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which were in prison? It is evidently the same which is mentioned in the Apostle's Creed: He descended into hell: not the hell of the damned, to suffer their torments, but the prison above mentioned, or Abraham's bosom; in short, a middle state. The prelate's (Porteus) diversified attempts to explain away these scriptural proofs of purgatory are really too feeble and inconsistent to merit being even mentioned ;” and again, “ both these divines (Wake and Tomlin), together with Pearson, Burnet, and numerous others, admit of an intermediate, or third place, for departed spirits, distinct from heaven and hell: now this place is what Catholics call purgatory." * In explanation of one part of the extract from Milner, it may be as well to say that many of the early
, Christian writers declare that our Saviour, descending to hades, delivered the detained souls of the good who had died previous to his crucifixion, out of a region (Limbus, Patrum) in which they had been shut up. The papists say that this place is now empty, but, for very obvious reasons, they have opened a purgatory. Now if the intermediate theory is thus open to abuse, and we hold it is, and if its truth cannot be demonstrated from the word of God, and we think it cannot, the sooner it is discarded by Protestants the better.
The confession of faith called the Apostles' creed, may teach that Jesus at death went into an intermediate region. We would content ourselves with observing that this creed cannot be found in the Scriptures, nor can it be proved to have been written by the Apostles ; it has, moreover, been subjected to several alterations since first composed.
Wesley, it is true, thought there was an intermediate place, but we are not able to receive all he taught. His expression in reference to this matter in the sermon on Mark ix. 48, is not satisfactory : “For,” says be, “paradise is only the porch of heaven; and it is there that the spirits of just men are made perfect.” Doubtless he believed that the saints were sanctified on earth, but we suppose was at a loss to find the practical use of an intermediate place and so assigned the one he gives. Yet Wesley is scarcely consistent on this point, or rather he was carried beyond his theory, for when Whitefield died he wrote, among others, the following verses :
“ Servant of God, well done!
Toy glorious warfare's past,
And thou art crowned at last !
In thy Redeemer's breast.
* End of Cont. Lett. Is. p. 369, 377.
With saints enthroned on bigh,
Thou dost thy Lord proclaim,
Salvation to the Lamb!
In ecstasies of praise.
Thou seest thy Saviour's face."* We would commend to the consideration of our readers the following words of one of Wesley's helpers in the ministry, who was well acquainted with the original language of Scripture, and was also in many other respects well qualified to pronounce an opinion on Scriptural subjects: “On passing the limits of time we enter into eternity ; this is the unchangeable state. In that awful and indescribable infinitude of incomprehensible duration we read of but two places, or states; heaven and hell, glory and misery, endless suffering, and endless enjoyment. In these two places, or states,
, we read of but two descriptions of human beings-the saved and the lost-between whom there is that immeasurable gulf over which neither can pass. In the one state we read of no sin, no imperfection, no curse; there “all tears are for ever wiped away from all faces; and the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” In the other we read of nothing but “weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ;" of "the worm that dieth not; and of “the fire which is not quenched."*
After a careful reading of the Scriptures, and a special consideration of those passages which stand associated with a future state, we feel assured that the soul at death is admitted at once to the immediate presence of God, or shut up in the prison-house of hell with fallen angels. We agree with the quaint and learned Thomas Adams: “The souls of reprobates have their deportation, as the rich man's soul was fetched from him (Luke xii. 20); and their detrusion, being “ cast into hell.” (Luke xvi. 23). But they that die in the Lord, do instantly go to the Lord, as the soul of Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom.” h.” ļ
T. J. PENROSE. * Sermon preached by Wesley, on the death of George Whitefield, Nov. 18th, 1770. We suppose these verses were composed by John Wesley, because we find them affixed to this sermon. +Dr. A. Clark's Sermon, on “Salvation by Faith.” | Adam's “ Meditations on the Creed."
ART. III.-BOSWELL AND JOHNSON.*
OSWELL AND JOHNSON,—not the biography of the men,
strictly speaking, but their friendship, and what came of it,--that is our present theme of discourse: a theme curious in itself, and suggestive of interesting and profitable reflection.
* Substance of a lecture.--Ed.
The friendship between Boswell and Johnson has hitherto been regarded by the most of people as something odd and abnormal; a sort of grotesque and inexplicable phenomenon, something to be wondered at, and laughed at, and then dismissed as incomprehensible. And, indeed, 'twould be difficult to conceive of two men more unlikely, in almost every respect, to be drawn together into friendship. The points of similarity and antagonism between them were sharp and numerous. Only a few can be noted here.—Boswell was a Scotchman, and Johnson hated the Scotch ; at least if he did not hate them, his prejudices against them were keen and bitter, easy to excite, difficult to allay. The mere mention of Scotland or of the Scotch in his hearing, was sure to stir his bile and provoke his spleen, operating upon him much in the same way as the flutter of a red cloth is said to operate upon a bull or a turkey-cock.
Again: Boswell was a sycophant, a hanger-on upon the great, ready to grovel in the dust, or do any amount of lackeyism, if thereby the nabobs of the world would deign to smile, or bestow a morsel of their favour upon him. Johnson, on the contrary, was marked by nothing more than a sturdy spirit of independence. Even when so poor at college that his toes protruded through his shoes, he spurned with disdain a new pair which some kind considerate friend laid at his chamber door. This spirit of self-reliant independence animated him throughout his whole life.
