Author: Whyte, Alexander, 1836-1921
Title: Bishop Butler, an appreciation : with the best passages of his writings selected and arranged / by Alexander Whyte.
Publisher: Edinburgh : Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1903.
Tag(s): butler, joseph, 1692-1752; butler; angus; butler's best; best passages; sermons; oliphant anderson; passages; religion; appreciation
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
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BISHOP BUTLER an ^Appreciation with the best Wastages of fit: Writings selected and arranged by i //;'/:, hf-i-r ;/ 7 ';!-;vV GKAKT 3 1. WMIVI > BISHOP BUTLER X BISHOP BUTLER an ^Appreciation -with the 'Best 'Passages of his Writings selected and arranged by ^Alexander Whyte D.D. 112246 Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier Saint ^Mary Street^ Edinburgh^ and 21 Paternoster Square^ London 1903 LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE Edinburgh : T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majc>ty To My Classes INTRODUCTORY NOTE The Sample Passages selected out of Butler's Works have been indexed after Dr. Angus'* admirable edition of the * Analogy? the ' Dissertations? and the ' Sermons' The Religious Tract Society has done the students of our day an immense service in sending out Butler under such excellent editorship, and that, too, at such a cheap price. CONTENTS PAGE APPRECIATION 13 BUTLER'S BEST PASSAGES: ON GOD' 91 ON THE LOVE OF GOD 95 ON SCRIPTURE 97 ON CONSCIENCE,. IOO ON REASON / 110 ON CHARACTER'. I IO ON HABIT : 115 ON PROBATION . . . . . . Il8 ON THE PASSIONS . . . . . -131 ON MEANS AND ENDS 135 ON PROBABILITY 139 ON KNOWLEDGE .' 141 ON OUR IGNORANCE' 145 ON RICHES 148 ON CHARITY 153 ON HAPPINESS " 156 ON BENEVOLENCE * 159 ON ILL-WILL " 1 60 ix Butler PAGE ON PARTY-SPIRIT 161 ON MISUNDERSTANDING - 162 ON PEEVISHNESS < 164 ON RESIGNATION / 165 ON DEVOTION' 172 ON THE CHURCH- 175 ON PUBLIC WORSHIP^ 181 ON PASTORAL CARE, 183 ON PULPIT CONTROVERSY. .... 185 ON THE STUDY OF DIVINITY ' . . . . 188 ON MISSIONS ' . .189 ON READING 190 ON STYLE 191 ON TALKATIVENESS , 193 ON AMUSEMENTS f 198 ON CHILDREN - 2OO ON DEATH .* 202 ON THE FUTURE LIFE 204 LETTERS 209 PRAYERS . 221 APPRECIATION APPRECIATION JOSEPH BUTLER had for his contemporaries John Locke, Isaac Newton, George Berkeley, William Law, Alexander Pope, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Johnson, and many other well-known men. The Principia was published in 1687, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 1690, the Rolls Sermons in 1726, the Serious Call in 1729, the Essay on Man in 1733, the Alciphron in 1733, the Analogy in 1736, the Religious Affections in 1746, the Freedom of the Will in 1754, the Dictionary in 1755, an d tne Lives of the Poets in 1781. If Butler's lifetime was not the very greatest age of English literature, and philosophy, and re- ligion, it was still a great age, when these were the men whose names were in every mouth, and when these were the books that were in every reader's hand. 13 14 Butler Butler quite excelled himself the very first time he put pen to paper. He never wrote anything again so astonishingly acute as was the short series of anonymous letters he addressed to Dr. Samuel Clarke on certain philosophical and theological positions of that eminent author. Butler tells us that the Being and the Nature of GOD had been his incessant study ever since he began to think at all. And that he had thought to some purpose on that supreme subject of thought, those able letters of his are the sufficient evidence. " A correspondence," says Professor Fraser in his Life of Berkeley, " unmatched in its kind in English philosophical literature." But it is not the acuteness of their dialectic, nor even the depth of their thought, that gives those early letters of Butler their lasting interest to us. It is much more the rare qualities of heart and character that shine out of every page of those modest letters that make Butler's admirers so to cherish his early correspondence with Clarke. Appreciation 15 Butler has no biography. Butler's books are his whole biography. What Jowett so well says of Plato's writings may also be said of Butler's : " The progress of his writings is the history of his life. We have no other authentic life of him. His writings are the true self of the philosopher, stripped of the accidents of time and place." Butler's school- boy letters to Clarke are the best biography of his boyhood and youth, and his Rolls Sermons and his Analogy are the sum and substance of all his after days. The Preface to the second edition of his Rolls Sermons is, perhaps, on the whole, the most self-revealing and most char- acteristic piece of writing that ever proceeded from Butler's pen. " The Preface to the Sermons" says Maurice, " is the most impor- tant of all the documents we possess for the understanding of Butler's character." The famous Preface is full, I will not say of contempt, but of a certain saddened scorn at the generality of the readers of his day. Those are classical passages in which he takes 16 Butler up the defence of his much-assailed manner of writing in his Rolls Sermons. Butler's really noble style is never seen to greater advantage than just in those two or three pages in which he defends his Rolls Sermons. All those men among ourselves who would write seriously, as well as all those who would read seriously, should lay to heart those warm and weighty pages of this great writer. And then, after his severe chastisement of the indolent and incapable readers of his day, Butler passes on to assist his really serious-minded readers by preparing for them a most masterly intro- duction to the fifteen sermons. When the famous Preface comes to a close with this valuable autobiographic paragraph : "It may be proper to advertise the reader that he is not to look for any particular reason for the choice of the greatest part of these discourses ; their being taken from amongst many others preached in the same place, through a course of eight years, being in a great measure accidental. Neither is he to expect any other Appreciation 17 connection between them than that uniformity of thought and design which will always be found in the writings of the same person when he writes with simplicity and in earnest." With these simple and earnest words Butler winds up a piece of composition so charac- teristic of him, that we would not have wanted it for anything. Butler writes by far hist best, so far as style is concerned, when he isj smarting under a sense of injury. His resent- ment makes him strike with his pen in this Preface of his as with a sword. In these power- ful pages Butler turns and charges home on his idle-minded and fault-finding readers in a way that still reaches to many readers among our- selves. We all reel under Butler's blows as we read his retaliatory Preface to his Rolls Sermons. j.- The three epoch-making sermons on Human Nature commence with a characteristically conducted examination as to what human nature really is ; of what several parts it is composed, and how those several parts are all B i8 Butler constituted and constructed into human nature as we possess it and know it. And then from that, Butler proceeds to ask what it is for a man to " live according to his nature," as the Stoics always insisted that every man ought to live. Christian bishop as Butler was, it was true of him what Maurice says about Jonathan Edwards : " He was not afraid to agree with the Stoics when they were right. " Appropri- ating, therefore, the very words of those " ancient moralists," as he always calls them, Butler proceeds to explain and to enforce their teaching by showing that human nature is made up of its several appetites, passions, affections, and emotions, and that conscience sits as a sovereign and a judge over all these her subjects. And it is just in his discovery and exposition of this complex constitution of human nature ; and especially it is in his discovery and vindication of the supremacy of conscience, that Butler's services to philosophy, and to morals, and to religion, are so original and so immense. " In his three sermons on Human Appreciation 19 Nature," says Dr. Eagar, " Butler dropped a plummet into depths before unsounded." "It may be stated, once for all," says Car- michael in his admirably annotated edition of the Rolls Sermons , " that to Butler belongs the merit of having first, as a scientific moralist, made the supremacy of conscience the subject of distinct and reflex cognition." And then, after characterising the ethical standards of Plato and Aristotle and Bentham and Hobbes, Carmichael goes on to say, " Butler would simply direct the enquirer to reverence his conscience, to respect its dictates, and to bring all his conduct before it as before a faculty from which there can be no appeal but to itself : that is to say, from its unil- lumined to its enlightened decision, to seek for that enlightenment, to wish for it, and in the consciousness of his countless secret faults and his unnumbered shortcomings, to pray for it, and to bow down, an humble, contrite penitent, before that God in whose sight even the heavens are not clean." 20 Butler The law of conscience in the moral world is like nothing so much as the law of gravitation in the material world. And both those founda- tion laws of Almighty God were for the first time brought to light in the same generation : the one by Newton and the other by Butler. Newton made the most magnificent and the most fruitful of all physical discoveries, that every atom of matter in the material universe exercises a measurable influence on every other atom ; and that this law, which he named the law of gravitation, is absolutely universal and invariable in its operation. The smallest atom of red-hot lava at the heart of our own earth throwsoutan influenceof attraction that measur- ably afreets the remotest speck of star-dust on the outermost border of the unfathomable universe. And it was while the minds of men were so overawed and exalted with Newton's astounding discovery and with all that followed upon it, that Butler made his parallel discovery and demonstration of the law of conscience in the moral world. This law, namely, that Appreciation 21 there is not an act that any man performs, nor a word that any man speaks, nor a thought in any man's mind, nor an affection in any man's heart, that is not all placed under the sceptre of his conscience. It is true, the nature of man in the present life is such, that the law of conscience suffers endless perturbations and suspensions, and sometimes what would seem to be reversals ; but so does the law of gravitation. And just as our ever-widening knowledge has proved the absolute univers- ality and inviolability of Newton's law, so will it be with Butler's law. Wait, says Butler, till you enter on the completing dis- pensation of things, and you will find that conscience has only handed over all her seem- ing defeats and reversals to the judgment and to the power of One who will sooner see heaven and earth perish than that one jot or tittle of His moral law shall be left un- vindicated and unexecuted. Both the law of gravitation and the law of conscience had been laid by Almighty God on nature and on man 22 Butler from the beginning. But those two universally binding laws of God were never fully dis- covered nor finally demonstrated to the children of men till Newton and Butler were raised up to discover them and to demonstrate them. And that immense service, so far as the law of conscience is concerned, is performed by Butler in his three epoch-making sermons on Human Nature. The noble teaching of those three sermons has been so absorbed and assimilated into our best literature, that it is not very easy for us to go back to that age when Butler's doctrine of conscience could be called a new discovery, as Sir James Mackintosh so emphatically calls it. Dr. Newman, especially, has made Butler's teaching on the subject of conscience such a theme of his in a multitude of magnificent passages, that the supremacy, and the authority, and the anticipations, and the presages, of conscience are all familiar ideas to us, as well as daily experiences. Newman took up his great master's teaching on conscience, and brought to that teaching all his own so Appreciation 23 captivating English style, and all his own so unequalled homiletical genius, in both of which gifts Butler was, comparatively speaking, so deficient. It is true that all the best literature, both ancient and modern, has always been full of the omnipresence, and the authority, and the presages, of conscience. But it was Butler who first established all that on a scientific and an unassailable basis ; till it almost seems as if very conscience herself holds the pen and mounts the pulpit in these three immortal sermons upon herself. Robert Hall on one occasion gave a young preacher a most impressive advice as to his frequently taking up particular parts of con- duct and character in his sermons. John Foster also, both by precept and example, often sets this duty before his ministerial readers. Butler was still but a young preacher when he delivered his extraordinarily original and pungent sermon on this particular part of conduct and character the government of the 24 Butler tongue. Butler was still a young man, but there is a whole lifetime of observation and insight, I might almost say of suffering and exasperation, in that single sermon. No one ever reads that sermon, and of those who do read it, not one in ten pays any attention to it so as to apply it to himself. And thus the widespread mischief and misery go on, just as if that sermon had never been written. " The fault referred to, and the disposition supposed," says the preacher, " is not evil-speaking from malice, nor lying, nor bearing false witness for selfish ends. The thing here supposed is talk- ativeness/* Nothing seems to have worn out Butler like the incessant talking of the people round about him. After his death his enemies said that he had died a Papist. But that was only another instance of their irrepressible talkativeness. Butler did not die a Papist, but he would be tempted sometimes to think of entering the Carthusian Order so as to escape for ever from the tongues of continually talking men. Butler rode a little black pony, Appreciation 25 and he always rode it as fast as it could carry him so his old parishioners used to tell. He rode fast, sometimes, to escape the crowds of beggars who continually infested him, and sometimes, as we are led to think, to escape the tongues of men who so continually tor- mented him. It has been said that there is a certain tinge of remorse in the style of Tacitus. And I never read Butler's sermon on the mis- government of the tongue without detecting in that sermon Butler's own bitter remorse for his misgovernment of his own tongue. No man ever speaks with such an intense bitterness as I taste in that sermon except when he speaks in remorse, and in self-resentment, and, as Butler says, with real self-dislike toward him- self. And then, lest some of his superficial readers should think that he is making far too much of a small matter, he has this observa- tion, that " the greatest evils in life have had their rise from somewhat which was thought of too little importance to be attended to." " There is, nor can be," says Mr. Gladstone, 26 Butler "no superannuation in this sermon/' No: not so long as men and women are ruining themselves every day by talking continually, and by straining continually, as Butler has it, " to engage your attention : to take you up wholly for the present time : what reflections will be made afterwards is in truth the least of their thoughts." The son of Sirach is a classical author with Butler : " Honour and shame is in talk. A wise man will hold his tongue till he sees opportunity ; but a babbler and a fool will regard no time. He that useth many words will be abhorred ; and he that taketh to himself authority therein shall be hated. The tongue of a man is his fall." Let every man who has a tongue to govern read regularly, once every year, Butler's bitter ser- mon on that subject, and lay it to heart. " Balaam" and " David " are two tremendous sermons. " Good God, what inconsistency is here ! What fatality is here ! " Butler bursts out in a way most unusual with him. And Appreciation 27 then he goes down to the darkest bottom of Balaam's heart, and of his hearer's heart, with ^ the two-edged sword of the Spirit in his hand. Till Butler's Balaam is one of the most terrible pieces of conscience-searching invective in the English language. And then, David's self- partiality and self-deceit make the tenth sermon a companion sermon, quite worthy of the seventh sermon. Both those sermons must be read many times over before their tremendous power will be believed. " I am persuaded," says the preacher, " that a very great part of the wickedness of the world is, one way or other, owing to the self-partiality, self-flattery, and self-deceit, endeavoured here to be laid open and explained. Those who have taken notice that there is really such a thing, namely, plain falseness and insincerity in men with regard to themselves, will readily see the drift and design of these discourses. And nothing that I can add will explain the design of them to him who has not beforehand remarked at least somewhat of the character." 28 Butler " Viewed in the light of the Gospel,'* says Carmichael, " this sermon is incomplete." "On Resentment" is a most enlightening and memorable sermon. " One point in Butler's account of resentment," says Dr. Whewell, " has been admired as happy and novel. I mean the distinction he draws between anger and settled resentment." And Whewell sums up Butler's doctrines on these subjects in these words : tc The distinction that Butler takes between sudden anger and settled resentment is of this kind. Sudden anger does not imply that we have wrong inflicted on us, resentment does. Sudden anger flashes up before we have time to reflect, and resists all violence and harm : resentment glows with a permanent heat against injury and injustice. Sudden anger is an instinct implanted for the pre- servation of the individual : resentment is a moral sentiment given for the repression of injustice, and the preservation of society. The former, we may add, belongs to animals as Appreciation 29 as to men, the latter is peculiar to mankind." Let every hot-hearted, and every sullen-hearted, and every spiteful-hearted, man lay this sermon of Butler's to heart, and it will be a great assistance to him in his deliverance from his besetting sin. The sermon on the Forgiveness of Injuries is full of that moral and intellectual seed- sowing which is so characteristic of all Butler's best work, and which has made his writings so singularly fruitful to all his readers. And the same thing may be said about his two beautiful sermons on the Love of our Neigh- bour. It is in the second of those two sermons that this single seed is dropped which has raised such a harvest of thoughtfulness, and fellow-feeling, and brotherly love, in so many of Butler's readers. This single seed, that " we ourselves differ from other men just as much as they differ from us." The two sermons are summed up into this closing prayer : " O Almighty God, inspire us with 30 Butler this divine principle of brotherly love. Kill in us all the seeds of envy and ill-will. And help us, by cultivating within ourselves the love of our neighbour, to improve in the love of Thee. Thou hast placed us in various kindreds, friendships, and relations, as the school of discipline for our affections. Help us, by the due exercise of all these, to im- prove to perfection, till all partial affection be lost in that entire universal one, and Thou, O God, shalt be all in all.'' In his two sermons on the Love of God, Butler touches by far his highest chord. There is the very thrill of David and Isaiah in those two sermons, if not of Paul and John. In the fourteenth Essay of his Hor<e Sabbatic*, Sir James Stephen says that the famous sermons on the Love of God are in his judgment not only the greatest of Butler's writings, but they are also the first to which a person who wishes to understand those writings as a whole should attend. I have Appreciation 31 preferred to take Butler's own arrangement of his sermons, and to study them in the order in which he has placed them himself. I agree with Sir James Stephen that those two sermons are the greatest of Butler's writ- ings, and I return to them oftener than to any other of his writings, and always with the same result. So far as they go they are to me among the most conclusive and satisfying pieces of religious writing in the English language, and every serious student ought to return to those sermons till he has them, as we say, by heart. This is the characteristically quiet way in which Butler introduces us to those enthralling sermons : " There must be some movements of mind and heart which correspond to the divine perfection." It is from these few words that those truly magnificent sermons are developed and elaborated and reasoned out, and that with such depth and strength and opulence of thought, and with such masculine eloquence of style. In his ad- mirably annotated edition of the Rolls Sermons, 32 Butler Carmichael has this introductory footnote to guide the student through those deep sermons : " Although the thirteenth and four- teenth sermons are included under the same head, the points of view are widely different. In the thirteenth sermon Butler treats of the love of God as an affection in the highest degree reasonable, alike from the constitution of man and the character of God. In the fourteenth sermon he considers the love of God as a principle which is influenced in its exercise by man's present condition, and is to be perfected in heaven." Butler is the least scriptural of all our great preachers, but for once he closes and crowns those two magnificent sermons with a long chain of scripture passages which gleam in Butler's somewhat sombre pages like a cluster of pearls. Such masterly sermons as these are, and coming to such a close, and approaching, as they sometimes do approach, to the very borders of becoming evangelical all this makes us wish that Butler had gone on to give himself up wholly to Appreciation 33 apostolical and evangelical theology, instead of spending his great gifts on philosophical apologetics, however successfully and however fruitfully executed. As it is, those two truly superb sermons will always go with the reader of Butler to lighten up his path and to warm his heart as he toils on through the somewhat unsunned and severe spaces of the Analogy. Now, after saying all that, it is a strong thing to go on to say that as far as Butler's sermons on our love to God are concerned, the Son of God need never have come with His Father's message of love to us, nor need the New Testament Epistles ever have been written. The truth is, the very name of Him in whom God's love to us has been most fully manifested, and in whom our love to God is first kindled, is never mentioned by Butler in these two sermons. Literally, the name of our Lord occurs only once, and that once is in a quite incidental way, in the whole of these sermons. Now, very far be it from me to point that out in order to raise a prejudice 34 Butler against Butler. My sole object in pointing out this distressing limitation and impoverish- ment of Butler's high argument is in order to forewarn the student not to expect what Butler's chosen and deliberate plan does not promise, or indeed permit. Butler has deter- mined to rest his whole argument with us on those deep and primeval foundations which are laid in the nature of God, and in the corresponding constitution of the mind and heart of man. " It cannot be denied " they are Butler's own words in his first sermon " that our being God's creatures, and virtue being the natural law we are born under, and the whole constitution of man being plainly adapted to it, are prior obligations to piety and virtue than the consideration that God sent His Son into the world to save it." Now, it is among those " prior obligations " that Butler's mind is most at home, and moves most easily. And it is on those " prior obligations" that he preaches with such in- comparable power. Whereas the New Testa- Appreciation 35 ment, while taking its first stand on those same " prior obligations," goes on to bring forward still stronger obligations to piety and virtue. The God of redemption claims our love and our obedience on this supreme obligation, that He has purchased us to Himself at a great price, till we are no longer our own. Butler himself has taught us that new relations both demand and produce new affections and new duties. But in his present sermons he has left out the most heart-melting relations and affections of all ; that is to say, God's relations and affections to us in Jesus Christ, and our relations and affections back again in Jesus Christ to God. Had Butler but followed out his own teaching on relations and their resulting duties in these two sermons, what a magnificent service he would thereby have rendered to New Testament theology and morals, and to his New Testament readers. Carmichael, while warmly defending Butler from some philosophical censures of Mack- intosh, and Wardlaw, and Maurice, is himself 36 Butler compelled to append this note of censure to these two sermons : "It will be a matter of surprise and regret to the Christian reader that, in the two sermons on the Love of God, the New Testament should have been almost completely ignored. It may indeed be urged that Butler was mainly concerned in establish- ing upon natural and metaphysical grounds, the reasonableness of our love of God. But this will scarcely justify the omission of all reference to truths, such, for example, as are contained in the words, Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." But the best explanation of this constant and distressing defect in Butler is supplied in this true distinction of Maurice : " Butler was a preacher professionally ; whereas he was by instinct and by character a philosopher." Hazlitt has finely said about Burke that the Appreciation 37 only specimen of the great orator is all that he ever wrote. And the same thing may be said about Butler with even more truth and point. At the same time, if I were asked what, to my mind, is the best specimen of the real Butler, I would without hesitation say that it is his great sermon On The Ignorance of Man. Nowhere else, in such short space, do Butler's immense depth of mind ; his constitutional seriousness of mind, even to melancholy ; his humility and his wisdom, all come out, and all at their best, as in his great sermon On The Ignorance of Man. Socrates himself might have written the sermon On The Ignorance of Man. Only, by Butler's day the diameter of knowledge had been so extended that the corresponding circumference of ignorance was immensely enlarged beyond the realised ignorance of Socrates's day. " Creation is absolutely and entirely out of our depth and beyond the extent of our utmost reach. And yet it is as certain that God made the world, as it is certain that 38 Butler effects must have a cause. It is indeed, in general, no more than effects that the most knowing are acquainted with ; for as for causes, the most knowing are as entirely in the dark as the most ignorant." And so of the government of the world. " Since the Divine Monarchy is a dominion unlimited in extent and everlasting in duration, it cannot but be absolutely beyond our comprehension." And Butler's deep heart reflects on all these things till he can only find adequate utterance for his heart in such prostrate and adoring passages as these : "Thy faithfulness, O Lord, reacheth unto the clouds : Thy righteous- ness standeth like the strong mountains : Thy judgments are like the great deep. