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to me, and was never more sensibly dear to me than now, he is pleased to favor me with this teaching experience; in consequence of which, I freely own I am less afraid than ever of any event that can possibly arise, consistent with his nearness to mv heart, and the tokens of his paternal and covenant love. I will muse no further on the cause. It is enough, the effect is so blessed.
THE TRUE USE TO BE MADE OF GENIUS AND LEARNING.
Hath God given you genius and learning? It was not that you might amuse or deck yourself with it, and kindle a blaze which should only serve to attract and dazzle the eyes of men. It was intended to be the means of leading both yourself and them to the Father of lights. And it will be your duty, according to the peculiar turn of that genius and capacity, either to endeavor to improve and adorn human life, or, by a more direct application of it to Divine subjects, to plead the cause of religion, to defend its truths, to enforce and recommend its practice, to deter men from courses which would be dishonorable to God and fatal to themselves, and to try the utmost efforts of all the solemnity and tenderness with which you can clothe your addresses, to lead them into the paths of virtue and happiness.
Young people are generally of an enterprising disposition: having experienced comparatively little of the fatigues of business, and of the disappointments and encumbrances of life, they easily swallow them up, and annihilate them in their imagination, and fancy that their spirit, their application, and address, will be able to encounter and surmount every obstacle or hinderance. But the event proves it otherwise. Let me entreat you, therefore, to be cautious how you plunge yourself into a greater variety of business than you are capable of managing as you ought, that is, in consistency with the care of your souls, and the service of God, which certainly ought not on any pretence to be neglected. It is true, indeed, that a prudent regard to your worldly interest will require such a caution; as it is obvious to every care ful observer, that multitudes are undone by grasping at more than they can conveniently manage. Hence it has frequently been seen, that while they have seemed resolved to be rich, they have pierced themselves through with many sorrows, have ruined their own families, and drawn down many others into desolation with them Whereas, could they have been contented with moderate employments, and moderate gains, they might have prospered in their business, and might, by sure degrees, under a Divine blessing, have advanced to great and honorable increase. But if there was no danger at all to be apprehended on this head; if you were as certain of becoming rich, and great, as you are of perplexing and fatiguing yourself in the attempt,—consider, I beseech you, how precarious these enjoyments are. Consider how often a plentiful table becomes a snare, and that which would have been for a man's welfare becomes a trap. Forget not thai short lesson, which is so comprehensive of the highest wisdom—One Thing Is
Lord of the Sabbath, hear our vows,
Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love;
No more fatigue, no more distress;
No rude alarms of raging foes;
0 long-expected day, begin;
Return, my roving heart, return,
And chase these shadowy forms no more;
Seek out some solitude to mourn,
Wisdom and pleasure dwell at home;
Retired and silent seek them there:
True strength to break the tempter's snare.
And thou, my God, whose piercing eye
Distinct surveys each deep recess,
And with thy presence fill the place.
1 In printing these hymns the best London edition of Doddridge's works has been carefully followed. In a word, the hymns arc Doddridge's, and not the "improvements" (i) 01 modern compiler* of brmn-books.
Through all the mazes of my heart,
And still its radiant beams impart,
Then, with the visits of thy love,
Till every grace shall join to prove
That God hath fix'd his dwelling here.
ENTERING INTO COVENANT.
0 happy day, that fix'd my choice
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
0 happy bond, that seals my vows
Let cheerful anthems fill the house,
'Tis done; the great transaction's done:
He drew me, and I follow'd on,
Charm'd to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long-divided heart,
With ashes who would grudge to part,
High Heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
Till, in life's latest hour, I bow,
JOSEPH BUTLER. 1692—1752.
Joseph Butleh, the celebrated author of the "Analogy," was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, in 1092. Being of a Presbyterian family, he was sent to the "dissenting" academy at Tewkesbury, with the view of entering the ministry. It was here that he gave the first proofs of the peculiar bent of his mind to abstruse speculations, in some acute and ingenious remarks on Dr. Samuel Clarke's "Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God," in private letters addressed to the author. He also gave much attention to the points of controversy between the members of the "established" church »nd the " dissenters," the result of which was that he went over 'o the former. After som» little opposition from his father, he was allowed to follow his inclination, and in 1714 removed to Oxford. Having "taken orders," lie was, in 1718, appointed preacher at the Rolls' Chapel, which station he occupied about ei^ht years, when he published a volume of sermons delivered in thai chapel, which gave him the highest reputation as a profound and original thinker.
After various preferments in the church, in 1736 he published his great work, "The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature." His object in it is to demonstrate the connection between the present and future state, and to show that there could be but one author of both, and consequently but one general system of moral government by which they must be regulated. In the execution of this task, his success and triumph were complete. He has built up a solid granite rampart, of such height and strength, for the defence of revealed religion, that all the missiles of infidels, from that day to this, have been hurled against it in vain. In 1738 he was promoted to the bishopric of Bristol, and in 1750 to that of Durham, the highest preferment He held this but a short time, as he died at Bath in June, 1752.
