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1. ON PERSONAL IDENTITY: AND II. ON THE NATURE OF VIRTUE.
DELIVERED TO THE CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF DURHAM, AT THE
PRIMARY VISITATION, IN THE YEAR 1751.
BY JOSEPH BUTLER, LL. D.
LATE LORD BISHOP OF DURBANI.
EJUS (ANALOGIE) HÆC VIS EST, UT ID QUOD DUBIUM EST, AD ALIQUID SINILE DE
QUINT. INST. ORAT. L. 1. c. 6.
THIRD AMERICAN EDITION.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
BY DR. KIPPIS;
LATE LORD BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER.
6. J, NEWCOMB) PRINT. DEEAFIELD,
DR. JOSEPH BUTLER, a prelate of the most distinguished character and abilities, was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, in the year 1692. His father, Mr. Thomas Butler, who was a substantial and reputable shopkeeper in that town, observing in his son Joseph* an excellent genius and inclination for learning, determined to educate him for the ministry, among the Protestant dissenters of the presbyterian denomination. For this purpose, after he had gone through a proper course of grammatical literature, at the free-grammar school of his native place, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Philip Barton, a clergyman of the church of England, he was sent to a dis. senting academy, then kept at Gloucester, but which was soon afterwards removed to Tewkesbury. The principal tutor of this academy was Mr. Jones, a man of uncommon abilities and knowledge, who had the honor of training up several scholars, who became of great eminence, both in the established church and among the dissenters. At Tewkesbury, Mr. Butler made an extraordinary progress in the study of divinity; of which he gave a remarkable proof, in the letters addressed by him, while he resided at Tewkesbury, to Dr. Samuel Clarke, laying before him the doubts, that had arisen in his mind, concerning the conclusiveness of some arguments in the Doctor's demonstration of the being and attributes of God. The first of these letters was dated the 4th November, 1713; and the sagacity and depth of thought displayed in it, immediately excited Dr. Clarke's particular notice. This condescension encouraged Mr. Butler to address the Doctor again upon the same subject, which likewise was answered by him; and the correspondence being carried on in three other letters, the whole was annexed to the celebrated treatise before mentioned, and the collection has been retained in all the subsequent editions of that work. The management of this correspondence was intrusted by Mr. Butler, to his friend and fellow-pupil, Mr. Secker, who, in order to conceal the affair, undertook to convey the letters to the post-office at Gloucester, and to bring back Dr. Clarke's answers. When Mr. Butler's name was discovered to the Doctor, the candor, modesty, and good sense with which he had written, immediately procured him the friendship of that eminent and excellent man. Our
* He was the youngest of eight children.
young student was not, however, during his continuance at Tewkesbury, solely employed in metaphysical speculations and inquiries. Another subject of his serious consideration was, the propriety of his becoming a dissenting minister. Accordingly, he entered into an examination of the principles of non-conformity; the result of which was, such a dissatisfaction with them, as determined bim to conform to the established church. This intention was, at first, disagreeable to his father, who endeavored to divert him from his purpose; and, with that view, called in the assistance of some eminent pres. byterian divines; but finding his son's resolution to be fixed, he at length suffered him to be removed to Oxford, where he was admitted a commoner of Oriel college on the 17th March, 1714. At what time he took orders doth not appear, nor who the bishop was by whom he was ordained; but it is certain that he entered into the church soon after his admission at Oxford, if it be true, as is asserted, that he sometimes assisted Mr. Edward Talbot in the divine service, at his living of Hendred, near Wantage. With this gentleman, who was the second son of Dr. William Talbot, successively bishop of Oxford, Salisbury, and Durham, Mr. Butler formed an intimate friendship at Oriel college; which friendship laid the foundation of all his subsequent preferments, and procured for him a very honorable situation when he was only twenty-six years of age. For it was in 1718, that, at the recommendation of Mr. Talbot, in conjunction with that of Dr. Clarke, he was appointed by Sir Joseph Jekyll to be preacher at the Rolls. This was three years before he had taken any degree at the university, where he did not go out bachelor-of-law till the 10th June, 1721, which, however, was as soon as that degree could suitably be couferred upon him. Mr. Butler continued at the Rolls till 1726; in the beginning of which year he published, in one volume octavo, “ Fifteen Sermons preached at that Chapel." In the meanwhile, by the patronage of Dr. Talbot, bishop of Durham, to whose notice he had been recommended (together with Mr. Benson and Mr. Secker) by Mr. Edward Talbot, on his death-bed, our author had been presented first to the rectory of Haughton, near Darlington, and afterwards to that of Stanhope, in the same diocese. The benefice of Haughton was given to him in 1722, and that of Stanhope in 1725. At Haughton, there was a necessity for rebuilding a great part of the parsonage-house, and Mr. Butler lad neither money nor talents for that work. Mr. Secker, therefore, who had always the interest of his friends at heart, and acquired a very consiverable influence with Bishop Talbot, persuaded that prelate to give Mr. Butler, in exchange for Haughton, the rectory of Stanhope, which was not only free from any such incumbrance, but was likewise of much superior value, being indeed one of the richest parsonages in England. Whilst our author continued preacher at the Rolls-chapel, he divided his time between his duty in town and country; but when he quitted the Rolls, he resided, during seven years, wholly at Stanhope, in the conscientious discharge of every obligation appertaining to a goud parish priest. This retirement, however, was too solitary for his disposition, which had in it a natural caet of gloominess. And though his recluse hours were by no meanis losi, either to private improvement or public utility, yet he felt at times, very painfully, the want of that select society