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would appear. He durst not have printed it while he was alive.” DR. ADAMS. “I believe his · Dissertations on the Prophecies' is his great work." JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, it is Tom's great work; but how far it'is great, or how much of it is Tom's, are other questions. I fancy a considerable part of it was borrowed.” DR. ADAMS. “He was a very successful man.” Johnson. “I don't think so, Sir. He did not get very high. He was late in getting what he did get; and he did not get it by the best means. I believe he was a gross flatterer.”
I fulfilled my intention by going to London, and returned to Oxford on Wednesday the 9th of June, when I was happy to find myself again in the same agreeable circle at Pembroke College, with the comfortable prospect of making some stay. Johnson welcomed my return with more than ordinary glee.
He talked with great regard of the Honourable Archi. bald Campbell, whose character he had given at the Duke of Argyll's table when we were at Inverary; and at this time wrote out for me, in his own hand, a fuller account of that learned and venerable writer, which I have published in its proper place. Johnson made a remark this evening which struck me a good deal. “I never," said he, “ knew a nonjuror who could reason.” 2 Surely he did not
1 Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd ed., p. 371. [See vol. v., p. 310.]
2 The Rev. Mr. Agutter has favoured me with a note of a dialogue between Mr. John Henderson and Dr. Johnson on this topic, as related by Mr. Henderson, and it is evidently so authentic that I shall here insert it :-HENDERSON. “ What do you think, Sir, of William Law ? " JOHNSON. “William Law, Sir, wrote the best piece of parenetic divinity; but William Law was no reasoner.” HENDERSON.“ Jeremy Collier, Sir?” JOHNSON, “ Jeremy Collier fought without a rival, and therefore could not claim the victory.” Mr. Henderson mentioned Ken and Kettlewell; but some objections were made; at last he said, “ But, Sir, what do you think of Leslie ?" Johnson. “ Charles Leslie I had for. gotten. Leslie was a reasoner, and a reasoner who was not to be reasoned against.”
Charles was the son of Dr. John Leslie, Bishop of Clogher in Ireland. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Though zealous against popery and King James's popish measures, he could not reconcile his conscience to the oath to William and Mary, and so became a nonjuror, of which party he was one of the chief literary and theological supports and ornaments. After many years of exile he returned to his native 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 remark; 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 should 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 with great respect, both in my preface and in my notes.”
Mrs. Kennicott spoke of her brother, the Reverend Mr. Chamberlayne, who had given up great prospects in the Church of England ? 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.” country, and died in 1722, at his own house at Glaslough, in the county of Monaghan, where his descendants have contined to reside. The present possessor, Mr. Charles Powell Leslie, his great grandson, has repre. sented that county in several parliaments. — Croker.
1 Mr. Boswell is mistaken: two of the seven bishops, viz. Lloyd, of St. Asaph's, and Trelawney, of Bristol, transferred after the Revolution to Exeter and Winchester, were not nonjurors. — Croker.
2 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.-Croker.
Mrs. Kennicott, 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 infi. delity on the continent than there had been ; Voltaire and Rousseau were less read. I asserted, from good authority, that Hume's infidelity was certainly less read. JOHNSON. “ All infidel writers drop into oblivion when personal connections 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 such defenders 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 t'other.' The point is well, though the expression is not correct: one, and not thee, should be opposed to ť 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. No reasoning papist believes every article of their faith. There is one side on which a
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.
Two wits harangue the table;
N- swears 'tis all a fable,
N- , kiss thy empty brother;
And dreads a friend like t'other.”
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 I would be a papist if I could. 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 men 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 you 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, 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.” As to the invocation of saints, he said, “ Though I do not think it authorised, it appears 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.” 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 flee from you.” James, iv. 7. I was happy to produce so judicious and elegant a supporter of a doctrine
1 Waller, in his Divine Poesie, canto first, has the same thought finely expressed :
“ The church triumphant and the church below
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 which, I know not why, should, in this world of imperfect knowledge, and therefore of wonder and mystery in a thousand instances, be contested by some with an unthinking assurance and flippancy.
After dinner, when one of us talked of there being a great enmity between Whig and Tory :-JOHNSON. “Why, not so much, I think, unless when they come into competition with each other. There is none when they are only common acquaintance, none when they are of different sexes. A Tory will marry into a Whig family, and a Whig into a Tory family, without any reluctance. But, indeed, in a matter of much more concern than political tenets, and that is religion, men and women do not concern themselves much about difference of opinion; and ladies set no value
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 permitted, for ends unsearchable to us, and in ways which we cannot particularly 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
Having treated of possessions, his lordship says:
“ As I have no authority to affirm that there are now any such, so neither may 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 manifest to everyoone 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 antiquated or obscure enthusiast, but of a learned and polite prelate, now alive; and were spoken not to a vulgar congregation, but to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. His lordship in this sermon explains the words “deliver us from evil,” in the Lord's Prayer, as signifying a request to be protected from the evil one,” that is, the Devil. This is well illustrated in a short but excellent Commentary by my late worthy friend the Reverend Dr. Lort, of whom it may truly be said, Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit. It is remarkable that Waller, in his Reflections on the several Petitions in that sacred Form of Devotion, has understood this in the same sense :
“Guard us from all temptations of the For.”