as well as 


liberty of mind. Meredith reacted against other- 
worldliness in his love for Mother Earth; and it 
was through his feeling for Earth that he approached 
and assimilated paganism. Swinburne reacted 
against a distorted view bi the sexual instinct and 
perceived that the Greeks held what he was cr57ing 
for. He was stimulated by modern examples as 
well as by ancient. As he looked across the Channel 
and inhaled the fragrance of Baudelaire's Fleurs du 
Mai it seemed to him that Baudelaire was sexually 
innocent to a degree impossible of attainment in 
England. It is for expert critics to decide whether 
Baudelaire's or Sappho's influence is strongest in 
the Poems and Ballads. 

The pagan ideal is the perfection of the natural 
man. That meant much more than is apparent to 
modern ears for which natural is the exact reverse of 
spiritual. For the pagan who conceived of body and 
soul as one, the natural included the spiritual which 
was its fine essence. The pagan trusted his instincts, 
regarded his senses as instructors, aimed at harmony, 
and worshipped earth. His body was delicately 
responsive to the earth in all its transitions, to the 
seasons in all their moods. It was a musical instru- 
ment with many strings so that the pagan could 
pass easily from wistful sadness to Ught-hearted 
gaiety, and rejoice because life had its minor as 
well as its major key. 

Christianity preached the foolishness of the 


Cross to the Greek. The beautiful natural man 
must be born again. The Greek, though he could 
show a beautiful spirituality as the outcome of 
all his efforts, had carried the development of the 
natural man to the brink of deplorable degeneracy. 
Christianity, recognising the spiritual product, spoke 
to it, wooed it and begot on it a new man, a new 
creation, a new ideal — the ideal of the divine 
humanity. Once the pagan awoke to the Christian 
consciousness, there was no going back, he was 
marred for the pagan Ufe. If he stood still he was a 
scarecrow of humanity; and there was no alterna- 
tive but to press forward to the realisation of the 
new ideal. The fully-christened pagan knew that 
nothing had been lost of his former paganism. When 
he had yielded himself to the Christ-Spirit, the new 
life in him seized hold of all that it found, and trans- 
muted it into the sweet blood of the new spiritual 
man. Christianity rescued him from the precipice 
of degeneracy and started him on a new beginning 
with infinite possibilities for the future. 

Swinburne in his attempt to revive paganism 
presented the strange anomaly of a half-christened 
consciousness trying to forget and go back, instead 
of pushing forward to a complete consciousness which 
should include the pagan values. To go back is im- 
possible. A whole pagan was a beautiful thing. A 
whole Christian is a beautiful thing, but all the 
intermediate stages in the painful transition from 


one to the other are not beautiful save to prophetic 
eyes. Swinburne moving among Victorian half-bakes 
bewailed the " grey breath of the Galilean," not 
realizing that when the Galilean's breath accom- 
phshes a complete work there is cause for nothing 
but rejoicing. 

Swinburne rebelled against the notion that the 
sexual instincts were unholy. His reaction carried 
him far into ancient Greece. There is no more 
thorny and complex subject for us than sex: to 
the Greeks it was simple. Swinburne attempted to 
treat it again with pagan simplicity. For this great 
purpose he was equipped with two necessary quali- 
fications, freedom of mind, and a quick unerring 
sense for the beautiful. If the subject is to be 
touched at all, the only thing that matters is how 
it is touched. Swinburne tracked it fearlessly 
along its broad streams and its side streams, in 
normal types and intermediate types, and in such 
poems as Dolores, Faustine, Anactoria, Erotion and 
Hermaphroditus showed that forms of lust which 
are filthy in filthy minds, repelUng in scientific 
hand-books, were beautiful when treated by the 
glowing imagination of a poet who was determined 
to see nothing unclean in the pulse of Ufe itself. 

Swinburne's Poems and Ballads showed that he 
had plumbed the depths and scaled the heights of 
sex, and understood everything. In Dolores is seen 
the infinite pain that throbs at the heart of a 


voluptuous life. In Hermaphroditus he lifts for a 
moment the veil which binds the " strong desire " 
and " great despair " which gnaw at the heart of the 
sexual invert. Out of the whirlpool of lust he seizes 
and brandishes those terrible symbols of ^ex — 
blood and the whip. Those who rashly plunge into 
the whirlpool find themselves quickly sucked down 
into the bottomless pit where they sink deeper and 
deeper as they make despairing efforts to strike a 
foothold. These are the depths. Yet Swinburne's 
all-seeing eye has searched the heights. The colour, 
the music, the song, the guilelessness, rapture and 
bliss are there also; and as he leads us upwards on 
passionate eagle wing, he soars to the point of light 
where sex has become religion, and the pang of the 
harlot the rapture of the saint. 

One cannot leave Swinburne's treatment of sex 
without a glance at Walt Whitman. Both men were 
brought up by the side of the sea, and something of 
the liberty of the sea infected their spirits. Whitman 
even more than Swinburne lived in the open; and 
his long tramps when he was sixteen passed into the 
pulse of his rhythm, and the fresh open air of his 
songs. Like Blake and like Nietzsche, he accepted life 
passionately, and his yea to Hfe led him to the freest 
treatment of sex as he sang of the " body electric." 
Swinburne admired Whitman's freedom; but his 
criticism that Whitman was lacking in chivalrous 
feeling towards woman will appear just to most 


men, and to such the fire that burns in Calamus must 
seem unhallowed. Whitman and Swinburne were 
both reactionaries, for which they must not be 
blamed. They had as much right to recover some 
pagan values as the Oxford Movement some Church 
values of the first four centuries of Christendom. 

They went back in order to go forward. Having 
rescued a clean and sane conception of sex, it is for 
us to offer their gleanings from pagan fields on 
the Christian Altar, that a pure flame may ascend 
to heaven from the holocaust of their earth-bom 

When we turn from Swinburne's poetry to his 
prose, there is the difference as between the ex- 
quisite movements of a classical dancer in undress 
to her overdress among her fellows. 

Swinburne's unstinting admiration is in pleasing 
contrast to Carlyle's surly treatment of his contem- 
poraries, though he has the Victorian way of writing 
of them as though he were writing their epitaphs. 
His abounding praise or dispraise of an author or 
poet was not the true measure of their value, but of 
the impulsive predilections of a creature all compact 
of imagination and fire, of an artist who distributed 
his Kght and shade with an eye to the ultimate 
effect of his picture. One sees him at one moment 
vigorously waving his cap to such immortals as 
Victor Hugo, Emily Bronte, Shelley, Coleridge and 
Keats, the next moment shaking hands with 


Charles Reade, and then affectionately patting 
Anthony TroUope on the head. Always there is the 
revelation of a creature of many and varied human 
sjnnpathies. George Eliot insisted that the only test 
of spiritual progress was a growing sympathy for 
individual men and women in their joys and 
sorrows. Such being the case it becomes a pressing 
question whether the man of imagination does not 
far outstrip the man of religion. Cardinal Newman 
had fine imaginative instincts, but he never trusted 
them far, and his sympathies became as narrow 
and intense as an old maid's. His religious imposi- 
tions forbade him to hold fellowship with any but 
restricted co-religionists. Swinburne was boundless 
in his sympathies. His imagination unfettered 
understood and embraced every kind of woman 
from Sappho to Christina Rosetti, and every kind of 
man from Ezekiel to Gautier. Swinburne could 
have taken to his bosom the author of the Dream of 
Gerontius : the Cardinal would have washed himself 
and his clothes in holy water after such a defiling 
contact. Love is the final fruit of religion, a love 
that overflows and embraces all irrespective of 
creed and morals. Religion without imagination 
can never reach this goal, but soon turned aside 
degenerates into a loveless spirit hopelessly bhnd 
to true human values. 

To Swinburne is due the honour of appraising 
Blake at something like his true value in a century 


when it was the custom among savants to patronise 
him after a reading of the Songs of Innocence and 
an undiscerning glance at the Prophetic Books. 
No prominent religious teacher recognised Blake. 
Swinburne, the creature of impulse, instinct, passion, 
and imagination read Blake's secret where un- 
imaginative religionists must have failed. We have 
seen that Blake built up the whole of his system on 
the doctrine of the new birth. The Real Man im- 
veiled by the new birth was a mystic-artist and 
therefore could be approached by the mystic or the 
artist. Swinburne was so entirely the poet of the 
senses that we do not expect to find. traces of the 
mystic in him. He had only the vaguest idea as to 
what the new birth meant except as it freed the 
imagination, and therefore he was not able to 
follow far Blake's religious teaching or mystical 
flights. A pure pagan would have been turned back 
at the threshold; that Swinburne penetrated so far 
is due to the fact that there was in his conscious- 
ness, deeper than his pagan s3Tiipathies, an im- 
movable Christian deposit. The marvellous thing 
is that all that he really cared for, and much of 
which was condemned by his contemporaries, was 
contained and justified in Blake's Gospel. His 
passionate love of children revelled in the Songs 
of Innocence and Experience; his apprehension of 
the value of instinct, impulse, passion, disobedience, 
rebellion, revolt, was anticipated in the Proverbs of 


Hell; and with his fiery imagination he caught 
much of the meaning of Blake's most difficult poem 
Jerusalem. We might have concluded that he gauged 
all that was possible, were it not that to-day, Ellis 
and Yeats, and Archibald Russell, have penetrated 
a great deal farther into its inmost meaning. Swin- 
burne struck for many freedoms, most of all for the 
freedom of the body; this he found more than 
justified. It was proclaimed consistently throughout 
Blake's works that whatsoever lives is holy, that 
desire is holy and necessary. Swinburne, who had 
concluded that such a view of sex could only be held 
by a pagan, insisted that Blake was neither a 
Christian nor an infidel, that he was persistently and 
irretrievably a heretic. " He that is spiritual dis- 
cerneth all things," wrote S. Paul. If 'this is true, 
the spiritual must include the imaginative. When 
the religious man pushes on to a full spiritual 
consciousness, and the imaginative man to a full 
imagination, then these two will become one, and 
discern all things in heaven and hell. That Swin- 
burne discerned all things in Blake's hell and failed 
to discern all things in his heaven, is evidence of the 
hmitations of the pagan consciousness which he had 
so zealously fostered. 

To many paganism is the antithesis of Christianity. 
That is a fallacy. Paganism and Christianity hold 
in common the great doctrine of immanence, and 
our neo-pagans have grasped its full significance. 


Jesus Christ whose master-phrase was " the 
Kingdom of Heaven " spoke of it as immanent in 
His early ministry. " The Kingdom of God is 
within you." In His closing ministry He presented 
it in the transcendent aspect. " Verily I say unto 
you, that there be some of them that stand here, 
which shall not taste of death, till they have seen 
the Kingdom of God come with power." These two 
conceptions, immanence and transcendence, stand 
sharply side by side in Christ's mind. The Greek 
Fathers of the Church seized the immanence and 
the Latin Fathers the transcendence. Paganism 
filtered into the Church through the Greek Fathers. 
Already in the Gospel according to S. John, Christi- 
anity had encountered Greek thought in Ephesus 
and christened it in its prologue. In the second 
century Justin Martyr when he became a Christian 
could not forget that he had been nurtured by the 
teaching of Socrates and Plato. Anxious for his 
beloved teachers lest they should have no part in 
the Christian salvation, he pondered till the sublime 
opening verses of S. John's Gospel explained to him 
that they, too, were partially illuminated by " the 
Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the 
world." By the end of the fourth century Plato's 
rich treasury had passed into the veins of the 
Christian Church. Then began a further process of 
assimilation. Aristotle's name became paramount 
in Europe. The Christian Schoolmen fell upon him, 


and S. Anselm and S. Thomas Aquinas seized and 
preserved for the Church all that seemed to them 
of value in the pagan philosopher. 

The Latin Church with its traditions of empire, 
law, organisation, took over such pagan virtues as 
fortitude and patriotism, but for the most part 
developed the Christian doctrine of transcendence, 
making much of sovereignty, law and retribution, 
while the Greek Fathers were proclaiming father- 
hood, love and forgiveness. 

A full Christianity must combine both. Our 
nineteenth-century thinkers carried immanence to 
the creation of man: Nietzsche to superman, till 
his head was lost in the clouds. Swinburne, hke 
Shelley, scornful of Christianity, worshipful of 
Christ, regarded Man as earth's topmost blossom, 
scaling the sky because of the God that was in him. 
Leaving the Greek Gods for Hertha, the Teutonic 
Goddess of Earth, he sang : 

One birth of my bosom ! 

One beam of mine eye; 
One topmost blossom 

That scales the sky; 
Man, equal and one with me, man that is made of me, 
man that is I. 

That is the skiey height touched by our modern 
free-thinkers. There was one warning voice. George 
Ehot had ample opportunity of watching the effects 
of pantheism on those who embraced it ardently, 
and on herself while she sought in it for a religion. 


It is an attempt to look at the universe apart from 
our relationship to it as human beings. " We must 
love and hate, — love what is good for mankind, hate 
what is evil for mankind." It begins by spiritualis- 
ing man, and promising to enlarge his horizon, it 
ends by sapping his manhood and robbing him of 
God. The criticism is needed as much as ever. It 
is wearisome that man will not learn by the past. 
In every generation there is a waste of precious time 
and more precious thought while men are learning 
by slow and painful experience the truth which 
should be their starting point. In vain the Church 
protests. Christian Science rushes into Akosmism, 
George Tyrell into Jesuitism, Newman into Papism, 
Swinburne into Paganism, and almost all into a 
one-side Immanentism. There can be no further 
progress till our teachers recover the old Christian 
doctrine of transcendence, and then reach forward 
out of themselves to accomplish the work of God in 
the world. 




Bernard Shaw is the spirit of Industrial Revolution 
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries become 
incarnate. He stands where the nineteenth century 
merges into the twentieth, and faces both ways. He 
interprets the sociaKstic aspirations of the past by 
the latest philosophies of Germany and France. 
Like all truly religious people he looks forward to 
the future, but in his look forward his imagination is 
overweighted by the shackles forged in the mid- 
Victorian period which he yet so constantly derides. 
The superman must combine all the qualities of 
the imaginative mystic and the earth-born positivist. 
He has not yet come. Yeats is an enchanting 
imaginative mystic who occasionally touches earth 
with the dairity step of the Sidhe, but is fearful lest 
the brightness of his imagination should be tarnished. 
Bernard Shaw is a breezy child of earth who occa- 
sionally touches the Emp3n:ean, but who quickly 
flutters down lest his melting wings should cause him 
to drop to the derision of the Gods. Like Yeats he 
is an Irishman, and like all Irishmen, who do not 
live in Ireland, he is distinguished for his clean 
intellect. While Englishmen, terrified at their 


thoughts at last send them out well wadded into the 
world, a word from Oscar Wilde or Bernard Shaw 
cuts through the wadding like a sharp sword; and 
men dazzled by the brightness of the steel mis-read 
the word and are sure that it does not mean what it 
says. That is why there are so many Bernard Shaws, 
while the real Bernard Shaw lives in obscurity. 
According to report he is an egotist, a braggart and 
a buffoon; a heartless intellectual, a scoffer and a 
blasphemer. He sits like Mephistopheles with his 
head in his big scarlet sleeve, and laughs at the 
victims he has hoodwinked and lampooned. How 
could it be otherwise when this brilliant man is — so 
they say — an atheist! 

The real Bernard Shaw, obscured by his glitter, 
is a humble man of faith, simple, forceful, direct, 
of clearest eagle vision for this world and its affairs, 
and with fitful glimpses of heaven. Jonathan Swift, 
dreading h3T)ocrisy, pretended to vices that were 
not his; Bernard Shaw, frightened at his humility, 
pretends to an immense pride and superiority in 
which his humble self may be sheltered from the 
cold blast. Like all really humble men he acknow- 
ledges readily his debts. He meekly confesses what 
he has learned from Bunyan and Hogarth, from 
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Samuel Butler, from 
Ibsen and Tolstoi, and from Blake. 

Bernard Shaw sees instinctively the effect of our 
social system on all sorts and conditions of men. 