Boswell was also a vain man, vain to an extraordinary degree. His vanity was altogether unique. 'Twas self-conscious vanity. He knew he was vain, regarded his vanity with complacence, and delighted to proclaim it to the world. Now, although Johnson was what may be called a proud man, conscious of and fully appreciating his own merits and energetically resisting any trespass upon his personal dignity, he had not a particle of vanity in his nature. He was too proud to be vain ; he scorned the gauds and tricks of vanity as beneath the dignity of his manhood.
Moreover, Boswell was a wine-bibber. “His bagged cheeks, hanging like half filled wine-skins, still able to contain more,' proclaimed him to be addicted to a free use of his cups. Johnson was a water-drinker; he had, indeed, in the earlier part of his life, indulged in tippling habits, but for some time before his acquaintance with Boswell, and thence to the end of his life, he acted as a strict, scrupulous teetotaller.
Once more : Boswell was twenty-two and Johnson fifty-four years of age when their acquaintance began; the one quite a youth, the
; other an elderly man ; separated in point of age by a chasm of thirty-two years, a chasm which, in common opinion, 'tis all but impossible to span with friendship's bridge.
Other points of antagonism and contrariety might be added, showing the unlikelihood of Boswell and Johnson becoming friends ; nevertheless they did become friends. I suppose it happens in friendship as in matrimony, by somemystic law which the philosophers have not yet discovered, the most unlikely persons are sometimes united together in wedded life; persons whom we should pronounce beforehand to be altogether unsuited to each other. We observe a startling dissimilarity, not only in appearance and age, and other secondary matters, but also in reference to mental and moral qualities, so that when such matrimonial junctures are about to take place, we are apt to augur the most unhappy results, and had we the power we would probably forbid the banns. Nevertheless, those unlikely matches turn out tolerably well on the whole, and yield an average amount of connubial felicity. Indeed, judging from facts of common occurrence, one is disposed to think that both in friendship and marriage elements of contrariety are required to strengthen, to tighten, and even to sweeten the bond of union. And here one is tempted to join issue with Cowper in what he says on this point, in his otherwise admirable Ode to Friendship :
“ Who seeks a friend must come disposed,
The graces and the beauties
Which form the character he seeks." Translating poetry into prose, Cowper means that we ought to exhibit in our own character the same sort of qualities we look for in our friend. Now, with all possible deference to the prerogatives of poetic genius in general, and to those of Cowper in particular, the orthodoxy of this opinion may, I think, be fairly questioned, or if allowed to pass muster it ought to be with considerable modification. Friendship is a feast to which the respective guests contribute different kinds of viands, and the greater the variety the greater the enjoyment, providing always that there be substantial agreement; for it is to be understood that without deep sympathy and oneness on matters of primary importance, friendship is simply impossible. And I hope it will appear, as we proceed, that in spite of the numerous points of contrast in the character of Boswell and Johnson, there were certain matters of perennial interest and of high moment with regard to which they had a common sympathy, and which served as a sufficiently strong and broad basis of friendship.
About the time when their friendship commenced, Johnson had reached the meridian of his fame. As often falls to the lot of gifted men, he had had to fight a hard battle with adversity. His father, a bookseller at Litchfield, Staffordshire, was a man of considerable literary attainment, much cleverer indeed in the art of reading than of selling books. As might be expected from his habits of life, while he improved his mind he impoverished his circumstances. Young Samuel could not be maintained creditably at Oxford, wbither he had been sent. After struggling to keep his head above water for three years, storing his capacious soul with those treasures of learning he afterwards profusely lavished in his writings, he was compelled to succumb. His clothes were in tatters; his shoes afforded no protection against wet and mud; though living on the plainest and scantiest fare, he could not keep out of debt; in short, his way at college being blocked up, he was compelled to leave before taking a degree. After making several unsuccessful attempts to establish himself as a schoolmaster, at Litchfield and Birmingham, he proceeded to London as a literary adventurer, with only a few coppers in his pocket. He was then in the twenty-eighth year of his age. On applying to one of the booksellers for employment in literary work, that dealer in wisdom, after scanning his bulky form with a curious eye, and knowing full well the secrets of the prison, at whose gates Johnson was now knocking for admission, advised him to get a porter's knot, and give up thoughts of writing books : not bad or unkind advice, though perhaps harshly spoken; and, had it been taken, though of incalculable loss to the world, 't would probably have been to Johnson's gain. A porter's burdens are light compared to those laid upon his shoulders. Poverty and disease were burdens which bore hard upon him through the most of his life. From infancy he suffered from scrofula, blinding him of one eye, and leaving ugly scars on his face. His nervous system also was hopelessly deranged, accounting, probably, for those convulsive starts, hideous grimaces, and awkward gesticulations which disgusted fine ladies and gentlemen of London fashionable life, but of which he himself seemed wholly unconscious. To the same cause may also be attributed the melancholy gloom which habitually surrounded his mind. At a late period of life, referring to the chronic disease which had been his life's affliction, he said he could not remember a day in which he had been free from acute pain. With all this serious odds against him, the gaunt terrors of poverty menacing him from without, and inveterate disease entrenched within the citadel of his constitution, goading him to the verge of madness, he had to fight his solitary way. Under much lighter pressure of adversity many a man has sought refuge in suicide ; but our brave Samuel never once thought of thus cowardly deserting the battlefield. With a courage, that might be overwhelmed but would never voluntarily succumb, he stood his ground and fought his way through the valley of horrors. Though often hardly set to provide the wherewithal for his own sustenance, and, though habitually the victim of morbid melancholy, he had a tender heart and an open hand to help others who were sore pressed in the battle of life.