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own apathy; and considered that perhaps death itself, when it should come, would excite less horror than seems now to attend it.
In order to rouse the vocal organs, I took two drams. Wine has been celebrated for the production of eloquence. I put myself into violent motion, and I think repeated it; but all was vain. I then went to bed, and strange as it may seem, I think slept. When I saw light, it was time to contrive what I should do. Though God stopped my speech, he left me my hand; I enjoyed a mercy which was not granted to my dear friend Lawrence, who now perhaps overlooks me as I am writing, and rejoices that I have what he wanted. My first note was necessarily to my servant, who came in talking, and could not immediately comprehend why he should read what I put into his hands.
I then wrote a card to Mr. Allen, that I might have a discreet friend at hand, to act as occasion should require. In penning this note I had some difficulty: my hand, I knew not how nor why, made wrong letters. I then wrote to Dr. Taylor to come to me, and bring Dr. Heberden; and I sent to Dr. Brocklesby, who is my neighbor. My physicians are very friendly, and give me great hopes; but you may imagine my situation. I have so far recovered my vocal powers as to repeat the Lord's Prayer with no imperfect articulation. My memory, I hope, yet remains as it was; but such an attack produces solicitude for the safety of every faculty.
A PRIVATE PRAYER BY DR. JOHNSON. O God, giver and preserver of all life, by whose power I was created, and by whose providence I am sustained, look down upon me with tenderness and mercy; grant that I may not have been created to be finally destroyed; that I may not be preserved to add wickedness to wickedness.
O Lord, let me not sink into total depravity: look down upon me, and rescue me at last from the captivity of sin.
Almighty and most merciful Father, who has continued my life from year to year, grant that by longer life I may become less desirous of sinful pleasures, and more careful of eternal happiness.
Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt; but as my age advances, let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, and more obedient to thy laws.
Forgive, O merciful Lord, whatever I have done contrary to thy laws. Give me such a sense of my wickedness as may produce true contrition and effectual repentance: so that when I shall be called into another state, I may be received among the sinners to whom sorrow and reformation have obtained pardon, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
(From The Rambler, No. 58, Oct. 6, 1750.) As the love of money has been, in all ages, one of the passions that have given great disturbance to the tranquillity of the world, there is no topic more copiously treated by the ancient moralists than the folly of devoting the heart to the accumulation of riches. They who are acquainted with these authors need not be told how riches excite pity, contempt, or reproach whenever they are mentioned; with what numbers of examples the danger of large possessions is illustrated; and how all the powers of reason and eloquence have been exhausted in endeavors to eradicate a desire which seems to have intrenched itself too strongly in the mind to be driven out, and which perhaps had not lost its power even over those who declaimed against it, but would have broken out in the poet or the sage, if it had been excited by opportunity, and invigorated by the approximation of its proper object.
Their arguments have been indeed so unsuccessful, that I know not whether it can be shown that by all the wit and reason which this favorite cause has called forth, a single convert was ever made; that even one man has refused to be rich, when to be rich was in his power, from the conviction of the greater happiness of a narrow fortune; or disburthened himself of wealth when he had tried its inquietudes, merely to enjoy the peace and leisure and security of a mean and unenvied state.
It is true, indeed, that many have neglected opportunities of raising themselves to honors and to wealth, and rejected the kindest offers of fortune: but however their moderation may be boasted by themselves, or admired by such as only view them at a distance, it will be perhaps seldom found that they value riches less, but that they dread labor or danger more than others; they are unable to rouse themselves to action, to strain
in the race of competition, or to stand the shock of contest: but though they therefore decline the toil of climbing, they nevertheless wish themselves aloft, and would willingly enjoy what they dare not seize.
Others have retired from high stations, and voluntarily condemned themselves to privacy and obscurity. But even these will not afford many occasions of triumph to the philosopher: for they have commonly either quitted that only which they thought themselves unable to hold, and prevented disgrace by resignation; or they have been induced to try new measures by general inconstancy, which always dreams of happiness in novelty, or by a gloomy disposition, which is disgusted in the same degree with every state, and wishes every scene of life to change as soon as it is beheld. Such men found high and low stations equally unable to satisfy the wishes of a distempered mind, and were unable to shelter themselves in the closest retreat from disappointment, solitude, and misery.
Yet though these admonitions have been thus neglected by those who either enjoyed riches or were able to procure them, it is not rashly to be determined that they are altogether without use ; for since far the greatest part of mankind must be confined to conditions comparatively mean, and placed in situations from which they naturally look up with envy to the eminences placed before them, those writers cannot be thought ill employed that have administered remedies to discontent almost universal, by showing that what we cannot reach may very well be forborne, that the inequality of distribution at which we murmur is for the most part less than it seems, and that the greatness which we admire at a distance has much fewer advantages and much less splendor when we are suffered to approach it.
It is the business of moralists to detect the frauds of fortune, and to show that she imposes upon the careless eye by a quick succession of shadows, which will shrink to nothing in the gripe ; that she disguises life in extrinsic ornaments, which serve only for show, and are laid aside in the hours of solitude and of pleasure; and that when greatness aspires either to felicity or wisdom, it shakes off those distinctions which dazzle the gazer and awe the supplicant.
It may be remarked that they whose condition has not afforded them the light of moral or religious instruction, and who collect all their ideas by their own eyes and digest them by their own understandings, seem to consider those who are placed in