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God ! How unsearch- able are His judgments, and His ways past finding out ! " And, then, he would not be Butler if he did not read all that home to himself and to his hearers in some of the weightiest words that ever were written by Appreciation 39 the pen of man. Dr. Angus well says that this sermon is one of the most impressive examples of Butler's wisdom. Altogether, the fifteen Rolls Sermons, if sometimes very " abstruse and difficult, or, if you please, obscure," as their author admits they are, will always be an epoch in the intellectual and moral life of the student who takes the trouble to master them. With that studied caprice which becomes so belittling to himself, and so wearisome to his most admiring readers, Matthew Arnold tells us that the most entirely satisfactory to him of all Butler's productions are the Six Sermons on Public Occasions. Arnold is alone in that satisfaction, as he so ostentatiously advertises himself to be. The Six Sermons are very able sermons, and they are all sermons that Butler alone in that day could have written. But there is one sermon among them that I could wish for the honour of his good name that Butler had never written : his sermon preached before the House of Lords on " The martyr- 40 Butler dom of King Charles the First." This sermon is as unworthy of Butler as the Gowrie series are unworthy of Andrewes. Both those great and good men still remained men enough to suffer both their pulpits to be tuned on occasion, and by the same finger. THE ANALOGY OF RELIGION, NATURAL AND REVEALED, TO THE CONSTITUTION AND COURSE OF NATURE, is the full title of Butler's second great work. " Others," says Southey in his famous epitaph on Butler, "had established the historical and prophetical grounds of the Christian religion, as also that sure testimony to its truth which is found in its perfect adaptation to the heart of man. But it was reserved for Butler to develop its analogy to the constitution and the course of nature. And, laying its strong foundations in the depth of that argument, there to construct another and an irrefragable proof. Thus rendering philosophy subservient to faith ; and Appreciation 41 finding in outward and visible things the type and the evidence of things within the veil." The angel's words to Adam in Paradise Lost will supply another remarkable illustration and enforcement of Butler's title-page " What surmounts the reach Of human sense I will delineate so By likening spiritual to corporal forms As may express them best, tho' what if Earth Be but the shadow of" Heaven, and things therein l\u h to other like, more than on earth is thought?" The Apostle's words also in his Epistle to the Romans might very well have been taken for a motto to the Analogy : c< For the in- visible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." " All things are double, one against another," says one of Butlers favourite authors. And, then, the real design of the Analogy^ as Butler himself explains to us, is not, as so many have assumed, to vindicate the character of God, but to show the obliga- 42 Butler tions of men : it is not to justify God's providences toward us, but to show us what belongs to us to do under His providence. When the studious reader of the Rolls Sermons opens the Analogy , he has not gone far into that deep book till he begins to discover the presence of the Rolls preacher in the person of the philosopher. The same qualities of mind, and heart, and character, that so signalised the preacher come out conspicuously in the apologist also. The same profound thoughtfulness at once comes out, the same deep seriousness, the same sober-mindedness, the same intellectual and moral humility, the same scrupulous truthfulness, the same fairness to opponents, the same immediate and un- questioning submission to the will of God, and the same subordination of everything to the sovereignty of conscience : all these char- acteristic qualities so come out both in the Sermons and in the Analogy, that if both these books had been anonymous, every capable Appreciation 43 reader would have set them down with abso- lute certainty to the same author. And this is just what Butler starts his great work by saying about Nature and Revelation ; and he repeats it and proves it till he claims at the end of his high argument to have as good as demonstrated to every willing and receptive reader that the Author of Nature is also the Author of Revelation. Butler is the most modest of controversialists ; but as he closes his Analogy he is bold to claim that he has shut all serious-minded men up to the beliefs, and to the comforts, and to the duties, and to the hopes, that all arise out of Revelation. The amazingly close analogy that subsists between natural and revealed religion and the constitu- tion and course of nature is Butler's great argument, but no mere description of his argument, however true and however exact, and no epitome of it, not even his own masterly epitome of it, can convey any conception of the wealth of thought that goes to establish his argument, or of the enlarging and enriching of 44 Butler mind that comes to the reader as he accom- panies Butler through his magnificent apology. Till, such is his own experience, that the reader ceases to wonder at the extraordinary acknowledgments of indebtedness that he finds paid to Butler on all hands. " Bishop Butler," wrote Mr. Gladstone in 1873, "taught me forty-five years ago to suspend my judgment on things I knew I did not understand. Even with his aid I may often have been wrong ; without him I think I should never have been right. And oh ! that this age knew the treasure it possesses in him, and neglects." " I have derived greater aid from the views and reasonings of Bishop Butler," says Dr. Chalmers, " than I have been able to find besides in the whole range of our extant author- ship. It was Butler who made me a Christian," says that great man and true Christian. True as I believe all that to be, at the same time I entirely agree with what Maurice says in his admirable remarks on the Analogy. " Butler," says Maurice, " is such a great and Appreciation 45 generative thinker, that his hints are often far more to us than even his conclusions." Now, that has been the case most emphatically with myself. I have almost lost myself sometimes in travelling on to Butler's conclusions. But it has been the hints of things, and the seeds of thought, that Butler has dropped into my mind as I walked with him it is this that makes me to continue to walk with him and to keep so close beside him. Dean Church also has given eloquent expression to my own feelings as a student of Butler. " Even if a person cannot thoroughly master the argu- ment, yet the tone and the spirit of the book, and its whole manner of looking at things, is so remarkable, is so high, so original, so pure and so calmly earnest, that great interest may be taken in Butler's book, and an infinite amount of good may be got out of it even by those who are baffled by its difficult argument." And again, " there is as much to be learned from Butler's tone and manner as there is from the substance of his reasonings." 46 Butler "PROBABILITY is THE VERY GUIDE OF LIFE." This famous proposition of Butler's contains the essence of his extraordinarily able Introduction to the Analogy. And to master Butler*s great doctrine of probability is the student's first palaestra-like encounter with Butler, of which encounter Mr. Gladstone writes so impressively and so eloquently. Multitudes of new beginners have been turned away from Butler by the difficulty they experienced in mastering his opening pages. But had they persevered ; had they tried the Introduction again and again, and had they been encouraged to go on into the body of the book even though they had not yet taken full possession of its opening pages, they would have got such pleasure and such profit in the body of the book that they would have returned to the Introduction somewhat accustomed to Butler's difficult style, and would thus have more easily mastered his fundamental principles. What both Maurice and Church say so well about the difficulty of Butler's writings, and at the Appreciation 47 same time about his many ways of rewarding his persevering readers, should be kept con- tinually before all new beginners in this great intellectual arena. As also this that Dr. Bernard says on this subject: " It is conduct, not conviction, that Butler has in his mind throughout." And so true is it that proba- bility is the guide of life and conduct, that there will be seasons with the most experienced and the most assured of Christian men when difficulties, both speculative and experimental, will so beset them that they will be fain to fall back upon Butler's great law of probability. And if they are happy enough to be students of Butler and followers of his, they will often be inexpressibly thankful to him for what he has said with such power and such persuasiveness as to the wisdom and the duty of our acting often- times on a bare probability in the absence of demonstrative proof and full assurance. A proof and an assurance that we cannot possibly have concerning the most important matters both of this life and the next. Do what your 48 Butler conscience tells you to be your duty, even if it is only on probable evidence, and in doing so you will act according to the true nature of your own mind and heart, and according to the true nature of this whole economy in which God has placed you here, says Butler to his readers. And this is just his philosophical and apologetical way of adapting to us our Lord's own authoritative and assuring words : " If any man will do the will of God, he shall know the doctrine." And again, " If ye con- tinue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." " Death, that unknown event," never dies out of Butler's thoughts, and he never lets it die out of his reader's thoughts. Butler's whole life was, in Plato's words, one long meditation on death ; on our due preparation for death, on our due anticipation of death, on the real nature and exact experience of death when it comes to us, and on the nature of that Appreciation 49 life which follows death. If I am to imagine other readers of Butler to be exercised under his arguments and conclusions as I am, the first chapter of the Analogy will give them not a few thoughts and feelings in connection with the great shock and alteration which they will undergo by death, thoughts and feelings which will never leave them. While it will lead them to dwell far more than they have hitherto dwelt on " that something in themselves which is quite out of the reach of the king of terrors." The whole argument of Butler's chapter on a future state may best be summed up in these words of the Apostle : " For which cause we faint not ; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." And in these words of one of Butler's latest and best commentators : " The senses may grow weak ; but the man himself does not weaken in truth, in honesty, in uprightness, in love." In no part of his solemnising and overawing book does Butler more solemnise and overawe D UBW&Y ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 50 Butler his readers than in his chapter on probation. "The conception," says Canon Spooner, "which in these chapters Butler has elaborated, of our present life being a period of probation for a future state of existence, has probably affected English thought more than any other part of the Analogy.' 1 This life is not an end in itself and to itself; this life is meaningless and purposeless, it is a maze and a mystery, it is absolutely without explanation or justifica- tion to Butler unless it is the ordained entrance to another life which is to be the completion and the compensation of this life. But, then, grant that this present life is but the school- room and the practising-ground to another life, and what a grandeur straightway invests this life ! What a holy fear, and what a holy hope, thenceforward take possession of the heart of the probationer of immortality ! And then it is in working out his great argument of probation that Butler discovers to his readers the momentous part that the law of habit per- forms in the formation of character, and in the Appreciation 51 successful or unsuccessful probation of every man who has another life before him. Next to his having made his great discovery con- cerning conscience, Butler has done nothing more important and more fruitful than his enunciation and illustration of the doctrine of habit. " This part of the chapter," says Canon Collins, " is mainly founded on Aristotle's ethical theory, and Butler's exposition of the growth and power of habit has been considered by many to be the most valuable part of the whole treatise." But Mr. Gladstone, always scrupulously jealous for Butler's honour, says, " Seminally, the declarations in the Ethics of Aristotle are of great weight. But the Greek writer does not enter on the field of self- education at all. The idea of mental habits is radically distinct in the two writers ; and the full development of the subject, with the great lessons it conveys, seems to be due to the thought of Butler." Some of Butler's most thought-laden passages are on this subject, and they are passages never to be forgotten by him 52 Butler who has once read them and laid them to heart. In the Second Part of the Analogy ', as in the First Part, it is the originality, and the depth, and the seriousness, and the suggestiveness, of Butler's incidental thoughts, occasional aphorisms, and solemnising reflections, that chiefly instruct and impress the reader. The great argument in itself does not in every part find and command the modern reader. But no reader with sufficient mind and heart, and, as Butler is always saying, with sufficient seriousness, can accompany Butler through his discussion of Revealed Religion without carry- ing away both enlightening and enriching for all his after days. Butler opens his Second Part with some great thoughts strikingly expressed on this thesis of his, that Revealed Religion is an authoritative republication of Natural Religion ; that the divine truths which had become dimmed and distorted in the blinded minds and the corrupted hearts Appreciation 53 of fallen men, were kindled afresh, and were set forth in more than all their pristine authority and power, in Revelation. " Chris- tianity especially " they are Butler's own words u is a republication of Natural Religion. Christianity instructs mankind in the moral system of the world ; that it is the work of an infinitely perfect Being, and is under His government ; that virtue is His law ; and that He will finally judge mankind in righteousness, and render to all according to their works, in a future state. And, which is very material, Christianity teaches Natural Religion in its genuine simplicity ; free from those superstitions with which it was totally corrupted, and under which it was in a manner lost." But the religion of Jesus Christ, blessed be God, is a vast deal more, and a vast deal better, than a mere republication of Natural Religion. Holy Scripture sets forth an abso- lutely new departure that Almighty God has taken toward the children of men. In Natural Religion, God is revealed as the Maker, and 54 Butler the Law-giver, and the Judge of men ; as our Father also, and our Friend. But how glorious His fatherhood is, and how blessed His friend- ship, the Gospel alone has revealed. Natural Religion in its highest and best dispensation might attain to tell us that God had sent forth His Logos-Son to create, and to enlighten, and to govern, and to judge the world. But no man ever read in the very best book of Natural Religion that God so loved the world as to make His Son to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. But instead of taking up and pursuing this line of thought, Butler turns immediately to quite another field of things in which he is much more at home. And he proceeds to draw out and to illustrate the striking contrast between what he calls moral and positive duties. No doubt the opportunities, if not the necessities, of his argument offered this field of reflection to Butler. But it is painfully characteristic of our author that he can always find plenty of room for purely ethical and logical discussions, Appreciation 55 but keeps scrupulously close to his philosophical and analogical argument as often as he comes into the neighbourhood of apostolical and evan- gelical truth. " In reviewing this chapter," says Dr. Angus, " too much stress cannot be laid on the principle laid down by Dr. Chal- mers. Christianity is not only a republication of natural religion, with added truth, but the added truth is adapted to the condition in which natural religion leaves us. The first without the second, the republication without the remedial addition, would have been a message of terror and denunciation. It is the Gospel which reconciles all difficulties ; and which, besides adding the light of its own manifestation, resolves all the doubts and hushes all the fears which natural religion had awakened." At the same time, let us not be tempted to make little of the immense service Butler has done for us, because he has not per- formed for us the highest service of all. Let us not cast Butler to the moles and the bats because he is not able to give us all that we 56 Butler demand of him. All the more since we have the full truth on this subject, and at this stage, in Chalmers and Angus and many others, in correction and in completion of Butler. Let us go on to study, with all due attention and profit, those remarkably suggestive chapters on moral and positive institutions and duties, thankful for the great services Butler here performs to us, instead of uselessly complaining because of the absence of services that, to his own impoverishment, he was not able to perform. In these days, when so much attention is being given to the history of revelation that is to say to the sundry times and divers manners in which God spake unto the fathers by the prophets- Butler's two chapters on those sundry times and divers manners are intensely interesting and highly instructive. Butler alone could have written the chapter on our unfitness to sit in judgment as to when and how God would speak to the children of men. The whole argument at this point is most enlighten- Appreciation 57 ing and most enlarging to the mind of the reader. And then, we come again and again on passages that would almost seem to have been written in anticipation of our own per- plexed and anxious day. Such passages as this : " Neither this obscurity, nor seeming inaccuracy of style, nor various readings, nor early disputes about the authors of particular parts, nor any other thing of the like kind, though they had been much more considerable than they are, could overthrow the authority of Scripture, unless the prophets, the apostles, or our Lord Himself had promised that the book contain- ing the Divine revelation should be secure from those things." Butler's whole discussion on Scripture is full of that sanity and sobriety of mind, and that deep and reverent wisdom, with which he has made us so familiar in all his previous writings. At the same time, it must be admitted that when Butler passes on from the defence of revelation to the exposi- tion of the contents and substance of revela- tion, he by no means shows the same qualities 58 Butler of mind as heretofore, nor commands the same assent and admiration from all his readers as heretofore. All the remaining chapters of the Analogy are full of the finest thoughts, and the most fruitful suggestions ; but, as a whole, the remainder of the work falls very much below the high and adequate level of the First Part. Butler has no equal in his defence of the outworks of the Christian faith. But when he passes into the inner sanctuary itself, he no longer commands the same assent and admira- tion as he does among the defences. " Butler," says Chalmers, tf is like one who, with admir- able skill, lays down the distances and the directions of a land into which he has not travelled very far himself." " But," adds Chalmers, " without sitting in judgment on the personal religion of Butler, it is the part of the Christian world to own their deepest obligations to the man who has so nobly asserted the authority of the Word of God over all the darkling speculations of human fancy, and who has evinced to us, by the truest of all Appreciation 59 philosophy, that we should cast down every lofty imagination and bring all our thoughts into the captivity of its obedience." Dr. John Cairns who, his biographer tells us, read the Analogy regularly once a year writing to his sister from Stanhope in the year 1873, savs : " Here, doubtless, the Analogy was finally thought out and adjusted to its present state. I had a specimen of the local humour when asking a young farmer what I should see from a distant point. His reply was, c a sight of fell, and the road.' It was only too true. For I had to labour on through the fell till at last the ocean rose upon the view. A sight of fell, but a road through it, and a grand outlook beyond, is not a bad image of Butler's work." The very title-page of Butler's great book shows the immense capaciousness of Butler's mind. The Constitution of Nature how vast a subject is that for a human mind to attempt to grasp ! And then, the Course of Nature how vast a subject is that also for a human 60 Butler mind to attempt to trace and follow out ! And then to take up both Natural and Revealed Religion, and to lay both those great fields of Divine truth alongside of Nature, both in her constitution and her course all that was surely far too much for any created mind to undertake. And yet Butler was not only led to undertake all that, but was enabled to carry all that out in a way that has been the wonder and the praise of all his readers ever since. Never had a book, after the Bible itself, a more capacious title-page than the Analogy, and never had an uninspired book a more complete success in what it undertook. Butler has never had sitting at his feet a more capacious- minded scholar than Mr. Gladstone. And this is how that generous-hearted and grateful- hearted man speaks about the capacious mind of his master : " The argument of the Analogy is an argument perhaps even greater than Butler himself was aware. In opening up his argument, which in my judgment stands among the masterpieces of the human mind, Butler Appreciation 61 has unfolded to us the entire method of God's dealings with His creatures; and in this way the argument which he offers us is as wide as those dealings themselves." And again : "It is Butler who, more than any other writer, opens to us the one all-pervading scheme upon which Almighty God deals with His creatures." And again : " Butler's method is so compre- hensive as to embrace every question belonging to the relations between the Deity and man." The truth is, very much what his great con- temporary Newton is in the material world that Butler is in the moral world. And more than once Butler as good as acknowledges the debt he owed to the discoveries of his great contemporary. Dr. Wace carries out the parallel between Newton and Butler in a very interesting and suggestive way in his lecture on Butler in Typical English Churchmen. In the matter of Butler's imagination I am not only alone against all the world, but also at first sight against Butler himself. For he never 62 Butler once mentions the imagination without belittling it, and he more than once actually vilifies it, to use one of his own strong words about another great faculty of the human mind. And Bagehot's passages on this subject may be taken as only too good specimens of the way that Butler has been taken at his own unfor- tunate valuation in the matter of the imagina- tion. For that able essayist actually says, and says it with a great and a repeated emphasis, that Butler is wholly wanting in imagination, that he is wholly deficient in the visual faculty, that he is not able to picture particulars, and that no instances or illustrations occur in his writings. Able and authoritative as Bagehot is, I must be permitted to say that I cannot agree with him in ail that. I cannot agree with him that Butler does not see what he is writing about, and does not let his reader see what he is reading about. Butler does not indeed delay in his great task to expatiate pictorially on what he sees. He does not take time in his high argument to describe dramati- Appreciation 63 cully and dilate eloquently on the vast visions that pass before his heaven-soaring mind. His imagination does not come out in purple patches on his pages. But if Butler had not himself seen the great things of nature, and of natural and revealed religion, with his own inward, and imaginative, and realising eye, he could never have made me see and realise them as I, for one, must always acknowledge and rejoice that he has done. " Of some assistance to apprehension/' is one of Butler's far too grudging, and far too ungrateful, references to a faculty of his own mind, which he employs continually to assist his own apprehension and that of his readers. Butler ought to have been as scrupulous not to vilify or undervalue imagination, as he is not to vilify or under- value reason, since imagination is the only faculty we possess in this life that can be to us the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. A service that both Butler and all his readers are continually receiving at the realising and illuminating hands 64 Butler of the imagination. To me, at any rate, let Butler himself, and Bagehot, and all Butler's other critics, say what they will, Butler will always rank, if not with the great masters of the dramatic and pictorial imagination, such as Dante and Bunyan and Milton, yet with those other masterly minds, who by means of that same noble faculty, exercised in another way, have made me vividly realise what I had hitherto but vaguely heard of, and who have also made things to be present and impressive to me which had hitherto been so remote as to be all but unreal. "See !" exclaims Maurice, " how he throws in the length of the ages and the immensity of the universe." As often as Butler is brought to a standstill in his high argument till he again says to his reader suppose, suppose, suppose and he says that in some of his chapters in every second sentence Butler by saying that, and by the way he goes on to make his suppositions, summons all my imagination into his service, till his whole high argument is lighted up to Appreciation 65 me from the one end of heaven to the other. And till ever after, the dry light of Butler's own reason is suffused and softened, and shed far and wide, as only the imagination could suffuse it, and soften it, and shed it abroad. The simple truth is, as Mr. Gladstone so regretfully points out, there is a serious con- fusion of language on Butler's part in all those passages in which he seems to us to vilify the imagination. For it is not against the im- agination proper that Butler is writing at all in those unfortunate and misleading passages, says Mr. Gladstone, but it is against " an un- bridled fancy, an intellectual caprice, and an ill- regulated judgment." All which things are as far as the poles asunder from the proper use of the imagination, that so superb faculty of the human mind. " The term imagination in Butler's pages," so Mr. Gladstone sums up, " would seem to be a misnomer." I will be bold to add, it not only seems to be a misnomer, but actually is such a fatal misnomer as to have misled many of Butler's readers, and drawn 66 Butler them wholly away from the due recognition and the due appreciation of a divinely given faculty that as little deserves to be vilified as either the reason or the conscience themselves. Dean Church alone has done something like justice to this noble endowment of Butler's own mind. " That was the feature of Butler's mind," says the Dean in his brilliant lecture, " that he never lost hold on his high thoughts, and never let custom or any other thing close his eyes or raise a mist between him and them. It was his power, the greatest perhaps that he had, that what his reason told him was certain and true, he was able continually to see, and feel, and imagine to be true and real. He had the power of faith. " And again : " These touches of imagination and feeling come in the midst of austere argument or statement ; they come in naturally and unforced ; and they give us a momentary glimpse, the more interesting because rare, into the depths of a great mind." And again in what Mr. Glad- stone calls " that masterly sermon of Dean Appreciation 67 Church," " there are passages in Butler, when we read between the lines of his words, that at first sight look so dry and commonplace, which seem to open a glimpse of the very foundations of the world and nature." And Professor Alexander Bain, in a striking passage in his Study of Character ', says on this same subject : "The many observations scattered over Butler's writings that have been esteemed for their profundity, owe their force to the flash of some hidden identity that gives a new aspect to an old problem. Remove from Butler's mind his foremost end, which is to obtain truth ; give him the local susceptibilities to colour and form, to words, cadence, and metre ; and the same reach of the identifying faculty would have emerged in a poet." It is a great lesson in English composition to read what has been written first and last about Butler's style. And the best thing that has ever been said on that subject was what Butler said himself. In the Preface to the 68 Butler second edition of his Rolls Sermons he replied in these words to the fault that had been found with his style of writing, " It must be acknowledged that some of the following discourses are very abstruse and difficult ; or, if you please, obscure. But I must take leave to add that those alone are judges whether or no this is a fault who are judges whether or no and how far it might have been avoided. Those only who will be at the trouble to understand what is here said, and to see how far the things here insisted upon and not other things, might have been put in a plainer manner : which I am very far from asserting they could not. Confusion and perplexity in writing is indeed without excuse, because any one may, if he pleases, know whether he understands and sees through what he is about. And it is unpardonable for a man to lay his thoughts before others when he is conscious that he himself does not know whereabouts he is, or how the matter before him stands. It is coming abroad in disorder, Appreciation 69 which he ought to be dissatisfied to find him- self in at home." And then at the end of his extraordinarily ably written preface he puts in this claim for himself, that at any rate he has written his sermons " with simplicity and earnestness of purpose." Take the follow- ing as so many most interesting specimens of the debate that has been held over Butler's style. John Byrom, stenographer and poet, and William Law's Boswell, has this in his Journal. " Some," says Byrom, " thought Butler a little too little vigorous, and wished he would have spoken more earnestly." Sir James Mackintosh, who averred that he owed all his philosophy to Butler, at the same time allows himself to call the Rolls Sermons " those deep and dark dissertations." And he goes on to say that " no thinker so great was ever so bad a writer." On the other hand, Bartlett, Butler's best biographer, has this on the matter in hand : " We have heard persons talk of the obscurity of Bishop Butler's style, and lament that his book was not rewritten 70 Butler by some more luminous master of language. We have always suspected that such critics know very little about the Analogy. We would have no sacrilegious hand touch it. To touch it would be like officious meddling with a well-considered move at chess. The Analogy is a work carefully and closely packed up out of twenty years' hard thinking. It must have filled folios had its illustrious author taken less time to concoct it ; for never was there a stronger instance of the truth of the observation, that it requires far more time to make a small book than a large one." And further on he adds : " The style of Butler has, we think, been condemned undeservedly. It certainly is not formed to anything like Ciceronian harmony and elegance ; but it seldom offends the ear, or violates the purity of the English idiom.'' " After all," says Fitzgerald, one of Butler's best editors, " the faults of his style are greatly overstated by many of his critics. It may not be polished ; but it is good, plain, downright English, the Appreciation 71 words are proper for his purpose, and they arc generally put in their proper places. Nay, though it would be absurd to claim for Butler's general style the artful simplicity of Addison's elegance, the brilliant perspicuity of Berkeley, or even the plain compactness of Swift, it is not too much to say that there occur, here and there, passages of pure, musical, Saxon-English that will not suffer from a comparison with any of those great models." "Butler's style," admits Dean Goulburn, " though it has a massive grandeur and solidity in it, is yet anything but attractive to the general reader." " Butler's words," says Maurice, " often become feeble and con- tradictory, because he cannot write what is struggling within him." "A great thinker, but a poor writer," says Bagehot. "It is probable, that if Butler hated anything, he hated his pen. Composition is pleasant work for men of ready words, fine ears, and thick- coming illustrations. But Butler, so far from having the pleasures of eloquence, had not 72 Butler even the comfort of perspicuity. In some places the mode of statement is even stupid : it seems selected to occasion a difficulty.'