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did not mean to deny that faculty to many of their writers — to Hickes, Brett, and other eminent divines of that persuasion; and did not recollect that the seven bishops, so justly celebrated for their magnanimous resistance of arbitrary power, were yet nonjurors () to the new government. The nonjuring clergy of Scotland, indeed, who, excepting a few, have lately, by a sudden stroke, cut off all ties of allegiance to the house of Stuart, and resolved to pray for our present lawful sovereign by name, may be thought to have confirmed this re. mark; as it may be said, that the divine indefeasible hereditary right which they professed to believe, if ever true, must be equally true still. Many of my readers will be surprised when I mention that Johnson assured me he had never in his life been in a nonjuring meeting-house.
Next morning at breakfast, he pointed out a passage in Savage's “Wanderer,” saying “ These are fine verses.” • If,” said he, “ I had written with hostility of Warburton in my Shakspeare, I shoula have quoted this couplet:
• Here Learning, blinded first, and then beguiled,
Looks dark as Ignorance, as Frenzy wild.' You see they'd have fitted him to a T,” (smiling.) Dr. ADAMS. “But you did not write against Warburton.” JOHNSON. “No, Sir, I treated him
Lesley I had forgotten. Lesley was a reasoner, and a reasoner who was not to be reasoned against.”
(1) Mr. Boswell is mistaken: two of the seven bishope (Lloyd, of St. Asaph's, and Trelawney) were not nonjurois.
with great respect both in my preface and in my notes." (1)
Mrs. Kennicot spoke of her brother, the Reverend Mr. Chamberlayne, who had given up great prospects in the Church of England (2) on his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. Johnson, who warmly admired every man who acted from a conscientious regard to principle, erroneous or not, exclaimed fervently, “God bless him.”
Mrs. Kennicot, in confirmation of Dr. Johnson's opinion that the present was not worse than former ages, mentioned that her brother assured her there was now less infidelity on the continent than there had been (3); Voltaire and Rousseau were less read. I asserted, from good authority, that Hume's infidelity was certainly less read. Johnson. infidel writers drop into oblivion when personal connexions and the floridness of novelty are gone ; though now and then a foolish fellow, who thinks he can be witty upon them, may bring them again into notice. There will sometimes start up a college joker, who does not consider that what is a joke in a college will not do in the world. To
(1) See antè, p. 16. C.
12) Mr. Hallam informs me that there is here an inaccuracy. Mr. George Chamberlayne was a clerk in the Treasury, and never was in the Church of England. He became a Romish priest, and died in London within the last twenty years. His elder brother, Edward Chamberlayne, was made Ścretary of the Treasury in 1782, but was so overcome by a nervous terror of the responsibility of the office, that he committed suicide, lov throwing himself out of the window, 6th April, 1782. See Geni. Mag. loco, and Hannah More's Life, vol. i. p. 245. — - C. 1835.
(3) A few years afforded lamentable evidence ruw utterly mistaken was this opinion. — C.
such d-fenders of religion I would apply a stanza of a poem which I remember to have seen in some old collection:
· Henceforth be quiet and agree,
Each kiss his empty brother :
But dreads a friend like tother.' The point is well, though the expression is not correct: one, and not thee, should be opposed to t'other. (1)
On the Roman Catholic religion he said, “If you join the papists externally, they will not interrogate you strictly as to your belief in their tenets. Ne .easoning papist believes every article of their faith. There is one side on which a good man might be persuaded to embrace it. A good man of a timorous disposition, in great doubt of his acceptance with God, and pretty credulous, may be glad to be of a church where there are so many helps to get to heaven. (2) I would be a papist if I could.
(1) I have inserted the stanza as Johnson repeated it from memory; but I have since found the poem itself, in “ The Foundling Hospital for Wit,” printed at London, 1749. It is as follows:
“EPIGRAM, occasioned by a religious dispute at Bath.
