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1784. opinion in the strongest terms. This is an enquiry S o ften made; and its being a subject of disquisition is Ætal. 75.
life, but to cure our vain expectations of a compleat and perfece: 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 Providenice,' 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 Cot. i. 5. It is needless to cite, as indeed it would be endless even to refer to the multitude of pas. 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 1 Tim. iv. 8. . ,
-“.Upon the whole, setting aside instances of great and lasting
& proof that much misery presses upon human feelo 1784. ings; for those who are conscious of a felicity of exr
Fexr Ætat. 75. light, he will, in an octavo edition, which is eagerly expected, make such additional remarks or corrections as he shall judge fit; leșt 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 tends, and, I hope, suce cessfully, 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 amri obliged to Mr. Churton for complying with my request of his pers 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 friendship, so I derive much 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 buman nature." 1. 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 his 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 cope trary tendency, that I cannot help having a great esteena for him; and if you think auch 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.75.1
have heard Mr. Burke make use of a very ingenious and plausible argument on this subject; “ Every man (said he) would lead his life over again ; for, every man is willing to go on and take an addition to his life, which, as he grows older, he has no reason to think will be better, or even so good as what has preceded." I imagine, however, the truth is, that there is a deceitful hope that the next part of life will be free from the pains, and anxieties, and sorrows, which we have already felt. We are for wise purposes « Condemn'd to Hope's delusive mine," as Johnson finely says; and I may also quote the celebrated lines of Dryden, equally philosophical and poetical :
« When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat, · " Yet fool'd with hope, men favour the deceit; « Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay;
To-morrow's falser than the former day;
“What the first sprightly running could not
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
AVHENGZEBE, 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. 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 sup. per; 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.
was allowable at any time to depart from Truth ?".
JOHNSON. “ The general rule is, that Truth should Ætat. 75.
never be violated, because it is of the utmost import-