He has that most dreadful thing — a single eye, and 
he permits no romanticisms, sentimentalisms and 
idealisms to throw dust in it. Thus Tolstoi's terrible 
indictment of the state is inevitably endorsed by 
Shaw. It is in the remedy that he differs from 
Tolstoi. The Russian when fifty years old began a 
serious study of the Gospel. The Sermon on the 
Mount captivated him, and he read it in a way 
quite unapproved of by the Greek Church, but ap- 
proved of by the doukhoborski and other quaker-like 
sects of Russia. His reading convinced him that 
Christ's central doctrine was non-resistance to evil. 
It was clear that such a doctrine practised would 
usher in a Kingdom of Heaven very different from 
the kingdoms of this world which stand by their 
armies and navies, that is, by force. Therefore 
states, since they can only stand by violence, are 
anti-Christian at their foundation. Tolstoi', unable 
to defend any kind of state, declared without com- 
promise for anarchy, but it was an anarchy rendered 
perfectly harmless, as it was deprived of its bombs 
and shells by the application of the principle of non- 
resistance. In England Shaw has had the oppor- 
tunity of studying the effect of Tolstoi's teaching 
in the settlements at Purleigh and Stroud. 

Shaw's reading of the Gospel has doubtlessly been 
deeply affected by Tolstoi, but he does not apply it 
to the destruction of the state. He is convinced 
that anarchy is rendered impracticable by the law of 


-rent, and that it would depend on an unselfish- 
ness in human nature which is the exception rather 
than the rule. Well instructed in the principle of 
evolution as interpreted by Samuel Butler and 
Bergson, he believes in the orderly development of 
the social organism, and that the immediate phase 
to which it is tending is a social democratic state, 
the transition to which will be effected by the exten- 
sion of municipal trading to all such social services as 
have become sufficiently highly organised to be ripe 
for public management, and sufficiently dependent 
on general consumption to make it an obvious 
advantage to the community to run them for its 
own benefit, rather than for a set of shareholders 
for whom profits and dividends take the first place. 
This socialised State, of course, cannot be final, but 
a necessary stage to a higher mode of government. 
Herbert Spencer and Comte had beheved in the 
evolution of the social organism; but they put a 
heavy drag on the evolution by their doctrine of 
obedience to the state. The state only evolves in 
proportion as its human units believe that duty to 
self is the first requirement. Duty to self may involve 
disobedience to the state. Progress is effected by 
the law-breakers, but the fruitful law-breakers are 
not lawless, as obedience to a higher law consecrates 
their rebellion. Shaw has learnt that the mystical 
life process, called evolution, is now working along 
the higher development of the self, and that if men 


are to keep proper respect for this self, it can only 
be by working for a better social order than that in 
which they find themselves. For in the present order 
no one escapes. The money of the generous young 
man is tainted equally with that which maintains 
widowers' houses. Mrs. Warren and her friends on 
the street have been driven by a pressure far 
stronger than their passions. The present system 
shows no way out of the Doctor's Dilemma. And 
so with soldiers and' ill-assorted couples, with the 
Devil's Disciple and Blanco Posnet, professional 
men and officials, clerks and artisans, playwrights 
and artists, Fanny with her first play, and children 
with their rights, rich spinsters and curates, as all 
are victims of the state, then they can only keep 
their self-respect by working for a new order where 
they shall not be victims that go under, but victors 
who overcome, and thus prepare the way for super- 
men who shall be able to grapple effectually with 
each difficulty as it arises, and in their turn lead the 
way to a golden morrow. For man cannot save his 
soul until the soul of the community in which he 
lives is saved also. 

Bernard Shaw is no respecter of persons. His eye 
penetrates every corner in high life and low life like 
Hogarth's. Like Hogarth he does not blind his eyes 
by looking at the sun, but with hilarious good 
humour he tears away all official trappings and 
garments till the human animal stands in all his 


ugly nakedness. Hogarth's realism forced him to 
paint ugly people; but nothing daunted, he made 
the beauty of his pictures depend on the fitness with 
which his wavy lines expressed his exuberant 
vitality. Bernard Shaw's realism has also compelled 
him to discard conventional effects, and the final 
impression of beauty which his plays leave results 
from the rude vitality of those of his characters who 
are real enough to burst the trammels of convention. 
These living people are always opposed by the 
respectable moralists in the play, and therefore 
Shaw in his burning zeal for a new morality cannot 
bear those who prate of the old morality as if it 
were the eternal law of righteousness. 

Like Bunyan, Shaw sees that morals are snatched- 
up rags by which men try to cover their nakedness. 
Bunyan regarded the merely moral man as dead in 
trespasses and sins, feeling an instinctive dislike to 
him which was sound, and he explained his instinct 
by the great protestant principle that a man is 
saved by faith and not by works. This doctrine in 
Bunyan's keeping was quite safe, but when seized 
by the puritan rabble, it was interpreted so as to 
send the best people to hell, and to fill heaven with 
a disagreeable band of pusillanimous psalm-singers. 
So much have the tables been turned, that Shaw 
needed the Devil's Disciple to cut through this 
rabble, and restore heaven's reputation. Shaw's 
doctrine at bottom is the same as Bunyan's. The 


converted tinker, when he had battled through the 
dark night of his soul, knew that he had passed from 
death into life. This new life compelled him to new 
deeds, and he was convinced that these new deeds 
were vitally diiferent from the moral deeds of the 
unconverted man. Shaw too is conscious of being 
alive, and so he has been obliged to conserve 
the simple evangelical distinction between " dead 
works " and " living works." He has always 
declared for the " living works," and in conse- 
quence has put himself in antagonism with those 
whose morals are the sapless copies of dead values. 
Bunyan's pubHc life of protest required the fine 
courage of a warrior. Shaw's protest is equally fine 
and courageous, and he has only escaped Bedford or 
HoUoway Gaol because men do not believe he means 
what he says, or they have grown more indifferent 
than their forefathers of the seventeenth century. 

Shaw's realism has made him a competent inter- 
preter of Ibsen. Chesterton, whose name depends 
on his differing from Shaw, though he often says 
provokingly true things, claims to know the whole 
map of Shaw's mind and to understand him where 
others fail. The boast is idle, for Chesterton has no 
understanding of Ibsen, or of those parts of Shaw 
which he has learned from Ibsen. 

Ibsen began under the cloud of Darwinism. He 
emerged only when he had learnt to affirm the self. 
Self-realisation alone can free man from being a 


slave-puppet, and woman also, changing the doll in 
the house into a self-respecting woman for whom 
there is an unknown future. What suffocated men 
and women alike were the ideals they clung to. The 
main battle of Ibsen's life was between realism and 
idealism. Chesterton takes these words and uses 
them in a different sense from Ibsen's, and then 
proceeds boisterously to knock down both Ibsen 
and Shaw. It is obvious that men have an ideal way 
of thinking and speaking of marriage and war, life 
and death, which is simply unreal. Ibsen sweeps 
away all these ideal cobwebs, leaving men reali- 
ties to grapple with. Just here Bernard Shaw is 
thoroughly Ibsenish. No doubt he sweeps away 
a great deal besides cobwebs — ornaments and 
flowers and household gods, and when his house 
is empty, swept and garnished, it reeks of sanitas 
rather than sweet lavender. 

It is not clear, though Shaw has written hundreds 
of pages of preface, whether he identifies with God 
the life-force which is his constant theme. I think 
he knows no other God, and that is the grave defect 
in his philosophy, for it can only end in identif3dng 
George Bernard Shaw with God and himself be- 
coming the object of his worship. God is not the 
life-force, and therefore the man, who is conscious 
of the life-force coming in like a flood, rather, the 
man who is a life-force can either insist on himself 
to the denial of God, or he can offer himself to God, 


and find himself. The oblation of self to God is the 
one sublime romantic act out of which all romance 
grows. Shaw has included romance with the false 
ideals which must go. He has not been fair to him- 
self, nor has he quite succeeded in explaining himself 
just as the Wagner of the letters and the real Wagner 
were not coincident. If Shaw has confused the 
life-force with God, he has not identified it with 
himself. Actually he has given himself to its onward 
sweep and so has largely won possession of his soul. 
That is why there is so much fine romanticism in 
him, and he can draw such an admirably romantic 
character as Tom Keegan in John Bull's Other Island. 
Shaw's real protest is against sentimentalism, 
for he is as convinced as George Meredith that it 
has its origin in the senses, and that sentimental 
ideals must be reckoned among the false values. 
His doctrine leaves a real idealism untouched. For 
as supernaturalism is to be found not outside 
nature but in the heart of nature, so idealism is not 
outside reality, but the very stuff of reality itself. 

Shaw's faith in the life-force at once relates him to 
Nietzsche and superman. But one must insist' that 
the Shavian superman is very different from the 
Nietzschean. The two might be taken for twins in 
their nonage. Both have struggled clear of Darwin. 
Both are intent on a higher organisation of the 
mysterious life-force. Both again are related to the 
Saint. The Nietzschean is the first to part with the 


Saint, as he cannot believe in any one's election 
but his own, and himself is self-elect. That is the 
beginning of his isolation and disdain. The Shavian 
like the Saint cannot beheve in any one's reproba- 
tion. He is sure that there are tens of thousand 
wage-slaves of the capitalist system who could rise 
to great things, could a superman be found to break 
their fetters. He only cares to be a superman that 
he may cry almost in the language of the Saint: 
" Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath 
given me." It is his concern for his brethren that 
keeps him with a human heart. As the Nietzschean 
becomes more and more inhuman and mad, the 
Shavian becomes more and more human and sane. 
The Shavian, losing sight of the Nietzschean, can 
still keep pace a while with the Saint. But the Saint 
has a longing desire for worship. He yearns to pre- 
sent himself and his children to the Lord and to fall 
down in speechless worship. The Shavian would like 
to worship but is confused as to the object. He 
raises his columns higher and higher until his towers 
reach unto heaven, but he can find no capitals for his 
columns, no roof to his towers. He will see that his 
brother the Saint has at last built a Temple in which 
many can worship, and his face is transfigured as 
he adores; but for those who look on it will become 
clear that with his infinite toil he himself has 
only raised another Babel. And when the mighty 
building rocks and he rushes out into the gathering 


darkness, one can but hope he will meet the Saint 
who will assuredly take him by the hand, and gently 
drawing him into his Temple present him to the Lord. 
Shaw's superman owes much of his sanity to 
Blake. To trace all Blake's influence in Shaw would 
be to repeat what was said in the chapter on 
Nietzsche. A text could be found for any one of 
Shaw's plays in the Proverbs of Hell. The Prome- 
thean legend has been tinged by Blake before being 
taken up by Shaw. Shaw is equally with Yeats the 
offspring of Heaven and Hell, but whereas Yeats 
takes after the father, Shaw is his mother's child. 
Perhaps more than all else Shaw has learned from 
Blake the value of passion. He takes the word in 
its widest significance, and finds it the propelling 
power of the life-force. Passion includes sex, and 
much more. There is a passion for truth, a passion 
for justice, a passion for social equity. There is a 
red-hot passion for humanity, besides which all 
other passions pale. This passion is of such price- 
less value that it must not be restrained. " Sooner 
murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted 
desires." Man's business is first to find out what he 
really wants. That is not always easy. Some only 
learn after they have shocked all their kith and kin, 
and have even been to prison. These come to the 
palace of wisdom by the road of excess. Others 
need to retire to the wilderness, and when they have 
been tempted forty days, they learn what they 


must do. Others, again, just let themselves go. 
Instead of finding it easy to be splendidly wicked, 
they are driven to unsuspected heights of heroism. 
It is more difficult to become a Caesar Borgia than 
a Francis of Assisi. When a man knows what he 
wants, let him act. " He who desires but acts not, 
breeds pestilence." Thousands are poisoned by 
their unacted desires: all life, to them, takes on a 
jaundiced hue. Let them be pushed into the open, 
even if they stumble at every step. Let them be 
rolled on a dung-heap that they may hck them- 
selves clean. Blessed is he who has his own clear 
instincts to guide him. " No bird soars too high if 
he soars with his own wings." Let not a man copy 
another. " The eagle never lost so much time as 
when he submitted to learn of the crow." Finally, 
" One law for the Lion and Ox is oppression," there- 
fore let a man discover the law of his own life — let 
him find the Real Self — and having found it, keep 
it, for he has learned the secret of life, and it will 
carry him to the heights if he is not turned back by 
the opposition he has aroused. 

Shaw's own passion is for social equity. Here, too, 
Blake has uttered the great word. " Prisons are 
built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of 
Religion." Blake realised the implications of his 
religion of life with unerring instinct, though he did 
not work them out in detail. He speaks the Word of 
God to his spiritual children, and leaves it to them 


to interpret its meaning. Bernard Shaw, though he 
has not assimilated the heavenly side of Blake's 
teaching, has seized the social, and has worked it 
out with a consistent clearness which has proved 
invaluable to his conception of superman, for it has 
kept him human with his legs firmly planted on 

Shaw has learned from other teachers — from 
Shelley and Goethe, and Wagner, and Morris, but 
we must not forget that he has a fine original mind 
of his own, and that driven by his passion for 
righteousness it has accomplished great things. 
The great attempt of Nietzsche's life was to trans- 
value all values. No one, now, can claim that he 
succeeded. At any rate he showed the necessity. 
It will require a catholic to transvalue catholic 
values, and he will " fill up that which is behind of 
the afflictions of Christ." Shaw is a protestant of 
protestants. He is not alone, and his afflictions are 
proportionately less. Whatever his sufferings he has 
too much of the gaiety of genius to let them spoil his 
happiness. Here and there he overlooks a protestant 
value of the past, but he has succeeded in trans- 
valuing many of the values that protestantism has 
stood for, and what he contributes to superman's 
make-up is so sound that when he is come, he will 
be vigorous, sane and human, and able to keep 
himself intellectually and morally clean by his 
spirit of ringing laughter. 




W. B. Yeats is the fair offspring of Blake's marriage 
of Heaven and Hell. He combines in himself the 
two streams which in the nineteenth century ran 
widely apart. He is the earnest of a completer type 
than himself. For though he has gained a wider 
and freer outlook than the Victorians, and his work 
is more beautiful, he yet lacks their robustness, deep 
humanity and freedom from pose. 

The Victorians were before all else rationaHsts. 
Matthew Arnold's fine definition of the modem 
mind as " imaginative reason," in the light of 
Blake's four Zoas, exactly places the nineteenth 
century at its best. Urizen is reason and Los is 
imagination. Urizen and Los cannot dwell together 
unless Los is supreme. In the Victorians Urizen 
was supreme, and their fine imaginations were being 
continually overhauled and paralysed by the dire 
grip of their reason. Herbert Spencer, John Stuart 
Mill, and Charles Darwin, were sons of Urizen; but 
Urizen's finest offspring was a woman, and George 
Eliot is the most perfect example of Victorian 
rationalistic utilitarianism. Rationalism ever en- 
forces a utiUtarian view of life and religion. 

The best Victorians had deep human feeling, but 

W. B. YEATS 157 

strong as it was, it clashed with their utiUtarianism 
and there broke down. The man who proved useless 
to the state or social organism became the object 
of the wrath and denunciation of the man who 
nursed his indignation as the sap of his moral life. 
No one ever lived with more manifold power of 
human sympathy than George Eliot, and no one was 
ever more scornful than she at the sight of pure 
selfishness. While she can forgive almost all her 
characters, yet Tito, Rosamond and Grandcourt 
appear to have been created on purpose to preserve 
her moral self-respect. 

Rationalism, Utilitarianism, and Altruism were 
the positive Trinity that were to take the place of 
the Christian mystical Trinity. But while the 
Christian dogmas were being quietly shelved, the 
Christian morals were maintained, after a little 
trimming, and were to be put entirely at the service 
of one's neighbour. We have already seen how 
altruism was a stage to Ibsen and Nietzsche with 
their assertion of the ego, and that Nietzsche's 
doctrine of duty to self brings us back to Blake 
whose Real Self was unveiled by the old Christian 
process of regeneration. 

