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him. The problem, which he believed to be mental,—but which was no more than a mood, transient as the physical weakness which induced it,—was not to be solved by wifely solicitude. Early in May Mr Anderson's letter arrived.

To me it appears [he wrote) that you look at Calvinism entirely on the side of its “eternal decrees." Now I think you cannot get rid of these doctrines even as a Rationalist; at least I never could. They are universals which enter into every system; and I do most seriously assure you, after some consideration and practical acquaintance with their tenets, that Unitarianism, objectively, is far more untenable, and, subjectively, far more heartless and cold. I know not a more forced and unnatural system, when considered as connected with a belief in a supernatural revelation. That you should be inclined to universalism I do not wonder; and that you should be yet without belief in a positive revelation in Christianity, knowing your natural tendency and historical development, though I regret, I can admit; but that you will long be captivated with the quagmires and bogs of Unitarianism I do not believe. Consider, my dear sir, you have but heard one of their ministers, and have not seen the coldhearted piety their religion begets. Think also that the irksomeness you feel at not being free to express all your opinions, though quite free to think and form them, is a part of the discipline of Providence. Reflect also that your spiritual life and faculties are but in progress of development, and sure I am, if you will wait twelve months, the objective will be seen differently, the subjective being different. I highly respect your feelings, and deeply sympathise with you. These oaths and tests are



abominable things, and the history of them, when written, will reveal a tissue of iniquitous cruelties. Tholuck said to me once that “when the man became a perfect Christian he outgrew ordinances.” I thought of Milton. But, for example and for sympathy, attendance on public worship is a duty to many to whom it would not be otherwise.

This wise friend presented the difficulty in a new light, as one to be solved by no miraculous interposition, far less by rash action, but by patient waiting for the truth to which the honest mind attains in time. John Blackie cast off once and for ever the gloom which had beset him. He unfurled the flag under which his lifelong work was done, the flag which bore this scroll, “ Trust in the Lord, and be thou doing good.” By the month of July he was able to say:

What I want are three things—1st, a great cause; 2d, a great battle; 3d, a great victory.”

During the months of June, July, and August, Mrs Blackie was in Edinburgh and at Gilston. Her health had given way; the cold spring had brought bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia with it, due as much to economy of household comfort as to the weather. Her husband found her much better, when he joined her in August, after a strenuous summer session occupied with German classes and reviews for the magazines.




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Debts pressed sorely upon him, and he cleared off a fair proportion by this work.

Incidents of the next few years are hard to disentangle from his correspondence, which is occupied more with the subjects engrossing his mind than with details which can be chronicled. But that correspondence was with men known and still remembered. Thus Mr R. H. Horne, the author of Orion,' warned him against publishing poetry for profit, and this letter indicates that in 1844 he already contemplated the issue both of ' Æschylus' and of original verses.

On the other hand, Mr Macdonald of Rammerscales, an ardent and accomplished classic, encouraged him in the matter of Æschylus,' as did Mr Theodore Martin, from whose letter we may quote :

I am right glad to find you at work again in this field. I have always thought it the true one for you, and cheerfully would I undertake to read your MS. and give you any suggestions if you would trust me with the duty You are right in avoiding rhyme in the choruses; but you must be full of a true lyrical inspiration to hit those subtle rhythmical melodies which must come in their place. Popularity is not so much out of the question as you think. Give the world a fine English version of Æschylus,' and there is a large enough English public who will buy to make it pay.

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He made a tour of the better known schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow during May 1844,



and combmed with this a first visit to Ayr and the country of Burns. On his way back from Glasgow he spent a few days in Edinburgh at the time of the General Assemblies, and heard with much interest an address from the Rev. Robert Macdonald of Blairgowrie, in the Free Church Assembly gathered in Tanfield Hall. Mr Macdonald was one of the most eloquent special pleaders in the young Church, and his call upon the audience for funds to raise a Free Church College was a burst of impassioned oratory, which moved the Professor not merely to emotional sympathy, but into a contribution of £5 to the cause. He was averse to much of the more turbulent feeling which the Disruption had caused, turning at once from the coldness of Moderatism and from the over-jubilant exultation of the Dissenters; but he was true to his instinct of appreciating warmly all that was best in either party, and the scheme appealed directly to the conviction, which experience had forced upon him, that every effort after untrammelled education was to be welcomed and helped. In the session 1844-45 he re-matriculated as a semi, and attended lectures to complete his undergraduate course, interrupted twice in his youth. His senior students were his fellows at Professor Macgillivray's class of Natural History, and in the succeeding sessions he followed the Natural Philosophy and Moral Philosophy courses as a tertian and a magistrand.

During the summer of 1845, while Mrs Blackie was at Peebles with Mr and Mrs Stodart, he remained busy in Aberdeen until August, when he started on a walking tour expressly planned to visit the Roman stations and camps, for a lecture on “ The Romans in Scotland,” with which he proposed to start the next session of work. He had furnished himself with many maps

and books to further his researches. At Fettercairn, resting in the post-office, he drew these out of his coat-pockets. “You'll be in the book-line?” asked the worthy postmaster, and what answer could he give but that he was?

His father had retired from banking and left Aberdeen. He was then at Darnick near Melrose, and Professor Blackie joined him there in September, and after a month's peregrination in the valley of the Tweed, he went to Gilston with his wife.

The Test Acts engaged his public utterances in the autumn of this year. Opposition was made to Sir David Brewster's election as Principal of St Andrews because he adhered to the Free Church party. This roused the Professor's indignation, and he wrote an energetic pamphlet

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