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A Ministry dedicated to preserving the truth and accuracy of the infallible Word of God.
Great Christian Works:     Sermons on Human Nature   By Joseph Butler

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Sermons on Human Nature
By Joseph Butler (1692-1752)

Table of Contents

Sermon 1   Upon the Social Nature of Man
Romans 12:4,5 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."

Sermon 2   Upon the Natural Supremacy of Conscience - 1
Romans 2:14 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves."

Sermon 3   Upon the Natural Supremacy of Conscience - 2
Romans 2:14 "The natural supremacy of reflection or conscience being thus established; we may from it form a distinct notion of what is meant by human nature, when virtue is said to consist in following it, and vice in deviating from it."

Sermon 4   Upon the Government of the Tongue
James 1:26 "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."

Sermon 5   Upon Compassion - 1
Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

Sermon 6   Upon Compassion - 2
Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

Sermon 7   Upon the Character of Balaam
Numbers 23:10 "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

Sermon 8   Upon Resentment
Matthew 5:43,44 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you."

Sermon 9   Upon Forgiveness of Injuries
Matthew 5:43,44 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you."

Sermon 10   Upon Self-Deceit
II Samuel 12:7 "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. These words are the application of Nathan's parable to David, upon occasion of his adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah her husband."

Sermon 11   Upon the Love of Our Neighbor - 1
Romans 13:9 "And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Sermon 12   Upon the Love of Our Neighbor - 2
Romans 13:9 "And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Sermon 13   Upon the Love of God - 1
Matthew 22:37 "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

Sermon 14   Upon the Love of God - 2
Consider then our ignorance, the imperfection of our nature, our virtue, and our condition in this world, with respect to an infinitely good and just Being, our Creator and Governor, and you will see what religious affections of mind are most particularly suitable to this mortal state we are passing through.

Sermon 15   Upon the Ignorance of Man
Ecclesiastes 8:16,17 "When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth; then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea, further, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it."

Sermon 1


Joseph ButlerShort Biography

Joseph Butler was an English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher. He was born in Wantage, Berkshire, England.

He is most famous for his "Fifteen Sermons on Human Nature" (1726) and "Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed" (1736). The Analogy is an important work of Christian apologetics in the history of the controversies over Deism. Butler's apologetic concentrated on discerning analogies to the death and resurrection of Christ in the natural world (such as the caterpillar turning into a butterfly). Butler's arguments combined a cumulative case for faith using probabilistic reasoning to persuade Deists and others to reconsider orthodox faith. Aspects of his apologetic reasoning are reflected in the writings of twentieth century Christian apologists such as C. S. Lewis and John Warwick Montgomery.

The "Sermons on Human Nature" is commonly studied as an answer to Hobbes philosophy of ethical egoism. These two books are considered by his proponents to be among the most powerful and original contributions to ethics, apologetics and theology which have ever been made. They depend for their effect entirely upon the force of their reasoning, for they have no graces of style.

Butler died in 1752 in Bath, Somerset. His admirers praise him as an excellent man, and a diligent and conscientious churchman. Though indifferent to general literature, he had some taste in the fine arts, especially architecture.



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