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degree of aversion, even in reflecting upon the distress it occasions, after the distress is over, that aversion would, by degrees, blunt the passion, and at length cure us of what we would be apt to reckon a weakness or disease. But the Author of our nature has not left his work imperfect. He has given us this noble principle entire, without a counterbalance, so as to have a vigorous and universal operation. Far from having any aversion to pain occasioned by the social principles, we reflect upon such pain with satisfaction, and are willing to submit to it upon all occasions with cheerfulness and heartliking, just as much as if it were a real pleasure.

Lord Kames is an advocate for a moral sense, by which what we call moral beauty and deformity are perceived. But he looks upon this faculty in a somewhat different light from several other writers, namely, as having all our other moral principles, desires, and affections, under its immediate and complete control. “We may observe,” says he, “in the next place, what will afterwards be explained, that conscience or the moral sense is none of our principles of action, but their guide and director. It is still of great importance to observe, that the authority of conscience does not merely consist in an act

Principles of Morals, pp. 25, 26.

of reflection. It proceeds from a direct feeling, which we have upon presenting the object, without the intervention of any sort of reflection, and the authority lies in this circumstance, that we feel and perceive the action to be our duty, and what we are indispensably bound to perform. It is in this manner that the moral sense, with regard to some actions, plainly bears upon it the marks of authority over all our appetites and affections. It is the voice of God within us which commands our strictest obedience; just as much as when his will is declared to us by express revelation.”*

Lord Kames is an advocate for the doctrine of philosophical necessity; for though he maintains

i that there can be no morality without freedom of the will, yet he thinks this freedom is only an ideal one; or, as he affirms, an admirable species of contrivance invented by the Deity for the purpose of making the doctrines of morality understood and practised by us.

The “ Principles of Morality and Natural Religion” was a performance very severely criticised when it made its first appearance. It was supposed to contain matter of a very objectionable kind. The author was accused of favouring the doctrines of Hobbes and Collins, principally from the manner in which he treated of necessity. I beg to observe, that I have here used the first edition ; for in the second, the author omitted all the objectionable passages, but in the third, they were again replaced as in the original edition.

* Principles of Morals, p. 63.





Dr. Joseph BUTLER was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, in the year 1692. His father was a substantial and reputable shopkeeper in that town, and observing marks of genius in his son, wished to give him an education for entering into the ministry of the Presbyterian persuasion. For this purpose, he was sent to a dissenting academy near Gloucester, but which was soon afterwards removed to Tewkesbury. Here he made extraordinary progress in the study of divinity; of which he gave some remarkable proofs in some letters he wrote to the famous Dr. Samuel Clarke, on some points connected with that celebrated divine's arguments for the being and attributes of God.


After long and serious consideration of the principles of non-conformity, he determined to quit the dissenters, and connect himself with the Established Church. He removed accordingly to Oxford, and was admitted a commoner of Uriel College on the 17th March 1714. Here he became acquainted with a Mr. Talbot, through whose influence he got to be appointed preacher at the Rolls. In 1726, he published “ Fifteen Sermons preached at that Chapel.” By the influence of Dr. Talbot, bishop of Durham, our author was presented with the Rectory of Haughton, near Darlington, and afterwards to that of Stanhope in the same diocese. In 1736, he was appointed clerk of the closet to Queen Caroline; and, in the same year, he presented to her Majesty a copy of his excellent treatise, entitled, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature." He was created Bishop of Bristol in 1738; and George the Second, not being satisfied with this proof of his regard for Dr. Butler, promoted him, two years after, to the Deanery of St. Paul's, London. Ten years after, he was translated to the See of Durham. His health began now to decline; and in consequence he removed to Bath, where he died in June 1752, aged 60.

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