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He received a card from Sir Alexander Gordon, who had been his acquaintance twenty years ago in London, and who, "if forgiven for not answering a line from him," would come in the afternoon. Dr. Johnson rejoiced to hear of him, and begged he would -come and dine with us. I was much pleased to see the kindness with which Dr. Johnson received his old friend Sir Alexander; a gentleman of good family, Lismore, but who had not the estate. The King's College here made him Professor of Medicine, which affords him a decent subsistence. He told us that the value of the stockings exported from Aberdeen was, in peace, a hundred thousand pounds; and amounted, in time of war, to one hundred and seventy thousand pounds. Dr. Johnson asked, What made the difference? Here we had a proof of the comparative sagacity of the two professors. Sir Alexander answered, "Because there is more occasion for them in war." Professor Thomas Gordon answered, "Because the Germans, who are our great rivals in the manufacture of stockings, are otherwise employed in time of war."— Johnson. "Sir, you have given a very good solution."
At dinner Dr. Johnson ate several plate-fulls of Scotch broth, with barley and peas in it, and seemed very fond of the dish. I said, "You never ate it before."-Johnson. "No, sir; but I don't care how soon I eat it again."-My cousin, Miss Dallas, formerly of Inverness, was married to Mr. Riddoch, one of the ministers of the English chapel here. He was ill, and confined to his room; but she sent us kind invitation to tea, which we all accepted. She was the same lively, sensible, cheerful woman, as ever. Dr. Johnson here threw out some jokes against Scotland. He said, "You go first to Aberdeen; then to Enbru (the
Scottish pronunciation of Edinburgh); then to Newcastle, to be polished by the colliers; then to York; then to London." And he laid hold of a little girl, Stuart Dallas, niece to Mrs. Riddoch, and, represented himself as a giant, said, he would take her with him! telling her, in a hollow voice, that he lived in a cave, and had a bed in the rock, and she should have a little bed cut opposite to it!
He thus treated the point, as to prescription of murder in Scotland. "A jury in England would make allowance for deficiencies of evidence, on account of lapse of time: but a general rule that a crime should not be punished, or tried for the purpose of punishment, after twenty years, is bad: It is cant to talk of the King's advocate delaying a prosecution from malice. How unlikely is it the King's advocate should have malice against persons who commit murder, or should even know them at all.—If the son of the murdered man should kill the murderer who got off merely by prescription, I would help him to make his escape; though, were I upon his jury, I would not acquit him. I would not advise him to commit such an act. On the contrary, I would bid him submit to the determination of society, because a man is bound to submit to the inconveniences of it, as he enjoys the good but the young man, though politically wrong, would not be morally wrong. He would have to say, "Here I am amongst barbarians, who not only refuse to do justice, but encourage the greatest of all crimes. I am therefore in a state of nature: for, so far as there is no law, it is a state of nature; and consequently, upon the eternal and immutable law of justice, which requires that he who sheds man's blood should have his blood shed, I will stab the murderer of father." my
We went to our inn, and sat quietly. Dr. Johnson borrowed, at Mr. Riddoch's a volume of Massillon's Discourses on the psalms: but I found he read little in it. Ogden too he sometimes took up, and glanced at ; but threw it down again. I then entered upon religious conversation. Never did I see him in a better frame : calm, gentle, wise, holy.-I said, "Would not the same objection hold against the Trinity as against Transubstantiation ?"-"Yes, (said he,) if you take three and one in the same sense. If you do so, to be sure you cannot believe it: but the three persons in the Godhead are Three in one sense, and One in another. We cannot tell how; and that is the mystery !"
