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The attack was opened in the year 1767, in an anonymous pamphlet, entitled, "The Root of Protestant Errors examined;" in which the author asserted, that, "by an anecdote lately given him," that " same Prelate," (who at the bottom of the page is called B-p of D-m)" is said to have died in the communion of a church, that makes much use of saints, saint's days, and all the trumpery of saint worship." When this remarkable fact, now first divulged, came to be generally known, it occasioned, as might be expected, no little alarm; and intelligence of it was no sooner conveyed to Archbishop Secker, than in a short letter, signed Misopseudes, and printed in the " St James's Chronicle of May 9.” he called upon the writer to produce his authority for publishing "so gross and scandalous a falsehood." To this challenge an immediate answer was returned by the author of the pamphlet, who, now assuming the name of Phileleutheros, informed Misopseudes, through the channel of the same paper, that "uch anecdote had been given him; and that he was yet of opinion that there was nothing improbable in it, when it is considered that the same Prelate put up the Popish insignia of the cross in his chapel, when at Bristol; and in his last Episcopal Charge, has squinted very much towards that superstition." Here we find the accusation not only repeated, but supported by reasons, such as they are, of which it seemed necessary that some notice should be taken: nor did the Archbishop conceive it unbecoming his own dignity to stand up on this occasion, as the vindicator of innocence against the calumniator of the helpless dead. Accordingly, in a second letter in the same newspaper of May 23. and subscribed Misopseudes as before; after reciting from Bishop Butler's Sermon before the Lords, the very passage here printed in the Preface, and observing, that "there are, in the same Sermon, declarations as strong as can be made, against temporal punishment for heresy, schism, or even for idolatry;" his Grace expresses himself thus: "Now he (Bishop Butler) was universally esteemed, throughout his life, a man of strict piety and honesty, as well as uncommon abilities. He gave all the proofs, public and private, which his station led him to give, and they were decisive and daily, of his continuing to the last a sincere member of the church of England. Nor had ever any of his acquaintance, or most intimate friends, nor have they to this day, the least doubt of it." As to putting up a cross in his chapel, the Archbishop frankly owns, that for himself he wishes he had not; and thinks that in so doing the Bishop did amiss. But then he asks, "Can that be opposed, as any proof of Popery, to all the evidence on the other side; or even to the single evidence of the above-mentioned Sermon ? Most of our churches have crosses upon them: Are they therefore Popish churches? The Lutherans have more than crosses in theirs: Are the Lutherans therefore Papists?" And as to the Charge, no Papist, his Grace remarks, would have spoken as Bishop Butler there does, of the observances peculiar to Roman Catholics, some of which he expressly censures as wrong and superstitious, and others, as made subservient to the purposes of superstition, and, on these accounts, abolished at the Reformation. After the publication of this letter, Phileleutheros replied in a short defence of his own conduct, but with

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qut producing any thing new in confirmation of what he had advanced. And here the controversy, so far as the two principals were concerned, seems to have ended.

