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ably."'--Johnson. “ Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger fainily than he is able to maintain. I would rather have chancery suits upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman's life as an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.”
In one of his Journals was found the following scheme of life for Sunday: “ Having lived (as he with tenderness of conscience expresses himself) not without an habitual reverence for the Sabbath, yet without that attention to its religious duties which Christianity requires;
“ To rise early, and in order to it, to go to sleep early on Satur. day.
“ To use some extraordinary devotion in the morning.
“ To examine the tenour of my life, and particularly the last week; and to mark my advances in religion, or recession from it.
“ To read the Scripture methodically with such helps as are at hand.
“ To go to church twice.
“ To read books of Divinity, either speculative or practical. 7. • To instruct my family.
“ To wear off by meditation any worldly soil contracted in the week.”
From another of his Journals was transcribed what follows:
€ At church, Oct.—65.
“ To come in before service, and compose my mind by meditation, or by reading some portions of seripture.
“ If I can hear the sermon to attend to it, unless attention be more troublesome than useful.
“ To consider the act of prayer as a reposal of myself upon God, and a resignation of all into his holy hand.”
He said he would not have Sunday kept with rigid severity and gloom, but with a gravity and simplicity of behaviour.
Johnson and Mr. Boswell were once at Southill church together, and it being the first Sunday of the month, and the holy sacrament administered, Mr. B. staid to partake of it. When he came afterwards into Dr. Johnson's room, the Doctor said, “ You did right to stay and receive the communion; I had not thought of it.” This seemed to imply that he did not choose to approach the altar without a previous preparation; as to which good men entertain different opinions, some holding that it is irreverent to partake of that ordinance without considerable premeditation; others, that whoever is a sincere christian, and in a proper frame of mind to discharge any other ritual duty of our religion, may without scruple discharge this most solemn one. A middle notion Mr. Boswell seems to believe to be the just one, which is, that communicants need not think a long train of preparatory forms
indispensably necessary; but neither should they rashly and lightly venture upon so awful' and mysterious an institution. Christians must judge each for himself, what degree of retirement and self-examination is necessary upon each occasion,
Being once (says Mr. B.) in a frame of mind which, I hope for the felicity of human nature, many experience-in fine weather,-at the country-house of a friend,-consoled and elevated by pious exercises, I expressed myself with an unrestrained fervour to my 'Guide, Philosopher, and Friend." My dear Sir, I would fain be a good man; and I am very good now. I fear God and honour the King, I wish to do no ill, and to be benevolent to all mankind." He looked at me with a benignant indulgence; but took occasion to give me wise and salutary caution. “ Do not, Sir, accustom yourself to trust to impressions. There is a middle state of mind between conviction and hypocrisy, of which many are conscious. By trusting to impressions, a man may gradually come to yield to them, and at length be subject to them, so as not to be a free
agent. A man who is in that state should not be suffered to live; if he declares he cannot help acting in a particular way, and is irresistibly impelled, there can be no confidence in him, no more than in a tyger. But, Sir, no man believes
himself to be impelled irresistibly; we know that he who says he believes it, lies. Favourable impressions at particular moments, as to the state of our souls, may be deceitful and dangerous. In general no man can be sure of his acceptance with God; some, indeed, may have had it revealed to them. St. Paul, who wrought miracles, may have had a miracle wrought on himself, and may have obtained supernatural assurance of pardon, and mercy, and beatitude; yet St. Paul, though he expresses strong hope, also expresses fear, lest having preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away."
The opinion of a learned Bishop, as to there being merit in religious faith, being mentioned, Johnson said, “Why yes, Sir, the most licentious man, were hell
before him, would not . take the most beautiful strumpet to his arms. We must, as the Apostle says, live by faith, not by sight.”
Mr. Boswell talking of original sin in consequence of the fall of man, and of the atonement made by our Saviour,“ With respect to original sin (said Johnson), the enquiry is not necessary; for whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt, that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes.
“ Whatever difficulty there may be in the
conception of vicarious punishments, it is an opinion which has had possession of mankind in all ages. There is no nation that has not used the practice of sacrifices. Whoever, therefore, denies the propriety of vicarious punishments, holds an opinion which the sentiments and practice of mankind have contradicted from the beginning of the world. The great sacrifice for the sins of mankind was offered at the death of the MESSIAH, who is called in scripture, · The Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.' To judge of the reasonableness of the scheme of redemption, it must be considered as necessary to the government of the Universe, that God should make known his perpetual and irreconcileable detestation of moral evil. He might indeed pu, nish, and punish only the offenders; but as the end of punishment is not revenge of crimes, but propagation of virtue, it was more becoming the Divine clemency to find another manner of proceeding, less destructive to man, and at least equally powerful to promote goodness. The end of punishment is, to reclaim and warn. That punishment will both reclaim and warn, which shews evidently such abhorrence of sin in God, as may deter us from it, or strike us with dread of vengeance when we have committed it: this is effected by vicarious punishment. Nothing could more testify the opposition between