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Human Nature and Other Sermons by Joseph Butler
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by Joseph Butler


Joseph Butler was born in 1692, youngest of eight children of a
linendraper at Wantage, in Berkshire. His father was a
Presbyterian, and after education at the Wantage Free Grammar School
Joseph Butler was sent to be educated for the Presbyterian ministry
in a training academy at Gloucester, which was afterwards removed to
Tewkesbury. There he had a friend and comrade, Secker, who
afterwards became Archbishop of Canterbury. Butler and Secker
inquired actively, and there was foreshadowing of his future in the
fact that in 1713, at the age of twenty-one, Butler was engaged in
anonymous discussion with Samuel Clarke upon his book on the a
priori demonstration of the Divine Existence and Attributes.

When the time drew near for call to the ministry, Butler, like his
friend Secker, had reasoned himself into accordance with the
teaching of the Church of England. Butler's father did not oppose
his strong desire to enter the Church, and he was entered in 1714 at
Oriel College, Oxford. At college a strong friendship was
established between Butler and a fellow-student, Edward Talbot,
whose father was a Bishop, formerly of Oxford and Salisbury, then of
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