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1784. opinion in the strongest terms. This is an enquiry
often made; and its being a subject of disquisition is Ætat. 75.
life, but to cure our vain expectations of a compleat and perfect happiness in this world ; to convince us, that there is no such thing to be found in mere external enjoyments ;--and to teach us to seek for happiness in the practice of virtue, in the knowledge and love of God, and in the hopes of a better life. For this is the application of all: Let us hear, &c. xii. 13. Not only his duty, but his happiness too: For God, &c. ver. 14.See. Sherlock on Providence,' p. 299.
“ The New Testament tells us, indeed, and most truly, that . ' sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;' and, therefore, wisely forbids us to inerease our burden by forebodings of sorrows ;' but I think it now here says that even our ordinary afflictions are not consistent with a very considerable degree of positive comfort and satisfaction. And, accordingly, one whose sufferings as well as merits were conspicuous, assures us, that in proportion as the sufferings of Christ abounded in them, so their consolation also abounded by Christ.' 2 Cor. i. 5. It is needless to cite, ag indeed it would be endless even to refer to, the multitude of past sages in both Testaments holding out, in the strongest language, promises of blessings, even in this world, to the faithful servants' of God, I will only refer to St. Luke xviii. 29, 30. and i Tim. iv. 8.
-"Upon the whole, setting aside instances of great and lasting bodily pain, of minds peculiarly oppressed by melancholy, and of søvere temporal calamities, from which extraordinary cases we surely should not form our estimate of the general tenour and complexion of life ; excluding these from the account, I am convinced that as well the gracious constitution of things which Providence has ordained, as the declarations of Scripture and the actual experience of individuals, authorize the sincere Christian to hope that his humble and constant endeavours to perform his duty, checquered as the best life is with many failings, will be crowned with a greater degree of present peace, serenity and comfort, than he could reasonably permit himself to expect, if he measured bis views and judged of life from the opinion of Dr. Johnson, often and energetically expressed in the Memoirs of him, without any animadversion or censure by his ingenious Biographer. If He himself,. upon reviewing the subject, shall see the matter in this
& proof that much misery presses upon human feeló 1784. ings; for those who are conscious of a felicity of ex.
light, he will, in an octavo edition, which is eagerly expected, make such additional remarks or corrections as he shall judge fit; lest the impressions which these discouraging passages may leave on the reader's mind, should in any degree hinder what otherwise the whole spirit and energy of the work tonds, and, I hope, suc. Lessfully, to promote, - pure morality and true religion."
Though I have, in some degree, obviated any reflections against my illustrious friend's dark views of life, when considering, in the course of this Work, his “ Rambler" and his “ Rasselas," I am obliged to Mr. Churton for complying with my request of his pere mission to insert his Remarks, being conscious of the weight of what he judiciously suggests as to the melancholy in my own con stitution. His more pleasing views of life, I hope, are just. Valeant, quantum valere possunt.
Mr. Churton ooncludes his letter to me in these words: “Once, and only once, I had the satisfaction of seeing your illustrious friend; and as I feel a particular regard for all whom he distinguished with his esteem and friendsbip, so I derive mucl pleasure from reflecting that I once beheld, though but: transiently near our College-gate, one whose works will for ever delight and improve the world, who was a sincere and zealous son of the Church of England, an honour to his country, and an ornament to human nature."
His letter was accompanied with a present from himself of his “ Sermons at the Bampton Lecture," and from his friend, Dr. Townson, the venerable Rector of Malpas in Cheshire, of his “ Discourses on the Gospels," together with the following extract of a letter from that excellent person, who is now gone to receive the reward of bis labours: “ Mr. Boswell is not only very entertaining in his works, but they are so replete with moral and religious sentiments, without an instance, as far as I know, of a cone trary tendency, that I cannot help having a great esteena for bim; and if you think quch a trifle as a copy of the Discoures, er dong authoris, would be acceptable to him, I should be happy to give him this small testimony of my regard."
Such spontaneous testimonies of approbation from such men, without any personal acquaintance with me, are truly valuable and encouraging !
1784. istence, would never hesitate to accept of a repetition
of it. I have met with very few who would. I Etat. 75.
have heard Mr. Burke make use of a very ingenious
" When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat,
give." It was observed to Dr. Johnson, that it seemed strange that he, who has so often delighted his company by his lively and brilliant conversation, should say he was miserable. Johnson. “ Alas! it is all
AVRENGZEBE, Act. iv. Sc. 1.
outside ; I may be cracking my joke, and cursing 1784. the sun. Sun, how I hate thy beams !” I knew not
Eat. 75. well what to think of this declaration ; whether to hold it as a genuine picture of his mind,' or as the effect of his persuading himself contrary to fact, that the position which he had assumed as to human unhappiness, was true. We may apply to him a sen. tence in Mr. Greville's “Maxims, Characters, and Reflections ;": a book which is entitled to much more praise than it has received: “ Aristarchus is charming: how full of knowledge, of sense, of sentiment. You get him with difficulty to your supper ; and after having delighted every body and himself for a few hours, he is obliged to return home ;he is finishing his treatise, to prove that unhappiness is the portion of man."
On Sunday, June 13, our philosopher was calm at breakfast.' There was something exceedingly pleasing in our leading a College life, without restraint, and with superiour elegance, in consequence of our living in the Master's House, and having the company
of ladies. Mrs. Kennicot related, in his presence, a lively saying of Dr. Johnson to Miss Hannah More, who had expressed a wonder that the poet who had written “ Paradise Lost," should write such
poor Sonnets :-“ Milton, Madam, was a genius that could cut a Colossus from a rock, but could not carve heads upon cherry-stones.”
We talked of the casuistical question, Whether it
Yet there is no doubt that a man may appear very gay in company, who is sad at heart. His merriment is like the sound of drums and trumpets in a battle, to drown the groans of the wounded and dying. *
1784. was allowable at any time to depart from Truth ?" S. JOHNSON. “ The general rule is, that Truth should Etat. 75.
never be violated, because it is of the utmost importance to the comfort of life, that we should have a full security by mutual faith ; and occasional inconveniencies should be willingly suffered, that we may preserve it. There must, however, be some exceptions. If, for instance, a murderer should ask you which way a man is gone, you may tell him what is not true, because you are under a previous obligation not to betray a man to a murderer.” Boswell. “Supposing the person who wrote Junius were asked whe. ther he was the authour, might he deny it?" JOHN.
“ I don't know what to say to this. If you were sure that he wrote Junius, would you, if he denied it, think as well of him afterwards? Yet it may be urged, that what a man has no right to ask, you may refuse to communicate ; and there is no other effectual mode of preserving a secret and an important secret, the discovery of which may be very hurtful to you, but a flat denial ; for if you are silent, or hesitate, or evade, it will be held equivalent to a confession. But stay, Sir, here is another case, Supposing the authour had told me confidentially that he had written Junius, and I were asked if he had, I should hold myself at liberty to deny it, as being under a previous promise, express or implied, to conceal it. Now what I ought to do for the authour, may I not do for myself ? But I deny the lawfulness of telling a lie to a sick man, for fear of alarming him, You have no business with consequences ; you are to tell the truth. Besides, you are not sure, what effect your telling him that he is in danger may have. It may bring his distemper to a crisis, and that may