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ed religion gives no sanction what- Let us view some of the recorded

Johnson's system appears at circumstances of the transaction, and this time to have been, as it were, a so doing we shall, as Christians, have sort of barter between himself and much more occasion to applaud the heaven, and consequently his chief scriptural correctness of Johnson's fear was lest the equivalent which he feelings respecting the value of his presented should not be sufficient to soul, the guilt of his nature, and the entitle him in the Divine mercy to the inadequacy of man's best merits and pardon of his transgressions.-His repentance, than to congratulate him trust on the Redeemer, though per- upon the accession of such “miserable fectly sincere, does not appear to have comforters' as those who appear to been either exclusive or implicit ; for have surrounded his dying pillow. though all his prayers for mercy and Finding him in great mental disacknowledgments of blessing were tress, I told him, remarks one of offered up solely through the merits his biographers, of the many enjoyand mediation of Jesus Christ, he ments of which I thought him in posseems, in point of fact, for many session, namely, a permanent income, years to have viewed the atonement tolerable health, a high degree of rerather as a medium through which putation for his moral qualities and God is pleased to accept our imper- literary exertions, &c. 'Had Johnfect services, and to make them ade- son's depression of mind been nothing quate, by the conditions of a remedial

more than common melaneboly or law, to the purchase of heaven, than discontent, these topics of consolation as a sacrifice by which alone heaven would have been highly appropriate; is fully secured and freely given to they might also have been fitly urged the believing penitent.

as arguments for gratitude and thanksTo give, therefore, comfort to the giving to the Almighty on account of mind of such a man as Dr. Johnson, such exalted mercies. In either of there were but two modes; either by these points of view the piety of Dr.

; blinding his conscience, or by increase Johnson would doubtless have prompt. ing his faith; either by extenuating ed him to acknowledge the value of his sins, or by pointing out in all its the blessing, and the duty of contentglories the sufficiency of the Christian ment and praise. But as arguments ransom. The friends who surrounded for quieting an alarmed conscience, this eminent man during the greater they were quite inadequate ; for what part of his life, were little qualified would it have profited this distinguishto perform the latter, and there- 'ed man to have gained all his wellfore very naturally resorted to the merited honours, or, even were it former. They found their patient, possible, the world itself

, if, after all, so to speak, in agony ; but in- he should become, he himself af. stead of examining the wound and ap, terwards expressed it,' a cast-away? plying the remedy, they contented The feelings of Dr. Johnson on this themselves with administering ano- subject were more fully evinced on a dynes and opiates, and persuading subsequent occasion. One day, in

", their afflicted friend, that there exist- particular,' remarks Sir John Hawed no cause of danger or aların. kins, when I was suggesting to him

But Johnson was not thus de. these and the like reflections, he gave ceived. The nostruin which has lul- thanks to Almighty God, but added, led its millions to a fatal repose, on- that notwithstanding all the above behim, by the mercy of God, had no ef- nefits, the prospect of death, which fect. His convictions of sin were as was now at no great distance from lasting as they were deep; it was not him, was become terrible, and that therefore until he had dircarded his he could not think of it but with great natural and long-cherished views of pain and trouble of mind.' Nothing commutation and human desert, and assuredly could be more correct than had learned to trust humbly and ex- Dr. Johnson's distinction. clusively to his Saviour, that his mind knowledges the value of the mercies beogme at peaces

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November, 1817.] Last Hours of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

323 which he enjoyed, and he gratefully few days, in consequence of a very

gave thanks to Almighty God' for pressing request to see me, I found them; but he felt that they could not him labouring under very great desoften the terrors of a death-bed, or jection of mind. He bad me draw make the prospect of meeting his

near hiin, and said he wanted to en. Judge less painful and appalling. ter into a serious conversation with Hawkins, who could not enter into me; and upon my expressing my his illustrious friend's more just and willingness to join it, he, with a look enlarged views of human guilt and that cut me to the heart, told me that frailty, confesses himself to have been he had the prospect of death before

very much surprised and shocked at him, and that he dreaded to meet such a declaration from such a man,' his Saviour. I could not but be asand proceeded therefore to urge for tonished at such a declaration, and his comfort the usual arguments of advised him, as I had done before, to extenuation. He reports that he reflect on the course of his life, and told him that he conceived his life to the services he had rendered to the have been a uniform course of virtue ; cause of religion and' virtue, as well that he had ever shown a deep sense by his example as his writings; to of, and zeal for religion; and that, which he answered, that he had writboth by his example and his writings, ten as a philosopher, but had not lived he had recommended the practice of like one.