* And then Bagehot sums up against Butler in these words : " No writer of equal eminence is so defective as Butler. His thoughts, if you take each one singly, seem to lose a good deal from the feeble and hesitating manner in which they are stated. And yet, if you read any considerable portion of his writings, you become sensible of a strong disinclination to disagree with him." And again, and much more generously in another book : " There was not a spark of the littleness of literary ambition about Butler. There is nothing light in Butler ; he leaves to others all amusing skirmishing and superficial writing. In Butler all is grave, serious, and essential. Nothing else would be characteristic of Butler." " The admirable arrangement of the Analogy" says Mark Pattison, " is all its own. Its closely packed and carefully fitted order speaks of many years' contrivance. Its Appreciation 73 substance is the thought of a whole age, not barely compiled, but each separate thought reconsidered and digested. Every brick in the building has been rung before it was relaid, and replaced in its true relation to the complex and various whole." "The style of Butler/' says Mr. Gladstone, " has been made largely responsible for the difficulties of his subject, but those who might rewrite one of his pages would find it more difficult than they suppose to improve the style without im- pairing the substance." And in direct con- tradiction of one of Bagehot's charges against Butler's style, Mr. Gladstone proceeds : " In his illustrations Butler is particularly happy ; and upon the whole, in his case, and also in that of Aristotle, it may be said that the style and the substance cannot be parted." And then, if " a consciousness of what has preceded and what is to follow makes a perfect style," as Jowett in his introduction to the Laws says it does, then Butler's rank as a writer is secure. For never was 74 Butler there a more regular plan laid down for any book, and never had any book more consciousness of what had preceded and what was to follow. Canon Spooner also, Butler's latest biographer, has this in his excellent little book : " Is the charge of obscurity that is brought against Butler well deserved ? On such a matter the reading public is the only judge. A writer whom most, even intelligent, readers find obscure, is obscure. Tried by this test, Butler will almost certainly stand convicted. But the obscurity that exists is not the obscurity of a loose and confused thinker. There was no- thing loose or confused in Butler's mind : quite the reverse. The difficulty of the style arises from the extreme closeness and continuity of the thoughts. Still more from the caution, many-sidedness, and conscientiousness of the writer which would leave no aspect of the question unprovided for, no possible objection which might be taken unmet, no necessary limitation unexpressed, no possible misunder- Appreciation 75 standing of his meaning unguarded against. A man writing in such a spirit, particularly a man of Butler's anxious and even morbidly conscientious temperament, could scarcely attain to a facile and unlaboured style. Certainly Butler would have been less himself had his style been less laboured : with him even more than with most men, the style is the man." It is a study in literary criticism, as well as in style, to ponder these various opinions, and to consider them in relation to their respective authors, as well as in relation to Butler's style. It is an excellent exercise in criticism and in composition to watch in what, and how far, his critics coincide with one another, and to discover how they less, any single one of them, say the whole truth about Butler, than make each his own contribution to the whole truth. For myself, I will say in one word that the more I read Butler, and the better I understand him, the more I enjoy his peculiar style. His style is what it is, to employ one of his own repeated expressions, and I would 76 Butler not have it other than it is. And I most heartily subscribe to what Bishop Steere says so well on this same subject : " In truth the greatest beauty in any author's style consists in its appropriateness to express his meaning. And thus it is that careful students of Butlers works generally come, in the end, to have a sort of relish for his peculiar style." I think that is a very happy expression of Steere's. " A sort of relish " exactly describes my own enjoyment of Butler's peculiar style. For there is a certain dry, nutty, oaten aroma that comes off Butler's page as I read it ; not only not disagreeable, but positively healing, and restoring, and strengthening. Till, what with his style and what with his substance, with all his limitations and they are neither few nor small Butler will always remain one of the few first-class authors in the whole world to me. Butler is universally acknowledged to be the most thoughtful of all our English theologians Appreciation 77 aiul moralists. Many English theologians, and moralists, and preachers, could be named who far excelled Butler in other things. Many were more learned, many were more eloquent, many were far more scriptural, and consequently far more evangelical. But Butler stands alone in his own sheer power of thought, and in his amazing power of awakening thought in his readers. Hooker was far more learned and far more evangelical. Taylor was tar more oceanically read, and his eloquence was without parallel. Edwards's mind was far more powerful than Butler's mind was naturally, and it was simply seraphically sanc- tified. While the great Puritans far eclipsed Butler in the apostolicity and spirituality of their ministry. But for plunging his readers into the greatest depths of thought, Butler excels them all. Butler was like Pascal in this, that he was not at all a wide reader, but was one of the princeliest of thinkers. It was simply Butler's own thoughtfulness, and his power of producing thoughtfulness, that has 78 Butler called forth such extraordinary appreciations and acknowledgments as these : " The most original and profound work extant in any language on the philosophy of religion," says Sir James Mackintosh. " I could not write on this or on any other kindred subject," says Bishop O'Brien, " without a consciousness that I was either directly or indirectly borrowing from Butler. " " I have derived greater aid from the views and reasonings of Butler/* says Dr. Chalmers, " than I have been able to find besides in the whole range of our extant authorship." " I am more indebted to Butler's writings than I am to any other uninspired author," says Bishop Kaye. " That great and generative thinker," says Maurice. " The greatest name," says Newman, "in the Anglican Church." And writing about books to a lady, Newman says : " I think you will gain great benefit on the whole subject of ethics and religion from Butler's Analogy. It is a very deep work, and while it requires, it will repay your attention." It is no detraction from Appreciation 79 Newman's own great fertility of mind to say that the reader of Butler and of Newman continually comes on sentences, and clauses of sentences, in Butler that have been the seed of some of Newman's most famous sermons. And the same thing may be said of not a few of the sermons of Butler's philosophic and eloquent Irish namesake, as also of some of the best of Mozley's sermons, who has been called the Butler of the nineteenth century. One of the most original and impressive preachers I ever sat under, David White of Airlie, had Butler always on his desk beside his Bible, and had little else. Plato's discourses were so overladen with thought, that when he looked up after finishing one of the longest and deepest of them, all his audience had escaped : only Aristotle was left in the lecture- room. So Plutarch tells us. And I would not have wondered to have been told by Byrom that when Butler had finished some of his Rolls Sermons, there was no one left in the chapel but the Master of the Rolls and 8o Butler William Law in for the forenoon from Putney. " The pain of attending " is one of Butler's own admissions about his sermons. But then, all the pain is well repaid. <c A more than ordinary depth of thought produces the melancholy temperament," says Jacob Behmen. And Butler's deep melancholy is one of his outstanding characteristics, both as a preacher and a philosopher. Passages like these occur continually in his writings. " The infinite disorders of this world." " This world is a mere scene of distraction." " In- stead of this world being what it was intended to be, a discipline of virtue, the generality of men make it a discipline of vice. It is a state of apostasy, wickedness, and ruin. Men are depraved creatures, who want to be renewed." " If the discoveries of men of research tend in any way to render life less unhappy than it is, then they are most usefully employed." Lamentations like these come out of the Sermons and out of the Appreciation 81 continually, till to say Butler is to say melancholy. At the same time, Butler's melancholy is more a philosophical and a speculative melancholy than a religious and an experimental melancholy. There is a far deeper, a far more bitter, and a far more inconsolable, melancholy than is that melan- choly to which Butler, with all his depth of thought, has ever given voice. There is a cup, " bitterer to drink than blood," that Butler would seem scarcely ever to have tasted. So far as his Analogy ^ or his sermons, or even his prayers go, he would seem to have had little or no experimental acquaintance with the unspeakable melancholy of such spiritual men as Behmen, and Pascal, and Foster to keep to some of the men of deepest thought that have ever lived. It is always this fallen, and corrupt, and depraved world that is the source of Butler's melancholy. It is their own corrupt and depraved and hopeless hearts that is the source of the far deeper melancholy of such men as have been named above. Butler is a F 82 Butler great " melancholian," but, all the same, his great melancholy is but philosophical, and speculative, and economical : whereas the melancholy of Behmen, and Pascal, and Foster is spiritual, and personal, and experimental, and inconsolable. Under the head of his mental qualities Mr. Gladstone discusses Butler's measure, his strength of tissue, his courage, his questionable theses, his imagination, and his originality. All students of Butler should be sure not to miss what that great statesman has to say about the mental qualities of his revered master. Contenting myself with recommending Glad- stone's third volume to all students of Butler and I may add to all students of Gladstone himself I pass on to take some notice of what is by far the most serious complaint that has ever been made against Butler. That is to say, his extraordinary deficiency in apostolical and evangelical truth. Now, that complaint is so serious, and is so fundamental, that it must Appreciation 83 be made by me in the words of one who had both the ability, and the courage, and the loyalty to truth, to make it. Dr. Chalmers shall speak for all those who agree with him in his immense regret concerning Butler's religion. Whether in praise or in blame of Butler, as I have already said, I like to read Dr. Chalmers above all Butler's other editors and com- mentators. There is nothing to my mind to compare with Chalmers's lectures on the 'yg\. That great man is so reverential to Butler ; he is so full of noble acknowledgment of indebtedness to his great master ; and he is so eloquent and impressive in expounding him. Let Dr. Chalmers therefore speak on this dis- tressing subject. " We fear," says Chalmers in his fourth chapter, " that Butler here makes the first, though not the only, exhibition that occurs in his work, of his meagre and moderate theology. Sound as his general views were on what might be termed the philosophy of re- ligion, this formed no security against the errors of a lax and superficial creed on certain 84 Butler of its specific doctrines." And again : " It were great and unwarrantable presumption to decide on the personal Christianity of Butler, but I think it but fair to warn you that up and down throughout the volume there do occur the symptoms of a heart not thoroughly evan- gelised." " I have already/' says Chalmers in another place, u given repeated intimation that, viewed as a Christian composition, I do not regard Butler's book as being sufficiently im- pregnated with the sal evangelicum^ and that even his own principles are not fully and practically carried out. Butler is like one who, with admirable skill, lays down the distances and the directions of a land into which he has not travelled very far himself." Let any careful student read Butler's Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue, and then let him read Jonathan Edwards's treatise on the same subject, and he will see for himself what it is that Dr. Chalmers complains of when he says that Butler is so afraid or so incapable of be- coming evangelical that he will not even follow Appreciation 85 his own principles fully and practically out. Butler continually confines himself to the barely ethical, even when his subject claims to become spiritual. He will abide rigidly and severely philosophical even when, on every ground, he should rise to be apostolical and evangelical. But he never does so rise : never so much as once. And thus it is that there is a height and a depth, a fragrance, a sweetness, and a beauty about all Edwards's ethical work, of which Butler's very best work is wholly and blame- fully devoid. He defends himself, and his out- and-out eulogists defend him, on the plea that he is always arguing, not on his own principles, but on the principles of the deists, who were his opponents. But Edwards argues not less effectually because he lets his great subject carry both him and his readers away up to its native heavens. Edwards is only the more genuinely and profoundly philosophical that he is so seraphically spiritual ; and only the more truly and convincingly ethical that he is so Pauline in the grace and truth of his philo- 86 Butler sophy as well as his theology. Wesley's re- port of his interview with Butler is humiliating reading. And when it is read alongside of Chalmers's lectures on Butler, it is absolutely conclusive as to Butler's utter lack of sympathy with apostolic and evangelic preaching, even when he could not but see the miracles that such preaching was working in his own diocese. Mr. Gladstone is driven to think that the interview between the Bishop and the great Gospel preacher cannot be correctly reported in Wesley's Journal. I wish I could believe that. For, with all his shortcomings on the most important of all matters, I love and honour Butler more than I can tell. The truth is, with all his greatness, Butler falls far short of the greatest. Many an author, many a preacher, many an unlettered believer, who was not talented enough to read what Butler had written, could have taken him and taught him the way of God more perfectly, as Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos. It is a mystery to me how such a deep-seeing man, and such a Appreciation 87 fearless and honest man, and such a serious- minded man as Butler was could have lived and died contented with such an emasculated and meagre gospel as that of the Sermons and the Analogy. It would be a mystery did we not see the same mystery every day. But we have only too good evidence that Butler did not either live or die contented. As to his death, a delightful narrative is given of the Bishop's last moments, a narrative that carries its truth on the face of it, and a narrative we would not have wanted for anything. When Butler lay on his deathbed he called for his chaplain and said to him: "Though I have endeavoured to avoid sin, and to please God to the utmost of my power, yet, from the consciousness of perpetual infirmities, I am still afraid to die." "My lord," said the chaplain, " you have forgotten that Jesus Christ is a Saviour." "True," said Butler, " but how shall I know that He is a Saviour for me ? " " My lord, it is written, < Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.' ' 88 Butler " True," said Butler, " and I am surprised that though I have read that Scripture a thousand times over, I never felt its virtue till this moment. And now I die happy." "A mighty prelate on his deathbed lay, Revolving the dread themes of life and death And their stupendous issues, with dismay, His marvellous powers nigh quenched. * My lord,' one saith, ' Hast thou forgotten how Christ came to be A Saviour?' 'Nay,' the bishop made reply, 'How know I He's a Saviour unto me?' The chaplain paused, then answered thoughtfully : <"Lo, him that cometh unto Me," Christ said, " I will in nowise cast out," need we more ?' The bishop slowly raised his dying head: 'I've read a thousand times that Scripture o'er, Nor felt its truth till now I near the tomb; It is enough, O mighty Christ, I come.' " BUTLER'S BEST PASSAGES BUTLER'S BEST PASSAGES ON GOD OUR whole nature leads us to ascribe all moral perfection to God, and to deny all imperfection of Him. And this will for ever IK- ;i practical proof of His moral character, to such as will consider what a practical proof is ; because it is the voice of God speaking in us. Angus > p. 10. If we are constituted such sort of creatures, as from our very nature to feel certain affec- tions or movements of mind upon the sight or contemplation of the meanest inanimate part of the creation, for the flowers of the field have their beauty, certainly there must be somewhat due to Him Himself, who is the Author and Cause of all things, who is more intimately 01 92 Butler's Best Passages present to us than anything else can be, and with whom we have a nearer and more constant intercourse than we can have with any creature. There must be some movements of mind and heart which correspond to His perfections, or of which those perfections are the natural object. Angus, p. 354. Reverence, ambition of His love and appro- bation, delight in the hope or consciousness of it, come likewise into this definition of the love of God, because He is the natural object of all those affections or movements of mind, as really as He is the object of the affection which is in the strictest sense called love ; and all of them equally rest in Him as their end. -Angus, p. 499. Nothing is more certain than that an infinite Being may himself be, if he pleases, the supply to all the capacities of our nature. All the common enjoyments of life are from the faculties he hath endued us with, and the Butler's Best Passages 93 objects he hath made suitable to them. He may himself be to us infinitely more than all these ; he may be to us all that we want. As our understanding can contemplate itself, and our affections be exercised upon themselves by reflection, so may each be employed in the same manner upon any other mind ; and since the Supreme Mind, the Author and Cause of all things, is the highest possible object to himself, he may be an adequate supply to all the faculties of our souls, a subject to our understanding, and an object to our affections. -Angus, p. 513. Words, to be sure, are wanting upon this subject : to say that everything of grace and beauty throughout the whole of Nature, everything excellent and amiable shared in differently lower degrees by the whole crea- tion, meet in the Author and Cause of all things ; this is an inadequate and perhaps improper way of speaking of the Divine Nature, but it is manifest that absolute recti- LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 94 Butler's Best Passages tude, the perfection of being, must be in all senses and in every respect the highest object to the mind. Angus, p. 514. Now, as our capacities of perception improve, we shall have, perhaps by some faculty entirely new, a perception of God's presence with us in a nearer and stricter way ; since it is certain He is more intimately present with us, than anything else can be. Proof of the existence and presence of any being is quite different from the immediate perception, the conscious- ness of it. What then will be the joy of heart which His presence, and the light of His countenance, who is the life of the Uni- verse, will inspire good men with, when they shall have a sensation, that He is the Sustainer of their being, that they exist in Him ; when they shall feel His influence to cheer and enliven and support their frame, in a manner of which we have now no conception? He will be in a literal sense their strength and their portion for ever. Butler's Best Passages 95 When we speak of things so much above our comprehension, as the employment and happiness of a future state, doubtless it behoves us to speak with all modesty and distrust of ourselves. But the Scripture represents the happiness of that state under the notions of seeing God, seeing Him as He is, knowing as we are known, and seeing face to face. These \\oi\ls are not general or undetermined, but express a particular determinate happiness. And I will be bold to say, that nothing can account for, or come up to, these expressions, but only this, that God Himself will be an object to our faculties, that He Himself will be our happiness ; as distinguished from the enjoy- ments of the present state which seem to arise, not immediately from Him but from the objects He has adapted to give us delight , p. 516. ON THE LOVE OF GOD By the love of God I would understand all those regards, all those affections of mind 96 Butler's Best Passages which are due immediately to Him from such a creature as man, and which rest in Him as their end. As this does not include servile fear, so neither will any other regards, how reasonable soever, which respect anything out of or besides the perfection of the Divine nature come into consideration here. But all fear is not excluded, because His displeasure is itself the natural proper object of fear. Reverence, ambition of His love and approba- tion, delight in the hope or consciousness of it, come likewise into this definition of the love of God, because He is the natural object of all those affections or movements of mind, as really as He is the object of the affection which is in the strictest sense called love ; and all of them equally rest in Him as their end. And they may all be understood to be implied in these words of our Saviour, without putting any force upon them ; for he is speaking of the love of God and our neighbours as con- taining the whole of piety and virtue. Angus, p. 499. Butler's Best Passages 97 ON SCRIPTURE The general design of Scripture, which con- tains in it this revelation, thus considered as historical, may be said to be, to give us an account of the world, in this one single view as God's world : by which it appears essentially distinguished from all other books, so far as I have found, except such as are copied from it. -Angus, p. 272. Those who will thoroughly examine into reve- lation will find it worth remarking, that there are several ways of arguing, which, though just with regard to other writings, are not applic- able to Scripture, at least not to the prophetic parts of it. We cannot argue, for instance, that this cannot be the sense or intent of such a passage of Scripture ; for if it had it would have been expressed more plainly, or have been represented under a more apt figure or hieroglyphic ; yet we may justly argue thus with respect to common books. And the reason of this difference is very evident ; that 98 Butler's Best Passages in Scripture we are not competent judges, as we are in common books, how plainly it were to have been expected, what is the true sense should have been expressed, or under how apt an image figured. The only question is, what appearance there is that this is the sense ; and scarce at all how much more determinately or accurately it might have been expressed or figured. Angus, p. 186. If one knew a person to have compiled a book out of memoirs, which he received from another, of vastly superior knowledge in the subject of it, especially if it were a book full of great intricacies and difficulties ; it would in no wise follow that one knew the whole meaning of the book, from know- ing the whole meaning of the compiler : for the original memoirs, i.e. the author of them, might have, and there would be no degree of presumption, in many cases, against sup- posing him to have, some further meaning than the compiler saw. To say then, that Butler's Best Passages 99 the Scriptures, and the things contained in them, can have no other or further meaning than those persons thought or had, who first recited or wrote them ; is evidently saying, that those persons were the original, proper, and sole authors of those books. Angus, p. 268. This supposed revelation's obtaining and being received in the world, with all the circumstances and effects of it, considered together as one event, is the most conspicu- ous and important event in the story of mankind : a book of this nature, and thus promulged and recommended to our con- sideration, demands, as if by a voice from heaven, to have its claim most seriously ex- amined into ; and, before such examination, to treat it with any kind of scoffing and ridicule, is an offence against natural piety. -Angus, p. 277. Neither obscurity, nor seeming inaccuracy ioo Butler's Best Passages of style, nor various readings, nor early dis- putes about the authors of particular parts ; nor any other things of the like kind, though they had been much more considerable in degree than they are, could overthrow the authority of the