Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

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

my

father.'” 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 showing that no less than the Son of God suffered for sin, it showed to men and innumerable created beings the heinousness of it, and therefore rendered it unnecessary for divine justice to be exercised against sinners, as it otherwise must have been; that in this way it might operate even in favour 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 doctrines of what our Saviour has done for us, as it removed the notion of imputed righteousness in co-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

* 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 show at large in my future work, “ The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D."-BOSWELL.

[Dr. Kippis was one of the pupils of Dr. Doddridge. He was an indefatigable literary labourer, chiefly in biography. He died in 1795, aged seventy.-ED.]

6

will affect each individual according to the particular conduct of each. I would illustrate this by saying that Christ's satisfaction resembles & sun placed to show 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 topics should be confined in a mixed company.

1.-JOHNSON : What is to become of society, if a friendship of twenty years is to be broken off for such a cause ?" As

[ocr errors]

Bacon* says,

“ You

[ocr errors]

• Who, then, to frail mortality shall trust,

But limns the water, or but writes in dust.” I said he should write expressly in support of Christianity; for that, although a reverence for it shines through his works in several places, that is not enough.

w,” said I, “what Grotius has done, and what Addison has done. You should do also.” He replied, "I hope I shall."

MONDAY, AUGUST 23. Principal Campbell, Sir Alexander Gordon, Professor Gordon, and Professor Ross I visited us in the morning, as did Dr. Gerard, who had come six miles from the country on purpose. We went and

* The Rev. Dr. Phannel Bacon, a now neglected poet, author of “ The Artificial Kite,” 1719, a series of dramatic pieces, collected and published in 1757 under the title of “Humorous Ethics," and various other productions. He was rector of Balden, in Oxfordshire, and vicar of Bramber, in Sussex. He died January 10, 1783, aged eightythree.-ED.

† The Rev. Dr. George Campbell, author of " A Dissertation on Miracles," "The Philosophy of Rhetoric,” and other works. He died April 6th, 1796. Campbell was the Paley of Scotland; a man of great and various talents, who did eminent service to the cause of Christian truth.-ED.

# This gentleman died in 1777. His death was oecasioned by swallowing a spider in a glass of wine !-"Scots' Magazine."-ED.

*

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, i 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 everybody here had for my father.

While Sir Alexander Gordon conducted Dr. Johnson to old Aberdeen, Professor Gordon and I called on Mr. Riddoch, whom I found to be a grave, worthy clergyman. He observed that, whatever might be said of Dr. Johnson while he was alive, he would, after he was dead, be looked upon by the world with regard and astonishment on account of his Dictionary.

Professor Gordon and I walked over to the Old College, which Dr. Johnson had seen by this time. I stepped into the chapel, and looked at the tomb of the founder, Archbishop (Bishop] Elphinston, of whom I shall have occasion to write in my History of James IV. of Scotland, the patron of my family.ş

* Dr. Beattie was so kindly entertained in England, that he had not yet returned home.-BOSWELL.

† He does not appear to have made a speech on the occasion, as is customary in acknowledgment of such honours. The omission is worthy of notice in reference to the question as to Johnson's oratorical powers. See Boswell's “Life," 1771. Johnson confessed to Lord Stowell that he had several times tried to speak in the Society of Arts and Sciences, but “ had found he could not get on.”-ED.

# 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, LL.D., receptus et admissus fuit in municipes et fratres guildæ præfati burgi de Aberdeen. In deditissimi amoris et'affectus ac eximiæ observantiæ tesseram, quibus dicti Magistratus eum amplectuntur. Extractum per me, Boswell.]

“Alex. CARNEGIE." & This was one of Boswell's many broken resolutions and ineffectual wishes; he never wrote a history of James IV. On examination, he was probably not proud of the sort of patronage bestowed on the founder of his family. From the treasurer's books in the reign of James IV. it appears that Thomas Boswell was connected with the train of that sovereign; Mr Pitcairn conjectures as a minstrel. In one entry he is found employed in paying "the wife of the king's inns,” and “the boy that ran the king's horse,” i88. Another entry shows that 56s. were paid by the Court for “twa hidis to be jakkis to Thomas Boswell and Walter Trumbull" against the raid of Eskadale. A sum of 28s. was also paid for “ dancing-gear" to Thomas Boswell and Pate Sinclair; and on the 31st

66

We dined at Sir Alexander Gordon's. The Provost, Professor Ross, Professor Dunbar, Professor Thomas Gordon, were there. After dinner came in Dr. Gerard, Professor Leslie, Professor Macleod. We had little or no conversation in the morning; now we were but barren. The professors seemed afraid to speak.

