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Religion and Morality
Virtue and Vice
37. Morality; Scruples
Boswell: I described to him an impudent fellow from
Scotland, who affected to be a savage, and railed at all
established systems. Johnson: "There is nothing
surprizing in this, Sir. He wants to make himself conspicuous.
He would tumble in a hogstye, as long as you looked at him and
called to him to come out. But let him alone, never mind him,
and he'll soon give it over." Boswell: I added that
the same person maintained that there was no distinction between
virtue and vice. Johnson: "Why, Sir, if the fellow
does not think as he speaks, he is lying; and I see not what
honour he can propose to himself from having the character of a
liar. But if he does really think that there is no distinction
between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let
us count our spoons."
"Scruples would (as he observed) certainly make men miserable,
and seldom make them good. Let us ever (he said) studiously fly
from those instructors against whom our Savior denounces heavy
judgments, for having bound up burdens grievous to be borne, and
laid them on the shoulders of mortal men."
489. Knowledge; Scruples
"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge
without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
Johnson: Rasselas [the Astronomer]
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