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has somethiog positive to preserve, grows angry. Being angry
with one who controverts an opinion which you value, is a necessary consequence of the uneasiness which you feel. Every man who attacks my belief diminishes in some degree my confidence in it, and therefore makes me uneasy; and I am angry with him who makes me uneasy. Those only who believed in revelation have been angry at having their faith called in question, because they only had something upon which they could rest as matter of fact.” Mr. MURRAY. “ It seems to me that we are not angry at a man for controverting an opinion which we believe and value; we rather pity him." -JOHNSON. “ "Why, Sir; to be sure when you wish a man to have that belief which you think is of infinite advantage, you wish well to him; but your primary consideration is your own quiet. If a madman were to come into this room with a stick in his hand, no doubt we should pity the state of his mind; but our primary consideration would be to take care of ourselves. · We should knock him down first, and pity him afterwards. No, Sir; every man will dispute with great good humour upon a subject in which he is not interested. I will dispute very calmly upon the probability of another man's son being hanged; but if a man zealously enforces the probability that my own son will be hanged, I shall certainly not be in a very
good humour with him.” Mr. Boswell added this illustration, “ If a man endeavours to convince me that my wife, whom I love very much, and in whom I place great confidence, is a disagreeable woman, and is even unfaithful to me, I shall be very angry, for he is putting me in fear of being unhappy.”—MURRAY. “ But, Sir, truth will always bear an examination.”—Johnson. “ Yes, Sir, but it is painful to be forced to defend it. Consider, Sir, how should you like, though conscious of your innocence, to be tried before a jury for a capital crime, once a week.”
Talking of devotion, he said, “ Though it be true that 'God dwelleth not in temples made with hands,' yet in this state of being, our minds are more piously affected in places appropriated to divine worship, than in others. Some people have a particular room in their house where they say their prayers; of this I do not disapprove, as it may animate their devotion.”
He said also, " that to find a substitution for violated morality was the leading feature in all perversions of religion.”
A sectary being mentioned, who was a very religious man, and not only attended regularly on public worship with those of his communion, but made a particular study of the Scriptures, and even wrote a commentary on some parts of them, yet was known to be very licentious in in
dulging himself with women; maintaining that men are to be saved by faith alone, and that the Christian religion had not prescribed any fixed rule for the intercourse between the sexes;" Johnson said, “ Sir, there is no trusting to that crazy piety.”
At another time he said, “ The morality of an action depends on the motive from which we act. If I fling half a crown to a beggar with intention to break his head, and he picks it up and buys victuals with it, the physical effect is good; but with respect to me the action is very wrong. So religious exercises, if not performed with an intention to please God, avail us nothing. As our Saviour' says of those who perform them from other motives, Verily they have their reward.'”
A question being introduced as having been inuch agitated in the Church of Scotland, whether the claim of lay-patrons to present ministers to parishes be well founded; and supposing it to be well founded, whether it ought to be exercised without the concurrence of the
people? Johnson said, the subject was well treated in the Defence of Pluralities;' and although he thought that a patron should exercise his right with tenderness to the inclinations of the people of a parish, he was very clear as to his right. He then proceeded to dictate an argument at
large on the subject, as supposing the question to be agitated before the general assembly.
On another occasion Mr. Boswell introduced a common subject of complaint, the very small salaries which many curates have, and maintained, “ that no man should be invested with the character of a clergyman, unless he has a security for such an income as will enable him to appear respectable; that therefore a clergyman should not be allowed to have a curate, unless he gives him a hundred pounds a year; if he cannot do that, let him perform the duty himself.”. Johnson observed, “To be sure, Sir, it is wrong that any clergyman should be without a reasonable income; but as the church revenues were sadly diminished at the Reformation, the clergy who have livings cannot afford, in many instances, to give good salaries to curates, without leaving themselves too little; and if no curate were to be permitted, unless he had a hundred pounds a year, their number would be very small, which would be a disadvantage, as then there would be no such choice in the nursery for the church, curates being candidates for the higher ecclesiastical offices, according to their merit and good behaviour.” He explained the system of the English Hierarchy exceedingly well. “ It is not thought fit (said he) to trust a man with the care of a parish, till he has given
proof as a 'curate that he shall deserve such a trust." This is an excellent theory; and if the practice were according to it, the Church of England would be admirable indeed. However, as Dr. Johnson once observed as to the Universities, bad practice does not infer that the constitution is bad.
The subject of the inequality of the livings of the clergy of England, and the scanty provisions of some of the curates, was resumed at another time; when Johnson said, " It cannot be helped. You must consider, that the revenues of the clergy are not at the disposal of the State, like the pay of the army. Different men have founded different churches; and some are better endowed, some worse. The State cannot interfere and make an equal division of what has been particularly appropriated. Now when a clergyman has but a small living, or even two small livings, he can afford very little to a curate.”
Johnson's old fellow-collegian Mr. Edwards, who has been mentioned before, once expressed a wish that he had continued at college. Johnson asked, “Why do you wish that, Sir?” EDWARDS.
66 Because I think I should have had a inuch easier life than mine has been. I should have been a parson, and had a good living, like Bloxam and several others, and lived comfort