Dr. Gerard told us that an eminent printer was very intimate with Warburton.-JOHNSON: “Why, sir, he has printed some of his works, and perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is repairing the college."* But,” said Gerard, “I saw a letter from him to this printer, in which he says that the onehalf of the clergy of the Church of Scotland are fanatics, and the other half infidels.”—JOHNSON: “Warburton has accustomed himself to write letters just as he speaks, without thinking any more of what he throws out. When I read Warburton first, and observed his force and his contempt of mankind, I thought he had driven the world before him; but I soon found that was not the case ; for Warburton, by extending his abuse, rendered it ineffectual.”

when we were by ourselves, that he thought it very wrong in the printer to show Warburton's letter, as it was raising a body of enemies against him. He thought it foolish in Warburton to write so to the printer; and added, “Sir, the worst way of being intimate is by scribbling." He called Warburton's “Doctrine of Grace” a poor performance, and so he said was Wesley's Answer. Warburton, he observed, had laid himself very open. In particular, he was weak enough to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had spoken with tongues, had spoken languages which they never knew before; a thing as absurd as to say that in some disorders of the imagination people had been known to fly.

I talked of the difference of genius, to try if I could engage Gerard in a disquisition with Dr. Johnson; but I did not succeed. I men

He told me,

a

of December, 1505, the treasurer charges “to thirty dozen of bells for dancers, delivered to Thomas Boswell, £4 10s.” About this time, however, the Court favourite received a grant of the lands of Auchinleck, and other possessions in Ayrshire. He accompanied his royal master in his invasion of England, in 1513, and, as his descendant was proud to state, fell with him at Flodden.-ED.

* Mr. Strahan, the king's printer, was the party alluded to, and this reference to him, though the name was concealed, gave great offence to his friends. Mr. Strahan was then a Member of Parliament, “and his merit," says Dr. Beattie, “ entitled him to be on a footing of intimacy with any bishop or any British subject.” He had conferred substantial favours on Johnson himself, who really esteemed and respected him, notwithstanding the above splenetic remark. See Boswell's “Life of Johnson,” under date 1771. -ED.

+ Dr. Gerard wrote an “Essay on Genius," and other metaphysical and philosophical treatises. He died February 22nd, 1795.-ED.

tioned as a curious fact, that Locke had written verses.-JOHNSON: “I know of none, sir, but a kind of exercise prefixed to Dr. Sydenham's Works, in which he has some conceits about the dropsy, in which water and burning are united, and how Dr. Sydenham removed fire by drawing off water, contrary to the usual practice, which is to extinguish fire by bringing water upon it. I am not sure that there is a word of all this; but it is such kind of talk."*

[ocr errors]

* All this, as Dr. Johnson suspected at the time, was the immediate invention of his own lively imagination ; for there is not one word of it in Mr. Locke's complimentary performance. My readers will, I have no doubt, like to be satisfied by comparing them, and at any rate it may entertain them to read verses composed by our great metaphysician, when a Bachelor in Physic.

a

AUCTORI, IN TRACTATUM EJUS DE FEBRIBUS.
Febriles æstus victumque ardoribus orbem

Flevit non tantis par Medicina malis.
Nam post mille artes, medicæ tentamina curæ,

Ardet adhuc Febris, nec velit arte regi.
Præda sumus flammis; solum hoc speramus ab igne,

Ut restet paucus, quem capit urna, cinis.
Dum quærit medicus febris causamque modumque,

Flammarum et tenebras, et sine luce faces;
Quas tractat patitur flammas, et febre calescens,

Corruit ipse suis victima rapta focis.
Qui tardos potuit morbos artusque trementes

Sistere, febrili se videt igne rapi.
Sic faber exesos fulsit tubicine muros,

Dum trahit antiquas lenta ruina domos.
Sed si flamma vorax miseras incenderit ædes

Unica flagrantes tunc sepelire salus.
Fit fuga, tectonicas nemo tunc invocat artes;

Cum perit artificis non minus usta domus.
Se tandem Sydenham febrisque Scholæque furori

Opponens, morbi quærit et artis opem.
Non temere incusat tectæ putedinis ignes;

Nec fictus, febres qui fovet, humor erit.
Non bilem ille movet, nulla hic pituita; salutis

Quæ spes, si fallax ardeat intus aqua?
Nec doctas magno rixas ostentat hiatu,

Quis ipsis major febribus ardor inest.
Innocuas placide corpus jubet urere flammas;

Et justo rapidos temperat igne focos.
Quid febrim exstinguat, varius quid postulat usus,

Solari ægrotos qua potes arte, docet.
Hactenus ipsa suum timuit Natura calorem,

Dum sæpe incerto, quo calet, igne perit:
Dum reparat tacitos male provida sanguinis ignes,

Prælusit busto, fit calor iste rogus.
Jam secura suas foveant præcordia flammas,

Quem Natura negat, dat Medicina modum.
Nec solum faciles compescit sanguinis æstus,

Dum dubia est inter speinque metumque salus;
Sed fatale malum domuit, quodque astra malignum

Credimus, iratam vel genuisse Stygem.

« PreviousContinue »