Scripture ; unless the prophets, apostles, or our Lord had promised that the book containing the Divine revelation should be secure from those things. Angus, p. 1 86. ON CONSCIENCE God hath given us a moral faculty, by which we distinguish between actions, and approve some as virtuous and of good desert, and disapprove others as vicious and of ill desert. Now this moral discernment implies, in the notion of it, a rule of action, and a rule of a very peculiar kind ; for it carries in it authority and a right of direction ; authority in such a sense, as that we cannot depart from it without being self-condemned. And Butler's Best Passages 101 that the dictates of this moral faculty, which are by nature a rule to us, are moreover the laws of God, laws in a sense including sanctions, may be thus proved. Conscious- ness of a rule or guide of action, in creatures who are capable of considering it as given them by their Maker, not only raises im- mediately a sense of duty, but also a sense of security in following it, and of danger in deviating from it. A direction of the Author of Nature, given to creatures capable of look- ing upon it as such, is plainly a command from Him ; and a command from Him necessarily includes in it, at least, an implicit promise in case of obedience, or threatening in case of disobedience. Angus ', p. 121. That which renders beings capable of moral government, is their having a moral nature, and moral faculties of perception and of action. Brute creatures are impressed and actuated by various instincts and propensions : so also are we. But additional to this, we have a capacity 102 Butler's Best Passages of reflecting upon actions and characters, and making them an object to our thought : and on doing this, we naturally and unavoidably approve some actions, under the peculiar view of their being virtuous and of good desert ; and disapprove others, as vicious and of ill desert. That we have this moral ap- proving and disapproving faculty, is certain from our experiencing it in ourselves, and recognising it in each other. It appears from our exercising it unavoidably in the approba- tion and disapprobation even of feigned char- acters : from the words right and wrong, odious and amiable, base and worthy, with many others of like signification in all languages, applied to actions and characters : from the many written systems of morals which suppose it : since it cannot be imagined, that all these authors, throughout all these treatises, had absolutely no meaning at all to their words, or a meaning merely chimerical : from our natural sense of gratitude, which implies a distinction between merely being the instrument of good, and Butler's Best Pa 103 intending it : from the like distinction, every one makes, between injury and mere harm, which, Hobbes says, is peculiar to mankind ; and between injury and just punishment, a distinction plainly natural, prior to the con- sideration of human laws. It is manifest great part of common language, and of common behaviour over the world, is formed upon supposition of such a moral faculty; whether called conscience, moral reason, moral sense, or Divine reason ; whether considered as a sentiment of the understanding, or as a per- ception of the heart ; or, which seems the truth, as including both. Angus, p. 323. It does not appear that brutes have the least reflex sense of actions as distinguished from events; or that will and design, which constitute the very nature of actions as such, are at all an object to their perception. But to ours they are ; and they are the object, and the only one, of the approving and dis- approving faculty. Acting, conduct, behaviour, 104 Butler's Best Passages abstracted from all regard to what is, in fact and event, the consequence of it, is itself the natural object of the moral discernment ; as speculative truth and falsehood is of specula- tive reason. Intention of such and such con- sequences, indeed, is always included ; for it is part of the action itself ; but though the intended good or bad consequences do not follow, we have exactly the same sense of the action as if they did. In like manner we think well or ill of characters, abstracted from all consideration of the good or the evil, which persons of such characters have it actually in their power to do. We never, in the moral way, applaud or blame either ourselves or others, for what we enjoy or what we suffer, or for having impressions made upon us which we consider as altogether out of our power ; but only for what we do, or would have done, had it been in our power : or what we leave undone, which we might have done, or would have left undone, though we could have done it._ Angus, p. 325. Butler's Best Passages 105 But that is not a complete account of man's nature. Somewhat further must be brought in to give us an adequate notion of it ; namely, that one of those principles of action, conscience, or reflection, compared with the rest as they all stand together in the nature of man, plainly bears upon it marks of authority over all the rest, and claims the absolute direction of them all, to allow or forbid their gratification ; a disapprobation of reflection being in itself a principle mani- festly superior to a mere propension. And the conclusion is, that to allow no more to this superior principle or part of our nature, than to other parts ; to let it govern and guide only occasionally in common with the rest, as its turn happens to come, from the temper and circumstances one happens to be in ; this is not to act conformably to the constitution of man ; neither can any human creature be said to act conformably to his constitution of nature, unless he allows to that superior principle the absolute authority 106 Butler's Best Passages which is due to it. And this conclusion is abundantly confirmed from hence, that one may determine what course of action the economy of man's nature requires, without so much as knowing in what degree of strength the several principles prevail, or which of them have actually the greatest influence. The practical reason of insisting so much upon this natural authority of the principle of reflection or conscience is, that it seems in great measure overlooked by many, who are by no means the worst sort of men. It is thought sufficient to abstain from gross wicked- ness, and to be humane and kind to such as happen to come in their way. Whereas in reality, the very constitution of our nature requires that we bring our whole conduct before this superior faculty ; wait its deter- mination and enforce upon ourselves its authority, and make it the business of our lives, as it is absolutely the whole business of a moral agent, to conform ourselves to it. This Butler's Best Passages 107 is the true meaning of that ancient precept, Reverence thyself. Angus, p. 344. There is a principle of reflection in men, by which they distinguish between, approve, and disapprove their own actions. We are plainly constituted such sort of creatures as to reflect upon our own nature. The mind can take a view of what passes within itself, its propen- sions, aversions, passions, affections, as respect- ing such objects, and in such degrees ; and of the several actions consequent thereupon. In this survey it approves of one, disapproves of another, and towards a third is affected in neither of these ways, but is quite indifferent. This principle in man, by which he approves or disapproves his heart, temper, and actions, is conscience ; for this is the strict sense of the word, though sometimes it is used so as to take in more. And that this faculty tends to restrain men from doing mischief to each other, and leads them to do good, is too manifest to need being insisted upon. Angus, p. 365. io8 Butler's Best Passages There is a superior principle of reflection or conscience in every man, which distinguishes between the internal principles of his heart, as well as his external actions ; which passes judgment upon himself and them ; pronounces determinately some actions to be in themselves just, right, good ; others to be in them- selves evil, wrong, unjust. Which, without being consulted, without being advised with, magisterially exerts itself, and approves or condemns him the doer of them accordingly. And which, if not forcibly stopped, naturally and always of course goes on to anticipate a higher and more effectual sentence, which shall hereafter second and affirm its own. Angus, P- 378. Conscience is the guide of life. p. 467. Thus that principle, by which we survey, and either approve or disapprove our own heart, temper, and actions, is not only to be Butler's Best Passages 109 considered as what is in its turn to have some influence; which may be said of every passion, of the lowest appetites : but likewise as being superior ; as from its very nature manifestly claiming superiority over all others : insomuch that you cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direc- tion, superintendency. This is a constituent part of the idea, that is, of the faculty itself ; and to preside and govern, from the very economy and constitution of man, belongs to it. Had it strength, as it has right ; had it power, as it has manifest authority ; it would absolutely govern the world. Angus, p. 381. That your conscience approves of and attests to such a course of action, is itself alone an obligation. Conscience does not only offer itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its own authority with it, that it is our natural guide ; the guide assigned to us by the Author of our nature. It therefore belongs to our condition of being, I io Butler's Best Passages it is our duty to walk in that path and follow this guide without looking about to see whether we may not possibly forsake them with impunity. Angus, p. 386. ON REASON I express myself with caution, lest 1 should be mistaken to vilify reason, which is indeed the only faculty we have wherewith to judge concerning anything, even revelation itself. Angus, p. 182. Great caution of not vilifying the faculty of reason, which is the candle of the Lord within us. Angus, p. 303. ON CHARACTER By character is meant that which, in speak- ing of men, we should express by the words temper, taste, dispositions, practical principles, that whole frame of mind, from whence we act in one manner rather than another. Angus, p. 120. Butler's Best Passages in But then, as Nature has endued us with a power of supplying those deficiencies, by acquired knowledge, experience, and habits ; so likewise we are placed in a condition, in infancy, childhood, and youth, fitted for it; fitted for our acquiring those qualifications of all sorts, which we stand in need of in mature age. Hence children from their very birth are daily growing acquainted with the objects about them, with the scene in which they are placed, and to have a future part, and learning somewhat or other necessary to the perform- ance of it. The subordinations to which they are accustomed in domestic life, teach them self-government in common behaviour abroad, and prepare them for subjection and obedience to civil authority. What passes before their eyes and daily happens to them, gives them experience, caution against treachery and deceit, together with numberless little rules of action and conduct which we could not live without, and which are learned so insensibly and so perfectly, as to be mistaken perhaps H2 Butler's Best Passages for instinct, though they are the effect of long experience and exercise, as much so as language or knowledge in particular business, or the qualifications and behaviour belonging to the several ranks and professions. Thus the beginning of our days is adapted to be, and is, a state of education in the theory and practice of mature life. We are much assisted in it by example, instruction, and the care of others, but a great deal is left to our- selves to do. And of this, as part is done easily and of course, so part requires diligence and care, the voluntary foregoing many things which we desire, and setting ourselves to what we should have no inclination to, but for the necessity or expedience of it. For that labour and industry, which the station of so many absolutely requires, they would be greatly unqualified for in maturity, as those in other stations would be for any other sorts of application, if both were not accustomed to them in their youth. And according as persons behave themselves in the general Butler's Best Passages 113 education which all go through, and in the particular ones adapted to particular employ- ments, their character is formed and made appear ; they recommend themselves more or less, and are capable of, and placed in, different stations in the society of mankind. Angus, p. 95. A man's character cannot be determined by the love he bears to his neighbour, considered absolutely ; but the proportion which this bears to self-love, whether it be attended to or not, is the chief thing which forms the character, and influences the actions. For, as the form of the body is a composition of various parts ; so likewise our inward structure is not simple or uniform, but a composition of various passions, appetites, affections, together with rationality ; including in this last both the discernment of what is right, and a disposition to regulate ourselves by it. There is greater variety of parts in what we call a character than there are features H 114 Butler's Best Passages in a face ; and the morality of that is no more determined by one part, than the beauty or deformity of this is by one single feature : each is to be judged of by all the parts or features, not taken singly, but together. Angus, p. 487. There is a third thing, which may seem implied in the present world's being a state of probation ; that it is a theatre of action, for the manifestation of persons' characters with respect to a future one ; not, to be sure, to an all-knowing Being, but to this creation or part of it. This may, perhaps, be only a consequence of our being in a state of probation in the other senses. However, it is not impossible that men's showing and making manifest what is in their heart, what their real character is, may have respect to a future life, in ways and manners which we are not acquainted with ; particularly it may be a means, for the Author of Nature does not appear to do anything without means, of their Butler's Best Passages 115 being disposed of suitably to their characters, and of its being known to the creation by way of example, that they are thus disposed of. But not to enter upon any conjectural account of this, one may just mention, that the manifestation of persons* characters con- tributes very much in various ways, to the carrying on a great part of that general course of Nature, respecting mankind, which comes under our observation at present. I shall only add, that probation, in both these senses, as well as in that treated in the fore- going chapter, is implied in moral government ; since by persons' behaviour under it, their characters cannot but be manifested, and if they behave well, improved. Angus, p. 110. ON HABIT As habits belonging to the body are pro- duced by external acts, so habits of the mind are produced by the exertion of inward n6 Butler's Best Passages practical principles, i.e. by carrying them into act, or acting upon them ; the principles of obedience, or veracity, justice, and charity. Nor can those habits be formed by any external course of action, otherwise than as it proceeds from these principles ; because it is only these inward principles exerted, which are strictly acts of obedience, of veracity, of justice, and of charity. So likewise habits of attention, industry, self-government, are in the same manner acquired by exercise ; and habits of envy and revenge by indulgence, whether in outward act, or in thought and intention, i.e. inward act ; for such intention is an act. Resolutions also to do well are properly acts. And endeavouring to enforce upon our minds a practical sense of virtue, or to beget in others that practical sense of it which a man really has himself, is a virtuous act. All these, therefore, may and will con- tribute towards forming good habits. But going over the theory of virtue in one's thoughts, talking well, and drawing fine Butler's Best Passages 117 pictures of it ; this is so far from necessarily or certainly conducing to form a habit of it in him who thus employs himself, that it may harden the mind in a contrary course, and render it gradually more insensible, i.e. form a habit of insensibility to all moral considera- tions. For, from our very faculty of habits, passive impressions, by being repeated, grow weaker. Angus, p. 90. Thus, by accustoming ourselves to any course of action, we get an aptness to go on, a facility, readiness, and often pleasure, in it. The inclinations which rendered us averse to it grow weaker ; the difficulties in it, not only the imaginary but the real ones, lessen ; the reasons for it offer themselves of course to our thoughts upon all occasions ; and the least glimpse of them is sufficient to make us go on in a course of action to which we have been accustomed. And practical principles appear to grow stronger, absolutely in themselves, by exercise, as well as relatively with regard to n8 Butler's Best Passages contrary principles, which, by being accustomed to submit, do so habitually and of course. And thus a new character, in several respects, may be formed ; and many habitudes of life, not given by Nature, but which Nature directs us to acquire. Angus > p. 93. ON PROBATION The evidence of religion not appearing obvious, may constitute one particular part of some men's trial in the religious sense : as it gives scope for a virtuous exercise, or vicious neglect, of their understanding, in examining or not examining into that evidence. There seems no possible reason to be given, why we may not be in a state of moral probation, with regard to the exercise of our understanding upon the subject of religion, as we are with regard to our behaviour in common affairs. The former is as much a thing within our power and choice as the latter. And I suppose it is to be laid down for certain, that the same Butler's Best Passages 119 character, the same inward principle, which, after a man is convinced of the truth of religion, renders him obedient to the precepts of it, would, were he not thus convinced, set him about an examination of it, upon its system and evidence being offered to his thoughts ; and that in the latter state his examination would be with an impartiality, seriousness, and solicitude, proportionable to what his obedience is in the former. And as inattention, negligence, want of all serious concern, about a matter of such a nature, and such importance, when offered to men's con- sideration, is, before a distinct conviction of its truth, as real immoral depravity and dis- soluteness as neglect of religious practice after such conviction ; so active solicitude about it, and fair impartial consideration of its evidence before such conviction, is as really an exercise of a morally right temper, as is religious practice after. Thus, that religion is not intuitively true, but a matter of deduction and inference ; that a conviction of its truth is not forced 120 Butler's Best Passages upon every one, but left to be, by some, collected with heedful attention to premises ; this as much constitutes religious probation, as much affords sphere, scope, opportunity, for right and wrong behaviour, as anything what- ever does. And their manner of treating this subject, when laid before them, shows what is in their heart, and is an exertion of it. Angus, P- 2 35- Especially men are bound to keep at the greatest distance from all dissolute profane- ness ; for this the very nature of the case for- bids ; and to treat with the highest reverence a matter, upon which their own whole interest and being, and the fate of Nature, depend. This behaviour, and an active endeavour to maintain within themselves this temper, is the business, the duty, and the wisdom of those persons, who complain of the doubtfulness of religion : is what they are under the most proper obliga- tions to. And such behaviour is an exertion of, and has a tendency to improve in them, Butler's Best Passages 121 that character, which the practice of all the several duties of religion, from a full conviction of its truth, is an exertion of, and has a tendency to improve in others ; others, I say, to whom God has afforded such conviction. Nay, con- sidering the infinite importance of religion, revealed as well as natural, I think it may be said in general, that whoever will weigh the matter thoroughly may see, that there is not near so much difference as is commonly imagined between what ought in reason to be the rule of life, to those persons who are fully convinced of its truth, and to those who have only a serious doubting apprehension that it may be true. Their hopes, and fears, and obligations, will be in various degrees : but as the subject-matter of their hopes and fears is the same, so the subject-matter of their obliga- tions, what they are bound to do and to refrain from, is not so very unlike. Angus, p. 237. The difficulties in which the evidence of religion is involved, which some complain of, 122 Butler's Best Passages is no more a just ground of complaint than the external circumstances of temptation, which others are placed in ; or than difficulties in the practice of it, after a full conviction of its truth. Temptations render our state a more improving state of discipline than it would be otherwise : as they give occasion for a more attentive exercise of the virtuous principle which confirms and strengthens it more than an easier or less attentive exercise of it could. Now, speculative difficulties are, in this respect, of the very same nature with these external temptations. For the evidence of religion not appearing obvious, is to some persons a temp- tation to reject it without any consideration at all ; and therefore requires such an attentive exercise of the virtuous principle, seriously to consider that evidence, as there would be no occasion for, but for such temptation. And the supposed doubtfulness of its evidence, after it has been in some sort considered, affords opportunity to an unfair mind of explaining away and deceitfully hiding from Butler's Best Passages 123 itself that evidence which it might see ; and also for men's encouraging themselves in vice, from hopes of impunity, though they do clearly see thus much at least, that these hopes are uncertain : in like manner as the common temptation to many instances of folly, which end in temporal infamy and ruin, is the ground for hope of not being detected and of escaping with impunity ; i.e. the doubtful- ness of the proof beforehand, that such foolish behaviour will thus end in infamy and ruin. On the contrary, supposed doubtfulness in the evidence of religion calls for a more careful and attentive exercise of the virtuous principle, in fairly yielding themselves up to the proper influence of any real evidence, though doubtful : and in practising conscientiously all virtue, though under some uncertainty, whether the government in the universe may not possibly be such, as that vice may escape with impunity. And in general, temptation, meaning by this word the lesser allurements to wrong, and difficulties in the discharge of our duty, as well 124 Butler's Best Passages as the greater ones ; temptation, I say, as such, and of every kind and degree, as it calls forth some virtuous efforts, additional to what would otherwise have been wanting, cannot but be an additional discipline and improvement of virtue, as well as probation of it in the other senses of that word. So that the very same account is to be given, why the evidence of religion should be left in such a manner as to require in some an attentive, solicitous, perhaps painful exercise of their understanding about it ; as why others should be placed in such circumstances as that the practice of its common duties, after a full conviction of the truth of it, should require attention, solicitude, and pains ; or why appear- ing doubtfulness should be permitted to afford matter of temptation to some ; as why ex- ternal difficulties and allurements should be permitted to afford matter of temptation to others. The same account also is to be given, why some should be exercised with tempta- tions of both these kinds ; as why others Butler's Best Passages 125 should be exercised with the latter in such very high degrees as some have been, particularly as the primitive Christians were. Nor does there appear any absurdity in supposing, that the speculative difficulties in which the evidence of religion is involved, may make even the principal part of some persons' trial. For as the chief temptations of the generality of the world are the ordinary motives to injustice or unrestrained pleasure ; or to live in the neglect of religion from that frame of mind which renders many persons almost without feeling as to anything distant, or which is not the object of their senses : so there are other persons without this shallow- ness of temper, persons of a deeper sense as to what is invisible and future ; who not only see, but have a general practical feeling, that what is to come will be present, and that things are not less real for their not being the objects of sense ; and who, from their natural constitution of body and of temper, and from their external condition, may have small 126 Butler's Best Passages temptations to behave ill, small difficulty in behaving well, in the common course of life. Now when these latter persons have a distinct full conviction of the truth of religion, with- out any possible doubts or difficulties, the practice of it is to them unavoidable, unless they will do a constant violence to their own minds ; and religion is scarce any more a discipline to them than it is to creatures in a state of perfection. Yet these persons may possibly stand in need of moral discipline and exercise in a higher degree, than they would have by such an easy practice of religion. Or it may be requisite, for reasons unknown to us, that they should give some further mani- festation what is their moral character to the creation of God, than such a practice of it would be. Thus in the great variety of religious situations in which men are placed, what constitutes, what chiefly and peculiarly constitutes, the probation, in all senses, of some persons, may be the difficulties in which the evidence of religion is involved ; and their Butler's Best Passages 127 principal and distinguished trial may be, how they will behave under and with respect to these difficulties. Circumstances in men's situation in their temporal capacity, analogous in good measure to this respecting religion, are to be observed. We find some persons are placed in such a situation in the world, as that their chief difficulty with regard to conduct, is not the doing what is prudent when it is known ; for this, in numberless cases, is as easy as the contrary : but to some the principal exercise is, recollection and being upon their guard against deceits, the deceits suppose of those about them ; against false appearances of reason and prudence. To persons in some situations, the principal exercise with respect to conduct is, attention in order to inform them- selves what is proper, what is really the reasonable and prudent part to act. Angus, P- 239- Religion presupposes this as much, and in the same sense, as speaking to a man pre- 128 Butler's Best Passages supposes he understands the language in which you speak ; or a warning a man of any danger presupposes that he hath such a regard to himself, as that he will endeavour to avoid it. And therefore, the question is not at all, Whether the evidence of religion be satis- factory ; but, whether it be, in reason, sufficient to prove and discipline that virtue, which it presupposes. Now the evidence of it is fully sufficient for all those purposes of probation ; how far soever it is from being satisfactory as to the purposes of curiosity, or any other : and indeed it answers the purposes of the former in several respects, which it would not do if it were as overbearing as is required. One might add further, that whether the motives or the evidence for any course of action be satisfactory, meaning here, by that word, what satisfies a man, that such a course of action will in event be for his good ; this need never be, and I think, strictly speaking, never is, the practical question in common matters. But the practical question in all cases Butler's Best Passages 129 is, whether the evidence for a course of action be such as, taking in all circumstances, makes the faculty within us, which is the guide and judge of conduct, determine that course of action to be prudent. Indeed, satisfaction that it will be for our interest or happiness, abundantly determines an action to be prudent : but evidence almost infinitely lower than this determines actions to be so too, even in the conduct of every day. Angus, p. 296. It is indeed true, God willeth that all men should be saved : yet, from the unalterable