I am in the middle of reading a biography of James Boswell, famous for his biography of Samuel Johnson; but when I read about Boswell’s London Journal, I got distracted — went out and found a copy, and started to read it. Near the beginning of the Journal, Boswell goes to church one fine Sunday, but is distracted from the sermon by other thoughts:
“Monday 29 November. I breakfasted with Mr. Douglas. I went to St. James Church and heard service and a good sermon on ‘By what means shall a young man learn to order his ways,’ in which the advantages of early piety were well displayed. What a curious, inconsistent thing is the mind of man! In the midst of divine service I was laying plans for having women, and yet I had the most sincere feelings of religion. I imagine my want of belief is the occasion of this, so that I can have all the feeling. I would try to make out a little consistency this way.”
But Boswell is mistaken in thinking that consistency is possible for us human beings. Don’t you think?