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To say the truth, Mr. Garrick was rather forward in offering the use of his library to the writers of the time: he did it to Mr. Whalley,, when editing the works of Ben Jonson; and to Dr. Percy, the collector and publisher of the “Reliques of ancient English
poetry.' His view, as I conjecture, was, to receive, in return for his kindness, thanks, with perhaps some additional compliment; and in these two instances he was gratified with both. I imagine that Johnson was unwilling to buy the favour intended him at that price, and that therefore he declined it..
We are not to suppose that the publication of Shakespeare, a work undertaken without any impulse, and executed with reluctance, would greatly add to the literary reputation of Johnson; yet such was the character he had acquired by his Dictionary, and other of his writings, that the heads of the university of Dublin were moved to teftify their sense of his merits; and accordingly, on the twenty-third day of July 1765, he was, by them, presented with a diploma, creating him doctor in both laws; a distinction the more to be valued, as it was unsolicited, and a voluntary testimony of the esteem in which he was held by that learned body. The causes alligned for bestowing
fon had fo strange a forgetfulness of obligations of this fort, that few who lent him books ever saw them again. Among the books in his library, at the time of his disease, I found a very old and curious edition of the works of Politian, which appeared to belong to Pembroke college, Oxford. It was probably taken out of the library when he was preparing to publish a part of that auchor, viz. in 1734, and had been used as his own foi upwards of fifty years.
it are contained in the following words, part of the instrument, 'ob egregiam scriptorum elegantiam et (utilitatem.'
His great affection for our own universities, and particularly his attachment to Oxford, prevented Johnson from receiving this honour as it was intended, and he never assumed the title which it conferred. He was as little pleased to be called Doctor in consequence of it, as he was with the title of Domine, which a friend of his once incautiously addressed him by. He thought it alluded to his having been a school-master; and, though he has ably vindicated Milton from the reproach that Salmafius meant to fix on him, by saying that he was of that profession *, he wished to have it forgot, that himself had ever been driven to it as the means of subsistence, and had failed in the attempt.
Johnson was now arrived at the fifty-fixth year of his age, and had actually attained to that state of independence, which before he could only affect. He was now in poffeffion of an income that freed him from the apprehensions of want, and exempted him from the necessity of mental labour. He had discharged his obligations to the public, and, with no incumbrance of a family, or any thing to controul his wishes or defires, he had his mode of living to chuse. Bleft with what was to him a'competence, he had it now in his power to study, to meditate, and to put in practice a variety of good resolutions, which, almoft from his first entrance into life, he had been making.
* Sec his Life of Milton among the Lives of the Poets.
Some specimens of these have been given in a collection of prayers and devotional exercises lately published by his direction, to which I could add a great number. They are the effusions of a fervent piety, and the result of most severe examinations of himself in his hours of retirement; and have for their objects, early rising, a good use of time, abstinence, the study of the Scriptures, and a constant attendance on divine worship; in the performance of all which duties he seems to construe his frequent interruptions into cri. minal remissness. One extract from his diary I however here insert, for the purpose of shewing the state of his mind at about the beginning of the year 1766.
• Since the last reception of the Sacrament, I hope ! I have no otherwise grown worse, than as continu
ance in fin makes the finner's condition more dange• rous. Since laft New-year's day, I have risen every
morning by eight, at least, not after nine: which is . more superiority over my habits than I have ever • before been able to obtain. Scruples still distress me. • My resolution, with the blessing of God, is, to con• tend with them, and, if I can, to conquer them.
• My resolutions are,
• To conquer scruples.
To try to rise more early.
It was a frequent practice with him, in his addresses to the divine Majesty, to commemorate and recommend to mercy his wife and departed friends; and the knowledge thereof has induced a suspicion, that he adopted the Romifh tenet of Purgatory. To clear his memory from this imputation, I am necessitated to mention a few particulars which I learned from him in conversation, that may serve to Thew, that no such conclusion is to be drawn from his practice in this respect; for that his acquiescence therein arose from a controversy, which, about the year 1715, was agitated between certain divines of a Protestant communion, that professed to deny, not less than they did the doctrine of transubstantiation, that of purgatory.
These were, the non-juring clergy of the time; of whom, and also of their writings, Johnson was ever used to speak with great respect. One of them, Dr. Thomas Brett, was a man profoundly skilled in ritual literature, as appears by a dissertation of his, printed, together with a collection of ancient liturgies, in 1720 * ; and he, as I infer from the style of the book and the method of reasoning therein, wrote a tra& intitled, “Reasons for restoring some prayers and directions,
as they stand in the communion-service of the first
English reforined liturgy, compiled by the bishops • in the second and third years of king Edward • VI.' among
for the following pe* Johnson once told me, he had heard his father say, that, when he was young in trade, king Edward the Sixth's first liturgy was much enquired for, and fetched a great price; but that the publication of this book, which contained the whole communion-office as it lands in the former, reduced the price of it to that of a com. mod book.
tion, part of the prayer for the whole state of Christ's church, fince called a prayer for the whole state of Christ's church militant here on earth. "We 'commend unto thy mercye, O Lord, all other thy * seruauntes, which are departed hence from us, with • the signe of faythe, and nowe do refte in the slepe of
peace : Graunte unto them, we beseche thee, thy • mercy, and euerlastyng peace, and that at the daie
of the generall resurreccion, we and all they which • bee of the misticall body of thy sonne, may altogether : bee set on his right hand, and heare that his most joyfull voice : Come unto me, Oye that be blessed of my father, and poffefse the kingdome whiche is prepared for you from the begynning of the worlde : Graunt this, O Father, for Jesus Christes fake, our onely mediatour and aduocate.'
He first shews, that the recommending the 'dead to the mercy of God is nothing of the remains of
popery, but a constant usage of the primitive church; and for this affertion, he produces the authority of Tertullian, who flourished within an hundred years after the death of the apostle St. John, and also, the authority of St. Cyprian, St. Cyril, St. Ambrose, St. Epiphanius, St. Chrysostom, and St. Augustine, by citations from the several writings of those fathers.
He then argues, that this custom neither supposes the modern purgatory, nor gives encouragement to libertinism and vice ; that the ancient church believed the recommending the dead a serviceable office ; that the custom seems to have gone upon this principle, that supreme happiness is not to be expected till the resurrection, and that the interval