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thus raised again to notice, and ultimately to high honours, in the hierarchy of the English church.
Butler was naturally of a contemplative and somewhat melancholy turn of mind. He sought retirement, therefore, and yet needed society. It is probable that natural inclination, as well as the prevalent habits of unbelief in England, suggested the plan of his Analogy. Yet though retiring and unambitious, he was lauded in the days of his advancement, as sustaining the episcopal office with great dignity and splendour; as conducting the ceremonies of religion with a pomp approaching the grandeur of the Roman Catholic form of worship; and as treating the neighbouring clergy and nobility with the "pride, pomp, and circumstance," becoming, in their view, a minister of Jesus, transformed into a nobleman of secular rank, and reckoned among the great officers of state. These are, in our view, spots in the life of Butler; and all attempts to conceal them, have only rendered them more glaring. No authority of antiquity, no plea of the grandeur of imposing rites, can justify the pomp and circumstance appropriate to an English prelatical bishop, or invest with sacred authority the canons of a church, that appoints the hum ble ministers of him who had not where to lay his head, to the splendours of a palace or the pretended honours of an archiepiscopal throne-to a necessary alliance, under every danger to personal and ministerial character, with profligate noblemen, or intriguing and imperious ministers. But Butler drew his title to memory in subsequent ages, neither from the tinsel of rank, the staff and lawn of office, nor the attendant pomp and grandeur arising from the possession of one of the richest benefices in England. Butler the prelate will be forgotten. Butler the author of the Analogy will live to the last recorded time.
In the few remains of the life of Butler, we lament, still more than any thing we have mentioned, that we learn nothing of his habits of study, his mode of investigation, and especially the process by which he composed his Analogy. We are told indeed that it combines the results of his thoughts for twenty years, and his observations and reading during that long period of his life. He is said to have written and re-written different parts of it, to have studied each word, and phrase, until it expressed precisely his meaning and no more. It bears plenary evidence, that it must have been written by such a condensing and epitomizing process. Any man may be satisfied of this, who attempts to express the thoughts in other language than that employed in the Analogy. Instinctively the sentences and paragraphs will swell out to a much greater size, and defy all the powers we possess to reduce them to their primitive dimensions, unles they be driven within the precise enclosures prescribed by the mind of Butler. We regret in vain that this is all our know1 ledge of the mechanical and mental process by which this book was composed. We are not permitted to see him at his toil, to mark the workings of his mind, and to learn the art of looking mtensely at a thought, until we see it standing alone, aloof from
all attendants, and prepared for a permanent location where the author intended to fix its abode, to be comtemplated as he view ed it, in all coming ages. We can hardly repress our indignation, that those who undertake to write the biography of such gifted men, should not tell us less of their bodies, their trappings, their honours and their offices, and more of the workings of the spirit, the process of subjecting and restraining the native wanderings of the mind. Nor can we suppress the sigh of regret that he has not himself revealed to us, what no other man could have done; and admitted subsequent admirers to the intimacy of riendship, and to a contemplation of the process by which the Analogy was conceived and executed. Over the past however it is in vain to sigh. Every man feels that hitherto we have had but little Biography. Sketches of the external circumstances of many men we have-genealogical tables without number, and without end-chronicled wonders, that such a man was born and died, ran through such a circle of honours, and obtained such a mausoleum to his memory. But histories of mind we have not; and for all the great purposes of knowledge, we should know as much of the man, if we had not looked upon the misnamed biography.
