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A New History of the Sermon

A New History of the Sermon
The Nineteenth Century

Edited by

Robert H. Ellison


Cover illustration: First two sentences from John Henry Newman’s Sermon 336 from the Newman Archives at the Birmingham Oratory. With kind permission of the Birmingham Oratory. This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A new history of the sermon : the nineteenth century / edited by Robert Ellison. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-18572-2 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Preaching--Great Britain--History-19th century. 2. Preaching--United States--History--19th century. 3. Sermons, English-19th century--History and criticism. 4. Sermons, American--19th century--History and criticism. I. Ellison, Robert H., 1967- II. Title. BV4208.G7N49 2010 251.009’034--dc22 2010014785

ISBN 978 90 04 18572 2 Copyright 2010 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change.

CONTENTS Permissions ................................................................................................vii List of Illustrations .....................................................................................ix List of Contributors ....................................................................................xi Introduction ................................................................................................. 1 Robert H. Ellison

THEORY AND THEOLOGY The Tractarians’ Sermons and Other Speeches .....................................15 Robert H. Ellison Richard Whately and the Didactic Sermon ...........................................59 Carol Poster The Rhetoric of Henry Ward Beecher and Frederic W. Farrar Regarding Biblical Criticism ..................................................................115 Thomas H. Olbricht

SERMON AND SOCIETY IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE Missions, Slavery, and the Anglican Pulpit, 1780–1850 .....................139 Bob Tennant British Sermons on National Events .....................................................181 John Wolffe Catholic Preaching in Victorian England, 1801–1901 .......................207 Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen Anti-Catholic Sermons in Victorian Britain........................................233 Miriam Elizabeth Burstein



Nineteenth-Century British Sermons on Evolution and The Origin of Species: The Dog That Didn’t Bark? ...............................269 Keith A. Francis The Victorian Sermon Novel: Domesticated Spirituality and the Sermon’s Sensationalization .....................................................309 Tamara S. Wagner

SERMON AND SOCIETY IN AMERICA The Anti-dueling Movement..................................................................341 Thomas J. Carmody The Itinerant Pulpit of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU): Teachers or Preachers?..............................................367 Dorothy Lander Midway between Slavery and Citizenship: Black Freedmen in White Protestant Sermons in the Immediate Post-Civil War Period .............................................................................413 David M. Timmerman Sacred Rhetoric and the African-American Civic Sermon ...............437 Joseph Evans The Modern Renewal of Jewish Homiletics and the Occurrence of Interfaith Preaching ................................................457 Mirela Saim “As a Musician Would His Violin”: The Oratory of the Great Basin Prophets .........................................................................................489 Brian Jackson The Antebellum American Sermon as Lived Religion .......................521 Dawn Coleman Bibliography .............................................................................................555 Index .........................................................................................................567

PERMISSIONS Excerpts from letters to Isaac Williams in Chapter 1 are quoted with the permission of the Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library. Excerpts from an unpublished letter from Edward Morton to Renn Dickson Hampden in Chapter 2 are quoted with the permission of the Master and Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford. Excerpts from William Andrews’ “Frederick Douglass, Preacher” in Chapter 13 are reprinted from American Literature, Vol. 54, Issue 4, pp. 592–597. Copyright 1982, Duke University Press. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. Excerpts from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” in Chapter 13 are reprinted by arrangement with The Heirs to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr., c/o Writers House as agent for the proprietor New York, NY. Copyright 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; copyright renewed 1991 Coretta Scott King. Excerpts from Gardner Taylor’s sermons in Chapter 13 are reprinted from The Words of Gardner Taylor, Volume 4 by Gardner C. Taylor, compiled by Edward L. Taylor, copyright © 2001 by Gardner C. Taylor. Used by permission of Judson Press, 800-4-JUDSON, www. judsonpress .com.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1. Mother Stewart addressing the crowd during the women’s crusades of 1873 .................................................................................388 2. Frances E. Willard, frontispiece of her 1889 autobiography, Glimpses of Fifty Years ..................................................................... 392 3. Hannah Whitall Smith, frontispiece of Woman in the Pulpit ...... 393 4. Letitia Youmans, front cover of Grip, October 1887 .....................401

both located in . He has been adjunct professor of preaching at Wesley Theological Seminary and The Howard University Divinity School. George MacDonald. Joseph Evans earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Preaching from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. Her essays have appeared in American Literature and Studies in the Novel. 1770–1902 (Aldershot. His academic specialty is 19th-century sermonic rhetoric. and. His dissertation is entitled African American Sacred Rhetoric: An African American Homiletic Style Informed By Western Tradition. and many of the leading figures of the Oxford Movement. 2004) and is currently working on a book about the Reformation in Victorian popular culture. a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UK. but he has written on such diverse topics as comics and the rhetoric of Mu’ammar Kaddafi. and she is beginning a book on 19th-century diary responses to religious experience. and is working on a book about the Victorian “lay sermon”. He is currently a co-director of a digital project called “The British Pulpit Online”. Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Robert H. She is the author of Narrating Women’s History in Britain. Ellison taught English at East Texas Baptist University from 1995 to 2009 and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Marshall University. Kentucky. Dawn Coleman is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee. Carmody is Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of the Department of Communication at Vanguard University of Southern California. State University of New York.LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS Miriam Elizabeth Burstein is Associate Professor of English at the College at Brockport. He has published studies of John Cumming. Thomas J. She is currently finishing a book that examines how mid-19th-century American novels appropriated preaching to establish their cultural and moral authority. in 2009–10.

His work has appeared in Rhetoric Society Quarterly. . the son of abolitionist William Wilberforce.C. CT. Foster and David M. She gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Dorothy Lander is Senior Research Professor in Adult Education at St Francis Xavier University. His most recent works are “The Rhetoric of Two Narrative Psalms 105 and 106” in My Words are Lovely: Studies in the Rhetoric of the Psalms. Dorothy is working on a book-length biography of Letitia Youmans. C. and peace. in the genre of creative non-fiction. hospice/palliative care. He is presently writing a book on the reactions of 19th-century French. where he teaches courses in rhetorical theory and persuasive writing. ed. suffrage. He is the author of Charles Darwin and The Origin of Species (Westport. cooperatives. England. 2008). 2007). D. Clifton Black and Duane F. He is also researching the life of Samuel Wilberforce. TX. Thomas H.xii list of contributors Washington. and American scientists to The Origin of Species and the debate about the unity of the human species. Francis is Associate Professor of History at Baylor University in Waco. he will co-author a new biography of Wilberforce with Bob Tennant. Her arts-based qualitative research and teaching interests focus on popular and/or faith-based education in women’s social movements including temperance. Watson (Waco. He is the author of numerous articles and will soon complete his first book for academic publication: Sacred Rhetoric and the Civic Sermon: An African American Art Form. abolition. Howard (New York. Brian Jackson is Assistant Professor of English and Associate Coordinator of Composition at Brigham Young University. Robert L. Nova Scotia. ed. He has published more than twenty books in biblical studies. first President of the WCTU in Canada. Olbricht is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion at Pepperdine University. Texas. and currently serves as senior pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Washington.. British. Rhetoric Review. and College Composition and Communication. She received her PhD from Nottingham University.” in Words Well Spoken: George Kennedy’s Rhetoric of The New Testament. church history and rhetoric. 2008) and “George Kennedy’s Scholarship in the Context of North American Rhetorical Studies. Keith A.

Mirela Saim is a Canadian scholar.” Annales de Démographié Historique. anthropology. . St Deiniol’s Library. as well as paradigms of comparative epistemology in literature. 147–66. 114 (2007). Edmond. the Kneupper Award from Rhetoric Society Quarterly.” The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love. Ed. “Malaysia Truly Asia: Reflections on the 2004 Fulbright Hays Study Tour. She has co-edited Letter-Writing Manuals from Antiquity to Present (Columbia. 5: The Nineteenth Century (Westport. in both its religious and secular configurations. Forthcoming work includes essays on John Tillotson and on sermons about the battle of Waterloo. and other organizations. where she teaches and supervises the History Education program.” East-West Connections: Review of Asian Studies 6 (2006). 13–36. Her research interests include rhetoric and argumentation history. and popular media. and Culture. Her future research projects focus on the history of the working poor women in Victorian London. Sex. Bob Tennant is an honorary research fellow in the Department of English Literature in the University of Glasgow. He is a co-founder of “The British Pulpit Online” and is preparing Conscience. she is focused on the reconstruction of a comparative history of the Jewish rhetorical discourse in the context of modernity. Jessica A. 2007) and published numerous essays in journals and essay collections. and grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. and “Foundlings. 2007). CT. the Tanner Center for the Humanities. At present. His current research interests are mainly in the Anglican sermon of the long 18th century. currently working and lecturing in Montreal and associated with McGill University. SC. She has received the Gildersleeve Prize from the American Journal of Philology. Sheetz-Nguyen is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Central Oklahoma. Vol. 1760–1870 for the Oxford University Press. Susan Mumm. Charity and Consciousness: Joseph Butler’s thought and ministry for the Boydell Press and Corporate Holiness: Pulpit Preaching and the Anglican Missionary Movement. Recent publications include “Calculus of Respectability: Defining the World of Foundling Hospital Women and Children in Victorian London. religion. the Huntington Library.list of contributors xiii Carol Poster is Associate Professor of English at York University (Canada).

Her books include Longing: Narratives of Nostalgia in the British Novel.c. and A Short History of Evangelicalism commissioned by Cambridge University Press. NY. He has also published work in political communication. Religion and Nationhood in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (Oxford. Chalmers and Finney (Nottingham. paperback edition 2010) and Antifeminism and the Victorian Novel: Rereading Nineteenth-Century Women Writers (Amherst. He is currently working on a knowledge transfer project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council on modern religious history and the contemporary church. 1819–2004 (Lewiston. religious rhetoric. 2000) and The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce. and Financial Speculation in Victorian Fiction: Plotting Money and the Novel Genre. Wagner obtained her PhD from Cambridge University and is currently Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.xiv list of contributors David M. Rhetoric Society Quarterly. More. His publications include Great Deaths: Grieving. His work has appeared in Philosophy and Rhetoric. and homiletics in Presidential Studies Quarterly. John Wolffe is Professor of Religious History at the Open University. His scholarship has focused primarily on the development of rhetoric in Greece in the 4th century b. PA. and the Journal of Communication and Religion. 2005). Indiana. 2006). NY. 1815–1901 (Columbus. Current projects include a special issue on Fanny Trollope and a study of Victorian narratives of failed emigration. Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Policy) in the Faculty of Arts. and Argumentation and Advocacy. until recently. 2009). 2010) as well as the edited collections Consuming Culture in the Long Nineteenth-Century (Lanham. 2004). . Political Communication. 1740–1890 (Lewisburg. OH. Tamara S. Occidentalism in Novels of Malaysia and Singapore. and. MD. Timmerman is Professor of Rhetoric and Chair of Humanities and Fine Arts at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. 2007. Advances in the History of Rhetoric.

or content of their sermons. one that “combines the sketch of mind and character with some discussion of style”. to be one step in the process of moving from biography to rhetorical analysis. 1980). ed. PA. I wrote that scholarship on Victorian preaching had been largely personalitydriven.6 Personality may not be entirely neglected. 2 Herbert A. Wichelns. we get some statements about the man. 42. 1998). and some statements about the orator. Ellison. 43.INTRODUCTION Robert H.4 may also be unsatisfactory. style. “arrangement”. such critics can therefore make “but an indirect contribution” to our understanding of the people whom they study. 42. The Victorian Pulpit: Spoken and Written Sermons in NineteenthCentury Britain (Selinsgrove. telling much about great preachers’ lives while revealing comparatively little about the form. 3 Ibid. p. 43. “manner of delivery”. PA.1 That process began in 1925. Brock and Robert L. and “the effect of the 1 Robert H. Scott (Detroit. p. is to concentrate on the work and “ignore the man”. Wichelns critiqued the biographical approach in an essay entitled “The Literary Criticism of Oratory”. 1998).3 Wichelns goes on to argue to that a more “literary” approach. 4 Ibid. but it will be relevant only to the extent that it helped to shape the speeches. “the critic fails to fuse his comment on the individual with his comment on the artist. the vast majority of the critic’s attention will be devoted to examining such matters as “audience”. Bernard L. but neither casts light on the other”. then.. He asserted that focusing on “the man behind the work” often causes critics to think of a speaker “as something other than a speaker”. when Herbert A. 5 Ibid. “The Literary Criticism of Oratory.. 6 Ibid. and as a result. . My book was intended to redirect that focus. pp. Ellison In the introduction to The Victorian Pulpit: Spoken and Written Sermons in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Selinsgrove. If it is not done well.5 The best strategy.” in Methods of Rhetorical Criticism: A Twentieth-Century Perspective. 12–13. pp.2 The neglect of the rhetorical dimension inevitably leaves their work incomplete.

2004).7 With these statements. Lams also Ibid. 357. The titles suggest that Newman’s Parochial Sermons belong to a genre that began with Virgil in the 1st century b. pp. 12 Lams..4 (2006). Wichelns inaugurated a new discipline: he is almost universally regarded as the father of “rhetorical criticism”. Ibid.10 Several recent studies of 19th-century preaching are welcome exceptions to DeWinter’s general rule.c. the branch of communication studies concerned with “the analysis and appreciation of the orator’s method of imparting his ideas to his hearers”. writing that “twentieth-century contributions to rhetorical criticism extend well beyond the field of communication studies to such kindred disciplines as English. and religion”. and includes such works as Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura and Wordsworth’s Prelude. 11 Victor J. 10 Jennifer DeWinter. “Introduction: The Inclusiveness of Rhetorical Criticism. ix–xiv. ellison discourse on its immediate hearers” as recorded in “the testimony of witnesses” and “the record of events”. for example. pp. Visionary Georgic. Victor J. but rather a carefully crafted work with a “rhetorically coherent sequential structure”. Lams does make other useful observations about the structure of Newman’s work. 69–70.” Rhetoric Review 25. Richard Leo Enos noted how far we have come. Chico. Victor J. linguistics. Emeritus Professor of English at California State University. Newman’s Visionary Georgic (New York.4 (2006). 2006). 8 7 . “almost all of the journals and books” are still “written by and for speech communication scholars”. In 2004 and 2006. Lams.11 Although I do not find this argument entirely convincing. published Newman’s Anglican Georgic and Newman’s Visionary Georgic. Lams. and its current state was aptly summarized in a 2006 issue of Rhetoric Review. “A Bibliographic Synthesis of Rhetorical Criticism.. Newman’s Anglican Georgic (New York.9 In another essay later in the issue.8 The field has expanded considerably in recent years. Newman himself linked the sermons in Volume 2 to various saints’ days and those in Volumes 5 and 6 to the seasons of the Christian year.” Rhetoric Review 25. p. Jennifer DeWinter reminded us how far we can still go: despite the recent advances. poems about the structure of the cosmos and the evolution of a Romantic poet’s mind. ix.12 The global design is often rather explicit. Lams. He argues that each volume of the sermons is not a collection of materials assembled more or less at random. 67.2 robert h. 9 Richard Leo Enos. 6–10. 388. pp. p. however.

Memoirs (Finney). ed. 16 The series was launched in 1989 with Craig R. Chesebrough (Westport. Duffy and Halford R.N.16 The series is intended both to “memorialize the nation’s greatest” speakers and to offer “a complete analysis of [their] rhetoric”. the structure and tone of the discourses. 2007). Ryan. 15 Ibid.. Lams. Chesebrough also wrote Volume 26. Finney.14 While most studies of Newman’s prose focus on “local rhetorical effects”. ethos. and the preachers’ physical characteristics. and their use of gestures in the pulpit. like the other volumes in the series. and West Roxbury Sermons (Parker) address the full spectrum of issues: the definition of a sermon. can be broken down into four “clusters”. restoring order in the church. reading from manuscript versus preaching extemporaneously. and pathos. the power of their voices. he discusses the education of Irish ministers. more precisely. that the book of Hebrews is the “scriptural analogue” to Volume 313 and that it. and Theodore Parker to the “Great American Orators” series published under the auspices of Greenwood Press. 1. on figures ranging from Douglas MacArthur to Sojourner Truth. 17 Bernard K. 41. Smith. to discover what stories the sermon can tell us. Dickson’s purpose is to “tell the story” of the sermon – or. An excellent example of a broad rhetorical survey. 1999). Over thirty titles have appeared since then. Lams suggests that we would do well to also give attention to his “global literary purpose and design”. is J. 14 13 . Preaching and Evangelical Protestants in NineteenthCentury Irish Society (Milton Keynes. David B.. and the importance of prayer.15 Rhetorical critics of the 19th-century American pulpit include David B. ix. 56–67.introduction 3 suggests some organizational schemes of his own. p. “Series Foreword. pp.” in Theodore Parker: Orator of Superior Ideas. religious error versus the love of Christ. His discussions of works such as Lectures on Preaching (Brooks). the rise of the “cult of pulpit personality”. pp. Ian Dickson’s Beyond Religious Discourse: Sermons. which could be labeled disobedience and schism. In addition to the titles cited above. He posits. p. the changes brought by the Ulster Revival of 1859. and the extent to which Ibid. Frederick Douglass: Oratory from Slavery. for example. the use of logos. Defender of the Union: The Oratory of Daniel Webster. Chesebrough. as opposed to a study of a single preacher. xi. CT. To that end.17 While the “memorial” aspect sometimes becomes almost hagiographic. Anglican Georgic. who has contributed studies of Phillips Brooks. Charles G. Chesebrough’s treatment of his subjects’ rhetorical theory and practice is sound.

21 Thomas Carlyle. xx.. If there is a magnum opus in recent sermon scholarship – for the 19th century or any other period – it would be O. Presbyterian. Hero-Worship. whose work “reflected a Romantic understanding” of writing as the “product of the genius of an individual”. which could once be undertaken only by hand. of course. Ian Dickson. 12. p. Edwards set out to produce a “homiletical genealogy”.. and Sermon and Society in America. Edwards’ overarching concern is the larger issues of genre. religious movements. the aim of the volume as a whole is to move away from Thomas Carlyle’s notion that history is “the Biography of Great Men”21 and to examine the theories.19 Rather than writing another biographical encyclopedia. 2007). 213. “Theory and Theology” begins with a pair of 18 J. in both print and manuscript form.18 The research for this project included constructing a database of some 700 Episcopalian.N. Such analyses.C. A History of Preaching (Nashville. and even how frequently preachers used a given verse as the basis for multiple sermons. Beyond Religious Discourse: Sermons. Dickson’s model of how such a project might look is perhaps the greatest contribution of his book. Edwards’ A History of Preaching (Nashville. 1840). On Heroes. but as subpoints of his outlines. 19 O. included. 187. Jr. and cultural phenomena that helped to shape the nature of sacred speech. p. 2004). and the Heroic in History (London. theological issues. ellison preaching actually affected “individual lives and the wider Irish society of the nineteenth century”. The information Dickson compiled allowed him to identify not only the recurring “major” and “minor” themes of Irish evangelicalism. .4 robert h. While some of the essays do focus on one or two major figures.C. can now be done much more quickly and thoroughly in an age of digital humanities. and Methodist sermons. and cultural developments that defined the 19th-century Anglo-American pulpit.20 a survey of the sermon’s evolution over two millennia of Christian history. pp. but also the biblical books from which sermons were most often drawn. Edwards. 2004). Individual preachers are. Preaching and Evangelical Protestants in Nineteenth-Century Irish Society (Milton Keynes. his approach differs significantly from that of earlier scholars such as Charles Dargan. 20 Ibid. Sermon and Society in the British Empire. This collection is intended to be similar to what Dickson and Edwards have done. 1. p. xxi. The sixteen essays are divided into three categories: Theory and Theology. Like The Victorian Pulpit.

expressed Higher Critical ideas in terms their congregations could embrace and understand. and the importance of pastoral care. ed. surveys the ministry of just one man: Richard Whately. they shortened and simplified their sermons to make them more accessible to those who had not been raised in a culture of classical rhetoric and Christian faith. . Tennant argues. “university”. merely reflect the “spirit of the age”. and “visitation” sermons. and ended it as the Anglican archbishop of Dublin. and other matters that form the background of the biblical texts. As the age of Byron bloomed. who began his career as a fellow of Oriel College. which both helped raise 22 See Essays and Reviews: The 1860 Text and Its Readings. religious lectures. The first section closes with Thomas Olbricht’s essay on Higher Criticism.22 These works were largely addressed to specialists. “Sermon and Society in the British Empire” opens with two essays on politics and national identity. Oxford. Victor Shea and William Whitla (Charlottesville. that the sermon.introduction 5 essays on preaching in the 19th-century Church of England. taken together. Carol Poster. the role of the Anglican Church in Ireland. and episcopal charges. She examines his views not only of pulpit rhetoric. these first two essays provide a glimpse into several dimensions of Anglican faith and practice. as they preached to the colonized peoples themselves. which generated enormous controversy and led to two heresy trials. The best known expressions of this school of thought in England were probably George Eliot’s translation of David Friedrich Strauss’ Life of Jesus (1846) and a collection entitled Essays and Reviews (1860). 2000). Farrar. I explore how several clergy associated with the Oxford Movement worked in many genres: “plain”. in fact. on the other hand. as the empire expanded. Sermons did not. but also of principles of interpretation. working at approximately the same time on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Olbricht shows how Henry Ward Beecher and Frederic W. Bob Tennant undertakes a rhetorical history of the British missionary movement. they often helped to shape it as well. Whately was more sympathetic to both the Low and Broad Church movements than he was to the Tractarians. the sermon’s place in a broader teaching ministry. tracing how preaching adapted to a variety of historical circumstances. historical context. preachers portrayed missionaries as Romantic heroes. they adopted the language of “power politics” employed by the secular authorities. however. the branch of study concerned with authorship.

She then identifies the chief topics of those sermons: “the Eucharist. they also functioned as a leading form of Victorian mass media. Such occasions were not. and argued for higher wages and better working conditions for those who labored at the docks and in the factories. because they tended to draw larger-than-average crowds. Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen examines several dimensions of “Catholic Preaching in Victorian England”. The “triumphalist” rhetoric that Tennant identifies in some missionary preaching is also a feature of several works discussed by John Wolffe in “British Sermons on National Events”. beginning with declarations about preaching issued at the Council of Trent and the place of English-language sermons in the 19th-century Latin Mass. however. the Church of Rome was becoming more prominent in Britain. Just as preachers speaking to the Church Missionary Society declared that the salvation of the African peoples would be the ultimate testimony to the glories of the empire. some clergy used coronation and jubilee sermons to catalog the many spiritual and temporal blessings God had lavished upon the English people. In sermons. God’s judgement would surely come. “giving individuals a sense of participation in the ‘imagined community’ of the nation as a whole”. the first and second archbishops of Westminster. called for the establishment of Catholic workhouses for children who had no parents. Nicholas Wiseman and Henry Edward Manning. ellison support at home and carry the message of the gospel to foreign lands. like the missionary discourses Tennant analyzes. and warned them that if they proved to be poor stewards. Whatever the tone. admonished parents to be sure their children received a Catholic education. purely celebratory: Wolffe shows how the sermons also reminded people that they would be held accountable for how they used the blessings they enjoyed. Her final section shows how two of the leading figures in the second half of Victoria’s reign worked to put their beliefs into action. national-event sermons. As the Church of England was expanding her presence overseas. and the special place of Mary or the Blessed Mother in the teleology of Roman Catholicism”. was the single greatest force responsible for the expansion of Britain’s spiritual empire. almsgiving. Protestant preachers’ response to these developments is the subject of Miriam Elizabeth Burstein’s “Anti-Catholic Sermons in Victorian . were important means of “articulating and shaping public responses” to events both glad and tragic.6 robert h. and pastoral letters. lectures.

the internal failures of modern Protestantism. Darwinian theory. She shows how the “figure of the fraudulent clergyman” is used in novels ranging from Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone to Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family. As Keith Francis shows. the spiritual and ecclesiastical histories of Catholicism. he writes. Eight years after the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy. perhaps because they and their congregations had little interest in the issue. it was a “dog that didn’t bark”. Whatever the explanation. Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. Many of the texts in this category functioned as point-and-counterpoint in an extended doctrinal debate. Rather. including such prominent figures as Charles Kingsley and Baden Powell. Elizabeth Harris’ From Oxford to Rome. and. much like a chess game that is played through the mail. Protestant sermons tended to “cluster into recognizable groups: the self-propagation of Catholicism. or because they felt that such matters should not be discussed in the pulpit. the preachers suggested. this was not the case. simply did not address the matter. The best defense. however. Given the challenges it posed to the received interpretations of the book of Genesis. but as far as preaching was concerned. Like their Catholic counterparts. may have been a “dangerous dog” lurking in the “neighborhood” of traditional belief. While some preachers did protest against it. supported by “a regular program of Bible reading”. but she does not stop there. are a kind of counterpart to the portraits . perhaps. for example. a statistic he illustrates with a most effective metaphor.introduction 7 Britain”. spurred John Henry Newman to write Loss and Gain. Many others. publicly supported Darwin’s views. While the other essays in this section deal with actual preachers. finally. culminating. then. was a “life of intensified piety and discipline”. others. in Eliza Lynn Linton’s savagely anti-Tractarian Under Which Lord. wielding the Bible itself as “the ultimate weapon … against the Catholic threat”. These works. ways of revitalizing Protestantism and beating back the Catholic threat”. moreover. Tamara Wagner analyzes the representation of sermons in Victorian fiction. she suggests that that the term “sermon novel” can encompass both works that contain sermons and books that are essentially sermons themselves. Francis estimates that sermons on science comprised only between 1 and 5 per cent of the total corpus. which in turn “set off a cascade of reactions”. one might think that the book provided ample fodder for pulpit address. People firmly grounded in the scriptures could take their proper place as “mere instruments” in the religious struggle.

The ministers were clearly conflicted on the issue: while they thanked God for bringing freedom to the slaves. “Sermon and Society in America”. later. Their efforts led to the formation of anti-dueling societies and the passing of anti-dueling laws. missions. contains essays on topics ranging from Mormonism to sermons against dueling. and. suffrage (political solutions to the alcohol problems could be achieved only if women were given the right to vote).J. as ministers urged legislators.8 robert h. Thomas Carmody sees the reaction to the Hamilton-Burr duel of 1804 as the emergence of the American “bully pulpit”. they offer glimpses of the acrimony of doctrinal infighting and the declining status of the clergy in a society that grew increasingly secular as the century progressed. male and female. Rorabaugh. ellison Dawn Coleman examines in Chapter Sixteen: instead of showcasing the best and the brightest that Christianity has to offer. parents. David Timmerman and Joseph Evans examine preaching by and about African-Americans. temperance. a scholar cited in the essay. specifically on how “northern white Protestant ministers” addressed the social and legal status of the newly-freed slaves. the issue was often – and perhaps inevitably – intertwined with other matters such as the slave trade (addiction to liquor was seen as a form of bondage). In her view. Lander gives ample attention to the many facets of the temperance question. abolition and women’s rights”. as they addressed other social ills as well. can serve as models for women seeking to minister in the 21st-century church. or were they to be restricted merely to “teaching” roles?). Timmerman focuses on preaching in the Reconstruction years. Although alcohol use and abuse was the organization’s primary focus. including Sunday schools. The final section. these ministers also helped to spur what W. and women in ministry (could women “preach” on what the Bible said about drinking and other subjects. and wives to help move society away from the code duello that for many years had allowed men to defend their honor through the use of deadly force. the WCTU’s achievements in breaking down the barriers between teaching and preaching. newspaper editors. and rich and poor. much as Carmody does. ends her essay with some thoughts about the enduring significance of her subject. secular and sacred space. called “a host of [other] reforms. the subject of Dorothy Lander’s essay. The issues Rorabaugh mentioned are virtually identical to those addressed by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. they were not entirely willing for that freedom to be immediately exercised in the public .

when a sermon Haym Isaac Carigal preached in Newport. Jewish homiletics continued to evolve: shaped by the influx of German-trained rabbis who came to America starting in the 1840s. placing them. the sermon retained the expository focus of the traditional derashah while also reflecting the beliefs and aspirations of a pluralistic and democratic nation. toleration. His sermon was truly an amalgam of traditions: it was based on texts from both the Hebrew Bible and contemporary political speech. Each pursued his goals by invoking the values of both the Judeo– Christian tradition and American democracy. and . The process culminated on 3 March 1867. Rhode Island was translated from Spanish into English. in the words of Timmerman’s title. when Max Lilienthal preached in the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati. Constitution. Over the next several decades. serving as an advocate for the rights of African-Americans after King was assassinated in 1968. Ohio. Mirela Saim’s and Brian Jackson’s essays are case studies of the “centripetal pull” that draws institutions from the margins to the center.S. using the story of David and Goliath and the Declaration of Independence. and Gardner Calvin Taylor continued the work. Frederick Douglass secured his freedom by teaching himself how to read and write and then used his oratorical skills to argue for the liberation of other slaves. to call for the elimination of the state of limbo Timmerman noted in his essay. Saim traces the beginnings of Jewish preaching’s integration into Anglo-American culture to 1773. Martin Luther King helped to shape the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. which Evans defines as a “hybrid of political-religious oratory” that moves “sectarian congregations to embrace civic responsibility” and “persuades secular audiences to become evangelists for democratic values”. when Tobias Goodman preached an Englishlanguage sermon in London in memory of Princess Charlotte. that former slaves should not be allowed to vote until they could read and write. “midway between slavery and citizenship”. practitioners of a rhetorical form known as the “civic sermon”. for example. and it called for the congregation to practice “peace. Christ’s metaphor of “fishers of men” and the U. Joseph Evans’ essay explores how similar issues of citizenship and equality have been addressed by three African-American preachers and political activists. these ministers helped to create a kind of limbo for the Freedmen. When they argued. it followed the structural models of classical oratory. and to 1817. in other words. They were.introduction 9 square.

Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901–1902 (London. They eventually recognized the importance of formal study. Finally. p. establishing its own schools and publishing its own preaching manuals. whose Varieties of Religious Experience was the first book that came to mind as I was drafting this introduction. the church was moving into the homiletic mainstream. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. one of the most important early examples of interfaith “pulpit exchanges”. It is also. to find anywhere else. For nearly seventy years – from the beginning of Joseph Smith’s ministry in the 1820s to the end of the 19th century – the Mormons embraced what Jackson calls “the rhetoric of the invisible”. Dawn Coleman takes as her subject the nine volumes of Annals of the American Pulpit (1856–69). but they too underwent the process of adapting to the culture around them. Sprague’s primary goal may have been to produce a kind of biographical encyclopedia. The Latter-Day Saints were not immigrants. “a window onto popular perceptions of effective preaching”. if not impossible. 526.10 robert h. The phrase comes from William James. in Saim’s view. the range of approaches represented in this volume shows the importance of bringing a “pluralistic hypothesis”23 to the study of the 19th-century Anglo-American sermon. ellison friendship”. In short. These descriptions reveal that listeners saw the best ministers less as theological teachers than as almost supernaturally gifted figures who created intense experiences for their audiences. a compendium of responses to preaching that would be difficult. William Buell Sprague’s tribute to “distinguished clergymen in each of the major American denominations from the 1620s through 1855”. in Coleman’s words. emphasizing the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit over any kind of human study or preparation. Sprague’s collection of hundreds of letters about ministers from around the country provides. by the 1890s. James demonstrates that religion is not a “one size fits all” phenomenon: people 23 William James. but Coleman demonstrates that the Annals is also rhetorical history. . which had probably begun earlier in the century and continue to be practiced throughout North America and Europe. Ministers garnered high praise for delivering extemporaneous addresses that “electrified” or even terrified their congregations. 1915). values that lay at the heart of both Jewish humanism and the emerging idea of an American “civil religion”.

psychological profiles. in fact. a volume such as this one could also include. On the digital front. and I – along with Bill Gibson of Oxford Brookes University and other scholars – are co-directors of “The British Pulpit Online”. pp. John Wolffe. 127. co-authorship. preaching on the American frontier. so that the history of the 19th-century sermon can continue to be written. the genre of the sermon is far from monolithic. others are collaborative efforts. “capacities”. Ibid. and conversion experiences. is already underway: several of the scholars who contributed to this collection are working on other studies of the sermon. others will join a growing body of work in digital humanities. 25 24 . Keith Francis.24 In the same way. At first. the materials included will reflect the special interests of the research group. Brief descriptions of individual projects can be found in the List of Contributors. Bob Tennant. Some of these projects involve just one person. then. and archive of British sermons preached between 1660 and 1901. It is my hope that additional projects – both in “traditional” forms of scholarship and in these new horizons – will soon be undertaken as well. much more that can still be done. Some will result in the publication of articles and books. our goal is that all published texts will eventually be accessible from the project’s website. and other models and practices that have been employed in the sciences for years.. There is. 137. portal. and the pulpit in continental Europe. a catalogue.introduction 11 have different “wants”. essays on apocalyptic sermons. encompassing much more than could be addressed here. Some.25 The collaborative and digital work is an encouraging indication that the humanities are increasingly moving toward research teams. for example.




1760–1857 (Cambridge. A classic history of the movement is Richard William Church. and for providing other financial support through the Faculty Research Grant program and the Jim and Ethel Dickson Research and Study Endowment. I am also grateful to Dawn Coleman. for it evoked what they saw as the excesses of Evangelical preaching3 and ran counter to the notion of “reserve” that was central to the ethos of the Oxford Movement. For detailed discussions of these ideas. 1994). and Bob Tennant for their careful reading of my drafts and very helpful suggestions for improvement. pp. 44–45. 1970). The second sense. more recent studies include Peter Nockles. Simon Skinner. Carol Poster. Ellison Introduction The Tractarians2 were orators. John Keble. What Was the Oxford Movement? (London. The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman. that 1 I wish to thank East Texas Baptist University for granting me a research leave during the Spring 2006 semester. George Herring. They would probably object to the use of this term. The first is analogous to the Fathers’ concept of the disciplina arcani. . 2004). repr. see Isaac Williams’ Tracts 80 and 87. or the “discipline of the secret”: God “reserved” spiritual knowledge for those who were capable of properly handling it.4 The fact remains. Oxford. and avoiding irreverent speech and inappropriate displays of religious excitement or emotion. 5. treating sacred matters calmly and soberly. ed. the 91 Tracts for the Times issued between 1833 and 1841. Twelve Years. 2 The term “Tractarian” was often used to describe Anglican clergy and laity affiliated with the Oxford Movement (1833–45). and Edward Bouverie Pusey. 1872). and the staff of Lambeth Palace Library provided invaluable assistance in locating sermons by E.D. The Oxford Movement. On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge. Occasional Papers and Reviews (Oxford. pp. It derives from the Movement’s flagship publications. which is the one I am using here. 1980). 1859 and 1872 (London. 369–70.THE TRACTARIANS’ SERMONS AND OTHER SPEECHES1 Robert H. 4 The word “reserve” had a twofold meaning for the Tractarians. The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship. Chicago. as well as John and Thomas Keble’s letters to Isaac Williams. Pusey and John Keble. an effort to revive interest in and adherence to the teachings of the Church Fathers and the 17th-century English theologians known as the “Caroline Divines”. 2002). however. 1833–1845 (1891. 3 Tractarian critiques of oratorical display can be found in John Henry Newman. Ethos and the Oxford Movement: at the Heart of Tractarianism (Oxford. Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A. The Principal of Pusey House. Ian Ker and Thomas Gornall (Oxford.B. An occasion on which Keble made a special effort to preach poorly is recorded in Pusey’s Preface to Occasional Papers. Tractarians and the ‘Condition of England’: The Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement (Oxford. holds that Christians should be “reserved” in the way they lived their lives. pp. xiii–xiv. pp. and James Pereiro. 6–7. 2008). 1877).

” Homiletical and Pastoral Review 85. Journal articles include John R.” Recusant History 21 (1992). My concern. 7 In 1840. Preaching in the Anglo-Catholic Revival (London. however. F. analyzing the distinguishing characteristics of each category can illuminate aspects of the texts we have not noticed before.” Anglican Theological Review 87.7 (April 1985). 167–79. Chapters focusing on the Tractarians’ oratory can be found in Kirstie Blair. ecclesiastical legislation. focusing on what they reveal about the speaker’s views on the ancient church. “Preaching within the Oxford Movement. Perry Butler.. many of which were published during their lifetimes or shortly after their deaths. ellison they delivered hundreds of speeches. “Newman’s Tractarian Homiletics. the sacraments. 1990). The Anglican Revival: Studies in the Oxford Movement (London. Cross. See the Bibliography for the most important texts in each of these categories. and nearly thirty archidiaconal charges. Lawrence Poston. Ronald H. 1933). 399–421. ed. A complete list of titles would run to over fifty collections of sermons.7 Rather. is rhetorical: I want to know how and why they expressed those views the way they did. ed.L.6 but they generally have not taken the approaches I will employ here. Griffin.3 (Summer 2005). Yngve Brilioth. which I would define as those discourses intended to advance the ideas and doctrines of the Oxford Movement. 4 vols. 19–33. 56–61. 1983). John Keble in Context (London. Pusey identified the Oxford Movement’s chief concerns as “High thoughts of the two Sacraments” (baptism and holy communion). and Ian Ker. tailoring each message to meet the demands and expectations of a certain place and time. whether or not those speeches explicitly addressed its agendas. my interest is in the Tractarians’ oratory.16 robert h. IN. Pusey Rediscovered (London. “Regard for ordinances” and “the visible part of devotion”.” Faith & Reason 2 (Spring 1976). p. Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey. they implied that they recognized a variety of genres. 6 5 . “ ‘Remember Lot’s Wife’ – Manning’s Anglican Sermons. When Victorian preachers and their publishers used a variety of labels. a “High estimate” of the “visible Church” and the Episcopal system of government. [London. and “Reverence for and deference to the Ancient Church” (Henry Parry Liddon. Interest in these texts has largely been historical or theological. “The Meaning of National Apostasy: A Note on Newman’s Apologia. 2004)..5 Victorianists and other scholars have not entirely neglected these works. 2: 140). 1893–97]. Definitions and Scope This is not intended to be a study of Tractarian oratory. the larger body of speeches by those associated with the Movement. 1925). and Geoffrey Rowell. or a host of other topics. The Achievement of John Henry Newman (Notre Dame. some half-dozen volumes of lectures. McKinney.

Greatest attention will be given to the three who are generally regarded as the central figures of the Movement – John Henry Newman. ed.” in Preacher and Audience: Studies in Early Christian and Byzantine Homiletics. Alfred Menzies.11 along with helpful descriptive comparisons between sermons and such related genres as homilies. and Prevost of Gloucester).the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 17 The number of men whose works could be included here is quite large. ed. Arthur Philip Perceval.. and Pusey are well-known. vicars of St Mary’s (Eden and Marriott). 69–78. I will focus on twelve men who contributed to the Tracts for the Times and published significant numbers of speeches. wrote a number of religious pieces but published no sermons. 2001). but a brief mention of the other nine may be in order. 9 8 . 2004). tutors.8 In this essay. Some mention will also be made of Charles Page Eden. pp. 147. In its broadest sense. and Palmer were in holy orders. 2001) and Thomas O. a commissioner of stamps. Buller.13 catechetical Herring. and William Palmer wrote eleven of the ninety tracts but published few or no orations. see James Jasinski. pp. specifically the nature of the sermon. John Keble. A History of Preaching (Nashville. however. but I have been able to locate only two published sermons by Buller and none at all by the others. 1998).B. Menzies. pp. Sir George Prevost. Wilson at Rowhams. Charles Marriott. and are thus excluded from the study.12 commentaries and treatises. Cunningham and Pauline Allen. 1–2. All were students. CA. Antony Buller. and Williams at Littlemore and St Mary’s).10 The Tractarians’ Homiletic Theory I begin with the theory of sacred rhetoric. Pusey – along with Benjamin Harrison. 12 Mary B. Sourcebook on Rhetoric (Thousand Oaks. Richard Hurrell Froude. “Introduction. 13 O. Jr. and Isaac Williams. Edwards. Keble. and Robert Francis Wilson. and E.. Cunningham and Pauline Allen (Leiden. and royal chaplains (Perceval).. The Netherlands. or fellows of various Oxford colleges who went on to become curates (Thomas Keble at Bisley. ed. archdeacons (Harrison of Maidstone. Scholars in fields ranging from history and English to communication and sociolinguistics have produced a large body of scholarship on the analysis and classification of rhetorical texts. 11 For overviews of the major concepts and publications in rhetorical criticism and genre theory. Manning of Chichester. Sloane. The lives of Newman. Froude. Thomas Keble (John’s younger brother). Mary B. Oxford Movement.C. Encyclopedia of Rhetoric (Oxford. 10 Bowden. rural parishes in the southern and southwestern parts of England. most of whom served small.9 John William Bowden. the term “Tractarian” could apply to several hundred Victorian clergymen. 187–92. Henry Edward Manning.

19 When he prepared the sermons he preached that month for publication in Sermons on Subjects of the Day. which are detached from the sacred place and service to which they once belonged”.. repr. 1968). 235. was not a preacher”. 1976).16 and he had a self-imposed “rule” against “introduc[ing] the exciting topics of the day into the Pulpit”. E. ellison addresses. and their writings often contain prescriptive statements about what sermons should and should not be.. sentiments that he saw as inappropriate for the pulpit but “unobjectionable in the case of compositions. one of the discourses published in The Idea of a University. he added “a few words…of private or personal opinion”. Oxford. 125. breaking it only because he believed “the moment was urgent”:18 those whose faith had been shaken by the establishment of the Jerusalem Bishopric and the publication of his own Tract Ninety needed to be reassured that it was spiritually safe to remain members of the established church. revised. repr. 17 John Henry Newman. Because of the changes he had made. The Idea of a University (1852. 21 Ibid. the collection could not. they are essays. A Brief History of Preaching. 874–75. He believed that “polemical discussions” should be limited to the lecture hall. in his view. p. 1965). New York. 10–13. 15 Jerry L. 3rd ed..17 He adhered to this rule until December 1841. Several collections open with statements similar to one in the preface to a volume Pusey published in 1845: “nothing was further from [his] Yngve Brilioth.20 The volume. 236. 14 . 19 Ibid. p. see The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. “be criticized at all as preachments. Mattson (Philadelphia. 124–27. trans. 16 John Henry Newman.” Southern Speech Journal 31. “A Lost Form of Pulpit Address.3 (Spring 1966). is not just a departure from his usual choice of topics. pp. Livingstone (Oxford and New York. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1890. 2005). 18 Ibid. essays of a man who. it might actually be regarded as not containing sermons at all. at the time of publishing them. ed. 20 Ibid. Tarver. For a brief discussion of the Jerusalem Bishopric. 181–89. pp. Karl E.21 Other Tractarians shared Newman’s views about the kinds of subjects that should – and should not – be discussed from the pulpit. in fact.14 and exhortations. 337.15 The Tractarians were rather sophisticated genre theorists in their own right. pp. pp. 125.A.18 robert h. Much of Newman’s homiletic theory can be found in Apologia Pro Vita Sua and “University Preaching”. p.

For a discussion of “audience awareness” in Pusey’s. Patience and Confidence. see John Keble. ii. “National Apostasy” and “Church and State. 27 Ibid.” in A Course of Sermons on Solemn Subjects Chiefly Bearing on Repentance and Amendment of Life.F. 1833).25 they admonish their congregations not to get caught up in “earthly activity and worldly schemes”. 28 Aurelius Augustine. Great Books of the Western World. Occasional Papers. 1838). Prevost. The Principles of the English Constitution in Church and State (London. Appellate Jurisdiction of the Crown in Matters Spiritual (London. IV. and see the salvation of the Lord”.” trans. p. 1847). 25 For examples of the Tractarians’ political preaching. The Royal Supremacy not an Arbitrary Authority but Limited by the Laws of the Church of Which Kings Are Members (Oxford. “Christ’s Kingdom Not of This World. 1952). pp. pp.23 but they would have agreed with John Keble’s statement that such topics were generally not “fit for the House of God”. Simon and S. They often wrote about the relationship between church and state. p. During the Week After Its Consecration on the Feast of S. 24 Keble. Keble’s. Occasional Papers. (Oxford. 1850). stand still. “On Christian Doctrine.” in Sermons Academical and Occasional (Oxford. and Newman’s political writing and preaching.24 When they do address these matters in sermons commemorating political occasions such as Guy Fawkes’ Day or the beginning of a judicial term. and Pusey. . his one object being to bring solemn truths before the hearers. in Augustine. 1850).22 The Tractarians appear to have had a particular distaste for using the sermon as a vehicle for political commentary.27 The Tractarians sought to minimize discussions of potentially divisive issues because any controversy they provoked could detract from the raison d’etre of the sermon: the preacher’s appeals for his people to live more fully Christian lives. Newman. 67–96. and Pusey. Shaw. The difference between sermons and other forms of religious expression can be summed up in the phrase “to convince and to persuade”. “Preface. Jude (Oxford. Preached in St. 1848). p. 238.. J. he wrote. with the hope and prayer that God would bring them home to their souls”. 56. Manning. 18 (Chicago. 26 Pusey. 2nd ed. Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church. 1845). p. Ellison. see Robert H.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 19 mind”.3 (September 2008). for example. 1844).” Anglican and Episcopal History 77. “The Tractarians’ Political Rhetoric. an idea which dates back to at least Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana28 and appears in the writings of 22 Edward Bouverie Pusey. 127–72. 1. “than to enter upon controversy. 23 See. “A Trial of Doctrine” and other essays in Keble.26 Instead. 221–56. Saviour’s Church. Leeds. they are to submit to the governing authorities and obey Moses’ command as quoted in Pusey’s Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church: “Fear ye not.13. Tract 2. Manning.” in Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford (Oxford. “The Catholic Church” (Oxford.

1849 (London. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages: A History of Rhetorical Theory from Saint Augustine to the Renaissance (Berkeley. 1972). 14th ed. J. and personal experience. human sympathy and the breath of life. pp. 313. A Discourse of the Pastoral Care. 30 John Henry Newman. 32. 2 vols. Murphy. however. Isaac Williams defines a sermon as a discussion “of some great point of Christian truth. 1855). Victorian clergy must set debate aside and “firmly 29 For uses of this and similar phrases from the Middle Ages through modern sociolinguistics. ellison theorists and practitioners from ancient times to the present day. p. (London. 84–85. 1849). vi. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. ed. p. p. p. p. Anne Mozley (London. Lectures Concerning Oratory.” in Plain Sermons. E. like lectures and essays. 79. but to ‘make disciples of all nations’ ”. flesh and blood. 1821). must offer some education in the fundamentals of the faith. 32 [Isaac Williams]. Wallace (Carbondale. with its application to the life of faith”. 9: 1–2. 1891). Rigg. pp. see James J.31 and suggests that some of his own collections might be considered commentaries or lectures rather than sermons because they focus on instruction rather than application. (London. unless they show forth their inward principles by a pure disinterested upright line of conduct”. ed. character. 1839–48). “The Pulpit and Its Influence. Gilbert Burnet. the commonplace of duty. 1: 89. by Contributors to the “Tracts for the Times. It needs. end there. so to speak. Instead.29 The first part of the phrase indicates that sermons. all the preachers discussed in this essay insist that practical application is an essential part of all true sermons.20 robert h. Manning criticizes Victorian preaching as “too often general and unpractical” and reminds the clergy under his care that It is not enough that the matter of a sermon be true. the preacher must also resolve. The Country Parson. . A Series of Sermons on the Epistle and Gospel for Each Sunday in the Year and the Holy Days of the Church. George Herbert. “Advertisement. 210–11.” Eclectic Magazine 40 (1857). They must not. to “always strive in every pulpit so to … warn people that it is quite idle to pretend to faith and holiness. John Lawson. 1974). “An Analytical Framework for Register Studies. ed. The preacher must come down into the midst of his people: he must descend into the detail of every day. 31 Isaac Williams.30 This resolution is not unique to Newman. p. into the particulars of trial.” 10 vols. 366. Douglas Biber and Edward Finegan (New York. the Temple (New York.32 In his archidiaconal charges of 1848 and 1849.33 As the “aim of the Apostles was not controversy. Douglas Biber. Neal Claussen and Karl R. 33 Henry Edward Manning. 1 (London. 1981). 1994).H. as Newman did in 1824. 383. Ill. pp.” in Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Register. Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman.

p. is the quality that sets preaching apart from all other species of address. 37 Ibid. i. 1848 (London. but they are essays nonetheless. because it is not emphasized to the extent Keble expects. he would say that Alison’s speeches cannot be classified as sermons at all. In Keble’s view. 40 Ibid. p. 35 Keble. in pulpit eloquence especially. “Plain” Preaching and “University” Sermons A study of religious oratory must not only examine how sermons compare to essays. a Scottish Episcopal preacher who lived from 1757 to 1839. 38 Ibid. 36 [John Keble]. and to fix them in the belief and practice of what will render them happy now and to eternity”. . but address “practical questions of duty”.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 21 and peacefully teach. of moving their feelings”. 39 Ibid.36 nor does he live up to what the 18th-century archbishop Thomas Secker called the “business” of the preacher: to “make men think … of the state of their own souls.. and commentaries. the question Keble attempts to set aside in the opening paragraphs – “whether these discourses would be more properly ranged under the head of sermons or of mere essays”40 – is in fact the central issue of the review.38 Because “he does not think it essential to acquaint [the people] why they should entertain the feelings and opinions which he proposes. nor what good purpose it would answer if they did”.35 is discussed at length in his 1816 review of sermons by Archibald Alison. p. Academical and Occasional. “Edification”.37 Keble’s “great objection” to the collection is that Alison “uniformly omits that which. 430.. 443. lectures. it is not possible to receive “any instruction or edification from the sermons”. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. it must differentiate among 34 Henry Edward Manning. of putting them in possession of the question. p. He does not satisfy the ancients’ threefold test of “conciliating the good opinion of his hearers.34 John Keble’s belief that sermons ought not to be “merely speculative”.” Quarterly Review 14 (1816). 54–55. can least conveniently be spared”. Alison falls short of the expectations of both classical and Christian speech. The stylistic flaws of Alison’s speeches keep them from being regarded as good essays. pp. 430. Sermons.. leaving to conscience and to God the issue of [their] work”. and lastly. 1848).39 In short. “Alison’s Sermons. 430. on the other hand.

1981). “commendatory”. 52.” in The Godly Kingdom of Tudor England. 356–62.45 or the elaborate wordplay of the “witty” or “metaphysical” sermons of the 16th and 17th centuries. “lenten”. p.48 or “vulgarity of speech”. English Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson (New York.43 Calls for plainness in the pulpit were often made as a reaction against the perceived excesses of earlier preaching styles: the “sophistic abuses” of early Christian preaching.46 Advocates of the plain style encouraged preachers to take the middle way.49 In the 19th century. Carol Poster notes that Richard Whately was notorious for “self-plagiarism” and for publishing the same essay under a number of different labels.41 Several centuries later. in Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence. 48 Mitchell. posited “a system of five genera”: he relabeled classical epideictic as “laudatory” preaching and “developed the deliberative genus into four others: the persuasive.44 the “ornate style” of the later Middle Ages. 44 Murphy. 95. usually with only minor changes. 352. George Campbell. 277. “parochial”. 2006). p. Erasmus’ Paraphrases and the Book of Homilies. 42 41 . “controversial”. Gilian R. See the Editors’ Notes to Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford (Oxford. 313. ed. Preachers in pre-Victorian days constructed numerous taxonomies of preaching. ellison the many subgenres of the sermon as well. subgenres that were intended for three very different types of audiences and therefore open many avenues for rhetorical analysis. Booty (Wilton. p.” trans. “cathedral”. and “visitation” sermons. in the next chapter of this collection. the exhortative. John E. 1807). Similarly. History of Preaching.” IV.42 The Tractarians likewise used a variety of adjectives to describe their work: “village”. 11. 43 There were not always rigid demarcations between these subgenres. NC. and 330. “university”. 47 Alan of Lille. “Art of Preaching. Rhetoric. and “persuasive”. and so on.47 “barbarism”. p. pp. avoiding pedantry and ornament while not ruining their discourses with “colorless words”. p. 1987). English Pulpit Oratory. “pathetic”. Fraser Mitchell. in Theories of Preaching: Selected Readings in the Homiletical Tradition. p. Richard Lischer (Durham. “occasional”. 1962). “On Christian Doctrine. Evans. 49 Augustine. the admonitory. 314. 46 W.10. George Campbell offered his own list of five “species”: the “explanatory”. for example. at least two of Newman’s university sermons were later delivered before parish congregations. preachers Edwards. CT. 45 John N. Desiderius Erasmus’ Renaissance-era theory. 100.22 robert h. ed. pp. Wall. The ones they preached and published most often were “plain”. for example. “Godly and Fruitful Lessons: The English Bible. Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence (London. and the consolatory”.

“What Constitutes a Plain Sermon?” p. G. 55 Ibid. 1851).. A Different Kind of Gentleman: Parish Clergy as Professional Men in Early and Mid-Victorian England. 142. “Sermons to Be Plain. 52 Brian Heeney. ed. the vicar of Heversham who would go on to become Archdeacon of Westmorland – published complete essays outlining the necessity and effectiveness of an unadorned pulpit style. pp.53 These sermons would be delivered on a rotating basis by “the heads of colleges. 320–24. p.. C. pp.51 suggested that this approach was appropriate for all audiences. 2. by the two professors of divinity. and by the professor of the Hebrew tongue”. “on Sunday mornings and afternoons. 1976). generally in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. 49–50. Robert Wilson Evans. 127. Oxford University Statutes. Conn.R. Gresley (New York. pp. “What Constitutes a Plain Sermon?. 54 Oxford Statutes. as Adapted to a Church of England Congregation: In a Series of Letters to a Young Clergyman. Bishop of Carlisle. Tractarians. p.” in Homiletical and Pastoral Lectures. 1880). pp. at the Opening of Lent Term. The statutes governing the University of Oxford stipulated that a sermon must be preached. James Heywood (London. 51 Skinner. at least two – Harvey Goodwin.” in Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford. pp. 1880). major saints’ days. but they made only passing comments on the theory of the “university” sermon.50 While most theorists. by the dean and prebendaries of Christ Church. ed. 40–41. ed. ed. 161. and days of national or university importance”. and Robert Wilson Evans. xxiv. Ellicott (New York. the “university sermon” is positioned at the other.” in Ecclesiastes Anglicanus: Being a Treatise on Preaching. 19. 50 . The Church’s Method of Communicating Divine Truth.52 If plain preaching is at one end of a homiletic spectrum. 43–44. Charles Marriott. including Newman. Goodwin.55 The Victorians published a good deal about plain preaching. 43–47. A Lecture Delivered at the Diocesan College. These comments largely reinforce what we would infer from the label: that these discourses could be longer and more complex than Harvey Goodwin. trans.J. John Henry Blunt. 53 “Editors’ Introduction. Chichester. pp. 2006). Directorium Pastorale: The Principles and Practice of Pastoral Work in the Church of England (London. or poor.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 23 from all traditions made at least some mention of the value of plain preaching.54 if someone were unable to fulfill his assignment. Ward. W.M. 1841 (Chichester. 105–31. p. his place would be taken by one of the ten “Select Preachers” appointed each year by the Vice-Chancellor and other university officials. uneducated. James David Earnest and Gerard Tracey (Oxford. (Studies in British History and Culture) 5 (Hamden. 1844). 1841). a number of Victorians asserted that it was particularly necessary when a congregation was rural. p.

59 William Basil Jones. 1853). correction. For proclamations concerning what was to take place during the visitations. A Letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. 1853). Sewell. 61 Ibid. [and] wizards”.. and encouragement remained the same. preside over confirmations.60 by the 13th century.. Newman. and visitation sermons for the clergy. 183. p. on the Subject of the University Sermons (Oxford. Idea.61 New requirements published in the 16th century stipulated that bishops were to conduct visitations only “every three years in person”. 131–37. and restrain soothsayers. but the visitation’s function as a time of recordkeeping. Gerald Bray (Woodbridge. p.” Christian Remembrancer ns 3 (1842). diviners. see The Anglican Canons. pp.62 while preserving the annual requirement for archdeacons. could – and apparently did – take the academic content too far. Collegiate Reform. No. ed. 57 56 . ellison other pulpit speeches. p. p. 339. 62 The Anglican Canons 1529–1947.57 Preachers.” Christian Remembrancer 10 (1845). 5.56 and Newman acknowledged that “they certainly would … require a treatment more exact than is necessary in merely popular exhortations”. 58 W. 23–24. on the First Sunday in Advent. Suffolk. 1998). 183. fortune-tellers. 608.24 robert h. 60 W. 1800–1870 (Oxford. pp.. “excommunicate the wicked. 1853 (Oxford. The Diocesan Revival in the Church of England c.64 “English Preaching. 63 Ibid. pp. enchanters. 36. 116–19. A system of episcopal visitation had been in place in England since at least the 8th century: canons issued by the synods of Cloveshoe and Calcuith in 747 and 785 required bishops to go through their dioceses every year to preach. The author of an article published in the High Anglican Christian Remembrancer in 1845 stated that a “scholastic attitude” is “tolerable. and indeed frequently desirable” in university sermons. “On Episcopal Visitations. Visitation Sermons and Charges Plain sermons were meant for rural congregations.. 1999). however. 114.P. university sermons for academic audiences. leading some observers to complain that many university sermons were too “abstruse”58 or “polemical”59 to give the students the practical spiritual guidance they needed. 46–47. A Sermon Preached Before the University of Oxford. archdeacons were required to undertake such duties as well. 64 Arthur Burns. the archdeacons’ tours had largely been replaced by single meetings at the cathedral or a large church in the archdeaconry. p.63 By Victorian times. IV. 131.

67 Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell.65 We have even fewer theoretical statements about this discourse than about university sermons. it was often essentially a verbal diary of the topics the speaker had been thinking about since the last visitation. . Hammond. preaching. Christian Remembrancer 15 (1833). London. with applications specifically tailored to the clergy.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 68 (1982). the infamous conduct of the enemies of the Church … the Irish plunderers and traitors. clerical deportment. “Rhetorical Hybrids: Fusions of Generic Elements. it also took on the flavor of a “state of the diocese” address. a sermon was preached. “On Episcopal Visitations. which could often take as much as two hours to deliver.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 25 A 19th-century visitation service was the scene of two significant rhetorical events. the charge would resemble a sermon.67 At times. I. 65 W. the bishop or archdeacon himself would give a “charge”. the Ecclesiastical Commission. 146–47. but it seems safe to infer that the choice of the term “sermon” suggested it would have the same practical emphasis as other members of the genre. 68 Hammond. cathedral establishments.68 Finally. 66 Peter C. 175.. parochial duties.69 These discourses comprise a somewhat small but nonetheless significant part of the Tractarians’ canon – approximately a half-dozen sermons and twenty-five archidiaconal charges – and they will be the final genres considered in this essay. 38. First. The Parson and the Victorian Parish (London.66 This was an excellent example of what Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell have called a “rhetorical hybrid”. 1977). Parson and Parish.” Christian Remembrancer ns 1 (1841). schools. King’s College. p. in which elements of existing genres are “fused” together to create a new category of address.. 20–21. Later in the meeting. and the importance of union … among the clerical body. 69 Review of A Charge Delivered at the Primary Visitation in August and September. No. necessity of meekness and firmness on the part of the Clergy. by William Howley. generally by one of the junior clergy. one charge delivered in 1832 was described as a “syllabus of ministerial knowledge” that treats on the Church Societies.P. p. 176. as the speaker exhorted his clergy to pursue excellence in the execution of their priestly duties. When the subject turned to administrative matters such as the physical condition of the church buildings. 1832.

