صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


Jan. 1, 1757, at two in the Morning. Almighty God, who hast brought me to the beginning of another year, and by prolonging my life invitest to repentance, forgive me that I have mispent the time past, enable me from this instant to amend my life according to thy holy Word, grant me thy Holy Spirit, that I may so pass through things temporal as not finally to lose the things eternal. O God, hear my prayer for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.



Almighty God, heavenly Father, who desirest not the death of a sinner, look down with mercy upon me depraved with vain imaginations, and entangled in long habits of sin. Grant me that grace without which I can neither will nor do what is acceptable to thee. Pardon my sins, remove the impediments that hinder my obedience. Enable me to shake off sloth, and to redeem the time mispent in idleness and sin by a diligent application of the days yet remaining to the duties which thy Providence shall allot me. O God, grant me thy Holy Spirit that I may repent and amend my life, grant me contrition, grant me resolution for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whose covenant I now implore admission, of the benefits of whose death I implore participation. For his sake have mercy on me, O God; for his sake, O God, pardon and receive me. Amen.


Sept. 18, 1757.

Almighty and most merciful Father by whose providence my life has been prolonged, and who hast granted me now to begin another year of probation, vouchsafe me such assistance of thy Holy Spirit, that the continuance of my life may not add to the measure of my guilt, but that I may so repent of the days and years passed in neglect of the duties which thou hast set before

The rest of the prayer he at first scored through, but afterwards added 'Stet.'


me, in vain thoughts, in sloth, and in folly, that I may apply my heart to true wisdom, by diligence redeem the time lost, and by repentance obtain pardon, for the sake of JESUS CHRIST. Amen 1.


EASTER DAY, March 26, 1758. Almighty and most merciful Father, who hast created me to love and to serve thee, enable [me] so to partake of the sacrament in which the Death of Jesus Christ is commemorated that I may henceforward lead a new life in thy faith and fear. Thou who knowest my frailties and infirmities strengthen and support me. Grant me thy Holy Spirit, that after all my lapses I may now continue stedfast in obedience, that after long habits of negligence and sin, I may, at last, work out my salvation with diligence and constancy, purify my thoughts from pollutions, and fix my affections on things eternal. Much of my time past has been lost in sloth, let not what remains, O Lord, be given me in vain, but let me from this time lead a better life and serve thee with a quiet mind through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


March 28, 1758.

Almighty and eternal God, who givest life and takest it away, grant that while thou shalt prolong my continuance on earth, I may live with a due sense of thy mercy and forbearance, and let the remembrance of her whom thy hand has separated from me, teach me to consider the shortness and uncertainty of life, and to use all diligence to obtain eternal happiness in thy presence. O God enable me to avoid sloth, and to attend heedfully and constantly to thy word and worship. Whatever was good in the example of my departed wife, teach me to follow; and whatever was amiss give me grace to shun, that my affliction may be sanctified, and that remembering how much every day brings me nearer to the grave, I may every day purify my mind, and amend my life, by the assistance of

At the foot of the page he had written but scored out: 'Idleness - intemperate sleep dilatoriness, inmethodical life. Negligence of


2 He had at first written: 'Make me to enjoy the time for which thou shalt' &c.


thy holy Spirit, till at last I shall be accepted by Thee, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.


Sept. 18, 1758, horâ primâ matutinâ. Almighty and most merciful Father, who yet sparest and yet supportest me, who supportest me in my weakness, and sparest me in my sins, and hast now granted to me to begin another year, enable me to improve the time which is yet before me, to thy glory and my own Salvation. Impress upon my Soul such repentance of the days mispent in idleness and folly, that I may henceforward diligently attend to the business of my station in this world, and to all the duties which thou hast commanded. Let thy Holy Spirit comfort and guide me that in my passage through the pains or pleasures of the present state, I may never be tempted to forgetfulness of Thee. Let my life be useful, and my death be happy 2; let me live according to thy laws, and dye with just confidence in thy mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This year I hope to learn diligence 3.


Jan. 23, 1759.

The day on which my dear Mother was buried. Repeated on my fast, with the addition *.