con- stitution of His government, the salvation of every man cannot but depend upon his be- haviour, and therefore cannot but depend upon himself ; and is necessarily his own concern, in a sense in which it cannot be another's. All this the Scripture declares, in a manner the most forcible and alarming : Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous ? or is it gain to Him, that 130 Butler's Best Passages thou makes t thy way -perfect ? If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself '; but if thou scornest, thou alone shall bear it. He that heareth, let him hear ; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear. And again, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear; but if any man be ignorant, i.e. wilfully, let him be ignorant. To the same purpose are those awful words of the angel, in the person of Him to whom all judgment is committed ; He that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he which is filthy ', let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous , let him be righteous still ; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly ; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. The righteous government of the world must be carried on ; and, of necessity, men shall remain the subjects of it, by being examples of its mercy or of its justice. Life and death are set before them, and whether they like shall be given unto them. They are to make their choice, and abide by it : but whichsoever their choice be, the gospel is equally a witness to them ; and Butler's BcNt PiNsa^es 131 the purposes of Providence are answered by this witness of the gospel. Gladstone^ ii. >3- ON THE PASSIONS Now particular propensions, from their very nature, must be felt, the objects of them being present ; though they cannot be gratified at all, or not with the allowance of the moral principle. But if they can be gratified without its allowance, or by contradicting it, then they must be conceived to have some tendency in how low a degree soever, yet some tendency, to induce persons to such forbidden gratifica- tion. This tendency, in some one particular propension, may be increased by the greater frequency of occasions naturally exciting it, than of occasions exciting others. The least voluntary indulgence in forbidden circum- stances, though but in thought, will increase this wrong tendency ; and may increase it further, till, peculiar conjunctures perhaps conspiring, it becomes effect ; and danger of deviating from right ends in actual deviation 132 Butler's Best Passages from it ; a danger necessarily arising from the very nature of propension ; and which there- fore could not have been prevented, though it might have been escaped, or got innocently through. The case would be, as if we were to suppose a straight path marked out for a person, in which such a degree of attention would keep him steady ; but if he would not attend in this degree, any one of a thousand objects, catching his eye, might lead him out of it. Now it is impossible to say how much even the first full overt act of irregularity might disorder the inward constitution, unsettle the adjustments, and alter the proportions which formed it, and in which the uprightness of its make consisted; but repetition of ir- regularities would produce habits. And thus the constitution would be spoiled ; and creatures made upright, become corrupt and depraved in their settled character, proportion- ably to their repeated irregularities in occasional acts. But, on the contrary, these creatures might have improved and raised themselves to Butler's Best Passages a higher and more secure state of virtue, by the contrary behaviour ; by steadily following the moral principle, supposed to be one part of their nature ; and thus withstanding that unavoidable danger of defection, which neces- sarily arose from propension, the other part of it. For, by thus preserving their integrity for some time, their danger would lessen ; since propensions, by being inured to submit, would do it more easily and of course ; and their security against this lessening danger would increase ; since the moral principle would gain additional strength by exercise; both which things are implied in the notion of virtuous habits. Thus, then, vicious indulgence is not only criminal in itself, but also depraves the inward constitution or character. And virtuous self-government is not only right in itself, but also improves the inward constitution or character ; and may improve it to such a degree, that though we should suppose it impossible for particular affections to be abso- lutely coincident with the moral principle ; and 134 Butler's Best Passages consequently should allow, that such creatures as have been above supposed, would for ever remain defectible ; yet their danger of actually deviating from right may be almost infinitely lessened, and they fully fortified against what remains of it ; if that may be called danger, against which there is an adequate effectual security. Angus^ p. 100. However, as when we say, men are misled by external circumstances of temptation, it cannot but be understood that there is some- what within themselves to render those cir- cumstances temptations, or to render them susceptible of impressions from them ; so when we say they are misled by passions, it is always supposed that there are occasions, circumstances, and objects, exciting these passions, and affording means for gratifying them. And, therefore, temptations from within and from without, coincide and mutually imply each other. Now the several external objects of the appetites, passions, and affections, being Butler's Best Passages 135 present to the senses, or offering themselves to the mind, and so exciting emotions suitable to their nature ; not only in cases where they can be gratified consistently with innocence and prudence, but also in cases where they cannot, and yet can be gratified imprudently and viciously ; this as really puts them in danger of voluntarily foregoing their present interest or good, as their future. Angus > p. 78. Every natural appetite, passion, and affection, may be gratified in particular instances, without being subservient to the particular chief end for which these several principles were respec- tively implanted in our nature. And, if neither this end, nor any other moral obligation be contradicted, such gratification is innocent. Angus, p. 448. ON MEANS AND ENDS As in the scheme of the natural world, no ends appear to be accomplished without means ; 136 Butlers Best Passages so we find that means very undesirable, often conduce to bring about ends in such a measure desirable, as greatly to overbalance the dis- agreeableness of the means. And in cases where such means are conducive to such ends, it is not reason, but experience, which shows us, that they are thus conducive. Experience also shows many means to be conducive and necessary to accomplish ends, which means before experience, we should have thought would have had even a contrary tendency. Angus, p. 135. According to our manner of conception God makes use of variety of means, what we often think tedious ones, in the natural course of providence, for the accomplishment of all His ends. Indeed, it is certain there is some- what in this matter quite beyond our compre- hension ; but the mystery is as great in Nature as in Christianity. We know what we our- selves aim at, as final ends ; and what courses we take, merely as means conducing to those Butler's Best Passages 137 ends. But we arc greatly ignorant how far things are considered by the Author of Nature under the single notion of means and ends ; so as that it may be said this is merely an end and that merely means, in His regard. And whether there be not some peculiar absurdity in our very manner of conception concerning this matter, somewhat contradictory arising from our extremely imperfect view of things, it is impossible to say. However, this much is manifest, that the whole natural world and government of it is a scheme or system ; not a fixed, but a progressive one : a scheme in which the operation of various means takes up a great length of time before the ends they tend to can be attained. Angus, p. 203. The whole end for which God made, and thus governs the world, may be utterly beyond the reach of our faculties ; there may be some- what in it as impossible for us to have any conception of, as for a blind man to have a conception of colours. Angus, p. 39. LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 138 Butler's Best Passages Indeed we are so far from being able to judge of this, that we are not judges what may be the necessary means of raising and con- ducting one person to the highest perfection and happiness of his nature. Nay, even in the little affairs of the present life, we find men of different educations and ranks are not competent judges of the conduct of each other. Our whole nature leads us to ascribe all moral perfection to God, and to deny all imperfection of Him. And this will for ever be a practical proof of His moral character, to such as will consider what a practical proof is ; because it is the voice of God speaking in us. And from hence we conclude, that virtue must be the happiness, and vice the misery, of every creature ; and that regularity and order and right cannot but prevail finally in a universe under His government. But we are in no sort judges, what are the necessary means of accomplishing this end. Angus, p. 10. Butler's Best Passages i ON PROBABILITY Probable evidence, in its very nature, affords but an imperfect kind of information, and is to be considered as relative only to beings of limited capacities. For nothing which is the possible object of knowledge, whether past, present, or future, can be probable to an infinite Intelligence, since it cannot but be discerned absolutely as it is in itself, certainly true, or certainly false. But to us, probability is the very guide of life. From these things it follows, that in questions of difficulty, or such as are thought so, where more satisfactory evidence cannot be had, or is not seen ; if the result of examina- tion be, that there appears upon the whole any the lowest presumption on one side, and none on the other, or a greater presumption on one side, though in the lowest degree greater, this determines the question, even in matters of speculation ; and in matters of practice, will lay us under an -absolute and 140 Butler's Best Passages formal obligation, in point of prudence and of interest, to act upon that presumption or low probability, though it be so low as to leave the mind in very great doubt which is the truth. For surely a man is as really bound in prudence to do what upon the whole appears, according to the best of his judgment, to be for his happiness, as what he certainly knows to be so. Nay, further, in questions of great consequence, a reasonable man will think it concerns him to remark lower probabilities and presumptions than these ; such as amount to no more than showing one side of a question to be as supposable and credible as the other ; nay, such as but amount to much less even than this. For numberless instances might be mentioned respecting the common pursuits of life, where a man would be thought, in a literal sense, distracted who would not act, and with great application too, not only upon an even chance, but upon much less, and where the probability or chance was greatly against his succeeding. Angus, p. 5. Butler's Best Passages 141 ON KNOWLEDGE Knowledge is not our proper happiness. Whoever will in the least attend to the thing will see that it is the gaining, not the having of it, which is the entertainment of the mind ; indeed, if the proper happiness of man con- sisted in knowledge, considered as a possession or treasure, men who are possessed of the largest share would have a very ill time of it, as they would be infinitely more sensible than others of their poverty in this respect; thus he who increases knowledge would eminently increase sorrow. Men of deep research and curious inquiry should just be put in mind not to mistake what they are doing. If their discoveries serve the cause of virtue and religion in the way of proof, motive to practice, or assistance in it, or if they tend to render life less unhappy, and promote its satisfactions, then they are most usefully employed ; but bringing things to light, alone and of itself, is of no manner of use any 142 Butler's Best Passages otherwise than as an entertainment or diver- sion. Neither is this at all amiss if it does not take up the time which should be employed in better work ; but it is evident that there is another mark set up for us to aim at, another end appointed us to direct our lives to ; an end which the most knowing may fail of and the most ignorant arrive at. " The secret things belong unto the Lord our God : but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law"; which reflection of Moses, put in general terms, is, that the only knowledge which is of any avail to us is that which teaches us our duty, or assists us in the discharge of it. The economy of the universe, the course of Nature, Almighty power exerted in the creation and government of the world, is out of our reach. What would be the consequence if we could really get an insight into these things is very uncertain ; whether it would assist us in, or divert us from, what we have to do in this present state. If then there Butler's Best Passages 143 be a sphere of knowledge, of contemplation and employment, level to our capacities, and of the utmost importance to us, we ought surely to apply ourselves with all diligence to this our proper business, and esteem every- thing else nothing, nothing as to us in com- parison of it. Thus Job, discoursing of natural knowledge, how much it is above us, and of wisdom in general, says, " God under- standeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof. And unto man He said, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom ; and to depart from evil is understanding.'* Other orders of creatures may perhaps be let into the secret counsels of heaven, and have the designs and methods of Providence, in the creation and government of the world, com- municated to them ; but this does not belong to our rank or condition. " The fear of the Lord, and to depart from evil," is the only wisdom which man should aspire after as his work and business. The same is said, and with the same connection and context, in the 144 Butler's Best Passages conclusion of the book of Ecclesiastes. Our ignorance, and the little we can know of other things, affords a reason why we should not perplex ourselves about them ; but no way invalidates that which is the " conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God and keep His commandments : for this is the whole duty of man." So that Socrates was not the first who endeavoured to draw men off from labouring after, and laying stress upon other knowledge, in comparison of that which related to morals. Our province is virtue and religion, life and manners ; the science of improving the temper, and making the heart better. This is the field assigned us to cultivate : how much it has lain neglected is indeed astonishing. Virtue is demonstrably the happiness of man ; it consists in good actions proceeding from a good principle, temper, or heart. Overt acts are entirely in our power. What remains is, that we learn to keep our heart, to govern and regulate our passions, mind, affections, that so we may be free from the impotencies Butler's Best Passages 145 of fear, envy, malice, covetousness, ambition ; that we may he clear of these, considered as vices seated in the heart considered as constituting a general wrong temper, from which general wrong frame of mind all the mistaken pursuits, and far the greatest part of the unhappiness of life, proceed. He who should find out one rule to assist us in this work would deserve infinitely better of mankind than all the improvers of other knowledge put together. Angus, p. 525. ON OUR IGNORANCE Creation is absolutely and entirely out of our depth, and beyond the extent of our utmost reach. And yet it is as certain that God made the world, as it is certain that effects must have a cause. It is indeed in general no more than effects, that the most knowing are acquainted with : for as to causes, they are as entirely in the dark as the most ignorant. What are the laws by which matter acts upon 146 Butler's Best Passages matter, but certain effects ; which some, having observed to be frequently repeated, have re- duced to general rules ? The real nature and essence of beings likewise is what we are altogether ignorant of. All these things are so entirely out of our reach, that we have not the least glimpse of them. And we know little more of ourselves, than we do of the world about us : how we were made, how our being is continued and preserved, what the faculties of our minds are, and upon what the power of exercising them depends. " I am fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well." Our own nature, and the objects we are surrounded with, serve to raise our curiosity ; but we are quite out of a condition of satisfying it. Every secret which is dis- closed, every discovery which is made, every new effect which is brought to view, serves to convince us of numberless more which remain concealed, and which we had before no sus- picion of. And what if we were acquainted Butler's Best Passages 147 with the whole creation, in the same way ami as thoroughly as we are' with any single object in it ? What would all this natural knowledge amount to ? It must be a low curiosity in- deed which such superficial knowledge could satisfy. On the contrary, would it not serve to convince us of our ignorance still ; and to raise our desire of knowing the nature of things themselves, the author, the cause, and the end of them ? Angus, p. 518. I am afraid we think too highly of our- selves ; of our rank in the creation, and of what is due to us. What sphere of action, what business is assigned to man, that he has not capacities and knowledge fully equal to ? It is manifest he has reason, and knowledge, and faculties superior to the business of the present world : faculties which appear superfluous, if we do not take in the respect which they have to somewhat further, and beyond it. If to acquire knowledge were our proper end, we should indeed be but poorly provided : but if 148 Butler's Best Passages somewhat else be our business and duty, we may, notwithstanding our ignorance, be well enough furnished for it ; and the observation of our ignorance may be of assistance to us in the discharge of it. Angus, p. 522. The conclusion is, that in all lowliness of mind we set lightly by ourselves ; that we form our temper to an implicit submission to the Divine Majesty ; beget within ourselves an absolute resignation to all the methods of His providence, in His dealings with the children of men : that, in the deepest humility of our souls, we prostrate ourselves before Him, and join in that celestial song : " Great and mar- vellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are Thy ways, Thou king of saints ! Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name ?" Angus, p. 527. ON RICHES The constitution of things being such, that the labour of one man, or the united labour of Butler's Best Passages 149 rul, is sufficient to procure more necessaries than he or they stand in need of, which it may upposed was, in some degree, the case, even in the first ages ; this immediately gave room for riches to arise in the world, and for men's acquiring them by honest means ; by diligence, frugality, and prudent management. Thus some would very soon acquire greater plenty of necessaries than they had occasion for ; and others by contrary means, or by cross accidents, would be in want of them. And he who should supply their wants would have the property in a proportionable labour of their hands, which he would scarce fail to make use of instead of his own, or perhaps together with them, to provide future necessaries in greater plenty. Riches then were first bestowed upon the world, as they are still continued in it, by the blessing of God upon the industry. of men, in the use of their understanding and strength. Riches themselves have always this source, though the possession of them is conveyed to particular persons by different channels. Yet 150 Butler's Best Passages still, the hand of the diligent maketh rich, and, other circumstances being equal, in proportion to its diligence. But to return to the first rich man, whom we left in possession of dependants, and plenty of necessaries for himself and them. A family would not be long in this state, before con- veniences, somewhat ornamental and for enter- tainment, would be wanted, looked for, and found out. And, by degrees, these secondary wants, and inventions for the supply of them, the fruits of leisure and ease, came to employ much of men's time and labour. Hence a new species of riches came into the world, consisting of things which it might have done well enough without, yet thought desirable, as affording pleasure to the imagination or the senses. And these went on increasing till, at length, the superfluities of life took in a vastly larger compass of things than the necessaries of it. Thus luxury made its inroad, and all the numerous train of evils its attendants ; of which poverty, as bad an one as we may Butler's Best Passages 151 account it, is far from being the worst. Indeed the hands of the generality must be employed ; and a very few of them would now be sufficient to provide the world with neces- saries ; and therefore the rest of them must be employed about what may be called super- fluities ; which could not be, if these super- fluities were not made use of. Yet the desire of such things insensibly becomes immoderate, and the use of them, also of course, degenerates into luxury ; which, in every age, has been the dissipation of riches, and, in every sense, the ruin of those who were possessed of them : and therefore cannot be too much guarded against by all opulent cities. And as men sink into luxury as much from fashion as direct inclination, the richer sort together may easily restrain this vice, in almost what degree they please : and a few of the chief of them may contribute a great deal towards the restraining it. Gladstone, ii. p. 296. Blessed are they who employ their riches in 152 Butler's Best Passages promoting so excellent a design. The tem- poral advantages of them are far from coming up, in enjoyment, to what they promise at a distance. But the distinguished privilege, the prerogative of riches, is, that they increase our power of doing good. This is their proper use. In proportion as men make this use of them, they imitate Almighty God ; and co- operate together with Him in promoting the happiness of the world ; and may expect the most favourable judgment which their case will admit of, at the last day, upon the general, repeated maxim of the gospel, that we shall then be treated ourselves as we now treat others. They have, moreover, the prayers of all good men, those of them particularly whom they have befriended ; and by such exercise of charity, they improve within themselves the temper of it, which is the very temper of heaven. Consider next the peculiar force with which this branch of charity, almsgiving, is recommended to us in these words : He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord ; Butler's Best Pa 153 and in these of our Saviour, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it, relieved the sick and needy, unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Beware you do not explain away these passages of Scripture under the notion that they have been made to serve superstitious purposes ; but ponder them fairly in your heart, and you will feel them to be of irresistible weight. Gladstone, ii. p. 394. ON CHARITY The temper and behaviour of charity is explained at large in that known passage of St. Paul : Charity suffereth long, and is kind ; charity envieth not, doth not behave itself un- seemly, seeketh not her own, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things. As to the meaning of the expressions, seeketh not her own, thinketh no evil, believeth all things however those expressions may be explained away, this meekness, and in some degree easiness of temper, readiness to forego 154 Butler's Best Passages our right for the sake of peace as well as in the way of compassion, freedom from mis- trust, and disposition to believe well of our neighbour, this general temper, I say, accom- panies and is plainly the effect of love and good-will. And, though such is the world in which we live, that experience and know- ledge of it not only may, but must, beget in us greater regard to ourselves, and doubt- fulness of the characters of others, than is natural to mankind ; yet these ought not to be carried further than the nature and course of things make necessary. It is still true, even in the present state of things, bad as it is, that a real good man had rather be de- ceived, than be suspicious ; had rather forego his known right, than run the venture of doing even a hard thing. This is the general temper of that charity, of which the apostle asserts, that if he had it not, giving his body to be burned would avail him nothing ; and which, he says, shall never fail. The happy influence of this temper extends Butler's Best Passages 155 to every different relation and circumstance in human life. It plainly renders a man better, more to be desired, as to all the respects and relations we can stand in to each other. The benevolent man is disposed to make use of all external advantages in such a manner as shall contribute to the good of others, as well as to his own satisfaction. His own satisfaction consists in this. He will be easy and kind to his dependants, compassionate to the poor and distressed, friendly to all with whom he has to do. This includes the good neighbour, parent, master, magistrate ; and such a behaviour would plainly make dependence, inferiority, and even servitude, easy. So that a good or charitable man of superior rank in wisdom, fortune, authority, is a common blessing to the place he lives in ; happiness grows under his influence. This good principle in inferiors would discover itself in paying respect, grati- tude, obedience, as due. It were, therefore, methinks, one just way of trying one's own character, to ask ourselves, Am I in reality 156 Butler's Best Passages a better master or servant, a better friend, a better neighbour, than such and such persons ; whom, perhaps, I may think not to deserve the character of virtue and religion so much as myself? Angus^ p. 491. ON HAPPINESS Every species of creatures is, we see, de- signed for a particular way of life ; to which, the nature, the capacities, temper, and quali- fications of each species, are as necessary as their external circumstances. Both come into the notion of such state, or particular way of life, and are constituent parts of it. Change a man's capacities or character to the degree in which it is conceivable they may be changed, and he would be altogether in- capable of a human course of life and human happiness ; as incapable as if, his nature con- tinuing unchanged, he were placed in a world where he had no sphere of action, nor any objects to answer his appetites, passions, and Butler's Best Passages 157 affections of any sort. One thing is set over against another, as an ancient writer expresses it. Our nature corresponds to our external condition. Without this correspondence, there would be no possibility of any such thing as human life and human happiness ; which life and happiness are, therefore, a result from our nature and condition jointly ; meaning by human life, not living in the literal sense, but the whole complex notion commonly under- stood by those words. So that without deter- mining what will be the employment and happiness, the particular life of good men hereafter, there must be some determinate capacities, some necessary character and quali- fications, without which persons cannot but be utterly incapable of it : in like manner, as there must be some, without which men would be incapable of their present state of life. Angus, p. 88. Perhaps an infinitely perfect Mind may be pleased with seeing His creatures behave suit- 158 Butler's Best Passages ably to the nature which He has given them ; to the relations which He has placed them in to each other ; and to that, which they stand in to Himself : that relation to Himself, which, during their existence, is even necessary, and which is the most important one of all : perhaps, 1 say, an infinitely perfect Mind may be pleased with this moral piety of moral agents, in and for itself, as well as upon account of its being essentially conducive to the happiness of His creation. Or the whole end for which God made, and thus governs the world, may be utterly beyond the reach of our faculties : there may be somewhat in it as impossible for us to have any conception of, as for a blind man to have a conception of colours. But however this be, it is certain matter of universal experience, that the general method of Divine administration is, fore- warning us, or giving us capacities to foresee, with more or less clearness, that if we act so and so, we shall have such enjoyments ; if so and so, such sufferings; and giving us those Butler's Best Passages 159 enjoyments, and making us feel those suffer- ings, in consequence of our actions. Angus, P- 39- ON BENEVOLENCE The objects and due extent of this affection will be understood by attending to the nature of it, and to the nature and circumstances of mankind in this world. The love of our neighbour is the same with charity, benevo- lence, or goodwill : it is an affection to the good and happiness of our fellow-creatures. This implies in it a disposition to produce happiness : and this is the simple notion of goodness, which appears so amiable wherever we meet with it. From hence it is easy to see, that the perfection of goodness consists in love to the whole universe. This is the perfection of Almighty God. Angus, p. 483. The Scripture, not being a book of theory and speculation, but a plain rule of life for mankind, has with the utmost possible pro- 160 Butler's Best Passages priety put the principle of virtue upon the love of our neighbour, which is that part of the universe, that part of mankind, that part of our country, which comes under our im- mediate notice, acquaintance, and influence, and with which we have to do. Angus, p. 484. " O Almighty God, inspire us with this Divine principle ; kill in us all the seeds of envy and ill-will ; and help us, by cultivating within ourselves the love of our neighbour, to improve in the love of Thee. Thou hast placed us in various kindreds, friendships, and relations, as the school of discipline for our affections : help us, by the due exercise of them, to improve to perfection ; till all partial affection be lost in that entire universal one, and Thou, O God, shalt be all in all."