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[82] corrupt the pure religion of the country and bring in another system of divinity.

It was characteristic of Johnson, brought up in the darkened chambers of Calvinism, to attempt to obtain a glimpse into the brighter world outside. He had partially done this in reading a rare copy of Lord Bacon's Advancement of learning, with the consequence of finding himself “like one at once emerging out of the glimmer of twilight into the full sunshine of open day.” For himself this result was reflected in a manuscript entitled The Travails of the intellect in the microcosm and MacROCOSMocosm. For the benefit of others who might be lost in the “palpable obscure” of scholasticism, Johnson next drafted A General idea of philosophy. In this, philosophy is artfully described as “The Study of Truth and Wisdom, i. e. of the Objects and Rules conducing to true Happiness.” Such a definition was in marked contrast with the atmosphere of the college of Connecticut, where, as Johnson's earliest biographer put it, “the metaphysics taught was not fit for worms.”

In 1731 Johnson had enlarged this “Cyclopaedia of learning,” into an Introduction to the study of philosophy. The purpose of this tract was to set before young gentlemen a general view of the whole system of learning in miniature, “as geography exhibits a general map of the whole terraqueous globe.” The plan of the tract was likewise noteworthy. Instead of making man's chief end to glorify God, it made the happiness of mankind to be God's chief end. In the meantime, for the purpose of obtaining Episcopal ordination, Johnson had made a trip to England. There the young colonial had the distinction of meeting Alexander Pope at his villa, and the English Samuel Johnson. He also visited Oxford and Cambridge universities, from both of which he was later to be honoured with the doctorate of divinity. But, as he subsequently wrote to his son, who made a similar literary pilgrimage, he confessed that, though he liked “to look behind the gay curtain,” he preferred “ease and independence in the tranquil vales of America.” On his return home, Johnson found neither ease nor tranquillity. Coming back to the land of the blue laws, he felt obliged to preach and write against current Calvinism. Thus one parish sermon was directed against absolute predestination, “with its horror, despair, and gloomy ”

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