We now take leave of Butler as a man, and direct our thoughts more particularly to his great work. Those were dark and portentous times which succeeded the reign of the second Charles. That voluptuous and witty monarch, had contributed more than any mortal before or since his time, to fill a nation with infidels, and debauchees. Corruption had seized upon the highest orders of the state; and it flowed down on all ranks of the community. Every grade in life had caught the infection of the court. Profligacy is alternately the parent and the child of unbelief. The unthinking multitude of courtiers and flatterers, that fluttered around the court of Charles had learned to scoff at Christianity, and to consider it as not worth the trouble of anxious thought. The influence of the court extended over the nation. It soon infected the schools and professions: and perhaps there has not been a time in British history, when infidelity had become so general, and had assumed a form so malignant. It had attached itself to dissoluteness, deep, dreadful, and universal. It was going hand in hand with all the pleasures of a profligate court, it was identified with all that actuated the souls of Charles and his ministers; it was the kind of infidelity which fitted an unthinking age-scorning alike reason, philosophy, patient thought, and purity of morals. So that in the language of Butler, "it had come to be taken for granted by many persons, that Christianity is not so much as a subject of investigation, but that it is now at length, discovered to be fictitious, and accordingly they treat it, as if in the present age, this were an agreed point among all people of discernment, and nothing remained but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals for its having so long interrupted the pleasures of the world." In times of such universal profligacy and
infidelity arose in succession, Locke, Newton, and Butler, the wo former of whom we need not say have been unsurpassed in great powers of thought, and in the influence which they exerted on the sentiments of mankind. It needed such men to bring back a volatile generation to habits of profound thought in the sciences. It needed such a man as Butler, in our view not ferior in profound thought to either, and whose works will nave a more permanent effect on the destinies of men, than both -to arrest the giddy steps of a nation, to bring religion from the palace of a scoffing prince and court to the bar of sober thought, and to show that Christianity was not undeserving of sober inquiry. This was the design of the Analogy. It was not so much to furnish a complete demonstration of the truth of religion, as to show that it could not be proved to be false. It was to show that it accorded with a great, every where seen, system of things actually going on in the world; and that attacks made on Christianity were to the same extent assaults on the course of nature, and of nature's God. Butler pointed the unbeliever to a grand system of things in actual existence, a world with every variety of character, feeling, conduct and results-a system of things deeply mysterious, yet developing great principles, and bearing proof that it was under the government of God. He traced certain indubitable acts of the Almighty in a course of nature, whose existence could not be denied. Now if it could be shown that Christianity contained like results, acts, and principles; if it was a scheme involving no greater mystery, and demanding a correspondent conduct on the part of man, it would be seen that it had proceeded from the same author. In other words the objections alleged against Christianity, being equally applicable against the course of nature, could not be valid. To show this, was the design of Butler. In doing this, he carrieri the war into the camp of the enemy. He silenced the objector's arguments; or if he still continued to urge them, showed him that with equal propriety they could be urged against the acknowledged course of things, against his own principles of conduct on other subjects, against what indubitably affected his condition here, and what might therefore affect his doom hereafter.
We are fond of thus looking at the Bible as part of one vast plan of communicating truth to created intelligences. We know it is the fullest, and most grand, of all God's ways of teaching men, standing amidst the sources of information, as the sun does amidst the stars of heaven, quenching their feeble glimmerings In the fulness of its meridian splendour. But to carry forward the illustration, the sun does, indeed, cause the stars of night to "hide their diminished heads," but we see in both but one system of laws; and whether in the trembling of the minutest orb that emits its faint rays to us from the farthest bounds of space, or the full light of the sun at noon-day, we trace the hand of the ame God, and feel that "all are but parts of one stupendous whole." Thus it is with revelation. We know that its truths somprise all that the world elsewhere contains, that its authority
is supreme over all the other sources of knowledge, and ali the other facts of the moral system. But there are other sources of information-a vast multitude of facts that we expect to find in accordance with this brighter effulgence from heaven, and it is these facts which the Analogy brings to the aid of revelation. The Bible is in religion, what the telescope is in astronomy. It does not contradict any thing before known; it does not annihilate any thing before seen; it carries the eye forward into new worlds, opens it upon more splendid fields of vision, and displays grander systems, where we thought there was but the emptiness of space, or the darkness of illimit able and profound night; and divides the milky way into vast clusters of suns and stars, of worlds and systems. In all the boundlessness of these fields of vision, however, does the telescope point us to any new laws of acting, any new principle by which the universe is governed? The astronomer tells us not. It is the hand of the same God which he sees, impelling the new worlds that burst on the view in the immensity of space, with the same irresistible and inconceivable energy, and encompassing them with the same clear fields of light. So we expect to find it in revelation. We expect to see plans, laws, purposes, actions and results, uniform with the facts in actual existence before our eyes. Whether in the smiles of an infant, or the wrapt feelings of a seraph; in the strength of manhood, or the power of Gabriel; in the rewards of virtue here, or the crown of glory hereafter, we expect to find the Creator acting on one grand principle of moral government, applicable to all these facts, and to be vindicated by the same considerations.