- Angus, p. 496. ON ILL-WILL Ill-will not only never speaks but never Butler's Best Passages 161 thinks well, of the person towards whom it is exercised. Thus, in cases of offence and enmity, the whole character and behaviour is considered with an eye to that particular part which has offended us, and the whole man appears monstrous, without anything right or human in him, whereas the resent- ment should surely at least be confined to that particular part of behaviour which gave offence, since the other parts of a man's life and character stand just the same as they did before. Angus, p. 452. ON PARTY SPIRIT And as to the spirit of party, which un- happily prevails amongst mankind, whatever are the distinctions which serve for a supply to it, some or other of which have obtained in all ages and countries ; one, who is thus friendly to his kind, will immediately make due allow- ances for it, as what cannot but be amongst such creatures as men, in such a world as this. L 162 Butler's Best Passages And as wrath and fury and overbearing upon these occasions proceed, as I may speak, from men's feeling only on their own side ; so a common feeling for others as well as for our- selves, would render us sensible to this truth, which it is strange can have so little influence ; that we ourselves differ from others, just as much as they do from us. I put the matter in this way, because it can scarce be expected that the generality of men should see that those things, which are made the occasions of dissension and fomenting the party spirit, are really nothing at all : but it may be ex- pected from all people, how much soever they are in earnest about their respective peculiar- ities, that humanity, and common goodwill to their fellow-creatures, should moderate and restrain that wretched spirit. Angus y p. 492. ON MISUNDERSTANDING If there be any probability of a misunder- standing in the case, either from our imagining Butler's Best Passages 163 we are injured when we are not, or representing the injury to ourselves as greater than it really is ; one would hope an intimation of this sort might be kindly received, and that people would be glad to find the injury not so great as they imagined. Therefore, without knowing particulars, I take upon me to assure all persons who think they have received in- dignities or injurious treatment, that they may depend upon it, as in a manner certain, that the offence is not so great as they themselves imagine. We are in such a peculiar situation, with respect to injuries done to ourselves, that we can scarce any more see them as they really are, than our eye can see itself. If we could place ourselves at a due distance, i.e. be really unprejudiced, we should frequently discern that to be in reality inadvertence and mistake in our enemy, which we now fancy we see to be malice or scorn. From this proper point of view we should likewise in all probability see something of these latter in ourselves, and most certainly a great deal of the former. 164 Butler's Best Passages Thus the indignity or injury would almost infinitely lessen, or perhaps at last come out to be nothing at all. Self-love is a medium of a peculiar kind in these cases it magnifies everything which is amiss in others, at the same time that it lessens everything amiss in ourselves. Angus, p. 452. ON PEEVISHNESS Of a less boisterous, but not of a less innocent kind than the passion of anger, is peevishness, which I mention with pity, with real pity, to the unhappy creatures who, from their inferior station, or other circumstances and relations, are obliged to be in the way of, and to serve for a supply to it. Both these, for aught that I can see, are one and the same principle, but as it takes root in minds of different makes, it appears differently, and so is come to be distinguished by different names. That which in a more feeble temper is peevishness, and languidly discharges itself Butler's Best Passages 165 upon everything which comes in its way, the same principle, in a temper of greater force and stronger passions, becomes rage and fury. In one the humour discharges itself at once, in the other it is continually discharging. This is the account of passion and peevishness, as distinct from each other, and appearing in different persons ; it is no objection against the truth of it that they are both to be seen sometimes in one and the same person. Angus, p. 440. ON RESIGNATION It may be imagined that nothing but afflic- tions can give occasion for or require this virtue ; that it can have no respect to, nor be any way necessary to qualify for, a state of perfect happiness ; but it is not experience which can make us think thus. Prosperity itself, whilst anything supposed desirable is not ours, begets extravagant and unbounded thoughts. Imagination is altogether as much 166 Butler's Best Passages a source of discontent, as anything in our external condition. It is indeed true, that there can be no scope for patience when sorrow shall be no more ; but there may be need of a temper of mind which shall have been formed by patience. For though self- love, considered merely as an active principle leading us to pursue our chief interest, cannot but be uniformly coincident with the principle of obedience to God's commands, our interest being rightly understood ; because this obedi- ence and the pursuit of our own chief interest must be in every case one and the same thing ; yet it may be questioned whether self-love, con- sidered merely as the desire of our own interest or happiness, can, from its nature, be thus abso- lutely and uniformly coincident with the will of God ; any more than particular affections can ; coincident in such sort, as not to be liable to be excited upon occasions and in degrees impossible to be gratified consistently with the constitution of things, or the Divine appointments. So that habits of resignation Butler's Best Passages 167 may, upon this account, be requisite for all creatures ; habits, I say, which signify what is formed by use. However, in general it is obvious that both self-love and particular affections in human creatures, considered only as passive feelings, distort and rend the mind, and therefore stand in need of discipline. Now, denial of those particular affections, in the course of active virtue and obedience to God's will, has a tendency to moderate them ; and seems also to have a tendency to habituate the mind to be easy and satisfied with that degree of happiness which is allotted us, i.e. to moderate self-love. But the proper dis- cipline for resignation is affliction. For, a right behaviour under that trial, recollecting ourselves so as to consider it in the view in which religion teaches us to con- sider it, as from the hand of God ; receiving it as what He appoints, or thinks proper to per- mit, in His world and under His government ; this will habituate the mind to a dutiful sub- mission ; and such submission, together with 168 Butler's Best Passages the active principle of obedience, makes up the temper and character in us, which answers to His sovereignty, and which absolutely belongs to the condition of our being, as dependent creatures. Nor can it be said that this is only breaking the mind to a submission to mere power ; for mere power may be accidental, and precarious, and usurped; but it is forming within ourselves the temper of resignation to His rightful authority, who is by nature supreme over all. Angus, p. 107. Resignation to the will of God is the whole of piety ; it includes in it all that is good, and is a source of the most settled quiet and composure of mind. There is the general principle of submission in our nature. Man is not so constituted as to desire things, and be uneasy in the want of them, in proportion to their known value ; many other considera- tions come in to determine the degrees of desire, particularly whether the advantage we take view of be within the sphere of our rank. Butler's Best Passages 169 Who ever tclt uneasiness upon observing any of the advantages brute creatures have over us ? and yet it is plain they have several. It is the same with respect to advantages belong- ing to creatures of a superior order ; thus, though we see a thing to be highly valuable, yet that it does not belong to our condition of being is sufficient to suspend our desires after it, to make us rest satisfied without such advantage. Now there is just the same reason for quiet resignation in the want of everything equally unattainable and out of our reach in particular, though others of our species be possessed of it. All this may be applied to the whole of life, to positive inconveniences as well as wants ; not indeed to the sensations of pain and sorrow, but to all the uneasiness of reflection, murmuring, and discontent. This is human nature formed to compliance, yield- ing, submission of temper. We find the principles of it within us, and every one exercises it towards some objects or other, i.e. feels it with regard to some persons and 170 Butler's Best Passages some circumstances. Now this is an excellent foundation of a reasonable and religious resig- nation. Nature teaches and inclines us to take up with our lot ; the consideration that the course of things is unalterable hath a tendency to quiet the mind under it, to beget a submission of temper to it ; but when we can add that this unalterable course is appointed and con- tinued by Infinite wisdom and goodness, how absolute should be our submission, how entire our trust and dependence ! Angus, p. 508. Our resignation to the will of God may be said to be perfect when our will is lost and resolved up into His ; when we rest in His will as our end, as being itself most just, and right, and good ; and where is the impossibility of such an affection to what is just, and right, and good, such a loyalty of heart to the Governor of the Universe as shall prevail over all sinister, indirect desires of our own ? Neither is this at bottom anything more than Butler's Best Passages 171 faith, and honesty, and fairness of mind, in a more enlarged sense, indeed, than those words are commonly used ; and as, in common cases, fear and hope and other passions are raised in us by their respective objects, so this sub- mission of heart and soul and mind, this religious resignation, would be as naturally produced by our having just conceptions of Almighty God and a real sense of His presence with us. In how low a degree soever this temper usually prevails amongst men, yet it is a temper right in itself ; it is what we owe to our Creator, it is particularly suitable to our mortal condition, and to what we should endeavour after for our own sakes in our passage through such a world as this, where is nothing upon which we can rest or depend, nothing but what we are liable to be deceived and disappointed in. Thus we might acquaint ourselves with God and be at peace. This is piety and religion in the strictest sense, con- sidered as a habit of mind, an habitual sense of God's presence with us, being affected towards 172 Butler's Best Passages Him, as present, in the manner His superior nature requires from such a creature as man. This is to walk with God. Angus, p. 510. ON DEVOTION The nature of devotion or religious worship consists in the actual exercise of those affec- tions towards God which are supposed habitual in good men. He is always equally present with us, but we are so much taken up with sensible things that, " Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not ; He passeth on also, but 1 perceive Him not." Devotion is retirement from the world He has made to Him alone ; it is to withdraw from the avocations of sense, to employ our attention wholly upon Him as upon an object actually present, to yield ourselves up to the influence of the Divine Presence, and to give full scope to the affec- tions of gratitude, love, reverence, trust, and dependence ; of which Infinite power, wisdom, and goodness is the natural and only adequate Butler's Best Passages 173 object. We may apply to the whole of devotion those words of the son of Sirach, " When you glorify the Lord, exalt Him as much as you can, for even yet will He far exceed ; and when you exalt Him put forth all your strength and be not weary, for you can never go far enough." Our most raised affections of every kind cannot but fall short and be disproportionate, when an infinite Being is the object of them. This is the highest exercise and employment of mind that a creature is capable of. As this divine service and worship is itself absolutely due to God, so also is it necessary, in order to a further end, to keep alive upon our minds a sense of His authority, a sense that, in our ordinary behaviour amongst men we act under Him as our Governor and Judge. Angus, p. 510. God cannot approve of anything but what is in itself Right, Fit, Just. We should worship and endeavour to obey Him with this con- sciousness and recollection. To endeavour 174 Butler's Best Passages to please a man merely, is a different thing from endeavouring to please him as a wise and good man, i.e. endeavouring to please him on the particular way, of behaving towards him as we think the relations we stand in to him, and the intercourse we have with him, require. Almighty God is, to be sure, infinitely removed from all those human weaknesses which we express by the words captious, apt to take offence, etc. But an unthinking world does not consider what may be absolutely due to Him from all creatures capable of consider- ing themselves His creatures. Recollect the idea, inadequate as it is, which we have of God, and the idea of ourselves and carelessness with regard to Him, whether we are to worship Him at all, whether we worship Him in a right manner, or conceited confidence that we do so, will seem to imply unspeakable presumption. Neither do we know what necessary, unalterable connection there may be between moral right and happiness, moral wrong and misery. Sincerity is doubtless the Butler's Best Passages 175 thing, and not whether we hit the right manner, etc. But a sense of the imperfection of our worship, apprehension that it may be, and a degree of fear that it is, in some respects erroneous, may perhaps be a temper of mind not unbecoming such poor creatures as we are, in our addresses to God. In proportion as we are assured that we are honest and sincere, we may rest satisfied that God cannot be offended with us, but indifference whether what we do be materially, or in the nature of the thing abstracted from our way of consider- ing it, Good and Right, such indifference is utterly inconsistent with Sincerity. Steere, p. 7. ON THE CHURCH As Christianity served these ends and pur- poses, when it was first published, by the miraculous publication itself, so it was intended to serve the same purposes in future ages by means of the settlement of a visible church, of a society, distinguished from common ones 176 Butler's Best Passages and from the rest of the world by peculiar religious institutions, by an instituted method of instruction and an instituted form of external religion. Miraculous powers were given to the first preachers of Christianity in order to their introducing it into the world ; a visible church was established in order to con- tinue it and carry it on successively throughout all ages. Had Moses and the prophets, Christ and His apostles, only taught, and by miracles proved, religion to their contemporaries, the benefits of their instructions would have reached but to a small part of mankind. Christianity must have been in a great degree sunk and forgotten in a very few ages. To prevent this appears to have been one reason why a visible church was instituted ; to be, like a city upon a hill, a standing memorial to the world of the duty which we owe our Maker ; to call men continually, both by example and instruction, to attend to it, and, by the form of religion ever before their eyes, remind them of the reality ; to be the reposi- Butler's Best Passages 177 tory of the oracles of God ; to hold up the light of revelation in aid to that of Nature, and propagate it throughout all generations to the end of the world the light of revelation con- sidered here in no other view than as designed to enforce natural religion. And in proportion as Christianity is professed and taught in the world, religion, natural or essential religion, is thus distinctly and advantageously laid before mankind, and brought again and again to their thoughts as a matter of infinite importance. A visible church has also a further tendency to promote natural religion, as being an instituted method of education, originally intended to be of more peculiar advantage to those who would conform to it. For one end of the institution was, that by admonition and reproof, as well as instruction, by a general regular discipline and public exercises of religion, the body of Christ, as the Scripture speaks, should be edified, i.e. trained up in piety and virtue for a higher and better state. Angus, p. 155. M 178 Butler's Best Passages And it is to be observed further, that as the nature of the case requires, so all Christians are commanded to contribute by their profession of Christianity to preserve it in the world, and render it such a promulgation and enforcement of religion. For it is the very scheme of the gospel, that each Christian should in his degree contribute towards continuing and carrying it on ; all by uniting in the public profession and external practice of Christianity ; some by instructing, by having the oversight and taking care of this religious community, the Church of God. Angus, p. 158. Christianity was left with Christians, to be transmitted down pure and genuine, or to be corrupted and sunk, in like manner as the religion of nature had been before left with mankind in general. There was, however, this difference, that by an institution of ex- ternal religion fitted for all men (consisting in a common form of Christian worship, together with a standing ministry of instruction and Butler's Best Passages 179 discipline), it pleased God to unite Christians in communities or visible churches, and all along to preserve them, over a great part of the world ; and thus perpetuate a general publication of the Gospel. For these com- munities, which together make up the catholic visible church, are, first, the repositories of the written oracles of God ; and, in every age, have preserved and published them in every country, where the profession of Christianity has obtained. Hence it has come to pass, and it is a thing very much to be observed in the appointment of Providence, that even such of these communities as, in a long succession of years, have corrupted Christianity the most, have yet continually carried, together with their corruptions, the confutations of them ; for they have everywhere preserved the pure original standard of it, the Scripture, to which recourse might have been had, both by the deceivers and the deceived, in every successive age. Secondly, any particular church, in what- ever place established, is like a city that is set on 180 Butler's Best Passages an hill, which cannot be hid, inviting all who pass by to enter into it. All persons to whom any notices of it come have, in Scripture language, the Kingdom of God come nigh unto them. They are reminded of that religion, which natural conscience attests the truth of ; and they may, if they will, be instructed in it more distinctly, and likewise in the gracious means, whereby sinful creatures may obtain eternal life ; that chief and final good, which all men, in pro- portion to their understanding and integrity, even in all ages and countries of the heathen world, were ever in pursuit of. And, lastly, out of these churches have all along gone forth persons, who have preached the Gospel in remote places, with greater or less good effect ; for the establishment of any profession of Christianity, however corrupt, I call a good effect, whilst accompanied with a continued publication of the Scripture, notwithstanding it may for some time lie quite neglected. Gladstone, ii. p. 279. Butler's Best Passages 181 ON PUBLIC WORSHIP From these things, it may be worth observing by the way, appears the weakness of all pleas for neglecting the public service of the church. For though a man prays with as much devotion and less interruption at home, and reads better sermons there, yet that will by no means excuse the neglect of his appointed part in keeping up the profession of Christianity amongst mankind. And this neglect, were it universal, must be the dissolution of the whole visible church, i.e. of all Christian communities; and so must prevent those good purposes, which were intended to be answered by them, and which they have, all along, answered over the world. For we see that by their means the event foretold in the text which began in the preaching of Christ and the apostles, has been carried on, more or less, ever since, and is still carrying on ; those being the providential means of its progress. And it is, I suppose, the completion of this event, which St. John 182 Butler's Best Passages had a representation of, under the figure of an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwelt on the earth y and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. Gladstone, ii. p. 281. But if these appendages of the divine service are to be regarded, doubtless the divine service itself is more to be regarded ; and the con- scientious attendance upon it ought often to be inculcated upon the people, as a plain precept of the Gospel, as the means of grace, and what has peculiar promises annexed to it. But external acts of piety and devotion, and the frequent returns of them, are, moreover, necessary to keep up a sense of religion, which the affairs of the world will otherwise wear out of men's hearts. And the frequent returns, whether of public devotions, or of any thing else, to introduce religion into men's serious thoughts, will have an influence upon them, in proportion as they are susceptible of religion, and not given over to a reprobate mind. For Butler's Best Passage- 183 this reason, besides others, the service of the church ought to be celebrated as often as you can have a congregation to attend it. Glad- stone, ii. p. 409. ON PASTORAL CARE The greater festivals of the church being instituted for commemorating the several parts of the Gospel history, of course lead you to explain these its several doctrines, and show the Christian practice which arises out of them. And the more occasional solemnities of religion, as well as these festivals, will often afford you the fairest opportunities of enforcing all those things in familiar conversation. In- deed all affectation of talking piously is quite nauseous : and though there be nothing of this, yet men will easily be disgusted at the too great frequency or length of these occasional admonitions. But a word of God and religion dropped sometimes in conversation, gently, and without any thing severe or forbidding in the LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 184 Butler's Best Passages manner of it, this is not unacceptable. It leaves an impression, is repeated again by the hearers, and often remembered by plain well-disposed persons longer than one would think. Parti- cular circumstances too, which render men more apt to receive instruction, should be laid hold of to talk seriously to their consciences. For instance, after a man's recovery from a dangerous sickness, how proper it is to advise him to recollect, and ever bear in mind, what were his hopes and fears, his wishes and resolu- tions, when under the apprehension of death, in order to bring him to repentance, or con- firm him in a course of piety, according as his life and character has been. So likewise the terrible accidents which often happen from riot and debauchery, and indeed almost every vice, are occasions providentially thrown in your way, to discourse against these vices in common conversation, as well as from the pulpit, upon any such accidents happening in your parish, or in a neighbouring one. Occasions and circumstances of a like kind to some or other Hutler's Best Passages 185 of these occur often, and ought, if I may so speak, to be catched at as opportunities of conveying instruction, both public and private, with great force and advantage. Public instruction is absolutely necessary, and can in no sort be dispensed with. But as it is common to all who are present, many persons strangely neglect to appropriate what they hear to themselves, to their own heart and life. Now the only remedy for this in our power is a particular personal application, and a personal application makes a very different impression from a common, general one. It were therefore greatly to be wished, that every man should have the principles of Christianity, and his own particular duty enforced upon his conscience, in a manner suited to his capacity, in private. Gladstone, ii. p. 413. ON PULPIT CONTROVERSY But your standing business, and which requires constant attention, is with the body 186 Butler's Best Passages of the people ; to revive in them the spirit of religion, which is so much declining. And it may seem, that whatever reason there be for caution as to entering into an argu- mentative defence of religion in common con- versation, yet that it is necessary to do this from the pulpit^ in order to guard the people against being corrupted, however, in some places. But then surely it should be done in a manner as little controversial as possible. For though such as are capable of seeing the force of objections are capable also of seeing the force of the answers which are given to them ; yet the truth is, the people will not competently attend to either. But it is easy to see which they will attend to most. And to hear religion treated of as what many deny, and which has much said against it as well as for it ; this cannot but have a tendency to give them ill impressions at any time, and seems particularly improper for all persons at a time of devotion, even for such as are arrived at the most settled Butler's Best Passages 187 state of piety : I say at a time of devotion, when we are assembled to yield ourselves up to the full influence of the Divine presence, and to call forth into actual exercise every pious affection of heart. For it is to be repeated, that the heart and course of affec- tions may be disturbed when there is no alteration of judgment. Now the evidence of religion may be laid before men without any air of controversy. The proof of the being of God from final causes, or the design and wisdom which appears in every part of nature ; together with the law of virtue written upon our hearts : the proof of Chris- tianity from miracles, and the accomplish- ment of prophecies ; and the confirmation which the natural and civil history of the world give to the Scripture account of things, these evidences of religion might properly be insisted on, in a way to affect and influence the heart, though there were no professed unbelievers in the world ; and therefore may be insisted on, without taking much notice i88 Butler's Best Passages that there are such. And even their particular objections may be obviated without a formal mention of them. Besides, as to religion in general, it is a practical thing, and no other- wise a matter of speculation, than common prudence in the management of our worldly affairs is so. And if one were endeavouring to bring a plain man to be more careful with regard to this last, it would be thought a strange method of doing it, to perplex him with stating formally the several objections which men of gaiety or speculation have made against prudence, and the advantages which they pleasantly tell us folly has over it ; though one could answer those objections ever so fully. Gladstone, ii. p. 403. ON THE STUDY OF DIVINITY . . . Divinity, that being what I should chuse for the business of my life, it being, I think, of all other studies the most suitable to a reasonable nature. Steere y p. 12. Butler's Best Passages 189 ON MISSIONS God, if He had so pleased, could indeed miraculously have revealed every religious truth which concerns mankind, to every in- dividual man : and so He could have every common truth, and thus have superseded all use of human teaching in either. Yet He has not done this : but has appointed that men should be instructed by the assistance of their fellow-creatures in both. Further : though all knowledge from reason is as really from God, as revelation is ; yet this last is a dis- tinguished favour to us, and naturally strikes us with the greatest awe, and carries in it an assurance, that those things which we are in- formed of by it are of the utmost importance to us to be informed of. Revelation, therefore, as it demands to be received with a regard and reverence peculiar to itself; so it lays us under obligations, of a like peculiar sort, to communicate the light of it. Further still : it being an indispensable 190 Butler's Best Passages law of the gospel, that Christians should unite in religious communities, and these being in- tended for repositories of written oracles of God, for standing memorials of religion to unthink- ing men, and for the propagation of it in the world ; Christianity is very particularly to be considered as a trust, deposited with us in behalf of others, in behalf of mankind, as well as for our own instruction. No one has a right to be called a Christian, who doth not do somewhat in his station, towards the dis- charge of this trust ; who doth not, for in- stance, assist in keeping up the profession of Christianity where he lives. Gladstone, ii. P . 