But the dispute was not suffered to die away quite so soon. For in the same year, and in the same newspaper of July 21. another letter appeared ; in which the author not only contended that the cross in the Episcopal chapel at Bristol, and the Charge to the clergy of Durham in 1751, amount to full proof of a strong attachment to the idolatrous communion of the church of Rome, but, with the reader's leave, he would fain account for the Bishop's “ tendency this way.”. And this he attempted to do, " from the natural melancholy and gloominess of Dr Butler's disposition ; from his great fondness for the lives of Romish saints, and their books of mystic piety; from his drawing the notions of teaching men religion, not from the New Testament, but from philosophical and political opinions of his own; and above all, from his transition from a strict dissenter amongst the presbyterians to a rigid churchman, and his sudden and unexpected elevation to great wealth and dignity in the church." The attack, thus renewed, excited the Archbishop's attention a second time, and drew from him a fresh answer, subscribed also Misopseudes, in the St James's Chronicle of August 4.” In this letter, our excellent Metropolitan, first of all obliquely hinting at the unfairness of sitting in judgment on the character of a man who had been dead 15 years; and then reminding his correspondent, that "full proof had been already published, that Bishop Butler abhorred Popery as a vile corruption of Christianity, and that it might be proved, if needful, that he held the Pope to be the antichrist;” (to which decisive testimonies of undoubted aversion from the Romish church, another is also added in the Postscript, his taking, when promoted to the see of Durham, for his domestic chaplain, Dr Nath. Forster, who had published, not four years before, a Sermon, entitled, Popery destructive of the Evidence of Christianity;) proceeds to observe, “ That the natural melancholy of the Bi. shop's temper would rather have fixed him amongst his first friends, than prompt. ed him to the change he made : That he read books of all sorts, as well as books of mystic piety, and knew how to pick the good that was in them out of the bad: That his opinions were exposed without reserve in his Analogy and his Sermons, and if the doctrine of either be Popish or unscriptural, the learned world hath mistaken strangely in admiring both: That, instead of being a . strict dissenter, he never was a communicant in any dissenting assembly; on the contrary, that he went occasionally, from his early years, to the established worship, and became a constant conformist to it when he was barely of age, and entered himself, in 1714, of Oriel-college : That his elevation to great dignity in the church, far from being sudden and unexpected, was a gradual and natural rise, through a variety of preferments, and a period of 32 years: That, as, Bishop of Durham, he had very little authority beyond his brethren, and, in ecclesiastical matters, had none beyond them; a larger income than most of them he had; but this he employed, not, as was insinuated, in augmenting the pomp of worship in his cathedral, where, indeed, it is no

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greater than in others, but for the purposes of charity, and in the repairing of his houses.” After these remarks, the letter closes with the following words: “ Upon the whole, few accusations, so entirely groundless, have been so pertinaciously, I am unwilling to say maliciously, carried on, as the present; and surely it is high time for the authors and abettors of it, in mere common prudence, to shew some regard, if not to truth, at least to shame."

It only remains to be mentioned, that the above letters of Archbishop Secker had such an effect on a writer, who signed himself in the " St James's Chronicle of August 25,” A Dissenting Minister, that he declared it as his opinion, that “ the author of the pamphlet, called, The Root of Protestant Errors examined, and his friends, were obliged in candour, in justice, and in honour, to retract their charge, unless they could establish it on much better grounds that had hitherto appeared :" and he expressed his “hopes, that it would be understood that the disenters in general had no hand in the accusation, and that it had only been the act of two or three mistaken men.” Another person also, “a foreigner by birth,” as he says of himself, who had been long an admirer of Bishop Butler, and had perused with great attention all that had been written on both sides in the present controversy, confesses he had been “ derfully pleased with observing, with what candour and temper, as well as clearness and solidity, he was vindicated from the aspersions laid against him." All the adversaries of our Prelate, however, had not the virtue or sense to be thus convinced; some of whom still continued, under the signatures of Old Martin, Latimer, An Impartial Protestant, Paulinus, Misonothos, to repeat their confuted falsehoods in the public prints; as if the curse of calumniators had fallen upon them, and their memory, by being long a traitor to truth, had taken at last a severe revenge, and compelled them to credit their own lie. The first of these gentlemen, Old Martin, who dates from Newcastle, May 29. from the rancour and malignity with which his letter abounds, and from the particular virulence he discovers towards the characters of Bishop Butler and his defender, I conjecture to be no other than the very person who had already figured in this dispute, so early as the year 1752; of whose work, entitled, “ A Serious Inquiry into the Use and Importance of External Religion," the reader will find some account in the notes subjoined to the Bishop's Charge, in the second volume.


Page xxiii. D. The letters, with a sight of which I was indulged by the favour of our present most worthy Metropolitan, are all, as I remember, wrapped together under one cover ; on the back of which is written, in Archbishop Secker's own hand, the following words, or words to this effect, “ Presumptive Arguments that Bishop Butler did not die a Papist.”

Page xxix. E.

