Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/25

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
xix
INTRODUCTION

& Science, which alone are the labours of the Gospel: Is not this plain & manifest to the thought? Can you think at all, & not pronounce heartily: That to Labour in Knowledge is to Build up Jerusalem; and to Despise Knowledge is to Despise Jerusalem & her Builders. And remember: He who despises & mocks a Mental Gift in another, calling it pride & selfishness & sin, mocks Jesus the giver of every Mental Gift, which always appear to the ignorance-loving Hypocrite as Sins; but that which is a Sin in the sight of cruel Man, is not so in the sight of our kind God. Let every Christian, as much as in him lies, engage himself openly & publicly before all the World in some Mental pursuit for the Building up of Jerusalem." In such words he sums up "the Everlasting Gospel," which he believed himself and all other creative artists in duty bound to deliver to humanity.

The series of letters begins with an extract from a letter from Flaxman to Hayley (now for the first time printed), which has some importance if only to refute the common idea that Blake's art found no acceptance among the artists of his own day. This delusion has doubtless arisen from the story of the conflict with Sir Joshua Reynolds, who is said to have criticised adversely some of his earliest essays in painting, and to have recommended