Lectures on Justification (London. he devotes the fourteen lectures to showing how only the Church of England possesses the right understanding of such matters as the nature of the Scriptures. 74 John Henry Newman. Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church. vi. The best-known collections are probably Newman’s Lectures on Justification and Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church. for example. p. 73 Ibid. v. which he believes had “perverted” the principles of true religion. the practice of all believers interpreting the Scriptures for themselves.26 robert h. published in 1837 and 1838.71 but he also asserts that one should not proceed without first establishing what those principles are. which he sees as having no principles at all. 75 Ibid. and it is our duty ever to be looking out for it”72 – but the volume as a whole has what the introduction says it would: “more reference to religious teaching than to action”.75 he sets out to demonstrate that justification 70 John Henry Newman. Viewed Relatively to Romanism and Popular Protestantism (London. ellison The Tractarians’ Lectures I will now consider the extent to which the Tractarians’ practices conformed to the theories. it becomes clear that offering practical application is not his chief concern. and “popular Protestantism”. Consequently. . p. They may also be among the “purest” examples of the lecture because – to return to Augustine’s words – they generally focus on “convincing” their audiences rather than “persuading” them. 72 Ibid. he acknowledges that “there certainly is a call upon us to exhibit our principles in action”. p. In the Introduction to Prophetical Office.73 Newman’s concern with doctrine is similarly evident in the opening pages of Lectures on Justification. Newman’s goal in both collections is to establish an Anglican via media. 422.. 52. He decided to speak on this subject because some had begun to question the “doctrine of justifying faith” as set forth in the “Formularies” of the Church of England.. pp. p. beginning with their lectures. p.74 Believing that the best way to counteract this “evil” is to offer “plain statements … argued out from Scripture”. 22–23. he reminds his audiences that “the day of judgment is literally ever at hand.. the authority of ancient tradition.70 As he pursues this aim. 15. He does not altogether eliminate exhortations to piety – in the final pages. 71 Ibid.. a middle ground between the errors of “Romanism”. 1837). and the notion of “private judgement”. 1838).

.86 it is not to be taken as a “rule of conduct”. 384. and the larger discussion of faith and works of which they are a part.. 169.... 83 Ibid. p. he says. 87 Ibid. 1990). p. 382. 3.80 Some “parts of the text”. 2–3. Its nine discourses were intended to stem the “tide of scepticism” caused by the 1860 publication of Essays and Reviews. p. 80 Henry Chadwick. nor only by one’s acts of obedience.. 1. 86 Ibid. along with the belief that baptism and the Holy Eucharist are “generally necessary to salvation”. would appear to support this assessment. 32.. he emphasizes that faith. 85 Ibid.81 Some of the statements above. moreover. 68.87 Attempting to do so. Lectures on Justification. he writes. “provide masterly and detached analysis. p. is a principle. 88 Ibid. however. both must be embraced..88 Pusey’s Daniel the Prophet is a collection of lectures very much like Newman’s. 81 Ibid. Newman asserts. 258. as “the elementary principle of the gospel system”.76 Neither can stand alone.. 318.85 and other complex theological topics. consists in God’s inward presence and lives in obedience”. as the “Lutheran” or “Continental view” would have it. as Roman Catholicism taught. which called into question the historical and scientific accuracy – and Ibid. is one of the great mistakes made by “the religion of the day”. a “sort of philosophical analysis of the Gospel”. p. Hill (Oxford.. “comes through the Sacraments.79 Henry Chadwick has described the style of this volume as “falling between lectures and sermons”. in the sense he is using it there. while other parts are like the parochial sermons in being in some degree rhetorical and homiletic”. is received by faith. 78 Ibid. p. an even balance.84 the “philosophical relation of justification to sanctification”. in other words.77 rather. 84 Ibid. 289. “The Lectures on Justification. p. p. 82 Newman.” in Newman After a Hundred Years.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 27 does not come solely by faith. Ibid. 77 76 . 79 Ibid. pp. Ian Ker and Alan G. for Newman’s calls to exhibit a “fruitful faith”82 are easily overshadowed by his discussions of the “instrumentality of faith”83 the “formal cause of justification”. In his final lecture. 289. p. ed.78 Justification. It is not. p. p.

90 Ibid. . but Pusey chose it as the subject of his lectures because “disbelief ” in it “had become an axiom” among the Higher Critics. p. and the formation of the Hebrew canon. p.94 His readers would be faced not only with the intricacies of the lectures themselves. p. Greek. the rise of the MedoPersian. to use Chadwick’s words. 168–80. Those who were present in the Oxford divinity school would have heard him discourse at length on such topics as the history of commerce between Babylon and Greece. 95 Ibid.92 This would in turn prove that God had revealed himself by supernatural means. not after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 b. He begins by arguing that Daniel wrote the book “about the middle of the 6th century. vindicating the historical faith against the attacks of the rationalist schools.93 Pusey’s argument seems fairly straightforward.91 If this were the case. 94 Ibid. v..90 Pusey’s goal..28 robert h. 92 Ibid.96 between following Jehovah and following Baal. In that issue.. and the coming of the Messiah – could not be accounts written after the fact. 90–113. a critic notes that 89 Edward Bouverie Pusey. but also with voluminous footnotes peppered with Hebrew and Greek and over fifty pages of appendices addressing linguistic and semantic matters “more in detail than an oral lecture admitted”. the evolution of Hebrew idiom. 270–308. repr.. 93 Ibid. but in harmony with. 229..”. iii. b.. p. but were in fact prophecies “not out of. p. vii. 103. the events envisioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – the fall of Babylon.c.. Daniel the Prophet: Nine Lectures Delivered in the Divinity School of the University of Oxford (1885. the rest of the Old Testament”.97 but. ellison therefore the divine inspiration – of the scriptures..c. p. pp. the empire-building undertaken by Alexander the Great and his successors. p. as the Higher Critics maintained. therefore.. but the development of his case is anything but simple. 91 Ibid. pp. A revealing statement about how these discourses should be judged appeared in the Eclectic Review in 1840.95 Pusey does make several references to the need to choose “between the darkness and the light”. 96 Ibid. is to renew people’s faith in the book’s historical and spiritual authenticity.89 The Essays mentioned Daniel only in passing. 97 Ibid. viii. the collection offers far more “detached analysis” than “rhetorical and homiletic” material. Minneapolis. 453–54. 1978). 80. and Roman empires.

by John Henry Newman.98 He probably would have said the same of Prophetical Office and Daniel the Prophet. It may also have been a statement about the “rhetoric of space”.100 he believed that “the general object of preaching” is to “make [people] understand their need of pardon”. while he was rector of St Mary’s. Critics who have judged these collections as successes include Richard Penaskovic. but the verdict would not be entirely fair. Eclectic Review ns 7 (1840). Newman’s Lectures on Justification: A Forgotten Classic. p. for he would be evaluating discourses in one genre according to the standards of . Letters and Diaries. Lectures on Justification. and even sent a scolding woman to prison” (“The Church Buildings. 222. a distinction made by Newman himself. vi.3. fined sellers of bad meat. accessed 16 December 2008). 102 Newman.H. which should have been delivered. they are all that sermons ought not to F. 1933).L. 633. It is.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 29 if the Lectures on Justification are “any specimen of [Newman’s] preaching. p. 70. but not fed”.4 (1985).” Faith & Reason 11. 101 Newman. for the hungry sheep must have looked up and stared to find themselves mystified.99 He seems to have reached this conclusion somewhat reluctantly. p. a suggestion that the pulpit is best reserved for the delivery of sermons.htm#. Newman’s practice of delivering most of his lectures there may have been a simple matter of capacity: the audience for lectures was almost certainly smaller than the audience for 100 Adam de Brome constructed the chapel in 1328.” http://www. making the chapel a more appropriate venue. but it is the most reasonable perspective to adopt. but by the degree to which they succeed as doctrinal or apologetic works. where “the Chancellor of the University … fixed rents. 5: 47. that “candor” required him to “view them as theological lectures. 103 Richard Penaskovic. Cross. 99 Ibid. however. “J. but in a side chapel named for Adam de Brome.104 and a Victorian reviewer who regarded Daniel as an important “contribution to the critical 98 Review of Lectures on Justification. 104 Frank Leslie Cross. who called Justification “a powerful new synthesis of St Paul and the Greek Fathers”. John Henry Newman (London.102 The Eclectic Review article and Newman’s own statements capture the essence of the rhetorical critic’s work. Lectures are not to be assessed in terms of how they fail as sermons. It originally functioned as a kind of “courtroom”. . who hailed Prophetical Office as “a magnificent apologia for … the Anglican ethos”.101 but he wrote the lectures to instruct them in the “theological system” that served as the foundation upon which the established church was built. not from a pulpit in the church. in fact. He goes on to write. He gave these talks not from the raised pulpit in St Mary’s. but from the chair in the Divinity Hall”.

The study must be preceded by the cultivation of the 105 Review of Daniel the Prophet.. by E. To varying extents. ellison understanding of the prophet. Perceval.108 and that it must be a spiritual as well as an intellectual pursuit. the harmonies between Daniel’s prophecies and those found elsewhere in the scriptures. and Marriott are “hybrid” works. volumes published by Harrison. 392. with footnotes quoting from their works in the original Latin and Greek. p.107 Harrison’s arguments.30 robert h. who endowed a series of lectures on “the prophecies relating to the Christian Church. Not all the Tractarians’ lectures. Pusey and An Historical Exposition of the Book of Daniel.B. Harrison differs from Pusey in the stress he places upon the audience’s responsibilities in handling the prophetic texts. 86–100. while the four lectures on Daniel deal with many of the same subjects Pusey addresses: the arguments for and against the traditional interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. 512. Harrison preached his Prophetic Outlines of the Christian Church and the Antichristian Power in accordance with the will of William Warburton. 24–70. and the extent to which Alexander the Great’s imperial efforts were the realization of the visions recorded in Daniel 8. are written in Newman’s and Pusey’s style.. which are based on Revelation 13:5 and 17:1.106 Most of the perceived associations between biblical prophecy and the Roman Church appear in the last two discourses. p. 108 Ibid. On several occasions. like those in Daniel the Prophet. but they were never intended to be. Prophetic Outlines of the Christian Church and the Antichristian Power as Traced in the Visions of Daniel and St. however. . by William Harris Rule. displaying the characteristics of lectures while also incorporating significant amounts of sermonic material. and in particular the apostacy of Papal Rome”. John: In Twelve Lectures Preached in the Chapel of Lincoln’s Inn on the Foundation of Bishop Warburton (London. 1849). They are instead examples of the speaking the Tractarians did when they – by design rather than by neglect – emphasized education over exhortation. he tells his hearers and readers that they must engage in their own “diligent study”. 107 Ibid. 10. 106 Benjamin Harrison.105 This is also the conclusion I am advocating here: these collections may not be sermons. pp. and as a magnificent protest against the quasi-infidelity that begins to infest our biblical commentaries”. London Quarterly Review 32. Bishop of Gloucester from 1759–79.64 (18 July 1869). are buttressed with numerous references to ancient authorities.

Lectures. Lectures on the Epistle of St. be quick to repent when necessary. 111 Charles Marriott. They should. p. p.. 158.115 “righteousness”. p. Pusey and Harrison dealt with prophecies.117 Ibid. 110 109 . Paul to the Romans (Oxford. Ibid. when the remaining prophecies would be fulfilled. were concerned with future events and thus might have had limited relevance for the people who first encountered them. self-denial. 20. 141.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 31 “reverential and self-distrusting spirit”109 necessary for a deep understanding of the Scriptures. 71. Plain Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians (London. 115 Marriott. p. he said. humility. writing “we will … see how St Paul places before us the practical consequences which ought to follow from our being made partakers of Christ’s Resurrection”111 and “The Apostle now … proceeds to impress upon the minds of the Ephesians the practical conclusions to which all the high mysteries and awful truths he had been dwelling upon. Marriott and Perceval. then. 112 Arthur Philip Perceval.116 and “the whole course of God’s dispensations” from Abraham to the resurrection of Christ. 232–36.110 The prominence of practical application in Marriott’s and Perceval’s lectures can be attributed. 21. 16–17.. 117 Ibid. 113 Ibid.. lectured on epistles – Marriott on Romans and Perceval on Ephesians – in which Paul sought to help people understand what it meant to be “reconciled to God” and to inspire them to “walk worthy of the vocation” to which they had been called (Romans 5:10. 55. pp. by definition.. on the other hand. 155. 1846). 1859). p. 116 Ibid. which. pp. 134. it must be followed by the holiness and spiritual diligence that would prepare them for life in the “latter days”.114 Marriott’s approach is much the same. 21–22. outlining and explaining Paul’s arguments and asserting that the exhortations he offered are as applicable to Victorian believers as they had been to first-century Christians.. 105. Both lecturers note Paul’s dual purpose.. p. The terms and mysteries he addresses include “faith”. were calculated to lead them”. 109–10. to the texts upon which their discourses are based. at least in part. p. and afterwards strive to live lives characterized by obedience. Ephesians 4:1). 114 Ibid.112 They also adopt this purpose themselves. Perceval both offers definitions of “grace” and “peace”113 and indicates how his listeners should respond to these gifts from God. and prayer.

and it remains for us truly to believe and heartily to obey”. ed. p.. and Dogmatic Theology”. Ten Personal Studies (London. comprehends practical doctrine”118 is at least as strong as Perceval’s: nearly every lecture ends with statements like “We have heard. 25. p. p. David Nicholls and Fergus Kerr. 1990). Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford The university sermon is the homiletic genre most closely related to the lecture. 151. 10. p. 120 John Henry Newman. his 1870 treatise on the nature of religious belief. p. 119 118 .. 2006). p.122 “implicit and explicit reason”. in the Apostle’s language. The best known specimens are Newman’s 1843 Sermons. p. MI. Chiefly on the Theory of Religious Belief. IN. David Nicholls and Fergus Kerr (Carbondale. it would have been almost as fitting for these collections to have been published with “sermons” rather than “lectures” on the title page. therefore. it is not surprising.120 the “connexion between Natural and Revealed Religion”. Fifteen Sermons. 292.125 Ibid. Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford (Oxford. 123 Ibid. 15. republished in 1872 as Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford. David Newsome. 122 Ibid. 180. 125 Newman. p. ellison His insistence that “doctrine. Ian Ker. “Introduction. Wilfrid Ward.” in John Henry Newman: Reason. Edwards.119 Such appeals are precisely what the Victorians expected in their preaching. 124 Ibid..32 robert h. These are also the most academic of all the Tractarians’ spoken works. Ibid. p. 173. the most numerous are the several dozen Pusey preached from the 1830s through the 1870s. and probably better suited for specialists than laity. 131. The Achievement of John Henry Newman (Notre Dame. Rhetoric and Romanticism. p. IL.. Biblical Exposition. classified the University Sermons not with his parochial material. Newman’s series of talks is indeed theological: he investigates Christianity’s perceived incompatibility with “the advance of philosophy and science”. 1966). 607. 121 Ibid.. 1991). 88. 46. 3.121 the “distinct offices of Faith and Reason in religious matters”. 1908). 251. p. The Parting of Friends: The Wilberforces and Henry Manning (Grand Rapids. History of Preaching.123 and the proper use of “Evidences. but rather with the Grammar of Assent.. that Newman himself. and numerous scholars and critics since. p. p.124 These are all difficult subjects.

127 and a strong hortatory strain is present throughout the volume. 235. p.128 as it was in the Lectures on Justification. Adverse to Faith”. He insists. we may thus use it. as well as discussions of justification. 130 . but by obedience”. Sermons Preached Between a. p. p. His gift. 172.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 33 Pusey’s addresses also include several sermons on the nature of faith. Lectures on Justification. pronounces the “sole and final judgment on the validity of an inference” (Newman. These discourses. that the faith he has in mind is not a kind of “philosophical analysis”. 8.. He warns the members of the university not to allow intellectual pursuits to take precedence over a life of faith. 129 Newman. Fifteen Sermons. prophecy. may often seem to be more “university” than “sermon”. 128 Newman. 132 Ibid. 4: 333. appendices. 36. 2: 406.. 131 Ibid. apostolic tradition. 384. accessed 16 December 2008).html. when “perfected”.133 Pusey’s university sermons likewise assert that reason must ultimately be subordinate to faith. 189.d. 133 Ibid. An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent.130 so people must “seek [Christ] in the way of His commandments”.129 It is “perfected. a word Pusey used to describe a sermon entitled “Un-Science. p. but we should not be too quick to evict them from the homiletic canon. and science and religion. Newman told his sister that his university sermons bore “immediately upon the most intimate and practical religious questions”. 134. http://www. not Science. Because “The ‘I am’ survives the ‘I think’ ”. moreover.126 could be applied to virtually all of them. with a view to His glory”. the intellectual faculty that. p. p. 1903].134 learned persons possess no a priori “advantage in appreciating The Grammar is perhaps best known for introducing the notion of the “illative sense”. 126 Liddon.newmanreader. the day of judgement. then. “Dissertation”. p. in the obedience of Faith. p.131 always behaving “as if He were sensibly present … to approve or blame [them] in all [their] private thoughts and all [their] intercourse with the world”. Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey. 134 Pusey.132 The volume closes on a practical rather than a theoretical note: Newman asserts that all that “remains” is to “make our prayer to the Gracious and Merciful God … that in all our exercises of Reason. – as He would have us. Letters and Correspondence. 127 Newman. p. 1859 and 1872. and other academic apparatus we find in many of their lectures.. new impression [London. not by intellectual cultivation. . which were written in a scholarly style and published with the notes. but rather a “principle of action”.

d. 313–37. “and you will not lose your faith”.140 Calls to a holy life can also be found in university sermons preached by other members of the Tractarian circle. 138 Ibid. p. A Sermon Preached Before the University in the Cathedral Church of Christ. 226. p. and to obey the Messiah whom the Jewish prophets had foretold. Pusey. he therefore not only educates his hearers about the nature of justifying faith. 1866 (Oxford. “Free enquiry has its place. 1859 and 1872. 140 Pusey. but more emotional” than Newman’s.. The Miracles of Prayer. rather than on such as force the intellect to assent”. 1859 and 1872.137 Pusey also insists that even a religiously-informed intellect is not to be cultivated simply for its own sake. Sermons Preached Between a. When Manning took his turn as Select Preacher in the 1840s. he declares.d. I think. 136 135 . but in the enfreed soul”. to receive the Sacrament in a penitent and humble spirit. “Live as you believe”. but he does insist that the scope of scholarly investigation is never unlimited or absolute.141 Manning did not forget that he was speaking in the university church: he often mentions the unique atmosphere of Oxford’s Ibid. Ibid. being antiintellectual here. could wind up leading them astray.138 Some of his addresses.. The importance of prayer and the reality of Judgement Day need little theoretical underpinning or patristic support. pp. believers must take the critical next step of consistently acting upon what they learn. Instead. 139 Edward Bouverie Pusey. focus entirely upon pious living. into the arrogance of allowing their reason to become the “judge and arbiter” of revelation. 1866). and the nuances of Hebrew idiom. 134–60.135 Their education. As he puts it in a sermon preached in 1868. 137 Ibid.. in Oxford.139 Such activities.. In his university sermons. 30. p. pp. p. Sermons Preached Between a. he preaches. and atheism. are the best defense against the 19th century’s increasing tendencies toward rationalism. 11.136 Pusey is not. 104. 141 Arthur Wollaston Hutton. the mystery of the Real Presence. Cardinal Manning (Boston. he delivered sermons that a reviewer named Arthur Hutton described as “less scholarly. 1892). but also exhorts them to demonstrate their convictions through the deeds they perform. in fact. p. focusing “on considerations that warm the heart and bend the will. on Septuagesima Sunday. skepticism. 219.34 robert h. so he is able to devote entire sermons to calling people to earnest devotion and admonishing them to conduct themselves in a way that would place them on the road to heaven rather than the path to hell. ellison the Cross of Christ”. in fact.

173–78. . Sermons. 340–41.143 We do not see extended treatments of difficult theological concepts. Cardinal Manning. and his decision to focus on exhortation rather than on argument was the very “secret of his power”. 408. Charles Marriott.147 Their concern is that Christians focus more on purifying their hearts than on developing their intellects. Sermons Preached Before the University. 171. pp. pp. 144 Hutton. 332–33. Marriott. Mary’s. 147–73. 103–6. the two Tractarians who succeeded Newman as vicar of St Mary’s. Eden and Marriott explicitly set such approaches aside. worship. Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford (Oxford. 380–82. p. Sermons. frequently making statements such as “I cannot bring myself to approach it apologetically”146 or “argument will not make these things plain”.144 Hutton would probably have said much the same thing about Charles Page Eden and Charles Marriott. 143 Ibid. [and] holiness”. 178. 146 Eden. 1844). Sermons Preached at S. 225–39. to obey their pastors and other Church authorities. more on preparing their souls for Christ’s coming than on charting a precise chronology of the last days. 196–217. “Manning was at his best in the hortatory style”. pp. Sermons Preached at S. 7–22. as they admonish their congregations to regularly engage in private devotions. Sermons Preached at S. p. but rather approaching God “with awe” and learning to “know Him by self-abasement. and to faithfully sow the spiritual crops that Christ would harvest when he returned to the earth.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 35 educational system and of the careers his hearers would pursue in just a few years’ time. 1855). p. but this is not necessarily a sign of inferior preaching. A “hortatory style” permeates their preaching. more on accepting the Bible as God’s revelation to his people than on constructing elaborate theories of inspiration. Mary’s. and to consider the eternal consequences of everything they said and did. pp. Mary’s in Oxford (London. 145 Charles Page Eden. 219. 147 Marriott. 320–23. 34–38.145 This emphasis upon practice is particularly evident in sermons on topics that would seem especially amenable to academic or theoretical exploration.142 The seven sermons he published in 1844 are accordingly replete with admonitions to pray as well as study. 1843). Neither did he allow his audience to forget that their “chief aim” should not be receiving academic recognition or securing professional success. p. 404–409. pp.148 They do not 142 Henry Edward Manning. 336–56. as Hutton asserted in 1892. and in Other Places (Oxford.. 148 Eden. to resist the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. to avoid succumbing to the temptations of the world.

are clearly academic essays. but he develops it in fairly complex ways. i. 297. but rather that they need not be. Rivington. and even Plato’s and Aristotle’s works. along with another 150 by Thomas Keble. p. He introduces a new theological concept – the idea of “implicit faith” – and discusses it in a highly allusive way. p. and live out what they learned as faithfully as they are able. Ibid. Academical and Occasional.150 Others. they are plainly stated in the scriptures. he suggests. .. Pusey. and John Keble. Keble’s university preaching contains elements of all of these approaches. Isaac Williams. the Arian and Socinian heresies. a prominent London firm known especially for publishing religious works. p. and Robert Francis 149 150 151 152 Keble. Two of his university sermons seem to have been written for parochial rather than academic audiences: “Counsels of Perfection” is a series of “plain observations” on the virtue of “self-sacrifice”.149 while “Endurance of Church Imperfections” cautions the people against allowing “religious perplexities” to undermine their fidelity to the established church. This idea is simple enough. touching upon such varied subjects as Jewish history. 1–75. pp.151 His Preface to the collection states that his goal was “to take a popular view” of “great ecclesiastical subjects”. Sermons Academical and Occasional opens with three discourses in which Keble asserts that intellectual sophistication is not a prerequisite to spiritual maturity. Sermons..36 robert h. Ibid. however. and the congregants’ duty is to accept them as given. With nearly 200 sermons by Newman. Ibid. A Collection of “Plain” Sermons From 1839 to 1848. in many cases. George Prevost. knowledge can actually do more to hinder faith than to cultivate it. ellison maintain that these elements of the faith cannot be proven. determine what demands they make on their character and conduct. an editor would not have been out of line in choosing to publish them alongside Newman’s or Pusey’s university sermons.152 but these sermons would have been beyond the grasp of all but the most sophisticated congregations. issued ten volumes of Plain Sermons. by Contributors to the “Tracts for the Times”.. 277. Bishop Butler’s analogies.

Williams). Pusey). 1: 295–302. the Plain Sermons’ emphasis upon Christian conduct is evident from the opening page. the series offers scholars an excellent overview of the Tractarians’ parochial work. they offer few references to ancient authorities or 17th-century divines. Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey. for example. [John Henry Newman]. and there is none of the scholarly apparatus that we find in abundance in the lectures and the tracts. not as tracts.” in Plain Sermons. Victorian readers probably came to this collection with two sets of expectations. p. Scriptural Views of Holy Baptism (#67–69. These documents. straightforward. moreover. “The Apostolic Church. The Episcopal Church Apostolical (#7. and Indications of a Superintending Providence in the Preservation of the Prayer Book and in the Changes which It has Undergone (#86. The Advertisement to the inaugural volume notes that while the contributors had been pleased with the “extensive reception” of the Tracts for the Times. They are among the shortest and simplest of all the Tractarians’ works: they rarely exceed ten or twelve pages. these texts were published as sermons. pp.154 “The Church Prayer-Book a Safe Guide”155 – sound very much like those given to the tracts. pp. “The Church Prayer-Book a Safe Guide. On the other hand. so readers could also expect to find a good deal of exhortation and practical application. All of these elements are evident in the collection.156 Readers who browsed through these and other sermons would find ample references to sacramentalism.153 “Infant Baptism”. 5: 139–47. 154 153 . While other discourses often offer applications only near the end. pp. 2: 140. readily accessible fashion. they were concerned that some who [Thomas Keble]. suggesting that both their doctrine and practice would be presented in a simple. “Infant Baptism. but it is nonetheless clear that the Plain Sermons were written by men committed to the doctrines which the Tracts for the Times were intended to uphold. episcopacy. not tracts. are plain sermons. most of which had been published by the time the series commenced. On the one hand. the subtitle identifies it with the Oxford Movement. so they could reasonably have anticipated that it would reinforce the doctrines expressed in the Tracts for the Times. Newman). however. 157 Liddon.” in Plain Sermons. 155 [Isaac Williams].” in Plain Sermons.157 These concepts are not often discussed in detail. 156 See. billed as plain sermons. 2: 197–205. The titles of some of the sermons – “The Apostolic Church”.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 37 Wilson. and other leading tenets of the Oxford Movement. They were.

he shall know of the doctrine. 13:8–9 – “For we can do nothing against the truth. 1: 9.” in Plain Sermons. 96). For we are glad. Its most extended treatment can be found in Robert Francis Wilson’s seven sermons for Passion Week (pp. accordingly. “We Must Have Root in Ourselves. 1: 2. 161 [John Keble]. p. 50). 162 [Edward Bouverie Pusey]. when we are weak. First. restoring Peter to the circle of the Apostles and assuring the penitent thief that he would receive “an immediate place” in heaven when he died (pp. MS 4474. I have not found the reasons for the changes. but for the truth.163 The opening Advertisement notes that John 7:17 – “if any one will do His will. Ibid. but were rather “truths of immediate and essential importance. 3: 2. 1: 1. p. and ye are strong: and this also we wish.” in Plain Sermons.38 robert h. p. 1: 2. but both decisions were 159 158 . Thomas Keble was not the only contributor who found it “strange and unaccountable that Christians should go on from day to day … reading and hearing the word of God” while making “little or no progress in holiness”. which focus on the mercy Christ showed to all who mistreated him in the days before his crucifixion. he offered forgiveness rather than condemnation. Lambeth Palace.” in Plain Sermons.162 In keeping with the idea of “reserve”.161 and Pusey notes that “An especial judgement is throughout Scripture denounced on those who have much knowledge.. 164 “Advertisement. In a letter to Williams.159 The relationship between knowledge and action is twofold. without striving to obey Him … is only fit to pervert and ruin the soul”. To those who were ready and repented. published “in order to show that the subjects treated of in the ‘Tracts’ were not set forth as mere parts of ideal systems”. probably written in December 1838. 7: 45–100). 2: 53. but little love and cold deeds”.160 His brother warns his congregants that “the knowledge of Christ. 163 The corollary of this maxim – that knowledge will not be given to those who are unable or unwilling to obey – also appears occasionally in the Plain Sermons. 185). 67–69. whether it be of God” – is an “admonition which … we might. “The Certainty of Judgment. many of us. be too apt to forget”. fol.164 “Advertisement. ellison embraced Tractarian doctrines “in theory” appeared to be “at no pains to realize them in their daily practice”. even your perfection” (London. His first suggestion was adopted.” p.158 The sermons were. p. Thomas Keble asked that the title be changed from “village sermons” to “plain sermons” and that the “motto” for the project be 2 Cor. This verse is one of two major changes made in the planning stages of the series. but John 7:17 was ultimately selected as the “motto”. p. “The Cross Borne For Us. The expression of this mercy was twofold: Christ concealed the truth from those who were not “ready to receive it”. 160 [Thomas Keble]. lest they reject it and thus “sin against the Holy Ghost” (p. bearing more or less directly on our every day behaviour”. people must act upon the religious knowledge that they have. they also emphasize that obedience is the only way to gain more knowledge. and In Us.” in Plain Sermons.

p. p. Like all of his university sermons. 297–98. Pusey. “Apostolic principle[s] of interpretation”. persuasion is his sole concern.170 but he does so without also touching upon matters such as “the history of theology”. “Justifying Faith. “Love the Safeguard of Faith against Superstition” deals with the proper relationship of faith and reason. pp. 5. 8: 236–44. 9: 226. In parochial sermons entitled “Justifying Faith” and “Practical Faith. p. [Edward Bouverie Pusey].” p. the Son. p. 5: 245. “Inward Witness to the Truth of the Gospel. in which Jesus portrayed himself as “the good shepherd” who “giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). the Condition of Life. 7: 303. 168 [George Prevost]. Academical and Occasional. and the Holy Ghost.166 John cautions that “Our humble obedience.169 He makes the same appeals to choose “the way of the Cross … before all others”. and Williams quote or closely paraphrase this verse.” in Plain Sermons. to bring his audience to assent to his historical and theological propositions.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 39 Newman. “A Lesson of Humility. need a means of ensuring that their faith does not go “to seed” and become fortuitous: the title and Advertisement in their current forms clearly capture the simple and practical nature of this genre of the sermon.” in Plain Sermons. but he arrives at those applications in very different ways.” in Plain Sermons. however.” in Plain Sermons. 3: 137. Sermons.168 Additional evidence of the “plain” nature of these sermons can be seen in how they differ from university discourses preached on similar subjects. When Keble spoke on faith before the university. 8: 208.171 Similar contrasts can be seen in two sermons Newman preached on John 10. and to inspire them to nourish their souls even more zealously than they were developing their minds.” in Plain Sermons. 166 Keble. Thomas Keble defines “doctrine” as the “truths offered to the hearts … of true believers”. p. 170 Keble. “Practical Faith. pp. [Isaac Williams]. 165 [John Henry Newman]. Both end with calls for people to demonstrate their faith by their obedience.” pp. 169 [John Keble]. the Condition of Life”.” in Plain Sermons. “The Father. not our self-willed speculations. will prepare us for the revelation of ‘the mystery of God’ ”. “Justifying Faith.165 and its essence appears throughout the series. “The Apostolic Church. he says. pp. “The Hidden God. 10. “Obedience the Condition of Knowing the Truth. 241. 4: 25–32. he attempted both to “convince” and to “persuade”. or the philosophical notion of “Moral Taste”.167 and Prevost promises the working classes that if they would “do their duty as in His sight … He will be mindful of them … and make known unto them … the secrets of His love”. Christians. [John Keble]. 167 [John Keble]. 74.” in Plain Sermons. 171 Keble. .

pp.40 robert h. a Comfort to the Penitent (Oxford. pp.” in Plain Sermons. 173 172 . sure to fall in with the wolf ”.. “The Shepherd of Our Souls. 162–63..175 These physical dangers may not have been an issue for the members of Newman’s congregation. When Jesus came and took that title for himself. Ezekiel. 175 [John Henry Newman]. 161. 162. and thus be assured of eternal life. he focuses on “this is my body” and “this is my blood”. p. 5: 316–17.178 Newman. “He shall be their Lord and Master. being a shepherd was a dangerous task. 1843). but Victorian believers were in the same perilous spiritual condition as the ancient Israelites had been: they were as “sheep in the trackless desert. As we would expect. the difficult and controversial statements recorded in Matthew 26 and 1 Corinthians 10. p. they would not be deceived by strangers who would lead them astray and put them in peril of their souls.177 Perhaps the greatest differences between “plain” and “university” preaching can be seen in Pusey’s sermons on the Eucharist. 18. will be sure to lose themselves.173 Those who loved Christ would hear his voice and follow him. Fifteen Sermons. requiring constant vigilance – and sometimes personal sacrifice – to protect the flocks from predators and thieves. 174 Ibid. 178 Edward Bouverie Pusey. ellison mere “superstition or fanaticism”.174 The application Newman offers in a plain sermon entitled “The Shepherd of Our Souls” is grounded not in the tension between the intellectual and spiritual faculties. but Newman asserts that it is instead found in a “right state of heart”. he rejects both the Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation and the Dissenters’ belief that the communion service was “only a thankful commemoration of His redeeming love”. Zechariah. and the other prophets had long foretold the coming of a shepherd for the lost sheep of Israel. p. p. their King and God”. but in Old Testament prophecy and the realities of pastoral life in 1st-century Palestine. unless they follow the shepherd.. The Holy Eucharist.176 The task for Newman’s parochial congregation is thus no different from that of his university audience: they must “keep close” to Christ. 177 Ibid.172 Some might expect such a “safeguard” to be found in reason. who. 324. In “The Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent” and other academic works. 176 Ibid. Ibid. resolving that whatever may come their way.

p. p. for they are the first indication of Pusey’s hortatory goals. p. the traditional Anglican view that “the outward elements remain. 14. repr. 1851]. Holy Eucharist.P. a “solemn” and “literal” exegesis would lead to a via media. 392–418). 182 Pusey. Pusey uses the phrase “Holy Communion”.182 In one instance. the revisions led to a change in genre: Pusey added so many quotations to “The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist” that it was essentially transformed from a sermon to a catena patrum. 4 [London. on the Latter Part of the Catechism [London. 1850]. The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. 5. This is My Body. San Francisco. perhaps less educated. Parochial and Plain Sermons [1891. pp. 181 “Dr. pp. 180 Michael Chandler.180 It was not uncommon for his sermons to last for ninety minutes. Williams’ “Self-Examination before Communion” (Plain Sermons. is entitled “Attendance on Holy Communion” and stresses the importance of receiving the sacrament often and in the proper spirit (pp. Pusey’s two plain sermons on the topic are virtually the antithesis of these works. and still that there is the real Presence of the Body of Christ”. 183 Newman’s sermon in this series for example. A Sermon Preached Before the University at S. audience. 1997]. 804. on the Second Sunday After Epiphany. pp.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 41 In his view. The differences are first evident in the titles: instead of “The Holy Eucharist”. vi–vii. pp. Mary’s. pp. 1272–81). 1871). but it is nonetheless a more doctrinal discourse. Pusey. focusing on how Jesus’ reference to himself as the “bread of heaven” in John 6:50 is an allusion to his mysterious but nonetheless very real presence in the bread served in the communion service (John Henry Newman. an anthology of patristic writings similar to those found in many of the later Tracts. Other practical sermons with “communion” in the title include Manning’s “Worthy Communion” (Sermons. . 260–72). The subtitles are significant as well. 1868]. 1 [London. they left no records of why they made this choice. An Introduction to the Oxford Movement (London. and Pusey’s own “Increased Communions” (Parochial Sermons. 27. which appears to be the Tractarians’ preferred title for plain sermons on the subject. he added extensive footnotes and lengthy passages that he had not had time to deliver. Liddon’s observation that Pusey “could not easily express himself other than at length”.” Blackwood’s 162 (December 1897). in Oxford. while “Exceeding 179 Edward Bouverie Pusey. pp. on the Fifth Sunday After Easter 1871 (Oxford.181 when he published his Eucharistic sermons. 1853 (Oxford. 1871). Presence of Christ.179 These discourses illustrate H. Edward Bouverie Pusey.183 As far as I know. 2003). “Privileges” is meant to remind people of the blessings to be gained in a spiritual union with God. 26. His “Eucharistic Presence” is a “parochial” rather than a “university” address. A Sermon Preached before the University in the Cathedral Church of Christ. but we can reasonably infer that they regarded “communion” as a somewhat less formal or technical term than “eucharist” and thus better suited to a parochial. 285–96). Pusey and the Oxford Movement. vii. 5: 94–102).

vi. “Holy Communion – Exceeding Danger in Careless Receiving. his discourse must be simple in its “words”. and to “strive to deepen and keep [them] by thinking and acting thereon”. This is due in part to the circumstances of their publication. ellison Danger in Careless Receiving. pp.188 Pusey. and “purpose”. application is not omitted. they would be more apt to behave righteously. according to Harvey Goodwin’s definition. there was nothing in the theoretical literature or Oxford statutes that demanded that this be the case.” in Plain Sermons. but to “retrace in [their] minds the things which [they] already know”.186 If they were to think devotionally. and they could vary greatly in the level of practical exhortation they contained. 186 [Edward Bouverie Pusey]. 3: 90. admonitions and exhortations are the entire raison d’etre of the sermons. meditating on the magnitude of God’s sacramental gifts. Pusey “presented” Apostolic doctrine in “The Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent” and “dwelt” on it in detail in “The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist”. “thoughts”. He devotes several pages to the “nature of God’s Sacraments”. but it tends to appear only at the end. 131. p.” p.. p.187 In Pusey’s university addresses. 188 Goodwin. The clergyman who wished to preach a plain sermon. p. the Plain Sermons appeared in a single series overseen by an editorial team. “doctrine”. 187 Ibid. While their sermons were often technical and highly academic. here. “construction”. University preachers needed to be more hortatory than lecturers. 3: 120. The Tractarians’ plain sermons are the most homogeneous of all the discourses discussed thus far. [Edward Bouverie Pusey]. 185 184 . but they enjoyed much the same liberty in their style. Death in Neglecting. iii. While each volume of university sermons was published as an independent project. – Privileges. His congregants’ task. Lecturers had the greatest freedom in their work: their arguments could be straightforward or complex.” in Plain Sermons.42 robert h.184 but in the plain sermons. “Holy Communion. Presence of Christ. and perhaps more importantly. “manner”. exposition is not his central concern.185 but he also insists that such matters should not be pursued too far. “What Constitutes a Plain Sermon?. however. he says. spending time each weekday in confession. 3: 105. The uniformity was also. self-examination and other spiritual disciplines in order to be “worthy partakers” of the Eucharist on Sundays. faced limitations of both content and style. a function of the genre. Death in Neglecting” serves as a warning against holding those blessings in too low esteem. is not to acquire more knowledge.

“Kings to Be Honoured for Their Office’ Sake. pp. of what had been brought forward in catechizing children after the Second Lesson … These will therefore be found to differ from the ordinary Sermons in this publication. pp.” in Plain Sermons. and every contributor addresses a range of subjects. he noted that he saw the Plain Sermons as “a vehicle for what people will not otherwise read”. 1: 186–95. or from the general tenor of Scripture.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 43 This is not to say. pp. He evidently saw greater potential in Williams’ catechetical pieces. 1: 236–47. In an 1844 letter to Williams. pp. 9: 78–79.197 [Thomas Keble]. They are based on texts from throughout the scriptures.191 and Christianity and the political order. “Christian Education. pp.195 and the communion of the saints196 are similar to what we find in Thomas Keble’s “Fidelity of Abraham”. “Jesus Christ. p. His Only Son. as consisting not so much of deductions drawn from a particular passage.192 A question of genre arises in the ninth volume. they consist.” in Plain Sermons. 196 [Isaac Williams].189 the angelical orders.” in Plain Sermons.” in Plain Sermons. Some of his topics are also addressed in other volumes. “The Fidelity of Abraham. 195 [Isaac Williams]. MS 4474.” in Plain Sermons. Maker of Heaven and Earth.” in Plain Sermons. suggesting that they might “do more good” if they were published separately bearing Williams’ name (London. his discussions of the faith of Abraham. 10: 285–95. 9: 82–90. “The Communion of Saints. fols.” pp. “Advertisement. pp. 197 [Thomas Keble]. however. as of an accumulation of direct texts and Scriptural illustrations in confirmation of some fundamental point of doctrine. 193 Williams. but this strikes me as a fairly minor issue. that the Plain Sermons are monolithic. More important are the traits that Williams’ sermons have in common with his colleagues’. [John Keble]. Lambeth Palace.193 It is true that Williams is sometimes more wide-ranging than the other contributors in his use of biblical quotations. 6: 165–71. John Keble also had doubts about the suitability of these addresses. In the Advertisement to that volume. 192 [John Keble]. which consists entirely of sermons by lead editor Isaac Williams.190 the consecration of churches. 10: 89–97. 190 189 .194 the divinity of Christ. 9: 186–95. we find discourses on Christian education. In addition to the familiar topics of the life of Christ and the importance of holy living. for the most part. 152–152v). 191 [Isaac Williams]. “Anniversary of Consecration. Our Lord. For although they have been preached as Sermons. “God the Father Almighty. Williams writes that his works perhaps might come more properly under the name of Catechetical Lectures. 194 [Isaac Williams].” in Plain Sermons. 1–2. pp.” in Plain Sermons. “Angelical Order and Obedience.

[John Henry Newman]. moreover. rather. to ask “what great practical lesson may we derive from this circumstance?”200 or to declare. “Jesus Christ. pp. 9: 57. Their three visitation sermons are heavily doctrinal. p. 9: 7. 9: 137. 199 198 .205 The frequency of these applications in Marriott’s and Perceval’s discourses is almost enough to classify them as sermons. p.” in Plain Sermons. 5: 148–56. “He Rose Again from the Dead. 9: 88.” in Plain Sermons.” in Plain Sermons. 205 [Isaac Williams]. 203 [Isaac Williams]. The inclusion of them here is sufficient to keep these addresses from being reclassified as lectures. it seems reasonable to infer that it would be viewed as belonging closer to the “university” end of the homiletic spectrum.” in Plain Sermons.204 and he writes that while the resurrection of Jesus was of course a miraculous event and a key tenet of the faith. The Tractarians and Visitations Another significant rhetorical contrast is to be found in the Tractarians’ visitation sermons and episcopal charges. “A Member of Christ.199 Throughout the volume. p. 200 [Isaac Williams]. 204 [Isaac Williams].44 robert h.203 he asserts that keeping “all the laws of God” is at least as important as believing “all the Articles of the Christian Faith”.” in Plain Sermons. “All the Articles of the Christian Faith. p. Our Lord. such a one as lives up to the Gospel of Christ in all things”. I have not seen any theoretical statements specifically concerned with visitation preaching but. He goes on. 202 [Isaac Williams]. Williams does not stop with the doctrinal confirmations mentioned in the Advertisement.” in Plain Sermons. 201 [Isaac Williams].” in Plain Sermons. “Let us bring this awful subject home to ourselves in the most real and practical way”. p. “A Child of God. 9: 31. This is indeed what we find in John Keble’s and Manning’s work. pp. dealing with [George Prevost]. “The Unity of the Church. “there is no greater miracle or marvel upon earth than a good Christian. ellison Prevost’s “The Word Made Flesh”.201 He both examines what it meant to say that baptism made someone “A Member of Christ”202 and notes the “points of duty” given to “baptized Christians”. like all the other addresses in the series.198 and Newman’s “Unity of the Church”. p. they are. given the educated clerical audience. properly regarded as sermons. 7: 294–301. 9: 20. “The Christian Name.” in Plain Sermons. His Only Son. “The Word Made Flesh.

. is “the one sole foundation … of the faith”. which Paul elsewhere refers to as a “deposit” or a “commission”. he says. pp. and of “the consent of the Christian Church” as expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles.209 the Church since then had invoked it as a guide to properly interpreting the Scriptures. address an equally crucial matter: the body of beliefs that had been transmitted through that unbroken Apostolic line. preached in the summer of 1835.212 206 Henry Edward Manning. Keble’s text is perhaps the most familiar one to speak of those beliefs: 2 Timothy 1:14. 14. 1835). Manning uses a different text – Galatians 1:8. it is best viewed through the lens of apostolic tradition as set forth in the creeds. The English Church.. 210 Henry Edward Manning. 207 John Keble. therefore. The Rule of Faith. preached three years after “The English Church” – and Keble’s “Primitive Tradition Recognised in Holy Scripture”. Its Succession. June 13. at the Primary Visitation of the Right Reverend William.208 The Fathers had used this tradition as a “touchstone” to determine which texts were orthodox and thus could be admitted to the canon. p. p. 209 Ibid. in lineal descent. at the Visitation of the Worshipful and Reverend William Dealtry.206 if this were not so. 1838. A Sermon. 20. 27. Manning’s other visitation sermon – “The Rule of Faith”. September 27. Lord Bishop of Chichester (London. Chancellor of the Diocese. p. to be relied upon only in matters that the Church has not directly addressed.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 45 matters of particular importance to the clergy. 1836). of the Lord’s Apostles”. the Archdeacon of Chichester (London. Preached in the Cathedral Church. delivered in the fall of 1836. the clergy whom they had ordained would have no assurance of the validity of their commissions. at the Visitation of the Ven. July 7. is the “Primitive Tradition” of his title. 9 – but comes to the same conclusion.210 but its meaning is not self-evident. p.211 “Private judgment” is. Manning follows a long “line of evidence” to establish that Anglican bishops are in fact “the successors. Because it is “the fixed witness and representative of the apostolic preaching”.D. In “The English Church”. pp. Preached in the Cathedral Church of Winchester. Primitive Tradition Recognised in Holy Scripture: A Sermon. 208 Ibid. A Sermon. D. Preached in the Cathedral Church of Chichester. 1835. 5. The Bible. 38–45. 211 Ibid. 16. 20. . 10.. 212 Ibid. he declares. 1836 (London. in which St Paul exhorts his protégé to “keep” that “good thing which was committed unto [him]”. that oral body of “apostolical doctrines and church rules” that predated the New Testament. pp. 39.207 He argues that this “thing”. and Witness for Christ. 1838)..

those who receive it have the responsibility of preserving it. and “Letter to the Editor of the British Magazine. p. not impose laws upon her” ([John Keble]. 215 Ibid.” British Magazine 3 [March 1833]. for example. and their duties are twofold. of course. 48. Where it is to end. Ibid. [and] evolution of new truths”. p. “Church Reform. Academical and Occasional. which Keble defines as “the Church betraying to the civil power more or less of the good deposit. pp. “Church Reform.” October 1839. Keble published his objections to these developments in his Advertisement to “National Apostasy”. 44. the connotation also underlies statements such as government is “to execute the laws of Christ’s Church. 55–63. for they could cause the Church to leave the moorings of “primitive tradition” and drift away into the errors of Protestantism or Romanism. 250–71. 201–37. The Victorian Church (New York. discovery. 50. which our Lord had put exclusively into her hands”. and an 1850 judicial decision that allowed George Gorham to take a post in the diocese of Exeter despite his bishop’s belief that his views on infant baptism were unsound. H.215 “Betrayals” Keble condemns in other works include the Irish Church Temporalities Act of 1833. No. 1966). pp. 46. 216 For discussions of the Irish Church Act and the Gorham Judgment. 1959). for the term “Erastianism” more commonly refers to the government usurping the authority of the church. who can tell?” ([John Keble]. and Owen Chadwick. 214 213 . Keble’s definition is somewhat unusual. 366). 1869). he does not refer to any specific developments.216 In this sermon. Primitive Tradition. see Olive J. P. IV. the pursuit of “improvement.” pp. p. Review of The State in Its Relations with the Church. First. not to the church voluntarily surrendering it (the Oxford English Dictionary. Keble uses it in this sense in the Advertisement to “National Apostasy” (Sermons. but he does insist that the clergy must not acquiesce in any further efforts to force the Church to “yield one jot or one tittle of the faith”.E.217 Keble. pp. pp. 27. 101–19. pp. the Anglican clergy. Liddon (Oxford. Occasional Papers.46 robert h.. they are not to be given to “novelty”. Keble’s text contains a command – keep “that good thing” – which suggests that once the nature of the “deposit” has been determined. Gladstone. 375) and the “persecution of the church has begun. The recipients are.214 such innovations are unnecessary and dangerous. Primitive Tradition..213 Since the Gospel had already “once for all” been “delivered to the saints”. ed. ellison The practical implications of these arguments are not difficult to discern. in which Parliament unilaterally reorganized diocesan boundaries and finances. by W.” in “The State in Its Relations with the Church”: A Paper Reprinted from the “British Critic. British Critic 26 [October 1839]. defines an Erastian as one who supports “the complete subordination of the ecclesiastical to the secular power”). Church and Parliament: The Reshaping of the Church of England 1828–1860 (Stanford and London. 127–28). Brose. 217 Keble.. 360–78. pp. They were also to resist “Erastianism”.

81–86. p. 1886). but their sermons are excellent examples of the concept. Benjamin Harrison. Ibid. The Church the Guardian of Her Children: Her Guide. Early in the discourse. Harrison and Manning take the role of “the pastors’ pastor”. at the Ordinary Visitation. in May. Manning’s addresses a deed they must avoid. and be held guiltless. or the inflated Gnostic”. her spokesmen must not be found to be propagators of error. 219 218 . involve the ministers of the Church … in the peril of condemnation”.. 1871). than the fickle Galatian. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone at the Ordinary Visitation in April MDCCCLXXXIV (London. speaking to the clergy about their character and conduct in much the same way a priest would address his own congregation each Sunday. At times. 85. 221 Benjamin Harrison. Rule of Faith. 9. he cautions. in England. The priests are instructed to teach the Apostolic faith. and those features are specially tailored for the audience at hand. Since the Church has been entrusted with the truth. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. p. would be grave indeed: “besides the sinful temper of mind producing the error. at the Ordinary Visitation in May. MDCCCLXXI (London.218 Manning leaves no doubt of its relevance to Victorian times. To a certain extent. the charges given later in the visitation service read like sermons as well.221 be sure parishioners regularly receive the Sacrament. MDCCCL (London. 7. pp. he tells his fellow clergy that Paul’s “apostolic sentence … is everlasting. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. Keble’s and Manning’s visitation addresses fulfill both of the terms used to describe them: they contain the features expected of all sermons. Keble and Manning may not have been familiar with the phrase “audience awareness”. Charge of 1849. 220 Ibid.220 In short. p. these comments are specifically tailored for the audience.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 47 Keble’s application focuses on what the clergy should observe. p. 8.222 distribute alms to the poor. 222 Manning. 1850). 39.. 27. and Its Present Position. Benjamin Harrison. The Continuity of the Church. the pernicious effects which the error in turn produces on the flock of Christ. As was the case with the visitation sermons. the Oracles of God. his text was Paul’s decree recorded in Galatians 1:8: “If any man preach any other Gospel … than that we have preached unto you … let him be accursed”. p. We may no more swerve from the pure faith of Christ’s Gospel. p. and collect Manning. This warning is as old as the scriptures themselves.219 The consequences of such swerving. Visitation Courts and Synods.

226 Such unity would be desirable in any age. zeal. 57. p. 45.223 They are not merely to tell their people what the Christian life demands. MDCCCLXXV (London. pp. not intellectual and combative. 229 Henry Edward Manning. Measures and Means of Unity in the Church at the Present Time. p. Instead of simply avoiding offenses punishable in the ecclesiastical or civil courts. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. 1842). 23. Harrison insists that he does not want his visitations to be contentious events and cautions his clergy against creating divisions among themselves. Controversial reasons weigh little against devotion. And these best of arguments are most in our power”. pp. priests are to be blameless in all their ways: pure in their thoughts. Manning often speaks of the importance of ethos. 230 Manning. 225 Henry Edward Manning. p. 1846). declaring that people will not heed what a priest says in the pulpit if they do not respect the sermons he preaches with his life. models of “lowliness. and headlong assertion”. or historical difficulties against visible sanctity of life. “The deeper movements of men’s hearts need other arguments. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. Harrison. Self-denial and silence are overwhelming answers even to the intellect. Prospects of Peace for the Church in the Prayer Book and Its Rules. Benjamin Harrison. pp. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. Charge of 1848. 228 Benjamin Harrison. pp. they are to live it out before them as well.224 Holiness and unity are the virtues most often mentioned in the charges. pp. ellison offerings for the support of overseas missions. 31. 1843 (London. at the Ordinary Visitation. 1875). Church the Guardian of Her Children. 74–75. 17–18. love. should be spiritual and peaceful.229 he declared in 1845. in May 1874 (London. 23. 10. 1843). 1874).225 In many of his published works.227 Clergy who find themselves in the midst of such difficulties must beware of those who would attempt to set them against each other. v-vi. perfect in their spirits.48 robert h. “We have too much of rash speculation. Church the Guardian of Her Children. 24–26.228 Such a defense. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. .230 223 Henry Edward Manning. 226 Harrison. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. Manning. 224 Henry Edward Manning. and be prepared to set aside their differences in order to present a united defense against an increasingly hostile world. Visitation Courts and Synods. Manning says. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone at the Ordinary Visitation in April. p. 1845 (London. 1842 (London. devotion” and “deadness” to the world. p. 227 Harrison. 1845). 1846 (London. Charge of 1845. but it is especially important in the times of trial and crisis that often faced the Victorian Church. 55.

232 Benjamin Harrison. its focus was not developing “individual character”. but rather attending to “the institutions and administration of the Church”. 234 Ibid. Both Harrison and Manning thank them for filling what was often a difficult and unglamorous post. Charge of 1846. A Charge Delivered to the Churchwardens and Sidesmen of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. p. interviewing candidates for ordination. p. do have some homiletic elements. but those who succeeded and used their year in office well would “leave a blessing behind [them].236 Some of these administrative discussions would have satisfied the critic who insisted that a charge should be “a guide to the Diocese”. . 1995). and the remembrance of it will endure even to [their] dying day”. and encourage them to faithfully discharge their duty of ensuring “good order in the congregation. The Nineteenth-Century Church and English Society (Cambridge. they who guard them must not be unworthy of their charge”. as he put it in 1846.231 were also present for the charge. MDCCCLXXX (London. 236 Henry Edward Manning. a managerial address. 9. 1841). pp. When an archdeacon presided over a worship service. collecting and reporting information about the churches. assessing the quality of the priests’ and churchwardens’ work. 8. we would therefore expect his primary concern to be teaching the people about the faith and exhorting them to live lives marked by repentance.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 49 Churchwardens. 233 Manning. 1880). and decency in Divine worship”. 41–44. 1841 (London.233 It would not always be easy to meet such a lofty expectation. at the Easter Visitation in April. The differences in genre are largely a function of the occasion and the speaker’s office. in Manning’s words. p. but they are not just sermons published under another name. “if they who bear the vessels of the Lord must needs be holy.234 Charges. When he conducted a visitation. and they received specific instructions as well. obedience. 235 Burns. p.235 The charge was. Diocesan Revival. not 231 Frances Knight. however. 182. and other Christian virtues. then. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July. 9. Rights and Duties of Churchmen at the Present Time. accordingly.232 Manning goes on to remind them that exemplary character is just as important for them as for the priests. the people responsible for a parish’s legal affairs. patience. he was engaging in a pastoral act. he was acting in what was essentially an administrative capacity. and punishing those who had been found guilty of impropriety.

In 1851. Diocesan Revival.241 He was not alone in his opinions: the archdeacon was widely regarded as some kind of dictator or enforcer. many pages of almost every charge are little more than lists of churches that had been built. p. pp. 272. ellison “an essay on the Church”. p. Charge of 1842. 244 Ibid. 238 237 . the churchwardens’ reports seldom painted a true picture of their parishes’ moral state. 241 Keble. for example. than obtain the most exact obedience to legal orders and directions”. 1847). for greater care and reverence in the maintenance of churchyards. Nineteenth-Century Church. 242 Knight.243 That had been the case throughout the early years of his tenure as archdeacon. and the charge was often used as “a public reprimand. 273. not because an outside authority had commanded it. and without a possibility of reply”.239 Such instructions are always accompanied by expressions of trust and encouragement. 9. sweeping into the area to pry into the people’s affairs and require work that the parishes could ill afford. A few charges do call for additional efforts.238 or for all future renovations to include replacing private pews with common benches so that the congregation would not be divided during worship. Manning stated that he would rather inspire his people to “fulfil [their] duties freely. 10–11. Occasional Papers. p. p. p.50 robert h. and the Religious Education of Her Children. or re-consecrated since the last visitation.237 Harrison takes some time. restored.240 This rhetoric is significant because it allowed the speakers to minimize the negative reactions that visitations often provoked. Religious Care. 36. Charge of 1842.244 Burns. 7. Manning. In 1843.. pp. Most of their time is spent commending the people for work already done. 170–71. and he was confident that “no case for legal steps” would present itself in the future. and of a willing mind. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone at the Ordinary Visitation. 240 Harrison. 11. the archdeacons express their gratitude that the work would be done because the people loved their churches. 243 Manning. MDCCCXLVII (London. to eulogize clergy who had recently passed away. 11–23. Benjamin Harrison.242 Harrison and Manning did much to try to distance themselves from these perceptions. 8. The Religious Care of the Church’s Sanctuaries. 239 Manning. Charge of 1843. both he and Manning call for support of local charities and engage in lengthy discussions of the physical condition of church properties. without a trial. pp. John Keble complained that the service was “too commonly mutilated” by the absence of the sacraments. pp.

an avowed unbeliever. p. as his spiritual “fathers and elders”. One of Manning’s first protests came in 1845. could win the right to take his seat in Parliament. 248 Shelley was expelled in the spring of 1811. p. not his “spy or informer”. Harrison and Manning also address a host of topics of national. 6. six years later. 247 Harrison. and expressing his hope that nothing would be permitted to undermine “friendly and brotherly relations … between the clergy and their archdeacons”. interest. He begins his first address by stating that he would prefer to regard the clergy of Maidstone not as his subordinates. when they speak of the work of legislators and judges.249 245 Benjamin Harrison. following a series of legal challenges. rather than merely local. England went from a country in which Percy Shelley could be expelled from Oxford for writing The Necessity of Atheism to one in which Charles Bradlaugh. when he objected to an Act that would create a secular court to oversee almost all of the matters previously decided by Church judges. Charge of 1845. he was permitted to offer a nonsectarian “affirmation” instead. See Edward Royle’s article on Bradlaugh in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford. they find far more to bury than to praise.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 51 Similar statements appear throughout Harrison’s charges as well. p. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. A favorite topic is the relationship between church and state. he declares.245 He returns to this idea often. When Harrison and Manning discuss the priests’ and churchwardens’ duties. 2004).246 In 1875. 11. and a ready zeal” are always to be preferred to “authoritative injunctions”. at His Primary Visitation. which is not at all surprising given the climate of the time: in the space of only about seventy-five years. he directly challenged the negative opinions of his office.248 The change from parochial administration to political commentary involves shifts in topic and tone. because it would reduce holy matrimony to a merely civil affair and lead to great confusion as the state dissolved unions that the church still recognized as binding. 13–17. they are generally complimentary rather than critical. but as equals.. 246 Ibid. 1846). pp. Prospects of Peace. the year after he entered University College. MDCCCXLVI (London.247 Like many of their contemporaries. observing that “a willing mind. or even. 38. . reminding his people that he was the bishop’s administrative assistant. in the case of the older priests. including the regulation of marriage and divorce. 249 Manning. Bradlaugh was elected to Parliament in 1880 but refused to take the oath of office. Such a move was unacceptable.