Almighty God, merciful Father, in whose hands are life and death, sanctify unto me the sorrow which I now feel. Forgive me whatever I have done unkindly to my Mother, and whatever I have omitted to do kindly. Make me to remember her good precepts, and good example, and to reform my life according to

At first he had written: 'the duties which thou shalt assign me, and to the duties by which.'

2 At first he had written 'useful.' 3 This line is quoted in the Life, i. 331.

4 For the death of his mother see Life, i. 339, and Letters, i. 75-81. The fast was held on March 24, as the next entry shows.

It is a striking illustration of the way in which different generations overlap each other that Jeremy Bentham's mother died about a fortnight before Johnson's mother. Bentham's Works, x. 26. Mrs. Johnson was born nine years after the Restoration, and Bentham died the day before the first Reform Bill was carried.


thy holy word, that I may lose no more opportunities of good; I am sorrowful, O Lord, let not my sorrow be without fruit. Let it be followed by holy resolutions, and lasting amendment, that when I shall die like my mother, I may be received to everlasting life.

I commend, O Lord, so far as it may be lawful, into thy hands, the soul of my departed Mother, beseeching Thee to grant her whatever is most beneficial to Her in her present state.

O Lord, grant me thy Holy Spirit, and have mercy upon me for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

And, O Lord, grant unto me that am now about to return to the common comforts and business of the world, such moderation in all enjoyments, such diligence in honest labour, and such purity of mind, that, amidst the changes, miseries, or pleasures of life, I may keep my mind fixed upon thee, and improve every day in grace, till I shall be received into thy kingdom of eternal happiness.

I returned thanks for my mother's good example, and implored pardon for neglecting it.

I returned thanks for the alleviation of my sorrow.
The dream of my brother' I shall remember.



March the 24, 1759, rather 25, after 12 at night. Almighty God, heavenly Father, who hast graciously prolonged my life to this time, and by the change of outward things which I am now to make3, callest me to a change of inward affections, and to a reformation of my thoughts words and practices. Vouchsafe merciful Lord that this call may not be vain. Forgive me whatever has been amiss in the state which I am now leaving, Idleness, and neglect of thy word and worship. Grant me the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that the course which I am now begining may proceed according to thy laws, and end

i. 90.


His brother died in 1737. Life,

Jej. I conjecture is put for Jejunus, fasting.

3 He had moved on the 23rd from Gough Square to Staple Inn. Letters, i. 86. See also Life, i. 350.

in the enjoyment of thy favour'. Give me, O Lord, pardon and peace, that I may serve thee with humble confidence, and after this life enjoy thy presence in eternal Happiness.

And, O Lord, so far as it may be lawful for me, I commend to thy Fatherly goodness, my Father, my Brother, my Wife, my Mother. I beseech thee to look mercifully upon them, and grant them whatever may most promote their present and eternal joy.

O Lord, hear my prayers for Jesus Christs sake, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost three persons and one God be all honour and glory world without end. Amen2.

O Lord, let the change which I am now making in outward things, produce in [me] such a change of manners, as may fit me for the great change through which my Wife has passed 3.


EASTER DAY, April 15, 1759*.

Almighty and most merciful Father, look down with pity upon my sins. I am a sinner, good Lord; but let not my sins burthen me for ever. Give me thy grace to break the chain of evil custom. Enable me to shake off idleness and sloth; to will and to do what thou hast commanded; grant me chaste 5 in thoughts, words and actions; to love and frequent thy worship, to study and understand thy word; to be diligent in my calling, that I may support myself and relieve others.

Forgive me, O Lord, whatever my mother has suffered by my fault, whatever I have done amiss, and whatever duty I have neglected. Let me not sink into useless dejection; but so sanctify my affliction, O Lord, that I may be converted and

This paragraph is quoted in the Life, i. 350.

2 Boswell adduces this prayer as proof of Johnson's 'orthodox belief in the sacred mystery of the Trinity.' Life, ii. 254.

3 The following words are scored

out :

At the place where I commended her.

At the place where she died.
As much of the prayer as I can

remember of Easter 17 [sic].
Use the lines on this page.
On another page is written :-
Uxbridge, 13. 9.
Wicombe, 10. 6.
Tetsworth, 10. 6.

If my mother had lived till March,
she would have been eighty-nine.
4 Croker's Boswell, x. 130.

5 Johnson does not give in his Dictionary such a construction as 'grant me chaste.'


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