420) Thoughts on Several Subjects by Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson  (1709-1784)


To be of no church is dangerous.  Religion, of which the rewards are distant and which is animated only by Faith and Hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind, unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship, and the salutary influence of example.  —Lives: Milton

Every funeral may justly be considered as a summons to prepare for that state, into which it shows that we must some time enter; and that summons is more loud and piercing, as the event of which it warns us is at less distance.  To neglect at any time preparation for death, is to sleep on our post at a siege; but to omit it in old age, is to sleep at an attack.  —Rambler #78


The business of life is to work out our salvation; and the days are few in which provisions must be made for eternity.  –Sermon XV


It is by chiefly by affliction that the heart of man is purified and that the thoughts are fixed upon a better state.  —Adventurer

So large a part of human life passes in a state contrary to our natural desires that one of the principal topics of moral instruction is the art of bearing calamities.  And such is the certainty of evil that it is the duty of every man to furnish his mind with those principles that may enable him to act under it with decency and propriety.  —Rambler #32

The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion.  –Attributed

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.  —Rambler #79

Prosperity and happiness are very different, though they are always confused by those who undertake to judge the state of others.  –Sermon XVI


In matters of morals, men more frequently need to be reminded, than instructed.  –Attributed

He that considers how soon he must close his life, will find nothing of so much importance as to close it well. —Rambler #17


Psalm 115:1  —  Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29  —  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

Lord Jesus, I have fallen, but I would rather be strong.  For this purpose you have instituted this sacrament, that with it you may rekindle and strengthen my faith, and thus I may be helped.  Therefore, I am here to receive it.  My sins and faults are all known to you.  But you have said in your Word:  “Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.”  I now come to be helped.  Amen.  –Martin Luther