A bill introduced in 1842 would have amended the laws to allow a man to marry his dead wife’s sister.254 and the 1849 “Bill for the Relief of Persons in Holy Orders”. 1877). Many objected to it on the grounds that such a union violated both the Old Testament codes – specifically Leviticus 18:16 – and Anglican law. Charge of 1849. 1978). could lead to ecclesiastical affairs ultimately being managed by a layman who had taken office without the consent of the Church. The Church in Its Divine Constitution and Office and in Its Relations with the Civil Power. 43–75. Laws governing the persons whom one could and could not marry dated back to the 16th century. 254 Harrison. which would allow clergymen to register as Dissenters in order to avoid church discipline but would not exclude them from “the rites and sacraments of the Church”. at the Ordinary Visitation in May 1877: With Notes (London. A provision in the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874250 had combined the archbishops’ ecclesiastical courts into a single office. the text of the Act appears in James Bentley. Although the judge would be nominated by the two archbishops. pp. 16–21. 255 Manning. 251 Benjamin Harrison. 238–56. he could not serve without the consent of the monarch. Charge of 1848. 129–42. schools had been governed by two voluntary organizations: the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in 250 The Public Worship Regulation Act was an attempt to curb the rise of Ritualism – liturgical practices similar to those found in Roman Catholicism – within the Church of England. Such an arrangement. For the first three decades of the 19th century. 253 Manning.253 the Gorham Judgment. finally becoming law in 1907.255 In 1849 and 1850. in 1877. Church the Guardian of Her Children. it stipulated processes to ensure “the better administration” of laws already on the books. they both spoke out against the Church’s decreasing role in the educational system. 252 Harrison. Rather than enumerating any specific offenses. pp. Harrison feared. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone.” Journal of British Studies 21. See Nancy F. pp. 41–43. pp.251 Other developments Manning and Harrison criticize in their charges include an attempt to modify the Deceased Wife’s Sister Act.52 robert h. if some difficulty were to arise in the nomination process. See John Shelton Reed. 8–38. Anderson. “The “Marriage with a Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill” Controversy: Incest Anxiety and the Defense of Family Purity in Victorian England. the Crown would have the authority to fill the position on its own. Glorious Battle: The Cultural Politics of Victorian Anglo-Catholicism (Nashville. pp. 67–86. . 6–9. Ritualism and Politics in Victorian Britain: The Attempt to Legislate for Belief (Oxford. pp. ellison Later in the century. pp. It was debated and defeated virtually every year after that.252 the state’s contention that the consecration of bishops was ultimately in the power of the Crown.2 (Spring 1982). Harrison took issue with another shift of power from ecclesiastical to civil authority. Church the Guardian of Her Children. 1996).

64–69..the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 53 the Principles of the Established Church and the nondenominational British and Foreign Schools Society. 420. 37. The measure was defeated. the government’s Committee of Council on Education modified the agreement by adopting “management clauses” limiting the clergy to providing “religious instruction”. Prelates and People: Ecclesiastical Social Thought in England 1783– 1852 (London.259 Harrison suggests that allowing laymen to oversee the schools could be a violation of Church law. 2nd ed. Machin. and eventually to the production among ourselves of those disastrous results to Church and State.T.A. 262 Manning. p. 257 G. not surrendered to a “centralizing power” that threatened the “permanence” and “purity” of Christian education. 261 Ibid. 18. Politics and the Churches in Great Britain 1832 to 1868 (Oxford. (Oxford. which have 256 Graham Balfour. 45. 259 Manning. 1969). p. Church the Guardian of Her Children. and in 1839 Lord John Russell proposed to significantly increase the grants on the condition that the schools be inspected by a committee composed entirely of laymen from all denominations. 3.260 he goes on to maintain that matters of governance should be decided locally.258 Manning argues that the change created a false and untenable dichotomy: because a school was a “living system … united and penetrated by one common spirit”. 258 R.I. 41. Soloway.262 while Harrison predicts that allowing the management clauses to remain in effect would lead “directly to the establishment of a supreme Minister of Public Instruction. on the ruins of the Church system of education. pp. but would be carried out only by those who had received the approval of the appropriate archbishop. p. p. 260 Harrison. 1977). placing all other matters under the control of a lay committee. 1903).261 Both contend that the effect of the change would be almost apocalyptic. p. placing England in the degraded spiritual condition of many countries on the Continent. Charge of 1849. Manning declares simply that the “greatest disaster which could befall this country would be a State-education like that of France”. and a compromise reached in 1840: inspections would take place. it is not feasible to give the clergy control over “the moral and religious instruction of the scholars” while excluding them from the “moral and religious superintendence of the school”. Charge of 1849.256 Limited public support began in 1833. p.257 In 1846. . The Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland.

p. Harrison acknowledges that purely secular matters are unsuited to a “hallowed place”. 266 Benjamin Harrison. 265 Manning. p. One commentator described the trend toward political commentary as “peculiar” and “painful”. ellison been seen and read … on the face of the kingdoms or the anarchies of Europe”. pp. Harrison. in fact.268 The archdeacons themselves. it was an act of “intolerance. p. not a departure from it. 41.267 Keble accused the people’s “Chief Pastors” of too often acting like “Members of Parliament”.54 robert h. Rights and Duties. 18. Charge of 1849. 267 Burns. p. and tyranny”.270 Harrison. Disestablishment and Disendowment by Instalment. Measures and Means of Unity. p. 26. MDCCCLXXXII. 15. as part of a series of bills intended to gradually disestablish the Church.263 Such vehemence is evident in other passages as well.266 Some might say that the amount of time Harrison and Manning devote to these topics shows they had lost the audience awareness they demonstrate in other portions of their charges. it stood as evidence that England was quickly becoming “a godless State” with “godless policy and law”. Charge of 1845. pp. 269 Harrison. 31. p. Manning calls giving the power of excommunication to a secular court “a prostitution of the discipline of Christ”264 and describes the clergy relief act as a “truly intolerant measure” that made “a mere mockery of sacred laws”.269 Manning. 264 263 . 268 Keble. 1883). however. Church the Guardian of Her Children. forsaking “matter that may be properly termed pastoral” in favor of extended reports on legislative affairs. he says. 270 Manning. Charge of 1848. with Notes (London. 8–9. but mandatory: it would be “new and unnatural”. which essentially erased all distinctions between consecrated and unconsecrated ground. Taken by itself. Manning. if he did not speak plainly about how the Anglican position had been affected by political developments that had taken place since the previous visitation. Diocesan Revival. and Piecemeal. p. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone at the Ordinary Visitation in May. 274. Occasional Papers. 5. believed such discussions to be a proper exercise of their office. sees such discussions as not only appropriate. but he also insists that civic affairs could be discussed when they affect the business of the Church. 13. 20.265 Some of Harrison’s most strident rhetoric appears in his condemnation of the Burial Act of 1880. persecution.

suggesting that Newman had been aptly studied and that Pusey and Keble have properly attracted less attention because “their theological production did not have the timeless qualities of Newman’s”. pp. 272 271 . 273 Manning. at the Ordinary Visitation in May MDCCCLV (London. that is worth knowing about it and about its leaders (at least Newman)?”275 This question was posed by the Swedish scholar Rune Imberg. Church-Rate Abolition. 45. 20. the comforter of afflicted hearts”. The petitions Harrison circulated in 1849 and 1850 to protest changes in the marriage laws271 were something of an anomaly. pp. 1987). 24–25.274 Conclusion: Rhetorical Criticism and the Future of Tractarian Studies “What. he and Manning responded to every other bill by calling for spiritual rather than legislative action. but rather the intensity with which they did it. 1833–1841. p.276 Ultimately.273 Such efforts could be doubly effective. laboring even more vigorously to be what Manning called “the guide of souls. Charge of 1841. Charge of 1841. 274 Benjamin Harrison. 70–71. 275 Rune Imberg. however. clergy should not change what they did. 13. He seems to have his doubts at first. pastoral endeavors could actually result in God looking favorably upon the government. 1855). 32–33. we shall the more confidently trust that a blessing may attend the counsels of our legislators”. Manning. for while political agitation would likely weaken the Church.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 55 Their reactions to these developments also show that they realized they were addressing a gathering of priests. the almoner of the poor.. Manning. Charge of 1843. p. pp. then. Ibid. 39. pp. 276 Ibid. not politicians or political activists. In Quest of Authority: The “Tracts for the Times” and the Development of the Tractarian Leaders. he acknowledges that more work Harrison. Church the Guardian of Her Children. A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Maidstone. or almost everything. (Bibliotheca historico-ecclesiastica lundensis) 16 (Lund. Harrison ends his charge of 1855 with a note of hope he probably would have sounded in any year of his tenure: “While … we endeavour faithfully to do our duty. in the introduction to In Quest for Authority: The “Tracts for the Times” and the Development of the Tractarian Leaders. Harrison. fulfilling the responsibilities laid upon us. they maintain. in Its Latest Form. is the point of doing any further studies on the Oxford Movement? Do we not know everything. 45. p.272 In times of political unrest. p. Prospects of Peace. 1833–1841. 18.

“Beginning to Theorize Postmodernism.2 (Summer 2008). Linda Hutcheon. Just as crossing breeds can produce more robust varieties of plant and animal life. romanticism.281 I employed it here when I examined how the episcopal charge functioned as both a sermon and a “state of the diocese” address.2 [Spring 1998].” English Studies 80. We see this in Teri Reynolds’ and Linda Hutcheon’s use of the terms “imagetext” and “historiographic metafiction” to describe works that blur the boundaries between verbal and visual expression.278 his own book explores the publishing history of the Tracts in an effort to determine what “their different versions reveal about the development of the leaders of the Movement”. Young Doctor Pusey (London. which examines how a recognized genre is a blend of several others..” Victorian Poetry 46. ellison could and should be done. and the circumstances surrounding his conversion to Rome in 1845. ecclesiology. but it is certainly conceivable that new research will require new language. and John Keble combined. philosophy. p. or ask new questions”. 282 There may also be times when existing labels are insufficient and new categories must be created. Forrester. and Esther T. education. 14. 281 Jamieson and Campbell. Rodney Stenning Edgecombe. Williams.280 After more than twenty years. moreover. “Christina Rossetti. or that use novels as vehicles for “rethinking and reworking … the forms and contents of the past” (Teri Reynolds. terms that do not appear in either Victorian genre theory or the vocabulary of 20thand 21st-century rhetorical criticism. “Allegorical Topography and the Experience of Space in Isaac Williams’s Cathedral. and the members of his circle continue to be rather neglected in comparison. provided that it meets at least one of three criteria: it should “use new sources. 279 Ibid. There is no shortage of scholarship on Newman. Hu. 175–89. work with old sources in a new way.” pp. “Spacetime and Imagetext.” Germanic Review 73.R. Titles include David A.1 [1987]. 12). John Keble. Ibid. and new questions to be asked. 224–38.” Textual Practice 1.56 robert h. p. We can speak first of scholarship about hybrids.282 We can also entertain the notion of hybrid scholarship. I have not coined any neologisms here. Ibid. 20.3 (June 1999). 154–55..279 The state of affairs now is much as it was then. only a few dozen have been written on Pusey. and the Divine Gaze. “Rhetorical Hybrids. new materials to be discovered. 161. I propose that we pursue these goals by thinking in terms of “hybrids”. 280 Newman has been the focus of over 500 books and articles on virtually every conceivable subject: celibacy. Campbell and Jamieson take this approach when they note that presidents’ inaugural speeches often employ both “deliberative” and “epideictic” strategies. there are still familiar sources to be reexamined. In contrast.277 He suggests that others could study John Keble’s writings on the Eucharist or “Pusey’s contribution to the study of exegetics in England”. 1989). 278 277 .

pp. Twenty years after Imberg expressed concerns about the future of the field. 284 For discussions of the various prefixes (e. anti-.283 “interdisciplinary”. 283 Julie Thompson Klein. Klein. and others will help to enrich an already vibrant subject. inter-. 55–73. “unifying”). p. 2005). and Interdisciplinarity (Albany. multi-.. Culture. Theory. and trans-) and adjectives (e. .5 (October 2001). a group of scholars gathered in Oxford to mark the 175th anniversary of the Movement. 55–80..” PMLA 116. Humanities. pp. “broad. “instrumental. 1371. “A Convenience of Marriage: Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity. and Practice (Detroit. expanding the scholarly community to include literary scholars.” “supplementary” vs. Interdisciplinarity: History. political scientists. post-.the tractarians’ sermons and other speeches 57 blending schools of thought can create interesting new vistas in the academic landscape. 25. rhetoricians. see Julie Thompson Klein. making our future work increasingly multidisciplinary – or “integrative”. 1990). Interdisciplinarity.” “narrow” vs.g. Most of the research on the Oxford Movement has been produced by historians and theologians.284 or “interdiscursive”285 – can help ensure that interest remains sufficiently strong to support a bicentennial celebration in 2033.g. 285 Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon. “critical” vs.


Oxford. As with all legendary material. The task of compiling one is complicated by his numerous anonymous publications. republications.S. but not always. The total number of his publications probably amounts to well over two hundred individual works.RICHARD WHATELY AND THE DIDACTIC SERMON1 Carol Poster The notoriously laconic U. scattered contributions to periodicals. and appears in many versions in a variety of print and internet sources. 3 Richard Whately. and collaborations (with his wife.3 Richard Whately (1787–1863). “Sin”. IL. although given his habits of substantial (often.2 Sermons would probably have more effect. Thanks are also owed to Robert Ellison for his work in editing this volume and to the staff of the British Library and the Resource Sharing department of Scott Library at York University. was one of the more prolific and significant rhetoricians. sermon theorists. Rector of Halesworth. and religious figures of 19th-century Britain. Bampton Lecturer. instead of being. on returning from church. title changes. President Calvin Coolidge. Principal of St Albans’ Hall. Elizabeth Jane Whately. and finally (Anglican) Archbishop of Dublin. and the audience and panelists for useful discussion.4 His 1 A much abbreviated version of this chapter was presented at the 2007 meeting of the International Society for History of Rhetoric in Strasbourg. Research for this chapter was supported by a Faculty of Arts Research Grant from York University. and placed as an . in Scripture. repr. 2 This probably apocryphal story concerning President Calvin Coolidge has become an urban legend. Mrs Coolidge. occupied chiefly in explaining some transaction related. there is no single authoritative version. p.). Drummond Lecturer on Political Economy at Oxford. directly hortatory. if. “What did the preacher say about it?” The President responded. and parliamentary speeches. Mrs Coolidge asked. urban or otherwise. successively Fellow of Oriel College. as they frequently are. they were more in a didactic form. colleagues. self-plagiarisms. 191. it is somewhat difficult to define precisely what constitutes an individual work. etc. “He was against it”. sermons. 4 No complete bibliographical survey of Richard Whately’s work exists. Carbondale. A partial bibliography was compiled by his daughter. or doctrine laid down. Elements of Rhetoric (1826. 1963). daughters. “What was the sermon about?” The President answered. was asked by his wife. lectures. I would like to thank David Timmerman for organizing the panel. His theories of the sermon itself and its role within Christianity were promulgated in numerous publications. silent) self-plagiarism and extensive revision. diocesan charges.

Dissertation. Although the dissertation has not been published as a monograph. and A. lucid. A Protestant in Purgatory: Archbishop Whately in Dublin (Hamden CT. 1866). In contrast to his own period.M. but still not complete. 38:1 (1977). Economics.5 political economy. Even those of his contemporaries (who were legion) who strongly disagreed with him on many or all points of theology.1 (1990). 1798–1833 (Cambridge.7 and having made significant contributions appendix to her Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately. 5 For a detailed discussion of the reception of Whately’s logic. 7 Not only was Whately’s Elements of Rhetoric widely reprinted in his own period. primarily in communication and English departments in North America. second. reticence. 1982). compilation is appended to the major modern biography of Whately.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 34.” Rhetorica 5 (1987). Salim Rashid. “Whately’s Theory of Rhetoric.” Southern Speech Communication Journal 53 (1988). successfully appealing to a broad audience. Whately’s Theory of Rhetoric. whose views were clearly and cogently articulated. McKerrow (Glenview. 147–55. “Tories and Paupers: Christian Political Economy and the Making of the New Poor Law. University of Iowa. or even diplomacy. and Religion: Christian Political Economy. without exception.C. “Ethical Implications of a Whatelian Rhetoric. “Richard Whately and Christian Political Economy at Oxford and Dublin. 321–28. see Peter Mandler. 1778–1833. 1974. 1981). “Richard Whately and the Revival of Logic in Nineteenth-Century England. “Richard Whately.60 carol poster work on the Irish National Education Board and the textbooks he wrote and edited for schoolchildren insured his ideas would be disseminated to a wide audience. A more detailed. far beyond his own diocese.6 and rhetoric. 163–85. 1991). and denomination. see Raymie McKerrow. ed. 137–56.” in Explorations in Rhetoric. IL. pp. Especially once he had moved outside the hermetic society of Oxford into parish ministry and eventually an archbishopric.. that Whately was. 211–26.” The Historical Journal 33. Studies in Honor of Douglas Ehninger. D. and popular style. a substantial proportion of recent secondary studies of Whately have been within the context of rhetoric and informal logic.” Journal of the History of Ideas. 81–103. a clear and candid writer and thinker.2 (1983). but it has remained in print and has continued a significant object of study among rhetoricians in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Donald Harman Akenson. he wrote in a lively. the substance of McKerrow’s work on Whately appeared in a series of extremely informative and astute articles in various journals: “Whately’s Philosophy of Language. 231–44 and Revolution.E. and. Perhaps the single most comprehensive study of Whately’s rhetorical theories is Raymie McKerrow. that Whately’s writings could legitimately be credited for substantially increasing 19th-century popular knowledge of and interest in logic (something he is widely acknowledged to have accomplished almost single-handedly). 6 For the significance of Whately for political economy. Human Nature and .D. R. in which he was regarded primarily as a religious figure.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 17 (1987). late Archbishop of Dublin (London. Waterman. constitutionally incapable of dissimulation. and philosophy conceded two things: first. nation. politics. “The Ideological Alliance of Political Economy and Christian Theology.

numerous reprints) were written by ministers of the Church of Scotland. (Anglican) Bishop of Ossory (one of Whately’s many staunch opponents) in his Episcopal Counsel upon Ministerial Duties … Being Extracts From Visitation Charges Delivered in 1842 and 1845. was reprinted widely through the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Bible. which was quoted.J. The sheer diversity and volume of Whately’s work makes it difficult to assess his specific contributions to the theory and practice of the sermon independent of his wider influence on the Established Church in Ireland.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 11 (1978). treated pulpit rhetoric as one of the most important genres of oratory. 1963).” Church History 50 (1981). Conybeare describes Evangelicals of the “low and lazy” type as emphasizing preaching to the exclusion of other parochial duties. 43–58. 1752. “ ‘Method of Composition.” Western Speech Communication Journal 40 (1976).and 19th-century Britain). 9 A discussion of the differing understandings of the ministerial role among the various parties within the Church of England in the mid-19th century can be found in W. style. 1774). The two most influential rhetorical treatises of the late 18th century. one of the most successful elocutionary manuals. 439–55. will consist of three parts: first. numerous reprints) included a long section on pulpit elocution.9 are of little profit to a congregation – it is necessary to examine his work broadly and systematically. 1854).” Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (1981). and Christianity itself. This chapter. arrangement. pp. numerous reprints) and George Campbell’s The Philosophy of Rhetoric (London. 339–92. an examination of Whately’s specific recommendations concerning the manner of composition. 166–81. and especially logical and rhetorical theory (of which homiletic theory was a significant part in 18th. Conybeare. by ministers. at length in Whately’s Elements of Rhetoric (Carbondale. Religious Controversialist of the Nineteenth Century. something vehemently denied in a charge by the evangelical James Thomas O’Brien. approvingly. 1–13. “Church Parties. and “Probable Argument and Proof in Whately’s Theory of Rhetoric.richard whately and the didactic sermon 61 in a variety of other fields. Congregationalist minister William Enfield’s The Speaker (London. “Richard Whately and the Nature of Human Knowledge in Relation to Ideas of His Contemporaries. 259–66. Christian Assistance. To which are Prefixed Remarks upon an Incidental Notice of One of Those Charges in the Article on Church Parties in the … Edinburgh Review (Dublin.’ Whately’s Earliest ‘Rhetoric’. . therefore. 1783. and even when written by laypeople.” Prose Studies 1800–1900 2 (1979). overwhelmingly. apart from other ministerial offices. Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (London. for his theories concerning the sermon itself depend heavily upon his understanding of the nature of the Church. a survey of the theological issues underlying Whately’s understanding of the sermon.” Edinburgh Review 200 (1853). church and national politics. 273–42. 8 The most significant rhetorical texts of the period were authored. subject matter. “Archbishop Whately. 1776. Irish Education. “Campbell and Whately on the Utility of Syllogistic Logic.” Central States Speech Journal 26 (1975). Thomas Sheridan’s A Discourse … Introductory to [a] Course of Lectures on Elocution and the English Language (London. 160–78. second.8 Because Whately’s approach to the sermon was a highly contextualized one – he repeatedly insists that sermons alone. ministry.

with the Tractarians focusing on tradition. and finally. take on many of the functions of the deaconesses of the primitive church. I have refrained from repeating Whately’s name in an inordinate number of successive sentences. it is a reformed church.11 The particular controversies within the United Church of 10 Note that throughout this chapter. 2001). and the Noetics and Broad Church on reason. unless explicitly stated otherwise. third. Whately’s Theological Context for the Sermon10 The wide variations within Anglican theology are partially due to four distinct. This “Anglican Tripod” of Scripture. literally interpreted by means of private judgement guided by reason (especially logic). inter alia. they were less a “religion of the heart” and more intellectual than the Evangelical wing of the Church. For the high church movement. it has an elaborate liturgical tradition standardized in the Book of Common Prayer.62 carol poster and delivery of sermons. 1760–1857 (Cambridge. and more Scriptural (and less influenced by German metaphysics) than the Broad Church. individual human reason. 1997). Calvinist in her theology. the Evangelicals on Scripture. see Conybeare. second. Although the Noetics shared a Scriptural emphasis with the Evangelicals and a rational method with the Broad Church. The literature . and Arminian in her clergy”). it is an Established (national) Church with the English monarch as its secular head. as Whately. The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship. are those of Whately. did not consider the possibility of ordination of women (he left no explicit writings on the topic. and tradition (within which would be included the institution of the church) as sources of authority. For Anglican Evangelicals. I also use the masculine pronoun to refer to ministers. and tradition is notoriously precarious. Whately and his fellow Noetics were distinguished by a theology which was grounded in Scripture. and. it strives to balance Scripture. reason. a brief analysis of Whately’s own sermons in light of his theories. Grayson Carter. 11 For a still useful description of the church parties in mid-19th century Britain. First. even where. for stylistic reasons. as it were. Anglican Evangelicals: Protestant Secessions from the Via Media. although thinking that women did. see. towards different legs of the tripod. and not entirely compatible. the theological opinions being summarized. finally. and himself always used the masculine pronoun when referring to ordained ministers). the differences among the major parties within the Church of England in 19th-century Britain can be described in part as leanings. properties of the Church of England. “Church Parties”. see Peter Knockles. c. but not radically so (famously described as “Roman in her liturgy. 1800–1850 (Oxford. in fact.

and one he himself would willingly embrace. Since the task of the sermon for Whately was primarily exegesis and application of Scripture (which he contrasted with technical theology. The topics relevant to sermon theory and practice to which Whately regularly returns on the Tractarians is voluminous. and the role of Church and ministry in the economy of salvation. 1822). his methods of scriptural interpretation underlie both his preaching practice and the precepts he set forth for the clergy of his diocese concerning ministerial duties (including preaching). The Scholastic Philosophy Considered in its Relation to Christian Theology (Oxford. to Irenaeus. extra ecclesiam. and one often cited by Whately with approbation. something he considered as often idolatrously elevating uninspired human deductions from Scripture to a status equal to that of inspired writings12). but the claim of biblicism specifies neither how the Bible is being read nor the conclusions derived from that reading. Scripture. Renn Dickson Hampden. A more heavily theoretical discussion of the topic. see Frank Turner. the description of Whately as one who interpreted the Bible “literally”. and yet who still differ in the details of their hermeneutic methods and in the conclusions they derive from their interpretations. as one who did not cite Scripture would have been. see Whately. 12 For the distinction between Scripture as history and technical theology as human deduction. as there are numerous writers who attempt to interpret Scripture literally. . although quite as apt and accurate as the label of “sola scriptura”. The Use and Abuse of Party-Feeling in Matters of Religion (Oxford. for a counterweight to its predominantly hagiographical tendency. a pagan rather than a heretic). Moreover. 2002). Most Christians claim the Bible as a uniquely authoritative text and most Protestants adhere to some version of the sola scriptura doctrine (the belief that Scripture alone. The shorthand “sola scriptura Protestant” is far from an unsuitable description of Whately’s position. Irenaeus famously pointed out that heretics always cite Scripture (something true by definition. was that by his protégé and friend. and private judgement. 1832).richard whately and the didactic sermon 63 England and Ireland (as Whately was careful to term it after appointed to Dublin) that affected how Whately thought about the role of the sermon included ones over church-state relations. the relationships among tradition. but it is too vague to be practically informative. John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion (New Haven. Whately’s positions on these issues were remarkably consistent over his career. is sufficient for salvation). is equally uninformative.

Reading Scripture as historical fact rather than theological dogma. Understanding the role of the church under the New Covenant as a community of believers rather than authoritative hierarchy. are: 1. 4. which also served to form a framework and provide tools for private study and reflection. 5. in the case of the New Testament. This pedagogical rather than theoretical emphasis derived from Whately’s position that Christianity 13 Whately. p. although Whately does discuss such issues as private and family prayer and recommended private study and reflection on Scripture as well as regular self-examination. and for selfexamination. viii.14 he focuses especially on Scriptural hermeneutics as a pedagogical process. … [W]hatever sense the words conveyed to the [original or immediate] hearers. and the implications of why the inspired writers omitted certain things. for Whately. especially creeds.64 carol poster concerning methods of scriptural interpretation and the main deductions which can be made from Scripture if properly interpreted. 6. and the Points Connected Therewith (London. we may fairly presume to be the true one”. The Church. at the time. to the persons addressed. 14 For private and family prayer. Using historical reconstruction as a hermeneutic guide. see Lectures on Prayer (London. 1857). took place within the context of the Church as a community and institution.e.13 3. . 1860). either in the immediate institutional context of the church (especially in those of his works addressed to the clergy) or in public education (especially in reference to Irish National Education). see Address to a Young Person Who Has Been Confirmed. 7. 1854). “[I]t is … of the first importance to look to the meaning which the [text] appears to have conveyed. Analyzing the implications of the abolition of the Levitical priesthood and its sacrifices under the New Covenant. Paying attention to the omissions of Scripture. The Scripture Doctrine Concerning the Sacraments. from other genres within Scripture. general theories. On the Subject of Self-Examination (London. and specific ordinances concerning moral law (as opposed to general moral principles). which cannot be interpreted literally. 2. and Private Judgement The process of scriptural interpretation. guidelines concerning church governance. Insisting on the right and duty of private judgement and the concomitant necessity for education to improve the quality of that judgement. Thus. and. i. introductory materials. the Ministry. Distinguishing parables and prophecies. ceremonial practices.

as can be seen in Party-Feeling (especially pp. individual Christian organizations might need separate local administrative structures. 16 Whately’s sense of what did and did not constitute boundaries of the Anglican communion was far broader than that of most other churchmen of the period. and that ministers of the Established Church. pp. while not constituting the singular acceptable form of liturgy for Christians in general. 101–33). and his own duty as bishop being to articulate clearly the traditional boundaries of what legitimately constituted the appropriate beliefs and behaviors of the community and what did not. on no warrant but their own beliefs. he did not envision a church “broad enough to encompass all of England”. as well as what he did and did not consider suitable topics for his charges to his clergy. Whately viewed the ministry of the United Church of England and Ireland as communal rather than individualistic. episcopalian methods of church organization). religion. but at the same time. see his anonymously published Letters on the Church by an Episcopalian (London.g. 1826). by introducing either extemporaneous prayer or Romanizing practices (incense. . in accordance with their ordination vows.. the duties of ministers being to act in such a manner and to preach such doctrines as to foster unity rather than dissension. London. For Whately’s views of church governance. chanting. 1833). which he originally published as pamphlets and later reprinted in Charges and Other Tracts (London.15 This did not mean narrowing doctrinal boundaries. 1836). Whately was more willing than most of his contemporaries to accept the legitimacy of varying beliefs about adiaphora (and considered a far greater range of things indifferent than did many)16. replacing a 15 Whately discussed what he considered his duties and obligations as a bishop. while still being parts of the same universal Christian church. Protestant in Purgatory. he was quite strict about church discipline. but rather argued that in the case of irreconcilable differences over adiaphora (e. rather than speculative and elitist.richard whately and the didactic sermon 65 was a practical and popular. Whately had no sympathy with either extreme Evangelical or Tractarian ministers who. altar candles. Unlike his close friend Thomas Arnold.17 For example. were what had been legitimately agreed upon within the Established Church. were obliged to follow them as written (even if lobbying for revision). the details of which were not only matters indifferent. but matters of indifference to him personally. as Arnold phrased it in his Principles of Church Reform (London. in several of his early (1832–35) charges and confirmation addresses. however. 1851). presbyterian vs. 17 See Akenson. while Whately himself took a very low position with respect to liturgy. changed the order of service in radical ways. 93–130. thus. and his later Kingdom of Christ (5th ed. he also considered that the forms of service in the Book of Common Prayer.

the pulpit of the Church of England could only be used legitimately to preach doctrines in general agreement with the formularies of the church. Letter 204) This issue would become increasingly important in the Ritualist controversies immediately following Whately’s death. to discontinue our attendance in it – that. to resemble a Roman Catholic place of worship. M. at least in that diocese. we may not. to such movements. truth in advertising – i. to Renn Dickson Hampden dated 3 January 1848.66 carol poster freestanding movable communion table with an altar at the extreme east end of the church). Despite this quite strict enforcement of what he considered acceptable behavior within the Anglican ministry.e. … (Letter from Edward Morton. as I have. as it were. – by altering the Church (without any legal authority whatsoever) so as. and missions which used food as a bribe to convert Roman Catholics to (nominal) Protestantism. in future. will be some check. Oxford. shows the importance of this issue even in the 1840s: …Having the misfortune to live in a village in which the Young Incumbent – a man of very moderate abilities. A Protestant in Purgatory. rather than some ad hoc creation. for some years. on his (controversial) appointment as Bishop of Hereford. of an individual minister. . Whately used his powers of episcopal discipline quickly and decisively. should not be made lightly. Oriel College. so deeply to regret. For Whately. like yourself. 20 Whately discusses how to achieve this balance of loyalty to one’s own communion and charity to others in detail in Party-Feeling and Charges and Other Tracts. and less distinction.19 He acted equally firmly against preachers who fomented overt discord between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Whately insisted on. be supposed to sanction such doctrines – I hail with gratitude the appointment of a learned evangelical Clergyman.18 The same. which. by teaching Romish doctrines. Irreconcilable differences with such formularies were both valid and compelling reasons to leave the establishment. here. but which was not one heretical with respect to Christianity in a larger sense or in any way an obstacle to salvation. Hampden Papers. a choice which. of course. as it were. to be Bishop of Hereford. I trust.20 and 18 A letter congratulating Hampden. the notion that a person attending a service in an Anglican Church should encounter a recognizably Anglican liturgy. is true of sermons. 19 See Akenson. has compelled myself and other churchmen. Whately insisted at the same time on trying to maintain an attitude of “Christian mildness” towards those outside the established church while being loyal to the establishment. in some respects. In cases of extreme Tractarians and Evangelicals. and. for Whately. a friend and protégé of Whately. derived from Rome or the “private revelation”.D. by our presence.

84–102 and The Controversy between Tract No. Roman Catholics. all forms of lying. 10.21 As Whately points out repeatedly in his strictures against the “Romanizing” of Tractarians. . evasion. and example of its founder. in the actions of no man of his time was this virtue more deeply rooted. and atheists. the belief that there were certain parts of Christian truth not fully revealed to all people in Scripture but instead only known to a small circle of the clergy or other initiates and that certain doctrines should be revealed to the laity only rarely or under specific conditions23). this was as much a matter of character as ideology. to resign his position. and that accordingly. 1864). “Foremost [in Whately’s character and writings] was his steady incorruptible love of truth. what we commonly call the Bible is a translation of the Bible. and if he finds himself unable to do so sincerely. As Alexander Campbell Fraser points out. as discussed in McKerrow. or in the religious sphere of controversies among denominations or parties within a denomination.. it is the duty of someone taking the emoluments of a specific communion to propound the doctrines of that communion from the pulpit. but really a very rare practice”. XC and the Oxford Tutors (London. Cautions for the Times (London. e. 1841). in a spirit of charity. It is a very common profession. Whately. of complete honesty with regard to apparent difficulties of Scripture. Although he could disagree strongly but respectfully with a wide range of ideas. “Archbishop Whately. or that what is called the Authorized Version is 21 Much of Whately’s work was concerned with the problem of what might be termed charitable disagreement. insists on the importance in sermons and religious instruction.22 This love of truth and candor carried over into vehement objections to “the system of reserve in communicating religious knowledge” (i. in his addresses to the clergy of his diocese.richard whately and the didactic sermon 67 consistently maintained the position that the Christian religion. whether in the political sphere (in which he advocated full civil rights for Jews. ed.. Archbishop Whately and the Restoration of the Study of Logic (London.e. 22 Alexander Campbell Fraser. 23 See. while disagreeing with many of their beliefs). as such. Religious Controversialist of the Nineteenth Century.” pp. or that our Translators claimed no infallibility. For Whately. dissimulation. 1853). mandated that all disagreements must be conducted. Perhaps. in both substance and rhetorical form. and hypocrisy were personally repugnant to him. He points out: You will be met perhaps by an outcry against the danger of unsettling men’s minds. p.g. Whately. by allowing them to know that the Scriptures were not originally written in our own language. pp. 160–78. for its own sake.

1838). the Irish National Board of Education. dissimulation is counterproductive – parishioners who read the Bible carefully will notice for themselves that the psalms in the Authorized Version differ from those in the Book of Common Prayer. but for leaving them under this error. John Flanagan in The Bible. the Rev. Instruction in the Scriptures. etc. for fear of unsettling their minds!24 Against such arguments. for Whately as sermon theorist and practitioner. but were introduced long after for the convenience of reference. a graded reader of extracts. especially pp. I have actually known given as a reason. and will encounter apparent inconsistencies and improbabilities. see Charges and Tracts. which May Arise from the Teaching or the Conduct of its Professors: To Which are Subjoined Three Discourses Delivered on Several Occasions. 25 24 . That the mistake exists among many of the unlearned. or that there ever existed any differences of opinions among Scholars as to the true reading or true sense of any passage in the Original … Nay. The question of whether the Authorized Version could properly be called “The Bible” erupted during the “mutilated Bible” controversies which were part of a larger debate on the role of Scripture in Irish National Education. for example. For Whately’s defense of the use of Bible extracts on the very sensible basis that because no schoolchild could be expected to read the entire Bible in a single day. concerning unfamiliar places and terms) geared to students’ abilities and knowledge. 1847). Typical of the opposition to Whately is the outrage displayed over Whately’s reminder that any English version of the Bible is merely a translation of Greek and Hebrew originals (see. 125–228. you may even meet with persons who will deprecate your explaining to the People that the divisions into chapters and verses were not the work of the original Writers themselves. 4–7). Whately insisted on clear discussion of the fallibility of the Authorized translators. 1851]. or even school year. (London.g.).25 the presence of manuscript variants. not for correcting that mistake. the story of Judas. and the existence of other difficulties or inconsistencies in Scripture (miracles. 2nd ed. These encounters. 26 Whately discusses this along with the problems arising from omission of teaching evidences in Essays on Some of the Dangers to Christian Faith. was needed for the classroom. to the Church of Rome) the standard and rule of Faith to which our Articles refer.26 On a practical level. frank analysis (and resolution) of such difficulties are central to Christian preaching and instruction. pp. He himself thought evidences should be part of the regular school curriculum and wrote a school text on the subject for use in Irish schools. pp. pp. 69–130. and the Archbishop of Dublin [London. Easy Lessons on Christian Evidences (London. with explanatory philological notes (e. and neglect of (or prevarication concerning) them contributes to the growth of infidelity.68 carol poster not (like the Vulgate. as well as his more general explanation of National Education. if the minister has been less than Whately. In fact. 21–22.

24–25. are liable to lead to distrust of the minister in particular and the church in general. insistence on submission to authority has two other problems. so unreasoned acceptance of Christian truths based on authority rather than understanding can lead only to a sort of nominal Christianity: Supposing even that you could succeed in bringing anyone to lead a life agreeable to every Christian virtue.28 Just as Whately suggests addressing issues concerning textual criticism of the Bible directly. He has indeed attained the object he had in view. not on any Christian principles of his own. but the knowledge is not his own. and all that is desirable. that you had taught him the Christian religion: no more than you could say of any sick man who had been restored to health by the skill of his physicians. the best possible. Besides such dissimulation or reserve being ineffective.27 Second.richard whately and the didactic sermon 69 completely open about such issues. so too he treats the church and its ministry as fallible human institutions. the medicines he has taken. Now as the patient would never become a step nearer to becoming himself a physician. . 1830. The Duty of Those who Disapprove of the Education of the Poor on Grounds to Expediency as well as Those who Approve It. are. First. but his physician’s. so. and supposing that you would then have accomplished all that is possible. if it were possible (which it is not) to practise all the Christian virtues. Oct. but merely by doing what he was told by another. which should acknowledge their own fallibility rather than asserting the sort of authority which no human individual or institu- 27 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). 1830). he could not be said to have been taught Christianity. He has proceeded indeed on medical principles. still. by merely conforming to the directions of a physician. but without any clear notion of the great doctrines on which our Faith rests. 28 Richard Whately. Pointed Out in a Sermon Preached At Halesworth. that he had been taught the art of medicine. And he still remains ignorant of it. even then. just as mindless repetition leads only to rote learning rather than genuine knowledge. for the Benefit of the Halesworth and Chediston National School (London. especially with respect to the more intelligent and inquiring minds among the congregation. but he was only following blindly and implicitly the advice of those who understand the subject of which he is ignorant. Whately repeatedly cites St Peter’s injunction that Christians must provide a “reason for their hope”. we will suppose. Published by the Desire of the Subscribers. it could not be said. 7. and the regimen he has observed. resolving rather than evading difficult questions. pp. it is unscriptural.

and Whately continued to see the Bible as a literally true historical document throughout his career. in fact. Newman). 1829). Whately was not. the books of the New Testament were eyewitness accounts written by their putative authors. Whately’s early pamphlet. Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte (London. The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy (Oxford. chronology. see Robert Pattison. by their former rector (London. 131–238 as well as his The Search after Infallibility.70 carol poster tion can have. than were the Noetics (as discussed in Frank Turner. a theory of knowledge which placed immediate empirical evidence. An Historical Enquiry into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist Character Lately Predominant in the Theology of Germany (London. 31 In many ways. pp. albeit one not dictated by God but produced by fallible human authors. Thomas Arnold was the only major figure associated with the Noetic school with a strong interest in German higher criticism. even if it was university politics of the mid to late 1820s and 1830s that added personal animosity to intellectual difference. one of the works produced in 19th-century Oxford (as opposed to Cambridge.29 Despite what might seem an extremely liberal position with respect to free and open inquiry. rev. 1991). and the Bible as a whole was an inspired document. Considered in Reference to the Danger of Religious Errors Arising within the Church in the Primitive as well as in all Later Ages (Dublin. where the Germans were better understood and appreciated) most sympathetic to German criticism was an early defense of German theology by Edward Bouverie Pusey. Pusey’s Work on the Causes of Rationalism in Germany. on the other hand. attacks German criticism and defends the historicity of the Bible. 1848) and Cautions for the Times: addressed to the parishioners of a parish in England. 1819).31 For Whately. “On the Dangers of An Erroneous Imitation of Christ’s Teaching. In fact. and much closer to Connop Thirlwall and the nascent Cantabrigian broad church movement than to his fellow Oxonians in many theological matters. The vehemence with which Whately defended biblical literalism (including a “young earth” position and literal reading of Genesis) was based on two things: first. a “liberal” in the Broad Church tradition. and translators. 1828. . Comprising Some Observations on Confessions of Faith. 1830). under a guidance from God that might allow minor errors on matters indifferent (geography. A Letter to the Lord Bishop of London. the Tractarians were closer to the position of the German Higher Critics with respect to the historicity of the Bible. and their Advantages (London. for reasons analyzed in detail below. Pusey refrained from expressing even limited sympathies with German criticism after a virulent response to his book by Hugh James Rose. 30 For an excellent analysis of the use (and misuse) of the term “liberal” with respect to 19th-century religious positions. grammar) but not on matters necessary for salvation. in Reply to Mr. either in the form of personal experience or accurate testimony to personal 29 See Whately’s essay. editors. for which Whately was often accused of secularism or infidelity by his contemporary opponents. ed.” reprinted in Dangers. The intellectual grounds of the debate between Whately and the Tractarians thus had its roots in the early 1820s.30 and his insistence on “lower criticism” did not lead to any form of sympathy with the Higher Critics. 1853).

claiming to be understood. Although Whately certainly was no opponent of those who attempted to reform 32 Whately’s most entertaining discussion of evidence. and Cautions for the Times (London. (not like the paganism of the ancients) not two systems.33 Teaching biblical evidences and the historical truth of the Bible was essential to sustaining the right of private judgement and the priesthood of all believers. 1837). which combined open inquiry with staunch discipline. pp. 2nd ed. (London. pp. and thus considers that the Roman and Romanizing grounding of Christianity on faith and authority a tactical as well as theological mistake in combating infidelity. see the entertaining parallels between Hume and the Tractarians in Elements of Logic (London. but a mysterious document (in the ancient sense of a mystery as not only something veiled but as something exclusively communicable to initiates) only comprehensible in light of some esoteric knowledge or oral tradition to which few people would have free access. one for the learned and another for the vulgar. 34 Whately. Appendix III.34 Neglect of teaching evidences would lead either to infidelity or to Rome. Third Series. then it could not readily serve as the sole authority on religious matters and act as a bulwark against the power of ecclesiastical elites. pp. Dangers. If the Bible were not a clear and straightforward historical text. understandable by ordinary people applying reason and private judgement. 198–212. . He also discusses evidence and testimony in Elements of Rhetoric. Dangers. 33 Whately’s strictures against the (quasi-Averroist) notion of there being two separate Christian religions. 1875). p. For Whately’s discussion of this.35 This emphasis on the truth of Scripture and the need for open discussion of it had a parallel in Whately’s attitude towards the Church.richard whately and the didactic sermon 71 experience. 35 Whately points out that Hume and the Tractarians are in essential agreement concerning the foundation of Christianity on blind faith or authority rather than on rational evidence and testimony.32 and second. are clearly articulated in “Part II: Vicarious Religion” of his Essays. and the respective claims of theory and experience. Errors of Romanism. but one religion. and to be received on evidence … by men of all ranks … [The earliest followers of Jesus] were made converts by evidence accessible to themselves. and a religion calculated for the great mass of mankind. can be found in his Napoleon. as well as being the foundation of Christian faith: Christianity professes to be both a religion founded on evidence. 53–90. one for an educated group of “initiates” and the other for average believers. It professes to be. a concern about the consequences of non-literal interpretation. above speculative chains of hypotheses. 69–130. 1853). 87. rev.

he also points out that any society must have its own rules and the right and duty to specify conditions of membership. The laws of our Country. and himself was a supporter of many internal reforms (especially revival of Convocation. Being a Charge Delivered at the Visitation of the Dioceses of Dublin and Glandelough. for every man. While Whately does not consider that civil society should enforce any religious penalties. and associated liturgical rubrics. 1833. all who are not under a system of Episcopacy. and argued that just as one might criticize the British penal code. 1833) and Reflections on a Grant to a Roman Catholic Seminary. On a Bill for the Removal of Certain Disabilities from His Majesty’s Subjects of the Jewish Persuasion. But in all that pertains to religion. August 1. And if he maintains the duty. June 26. the distinction is often overlooked. similarly. tithe reform. 36 For Whately’s general theories concerning the relationship of church and state. see Letters on the Church and Kingdom of Christ. he will perhaps be answered that it is not forbidden in Scripture. and what is such to a member of a certain Community”] is plainly perceived by most persons. he also was immensely loyal to the church. in an Episcopalian Church.36 and he does not consider dissent from denominational formularies (e. he will perhaps be told in answer. or an important duty. Homilies. as a citizen one was obliged to obey it while agitating for change. If he objects to something that is at variance with the scheme of our Church. he will perhaps be considered as one of those narrow-minded Churchmen who would exclude from the Universal Church of Christ.72 carol poster the Established Church. or a duty. If any one urges. the Thirty-Nine Articles) heretical. on members of our Church. though he is not bound to condemn all Republics. in all secular matters. it is well understood that a citizen of the British Empire owes allegiance to the Sovereign.g. of submitting to Episcopal rule. We are bound in duty to obey. Book of Common Prayer. 1845). For his support of full civil rights for those not members of the established church. Whately explains his position in some detail in a preface to a work in which he collects various tracts addressed to the ministers of his diocese: The distinction [between “what is allowable. the duty of complying with its regulations that are not contrary to Scripture. with Additional Remarks on Some of the Objections Urged Against that Measure (London. which are common to all Christians. a minister or bishop of the Established Church must honestly subscribe to and preach the doctrines generally held by the church – not only those present in Scripture. see A Speech in the House of Lords. that such and such regulations are not essential to the Gospel scheme. so. . and redistribution of revenue). 1845 (London. but the denominationally specific Thirty-Nine Articles. For instance. and to maintain that regal government is essential to every civilized State. though we need not disapprove the very different laws of some other Countries.

1893). unlike the 18th-century Latitudinarians who. Thirty-Nine Articles. Note that the phrase “banish strange doctrines” is from the “Form of Ordaining or Consecrating an Archbishop or Bishop” of the Book of Common Prayer. but credible to all “reasonable men”. 1964). Reflections on a Grant to a Roman Catholic Seminary.39 Whately was loyal to the Anglican communion and genuinely admired “the scheme of our church”. Behind this was not only abstract reasoning. 38 37 . was utterly repugnant to Whately. but personal temperament. Reason and Authority in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge. and Homilies. 39 Whately. but felt some ambivalence concerning the principle of Establishment. pp. I have exerted myself … to banish strange doctrines from our own Communion. We may have a hearty and zealous attachment to our own Church. and to enforce church discipline. in trying to avoid the sort of religious controversy which had led to devastating religious wars in Britain and Europe. Cragg. including the liturgy (and Book of Common Prayer).37 Thus. The first principle was that of separation of state from church. he considered that establishing a church violated several scriptural injunctions. like dishonesty. vii–viii. a belief that Convocation would do Whately.richard whately and the didactic sermon 73 But surely the most scrupulous fulfilment of our own obligations does not necessarily imply bigoted intolerance. Parish Pastor (London. with the one having a secular function and the other a religious one.e. see G.R. and which even deists would accept as self-evident or readily derivable from the self-evident truths of natural religion independent of Revelation. As well as supporting administrative separation of church and state for practical reasons (i. And this hearty zeal should be even more conspicuously manifested by the Clergy and Laity of an endowed Church.38 Whately sees it as his duty as a bishop to inculcate beliefs specific to the Anglican communion in his sermons and diocesan charges. 23. often restricted the content of sermons to those things they considered not only non-sectarian. without passing uncharitable censure on others. his most astringent polemics were aimed at those he considered to practice both: … [A]lthough I presume not to pass any authoritative censure on the members of other communions. in order to guard against the suspicion that their adherence to it is mainly from a regard to the personal advantages they derive from that endowment. p. and to counteract the disingenuous procedure of those who hold the doctrines of one Church and the emoluments of another. Disloyalty. For discussion of the theological background to the Latitudinarian practical sermon. As a matter of religious principle.

who made me a judge or a divider over you?” (Luke 12:14). Master. that combined with self-examination.43 Luke 12:14. 185). 45 “Jesus answered.44 and John 18:36. that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him. Civil coercion. and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21).41 Whately discussed the nature of the relationship between religion and civil government in many different works and contexts42 and frequently cited and preached on three Scriptural passages he saw as central to Church-State relations: Matthew 22:21. 42 Whately’s major works on church-state relations include Letters on the Church and Kingdom of Christ. Paul. Man. and not actually devote to religious matters the sort of careful attention. Whately applies these general theological precepts to advocacy of full civil rights for Jews and Roman Catholics in Reflections on a Grant to a Roman Catholic Seminar and On a Bill for the Removal of Certain Disabilities from His Majesty’s Subjects of the Jewish Persuasion. that of salvation by faith. who have no real attachment to the society – no care for the objects it proposes – and whose conduct tends neither to its credit nor to the support of its true interests” (Letters on the Church. which mandates that conversion must be an internal process as well as set of external behaviors. for Whately. under which people would automatically be part of the Established Church for pragmatic reasons. Additional theological discussions of the relationship of religion to secular society can be found in Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St. produces genuine faith. Whately also objected to coercive civil penalties in religious matters due to a second principle. of many insincere. Whately states that “The only disadvantage [to disestablishment]. the loss. that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).74 carol poster a much better job of church governance than Parliament40). (London. Then saith he unto them. Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him. as some would account it. 43 “Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. would be one which I should reckon among its advantages. 41 40 . speak to my brother. 44 “And one of the company said unto him. it also struck him as See Whately. For Whately’s comments on the necessity of self-examination. Letters on the Church and Charges and Other Tracts. then would my servants fight. My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world. 6th ed. in the case of Ireland. if it might be so called. Caesar’s. p. to counterbalance the benefits of the proposed change. viz. nominal members of [the] Church. pp. leads to a system of nominal Christianity. 1849). Whately considered Establishment both unjust and unsustainable. And he saith unto them. see his Address … on the Subject of SelfExamination.45 As well as having theological doubts about the legitimacy of Establishment. 503–25. Note that all biblical quotations in this chapter are from the Authorized Version. To ask an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population to pay tithes (and the church cess which funded communion bread and wine) to support a Protestant Church struck Whately as unjust. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.

pp. p. for the bread and wine to the communion service. 1355a24). 23). is horrifying to the feeling of many [Roman Catholics].g. 12. leading not to furtherance of the Protestant cause but to resentment and even rebellion: A payment which you may easily conceive is extremely minute in a whole parish. truth will prevail (Letters on the Church. pessimistic about what may happen in actual practice. something which would simultaneously reduce a major cause of friction between Protestants and Roman Catholics and guarantee the financial stability of the church when disestablished. p. 47 46 . His main efforts in this direction had to do with tithe commutation and conversion of tithes into a permanent endowment for the Irish church. as Relating to Publications on the Subject of Religion (London. and considered that in an ideal world. and is as galling as if we were called upon to pay a few pence towards the decoration of an idol temple. in theory. at points. The financial stability of the church and the sources of church Whately. modeled administratively on the Episcopal Church of Scotland. Although Whately continued to maintain a firm commitment to free and open inquiry in religious matters throughout his life. Elements of Rhetoric. xliii–xlv on absence of actual penalties for free discussion of religious matters in Britain. The notion of the ministry as a teaching office was the main reason for Whately not strongly advocating immediate disestablishment. 48 Whately approvingly cites Archdeacon Paley’s argument that if there exists complete religious liberty and freedom of argument and discussion. 1833) and Removal of Certain Disabilities from His Majesty’s Subjects of the Jewish Persuasion.richard whately and the didactic sermon 75 imprudent. Charges and Other Tracts. For Whately’s advocacy of free speech with respect to religion. if not in British practice. than to conduct a futile rear-guard action against disestablishment. truth would naturally prevail in open debate. it was far more important to work towards a peaceful transition to a free church.48 His own opinion was that the Irish Church would inevitably be disestablished (as in fact happened in 1869) and he considered it probable that he might well be the last established Anglican archbishop of Dublin (a prediction within one decade and one successor of complete accuracy). therefore. see Considerations on the Law of Libel. e. p. he is. despite his qualms concerning the value of establishment in theory and practice. 302. Whately considered Establishment an impediment.47 to the sort of free and open inquiry most likely to lead to discovery of and commitment to religious truth. echoing Aristotle’s dictum that justice and truth are naturally stronger than their opposites (Rhet. For Whately.46 Finally. See his Elements of Rhetoric.

Charges and Other Tracts. While Whately himself had no taste for luxury. p. Whately’s evidence on tithe reform given to the House of Lords was published as a pamphlet and as an appendix to his Lectures on Political Economy.52 Since the function of the ministry was teaching. he also was concerned with the evils of the “voluntary system” which he saw as transforming preaching into “a sort of begging”. for Whately. 261–418. 51 Whately. The common and necessary consequences of money transactions between man and man are calculated to generate prejudice against the message we are sent to deliver in the minds of worldly men. he was concerned about the personal and intellectual qualifications of candidates for the ministry. participated in some of the ills of the voluntary system and could have a deleterious effect on the relationship between minister and parishioner. be separated from the issue of the efficacy of the ministry. Letters on the Church. ministers needed to be well educated. had to do with the attractiveness of ministry as a profession to the educated. what must be the effect on those who have been taught to consider our faith heretical?51 Another way in which church finance affected the nature of the ministry. Appointed to Inquire into the Collection and Payment of Tithes in Ireland. and did not wish to attract to the ministry those whose primary motive was financial gain.76 carol poster income could not. and in particular. 133. teaching which required a strong academic background in philology. p. and the State of the Laws Related thereto. especially in its educational and preaching office. and a provision for a family” (Charges and Other Tracts. and several other areas (as discussed below). especially in the area of preaching. Their teaching took place in three contexts: sermons. p. 50 49 . resident at Kilcullen: I [Hardy] have always considered the present system of collecting church income prejudicial to the successful discharge of our duty. The pamphlet version appears as “The Evidence as Taken before the Select Committee of the House of Lords. history. 52 Whately distinguishes between excessive worldliness and a “degree of care for securing a respectable maintenance. 39). Charges and Other Tracts.50 something Whately pointed out in evidence given to the House of Lords by approvingly quoting a letter to himself from the Reverend Hardy. various forms of parish Whately. 301. in the Year 1832” in Whately.49 Even a tithe system. pp. Although Whately opposed establishment on principle. If this must be the case with our own flock. in which the minister was individually responsible for collecting tithes from members of his parish.

or make them overly dependent on the ad hoc charities of wealthy parishioners and thus unable to pursue their Christian mission without. There was widespread concern in the period about the issue of clerical incomes and qualifications. 54 On the issue of Irish bishoprics. adult lectures.richard whately and the didactic sermon 77 schooling (Sunday school. for example. who would actively participate in the tasks of schooling children (in Whately’s eyes perhaps the single most important of all ministerial duties) and visiting parishioners. fear or favor. This was more than a demanding fulltime job for an individual minister – it was a two-person job.54 was that poor livings would not be capable of attracting the sort of well-educated and devoted couples necessary for a teaching ministry (of which the didactic sermon was part. Eliot’s Scenes from Clerical Life. ragged schools). Trollope’s Barset novels.53 Lower salaries might put ministers in a position where financial difficulties would affect their ability to perform their duties. as it were. Whately’s major concern about disestablishment. preclude talented men (and their families) from entering the ministry at all. Given the economics and available technology of the Victorian household. Thus a clerical salary needed to support not only a well-educated man but also a well-educated wife. The Victorian Clergy (London. he recommended substantially reducing episcopal income and redistributing the money to maintain the current number of bishops and better endow poorer livings. and visits to individual parishioners (which Whately insisted his clergy should do as frequently as possible). and Oliphant’s The Curate in Charge are among the many examples of the genre. or. 1984). and thus impaired in their ability to conduct confirmation tours and diocesan visits and generally manage their administrative duties in a conscientious fashion. unless the financial position of the church had been secured by tithe commutation and endowment. 55 The effects of the inadequacy of many of the poorer livings on the lives and ministries of the clergy were among the standard topics of the Victorian novel. Instead. along with redistribution of income to reduce inequities. but a husbandwife collaboration. as discussed in Alan Haig. the ministerial ideal was not a single person. Thus. with the wife (and often unmarried daughters as well) functioning as something approaching deaconesses (a model Whately saw as having Pauline warrant). For Whately. Whately discusses these issues in Charges and Other Tracts and Akenson analyzes Whately’s positions in light of specific Irish ecclesiastical circumstances in Protestant in Purgatory. this required a salary of at least somewhere between one and two hundred pounds a year. worse. Whately was concerned that reducing their number would require individual bishops to be responsible for too large a geographical area.)55 53 Whately is far from unique in this regard. .

see Carol Poster. “An Organon for Theology: Whately’s Rhetoric and Logic in Religious Context. the central aim of preaching.78 carol poster Whately’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation For Whately. 1845). 37–77. or by deductions from moral metastatements. but leaving it to individual Christians to work out by induction from the examples of Jesus Christ and the apostles. For example. focusing on the specific needs of his audiences of the moment. for Whately. their own formulations of specific precepts. was a historical rather than a theological document. 1844. something approaching what would now be termed form criticism. His work contains specific hermeneutic and rhetorical recommendations for how the minister should accomplish evangelical duties. in Behalf of the National School of Clondalkin (Dublin. combining literal reading of the text. . rather than purely theoretical. Many of Whately’s most important suggestions concerning the purpose and subject of preaching are to be found in his discussions of how to interpret and teach the Bible.” Rhetorica 24. unlearned as well as learned. laity as well as clergy. Patrick’s Cathedral. 24th November. An excellent example of how Whately uses the charity sermon as a vehicle not just to exhort his listeners to contribute to a specific cause but also to provide for his audience an explicit model of how they might reason about charitable decision-making is The Christian Duty of Educating the Poor: a Discourse Delivered in St. and the main purpose of the ministry. was evangelical. and that no special class of 56 For Whately’s theory of Christian reasoning. His work is deliberately practical and pedagogical. Scripture.1 (2006). and belief that what was omitted from Scripture was as interpretively significant as what was present. and inculcating general principles. Although Whately considered that Scripture was written in a simple and direct fashion. Scripture was intended for all people. a certain degree of historical and textual criticism. Christians should reason inductively from the charitable acts of Jesus and his followers and deductively from the general principle of charity to formulate practical precepts concerning whether to donate to ragged schools or individual beggars56 (and then from this precept to decide how to respond to specific individual appeals). Whately’s principles of biblical interpretation were quite complicated. setting out actual events rather than specific moral or positive precepts. proclaiming and explicating the good news of the Gospel. ranging from specific suggestions about the parish ministry to more general recommendations about how to understand and preach Scripture.

condemns the closed Brethren for pre-millenarianism and party-spirit. as he points out in The Scripture Doctrine Concerning the Sacraments (London. it was particularly important to keep in mind the genre of the Bible as a whole and of its various parts. natural science.J. 58 The possibility of accurate interpretation of prophecy before its fulfillment was one of the major points on which Whately differed with John Nelson Darby (who began his career in Dublin) and the Plymouth Brethren. 1857). The single most important function of the ministry for Whately was to educate people to read the Bible wisely and deeply.. written by Elizabeth Jane Whately after her father’s death. in fact. The History of the Brethren Movement (Exeter. as it were. See E.e. Plymouth Brethrenism (London. as the uncertainty of the timing of personal death and of the Last Judgement motivated Christians to engage in constant vigilance concerning the state of 57 Whately’s standard for determining the genre to which a given passage should be assigned and whether that passage was to be read literally or figuratively was how it would have been taken by its original audience. and political economy to better understand the Bible and apply deductions drawn from it to practical living. Although the Bible was overall a historical document. 1877) and Roy Coad. Whately thought.richard whately and the didactic sermon 79 people had any exclusive interpretive authority with respect to it. it also contained prophecies and parables. 1968). Whately. were Scriptural evidences of the truth of Christianity. Since they did not. was not only idle speculation. Whately constantly insisted that everyone should learn as much as possible about everything from ancient languages to history. predicting that certain biblical symbols or metaphors could be resolved to reveal unambiguously that certain events would occur at certain places and times in the future). Whately strongly opposed preachers’ efforts to write sermons which explicated Revelation as future history (i. vii–viii.57 Prophecies. it might prove an obstacle to salvation. First. future histories. rather than. geography. An account of the Plymouth Brethren. .58 for several reasons. In reading the Bible. he was far from advocating naïve reading. the New Testament in particular recording the facts of God’s revelation in Jesus (as the Old Testament recorded God’s interactions with the Israelites). by their nature. pp. insisting that if the inspired writers had wished to tell us the precise dates and circumstances of Armageddon and the Last Judgement they would have done so. for a preacher to attempt what the Apostles deliberately refrained from doing. but harmful to the congregation. were only completely understandable when they had been fulfilled and because they had deliberately been left incomplete (in the sense of not fully comprehensible) by the inspired writers. logic.