Whether we like or dislike the nineteenth-century 
spirit, its advent was inevitable. Idealists had been 
accustomed for so long a time to affirm the inner 
and deny the outer realities, that the affirmation of 
the positive values, even if the mystical values 


vanished altogether, was forced out of man at a time 
when science was striding forward. Just as Goethe 
had said, Either rehgion or art, so they said. Either 
the Kingdom of Heaven or the earth, was the one 
reahty. Strindberg resolved the first dilemma by 
saying. Both — which was Blake's solution ; and 
Eucken has declared for the reality of both the 
inner world of Being, and the sensuous world of 
Becoming, and he sees man as the meeting ground 
of various grades of Reality. Our finest thinkers 
have rejected rationalism and its brood, and show 
clear signs of a renascence of mysticism. Thus we 
have started the twentieth century with a strong 
conviction that there must be a union of positivism 
and mysticism, for only so can we come to a sane 
and vigorous outlook on life which is at once 
spiritual and natural. 

Yeats has hardly the positivism, but he has the 
mysticism, and mysticism which recognises the 
imagination as the supreme faculty. It is this which 
shows him to be Blake's spiritual child. There are 
over a score of definitions of mysticism. Here I use 
the word to express that direct vision of the truth 
which some few people possess. As we saw in an 
earlier chapter the mystic is compelled to imagina- 
tive expression of what he sees, or he must remain 
silent. Yeats is an Irishman with the imworked 
mine of Celtic mythology at his disposal. He has 
thus not only the mystic insight and imagination, 

W. B. YEATS 159 

but also a beautiful symbolism. He is a true child 
of Blake, but by working through a different sym- 
bolism, he has woven a new and luminous vesture 
for the vision he has seen with the piercing insight 
of the mystic. 

Celtic mysticism holds a place of rare beauty 
among the mysticisms of the past. It has had none 
of the metaphysical subtlety of the East, and has 
been splendidly free from barren abstractions. It 
has had the sweet breath of the earth in it, for it has 
loved the earth with its mountains and valleys, its 
seas and its lakes, its reeds and its sedge. 

It has caught a glimpse in these things of a beauty 
which yet eludes it. Still more have lovers seen in 
the face of the beloved an alluring beauty which has 
filled them with a mighty desire to behold " the 
secret, far off. Inviolate Rose." Thus have they 
been drawn on to the rarer atmosphere of the things 
of the spirit while earth's winds and waves kept 
them clean and sweet. Yet there has been a sound as 
of keening from the lovers. There is a fund of sad- 
ness in Beauty's face. The lover could not endure 
to gaze on Beauty's unveiled face save for a moment, 
and that moment robbed him of his rest on earth. 
Then must he fight his battles, strike his lyre, sing 
his songs, hunt with his hounds, and feast with his 
comrades, till in his own land among the dead he 
might hope to gaze unflinchingly on the Inviolate 
Rose for ever. 


Celtic mysticism is fully embodied in the stories 
of Irish heroes and seers whom Lady Gregory has 
made to live again in the imaginations of modern 
readers. Yeats has had a double approach to them. 
Through Lady Gregory he has made himself familiar 
with Conchubar and Cuchulain of Muirthemne; he 
has caught the spirit of Oisin and contrasted it with 
the spirit of S. Patrick's monkish Christianity; he 
has read the hearts of mild Deirdre and amorous 
Maeve, of pitiful Findabair and proud Emer, and 
understood the secret of their charm. In addition 
to his studies he has penetrated to the bright 
sculptures of Los' Halls, and there he has seen 
for himself the imperishable deeds of Ireland's 
brave warriors and fair women. Having thus 
renewed his inspiration from the Great Memory, he 
has given to his best poetry and plays that touch 
of perennial youthfulness which promises their 

Yeats has drunk so deeply of Blake's spirit that 
it matters little to him whether he approach God 
through religion, or beauty. On the whole he prefers 
to think of God as Eternal Beauty and to imagine 
Him as the " secret, far off. Inviolate Rose." The 
faces of Deirdre and Aillinn are petals of the Secret 
Rose, and their insatiable lovers can never be satis- 
fied but in death with that beauty they have seen 
in the face of their beloved. For beyond Death is 
the Land of Heart's Desire. 

W. B. YEATS i6i 

Where nobody gets old and godly and grave, 
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise, 
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue. 

Where beauty has no ebb, decay no flood. 
But joy is wisdom. Time an endless song. 

Yeats by his constant approach to God through 
Beauty reveals himself an artist. No one has under- 
stood better than he that it is the artist's calhng to 
create beautiful things, or that the man wedded to 
causes, or possessed by party spirit or zealous to 
teach others will mar the beauty of his work. Yet 
the artist by discovering his conception of the 
Beautiful cannot help affecting the morals of those 
who receive his spirit. Yeats sees beauty wherever 
he detects life, and he detects life not in the " settled 
men," but in all manner of lawless people. That is 
the secret of Jesus Christ's preference for the com- 
pany of publicans and harlots to that of scribes and 
pharisees. When any one is sufficiently soaked in 
Yeats' work to discover for himself the hidden 
beauty in outcasts and pariahs, his moral garment 
will be rent in twain ; and in casting away his filthy 
rags, an inheritance from the Law, he will by faith 
put on a white linen garment which is the righteous- 
ness of the Saints. For Beauty like the word of God 
" is sharper than any two-edged sword, and pierces 
even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit." 

So while admitting that Yeats has no consciously 
didactic aim, he necessarily teaches, and we must 


proceed to unfold the implicit teaching of his 

One must not forget that Yeats is one of a Httle 
band. He has always admitted how much he owes to 
Lady Gregory. Synge has influenced him, and the 
delicate porcelain beauty of A. E.'s poetry has pene- 
trated his spirit. His teaching (one might say theirs) 
can be gathered best from two plays in which Lady 
Gregory gave much help. Where There is Nothing 
came first, but not satisfied with it, Yeats tried again 
and produced The Unicorn from the Stars. There 
the mystic seer is Martin Hearne. Martin knows the 
value of leisure, and will not let himself be made 
stupid by the dull routine of work. He has his 
vision, but it is only slowly he can piece out its 
meaning. At first the command seems to point to 
destruction. " Destroy, destroy, destruction is the 
life-giver." Yeats has a lingering tenderness for 
shattering. He has seen the secret Rose, and he has 
darted instinctively to the notion that there is no 
way to the Inviolate Rose but by the way of destruc- 
tion. So his hero but half illumined calls from the 
roads (" the roads are the great things, they never 
come to an end ") the law breakers, the tinkers, the 
sieve-makers, the^sheep-stealers. With their help, 
he would " burn away a great deal that men have 
piled up upon the earth," that men may be brought 
" once more to the wildness of the clean green earth." 
Then only when Law and State and Church are 

W. B. YEATS 163 

destroyed will life become " like a flame of fire, like 
a burning eye." He exults when the sword with 
a sound like laughter has cut away everything, 
for where there is nothing — there is God. So much 
does Martin learn from his first vision. But another 
vision makes all things clearer to him, and he learns 
that his business is not reformation but revelation. 
He says, " I was mistaken when I set out to destroy 
Church and Law. The battle we have to fight is 
fought out in our own mind. There is a fiery moment, 
perhaps once in a lifetime, and in that moment we 
see the only thing that matters. It is in that moment 
the great battles are lost and won, for in that 
moment we are part of the host of heaven." 
This fuller vision brings us back to Blake. 

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 England's green and pleasant land. 

Yeats' inspiration has resulted from his power to 

enter Los' Halls, or as he would say, from his ability 

to link himself to the Great Memory. In children 

the separating veil is almost transparent, and their 

charm lies in their drawing from the Great Memory 

unconsciously. A difficulty arises when we are no 

longer children. Blake grew in child-likeness as the 

years advanced. A regular and steady growth in 


spirituality would ensure the necessary chUd-spirit 
to the end. Then very Uttle is needed to link on to 
the Great Memory. The wrong method is by in- 
cantations and magic. To the sensitive almost any 
rhythm is sufficient, the highest kind of rhythm 
being poetry. Yeats insists that all great literature 
is renewed from the Great Memory, and in so doing 
it returns to the primeval founts. This concep- 
tion rules out the specious modernism which would 
make all literature ephemeral. Great literature 
is " written speech," and hence the value of 
words, style, and of drama. Yeats differs from the 
Victorians in insisting on Blake's great principle 
of forgiveness as an essential part of the creative 
artist's equipment. Forgiveness till seventy times 
seven is little more than theoretic in practical 
Christianity: in reality it is as necessary for the 
artist as the Christian. The moment the artist 
ceases to forgive the creature of his hand, he has 
stepped down from the Immortals, and his work 
can no longer be reckoned great literature. This 
principle rigorously apphed would leave us little 
more than Shakespeare out of our English litera- 
ture, and reminds one of Tolstoi's definition of art 
which left, when applied, not even Shakespeare. 
Still it is a counsel of perfection that the highest artist 
should forgive all his creatures and must allow him- 
self no sort of resentment even against the worst. 
These principles apphed to the dramatist become 

W. B. YEATS 165 

of extreme importance. Yeats has been explicit on 
the modern drama in Samhain. Its function is first 
" to excite the intellect; " second, to restore words 
to their sovereignty; third, to simplify acting and 
make everything subject to the words. Even the 
scenery must be largely called up by the words. 
Yeats has been guided by a sure instinct in this 
insistence on beautiful words. On the one side he 
is linked to the French stylists, on the other the 
rhythm of beautiful words has ever linked him 
speedily to the Great Memory; and when that is 
accomplished for any one, literature has fulfilled its 

Drama deals with life itself. Blake has said, 
Whatsoever lives is holy, and therefore for the 
drama nothing is common or unclean. With a fine 
catholicity it seeks only to hear the pulse of life. 

It cares for all live people without respect of 
persons. It is equally at ease with the sinner or the 
saiat. It is zealous only to prune away what clogs 
the sap of life. It stands beyond good and evil by 
its yea to life. Thence it passes to flaming love. In 
this flame all things are consumed and there emerge 
only those clean, guileless children who reflect in 
their depths the eternal Beauty of God. 

Thus Yeats unifies his religion, philosophy, and 
art, and sees these things as the flame-like expression 
of Life. 




Theological polemic has completely changed its 
ground in our time. Formerly controversies more 
or less bitter were waged between Church and 
Church, sect and sect. Now the battle is being 
fought out between the younger members of each 
Church and its older members who adhere rigidly 
to the traditions handed down from their fathers. 
This civil religious warfare results in painful anom- 
alies like the Wars of the Roses ; but it will prob- 
ably result also in purging the separate bodies 
and bringing them to a much closer union in the 

The modern movement in religion is partly the 
outcome of the individual members of religious 
bodies feeling cramped within the narrow pen of 
their fold. Thousands were, of course, too narrow 
in heart and brain ever to perceive that the reUgious 
atmosphere was asphyxiated; but those who longed 
to stretch themselves and breathe a free air were 
bound to turn their attention to the work of the 
Higher Critics and to enquiries into the origin of 
Christianity. Among these were the leaders of the 
Broad Church School in the Church of England 


sixty years ago. Three names stand out in clear 
relief, Dean Stanley, Robertson of Brighton, and 
Frederick Denison Maurice. 

Dean Stanley was charming and vague; Robert- 
son left the memory of a fine character and a few 
great sermons; Maurice, though persecuted by 
High Church and Low Church ahke, has since his 
death influenced every section of the Enghsh Church. 

The Oxford Movement was much too intent on 
reafiirming first principles to have anything to do 
with the modern movement. But as so often 
happens, in order to live it died, and rose again in 
the Lux Mundi School. The Iaxk Mundi men were 
a combination of Pusey and Maurice, and allowed 
themselves very cautiously to criticise the Old 
Testament. It has produced men hke Bishop Gore, 
R. C. Moberly and Canon Scott Holland. This in 
its turn is being forced to yield to a younger school 
which has seen instinctively that it is impossible to 
remain in any half-way house; and that critical 
methods, if admitted at all, must be applied to the 
end, no matter what that end may be. The half-way 
men have been frightened to advance, lest a few 
more steps would take them out of Christianity 
altogether, and they have been as uncompromising 
in their attitude to the younger school, as the 
tractarians were to them. The dash forward made 
by the young men is leading to quite unexpected 
developments. Spiritual progress is not in straight 


lines but in a spiral. The young men have com- 
pleted a cycle, and find themselves in the very heart 
of Christianity again, able to comprehend the many 
forms in which Christianity has manifested itself in 
the past; able to understand without serviUty the 
best thought of to-day, and likely to renew with a 
fresh lease of life the Church of England which, 
however much sneered at, shows from time to time 
a surprising power of recuperation. 

The modern controversy has shown itself most 
acutely in the Roman Catholic Church. Much that 
has been written by her modernist writers sounds to 
English Church ears a trifle stale since it had been 
said and said well by F. D. Maurice; but the Roman 
writers have been even more thorough than our 
Broad Church writers in digging down to the 
foundations and facing fearlessly results even if they 
touched their sacred doctrine of the Mass. Loisy 
has gone almost beyond the Germans in his ruth- 
less criticism, and he has been tainted with the 
German malady of accommodating facts to a theory. 
George Tyrrell showed how devoutly and con- 
structively the thankless task of criticism could be 
carried on. Baron von Hiigel — the biggest mind 
of all — uniting profound learning with a humble 
and child-like spirit, has co-ordinated the best 
results of modern thought, and shown how they 
do not contradict but elucidate the best Catholic 
tradition when purged by criticism of adventitious 


elements. Unfortunately modernism is dead — 
killed by the encyclical letter (" Pascendi Gregis ") 
of Pope Pius X. But it will rise again, and Tyrrell's 
vision of a new Catholicism as far transcending 
the old Catholicism as Christianity transcended 
Judaism may yet be realised, though we shall hardly 
live to see it. 

The nonconformist bodies in England have also 
gone forward with more or less success. R. J. 
Campbell with less delicacy of touch than Tyrrell 
has stated his principles in his book. The New 
Theology. The book was much too hastily written, 
and Campbell did not do himself justice. No 
catholic writer would presume to write on the deep- 
est questions of life and religion, and think to do 
it adequately in three weeks ! ^ 

The Bodies which deserve most honourable 
mention are the Primitive Methodists, and the 
Quakers. The Primitive Methodists have shown 
themselves quite extraordinarily free from pre- 
judice; and the Quakers by their mystical instincts 
have always been able to separate the Spirit of 
Christianity from the symbol through which it 
might express itself. 

What is this spirit working through the most 
■advanced sects and the most conservative Church? 

' Since writing the above I am informed that Campbell has 
joined the English Church, and that he is withdrawing his New 
Theology. We shall, doubtless, see fresh developments. 


It is a great constructive spirit struggling to effect 
its purpose by setting free the human Imagination. 

The frank acceptance of criticism has served to 
destroy the accretion of centuries which hid the 
figure of Christ. When at last the Christ began to 
emerge, it was found that He spoke mainly in 
images that had long ceased to be ours. At once 
foolish and learned professors announced that the 
Christian system was obsolete. But patient dealing 
with the apocalyptic imagery of Christ has made 
clear a principle of paramount importance. The 
great Hebrew Prophets were great seers, whose 
minds habitually worked in images. The mind of 
Jesus Christ was of the same order working at the 
highest creative pitch. The vision was His, the 
Vesture was supplied by the apocalyptic language of 
the people. By compelling this material to clothe 
His vision, He showed Himself a supreme artist; 
He uttered a message which could be understood 
by the humblest of His hearers; and He could leave 
His Gospel of the Kingdom fearlessly to the future, 
knowing that if its symbolical vesture waxed old, 
the vision could clothe itself afresh in the popular 
imagery of any country where the word of the 
Kingdom should be preached. 

Blake's influence has not been working at the 
back of the movement in the Churches; hitherto 
it has inspired those who have held themselves 
aloof. But now the Churches are beginning to 


realize the place of imagination in the spiritual life 
they will discover that Blake has much to say to 
them; and that with his help their great task will 
be made easier — the task of Christening modem 
thought, and of showing that the modern ideal of 
hxunan values was already imaged in the Person of 
Jesus Christ Himself. 

The mysticism of Blake has of course many 
points of contact with our modem mystical move- 
ments. Foremost amongst these is the theosophical. 
Theosophy is new only in Europe; in Asia it has 
its roots deep and far in the hoary past. Its branches 
have stretched into every land, and in each land 
that has had any mysticism of native growth, 
theosophy has made itself at home. It is impossible 
to sum up in a few words the teaching of a cult that 
has had so many ramifications. Its main principles 
do not make it distinctive from other religions. 
Foremost it places the doctrine of brotherhood 
which it pursues with much gentleness and sweet- 
ness and kindness. The doctrine of Reincarnation 
is always associated with theosophy, but it has 
been held by many who were not theosophists, and 
it is not necessary to subscribe to it in order to 
become a theosophist. 

