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" True, Sir : all denominations of Christians have really little difference in point of doctrine, though they may differ widely in external forms. There is a prodigious difference between the external form of one of our Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and a church in Italy; yet the doctrine taught is essentially the same.”
The petition to Parliament for removing the subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles was mentioned. Johnson observed, “It was soon thrown out. Sir, they talk of not making boys at the University subscribe to what they do not understand: but they ought to consider, that our Universities were founded to bring up members for the Church of England, and we must not supply our enemies with arms from our arsenal. No, Sir, the meaning of subscribing is not that they fully understand all the articles, but that they will adhere to the Church of England. Now take it in this way, and suppose that they should only subscribe their adherence to the Church of England, there would be still the same difficulty; for still the young men would be subscribe ing to what they do not understand. For if you should ask them, what do you mean by the Church of England? Do you know in what it differs from the Presbyterian Church? from the Romish Church from the Greek Church? from the Coptic Church they could not tell you. So, Sir, it comes to the
same thing."-B. “ But would it not be sufficient to subscribe the Bible ?"-J. “Why, no, Sir; for all sects will subscribe the Bible, nay, the Mahometans will subscribe the Bible; for the Mahometans acknowledge Jesus Christ, as well as Moses; but maintain that God sent Mahomet as a still greater prophet than either.”
Johnson's profound reverence for the Hierarchy made him expect from Bishops the highest degree of decorum; he was offended even at their going to taverns: “ A bishop (said he) has nothing to do at a tippling house. It is not indeed immoral in him to go to a tavern; neither would it be immoral in him to whip a top in Grosvenorsquare; but if he did, I hope the boys would fall upon him, and apply the whip to him. There are gradations in conduct; there is morality, decency, propriety. None of these should be violated by a bishop. A bishop should not go to a house where he may meet a young fellow leading out a wench.”
He also disapproved of bishops going to routs, at least of their staying at them longer than their presence commanded respect. He mentioned a particular bishop. “ Poh! (said Mrs. Thrale) the Bishop of
is never minded at a rout.”—BOSWELL. “When a bishop places himself in a situation where he has no distinct character, and is of no consequence, he degrades the
A due sense
dignity of his order.”—Johnson. “Mr. Boswell, Madam, has said it as correctly as it could be.”
Nor was it only in the dignitaries of the Church that Johnson required a particular decorum and delicacy of behaviour: he justly considered that the Clergy, as persons set apart for the sacred office of serving at the altar, and impressing the minds of men with the awful concerns of a future state, should be somewhat more serious than the generality of mankind, and have a suitable composure of manners. of the dignity of their profession, independent of higher motives, will ever prevent them from losing their distinction in an indiscriminate sociality; and did such as affect this know how much it lessens them in the eyes of those whom they think to please by it, they would feel themselves much mortified.
Johnson and his friend Beauclerk were once together in company with several clergymen, who thought that they should appear to advantage by assuming the lax jollity of men of the world; which, as it may be observed in similar cases, they carried to a noisy excess. Johnson, who they expected, would be entertained, sat grave and silent for some time; at last, turning to Beauclerk, he said, by no means in a whisper, “This merriment of parsons is mightily offensive."
Even the dress of a clergyman should be in.
character,' and nothing can be more despicable than conceited attempts at avoiding the appearance of the clerical order; attempts, which are as ineffectual as they are pitiful. Dr. Porteus, now Bishop of London, in his excellent charge when presiding over the diocese of Chester, justly animadverts upon this subject; and observes of a reverend fop, that he “ can be but half a
Addison, in “ The Spectator," has given a fine portrait of a clergyman, who is supposed to be a member of his Club; and Johnson has exhibited a model, in the character of Mr. Mudge, which has escaped the collectors of his works, but which he owned to Mr. Boswell, and which indeed he shewed to Sir Joshua Reynolds at the time when it was written. It bears the genuine marks of Johnson's best manner, and is as follows:
166 The Reverend Mr. Zachariah Mudge, Prebendary of Exeter, and Vicar of St. Andrew's in Plymouth; a man equally eminent for his virtues and abilities, and at once beloved as a companion, and reverenced as a pastor. He had that general curiosity to which no kind of know, ledge is indifferent or superfluous; and that general benevolence by which no order of men is bated or despised.
“ His principles both of thought and action
were great and comprehensive. By a solicitous examination of objections, and judicious comparison of opposite arguments, he attained what enquiry never gives but to industry and perspicuity, a firm and unshaken settlement of conviction. But his firmness was without asperity; for knowing with how much difficulty truth was sometimes found, he did not wonder that many missed it.
“ The general course of his life was determined by his profession: he studied the sacred volumes in the original languages; with what diligence and success, his "Notes upon the Psalms' give sufficient evidence. He once endeavoured
add the knowledge of Arabic to that of Hebrew; but finding his thoughts too much diverted from other studies, after some time desisted from his purpose.
“ His discharge of parochial duties was exemplary. How his Sermons were composed, may be learned from the excellent volume which he has given to the public; but how they were delivered can be known only to those who heard them; for as he appeared in the pulpit, words will not easily describe him. His delivery, though unconstrained, was not negligent, and though forcible, was not turbulent; disdaining anxious nicety of emphasis, and laboured artifice of action, it captivated the hearer by its natural