The character of Butler was every thing that would be expected from his writings. Of piety most fervent, and of morals most pure, he lived the life, while he possessed the faith of the Christian. "No man," says his biographer, "ever more thoroughly possessed the meekness of wisdom. Neither the consciousness of intellectual strength, nor the just reputation which he had thereby attained, nor the elevated station to which he had been raised, in the slightest degree injured the natural modesty of his character, or the mildness and sweetness of his temper." His liberality also was emial to his means. His income he considered as belonging to his station, and not to himself; and so thoroughly was this feeling of his understood, that his relatives never indulged the expectation of pecuniary benefit from his death. He well understood the true use of money, that it is worthless and contemptible except as a means of doing good. It was his remark on his promotion to Durham: "It would be a melancholy thing at the close of life to have no reflections to entertain one's self with, but that one had spent the revenues of the bishopric of Durham in a sumptuous course of living, and enriched one's friends with the promotions of it, instead of having really set one's self to do good, and to promote worthy men." How much such a character honors religion! How much its opposite disgraces it!
The following just and eloquent remarks upon the design of Butler's Analogy are taken from the admirable analysis of that great work by Bishop Wilson, prefixed to his edition of it'
"Bishop Butler is one of those creative geniuses who give a character to their times. His great work, 1 The Analogy of Religion,' has fixed the mimiration of all competent judges for nearly a century, and will continue to be studied so long as the language in which he wrote endures. The mind of a master pervades it The author chose a theme infinitely important, and lie; has treated it with a skill, a force, a novelty and talent, which have left little for others to do after him. He opened the mine and exhausted it himself. A discretion which never oversteps the line of prudence, is in him united with a penetration which nothing can escape. There are in his writings a vastness of idea, a reach and generalization of reasoning, a native simplicity and grandeur of thought, which command and fill the mind. At the same time, his illustrations are so striking and familiar as to instruct as well as persuade. Nothing is violent, nothing far-fetched, nothing pushed beyond its fait limit", nothing fanciful or weak: a masculine power of argument runs through
1 See also a moit excellent introduction to Butler's Analogy by Rev. Albert Barue*
the whole. All bespeaks that repose of mind, that tranquillity which springs from a superior understanding, and an intimate acquaintance with every part of his subject He grasps firmly his topic, and insensibly communicates to his reader the calmness and conviction which he possesses himself. He embraces with equal ease the greatest and the smallest points connected with his argument. He often throws out as he goes along, some general principle which seems to cost him no labor, and yet which opens a whole field of contemplation before the view of the reader.
"Butler was a philosopher in the true sense of the term. He searches for wisdom wherever he can discern its traces. He puts forth the keenest sagacity in his pursuit of his great object, and never turns aside till he reaches and seizes it. Patient, silent, unobtrusive investigation was his forte. His powers of invention were as fruitful as his judgment was sound. Probably no book in the compass of theology is so full of the seeds of things, to use the expression of a kindred genius,' as the 1 Analogy.'
» Ho was a man raised up for the age in which he lived. The wits and infidels of the reign of our Second Charles, had deluged the land with the most unfair, and yet plausible writings against Christianity. A certain fearlessness as to religion seemed to prevail. There was a general decay of piety and zeal. Many persons treated Christianity as if it were an agreed point, amongst all people of discernment, that it had been found out to be fictitious. The method taken by these enemies of Christianity, was to magnify and urge objections, more or less plausible, against particular doctrines or precepts, which were represented as forming a part of it; and which, to a thoughtless mind, were easily made to appear extravagant, incredible, and irrational. They professed to admit tho Being and Attributes of the Almighty; but they maintained that human reason was sufficient for tho discovery and establishment of this fundamental truth, as well as for die development of those moral precepts, by which the conduct of life should be regulated; and they boldly asserted, that so many objections and difficulties might be urged against Christianity, as to exclude it from being admitted as Divine, by any thoughtful and enlightened person.
"These assertions Butler undertook to refute. He was a man formed for such a task. He knew thoroughly what he was about. He had a mind to weigh objections, and to trace, detect, and silence cavils. Accordingly, he came forward in all the self-possession, and dignity, and meekness of truth, to meet the infidel on his own ground. Ho takes the admission of the unbeliever, that God is the Creator and Ruler of the natural world, as a principle conceded. From this point he sets forward, and pursues a course of argument so cautious, so solid, so forcible; and yet so diversified, so original, so convincing; as to carry along with him, almost insensibly, those who have once put themselves under his guidance. His insight into the constitution and course of nature is almost intuitive; and the application of his knowledge is so surprisingly skilful and forcible, as to silence or to satisfy every fair antagonist He traces out every objection with a deliberation which nothing can disturb; and shows the fallacies from whence they spring, with a precision and acuteness which overwhelm and charm the reader.
"Accordingly, students of all descriptions have long united in the praise of Butler He is amongst the few classic authors of the first rank in modern literature He takes his place with Bacon, and Pascal, and Newton, those
1 Lord Bacon.