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Cabinet 06: Religion

Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion. 3rd ed. London: Printed for John and Paul Knapton, 1740. Shoults Eb 1740 B

Butler, double page Butler, title page Horace Walpole claimed Joseph Butler (1692-1752), Dean of St Paul's, was too intellectual, and believed he 'wafted in a cloud of metaphysics.' Despite Walpole's gossipy criticism, Butler's Analogy of Religion (1736) was an influential work, going through ten editions in England, and five in Scotland, during the eighteenth century. It was written as a defence of the Christian religion, with a special attack on the Deists and their belief that God did not reveal himself through prophets, visions, angels, and miracles. Cardinal Newman called Butler 'the greatest name in the Anglican Church.' This third edition is open at the chapter on miracles.

John Wesley, A Collection of Psalms and Hymns. London: Printed by W. Strahan, 1741. DeB Eb 1741 W

Wesley, page 2 Wesley, title page The term 'Methodism' was first used in August 1732. By the mid-1740s, largely through the work of John Wesley (1703-91), this religious movement was gaining greater attention. The first full conference or 'Connexion' was held in 1744. By 1784, the first ordinations occurred. However, growth was not easy, with divisions, quarrels and attacks from various sectors of the community. This battered Psalm book once belonged to Ann Hambleton and is dated August 1741. One can imagine her enthusiasm (a necessary attribute) at singing 'Thy Justice shall maintain its Throne.'

Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. London: Printed for W. Strahan and 11 others, 1775. DeB Eb 1775 W

Watts Watts, title page According to legend, Isaac Watts (1674-1748) complained about the quality of hymns sung at a congregational meeting at Southhampton and was challenged to do better. He did. As a consequence, Watts is known as the Father of English Hymnody and is credited with some 750 hymns of which Joy to the World (sung to a tune by Handel) is by far the best known. Dr Johnson thought well of Watts and included his writings in Works of the English Poets (1779), as well as a later life in Johnson's Prefaces (1781). Hymns and Spiritual Songs first appeared in 1707; this is a later edition of what is his principal work.

[Richard Challoner], A Plain Answer to Dr. Middelton's Letter from Rome. London: Printed for J. Huggonson, 1741. Shoults Eb 1741 F

Challoner Challoner, title page In between disputes with his arch-foe Richard Bentley, master at Trinity College, Cambridge, English clergyman Conyers Middleton (1683-1750) wrote Letter from Rome (1729), arguing that many of the Roman Catholic Church rituals were derived from ancient pagan ones. One pro-Catholic retort was written by 'A Friend of Truth', a pseudonym for Richard Challoner (1691-1781), well known for updating the Rheims-Douai Catholic Bible. Challoner used this small pamphlet – essentially a defense of the Catholic faith – as a preface to his Catholick Christian Instructed (1737).