In our own time theosophy has become more 
familiar through the tireless energy and eloquence 
of Mrs. Annie Besant; and as seen by us, it has 
reflected some of the phases of Mrs. Besant herself. 


When Mrs. Besant, seeking help of Dr. Pusey and 
Dean Stanley to steady her tottering faith and find- 
ing none, came out of Christianity altogether, her 
reaction carried her very far into atheism. Her 
atheistic period was by no means wasted. Bradlaugh 
was a fine mentor for any woman; he insisted on 
thoroughness and accuracy in Mrs. Besant's intel- 
lectual pursuits, and these hard qualities were soon 
manifested in her lectures on the French Revolution. 
Her socialism was equally valuable as it led her to 
study economics, and the knowledge of economics 
has served her as it has served Bernard Shaw in the 
same way that the knowledge of anatomy served 
Michael Angelo. 

Mrs. Besant did not escape the bitterness of all 
reactionaries, and for many years she was hostile 
to Christianity. Since she became a theosophist 
through the influence of Madame Blavatsky, she 
has been learning to see Christianity from within. 
With this fresh-gained insight the bitterness and 
hostility have vanished, until she has come very 
near to Christianity again, and with her she has 
brought her immense following who invariably show 
much goodwill and brotherliness to those who are 
really Christian. Mrs. Besant's Esoteric Christianity 
makes the attitude of modern theosophy to Christi- 
anity sufficiently clear. Much of what she says 
takes one back to the almost forgotten controversies 
of the first two centuries of Christianity when it was 


defining its position as against gnosticism. Mrs. 
Besant, for example, takes the gnostic view of the 
Baptism of Jesus, that the Christ came upon Him 
from without, instead of the more beautiful and 
simpler catholic view that it was an unveiling of 
what was within. 

There is little tha' theosophy would controvert 
in the teaching of Blake. It takes his apocalyptic 
view of regeneration, his doctrine of judgment as a 
present process ; it finds like him that the Eternal is 
dways present to the wise; and it understands far 
better than most Christians Blake's doctrine of all 
things being imaged in the sculptured Halls of Los' 
Palace. Theosophy calls the sculptured Halls the 
Akaschic Records, and claims that its seers have 
access to these Records, and thus gain a secret know- 
ledge of things and events which is only possible 
for those in an advanced stage of spiritual con- 

But theosophy has not Blake's edge. Its eclectic 
instincts make it seek the common ground in all 
religions. It aims at impartiality and tolerance; 
and while leaving bigotry and persecution far 
behind, its virtues have been its bane. Impartiality 
paralyses, and tolerance easily becomes inertia. 
Theosophy has not yet understood the wrath of the 
Lamb. Its sweetness needs redemption. Just here, 
Blake was supremely right. Like Christ he pro- 
claimed the power of mercy, gentleness, pity and 


forgiveness, but like Christ he also carried a sword. 
" Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: 
I came not to send peace, but a sword; " was the 
astonishing word of the Prince of Peace. And again: 
" I am come to send fire on earth." 

Theosophy must learn to grasp the Christian 
sword and kindle a pitiless fire if it would help to 
create a new heaven and a new earth wherein 
dwelleth righteousness. 

William Blake, it is admitted by all, was a 
Christian. If theosophy claims him too, there can 
be no real objection. Jacob Boehme was called the 
Teutonic Theosopher. In the strictest meaning of 
the word theosophy — the wisdom of God — ^we can 
gladly admit that Blake was the finest theosophist 
of modern times. 

Among mystical movements Christian Science 
merits a place, in spite of the fact that Mrs. 
Eddy vigorously repudiated mysticism along with 
pantheism and hypnotism in Science and Health. 
Christian Science was fundamentally a search for 
unity as the basis of all things. Mrs. Eddy, revolting 
from the crude duahsm of American protestant 
churches, and finding herself faced by two apparent 
entities, mind and matter, hastily denied matter, 
and affirmed the sole reality of mind. By this simple 
process she separated herself from pantheism which 
believes in matter, and arrived at basic unity; but 
the undue simplification overlooked stubborn facts. 


and the facts are slowly and surely taking their 
revenge. Mrs. Eddy had Httle of Mrs. Annie 
Besant's great learning, or she would have known 
that, before Christ, Hindoo theosophists had alter- 
nately affirmed and denied matter for countless 
generations, and she might with patient study 
have found out all that results from den3dng matter, 
without plunging her miUion followers into a gulf 
before they could learn it by a prolonged and painful 

Since mind is the only reality, it followed quite 
logically that sin, sickness, old age and death have 
no real existence. Their apparent existence arises 
from the delusion of mortal mind. Hence, once a 
man affirms the reality of mind, and denies the 
reality of all else, he shakes himself free from illusory 
sin and disease, and enters into eternal life. Since 
Mrs. Eddy adhered to the Scriptures, there was no 
need to coin a new phrase like " Mortal mind," she 
might have kept to St. Paul's phrase — the mind of 
the fiesh, <t>povrjfia. ttjs a-apKos — and so have avoided 
some confusion. By denying matter, Mrs. Eddy 
discredited completely the evidence of the senses; 
she robbed the artist of any medium of ex- 
pression; she refused to see that God was mani- 
festing Himself in the swift advance of medical 
science as in other sciences; she struck at the roots 
of catholic theology which built itself up on the 
Word made Flesh; and the nervous tension pro- 


duced by those who were striving to affirm mind 
and deny the evidence of their stubborn bodies, was 
sometimes more detrimental to health than the 
diseases they were tr5dng to combat. These are 
negative results producing positive harm. Yet 
withal Christian Science has done an amazing 
amount of good. It has actually healed in tens of 
thousands of cases what it professed to heal. It has 
brought the knowledge of eternal life to all its 
adherents. It has found men and women listless, 
weary, useless, and made them contented, cheerful, 
efficient members of society. It is, of course, a heresy, 
that is, if pressed on it would end in subverting 
the truth, but like most heresies it has aroused the 
Church and set it thinking furiously ; and itself has 
given birth to a movement which is far nearer to 
the fundamental truth of things. 

Mental Science or Higher Thought is the offspring 
of Christian Science disinherited by its parent. The 
first teachers of Higher Thought had all been 
through the ranks of Christian Science and left it 

It is precisely in those points that Mental Science 
differs from Christian Science that it approaches 
towards the teaching of William Blake. Mental 
Science has reaffirmed the reality of matter. 
Matter may change its form a thousand times, and 
it is never what it seems, but it is, and matter and 
mind though apparent contraries mutually exist. 


Mental Science has not bound itself down to de- 
fining what matter is, but it fits with perfect ease 
into the theory of electrons enunciated by Sir 
Oliver Lodge, and the dissociability of matter into 
ether taught by Dr. Le Bon. Again Mrs. Eddy in 
Science and Health defined man as a reflection of God. 
Mental Science thinks that if man is the image of 
God, he is something more than a reflection. There 
is a still more important difference. Christian 
Science works by a hard and difficult mental process 
of affirmations and denials. Mental Science works 
by a divine process of imagination. It is learning 
the creative power of imagination. By holding its 
patients in the imagination and seeing them whole, 
it sends out a life-stream to the sick in body, which 
reinforces the mysterious heahng forces in nature, 
and often has power to make them whole. 

By affirming the reality of matter Mental Science 
has run too precipitately towards pantheism. It 
might have learnt when it separated from its mother 
Christian Science that creation is parturition. 
When Mental Science, and Theosophy, and Bernard 
Shaw, and W. B. Yeats, and the host of modern 
thinkers at last learn the old Christian doctrine that 
creation is separation, and that the life of union 
with God is effected by the eternal separation of 
the Creator and the creature, then they will unite 
in one great front and go forward girt with their 
swords to do service for the Lord of Hosts. 



We have seen in our study of Blake, the important 
place he gives to his doctrine of contraries; and 
that with him Imagination is the Real Man. It is 
Mental Science that has accomplished most by 
working with these great truths. By being loyal 
to these principles it should be enabled to make a 
rich offering to the spiritual treasury of humanity. 

These movements have aroused the Church of 
England, and there has arisen in her a body called 
the Guild of Health which believes in healing of the 
body as a part of the Christian heritage, and is 
striving to place it on a sound theological basis. It 
has made amply clear that healing was part of the 
Gospel program of the first four centuries of the 
Church; that it has persisted through the Saints 
unbrokenly till to-day; that there is for it a sacra- 
ment of Unction, but that it is not confined to 
priestly channels but flows through the consecrated 
hands of many men and women who have dedicated 
their lives to God. 

For many centuries tUl the nineteenth, theology 
had made the dualism of soul and body as sharp as 
possible. In its apologetics for immortaUty it had 
tried with all its might to prove the inherent im- 
mortality of the soul. As the body, by the most 
incontrovertible of facts, did not share in this im- 
mortality, and the soul could not be left without a 
body for eternity, it was necessary that the mortal 
body after death should be raised up again, that it 


might be re-united with the soul and partake of its 
immortality whether in heaven or in hell. 

As a consequence of this teaching, Christians in 
their striving for a spiritual life ignored their bodies, 
and claimed only for their souls the Life which 
Christ had said He came to give. This was specially 
the case among protestants who made the Bible the 
rule of faith, and were for ever reading it. Strangely 
enough, in the Gospel story Christ was constantly 
healing sick bodies; and His word. Thy faith hath 
made thee whole, applied even more often to the 
salvation of the body than the soul. But protestants 
were so obsessed with the soul that they spiritualised 
everything they read, and could not see that there 
was any message for the body at all. If Christ 
cleansed a leper, then quite clearly it was intended 
to teach that He could cleanse the sin of the soul. If 
He gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, 
it was to teach that the Saviour of the World could 
give sight and hearing to the spiritually bUnd and 

The revolt against this artificial division of soul 
and body resulted in nineteenth-century rationalism. 
The rationalists were sure that soul and body were 
one; and as they supposed that the soul was a pro- 
duct of the brain, they thought it must necessarily 
perish with the body. At the same time science was 
dogmatically asserting as axiomatic the conserva- 
tion of energy, and the indestructibility of matter. 


and death was therefore regarded by the rationalists 
as the dissolution of the person into gas. Still there 
was the craving for some kind of immortality, and 
the old doctrine condemned as superstitious revived 
in an attenuated doctrine of subjective immortality. 
This was the teaching of Comte, George Eliot, and 
Samuel Butler, its finest expression being in George 
Eliot's positivist hj'mn. 

O may I join the choir invisible 

Of those immortal dead who live again 

In minds made better by their presence; live 

In pulses stirred to generosity. 

In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn 

For miserable aims that end with self. 

In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 

And with their mild persistence urge man's search 

To vaster issues. 

So to live is heaven. 

May I reach 
That purest heaven, be to other souls 
The cup of strength in some great agony, 
Enkindle generous ardour, feed pure love. 
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty — 
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused, 
And in diffusion ever more intense. 
So shall I join the choir invisible 
Whose music is the gladness of the world. 

This was the inevitable rebound from a distorted 
doctrine of immortality, but it could never be the 
permanent solution of the time-honoured problem. 
Christian apologists have studied the ground of their 
hope afresh, and there is emerging a deeper and far 
more comprehensive doctrine of immortality than 


has been held for many hundreds of years. For 
whether the soul is immortal or not Christianity, in 
the first instance, did not build on its immortality, 
but Christ enunciated a doctrine of eternal life which 
is startling in its originality, its simplicity and its 
comprehensiveness. " This is hfe eternal that they 
might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ 
whom thou hast sent." * Eternal life, then, stands 
in the knowledge of God. This knowledge is latent in 
every man. When man is born again of the Spirit 
and his Real Man is unveiled, he becomes conscious 
that he has eternal life, and from this glowing con- 
sciousness arises his hope for the future. Having 
learned that his body and soul are one, he finds 
by experience that his body shares in the soul's 
quickening. On re-reading the Gospels he sees that 
Christ had set up no artificial barrier between the 
soul and body, and therefore the body could not 
fairly be excluded from the Life which was claimed 
for the soul. This involves the immortality of the 
body. Members of the Catholic and Apostolic 
Church, and later many mystical Christians having 
gone thus far, affirmed that they had overcome 
death, and therefore would pass like Enoch and 
Elijah to full glory. Out of this confusion it is 
becoming gradually clear that the real or spiritual 
body is built up by the spirit, just as the soul builds 
up its own appropriate naturd (soulish) body; that 

1 John xvii. 3. 


this spiritual body shares in the immortality of the 
spirit; that it interpenetrates and envelopes itself in 
an outer earthly body which is subject to a con- 
tinual flux, but which is necessary so long as the 
Real Man has to function on this earth. While 
the outer body is thus tenanted it is quickened 
and strong to resist disease, but at death, the 
spiritual body is released, and the earthly body no 
longer needed returns to its mother earth, and falls 
rapidly to dust. 

Thus there is a deeper and more spiritual view of 
immortality than our fathers knew, and at the same 
time there is a more passionate insistence on the 
body, allowing in a christened form the pagan 
worship of its form, the artist's vision of its beauty, 
and the saint's perception of its sweet fragrance. 

Once more William Blake has uttered the illu- 
minating word. He condemned as error the notion, 
" that man has two real existing principles, viz. a 
Body and a Soul." He affirmed that " Man has 
no Body distinct from his Soul, for that called Body 
is a portion of Soul discerned by the five senses, the 
chief inlets of Soul in this age." * 

From this results what Modernism and post- 
Modernism, New Theology, and Mental Science, 
Theosophy and Mysticism, Higher Thought and 
Modem Thought are striving to effect — the Marriage 
of Heaven and Hell. 

' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 4. 



During the course of our study of Blake and 
modem thought various types of man have emerged 
all more or less tentative. Each type is open to 
much criticism, and the general feeling is that the 
Real Man, the Pope Angelico, the world teacher, the 
superman is yet to come. At present we have the 
neo-pagan, the neo-mystic, the Nietzschean super- 
man, the Shavian superman ; and these have arisen 
because of the destructive criticism to which Christi- 
anity and its Founder have been subjected during 
the last hundred years. Once the Christ, the measure 
of man, the Judge, is deposed, then there is im- 
mediately the need for a new Man by which men 
with their thousand contrary impulses may know 
what they are, and to what they can conform. 

Criticism began with the Bible. Here was a book 
regarded by catholics and protestants alike as 
plenarily inspired and therefore infallible. The first 
higher critics were excessively crude, and their 
methods were repellent; but they had sufificient 
vitahty in them to evolve, and by the end of the 
first half of the nineteenth century, Strauss in 
Germany, and Renan in France, proved themselves 
imaginative critics of a fairly high order. Strauss' 
work showed all the German thoroughness, and was 


relentless in its searching criticism. Renan was 
extraordinarily acute whether in his criticism of the 
Bible or of the Liberal CathoHcs of Saint Sulpice; 
and he was more than a critic. His fine interpreta- 
tion of the Song of Solomon was creative; it was 
only when he tried to fill the gaps of the Gospel story 
that he wrote what he meant to be " true because 
'twere pity if it were not." 

The obvious shortcomings of Strauss and Renan 
gave the orthodox a handle to discount their true 
value. Nevertheless their truth has prevailed; and 
to-day, no one, unless he has strong religious 
prejudices, can read the Bible without having to 
face the real difficulties that were raised by Strauss 
and Renan. 

The proved fallibility of the Bible was a terrible 
shock to protestantism, but for a long time it was 
thought that Catholicism could hold out as it was 
not built on a Book. In reality the miraculous Book 
is involved with the miraculous Church, and one 
cannot touch her book without subjecting herself 
and her dogmas to the disintegrating fire of criticism. 
But the critics had no intention of stopping short of 
the Bible. They proceeded to exemiine one by one 
the foundation doctrines which were held by 
catholic and protestant alike, and one by one when 
taken literally they crumbled in their hands. 