In the estination of his it; that he had not rested, as many offences he reasoned thus : " Every do, in the exercise of common hones- man knows his own sins, and what ty, avoiding the grosser enormities, grace he has resisted.

But to those yet rejecting those advantages that of others, and the circumstances un result from the belief of Divine Reve, der which they were committed, he lation ; but that he had, by prayer is a stranger. He is therefore to and other exercises of devotion, cul- look on himself as the greatest sinner tivated in his mind the seeds of good that he knows of.' At the conclu. ness,and was become habitually pious. sion of this argument, which he strong

This was the rock on which num- ly enforced, he uttered this passionate berless professed Christians have fa- [impassioned] exclamation : Shall I tally split; and to the mercy of the who have been a teacher of others; Almighty must it be ascribed that the be myself a cast-away?" great and good Dr. Johnson did not

In this interesting passage--interadd one more to the melancholy cata- esting as detailing the religious pro- . logue. For what was the doctrine gress of such a mind as Dr. Johnson's which the narrator attempted to in--how many important facts and reculcate but this, that his friend, like flections crowd upon the imagination! the Pharisee in the Gospel, ought to Wo see the highest human intellect place his confidence upon his being unable, at the approach of death, to more meritorious than other men, find a single argument for hope or and instead of attributing the praise comfort, though stimulated by the to Him, who had made him to dif- mention of all the good deeds and fer,' was to sacrifice to his own net, auspicious forebodings which an anxand burn incense to his own drag.' ious and attentive friend could sugCan we wonder that with such flat- gest. Who that beholds this emitering doctrines constantly sounding nent man thus desirous to open his in his ears, Dr. Johnson was suffered mind, and to enter into a serious to undergo much severe mental dis- conversation'

the most momencipline, in order to reduce him in his tous of all subjects which can interown esteem to that lowly place, which est an immortal being, but must reas a human, and consequently a fal- gret that he had not found a spiritual len being, it was his duty, however adviser who was capable of fully enhigh his attainments or his talents, to tering into his feelings, and adminis: occupy


tering scriptural consolation to his “ In a visit which I made him in a afflicted mind ?



The narrator informs us in this hitherto found peace with his Creator, passage, that he could not but be as- through the blood of Jesus Christ, tonished at such a declaration' as that yet he could not be satisfied with the which Dr. Johnson made. But in ordinary consolations of an uninforinreality, where was the real ground. ed or Pharisaic mind. for astonishment ? Is it astonishing The sun did not, however, set in that an inheritor of a fallen and cor- this long continued cloud, for JohnTupt nature, who is about to quit the son at length obtained comfort, where world, and to be judged according alone true comfort could be obtained, to the deeds done in the body,' should in the sacrifice and mediation of Jebe alarmed at the anticipation of the sus Christ; a circumstance to which event, and be anxious to understand Sir John Hawkins transiently alludes, fully the only mode of pardon and but the particulars of which must be acceptance ? Rather is it not asto- supplied from the narrative of Bosnishing that every other intelligent well, whose words are as follows: man does not feel at his last hour the Dr. Brocklesby, who will not be same ansieties which Dr. Johnson suspected of fanaticism, obliged me experienced ?-unless, indeed, they with the following account: For some have been previously removed by the time before his death all his fears hopes revealed in that glorious dis- were calmed and absorbed by the prepensation which alone undertakes to valence of his faith ; and his trust in point out in what way the Almighty the merits and propitiation of Jesus sees fit to pardon a rebellious world. Christ. He talked often to me about No man would or could have been the necessity of faith in the sacrifice astonished, who knew his own heart; of Jesus, as necessary beyond all good for, as Dr. Johnson truly remarked, works whatever for the salvation of every Christian, how fair soever his mankind. character in the estimation of others, Even allowing for the brevity ought to look upon himself as the this statement, and for the somewhat greatest sinner that he knows of;' a chilling circumstance of its coming remark, be it observed, which shows from the pen of a man who will not how deeply Dr. Johnson had begun be suspected of fanaticism,' what a to drink into the spirit of that great triumph was here for the plain unsoApostle, who, amidst all his excellen- phisticated doctrines of the Gospel, cies, confessed and felt himself, as was especially that of free justification by just remarked, "the chief of sinners.' faith in Jesus Christ! After every