285. ON READING The great number of books and papers of amusement, which, of one kind or another, daily come in one's way, have in part occa- sioned, and most perfectly fall in with, and humour this idle way of reading and con- sidering things. By this means, time even Butler's Best Passages 191 in solitude is happily got rid of, without the pain of attention : neither is any part of it more put to the account of idleness, one can scarce forbear saying, is spent with less thought, than great part of that which is spent in reading. Thus people habituate themselves to let things pass through their minds, as one may speak, rather than to think of them. Thus by use they become satisfied merely with see- ing what is said without going any further. Review and attention, or even forming a judgment, becomes fatigue ; and to lay any- thing before them that requires it, is putting them quite out of their way. Angus, p. 337. I Brutus never read but in order to make I himself a better man. Angus, p. 458. ON STYLE It must be acknowledged that some of the following Discourses are very abstruse and 192 Butler's Best Passages difficult, or, if you please, obscure ; but I must take leave to add, that those alone are judges, whether or no and how far this is a fault, who are judges whether or no and how far it might have been avoided those only who will be at the trouble to understand what is here said, and to see how far the things here insisted -upon, and not other things, might have been put in a plainer manner, which yet I am very far from assert- ing that they could not. Thus much how- ever will be allowed, that general criticisms concerning obscurity considered as a distinct thing from confusion and perplexity of thought, as in some cases there may be ground for them ; so in others, they may be nothing more at the bottom than complaints, that everything is not to be understood with the same ease that some things are. Confusion and perplexity in writing, is indeed without excuse, because any one may, if he pleases, know whether he understands and sees through what he is about : and it is unpardonable for Butler's Best Passages 193 a man to lay his thoughts before others, when he is conscious that he himself does not know whereabouts he is, or how the matter before him stands. It is coming abroad in disorder which he ought to be dissatisfied to find himself in at home. Angus^ p. 338. ON TALKATIVENESS Now the fault referred to, and the disposi- tion supposed, in precepts and reflections con- cerning the government of the tongue, is not evil-speaking from malice, nor lying, nor bear- ing false witness from indirect selfish designs. The disposition to these, and the actual vices themselves, all come under other subjects. The tongue may be employed about and made to serve all the purposes of vice in tempting and deceiving, in perjury and injustice. But the thing here supposed and referred to is talkativeness ; a disposition to be talking, abstracted from the consideration of what is to be said, with very little or no regard to or 194 Butler's Best Passages thought of doing either good or harm. And let not any imagine this to be a slight matter, and that it deserves not to have so great weight laid upon it, till he has considered what evil is implied in it, and the bad effects which follows from it. It is perhaps true, that they who are addicted to this folly would choose to confine themselves to trifles and indifferent subjects, and so intend only to be guilty of being impertinent ; but as they cannot go on for ever talking of nothing, as common matters will not afford a sufficient fund for perpetual continued discourse ; when subjects of this kind are exhausted they will go on to defamation, scandal, divulging of secrets, their own secrets as well as those of others, anything rather than be silent. They are plainly hurried on in the heat of their talk to say quite different things from what they first intended, and which they afterwards wish unsaid ; or improper things, which they had no other end in saying but only to afford employment to their tongue ; and if these people expect to Butler's Best Passages 195 be heard ami regarded (for there are sonic content merely with talking), they will invent to engage your attention ; and when they have heard the least imperfect hint of an affair, they will out of their own head add the circum- stances of time and place, and other matters to make out their story, and give the appear- ance of probability to it ; not that they have any concern about being believed, otherwise than as a means of being heard. The thing is to engage your attention, to take you up wholly for the present time ; what reflections will be made afterwards is in truth the least of their thoughts. And further, when persons who indulge themselves in these liberties of the tongue are in any degree offended with another, as little disgusts and misunderstand- ings will be, they allow themselves to defame and revile such an one without any moderation or bounds, though the offence is so very slight that they themselves would not do, nor perhaps wish him an injury in any other way ; and in this case the scandal and revilings are chiefly 196 Butler's Best Passages owing to talkativeness and not bridling their tongue, and so come under our present subject. The least occasion in the world will make the humour break out in this particular way, or in another. It is like a torrent which must and will flow, but the least thing imaginable will first of all give it either this or another direc- tion, turn it into this or that channel ; or like a fire, the nature of which, when in a heap of combustible matter, is to spread and lay waste all around, but any one of a thousand little accidents will occasion it to break out first either in this or another particular part. Angus, p. 393. There is some such a disposition to be talking, that an offence of the slightest kind, and such as would not raise any other resent- ment, yet raises, if I may so speak, the resent- ment of the tongue, puts it into a flame, into the most ungovernable motions. Angus^ P- 395- Let any one consider the various interests, Butler's Best Passages 197 competitions, and little misunderstandings which arise amongst men, and he will soon see that he is not unprejudiced and impartial, that he is not, as I may speak, neutral enough to trust himself with talking of the character and concerns of his neighbour in a free, careless, and unreserved manner. There is perpetually, and often it is not attended to, a rivalship amongst people of one kind or another, in respect to wit, beauty, learning, fortune ; and that one thing will insensibly influence them to speak to the disadvantage of others, even where there is no formed malice or ill design. Since, therefore, it is so hard to enter into this subject without offending ; the first thing to be observed is, that people should learn to decline it ; to get over that inclination most have to be talking of the concerns and behaviour of their neighbour. Angus, p. 400. Upon the whole matter : if people would observe the occasions of silence ; if they would subdue the inclination to tale-bearing, and that 198 Butler's Best Passages eager desire to engage attention, which is an original disease in some minds ; they would be in little danger of offending with their tongue ; and would, in a moral and religious sense, have due government over it. Angus, p. 402. ON AMUSEMENTS Let us, then, suppose a man entirely dis- engaged from business and pleasure, sitting down alone and at leisure, to reflect upon himself and his own condition of being. He would immediately feel that he was by no means complete of himself, but totally in- sufficient for his own happiness. One may venture to affirm that every man hath felt this whether he hath again reflected upon it or not. It is feeling this deficiency, that they are unsatisfied with themselves, which makes men look out for assistance from abroad, and which has given rise to various kinds of amusements altogether needless any otherwise than as they serve to fill up the blank spaces Butler's Best Passages 199 of time, and so hinder their feeling this deficiency, and being uneasy with themselves. Now, if these external things we take up with were really an adequate supply to this deficiency of human nature ; if by their means our capa- cities and desires were all satisfied and filled up ; then it might be truly said that we had found out the proper happiness of man, and so might sit down satisfied, and be at rest in the enjoyment of it. But if it appears that the amusements which men usually pass their time in, are so far from coming up to, or answering our notions and desires of happiness or good, that they are really no more than what they are commonly called, somewhat to pass away the time ; i.e. somewhat which serves to turn us aside from, and prevent our attending to this our internal poverty and want ; if they serve only, or chiefly to suspend, instead of satisfying our conceptions and desires of happiness ; if the want remains, and we have found out little more than barely the means of making it less sensible, then are we still to seek for somewhat 200 Butler's Best Passages to be an adequate supply to it. Angus, p. 512. ON CHILDREN Human creatures, from the constitution of their nature and the circumstances in which they are placed, cannot but acquire habits during their childhood, by the* impressions which are given them, and their own customary actions. And long before they arrive at mature age, these habits form a general settled character, and the observation of the text, that the most early habits are usually the most lasting, is likewise every one's observation. Now whenever children are left to themselves, and to the guides and companions which they choose, or by hazard light upon, we find by experience that the first impressions they take, and course of action they get into, are very bad ; and so consequently must be their habits and character, and future behaviour. Thus, if they are not trained up in the way they should go, they will certainly be trained up in the way Butler's Best Passa; 2OI they should not go ; and in nil probability will persevere in it, and become miserable them- selves and mischievous to society : which, in .t, is worse, upon account of both, than if' they had been exposed to perish in their infancy. On the other hand, the ingenuous docility of children before they have been deceived, their distrust of themselves, and natural defer- ence to grown people, whom they find here settled in a world where they themselves are strangers ; and to whom they have recourse for advice as readily as for protection, which deference is still greater towards those who are placed over them ; these things give the justest ground to expect that they may receive such impressions and be influenced to such a course of behaviour, as will produce lasting good habits ; and, together with the dangers before mentioned, are as truly a natural demand on us to train them up in the way they should go, as their bodily wants are a demand to provide them bodily nourishment. 202 Butler's Best Passages Brute creatures are appointed to do no more than this last for their offspring, nature form- ing them by instincts to the particular manner of life appointed them, from which they never deviate. But this is so far from being the case of men, that, on the contrary, considering communities collectively, every successive generation is left, in the ordinary course of Providence, to be formed by the preceding one ; and becomes good or bad, though not without its own merit or demerit, as this trust is discharged or violated, chiefly in the management of youth. Gladstone, ii. p. 339. ON DEATH The unknown event, death. Angus, p. 18. We know not at all what death is in itself; but only some of its effects, such as the dis- solution of flesh, skin, and bones. Angus, p. 1 9. Nay, for aught we know of ourselves, of our present life and of death ; death may Butler's Best Passages 203 immediately, in the natural course of things, put us into a higher and more enlarged state or lite as our birth does ; a state in which our capacities, and sphere of perception and of action, may be much greater than at present. For as our relation to our external organs of sense renders us capable of existing in our present state of sensation, so it may be the only natural hindrance to our existing, im- mediately and of course, in a higher state of reflection. The truth is, reason does not at all show us in what state death naturally leaves us. But were we sure it would suspend all our perceptive and active powers, yet the sus- pension of a power and the destruction of it are effects so totally different in kind, as we experience from sleep and a swoon, that we cannot in any wise argue from one to the other ; or conclude even to the lowest degree of probability that the same kind of force which is sufficient to suspend our faculties, though it be increased ever so much, will be sufficient to destroy them. Angus^ p. 31. 204 Butler's Best Passages ON THE FUTURE LIFE That which makes the question concerning a future life to be of so great importance to us, is our capacity of happiness and misery. And that which makes the consideration of it to be of so great importance to us, is the suppo- sition of our happiness and misery hereafter, depending upon our actions here. Without this, indeed, curiosity could not but sometimes bring a subject, in which we may be so highly interested, to our thoughts ; especially upon the mortality of others, or the near prospect of our own. But reasonable men would not take any further thought about hereafter, than what should happen thus occasionally to rise in their minds, if it were certain that our future interest no way depended upon our present behaviour; whereas on the contrary, if there be ground either from analogy or anything else, to think it does ; then there is reason also for the most active thought and solicitude to secure that interest ; to behave so as that we may escape Butler's Best Passages 205 that misery and obtain that happiness in another life, which we not only suppose our- selves capable of, but which we apprehend is put in our own power. Angus, p. 37. Our posthumous life, whatever there may be in it additional to our present, yet may not be entirely beginning anew, but going on. Death may, in some sort and in some respects, answer to our birth ; which is not a suspension of the faculties which we had before it, or a total change of the state of life in which we existed when in the womb, but a continuation of both, with such and such great alterations. Nay, for aught we know of ourselves, of our present life and of death ; death may immediately, in the natural course of things, put us into a higher and more enlarged state of life as our birth does ; a state in which our capacities, and sphere of perception and of action, may be much greater than at present. Angus, p. 31. 206 Butler's Best Passages We are led to consider this little scene of human life in which we are so busily engaged, as having a reference of some sort or other to a much larger plan of things. Whether we are any way related to the more distant parts of the boundless universe, into which we are brought, is altogether uncertain. But it is evident that the course of things, which comes within our view, is connected with somewhat past, present, and future, beyond it. So that we are placed, as one may speak, in the middle of a scheme, not a fixed but a progressive one, every way incomprehensible ; incomprehensible in a manner equally with respect to what has been, what now is, and what shall be hereafter. Angus , p. 141. Irrational creatures act this their part, and enjoy and undergo the pleasures and the pains allotted them without any reflection. But one would think it impossible that creatures endued with reason could avoid reflecting sometimes upon all this; reflecting, if not Butler's Best Passages 207 from whence we came, yet at least whither we are going, and what the mysterious scheme, in the midst of which we find ourselves, will at length come out and produce ; a scheme in which it is certain we are highly interested and in which we may be interested even beyond conception. Angus, p. 142. Nothing which we at present see would lead us to the thought of a solitary inactive state hereafter : but, if we judge at all from the analogy of Nature, we must suppose, according to the Scripture account of it, that it will be a community. And there is no shadow of anything unreasonable in con- ceiving, though there be no analogy for it, that this community will be, as the Scripture represents it, under the more immediate, or, if such an expression may be used, the more sensible government of God. Nor is our ignorance what will be the employments of this happy community, nor our consequent ignorance, what particular scope or occasion 2o8 Butler's Best Passages there will be for the exercise of veracity, justice, and charity, amongst the members of it, with regard to each other, any proof, that there will be no sphere of exercise for those virtues. Much less, if that were possible, is our ignorance any proof, that there will be no occasion for that frame of mind, or char- acter, which is formed by the daily practice of those particular virtues here, and which is a result from it. This at least must be owned in general, that, as the government established in the universe is moral, the character of virtue and piety must, in some way or other, be the condition of our happiness, or the qualification for it. Angus , p. 97. LETTERS BRISTOL was the poorest of the English Bishoprics, the value not exceeding 400 per annum ; and the promotion of Gooch (whose claims fell far short of Butler's) to Norwich was probably a low manoeuvre of Walpole's, who may have thought that the ascetic Rector of Stanhope was too unworldly a person to care for the poverty of his prefer- ment, or perceive the slight which it implied. But, if such were his calculations, the coarse- minded minister mistook his man ; and the letter, in which he acknowledged Sir Robert's announcement of his promotion, shows plainly that Butler understood his position, and was no way disposed to compromise it : STANHOPE, August 28, 1738. SIR, I received yesterday, from your own o 2io Butler's Letters hand (an honour which I ought very particu- larly to acknowledge), the information that the King had nominated me to the Bishoprick of Bristol. I most truly think myself very highly obliged to His Majesty, as much, all things considered, as any subject in his dominions ; for I know no greater obligation, than to find the Queen's condescending goodness and kind intentions towards me, transferred to His Majesty. Nor is it possible, while J live, to be without the most grateful sense of his favour to me, whether the effects of it be greater or less ; for, this must in some measure depend upon accidents. Indeed, the Bishoprick of Bristol is not very suitable either to the condition of my fortune, or the circumstances of my preferment ; nor, as I should have thought, answerable to the re- commendation with which I was honoured. But you will excuse me, Sir, if I think of this last with greater sensibility than the conduct of affairs will admit of. But without entering further into detail, I Butler's Letters 21 1 desire, Sir, you will please to let His Majesty know, that I humbly accept this instance of his favour with the utmost possible gratitude. I beg leave, also, Sir, to return you my humble thanks for your good offices upon this, and all occasions ; and for your very obliging expressions of regard to, Sir, your most obedient, most faithful, and most humble Servant, JOSEPH BUTLER. Fitzgerald^ p. liii. Two letters to the Duke of Newcastle : THE BISHOP OF BRISTOL TO THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLK BRISTOL, 5 Aug. 1750. MY LORD, I have this afternoon the Honour of your Grace's letter informing me of my Nomination to the Bishoprick of Durham, which I am sensible is the greatest Instance of Favour I could receive from the King. As I read in your letter, my Lord, my answer to it in my own Thoughts was, to return your Grace my humble Thanks for all your Favours, particularly for your kind 212 Butler's Letters concurrence and assistances upon this occasion and the obliging satisfaction you take in the success of them. But when I came to the postscript and found a Command accompany- ing that nomination it gave me greater Dis- turbance of mind than I think I ever felt. Your Grace will please to remember that when you mentioned this to me near three-quarters of a year agoe, I made not a word of answer, but went on talking of other things, and upon your repeating the mention of it at the same time, just as I was going out of your Dressing Room, I told your Grace it did not admit of an answer. This my Silence, and this my Reply were owing to my being in so great a surprize as such a thing being asked of me beforehand that I durst not trust myself to talk upon the subject. But upon settling within myself what I ought to say, I proposed to wait upon your Grace, and let you know that I could not take any Church Promotion upon the condition of any such Promise or Intimation as your Grace seemed to expect. Butler's Letters 2 i : But before I had time for this I met the Archbishop who began as from you to talk to me of the affair, upon which I desired him to let your Grace know what I had purposed, as I now said, to tell you myself. My words, so far as I can remember were, that my Principles would not permit me to accept of any Promotion upon the condition of making any Promise or raising any Ex- pectation beforehand of giving away prefer- ment. After all this, my Lord, I had not the most distant suspicion but that if His Majesty would nominate me to Durham, your Grace would have permitted the Nomi- nation to come free. My Lord, the Bishops as well as the in- ferior Clergy take the Oaths against Simony, and as I should think an express Promise of Preferment to a Patron beforehand an express Breach of that Oath, and would deny Institution upon it, so I should think a tacit Promise a tacit Breach of it. I am afraid your Grace may think I have already said 214 Butler's Letters too much, but as this affair that I am to give Dr. Chapman the first Prebend of Durham, is common Talk at Cambridge, and consequently will be so, if it be not already, wherever I am known, I think myself bound, whatever be the Consequence of my Simplicity and Openness, to add that it will be im- possible for me to do it consistently with my Character and Honour, since if I should, it would be understood (tho' your Grace and I know the contrary) to be done in con- sequence of some previous Promise, either express or tacit. I am, my Lord, in great Discomposure of mind upon this affair, and very unfit to write to your Grace. Yet I think it absolutely necessary to return your Grace an immediate answer by the King's Messenger, and I must also write to His Majesty. So I hope your Grace will put a candid construction upon any improper expressions which may have 'scaped me. For I can have no Desire (and my present situation is Butler's Letters 215 surely a Proof of it) to say anything or express myself in any manner disagreeable to your Grace, further than what my Prin- ciples may have obliged me to. I am, with the greatest Respect, your Grace's most obedient, devoted humble Servant, Jo., BRISTOL. Your Grace recollects that if a Prebend of D. held by Com m becomes vacant by my Promotion it of course devolves to the Crown. THE BISHOP OF DURHAM TO THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE HAMPSTED, Dec. ist, 1751 MY LORD, I shall pay all the Regard to your Grace's Recommendation that I am per- suaded you yourself will think reasonable. But as I am altogether unacquainted with the character of the Person recommended I must desire a little time to inquire into it ; especially as I am inclined to think he is a stranger to your Grace. 