InfalHbility whether of the Book, the Church or 
the Pope vanished Hke a fond dream. The doctrines 


of substitutionary Atonement, everlasting punish- 
ment, the Virgin Birth, and the physical Resurrec- 
tion and Ascension of Christ followed, and when the 
critics had gone thus far, they naturally declared 
that Christianity was played out. For a time the 
free-thinkers held on to the Christian morals, while 
abandoning the Christian dogmas. But eventually 
it was found that the dogmas involved the morals, 
and therefore in common consistency the morals 
must go also. This work of destruction was not left 
only to dry critics, it was carried on by men and 
women of fine imaginative gifts, Carlyle, Arnold, 
George Eliot, Meredith, Swinburne, Hardy, Samuel 
Butler, Oscar Wilde, and Bernard Shaw, not to 
mention a host on the Continent; and they have 
accomplished the work of destruction so thoroughly, 
that criticism finds itself out of work, and is about 
to resign its thankless task to the creative genius 
as soon as it shall please him to make his appearance. 
When criticism had progressed so far that it could 
no longer be ignored, it made plain a fact which 
before had been less obvious. Catholicism and pro- 
testantism had an inner kernel and an outer shell, 
and both had regarded the inner and outer as one. 
The protestant who had experienced the new birth 
and the baptism of fire, testified of what he had seen 
and known. He knew that criticism could not touch 
his treasure, and therefore for a long time he ignored 
it. The spiritually-minded cathoUc also found that 


every word and every letter of his faith stood for 
some truth which he had confirmed by experience, 
and he held on to every letter lest one drop of 
precious truth should be spilled. Many who attacked 
the shell had httle knowledge of the kernel; but 
when at last criticism insisted on being heard, then 
those who possessed the kernel were forced to 
make a sharp division between the inward truth 
and its outward manifestation, between the vision 
and its vesture, and to inquire into the law which 
governs the clothing of the Spirit of Life in all ages. 
Carlyle's Sartor Resartus was a fine contribution so 
far as it went; but necessarily the task demanded 
one who had a perfect understanding of the spirit 
of Catholicism, who was inside, and who reahsed 
that though the Church is bound to be conservative, 
yet she is dynamic; and that therefore in every age 
there is a great work to be done in adapting her 
tradition to the growing light and reason of the 
time, without allowing any truth to escape which it 
is her business to guard. The attempt to meet this 
need has been made by a crop of modernists in the 
Roman Catholic Church. Realising that it was 
impossible to tamper with the creeds, they turned 
their attention to the nature of dogma, and declared 
that the dogmas of the Church were the best possible 
symbolical clothing of the spirit of truth which 
had been reached in the past. A dogma was an 
approximative and not an absolute statement, and 


was therefore liable to be improved, and could not 
be argued about like positive literal statements. In 
a word the Creed is a symbolical and not a literal 
statement of the truth. 

At once the modernists laid themselves open to 
a double attack. The Roman Church, which has 
always borne fine testimony to the paramount im- 
portance of the historical element in the Creeds, 
said that, regarded as symbol only, they quickly 
evaporated; and those who were in the modern 
sjmibolist movement, asked why a particular set of 
symbols should be adhered to, when they might be 
replaced by others more adequate. Here was an 
impasse and the Church of Rome has temporarily 
triumphed. But the question was much too big to 
resolve itself into a simple Either — or, like Goethe's 
Either religion or art. The Church of Rome is fond 
of siitiplif5dng to a peremptory Either — or, when 
in reality there is a third course. Here, she says. 
Either the whole letter or nothing. We beg respect- 
fully to say that while all is symbol there is sufficient 
of the letter to allow of a strong historical founda- 
tion without accepting the whole. It is the work of 
the higher critics to decide the extent of the letter. 

The higher critics have done much, perhaps all 
that is necessary. Beginning with the Bible, they 
have abolished all lazy thinking, which would say 
that the Bible is either history or allegory. The 
Bible contains history, myth, legend, poetry, 


allegory and symbol, prophecies, letters, and revela- 
tion. It has an impassioned oriental love song which 
may be treated symbolically because love itself is a 
symbol. It has many statements beginning " Thus 
saith the Lord," but which, like all other statements, 
need to be tried at the bar of human experience. 
It has a fourfold presentation of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ, the first three aiming at a didactic presenta- 
tion of the facts, and sjnnbolical so far as they are 
true, and the fourth a symbolical treatment of the 
facts which has proved true in many ages of human 
experience. Thus while the Bible consists of hetero- 
geneous elements, aU the parts are symbohcal, for 
ever5^where we get the garments with which pro- 
found human experiences have clothed themselves. 

The simplest Creed — the Apostles' — ^is also com- 
posite, and like the Bible gains its unity from its 
symbolical value. All its clauses are built upon three 
s5^mbolical statements of belief — I believe in God 
the Father . . . and in Jesus Christ His only Son 
. . . and in the Holy Ghost. The first is a symbol 
taken from" the primary human relation, and while 
falling short of the whole truth is the nearest to 
express God's relation to His creatures. The second 
is also borrowed from the human relation and adds 
a historical person Jesus, and a historical S5mibol 
Christ. Achildcanlearn to know Jesus; the symbol 
Christ can only be fully understood after a pro- 
longed historical study of the growth of the Messianic 


idea through many prophets until it received its last 
interpretation in the mind of Jesus, and became 
through Him a symbol of world-wide significance. 

The third is a symbol taken from man's subjective 
experience of spiritual good and evil, and hence the 
Holy Ghost. The historical elements of the Creed, 
then, centre around the Person of Jesus Christ. 
Every spiritual Christian whether a catholic or a 
quaker knows that Christ is born, grows, dies, rises 
again and ascends in him. Christ born in him is 
regeneration, and Christ ascended in him is Christ 
come to sovereign control and power over the soul 
after the darkness and conflict of its being crucified 
with Christ. To be united with Christ in the heavenly 
places is the highest flight of the Christian soul. Now 
are these experiences of the Christian merely sub- 
jective or have they their objective counterpart? 
The Creed states that Jesus Christ was born (In- 
carnation), that He died (Atonement), that He rose 
again (Regeneration), that He ascended (Sanctifica- 
tion). The first two statements are both historical 
and symbolical; the other two are of a different 
order. Not every one could see Jesus after His 
resurrection. " Their eyes were holden." There was 
need of heart preparation that they might know 
that it was the Lord. For this reason the test of the 
Resurrection is spiritual rather than historical, and 
the question that remains is whether the Resurrec- 
tion and Ascension are objectively true. To this 


Christianity demands the answer " Yes." Jesus the 
Christ who lived the Eternal Life, after He was 
crucified, was seen of His disciples; and they ex- 
plained the mode of His appearances as well as they 
could from their Rabbinical lore. After that, Jesus 
Christ reached the goal of His spiritual self which 
included His body, and this goal was the place of all 
authority and power so that, instead of being limited 
by body to a little flock in Palestine, He could go 
forth unhindered and act intimately on the hearts 
of men and women from His unseen centre of life. 
If the great events in the Lord's life com- 
memorated by Christmas, Good Friday, Easter 
and Ascension Day in the ecclesiastical year are 
objective facts, then the creed is rooted in history, 
and it is relatively unimportant whether the remain- 
ing clauses are sjnnbol or fact. The clause " Born 
of the Virgin Mary " cannot be put to any subjective 
test like the Resurrection. It is a question of history 
and evidence. Symbolically it is valuable because 
the persistent experience of the new birth of the 
Spirit which every Christian knows finds its anti- 
type in the Christ who, though born of a human 
mother, has the over-shadowing of the spirit thrown 
back to the moment of His conception in His 
Mother's womb. Also the Virgin-Mother stands for 
the ideal of Virginity and the ideal of Motherhood 
in one; for the Church like her Divine Lord has 
always insisted that some are called to the virgin 
life, and therein find their highest blessedness. 


The descent into Hades symbolises the eternal 
truth that human deeds have a transcendent value. 
The supreme act of Christ's life — His self-oblation 
on the cross — was not only the starting point for 
the Church militant here on earth, but it reached to 
the world beyond where human thoughts and aspira- 
tions, human deeds and failures are sealed and abide 
among the imperishable treasures of heaven. 

The coming again to judge the quick and the dead 
means that Christ is still the measure or touchstone 
by which man is tried. 

The Communion of Saints not only binds earth to 
heaven, but also gives one hope of the time when 
the saints on earth shall be bound together in joy- 
ous fellowship, without being persecuted for their 
loyalty to the truth. 

Higher criticism has driven home to Christians 
the distinction between the inner and outer content 
of their faith. The inner spiritual treasure of the 
Church of Rome probably contains everything. 
Certainly there is nothing which the loftiest pro- 
testant mystic has learnt, which Rome does not 
know, and which she has not systematised. Those 
who are born in her fold can find and take whatever 
nourishment they please. But she has raised an 
impassable barrier to those outside with critical 
minds, by insisting on acceptance of all the letter 
before she will receive them to her bosom. And 
much of even Rome's letter kills. 


Besides making a distinction between the inner 
and outer, higher criticism has taught us that they 
can be entirely separated. In reaUty the religious 
genius works like an artist, poet or mystic. He has 
his vision, and must clothe it in all the mental 
images available. It is clear now that Jesus of 
Nazareth clothed His vision mainly in the apoca- 
lyptic imagery of His country. His favourite images, 
the Kingdom of God, the Messiah, the Messianic 
banquet, the Son of Man, expressed for Him and His 
disciples His own special Person and message. Yet 
if His message had depended on the literal truth of 
His images, Christianity would have perished with 
its Founder, and it survived because already by the 
end of the first century the Messianic images had 
been translated into terms of another philosophy, 
and instead of the Messiah possessed by the 
Holy Spirit, S. John wrote of the Word become 
Flesh. This adaptation is the greatest Christianity 
has ever made. Its Platonic and Aristotelian 
borrowings of a later age were small in comparison. 
The fact that it could make such an adaptation 
without losing anything of its precious content was 
evidence that it was Life itself, and we need not 
doubt that this Life will be able to make such 
adaptations as may be called for by the twentieth 

The shell or clothing of the Christian faith has 
suffered very severely, its inner kernel not at all. It 


is because the garment is rent throughout, and any 
patching of the garment only makes the rent worse ; 
it is because the old bottles are burst, and the new 
wine demands new bottles; it is because the Spirit 
of Life has outgrown its old symbols, that there has 
grown the urgent need for one to do to-day what 
Jesus Christ did in His day — fulfil the law and the 
prophets, and also weave a new garment for the 
spirit of life and truth. Hence the various tribes 
of superman ; the Order of the Star in the East with 
its expectation of a world teacher; the advent of the 
Pope Angelico; the expectation of the Christ to be. 
The neo-pagan ideal proclaimed by Swinburne, 
and still preached by Lowes Dickinson can survive 
only when transfigured by the Saint. Pure paganism 
even if realised, which is impossible, would be 
violently retrogressive. In every stage of orderly 
growth there is much beauty. Man's childhood is 
beautiful; a childish man insufferable. The pagan 
stage of man was first beautiful, and then rank, till 
Christianity seized hold of the degenerate* pagan 
and regenerated him. The spirit of Christianity is 
the philosopher's Stone, the everlasting elixir vita ; 
and when it penetrated the spirit of the pagan, 
discarded what was valueless, and transmuted what 
could be preserved in the fibre of the new man. To 
become a pagan would effect an unnatural process 
of degeneration culminating in a worse sink than 
paganism because it would involve the disintegra- 


tion of a higher consciousness. Neo-paganism will 
serve a good purpose if it reminds the Churchman of 
values to which he has a birthright; but there never 
was and never can be a Church of neo-pagans, and 
we can dismiss its apostles without more serious 

Far removed from neo-paganism is the expecta- 
tion of a world-teacher by the Order of the Star in 
the East to which so many theosophists belong. But 
why promise a world-teacher when the vast majority 
have not yet learned the elementary lessons of 
Christianity? It is hke offering finer music to one 
who cannot appreciate the masters, more beautiful 
things to one with no idea of the beautiful; heaven 
to one who finds nothing to marvel at on earth. If 
large numbers of men and women experienced the 
wonders of Christianity's new birth, and pressed on 
to the fiery baptism of the Spirit, the cry for a world- 
teacher would immediately vanish; and sanctified 
men and women would arise and solve the pressing 
problems of the time as they arose. In any case the 
expectation of a world-teacher or a superman is an 
anachronism. From a thousand causes we have 
learnt to think corporately, I might say, telepathic- 
ally. Instead of a soUtary thinker in an isolated 
country laboriously studying and thinking as he 
burns the night oil, there is now a world-mind to 
which all thinkers in all countries instantaneously 
contribute; and this all-pervading world-mind 


pressing downwards will incarnate itself not in one 
world-teacher, but in a thousand who will spring up 
simultaneously; and thus there may yet be realised 
on earth a Communion of Saints. 

The Nietzschean superman is the finest attempt 
at transvaluation of modern times. Superman is 
rooted in earth, and however high his blossom, he 
never forgets nor spurns his mother. He reaUses 
early in his development that strength, growth, 
power, and beauty are effects of the Spirit of Life, 
and therefore he must, before all things, fan and 
nourish the flame of Hfe in himself, and welcome 
whatever forms it shall throw out. His surest method 
is to trust his instincts, which are life's antennae, 
and as he does so he finds that he is being trans- 
formed by a mighty power within which brings 
him into sharp collision with dead virtues, dead 
moralities, and dead conventions. Henceforth it is 
war, and superman becomes a valiant warrior. The 
crowd ignores his words or misunderstands them. 
Becoming vaguely conscious that the things by 
which it exists are despised by superman, it begins 
to hate him; and when he touches its religion, it 
cries, " Away with him! " Superman just here has 
thoroughly learned the Christian lesson. He must 
allow no resentment to overcome him. The moment 
he gives place to resentment, he sinks to the level 
of the crowd. Arising in his strength, he casts out 
the spirit of resentment once for all, and treats his 


gainsayers with understanding, patience, and sweet- 
ness. Here, too, his imagination helps him, for he 
detects the comic spirit in the crowd and in himself, 
and the comic spirit delivers him from pessimism, 
cleanses his intellect, but alienates him for ever from 
the crowd which suspects his laughter. So far 
superman is entirely Christian and sane, but he is 
now at the parting of the ways, and it is the crowd 
that is his ruin. Every man of fine intellect must 
become acutely conscious of the stupidity of the 
mass. In his illusioned youth he may embrace all 
he meets with generous faith, and even evoke a 
reflex of his own exuberance; but as his intellect 
clears, his illusions are destroyed, and he is thrown 
more and more in upon himself, depending upon 
himself or the chance advent of a kindred spirit. 
Superman and Christ perceive that resentment is 
merely stupid, but how about contempt? Super- 
man is too proud to be resentful, but his pride 
permits disdain, and henceforth he despises the 
vulgar herd, and declares that he will not be the 
herd's herdsman and hound, he will speak only to 
companions. The Christ fell back on that human 
nature which He shared with the least of His 
brethren. Human joys and human sorrows are ever 
new. He could enter into these, and see in them 
poetry, pathos and humour. More, He CQuld pierce 
with His fiery vision to the inner self of the 
people and see infinite possibilities even in the worst. 


The miracle of transformation would be wrought, 
if heavy-laden hearts could apprehend that there was 
One whose love for them was stronger than death. 
Whence it comes that whilst superman, the self-elect, 
despises the herd, Christ, the God-elect, dies for it. 

And that is superman's utter and complete failure. 
Superman has been surpassed by the Son of Man, and 
we may dismiss him as a teacher, since he has no 
further value for us whatever ; our only concern with 
him is to try and reach him in his spiritual isolation, 
and minister to him while his superb brain reels and 
finally collapses. 

The Shavian superman has avoided the gulf into 
which Nietzsche fell by keeping a fast hold of the 
old Christian doctrine that human beings are 
members one of another. It is true that this fact 
involves much suffering and the apparent injustice 
of creating everywhere innocent victims, but it 
also involves man's highest glory, since if the sins 
of the fathers are visited to the third and fourth 
generation, and then nature winds up a bad con- 
cern, the deeds of God's lovers persist to a thousand 
generations, and men reap a rich harvest of those 
things they have not sown. It necessarily follows 
that no individual can attain to good apart from 
the social organism of which he is a member. 
Zarathustra's attempt to surpass man by holding 
himself aloof was fatuous. Shaw knows through 
and through that we are all victims of the social 


organism, and we can only keep our self-respect by 
willing and working for a better social order. Thus 
the Shavian superman trusts life and instinct, 
follows the divine ego, and is magnificently free 
from resentment. With piercing intellectual vision 
he goes behind the outward show, and knows what 
is in man. He laughs at the human comedy, but not 
maliciously, for he has an immense faith that if 
men and women were not ground down by a cruel 
and relentless capitalist system they might arise to 
great things. 