Elements of Rhetoric (especially pp. “Pedagogy and Bibliography: Aristotle’s Rhetoric in Nineteenth Century England. make more vivid and memorable impressions on an audience than more abstract formulations. tends to be extremely effective for instruction. Whately echoes Aristotle’s comment concerning poetry being more philosophical than history because it is more general to explain the special significance of parables as moral exemplars. it is important for preachers to model for their parishioners the process of analyzing which aspects of the two cases being compared are actually the point of the analogy and which are not.80 carol poster their souls. The second genre within the Bible not to be interpreted historically was the parable. parables are readily susceptible to misinterpretation if the points of comparison are not carefully analyzed.63 59 Whately addressed what was included in and omitted from Scripture on these matters and what he considers the beneficial salvific effects of the deliberate obscurity of prophecy in a series of lectures originally given to his parishioners at Halesworth and published as A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State (London. and the extensive . 63 Whately discusses the use of analogy in religious reasoning in some detail in his Elements of Logic. like other genres of argument or illustration from probable but fictive example. developed in the work of John Gillies and then extended by the Oxford Noetics.2 (2001). Canonicity. see Carol Poster. 1829). 62 Whately’s concept of the parable develops out of a specifically Protestant understanding of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Poetics. see Elements of Rhetoric. because Scripture parables are liable to be misunderstood or misused. to deists and infidels. 67–103. the spectacle of unprofitable wrangling among Christians gives argumentative ammunition. and Abbreviated Enthymemes: Traditional and Critical Influences on Rhetoric in Nineteenth Century Britain. false predictive claims based on speculative interpretation of prophecies tend to undermine the credibility of Christianity as a whole.62 Parables are not accounts of what happened at a given time or place but rather universal truths which. 5–35 and “Theology.60 Finally. Lectures on Some of the Scripture Parables (London. as it were. 1859). 60 Whately treats this issue in great detail in Party-Feeling. pp. The parable. because of their narrative form. and reiterates those conclusions in Charges and Other Tracts and Dangers. For discussion of the British Protestant Aristotle. Like all forms of analogy. especially for the young and/or uneducated.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 31. 61 See especially Whately. The two main reasons Whately considered Scripture parables such important subjects for preachers were: 1. 2. a genre particularly significant for Whately’s theory (and practice)61 of preaching. 90–103).” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 33:1 (2003).59 Second. Thus. 48–52 and 103–08. For Whately on Aristotle and the fictitious or probable example.

1709 (London. and affording occasions for recalling it to memory. An Essay on the Omission of Creeds. the Parable will often be found useful. clear. Liturgies. pp. He gives several examples of cases where syntax may be a stumbling block to understanding in Charges and Other Tracts. so too were the omissions from Scripture. Dublin. See especially. pp.67 To study the Bible annotations and introduction to his edition of The Right Method of Interpreting Scripture: In What Relates to the Nature of the Deity. Illustrated in a Discourse on Predestination by Dr. If both the subject of Scripture and the examples of evangelical method illustrated by Scripture were crucially important for preachers. as those omissions.64 As well as being useful for instruction of children and the unlearned because of their simplicity and vividness. and foreign from all his experience. and Codes of Ecclesiastical Canons in the New Testament (London.richard whately and the didactic sermon 81 Whately explains that the New Testament parables were particularly effective because they used things “of actual daily occurrence” in a “familiar. 6th ed. constitute a significant raison d’être for the ministry. and afterwards by fixing it more deeply in the mind.” “Essay V: On the Abolition of Mosaic Law” in Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St. 66 The question of the omissions from Scripture and their implications is one Whately emphasizes repeatedly. and His Dealings with Mankind. 64 Whately. it is a written linguistic artefact. both by giving us at the time a more lively idea of what is taught. pp. are evidences for Christianity and an authentic revelation of God’s will. primarily by means of asking children to paraphrase rather than memorize by rote. Scripture parables function not only as topics about which a minister should preach.65 For Whately. King … Preached at Christ Church. A child must understand at least some language into which Scripture has been translated before comprehending Scripture in even the most elementary manner. as it were. parables were also necessary because [I]n order to convey to a man some notion of anything that is quite new to him. 65 Ibid.. and forcible” manner. both as the focus of specific essays and as obiter dicta scattered through many of his works. 113–25. At a basic level. 1821). Paul. . Whately. according to Whately. 67 Whately recommends that instructors make sure that children comprehend the sense of what they are learning. prerequisites. before the House of Lords. 3–4. p. but rather has. it is necessary to illustrate it by a comparison with something else which he does know and has experienced … And even in cases where the same instruction might be conveyed in some other way. for omission of “positive precepts. 3. whenever the objects mentioned in the Parable happen to come to mind. but also as examples of rhetorical invention and style to be imitated in preaching.66 in fact. What Scripture contains. May 15.. Scripture is not an elementary pedagogical text. 86–87. 1831) and. Parables.

the ability to discriminate among different genres of writing. should instead focus on such matters as linguistic competence (whether the nuances of English or of the Scriptural languages. political economy. and all the other tools necessary for understanding the Bible. Whately anticipates some of the issues addressed in Paulo Freire’s classic work. Ministers should make accessible to their congregations. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York. Preached before the University of Oxford (Oxford. logical skills of induction and deduction. rather than indoctrinating students in theology. nor is there likely to have been any significant direct influence. theological in nature. and much more. access which depended on the activities of multilingual scholars. Such tools were not. but even where its overtly religious content was limited to daily readings of the Bible with philological (but not overtly dogmatic) commentary. distributors. pp. In educational practice. 1823). Freire’s work is closely tied to the post-Vatican II “liberation theology” movement in South American Roman Catholicism. Whately is in some ways representative of an analogous. historical and cultural knowledge. albeit far earlier. 105–35. the purpose behind the program was not secular. because of its absence of theological indoctrination. in a manner commensurate with parishioners’ individual interests and abilities. in the sense that Scripture is its own authoritative interpreter (rather than the Church or Tradition).82 carol poster carefully requires mastery of a written form of language. a sense of figural vs. Although I have not seen any explicit comparison between Whately and Freire. Whately’s model of education. including knowledge of original languages. printers. trans. history. literal language. As many scholars have observed. 68 . impetus in Protestant pedagogy. etc. More complex understandings of Scripture require advanced verbal skills. depending on the specific level and nature of the learners). 2000). 69 In this way. for Whately. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. can be (and has been) misunderstood as essentially secular. this implied that religious education. Scripture is still not pedagogically self-sufficient. but primarily historical and philological. A reader must either know the original languages in which Scripture was written or have access to a translation of Scripture.69 Whately discusses the need for human learning in religious matters in Five Sermons on Several Occasions. but rather a profoundly Protestant method of tackling the difficult pedagogical problem of teaching parishioners to engage actively in the right and duty of private judgement rather than simply being passive recipients of a “banking model” of religious education.68 Although theologically self-interpreting. those tools necessary for Scriptural interpretation which cannot be found in Scripture itself. logic.

Design. Paul. drawn from his analysis of the Pauline discussion of the abrogation of the law. Whately was especially interested in what these omissions implied concerning the roles in Christian communities of reason. a Reply to the Mistake of the Archbishop of Dublin in His Pamphlet Entitled ‘Thoughts on the Sabbath’ (Birmingham.richard whately and the didactic sermon 83 Although Whately considers Scripture to contain everything needed for salvation. etc. especially for Whately’s argument that Sabbatarianism leads to people assuming that only one. e. Paul. The Scripture Account of the Sabbath Compared with … the Archbishop of Dublin’s “Thoughts on the Sabbath. William Penn. need to be devoted to God. rather than seven days of the week. and Fulfilment of the Jewish Sabbath. 1837). creeds. entitled. abstract theology. he also observes that the inspired writers were careful to omit those things which might be obstacles to salvation. Archdeacon Paley. as well as the propaideutic and introductory instruction described above. as Shewn in a Complete Refutation of the Errors Promulgated by … Dr. Paul & in Other Parts of the New Testament” (London. and then reprinted in a separate pamphlet (which went through several significantly revised editions). Edward Stopford.” in which the Antiquity of the Sabbath is Maintained. being an Additional Note Appended to the Second Edition of “Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St. Heylyn. He emphasized. 1833). Thoughts on the Sabbath. An Answer to a Pamphlet. A Brief Exposition of the Origin. the Scriptures were rhetorically constructed under divine guidance in the shape most likely to lead the greatest possible number of its faithful and serious readers to salvation. This was achieved by processes of both inclusion and exclusion of certain materials at certain times in the Bible’s historical development. 1845.g. 1830. particularly significant omissions from the New Testament include those of “positive precepts”. Strong support for Whately’s position. the church. its Permanent Obligation Proved. Dr Whately. both by Evangelicals and high churchmen. and Others (London.: William Brudenell Barter. by Richard Whately” (London. (London. In other words. . and Remarks on the Christian Sabbath Abridged from the Writings of Dr P. John Ward. were first added as an appendix to his Essays on St. Whately. on the Subject of “A Christian Sabbath” (London and Plymouth. 1831). “Thoughts on the Sabbath. Whately and Others (Oxford. A Clear Exposition of the Lord’s Day. 1854). Considerations on the Divine Authority of the Lord’s day. More typical were the numerous and often virulent condemnations of Whately’s position. Bishop of Meath. in Reply to Dr. 1832). following St Paul. Charles Richard Cameron. can be found in the introduction to an anonymously edited collection of works on the Sabbath. John Walker. Whately’s conclusions concerning the nature of the Sabbath. According to Whately. or Christian Sabbath. and least likely to put stumbling blocks in their paths. 1866). and the ministry. revised editions 1832. A key omission from Scripture for Whately was that of what he termed “positive precepts” from the New Testament.70 that the detailed behavioral prescriptions of the Old 70 See Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St. and Others. 183?). John Calvin. Whately makes some attempt to conciliate his opponents in Charges and Other Tracts. The Sabbath a Type of the Lord Jesus Christ. 99–119. pp. and liturgical and ecclesiastical guidelines.

they are omitted. circumcision) and the concomitant earthly rewards for compliant behavior or punishments for forbidden behavior. 73 For Whately’s argument that fallible human ministers should not attempt “authoritative preaching” or pretend to be infallible guides to Scriptural interpretation. from which. It supplies historical accounts of the actions and sayings of Jesus. this does not entail. political science. a rather more all-encompassing commitment to charity and other forms of Christian morality. 283–326. Whether charity should take the form of giving money to a beggar or supporting a ragged school. which specified individual acts to be avoided (adultery. Because such things as abstract theology and fixed creeds could easily evolve into a “judaizing” system of positive precepts (which require little of the individual believer beyond doing and avoiding the limited things specified). for Whately. and political economy) are crucially important for Whately. The role of the minister and/or preacher is not simply to reiterate or supply positive prescriptions (as had been the tendency of the so-called “practical sermon” of the 18th century) but rather to help parishioners acquire the skills in hermeneutics and critical reasoning most useful in the exercise of the right and duty of private judgement. making sacrifices in the temple. eating pigs) or committed (keeping the Sabbath holy. pp. pp. based on moral principles and future rewards.84 carol poster Testament. but in fact. 69–233 and The Search After Infallibility. and instead the Christian must use private judgement to follow the example of Jesus rather than simply obeying human authority. and the more general narratives of the parables. as can be seen in his Parish Pastor. what form of government might be most likely to create preconditions for Christian belief and activity. rhetoric. the “practical sciences” (especially logic. 22–29. . as they had been established only as temporary expedients in response to the general childishness of the human race71 and the particular lawlessness of the Israelites. see Dangers.72 The New Testament.73 Because of this. ethics. along with the aid of reason and the moral sense – both implanted in humanity by God – people can deduce general principles which then can be applied to their particular circumstances. 72 As I will discuss below. the most effective means of promulgating evangelical 71 Whately presents an extended analogy between the history of humanity evolving from childish to adult in character as portrayed in the Bible and the way each individual develops from child to adult in Lectures on Prayer. for whom a more complex system of morality. had been abrogated under the New Covenant. pp. fornication. would have been unachievable. is suited for the adulthood of humanity. an antinomian position. unlike the Old.

according to the motive it springs from. 75 Whately discusses the relationship of works and intentions in some detail in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals (London 1854). significant implications for preaching. Whately argues. is to show parishioners how to think through such issues for themselves. are crucial for Christian practice. 301. though he should chance to miss his aim …”. pp. Much of the “practical sermon” was comprised of specific recommendations concerning how to live a moral life. Under the New Covenant. 19. p. Charges and Other Tracts. not the less a murderer. The importance of affecting intentions as well as actions is central to Whately’s theory of the sermon. This abolition of the law and omission of positive precepts from the Scripture has. For him. or evil. which urges people to do or refrain from doing specific external acts. specific actions had no salvific significance independent of the intentions or the mental acts associated with them:75 Men should also be reminded that “good works. are not. for instance. rather than to usurp the proper tasks of parishioners’ private judgement. the practical sermon. 76 Whately. who fires a gun at another. and even Jesus himself. as far as they are indications of that inward disposition which alone is strictly to be called virtuous. refrained from promulgating. “An Organon for Theology” for analysis of Whately’s theories of Christian reasoning as enthymematic. in themselves. is. .77 Bad marksmanship is not a moral virtue. addresses 74 See Poster. immoral actions are not redeemed by incompetent execution. even virtuous. 27. morally speaking. 164–83. and all such myriad details of how best to accomplish those ends enjoined by the New Testament. See also Dangers. p. with intent to assassinate him. though. but can only be discovered by application of reason (and the appropriate intellectual tools) to the intersection of general Christian principles with specific circumstances.” in the sense of external acts. or indifferent. and the Evangelical practical sermon would emphasize Mosaic Law. For it is evident that the same act may be either morally good. Parish Pastor. 77 Whately. both laid down precisely the sort of positive precepts that the New Testament. p.richard whately and the didactic sermon 85 doctrine. for Whately. While for the 18th-century Latitudinarians the practical sermon might recommend the general civic morality accepted in polite society.76 Similarly.74 The preacher’s duty. As Whately points out: “A man. but can only be so called.

’ ed. in laying down positive precepts. And in the absence of such directions in the New Testament. in which the minister acts not as a teacher but as a sacrificing priest and mouthpiece of the Law. and is thus inferior to the didactic sermon in which people are persuaded to reflect upon Scripture and upon their own lives and from these reflections to cultivate the understanding. Apostolical Succession Considered or the Constitution of a Christian Church. and of a certain party among Protestants) are generally maintained together. and injunctions as strict.86 carol poster external behavior rather than the internal disposition from which that behavior derives. whereas the practical sermon. they are naturally driven to resort to the analogy of Mosaic law … and in short to judaize Christianity all through. The ministry is not a sacerdotal priesthood. Abridged from Abp. Although the Christian minister does perform the two biblical sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. came the abolition of the priesthood itself. – which is what the advocates of Apostolical-succession … cannot quite conceal from themselves. 40–41. will. 79 78 . respecting the mode of ordaining Christian Ministers. in fact. Whately’s ‘Kingdom of Christ. As Whately points out: It is worthy of remark that the notion of Sacerdotal Priesthood in the Christian Church. can. be performed by any baptized Christian. though at variance with fact. for Whately. 152–53. pp. is what the Apostles might conceivably have done. Under the New Covenant. and intentions which lead to working out for themselves ways to act in their individual circumstances. these are ancillary to the central function of the ministry. But it is manifest that they have not. reverts to the older system of salvation by works. And yet they are not naturally or intrinsically connected … A conceivable supposition it certainly is. E. under certain circumstances.79 Whately. nor does it derive its authority from apostolical succession or share the successional or sacrificing character of the Levitical priesthood in any way. Whately. and while conventionally performed by ministers. and that of Apostolical Succession. pp. Whately (London. I say.J. (in the sense of the Romanists. … as were given in the Mosaic Law relative to the Levitical priesthood … This. 1877). The didactic sermon follows from the concept of salvation by faith. that the Apostles might have left us directions as precise. Five Sermons. along with the abolition of the positive precepts of the Mosaic laws and the concomitant sacrifices offered by the Levitical priesthood. “the great and single oblation of that great High Priest [Jesus Christ] who has no earthly successor”78 having rendered superfluous the priesthood and its “vicarious” sacrifice. Its Powers and Ministry.

but rather “to study. while in the Prayer-Book the same word invariably answers to Presbyteros (from which indeed it is formed). in great measure. this does not mean that there is. always rendered Elder” (Instruction in the Scriptures. emphasizing the importance of Christians reading. Whately argues for a distinctly reformed conception of the Christian ministry 80 as a teaching office within the context of the “priesthood of all believers”: That the Christian Ministry. to the best of our power. 82 Whately. Five Sermons. for the express purpose of giving religious instruction and admonition. or require his interpretations of it to be received on his word. as opposed to the practical. thinking about. and Essays on The Errors of Romanism. . but with a full conviction and confession of our own fallibility”. as well. 137–69. 87–140. 11. (London. and which is.83 While Whately insists repeatedly on “the right and duty of private judgement”. p. were appointed. See also Elements of Logic. the sacrificing Priest.81 A particular challenge for the didactic. for him. Throughout our English Bible ‘Priest’ is invariably the rendering of Hiereus. but rather to teach them how to think for themselves: … [T]he Christian Minister must not presume to “teach as one having authority. sermon was that the manner of such teaching (and thus sermons. whose miracles were his credentials from Heaven. pp. Paul’s directions to Timothy and Titus. He must not make himself. p. Instruction in the Scriptures. and by St. 222–23. no role for the Church and its ministry as 80 Whately states “And one of the worst corruptions of Christianity – the converting of the Christian Minister under the Gospel-dispensation into a ‘sacrificing or Sacerdotal-Priest’ (answering to the Levitical) – is fostered by the ambiguity of a word. pp. 1837). if not principally. 81 Whately. or his Church. p. is clearly proved both by the practice of the Apostles themselves. in our Bible. Five Sermons. 317. and following Scripture for themselves. a substitute for Scripture.richard whately and the didactic sermon 87 Instead. pp. 151. but lead his People to an intelligent and profitable study of Scripture for themselves.” like the Lord Jesus. to attain the true meaning of [Scripture] ourselves.82 It was especially important for Whately that ministers should not succumb to the temptation to set themselves up as infallible guides for their parishioners. pp. 83 Whately. which constitute one part of that teaching) should not be such as to treat the hearers as passive receptacles of authoritative discourse. 2nd ed. 7–8). [unlike the pagan and Levitical priests]. Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. and to impart them to our people.

is essential to active understanding of Christianity. is advocating a model very much parallel to Oxford education. and yet he would have been considered as having studied in vain. He begins by Whately.84 Whately. Although the clergy is not a special caste. or any branch of physical science. in all other departments. critical editions. commentaries.” in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. 63–98. in fact. of Mathematics. pp. 86 On the respective duties of clergy and laity. Whately. nor does this imply that there is no role for various aids to interpretation: It is evidently most irrational to confound together … two things so manifestly different as the employment of human help in any study. 85 84 . pp. but. both administrative and liturgical. but continue as a process of life-long learning and growing in faith. “Christian Saints. but also points them to the tools needed for individual study. there are necessary ministerial functions. small group work (whether university tutorials. etc. not to be a substitute for demonstration of those truths. adult classes. Address … on the Subject of Self-Examination.86 It is within a discussion of prayer that Whately defines the nature of the sermon most precisely. The Student. 10–11. in which learners speak as well as listen and paraphrase rather than memorize. concordances. while no class of individuals or specific office holders is crucial for Whately. it does perform necessary and irreplaceable functions. this education should not end with confirmation. for instance. if he were to receive scientific truths on his instructor’s word. and Charges and Other Tracts. or parochial visits). private visits. of which the sermon is a part. 331–51. e. Christian adult or children’s classes.).85 The minister not only educates his parishioners directly. see Whately. with respect to both specific knowledge and reasoning skills. For Whately. is always glad to resort to the aid of a competent instructor.88 carol poster institutions. The office of the Professor or Tutor is. with lectures (sermons) being important in so far as they form a nucleus for tutorial-based education (Sunday schools. by examining functions of the various parts of the liturgy. etc.g. and the acceptance of any doctrine on the authority of the Teacher. While lectures may be demonstrative in approach and genre. The distinction is perfectly well understood and universally recognized. Instruction in the Scriptures. It is not only in its teaching office that the Church and its ministry are necessary institutions. to teach the Student to demonstrate them himself. history texts. pp. dictionaries.

89 Because of this hybrid nature. has one and obvious simple reason. not to be so understood by the people as to be adopted as their own address to the Most High. in most instances at least. it generally is very much of the character of a sermon thrown into the form of a prayer. is bestowed on those. and more of an address to the congregation. though understood. and bids them enter each his closet. who assembling in his name. he argues that extemporaneous prayer. But immediately after. and other such arguments. for Whately. 88 See Whately. that our Lord’s especial blessing and favorable reception of petitions. rather than being properly a form of prayer. but only warns them against a public display of what ought to be in secret. But congregational prayer. and accordingly expressed in the plural number. Lectures on Prayer. at the moment it is being uttered. – joint worship. p.richard whately and the didactic sermon 89 distinguishing various types of prayer.88 In fact. than a petition offered up jointly by them. but rather as an address to themselves by their minister. and fixed forms vs.87 Since. lacking the thoughtfulness of the sermon and communality of common prayer. He does teach them a form of prayer evidently designed for joint worship. private vs. and shut the door. 108. 1837). – that they are more likely to be judiciously framed than extemporary compositions. is a very different thing. shall agree … respecting the petitions offered up. 89 Whately. when about to engage in private devotion. – that they were used in the primitive Churches. extemporaneous prayer fails to 87 Whately. accordingly. he is generally opposed to extemporaneous prayer in church. And accordingly our Lord supplies to his disciples no form of words for solitary devotion. – these. – common supplication. public. Parish Pastor. because it cannot be genuinely common. prayer cannot be common unless the congregation has had time to think over and understand it prior to the act. A Letter to a Clergyman of the Diocese of Dublin on Religious Meetings (Halesworth. which is plainly impossible. it is likely. pp. extemporaneous: … [I]n their private devotions … I would rather encourage [Christians] to form the habit of addressing their “Father who seeth in secret. 8–9. … That pre-composed forms are not contrary to Scripture. And.” in any expressions that are intelligible to themselves. is actually a sermon in disguise: … [I]n the case of extemporaneous prayer delivered by the minister. if the hearers … have to learn what the prayer is. which occur at the moment. I do not disparage or discard as inconclusive: but far more weight than all of them together. .

Administratively. the single most important duty of ministers. pp. The sermon explicates Scripture in such a manner as to enable all people. by explicit ordinance and implicit omission. did not consider sacraments and liturgy the central office of the church and its ministry. as do their purposes (supplication vs. to prove. to read and interpret Scripture for themselves. Although both prayer and preaching are parts of the ceremonial occasion of the church service. Essay on the Omission of Creeds. . Most importantly. but rather considered teaching. 91 See Whately. Whately considered the Church to be a community existing for the purpose of prayer. and women as well as men. Whately. Creed. both directly in its positive precepts90 and indirectly in its historical descriptions of Christianity. Instruction in the Scriptures. is to be found in the Sacred Writings. unlike the Tractarians. To summarize the theological context of Whately’s sermon theory. of which the sermon was part. that of the Scriptures. children as well as adults. or Liturgy. their audiences (God vs. and like all other communities. though it is manifest that something of the kind – either oral or written – must have been in use from the very first … But the omission is one which it is evident the uninspired Church was designed to supply. 92 Whately. learned as well as unlearned. The Church’s office is to teach. 12–13. Dissertation on the Use and Importance of Unauthoritative Tradition. Scripture attests to the need for the Church and its tradition. the sermon is to be understood primarily as part of the teaching office of the Church. and education. pp. instruction).90 carol poster be effective either as prayer or as sermon.” Quarterly Review 21. and all the various forms of ordering and regulation necessary for any organization. by the inspired writers. therefore. as well as implicitly in its omission of introductory and catechetical materials. 352–59. which the church community must supply to young or new members:91 It is well known that every one of the books of the New Testament was addressed to persons who were already Christians. The sermon functions 90 Whately’s earliest discussion of “tradition” occurs in his “Review of Hawkins. including Cautions for the Times. 19–22.92 For Whately. that they “might know the certainty of those things wherein they had been instructed” [catechized]. as assigned to it. congregation) differ. whether secular or religious. in need of officers.42 (April 1819). worship. standards of membership. He develops this position in several works. No elementary introduction to the knowledge of Christianity – nothing of the character of a Catechism.

publishes it as an essay. Considered in Reference to the Danger of Religious Errors Arising within the Church in the Primitive as well as in all Later Ages (Dublin.. and he repeatedly emphasized the need to feed minds and souls. he personally donated time and money (well over half his annual income) to a large range of charities. both public and personal. Instead. Instruction in the Scriptures. e. as it were. in addition to providing the administrative infrastructure necessary to support Christian education.96 and. as well as bodies. delivers it as a lecture. Protestant in Purgatory. discourse. in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. to be educating the clergy. including preaching. and ministry.94 so too he saw a significant task of the episcopate. Whately discusses both form and content of sermons. rpt. and recommends things to do and things to avoid with respect to both. He makes little effort to distinguish the sermon either in function or literary form. 1–98. pp. 96 See. 12–13. Whately. often takes the same discourse and indifferently preaches it as a sermon. Whately also discusses preaching at some length in many of the essays in Dangers and in several ordination sermons. from the lecture.93 Just as Whately understood the main duty of ministers to be educating their congregations. 95 See discussion in Akenson. pp.g. questions of 93 Whately wrote his Elements of Rhetoric primarily as a manual for preachers. 145–64. and Charges and Other Tracts. pp. most importantly.95 For Whately. or religious commentary. and repeats it in an episcopal charge. His Parish Pastor provides advice to the clergy on various different aspects of ministerial duties. his views were remarkably consistent across a long and prolific career and his writing is extremely clear and well-organized. The Search after Infallibility. . Although Whately’s remarks on preaching are scattered over many publications ranging in date from 1822 to 1861. so it is possible to reconstruct a relatively unified account of his sermon theory. Whately’s Theory of the Sermon In his voluminous practical advice to the clergy about the offices of ministers in general and how sermons contributed to those offices. in fact. as an organon for private judgement. 1848. 297–329).richard whately and the didactic sermon 91 not as authoritative preaching. pp. missionary work. 94 Although education is perhaps the single most important Christian charity for Whately. Two significant charity sermons in which Whately argues for the importance of educating the poor are The Christian Duty of Educating the Poor and The Duty of Those Who Disapprove of the Education of the Poor. the sermon per se actually filled a fairly minor role in his larger educational mission of the Christian ministry. Instruction in the Scriptures. but rather.

independent of a broader pastoral ministry: If public preaching. Whately views the parochial system as designed to minister comprehensively to the spiritual (and. While Whately was not unaware of the ways in which good sermons could benefit a congregation. Whately. where necessary.92 carol poster audience and purpose are far more important for Whately than ones of external form or ceremonial occasion. 18–24. e. Parish Pastor. sharing with St James a concern that “the tongue … is an unruly evil” (James 3:8). for “no one can be completely well-fitted to be the instructor of any class of persons. there would be no necessity for dividing a Christian Country into any such districts as we call Parishes. 8–9. Ibid.99 Whately insists that as well as “speaking to” his people. “profitable public preaching” within a parochial system depends on regular “private intercourse” with members of the congregation.. and administering of the Sacraments. cautions that the sermon can be perilous for both preacher and audience in three ways: 1. pp. temporal) needs of Christians (and the general populace) in a specific geographic area. Even in the case of those 97 98 99 See. for Whately. Love of fine preaching (and of reputations as fine preachers) can lead ministers to ignore the actual needs of their congregations due to desire for approbation or acclaim as preachers. and treat their Sunday duties as the main end of the ministerial office rather than properly balancing time devoted to sermon preparation with other duties.97 2. 2. and confiding each to the superintending care of its own Pastor. a pastor must also “listen” to them. taking “ministering” in the fullest possible sense of the word. p.g. 3. Many of Whately’s overt discussions of the sermon are actually cautions against treating the sermon itself as the sole duty of the pastor or believing that the unaided sermon can be of benefit to a congregation.. The uniquely public and visible character of the sermon can lead ministers to succumb to the temptation to overemphasize sermon preparation. Ibid. Authoritative preaching can undermine the process of private judgement (as discussed above). who has not had considerable private intercourse with that class”. were all that was needed..98 Instead. pp. . Thus. he also.

&c. – seafaring men. but of the persons to whom they are to be taught. would be as much in error as if he should undertake to practice as a Physician from a mere book-knowledge of anatomy and pharmacy.richard whately and the didactic sermon 93 who appear to be in error on religious matters. one to the Mahometans. Content of Sermons Whately’s understanding of the sermon was strongly rhetorical rather than literary. because the art of affording explanatory instruction. For additional theoretical background. therefore. depended for Whately on its being grounded in a broader context of parochial ministry. … In Missionary-work. requires (like all other arts) a skill which cannot be acquired without diligent practice. – whether children.101 The effectiveness of the sermon. see Whately. Party-Feeling. since thus there will be some common ground for both parties to stand upon”. another to the Brahminists. pp.. – not only the qualities of Medicine. which enables the preacher to adapt both sermon form and content to the specific needs of a given congregation. it will lead to much longer-lasting benefits to the congregation than the sermon unsupported by a broader pastoral foundation. We need a knowledge not only of the things to be taught. but of the constitution of the patient. – the gentry or the mechanics. 10.100 Although such diligence in visiting and conversing with parishioners will demand much of a pastor’s time (and patience) and may not show immediate results. or husbandmen. Whately. p. &c. And a mere general knowledge of Human Nature is not sufficient. the literary form of the 100 101 Ibid. Any one who should imagine himself qualified to teach what he does not himself know. Instruction in Scripture. without ever having attended a sick-bed or felt a patient’s pulse. Regular parochial visiting will also enable the preacher to better tailor the sermon to the needs of his specific audience. in the sense that his major concerns were its purpose and its long-term effect on the congregation. another to the Parsees. We should understand also the peculiar habits of thought and mental constitution of whatever class of people we are to instruct. it has been found that those have been most successful who have confined their attention almost entirely. it is important to “ascertain the truth in [their] views. . Whately considers audience awareness as part of a skill set essential for composing the didactic sermon: I have spoken of skill as well as patience. 35–36. each to a particular class of unbelievers. or adults.

that it is possible some result may take place. will usually be too vague to lead to a useful application in practice. To the one. ineffectual. that I shall at all have edified any one? …. or some confused ideas rendered clear. or of Christian ministers. Whately. definite. then the sermon has failed to achieve its purpose. In fact. Charges and Other Tracts. in short. though listened to. Elements of Rhetoric. to avoid giving offence to any one. or. p. should address some particular intellectual or practical difficulty which might be encountered by members of a specific congregation. (if applied at all. and to the other. and which might have not equally taken place without our suggestion. if we keep within these vague generalities. he sets out in his 1834 charge to his clergy a typically sensible set of criteria for judging the utility of a sermon: We should ask ourselves on each occasion. and should have some immediate. such exhortation will generally be superfluous.94 carol poster sermon was only of interest to Whately in so far as it might contribute to rhetorical effect. [Do I] preach merely because I want to say something. 329–30. already engaged sincerely and heartily in the discharge of their duties.) by each hearer. 8. For Whately.) in consequence of what we say. or by those who are not. What was most important was that a sermon have a definite purpose: [A] young preacher … should ask himself … “For what purpose am I going to preach? Wherein would anyone be a loser were I to keep silence? Is it likely that anyone will learn something he was ignorant of. not merely whether it is possible for a person to do. It is easier. according to his own 102 103 Whately. perhaps with interest and received with approbation. (in those who are willing to listen to us. because such remarks and precepts will naturally be applied. either by those who are. – whether those of the Christian universally. or be reminded forcibly of something he has forgotten … or that some difficulty will have been explained. pp. indeed. He therefore argues strongly that preachers should avoid vague generalities: Any general exhortation to active and steady exertion in our several duties. but also whether our recommendations are so far definite. or be. and practical outcome. or because I have something to say?”102 Each sermon. . or feel. what we recommend. for Whately. if a sermon does not produce a result which would not have been produced had the sermon not been given. and specific.103 The counterfactual conditional is particularly important.

nor the Sadducees with rebukes of Pharisaical hypocrisy… but in his discourses to each. it is important to focus on the faults of the specific congregation being addressed. equally. a minister 104 Whately. to both. patient. . in doctrine or conduct. and might be. and in opposite ways. 106 Whately. pp. especially as. and approaching censure and disagreement in a meek and instructive manner rather than a controversial one. equally acceptable and equally unprofitable.108 For content. differing perhaps the most widely. p. the preacher himself is no less a fallible and corrupt human than any member of the congregation. including those faults to which specific groups or individuals within the congregation are most prone.105 Often the duty to address the specific faults into which a congregation might fall will come into conflict with the natural desire of the preacher for popularity. To recommend in general terms. by individuals. for Whately. p.104 Instead. enlarges on such topics as might be. 40. 209. 69–70. both as subject matter and methodological model. but be gentle unto all men. since he may be sure that the less he complies with the depraved judgements of man’s corrupt nature. 105 Whately.107 The solution to this problem is to be found in Scripture. in fact.richard whately and the didactic sermon 95 previously adopted views. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves …” (2 Tim 2:24–25). Elements of Rhetoric. sound doctrine and judicious conduct. The Search after Infallibility. would be. Whately recommends following the precepts of St Paul by emphasizing points of agreement. p. Whately points out: “Our Lord … did not occupy the Pharisees with an exposure of Sadducean errors. most profitable”. the less acceptable he is likely to be to that depraved judgement. 108 In his discussion of this issue in both Elements of Rhetoric and Party-Feeling he frequently cites 2 Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive. Charges and Other Tracts. what parishioners most need to hear might be what they are least open to hearing: The Christian preacher therefore is in this respect placed in a difficult dilemma. to each. based on information gathered by regularly talking with and listening to individual parishioners. Dangers. For rhetorical method. 5.106 This problem can be exacerbated if the preacher appears to assume a superior position from which he talks down to his congregation. 107 See Whately. or at least what he himself thinks ought to be recommended: and this would therefore be applied. and his own habitual practice. in fact. He makes a similar point concerning the inutility of “mere general exhortations” in Charges and Other Tracts. apt to teach. to recommend to each man his own.

110 As he tells his clergy in an 1837 ordination sermon: … [I]n the instruction bestowed on your people. Under words “nearly obsolete” are to be included not only those seldom in use. Five Sermons.). Dublin. not just before ordination but throughout their careers. but many times more that are as much used as ever. and focus on explication of Scripture. dictionaries. even the Authorized English translation stands in need of explication with respect to both verbal and historical matters: … [A]s our present Version stands. and was originally composed so as to be comprehensible to the unlearned as well as the learned. critical editions. A Sermon Delivered in St. 22nd October. pp. thus not positioning himself as an authority. of the New Testament. by study of Scripture itself (in the original languages) and use of all possible ancillary materials. philology. on Sunday. as well as of passages (of which there are not a few) in which there are imperfections in the rendering.D. p.. 110 See Whately. D. 5. … make the elucidation of Scripture your principle object. including commentaries. and especially … lead them gradually to understand. p.96 carol poster should strive to avoid including his own theological speculations in his sermons. p. A Sermon Delivered at the Ordination Held at Christ Church. On Occasion of the Consecration of William Fitzgerald. literature. etc. is introduction to and explication of Scripture.111 Although Scripture is clear. March 8th. Patrick’s Cathedral. and all relevant forms of secular learning (history. but instead as ancillary to Scripture. there is need of explanations to the People of those passages which are made obscure by the use of obsolete. logic. but are obsolete in the sense in which they appear in our Bible-Version”. 1). The main purpose of the sermon for Whately. and yet is one which it can hardly ever be out of place to recall and dwell on” (Instruction in the Scriptures. 105–39 and Mental Culture Required for Christian Ministers. and translated into the vernacular in Protestant churches so as to be universally accessible. 1857). . as with all Christian instruction. Dublin. 6. This “solemn duty”109 is one for which ministers must prepare themselves assiduously. and to study with interest and with attention. 111 Whately. ‘Are you determined to instruct the people out of Holy Scriptures?’ is one which I trust is never long absent from the mind of any of us. the whole – and not the least the historical part. Bishop of Cork. Instruction in the Scriptures.112 109 Whately states: “That solemn question in the Ordination Service. 1837). or nearly obsolete words and phrases. which is the basis on which the rest is built. 1857 (London. 1837 (Dublin. 112 Whately.

therefore. Whately recommends that the minister discuss such issues frankly and openly. More importantly. the didactic sermon emphasized understanding and intention. are not Christian but part of a Jewish or judaizing dispensation. On a philological level. would be ineffective. second. therefore. the Christian teacher has a duty to point out those places where the English of the Authorized Version renders the original Greek or Hebrew imperfectly See Whately. inspiring the audience’s emotions in such a manner as would strengthen their will to lead to them to Christian virtue (said virtue consisting of a internal disposition bearing fruit in external acts). whether in confirmation classes. Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. illustrating the proper methods for deducing consequences from those truths. See Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St.116 Since without the initial step of genuine intellectual conviction and understanding. Paul and The Search after Infallibility.113 in a manner which encourages parishioners to think through and assent to (in the Stoic sense) what might otherwise be casual or only nominally held beliefs. with moral works following as fruits of faith.115 On a psychological level. as well as in my essay “An Organon for Theology”. especially the development and inculcation of the skills and knowledge necessary for Scriptural interpretation. adult lectures.richard whately and the didactic sermon 97 Contrary to those who think that overt discussion of difficulties in translation would simply confuse unlearned members of the congregation. 116 Whately’s most significant discussion of audience psychology occurs in his Elements of Rhetoric. the process is stillborn. as it were.114 While the practical sermon. by implicitly promoting works as valuable in and of themselves. and finally. 115 See Whately. the didactic sermon needed to accomplish three tasks: first educating and convincing the intellect of its audience concerning the truth of Christianity by presentation of evidence. written publications. The Search after Infallibility. I analyze how Whately’s assumptions concerning audience psychology affect his sermon theory below. Note that for Whately. or sermons. tended to judaize Christianity. according to Whately. as it were. 164–83. pp. 114 113 . salvation by faith implied for Whately that acts independent of intentions lacked moral or religious significance and thus a sermon (if such could exist) which led parishioners to change their behaviors while leaving unchristian beliefs and intentions in place. Whately’s writing emphasizes the intellectual side of the process. as it were. Whately always advises ministers that their duty is to stimulate free and open inquiry. good works which are intended to buy salvation.

and to events. p. then. and that it is of no consequence (since they do not involve essential articles of Christian faith) whether. Current major debates 2. there must always be. a need of explanations of Scripture to the people. as Whately points out: Let no one presume to say that such points as these [specific details of geography and architecture] are trifles not worth explaining. The second area from which need for explication arises is historical: … [I]n a book written in a distant Age and country. under any circumstances. as well as places where terms are translated inconsistently. Instruction in the Scriptures. however. there will be many allusions to customs and to places. nor are they chosen for purely antiquarian interest. .98 carol poster or ambiguously. he therefore could not advise the clergy simply to remain silent on such matters as Jewish 117 118 Whately. For these reasons. restricted to the purely linguistic or historical. Instead. controversies over even what might seem fairly arcane doctrinal and ecclesiological points being canvassed widely in daily newspapers as well as the monthlies. which were familiarly known even to the unlearned among the original readers. …117 Even explanations of seemingly trivial historical or philological points can be useful. the People have correct notions. or incorrect. or none at all … One who has a due reverence for the Scriptures will reckon nothing unimportant that can tend to put the reader at home – if I may so speak – in the Sacred Writings. 9. on such points. p. so as to study them with interest and with intelligence. 19.. Evidences of Christianity Whately’s career coincided with a period of active religious upheaval and controversy of a sort which engaged the general public rather than just an educated elite. Ibid. in so far as they can make it easier for parishioners to read Scripture. Potential stumbling blocks 3. which can only be understood (and that sometimes imperfectly) by diligent research. No matter how much Whately deplored controversy and sectarian spirit. Whately normally emphasizes those philological points which have bearing on three sorts of material: 1.118 The explanations of Scripture that Whately recommends and proffers are not.

g. pp. the Hampden controversy. minute points of theology or issues of church governance were not essential to salvation. and repeatedly assure his congregation that a variety of views were admissible where Scripture gave no definitive answer. the Maynooth Grant. . In such cases. emphasizing the ways in which subject and approach should be based on the audience and purpose of a discourse. and. rather than addressing contemporary controversies as important simply because it was necessary to have and express an opinion on all topics. 1829). discussions of the revival of Convocation and other such matters of church governance (e. in fact.120 There were.richard whately and the didactic sermon 99 emancipation. as could those baptized as either infants or adults. and the Papal Aggression controversy. on the other hand. liturgical reform) were sufficiently important to the professional life of the clergy that it was the duty of a bishop to address these topics in diocesan charges and various pamphlets. In other words. Whately was concerned with the degree to which his clergy and their parishioners would benefit from discussion of certain issues. Irish National Education. 39–40. 120 A good example of how Whately uses this method can be found in A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State (London. For Whately. Whately’s method in his own sermons was to summarize the main Scriptural evidence on both sides of the issue.119 The parochial sermon was intended to help remove intellectual or practical obstacles to salvation. both Presbyterians and Episcopalians could be saved. Irish bishoprics. the Gorham case. in most cases (university chapels being a major exception) for unlearned audiences. and thus that no point of view which was compatible with Scripture would be an obstacle to salvation. tithe reform. venues other than the 119 For Whately’s discussion of how addresses to clergy and laity should differ. suggest where the preponderance of evidence seemed to lie. concerning such controversial topics. for example. Thus the only reason for discussing such topics in sermons was to soothe the anxieties of parishioners who might be misled by public controversies to think that these were matters necessary for salvation. Instead. and no precise verbal formula concerning the nature of Christ or the Trinity had any bearing on anything practical whatsoever. So. they should not be addressed in parochial sermons. but as they had no relevance to salvation. Whately’s recommendations and practice were primarily rhetorical. see Charges and Other Tracts. since as a form of dissension over adiaphora they could constitute stumbling blocks. the Tract XC controversy.

removal of all civil penalties for religious views (Catholic and Jewish emancipation. and spoke (and published pamphlets) on those topics which affected the church or to which the church could contribute productively to a national conversation by articulating a uniquely Christian moral viewpoint. These issues. and poor and tithe law reform. parliamentary speeches. or partially and dimly revealed. forbid. Although Whately deplored controversy for its own sake. diocesan charges and ordination sermons. had the Almighty so willed – and speculations on the divine decrees which (as our Article expresses it) are “secret to us. university sermons. especially on abstract theological matters.121 121 Whately. Instruction in the Scriptures.g. on administrative as well as ideological issues). as the All-Wise has thought fit to disclose to us. abolition of slavery. being addressed to the clergy and having as their purpose guidance for ministers (both intellectual and practical. were appropriate to university sermons in so far as they were often as much lectures as sermons proper (e. or tacitly endorse specific forms of conducting services within his diocese. he represented the interests of the Irish Establishment in Parliament. to some hearers. in Scripture. For example. included penal reform. and to be content to know only as much. would necessarily engage in controversies. we should seek diligently to know as much. especially those controversial matters which required some form of episcopal regulation or discipline.100 carol poster parish in which theological controversy did have a place (albeit a regrettable one). Irish national education. admission of dissenters to universities). p. questions concerning liturgical reform or the use of extemporary prayer were ones which had immediate practical consequences – a bishop needed to promote. Matters of abstract theology. Whately cautions strenuously against attempts to interpret those things (especially prophecies) in sermons which the inspired writers deliberately left ambiguous: We must not attempt explanations of divine Mysteries which are unrevealed. church governance. On a practical level. on the other hand. religious censorship and libel laws. Very acceptable indeed. 37. there were areas where intervention was necessary.” But of matters beyond human reason. the Bampton lectures) and general publications. . for Whately. namely pamphlets. the Maynooth grant. are bold interpretations of unfulfilled Prophecies – of Prophecies which would have been made quite clear at once. Finally. and diocesan charges. speculative theology and divisive issues should be avoided where possible. In parochial sermons.

p. the preacher should attempt to resolve potential stumbling blocks to intellectual assent to or active practice of Christian principles. Whately considered all professed Christians “elect” in the sense of reconciled with God (there being for Whately no special class of “elect” or “saints”).e. but rather “men’s falling practically into a careless attention to their moral conduct”. See. On a practical level. Dangers. specifically concerned that a certain type of extreme Calvinistic evangelical preaching could lead to antinomianism. Dangers. pp. “Christian Saints. perhaps of natural human interest. but not an appropriate topic for sermons or Christian education. 123 Whately. . not readily comprehensible in light of historical and/or linguistic research combined with fairly straightforward logical deduction) then curiosity about such matters was mere idle speculation. since God and the inspired writers obviously had the ability to make things plain and clear. Second.e. inter alia. Whately also discussed what matters should be covered in sermons. pp. hearers who considered themselves elect might be lulled into complacency and those who suspected themselves damned might fall into despair rather than try to amend their lives. according to Whately.123 As well as discussing positive evidences for Christianity. of specific future events. Whately holds something close to the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace). He was particularly emphatic. he cautioned that sermons on predestination might deleteriously affect parishioners in two ways. First. On a more theoretical level. not necessarily in its most pure and extreme theoretical form. having discovered by regular parochial visiting what constituted actual 122 Whately. 331–51. if they left certain matters irresolvably ambiguous (i. but that this simply established the possibility of salvation. 19. parishioners might conclude from sermons emphasizing predestination that good works were not an essential part of Christian life. in fact. Whately. for reasons discussed above. Whately was. was predestination.” in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. concerning the need for treating Christian evidences in both schoolroom and pulpit. if a preacher emphasized that God had predestined certain people to election and others to damnation. clearly understandable in the present. with eventual outcomes depending on the actual moral conduct of the individual (i. Another possible pitfall for preachers.richard whately and the didactic sermon 101 Whately had little patience with those who engaged in trying to gloss details of Daniel or Revelations as predictions. 69–90.122 As well as cautioning ministers about potential pitfalls for the unwary preacher.

124 While Whately’s understanding of homiletic invention. he rarely concerns himself with the purely aesthetic. His recommendations synthesize acute common sense and robust practicality. see Poster. Rhetorica 4 (1986). therefore. Copleston. a preacher striving for dramatic intensity might avoid those topics which were not inherently striking. in discussing the form of the sermon. Bacon. and delivery.). “Richard Whately’s Public Persuasion: The Relationship between His Rhetorical Theory and His Rhetorical Practice”. Whately’s specifically rhetorical writings focus on four of the canons of ancient rhetoric: invention. Whately. literary form is of interest to him only in so far as it affects practical outcome. like his epistemology and theology. in so far as it touches upon the content of sermons and the nature of Christian discourse in general. style. arrangement. in sermons and lectures. starting with paradigmatic situations or problems.102 carol poster obstacles for members of the parish and addressing those specifically. In all cases. is inductive and empirical. but also from Cicero. to his Elements of Rhetoric.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 14 (Spring 1981). “Whately’s Theory of Rhetoric”. Quintilian. 47–65. his choice of and approach to content. Paley. Sermon Psychology and Sermon Form For Whately. His rhetorical method. e. mainly from Aristotle. but also because a preacher’s attitude towards sermon form could affect. often on a subconscious level. analyzes its psychological effect not only on audience but on the preacher himself. Einhorn. style. and delivery are confined. his discussions of arrangement. and Raymie McKerrow. 124 For extended discussion of Whately’s rhetorical theories. “Consistency in Richard Whately: The Scope of His Rhetoric. for the most part.’ Whately’s Earliest ‘Rhetoric’ ”. and from these progressing to specific and pragmatic recommendations of heuristic strategies. Lois J. not only was the rhetorical form of the sermon important because it had a profound psychological effect on the audience independent of content.g. Reid. “An Organon for Theology”. et sim. 89–99. and “Probable Argument and Proof in Whately’s Theory of Rhetoric”. is interwoven throughout his discussions of various other religious topics. based on his own observations and occasional borrowings. Campbell. Butler. . “ ‘Method of Composition. and his own contemporaries and near contemporaries (Blair.

in order that the process of discovery not distract one’s attention from the proper focus of composition.g. and second. between the order of discovery and the order of presentation. Elements of Rhetoric.125 which is an art of communicating material to an audience. p. It is important to have a clear sense of what one intends to say before writing. offstage. which is not the preacher’s own process of learning and composing. be performed. the process of discovery includes. and well-presented. The first of these distinctions is not only relevant to the rhetorical form of the sermon. but instead. processes which should. begins with an analysis of how order of presentation affects audience psychology. . and making judgements about the truth or value of certain ideas or actions. offers little specific to his construction of a theory of the didactic sermon. like murders in Greek tragedy. finding out new things (or new explanations). In considering rhetorical arrangement. making logical deductions from existing materials. as the main components of good prose style. For Whately. as it were. inter alia. sensible.richard whately and the didactic sermon 103 Whately’s discussion of style. 5. make important contributions to his theory of the sermon. as might be expected. Whately draws two important distinctions: first. The sections of his Elements of Rhetoric concerned with arrangement and delivery. or vividness. Sermon Arrangement and Audience Psychology Whately’s treatment of arrangement in his Elements of Rhetoric. but also to the composing process. and energy. proving propositions. As might be expected. e.. between conviction and persuasion. however. All of these processes are prior to rhetoric proper. and advises writers to strive for comprehensibility rather than “fine” writing. think about 125 See. but the utility of the discourse to the audience. Thus the preacher should make sure not to organize a sermon around the order in which he discovered certain things to be the case. although typically clear. he emphasizes clarity. brevity. Whately emphasizes that the type of invention proper to rhetoric is one which focuses on finding arguments to convince or explanations to instruct an audience after the processes of discovery and judgement have been completed. Whately on the distinction between inferring and proving.

some part of the conviction essential to the didactic sermon must build on an instructive foundation established outside the sermon proper. they are. but rather courted. distinct but interdependent activities. see Robert H. especially those with complex introductory instructive sections. Elements of Rhetoric. as Whately often points out. expediency is not something to be disdained. pp. 181. Although he points out that the two are closely related. in school.127 To attempt to attain conviction without the understanding developed by instruction is to revert to the authoritative preaching of the practical sermon. two things are requisite. lectures. affecting different mental faculties: Persuasion. the examples of Jesus and his disciples form paradigms of the character towards which Christians should strive. The longer of Whately’s published sermons. indeed often confused. 181. and will generally need to be effected by the Arguments of the Writer or Speaker. see Elements of Rhetoric. For discussion of orality-literacy issues in the study of the Victorian sermon. 1998). 1. and. Exhorting an audience without convincing them of the truth of the premises and practicality of the ends being recommended is ineffective: For in order that the Will be influenced.129 If the goals recommended by a preacher are not seen as Whately. Rather. instruction and explanation inculcate the truth of the Christian scheme. 127 126 . 471–73. The second important distinction Whately makes is between conviction and persuasion.104 carol poster what sort of organization would be most instructive or persuasive to an audience.128 For Whately. or parochial visits. viz. Elements of Rhetoric.126 Practically. Whately’s sermons vary in length from extremely short (under five pages of printed text) to extremely long (over thirty pages). Ellison. and exhorting the people to do so. p. and the sermon has the ancillary function of explicating Scripture. that the means suggested should be proved to be conducive to the attainment of that object. 129 For Whately’s views on expediency. properly so called [is] the art of influencing the Will … Conviction of the understanding … is an essential part of Persuasion. p. that the proposed Objects should appear desirable. may well been revised significantly for publication. PA. and 2. in fact. but that still does not completely obviate the necessity of argument leading to conviction in the opening of a sermon. 128 Whately. demonstrating the expedience (and possibility) of attaining (an always improvable) Christian character. The Victorian Pulpit: Spoken and Written Sermons in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Selinsgrove.

181. of reverence. when contemplating. The sermon attempted to further this goal by proceeding from evidences of the truths of Christianity to the consequent obligations such truths implied. &c. suppose. in a series of gradual but feasible steps. the doctrines and promises of the Christian religion. Once intellectual assent was established. was the most difficult task facing the preacher.132 As well as using vivid and concrete imagery (following the example of Scripture parables. advocates a model of gradual habituation See Whately. by a direct effort of volition. in many ways following Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics (which he cites frequently). through steady determination rather than superhuman effort. for Whately. Whately. usually come up [even] to the standard which he himself thinks reasonable?”131 Whately makes a sharp distinction between the intellectual conviction that certain feelings (gratitude. Instead. 182–83. love. the congregation might understand Christian virtue to be a matter for some special class of “saints” rather than something applicable to themselves. hope. emulation. – by contemplating and dwelling on his actions and sufferings. few do so with the intensity necessary to inspire Christian virtue. rhetorically. This. – in this manner. asking. “Do the feelings of … a man. 331–51. admiration. compassion) are appropriate and the actual experience of those feelings: [T]hough we cannot. for Whately. for instance. Thus. Elements of Rhetoric. p. he suggested that preachers should urge their congregations to strive for the highest degree of Christian virtue. 131 Whately. pp.. excite or allay any Sentiment or Emotion we may. as discussed above) to train the emotions. gratitude. He points out that even of those who accepted intellectually the truth of Christianity. – and by calling on the Imagination to present a vivid picture of all that is related and referred to.130 Showing Christian virtue to be attainable by all people.. as we are already prepared to acknowledge are suitable to the case. pity. fill the Understanding with such thoughts as shall operate on the Feelings. equivalent to encouraging laziness or complacency. it was necessary to motivate the will. by a voluntary act. 132 Ibid. pp. without some extraordinary effort of will or character.richard whately and the didactic sermon 105 attainable. – his virtues and wisdom. we may at length succeed in kindling such feelings. “Christian Saints. was not. by attentively studying and meditating on the history of some extraordinary Personage.” in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. it is also necessary to show how the aims desired can be readily achieved in small steps. 130 .

Whately emphasized the importance of natural delivery. that Christian duties are incumbent on all. than their original mode of Delivery.) 5. conclude with exhortation to move the emotions. Elements of Rhetoric. not just on the clergy. especially the general moral precepts (e. 2. Start with a passage from Scripture. but there are many. namely the underlying assumption that the best way to achieve a natural method of speaking is through some artificial system. 135 Whately. He states: Probably not a single instance could be found of any one who has attained.135 Whately’s major treatment of elocution appears in the fourth and final section of his Elements of Rhetoric. and gestures. see Carol Poster. that Christians must be charitable. – who have by this means been totally spoiled. a really good Delivery. 3.. by the study of any system of instruction that has hitherto appeared. 4. therefore. 339–90. was: 1. The consequent shape Whately recommended for the sermon.133 In contrast with most elocutionists of the period. etc. 339–40. pp. Provide the historical and philological information prerequisite to practical interpretation of that passage. usually by display of vivid examples. pp.134 was inherently flawed in its foundations. whom Whately considered among the best of the elocutionists. Include any relevant evidences of divine inspiration of the passage in particular and Bible in general. ed. that inward intentions as well as external acts are important. – who have fallen irrevocably into an affected style of spouting. Finally. Sermon Delivery With respect to elocution. The Elocutionary Movement (Bristol. even that of Sheridan. emphases. worse. 134 For the major elocutionary texts of the period. he did not consider that this was best achieved through some system of marking written materials to indicate pauses.g. Whately explains that any such system. 2003). – probably as many as have fully tried the experiment. 133 . Show the practical consequences which can be deduced from the passage.106 carol poster to virtue combined with regular self-examination as something preachers should recommend. in all respects.