When we approach the Bible, we are at once struck with a most striking correspondence of plan to that which obtains in the natural world. When we teach theology in our schools we do it by system, by form, by technicalities. We frame what we call a "body of divinity," expecting all its parts to cohere and agree. We shape and clip the angles and points of our theology, till they shall fit, like the polished stones of the temple of Solomon, into their place. So when we teach astronomy, botany, or geography, it is by a regular system before us, having the last discoveries of the science located in their proper place. But how different is the plan, which, in each of these departments, is pursued by infinite wisdom. The truths which God designs to teach us, lie spread over a vast compass. They are placed without much apparent order. Those of revelation lie before us, just as the various facts do, which go to make up a system of botany or astronomy. The great Author of nature has not placed all flow. ers in a single situation, nor given them a scientific arrange ment. They are scattered over the wide world. Part bloom on the mountain, part in the valley; part shed their fragrance near the running stream; part pour their sweetness in the desert air "in the solitary waste where no man is ;" part climb in vines to giddy heights, and part are found in the bosom of the mighty waters. He that forms a theory of botany must do it, therefore
with hardy toil. He will find the materials, not the system, made ready to his hands. He will exhaust his life perhaps in his labour, before the system stands complete. Why should we not expect to find the counterpart of all this in religion? When we look at the Bible, we find the same state of things. At first but a ray of light beamed upon the dark path of our apostate parents, wandering from paradise. The sun that had stood over their heads in the garden of pleasure, at their fall sunk to the west and left them in the horrors of a moral midnight. A single ray, in the promise of a Saviour, shot along their path, and directed to the source of day. But did God reveal a whole system? Did he tell them all the truth that he knew? Did he tell all that we know? He did just as we have supposed in regard to the first botanist. The eye was fixed on one truth distinctly. Subsequent revelations shed new light; advancing facts confirmed preceding doctrines and promises; rising prophets gave confirm ation to the hopes of men; precepts, laws, and direct revelations rose upon the world, until the system of revealed truth is now complete. Man has all he can have, except the facts which the progress of things is yet to develope in confirmation of the system; just as each new budding flower goes to confirm the just principles of the naturalist, and to show what the system is. Yet how do we possess the system? As arranged, digested, and reduced to order? Far from it. We have the book of revelation just as we have the book of nature. In the beginning of the Bible, for example, we have a truth abstractly taught, in another part illustrated in the life of a prophet; as we advance it is confirmed by the fuller revelation of the Saviour or the apostles, and we find its full development only when the whole book is complete. Here stands a law; there a promise; there a profound mystery, unarranged, undigested, yet strikingly accordant with a multitude of correspondent views in the Bible, and with as many in the moral world. Now here is a mode of communication, which imposture would have carefully avoided, because detection, it would foresee, must, on such a plan, be unavoidable. It seems to us that if men had intended to impose a system on the world it would have been somewhat in the shape of our bodies of divinity, and therefore very greatly unlike the plan which we actually find in the Bible. At any rate, we approach the Scriptures with this strong presumption in favour of its truth, that it accords precisely with what we see in astronomy, chymistry, botany, and geography, and that the mode of constructing systems in all these sciences, is exactly the same as in dogmatical theology.
We have another remark to make on this subject. The botanist does not shape his facts. He is the collector, the arranger. not the originator. So the framer of systems in religion should De-and it is matter of deep regret that such he has not been. He should be merely the collector, the arranger, not the originator of the doctrines of the gospel. Though then we think him of some importance, yet we do not set a high value on his labours.