So far the Shavian superman while outstripping 
the Nietzschean is Christian, but his further develop- 
ment is a departure. Shaw is a vitalist, and for 
him the life-force, which throws out huge, ungainly, 
antediluvian forms, then man, and presently super- 
man, is God. God is identified with the Spirit of 
life, and whatsoever lives is God. This is pantheism, 
and while at first sight it seems to promise infinite 
room to breathe in it ends in many negations. It 
not only reduces God to an impersonal life-force, 
but by identifying man with the impersonal God 
gives him personality for three score years and ten, 
and then dissipates him into impersonal energy. 
There are many pantheists who claim to believe in 
a transcendent God, but they only mean that the 
life of which they partake is greater than they, that 
the whole is greater than its part ; and that is some- 
thing much less than the Christian doctrine of trans- 


cendence which beheves that God is not only beyond 
man but separate from man, and that man's highest 
life is communion with One who is not himself and 
yet dwells in him. Religion begins when a man binds 
himself to One above him; eternal life begins when 
a man, born of the Spirit, communes with the Spirit 
which is not his Spirit; romance begins when man 
responds to God's love and gives himself to God; 
worship begins when man falls down and adores 
One who is utterly beyond him. Until superman 
adores a transcendent God, he has neither religion 
nor worship. 

Superman's cult of the ego is as sectarian as the 
cult of the alter which it displaced. There is often 
great value in detaching a quality and placing it in 
a glaring light. It is a kind of work that can be 
accomplished by a generation or a century that 
has ghded into a backwater. Thus the Victorians 
detached man's duty to his neighbour from the 
whole duty of man, and while distorting the doctrine 
brought out aspects of altruism which are apt to be 
forgotten because they are not generally apparent. 
George Eliot was the most zealous exponent of the 
religion of altruism; Daniel Deronda the greatest 
book it produced. Through the author, we know all 
about altruism; through the book we can weigh its 
merits and demerits. Mordecai was its prophet, 
Deronda its high priest: they have only to be placed 
by the side of Christ for one moment, and at once 


they lose all significance. But one pearl of priceless 
wisdom George Eliot gave to us from her impas- 
sioned experience. Religion, philosophy, knowledge, 
culture, art, are only good and great as they lead to 
a vaster fellowship. By that test alone we can dis- 
miss the superman, all sectarian religion, whether 
inside or outside the Catholic fold, pantheism, and 
many other cults from which the human values have 
been omitted. 

Bernard Shaw has rightly coupled altruism and 
rationalism. In giving the precedence of duty to 
self to duty to neighbour, he may be right also, and 
therefore advanced as he Ukes to think; but his 
gospel of egoism is none the less sectarian. He and 
his gospel are in the limelight for our instruction, 
and we should be churlish not to be grateful to him 
for making clear what are the permanent values of 
duty to self. Duty to self is neither selfishness nor 
individualism, because as we have seen it involves 
the willing and working for a better social order, 
while it serves to that end by a passionate faithful- 
ness to the Real Self which Christianity and Judaism 
have ever held to be made in the image of God. 
Only by duty to self can passion, power and 
inspiration come into a man's work and give it a 
lasting value. 

Once we have studied man's detached duties to 
God, neighbour and self, we must forget our analysis 
and remember that these three duties are one and 


co-terminate. Man can only find himself as he gives 
himself to God. These two realizations are simul- 
taneous and involve one's neighbour. When we 
grasp the three-fold truth we have ceased to be 
sectarian and advanced, we hold the timeless truth 
which gives us a right to the name catholic. Those 
things which the sectarians threatened to rob us of, 
mystery, romance, glamour, miracle, are given back 
to us, and life becomes once more an adventure and 
an enchantment, and we go forth sword in hand, 
in love and laughter finding a God in every man, 
an angel in every bush, a fairy in every flower. 

The Shavian superman outstrips the Nietzschean, 
but both have been surpassed by Blake's Real Man, 
which was confessedly an interpretation of Jesus 
Christ It is time to abandon altogether the alluring 
idea of superman as being less than man, and to 
give our whole attention to Jesus Christ in order to 
discover the unplumbed depths that lie in man and 
what are his infinite possibilities. But first I would 
say a few words about Blake's system which he said 
he must build lest he be enslaved to another's. 

Blake had no genius for system building. His 
genius was vision, and while he compelled all things 
to embody his vision, he had little of that reason 
whose province it is to build a coherent system. The 
system he ultimately built was not unlike that of 
Catholicism, but much inferior to it whether in its 
AngUcan or Roman form. 


Blake was so much on the immanentist side as 
to deserve the name pantheist. His pantheism arose 
from identifpng the Real Man with God. This led 
to the doctrine of the relativity of morals and his 
repeated asseverations that whatsoever hves is holy. 
Blake was careless of consistency and did not pro- 
bably follow the worst imphcations of his doctrine, 
which can be studied by us in Zarathustra's un- 
equivocal utterances. The modern notion of the 
absolute relativity of good and evil is a flimsy 
foundation for the religious Hfe; while the old con- 
ception of an eternal right which gave strength and 
dignity to the moral life appeared to be contradicted 
by the fact that there is one law to the lion, another 
to the ox; one to the child, another to the man; 
that even for man there is no invariable law of good 
and evil, that the best men are law breakers. 

The truth is that deeds have no intrinsic merits, 
and cannot of themselves be CEilled good or evil. 
Deeds are good or evil according to circumstance, 
and therefore it is impossible in the nature of things 
that a code of morals can be drawn up which shall 
be fitting for all ages and all men The command- 
ments must be reduced to one, at the most two, if 
they are to approximate to an eternal law. Christ 
sums up the decalogue by two — Love to God and 
love to one's neighbour. Deeds are good and evil 
only as they are signs of obedience or disobedience 
to God's will. As man's knowledge of God's will 


grows with the ages, the Saint with the fullest in- 
sight obeys God's will and breaks the law. Thus 
Jesus gave Himself in love to God. God's will was 
the inner law of His Spirit. By obeying impulsively 
and instinctively this will, He obeyed the eternal 
law of good, and broke every conceivable code of 
morals, ran counter to the traditions and con- 
ventions of man, and set aside all authority. 

Obedience to God's will, then, is the eternal law 
of righteousness; and it will manifest itself in deeds 
which though good must often appear evil to men 
who are spiritually d5dng or dead. 

Blake's other inference, " Whatsoever lives is 
holy," is not invariably true. Whatsoever lives is 
autonomous, and therefore capable of growing apart 
from Him who gave it life. Man who received in 
fullest measure the breath of life from God, can 
stray furthest from Him, and do the most evil. 
When in his divine restlessness, he at last returns 
to God, he then attains the highest life because it 
is the result of choice. Even a vegetable can grow 
contrary to God's will, because it is alive, and life 
includes will and choice. 

But Blake did not follow pantheistic implications 
to the egotistic extreme of the modern superman. 
He conceives that he must give himself to the God- 
life pulsing in him, and his self-donation places him 
on the side of Catholicism. 

Blake's doctrine of outline, again, delivers him 


from the excesses of pantheism. For him, the seem- 
ing outline of the world which is but a vegetable 
mirror, is a reflection of the City of God which hath 
foundations. The modern vapid talk of heaven 
being a state and not a place is merely the 
rebound from a materialistic view of heaven. Our 
idea of place is supplied by the material universe, 
whose apparent substantiality is a reflex of the 
real substantiality of heaven. Blake's doctrine 
unifies his religion and his art since he followed 
the Florentine tradition that good drawing is the 
foundation of good art, but it needs to be co- 
ordinated with other truths, else it leads to the 
negation of the great Venetians, of Rubens, of Rem- 
brandt, and of modern impressionism, and the loss 
of these would be too dreadful for us to contemplate. 
Yet the idea, taken by itself, is magnificent, and 
helped to keep Blake sane. His couplet : 

God appears and God is light 

To those poor souls who dwell in night 

is a scathing denunciation of our modern nebulous 
immanentism. The next gives us the truth which 
should be our deliverance: 

But doth a human form display 

To those who dwell in realms of day. 

We have said thus much to show that Blake 
could not found a Church, or build a system, nor 
can we accept him as a teacher without qualifica- 


Our chief concern with him is to find out what 
he has passionately affirmed. He has affirmed the 
marriage of heaven and hell, of art and religion, and 
in so doing he professed to re-discover the genius 
of the great Hebrew Prophets which reached per- 
fection in Jesus Christ; and who therefore is the 
supreme symbol of the imaginative religious life. 

Before all else Blake saw in Jesus the law-breaker. 
" I tell you, no virtue can exist without breaking 
these ten commandments. Jesus was all virtue, and 
acted from impulse, not from rules." It follows that 
Jesus was a heretic and antinomian, or in modem 
phrase, " beyond good and evil." But as we have 
seen His rebeUion was obedience to the higher rule 
of God's will. 

Blake's full picture of Jesus corrects much of our 
early teaching of " Gentle Jesus meek and mild." 
There was gentleness and there was mildness, but 
gentle Jesus could be very terrible. At those 
moments when the inner fire which at once sustained 
and consumed Him broke through the calm of His 
exterior life His adversaries were struck as by 
lightning, and His disciples were dazed by the 
splendour of His inner life, which lay so entirely 
beyond their ken. 

The anti-Christian movement which culminated 
in Nietzsche's fanatical attack on Christianity and 
Christ has brought to light a startling fact about 
Christ Himself. Men of imagination protested 


against the ecclesiastical type of over-disciplined 
man. The man who lived by strict rule, and severely 
repressed his natural impulses, imputing them to 
the devil, ended by becoming much less than a man 
— bigoted, fanatical, harsh, and relentless to all 
natural men and heretics. The evangeHcal who 
was assured of his salvation and separated himself 
from the world and all sinners, developed the same 
qualities, and without knowing it, displayed the 
same temper as the pharisee of old. Many of Rome's 
approved Saints sacrificed half their nature to over- 
develop the visionary side, and became quite unfit 
for the simple duties of everyday Ufe. There was 
something ugly and repellent in the strongly in- 
dividualised products of earnest Christian devotion 
which was easily detected by the man of imagina- 
tion; and he hastily concluded that it was learnt 
from the Master whom all Christians professed to 
worship. There have been thousands of men and 
women in the last eighty years brought up in strict 
Christian doctrines who on coming of age have 
shaken themselves free, and felt that they could 
breathe for the first time. A new ideal was gradu- 
ally evolved which grew into Nietzsche's superman; 
and the choice was offered to men — Dionysus or 
Christ. Such a choice requires closest scrutiny of 
the types. Superman represented hfe, instinct, 
impulse, imagination, and will; Christ? The 
negation of aU these? By no manner of means. 


Christ is the supreme example of life, instinct, 
impulse, imagination, and will, and some other 
things, lacking which superman goes mad, Christ's 
life was one long conflict against various forms of 
the religious life which can all be paralleled in the 
various modern churches. The modern drama of 
the conflict between men of imagination and pro- 
fessing Christians is a faint reflex of the supreme 
drama when the God-anointed Man fought against 
His professing servants and sealed His valiant fight 
by His blood. Everything of value for which super- 
man has striven is found in Christ, and so once again 
the vital question for the age is the same as of old: 
What think ye of Christ? 

Tennyson called on the bells while ringing out the 
old and ringing in the new to " ring in the Christ 
that is to be." Since then there has been much talk 
of " the Christ to be." It is a loose manner of speak- 
ing, for in the nature of things there can never be 
another Christ. 

The first conception of the Messiah formed itself 
very slowly in the minds of Israel's most lofty 
prophets. It was fostered by Israel's bitter experi- 
ence in times of exile. It grew with the people and 
became the symbol into which it poured its deepest 
will, hopes, desires, and aspirations. The history 
of the Hebrews is unique among the peoples of the 
world, and therefore the symbol which embodies 
their deepest genius is unique also. But it does not 


stop there. When Jesus of Nazareth came to the 
consciousness of His Messianic caUing in Jordan's 
waters the national symbol began its last refining 
process, and it evolved in the mind of Jesus as He 
lived through the impassioned and unique days of 
His public ministry. Jesus recreated the national 
symbol, and in so doing broke down national 
exclusiveness. The symbol was not apart from 
Himself but became Himself. And so the Man Jesus 
Christ could stand up in the majesty of His man- 
hood and invite all men to come unto Him, and in 
simple sublime egotism declare Himself the Way, 
the Truth, and the Life. The Messianic call was 
God's unique call. The world has had many 
prophets, and priests and kings, many seers, apostles 
and poets; it has one Christ. 

And what is our hope of the future? " Otir finest 
hope is finest memory," and as we review the past, 
we see that from time to time men arise who call 
themselves the followers of Jesus Christ, and who 
not only recover the blurred image of Christ, but 
also unveil something more of the Divine Nature. 
Such men used to be called Saints, and with this 
precedent, we may look forward to the Saint of the 
future for whom is ready a great work. 

What is a Saint ? 

To be like Christ has been the goal of the Saint. 
There have been two methods — limitation and trans- 
formation. The first has produced the exquisite 


type of monastic Christianity seen in Thomas k 
Kempis. Though refreshing and marvellously help- 
ful to young people at a certain phase, it is not 
robust and virile, or the testimony of one who has 
fought in the forefront of the hottest battle. It 
does not add to our knowledge of God, or touch the 
problems that arise in a complex civilisation. 

The other method, transformation, seeks Christ- 
likeness by a new Hfe process. Starting with the 
new birth of the Spirit it seeks to develop the 
Spirit of Life, by 5delding to it and allowing it to 
transform it into the Christ-image. This is the real 
method for training Saints, the Saint produced being 
essentially a life product. When a Man follows 
fearlessly the Spirit of Life, he draws his first 
nourishment from the past, and for a long time there 
is nothing to mark him out from any particular 
past type. But there comes a time when the past 
having been assimilated fails him, and there is 
either an arrest in his development, or he must 
start on the real business of creating new values. 
This is the highest and most difficult task on which 
a man can venture, and he must be called to it, 
otherwise he will most certainly fall into the abyss. 
Hitherto he has grown in favour with God and man, 
now he is diverging from man's standards, and 
whereas he was admired, now he is resisted. The 
resistance will show what manner of man he is — 
whether he resents it or forgives it. If pride pos- 



sesses him he will not resent but disdain the opposi- 
tion and go the way of superman. If he is humble 
he will forgive and keep his spirit sweet, and go the 
way of Christ. His greatest trial is to be told by 
" good " people that he is quite wrong, for his 
himiOity will dictate submission, yet the moment he 
mistrusts his spiritual instincts he is plunged into 
darkness. He has one great consolation. The same 
thing happened to Jesus Christ, and he finds in the 
Gospel the very words he wants, such as " things 
new and old," " new bottles " and " old bottles,'' 
" new wine " and " old wine," " new cloth " and 
" old cloth," and a word shedding immense light, 
that while the Christ created new values. He 
declared: " Think not that I am come to destroy, 
I am come to fulfil." For the full rich message of 
the Master preserves the old in a new combination. 
Henceforth he finds himself on the side of Christ 
against those who call themselves by the name of 
Christ. His hfe is now out in the open seas battling 
with the waves, and he will not " swim to shore with 
a worship of shore." ^ A still greater difficulty lies 
ahead, and one that will demand his utmost valoxir 
and courage. Hitherto the map of Christ's hfe has 
guided him, but he soon finds that a host of questions 
arise, questions of life and conduct which can no 
longer be decided in the old easy way of following 
precedent, because they are different to those faced 

' Modern Lov». 


by Christ; and his only way is to do what Christ 
did, follow the Spirit of life within feariessly and 
go forward whithersoever it may lead. The dark- 
ness and conflict here may be terrible. Christ on 
the Cross doubted Himself and thought for a 
moment that His opposers might be right, and He 
cried out of His bitter desolation, " My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me? " But the darkness 
passed; He knew He had fulfilled His calling, 
and calmly committed His spirit into the Father's 
Hands. If the Saint passes through this ordeal, he 
becomes a creator, he stands at the beginning of a 
new age, he attains to fruitfulness and begets a 
thousand children in his hkeness, he unveils to his 
age a new feature of the Divine Face. 

