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cation, to the prying and malignant eye of the world. It is not merely the name of Johnson that is to do service to any cause. His admirable arguments in favour of religion and morality, are not weakened by the proofs of his practical errors: These are always precisely what they were, once good, and always good. His argu- ; ments in favour of self-denial do not lofe their force because he fasted, nor those in favour of devotion, because he said his prayers. His fasting and his prayers add strength to his pious reasonings, from the proof they afford, that he believed in the religion he inculcated. Human nature is frail ; common frailties must inevitably preclude perfection to the least faulty professor of Christianity. The world never supposed Johnson to have been a perfect character. His ftupendous abilities, and great learning, it is well known, could not preserve their possessor from the depreda


tions of melancholy. But his failings leaned to the side of virtue. His superstition seems to have arisen from the most amiable difpofition in the world, “ a pious awe, and fear to have offended,” a wish rather to do too much than too little. Such a disposition one loves, and always wishes to find in a friend ; and it cannot be disagreeable in the fight of him who made us. It argues a sensibility of heart, a tenderness of conscience, and the fear of God. That he should not be conscious of the abilities with which Providence had blessed him, was impossible. He felt his own powers; he felt what he was capable of having performed, and he saw how little, comparatively speaking, he had performed. Hence his apprehensions on the near prospectof the account to be made, viewed through the medium of constitutional and morbid melancholy, which often excluded from his fight the bright

beams of divine mercy. His felf-abafés ment was strictly ingenuous ; but his expressions, when compared with the tenor of his conduct, seem too disparaging. Christianity does not require us to deny any one quality we poffefs, or to represent ourselves, in defiance of truth, as one mass of deformity and guilt. The instruction of St. Paul, enforced by the most facred example, is singly this, that we “ think not of ourselves more highly than we ought to think; but that we think foberly.” Johnson walked at all times humbly with his God; but when we follow him through all his weaknesses, his religious horrors, and sacred punctilios, we are inclined to pity the constitutional feebleness of his nature, while we admire the perfeverance and fervour of his devotion. We owe to the excellencies of the Supreme Being, every possible degree of veneration and honour; but that virtue should tremble in

the presence of Infinite Goodness, is not less contrary to reason, than it is contrary to heroism. In the presence of Infinite Goodness it feels a congeniality, and affumes a confidence, that leaps, as it were, the gulf between, and dares to aspire to sentiments of attachment, fidelity and love. But it would be unfair to conclude from this circumstance, that the piety and humility of Johnson were of no value ; and the fincerity of his repentance, the stedfastness of his faith, and the fervour of his charity, of no use. There is something so great and awful in the idea of a God, and something so fascinating in the effufions of gratitude, that there are numbers of men intrepid and heroical, in every other regard, that cannot boast of all the serenity and assurance in the business of religion, that are so earnestly to be desired; and yet the piety of these men is edifying and venerable. Indeed the fate of “ the unprofitable servant” may justly beget apprehensions in the stoutest mind. Language affords no finer expressions than those in which the Prayers of Johnson are conceived. They are short, simple, and unadorned. They bear some resemblance to the Collects in the “ Common Prayer-Book," without that dignity which is derived to the latter, from the venerable antiquity of the style and expression. They have no particular method, no display of genius, and no beauties that should characterize the man under whose name they appear. They have nothing that might not have been produced by any man of plain common sense. At the same time they contain few traces of weakness or absurdity. Never did there exist a greater disparity between the performances of the same author, than between this publication and the Lives of the Poets, or the numbers of the Rambler. His Meditations, as they are im


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