William Blake (17571827). The Poetical Works. 1908. Appendix to the Prophetic Books
There is No Natural Religion
[Part the First]
1 THE ARGUMENT AN has no notion of moral fitness but from Education. Naturally, he is only a Natural Organ, subject to Sense. 1
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 perceivd.
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.
Mans Desires are limited by his Perceptions; none can desire what he has not perceivd.
The Desires and Perceptions of Man, untaught by anything but Organs of Sense, must be limited to Objects of Sense.
If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic Character, the Philosophic and Experimental would soon be at the Ratio of all things; and stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again.
[Part the Second] Mans Perceptions are not bounded by Organs of Perception; he perceives more than Sense (tho 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.
III [ Deest] 11
The Bounded is loathed by its possessor. The same dull round, even of a Universe, would soon become a Mill with complicated wheels.
If the Many become the same as the Few, when possessd, More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul: less than All cannot satisfy Man.
If any could desire what he is incapable of possessing, Despair must be his Eternal lot.
The Desire of Man being Infinite, the possession is Infinite, and himself Infinite.
He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only.
THEREFORE God becomes as we are, that we may be as He is. 17
This and the following tractate dealing with the same subject would appear to be the first examples of Blakes use of Illuminated Printing, 1788. On the order and arrangement of the plates here followed see my Bibliographical Introduction to the present work. [ Note 1. back]