In the Rambler essays, Johnson uses an elevated prose style rather than the conversational, colloquial diction common among many other essayists of the period. This reflects Johnson's interest in setting a high moral tone in these essays, which were designed to impart piety and wisdom.
The style is Neoclassic, emphasizing balanced, rational, and dignified prose modeled on Greek and Roman writers. Johnson wrote of his Rambler essays that he hoped they would “refine our language to grammatical purity, and to clear it from colloquial barbarisms, licentious idioms, and irregular combinations. He wanted the style of each essay to add "to the elegance of its construction, and ... to the harmony of its cadence.”
Johnson often constructed his sentences in a three-part style, as can be illustrated in Essay #134. In this famous essay, Johnson wrote about the pitfalls of procrastination and idleness, subjects with which he was quite familiar. Sentences that show this balanced, three-part form include the following:
There was however some pleasure in reflecting that I, who had only trifled till diligence was necessary, might still congratulate myself upon my superiority to multitudes who have trifled till diligence is vain; who can by no degree of activity or resolution recover the opportunities which have slipped away; and who are condemned by their own carelessness to hopeless calamity and barren sorrow.
The semi-colons separate the three ways Johnson considers himself superior to the multitudes: they have procrastinated too long to make up for it with "diligence" or hard work, they now can't recover their lost opportunities, and they are therefore condemned to calamity and sorrow.
Another example is this sentence:
Thus life is languished away in the gloom of anxiety, and consumed in collecting resolution which the next morning dissipates; in forming purposes which we scarcely hope to keep, and reconciling ourselves to our own cowardice by excuses which, while we admit them, we know to be absurd.
Here it is the participles that divide the sentence into three measured parts: collecting resolution, forming purposes, and reconciling ourselves.
Johnson's sentences might remind of us of carefully balanced neoclassical buildings, where if there are two windows on one side of a door, you can be sure there will be two identical windows on the other side, all in harmony.