He remarks that even those whose ordinary conversational manner of speaking is clear and pleasant often became stilted or unintelligible while reading. duration. even from a trifling talker of whom we are weary. though with propriety. teaching students to imitate a written text which itself is only an imitation of how something would naturally be spoken if uttered spontaneously). pp. conversational. and free from vulgar and provincial pronunciation – in other words. 2) even a perfect system would be a circuitous route to its end (i. are apt to wander. or of marking texts for delivery. even of those not disposed to be drowsy. nor. Instead.e. of the same length. a similarity not accidental. in so far as Whately’s model of good oratory is. and 3) any system which focuses the attention of the speaker on his own voice will inevitably produce a certain degree of stylistic artifice or affectation. whereas it is common for men to find difficulty in keeping themselves awake. it is notoriously difficult to withdraw our attention.. he recommends that ministers train themselves to read the liturgy.richard whately and the didactic sermon 107 There are three reasons. while. any form of extemporaneous speech-making (whether in the pulpit or debating societies) because he considers extemporizing productive of various faults in composition. Whately begins his analysis of elocution by pointing out the difference between “reading aloud” and “speaking”. Ibid. . incapable of accounting for the full range of possible emphasis. on the other hand.e. possessing the same characteristics as what was considered good conversational style. unless they use an effort from time to time to prevent it. why any artificial system of elocution. the effects of reading and speaking on their respective audiences are quite different: It is not easy for an auditor to fall asleep while he is hearing even perhaps feeble reasoning clothed in indifferent language. and in an unaffected style. while listening even to a good dissertation. and not in a languid manner. of which the human voice is capable). delivered extemporaneously.e. volume. Scripture. according to Whately. and their 136 137 Ibid. Moreover.137 This does not lead Whately to advocate extemporaneous sermonizing. etc. in fact. and to occupy the mind with reflections of its own. 348–52. agreeable. And the thoughts. 342–43..136 Whately’s standard of good delivery is that it should be clearly intelligible to its audience. forcible (i. in fact. pp. not monotonous). when read. must fail: 1) any system must be imperfect (i.

preached. consistently follow the pattern he recommends in his theoretical works: starting with a passage from Scripture. place. audience. profound piety with incisive intellect and characteristic generosity of spirit. 365. and worth reading. His best sermons combine acute intelligence with robust common sense and a lively and lucid style.139 This method has two advantages. . however. in fact. and second. for Whately. but rather takes concentration and practice in keeping the mind fixed on subject matter. while his worst can be dry and conventional. it will diminish self-consciousness by training the speaker to avoid all consciousness of self. his sense of sermon style and arrangement is best illustrated by his own sermons. Although Whately’s sermons lack the grandeur and emotional intensity found in those of more widely admired popular preachers. supplying any philological or historical information necessary to interpretation of the passage. “Peace on Earth”: Whately’s Sermon Theory in Practice As Whately. depends on accommodation to “subject. Whately’s own sermons. Natural reading. as one might at breakfast. purposeful. Whately’s sermons are didactic. of course.108 carol poster own sermons as though they were conversing naturally. according to Whately: first.138 to deliver a sermon in the manner of casual conversation over breakfast would be just as unnatural as to appear in church. in pajamas and a dressing gown.. was not. Whately’s concept of nature. something which comes naturally. p.. but himself composed. p. aiming at instruction and durable conviction rather than striking effects. combining. Ibid. they are eminently readable. remarking on any evidences of the divine origin of that passage in particular or Scripture in general. it will lead to a natural delivery which will hold the attention of an audience. and occasion. was not merely a sermon theorist. rather than the appropriate (and natural) clothing for a solemn public occasion. and clear. at their best. and occasion”. removing any possible stumbling blocks to belief occasioned by the 138 139 Ibid. and “carefully avoiding … all thoughts of self ”. while speaking. though. 365. and published numerous sermons.

the text does not merely recommend peace. and finally exhorting hearers towards the Christian virtues implied by the text. That the religion of Jesus Christ is calculated to promote … universal peace and goodwill among mankind. deducing practical consequences from the passage. and of the truth of his Gospel … [was that he] foresaw what no enthusiast could have foreseen. 142 Ibid. 1835) and subsequently reprinted in Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. 1. 10:36). and in other Parts of the Diocese. Following the precept of always including evidences of the divine origin of the passage under consideration.140 a Christmas sermon based on Luke 2:14 (“Glory to God in the highest. in fact proclaims it. 2–3.. 141 Whately.). and would be made an occasion of strife. and that the wars and strifes which have prevailed in the world are inconsistent with the spirit of religion … may appear … to be all that was intended to be conveyed in the angelic annunciation. (London. There is an obvious contradiction between this proclamation of peace and “the strife and hostile contention which have … continued to prevail in the world”. but rather division (Luke 12:51). but rather a reconciliation between God and 140 This sermon was first published in Sermons on Various Subjects. . p. – that his religion would expose his followers to persecution. to show that the “peace” proclaimed was not one among humans. his “Peace on Earth”. 1. and on earth peace. – foretold what no impostor would have been willing to foretell. Jesus describes himself as not coming to send peace on earth.. p. Whately points out: Among the many proofs of [Jesus’] prophetic power. but. and foretells the persecution and dissension that would await his followers (Matt. pp. This can be observed in a typical example of Whately’s sermon practice. 143 Ibid. Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals.142 Moreover. not only is there not peace in the world in general. but. 2nd ed. good will toward men”.141 According to Whately. Whately reminds his audience. “Peace on Earth” begins with a discussion of the Scriptural text on which it is based: The hymn of the angels … appears … to require no explanation. related passages in both Old and New Testaments. Delivered in Several Churches in the City of Dublin.143 Whately removes the obvious stumbling block of the apparently inaccurate proclamation of peace by close analysis of Luke 12.richard whately and the didactic sermon 109 passage or its implications. and comparative evidence from pagan religions of the period.

and (2) even were it knowable. pp. Thus. 146 Whately. but abstract speculations about the nature and cause of evil. darkly”. 3–6. to Man. Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. on the question of the reason for the existence of evil. evil is unavoidable …146 The inexplicability of evil is not. … All that we can say … is that. pp. Whately answers that (1) it is not knowable by humanity in a present state. 7–8. Whately separates the general problem of evil from the related problem of whether the existence of evil is grounds for disbelieving Christianity. such knowledge would not be immediately useful for Christian practice. the smallest amount of misery and the greatest are equally inexplicable. or practice of. pp. 147 Ibid. for Whately. in which it is only possible to “see through a glass.145 Concerning the first problem. Whately’s method of approaching this. it does not. This form of argument. are more likely to lead to unprofitable wrangling than to active virtue. lead us to practical inquiries as to the nature of such evils as afflict or threaten ourselves or our neighbours. of which most that are brought forward as objections to our religion are only particular instances … To account for the existence of evil is. as other apparently intractable problems. 6–7. is based on a set of general principles Whately sets forth in some detail in Elements of Rhetoric.147 Ibid. 145 144 .144 While this satisfactorily accounts for the apparent contradiction between the proclamation of peace and the existence of strife. 56–57. for some unknown cause. How a Christian should behave in light of the fact of evil is crucially important. and since total impossibility does not admit of different degrees. instead of leading us into metaphysical questions about the origins of evil. an obstacle to belief in. for neither the existence nor the non-existence of some metaphysical account of the causes of evil has any practical applicability to Christian life. He summarizes: The Scriptures.. for Whately. totally impossible. Whately states: The existence of evil is the one great difficulty. pp. the existence of evil. which distinguishes the cause or probability of some X from the reasons why people tend to believe that X is the case. which are beyond the reach of our faculties.110 carol poster humanity. address the far greater stumbling block of the apparent incompatibility between the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent deity and the existence (even prevalence) of evil (of which war and strife are a part) in the world.. and as to the means of escaping evil. as Whately points out. and rescuing others from it. Christianity. is to analyze the issue into component parts.

and have resorted to such as were totally imaginary. Perhaps the greatest difficulty for Whately’s sermon theory and practice lies in negotiating a middle path between narrow prescriptivism and vague generalizations.G. … [T]he ancient heathens were as much perplexed with doubts as to the origin of evil as we are. The theoretical principle from which Whately argues is based on his oftenquoted concept of relative probability: It is most important to keep in mind the self-evident.149 After having cited and glossed the selected Scriptural passage. or indeed for the existence of any thing at all that bears marks of rational design. less. p. 7.richard whately and the didactic sermon 111 On the second problem. p. since it would lie equally against all. to others. E . In his own practice. and which belief requires the more credulous mind. is the very question at issue. Whately proceeds to the final two parts of his sermon: examination of practical consequences and exhortation. 79. Whately also reminds his readers that the issue is one not of absolute. it is plain that to disbelieve its divine origin. and having shown how the passage itself and its implications function as evidences for rather than stumbling blocks to Christianity. though the terms “infidel” and “unbeliever” are commonly applied to one who rejects Christianity. Elements of Rhetoric. probable. than that he should have passed by all these. either to our own religion or to any others. is the question to be decided. and which conclusion implies the greater credulity. while generally eschewing simple injunctions to do or refrain from doing 148 149 Whately. is to believe its human origin. they have reference to opposite conclusions. Sermons on the Principal Christian Festivals. that a Greek poet should have celebrated (with whatever exaggerations) some feats of arms in which his countrymen had actually been engaged. is to believe that it was feigned. To disbelieve the real existence of the city of Troy. Whately argues probabilistically. so the believer in no God cannot account for the existence of good. he manages this by detailed analysis of Scripture precepts and very carefully showing what deductions could be made concerning Scriptural principles. probability: [I]t is … a folly to regard [the existence of evil] in the light of an objection. but often-forgotten maxim that Disbelief is Belief. So also. . Even Atheism does not lessen – it only alters the difficulty: for as the believer in God cannot account for the existence of evil. but of relative.148 In the case of the problem of evil. To some it may appear more. Whately. only. of whether the existence of evil actually was an obstacle to belief in Christianity.

and endeavouring and praying to become daily more conformed to [Christ’s] pattern. strife. forbearance” and “against party-spirit. and recommending the cultivation of Christian temper (despite the possibility that it would not be met with in others). compassionateness.112 carol poster some specific acts. pp.151 In light of this. p. Ibid.150 Whately is very specific about the way in which Christians must think through issues of morality.. it is possible that some people “may transform it into an evil”.. but leaves to the private judgement of his listeners what this implies for Protestants in Ireland. between the rather self-effacing role of an effective minister.152 The sermon concludes with an exhortation to self-examination: If you are striving so to live as a redeemed Christian. Thus in his discussion of Christian obligations in response to the proclamation of peace. but from Christian benevolence”. … [and] your joy at this festival will not be thoughtless. good-tidings to you.. namely that it was part of “good tidings of great joy”. and hostile bitterness”. and the self-glorifying 150 151 152 153 Ibid. The sermon concludes with exhortation. and profane. nor for self-congratulation. 12–13. sensual. and more fit for enjoying his presence in a better world. – to meekness. not his reward”.. 13–15. but as an occasion of self-examination. After reminding his hearers of the Scriptural injunctions “to universal benevolence. pp. if they choose “to harden their hearts” against it. indeed. then may you reckon the Gospel as. Ibid. He points out that although “the Gospel may be said to be … good-tidings to all people who have had its gracious offer made to them”. worldly. but such as the angels themselves can partake of. 16. Ibid. who glorifies God. 17. he specifies that the practice of peace “is the Christian’s duty. p. Whately turns to another facet of the proclamation of peace. . and you may be assured that they will rejoice with you both now and for ever. and insists that Christians are obligated “to promote universal peace (not with a regard to [their] own interest and convenience). for Whately.153 Conclusion There is a major difference. Whately recommends that Christmas be treated not as an “occasion for reckless intemperance. or for frivolous dissipation and idle revelry”.

35. . Instruction in the Scriptures.154 Because of the effect of sympathy on audience psychology. 367.156 154 155 156 Whately. Mutual sympathy. nor in light of what is likely to receive popular acclaim. p. while excitement is a matter of passive enjoyment. a sermon can be extremely useful as part of a teaching ministry if the preacher is always careful to make choices about manner and content of preaching not according to aesthetic criteria. Whately. is a question not indeed hard to decide … I would not. p. 5. but there certainly is a kind of moral excellence implied in that renunciation of all effort after display. Parish Pastor. and in the delivery. Nonetheless. however. Despite these dangers. than those same persons would have been by the very same words expressed to them singly. Elements of Rhetoric.155 The potential power inhering in the sermon. p. it is an unruly evil. in a passage frequently cited by Whately. both in the manner of writing. indeed. Hearers may enjoy “exciting eloquence” more than “explanation”. for as St James points out. Perhaps the best summary of Whately’s theory and practice of the didactic sermon can be found in his own words: Which of these two objects [having a sermon admired as fine preaching or having the matter of the sermon understood by the audience] ought to be preferred by a Christian Minister on christian principles. and mutual consciousness of that sympathy. the sermon can be a uniquely powerful tool of Christian ministry: Public instructional exhortation from the Pulpit [has] … an advantage … over private admonitions to an individual. Whately. “the tongue can no man tame. to give the full force to what is said. undertake (like Quinctilian). “patient and skilful instruction” can lead “even those of no superior abilities and imperfect education” to read with “lively interest … books one might have thought beyond their reach”. because “to learn requires attention and some laborious exercise of the mind”. can make it liable to abuse. but on moral and religious grounds. … [A] multitude will often be more easily and more strongly impressed by anything that is forcibly said. And thus a powerful effect is often produced on a large audience composed of persons no one of whom could have been equally influenced separately. that no one can be an Orator who is not a virtuous man. – which is absolutely necessary. tend very greatly to heighten any kind of emotion that may be excited.richard whately and the didactic sermon 113 habit of “fine preaching”. full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).


In this essay I wish to focus specifically upon the pulpit rhetoric regarding higher criticism. FARRAR REGARDING BIBLICAL CRITICISM Thomas H. The higher criticism controversy was one aspect of a far-reaching intellectual sea-change.THE RHETORIC OF HENRY WARD BEECHER AND FREDERIC W. Olbricht. Barr and Nicholas Piediscalzi (Philadelphia.2 In the vocabulary of the times. See also Thomas H. newer approaches to interpreting the Scriptures erupted into denominational disputes in both Great Britain and America. For additional works on the history of American biblical criticism.1 Other major conflicts had festered in the churches prior to the Higher Criticism controversy as the result of new geological theorems. 1989). 1982). the single authorship of Isaiah and Daniel. Olbricht. David L. Certain left-leaning 1 The major recent work on developments in New Testament criticism is William Baird.” Currents in Biblical Scholarship 7 (1999). sources. and historical backgrounds. 88–102. Donald K. 97. “Intellectual Ferment and Instruction in the Scriptures: The Bible in Higher Education. History of New Testament Research: From Jonathan Edwards to Rudolf Bultmann. 2003). . 288–360). see Charles D. 1917). see John Rogerson. 2 (Minneapolis. “Biblical Interpretation in North America in the Twentieth Century. Also. and the advent of the social gospel.” pp. 54–84).” in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters. Thomas H.” pp.” in The Bible in American Education. Cashdollar. IL. Olbricht. literary features. Olbricht In the latter part of the 19th century. 2007). ed. McKim. (Downers Grove. Darwinian evolution. pp. 2 These developments were set forth by William Newton Clark in Sixty Years with the Bible (New York. He has chapters on Great Britain (“The Establishment of Historical Criticism in Great Britain. ed. and America (“The Advance of American New Testament Research. It was only after these battles had raged for some years that disputes regarding higher criticism broke forth. “Histories of American Bible Scholarship. and the eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Gospels. For an account that includes both Britain and America. see Thomas H. Biblical critics in Germany and gradually in America and Great Britain challenged such traditional views as the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. lower criticism was concerned with the alternate readings in the ancient biblical manuscripts. Old Testament Criticism in the Nineteenth Century: England and Germany (Philadelphia. 1985). p. The Transformation of Theology: 1830–1890: Positivism and Protestant Thought in Britain and America (Princeton. Higher criticism focused upon authorship. 237–56. For Old Testament criticism in England.

4 Cornealius Houtman.G. 5 See Douglas A. Tucker (Minneapolis. 1985). Among the noted clergymen in America and Great Britain who did so were Henry Ward Beecher and Frederic W. The most famous proponents of the documentary hypothesis were Julius Wellhausen and Adolf Kuenen. especially in Genesis. The belief that Moses authored the Pentateuch was indelibly ingrained in the long history of Judaism and Christianity. 263–96. 1999). pp.4 In the 19th century the sources and authorship of the Pentateuch came to the forefront in a major way among German professors. For a recent assessment of Pentateuchal criticism since Wellhausen.” in The Hebrew Bible and its Modern Interpreters. I will first lay out the contours of the controversy itself. Douglas A. with J. Knight. Richard Simon. Boase (Athens. suggesting that the Pentateuch consisted of four interwoven documents written by individuals identified as the Priestly writer.116 thomas h. pp. 1 (Nashville. Eichhorn and Johann Vater being two of the chief proponents. ed. .” in DBI.3 I am especially interested in the rhetorical strategies through which they sought to win their constituencies for these newer critical approaches. and the Deuteronomic historian. 265–92. OH. olbricht ministers attempted to pave the way for the acceptance of higher criticism among their parishioners through sermonizing.5 3 I discussed additional American preachers in an earlier essay. Paul H. Knight and Gene M. “The Pentateuch. the Eloist. Hayes. The Pentateuch in The Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius Wellhausen (Oxford. The proposals differed widely. fragmentary views held that various sources had been joined together. 257–62. see Ernest Nicholson. ed. ed. and Thomas Hobbes challenged the Mosaic authorship in some detail. John H. In the late 1870s. 1980). “Rhetoric in the Higher Criticism Controversy. but it was in the 17th century that Spinoza. Occasional reservations had been expressed from the first century. Olbricht. a documentary hypothesis developed. “Pentateuchal Criticism. Early in the century. The Higher Criticism Controversy in the 1890s The sources and authorship of the Pentateuch became the storm center of the higher criticism controversy in the 1890s. however. the Jahwist. Farrar. by Moses and that it is only after the introductory chapters in Exodus that Moses wrote from experience. Thomas H. pp.” in The Rhetoric of Protest and Reform 1878–1898. then take up the approaches of Henry Ward Beecher and Frederic Farrar in their efforts to secure the support of those in the pews. 1998).

also making clear his support of the Wellhausenian documentary hypothesis in his own The Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch.” in Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. 219–23. who in 1874 became professor of Hebrew and cognate languages at Union Theological Seminary in New York. not only had the critical method begun to sweep all before it. been in the forefront of Scriptural studies … The views of our theologians down to very recent times have been conservative. “Biblical Interpretation. wrote A. 7 Thomas H. see Olbricht. McKim (Downers Grove. 2007). Briggs (1841– 1913). Prolegomena to the History of Israel with a reprint of the article Israel from the “Encyclopaedia Britannica. One of the early American proponents of the Wellhausenian documentary hypothesis was Charles A. Briggs commenced publishing essays on the newer German Old Testament criticism in this journal. 89–112. Sutherland Black and Allan Menzies (Edinburgh. By 1891. at Briggs’ suggestion. 8 Charles A.” trans. identifying Briggs and Hodge as editors.” pp. not less so: The English Church.A. Briggs spent 1866–70 studying the Old Testament in Germany. 273. Donald K. William Adams. J. the critical method still had only apparently tenuous hold on English Old Testament scholarship. Olbricht. the Scriptures would had been more acclaimed.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 117 The first English translation of Wellhausen’s seminal Prolegomena to the History of Israel (1878) was published in 1885.8 The acceptance of critical scholarship in England lagged somewhat behind America. albeit in a version congenial to English theology and philosophy. since the days of Bede and Alcuin. perhaps never. 1885). . has rarely. Presbyterian Review appeared on 11 January 1880. pp. Farrar likewise reflected on the slow acceptance of frontrunning biblical criticism in Great Britain and argued that had the English moved beyond the conventional views. with a 6 Julius Wellhausen. Hodge of Princeton proposing that Union and Princeton launch a new journal. Old Testament Criticism. For the acceptance of these views by several American scholars by 1900. 9 Rogerson. indeed it had begun to do so in the form of an acceptance of the position of Wellhausen. president of Union Theological Seminary. But by 1890 several British scholars had embraced these new approaches.6 Not many American or British scholars embraced these new views before the 1880s.9 Frederick W.7 In 1879. IL. p. Upon Hodge’s agreement. The Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch (New York. Briggs. ed. “Charles Augustus Briggs. John Rogerson has noted that In 1880. 1893).

” in Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. the Bible had become more dear and more widely understood. homogeneous infallibility of every word and letter contained in the Bible. Grand Rapids. and failed not only to further the progress of Scriptural study. had been weighed for centuries in the balances. The English scholar who perhaps more than anyone else paved the way for the acceptance of Wellhausen’s conclusions regarding the authorship and composition of the Pentateuch was Samuel Rolles Driver (1846–1914) of Oxford. ix. Donald K. supernatural. He turned down a professorship at Harvard. its whole method of interpretation had been discredited and abandoned. 11 Rogerson. Whenever the systems built upon this dogma have been rejected. IL. Andrew Dearman.12 The newly founded Presbyterian Review with Briggs and Hodge as editors was soon denounced by right wing critics as the result of it publishing the proceeds of the Smith libel trial in the Church of Scotland (1876–81). and never without being found wanting … its harmonistic methods are casuistical to dishonesty. 220–37. … its views about the inspiration of the vowel-points and perfect accuracy of the text have been covered with confusion. “William Robertson Smith. about Smith. clung with tenacity to obsolete conceptions. p. McKim (Downers Grove. olbricht caution which has not seldom proved itself to be retrogressive. 2007). Driver commenced publishing in the 1870s. 1961). ignoring the philosophy and history of the Continent. Old Testament Criticism. which had so long maintained the absolute.10 Earlier British proponents of documentary views of the Pentateuch were William Robertson Smith (1846–94) of Aberdeen and later Cambridge. but it was his An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (1891) that heralded the ultimate victory of the documentary 10 Frederic W. 12 J. pp. both of whom were summoned before church officials for their alleged heterodox views. The dogma.11 Smith had written controversial entries for the Encyclopedia Britannica on the formation of the Pentateuch and also wrote a favorable introduction to the translation of Julius Wellhausen’s Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel. repr. . regarding Colenso. but even to avail themselves of the sources of knowledge which other Churches so largely used. and John William Colenso (1814–83) of Cambridge and Natal. ed. but later held academic posts at Cambridge. He played a significant role in gaining acceptance for the critical analysis of the Scriptures in Great Britain. 275–80. p. pp.118 thomas h. Farrar. 360. And yet for a considerable period the main body of the English Church. History of Interpretation: Bampton Lectures 1885 (1886.

The Late 19th-Century World View What were the guiding perspectives of the epoch in which Beecher and Farrar lived? The latter half of the 19th century was a time of rapid change. or as rhetoricians put it. The Rhetorical Task What are the rhetorical means whereby Beecher and Farrar sought to gain acceptance for these recently acclaimed results that challenged conventional understandings of biblical authorship and composition? Ancient rhetorical theorists pointed out that speakers argue from major premises commonly accepted by their auditors. These premises form the propositions of their rhetorical syllogisms. the stasis.13 Driver not only championed critical scholarship in his books and commentaries. were of benefit to modern Christians rather than to their detriment. Taylor. 14 S. enthymemes. Donald K. that is. as they assessed them. Sermons on Subjects connected with the Old Testament (London.14 We have now briefly explored the developments in biblical criticism that furnish a backdrop for the scholarly controversies that eventually came to the attention of interested church members. An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (New York. “Samuel Rolles Driver.” in Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. For a century. 1892). McKim (Downers Grove.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 119 hypothesis among British scholars. Each of these preachers appealed to presuppositions commonly accepted by the people they hoped to win over. S.R. especially “Evolution Compatible with Faith” and “Inspiration”. pp. but also in his sermons. . Beecher and Farrar were far more interested in convincing those who agreed with their beginning points than in refuting those opposed. Beecher and Farrar believed that the critical conclusions of the scholars required pulpit exploration so as to establish guidelines for understanding and acceptance by their parishioners. Driver. 387–94. through which they anticipated persuading their auditors. Driver. ed.R. IL. 2007). They proceeded to lay out the grounds on which these developments. the British Empire had ruled the commercial 13 Marion A. Persons who disagreed with them identified these premises as the crux of the debate. 1891). We will therefore focus upon the underlying premises in the sermons of Beecher and Farrar.

These new observations and conclusions. however.15 According to Thomas A. These engines were utilized at sea. Hegelian dialectic and social Darwinism as well as new perspectives in psychology and psychiatry proclaimed a reality in flux.120 thomas h. Others. The United States had just undergone an appalling period of internal strife. even the church and the Scriptures themselves. 2001). Langford. The recently altered workplace challenged conventional means of productivity. pp. At the beginning of the 20th century. In the south. Now competitors arose on the continent and in the United States. soon to be upgraded with the telephone. mourned what they perceived as the loss of age-old moral values and the acceleration of greed and secularization. engines powered individual automobiles and tractors. Blossoming geology offered new perspectives on oceans and land configurations and the chronology of the earth. Some perceived these innovations as exceedingly beneficial and as adumbrating a brave new world. Financial fluctuations induced great anxiety among workers in the industrialized nations. were being scrutinized under the lens of history. on rails across the land. In the north rapid industrialization ensued. but also biological life as set forth by Darwin and others. and Beecher’s embracing of it. well-being. and in the operation of manufacturing equipment. Forward actions on many fronts heralded historical development that in turn brought dynamic transformation as opposed to static continuity. see Gary Dorrien. These developments were the precursors of greater leisure. communication took a major step toward instant access. reconstruction altered the agricultural economy and the changes resulted in substantial periods of stress and financial turndowns. Not only was the physical universe perceived as evolving. All aspects of existence. New insights into the world around about and in the human psyche moved away from traditional positions commonly identified as coming from Scriptures and religion. . In the next stage. resulting in protests and rebellion. 248–52. With the development of the telegraph. electricity lighted cities and gave additional flexibility to industrial development. “By the sixties the 15 On Darwinism in America. Numerous inventions such as steam and internal combustion engines changed the lives of the working classes as well as travelers at all levels. challenged the age-old commitments to divine creation. morality and peace. olbricht and colonial expansion of the world. The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion 1805–1900 (Louisville. according to the thinking of some.

56. p. who applauded progress. It is to these newly developing perspectives that Beecher and Farrar turned as they forged a position on Higher Criticism and invited their congregations to share in these revised conclusions. Langford. made it plain that the core of Christianity lay in the idea it conveys. Gary Dorrien wrote that “The theologians of early American theological liberalism … aspired to a religion of enlightened moral and spiritual feeling. tradition or the Scripture.16 These developments likewise impacted theology. increasingly came under criticism. and located the Christian faith in religious experience and love rather than in the authority of the church and the ecclesiastical specifics of the Scriptures. according to Langford: Edward Caird in his Gifford Lectures. and the fruition of this idea had come with the resurgence of an idealistic philosophy in which “the principle of Christianity has come to self-consciousness”. Authoritarianism. They appealed to people who accepted the historical nature of existence. For example. In Search of Foundations: English Theology 1900–1920 (Nashville. 179. In its place the love of Christ. whether it was that of the church.18 But by the latter years of the 19th century the common people were more amenable to an enlightened moral and spiritual feeling. and the embracing of the changed reality moved to the forefront. Theologians and preachers increasingly turned their backs on the creedal affirmations of the Westminster Confession that had been so widely embraced in Great Britain and in America in the 18th century. The Evolution of Religion. . None of them made a convincing claim to speak for the common people. The Making of American Liberal Theology. the empowerment of religious experience. and the immediate future belonged to them”. opted for individual freedom. were on the British scene.. Churchmen began to reject original sin. p. total depravity. 1969). 18 Dorrien. Human freedom and love moved to the forefront in preaching as compared with the previous constant haranguing against sin and the constant warnings of eternal condemnation. 77.17 Beecher and Farrar especially wished to draw upon the worldviews of those in their congregations who embraced the changed reality rather than rebelling against it. 16 Thomas A.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 121 two compatriots of change. Hegel and Darwin. p. 17 Ibid. irresistible grace. and predestination. most belonged to a cultural elite”. not in any single historical person.

craniology. Westminster. one of the most famous preachers of the time. He studied in Connecticut before graduating from Amherst College in Massachusetts. evolution and higher criticism. like hydropathy. paleontology. 19 Henry Ward Beecher was born in Litchfield. and master of Marlborough School. 1904). evolution and microbiology but also the pseudo-scientific fads and frauds of his day. The Life of Frederic William Farrar (New York. graduating in 1837. 21 Reginald A. thermodynamics. homeopathy. 46. . He served as minister of the Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis and concluded his career with a long ministry at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn beginning in 1847. p. When Lyman Beecher moved to Cincinnati to take over the presidency of Lane Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed a canon of Westminster Abbey and rector of St Margaret’s. As William G.122 thomas h. The Meaning of Henry Ward Beecher: An Essay on the Shifting Values of Mid-Victorian America. Henry Ward took up his studies at Lane. to investigate the compatibility of these new perspectives. McLoughlin. 1840–1870 (New York. Farrar. and Graham bread. the son of Lyman Beecher. and Trinity College.20 In his lectures and preaching Beecher supported many of the emerging perspectives in regard to geology. Farrar drew large crowds when he preached and lectured and his books attracted an immense audience in the English speaking world. science. 20 William G. Beecher set out in the latter half of the 19th century to interpret the Scriptures in such a manner that they would be compatible with newly blossoming outlooks in science and psychology. CT. McLoughlin wrote: Beecher’s optimistic faith in science not only led him to welcome the new-found laws of geology. mesmerism. As a youth he opposed traditional Puritan views on election and predestination. and encouraged his Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn. As the years went by. phrenology.21 he later became an assistant master at Harrow School. as well as literate Americans through the newspaper printing of his sermons. Cambridge. but each was impressed with the need to relate the Christian faith to new developments in their changing worlds. he kept abreast of new developments in biblical studies. and psychology. Farrar was one of the most significant English preachers in the latter half of the 19th century. 1970). ending his career as Dean of Canterbury. Educated at Kings’ College in London. olbricht Beecher and Farrar The American Henry Ward Beecher (1813–87)19 and British preacher Frederic William Farrar (1831–1903) came from different backgrounds.

I have included a few remarks by both Beecher and Farrar on analogical interpretation. My sole desire has been to defend the cause of Christianity by furthering the interests of truth.W. Farrar was asked to present the Bampton Lectures in 1885. especially in his detailed pursuit of the history of biblical interpretation. In regard to inspiration I have focused on Beecher. A recognition of past errors can hardly fail to help us disencumbering from fatal impediments the religious progress of the future. Beecher preached a series of sermons in the winter and spring of 1878–79 which were later printed as Bible Studies in the Old Testament. As the result of Farrar’s rhetoric in championing higher criticism. 23 22 . 1892). he kept abreast of scholarly work in biblical criticism. p. Beecher on the Inspiration and Divine Adaptation of the Scriptures Beecher often directed his sermons on Sunday night to what he perceived as the major contemporary questions. History of Interpretation. Henry Ward Beecher. Farrar had far more to say on progressive revelation and progress in biblical interpretation. They had been preserved in full stenographic notes. but he was much more erudite.22 In presenting of the declarations of Beecher and Farrar. About these lectures and his contribution Farrar wrote: In writing these sketches of the History of Biblical Interpretation I have never forgotten that the Bampton Lectures are meant to be apologetic.23 In these sermons Beecher both sought to diminish rancor over the newer views and to set forth a viable appreciation of the Old Testament to his contemporaries. So far as former methods of exegesis have been mistaken they have been also perilous.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 123 Much like Beecher. He defended the right of Bishop J. ix. Farrar also befriended Charles Darwin and his work. When the controversy regarding the sources and authorship of the Pentateuch began to heat up. several leading clergymen and church persons in England became more open to these new views. Bible Studies in the Old Testament (New York. and he took as his subject the History of Interpretation. In the first sermon he stated: Farrar. I have selected those topics on which both essentially agree but on which one of the two develops in greater detail. science and psychology. These sermons were published in book form after his death. Colenso to challenge the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and to allege certain inaccuracies.

Bible Studies in the Old Testament. p. institutions.124 thomas h. judged by our modern standards of honor and right. was the aim.A. olbricht For the general purpose of bringing home especially the more ancient of the Hebrew Scriptures to your consideration and your confidence. both the form of communication and the theology were adapted to the people of the age to whom it was written. would deprive him of good standing and throw him out of society. Those on the right. Not perfection. but he saw the earlier stages as less developed. Later he stated. however. would condemn a man as utterly base.26 24 25 Ibid. “accommodation”.. F. This claim goes back into antiquity and is designated “adaptation”. 10. Cross and E. are inclined to insist that the more primitive texts are Godgiven and by and large the Word of God to later generations. accept accommodation. Grand Rapids. as applied to this to this source of our faith. who declare that earlier materials in the Scripture are transitory even though they may contain unchangeable elements.24 Beecher’s principal rhetorical premise is that throughout the Bible. by reason of the growing light that has been brought to bear upon truth and duty: and yet they are narrated in the Word of God without a single . or “progressive revelation”. To some extent all religious persons.25 So in every age human nature must be dealt with in the best way in which it can be reached. which covers some four thousand years. and if there be one thing that is shown all the way through the divinely inspired record it is the adaptation of methods. in this series of Sunday evening lectures. 11. Livingstone (Oxford. [1872–73. I purpose. and they would have been worse in every age since. 1: 446–53). to discuss somewhat the meaning of “inspiration”. “We permit in a child things which. 18. p. “Accommodation”. and revelations of truth to the weaknesses and necessities of men in each particular age. if he were to continue them until he became grown. 1981]. p. and then to go over with you the chief historical books of the Old Testament. unembarrassed by the theories which have been given and which turn the Bible very largely into a book of disputes. first.L. pp. but right direction. 26 Beecher. They were bad then. repr. Beecher’s reason for commending accommodation is more in line with the outlook of those on the left. not inferior to the later ones (Systematic Theology. Charles Hodge argued for “the progressive character of divine revelation”. regardless of where they are situated on the theological spectrum. The garment was made to fit the figure. The manner of teaching was in accordance with the need of the time and nation in which it took place. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. And in the infancy of the race things were permitted which. trying to find what there is in them for us of the modern day. ed. 1997).

apparently unrebuked”. Neither do biblical authors seek to exhaust their subjects. See also the next sermon on “Beginnings. but rather by information exterior to it. 15–30. 28 Ibid. 2. Conduct was allowed in the past which was far less criminal than it would be in our age: but it was criminal then. and not one superimposed upon it by a rigid theology. are brought out. a doctrine of inspiration that comes out of the Scripture itself is imperative. 5.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 125 In his second sermon in the series. to higher states. and may hope to be nearing the final or full form of things … We have not come to the end of inspiration yet. His view of biblical inspiration can be summarized in eight statements:28 1. “The Book of Beginnings”. without a judgement as to their theological soundness or moral uprightness. is the same process as that by which. 27 Ibid. first the rude outline. step by step. Partial statements of truth must be admitted. but those that are cannot be understood by employing analogies to other parts of the Scripture. and then the perfecting of every part. there it stands. then the crude filling in. In explaining to children the federal court system. It [The doctrine] must admit that existing records had been incorporated by Biblical writers and exhibit distinctive styles and language. pp. until in these later days we have larger understanding. 3.27 Beecher argued that in order for modern persons to appreciate the value of the Old Testament. p. nevertheless must be interpreted by the rules applied to other documents. given under inspiration. 55. and nevertheless. Various depictions in the Bible are of historical events both good and bad. one understands the love of a mother mentioned in Scripture by going home to be with one’s own mother.” pp. one does not include multiple details incomprehensible to them. 53–54.. . under God’s inspiration. 4. A document. more comprehensive knowledge. Few statements in Scripture are beyond the reach of human investigation. Beecher employed an analogy of painting a fine portrait to describe how God’s revelation unfolds incrementally: The process by which. in the progressive painting of a fine oil portrait. 6. For example. protest. It must admit that “faulty facts” and errant mental operations are found in these imported records. “It is destructive of any theory of the inspiration of the Bible to claim that every word and letter which it contains is infallibly correct”. the primitive races were developed from their primitive condition..

31 Ibid. and How to Use it (Hartford.126 thomas h. I read them with more profit than I did in childhood. The Bible remains. Calvin Stowe. The Bible is still valid as a “counsel and guide to my path and the lamp to my feet”30 despite the fact that certain of its characteristics seem flawed: We know very well that there are modern critics who suppose parts of “Isaiah” were not written by the author of that book. Beecher alleged. it is only by recognizing the true characteristics of the materials in the Bible. 30 Beecher. . We know very well that some of the earlier historical books are supposed by critics to be invalidated because they seem to show traces of being compilations of still earlier documents. you simply take out something that does not belong there. 30. The Bible does not contain external unity in its numerous books because its unity only resides in a spiritual interiority. that the Bible will become alive to people of his generation. pp. Therefore to criticize a single book does not alter the whole canon.. 28. Designed to Show What the Bible is Not. I say that if even it should be proved that some of the books of the Bible are not authentic. and should not be ascribed to him. I read the accounts in this old Book with ever-growing pleasure. What it is. pp. and must be rejected – as I do not believe it will.33 Toward the end of his sermon he stated.. 32 Ibid. stated a similar view in his large work. and that others though in the main correct contain more or less errors which must be eliminated. in common 29 Beecher’s brother-in-law. who was Henry Ward’s teacher.31 In fact. 28–30. pp. 47–64.29 Some books may be criticized as Luther criticized James. 33 Ibid. but that does not invalidate the rest. p. The Bible contains statements that an earlier age can only apprehend through revelation. and as they say could not have been written by Moses or any single writer. olbricht 7. pp. Stowe likewise wrote of progressive revelation.32 Beecher fleshed out his second major premise in the next sermon. Bible Studies in the Old Testament. In taking out from the Bible whatever is false. A second major premise of Beecher is reflected in the above eight features of a biblical doctrine of inspiration. “The Book of Beginnings”. 13–15. 8. 1868).. Origin and History of the Books of the Bible both the Canonical and the Apocryphal. when I held. p. it would not destroy the Bible any more than to take a rotten joist from an imperfect place in a house would destroy the house. 21–22. As for myself. but regarding which a later age may not in like manner require inspiration.

and then adding his own personal history. Genesis. Beecher continued his argument that Genesis is the word of God to the people of his age regardless of authorship and problems with the details. but it stands alone among sacred books in that it is avowedly the record of a progressive revelation. The result in my mind is about this. and hear the lisping syllables of primitive man. during the regn of the kings. and the history of the different tribes and of their wanderings until they came to the Promised Land. accounts of the patriarchs down to his own time. I now walk in these dim aisles of antiquity. and behold the way of God toward him. giving the same sequences. pp. 63–64. Toward the last of his lectures on Interpretation.. pp. formed from legends. History of Interpretation. that they were exact inspirations and revelations. as the subsequent chapters. that these books were very largely produced by Moses or under his direction: either compiled – as the first twelve chapters: or. 4. and not far from the Babylonian intrusion. The mere name of the author of a book is not half so important as the nature of its contents. but given fragmentarily and multifariously in many portions and many ways. traditional histories. that is. Farrar. and draw lessons as to how we are to deal with the savage and the wants of men from seeing how God dealt with nascent man.36 34 35 36 Ibid. or other material. Farrar underlined the progressive nature of revelation: The Bible furnishes no exception to this universal law. I have no doubt that the substantial basis of the books was from the hand of Moses.34 In the sermon on “Beginnings”. 50–51.35 Farrar on Progressive Revelation and Progress Farrar also strongly believed that God adapted the message of the Scriptures from the more simple in primitive times to the more complex as humans grew in insight and knowledge. for the bottom of society represents the beginnings of the world. of a revelation not homogeneous throughout in value and importance. These may have been made at a comparatively late period. Ibid. p. .. or that they were written by some clerk or Levite under his direction. But that there were not corrections and re-editings of them by other hands is not so plain.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 127 with the uninstructed church.

a worse or a better man. by the millionth part of a scruple. and many other complex matters. of victory. criticized those who set out wholesale to reject the basics of the Christian faith. you feel uncertainties about parts of the Old Testament.128 thomas h. He contended that Christians needed to accommodate and relate to progress as it occurs. with definitions of authenticity and inspiration and Semitic metaphor. or the sun standing still. about Balaam’s ass. olbricht Farrar. I will especially highlight those items in his sermons that are pertinent to the higher criticism controversy. The Life of Lives: Further Studies in the Life of Christ (New York. pp. 1886). commercial invention. of wisdom and enlightenment. again. Or. but he did not have time for those who thought that progress is realized simply through rejecting what the forefathers believed. 32. but it was not the fundamental premise for him that it was for Farrar. They have. The claim that God sent his Son into the world “had been tested by nineteen centuries of human study and progress … to be the power of God unto salvation to all them that believe”:39 After these nineteen centuries of sanctification.38 The Desirability of Progress One of the main premises by which Farrar supported biblical criticism was that progress is inherently good.37 As a word to those who had genuine reservations about certain items in the Old Testament he stated. therefore. and in biblical studies. Farrar. nothing to do with religion. Farrar. 1900). or that Eden was an actual garden. To hold any particular view about them will not make you. however. Sermons and Address Delivered in America (New York. Farrar welcomed the new developments as he apprehended them in scientific investigation. p. in the new insights gained regarding humankind. pp. with archaeology. Beecher likewise extolled progress. They are not “generally necessary to salvation”. He said he empathized with those who manifested real doubt. Ibid. with an actual serpent in it. Frederic W. or a dead man being raised to life by touching Elisha’s bones. 134–35. may we not ask with tenfold force of every sceptic.. 38 37 . or a thousand other things … then let them go … These questions have to do with criticisms. 131–33. Farrar argued that the progress of Christianity as a regenerative force was a warrant for its authenticity. 39 Frederic W.

To prove how the tide of Christianity is ever advancing.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 129 “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should have granted to our fallen race the most priceless of all blessing by sending forth His Son into the world. that those thing which cannot be shaken may remain”. . St. It is 40 41 42 43 Ibid. of Canterbury. Alexandrian. as Vico called it. p.41 Farrar saw the progressive work of God not simply in the Scripture but even in secular history. Sermons and Address Delivered in America. as of things that are made.. or Reformed. Boniface the Germans. not more than one in one hundred twenty would have been a Christian. Farrar. For secular History too is a revelation. 10. Anskar the Scandinavians.. or methods of explaining Scripture – whether Rabbinic. “And this word. Columba the Northern Britons. not more than one in five. “a civil Theology of Divine Providence”.43 For his text Farrar took Hebrews 12:27. St. Had they passed by fifty years ago. and that he should have done this. Augustine. It is. Aidan the Northumbrians. St. St. Yet once more. the English. Ibid. …we may feel an ever-deepening confidence that now the time is not far distant when He who was lifted on the Cross will draw all men unto Him. Remigius the Franks. St. but that the world through Him might be saved?”40 We learn specifically how Farrar marshaled his claims as he ended his book on Jesus Christ: Ulfila converted the Goths. To refuse the plain teaching of advancing experience may be a more essential blasphemy than to reject humanly-invented theories of Inspiration. it may suffice to say that if at the end of the third century the whole race of mankind had passed by in long procession. 423. Two nations. Patristic. p. 32–33. but were they this moment to pass by one by one before our eyes. St. Scholastic. not to condemn the world. pp. England and Spain. St. 128–45. owed their conversion to Gregory the Great. The heralds of the Cross went forth into every region conquering and to conquer. it is probable that one in three would have heard the name and accepted the faith of Christ. signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken. The History of Interpretation. Patrick the Irish. pp.42 Perhaps Farrar’s clearest statement regarding Christians and progress may be found in his sermon “Things Which Cannot be Shaken”. Farrar. preached at Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia on 11 October 1885.

Farrar then concluded that if believers embraced the truths that cannot be shaken. Above all. p. . is more than sufficient whereby to live. 137–40. and they preferred Leviticus to St Paul and St. and they preferred the fires of Elijah. Apostles were preaching.130 thomas h. a retrogressive church is a dead church. wherein to die. pp. they will not be threatened by those items which can be. sincere.. 45 Ibid. temperate. chaste. honest. 47 Ibid. Farrar. The 44 Ibid. truthful. (4) design in the universe.. olbricht Farrar’s conclusion that God works out his ever-increasing purposes in history and therefore the new and the old exist intermingled and the old that is transitory drops by the wayside: To cling to the old when the new demands our attention and our allegiance. in the Holy Ghost who sanctifieth us! That faith is sufficient. p. (2) motion.48 In this sermon Farrar undertook to delineate those aspects of Christianity which must remain from those that are transitory. p. (3) life. 135–36. The Gospel taught them the spirit of Christ.47 When we are convinced of the existence of God we are led to the simple Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.. History of Interpretation. holy.46 He then advanced the standard arguments for the existence of God: he was the source of (1) matter. 136. and they could not get beyond Moses. xv. has been a constant error and indolence of mankind … So it was with the Jews in the days of Paul and Apollos. in the Son who redeemed. In this manner Farrar reduced the anxieties over the new winds blowing in biblical studies.44 He argued that one should turn from “the non-essential things which can be shaken” in order to embrace those which remain. sober. (5) consciousness. just. pp. if we are sincere and good men. The latter would include the observations of the higher critics. (6) free-will. John … An unprogressive church is a dying church. sweet. and (7) conscience. If we are Christians. 46 Ibid. 48 Ibid. The Gospel offered them freedom. merciful. On the significance of progress see also Frederic W. and they hugged yet closer the yoke of bondage.. and humble.45 What is significant is believing in God and his Son. 145. gentle. p. there is nothing that can terrify us … We believe in the Father who created. Jesus Christ and being pure. Christ had come. one must love God with one’s whole heart and one’s neighbor as oneself. 129..

Farrar presented his own views on the interpretation of the Scriptures in the Preface and the first lecture in the Bampton series His first premise was that methods of interpretation never should remain static. This is no mere assertion. Scriptures are both human as well as divine and it is needful for believers to move beyond primitive beliefs which may be discovered in the earlier parts of the Bible: The supremacy of the Scriptures is assured when they are seen to be human as well as divine.50 Farrar not only believed in progress or progression of revelation. 50 Farrar. If we test its truth by the Darwinian principle of “the survival of the fittest. and Nature too is the same now as she was in the day of Pythagoras.49 After all. but rather as the record of its progressive development. Yes.52 Furthermore. but likewise in the history of interpretation itself. 51 Farrar. He declared he would draw attention to the inevitable change in the conditions of criticism which has been necessitated alike by the experience of the Christian Church and by that advance in knowledge which is nothing less than a new revelation of the ways and works of God. neither does nature. the vast mass of what has passed for Scriptural interpretation is no longer deemed tenable. but the methods of studying both do: It may be said that the Bible is the same to-day as it was a thousand years ago.. he drew upon the proposals of Darwin and Hegel in declaring that the history of interpretation may actually improve over the span of time: Exegesis has often darkened the true meaning of Scripture. not evolved or elucidated it. but it is as impossible to interpret the Bible now by the methods of Aqiba or Hilary as it is to interpret Nature by the methods of Pythagoras.51 The Bible may not change. 433. xi. p. as a matter of fact. and are not regarded as the sole source of revelation.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 131 transitory may be given up. If we judge of it by the Hegelian principle that History is the objective 49 In his History of Interpretation. 52 Ibid.” we shall see that. and has now been condemned and rejected by the wider knowledge and deeper insight of mankind. . Farrar develops at some length the giving up of those wrong beliefs and interpretation which do not stand the test of time (pp. ix. p. History of Interpretation. Sermons and Address Delivered in America. p. 5–6).

11. First among the name of the critics who rendered this service stands that of Ludovicus Cappellus (†1722). Josephus. olbricht development of the Idea. Ibid. 9. which are in themselves the only moments of transition. and why they were erroneous. and given us a nearer insight into the truth itself.55 Despite the miscues and distortions. and how they originated. and the Fathers from the Keri and Kethrib.53 Farrar offered concrete examples of the manner in which progress in interpretation had benefited the study of the Bible: The growth of criticism helped still more completely to break down the hard superstition on which the whole system of Protestant Scholasticism was based.. pp. Among the extravagances of reformed theology had been an assertion as to the miraculously perfect integrity of the text … Cappellus admitted that there had been no willful corruption. How can we better prove their sacredness and majesty than by showing that in spite of such long centuries of grievous misinterpretation they still remain when rightly used. marked an epoch. 386–87. and opinions resulting from the natural progress of the intellect or by intercourse with other nations. Ibid. the errors whereby men have so often wrested them alike to their own destruction and to the ruin and misery of their fellow men. from the differences in numbers. Farrar believed that each age of interpretation employed certain praiseworthy methods from which the modern Christian may learn. but from parallel passages. and ignorance of Scribes. because the course of History has stripped off the accidents which pertained to the enunciation of truth.132 thomas h. then we shall see that past methods of interpretation were erroneous. from reference in Philo.54 Farrar argued that exegesis tends to become non-natural for two reasons: the growth of religious practices and rites not known in Scripture. from the reading of Ben Asher … he proved that the Masoretic text furnished numberless examples of the infirmity. p. from New Testament quotations.. and by forsaking. p. Ibid. however. a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our paths?56 53 54 55 56 Ibid. . His Critica Sacra. Later generations may benefit by discerning the mistakes of earlier ones: How then is it possible better to maintain the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures than by pointing out. published in 1650.. and that mankind is perfectible by passing through certain phases of thought.. somnolence. 42. p.

I do not so take it. The methods of 57 Beecher. The claim in the latter part of the 20th century is that the rhetorical genre is that of a myth. Farrar on the Analogical Farrar likewise accepted the possibility that various items in Scripture may be analogical or allegorical. p. But he cautioned against past attempts to allegorize a considerable portion of the Scriptures.57 Beecher did not embrace many of the newer views on the Pentateuch. Beecher’s chief contribution was his rhetorical moves through which he sought to allay the fears of those who contended that higher criticism would bring Christianity crashing down.the rhetoric of beecher and farrar Beecher on Analogical Interpretation 133 In “Beginnings” Beecher adds a third argument regarding statements that seem unbelievable. . This has been held to be a literal statement of fact. Adam and Eve. were placed. while Beecher contended that Moses was basically the author. Such statements need not be taken literally but are allegorical: The next notable passage in the book of Genesis is the account of the Garden of Eden. Bible Studies in the Old Testament. Beecher depicted an understanding of the Pentateuch in his three basic premises that declared that the challenges did not destroy the real significance of the Old Testament. the proper comprehension of what the Scripture after all is sidesteps the destructive tendencies of higher criticism. Despite the developing perspectives running counter to conventional conclusions. For example. containing a profound spiritual meaning: who think that the man is the fact – not the story in which the meaning of the fact is conveyed … The New Testament is full of parables: and the Old Testament is all alive and glowing with Oriental poetic imagery. I side with that large number of devout Christian men and scholars who think this to be an allegory. Beecher’s understanding of the authorship of the Pentateuch leaned more toward the traditional view of Mosaic authorship than that of the documentary positions. in which it is said our first parents. Wellhausen denied that much of the basic form and content of the Pentateuch should be attributed to Moses. 57.

the Kabbalistic.. 435. Ibid.134 thomas h. being written also in the Books of Nature and Experience. the Hierarchic. He quoted with approval the statement of Herbert Marsh (1757–1839). hoped to gain acceptance of the newly emerging views of the biblical critics among their parishioners.58 He argued that though the Bible had often been misinterpreted.59 Furthermore. the Traditions. olbricht interpretation he questioned included the Halakhic. Ibid. Farrar. . the Naturalistic.. the Dogmatic.. the Allegorical. Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge and author of A History of Sacred Criticism (1809): “No apology can be required for applying to the Bible the principles of reason and learning. of the heart of Man. it can never injure the word of God contained within the Scriptures: The Bible is not so much a revelation as the record of a revelation. Ibid. xvii. p. morality and evidence of revelation. and on the tables which cannot be broken. History of Interpretation.” So wrote Bishop Herbert Marsh.60 Farrar held strongly to the need for human reason to be employed so as to ascertain the meaning. for if the Bible could not stand the test of reason and learning it could not be what it is – a work of divine wisdom. xiv. an American. The Bible therefore must be examined by the same laws of criticism which are applied to other writings of antiquity. however valuable or distorted exegesis is. p. p. an Englishman. and the Mystical.61 Conclusions It is clear that through their preaching that Henry Ward Beecher. In the early part of the 20th century those wishing to maintain conventional views engendered great stress in the mainstream churches by launching charges of modernism and heresy against 58 59 60 61 Farrar. xiv. the Inferential. and Frederic W. p. and the inmost and most essential truths which it contains have happily been placed above the reach of Exegesis to injure. its divine authority had never been compromised any more than the misinterpretations of nature had disproved divine creation.

(3) That it is the content of Scripture. In another decade. (2) That the Old Testament is still a word of God for the church. They were successful in gaining acceptance of biblical or higher criticism among those who regularly attended their services. the enthymemes of their listeners. Dorrien. They achieved this end by appealing to the commonplace commitments of the forward-looking people in the pews. (5) Higher criticism will strengthen the faith of modern Christians. Nineteenth Century Studies (New York. (4) The methods of interpreting the Scriptures progress over time. (2) The concept of progress is suitable to Christianity since the manner in which God revealed himself in Scripture is progressive.62 Their rhetorical arguments were located in the premises of their rhetorical syllogisms. commitment. 1980). Beecher argued (1) that revelation from God in the various books of the Bible is adapted to the age and people to whom it is written and that these characteristics differ in various details from the modern age. Farrar contended that (1) The church must be progressive to survive. but in regard to its theological and morals principles and not so much pertaining to specific opinions and details. wrote. they set out to convince their congregations of the merits of higher criticism. Both Beecher and Farrar were apt rhetoricians. . in an observation regarding the contribution of Beecher. 1966). vibrant appreciation of the Bible emerge. Many of the details are transient. not its authorship. See his More Nineteenth Century Studies: a Group of Honest Doubters (Cambridge. that is crucial. (4) Higher Criticism is needed so that those parts of the Scriptures that are foreign to the modern age may be set aside in order that a confident. Nineteenth-century Studies: Coleridge to Matthew Arnold (London. that is. “Beecher made a singular contribution to the development and 62 Basil Willey has done an excellent job depicting the common premises of the times. 1973).the rhetoric of beecher and farrar 135 the critics. morality and ethics of the believer. The common premises of Beecher and Farrar are much the same. Beginning with these presuppositions. Beecher dwelt more on adaptation and accommodation while Farrar returned again and again to the progressive nature of the church and revelation. realignments occurred in the churches bringing together fundamentalists and liberals and thereby creating major fractures in the Protestant churches. (3) That which is permanent in Scripture and Christianity is the disposition.

. p. science. In his journalism. The Making of Liberal Theology. olbricht legitimization of American liberal Protestantism as a whole. lecturing. and preaching.63 Much the same may be declared regarding Farrar in England.136 thomas h. and American progress all worked together”. 63 Dorrien. mid Victorian middle-class Americans took heart that religion. 181.



indeed. 3 For convenience. and mimicked. The above resolution. 4 In the past twenty years studies of the missionary movement have moved decisively out of chronicle and hagiography and into scholarship. benefiting from excellent recent work. Thus there are so many excellent recent scholarly works about the history of missions that it is invidious to 2 1 . mistakes in speech. representing a foreign missionary preaching to a crowd of Chinese. rejoices in the opportunity of … bringing numbers of [liberated and slave] Negroes to the knowledge and enjoyment of true Religion. p.MISSIONS. 1780–1850 Bob Tennant Crowds gather round the foreign preacher in China. which might seem to be opportunistic and envisaging a passive political existence for Black Africans. CMS Annual Report (1820). and attitudes are satirised. including for the early years when the Society was actually called “The Society for Missions to Africa and the East”. jeered at. 1899). with curiosity for its leading motive. 518. This was not a mere tactic but a guiding principle: he moved a similar resolution in the following year. minutes of Annual General Meeting. but this is often a temporary phase. Italics supplied. SLAVERY. His appearance. AND THE ANGLICAN PULPIT.1 [This] meeting. was moved at the 1820 Annual Meeting of the Church Missionary Society by William Wilberforce himself. Preaching to non-Christians was intended to raise missions’ “profile” – the Salvation Army later called it “drawing the enemy’s fire” – while for even the abolitionists the redemption of souls generally took priority over legal freedom. the acronym “CMS” is used throughout. 7. while it sincerely regrets the baneful influence of the revived Slave Trade on the Susoo and Bullorn Missions of the [Church Missionary Society].3 The present essay is not a history of organizations. p. One of the most popular theatrical performances in Shanghai a few years ago was a clever farce.4 it assumes a basic knowledge of the Isabella Bird.2 Introduction The above are salutary passages for the modern reader. The Yangtze Valley and Beyond (London.

Andrew Walls. 1938 et seq) is outdated in most respects but is a good starting point. because of the present lack of an accepted international standard for naming sermons. 5 Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (founded 1701). Brian Stanley.5 Rather. It is confined mainly to the Church of England.6 The difficulty of separating attempts to build make a selection. The Irish Missionary Movement: A Historical Survey.. Latourette’s exhaustive A History of the Expansion of Christianity (seven volumes. 1964) remains the best short account. Baptist Missionary Society (1792). It deals not with historically famous figures but with stylistically and ideologically important texts. SPCK. Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (1699). The Missionary Movement in Christian History (New York. 1990).S. Edmund M. 2007).140 bob tennant histories of the SPG. Andrew Porter. LMS. chapter II. 2002) gives valuable perspectives on the influence of mature missionary theology and praxis in the late imperial period. 2004). 1996) is especially good. Kevin Ward and Brian Stanley. as is the website Mundus Gateway. but the following general accounts are of a high standard: Brian Stanley.” The Historical Journal 18. 6 See Brian Stanley. CMS. a movement spiritual as well as geographical. because they illustrate important issues of governance in the home base. The Church Missionary Society and World Christianity. A Global View of Church Missions from Pentecost to the Present (Grand Rapids. It is regrettable that major organizational questions such as the Bath controversy. Note: to minimize ambiguity. and therefore the greatest richness of rhetorical and metaphorical activity. Stephen Koss. about the legitimacy of the CMS. K. the biggest contributor of human and financial resources. Hogan. Christian Missionaries and the State in the Third World (Oxford. given to and on behalf of the missionary societies’ annual and district meetings and other set-piece events and the preaching of the Church in the overseas territories. . Holgar Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle. while Stephen Neill. 1999). The History of the Baptist Missionary Society 1792–1992 (Edinburgh. with the most complex relationship with politics and commerce.1 (1975). Rowan Strong. The International Bulletin of Missionary Studies and The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History are essential reading. Susan Thorne. eds. and the dispute concerning the Serampore Baptist mission fall beyond our scope. Among his many works. Herbert Kane.iii for the Serampore controversy. 2000). A History of Christian Missions (Harmondsworth. and BMS. London. The Bible and the Flag (Leicester. The History of the BMS. Church Missionary Society (1799). 1992). 1830–1980 (Dublin. 1990) describes the small contribution of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain. eds. Anglicanism and the British Empire (Oxford. London Missionary Society (1795). 1971) is a useful corrective. and J. Religion versus Empire? (Manchester. the scriptural texts have throughout been added to sermon titles.. 1799–1999 (Grand Rapids. it attempts a critical analysis of the missionary movement’s preaching and offers a thesis about the development of the sermon as the chief transformational tool in what may be called British Christianity’s great extroversion. Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in 19th-Century England (Stanford. “Wesleyanism and Empire.

provides a detailed discussion of this problem for the Methodists. Livingstone (1973. The development of the anti-slavery position as a discrete phenomenon is of great philosophical. fact. 7 Insufficiently exploited evidentiary material includes Joseph Mullens. London. . 29. founded in 1649 and reformed under Charles I. convert assistants. mainly by existing missionary and charitable societies. At the beginning of our period the institution of slavery was an accepted.missions. and the Church’s long-existing parochial structures and protocols had been rendered obsolete by dramatic population growth. while the ensuing abolitionist campaign was one of tactics rather than principles and driven by secular political organization. and the anglican pulpit 141 a world-wide community in Christ from the narrower task of ministering to the British inhabitants of the colonies was recognized right from the start. more familiar to us. 1975). and formal preaching. by contrast. the SPCK and SPG. which is based on a questionnaire distributed to all 250 Indian missions stations. and each Protestant church approached it in its own way. albeit by committed Christians. slavery. in Britain (in distinct contrast to the USA) belongs almost entirely to the 18th century and therefore lies beyond our scope. 1852). in the pulpit. Analysis of the returns would provide objective evidence of differing understandings by the various missionary societies of the roles of priests. The Church possessed two national organizations. p. repr. Missions could not be projected from the local level – subsequent failures by non-conformist congregations proved that – so the first requirement was the building of a national consensus to shape 105–18. The relatively short and focused campaign against the slave trade was supported.7 Our understanding of crucial aspects of the missionary societies remains inadequate. dedicated to propaganda and missionary work. 8 The “President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England”. there were virtually no overseas missions. British anti-slavery preaching is. Compiled at the request of the Calcutta missionary conference (Calcutta. theological. writes of the inhibiting effect on missions of “the autocratic discipline that the central Presbytery continued to enforce on distant churches”. presenting a smaller corpus and more restricted theory. and rhetorical interest but. Revised Statistics of Missions in India and Ceylon.8 but the Bishop of London was responsible for all Anglicans outside the home territories and in the absence of sufficient endowments such care was usually nominal: Whitefield’s and Wesley’s American Journals give a fair impression of the state of affairs which still obtained in the late 18th century. Tim Jeal. seems not to have survived. if generally regretted.

and metaphors and of transformations in understanding. It was evident from Scripture that the Apostles themselves had undergone preparation and training for their missions and were therefore supported by some form of theoretical discipline and institutional infrastructure. p. By the end of our period slavery had been abolished in law and was being driven. to extinction. An important factor in the development of a more useful theory was a re-assessment of the nature of the sermon: it became better understood that the sermon was an element in the Church’s internal monologue. The Agency of Human Means in the Propagation of the Gospel [John 16:5–7] (Edinburgh.142 bob tennant what could be described as a mass spiritual awakening. predictably from a colonist. a sermon preached for the [Scottish] District Committee of the SPCK. is Michael Russell. to speak to and on behalf of the leading elements. extending the consensus into the parishes. see Nathaniel Appleton. 19. 10 For an early appreciation of this. and then parochial sermons. A late example. key symbols. the year’s preacher. carried mechanisms of persuasion and conviction in its deep structures delayed the development of dialogue with other cultures. 1828). A history of pulpit rhetoric of the Church in missionary mode is not. 9 This was done Church by Church.9 The Church’s main tool for this was the pulpit: at first sermons on formal occasions. from the Scottish Episcopal Church.10 The techniques and procedures of conversion adopted by British missionaries were at first guided by the dominant 18th-century theories of natural religion. centering on a sermon and financial accounts alluded to and. not the dialogue with non-Christians. MA. it was hoped. in effect presented by. Developing the Home Base The slow pace of missionary endeavor by the Church of England in the 18th century at least allowed thorough discussion of theoretical issues. an account of conversions but of the development of strategies. . the recovery and replication of these became a challenge for early British theorists. 6:8] (Boston. The SPG’s annual meetings. while in India alone there were about 450 missionaries (plus several thousand teachers. therefore. “native” catechists. The initial assumption that Christianity was not culturally weighted but. as it were. Isaiah’s Mission Consider’d and Applied [Isa. 1728). as they prepared to engage in missionary societies. and others) from about eighteen missionary Societies and the beginnings of a professional native clergy.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury was always its President and from 1750 until 1892 every single preacher was a bishop. by General Christopher Codrington (died 1710).missions. again as a pamphlet and again in cheap form for circulation to West Indian planters and other civilians. 833–35. The estate had been bequeathed to the SPG in its early days. the mismanagement of the SPG’s estate in the West Indies. with the intention of pioneering education. but in combating the slave trade. It is notable that his sermon took pains to establish not the Classified Digest of the Records of the [SPG] (London.12 The SPG’s first great success was arguably not in the pastoral care of colonists or the promotion of missions. pp. which were modest affairs in its first hundred years. and well before the high tide of the Atlantic slave trade. made good largely by parliamentary grants. and the anglican pulpit 143 were attended by a fair proportion of very senior clergy as well as prominent lay philanthropists and politicians. For the next quarter century Porteus used his position in the House of Lords and the mandate he had thus wrung from the SPG to bring the House into the orbit of the anti-slavery cause being advanced in the Commons by William Wilberforce: a classic example of the legitimate manipulation of committee structures and procedural precedent. The existence of this ecclesiastical-political infrastructure allowed the Church to respond to opportunities to launch missions as the colonial empire developed. There was great organizational continuity – only twelve Secretaries from 1701 to 1892 – and the annual sermons were always published at the Society’s expense. over a century and a quarter. until 1834. slavery. once the sermon was published. he not only argued that the possession of slaves was incompatible with Bible Christianity and criticized the Society’s own conduct with regard to its plantation but also. 1893). showed the gap between intentions and achievement: the Society couldn’t adequately direct and resource the local personnel and. In possibly the most important of all British anti-slavery sermons. Bishop Beilby Porteus advanced positions which ran ahead of consensus and provoked change. 12 11 . concerned as it was primarily with governance. On the other hand.11 Its operating deficit was. did not fully appreciate the misery it perpetuated. reprinted it with footnotes. conversion and social improvement among the slaves. Many annual preachers spoke against slavery and in 1783 the fact that the annual sermon was published by the Society itself was used very effectively: exploiting the convention that he was preaching on behalf of the Society.

