The Analogy of Religion to the Constitution and Course of Nature

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Joseph Butler's great work is the Analogy, published in 1736, and from that day read and admired by every highly-cultivated mind. He was induced to write by a state of things very remarkable in the history of religion. Debauchery and infidelity were almost universal, not in any one class of society but in all. England had reached the culminating point of irreligion, and the firm re-establishment of Episcopacy had as yet done nothing to mend the nation’s morals. Piety was deemed a mark of ignorance and vulgarity, and multitudes of those who professed it were persecuted to dungeons and death.

It was considered settled, especially in polite circles, that Christianity, after so long a prevalence, had been found out to be an imposture. The clergy, as a body, did nothing to dispel this moral gloom, but rather increased it by their violent and scandalous conduct. In the sad language of Bishop Warburton, “Religion had lost its hold on the minds of the people.”

To the Analogy no reply has ever been attempted. Extensive as is its diffusion, and great as is its acknowledged influence, infidelity has had the highest inducements to attempt to set it aside. Written for a present purpose, and most signally accomplishing it, it is yet so written as to endure, in full value, through all coming time. It is undoubtedly “the most original and the most profound work extant, in any language, on the philosophy of religion,” “the most argumentative and philosophical defence of Christianity ever submitted to the world.” - Summary by Preface (11 hr 41 min)


Editor’s Introduction 34:02 Read by InTheDesert
Editor’s Preface. 3:06 Read by InTheDesert
Conspectus - Part 1 1:04:23 Read by InTheDesert
Conspectus - Part 2 53:37 Read by InTheDesert
Advertisement prefixed to the First Edition & Introduction 19:35 Read by InTheDesert
A Future Life 32:42 Read by InTheDesert
The Government of God by Rewards and Punishments 21:04 Read by InTheDesert
The Moral Government of God 45:19 Read by InTheDesert
Probation, as implying Trial, Difficulties, and Danger 15:46 Read by InTheDesert
Probation, as intended for Moral Discipline and Improvement 44:44 Read by InTheDesert
The Opinion of Necessity, considered as influencing Practice 28:24 Read by InTheDesert
The Government of God, considered as a Scheme or Constitution, imperfectly comp… 21:08 Read by InTheDesert
Conclusion 12:11 Read by InTheDesert
The Importance of Christianity 33:02 Read by InTheDesert
The supposed Presumption against a Revelation, considered as miraculous 13:16 Read by InTheDesert
Our Incapacity of judging, what were to be expected in a Revelation; and the Cr… 28:54 Read by InTheDesert
Christianity, considered as a Scheme or Constitution, imperfectly comprehended 14:38 Read by InTheDesert
The Particular System of Christianity; the Appointment of a Mediator, and the R… 35:20 Read by InTheDesert
Want of Universality in Revelation; and of the supposed Deficiency in the Proof… 36:21 Read by InTheDesert
The Particular Evidence for Christianity - Part 1 25:44 Read by InTheDesert
The Particular Evidence for Christianity - Part 2 44:05 Read by InTheDesert
Objections against arguing from the Analogy of Nature to Religion 23:26 Read by InTheDesert
Conclusion 16:43 Read by InTheDesert
Personal Identity 14:08 Read by InTheDesert
The Nature of Virtue 20:07 Read by InTheDesert