“The Everlasting Gospel” by William Blake

What can this Gospel of Jesus be?
What Life & Immortality,
What was it that he brought to Light
That Plato & Cicero did not write?
The Heathen Deities wrote them all,
These Moral Virtues, great & small.
What is the Accusation of Sin
But Moral Virtues’ deadly Gin?
The Moral Virtues in their Pride
Did o’er the World triumphant ride
In Wars & Sacrifice for Sin,
And Souls to Hell ran trooping in.
The Accuser, Holy God of All
This Pharisaic Worldly Ball,
Amidst them in his Glory Beams
Upon the Rivers & the Streams.
Then Jesus rose & said to Me,
“Thy Sins are all forgiven thee.”
Loud Pilate Howl’d, loud Caiphas yell’d,
When they the Gospel Light beheld.
It was when Jesus said to Me,
“Thy Sins are all forgiven thee.”
The Christian trumpets loud proclaim
Thro’ all the World in Jesus’ name
Mutual forgiveness of each Vice,
And oped the Gates of Paradise.
The Moral Virtues in Great fear
Formed the cross & Nails & Spear,
And the Accuser standing by
Cried out, “Crucify! Crucify!
“Our Moral Virtues ne’er can be,
“Nor Warlike pomp & Majesty;
“For Moral Virtues all begin
“In the Accusations of Sin,
“And all the Heroic Virtues End
“In destroying the Sinners’ Friend.
“Am I not Lucifer the Great,
“And you my daughters in Great State,
“The fruit of my Mysterious Tree
“Of Good & Evil & Misery
“And Death & Hell, which now begin
“On everyone who Forgives Sin?”


Recommended reading: 2 Corinthians 3; Romans 10

Blake asks us, “What is it that the Gospel of Jesus gives us that ancient philosophers (“pagan deities”) don’t?” He sets up a major antithesis between the Gospel and what he calls, “the moral virtues”.   Blake contends that morality is actually the basis for Satan’s accusations against us.  Blake paints a graphic picture of morality as a war that rages across the earth and leads countless people to hell. The word of Christ, however, speaks differently. The word of forgiveness (“Thy sins are all forgiven thee”) is contested by the religious (“Caiphas”) and non-religious (“Pilate”) alike but it “opens the gates of paradise”.

Blake personifies the moral virtues as forming the very instruments by which Jesus was crucified.  This morality springs from (“begin”) the guilty conscience (“accusation of sin”) and can only lead to the rejection of Jesus (“destroying the sinner’s friend”).

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