-y believes he knows not why,
kiss thy empty brother; Religion laughs at foes like thee,
And dreads a friend like t'other." - B. The disputants alluded to in this epigram are supposed to have been Bentley (the son of the doctor and the friend of Walpole) and Beau Nash. C.
(2) This facility, however it may, in their last moments, delude the timorous and credulous, is, as Jeremy Taylor oba serves, proportionably irjurious jf previously calculated upon
swears 'tis all a fable.
I have fear enough; but an obstinate rationality prevents me. I shall never be a papist, unless on the near approach of death, of which I have a very great terror. I wonder that women are not all papists." BosweLL. “ They are not more afraid of death than inen are." Johnson.
“Because they are less wicked.” Dr. ADAMS. “ They are more pious." Johnson. “No, hang 'em, they are not more pious. A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. He'll beat
all at piety. He argued in defence of some of the peculiar tenets of the church of Rome. As to the giving the bread only to the laity, he said, “ They may think, that in what is merely ritual (1), deviations from the primitive mode may be admitted on the ground of convenience; and I think they are as well warranted to make this alteration, as we are to substitute sprinkling in the room of the ancient baptism. (2) As to the invocation of saints, he said, “ Though I do not think it authorised, it ap
When addressing a convert to the Romish church, he says, “If. I had a mind to live an evil life, and yet hope for heaven at last, I would be of your religion above any in the world.” — - Works, vol. xi.
C. (1) The Bishop of Ferns very justly observes, that the sacrament is not merely ritual. Had it been an institution of the church of Rome, they might have modified it; but it was a solemn and specific ordinance of our Saviour himself, which no church could justifiably alter, - C.
(2) I do not recollect any scriptural authority that primitive baptism should necessarily be by immersion. From the Acts, ii. 41.. it may be inferred that 3000 persons were baptized in Jerssulem in one day, and the jailor of Philippi and his family were baptized hastily at night, and, as it would seem, within the purlieus of the prison (Acts, xvi. 33.). These baptisms could hardly have been by immersion. — C.
pears to me, that 'the communion of saints' in the Creed means the communion with the saints in Heaven, as connected with “The holy Catholic church.'” (1) He admitted the influence of evil spirits upon our minds, and said, “ Nobody who believes the New Testament can deny it.”
I brought a volume of Dr. Hurd, the Bishop of Worcester's Sermons, and read to the company some passages from one of them, upon this text, “ Resist the Devil, and he will fly from you.” James iv. 7. I was happy to produce so judicious and elegant a supporter (2) of a doctrine which, I know not why, should, in this world of imperfect
(1) Waller, in his “ Divine Poesie,” canto first, has the same thought finely expressed :
“ The church triumphant and the chuch below
In songs of praise their present union show :
May sing together, though we dwell apart.” (2) The sermon thus opens :“That there are angels and spirits good and bad ; that at the head of these last there is one more considerable and malignant than the rest, who in the form or under the name of a serpent was deeply concerned in the fall of man, and whose head, as the prophetic language is, the Son of Man was one day to bruise; that this evil spirit, though that prophecy be in part completed, has not yet received his death's wound, but is still per. mitted, for ends unsearchable to us, and in ways which we cannot particu. larly explain, to have a certain degree of power in this world hostile to its virtue and happiness, and sometimes exerted with too much success; all this is so clear from Scripture, that no believer, unless he be first of all spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit, can possibly entertain a doubt of it.”
Having treated of possessions, his lordship says, “As I have no authority to affirm that there are now any such, so neither inay I presume to say with confidence that there are not any." “ But then, with regard to the influence of evil spirits at this day upon the souls of men, I shall take leave to be a great deal more peremptory. Then, having stated the various proofs, he adds), All this, I say, is so ma. nisest to every one who reads the Scriptures, that, if we respect their authority, the question concerning the reality of the demoniac influence upon the minds of men is clearly determined.
Let it be remembered, that these are not the words of an an. tiquated or obscure enthusiast, but of a learned and po'ite