Slavery “will ever be found to be … repugnant to the Principles of common Justice and Humanity”.13 The most progressive 18th-century SPG preachers had taken a broadly Lockean view of slavery. 26:9–10] (London. Priest-philosophers like George Berkeley. 1732). 15 Joseph Butler. however. Sentimental. and citizenship. 2004). and this was emphasized through the century. and Empire: A Study of Beilby Porteus’s Anti-Slavery Sermon. 1731 [John 17:3] (London. in Works. 1897).15 and John Balguy. Having laid down principles for the progress of charity school children into property-owning citizenship starting with “Working-Schools” (in which the teachers would be paid not a salary but a proportion of the profits from the children’s production of “coarse. 18 Josiah Tucker. Tucker is worth quoting. 1738–9 [Matt. pp. W. 1790). 1766). ironical and embodying a novel. the year was 1732 New Style. ed. Dickens and Blake (“Holy Thursday”) were Sentimental critics of what was by intention a philosophically progressive policy. 17 William Berriman. 14 George Berkeley. had presented a formal legal opinion that conversion did not bring freedom with it. Martin Benson. Sermons. Markman Ellis.6] (London. 11–14. 22. A Sermon. identity. latterly perhaps as a campaigning tactic when the Societies were concentrating on the conversion of slaves and the abolition of the slave trade rather than slavery as For an analysis of this sermon see Bob Tennant. A Sermon Preached before the [SPG] … February 18. Christology. 13 . 19. Gladstone. latterly combined with Sentimental ethics. 3rd edition (London. A Sermon Preached before the [SPG] … February 16. Note: 1731 is Old Style. Sermon Occasioned by a Publick Collection for the Propagation of the Gospel (Gal.14 Joseph Butler. 24:14].” in Discourses of Slavery and Abolition. Politics. Brycchan Carey. 6:10). not a priority. thus explicitly identifying the status of slaves with that of charity children. 2 (Oxford. 1. “enjoy[ing] the Fruits of their own Labour” is the way to freedom.. The sermon was a masterpiece: passionate. ed.16 supported by preachers like William Berriman17 and Josiah Tucker (now best remembered for his support of the American Revolution)18 mapped routes to freedom based on the gradual acquisition of property from the cultivation of allotments and small-holdings. for both slaves and charity children. 18.144 bob tennant political case for abolition but the theological and spiritual case against slave ownership by planters and a wider society which were at least nominally Christian. A Sermon Preached before the Honourable Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia [Deut. 1739). 19 Tucker. 158–74. “Sentiment.E. and Sarah Salih (London.19 Legal freedom was. pp. preaching in 1740. low-priced Manufacture”) he moved on to consider slavery. A Sermon Preached … [at] the Yearly Meeting of the Children Educated in the Charity-Schools …[Prov. 16 John Balguy.

while preaching of the urgent need of the slaves for protection from inhumane treatment.21 a belief much repeated in America for many decades. which he must bid to his native soil … [It] is not even the death of a martyr … which only he is to 20 Martin Benson. p. and understanding were so fundamental to inherited thinking that the distinction between slave workers and enslaved souls was never made. 21 Thomas Thurlow. 1786). 12. A Sermon Preached before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts [Mal. He developed his text – “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – into a portrayal of the missionary as Romantic hero: It is not a temporary. . 10.20 In 1786. but an everlasting adieu. Bishop Thomas Thurlow. recently returned to Britain from his post of chaplain to the colony of Sierra Leone and only the second CMS annual preacher fresh from the field. demonstrated a full-blown Romantic rhetoric and exegetical method. and the anglican pulpit 145 an institution. 40:45] (London. A Sermon on Behalf of the [SPG] Preached in … St. Wilson’s reference to Africans as “sons of Adam” rather than “sons of Ham” was sharply pointed: Wilson.missions. as is generally supposed. remarked. Public opinion is more than ever in accordance with the moral fitness of things …”. the descendants of Ham. 1740). such statements serve to emphasize both the priority of spiritual over legal freedom and the belief that the nation’s morale was developing wholesomely in conjunction with the expansion of the missions and the secular empire. 24:14] (London. 22 H.B. 17. This is why Wilson also believed that the plantations and colonies exhibited individual rather than systematic injustice: “[there] is [now] greater deference [among colonials] paid to public opinion. spiritual freedom. Despite the fact that Africans’ perceived moral turpitude was not blamed for their becoming slaves. “If the unhappy Africans are. a leading evangelical scholar and Assistant Secretary of the SPG. how wonderfully is the prophetic voice of Noah accomplished in the lot of his posterity!”. 1:11] (London. slavery. knowledge. 13. 19. Wilson. Melville Horne. was preaching about the need and legitimacy of founding overseas dioceses and opening the Church to everyone within the English sphere of influence. As late as 1825 H. the metaphors around slavery. Preaching an important sermon to the 1811 annual meeting of the CMS.B. p. 1825). A Sermon Preached before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts [Matt. 19. pp. 1825 [Isa.22 Given that virtually the entire leading personnel of the SPG was involved in the abolition campaigns. Mary Aldermary … February 27.

Universal temperance and self-denial – fervent zeal. in CMS Annual Report. like Nelson. 212–13.” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 25. he must bear about. he must die daily.146 bob tennant encounter.28 23 Melville Horne. 1780–1914. must be called into habitual exercise.. p. Methodists. 26 Ibid.. 25 Ibid. 186. pp.26 decried the Church for lagging behind the Baptists. Religion versus Empire? and his earlier article. To every principle of flesh and blood. nor to be fastidiously delicate in the exertion of its influences to promote them”. .. 181. the dying of the Lord Jesus. 1811. 24 Ibid. His labours end only with his life … and that may terminate … in the midst of a ferocious multitude..23 Horne was unusually militaristic24 and willing to engage in constitutional fisticuffs. His life is one martyrdom. Every active and passive virtue. unsheltered and without a friend to close his eyes. and. Anniversary Sermon [Phil. how poor is it. with St. and Dutch. 4:13]. “ ‘Cultural Imperialism’ and Protestant Missionary Enterprise. 187–89.25 welcomed the prospect of the slaves becoming fellow-citizens.3 (1997). in a succession of short. With a reference to the evangelical push to change the constitution of the East India Company to favor missionary activity he laid out. tempered with the meekness of heavenly wisdom – restless activity … supported by invincible fortitude. to fall. nor to despair of their success. the Hero and the Saint. What is especially notable is that the sermon’s center of gravity lay not in its exegesis but. as we have seen. in allusion to a doctrine of Christian empire which emerges from contemporary events and sensibilities. and ended recalling the battle of Trafalgar: In comparison of [dying “under the immediate eye of the Captain of your Salvation”]. and to be embalmed with a nation’s tears!27 In Horne we note the evangelical blurring of the categories “slave” and “free heathen” and the reinterpretation of Apostolic missions as a heroic expense – even sanctified profligacy – of energy. simple sentences. the “duty of this Association [which] is neither to be ashamed of Missions. or alone. pp. in his body. 367–91. Moravians. p. and perfected by patient industry – and perseverance full of joyful hope – these graces combine to form the grand outline of the Christian missionary. Paul. and honourable wounds. 201. and laurels. 208. 27 Ibid. p. 28 The cultural relationship between missions and empire has been explored most thoroughly by Andrew Porter. in the arms of Victory – covered with stars.

who shipped sermons and other evangelical materials to India and saw two sons become leading figures there: The sacred fountains of sorrow [i. Rev. 14. it draws the veil of mortality aside. in the blood which streamed for their redemption. and. cited from its most popular edition: vol. and points to the glories of that region into which the immortal spirit enters. and agriculture drooped in hopeless indolence” – and on to psychological analysis of the Hindus.. He moves from the adjectival formality of 18th-century language – “the conversion of the heathen [is] one great object of [the SPCK’s] anxious and assiduous regard” – to more fashionable.F. who possess “the desperate resolve. 204. “On the Good Name of the Dead: Peace. washed from all their earthly stains. 33. deliberate. The missionary could only reply. Flaxmanesque. 30 Joseph Holden Pott. 1831). A Charge Delivered at a Special General Meeting of the [SPCK] … Together with Mr. This is a reference not only to alien customs but to the Anglican perception of the Hindu religion as essentially deist. On the Good Name of the Dead [Eccles. This view was.missions.29 Delivering a charge on 9 July 1818 to a German SPCK missionary about to depart for India. Pott seeks a high rhetorical tone. which represses not the tears of [Christ’s] humanity. and the anglican pulpit 147 This development is associated with the Sentimental movement and with a particular type of Christology. pp. Sperschneider’s Address to the Board (London. yet frantic purpose of the self-devoted zealot [who voluntarily drowns in the Ganges]”. . 6 of The Sunday Library. T. J. the Scottish Episcopalian minister and poet. 9. p. 1 (New York. 1818). Christ’s tears] flow for the purification of the soul. personification – “Before those blasts [of conquests in India] commerce fled. reinforced by a number of early Brahmin converts moving on to Unitarianism. Liberty and Empire in Robert Morehead’s Waterloo Sermon. no. 7:1]. forthcoming).” Religion in the Age of the Enlightenment. But that Gospel.e. Thus Robert Morehead. Such deficiencies were 29 Robert Morehead. with regard to their particular objects”30. ed. the cold. 3. we see them prepared to enter into the joy of their Lord.H. slavery. “My duties … are still strange to me. See Bob Tennant. lights up the radiance of hope in [Christ’s] eyes from which they fall. this a century after the SPCK first put a missionary in the field and at a time when the SPCK had already distributed millions of Bibles and other items. the innumerable mansions of the virtuous. we now behold the clouds roll away from the valley of the shadow of death. incidentally. – we see opening beyond them. Standing on the holy elevation of the cross of Christ. Dibdin (London.

Islands of my country! mansions of care and poverty. mixing Ossianic and Flaxmanesque imagery with that of Classical science: Awaking from the sleep of atheistical carnality. In 1830. “John Tillotson and the voice of Anglicanism. later a canon of St Paul’s and principal of the East India College. of the LMS. Kathryn Duncan (New York. 15. one of the first of those now coming into existence: the “Corresponding Board in London of the Society in Scotland (incorporated by Royal Charter) for Propagating Religious Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands”. 20. we find Love preaching to the LMS similarly as late as 1812. where ferocity and cunning. we no longer dream of a self-supported system of matter. The Power of the Bible Operating by the Ministrations of Holy Missionaries [Rom. pp. preaching in similar terms in 1794. 5. Isa. ed. render hazardous the approach of the most harmless and benevolent traveller. like the dance of ungoverned atoms. 35:1–2]31 Love’s lack of grounding in the reality of missionary work corresponds to that of the organization to which he is preaching. of course. forthcoming). wandering at random … Mountains. the Anglican Henry Melvill. p. the cities. see Bob Tennant.148 bob tennant not unique to the Church of England. still lacking contact with developed theory or practice. among other missionary ventures. the florid language contrasting grotesquely with the old-fashioned Tillotsonian formality of his sermon’s tripartite structure:32 Conveyed as on eagles’ wings.” in Religion in the Age of Reason: A Transatlantic Study of the Long Eighteenth Century. or of a chaos of human spirits. 32 For an analysis of Tillotson’s rhetorical method. It is not surprising to find the Presbyterian pioneer John Love. like those of the lions and serpents that glare around. visualized his subject 31 John Love. for the benefit of the London Association in Aid of the Missions of the United Brethren. I might quickly throw behind me the horrors of antichristian and hypocritical Europe.33 Other picturesque resources were drawn on by such preachers. a founder. to look down into the forests.e.. retreats of darkness. 33 John Love. 10:13–17] (1812?). let my spirit melt over you while I rehearse in the ears of your benefactors the words of ancient prophecy [i. and dreary deserts of the scorched Continent of Africa. While it might be said that the immediate task was to arouse and channel the organization’s enthusiasm. Benevolence Inspired and Exalted by the Presence of Jesus Christ [Mark 12:41] (1794?). .

on the favorite Malachi 1:11 text (“… my name shall be great among the heathen …”). (London. 2nd ed. filled the place wherein the Apostles were assembled … than the scales fell away from their spiritual vision and the whole scheme of redemption developed itself like a gorgeous panorama. Noel. 52:13–15]. 1831). Mathias preached: The Missionaries of the United Brethren among the Greenlanders began their labours by endeavouring to convince them. Anniversary Sermon … May 3. embracing every land and every lineage in its circuit. to bring us to God – they pointed to the crucified Redeemer … – they preached God the Saviour. is being systematically re-read in such terms: Malachi 1:11. With enlightened apprehensions came energetic resolutions … [and] they arose like champions animate with chivalry. mass-produced by the SPCK and exported world-wide by the missionary Societies.35 But doctrinal postures changed quickly. 1819 [Isa. mutual charity. At the next CMS annual meeting (1 May 1820). and represented Christ dying. 40–48. 1820. A Sermon in Behalf of the London Association in Aid of the Missions of the United Brethren [Acts 15:26].missions. by G. and compassion for the heathen. taught. is the conviction that the CMS is fulfilling a scriptural prophecy. and of 34 Henry Melvill. B. pp. . the accompanying sermon. in the CMS Annual Report. p. We have already noted Wilberforce’s resolution at the CMS’ AGM. and to give them some notions of the Divine perfections: but no good followed. slavery. the text of Gilbert Burnet’s 1704 SPG sermon. in CMS Annual Report. in its Application. and then they drew these savages unto Him. and hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord. and they succeeded … they exalted Jesus on his atoning cross. and can legitimately exploit the access provided by Britain’s rapidly expanding colonial empire. By now the Bible. 1:11]. 15. p. the Evangelical truths of the fundamental importance of Christian union. Sermon Preached … before the Church Missionary Society [Mal. The Missionaries changed their ground. by many philosophic arguments.36 Hidden within this sermon. the just for the unjust. Romantic and Sentimental tropes recede and figures arising from exegesis and power politics emerge. and the anglican pulpit 149 in a combination of popular entertainment (the vogue for panoramas being at its height) and Romantic chivalry: But no sooner had the rushing mighty wind. of the existence of God.W. 28. 36 Benjamin William Mathias.T. 1819.34 With experience of missionary activity came a dramatic change in rhetoric. 35 Gerard Thomas Noel. again in the presence of Wilberforce.

“Whatever be the true Meaning of These and the like Prophecies: Whether there be a time still to come. to break every yoke of the oppressor. it brake the fetters of the enslaved. death). has become loaded with the doctrines of Christian empire. than when. It is an interesting and triumphalist development of the language used in the previous year’s annual sermon by Edward Burn. and establish the glorious liberty of the children of God. Justice and humanity claim this tribute for their faithful services. stabilizing co-operation with the heathen and slaves themselves. The valiant commander deserves the love of his country … Never did the philanthropy of Great Britain triumph more gloriously. 1749)]. Woodd wrote the Memoirs of Mowhee. 40:5]. 1:11]. remarks. to redeem from sin. 65). Thus on 19 May 1807. pp. 37 . p. Its object is to proclaim eternal liberty to the spiritual captives. this rhetoric of global heroic endeavor easily developed into expressions of overt patriotism. and from death. who bases on it his Epiphany sermon about the name of God.37 Because of the lack of practical. the more so because the country was at war. from Satan. one remembers that this was at a time when Britain was fighting an attempt It is notable that other 18th–century uses of Malachi 1:11 do not concern evangelizing. The Patriotic Fund Woodd mentions rewarded meritorious service in the Napoleonic Wars. in full assembly. wherein they shall be accomplished literally.38 The combination of the language of revolutionary liberty – this in the middle of the Napoleonic War! – Miltonic epic (sin. 38 Basil Woodd. and 18th–century naval triumphalism is notable only because it fell to Woodd to say it first after the 1807 Act. in the annual sermon to the CMS. an early Maori (New Zealand) convert who died in England. But the benevolence of a Christian Mission stands on higher ground. Sermon … before the Society for Missions to Africa and the East [Isa. in the Society’s Annual Report for 1807. 172–73. Indeed. Or whether they are intended only to express the natural and genuine Tendency of the universal and sincere Practice of Christianity in the present World … it becomes not Us to be too curious …” (Of the Meaning of The Name of God [Mal. Burn advocated an aggressive strategy of prioritizing missions above trade in the national agenda – and again. Adopting the old Tillotsonian sermon model. 5 [London. Samuel Clarke. Sermons on Several Subjects. developed to establish Whig religious hegemony by analyzing and defeating opposition point by point (in what our word-processing age calls outline form). 165. and prefers a higher claim. Basil Woodd deftly fed this ideological assumption into the public domain’s post-abolition euphoria: The grateful sympathy of the British Nation raises a patriotic fund for her brave defenders. and bade the sons of Africa be free. Satan.150 bob tennant sermons by Benson and Edmund Law.

the portal being the Christian faith. 1808) is the definitive account of the view from within the campaign. 42 Thomas Clarkson’s History of the Rise. . 204. as a political tool. 39 Edward Burn. Parry. Burn envisages a program of education and development in economic activity and property. and Accomplishment of the Africa Slave-Trade by the British Parliament (London. not as a commercial decision or political project. who think it too soon to evangelize the Heathen. civil and religious. and thus beyond our present scope. and the anglican pulpit 151 at a Europe-wide blockade against British trade and had an uneasy relationship with the USA. restraint of trade was legally and philosophically easier than abolition of property rights. slavery. the best pledge of our benevolence for that oppressed race [of African slaves]. its main trading partner: … considering the access which this country commands to those quarters of the Globe immediately interested. The time is thought strictly proper for the purposes of wealth.42 This explains why the anti-slavery and missionary movements were so closely related. and of national aggrandisement … [We] might … sit down. 36–38. 40 Quoted by J. Once the 1807 Act was passed it was assumed correctly that abolition of slavery itself was inevitable. the word of the truth of the Gospel. of dominion.missions. will be to extend to them. in the Society’s Annual Report for 1806. … if we would wish for them a full participation of British privileges. so that he turns from Romantic rhetoric to practical missionary work. Sermon … before the Society for Missions to Africa and the East [Acts 26:17–18]. in the end the British government cut the Gordian knot by paying large sums of compensation to slave owners. and the most effectual means of ameliorating their conditions. 44. Trade and Dominion (London. both in the duplication of personnel and organization and in the development of rhetoric. p. that the time for commercial intercourse with them is not yet. pp. … you never hear it objected by those. but it certainly was seen by the nation as an act of Christian charity. never were the facilities for executing this merciful design [as set out in his text] so obvious or so great. Sermon. 41 Burn. but. under the full ignominy of French reproach. as at the present moment … Besides.H. Progress. p. 1974). and confess ourselves to be a nation of shop-keepers!39 Thus was the patriotic co-opted and Shelburne’s famous dictum of 1782 – “We prefer trade to dominion”40 – dismissed.41 The religious and ethical origins of the anti-slavery movement lie deep in the 18th century.

arriving as rector in 1827 (the dioceses of Barbados. Romantic “linear” form (less argumentative exegesis. 11. were admitted equally. 44 J. passim. twice the statutory minimum in Britain’s Agricultural Wages Board regulations in 2007. 26) totaled three hours in a 12-hour day. which included Grenada.C. Being the Second Anniversary of the Establishment of the Grenada District Committee of the [SPCK] [Matt. as the numbers of free Black West Indians increased. 46 Ibid. of advancing political power. on Sunday. more persuasive rhetoric). p. The Education of the Poor. of at least some sections of the free and enslaved black population. with slave riots. The Duty and Means of Promoting Christian Knowledge: a Sermon Preached at St. pp. Barker. 1828). slave and free. Conditions of service at work were so generous as to suggest that high labor productivity was not considered obtainable in the prevailing political conditions. a crescendo of last-ditch beatings and killings of both slaves and white campaigners and the continuing scandal of the SPG’s own Codrington Estate: an 1829 Statement admitted that polygamy there was the norm. 1829).46 presents statistics from London seeking to demonstrate that 43 [anon. desegregation developed to some extent.152 bob tennant We saw Burn’s sermon turning from patriotism and the campaigner as Romantic hero to the practical questions of education and conversion. As abolition slowly approached. 1827. 10. preached a stylistically combative sermon in which he noted that his congregation was bi-racial and committed himself to setting up a Sunday school for the children of domestic slaves and to educating “the children of the labouring part of the population employed upon the Estates”. in a footnote. a Religious Duty [Matt. A year into his ministry he is even bolder: abandoning the “outline-structure” sermon for the more modern. Meal breaks (p. In an appendix he claims that there existed schools where children. the situation necessarily worsened. Barker.C. 1827). June 17th. this circumlocution must have been aimed at Black sensibilities – which shows a degree of self-respect and.C. 28:19–20] (Grenada. 25:40] (Grenada.43 However. 12.44 Since he acknowledges that these were slaves. in some sense. George’s Church Grenada. p.. he describes the schools’ monitor system45 (developed in India at Porteus’ behest and exported by him as Bishop of London to the West Indies as well as to the new “National” schools in England) and. Barker. A Statement Relative to Codrington College (London. while setting aside the national self-satisfaction over the Act. 45 J. and Jamaica were both established in 1824). In Grenada J. .]. 9. and levels of worship were low. literary and numeracy were excluded from the school curriculum. black and white.

which was quarried by preachers and pamphleteers for the next generation and marked the beginning of a developing praxis in the home base. delivered a set of sermons which changed missionary preaching fundamentally. 1:3]. 1812). however stratified by class and race. The emerging new rhetoric is best observed in the preaching of Claudius Buchanan. and a Sermon Preached before the [CMS] …. as it were. the word “glorious”. 1810 [Gen. His bi-racial congregation exhibits a definite wish for social cohesion. the metaphors of Othello were 47 The three sermons and report are collected in a much-reprinted publication of fundamental importance: Claudius Buchanan. July 1st. who was the single most influential priest in the movement’s “heroic” period and who. on Commencement Sunday. the case at all stages of the history of a Church which seeks to persuade. reinforced by a complex of Augustinian metaphors.missions. Christian Researches in Asia (London. 1810 [Matt. so that. To which are Added.47 Images of light and of the city on the hill are sanctioned by Scriptures and central to the Christian imagination. The CMS sermon is also printed in the CMS’ 1810 Annual Report. he was subject to the same ideological and doctrinal stresses as the other early missionaries. When Buchanan preached to the CMS’ annual meeting in 1810. which was virtually shanghaied by a navy-based triumphalism in the second half of the 18th century). after all. that is. while finding perhaps sounder solutions to the some of the problems. Two Discourses Preached before the University of Cambridge. Positioned within the Church of England but active as a missionary and organizer. but intensified British contact with “black” people gave them additional resonance. It was supported by a 295-page account of the condition of India. 5:14]. which would transform the relationship with the field. Buchanan took as his text Matthew 5:14 – “Ye are the light of the world” – and was to return to the theme of spiritual light in two sermons preached three weeks later (1 July 1810) before the University of Cambridge. . June 12. slavery. he was the first person with missionary experience to do so and this made an extraordinary difference to the Society’s sense of purpose and reality. Indeed. They are so pervasive and powerful that no one strand of Christian activity could wholly appropriate them (unlike. If the reality outside the church walls was somewhat different. and the anglican pulpit 153 education virtually eliminates youth crime. He was both an exemplar and an innovator. We will look briefly at three of his sermons. in 1810. this was possibly the single most important sermon ever given in the missionary movement. for example. All page references to Buchanan are to this edition. not command.

and is natural to all 48 Henry Venn. argumentative sermon structure. The Church is a lighthouse. 1849). 364. a temple. uses light and City of God texts as the exegetical basis of his sermons:50 Christianity has again. 34–38 and 38. 50 Gen. Blackfriars. 1:3 (“Let there be light …”) for his Cambridge Commencement sermons and for the CMS sermon Matt.154 bob tennant transformed into vehicles for expressing and formulating operational principles for the Church in its new missionary mode. Explicitly adopting the Tillotsonian tripartite. preaching the annual CMS sermon in his own church. he says. Academical Studies Subservient to the Edification of the Church [1 Cor. as we have seen. of spiritual light. 1828). Is it not this University that gave the light of Science to the World? Let it also give the light of religion”. that is. CMS Sermon. as the light of reason was conferred on the first man.51 Buchanan starts by dealing with natural religion. 5:14: “Ye are the light of the world. 367. 14:12] (Cambridge. 49 William Goode. in a somewhat less extended metaphor. The following quotations are from pp. . p. churches are buildings designed to play with the metaphor of light and its diffusion. Henry Venn was to develop this in some detail. Architecturally. St Ann’s. could draw attention to a missionary and a black African (both unnamed) sitting in the congregation. Brief Account of the Jubilee of the [CMS] (Calcutta. returning from India and speaking with all the authority of the traveller and activist. 72:17]. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid”. May 19.’ … [The] present period [is] a Third Era of Light … [The] Church of England … standing as she does like a Pharos among the nations. after a lapse of so many ages.48 “The term ‘edifying’.G. x. 84). It is borrowed from a metaphor very familiar to the Sacred Writers … The members … are hence styled ‘living stones’ …”. when debated with sophisticated Hindus: Christ is the Fountain of Light. For. especially pp. a problem. pp. “[serving] to diffuse the knowledge of Christianity through the Earth”49 and Buchanan. “is one peculiar to the Christian Church. [is] to be herself the Great Instrument of Light to the world. Cuthbert. a role shared with the University of Cambridge: “… [The] Voice of the Church is to be heard at the Universities. 1812 [Ps. See G. Thus the Church is seen not only as organized light but also. assumed its true character as ‘the Light of the world’ … [and will] extend its blessings ‘to all nations. Adam. in CMS Annual Report 1812. hence its meeting at his church. 18–20. William Goode. 51 “… We have introduced this doctrine into the exordium of the Discourse …” (p. Goode lent the CMS his study in its early days.

pastors. “that Episcopal Body”57 (as delicate a hit at the Church of England as Buchanan’s robust wit can manage). even to such individuals as earnestly pray for it. Ibid. 101. catechists. Ibid. but “I have sometimes been ashamed to see the Christian Missionary put to silence by the intelligent Bramin. 105. or to the present state of mankind …”56 Insisting on the fundamental importance of infrastructures. which is too often permitted on board ships of war and commerce belonging to the English nation. p. but it is given to individuals. he emphasizes. p. the great. p. Ibid. slavery. and the anglican pulpit 155 men. should be exposed. in some point relating to the history of Eastern nations. Ibid. and such “Helps of a secular kind as may be useful”.59 This is a most economical analysis of a group of dilemmas: only gentry were acceptable as cabin passengers on merchant shipping.52 He pays tribute to William Romaine. pioneering evangelical who was the incumbent in this church (St Anne’s. Ibid. Blackfriars) from 1766 to his death in 1795. have for fifty years charted ships for their Labrador mission and the LMS’ ship to the Pacific “will no doubt be recorded in the books of the Heathen World in ages to come”.58 Experience has shewn how difficult it is to procure a passage.. giving scriptural authority to a radical organizational program. p.. in a commercial ship. .53 calls for the Church to support missionaries of all denominations (“[The] Church of England ought to shine upon ALL”). Nor is it proper that a family of pure manners. during some months. or upon a whole community of men by any system of education... 105. 86. p. time and again. so the Light of LIFE cometh by the Second Adam … [The] spiritual light is not poured upon a whole nation. p. Ibid.54 and argues for team missions: evangelists.missions. the United Brethren. Ibid.. the need for dedicated shipping. 92. Knowledge of local languages is more important than the classics. teachers. to the contaminating influence of that offensive Language.55 this is said in his sermon’s exegetical section. for a religious family of humble condition. p. 76. 88. 92. who never heard the holy name of God profaned in their own houses.. Two Discourses. The Roman Catholic missions can rely on the Spanish navy and maritime marine. p. families 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 Buchanan..

prudence. communications with the home base. I have seen the libations of human blood. presumably aware of plans to establish in 1814 the diocese of Calcutta to serve India.65 He ends by praising what has been done so far. p... Ibid. Ibid. practical people were of most value as missionaries. regular supplies of all sorts. Ibid. Buchanan turns back to the metaphors of light and then. not single men. but leaves his listeners in no doubt about the Society’s present inadequacies. 98. testifies to the darkness of the heathen world: “The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty:” Psalm lxxiv. cogency of exegesis.. because they were more inured to poverty. home leave for missionaries (thus emphatically denying the Romantic self-sacrifice enthused over by inexperienced colleagues) and.62 Glancing at the support available to the Pope’s Inquisition in the East (“ships of war and ships of commerce have ever been under its command.64 He lists five organizational needs: a dedicated ship.60 This was the first time that a preacher had raised such practical issues with a major missionary society. 93. he reports that there are three hundred thousand such Christians “in Malabar. Travancore and Cochin”. falling prostrate … before the Idol. humble. and raising acclamations to his name …61 In studiously restrained language he describes the progress of the Juggernaut and the tactical admixture of heathen rites with Roman Catholic rituals: “In some places.63 and praising the “ancient Syrian Christians” in south India for translating the Bible into the “Malayalim Tongue”. and piety”. offered to the Moloch of the Eastern World. vivid reportage. pp. p. his listeners]. and an assembly. visitations to the field “by men of learning. but of two hundred thousand.. religious instruction on ships was poor. for the Vice-Roy of Goa himself is subject to its jurisdiction …”). Ibid. 96–97. 97.20. pp. the Ceremonies and Rites of Moloch are blended with the Worship of Christ! This spectacle I myself have witnessed at Aughoor …”.. Ibid. p. Buchanan’s massive simplicity of style.. not of two thousand only.e.. and succinct program of organizational development are 60 61 62 63 64 65 Ibid. . which may constitute your number [i. in a passage which was adapted by many other preachers throughout the next half-century. 95–96. pp.156 bob tennant should be sent. 100–105.

however. which Protestants can offer only if the necessary infrastructure is in place. This was a CMS sermon. and in the long term it proved fatal to the successful development of the theory of Christian empire. It will be noticed that Buchanan is in no way an imperialist – indeed. hence the replacement of the more natural “propagate” (reminiscent of the SPG) by the less accurate “promulgate”. no transient responsibility. of course. 67 James Chapman. slavery. When Daniel Wilson. is no light. not because of racial or intellectual inferiority. 14. dated 18 and 25 September 1842. and the anglican pulpit 157 unmatched elsewhere. Church Missions and a Native Ministry [Rom. and already are beginning to flow more visibly and palpably than before …67 The metaphors of light create. so “[it] may be the Divine will that the promulgation of the Gospel at this time should be effected partly by the same means”66 – and sees heathen abominations as such because they correspond with scriptural accounts. p. and not confess that the lord our God must have gone before us signally and specially …68 There is. 111. an associate of Buchanan. 10:14–15] (Eton. the first bishop of Colombo. one exception to Buchanan’s indifference to political empire. He is culturally less tolerant than the Roman Catholics. . Its consequences must flow back in blessing or in judgement day by day upon us. 389. 4:39–40]. the latter withhold the Bible from converts and thus do not present the hard but necessary choices between collective culture and individual redemption. 1856). the most famous phrase of British imperialism: Who can look upon the small space occupied by our native islands on the face of the globe. in Diary of a March through Sinde and Affghanistan (London. upon which it is literally true that the Sun never sets. in his account. unconscious as we often are. p. When he considers the Juggernaut and suttee. and then turn his gaze to the vast extent of our foreign possessions. 68 Isaac Allen. the latter picked up precisely these points by quoting the same Matthew text in a sermon also preached before the University of Cambridge: A stewardship like our’s. we cannot be hid … We cannot divest ourselves of our high and holy trust. 1843). p. was in effect the metropolitan of James Chapman..missions. he comments that “these idolators are … our 66 Ibid. As a city set upon a hill. but this is because. in holy things. [Sermon] Preached at the Camp near Kabul [Deut. he speculates that just as in Apostolic times the missions “were not associated by any authority of temporal empire”.

for example. the Archdeacon of Bath. which had traditionally been a matter of government interest (albeit usually of encouragement. Two Discourses.72 a pamphlet war blew up. to be every year BURNED ALIVE? … The honour of our nation is certainly involved in this matter.” “Religion in the Age of the Enlightenment”. and Buchanan is clear about this. p.158 bob tennant own subjects” – not “our fellow-subjects”. our own subjects. 43.B. 70 69 .69 Invoking the reproach of having tolerated the slave trade. 42. 71 Rhetorical developments in the corpus of Waterloo sermons are closely connected with missionary sermons.S. he asks. Indeed. Daniel Wilson (London. “On the Good Name of the Dead. the East India Company had created a dilemma which could. The battle witnessed perhaps the first spontaneous door-to-door collections for war victims in British history (supported by many sermons. because there has been no official enquiry. But there is no room for the language of crimination or reproach. on 20 February 1818. pp. 72 See. of which two elements are important for us.. Ibid. 31–33. compared to our permitting thousands of women. A mood of national optimism built up after the battle of Waterloo. Whether such rituals were intrinsic or (in the language of English religious toleration) merely “indifferent” to Hinduism was not for a Christian to say. not restraint). The policy of street collections was excellent psychology by the CMS. But murder and induced suicide were obviously sinful and the government was actually sponsoring them financially. William Gordon Rees. we find the conservative J. 1818). Observations on the Late Protest of the Rev. By taking on a political role in India. The powerful argument that if the trade was evil. And they are not known. Carwithen writing to the leading evangelical Daniel Wilson that such collections among the poor by the Buchanan. even if not compatible with Church protocols. which often published lists of donors. p. and the Defence of the [CMS] by the Rev. so was the institution. finally.70 In abolishing the slave trade (but not the legal existence of slaves as such) the British government had not interfered with property rights but only the right to trade. often of single pennies)71 and this was quickly imitated by the missionary societies. vol. What is there in buying and selling men. So. These facts are not generally known. See Bob Tennant. because of the protests of the archdeacon of Bath about the constitutional illegitimacy of the CMS and the impropriety of its methods. be solved only one way. spills over into Buchanan’s call for a government ban on rites involving bloodshed and death. for it is the Sin of ignorance. 1.

Daniel Wilson’s Defence of the Church Missionary Society against the Objections of the Rev.B. p. p. Daniel Wilson. to assume that the “heathen” might regard missions from a slaveowning British people as an hypocrisy.73 An anonymous pamphleteer remarks that The Ministers of the Church do not go out into the highways and hedges to scrape up all they can get. Farish. to which. Prof. M. in Reply to his Defence of the [CMS] (London. Farish welcomes signs of future missionary success: Shall we mention. Observations on Mr. after British abolition of slavery in the Atlantic and the Americas. More crucially. 74 [Anon]. 75 Rev. with massive rallies against American slavery and even calls for economic 73 J.missions. Thus in the 1818 annual CMS sermon. and almost compel the contributions of the poor … [in] the modern practice of urging the lower classes. 1818). almost beyond denial. Archdeacon of Bath (London.S. 1818). the Rev. CMS Annual Report. p. Specious rhetoric like Farish’s may have been effective but when projected onto missionary endeavors served to nurture the imperialist assumption that British Christian ethical priorities were valid globally. Sermon … 5 May 1818 [Luke 11:2]. Carwithen. however small. 24. as an example. While the activity of the anti-slavery societies peaked in the 1830s. Josiah Thomas. . 28. slavery. was illogical. despite slavery being endemic in virtually all parts of the world. 40. to join in subscriptions.A. they can very ill afford to contribute. The second element was satisfaction about what was universally seen as the decisive act against the institution of slavery. Prof. could any attempt to propagate the Religion of Christ among the Heathen be considered as any thing better than hypocrisy and insult?75 The 17th-century removal of the sanctions of the civil authorities from canon law had made England essentially a secular country. and the foulest blot on the character of this Protestant Country? While this remained. the Abolition of the Slave Trade – long the crying sin of Christendom. This conviction of moral righteousness led to a curious logical elision. 1818. A Letter to the Rev. which remains a prominent factor in world politics even today. and the anglican pulpit 159 CMS only happen “when fanaticism comes forth”.74 The CMS lost the theoretical argument but won the contest: it was legitimized and thus helped secure the Church overseas for the Evangelical party.

may it be her happy lot also to do for freedom. Blomfield.77 and such an Episcopalian analysis did not go away. in block capitals. could be more explicit: … And that which she [Victoria] may thus do for peace. Thus James Hook. 2001). 1819). modern supply-side economists emphasize the ability of supply to create demand and historians note that West African slavery both pre-existed and survived the Atlantic trade. The abolition of the slave trade created a self-sustaining slave population in the West Indies and the USA which rapidly acquired economic and political ambitions like the rest of the working-class. a claim which adroitly avoids the question of projecting imperial power punitively into the lands which provided the unfortunate commodity “sold in the human flesh shambles of foreign Christian (!) countries”. preaching an annual charity schools sermon in St Paul’s Cathedral back in 1819. A Sermon Preached in the Cathedral Church of St. The exclamation mark is Thompson’s. 5. and insisting. 1850–52 (London. [being] succeeded by a lengthened day of prosperity and happiness” and of “the glories. A Sermon Preached at the Coronation of Her Most Excellent Majesty Queen Victoria [2 Chron. pp. preaching in his own cathedral and not constrained by the presence of the monarch. before the last lingering remnant of what was once indeed the most bitter of oppressions. necessarily speaking in very reserved terms. June 18. . there was little for the pulpit to do exegetically: the argument had in essence been won in 1807. pp. For contemporary documentation of one instance see Tim Coates.J. that “THE REMEDY FOR THE SLAVE TRADE IS THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. not of … outward dominion … but … the pure Gospel preached to all the people of the land”. of “the bright. An Appeal to the Abolitionists of Great Britain (Edinburgh. Two fleeting years.78 The Dean of Lichfield. pp. 1838). Paul. In 1837 the leading anti-slavery campaigner George Thompson could list the six million slaves in the Americas. of course. shall be for ever effaced from 76 George Thompson. Contrary to Thompson. noting that half of these were in the USA. at the very utmost. appendix. 12. had argued that the lack of an established Church in the USA had led to irreligion. We will return to consider the type of images and metaphors used by here by Blomfield.76 But domestically it was felt that Britain had found the practical way towards abolition. At the coronation of Queen Victoria. ed. 1818 [2 Chron. although sermons continued to celebrate it. which now gilds our horizon. on Thursday. 15. 24:31] (London. 17:8–9] (London. are all that now remain. and illiteracy.160 bob tennant sanctions. the Bishop of London. The market must be annihilated before the supply will cease”. and almost cloudless sun-rise. 11. 78 C. 53–63. financial greed. slavery. King Guezo of Dahomey. preached of “the sovereign of a mighty empire”. 1837).. 77 James Hook. 18. Emancipation was indeed inevitable. especially in the South.

even into the 1930s. crucially dependent on the British imperial establishment for their physical survival. Part 3. until Slavery is renounced and put down every where. while not justified by the reality on the ground.missions. will never shrink from persevering mediation. .79 It was a persuasive argument that Britain’s unique politico-ecclesiastical system. a district committee of the LMS. even racial. 1984). “thou hast loosed our bonds”. Slave-ownership by whites continued to exist. the voice of the grateful multitudes saying unto her. transmitted over the Atlantic waters. the non-conformist churches often split over the doctrinal questions raised by missions. Chapter 3. moral superiority which. to cooperate. June 28. could be maintained as a principle. instead of forming. of course. the China Mission. and the anglican pulpit 161 the dominions which she rules: but she has pledged her royal word that she will go on to exert the influence. covertly and illegally. was more a tendency than an organization and formed a congeries of loosely cooperating groups both in China and Britain. and it was possible for local groups of nonconformists. Slavery and Human Progress (Oxford. offered the prospect of universal freedoms. in some colonies. p. in the same holy cause. owned by Muslims and Hindus. slavery. to pledge themselves to raising funds in the long term and to send their own missionaries abroad. 80 George Thompson (An Appeal to the Abolitionists. A whole vast movement. 1838 [Luke 11:2] (London. 12. The major Societies were not overly-centralized. Such movements were. – she possesses with other rulers. A Sermon Preached in the Cathedral Church of Lichfield. if necessary (or possible) with pre-existing missions. but this fact was apparently generally unknown in Great Britain. until the work of liberation is accomplished. which.80 Preaching Overseas The number of British missionary societies is unknown – one is still rediscovered from time to time – but a figure of 200 in the 19th century would not be far out. say. The abolition of slavery in most British possessions (and its somewhat covert continuation mainly by elements of subject peoples) helped fuel a sense of national. and particularly the developing structures of the rapidlyexpanding empire. 1838). p. as we have renounced and put it down. – God be thanked. and she shall hear. 8) reckoned that there were half a million slaves in Bengal. See David Brion Davis. so that the canard about “guns and Bibles” came into existence – even though some colonial authorities would have preferred to use guns on the missionaries than on the 79 Henry Howard.

of “the solicitude and unwearied diligence of the pastoral office”. Love to Christ the only True Motive to Missionary effort [John 21:16].83 At this early date – his was only the ninth anniversary sermon – building up to a patriotic peroration. 407. we will consider the 1809 Annual Sermon preached by Legh Richmond. and watch over such persons [as might become] missionaries”. as a nation.). in listing his sources. Among many possible examples.. he makes two points as if they are not merely consensual but commonsensical: The naval and commercial eminence of this country. Such an alliance could have no developed theology and therefore no shared rhetoric.162 bob tennant subject peoples. An Essay on the Propagation of Christianity in India.81 The CMS was perhaps the organization which most transformed this mindset. reveals how little suitable material was available to prepare missionaries for what they would find. . with whom those privileges afford us an intercourse … [In] the late Abolition of the Slave 81 See Indicophilus (pseud. train up. in effect. Romantic hero. even deaneries will be competent to offer these. 84 Ibid. who named his younger son Wilberforce. providentially possess the empire of the seas. however. 83 Ibid. it becomes peculiarly incumbent upon us to sanctify our political privileges. Richmond. It will be noted that Richmond. ready-made. under the lay superintendence of pious ministers and laymen … to seek out. There was much doubt about Britain’s ability to act as the political umbrella for the missions in the way that ancient Rome had done for the successors of the Apostles. p. point it out as a most favourable period for the universal extension of the Gospel of Christ. pp. Earlier in his Application. 2nd ed. by carrying the doctrine of salvation to all the various heathen nations. to the overseas territories. for instance. also wrote a popular tale. 1809. a very considerable figure in the movement. 1813).82 This is of particular interest because of its 18th-century structure (a simplified version of the Tillotsonian “outline” sermon) and language: he speaks. 430–31.. 82 Legh Richmond. a prototype of Melville Horne’s projection of the missionary as military. and form “subordinate societies … in different districts. If we. donate money. he recommends84 that supporters “speak warmly” about missionaries. who. in CMS Annual Report. greater than that of all others at this present time. (Edinburgh. hasn’t yet thought through the issue of training: he assumes that the CMS will be a means of transmission for doctrine and personnel but also that there is no essential need for central control: that. The Negro Servant.

they are addressed to the European political and economic leadership of the British hegemony. Love to Christ. Middleton was energetic in establishing his diocese. 424–25. Between Mars and Mammon: Colonial Armies and the Garrison State in India 1819–1835 (London. plus the civilian employees of the East India Company. led by the laity under the “lay superintendence of pious ministers …”. 257. 17). but it seems a question of providential obligation and physical access rather than anything more tightly integrated. found already a large British presence in India: some 30. in the only African country which would never be brought within the colonial system. Orger. May she soon learn to stretch out her hands unto God. Peers. Preached at the Chapel. from them is much required” (W. and female Black world (presumably visualized fettered and semi-naked) is to be liberated by a (male) movement of heroic energy. pp. 431. The emblematic. and employment (Christian converts being debarred from government and Company work) – was urgent. education.000 sepoys. or waters roll’ the commerce of Britain tracks itself a course.86 The CMS.. plus officers for them as well as for an army of nearly 150. A Sermon. accepting that the SPG was at that time concentrating on the Americas.missions. p. 88 Douglas M. and the anglican pulpit 163 Trade … Aethopia hath not stretched out her hands in vain to man. p. 87 Richmond. September XX. but his published sermons are evidence of the undeveloped state of Protestant Christianity in the subcontinent. It was only five years later that the first Anglican bishop outside the home territories and America began his ministry in India. 1827]. “Wherever ‘winds can waft. a Christian Church founded possibly in patristic times still flourished. was seeking to assume responsibility for West Africa and the East. As we would expect. p. created Bishop of Calcutta in 1814. slavery. just as in southern India. 86 85 . on Sunday. an event which effected rapid change in doctrine and rhetoric. and traveled far and wide delivering a series of charges. Thomas Fanshaw Middleton. and seek deliverance from the still more dreadful captivity of the soul!85 The relationship of missions to trade and empire is not fully formulated. passive. 1995).87 It is ironic that Richmond is unaware that in Ethiopia proper. MDCCCXXVII [Matt. for deliverance from the slavery of the body.88 Informal liaisons with Indian women were the accepted norm and the problem of mixed-race children – their baptism. Sydenham. To whom much is given. 6:10] [London.000 rank and file European troops. and correspondingly elegant and balanced in their syntax Ibid. Kent.

Middleton. 62:1]. 3:10]. Sermons and Charges (London. the father of the nations of Asia! but most signally in that widely extended dominion which hath been given by Providence to a distant island in the west … [But] who of us has not been struck with horror at the exhibition of the last few days?90 Middleton is driven away from the Old Testament into the New by the horrors of Hindu ritual. but imperfectly exercised: it recognises his sovereignty. sequential form. if closely examined. 54. 90 89 . engaged on a mission: May the Almighty … make you [the congregation] instruments of revealing to those. on the General Thanksgiving for the peace in Europe. the glory of Zion. that so it may radiate from this favoured spot [the church in the fort in Colombo].164 bob tennant and easy. but in a way which forbids us any longer to consider him as infinitely just. p.F. a faith whose Christology is distinguished from the religion of Old Testament and Indian heathen alike and. but would suspend his functions: it admits and even insists upon his mercy. and which affords us no means of asserting his holiness … It is also allowable to ask of those. 75. 1816 [Isa. 1820 [Eph. of course. and be visible throughout the Eastern world!92 The bishop and his congregation are strictly analogous to Paul and his churches in first-century Roman Asia (for example. “it is yet difficult for us to read such passages as my text … without some application of All quotations from T. 92 Middleton. been enlarged by their establishment at different periods among the descendants of Shem. on the 3rd day of December. as an imperial force. who are still in darkness. the 1814 abdication of the previous year. however. who profess to admit no test but reason. This was. whether life is rational without religion?91 Middleton moves towards seeing the British. The Manifold Wisdom of God Made Known by the Church … Preached at the Cathedral Church of Calcutta. 113. 1824). the ancestor of Europeans. place the deity? It leaves him in possession of perfect attributes. p. but there is constantly a reminder that the appeal is to the masses of heathen outside the church buildings:89 How hath Japhet. The reference to “the last few days” is to the rites of “Seeva”. 91 Middleton. National Providence [Acts 17:26–27]. which are. Righteousness and Salvation … Preached … October 27. sees Hinduism as a kind of deism: In what a light does deism. seeking security in beautifully balanced syntax. The sermon was preached on 13 April 1815. p. Middleton. He characterizes love as essentially Christian.

next the mixed-race children. 1:27]. not “other ranks”. The Manifold Wisdom of God. or the bazar is their only place of refuge: there have. A Sermon Preached … in Prince of Wales’s Island … May 16. and charity is not organized into system … [Christianity among such children is frustrated by] the habits of Europeans of the lower class. A Sermon Preached … in Prince of Wales’s Island [Phil. where public institutions are wanting. then the quasi-deist Indians. have been lost to the faith of Christ. p. been instances of the most generous and exemplary humanity exercised by persons. pp. The Manifold Wisdom of God. 7:13]. 96 Middleton. 81. too. p. 1:27]. There are cases. A Sermon Preached at St Thomas’s Church. Bombay … 18th March. and must leave his children behind him: the camp.missions. at least in the terms of post-1688 Anglicanism. slavery. Middleton takes perhaps the first published step towards defining the non-Christian religions of India as cults. a few priests and a handful of missionaries on whom to build. He has East India Company chaplains. but his evangelicalism is based on an 93 Middleton. as well as those of their superiors …96 Only officers. 83–84. 104. or the barrack. Middleton has a clear sense of priorities: first the Europeans.95 This. note also the sting in the order of the last phrases. 101. and the anglican pulpit 165 [it] to the condition of the church in India”. was evidently a considered tactic: he is deeply concerned about the mixedrace children in the cantonments and even risks subverting military discipline by publicly rebuking officers in front of their men: [Through] the influence of native mothers. 94 Middleton. 122. p. were ordered home. 1821 [Matt. . in which the father is ordered to Europe. 95 Middleton. pp. in effect making them pagans. 97 Middleton. the [children] of Europeans. 1819 [Phil. indeed.93 “[No] church since the days of the Apostles has been called to such high destinies”94) and he asserts to the presumably bemused garrison and colonial officials that they are like a primitive Christian society. in the classical sense: [The Indian religious system is] completely disproved by its wanting the principle of dissemination and diffusion … and [by Hindus’ claim] that the Almighty is delighted with the variety in the systems of human belief … as if truth and salvation and the will of God were but modes and fashions to be adopted to the convenience or caprice of the believer …97 The claim that Christianity’s missionary and universal status guarantees its authenticity is novel. on whom the orphan has had no natural claims … but [the] operation [of Christian piety] must be partial and fortuitous. however. 125.

. 1829). a method common to those who spoke without experience of missionary activity: My brethren. Middleton founded the Church in India but it is difficult to see how it could have prospered without a radical transformation of theory. 214. Sermons Preached in England. he expresses the need for the Church of England to become more catholic: “[She] was … baptized in blood. and sermons. rhetorical questions. some of whose compositions remain in use. Middleton was remembered as a great bishop. It is notable. on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS). 14:6]. 99 Ibid. the underlying outline structures not emphasized. but Reginald Heber was praised after his death as almost saintly. however. At no stage was Heber’s preaching dominated by exegesis. there are many millions of men in the world. Heber’s career led naturally to the colonial Church: his 1815 Bampton lectures on the subject of The Personality and Office of the Christian Comforter. if to others the spirit of her establishment should sometimes appear too jealous and exclusive” and praises the Society for the strength it gained by possessing a committee comprising representatives of several sects. . in both doctrine and organization. hundreds of millions. Millions who have lost the knowledge of the one true God amid a multitude of false or evil 98 Reginald Heber. and … she may well be pardoned. that when he preaches on “The conversion of the heathen” for the CMS as late as 1820 his sermon still starts with a discussion of apostolic times. and a little shorter. mostly in the provinces. p. the language is comparatively literary. 221. to whom these blessed truths are unknown. 2nd edition (London. hymns such as “From Greenland’s icy mountains” (written during a visit to a service on behalf of the SPG). The Dispersion of the Scriptures [Rev. but still of a piece with this. while they extend the treatment of solidarity between Churches and community among Christians. and the CMS. The sermons he preached for the SPCK and CMS in 1820–23 are less labored.98 Although its construction is simple. preached in Shrewsbury for the BFBS on 5 September 1813. the SPCK. pp.166 bob tennant understanding of the New Testament through the anti-deist strategies of the previous century. and classical allusions. he does not aim to teach but to mobilize commitment to values he assumes he shares with his listeners. sprinkled with mannerisms such as double negatives (“Nor [are the members of the Society] the least active …”99). 215. In the earliest of these. A prominent hymn-writer.

that it is a custom with those who pretend any degree of holiness. to shrink from the touch of persons of a different religion. September 1. already expressed in his English sermons. Sermons preached in India (London. 1824. April 29. who. his preaching changes profoundly. Sermons are shortened further (to around 2. 16 April 1820.500 words). There was the same urgency for Heber as for Middleton: the mixed-race children of the bazaars and cantonments who threatened to become a new class of untouchables: … too often the monuments of their [fathers’] vices. have as much need to be instructed in the first rudiments of Christianity as the inhabitants of Polynesia or Japan. and at Madras. here acquires depth from his experience of Indian cultures.missions. Christ Preaching to Sinners [Luke 15:10]. Heber died in April 1826. 12. Sermons Preached in England. p. 1829). A Charge Delivered … at Calcutta … May 27. or of a character less devoted to the practice of contemplation and piety … [Of calls to repentance:] Nor is this a task confined to any peculiar order or profession. p. 82. The Conversion of the Heathen [Matt. Sermons Preached in India (London. who bow down to stocks and stones. March 10. are accessible to instruction through the languages of India alone. at Colombo. I need scarcely mention. 6:10]. 101 Heber. p. 76. 103 Reginald Heber. all underlying outline structures are abolished in favor of a single argument in linear sequence. (London. and the anglican pulpit 167 deities. 200.103 100 Reginald Heber. Sermons Preached in England. 204. however. 1826. . notwithstanding their English descent. still on his visitation. 87. Note the itinerary recorded in the title. slavery. though divested of the pride of caste. at Bombay. his need to mobilize Christians in India to develop the local base of morale. and who. 2nd ed. 102 Reginald Heber. It is the duty of the layman as well as of the priest … When I recommend gentle means.102 Heber’s sense of a coherent and dynamic Christian community. who propitiate their senseless idols with cruel and bloody sacrifices …100 His debt to Buchanan for his material is obvious but in general he is speaking to a public consensus: “Shall we overlook our heavy debt of blood and tears to injured Africa?”101 Once in India. I do not recommend guilty compliances. pp. and the language is simplified. and not a few of them nominally Christians. and the need to present his teaching simply to a wide range of soldiers and colonists who had hitherto little experience of evangelical preaching. Note in the following passages the absence of rhetorical resources and the extreme spareness of doctrine: In this country. 1825. 1829). Preached for the CMS. 1829). 1825.

106 Heber was criticized posthumously for the shallowness of his theology107 but the whole point of his ministry in India was to mobilize the maximum forces on the broadest possible consensus. 105 The Ninth Report of the Calcutta Church Missionary Association (Calcutta. he said. Thomas Robinson. in explicit rebuttal to the contemplative methods of the surrounding Hindu gurus and not only in definition of Christianity but as a matter of theoretical Christology. pp. in reply to critiques from Calvinist sources. 1826 [2 Thess. though with a usefully narrow missionary focus. Sermons preached in India (London. He regarded the Scilly Isles (in home waters) as a spiritual wilderness every bit as much as Africa. The Glory of the Church in its Extension to Heathen Lands … Madras … May 14. Smyth. 194. in a sermon preached for the SPG in Madras in which he restates Heber’s conception of modern apostolic Christianity. 67. as taught by Christ Himself. pp. 1831). and Heber put practical organization and communal spirituality above theology: “But the religion of Christ. The Character and Religious Doctrines of Bishop Heber (London. pp. politically or culturally. 1833). for example. The Church was at this time a combination of a military chaplaincy and a mission. our fellow-subjects. our neighbours. 107 He was defended by T. The Conversion of the Heathen [Acts 2:38–39]. 69. 3:19] he discusses Christ’s making Jewish law obsolete but refuses to apply this to the Indian society in which he lives. not only does not command.S. 1827). 18–25. 108 Reginald Heber. Colombo and Calcutta in 1825. our domestics.108 That this style of preaching was a deliberate strategy is evidenced by his SPG sermon. and the apostles who were inspired by Him. 1829). . our fellow soldiers …”. in his sermon on The Law and the Gospel [Gal.104 and the pledge was carried through. however. Character of Christ and his Religion [Mark 8:9]. Heber was not at all imperialist. 193. 1829). 3:1] (London. but expressly discourages all heedless singularity or solitude … Our faith is an active faith”.105 Unlike other missionary leaders. 106 Reginald Heber. delivered to his fellow 104 Thomas Robinson. The ninth annual report of the Calcutta Church Missionary Society is mostly about educational work. when. preached in Bombay. For Heber the European and Indian cultures have equal access to the gospel: he describes Christianity as “a system studiously distinguished from and unconnected with government” (and hints at criticism of the BMS’ ideology in this regard) and where a “them and us” dichotomy emerges it is for local rhetorical effect: “the nations of this country. Sermons Preached in India (London.168 bob tennant This commitment was restated immediately after Heber’s death by his former chaplain.

110 “India is the most promising scene for missionary labour. Turner for three. or nearly 20. pp. appointed at the age of 54. that is. Sermon Preached at the Parish Church of Saint Bride … on Tuesday. Heber was in a position to envisage a Church more actively and reliably supported by (and supporting) a well-grounded missionary movement. out of which during his tenure were formed sees in Madras. with regular visitations and charges which are notable both for their sense of administrative underpinning of an evangelical faith and for their vehement anti-Tractarianism. in 1817. our power.missions. The Conversion of the Heathen. drawing in the Eurasians and bringing the Hindus and Muslims into contact with a socially active and extrovert Church organization. in CMS Annual Report. 111 Ibid. Daniel Wilson. and the anglican pulpit 169 clergy. perhaps exceed. The rate of attrition of the bishops of Calcutta was high: Middleton had served for nine years. of which this passage is typical: … so large a part of the Heathen World being subject to the British Sceptre … from 100 degrees in the remote West.000 miles by 6 or 7000 … [which] God has entrusted to this Protestant Country … [O]ur whole Empire. 1817 [John 4:35–36]. From his London days he had a love of statistics and a strong sense of the rapidly-expanding British Empire as giving access to potential converts. Wilson’s abrasive and uncompromising evangelical preaching may be seen as the mirror-image of Heber’s. to Norfolk Island in the East. over 270 degrees of longitude and 94 of latitude. 110 109 . May 6. p. he reverts to his English style.. in his pre-colonial career. 177–201. Bombay. far surpass those of any other people. integrated into a program of strengthening faith among the Europeans. and Colombo. 1817. James for two. The third of the Bishops of Calcutta who will be brought in evidence is Daniel Wilson. or from the Shetlands in the North to 33 degrees South of the Line. our wealth. and our commerce. served twenty-six and put the diocese. p.109 Compared with Middleton. any one of the Four great Empires of the Antient World … Our rational and constitutional liberty. slavery. are vitally Reginald Heber. Heber for four. Wilson. on a firm basis. as in his sermon at the 17th anniversary of the CMS. both in extent and population. 363. 367. at this moment. who hold Christ as the Head. who was. antient or modern.”111 Preaching of the activity of the Spiritual Church … the invisible and mystical body of true Christians in this country. central to the missionary movement in England.

