Page:Life of William Blake 2, Gilchrist.djvu/468

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MEMOIR OF ALEXANDER GILCHRIST.

prominent or most distinguished figure in the group; it may occupy the foreground in the representation, but it is always accompanied by a number of other entities. Hence what is called the principle of mental association, so liberally philosophised since the days of that original, acute, and profound thinker, that consistent reasoner, that masterly writer but ill-requited author, the Philosopher of Malmesbury; for the poorest of those who have borrowed from him have liberally repaid the obligation by kicking at his reputation: and even the simple-minded Mr. Locke only mentions his writings to say that they are justly exploded. Such is the timidity or ingratitude of the disciple who is, in this, as in so many other respects, a perfect contrast to his great master, the teacher and founder of that philosophy of which he was an unworthy apostle.' Spite of James Gilchrist's nationality he also girds at the Scottish metaphysicians with vehemence, especially at Dugald Stewart, whom he alludes to as the 'visionary metaphysicling.'

These pamphlets were, unfortunately, printed at the writer's own cost, and published by himself; in other words, not published at all. They never, therefore, reached the eye of the public, though they attracted the favourable notice of a few scholars (notably of Dr. Gilchrist) and obtained for their author employment on the Encyclopædia Britannica. Amid these labours, his mind continued still agitated by religious questions. Repelled, on the one hand, by the narrowness and ignorance of the orthodox sects and, on the other, by what he regarded as the specious intellectuality and illogical compromises of the Unitarians; discipled by the incisive and fearless intellect of Hobbes, whom, as a philosopher, he admired and honoured above all men save Bacon, yet himself permeated through and through with the religious earnestness, nay, the religious faith, of his Scottish Puritan ancestors—he found no peace nor rest till he came to the firm and final determination to renounce the ministry altogether, since he could only please and satisfy his flock by leading them along