Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/259

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247
OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

system remains more allied to the stoical endurance of Antiquity than to the essential austerity of Christianity.

These are the wildest and most extravagant passages of the book, which lead to the consideration with which we began this account. No one can deny that, as even amid these aberrations gleams of reason and intelligence shine out, so a host of expressions occur among them which one would expect from a German rather than an Englishman. The Protestant author of 'Herzensergiessungen eines Kunstliebenden Klosterbruders' [by W. G. Wachenroder, edited by Tieck, Berlin, 1797] created the character of a Catholic in whom Religion and love of Art were perfectly united, and this identical person, singularly enough, has turned up in Protestant England. Yet Blake does not belong by birth to the established church, but to a dissenting sect; although we do not believe that he goes regularly to any Christian church.[1] He was invited to join the Swedenborgians under Proud,[2] but declined, notwithstanding his high opinion of Swedenborg, of whom he says: 'The works of this visionary are well worth the attention of Painters and Poets; they are foundations for grand things. The reason they have not been more attended to is because corporal demons have gained a predominance.'[3] Our author lives, like

  1. This fact, as well as the statement that Blake was definitely invited to join the Swedenborgians, appears not to be recorded elsewhere, though several writers state that Swedenborgian doctrines were freely discussed in the home of Blake's father.
  2. Joseph Proud (1745-1826), minister of the New Church.
  3. 'Descriptive Catalogue,' text to No. VIII.