115 Ibid. 392–93. Calcutta on 2 May 1841. gives numbers of stations and staff in the field.117 with its vigorous assault on the “tradition scheme”.170 bob tennant united to Him by his Spirit. Addressing the meeting as if it consisted largely of young clergy113 he urges that missionary work “will [further] our own salvation”. 361. as the 70-year-old Metropolitan for the four dioceses of India.115 Wilson is at all times impatient of theology and church party and totally committed to evangelism. 114 Ibid. 395.118 Wilson’s 1818 CMS sermon was virtually duplicated in 1849 when. Oddly. he preached the CMS jubilee sermon in his cathedral. Once in India Wilson’s main interest for us lies in his visitations and episcopal charges. 38.. and calling upon the name of the Lord”.119 Still preaching in the tripartite Tillotsonian form which was obsolescent even in his Ibid. 113 112 .. Wilson sees tradition as an enemy to the new criticism which was revolutionizing theology and biblical studies. 1849). 389.. may seem an oddity in a colonial setting but represents the discipline and focus on objectives which were typical of his ministry. in which he reported progress and left his junior clergy in no doubt about the desirability of staying away from the Tractarians. and obey his laws.112 he lists the principal missionary societies.. p. The Roman Empire was a field of corn for Christians to reap116 and he believes that the world is now Britain’s field of corn. Christian Missions the Blessing of the World [Isa. 118 Ibid. p. Ibid. 116 Ibid. The Sufficiency of Holy Scripture as the Rule of Faith [2 Timothy 3:16–17] (London. 119 Daniel Wilson. p. he accuses its adherents of “a fearful apprehension of violating the sanctity of truth” and thus retarding “all real advances”.. 2:2–4] (Calcutta. pp. and a roll-call of prominent missionaries and then appeals for more clergy. 370. 117 Wilson.114 It is notable that before this final appeal he resorts to the Flaxmanesque imagery we have noted before. p. financial details. A sermon such as The Sufficiency of Holy Scripture as the Rule of faith [2 Timothy 3:16–17]. p.. The sermon was preached in St John’s Cathedral. 1841). with regard to slavery: “See the injured Negro whom the crimes of Britons had made to drink deep of the cup of sorrow. now taking the cup of salvation. though they may differ in minor points of Doctrine and Discipline.

with some justification. and the anglican pulpit 171 youth. At each stage the Church was forming. whose own rhetoric was transformed thereby. Wilson is confident. He welcomes the estimate that only 6–7 per cent of the world’s population is Protestant (he lists the estimated 21 per cent Popish and Greek separately) as a challenge to the Church. Brief Account of the Jubilee of the Church Missionary Society … With an Introductory Address to members of the Church of England and Friends of the [CMS] in North India (Calcutta. Brief Account. but to lead to practical results”. Cuthbert. leaving no room for dissent among his juniors. is the product of a thorough analysis of the situation on the ground and an assessment of the Church’s ability to extend its organization. n.120 he is still battling away with a stubborn world. has shown how sermon rhetoric changed to express the priorities and ideologies as they developed and to help effect changes in commitment from clergy and senior laity alike. This brief study of three bishops. Our Jubilee is not to evaporate in an ebullition of feeling. the hundredfold increase in CMS income. their 140 languages. an aggressive system. Christian Missions the Blessing of the World. which the late Dr.122 He relishes enumerating the 34 million Bibles. p. simple sentences must have had an almost physical effect on his listeners. Wilson’s rhetoric.missions.. a praxis of missions and reporting back on developments. p. American readers should note that the word “aggressive” used in a positive sense (OED. 1849). Chalmers well called it. Wilson shares it with a handful of contemporary Methodists and Scottish Presbyterians.121 “In 1799 [when the CMS was founded] almost all Europe was at war with England [sic] … Now the whole world is open. belaying it with facts and figures and urging that “Christianity ought to be. Cuthbert. 6–8.G. 123 Ibid. “aggressive. through published sermons and charges. pp. As an example we may consider a sermon preached in 1833 by Richard Twopeny. While progress along these lines was not to accelerate until later in the century. 21. and re-forming. 121 Cuthbert.123 His heavyweight statistics. in effect successors in India. and probably drawing on statistics gathered by the CMS’ G. before the joint District Committees of the SPCK 120 G. argumentativelystructured form. and short.G. 122 Wilson. slavery. 2c”) is unusual in 19th-century British English: there are no OED citations before the twentieth century. including the creation of “native churches” and a native clergy. 6. that the Church is already able to become institutionally missionary. . Access to the most distant places is easy by means of steam navigation”. to the general membership of the home base.

. employing the universal metaphor of sunlight. 128 Ibid. spreading our colonies. p. 125 Ibid. The sermon is of interest because of the various strands of thought it weaves together. 5:14–15] (London.127 The forthcoming liberation of the slaves is of concern because insufficient effort has been made to prepare them “for that liberty to which it has now been determined to admit them”128 – education in Christianity shading into the idea of earned citizenship. into the full blaze of religious light and freedom. 127 Ibid. p... and in the end. 19. in an obscure corner of Europe … emerging at length by the providence of God. 14. our arms. evidently drawing his information from the Societies’ annual reports. “The Church of Christ does not consist of one body of men. 1833). 11. our language.124 He offers the survey of the state of the missions by now usual on such occasions. 11. p.. although he sees empire as a subordinate means to global 124 Richard Twopeny. also puts missions and empire into an order of priority: When I contemplate the history of this nation. A Sermon. they took advantage of the barbarous and despotic institutions of the savage nations to transport [Africa’s] helpless sons to … slavery”. Preached at Uppingham [2 Cor. instead of leaving any trace of civilization or religion behind them.. p. p. noting that “they both uphold the primitive order and discipline maintained by our Church. . 24. deriving its origin from a small tribe of savage warriors. “[as] if impelled by Mahometan fanaticism … have … extirpated the original inhabitants … In Africa. I cannot refrain from asking myself for what important purpose this dispensation of Providence (unequalled in the annals of the world) has been effected?129 Twopeny glamorizes the economic.126 The Godless slave traders. 126 Ibid. military and political successes of Britain. 129 Ibid. and our arts over two-thirds of the globe.172 bob tennant and SPG in Kent. But Twopeny. nor is religion the exclusive concern of one order only … The clergy alone are not equal to the great work [of missions]”. as the best bond of union and peace in the Christian society”125 – almost the last moment that this could be said before the Tractarian controversy burst on the Church.

and particularly the Church of England. in particular. and a collection of sermons by a leading theologian. p. Fox. for example.131 130 W. the secular tools of which he acknowledges to be often evil.J. complexes of metaphors. We have given an account of the development of pulpit rhetoric and. .130 The Influence of the Missions on the Home Base Thus far we have seen the church. and the anglican pulpit 173 evangelism.J. trying to develop a policy with regard to missions and overseas expansion as far as possible separated from the increasingly imperial policy of the government. training and logistics – but also in the effect it had on the way the home Churches themselves were organized. Fox. slavery.missions. the Unitarian W. who is openly racially supremacist: “to what a superior race and nation they [the British] belonged …”. the missionary Church “came home”: not only did its demands on the home base increase – in terms of finance. 15. many of which fell within the orbit of Tractarianism (others concerned more directly the non-Episcopal Churches). The title of William Booth’s book Darkest England and the Way Out (1890) best sums up the transformation of the mid-century Church. The emergence of these controversies coincided with what we may call the heroic period of the missions. using the conceit that Britain is a newly-colonized land. 12:1 & Heb. perhaps somewhere in Africa. In this he is distinguished from. and which deflected the home base somewhat from the missionary endeavor. recruitment of personnel. 1833).B. a series of Bampton Lectures. 11:8] (London. But it is only an unusually popular version of a line of thought already long-established in episcopal charges. however. A Discourse on Occasion of the Death of Rajah Rammohun Roy [Gen. the period when the movement was sufficiently undeveloped for individuals to play decisive roles in creating its culture and organization. It gives statistical maps and data of spiritual and social deprivation. preaching in the same year on the death of the prominent Indian convert Rammohun Roy. We are able to consider only three examples: a visitation sermon. which gave persuasive and projective power to this policy. Fairly quickly. 131 Those of Samuel Wilberforce and J. At the same time the Church at home became preoccupied by a number of liturgical and doctrinal questions. Sumner are particularly enlightening.

planting the seed of the word in the unbroken wilderness of the stony heart … [in] a valley.132 Such sermons.174 bob tennant Thus in 1832 Augustus Campbell. 7. evangelical and future Archbishop of Canterbury. “[pressing doctrines of salvation] upon the people”. Congregational Missions . With an ecumenism reinforced by a sense of urgent necessity he welcomes the latter as colleagues. and a radical approach to church and secular polity. p. in the published version. beer shops and brothels. blending patriotism.135 In the words of the dawning Railway Age. 8 and 10 respectively. 135 See Frank Prochaska’s classic Women and Philanthropy in Nineteenth-Century England (Oxford. He argues the case for deploying financial resources on larger numbers of cheap and relatively small churches and. as dark with the shadows of death. preached a sermon at the visitation of the Bishop of Chester. as he may shew forth the zeal of a missionary. an Anglican minister.III. as any that will be found in the remotest wilds of the Heathen world. as well as the schools of both the Church and the dissenters. are ecclesiastical applications of methods pioneered in the verse of Erasmus Darwin (The Botanic Garden. 75 and passim. The “Affection between the Church and the Dissenters”134 exemplified in Campbell was a feature of the preaching of missions-minded evangelicals in the 1830s. 1980). Susan Thorne. The quotations are from pp. 134 Charles Girdlestone. 133 Sargent’s son. 1784). 1832 (1 Pet.B. 4:7–8) (Liverpool. John Sargent (The Mine. the Rector of Liverpool. 1832). Affection Between the Church and the Dissenters (Luke 9:49– 50) (Oxford. who consecrated over two hundred new churches during his tenure of the see. at home and abroad. Romantic heroism. Sumner. statistical evidence. 1818). heard Campbell distinguishing between “a Heathen priesthood set up for the exhibition of a weekly ceremony in the public service of the sanctuary on one consecrated day” and a Christian priest: In the untrodden fastnesses of such a region as [Cheshire] he may gain the triumphs. 132 Augustus Campbell. His Romantic Hero priest visits door to door. ch. A Visitation Sermon … on the 29th of September. adds statistics about the numbers of churches. 1789–92). was a close associate of Charles Simeon. Junior clergy tend to preach what they know to be acceptable to their bishop and Sumner. 1833).133 some of Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads and even Shelley (The Revolt of Islam. just as participation in the missionary societies was a feature of the growing Sunday school movement. J. as well as the Baptist missionary William Carey’s famous pamphlet An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use means for the conversion of the heathen (1792). salvation theology.

In 1843 things were changed radically by Anthony Grant. Notably. 1845). Set this wheel fairly in motion … and all the other wheels will move with it. that the place held by the holy Scriptures in the economy of instructing the heathen mind. slavery. is that of proving and confirming the previous elementary teaching of the Church. was not consensual: many still supposed that distributing the Bible in appropriate languages was virtually a sufficient method. arguing that the Episcopalian Church was essential to successful missions. although a position supported by recent experience.W. 137 All quotations from Anthony Grant. 114–21. The Past and Prospective Extension of the Gospel by Missions to the Heathen. that year’s Bampton Lecturer.138 This. 136 Anonymous LMS-affiliated policy pamphlet Sunday Schools. lastly. and Missions to the Heathen (London. and in their doctrine they may be taken as announcing the post-heroic age. and the oral expositions of its messengers. p. . made a profound impact. 1999). They were thoroughly organized. the Christological aspect of doctrine characteristic of the Romantic period is absent from Grant. 101. He sets out the fatal theoretical weaknesses of Roman Catholicism. A study of preaching. its missionary method based on an understanding of the methods of the Apostolic age. Seamen’s Missions were established in many home ports as well as on the imperial trade routes. to which the promise of success in this work is not engaged. but the preaching of the Gospel by living witnesses. Robertson. 1859). like the present essay. analyses the embattled and introverted nature of the Church of England after the Reformation and elaborates a praxis of and the Making of an Imperial Culture in 19th-Century England (Stanford. necessarily conceals the fact that women made at least as great a contribution to the work and culture of the missions as did men. whose eight lectures.missions. whose austerity expresses a total confidence in episcopal authority. 12. and the anglican pulpit 175 … in the contributions of Sunday Schools alone. pp. as assessed by a generation of Anglican fieldwork: [The] method whereby the conversion of unbelievers was effected was not the mere distribution of the written word.137 In their rhetoric. second. p. conveyed through its formularies. corrected. edition (London. documented by footnotes and over 120 pages of appendices.136 Mid-century Anglican evangelicals like Hay Aitken and the great F. both with ministries in Brighton. we might have a motive power of sufficient force to move all the moral machinery needed for the conversion of the world. preached “missionary sermons” and expounded a theology of universal brotherhood and mutual responsibility. 138 Grant. Lecture 4. – And.

and were Grant. p. xvii. Lecture 7. 81. 143 E. identified with a certain cast of religious opinion and character. and individuals. p. Grant. each fresh seed. no steadiness of operation … that different Societies.. 142 Grant. because it was disconnected from the authority and direction of the Church … [In] the minds of reflecting Christians … it began to be felt that there was no unity of design. xviii. the perfect organization of the parent tree from which it sprang”. pp. 144 Grant.139 he sees that the Prayer Book’s liturgy “must be obviously unsuited” to “the partiallyinstructed heathen”140 and that colonial bishops must be free to adapt liturgy and catechism to the needs of their dioceses. Grant draws parallels between the problems he perceives in the work of Protestant lay-led missions and Jesuit missions.141 This reference to propagation is. Lecture 3. This infrastructure is the main subject of Lecture 8 but Lecture 7143 is especially critical of lay-led missions (the BMS and Scottish societies are identifiable..144 In his preface Grant writes: For a long period … Missionary enterprises were. because of an inability to provide an ecclesiastical infrastructure of this organic and scriptural type. Perhaps this can be traced back to Heber’s preaching to the garrisons of the Indian Army and the early development of the unusual tradition of evangelical piety among its officers. p. In a rare excursion into metaphor Grant alludes to contemporary botany: “The Gospel was spread by the propagation of the Church. 233. meant as a validation of the SPG. Ibid. Roman Catholic or Protestant. acting as exemplars of the Christian life. though in germ. pp. Preface. pp. while the work itself was discredited by others. 141 Grant. the creation of “Christian societies”142 as central points from which missionaries can sortie. in the minds of many members of our Church. All missions outside the episcopal system. had their favourite schemes. xix. carrying within itself.g. 242–43. 140 139 .176 bob tennant Christian empire. are seen as self-defeating. 233–40. of course. or spheres of action. and possibly the CMS): “the system [is] anomalous in the Church of Christ”. so planted. His strictures on the missions of the non-established Churches flow from a conception of Church and State which owes less to Warburton than Coleridge: the danger is that “self-appointed teachers” will be a “dissocialising” force among converts. Indeed. he anticipates later developments when he calls for the revival of the model used in converting Europe. Lecture 7. which caused offence to sober–minded Christians.

It is a cheering sight to witness the attempt which is made in New Zealand by the Bishop. There is but one power on earth that can save them. It may not Grant. Grant’s basic premise is that the missions are fulfilling apocalyptic prophecies. 283. 149 Grant. Grant is emphatic about the capacity of Britain’s polity for evil and good: Christianity will “prevent our country from becoming a curse to the pagan world”. the nonChristian world seen not as one vast sink of darkness but as a congeries of cultures each of which must be approached discretely. p. Preface. pp. and the anglican pulpit 177 frequently set in rivalry … [so that they could not] compass the various forms and vast systems of Paganism which were to be displaced …145 Thus was the “heroic” period described and dismissed. Lecture 1. pp. Note the standard English pejorative use of “aggression”. vii–ix. and her commerce circulates through every land. Grant.146 Yet “God in His mercy [has] stir[red] up in us this spirit of penitence. 148 Ibid. xvi. and zeal”147 and is preparing the way for events which shall mark a fresh æra in His Church[.149 In the case of the Maoris of New Zealand. – with an empire extending over a seventh part of the world’s inhabitants … this nation and Church are specially set to urge on their course the prophetic events which seem to be gathering towards their fulfilment. 147 Ibid.150 The point is not that the Bishop of New Zealand is well-meaning or good but that the Church in New Zealand is on a secure foundation and can challenge in practice the evils of colonialism.. 146 145 . slavery. and his first lecture is an elaboration of this.. The last sentence is printed as a footnote to the preceding ones. 31–32. 33. p. tends to their extermination. Thus Britons’ lack of charity and justice has caused the slaughter of native Americans and Australian aboriginals alike.148 While not a nationalist. [it] is sufficiently seen that European intercourse. unsanctified. Preface. to rescue the natives from the too probably extinction which they would otherwise suffer from colonial aggression. pp. to hasten and usher in the day of the Lord. the continent of Australia has been populated by criminals and Africa by settlements founded explicitly to encourage the slave trade. Lecture 8. and love. He] has now made England the Empress of the Sea … her navies sweep the seas. 150 Grant. p.missions. 10–11. and that is the shelter and shield of the Church of Christ.

65.000 Indian Roman Catholics who apostatized in Mysore in 1784. F. in contrast to the 60. for a time. If we can in any degree strengthen your hands. p. Meanwhile. he concludes that the Japanese. to be shut up in himself is this not what the Devil would have us be? … The natural heart is prone to slavery. 152 151 . Lecture 2. Grant. Preface. Quotations from pp. 34–37 respectively.152 Anglicans claim only their national communion and that portion of the world which voluntarily enters that communion. if they follow their own inclinations. or of forgotten forms of polity or truth. … men. we want at home”: You … may be our best instructors at this time. you may much more effectually clear our minds respecting the meaning of the message with which we are entrusted. admitted the existence of racial as well as cultural characteristics. 154 For example. 1859. 1865). 33. it must necessarily be. The Conflict of Good and Evil in Our Day: Twelve Letters to a Missionary (London.D.154 absorbing the lessons learned by the missionaries abroad. But his lectures are a moment in a developing ideology.178 bob tennant succeed in each case. sink of course into slaves”. “each of them. Maurice. broadly. the Christian Socialist theologian F. of the foe which we must encounter … Each of us is prone to be soulish. the whole world as his own share and portion”. observed that. p. xxi. Maurice. 153 London. Thus his awareness that missionary practice must be modified for each target culture and that Christianity is not the same thing as exported Europeanism struggles with an increasingly imperial perspective which. in accordance with current scientific theory. By 1859 he has moved closer to an imperialist position: in his sermon The Church in China and Japan [Acts 16:6–8]. our practice should fall short of our theory …”151 In their different ways Congregationalists and Roman Catholics alike claim. “In any revival of principles. Grant. 25–26.D. “You [a missionary] must proclaim Him simply. as the God of salvation … These lessons. I say.153 after considering Xavier’s early 17thcentury mission to Japan and its converts’ extermination. passim. that. Thus Grant provides perhaps the final and definitive statement of the 19th-century Anglican doctrine of Christian empire. absolutely. are a steadfast people and preaches that the Holy Spirit has guided the Anglican Church to Japan by opening it up through commercial treaties. but it is the only way that the Church can be instituted.

While he is not thinking primarily of slaves in the legal sense. passim. and its reminiscence of Blake. but without a spiritual rebirth legal freedom. slavery. glamor and anxieties of secular empire. Maurice’s thinking was shaped by a study of the missions: his metaphors. Philosophical Investigations I (Oxford.157 In the event. Cf. theories of Christian 155 Maurice. Struggles for legal emancipation are all very well.missions. 8. Indeed. The Conflict of Good and Evil. The pulpit rhetoric developed in the “heroic” period was simply overwhelmed by the triumphalism. §202: “[It] is not possible to obey a rule ‘privately’: otherwise thinking one was obeying a rule would be the same thing as obeying it”. Maurice’s source is likely to have been Joseph Butler’s sermon Upon the Ignorance of Man [Eccles. 118. Maurice redefines “free-thinker”: the white nominal Christian and the God-denying heathen both remain enslaved. from within the Anglican communion but non-sectarian in temper. Wittgenstein. 156 Maurice. the robustness of the approach should be noted. the profound impact of the mid-century Opium Wars. will not combat demoralization – a phenomenon which subsequently was plentifully evident in the economically unfree of the urban Western world. The Conflict of Good and Evil. it is the missionary. his synthesis of questing individual and consensual society. 17]. 42. as the Head and Friend of every nation and every man. 2004). which became unfairly attached to the missions. The following quotation is from p. whether of black or white. therefore you are not to leave an impression upon the minds of any that He is our King and Deliverer more than He is theirs. and the anglican pulpit 179 For Maurice the spiritual landscape is one of introverted slavery – a temptation of the spirit – redeemed by the social extroversion of the gospel: witness the impatience with High Church preciousness carried in the word “soulish”. his movements between (demoralized) introversion and (healthy) extroversion. with faithful and intelligent obedience. who is free. Indian “Mutiny”. p. p. Unfortunately for Maurice. 41. He offers a non-imperialist vision for the preaching of the gospel around the world. and Crimean War on British attitudes to non-European peoples and civilizations had already tilted the balance of power decisively towards secular imperialism. explores this phenomenon.16. L. . 1953). first published in 1726 but never out of print and a university set text.155 The question of the damage to morale and culture sometimes wrought by evangelizing is confronted:156 You [the missionary] are to proclaim Him as the Son of God. Religion versus Empire? (Manchester. 157 Andrew Porter.

although the theology is relatively lightly discussed.160 While. [and] divines the greater England that is to be”. remained only an adjunct of the Church rather than becoming the bedrock of its relationship with a growing and increasingly diverse domestic population. Brown. 1887. 11. 158 The work of Adrian Hastings on post-colonial church history. Printed at the Request of the Sixth Form [Matt. The People’s Game: a Social History of British Football (London. pp.E. Twentieth-century satires of late Victorian imperialism are pale imitations of the unabashed real thing. Consequently they shared in the process of secularization. . the theologians of the Maurice circle were unable to bring missionary praxis into the domestic mainstream. promoting the organization and regulation of social activities like team sports159 but also witnessing the heroic figure of the missionary and teacher developing narcissistic and jingoistic features. the Anglican communion had to relearn the lesson that it was the junior partner in the 1688 settlement and ultimately as little able to resist in practice the rhetoric of imperialism as were the non-established Protestant Churches. 159 The pioneering academic study is James Walvin. 4. however active. Unity. 1975). and in particular The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity. July 3rd.17] (Bristol. the values generating theories of Christian empire could be expressed in the pulpit by new systems of metaphors and forms of rhetoric. The home missions. 1887).158 Although the theology was to play a part in the development of indigenous politics in the Anglican communion overseas. 5. in which Christ is found described as “our first headmaster” and in his peroration the preacher “sees the great England that has been.180 bob tennant empire did not re-emerge until fundamentally transformed in the late imperial and post-colonial periods. 160 T. in the tremendous optimism of the first decades of the century. Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge. A Sermon Preached in Clifton College Chapel on the Sunday after Commemoration. is of great value. 1997).

and Queen Victoria in 1901.1 The events under consideration here were not political in themselves. Royal Mourning and Regency Culture: Elegies and Memorials of Princess Charlotte (Basingstoke. “Judging the Nation: Early Nineteenth-Century British Evangelicals and Divine Retribution. Others again. pp. “Christian Responses to the Indian Mutiny. from the Napoleonic Wars (1804–15) to the South African War (1898–1902). ed.” in Retribution. 1789– 1815. defined period of time. had a direct impact on substantial portions of the population. Context This chapter is focused on discrete occurrences that gave rise to sermons on a single day. such as delight at the great naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805 clouded by the news that Lord Nelson had fallen in the battle. although 1 Such material has hitherto attracted only limited attention from scholars. John Wolffe. but the following studies should be noted: Olive Anderson. 1997). ed. Sheils.” in The Church and War (Studies in Church History) 20. such as coronations. John Wolffe. “Responding to National Grief: Memorial Sermons on the Famous in Britain 1800–1914. 209–20. Stephen C. 1983). Kate Cooper and . 263–76. pp. the Duke of Wellington in 1852. or the collapse of the Tay Bridge in 1879 that hurled a trainload of passengers to their doom in the stormy waters below. “English Evangelical Dissent and the European Conflict. Deryck Lovegrove. or the deaths in ripe old age of pillars of the nation such as George III in 1820. “The Reactions of Church and Dissent towards the Crimean War. Behrendt. Others were isolated tragedies that moved many but directly affected few. W. 155–76.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 16 (1985). Repentance and Reconciliation (Studies in Church History) 40. (Oxford. jubilees and thanksgivings for victory in war. 277–89. 283–96. Some were bitter-sweet. pp. such as the death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte in 1817. Brian Stanley.” in The Church and War. such as the Crimean War of 1854–56 and the cholera epidemics of 1832 and 1849. or within a short.” Mortality 1 (1996).BRITISH SERMONS ON NATIONAL EVENTS John Wolffe Throughout the 19th century.J. Some were celebratory. numerous national events tested the full spectrum of human emotions. who had to face up to the possibility of imminent sudden death either for themselves or for loved ones.

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London. were not solely linked to officially-appointed days and special services. determined either by a central event such as a funeral ceremony or royal proclamation of a fast. while in reference to their lord and master. 1983). on some interesting case of pathos or politics – who in this way obtrude upon the general notice. Peter Gray. . Cf. Glasgow. giving individuals a sense of participation in the “imagined community” of the nation as a whole. Great Deaths: Grieving. he said. There was. Jesus Christ. 2000). to come together in eager and clustering attendance. Many such sermons were preached on prescribed national days. in cases of celebration. “State Prayers.” Past and Present 200 (August 2008). special local church services.” Irish Historical Studies. whose taste for preaching is very much confined to these great and national occasions – who. See Philip Williamson. A Sermon Delivered in the Tron Church. “National Humiliation and the Great Hunger: Fast and Famine in 1847. The Day of the Funeral of HRH the Princess Charlotte of Wales (Glasgow. p. and in part from a recognition of pastoral need and opportunity. their loyalty to an earthly sovereign. 2004). on Wednesday Nov. 4 Thomas Chalmers.2 On such occasions. and that most prominently. the deaths of other national figures. 193–216. or natural disasters and military conflicts. pp. 3 John Wolffe.3 Sermons assumed a corresponding oracular significance as the closest thing to an official national statement on the event in question that most people were likely to hear. but are currently the focus for a major AHRC-funded project led by Professor Philip Williamson of the University of Durham. 19. in circumstances of insecurity. Motives for attendance could be more secular than religious. Benedict Anderson. habitually absent from church on the Sabbath. but were either lifecycle events concerning the royal family. 32 (2006–7). 1817. though. 81–93. Clergy of all denominations responded to them in part from a sense of civic and national duty. they scandalize all that is Christian in the general feeling. Many clergy also took the initiative themselves in delivering similar sermons on the nearest convenient Sunday Jeremy Gregory (Oxford. are yet observed. pp. 169–218.4 Such sermons. or of thanksgiving. a … set of men. as characterized disapprovingly by Thomas Chalmers in his sermon on the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817. 1817). reportedly more numerously attended than normal Sunday worship. Religion and Nationhood in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (Oxford. performed something of the function of radio and television in a later age. 2 Such national days of prayer have hitherto been very insufficiently studied. 56. Fasts and Thanksgivings: Public Worship in Britain 1830–1897. 6. 291–300.182 john wolffe some had obvious political ramifications.

War (Birmingham. 6 For example. responding bluntly when he noticed his congregation was larger than usual.6 Those on the Duke of Wellington’s death were delivered. The Mourning of Israel (London. .8 Some clergy expressed diffidence about preaching on such events. which is set apart for prayer and humiliation. 3. Richard Glover. the Sunday after Nelson’s funeral. Henry N. On my own part. as far as they can. began by saying: I regard it as the duty of Ministers of the gospel to awaken and sustain.5 Sermons on Nelson and Trafalgar were preached in early November 1805 when the news of the battle first arrived. 1852). 8 Charles Clarke. IOW. Fortis Fortuna Comes (Wolverhampton.british sermons on national events 183 to a major event. Rector of Carshalton in Surrey. rector of St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London. The Victor Vanquished (London. John Osmond Dakeyne. it is rare that I discuss on Sundays those having a passing and popular no less than a permanent interest: on this account I am not at all reluctant to do so on this day. A Tribute to the Memory of Nelson (Bath. respectively. Birmingham. George Croly. 1854). and the Sunday after the funeral. 1806). and on 12 January 1806. 1805). preached on cholera the Sunday after it arrived in the village. Barnett. John Styles. p. Esdraëlon and Waterloo (Folkestone. declaring his unaccustomed hearers especially welcome because they could now be warned of their spiritual peril and their need of repentance. 10. 1806). but on the two Sundays following his death. at a general thanksgiving day on 5 December. This was sometimes because they were reluctant to trespass into “political” territory that they considered inappropriate for the pulpit. 19 and 26 September.7 Such differences in timing could lead to subtle differences in emphasis and content. respectively. 1852). John Gardiner. just sentiments in the minds of their hearers respecting these public events which involve the freedom and existence of Nations. with some reluctant to be diverted from the normal spiritual and theological content of their Sunday sermons. Thursday 18 November 1852. the fast day following the outbreak of the Crimean War. on Wednesday 16 April 1854. 21 November. John Townsend. 1832). A Tribute to the Memory of Nelson (Newport. but affirmed 5 Charles Cator. preaching at the Old Meeting House. from the pressure of other subjects. 1852). not only on the day of his funeral. Lord Nelson’s Funeral Improved (London. p. acknowledged the concern. preaching in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1838. 7 For example. In 1832 Charles Cator. The Cholera Morbus A Visitation of Divine Providence (London. Charles James Blomfield. 1852). Thus Charles Clarke.

form a legitimate purpose of the pulpit and one of the noblest contemplations of the philosopher. One clergyman in north Devon was thrown into a state of near panic by the death of George III in 1820. politics reverentially tracing the courses marked on the map of Providence. The Reformation A Direct Gift of Divine Providence (London. taking the lights of Heaven for the illustration of its ways among men. 10 Barnett. or sometimes. Frizell. they also reflected a rich diversity of personal attitudes. A Funeral Sermon Occasioned by the Demise of Our Late … Sovereign Lord George the Third (Barnstaple. and suggested simply that he should do the same as adjoining parishes. theological convictions. But politics on the scale of nations. while castigating more critical voices as “political”. p. but sought advice from “some of the principal persons of the parish” who rather unhelpfully expressed surprise that. 27. but it illuminates a situation in which clergy were responding often at short notice. 11 R. pp.10 For others. they are unfit for the pulpit.9 For Henry Barnett. As no monarch had died for sixty years. 3–5.11 Such frankness was unusual. and local circumstances. George Croly. He initially hoped to prepare an appropriate Sunday sermon at relative leisure. politics. in view of the late King’s age and state of health. Victor Vanquished. Hence while many sermons shared common features arising from the events that gave rise to them. he had not already prepared a sermon for the eventuality. there was an anxiety not inadvertently to step outside a perceived clerical consensus or to offend local dignitaries and members of their congregations. diffidence stemmed from a genuine uncertainty as to what they should say. the theologian and the Christian. 1820). but then found he was expected to preach at a special service on the imminent day of the funeral. 9 . of recent precedent. he had no idea what he should do. In the absence of central guidance. For his own part he believed that political and religious motivations could not be easily separated. 1837). pp. as best they knew how. 1–5. a Nonconformist preaching in Evesham on the death of the Duke of Wellington. He had no time to consult other clergy. and without much opportunity for consultation.184 john wolffe that there was a higher kind of politics that richly merited the attention of the preacher: I disclaim all local politics. there was something disingenuous in the stance of conservatives who were content themselves to preach reverence for the existing order.

It is moreover necessary to bear in mind that newspaper accounts may well reflect editorial bias in both the selection of preachers for coverage and of the passages in their sermons included in abbreviated reports. 13 12 . Both national and local newspapers carried many column inches of extensive.13 Some of these. which appeared from the 1830s to the 1870s. Kirk-Smith. 14 BL catalogue. for an archbishop. of forty-three.” p.15 An aspiration to climb lower rungs of the patronage ladder was implicit in the inscription on the British Library’s copy of T. 15 H. 14–15. These figures are based on the printed British Library [hereafter “BL”] catalogue. Bowerbank’s sermon on the Battle of Waterloo to the Bishop of British Library catalogue. 209.14 Such material is not only evidence of extensive contemporary interest in the medium.12 Numerous examples – for instance at least eighty-one on Princess Charlotte’s death in 1817 and at least seventy on Prince Albert’s in 1861 – were also published independently as freestanding pamphlets. A systematic listing and enumeration of such published sermons would be a major research project in its own right. for example. 1958). at the very early age.F. Anderson. especially during the first two-thirds of the century. The most spectacular experience was that of the recentlyappointed Bishop of Gloucester. reports of such pulpit utterances. which had run to nine editions before the end of 1818. were very widely read. as indicated. sometimes verbatim.british sermons on national events 185 The importance of sermons in articulating and shaping public responses was further apparent in their extensive publication. pp. examples from popular preachers were also widely circulated in The Penny Pulpit. while independently published sermons were often likely to have been revised and expanded after delivery. whose sermon on Prince Albert’s death in December 1861 was greatly appreciated by the Queen and was reputedly a major factor leading to his translation to York a few months later. Clergy thus had an important opportunity to impress the wider readership of subsequent published versions as well as their immediate hearers. at least. “Crimean War. William Thomson. but also provides rich and hitherto under-utilized resources for later scholars. William Thomson Archbishop of York (London. by Robert Hall’s sermon on Princess Charlotte. but do not take into account examples surviving in other libraries and not in the BL. albeit inevitably weighted towards those more privileged preachers who drew newspaper reporters to their sermons or who had the means and connections to secure publication. In common with other sermons.

and the Congregationalist Joseph Irons – emulated Anglican clergy by publishing their utterances on several occasions. .20 Roman Catholics too do not seem to have preached on national events until late in the century. John William Cunningham (Vicar of Harrow. July 30 1815 (Chiswick. so although the printed record may well exaggerate the imbalance. the Baptist Robert Hall. 19 Metropolitan preachers. and some such early 19th-century preachers – notably the Unitarian Robert Aspland. the reality was probably broadly similar. Lancashire. both explicitly stating that they were published at the request of the respective corporations. although probable under-reporting may well distort the evidence. Allen. as listed in the BL catalogue.186 john wolffe Lincoln. 1811–61). 1827). A Sermon Preached in the Parish Church of Chiswick Middlesex. The Grounds and Objects of National Acts of Humiliation (London. for example Charles Blomfield (Bishop of London 1828– 56). John Bedford. and in the Bishop of London’s sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral on the day of humiliation in 1855 for the Crimean War. but at least three Wesleyan ministers published sermons on the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817. advertisement. 1855). were assured of the largest markets and were particularly prone to prolific publication. Britain’s Loss and Lesson (Stockport. A Sermon Preached in the Parochial Chapel of Clitheroe on Saturday 20th January 1827 (Clitheroe.T. It was natural that ministers of the state churches should see themselves as having a particular responsibility to preach on such occasions. 1815). A Sermon Occasioned by the Much-Lamented Death of HRH the Princess Charlotte Augusta (London 1817). and Charles John Vaughan (Headmaster of Harrow 1844–59. William Naylor and William Stones. On the other hand. and claimed they were merely doing so in response to the pressing requests of others.18 Some.19 Among published sermons. Williams. published their sermons with a frequency that suggested they were not infected with false modesty. Nevertheless examples of sermons by Protestant Nonconformists can readily be found. 17 J. from professed uncertainty as to the quality of their sermons and consciousness of haste in preparation.17 Clergy often avowed initial reluctance to publish. the powerful George Pretyman-Tomline. for instance in Clitheroe. on Sunday Morning.B. Bowerbank. preachers from the Church of England and the Established Churches of Ireland and Scotland predominated. several published Jewish sermons 16 T. title page of British Library copy. 20 James Bromley. though.F. 1852). in the local vicar’s sermon on the death of the Duke of York in 1827. Charles James Blomfield. Recorded sermons by Methodists were rare relative to their rapidly growing numbers. 18 For example W.16 A sense of solidarity with local civil authority was frequently expressed. Master of the Temple 1869–94).

22 E. Nevertheless there were perceptible patterns to their selections. “he [God] removes kings and sets up kings”. 1830). the Duke of York. and on the 1803 Fast Day and on Trafalgar in the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. A Sermon Occasioned by the Demise of Our Late Venerable Sovereign.J.24 The choice of texts could be revealing of underlying attitudes: whereas I Chronicles 29:28. Seaman.23 Preachers who explored divine intervention in contemporary events were drawn to texts such as Isaiah 26:9 and Micah 6:9. “Then he died in a good old age. 1852). J. more ambivalent attitudes to his son George IV were indicated by the choice of Daniel 2:2. Preachers were both industrious and ingenious in their searching of the Scriptures. Allen. 1862). an indication that preachers more readily found parallels and inspiration for interpreting contemporary events in the history of ancient Israel. A Sermon in Memory of the Late Duke of Wellington (Cambridge. King George the Third.g.g. with most books in between represented on one occasion or another. Blunt.25 Old Testament texts predominated. The Lord’s Voice in the Rod (Newcastle-upon-Tyne. riches and honour” was deemed appropriate for sermons on the death of George III. Nelson. He Removeth Kings (Edinburgh. the initial selection of a biblical text firmly determined the direction of the discourse. William Marsh. M. Sermon in Clitheroe. National Acts of Humiliation. 1820). . and the Accession of His Majesty George the Fourth (London. the Duke of Wellington and Prince Albert.g.21 Form For most sermons before the 1870s. full of days. 24 E. they became quite numerous in the 1890s and 1900s. A Prince and a Great Man Fallen (Liverpool. Falloon. and choices ranged extensively from Genesis to Revelation. 23 E. James Pringle. and in the Psalms and 21 There are Jewish sermons on Princess Charlotte by Raphael Meldola in the BL and by Tobias Goodman in Manchester Central Library.british sermons on national events 187 survive from the early 19th century.22 I Chronicles 29: 20–30 appealed to those who wanted to affirm national solidarity in celebration or commemoration. respectively. notably II Samuel 3:38 – “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?” – an obvious gift to preachers on the deaths of Lord Nelson. A Scriptural View of the Doctrine of Divine Providence (Colchester. and although few appeared in its middle decades. 1880).M. 1817). John Rippon. I am indebted to Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein for information on this point. 1821). 25 John Ritchie. Styles. W. The Coronation (Colchester. There were a few recurrent choices. respectively Blomfield.

did choose Luke 18:24. 1862). 28 H. selections from the gospels were rare. Indeed when H. Dibdin. “For Kings” (London. Few preachers were as rigorous as Samuel O’Sullivan in his sermon on the death of George III. When the New Testament was drawn upon. A Funeral Sermon on …the Princess Charlotte Augusta (London. . The Patriot Palmerston: Was He Saved? (London.g.188 john wolffe prophetic books.F. A Discourse on the Decease of HRH The Prince Consort (London. Death the Last Enemy of Man (London. J. advertisement. the specific texts chosen tended to suggest similar themes to that of the Old. albeit not universal. 1865). the privileges and the 26 E. 27 Daniel Wilson. the first half of which contained “no particular allusion to the melancholy event that gave rise to it”. “Turn in the account of your stewardship. respectively C. 1820). Some more or less explicitly believed “that the British empire …has been constituted by Providence the heir to the duties. Ryle. 1827). Dibdin preached a striking sermon on the death in office of the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston from Luke 16:2. kept such allusion limited and largely implicit until the later portions of their discourses.27 In general. The evangelical R. than in the specifically Christian teaching of the New Testament. 29 Samuel O’Sullivan. when current applications were eventually drawn out. the whole thrust of his argument was to demonstrate that Albert’s virtues suggested that in his case at least.C. however.29 Many.26 A significant minority of preachers drew on New Testament passages such as I Corinthians 15 to explore themes related to the transience of this life and the expectation of judgement and resurrection hereafter.W. Gray. a prebendary of Wells. A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of His Late Majesty George the Third (Dublin. Gray. however. 1897). 1817).S.28 Until around the 1870s the characteristic. with Revelation 3:19 prompting exposition of judgement and repentance and I Timothy 2:1–2 and I Peter 2:17 reverence for kingly and national authority. “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” as his text for a sermon on the Prince Consort’s death. The Diamond Jubilee (Bangor. Jesus’ view of the negative consequences of material comfort was groundless. form of the sermons was an initial concentration on exposition of the selected text. 1887). R. for you can no longer be steward”. This structure caused preachers to look at the experience of contemporary Britain primarily through the lens of paradigms constructed from the experience of Old Testament Israel and Judah.F. David Jones. Hawtrey. and sustained engagement with Jesus’ own teaching even more unusual.W.

devoted the first half of his sermon on the Golden Jubilee to an exposition of his text.32 These sermons offer a rich and neglected source of evidence on the views of preachers. with a perceptible increase in the popularity of New Testament texts. Sermons in time of war revealed a wide spectrum of convictions regarding armed conflict. Ryle. and hence of the influences on their congregations. more conservative preachers still persisted in using the older structure. Sermons on deaths and jubilees described exemplary lives. and a blurring of the earlier tight structure of exposition followed by application. For example J.british sermons on national events 189 promises of Israel”. and indeed initially seemed to apply it somewhat blasphemously by launching into an adulatory overview of Queen Victoria’s own life. the staunchly evangelical Bishop of Liverpool. There is. 44. “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty”. Thus Edward Wilkinson. 1887). p. Sermon on the Occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee (London. Accordingly the remainder of this chapter will focus rather on two issues central to the genre itself: first. the paradoxical affirmation of temporal loyalty and patriotism alongside vigorous assertion of the spiritual and eternal destiny of the individual. Reformation. as a Christian duty. Isaiah 33:17. and second. the place of divine providence in national life. Croly. no space here to pursue these themes in detail. to the advocacy of pacifism. 32 Ryle. in relation to topics of central concern to historians of 19th-century religion and culture. or at least peace-making. Only in the last quarter of the century was there significant change in the format of the sermons. in his sermon on the 1887 Golden Jubilee had little to say about the original context of his text. through a perception of war as a time of national trial and chastisement. a noticeable shortening in length. 31 30 . minister of Christ Church. however. Sermons on disasters such as cholera and famine revealed attitudes to poverty and the social order in times of particular stress. Leamington. and explored gender roles. Edward Wilkinson.30 and nearly all regarded it as axiomatic that biblical history was mirrored in contemporary events. ranging from the confident assertion of divine sanction for the national cause. and in any case these would be best addressed by utilizing sermons in conjunction with other sources. asserted ideals of public and private conduct.C. Only thereafter did he explicitly mention “the special subject which calls us together this day”.31 Nevertheless. “For Kings”.

the emphases of particular sermons were shaped by the particular events to which they were a response. preached on the preceding and succeeding Sundays. been a more august festival before the Lord than the BRITISH Jubilee. Even the Unitarian Robert Aspland began a sermon on the death of Charles James Fox in 1806 with the assertion that “Religion consists. p.34 There were. which we celebrate on this day”. 33 . minister of the fashionable London proprietary chapel of St John’s Bedford Row. 35 Richard Cecil. however. Three Sermons on the Jubilee (London. perhaps. considerable differences in the ways in which the workings of providence were regarded. The Fall of Eminent Men in Critical Periods A National Calamity (London. pp. To a considerable extent. Richard Cecil. in part. in the observance of the order and course of Divine Providence”. hailed the naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805 as a great national deliverance that required special acknowledgement to God.37 Buchanan began with the bold assertion that since the “great Jubilee” of his text (I Kings 8:66) held on Solomon’s dedication of the temple. 67.190 john wolffe Providence A consciousness of God’s providential dealings with the British/English nation33 was not so much the theme as the very fabric of most of the sermons. 36 Claudius Buchanan. 1852). The Pageant is Over (London. 1806). 9–16.. On occasions when the preacher’s raison d’être seemed to lie in elucidating the spiritual significance of a specific national event.. was primarily a triumphalist celebration of British achievements in the last fifty years. 38 Ibid.36 While the first and the third. “there has not. and the changing cultural and theological climate. focused on biblical themes. Sermons on happier national events could readily become straightforward assertions of the hand of God in British history. the central sermon on the jubilee day itself (25 October 1809). viewed as “God’s unbounded mercies to our land”. p. as well as by the doctrinal presuppositions of the preacher. 33. the missionary publicist Claudius Buchanan delivered a trilogy of sermons on the jubilee of George III. p. 37 Ibid.38 Preachers in this period seldom made any geographical. 34 Robert Aspland. only the boldest and most independent-minded of men were prepared to disappoint the expectations of their congregations. political or other distinction between “England” and “Britain”. 1810). 3.35 Four years later. such content was predetermined by the context.

..39 Moreover national wealth was increasing and political liberty was secured through a constitution that he held to be the gift of God. with the cause of Protestantism. 66. 42 Ibid. Wellington had been the agent of providence as the supreme protector of England. 1852). Like Buchanan. To George Croly. 66.40 Two key events that “consecrated” the reign had been the abolition of the slave trade and the institution of the Bible Society. pp. Glasgow. There should be national gratitude and thanksgiving for his life and ascribing of all greatness to God. 29. A Sermon on the Death of the Duke of Wellington (London. 42. Ibid. p. 69. preaching to the Mayor and Corporation of Wolverhampton..44 George Steward. Coronation. 44 George Croly. p. 41 Ibid. and the purpose of God to bestow on Britain a grand religious and moral ascendancy over the world”. 45 George Steward. pp. 40 39 . he chose a text that led him to make explicit parallels between Solomon and the contemporary British monarchy and saw the event as symbolizing Britain’s role “as dispenser of blessings to an impoverished and expecting world”.british sermons on national events 191 He went on to enumerate the “temporal blessings” of the reign: an increase in national power. 6 and passim. the instruction of the poor in Sunday Schools. the Duke of Wellington’s death in 1852 similarly stirred affirmations of positive providential purpose in British history. preaching at St Thomas’ Church. 47–61. p. 43 Marsh. 1852). and the carrying of “the principles of moral civilization and useful knowledge to the remotest nations of the earth”. The Duke of Wellington (Glasgow. and the establishment of other benevolent institutions. the increase of true religion.41 Moreover. 21. 42.45 Likewise for John Osmond Dakeyne. p. the occasion was an appropriate one on which to Ibid.. political stability in the face of the turmoil of continental Europe. Steward believed that every crisis in national history had been “bound up in most singular manner. pp. 35.42 A similar celebratory tone was apparent in William Marsh’s sermon on the coronation of George IV in 1821. the King himself was truly the “defender of the faith” and a “bright example” to the nation. similarly perceived Wellington as the human means of the Lord’s deliverance for the nation. The nation also enjoyed great spiritual blessings.43 Despite its immediate somber context. the diffusion of the Scriptures. including the preservation of the church.

“Nothing” he said “happens by chance” and “it is God alone. preaching at Penmaenmawr in North Wales. W.F. 49 Jones.L.47 Bishop Ryle’s sermon surveyed similar ground to that of Claudius Buchanan on George III’s jubilee nearly eighty years before. p. for which He [God] … has brought it … to be … the foremost Empire of the world”. at the Diamond Jubilee David Jones. as for other jubilee preachers. 1887). Boase (attributed in BL catalogue). Fortis Fortuna Comes. 11. 48 Ryle. “For Kings”. 11–12. and hence there had been a price to pay in Dakeyne. with her life a focus for “peace. 70. affirmed that Britain’s current position in the world was attributable to the favor of God. T. 47 46 . like George III and Wellington in earlier generations. In his sermon in Dundee. and that there was need for mourning and humiliation in the face of the ongoing calamities of war and disease. Three Sermons. but the implicit message of thankfulness to God for divine favor was clear enough.L. 50 Buchanan. Boase was in no doubt that “the presence and power of God” had been present in the life of the Queen. Sermon Preached in Dundee …on the Occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee (Dundee. acknowledging that the jubilee was also a day of reproach for the continuing widespread neglect of God’s word and worship. emphasizing the importance of the sovereign’s personal character in presiding over a long period of political stability.192 john wolffe reaffirm his “most intense and inmost conviction … that our own country has a purposed end to serve. p. the nation and the church during the preceding half century. Despite his evangelicalism. For him. Buchanan struck a warning note.46 This theme recurred in sermons on Queen Victoria’s jubilees in 1887 and 1897. 6.50 In a sermon marking the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. purity and prosperity” was. pp. Bowerbank pointed out that although God had brought a great victory. W. Victoria herself. p. enormously increased prosperity and “immense advance” in the cause of “religion and morality”. In some concluding passages of his 1809 sermon. Diamond Jubilee. he did not interfere to ward off the natural consequences of human agency.48 Ten years later.49 Even such essentially celebratory preachers. Ryle was more circumspect than Buchanan had been in explicit reference to providence. both symbol and guarantor of divine blessing on the nation. also recognized darker shades in the Almighty’s dealings with Britain. who is the builder” who had made Britain great. however.

10. that I consider this bereaving dispensation of Divine Providence. Sermon on July 30 1815. p. appears to have spoken for many preachers when he stated that “I am constrained. and what lessons should be learned from them? Such questions were focused particularly by two untimely royal deaths. Ryle saw that there were black clouds looming. p.52 Both William Howley. amidst the joy of Victoria’s jubilee. cautioned against vainglorious boasting in human strength. Until around 1860.” p. 1816). 20. Coronation. and David Jones.53 Spanning the century was a general sense of God’s special provision for the nation and of Britain’s consequent accountability to the Almighty. “For Kings.british sermons on national events 193 terms of human loss and suffering. p. in the Crimea from 1854 to 1856. This occurrence was particularly devastating because it disrupted the direct line of succession to the throne. p. and by war. Marsh.51 In the face of the pomp of George IV’s coronation. to acknowledge. even as he urged his hearers to focus their eyes rather on the clear blue sky. those of Princess Charlotte in 1817 and of Prince Albert in 1861. A Sermon Preached on Thursday January 18 1816 (London. Ryle. Jones. the leading Bristol evangelical. Although such views were apparent during the Napoleonic Wars. preaching on the Diamond Jubilee. they assumed particular prominence in the response to Princess Charlotte’s death. 52 51 . by the cholera epidemics of 1832 and 1849. the “Indian Mutiny” of 1857. Marsh recognized that there would be chastisement for national sins. with France until 1815. why did bad things happen. as a manifest token of God’s holy Bowerbank. or at least as a chastening and spur to repentance. preaching on Waterloo. 11. after mature reflection. 6. and the South African War at the turn of the 20th century. If God was indeed favoring the British nation. Diamond Jubilee. the Irish Great Famine of 1847. and removed a young woman perceived by the devout as their best hope for the future moral and spiritual regeneration of a royal family and a nation tarnished by the scandals associated with the Prince Regent and his brothers. the predominant response of preachers to such events was to see them as a divine judgement on the sins of the nation. Thus Thomas Tregenna Biddulph. 53 William Howley. then Bishop of London. 18. a corollary of their conviction that national success came only by divine favor. Sermons preached on more challenging and negative occasions inevitably obliged preachers to probe the actual workings of providence more deeply.

have another arena than this world. therefore. Joseph Irons. even the minority of preachers who highlighted collective sins did not neglect such more dispersed and general sinfulness. pp. Indeed. He explained: Individuals. precise interpretations differed. Though preachers agreed that God was at work in these occurrences. 13. whose direct tendency. Thus John Pye Smith. Three strands of approach can be identified. as such. The catalogues of offenses varied somewhat according to the particular religious and social preoccupations of the preacher. than a compromise of the high principles of civil and ecclesiastical liberty?56 A similar view that the nation was being punished for a compromise with idolatry was also a strong theme in sermons on the “Indian Mutiny”. but quite rare. “Indian Mutiny. was the claim that the Almighty was passing judgement on specific national acts or omissions that had incurred His displeasure. but national prosperity or adversity are confined to this life. Can anything more directly interfere with the best interests of a nation. but the one Thomas T. iii–iv.54 While Calvinists such as Biddulph were naturally predisposed to this conclusion. is to interfere with national prosperity. although this time the perceived false religion was of the Hindu rather than Papal variety. 1847).194 john wolffe displeasure”. 16–17. 1820). 1832). are peculiarly national sins. Jehovah’s Controversy with England (London. 55 54 . 57 Stanley.57 Secondly. Biddulph. 1817). National Affliction Improved (Bristol. preachers argued that the nation was being judged not so much for sinful collective acts as for the accumulated sinfulness of individuals. p. the Liverpool Anglican evangelical Hugh McNeile also held the encouragement of “Romanism” to be a particularly significant national sin. his co-religionist Joseph Irons saw the cholera epidemic of 1832 as a judgement against national encouragement of “Popery” and “infidelity”. The Sorrows of Britain (London. 280. 23. according to the known and ordinary course of events. First. attributed Charlotte’s death in part to God’s anger at the restoration in 1815 of absolutist Roman Catholic regimes on the Continent.55 Preaching on the 1847 Famine.” p. Those. which was countenanced by social convention. The Famine a Rod of God (London. John Pye Smith. and more commonly. it appeared to be a widespread consensus among preachers in 1817. in which to meet with righteous retribution. particularly the countenancing of false religion. a Congregationalist with liberal political views. pp. 56 Hugh McNeile. p.

61 East. p. Thus William MacDonald. lying. 1817). 60 James Taylor. The Cholera: Or God’s Voice to Britain (London. p. by inviting you to return unto the Lord”. The Voice of God to the Nation (Evesham.60 The attraction for preachers of such wide-ranging denunciation of sin was twofold. p. 1861). 23. 11. “Let us enquire. designed to puncture national complacency and inspire spiritual revival. On the one hand. J. but also one of patriotic as well as Christian duty.58 When sabbatarianism was at its height in the middle of the century. repentance and amendment of life was presented not merely as a matter of self-interest. “uncleanness”. 59 58 . emphasizing God’s general abhorrence of sin enabled them to sidestep the very human controversy almost inevitably raised by preachers who focused on specific national actions. Taylor explicitly linked the two: “I this day put your patriotism to the test. daring crime. but could not abrogate responsibility for their own lives. the desecration of Sunday was also a widespread feature of such lists. “gross immorality. War God’s Sore Judgement (London. The Rod of the Almighty (Nottingham.W. the drunkenness of all social groups. it offered a direct challenge to congregations who might reasonably consider themselves unable to do much to change national policy.62 In these sermons God’s actions were presented not so much as merely punitive judgements. For example John Scott. heaven-defying impiety and blasphemy”. such as Catholic Emancipation. 1854). Thus East challenged his hearers. p. 19. p. On the other. 62 Taylor. maintained that “Fatherly John East. “commercial covetousness”.59 Political “sins” could be included: the radical unrest that coincided with the 1832 cholera epidemic led conservative preachers to denounce what James Taylor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne called “the want of contentment with their own condition among the lower orders”. but rather as chastenings. what share have I in the national guilt?”61 Moreover. that others might well regard as anything but sinful. fraud. 13. 1832).british sermons on national events 195 offered by John East in his sermon at Chipping Campden on Princess Charlotte’s death was broadly characteristic: “profligate luxury”. p. with a view to warding off worse judgements to come. neglect of churchgoing and indifference to the evangelization of the world. Cholera. preaching at the Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel in Brighton on Princess Charlotte’s death. Brooks. what share has Campden in the national guilt? Let each ask himself. Voice of God. 15. 10.