A Saint, then, is one who fulfils all past values by 
transvaluing them; who creates new values; who 
is at one with God and himself; at war with his 
relations and neighbours; who yet conceives it his 
highest privilege to serve them, and whose love for 
them is bounded only by their receptivity, who 
gives to his age a deeper understanding of the mind 
of God. 

It is clear that there will be a strange and miscel- 
laneous crowd of candidates to this high honour. 
Unsexed spinsters, crazy pastors, half - learned 
students, egotistic supermen, fanatical clerks, and 
hysterical visionaries will elbow and jostle the saint, 

till he may well doubt his high calling and think 

o 2 


perhaps that he is only one of them. Yet the Saint 
to be can never be as lonely as was Christ. He will be 
one of an army taking possession of the promised 
land, and he will utter healing words of nuld 
wisdom in arresting contrast to the words of the 
supermen who have put themselves in the place 
of God. 

We are now in a position to see what are the past 
values that the Saint must conserve. It is absurd, 
of course, to imagine that one man in himself can 
be an entire epitome of the past. Only a Church that 
reaches into the far past can be such a depository; 
and therefore to fulfil the past the Saint must belong 
to a Body with a Great Memory. He wUl draw from 
this Great Memory unconsciously, and when he 
wills; and it will serve to correct any erring bias in 
his own mind. Yet every Saint is a rebel. Christ 
died for resisting the institution that had nourished 
Him. The Saint is ever a heretic in the eyes of 
authority; and he is bound to face the question 
whether he will separate himself from the Church 
and start a new family. That is the easiest course 
to pursue, but it entails much loss because it cuts 
him off from the Church's Memory. Christ followed 
the heroic course of remaining in the institution 
where He was in colhsion with authority every 
instant. His conformity involved bitter conflict, but 
it resulted in transforming Judaism. Instead of 
Christianity being an entirely new institution late 


in the world's history, it was transformed Judaism 
carrying in its veins the survival values of Judaism 
which before had carried within the rich contribu- 
tions of Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian thought. 
The Saint of the future, then, will belong to an 
institution which is Unked to the Apostolic Church 
and holds the richest tradition of the past values of 
many nations. 

It follows that he will advocate organised religion. 
He will uphold as many sacraments as possible. 
He will defend Bishops, Priests and Deacons. 

While adhering to the historical Church, he will 
startle the orthodox by his new values, especially 
moral values. Things which the orthodox hold as 
rigidly as the pharisees held to the law of the 
sabbath, he will overlook; and he will utter the 
right word on a host of matters now lying in hopeless 
confusion and reprobation. Qualities formerly 
attributed to hell will receive fresh beauty in him, 
for in his soul heaven and hell will be married; the 
beauty of his holiness will be the harmony of his 
parts. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit of 
Imagination. Imagination will unite in him Heaven, 
Earth, and Hell. Himself the creature of life, in- 
stinct, impulse, and imagination, he will draw a 
multitude because of the beauty of his life. And he 
will beget a multitude, for when he is ripe to create 
new values, he is also strong to beget a spiritual 
progeny. And therefore we may hope that Calvary 


will not be repeated. It was prophesied of old, 
" He shall see of the travaU of His Soul, and shall 
be satisfied." In the world drama Calvary comes 
in the third act, and the Communion of Saints in 
the fifth. The Saints have been disciphned by 
suffering, they must now be perfected by joy. 
Since the day for solitary saints has passed, we may 
look for the day when they shall spring up in all 
parts of the earth, and as each Saint is father of a 
spiritual family, a Community of Saints becomes 
possible, to which each Saint contributes his touch 
of intense colour, his line of beauty, and so helps 
to create the eternal pattern which has been God's 
dream through the ages. 

We have been assured repeatedly that the age 
of miracles is past. The age of miracles is to come. 
The Catholic Church defends the miraculous as 
evidence of God's free will. The Saints are those 
whose wills have become free through redemption. 
The moment the will is reaUy free it accomplishes 
acts which on this material plane can only be called 
miraculous. The deeds of the Saints will be marvel- 
lous, mysterious, beautiful. There will be no need 
to turn to art or religion, knowledge or culture, or to 
tales of genies and enchantment, fairies and gnomes 
to escape from the sordid realities of life; in the 
Community of Saints where there is abundance of 
Ufe, it will be found that Ufe itself contains all 
mystery and enchantment; and in an ever more 


passionate yea to life, man will find that the dreams 
of his childhood were foreshadowings of reality, and 
that as with clear open vision he comes into the 
heart of Reality, love to God, love to man, and love 
to self will transfigure all things, and turn the 
waters of life into the wine of eternity. 

' The Spiritual Man is Mad." 



Abraham, 8i 

Adam, 62 

A. E., 24, 162 

^schylus, 125 

" Aillinn," 160 

Akashic Records, 28, 173 

Akosmism, 142 

Albion, 61, 77 

Alchemists, 30 

Alexandria, S. Clement of, 6 

Alexandrian Platonism, 4 

Allamanda, 49 

Altar of God, 94 

Alter, cult of the, 199 

Altruism, 159, 199, 200 

Anactoria, 134 

Anarchy, 145 

Anatomy, 172 

Ancient of Days, 56, 99 

Angelico, Fra, 107 

Anselm, S., 141 

Aonian Mount, 36 

Apocalyptic imagery, 170, 192 

Apostles' Creed, 188-191 

Apostles' Ministry, 83 

Apostolic Church, 213 

Appearances of the risen 

Christ, 190 
Aquinas, S. Thomas, 83, 85, 

124, 141 
Aristotle, 124, 140 
Arminian Doctrine, 80 
Arnold, Matthew, 124-126, 128, 

156, 185 
Art, 9, 10, II, 53, 54, 55-59, 

108, 109, 165, 187, 200, 214 
Art and Religion, 107, 118 
Artist, the, 161, 164, 175 
Artist's calling, 161 
Ascension, 94, 185, 190 
Ascension Day, 109 

Asceticism, 32 

Assyria, 51 

Atheism, 92, 172 

Atonement, 70, 71, y^, 93, 94, 

185, 189 
Augustine, S., 6, 44, 45 
Authority, 203 

Babel, 152 

Babylon, 50 

Bacon, Francis, 65 

Baptism, 4, 5, 83 

Baptism of Fire, 83, 185 

Baptism of Jesus Christ, 14, 173 

Baptists, 5 

Battersea, 50, 51 

Baudelaire, 132 

Beauty, 160, 161 

Beauty of God, 165 

Beauty's Face, 159 

Becoming, 158 

Beethoven, 55 

Being, 158 

Bergson, 114, 146 

Besant, Mrs. Annie, 171, 173 

Bethel, 50 

Beveridge, 68 

" Beyond Good and Evil," 205 

Bible, the, 179, 183, 184, 187- 

Bishops, 123, 213 

Blake, William, and Art, 53- 
59; his doctrine of con- 
traries, 66, 178; his doctrine 
of outline, 203; on election, 
42-45 ; his great affirmation, 
205 ; his Day of Judgment, 
85-99; Blake and Hell, 42; 
Blake's Lyrics, 58; his 
marriage, 31; Blake and 
Michael Angelo, 55, 56; on 




the natural man, 6; Blake 
and Nature, 22-25; Blake 
and Place, 50-51; his Pro- 
phetical Books, 104; filake's 
Real Man, 15, 201 ; his read- 
ing of Christ's Life, 40, 41; 
Blake and Shakespeare, 16, 
17; Blake and Shaw, 153- 
155; Blake and Yeats, 156; 
Blake and Spiritualism, 27; 
Blake's spirit, 160; his 
symbolism, 46-52; his 
system, 201; his use of 
imagination, 16; Blake and 
Vision, 20, 21; Blake and 
Walt Whitman, 58-59; see 
7, 8, 135, 138, 144, 156, 163, 
165, 170, 171, 173, 174, 176 

Blanco Posnet, 147 

Blank verse, 58 

Blavatsky, Madame, 172 

Body and Soul, 129, 132 

Body, natural, 181-182 

Body, sensitive, 50, 51 

Body, spiritual, 181 -182 

Body, the, 178-182; its form, 
beauty, and fragrance, 182 

Boehme, Jacob, 6, 19, 30, 69, 
84, no, 120, 174 

Bognor, 98 

Borgia, Caesar, in, 154 

Bowlahoola, 49 

Bradlaugh, 172 

Brethren, Plymouth, s 

Broad Church, i66, 168 

Broken Love, 31 

" Bromion," 49 

Bronte, Charlotte, 128 

Bronte, Emily, 128, 136 

Brothels, 35, 154 

Browning, Robert, 128 

Bruges, 14 

Buddha, 116- 117 

Buddhism, 103, 109, 116, 117, 

Bunyan, John, 84, 85, 113, 
144, 148-149 

Butler, Samuel, 42, 44, 114, 
144, 146, 180, 185 

Caesar, 106 

Cagliostro, 21 

Caiaphas, 56 

Calamus, 136 

Calvary, 213, 214 

Calvert, Edward, 57 

Calvin, 5, 44 

Calvinism, 79 

Calvinists, 6, 70 

Campbell, Rev. R. J., 169 

Canterbury, 50, 51 

Canterbury Pilgrims, 39 

Capitalist system, 198 

Carlyle, Thomas, 126, 128, 136, 

185, 186 
Catherine, S., of Siena, 19 
Catholic and Apostolic Church, 

Catholic Church, 6, 29, 214 
Catholic faith, 124 
Catholicism, 4, 19, 185, 186, 

Catholic mystics, 6 
Catholic theology, 175 
Celtic mysticism, 159 
Celtic mythology, 158 
Chelsea, 50, 51 
Chesterton, G., 149, 150 
Children, 7 
Children's rights, 147 
Chopin, 115 
Christ-image, 209 
Christ to be, 193 
Christian altar, 136 
Christian dogmas, 157 
Christian faith, 192 
Christian morais, 157 
Christian perfection, 80 
Christian revelation, 124 
Christian Science, 142, 174- 

176, 177 
Christiamty, 103, 104, 107, 108- 

109, 116, 117, 118, 132-133, 

139, 141, 168, 172, 183, 185, 

200, 205 
Christianity, monkish, 160 
Christmas, 57, 190 
Church, Anglican, 5, 167, 168, 




Church, Catholic, 6, 29, 214 

Church, Greek, 5 

Church, the, 94, 162, 186, 171, 


Church militant, 191 

Church of England, 167, 168, 

Church of Rome, 5, igi 
City of God, 73, 204 
Clare, S., 38 
Classicism, 19 
Coleridge, 126, 136 
Comedy, human, 198 
Comic spirit, 131, ig6 
Communion of Saints, 100, 191, 

195. 214 
Comte, Auguste, 127, 146, 180 
Conchubar, 160 
Confirmation, 83 
Consecration of Churches, 5 1 
Conservation of energy, 179 
Conversion, 4, 5 
Corporeal friends, 73 
Creation of Adam, 56 
Creator and Creature, 177 
Creeds, the, 186, 187 
Criticism, 125, 170, 183, 184, 

185, 186 
Cromek, 37, 39 
Cromwell, Oliver, 46 
Cuchulain of Muirthemne, 160 
Culture, 125, 200, 214 
Curates, 147 

Daniel, 19, 26 
Daniel Deronda, 199 
Dante, 19, 106, 120 
Dark night of the Soul, 85 
Darwin, 151, 156 
Darwinism, 114, 149 
David, 14 

Day of Judgment, 85-99 
Day of Pentecost, 83 
Deacons, 213 
Decalogue, 13, 48, 202 
" Deirdre," 160 
Deism, 3 
Democracies, 115 
De Quincey, 27 

Devil's Disciple, 147, 148 

Dickinson, Lowes, 193 

Dionysus, 115, 206 

Dividends, 146 

Divine Humanity, 98, 133 

Doctors' Dilemma, 147 

Dogma, 123, 157, 185, 186, 187 

Dolores, 134 

Doukhoborski, 145 

Dover Beach, 125 

Dowden, Edward, 59 

Drama, 165 

Dream of Gerontius, 137 

Dreams of childhood, 215 

Dualism, 174, 178 

Diirer, Albert, 13, 54 

Duty to God, 200-201 

Duty to neighbour, 199-201 

Duty to self, 200 

Earth, III, 129, 130, 131, 132, 
159, 162, 213 

Easter, 190 

Ecce Homo, 106 

Ecclesiastical type, 206 

Ecclesiastical year, 190 

Economics, 172 

Eddy, Mrs., 174, 175, 177 

Edinburgh, 50 

Ego, the, 157 

Ego, cult of, 199 

Egoism, gospel of, 200 

Egypt, 4. 19, SO 

Election, 42-45, 115 

Electrons, 177 

Elijah, 18 1 

Eliot, George, 9, 65, 112, 126- 
127, 128, 130, 131, 137, 141, 
156, 157, 180, 185, 199, 200 

EUis, 31, 139 

" Emer," 160 

Enchantment, 214 

English Church, 122, 123 

Enoch, 181 

Entuthon Benython, 49 

Erotion, 134 

Esoteric Christianity, 172 

Eternal, the, 173 

Eternallawof righteousness,203 



Eternal Life, 117, 175, i8i, 199 
Eternal Man, 25 
Eternal pattern, 214 
Eternal recurrence, no 
Evangelicals, 69, 113 
Evangelical movement, 68, 122 
Everlasting Gospel, 29, 37-41, 

60, 105 
Everlasting punishment, 185 
Evolution, 114, 146 
Evolution, creative, 114 
Eucken, 158 
Ezekiel, 10, 13, 19, 26, 56, 82, 

99. 137 

Face of Christ, 104 

Faith, the, 30 

False ideals, 1 50 

Fanny's First Play, 147 

Faustine, 134 

Fellowship, 191, 200 

Felpham, 37, 97, 98 

Fenelon, 20 

Ficte, no 

Fielding, 71 

" Findabair," 160 

Fletcher of Madeley, 41, 68 

Fleurs du Mai, 132 

Florentine art, 19 

Florentines, 57 

Fludd, 19 

Forgiveness of sins, 164 

Form, 123 

Four Zoas, 61, 63, 85, 156 

Fox, George, 19, 84 

Francis, S., of Assisi, 38, 154 

French Revolution, 172 

Gauguin, 55 

Gautier, 137 

Genius, Poetic, 10, 11, 12, 13 

German music, 9 

Gichtel, no 

Giotto, 107 

Gladstone, 123 

Glamour, 201 

Gnosticism, 173 

God, 60, IIS, 150. 160. 198 

God and Man, 60-105 

Goethe, i, io6, 108, 109, 118, 
124, 125, 126, 128, 155, 158, 

Good Friday, 190 

Gore, Bishop, 167 

Goshen, 51 

Gospel of the Kingdom, 170 

Gothic Architecture, 19 

Grace Abounding, 84 

" Grandcourt," 157 

Greek Church, 145 

Greek Fathers, 140 

Greeks, 132, 134 

Gregory, Lady, 160, 162 

Guild of Health, 178 

Guyon, Madame, 20 

Hampstead, 51 

Hardy, Thomas, 129, 131, 185 

Harlot, 35 

Hayley, 37 

Healing forces in nature, 177 

Healing of the body, 178 

Hebrew Uterature, 9 

Hebrew music, 9 

Hebrew poetry, 9 

Hebrew prophets, 53, 170, 205 

Hell, 47 

Heraclitus, 115 

Hering, Professor, of Prague, 

Hermaphroditus, 134, 135 
Hertha, Teutonic Goddess of 

Earth, 141 
Hervey, 68 
High Church, 122 
Higher Criticism, 104 
Higher Critics, 166, 183, 187, 

191, 192 
Higher Thought, 182 
Highgate, 51 
Historical Church, 213 
Historical element in the 

Creeds, 187 
Hogarth, 14, 44, 144, 147-148 
Holland, Canon Scott, 167 
Holy Catholic Church, 122 
Horeb, 80 
Hiigel, Baron von, 168 