I spoke of the satisfaction of Christ. He said his notion was, that it did not atone for the sins of the world; but by satisfying divine justice, by shewing that no less than the Son of God suffered for sin, it shewed to men and innumerable created beings, the heinousness of it, and therefore rendered it unnecessary for divine vengeance to be exercised against sinners, as it otherwise must have been; that in this way it might operate even in favor of those who had never heard of it: as to those who did hear of it, the effect it should produce would be repentance and piety, by impressing upon the mind a just notion of sin: that original sin was the propensity to evil, which no doubt was occasioned by the fall. He presented this solemn subject in a new light to me,* and rendered much more rational and clear the doctrine of what our Saviour has done for us ;-as it removed the notion of imputed righteousness in co
My worthy, intelligent and candid friend, Dr. Kippis, informs me, that several divines have thus explained the mediation of our Saviour. What Dr. Johnson now delivered, was but a temporary opinion; for he afterwards was fully convinced of the propitiatory sacrifice, as I shall shew at large in my future work, THE LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, L. L. D.
operating; whereas by this view, Christ has done all already that he had to do, or is ever to do, for mankind, by making his great satisfaction; the consequences of which will affect each individual according to the particular conduct of each. I would illustrate this by saying that Christ's satisfaction resembles a sun placed to shew light to men, so that it depends upon themselves whether they will walk the right way or not, which they could not have done without that sun, "the sun of righteousness. There is, however, more in it than merely giving light,—a light to lighten the Gentiles: for we are told, there is healing under his wings. Dr. Johnson said to me, "Richard Baxter commends a treatise by Grotius, De Satisfactione Christi. I have never read it but I intend to read it; and you may read it." I remarked, upon the principle now laid down, we might explain the difficult and seemingly hard text, "They that believe shall be saved; and they that believe not shall be damned:" They that believe shall have such an impression made upon their minds, as will make them act so that they may be accepted by God.
We talked of one of our friends taking ill, for a length of time, a hasty expression of Dr. Johnson's to him, on his attempting to prosecute a subject that had a reference to religion, beyond the bounds within which the Doctor thought such topicks should be confined in a mixed company.-Johnson. "What is to become of society, if a friendship of twenty years is to be broken off for such a cause ?" As Bacon says,
"Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
I said, he should write expressly in support of Christianity; for that, although a reverence for it shines
works in several places, that is not enough.
Know, (said I,) what Grotius has done, and what Addison has done.-You should do also."-He replied, "I hope I shall."
Monday, 23d Angust.
Principal Campbell, Sir Alexander Gordon, Professor Gordon, and Professor Ross, visited us in the morning, as did Dr. Gerard, who had come six miles from the country on purpose. We went and saw the Marischal College, and at one o'clock we waited on the magistrates in the town-hall, as they had invited us in order to present Dr. Johnson with the freedom of the town, which Provost Jopp did with a very good grace. Dr. Johnson was much pleased with this mark of attention, and received it very politely. There was a pretty numerous company assembled. It was striking to hear all of them drinking " Dr. Johnson! Dr. Johnson!" in the town-hall of Aberdeen, and then to see him with his burgess-ticket, or diploma,† in his hat, which he wore as he walked along the street, according to the usual custom.-It gave me great satisfaction to observe the regard, and indeed fondness too, `which every body here had for my father.
* Dr. Beattie was so kindly entertained in England, that he had not yet returned home.
† Dr. Johnson's burgess-ticket was in these words:
"Aberdoniæ, vigesimo tertio die mensis Augusti, anno Domini millesimo septingentesimo septuagesimo tertio, in presentia honorabilium virorum, Jacobi Jopp, armigeri, præpositi, Adami Duff, Gulielmi Young, Georgii Marr, et Gulielmi Forbes, Balivorum, Gulielmi Rainie Decani guildæ, et Joannis Nicoll Thesaurarii dicti burgi.
"Quo die vir generosus et doctrina clarus, Samuel Johnson, L. L. D. receptus et admissus fuit in municipes et fratres guildæ præfati burgi de Aberdeen. In deditissima amoris et affectus ac eximiæ observantic tesseram, quibus dicti Ma. gistratus eum amplectuntur. Extractum per me,