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more perfection from women than from ourselves, it is doing them honour. And women have not the same temptations that we have; they may always live in virtuous company; men must mix in the world indiscriminately. If a woman has no inclination to do what is wrong, being secured from it is no restraint to her. I am at liberty to walk into the Thames ; but if I were to try it, my friends would restrain me in Bedlam, and I should be obliged to them.” Mrs. KNOWLES. “ Still, Doctor, I cannot help thinking it a hardship that more indulgence is allowed to men than to women. It gives a superiority to men, to which I do not see how they are entitled.” JOHNSON. “ It is plain, Madam, one or other must have the superiority. As Shakspeare says, • If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.”” DILLY. “ I suppose, Sir, Mrs. Knowles would have them ride in panniers, one on each side.” JOHNSON. “ Then, Sir, the horse would throw them both.” MRS. KNOWLES. “ Well, I hope that in another world the sexes will be equal.” BOSWELL. “ That is being too ambitious, Madam. as well desire to be equal with the angels. We shall all, I hope, be happy in a future state, but we must not expect to be all happy in the same degree. It is enough, if we be happy according to our several capacities. A worthy carman will get to heaven as well as Sir Isaac Newton. Yet, though equally good, they will not have the same degrees of happiness.” Johnson. “ Probably not.” (1)
(1) See on this question Bishop Hall's Epistles, dec. iii. epist. 6." Of the different degrees of heavenly glory, and of
Upon this subject I had once before sounded him by mentioning the late Reverend Mr. Brown of Utrecht's image; that a great and small glass, though equally full, did not hold an equal quantity ; which he threw out to refute David Hume's saying, that a little miss, going to dance at a ball, in a fine new dress, was as happy as a great orator, after having made an eloquent and applauded speech. After some thought, Johnson said, “I come over to the parson.” As an instance of coincidence of thinking, Mr. Dilly told told me, that Dr. King, a late dissenting minister in London, said to him, upon the happiness in a future state of good men of different capacities, “A pail does not hold so much as a tub; but, if it be equally full, it has no reason to complain. Every saint in heaven will have as much happiness as he can hold.” Mr. Dilly thought this a clear, though a familiar, illustration of the phrase, “ One star differeth from another in brightness.” (1 Cor. xv. 41.)
Dr. Mayo having asked Johnson's opinion of Soame Jenyns's “ View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion” — JOHNSON. “I think it a pretty book ; not very theological, indeed; and there seems to be an affectation of ease and carelessness, as if it were not suitable to his character to be very serious about the matter.” BOSWELL. “He may have intended this to introduce his book the better among genteel people, who might be unwilling to read too grave a treatise. There is a general levity in the age. We have physicians now with bag-wigs; may we not have airy divines, at least somewhat less solemn in their appearance than they used to be?” Johnson.“ Jenyns might mean as you say.” BOSWELL. “You should like his book, Mrs. Knowles, as it maintains, as you friends do, that courage is not a Christian virtue.” Mrs. KNOWLES. “ Yes, indeed, I like him there; but I cannot agree with him that friendship is not a Christian virtue.” Johnson. “Why, Madam, strictly speaking, he is right. All friendship is preferring the interest of a friend to the neglect, or, perhaps, against the interest, of others; so that an old Greek said, He that has friends has no friend. (') Now, Christianity recommends universal benevolence; to consider all men as our brethren ; which is contrary to the virtue of friendship, as described by the ancient philosophers. Surely, Madam, your sect must approve of this ; for you call all men friends." MRS. . KNOWLES. “We are commanded to do good to all men, “but especially to them who are of the household of faith.'” JOHNSON. “Well, Madam ; the household of faith is wide enough.” Mrs. KNOWLES. “ But, Doctor, our Saviour had twelve apostles, yet there was one whom he loved. John was called
our mutual knowledge of each otier above;" and vol. ii. p. 7., where also this subject is discussed. - M.
the disciple whom Jesus loved.'” Johnson (with eyes sparkling benignantly). “Very well indeed, Madam. You have said very well.” Boswell. “A
-a phrase frequently quoted by Dr. John -C.
(1) οι φιλοι, ο φιλος:
fine application. Pray, Sir, had you ever thought of it?” JOHNSON. “I had not, Sir.”
From this pleasing subject, he, I know not how or why, made a sudden transition to one upon which he was a violent aggressor; for he said, “I am willing to love all mankind, except an American;
" and his inflammable corruption bursting into horrid fire, he “ breathed out threatenings and slaughter;" calling them “rascals, robbers, pirates," and exclaiming, he'd “burn and destroy them.” Miss Seward, looking to him with mild but steady astonishment, said, “ Sir, this is an instance that we are always most violent against those whom we have injured.” He was irritated still more by this delicate and keen reproach ; and roared out another tremendous volley, which one might fancy could be heard across the Atlantic. During this tempest I sat in great uneasiness, lamenting his heat of temper, till, by degrees, I diverted his attention to other topics.
DR. MAYO (to Dr. Johnson). “Pray, Sir, have you read Edwards, of New England, on Grace? "()
(1) Dr. Mayo, no doubt, meant, “A Careful and Strict En. quiry into the Modern prevailing Notions that Freedom of Will is essential to Moral Agency,” by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, President of the College of New Jersey. Of this work, Sir James Mackintosh (who so kindly assisted me in my edition of Boswell, and whose loss the literary and political world now lament) observes, in his autobiography: “Robert Hall's society and conversation had a great influence on my mind. He led me to the perusal of Jonathan Edwards's work on Free Will, which Dr. Priestley had pointed out before. I am sorry that I never yet read the other works of that most extraordinary man, who, in a metaphysical age or country, would certainly have been deemed as much the boast of America as his great countryman Franklin.” - Mem. of Mackintosh, v. i. p. 14.--C. 1835.
Johnson. “No, Sir.” BOSWELL. “It puzzled me so much as to the freedom of the human will, by stating, with wonderful acute ingenuity, our being actuated by a series of motives which we cannot
that the only relief I had was to forget it.” Mayo. “But he makes the proper distinction between moral and physical necessity.” BOSWELL. “ Alas ! Sir, they come both to the same thing. You
may be bound as hard by chains when covered by leather, as when the iron appears. The argument for the moral necessity of human actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity.” Johnson. “You are surer that you are free, than you are of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home to night or not: that does not prevent my freedom.” BOSWELL. “ That it is certain you are either to go home or not, does not prevent your freedom: because the liberty of choice between the two is compatible with that certainty. But if one of these events be certain now, you have no future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go home to-night, you must go home.” Johnson. “If I am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my judging. God may have this probability increased to certainty. (') Bos
1) This seems a very loose report. Dr. Johnson never could have talked of “ God's having probability increased to certainty."