It would be true to say that, more often than not, the "orthodox" Christian understanding of almost everything involves a balancing of two concepts which on the surface seem contradictory. For instance, there is One God, but Three Persons. Again, we believe that Jesus Christ is not part man and part God, but fully man, and fully God. "Heresy," more often than not, is simply one side of a reality rather than both. As someone once described it, heresy is almost always an over-simplification of an important idea.
Yesterday we saw one side of the reality of Man - what so many of the ancient prayers of the Church describe as our "wretchedness." But according to Scripture that is only one side of the truth. There is also, in Man, the peculiar capacity for good. We are, after all, created in the "Divine Image." This capacity for good is something rooted in our humanity, something we share with all human beings, not just other Christians.
Today's poem is an ode to four of the Divine attributes which Blake is arguing are present in Man because we are made in the Divine Image: Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love.
The Divine Image
By William Blake
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.