216 Butler's Letters I must likewise beg leave to add that Eglinham being a vicarage I cannot give leave of absence to any one who 1 myself shall present to it. I am, with the greatest Respect, my Lord, your Grace's most obliged, most obedient and most humble Servant, Jo. DURESME. Gladstone, ii. p. 431. GOOD SIR, When, or where, this will find you, I know not ; but I would not defer thanking you for the obliging satis- faction you express, in my translation to the See of Durham. I wish my behaviour in it may be such as to justify His Majesty's choice, and the approbation of it, which you (much too kindly, I suppose) think to be general. If one is enabled to do a little good, and to prefer worthy men, this indeed is a valuable of life, and will afford satisfaction in the close of it ; but the change of station in itself will in no wise answer the trouble of it, and of getting into new forms of living : I mean Butler's Lettc; 217 with respect to the peace and happiness of one's own mind, for in fortune, to be sure it will. I am, etc. BRISTOL, Aug. 13, 1750. MY GOOD FRIEND, I should have been mighty glad of the favour of a visit from you, when you were in town. I thank you for your kind congratulations, though I am not without my doubts and fears, how far the occasion of them is a real subject of congratula- tion to me. Increase of fortune is insignificant to one who thought he had enough before ; and I foresee many difficulties in the station I am coming into, and no advantage worth thinking of, except some greater power of being serviceable to others ; and whether this be an advantage, entirely depends on the use one shall make of it : I pray God it may be a good one. It would be a melancholy thing in the close of life, to have no reflections to enUTtain one's self with, but that one had 218 Butler's Letters spent the revenues of the bishoprick of Durham in a sumptuous course of living, and enriche'd one's friends with the promotions of it, instead of having really set one's self to do good, and promote worthy men ; yet this right use of fortune and power is more difficult than the generality of even good people think, and requires both a guard upon one's self, and a strength of mind, to withstand solicitations, greater, I wish I may not find it, than I am master of. I pray God preserve your health, and am always, Dear Sir, Your affectionate Brother and Servant, JOSEPH DUNELM. Fitzgerala y p. xcix. To THE COUNTESS OF HARTFORD Summer oj 1751. I had a mind to see Auckland before I wrote to your Grace, and, as you take so kind a part in everything which contributes to my satisfaction, I am sure you will be pleased to hear that the place is a very agreeable one, Butler's Letters 219 and fully answering expectations, except that one of the chief prospects, which is very pretty (the river Wear with hills, much diversified, rising above it), is too bare of wood ; the park not much amiss as to that ; but I am obliged to pale it anew all round, the old pale being quite decayed. This will give an opportunity, with which I am much pleased, to take in forty or fifty acres competently wooded ; though with that enlargement it will scarce be sufficient for the hospitality of the country. These, with some little improve- ments and very great repairs, take up my leisure time. Thus, Madam, I seem to have laid out a very long life for myself; yet, in reality, everything I see puts me in mind of the short- ness and uncertainty of it ; the arms and inscriptions of my predecessors, what they did and what they neglected, and (from accidental circumstances) the very place itself, and the rooms I walk through and sit in. And when I consider, in one view, the many things of 220 Butler's Letters the kind I have just mentioned, which I have upon my hands, I feel the burlesque of being employed in this manner at my time of life. But in another view, and taking in all circum- stances, these things, as trifling as they may appear, no less than things of greater import- ance, seem to be put upon me to do, or at least to begin ; whether I am to live to com- plete any or all of them, is not my concern. Fitzgerald, Ixv. PRAYERS O ALMIGHTY God, Maker and Preserver of the world, Governor and Judge of all creatures, whom Thou hast endued with understanding so as to render them accountable for their actions, and capable of being judged for them ; we prostrate ourselves as in Thy presence, and worship Thee the Sovereign Lord of all, in Whom we live and move and have our being. The greatness and perfection of Thy Nature is infinitely beyond all possible comprehension, but in proportion to our capacities we would endeavour to have a true conception of Thy Divine Majesty, and to live under a just sense and apprehension of it, that we may fear Thee and hope in Thee, as we entirely depend on Thee : that we may love Thee as supremely good, and have our wills conformed to Thy will in all righteousness and truth ; that we 221 LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 222 Butler's Prayers may be thankful to Thee for everything we enjoy, as the gift of Thine hand, and be patient under every affliction as what Thou sendest or permittest. We desire to be duly sensible of what we have done amiss, and we solemnly resolve before Thee that for the time to come we will endeavour to obey all Thy commands as they are made known to us. We are Thy creatures by nature ; we give up ourselves to be Thy servants voluntarily and by choice, and present ourselves, body and soul, a living sacrifice to Thee. But, O Almighty God, as Thou hast mani- fested Thyself to the world by Jesus Christ; as Thou hast given Him to be a Propitiation for the sins of it, and the Mediator between God and Man ; we lay hold with all humility and thankfulness on so estimable a Benefit, and come unto Thee according to Thine appointment in His Name, and in the form and manner which He has taught us. Our Father, etc. Butler's Prayers 223 MORNING PRAYKR Almighty God, by whose protection we were preserved the night passed, and are here before Thee this morning in health and safety ; we dedicate this day, and all the days we live to Thy service ; resolving that we will abstain from all evil, that we will take heed to the thing that is right in all our actions, and endeavour to do our duty in that state of life in which Thy Providence has placed us. We would remind ourselves that we are always, wherever we may go, in Thy presence. We would be always in Thy fear ; and we beg the continuance of Thy merciful protection, and that Thou wouldst guide and keep us, in all our ways, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Glads tone , ii. p. 428. Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press HOOKS BY ALEXANDER WHYTE, D.D. Post 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price 3*. 6ct. The Apostle Paul CONTENTS LECTURES PAUL AS A STUDENT. PAUL AS APPREHENDED OF CHRIST JESUS. PAUL IN ARABIA. PAUL'S VISIT TO JERUSALEM TO SEE PETER. PAUL AS A PREACHER. PAUL AS A PASTOR, PAUL AS A CONTROVERSIALIST. PAUL AS A MAN OF PRAYER. PAUL AS A BELIEVING MAN. PAUL AS THE CHIEF OF SINNERS. PAUL'S THORN THAT WAS GIVEN HIM. PAUL AS SOLD UNDER SIN. PAUL'S BLAMELESSNESS AS A MINISTER. PAUL AS AN EVANGELICAL MYSTIC. PAUL'S GREAT HEAVINESS AND CONTINUAL SORROW OF HEART. PAUL THE AGED. FIVE SERMONS ON PAULINE TEXTS THE BLOOD OF GOD-FAITH IN HIS BLOOD HIM THAT WORKETH NOT UNDER GRACE THE LIFE OF FAITH. WALTER MARSHALL THE MOST PAULINE OF DIVINES AN APPRECIATION. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post Svo, Cloth Extra, Gilt Top. Price y. 6d. FIRST SERIES. BIBLE CHARACTERS: ADAM TO ACHAN. CONTENTS. Adam Eve Cain Abel Enoch Jubal Noah Ham Nimrod Terah Abraham Lot Sarah Isaac Esau Rebekah Jacob Joseph Aaron Miriam Moses Moses the Type of Christ Pharaoh Balaam Joshua Achan. 1 In every one of the sketches we are brought into contact with a soul on fire with earnest purpose, astir with genuine ethical ferment. No amount of knowledge, no literary deftness, could produce these studies ; they are primarily the utterances of character and of an exceptionally strong individuality.' British Weekly. 4 Always graceful in diction, shows capacity for vivid descrip- tion, and gives a present-day colouring by introducing illustra- tions from modern experiences.' Scotsman. 'Whatever sacred history has attributed to these old-time men and women yields, under Dr. Whyte's touch, a spiritual lesson of deep importance for some one to-day. Dr. Whyte has imagination, not a small share of the analytical faculty, and on a canvas of very limited dimensions can paint a wonderfully vivid picture of a whole life.' Christian Age. 1 It is marvellous how new the story is, how living it becomes in these accomplished hands.' Expository Times. ' Dr. Whyte is always readable and interesting.' Record. 1 The literary aroma that clings to his narratives is as refresh- ing as the breezes wafted from the mountain pines.' The Christian, EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post &w, Cloth Extra, Gilt Top. Price y. 6a\ SECOND SERIES. BIBLE CHARACTERS: GIDEON TO ABSALOM. CONTENTS. Gideon Jephthah and his Daughter Samson Ruth Hannah Eli Samuel Saul David, In his Virtues David, In his Vices David, In his Graces David, In his Services Jonathan Nabal Michal, Saul's Daughter Solomon, and a Greater than Solomon The Queen of Sheba Shimei Joab Absalom. 1 Delightful and wonderful. ... It is as fresh and racy, as heart-searching and stimulating, as any that have come from Dr. Whyte's pen. We read sketch after sketch with unabated interest. ... A vivid imagination, a strong faith, intimate acquaintance with Holy Scripture and the human heart, a gift of edification, a power to hold and charm the reader, meet you in Dr. Whyte's writings, and in none more than in this volume.' Presbyterian Witness. 'The sketches are clever, vigorous, and characteristic,' Record. 1 It has the moral throb which is felt in all his writings, the direct appeal to personal duty and experience, and the strong, unaffected style, which gives his pulpit work and his books a character of their own.' Critical Review. ' Unusual spiritual fervour, keen insight into human nature, and a quaint, unique style characterise this second volume of Bible Characters. . . . We have here independent, individual, and unconventional studies in the outstanding Scripture characters that must prove extremely inspiring and helpful to all thoughtful readers.' Irish Presbyterian. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL 9OOKSBLLB&B. Post 8w, Cloth Extra, Gilt Top. Prut y. 6J. THIRD SERIES. BIBLE CHARACTERS: AHITHOPHEL TO NEHEMIAH. CONTENTS. AhithophelMephibosheth Barzillai Heman Jeroboam The Disobedient Prophet Reho- boam Josiah Elijah Elisha Naaman Job Jonah Isaiah Jeremiah Daniel Nebuchadnezzar Bel- shazzar Esther Ezra Sanballat Nehemiah. 1 What a wealth of biographical treasure is here, and what an unfolding by a master mind of the eternal principles that lie at the foundation of all true living. This is the sort of exposition that perpetuates the power and gives undying zest to the study of the Bible.' The Christian. ' Brief, pithy, and forceful.' Primitive Methodist. 1 His delineations are always terse, vivid, and interesting.' Glasgow Herald. 1 The breezy, penetrating treatment which was so conspicuous in the first two series is here also. Dr. Whyte does the Old Testament no dishonour by his frank common-sense handling of characters which, just because they are in the Old Testament, many people fail to study in a direct and masculine way.' Academy. 1 We have here fine discrimination, balance of judgment, charity, and deep knowledge of the subject, with attractiveness and transparency of expression.' Christian Age. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND PERKIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Put 8w, Clot* Frtra, Gilt Top. Price 3*. &/. FOURTH SFR1BS. BIBLE CHARACTERS: JOSEPH AND MARY TO JAMES, THE LORD'S BROTHER. CONTENTS : Joseph and Mary Simeon Zacharias and Elisabeth John the Baptist Nicodemus Peter John Matthew Zacchseus Lazarus The Woman with the Issue of Blood Mary Magdalene The Mother of Zebedee's Children The Widow with the Two Mites- Pontius Pilate Pilate's Wife Herod that Fox The Penitent Thief Thomas Cleopas and his Companion Matthias, the Successor to Judas Iscariot Ananias and Sapphira Simon Magus The Ethiopian Eunuch Gamaliel Barnabas James, the Lord's Brother. ' They form most delightful and instructive reading, and we cordially commend them to the notice of all students of the Bible. ' Liverpool Mercury. 1 They are characterised by great earnestness, graceful in diction, and reveal a wealth of apt sometimes quaint illus- tration. ' Scotsman. ' The literary style of the book is graceful, its tone is earnest, and altogether it is a good and readable volume.' Daily Free Press. 1 There are power, force, and beauty in every chapter, while the spiritual good to be derived from a perusal of this charming book cannot be calculated. Preachers and teachers in any future Bible study will be obliged to consult Dr. Whyte's work as a text-book.' Methodist Weekly. 'Dr. Whyte's genius is fully manifest in these studies of character. They are fresh, spiritual, and searching.' Life of Faith. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post 8vo, Cloth Extra, Gilt Top. Price y. 6d. FIFTH Slil BIBLE CHARACTERS : STEPHEN TO TIMOTHY. CONTENTS : Stephen Philip, Deacon and Evangelist Cornelius Eutychus Felix Festus King Agrippa Luke, the Beloved Physician Onesiphorus Alex- ander the Coppersmith Paul as a Student Paul appre- hended of Christ Jesus Paul in Arabia Paul's Visit to Jerusalem to see Peter Paul as a Preacher Paul as a Pastor Paul as a Controversialist Paul as a Man of Prayer Paul as a Believing Man Paul as the Chief of Sinners The Thorn in Paul's Flesh Paul as sold under Sin Paul's Blamelessness as a Minister Paul as an Evangelical Mystic Paul's great Heaviness and con- tinual Sorrow of Heart Paul the Aged Apollos Lois and Eunice Timothy as a Child Timothy as a Young Minister. ' Much imagination and knowledge of men and their ways, and considerable artistic power, have gone to the making of these sketches, but they are in no case written for effect or as pulpit task work. Earnest purpose, ethical and spiritual passion breaks through at every point and vivifies the whole. They ought to be very widely read, and wherever read they will make the Bible more real and more profitable.' Bookman. 1 We stand right in the centre of each story, and feel all the tides of impulse and passion that are propelling the actors. The deeds, great and small, that make up the history are traced back to their most secret springs in the heart. One sees the whole thing to its innermost, and comes away with the lessons of it printed indelibly in the mind.' Christian World. 1 Sixteen lectures, every one of them glowing with spiritual life and throbbing with evangelistic urgency.' Belfast Witness. 'Far and away the most complete exposition of Bible Characters yet published.' Aberdeen Journal. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPIIANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post Svo, Cloth Extra, Gilt Top. Price $s. 6d. SIXTH SERIES. BIBLE CHARACTERS: OUR LORD'S CHAR- ACTERS. CONTENTS : The Sower who went Forth to Sow The Man which sowed Good Seed in his Field, but his Enemy came and sowed Tares among the Wheat The Man who took a Grain of Mustard Seed, and sowed it in his Field The Man who cast Seed into the Ground and it grew up he knew not how The Woman who took Leaven and hid it in Three Measures of Meal The Man who found Treasure hid in a Field The Merchant Man who sold alt that he had and bought the Pearl of Great Price -The Man who went out to borrow Three Loaves at Midnight The Importunate Widow The Prodigal Son The Much-forgiven Debtor and his Much Love The Ten Virgins The Wedding Guest who sat down in the Lowest Room The Bidden to the Great Marriage-Supper, and Some of their Excuses The Man who had not on a Wedding Garment The Pharisee The Publican The Blind Lea Blind The Rich Man and Lazarus The Slothful Servant who hid his Lord's Money The Unmerciful Servant The Unprofitable Servant The Labourer with the Evil Eye The Children of Cap- ernaum playing at Marriages and Funerals in the Market-Place The Samaritan who showed Mercy Moses on the New Testa- ment Mount The Angel of the Church of Ephesus The Angel of the Church of Smyrna The Angel of the Cfflrch of Pergamos The Angel of the Cmirch in Thyatira The Angel of the Church in Sardis The Angel of the Church in Philadelphia The Angel of the Church in Laodicea. 1 Dr. Whyte has placed all Bible students under an obligation by the pub- lication of this admirable series of Scripture studies.' Methodist rimes. ' We know of no writer who can make more real the personalities of these Bible characters, or can bring home more vividly or helpfully the lessons of their words and deeds." Christian Guardian (Toronto). ' The writing is so fresh and vigorous, the insight so piercing, the grasp of situations so firm, that the most diligent student of Scripture cannot fail to profit from Dr. Whyte's treatment of familiar themes,' Liverpool Mercury. 1 Each subject is handled with originality, freshness, skill, and sanctified scholarship. Need more be said I ' English Churchman. 'This notable gallery of Scripture portraits. . . . The series will form a most instructive and valuable work wherewith to enrich our libraries.' The Baptist. 'Among the most suggestive and useful contributions to practical divinity.' The Christian. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post 8vo, Antique Laid Paper, Cloth Extra. Prift 2r. &/. FIRST SKRIKS. BUNYAN CHARACTERS IN 'THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. 1 CONTENTS : Introductory Evangelist Obstinate Pliable Help Mr. Worldly-Wiseman Goodwill The Interpreter Passion Patience Simple, Sloth, and Presumption The Three Shining Ones at the Cross Formalist and Hypocrisy Timorous and Mistrust Prudence Charity Shame Talkative Judge Hate- good Faithful in Vanity Fair By-ends Giant Despair Knowledge, a Shepherd Experience, a Shepherd Watchful, a Shepherd Sincere, a Shepherd. 'All lovers of the immortal allegory should get these *' Bunyan Characters," especially ministers, who would know men, and be soul-winners. Having read this book from cover to cover, we can say as Christian said when he left the gate of the Interpreter's house, "Rare and profitable."' Sword and Trozvel. ' Dr. Whyte helps us to understand more vividly than before what manner of men were Obstinate, Pliable, Talkative, Faith- ful, Evangelist, and the like ; and the modern applications of that old story of the soul's quest are indicated by many subtle and suggestive comments which often touch to the quick the greater as well as the lesser issues of faith and conduct. There is both vigour and vivacity about the book, fancy and feeling, yet the tenderness is as conspicuous as the courage.' Speaker. ' There is something in Dr. Whyte's special gifts which eminently qualify him for dealing with Bunyan or Rutherford, Dante or Law. . . . He has drunk deep of the spirit of the nobler Puritan theology, and has intense sympathy with it.' Primitive Methodist. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post 8w, Antique l^id Paper, Cloth Extra. Price 2s. 6d. SECOND SERIES. BUNYAN CHARACTERS IN 'THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS/ CONTENTS : Ignorance Little-Faith The Flatterer Atheist Hopeful Temporary Secret Mrs. Timor- ousMercyMr. Brisk Mr. Skill The Shepherd Boy Old Honest Mr. Fearing Feeble-Mind Great- heartMr. Ready-to-Halt Valiant-for-Truth Stand- fast Madam Bubble Gaius Christian Christiana The Enchanted Ground The Land of Beulah The Swelling of Jordan. 1 Racy in style, varied in its contents, and pointed in its applications of the great Dreamer's fancies to the church-goer of our own day.' Critical Review. * Full of good things.' Christian World. ' No higher praise, perhaps, could be accorded them than to say that they offer such a commentary on Bunyan 's parables as Bunyan himself would have delighted to read.' Guardian. ' This completes the most beautiful and suggestive com- mentary on "The Pilgrim's Progress " ever written.' British Weekly. 'For strong, manly, reverent, and bracing exposition of spiritual life and conflict, it would be hard to beat these rambles through the Bunyan portrait gallery.' The Christian. 1 It is refreshing to read these inspiring and helpful pages.' Canadian Methodist Review. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Post 8tw, Antiquf T.aid Paper, Cloth Extra. Price zr. 6d. THIRD SRRIBS. BUNYAN CHARACTERS IN 'THE HOLY WAR.' CONTENTS : ' The Holy War' : The Book The City of Mansoul and its Cinque Ports Ear-Gate Eye-Gate The King's Palace My Lord Willbewill Self-Love Old Mr. Prejudice, the Keeper of Ear-Gate, with his Sixty Deaf Men under him Captain Anything Clip- PromiseStiff Mr. Loth-to-Stoop That Varlet Ill- Pause, the Devil's Orator Mr. Penny-Wise-and-Pound- Foolish, and Mr. Get-i'-the-Hundred-and-Lose-i'-the- Shire The Devil's Last Card Mr. Pry well Young Captain Self-Denial Five Pickt Men Mr. Desires- Awake Mr. Wet-Eyes Mr. Humble the Juryman, and Miss Humble- Mind the Servant- Maid Master Think- Well, the Late and Only Son of Old Mr. Meditation- Mr. God's-Peace, a Goodly Person, and a Sweet-Natured Gentleman The Established Church of Mansoul, and Mr. Conscience, One of her Parish Ministers A Fast- Day in Mansoul A Feast-Day in Mansoul Emman- uel's Livery Mansoul's Magna Charta Emmanuel's Last Charge to Mansoul : Concerning the Remainders of Sin in the Regenerate. 1 The book is quick with life and full of noble appreciation. The tenderness and irony, the spiritual fervour, and imaginative insight of many pages of this volume are startling.' Speaker. ' We know of nothing more helpful to the student of Bunyan's work than these lectures, marked as they are by subtlety of analysis, scholarship, insight, and good sense.' Christian Age. ' Shows Dr. Whyte at his best.' Keho Mail. ' My Lord Willbewill, Old Mr. Prejudice, Captain Anything, Mr. Prywell, Mr. Wet-Eyes, and others, are hit off with a deft hand, and their present-day representatives are delineated with marvellous ability.' Sabbath School Teacher's Magazine. 1 He helps us to see what was in the great dreamer's mind, and turns all that is in the book to practical purpose.' Critical Review). 1 He has never written with more vivacity.' Literary World. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Sixth Thousand. Post Zvo, Cloth Extra. Price 2s. 6cf. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD AND SOME OF HIS COR- RESPONDENTS. CONTENTS : Joshua Redivivus Samuel Rutherford and Some of his Extremes Marion M 'Naught Lady Kenmure Lady Cardoness Lady Culross Lady Boyd Lady Robertland Jean Brown John Gordon of Car- doness, the Younger Alexander Gordon of Earlston William Gordon, Younger of Earlston Robert Gordon of Knockbrex John Gordon of Rusco Bailie John Kennedy James Guthrie William Guthrie George Gillespie John Fergushill James Bautie, Student of Divinity John Meine, Junior, Student of Divinity Alexander Brodie of Brodie John Fleming, Bailie of Leith The Parishioners of Kilmalcolm. ' May this powerful and vividly written little volume be as highly appreciated and as widely circulated as it deserves.' Dr. HAY FLEMING in British Weekly. 'The same brilliant and delightful literary power that has made "The Bunyan Characters" so real and living is here richly manifest, and so the choice spiritual treasures of the saintly Rutherford are here finely laid bare." Word and Work. 'The Letters introduce us to various notable men and women who had the privilege of being this great man's correspondents.' Spectator. 1 Dr. Whyte may appear in these lectures intensely earnest and evangelical, but they also show him to be well endowed with literary graces and a keen sense of humour.' Scotsman. * An intensely interesting book.' British Messenger. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSRLLRRS. Post 8w, Art Linen, Gilt Top. Price y. 6d. LANCELOT ANDREWES AND HIS PRIVATE DEVOTIONS. A Biography, a Transcript, and an Interpretation. 1 The book is a model of convenience and beauty, and reflects great credit on the publishers, more especially considering its small price. . . . The introduction is always forcible, and therefore readable, and the transcript seems to be well done, with a faithful adherence to the old phrasing of the English Bible.' Church Times. 1 We regard this book as one of Dr. Whyte's most valuable contributions to the literature of his country and his time.' Presbyterian Witness (Halifax). 1 An edition of Andrewes* " Private Devotions," which is as incomparable with other editions as the Devotions are incompar- able with other books of Devotion. First there is a biography of thirty well-stocked pages ; next there is an interpretation of thirty pages more ; and then the Devotions run to the end of the volume. And the volume is itself most artistically appro- priate.' Expository Times. 1 A wonderful book, and the man who will take the hand of the sinning and penitent bishop will find himself led indeed into the inner courts.' Methodist Times. Crown Svo, Art Linen, Gilt Top. Price 31. 6d. BISHOP BUTLER. An Appreciation, with the best Passages of his Writings, selected and arranged. CONTENTS : Appreciation Butler's Best Passages : On God On the Love of God On Scripture On Con- scienceOn Reason On Character On Habit On Probation On the Passions On Means and Ends On Probability On Knowledge On our Ignorance On Riches On Charity On Happiness On Benevolence On Ill-will On Party- spirit On Misunderstanding On Peevishness On Resigna- tion On Devotion On the Church On Public Worship- On Pastoral Care On Pulpit Controversy On the Study of Divinity On Missions On Reading On Style On Talk- ativenessOn Amusements On Children On Death On the Future Life Letters Prayers. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. Crown 8vo, Art Linen, Gilt Top, -with Letter in Facsimile. Price y. 6d. NEWMAN : AN APPRECIATION. With the Choicest Passages of his Writings, Selected and Ar- ranged. The Appendix contains Letters not hitherto published * A more judicious, a more gracious or attractive introduction to the personality and the works of the great Cardinal could not be desired.' Bookman. 'The selection from Newman's writings is about as repre- sentative as it can possibly be, and is quite the best we have seen. ' Church-woman. * Those who know the similar volume by Dr. Whyte on Santa Teresa will be eager to welcome his latest. Six hitherto unpublished and somewhat notable letters of the Cardinal's are here given to the public. Dr. Whyte is a true ' ' Newmanite," for he avows that the "Grammar of Assent" is his prime favourite, and a man's attitude towards the " Grammar " is the touchstone of his ability to appreciate the great Cardinal.' Church Review. 1 Newman played a great part in the religious and ecclesi- astical life of England during the last century, but the young men who are now rising up do not know him or his writings, and this book will be useful as a compendium or an introduc- tion. The selections are sufficiently varied to show the range of Newman's activity and the beauty and adaptability of his style.' Dominion Presbyterian. 'The book, in which the letters form an Appendix, is a frank appreciation of the great theologian's life and work, and it abounds not only with interesting criticism of Newman's development in view, but with hearty tributes to his un- equalled charm and mastery as a writer.' Pall Mall Gazette. 'The introductory essays show a breadth of mind and a catholicity of spirit which are not common in writers on the Oxford Movement, and have the freshness of real enthusiasm. The selections ought to lead readers to further study of one of our great masters of English.' Athenaum. EDINBURGH AND LONDON: OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AMD ALL BOOKSELLERS. Crown Svo, I'M Antique Booklet-form^ Price u Art Linen, Gilt Top, Price 2s. JACOB BEHMEN: AN APPRECIATION. 4 1 )r. Whyte has written an admirable appreciation oi ]>chmen. It is perhaps the best thin^ he has yet published, and only those who know something of Behmen will do justice to the care and thoroughness with which the work has been done.' British Weekly. 'A most impressive and delightful exposition of Behmcn's aims and aspirations and influence. 'Presbyterian Witness. 'Dr. Whyte is at his best, and most characteristic, in this charming lecture.' Sunday School. ' As in the case of others of the great mystics, there were two sides to Behmen's doctrine, one of which is of doubtful value and of very mixed character. Dr. Whyte gives an excellent appreciation of the better side, and does ample justice to the deep, devout spirit and extraordinary genius of this strange seventeenth century seer. He does it all with the fervour of one in full sympathy with the mind revealed in Behmen's writings.' Critical Review. Crown Svo, Art Linen, Gilt Top, Price 2s. FATHER JOHN OF THE GREEK CHURCH: AN APPRECIATION. With Some Characteristic Passages of his Mystical and Spiritual Auto- biography Collected and Arranged 1 Dr. Whyte's facile pen seems to go on for ever, but some- how we never feel that he is writing too much, or that the quality is deteriorating.' Aberdeen Journal. ' Dr. Whyte has been able to go straight to the heart of things. He has only seen in Father John the mystic, the saint, the lover of souls, the lover of Christ, himself so beloved that healing powers are given him for men's bodies as well as for their souls. Father John is alike unto the Cure d'Ars, but more manly, better taught, and one who lives as near to God.' Scottish Gttardian. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSKLLKKSt Crown 8vo, Art Linen, Gilt Top. Price 2s. SANTA TERESA: AN APPRECIATION. With Some of the Best Passages of the Saint's Writings Selected, Adapted, and Arranged. 1 Its author is a Presbyterian minister, but he has the Catholic quality that can recognise the good, reverence the holy, conceive the true, outside the limits of his own community. The Book is one of a very remarkable series, expressing in a high degree what we have termed catholicity of mind.' Speaker. * This appreciation takes the form of a lecture, and is full of interest.' Westminster Gazette. * The selections will come as a revelation to most readers, and cannot fail to lead to appreciation and a desire to know more of one who could write with such inwardness, yet absence of egotism. ' Scottish Congregationalist. Crown %vo. Art Linen, Gilt Top. Price 2s. SIR THOMAS BROWNE: AN APPRECIATION. With Some of the Best Passages of the Physician's Writings Selected and Arranged. ' Dr. Whyte gives us a just and worthy appreciation of the noble character of Sir Thomas Browne.' Lancet. 1 An appreciation in which scholarship and deep reverential feeling are attractively blended. Appended to the appreciation are selected passages from Sir Thomas Browne's writings.' Dundee Courier. * This eulogy on the author of the " Religio Medici " was very appropriately delivered as an inaugural discourse at the recent meeting of the British Medical Association, and it is followed by a series of extracts that should send the reader swiftly to the rich stores of prose-poetry to be found in the writings of Sir Thomas Browne.' Manchester Guardian. 1 It presents certain aspects of Sir Thomas Browne with a keenness of perception and with a colour and truth of life and a warmth of appreciative sympathy that will greatly assist the reader to a real knowledge and increased enjoyment of one of the rarest and most delectable of minds.' Daily Free Press. EDINBURGH AND LONDON : OLIPHANT ANDERSON AND FERRIER AND ALL BOOKSELLERS. 283 ' 92 B977w WHYTE, ALEXANDER 283.092 112246 B977w WHYTE, ALEXANDER BISHOP BUTLER MAY 1 o / SEP M 1000? DEC II 10007