" Far be it from me,” says

the excellent Dr T. Balguy, * to dispute the reality of a moral principle in the human heart. I feel its existence : I clearly discern its use and importance. But in no respect is it more important, than as it suggests the idea of a moral governor. Let this idea be once effaced, and the principle of conscience will soon be found weak and ineffectual. Its inHuence on men's conduct has, indeed, been too much undervalued by some philosophical inquirers. But be that influence, while it lasts, more or less, it is not a steady and permanent principle of action. Unhappily we always have it, in our power to lay it asleep.Neglect alone will suppress and stifle it, and bring it almost into a state of stupefaction. Nor can any thing, less than the terrors of religion, awaken our minds from this dangerous and deadly sleep, It can never be a matter of indifference to a thinking man, whether he is to be happy or miserable beyond the grave."

Page xxxvi. F.

The ignorance of man is a favourite doctrine with Bishop Butler. It occurs in the Second Part of the Analogy; it makes the subject of his Fifteenth Sernion; and we meet with it again in his Charge. Whether, sometimes, it be not carried to a length which is excessive, may admit of doubt.

Page xxxvii. G.

Admirable to this purpose are the words of Dr T. Balguy, in the 9th of his Discourses, already referred to, p. lxiii. “ The doctrine of a life to come, some persons will say, is a doctrine of natural religion; and can never, there. fore, be properly alleged to shew the importance of revelation. They judge, perhaps, from the frame of the world, that the present system is imperfect ; they see designs in it, not yet completed; and they think they have grounds for expecting another state, in which these designs shall be farther carried on, and broaght to a conclusion, worthy of infinite wisdom. I am not concerned to dispute the justness of this reasoning ; nor do I wish to dispute it. But how far will it reach? Will it lead us to the Christian doctrine of a judgment to come? Will it give us the prospect of an eternity of happiness? Nothing of all this. It shews us only, that death is not the end of our beings; that we are likely to pass hereafter into other systems, more favourable than the present to the great ends of God's providence, the virtue and the happiness of his intelligent creatures. But into what systems we are to be removed; what new scenes are to be presented to us, either of pleasure or pain; what new parts we shall have to act, and to what trials and temptations we may yet be exposed ; on all these subjects we know just nothing. That our

* Discourse ix. '

happiness for ever depends on our conduct here, is a most important proposition, which we learn only from revelation."

Page xxxviii. H.


In the common affairs of life, common experience is sufficient to direct us. But will common experience serve to guide our judgment concerning the fall and redemption of mankind ? from what we see every day, can we explain the commencement, or foretel the dissolution of the world ? To judge of events like these, we should be conversant in the history of other planets; should be distinctly informed of God's various dispensations to all the different orders of rational beings. Instead, then, of grounding our religious opinions on what we call experience, let us apply to a more certain guide, let us hearken to the testimony of God himself. The credibility of human testimony, and the conduct of human agents, are subjects perfectly within the reach of our

natural faculties; and we ought to desire no firmer foundation for our belief of religion, than for the judgments we form in the common affairs of life : where we see a little plain testimony easily outweighs the inost specious conjectures, and not seldom even strong probabilities.” Dr Balguy's 4th Charge. See also an excellent pamphlet, entitled, “ Remarks on Mr Hume's Essay on the Natural History of Religion, $ 5.; and the 6th of Dr Powell's Discourses.

Page xlii. I.

Dr Arthur Ashley Sykes, from whose writings some good may be collected out of a multitude of things of a contrary tendency, in what he is pleased to call “ The Scripture doctrine of Redemption,”* opposes what is here advanced by Bishop Butler; quoting his words, but without mentioning his name, If what is said above be not thought a sufficient answer to the objections of this author, the reader may do well to consult a Charge “ On the Use and Abuse of Philosophy in the study of Religion,” by the late Dr Powell; who seems to me to have had the observations of Dr Sykes in his view, where he is confuting the reasonings of certain philosophizing divines against the doctrine of the atonement. Powell's Discourses, Charge III. p. 342-348.

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* See the observations on the texts cited in his first chapter, and also in chapters the fifth and sixth.

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