“Ancient of Days”

Here’s the Blake image I referred to in my Sunday sermon

I mentioned that the shafts of light emanating from the fingers are reminiscent of a compass, which calls to mind Milton’s description in Paradise Lost of God creating the universe:

Then stay’d the fervid Wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden Compasses, prepar’d
In God’s Eternal store, to circumscribe
This Universe, and all created things:
One foot he centred and the other turn’d
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just Circumference, O World. Paradise Lost VII.224-231

The image of the golden compass has itself become quite familiar in contemporary culture, most prominently in Phillip Pullman’s novel of that name, recently made into a movie.

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