What a contrast does the advice of other means had been tried, and tried Hawkins, as stated by himself in the in vain, a simple penitential reliance preceding passage, form to the scrip- upon the sacrifice of the Redeemer tural exhortation of our own Church! produced in the heart of this devout Instead of advising his friend seriously man a peace and satisfaction which no to examine himself whether he re. reflections upon human merit could pented him truly of his former sins, bestow. He seems to have acquired steadfastly purposing (should he sur- a completely new idea of Christian vive) to lead a new life, having a theology, and could doubtless hencelively faith in God's mercy though forth practically adopt the animating Christ, with a thankful remembrance language of his own church in her of his death, and being in charity with eleventh article, that we are justified all men,' he bids him look back to by faith only, is a most welcome dochis past goodness, and is astonished trine, and very full of comfort.' that the survey is not attended with There are several ways in which the hope and satisfaction which he the distress of Dr. Johnson during his had anticipated. But the truth was, latter years may be considered, of that on the subject of religion, as on which the most correct perhaps is that every other, Dr. Johnson entertained of its having been permitted as a kind far more correct ideas than the friends and fatherly chastisement from the around him; and though he had not Almighty for the inconsistencies of


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November, 1817.] Last Hours of Dr. Samuel Johnson,

325 his life. Both Johnson himself and sibly have become its Saint Paul; and his most partial biographer intimate would doubtless in future have emthat his character was not perfectly bodied his moral injunctions, not in free even from gross sins; but omit- the cold form of ethical philosophy, or ting these unpleasant recollections, even in the generalities of the Chriswe are at least certain that his ge- tian religion, but in an ardent love to neral habits and companions during a God and faith in our Lord Jesus considerable part of his life were not Christ; in a union to the Redeemer, such as a strictly consistent Christian and a dependance upon that boly would have chosen, because they Spirit who is the Enlightener and were not such as could in any way Sanctifier. That such a supposition eonduce to his spiritual comfort or is not visionary may be proved even improvement. Dr. J. was indeed from the meagre accounts afforded by called, in the usual course of Provi- a spectator who would of course be dence, to "live in the world, but it inclined rather to soften down than was bis duty so to have lived in it as to give prominence to any thing not of it;' and with the high sense which might be construed into ' fawhich he uniformly entertained of re- naticism? We learn then from this ligion, and the vast influence which witness that in point of fact there was he had justly acquired in society, his already a marked alteration in Dr. conduct and example would have Johnson's language upon religion, as been of the greatest service in per- instead of spending his time upon barsuading men to a holy as well as a 'vir- ren generalities, he talked often tuous life, to a cordial and complete about the necessity of faith in Jesus.' self-dedication to God, as well as to It will of course be readily allowed, a general decorum and purity of con- that the constitutional melancholy of duct.

this great man might have had much It is certain that in reflecting upon influence in causing this religious dehis past life he did not view it as hav- pression ; but whatever may have ing been truly and decidedly Chris- been the proximate cause, the afflictian. He even prays in his dying tion itself may still be viewed as perhours that God would pardon his forming the office of parental correclate conversion ;' thus evidencing not tion to reclaim his relapses, and teach simply the usual humility and contri- him the hatefulness and folly of sin. tion of every yenuine Christian, but, But without speculating upon either in addition to this, a secret conscious: the final or the efficient cause, the ness that his heart had never before medium through which that cause been entirely right with God.? operated was evidently an indistinct