Hugo, Victor, 136 

Human joys and sorrows, 196 

Hypnotism, 174 

Ibsen, III, 118, 144, 149-150, 

Idealists, 157 
Ignatius, S., 6 
Image of Christ, 104 
Imagination, 9-15, 99, 158, 170, 

171, 177, 178, 206, 207, 213 
Imaginative Reason, 156 
Imaginative religious life, 205 
Immanence, 139-142, 204 
Immortality, 178-182 
Immortality, subjective, 180 
Impressionism, 204 
Impressionists, 55 
Impulse, 45, 206, 207, 213 
Incarnation, the, 94, 189 
Industrial Revolution, 143 
Infallibility of the Pope, the 

Book, the Church, 185 
Inspiration, 94, 200 
Instinct, 198, 206, 207, 213 
Instinct of Place, 50-52 
India, 4 

Isaiah, 9, 13, 19, 26, 51, 82 
Islam, 124 
Italian humanists, 1 1 1 

Jacob, 82 

Jacob's Ladder, 56 

Jansenism, 126 

Jehudah ha Levi, 127 

Jeremiah, 10, 44 

Jerusalem, 31, 51, 52, 63, 64, 

77. 139 

Jesuitism, 142 

Jesus Christ, 13, 14, 18, 19, 29, 
39, 40. 44. 45. 47. 54. 60, 61, 
77, 80, 103, III, 112, 113, 
116, 117, 140, 161, 170, 171, 
179, 181, 183, 188, 189, 190, 
191, 192, 193, 196, 201, 203, 
205, 206, 207, 208, 210, 212 

Jews, the, 9, 29, 51 

Joan of Arc, 44 

Job, 28, 56, 72, 73, 75, 82, 99 

John, S., Apostle and Evan- 
gelist, 13, 19, 24, 26, 61, 192 

John, S., Gospel according to, 
3, 6, 85, 140 

John, S., of the Cross, 83, 85 

John, S., the Baptist, 32, 33, 76 

John Bull's Other Island, 151 

Jordaja, 83 

Joy, 214 

Judah, 51 

Judaism, 13, 124, 127, 169, 
200, 212, 213 

Jude the Obscure, 129 

Judgment, 85-99, 173 

Justin Martyr, 6, 140 

Kant, no, 112 
Keats, 126, 136 
Keble, 122 

Kierkegaard, 118-119 
Kingdom of Heaven, in, 116, 

140, 145, 158, 192 
Kingsley, Charles, 123, 128 
Knowledge, 200, 214 
Knowledge of God, 181 

Land of Heart's Desire, 160-161 

Latin Church, 141 

Laughter, 155 

Law, 161, 162 

Law, William, 6, 53, 69 

Law-breakers, 146, 205 

" Lazarus," 61 

Lead, Jane, 6 

Le Bon, Dr., 177 

Leonardo da Vinci, 107 

Leopardi, 129 

Letter, the, 187 

Levi, Eliphas, 30 

Liberal Catholics, 184 

Liberty of body and mind, 15, 

Life, 165, 192 
Life-force, 150, 151, 198 
Liimell, J., 57 
Literature, 164, 165 
Literature of Holiness, 84 
Locke, John, 62, 65 
Lodge, Oliver, Sir, 177 



Loisy, 1 68 

London, 50 

Lord of Hosts, 177 

" Los," 47, 48, 49. 127, 156 

Los' Halls, 26-30, 40, i6o, 163, 

Low Church, 122 
Luther, Martin, 46, 107 
" Luvah," 47, 48, 49, 90, 91 
Lux Mundi, 167 

" Maeve," 160 

Magic, 164 

Magician, 58 

Magician, Egyptian, 30 

Manet, 55 

Marriage of art and religion, 205 

Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 

9, 10, 118, 156, 182 
" Martin Hearne," 162 
" Mary Magdalene," 34-35 
Matter, 174, 175, 176, 177 
Matter, indestructibility of , 179 
Matthews, Mr., 38 
Maurice, F. D., 128, 167, i68 
Medical science, 175 
Memory, Great, 28, 160, 163, 

164, 165, 212 
Mental fight, 163 
Mental science, 176-178, 182 
Meredith, George, 129-131, 132, 

151. 185 
Merimee, Prosper, 11 1 
Messiah, the, 192, 207 
Messiah's Table, 99 
Messianic Banquet, 192 
Messianic Calling, 208 
Messianic Idea, 189 
Methodists, 69, 70 
Michael Angelo, 13, 35, 46, 54, 

SS, 56, 107, 172 
Middle Ages, 124, 127 
Mill, John Stuart, 156 
Milton, John, 45, 46, 47 
Mind, 17s 
Miracles, 201, 214 
Moberley, R. A., 167 
Modernism, 29, 129, 169, 182 
Modernists, 168, 186-187 

Modern mind, 125, 156 
Modern movement, 166 
Modern religious movement, 

Modern thinkers, 177 
Modern thought, 95, 182 
Monet, 55 
Monte Carlo, 97 
Morals, absolute, 112 
Morals, Christian, 185 
" Mordecai," 199 
Morris, 155 
" Mortal mind," 175 
Moses, 82, 127 
Municipal trading, 146 
Mystery, 86, 201, 214 
Mystic, the, 18, 19, no, 158 
Mystic Imagination, 143 
Mysticism, 158, 182 
Mysticism, Blake's, 171 
Mysticism, Celtic, 159-160 
Mysticism, German, no, 112 
Mystics, Catholic, 113 
Mystics, Celtic, 29 
Mystics, Hindoo, 24 
Mystics, Protestant, 191 

Nativity, the, 56, 57 
Nature, 22-25 
Nature, cruelties of, 23 
Natural man, 133 
Natural religion, 3, 11, 87 
Natural religious man, 66-76 
Nebuchadnezzar, 56 
Neo-mystic, 183 
Neo-pagans, 139, 183 
Neo-pagan ideal, 193 
Newman, J. H., 123-124, 137, 

New Testament, 83 
New Theology, 169, 182 
Newton, Isaac, 65 
Nicodemus, 76 
Nietzsche, 43, 103, 104, 106- 

119, 13s. 141. 144. 151-152. 

15s. "^S?. 195. 205 
Nietzschean, the, 152 
Nietzschean superman, 183, 




Nietzsche's influence, 106 
Nineteenth century, 107-121, 

122-142, 157 
Nominalism, 94 
Nonconformists, 169 
Non-resistance, 145 
Novalis, no 

" Oisin," 160 

" Ore," 89, 90, 91 

Order of the Star in the East, 

193. 194 
Origen, 6 
Oxford Movement, 122-123, 

136, 167 

Paganism, 129, 132, 133, 139, 

" Palamabron," 49 ^ 

Palestine, 50 
Palmer, Samuel, 57 
Pantheism, 125, 126, 127, 141, 

174, 177, 198, 200, 202, 204 
Paracelsus, 19, 120 
Party Spirit, 161 
Pascendi Gregis, 169 
Passion, 102, 108 
Patrick, S., 160 
Patriotism, 141 
Paul, S., 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, i8, 19, 

20, 22, 30, 44, 45, 48, 62, 139 
Peniel, 50 

Person of Christ, 104 
Pessimism, 128-129, 196 
Peter, S., of Alcantara, 38, 83 
Petronius, in 
Pharisaism, 11 

Pharisees, 13, 14, 34, 161, 213 
Philistia, 50 
Philo, 4 

Philosophy, 165, 200 
Pietism, 118, 131 
Pindar, 125 
Plato, 140 

Poems and Ballads, 132, 134 
Polemic, theologicaJ, 166 
Polycarp, S., 6 
Pope Angelico, 183, 193 

Pope Pius X., 169 
Positivism, 158, 110-112 
Positivist hymn, 180 
Post-impressionists, 55 
Post-modernism, 182 
Poulain, 83 
Predestination, 42-45 
Pre-Raphaelites, 55 
Presbyterians, 5 
Priests, 213 

Primitive Methodists, 169 
Prisons, 154 
Promethean legend, 153 
Prophecies of Blake, 60 
Protestantism, 4, 10, 11, 83, 

108, 184, 185 
Proverbs of Hell, 138, 153 
Puritanism, 19 
Purleigh, 145 
Pusey, Dr., 122, 167 

Quakers, 6, 169, 189 
Quietism, 20 

Raphael, 13, 54 

Rationalism, 3, 157, 158, 179, 

Rationalists, 156 
Reade, Charles, 137 
Realism, in, 148, 149 
Reality, 51, 151, 158, 215 
Real Man, 14, 16, 36, 38, 42, 

47. 48, S3, 60, 61, 62, 65, 79, 

99-103, 138, 178, 181, 183, 

201, 202 
Real Self, 154, 157, 200 
Real Worid, 54 
Reason, 127 

Reasoning power, 64, 65 
Redemption of Hell, 118 
Regeneration, 3, n, 157, 173, 

189, 190 
Reincarnation, 171 
Relativity of good and evil, 202 
Relativity of morals, 117 
Religion, g, 10, 11, 14, 35, 65, 

160, 165, 187, 199, 200, 214 
Religion and art, 204 
Religion, organised, 213 



Religious genius, 192 

Rembrandt, 54, 55, 204 

Renan, 183, 184 

Renascence, 107 

Renascence, Italian, 11 

Rent, law of, 146 

Resentment, 195 

Resurrection, 94, 185, 190, 195 

Return of the Native, 129 

Revolution, 75 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 54 

Rhythm, 58, 59 

Richmond, George, 57 

" Rintrah," 49 

Ritual, 123 

River of Life, 56, 57 

Robertson of Brighton, 167 

Rock of Ages, 10 

Rodin, 57 

Roeckelian Socialism, 46 

Romaine, 68 

Roman Catholic Church, 123, 

124, 168, 186, 187 
Romance, 151, 199, 201 
" Rosamond," 157 
Rose, Inviolate, 159-160, 162 
Rosicrucians, 30 
Rosmini, 6 

Rossetti, Christina, 137 
Rousseau, 65 
Rubens, 54, 55, 204 
Ruskin, 128 
Russell, Archibald, 139 
Rutherford, Samuel, 5 
Ruysbroeck, 6 

Sacrament of Unction, 178 
Sacraments, 51, 122, 213 
Saints, 34, 115, 151-153, 161, 

178, 193, 203, 208, 2n, 212, 

213, 214 
Saints of the Future, 183-215- 
Saint Sulpice, 184 
Samhain, 165 
Sancti&cation, 80, 189 
Sappho, 132, 137 
Sartor Resartus, 186 
" Satan," 63, 66 
Savonarola, 107 

Scandinavian mjrthology, 46 
" Scholfield," 31 
Schoolmen, 140 
Schopenhauer, i, 46, 103, 108- 

109, no, 114, 128-129, 144 
Science, 158, 179 
Science and Health, ly^, 177 
Scribes, 161 

Scriptures, Old Testament, 81 
Self, duty to, 157, 200 
Selfishness, value of, 117 
Self-oblation, loi, 191 
Self, real, 157 
Self-realisation, 95, 127 
Self-respect, 147, 198 
Senses, 130 
Sentimentalism, 151 
Sermon on the Mount, 113, 145 
Sex and Holiness, 30-36 
Sexual instinct, 132, 134-136 
Shakespeare, 16, 17, 44, 55, 106, 

120, 164 
Shareholders, 146 
Shavian superman, 152, 183, 

Shaw, Bernard, 143-155, 172, 

177. 185. 198. 197. 200 
Shelley, 126, 136, 141, 155 
Sidhe, the, 143 
Signac, 55 
Simonides, 125 
Sinai, 13 

Social democratic state, 146 
Socialised state, 146 
Socialism, 115 
Social organism, 146, 1 57 
Socrates, 140 
Solidarity, 197 
Song of Solomon, 184 
Songs of Innocence, 138 
Son of Man, 32, 54, 120, 192 
Sophocles, 125 
Soul and body, 178-182 
SpeBcer, Herbert, 146, 156 
Spinoza, 22, 125, 127 
Spinsters, 147, 211 
Spirit of Christianity, 193 
Spirit of Life, 186, 209, 211 
Spiritualism, 26, 27 



Stanley, Dean, 167, 172 
State, the, 72, 145, 146, 147, 

157, 162 
Stothard, 39 
Strauss, 183, 184 
Strindberg, August, 1 18-120 
Stroud, 14s 
Stylists, French, 165 
Superman, 103, 109, 114-116, 

141, 143, 151-153, 155, 183, 
193, 194, 195-201, 200, 201, 
203, 206, 207, 210, 212 

Supernaturalism, 151 
Suso, Henry, no 
Swedenborg, 7, 19, 20, 30, 69, 

119, 120 
Swift, Jonathan, 144 
Swinburne, 58, 131-139, 141, 

142, 185 
Sword, the, 163 
Sword, Christian, 174 
Symbols, 18-21, 46-52, 187 
Ssrmbols, Christian, 46 
Sjrmbols of sex, 135 
Symons, Arthur, i, 57 
Synge, 29, 162 

Tauler, 6, no 

Tennyson, 23, 128, 207 

Teresa, S., 6, 20, 38 

Tersteegen, 6, 130 

" Tharmas," 47, 48, 49 

Theosophy, 171-174, 175, 177, 

" Theotormon," 49 
Thomas, Apostle, 60 
Thomas a Kempis, 209 
Thought, Assyrian, Babylonian 

and Egyptian, 213 
Thus Spake Zarathustra, 106 
Titian, 54 
"Tito," 157 
Toplady, 10, 41 

Tolstoi, 54, 1 16, 129, 144, 145,164 
Tractarianism, 122, 126 
Tractarians, 167 
Tradition, 127 

Transcendence, 140, 141, 142, 
■ 199 

Transvaluation of values, 116, 

Tree of Knowledge, 47 
Tree of Life, 47 
Trinity, the, 157 
TroUope, Anthony, 137 
Twentieth Century, 1 58 
Tyrrell, George, 142, 168, 169 

Udan Adan, 49 
Unction, Sacrament of, 178 
Unicorn from the Stars, 162 
" Urizen," 47, 48, 49, 65, 86- 

89, 127, 156 
" Urthona," 49 
Utilitarianism, 156, 157 
Uzzah, 51 

" Vala,'' 90 

Van Gogh, 55 

Valley of the Shadow of Death, 

85, 100 
Values, Catholic, 155 
Values, mystical, 157 
Values, new, 213 
Values, Positive, 157 
Values, Protestant, 155 
VaJues of human deeds, 191, 

Values of passion, 117, 153 
Values of pride, 117 
Values of self, in 
Values of voluptuousness, 117 
Veda, priestly codes of, 106 
Venetians, 55, 204 
Venn, 68 
Verulam, 50 
Victorians, 122-142, 156, 164, 

Virgin Birth, 185, 190 
Virgin life, 190 
Virgin Mother, 190 
Vision, 14, 16-21, 22, 24, 26, 

27> 28, S3, 54, 55, 56, 61, 64, 

99, 162, 163, 170, 215 
Visions of the Daughters of 

Albion, 33 
Vitalism, 117, 121, 198 
Voluptuousness, 117 



Wagner, 46, 114, 151, 155 

War, 75, 150 

" Warren, Mrs.," 147 

Way of all Flesh, 42 

Way of Purgation, 85 

Wesley, John, 5, 10, 41, 68, 69, 

70, 80 
Wesleyans, 5 

Whete there is Nothing, 162 
Whitefield, 5, 10, 68, 70, 78, 80 
Whitman, Walt, 58-59, 135-136 
Ward, Wilfrid, 124 
Wilde, Oscar, 144, 185 
Will of God, 13, 39, 41, 202, 203 
" Willoughby Patterne, Sir," 95 
Will to live, 114 

Will to power, 114 
Wine of Eternity, 99, 215 
Words, rhythm of, 165 
Words, value of, 94 
Wordsworth, 24 
World-mind, 194 
World teacher, 183, 193, 194 
Worship, 199 

Yea to Life, 116, 215 
Yeats, W. B., 28, 29, 59, 139, 
143. 153. 156-165, 177 

" Zarathustra, 

197, 202 
Zoological Gardens, 22 

112, 113, 115, 

jewnt ftuEss