Had Johnson survived this period ness in his views respecting the na. of his decisive conversion we might ture of the Redeemer's atoņement; have expected to have seen through- an indistinctness common to Dr. out his conduct that he had indeed Johnson with no small class of morabecome a new creature in Christ lists and learned men. He believed Jesus. His respect for religion, and generally in the sacrifice of Christ, his general excellence of character, but he knew little of its fulness and could not perhaps have admitted of its freeness, and he was unable to apmuch visible change for the better; propriate it to his own case. but in heavenly-mindedness, in love perhaps little in the habit of contemand zeal for the souls of men, in dead- plating the Son of God as a great ness to the world and 'fame, in the High-Priest, who can be touched choice of books and companions, and with the feeling of our infirmities, in the exhibition of all those spiritual and who is graciously interceding on graces which belong peculiarly to the our behalf. The character of the Christain nature, we might and must Almighty as a reconciled Father and have beheld a marked improvement. Friend, with whom he was to have Instead of being merely the Senecą daily communion and fellowships, of the English nation, he might pos- was less prominent in his thoughts

He was


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than those attributes which render ledge of his own mysterious nature. him a consuming fire.' He feared If honour and riches are alluring in and respected religion rather than your eyes, be it remembered, that in loved it, and by building his structure the world above, God will make his for many years on a self-righteous faithful servants rulers over many foundation, rendered the whole fabric things. If a secure continuance of liable to be overthrown by the first at- all these blessings be our desire, we tack of an accusing conscience. are assured that no part of our happi

ness shall be ever taken away. Con

sider further, O pious Christian, that MEDITATION on Heaven.

thy father and mother, thy children, (From the Pious Country Parishioner.)

and friends, who are as dear to thee AFTER good men shall, at the end as thine own soul, may enjoy the same of the world, have been tried before happiness, provided they live soberly, the Judge of Mankind, our Lord and righteously, and godly in this present Saviour Jesus Christ, and been found world. And this will double thy joy, worthy by him to be made eternally because you would be as glad for their happy: all such shalt then accordingly sakes, as for your own. Think, then, be invited to take possession of the what rejoicings will be in heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, in those most where angels and saints, and all our gracious words, Come, ye blessed of dear friends that have departed hence my Father, inherit the Kingdom pre- in the Lord, will partake of this happared for you from the foundation piness, and all most fervently love of the world. Matt. xxv. 34. The one another. pious soul will be ever expressing its I cannot, either in words or thoughts, ardent breathings after heaven, in describe the felicity and excellence of the language of the devout psalmist, that state, which is prepared for the Lord, I have loved the habitation of faithful in the other world. Grathy house, and the place where thine cious God, deny me what thou wilt "O honour dwelleth!' joyful seat, o of this earth, give me but an inheritdelightful palace, of the most high ance in heaven. O my soul, is such God! O happy privilege of a blessed a glorious kingdom set before thee, immortality! When shall I inherit and wilt thou not press forward toeverlasting life? that life, which feels wards so glorious à prize? Is this no sorrow, which languishes under heaven prepared for all the faithful no pain, is ruffled with no passion, servants of Christ, and dost thou stuand lies at the mercy of no accidents. pidly neglect it? Does not so rich an In heaven will be no furious ene- inheritance stir thee up to make thy mies to assault us, no temptations to calling sure ? How unworthy art thou seduce us; but we shall be out of the of eternal life, who wilt not strive to reach of all evils, for ever and ever. obtain it? O my soul, set before thy There we shall see God face to face, eyes those bright patterns of heavenand join in concert with the blessed ly-mindedness which the primitive angels, singing the songs of Sion saints have set you.

These good without ceasing. There alone it is, men despised the pleasures of sense, that we find what will answer our ut- and kept their hearts intent upon etermost wishes. If we are pleased with nal joys. These were their hope, beauty, there the righteous shine forth their delight, and only longings of as the sun. If length of days be our their souls. heart's desire, there is an immortal

THE PRAYER. duration ; for the just shall live for ever. If musical entertainments de O Almighty and most merciful light us, there the angels never cease Lord God, who didst send thy dear their melodious praises. If wisdom Son our Saviour Jesus Christ into be an excellence you long for, the the world, to be made man, that by most wise God shall then unlock his shedding of his most precious blood treasures, and let you into the know- upon the cross, he might atone for


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