At a time when every creature ought to tremble under the judgments of God. pp. such punishments were presented as evidence of special divine concern for Britain. 1818). as much was required of those to whom much had been given. 65 Robert Hall. by hurling mutual accusations and reproaches against each other. This was the strategy adopted by Robert Hall in his widely-read sermon on the death of Princess Charlotte: That it [the Princess death] ought to be considered as a signal rebuke and chastisement. and reformation in their conduct”.64 A third approach was to decline to identify specific reasons for God’s judgement. and an acknowledgement of our iniquity”.” it is not for the members to usurp the seat of judgment. but his essential message was clear enough. and now the Princess. pp. until we are brought to a sense of our sin. there is no doubt. and the whole heart is faint. God. William MacDonald. however. Paradoxically. were paying the price for the sin of the nation as a whole. Jehovah’s Voice to Britain (London. by which he corrects his people in judgement.196 john wolffe chastisements and afflictions are ‘the rod’ of God. A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Her Late Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales (Leicester. For example there could be smug satisfaction that the French were suffering worse from cholera than the British (Cator. tempered with mercy. through her tragic death. 64 63 . The Year of Revolutions [London.63 Moreover. Cholera Morbus. he thought. but to attempt to specify the particular crimes and delinquencies which have drawn down this visitation. it ill becomes us to indulge in reciprocal recrimination. 8–13. 1817). further comfort could be derived from the Schadenfreude of observing the greater sufferings of other nations. first the King through his chronic illness. 1849]. p. p. whether in the ravages of cholera or the turmoil of revolution. He believed that as representative figures. but nevertheless to affirm that a providential chastening was taking place. is inconsistent with the modesty which ought to accompany all inquiries into the mysteries of Providence: and especially repugnant to the spirit which this most solemn and affecting event should inspire. 20. and when “the whole head is sick. that they may be brought to a sense of their sin. 56–57. “will continue to smite. 26) and relief at Britain’s avoidance of revolution in 1848 (George Croly. designed to bring our sins to remembrance. 14).65 Hall could not resist proceeding to add his own list of sins. an indication that the Almighty was still exercising relative forbearance with the people of Britain. Judicious caution of this kind was unusual in 1817. but by the 1840s and 1850s it was gaining ground.

considered gloating over the sudden death of Tsar Nicholas to be distasteful.g. 1861). but that is a very different thing from asserting. pp. of any particular event or train of events. the response to Prince Albert’s death in 1861 indicated that the more cautious providentialism articulated by Blomfield was gaining ground. Charles Vaughan. 28–29. and makes that which should have been for their [congregation’s] health.67 At the subsequent day of humiliation in 1855. 69 E. Charles Blomfield. National Acts of Humiliation. Maurice P. A Nation Watching for Tidings … to which is added The Outbreak of War (London. that the Judge of all mankind should reward. A Sermon on the Death of the Prince Consort (Dublin. 15–16. 68 Blomfield. by temporal blessings or curses.g. 12–13. 1861). There were still some preachers who perceived the event as a chastening for the collective sinfulness of the nation.69 but quite as widespread was the approach of preachers who presented it rather as a striking reminder of the transcendent and mysterious purposes and power of God. as developed in the Word of God.68 In earthquakes.” pp. it consists with the principles of the Divine government. 67 66 . Clark. considering that while it was “providential” it was not “judicial”. 205–206. 70 E. Blomfield continued: It is impossible to deny. or punish its sins and vices. pp. Taunton (Taunton. that.70 Significantly. the headmaster of Harrow. W. the piety and virtue of a nation. pp. Charles John Vaughan. In a sermon on the Fast day that marked the outbreak of war. one of the preachers who argued most robustly that the Prince’s death was indeed a judgement of God then went on to echo the approach of secular sanitary reporters by identifying the very specific “sin” of failure to clean up the disease-ridden swamps around Gray. that it is the decreed result of national conduct. even under a covenant of spiritual promise. 16. 1854). Mary’s Church. A Sermon Preached in St.R.british sermons on national events 197 notably in the comments of preachers on the Irish famine66 and on the Crimean War. Day. the good perished with the wicked. denounced any preacher who saw the event as a pretext to criticize the sins of others or aspects of national policy he happened to dislike as “guilty of the most serious possible neglect of a great opportunity God has given him. Rod of the Almighty. p. he pointed out. the Bishop of London. Although the dramatic outbreak of the “Indian Mutiny” in 1857 stimulated a widespread perception that divine retribution was at work. “National Humiliation. 13. upon the whole. in the saddest sense of all an occasion of falling”. Brooks.

were now becoming less common. Other saw it at retributive in a more general sense. 74 The Scotsman. interpreted the catastrophe as a divine judgement on Sunday traveling. Harford Battersby. a divine response to excessive materialism. Providential views of any kind. “doubtless” it “was the result of some error in the construction. pp. Presland. 1871). ridiculed the idea that “the Ruler of the Universe … was waiting there at the Tay Bridge.71 Divine “judgement” of this kind operated through the natural order of the world rather than through any special providence. it was absurd and offensive to see the disaster as a judgement on Sabbathbreakers. In 1871 Harford Battersby could still believe that in the Franco-Prussian War God had “used Prussia and its confederate powers as His instruments. in this city [Edinburgh] and elsewhere” with which he had not “the smallest degree of sympathy”. 1880). or in calculating the strength of materials required to resist the combination of forces that might be brought to bear upon them. 1883). God’s Voice Heard in the War Between Germany and France (London.198 john wolffe Windsor as causing the Prince to contract his fatal attack of typhoid. 72 71 . Belief in divine retribution was becoming contentious rather than a consensus. The Tay Bridge Disaster: Was it Accident or Judgement? (Edinburgh. Words from the Pall of the Prince (London 1862).D. Rather.A. explicitly distancing himself from “the utterances of certain preachers. T. The Divine Providence in Relation to Mining Accidents (Clayton-leMoors.73 The Tay Bridge disaster on Sunday 28 December 1879 focused the debate particularly sharply because more militant sabbatarians. pp. however. 5 January 1880. 22–25. p. Other preachers characterized the disaster not as divine retribution. an Episcopalian. Presland argued that a colliery explosion that had killed over sixty men arose from the operation of natural laws of combustion which God could not suspend any more than He could suspend the law of gravity to stop a man falling down a precipice.72 On the other hand in a sermon in 1883 W.74 Thomas Knox Talon. 5–6. but rather as dramatic testimony to the fallibility of human achievements and the overwhelming power of God. 6–7. 3–4. and carry our His purposes of correction upon that people”. pp. 75 Thomas Knox Talon.A. to humble the pride of France. Although it had been a Sunday. such as the leading Edinburgh Free Church of Scotland preachers James Begg and George Macaulay.75 Nevertheless older views Paxton Hood. 73 W. pp. 12–13. … waiting to destroy the poor remnant of railway travellers that had left Edinburgh and the intermediate stations that afternoon”. in such a squall as on that fatal Sunday night”. 6.

variously radical and conservative.british sermons on national events 199 still persisted in some quarters: as late as 1900. 8–33. religion was wholly consistent with the natural ties of social and national life. p. in a sermon at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth. For a seminal analysis of the changing secular political contexts of patriotism see Hugh Cunningham. who in 1854 vigorously affirmed that it was both the “will of Heaven” that Britain should oppose Russia and that her patriotic duty was to assert herself as a great power. pp. but in his view one particularly powerful in motivating “the virtuous and the good” and especially strong where states enjoy excellent government and promote the happiness of their people.81 George Venables. patriotism and Christianity joined together to lead the nation to the battlefields of the Crimea. 78 Gardiner. Christian Grounds for National Interest in the Death of Princes (Cambridge. “The Language of Patriotism. however. A Stinging Rod for a Sinning Nation (Norwich. George Venables characterized the South African War as “a stinging rod for a sinning nation” and offered a catalogue of sins similar to those in early 19th-century sermons.77 Against this background. Hence “on this principle. will not Britons feel in the highest degree its invigorating influence?”78 For William Harris. John Gardiner began his sermon on Nelson with a discussion of patriotism. who saw the “spirit of our religion” as requiring “the most zealous endeavours” to promote the welfare of “the community of which we are members”. The Character of a Good King (Taunton. 21. 77 76 . 1820). Barker.79 A similar sentiment was voiced by an Anglican preacher on the death of George III.80 For Charles Clarke. Nelson. 81 Clarke. War. secular and Christian. 79 William Harris. 10–13. refining them but not destroying them. preachers not only affirmed the providential purpose of God in national events. Earthly and Heavenly Loyalties For much of the 19th century. 80 A. 5.76 By the early 20th century. 1900). In Bath. Thus “true religion includes the most refined patriotism”. preaching at the Independent Meeting House in Cambridge on the day of Princess Charlotte’s funeral.” History Workshop Journal 12 (1981). but sought to define and assert the legitimacy of Christian patriotism. 34. 1750–1914. a universal human sentiment. theodicy of this kind was unfashionable. patriotism was contested political and religious territory. 3–4. p. pp. 1817).

86 Marsh. F. The Trust of Government (Northampton. preaching in Brighton. p. 1887). for example in William Marsh’s sermon on the coronation of George IV. 1852).87 Gardiner. preaching at Litcham. George III had a character “minutely and essentially British”. The Death of a Patriot (London. pp. reflected that “she was the representative and embodiment … of the existing order of things” and that “solid rather than brilliant. in response to the sudden death of the Conservative statesman the Earl of Iddesleigh.200 john wolffe Iconic individuals provided models of Christian patriots. Norfolk. Cunningham. 13. Thicknesse’s evocation at Victoria’s Golden Jubilee of “the most scattered and the most powerful nation in the world turned back into one family under one mother and one Queen”. The Hero and His Example (London. that the very same qualities and principles which raised him individually to his splendid elevation.86 Also in 1887. in W. Alfred Fawkes. 12–13. 84 J. Thicknesse.82 Similarly. pp. 14–15. A Sermon Preached …on the Death of … George the Third (1820).85 Such emphasis on prosaic. pp. Charles Boutell. pp. especially in his “ardent attachment to the joys of home”. domestic virtue was further developed in recurrent characterization of the nation as a family. 9. 4–5.83 Long-lived monarchs were seen as personifying a less heroic but still more pervasive ideal of Englishness: according to John William Cunningham. Falloon. pp. 1887). 20. James Fleming. 11. 85 Alfred Fawkes. “for be it remembered. claimed that “the kingdom is one – the national family is one”. and was “the perfect Englishman”. Coronation. He believed that Iddesleigh himself had been a “true-hearted patriot”. p. The Passing of the Queen (London 1901).M.H. 83 82 . Prince and Great Man. 87 James Fleming. 11. are also the vital essence of … national greatness”. 3. 4. strong rather than many-sided or versatile. with his qualities as a national hero complemented by an “amiable disposition … conformable to [the] spirit of Christianity”.H.84 When Victoria died. Falloon’s perception in 1861 that sorrow for Prince Albert was both “universally national” but at the same time “deeply and tenderly domestic”.W. Gardiner went on to present Nelson as an outstanding example. 7–8. 19. portrayed Wellington as both a “Christian Believer” and a model Englishman. in 1852 Charles Boutell. and in F. 15. but who lives and prays. her character was typically English”. and acts for the good and happiness of all”. pp. Nelson. by which Fleming meant he “who seeks not exclusively the interests of some. the Vicar of Harrow.

N. 1900). the Chief Rabbi. and appealing particularly to Jews who. because of the measures taken to extend the liberty and happiness of the people. 91 Anon. “enjoy perfect freedom and equality in this sceptred isle”. 90 Bernard Vaughan. SJ. but it was very much apparent in response to Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. 1820). preached a fulsomely sympathetic sermon. extravagantly compared to Moses by one Independent preacher who hailed the reign as “one of the most illustrious which the annals of history ever recorded”. 9.N. noting the interest the deceased had shown when he had attended a Passover service.91 Following the untimely death of the Queen’s grandson. Reverence and Loyalty (London. pp. Britannia’s Tears at the Deceases of Her Sovereign (Gosport. 13. Although he urged the outstanding need to restore diplomatic relations with the Holy See. pp. pp. Adler. 5–11. 93 H.92 In 1900 Adler’s sermon on the South African War was strikingly bellicose.90 Similarly. Patriotic Regrets for the Loss of a Good King (London. 1887). He advertised his sermon as “an exposition of the cardinal principles upon which the Protestant Dissenters of this country have always shown their patriotism and loyalty to the House of Brunswick”. Hermann Nathan Adler. 1837). The Queen and the War (London. 20. pp. Adler. the pulpit could also be used to condemn opposition to the existing political 88 John Morison. 1892).88 A similar view was taken of William IV. p. in 1892.93 Although preachers normally sought to affirm consensus. he said. recounted the material achievements of the reign and the progress of the Catholic church. advertisement. 21. and to do justice to the Dissenters themselves. p. .89 Unqualified Roman Catholic enthusiasm for the British state was a later development. The Nation’s Lament (London. Preaching in Manchester Bernard Vaughan. 1887). 9–10. an anonymous preacher at Stonyhurst acknowledged that much had been done to remove hatred against Catholics and affirmed that “they who fear God also honour the Queen”.. affirming an “absorbing determination to vindicate the honour of England”. the Duke of Clarence. 8. Protestant Dissenters were fulsome in their praise of George III because his reign had seen the advance of toleration and the late King “entertained the most heart-felt respect for all conscientious Nonconformists”.british sermons on national events 201 Religious minorities took opportunities to make it clear that political loyalty was entirely compatible with religious dissent or separation. he regarded loyalty to the throne as the “flower” of religion. 92 H. Her Golden Reign (London. 3. 89 John Everitt Good. 15.

having eulogized the late Queen. 98 Ritchie. A Sermon Delivered … in Reference to the Coronation … of … King George IV (London. He then showed his liberal sympathies by reviewing the events of the regency and reign. . 39. 36. 26. p. preaching in Edinburgh. 1821). the radical Unitarian William Johnson Fox defended the late Queen from the charges brought against her and affirmed his own understanding of patriotism as “an admiring and ardent love of the people who really constitute that country… Next to the name of Christian do I glory in that of Englishman”. Catholic Emancipation.94 Charles Cator used his sermon on cholera in 1832 to denounce those who were “murmuring against the ministers of Christ’s Church”. who had become a figurehead for critics of the King and opponents of the Tory government.” pp. preaching at Roehampton Chapel on the coronation of George IV. Dissenters were also able to use the medium of such sermons to present their own politically liberal perspectives. 96 W. “He Removeth Kings. One such opportunity arose in response to the death in 1821 of Queen Caroline. Cholera Morbus. who. remembering. pointedly had little to say about the late monarch and dwelt at length on the vanity of earthly greatness. although concluding that they were too few in number to spoil the climate of “universal harmony.98 In his sermon on the death of William IV. content and love”. They should pray for the spreading of the “Tree of Liberty”.97 When George IV himself died nine years later. preaching at the Independent Chapel in Malmesbury. 1821). Fox. railed against those “who have drained the very dregs from the poisonous cup of republican disaffection”. the estranged consort of George IV. 20. that national calamities spring not from religion. 97 John Evans. condemning the war but hailing the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. urged the congregation: “as Patriots.96 A more conciliatory note was struck by John Evans. A Funeral Sermon for Caroline Queen of England (London. the leading Baptist Edward Steane commended the liberal achievements of the reign. and progress towards the abolition of slavery. 22–23. In his sermon in London. 22–23.202 john wolffe order and the Established Church. 95 Cator. pray for your country at this eventful crisis. John Ritchie. pp. but also for the King. 18. because the Almighty was working 94 Edward Patteson. pp. 1821). Thus Edward Patteson. and suggested that residual reactionary forces were standing in God’s way. but from the want of it”. 43–45. A Sermon … Occasioned by the Death of Her Late Majesty Queen Caroline (London.J.95 On the other hand. pp.

. though.100 and as late as 1885. 1806). Significantly. William MacDonald Sinclair denounced the abandonment of General Gordon to his fate at Khartoum. 1838–1842. 101 W. but on the contrary: … the best instances of loyalty to our earthly sovereign will be found among those who will bear him on their hearts before our heavenly King.british sermons on national events 203 to bring about the “downfal [sic] of every institution inimical to the equal rights of the subjects of this free country”. “Crimean War. July the 22nd 1821 (London. an Independent minister. 73–132. 100 Anderson. 1821). Nevertheless. pp. with higher claims than George IV.104 99 Edward Steane. pp. an exception that appears to have become more unusual as the century wore on. 1885). 218. 109–39. A Sermon Preached on the Sunday After the Funeral of the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Nelson (Chelsea.103 The whole thrust of the sermon by Joseph Irons.102 Claudius Buchanan followed his midweek sermon on the “British Jubilee” with a Sunday sermon on “the Heavenly Jubilee”. 19–20. on the coronation of 1821 was to proclaim Jesus as another king. “Christianity in Chartist Struggle.” Past and Present 91 (1981). the supper of the Lamb prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Three Sermons. 31–32. For the political use of sermons on both sides in the Chartist agitation of the late 1830s and 1840s: see Eileen Yeo. 102 Anon. sermons on the 1855 day of humiliation were used to castigate human misdeeds. when the Crimean War seemed to be going badly. A Sermon Preached at Grove Chapel.99 The use of such sermons to make explicitly political points was always the exception rather than the norm. 3–4. 1837). in a sermon at St Stephen’s Westminster. 104 Joseph Irons. 12.” p. 103 Buchanan. Gordon and England (London. In saying this he denied any deficiency in earthly loyalty. and that rich grace may prepare him to wear a crown of glory. thus affirming a negative solidarity consistent with the usual concern of preachers to articulate consensus rather than division. 33–71. he suggested that the nation as a whole shared in responsibility for this “heedless and deplorable” conduct. Sinclair. pp. but direction of the thoughts of congregations to spiritual realities beyond temporal national affairs. The Eternal King (London. Thus an anonymous preacher on Nelson’s death saw the recognition of his fatal wound as the moment when his hearers should “observe the Christian supersede the hero”. an inheritance for which he urged professing Christians to prepare. pp.M. praying that the sceptre of Jesus may be swayed in his heart. Camberwell. p.101 Indeed the more usual counterpoint to patriotic assertion in sermons was not political dissent.

204 john wolffe William Marsh. preaching at Harrow School on the Crimean War. Coleridge. After a graphic account of the wrath awaiting the unregenerate. but preachers more normally evoked a heavenly consummation for all. 1820). Queen Victoria’s grandson and second in line to the throne.106 Charles Vaughan. pp. urging them to review their own lives. 12–18. A Sermon Preached in the Parish Church of St Sidwell on Sunday Afternoon the 20th February (Exeter. 108 Dibdin. preaching in Exeter on the death of George III. 21–22. Nation Watching. p. 3–15. and reached a charitable conclusion. Patriot Palmerston. pp. without raising the specter of intervening judgement and possible consignment to Hell. saw the coronation as a reminder to Christians “of that day when the Lord our Saviour shall take upon himself his great power. Interest in death and what lay beyond it persisted. by the end of the century. a circumstance that invited comparison with Princess Charlotte’s death Marsh. like portrayals of retributive providence. and urged spiritual preparedness for sudden death. he instructed the organist to play the Dead March in Saul. and to contemplate the afterlife. 107 Vaughan.105 It was natural that clergy should use deaths and the prospect of death to prompt their hearers to prepare for their own demise. examined the evidence for the late premier’s spiritual state. pp. also recalled the recent deaths of Princess Charlotte and of the Duke of Kent. and reign”. 106 105 . Coronation. J. Dibdin posed the question “The Patriot Palmerston: Was He Saved?”.D. James Duke Coleridge. but then turned the spotlight on his hearers. though.108 In general. well-known for his millennial convictions.W. and the congregation to “meditate on these two things.107 In 1865 R. This theme was particularly apparent in sermons on the premature death in 1892 of the Duke of Clarence. reminded the boys that some of them might well find themselves serving in the army in the near future. DEATH and JUDGMENT”. as a reminder that no age group should think itself immune from the grim reaper: Be encouraged then – be persuaded – be alarmed. were becoming a minority rather than characteristic response. such stark warnings. 23. if the threats of the Gospel form a more powerful motive – to think seriously of another life – to acknowledge and to profit by the warning given to youth in the death of our young Princess – to the full season of life in the recent one of her Uncle – and to old age in the departure of our beloved King.

and give a sharper quantitative sense of changes over time and variations by denomination and locality than has been possible to achieve here. those on Clarence tended to dwell on divine consolation and the unclouded prospect of eternal life. p. the range of the occasions on which they were preached. Nevertheless some significant conclusions can be drawn. 7–18. let alone those preached. 1892). Purey-Cust. they appealed to a natural human instinct to affirm community and national solidarity in moments of crisis and celebration. 1892). pp. Our Sufficiency (York. Edward Wilkinson directed the major part of his sermon to reflecting on the Queen’s future.109 Indeed. On the one hand. and receiving a “crown of glory that fadeth not away”. drawing on only a tiny proportion of the sermons recorded.g. on the other they lifted the eyes of their hearers from inevitably imperfect human institutions and communities to the challenge and perfection of the divine order. . Moreover. Faith and patriotism operated in creative symbiosis. such a vision could be set before congregations even when the occasion did not necessarily require it. God’s Ordering. the predominant common messages of the compatibility of Christianity (and indeed Judaism) and patriotism. Their overall message was. Arthur P. 71. and of God’s providential care of 109 E. of her prospects of meeting with the King of Kings. their widespread dissemination in print as well as to church congregations all made them an important interface between the discourse of patriotism and that of religion.british sermons on national events 205 three-quarters of a century before. However. A more sustained and extensive analysis would add subtler shades to the picture. Sermon on the Jubilee. 111 Biddulph. as Thomas Biddulph put it in 1820.110 The almost seamless interweaving of earthly and heavenly loyalties in these sermons was a significant source of their rhetorical power. Anon. 110 Wilkinson. that “the most devoted Christian is the best subject and the truest patriot”. despite differences of emphasis and theology.. Thus when preaching on the 1887 Jubilee. The sheer numbers of such sermons. National Affliction Improved. whereas sermons on Charlotte were replete with reference to divine judgement.111 Conclusion A survey such as that undertaken in this chapter is inevitably a selective one. “He that Comforteth” (London.

112 It is pertinent. to consider the implications for the history of British nationalism: a weakening sense of accountability to the Almighty and a lessened fear of retribution for national sin may well help to explain the cultural shift to a harsher imperialism and jingoism in the later Victorian years. . Michael Wheeler. were symptomatic of the seamlessness of that relationship. 112 Geoffrey Rowell. however. It will come as no surprise to historians of religious thought that these sermons reflected wider theological trends in the later 19th century. 1974). 1990). Death and the Future Life in Victorian Literature and Theology (Cambridge.206 john wolffe the British nation. Hell and the Victorians: A Study of the Nineteenth-Century Theological Controversies Concerning Eternal Punishment and the Future Life (Oxford. in terms of decline of belief in retributive judgement and hell.

SJ for his insightful and helpful answers to questions relating to preaching the Gospel in the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church. or other. with wholesome words.4 The sermon represented the ministry of the “Divine Word”. churches. curates. Michael F. 425–6. by others who are competent.. Jackson Graduate School for funding travel and research at the British Library. The Council of Trent: The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Oecumenical Council of Trent (London. 3 Waterworth. shall. Jerome Hall. and solemn feasts. 27–28. which I learned about through the 2002 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar. and that of their people. p. according to their own capacity. primates. 1801–19011 Jessica A. that all bishops.1848). 5 William Ullathorne. “Preaching. the vices which they must avoid. Sheetz-Nguyen But seeing that the preaching of the Gospel is no less necessary to the Christian commonwealth than the reading thereof. The Council of Trent. the same holy Synod hath resolved and decreed. or if they be lawfully hindered. either personally. and editor Robert Ellison for his insightful expertise and infinite patience.CATHOLIC PREACHING IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND. ed.3 In Ecclesiastical Discourses. which have the cure of souls. and the virtues which they must follow after.” in Characteristics from the Writings of Archbishop Ullathorne with Bibliographical Introduction. and all those who in any manner so ever hold any parochial. 214. “Reform of Reason: Rhetoric and Religion in Nineteenth Century Britain”. by teaching them the things which it is necessary for all to knew unto salvation. and comprised the delivery of God’s message. at least on the Lord’s days.” The Catholic World: A Monthly Magazine 24 (1877). ed. Bishop of Birmingham William Bernard Ullathorne (1806–99) argued that “preaching” was more than mere “pulpit declamation”. Glancey (London.2 Archpriests. and all other prelates of the churches be bound personally – if they be not lawfully hindered – to preach the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. the University of Central Oklahoma Joe C. 28. 1889). and obtain the glory of heaven. pp. and whereas this is the principal duty of bishops. . feed the people committed to them.5 1 I wish to thank Jan Swearingen and Carol Ann Poster for introducing me to the twin themes of rhetoric and preaching. 4 “Ecclesiastical Discourses. p. and trans. and by announcing to them with briefness and plainness of discourse. archbishops. 2 James Waterworth. that they may escape everlasting punishment.

Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in The Early Modern Era (Cambridge. or salvation. Roman Catholic theologians affirmed the tradition of preaching the Gospel by charging archpriests.6 Each occasion for sermon-giving required a unique method. As the papacy grew in significance. The Refashioning of Catholicism.… No patching. and that divine sense they obtained by meditating on the Holy Scriptures and the traditions of their fathers. including preaching and celebrating ceremonial rites.9 The penal laws issued under monarchs from Elizabeth I (r. Roman Catholicism “refashioned” its approach to the world by stressing the important link between preaching and teaching. ed. The Reformation: A History (New York. 2000). curates. 7 6 . John W. while later homilies stress its political nature. at the 16th-century Council of Trent. Sermons. the mission field expanded to include an England that had undergone a deep and unsettling reconfiguration of the church. and priests with specific responsibilities. whether on the altar.7 Three hundred years before Ullathorne. changed to represent the changing face of the church. 8 Diarmaid MacCulloch. 1450–1700 (Washington. in the confessional. it is essential to recount the means by which the Catholic population had declined from the reign of the Tudors. 1509–47) promulgated the Act of Supremacy in 1534 and dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1540. partly in a defensive response to Protestant challenges to the authority of Rome. 215–16. SJ. in the catechetical class. pp. O’Malley. no parroting will ever make a preacher”. Increased emphasis on preaching was a reactive papal stance reflecting the larger reform movement spreading across Europe among theologians and monarchs alike. The English monarch and his successors established authority over the Church of England and prescribed its liturgy with the publication of the Book of Common Prayer in 1549. 2000). 1999). Henry VIII (r. or while visiting the home of a parishioner”. Early 19th-century English sermons focus on the theology of soteriology. 134–37. DC. 121. John Morrill (Oxford. “Tudor Monarchy and Political Culture. 214. Robert Bireley. p. a non-ceremonial part of the Mass. 1760–1820) Ibid.8 To understand the place of the sermon in the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century. 1558–1603) to George III (r.208 jessica a. Ibid... 226–27. urging parishioners to come to the aid of the poor. 9 John Guy. pp.” in The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart Britain. p. sheetz-nguyen Its purpose was to draw souls to “God’s truth and laws. 2003). as evidenced by others who went before and “spoke sense of God and not their own. pp.

33–36. Elizabeth I (r. 349–50). food. A. housing. when a Catholic priest read the Gospel in the vernacular. c.11 Curiosity. and clothing. The anomaly of Catholics suffering religious disabilities while risking their lives in the service of a church and state spurred Parliament to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. 1558–1603) issued the first of dramatic penal laws ending ceremonies in the Catholic church. Catholics transformed the place of their church in Britain from an illegal and despised institution to one that offered spiritual guidance. and quite another to admit that the members of the House of Norfolk adhered to the same belief system as the superstitious Irish. 3 [1905. in response to a papal bull releasing Catholics from their fealty to the English monarch. concerns. opening the door to the rebirth of Catholicism across Britain. Prothero. and fear increased as Irish immigration rose to new heights by mid-century. questions. the English regarded Catholics as traitors to both church and state. prohibiting the education of children in the faith of their parents. ed. and providing for capital punishment for anyone denying Elizabeth’s authority over the church in England under the Act of Supremacy (Sidney Lee. 26. These themes thread throughout the age of Victoria in the components of Catholic homilies. Lord Acton. 28–30. and Stanley Leathes. This chapter investigates the place of the sermon in the ceremonial rite of the Mass by examining spiritual convictions and the politicization of Catholicism against the backdrop of British history. For over two centuries. 7 s. This transition occurred in response to the reality that the British army and navy had recruited many Irish men to serve the crown during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15). It was one thing to accept the belief systems of elite English Catholics.W. Therefore.” in The Wars of Religion: The Cambridge Modern History. everyone who was even slightly aware of the doctrinal conflicts 10 Beginning in 1570. .W.10 Between the tumultuous era of the Reformation and the turn of the 19th century. repr. and all things Catholic were regarded with suspicion. New preaching in victorian england 209 severely circumscribed permission to preach and teach in the tradition of the church of Rome. “The Last Years of Elizabeth. education. 11 Statute 10 Geo. then clarified doctrinal and moral teachings and commented on the scriptures in a short lecture as part of the celebration of Sunday Mass. pp. Ward. and on the other hand faced the task of educating the great unwashed. which on one hand found itself in a defensive posture in relationship to the Church of England.4. G. 1909]. The conflation of “false notions” with the Irish presented additional theological and political challenges for the Roman Catholic Church.

defined and clarified the authority of the papacy and the Petrine doctrine. 1896). Alec Ryrie. established the importance of honoring the saints. 1958).12 The lives of great churchmen. Scholars focusing on Roman Catholicism in England have traditionally examined the Reformation. Shane Leslie. promoted the value of education through the catechism. particularly Catholic sermons delivered throughout the 19th century in Britain. 13 Richard Schiefen. 1921). Basingstoke. Nicholas Wiseman and the Transformation of English Catholicism (Shepherdstown. Edward Cuthbert Butler.13 These men were best known and understood by their preaching. Bishop William Ullathorne (1806–89) and John Henry Newman (1801–90). articulated the efficacy of the seven sacraments. Three Cardinals: Newman. 2006). the English Catholic community during the recusant period. 1926). The English Catholic Community. Sermons published in the first half of the 19th century indicate that priests defended the doctrines of Rome. and Denis G. O’Malley. An Ecclesiastical History of England: The Victorian Church (New York. provides a detailed overview of Early Stuart England’s approach to reforming the church. Popular Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Victorian England (Stanford. prepared parishioners to participate in and receive the sacraments. highlighted Christ as a role model. Henry Edward Manning: His Life and His Labours (London. . Vincent Alan McClellan. 1962). 2000). 1990). but sermons. particularly the Irish. ed. 1999) and John W. WV. the differences between the Anglican and Catholic traditions in England. Paz. the Oxford movement. Norman. 1806–1889 (London. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s The Reformation: A History (New York. E. 1975).C. including Cardinals Nicholas Wiseman (1802–65) and Henry Edward Manning (1808–92). Sheridan Gilley. the old and new church hierarchy. 1966). Palgrave Advances in the European Reformations (Houndmills. D. 1998).. sheetz-nguyen realized that much preaching served to build and reinforce a Catholic identity. have received very little scholarly attention. and anti-Catholic sentiment. The homily used as a pri12 Classic studies of British Catholicism include Owen Chadwick. Wiseman. have also been recounted in long and interesting biographies. Archbishop of Westminster (London. Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era by (Cambridge. 1570–1850 (London.R. especially the Virgin Mother. John Bossy. 1985).210 jessica a. 1984). 1992). Studies focusing on early modern Catholicism in Europe include Robert Bireley’s masterful The Refashioning of Catholicism. Edmund Sheridan Purcell. Ernest Edwin Reynolds. Cardinal Manning: His Public Life and Influence. Cardinal Manning: an Intellectual Biography (Oxford. James Pereiro. Manning (New York. 2003). and protected the faithful. updates and synthesizes the historiographical background covering the last twenty years. The Life and Times of Bishop Ullathorne. 1450–1700 (Washington. Newman and his Age (London. Roman Catholicism in England from the Elizabethan Settlement to the Second Vatican Council (New York. Perhaps the most helpful over-arching account of the Reformation. 1865–1892 (London. Life of Cardinal Manning.

Catholic theologians recognized the close connection between preaching and education. The Apostolic Fathers (Whitefish.16 In the wake of the reforming spirit. p. set in motion a number of important changes in ecclesiastical practices that required priests to teach.15 By the 8th century. one that was separated from the act of participation in “holy sacrifice of the Mass”. indicates that the homily served as a commentary on the scriptures. and Sermon in the Roman Catholic Tradition A brief historical overview of the sermon. a term that derives from Hebrew sources and literally means the “service of the word” for holy days. 2003)..R. the Ordines. Roman Missal. the Council of Trent (1545–47). 64. or preach. sermons had disappeared from the ritual. thereby linking the “ordinary” readings and reflection as a time for repentance with a different spiritual tone. 16 Ibid.14 Later texts verify the presence of the sermon in the oldest ritual authority on the sacred liturgy. only to reappear when mendicant preachers bent on reform revitalized the practice in the 12th through 14th centuries. trans. if discriminated against. and books. MT. and by surveying and sampling the themes present in their orations. these documents demonstrate how Catholics carved out an identity by distinguishing their belief system from others. Mass.B. 15 Theodor Klauser. By understanding the sermon within the context of the sacrifice of the Mass. we will enter the world of a faith community trying to re-establish its ancient and historic ties to a beloved. p. Responding to changes posed by Protestant reformers. journals. Seminarians preparing to become parish priests took courses in homiletics because public oratory provided a time to nourish one’s community spirituality 14 J. 2nd ed. Lightfoot and J. (Oxford. A Short History of the Western Liturgy: An Account and Some Reflections. 1979). . Harmer. spiritual institution. p. or lecture. the Eucharist. 32. Franciscans and Dominicans moved the pulpit from the altar to the center of the church. 43. texts attributed to Saint Clement of Rome show the homily appeared after the first Epistle in the 2nd century. Published in newspapers. John Halliburton. in the vernacular to enlighten and provide moral instructions to the preaching in victorian england 211 mary source offers a link between language and culture.

which outlined the liturgy and provided specific verses and psalms for the different liturgical seasons. In fact. beginning the liturgical year at Advent. The 19th-century solemn High Mass was a highly orchestrated event. church attendance was a private affair that was interrupted only by a sermon and the walk up to the altar where the communicant knelt to receive the Eucharist. Mass on Sunday and feast days required explanations of the mystery and purpose of the gathering in the universal church. the liturgy of the word preceded the sermon. or prayer book. and progressing through Lent. sheetz-nguyen in preparation for reception of the Holy Eucharist. but said very little about the preaching. a public prayer of confession.212 jessica a. Beyond these instructions. a handbook entitled Ceremonial According to the Roman Rite prescribed each step of the sacred performance. The homily concluded the public segment of the celebration. people said they “heard” the Mass. working through the articles of the Nicene Creed. It was mentioned only in phrases such 17 Ibid. a second selection from the Old Testament.. Reading without responding. Even though it was the responsibility of all consecrated priests to participate in the daily celebration of the Mass. a distillation of the Scriptures that selected the most important passages and assigned them a place in the liturgical year as guidance for sermons. and the recitation of the Nicene Creed signaled preparation for the sacrifice or consecration of bread and wine. priests followed the lectionary or breviary. the psalms. and then chapters from the Gospel. Pentecost. . and Gospel readings. or the Confiteor. the Church did not require weekday sermons. the Tridentine hierarchy charged bishops with prescribing preaching cycles that followed a basic pattern. The celebrant said prayers in Latin with his back to the congregation while the English faithful read from the Roman missal. p. Priests celebrated the word of God by reading from the letters of Paul. Gospels and ancillary readings cycled through a one-year calendar.17 In a further attempt to arrive at a level of systematic liturgical practices that represented the universal church. and the remaining Sundays thereafter. and petitions for mercy. Ten Commandments and the six precepts of the Church. or New Testament. Introductory rites included a penitential rite. A “preaching syllabus” issued by the dioceses for a “year’s worth of Sundays” also guided the parish priest. Easter Sunday. In this way. 69.

in the liturgy of the word. Since the Gospel. 1873). the question of which Bible English-speaking priests used in the Victorian Catholic Church presented another issue for theologians. 1846) and Joseph Baldeschi. The need for a new translation demonstrated a growing movement among English Catholics to reassert their presence in the British Isles. preaching in victorian england 213 as “after the sermon”. 17. if we look beyond parliamentary politics and more closely at the social and spiritual exercise of power. Translated from French (Dublin. In the 18th century. “Wellington and . see The Ceremonies of Low Mass According to the Rubrics of the Missal. and the Opinions of the Most Eminent Rubricists. Catholics rejected the King James Bible. (London. Decrees of the Popes. coadjutor to the Vicar Apostolic of London (a position he held under the direction of the papacy). Translated from Italian by J. 20 Catholic emancipation factionalized the Tory Party and cleared the way for the ascendancy of the Whigs. it became the standard Bible for the Roman Catholic English-speaking world. Hilarius.W. the seminary town in France where it was published in 1609–10. Churches and the Working Classes in Victorian England (London. we will see that the quest for religious rights did not end with “emancipation”.18 The Politics of the Bible.20 Rather.D. revised the Douai text so much that it was thought to be a completely new translation. Part of Catholic reform included a new translation named for Douai-Rheims. the struggle for souls played 18 For a detailed 19th-century account of the celebrant’s duties throughout the liturgy. nonetheless. carried significant weight in structuring the theme of the sermon. Davis. Tracts. Historian Kenneth Inglis has observed that the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. or in footnotes indicating what the concelebrants should be doing during the homily.19 Inglis’ claim may be true. removed most of the civil disabilities that Catholics had suffered for centuries. Dr Richard Challoner (1691–1781). and the Sermon in Victorian Britain The above discussion situated and contextualized the place of the sermon in the Mass as distinct from the Latin rituals celebrating the Eucharist. if we look only at political records. p. 4th ed. Ceremonial According to The Roman Rite. also known as Catholic Emancipation. but. 19 Kenneth Inglis. just as the Protestants had denied the authenticity of the old Vulgate Bible by Saint Jerome. who agitated for government reforms that culminated in the 1832 Reform Bill and expansion of the voting franchise (R. 1963).

When they walked into the vestibule and opened the door to the nave – the place where they genuflected before entering the pew for a seat – they moved into a spiritual world that took them away from the profanity of their the ‘Open Question’: The Issue of Catholic Emancipation. linguistics and textual critics coupled to create increased interest in biblical scholarship. while the elite focused on the authority of the papacy and ideals of the mind. the Oxford movement. such as John Henry Newman and a number of his followers.21 The Diocesan and Parish Sermon in Victorian Britain The place of the sermon in the Mass. on the podiums of lecture halls. Britons: Forging of National Identity (New Haven. the working poor went to Mass for other reasons: to pray. 1821–1829. editor of Essays and Reviews. and the Oxford Movement and its Tracts for the Times sought to return the Church of England to her roots in the Fathers and the writings of 17th. were called to the Ecclesiastical Court of Arches. 1993).and 18th-century “Anglo-Catholic” theologians. responded to these developments by converting to the Church of Rome. particularly atonement and justification. and in the press. the Bible from which the readings were drawn. 21 Some Oxford theologians. In the wake of newfound privileges for Catholics. most of whom were academics. Yet. 50–55. and the important individuals who emerged to lead the Church in the 19th century aid in our understanding of the classical vision of the Roman Catholic Church. A new cadre of academics. sheetz-nguyen out on the altars of churches. Jonathan Parry discusses the move for Catholic Emancipation and the breakup of the Tory Party in detail. where the court reversed the judgement in 1864 (John Fletcher Hurst. Some scholars. .214 jessica a. pp. The publication created such a stir that the authors. “Essays and Reviews. pp. 1992). see Linda Colley.” Albion 29 [1997]. debates over the legitimacy of Roman Catholicism and whether it was a threat to the Crown and the Church of England moved from Parliament to the colleges of Oxford University. 356–57).” in Short History of the Christian Church [New York. other intellectuals attempted to explode received tradition. rejected the notion of biblical authority on certain issues. 1893]. such as Mark Pattison. For a splendid discussion of the place that the Irish and Roman Catholics had in forging the national character. where judges found that their essays had departed from the Thirty-nine Articles. In The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain (New Haven. but the very notion that a single truth existed. 39–55). rejecting not only the authority of the Bible. pp. 332–33. The essayists appealed their case in front of the Privy Council.

The Constitution “On the Sacred Liturgy” of the Second Vatican Council. their original clarity which has likewise become obscured in course of time” (Klauser. walls hung with silken brocades and tapestries. Throughout the century. and to restore to the prayers. surely inspired the faithful. and to ensure that baptized Catholics understood the connection between the biblical narrative and Catholic tradition. 24 Ibid. almsgiving. 229–33. pp. determined that “We have come to celebrate the Eucharist in a way which in many respects is impossible for the people to understand. priests helped parishioners prepare to receive the sacrament. Since this is so. and ceilings adorned with mosaics and frescoes. A Series of Lectures on the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist as delivered in the Catholic Chapel at Walsall. it is our duty to restore the clear outlines of the structure of the rite. dated 4 December 1963. the English poet who converted to Roman Catholicism during the reign of James II (r. focusing for example on the Eucharist. p. Curiosities of London (London. and the special place of Mary or the Blessed Mother in the teleology of Roman Catholicism. 3. Martyn chose a couplet from “The Hind and the Panther” by John Dryden (1631–1700). in 1827. 22 See John Timbs.22 Considering the environment of this sacred space. golden and silver candlesticks. During the liturgical season of Lent. on the Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent. Joseph and the saints. p.23 To open his homily. 2. in particular the Canon. Since the second Vatican Council the liturgy of the Mass has taken on new life. A Short History of the Western Liturgy. For example. . 23 Francis Martyn. all accompanied by the court of Heaven including ponderous statues of Mary. 1827). not consubstantiation as held by the Church of England. 149). The beauty of the altar. Catholic preaching took a defensive posture in an effort to explain the teachings of the Church. As leaders of a minority community that enjoyed few rights at the beginning of the century. 1868). the centrality of the crucifix symbolizing the suffering Christ. p. the authority of Rome and the Petrine doctrine were integrally linked with the validity of the doctrine of transubstantiation.. which have been lost over the years. how did priests connect their parishioners to the mission of the church on earth? Handbooks on how to write sermons provide significant insight to unique themes. For the faithful. Father Francis Martyn (1782–1838) preached a series of sermons dedicated to exploring the divine nature of the Holy Eucharist. priests felt compelled to teach and defend the difference between one Christian celebration of the Eucharist and the other. 1827 (London. the mysterious and gilded tabernacle.24 In concert with Tridentine preaching in victorian england 215 daily lives. 1685–88): “That truth has such an air and such a mien / As to be loved needs only to be seen”.

9. Pusey. Lawrence. sheetz-nguyen Martyn needed to emphasize the close links between the Gospels and the sacrifice of the Mass. Martyn said: You seek me.216 jessica a. to associate the body and blood of Jesus Christ with the communion host after consecration. 1 (London. but for that which endureth unto life everlasting. as on the frequent and worthy receiving of the holy Eucharist”. . Scorning his challengers as “unbelievers. Father S. John 6:54: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood.. 27 Ibid. A Series of Lectures on the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist. Using the miracle of the loaves and fishes as an example. 7. He accomplished this goal by turning to the most Greek and philosophical of New Testament texts. the sacraments offered spiritual graces.25 He posited that the “grounds of … Faith in the Blessed Sacrament” resided in the Petrine doctrine or “sacred authority which Jesus Christ appointed to be the Guardian and Interpreter of his truth”. libertines. 26 Martyn.26 Because ecclesiastical traditions defined so much of what it meant to be Catholic.. vol. and Service in Latin under “Anderton. 11. alias John Brereley.28 25 See the publication titled The Liturgy of the Mass Concerning the Sacrifice. In explaining the doctrine of Transubstantiation.” in Joseph Gillow. Martyn explained how the Eucharist was both a sacrament and a sacrifice which should inspire the faithful towards a higher level of grace and deeper belief. but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. Indeed. 27. to live more pious lives in preparation for reception of Holy Communion. Martyn taught that there was “nothing on which your salvation so much depends. p. Martyn cited the miracle of the loaves and fishes to emphasize that the Church was the seat of the mysteries of faith. in 1534 to the Present Time. you shall not have life within you”. 28 Ibid. a phrase later adopted by Oxford Movement leader E.J. said Jesus not because you have seen miracles. A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from the Breach of with Rome. the Eucharist was the way to “salvation”. p. Within these mysteries. Drawing on John 6:26. Real Presence.B. he used the term “real presence”. 1885). Labour not for a meat which perisheth. p. it was important for Catholic clergymen in England to demonstrate their depth of knowledge of the Bible. freethinkers.27 Exhorting his listeners to act. and irreverent and bad Christians”. Martyn stated that such “sublime truths” had remained intact from the age of the Apostles. p. 36. which the Son of Man will give you.

and then joined the Dominicans in 1850.30 Thirty years after Martyn’s publication. 26. First.v. 1–2. p. 32 John Perry. but not beyond the reach of God’s power and goodness. pp. which he defined as thoughts. 31 s. Douai-Rheims Bible. Luke 21:25. and established a three-point homily with one or more sub-themes. 1857). 33” in Gillow. 19. a parish priest who served in Birmingham. as even to make ‘men wither away for fear of what shall come upon the whole world’. he urged preachers to ask for an examination of conscience. 1–2. by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves. 269. Perry moved beyond the Confiteor. omissions and sins of Ibid. 30 29 . For the powers of the heavens shall be preaching in victorian england 217 Mystery and divine faith dominated this sermon. amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man. The actual language of the Douai-Rheims Bible reads: “Then Jesus said to them: Amen. and upon the earth distress of nations. and in the stars. pp. and in the moon. [http://drb.scripturetext.32 Perry explained that these were some of the signs that would indicate the approach of the end times. accessed 21 March 2008).34 His homily template taught priests how to elicit a sense of humility.. 1–2. the community prayer of contrition said at the beginning of the Mass. Biblos. p. actions. reminding people that God was the source of their belief. Practical Sermons for all the Sundays and Holidays of the Year (London. Ibid.. words.htm]. addressed sacramental matters in Practical Sermons for all the Sundays and Holidays of the Year (London. what must be that fearful account which is to follow?”33 To avoid damnation. which he paraphrased as “Unless we do eat the flesh of the son of Man and drink his blood. p. Northampton. Literary and Biographical History. He asked: “Now. Martyn emphasized that the mystery of the Eucharist was beyond their “limited faculties”. men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. Father John Perry (1804–60). if the mere signs of that day will be so alarming. and drink his blood. they needed to trust in the Gospel of John 6:53. we never shall have life within us”. pp. you shall not have life in you” (John John.. 23. 34 Ibid. “Perry.. 1857).31 The volume began with the first Sunday in Advent and a reading from Saint Luke: And there shall be signs in the sun.29 He advised his listeners that to achieve the blessings of divine faith. Perry encouraged parish priests to engage listeners in preparation for the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion.

6. you will be found worthy to hear from your Judge that consoling sentence: 35 36 37 38 39 Ibid. into everlasting fire. moreover. which will add very much to our distress: for the conscience of each individual will be known. Perry encouraged his listeners to prepare for the sacrament of Penance by repenting so that they would not be judged harshly in the future. 6. 5. Ibid. possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. To the just he will say: “Come ye blessed of my Father.. to all his relatives.. but how? With what attention? With what disposition of heart? – You have abstained and fasted. friends. sheetz-nguyen commission.. ye cursed.16) But there is no escape”. Ibid. . Perry wrote: Instead of being banished from God eternally with the reprobate. p. p. “And these shall go into everlasting punishment. But to the wicked: “Depart from me. not only to himself and God. Using strong language. and any other character flaws. but was it from a pure intention? With due preparation? With proper dispositions?36 Perry’s second theme reminded priests to tell parishioners that every sin would be publicly exposed. 2–5. In this self-examination.35 Perry relied on verses from the Bible to reinforce each sermon theme. (Matthew 25)39 In the conclusion. listeners were warned that even though they prayed frequently. no place for the sinner to hide: But there is another circumstance in this examination. Vi. p. will you not ‘call upon the mountains and rocks to fall upon you. Ibid.. Ibid.218 jessica a.. indeed. he asked: You have prayed and perhaps. but in what spirit? You have approached the Sacraments. pp. but. 5.38 Perry’s third aim brought end times to the fore again. the nature of their hearts remained in question. p. and acquaintances – to the entire world!37 Perry reinforced the “no escape” idea with an apocalyptic verse: “Overwhelmed with confusion. but the just into life everlasting”. frequently. writing that the Judge will pronounce the irrevocable sentence. which was prepared for the devil and his angels”. and to hide you?’ (Apoc. or sins that one may have encouraged others to commit. In the spirit of anticipation. There was.

6. many fainting for want of food”. p. 9. “Oh that I could transport you in imagination to yon distressed land”... Briggs urged his listeners to imagine the pain and suffering of the poor. In 1822. that all members of humanity were brothers and were required to participate in the mission of the Church by offering paternal charity. 1822 (Chester. he said that God would turn to the right and see those who helped the poor.41 Briggs then offered a narration beginning with the requisite description of the conditions of the Irish poor.40 In addition to Penance. 41 40 . the road to salvation required almsgiving to the poor.. frontispiece. and the depiction of the poor as Ibid.. Briggs carried his listeners to the final judgement day. Reverend John Briggs (c. delivered a homily on the serious problem of starvation in Ireland.44 This imaginative connection between those with money and those without. uprooted young corn. He engaged listeners on a journey to see themselves as Christ crucified. 1822). on Sunday. 44 Ibid. May 19. but they were also the face of Christ. 1789–1861). Visiting priests from Ireland delivered special fund-raising homilies to aid the cause of the poor in Ireland. guaranteeing them salvation. he exclaimed. A brilliant writer.42 Briggs reported that country folk stripped the bark from trees. He argued that God did not judge thoughts. 42 Ibid. A Sermon Preached in the Catholic Chapel. another theme of the didactic Catholic sermon. at Chester. John Briggs. first in principle and secondly in regards to the person giving the sermon. possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). and harvested wild herbs from fields to feed their children. 43 Ibid. or tithing. Invoking the imagination of his listeners. Those on the left would surely depart for the everlasting fires of Hell reserved for the Devil and his angels. he stopped to remind the parish of the miseries faced by Jesus as he carried his cross to Golgotha along the Via Dolorosa. p. pp. 10–11. charitable deeds. Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District of England. pp. Catholic preaching on almsgiving clashed with Victorian self-help mentality in more ways than one. 10–11.43 Briggs reported that the poor were not only members of the human family. but deeds. On the way. Worse conditions prevailed in towns where “doors and the streets haunted by walking preaching in victorian england 219 “Come ye blessed of my Father. Following the Catholic tradition of the Stations of the Cross.

6 February 1836.220 jessica a. 658. O’Connell had had collected up to £42. sheetz-nguyen representing the Christ. parishioners understood the intimate connection between the Virgin and her son. The Albion accused Daniel O’Connell of using a plea for “almsgiving” as a suspect. Containing A Sermon for every Sunday and Holiday in the Year. the Virgin and Mother of God. For example.. the preacher sought to persuade believers as to the miraculous nature of faith by reading a verse from Matthew 11:4–5: Go relate to John what you have seen and heard. the lepers are cleansed. meaning that she was prepared to do what God asked at the annunciation of her 45 There was an underlying trope of contention between Protestants and Catholics that conflated fund raising with something traitorous. gathered money and support for Briggs’ charity in English. if effective strategy. p. Protestants criticized Catholics for their unrelenting requests for money and in the process merged religion and politics. 659. see “Abundant History: Marian Apparitions as Alternative Modernity. and blessed is he that is not scandalized in me. as much reverence. the deaf hear. as much veneration and adoration as we give. 679.48 Teaching the truths regarding the conception of the Virgin marked the next and important point. Politics. And for Good Friday With Several Occasional Discourses (Baltimore. also formed a special genre of sermons in the Victorian Catholic Church. and even in a greater degree than to her Divine Son. a considerable sum (Albion. 46). Since Mary was the handmaid of the Lord. 12–26. p.” in “ ‘Abundant History”: A Forum’. and therefore worthy to become the Mother of God. the poor have the Gospel preached to them. A Journal of News. 1851). Welsh. the blind see. 46 The Catholic Pulpit. In one instance. and that “the Church which Jesus founded on a rock should last while time itself should endure”. p.. particularly when politicians took up the cause of the poor Irish. the lame walk. for fund raising. Orsi and others.” Historically Speaking 9 (2008).45 The theme of the Blessed Mother. For a thoughtful discussion of complexities surrounding Marian devotions as explained by Robert A. p. as Catholics. In an unsigned sermon given prior to 1851 at the Saint John’s Wood Church of Our Lady.46 The priest boldly claimed that Perhaps there is nothing so strongly objected against us. than that we give to the Virgin Mother of Jesus as much homage. 47 Ibid.000. the dead rise again. that she was conceived without sin by the incarnation of the Holy Spirit.47 Even though the Church was buffeted with much criticism over this particular point. 48 Ibid. and Literature. or Scottish Catholic chapels. .

52 “Roman Fallacies and Catholic Truths. 75–77. she served as a role model and an intercessor with her son in Heaven. as in the Holy Trinity. the orator petitioned his listeners to “bow down before her shrine” and to invoke and implore her assistance in the journey towards a pure soul and service for God. published in the Church of England Quarterly Review in 1849. and disquietudes” that kept the loyal Christian from having a contrite heart in that most “degenerate” of preaching in victorian england 221 mission. relics. 54 Kevin L. According to John Henry Newman.51 The Roman Catholic belief system tried the patience of some British theologians. or those Ibid. 71. and the canonization of saints. according to Newman.” The Church of England Quarterly Review 26 (1849).. detractors believed the worst about Roman Catholics. heretical. 244. 53 John Henry Newman. 1829–1850. and non-biblical”.” Recusant History 22 (1994). especially when the faithful found themselves in times of need. the faithful were united with God because the saints served as their advocates in Heaven. 689–90. 682. Protestants commonly viewed Catholics as weak-minded fanatics subject to “unaccountable persuasion or fancy”. cruel. pp. dissensions. the listeners were urged to humble themselves and to forget past “feuds. religious images. usurpatious. Morris. Lectures on the Present Condition of Catholics in England (London.49 In the next part of the sermon. p. 683–89. 51 Ibid. culturally inferior. worship of angels.54 “Superstitious”.52 Phrases such as “ritualism” and “papism” instantly served as iconic and recognizable code words or markers of prejudice. despotic. 50 49 . Ibid.. proof of misguided ways presented itself in the establishment of a Roman Catholic community of women who had migrated from Lancashire to Warwickshire and published a set of tracts that promoted adoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the “Host”. Townsend’s “Roman Fallacies and Catholic Truths”. The number three.50 In parting.53 Indeed. a code word for ignorant.. and perseverance of a vocation. justification. played a role in the sermon as well. as three petitions to Mary for help aided in confirming the choice. the preacher explained the role of saints in the life of the church. “Rescuing the Scarlet Woman: The Promotion of Catholicism in English Literature. superstitious. p. By honoring and venerating Mary and the saints. the 19th. Englishmen knew. To do this. In this assessment of the Catholic Church. 1892). as evidenced by the Reverend H. pp. that “Catholicism was unpatriotic.

the estimated Roman Catholic population in England. The clergy wrote sermons in hopes of retaining or retrieving the Irish back into the fold through the sacraments and raising money to provide Catholic education for the working poor. South of the Thames. to the Re-establishment of the Hierarchy in 1850. Lord John Russell (1792–1878) and others called the restoration an act of “Papal Aggression”. 2 (London.” translated and reprinted from Civiltà Cattolica. The challengers called for “any gentleman on the hustings to stand forward” and oppose this infraction against the state. Scotland. . His last post was as canon at Saint Chads. Flanagan was born in 1814. ed. 2 (London. Much work in both the temporal and spiritual worlds needed to be done. 5 August 1865.222 jessica a.” in Bibliographical History of English Catholics. Joseph Gillow (London. Edwin Hodder. A History of the Church in England. sheetz-nguyen believing in fairies. and an offensive stance in terms of theology. from the Earliest Period. Church of England. The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury K. and presented lectures and sermons that frequently reflected a defensive posture on behalf of the Irish. 1886). Easing the Plight of the Poor: Nicholas Wiseman and Henry Edward Manning Newman’s mid-century conversion had sparked English Catholics to petition Rome for restoration of the hierarchy. in the Southwark diocese. pp.G. The Month 2 (1865). Members of the Lords ridiculed the pope who invoked the blessings of the Blessed Virgin upon the appointment of English clergy. Catholic theologians wrote. and the public conscience of Great Britain.58 According to The Month. congregations of 55 Thomas Flanagan. p. 324–31. was a term most closely associated with the poor Irish. 1902).5 million. 58 Ibid. 1857). Roman Catholic churches and chapels had increased by 108 per cent. 458. 29 July 1865 and the Weekly Register. 56 “Charles Langdale. 118–22. 57 “The Religious Statistics of the World.. and Wales stood at 7. See The Tablet. pp. He remained at the college until he became a professor. 493. published.57 In the diocese of Westminster. educated at Sedgely Park School and proceeded to Oscott College for high studies. 491.55 Pius IX (1846–78) restored the ecclesiastical offices of the Roman Catholic Church in England on 29 September 1850 by translating the regions under the Vicars Apostolic to dioceses headed by bishops.56 By 1865. p. 4. Birmingham. the parish size rose by 27 per cent.

3. pp.. A Plea for the Rights and Liberties of Religious Women with Reference to the Bill Proposed by Mr. Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England (Columbia. Hartring. 64 The Westminster Diocese encompassed London and its surrounding regions north of the Thames. p. 1903]. guardians of the poor excluded priests and nuns from visiting the incarcerated in jails and inmates of Poor Law workhouses. Bermondsey.. pp. Richmond. The Law of Superstitious Uses attempted to stop nuns and priests from accepting honoraria for reciting prayers for the dead. p. Lacy (London. English biases against Catholics expanded from attacks on superstitious practices to the Catholic tradition of “unfettered” care for the poor. 60 59 . 62–63. appointed by the Pope to lead the diocese of Westminster64 and charged with meeting the needs of destitute Irish Catholics who Ibid. 95). MO. 1864).60 Striking at the heart of Catholic tradition of giving aid to the poor. 1660–1960 (Cambridge. 1.A. 493. R. The Southwark Diocese comprised districts south of the Thames. 61 David Owen. London Catholic Missions from the Reformation to the Year 1850 [London.62 The “Religious Houses Bill”. 63 Ibid. 19. 201.61 The second proposed bill required inspection and registration of all convents in England to ensure that “females” were not being forcibly detained therein. 1982). English Philanthropy. with a Special Reference to its Practice in the Cuckoo-farm School at Hanwell (London. 62 Bishop William Ullathorne. Lambeth. which required government inspection of all religious houses. Bishop Ullathorne. 1851). p. xi. Guardians resisted the transfer of Roman Catholic children from workhouse boarding schools to certified Roman Catholic Poor Law boarding schools. p.63 One of the leading champions of the poor was Nicholas Patrick Wiseman. A Plea for the Rights and Liberties of Religious Women. who hoped that “manly and gentlemanly” as well as Christian sentiments would finally prevail. failed because of the concerted efforts of Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham. The Catholic Directory [London. Leach. To lay claim to and maintain control of the Poor Law preaching in victorian england 223 religious women and clergymen in England and Scotland had risen by 137 per cent in twenty-five years. They baptized Roman Catholic children and educated in them accordance with the Anglican catechism.59 The growth of Catholic communities challenged the status quo and resulted in persistent and undeniable bigotry. The Legalised Perversion of Catholic Children in the English Workhouses. See Walter Arnstein. and Kew (Johanna H. 1964). including Greenwich. two bills seeking to curb the work of consecrated women and men went before Parliament. 1871]. p.

Marmion. Luke 18:13”. “as if the rich should compare themselves with the poor or the poor with the rich or nation with nation. He explained the purpose of his sermon.69 He asked. Compared with Its Moral Conditions: A Sermon Delivered to St. rather than the other. pp.224 jessica a. abandoned. he was giving sermons in London and then Rome. Schiefen.68 Wiseman continued to the crux of his concern. 69 Ibid. 1850). p. 70 Ibid. 1850 (London. 3. John’s Catholic Church. His early Catholic preaching reflects his rationale for leaving the Church of England.” Recusant History 17 (1984). Wiseman gave a homily that pulled the strings of guilt in his listeners’ ears. who thinks of them?”70 Wiseman accused his listeners of being arrogant because they considered the destitute as “a class beneath” themselves. pp. on Sunday 28th July. The Social and Intellectual State of England. collecting money for the indigent. Compared with Its Moral Conditions at Saint John’s Church. with the intention of completing the “unfinished pile of rocks and of helping the poor”. a recent convert who would become archbishop of Westminster after Wiseman’s death in the spring of 1865. p. Manning had begun his career at Oxford. Wiseman had delivered a sermon entitled The Social and Intellectual State of England. Salford. “As for the really poor.67 Drawing on pride and envy. 69. “The Beginnings of the Catholic Poor Schools in England. 68 Ibid. 3. I say unto you.. starving. these homilies show the work of a 65 J.65 A few months prior to the official announcement restoring the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to England. 3. sheetz-nguyen could not educate their children. By 1852. or age with age”.. neglected. He exhorted them to rid their hearts and minds of prideful thoughts. and their apathy meant that they were committing sins of omission because they failed to care for the most needy in society. 320. that this man went down to his house justified. 3. offering his view of faith and placing his spiritual trust under the new umbrella of Roman Catholicism. two of the seven deadly sins. 67 Ibid.. Nicholas Wiseman and the Transformation of English Catholicism. 66 Nicholas Wiseman.. where he trained as an Anglican cleric.66 Wiseman opened his sermon with “Amen. p. and warned parishioners not to draw comparisons with others. which was. much less go to Mass. 15–16. 185. Wiseman’s efforts at relieving the poor were aided by Henry Edward Manning. Salford. p. to collect money for the parish of Saint John Salford.P. in plain speaking. .

the master heresy of the English race is to deny the presence of any infallible authority upon earth”. those who believed in the word of Christ.72 Two years hence. 72 Henry Edward preaching in victorian england 225 theologian. that even though all men could read scriptures. 1853 in the Church of Saint Gregory the Great. Manning claimed that Thomas’ doubts ultimately glorified the “Son of Man”. 27–28. and historian. the 7th-century restorer of Christianity to England. 55–56. Manning explained his difficulties as he understood them. served his mission and supported the power of the Church. He observed that there were doubters and challengers. The sermons made three main points: that faith cannot exist without certainty. as I have said before. Southwark. he argued. and that the scriptures were analogous to a last will and testament. in Rome (London. philosopher. Manning delivered four sermons on “the grounds of faith” at Saint George’s Church. beginning with the various forms of religious opinion that had sprung up out of the Anglican Church over three centuries. “Holy Scripture is Holy Scripture only in the right sense of Holy Scripture”. ones who were “cold and slow of heart” and who “criticize and object” because they were looking for proof without 71 Henry Edward Manning. 5. This lineage was important to Manning because he wanted his listeners to appreciate the work of the Apostles and saints.73 Parishioners heard him teaching as an Englishman. In sum. The Certainty of Divine Faith: A Sermon Preached on the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. he wrote: “For. an authentic testimony that required correct interpretation. an expatriate in the Eternal City. The Grounds of Faith: Four Lectures Delivered to Saint George’s Church. Christians needed the guidance of Rome because the untrained mind and soul could not properly interpret the texts. pp. 73 Henry Edward Manning. p. 1852). Manning built on this thesis in a set of sermons delivered at the church of Saint Gregory on the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle.” Sermons on Ecclesiastical Subjects: with an Introduction on the Relations of England to Christianity (Dublin. . Southwark (London. Teaching first about the Gospel story of the doubting saint. 1863). “Introduction: The Relations of England to Christianity.71 A year later. 1854). pp. Finding solace and clarity in the Church of Rome. In “The Relations of England to Christianity: England’s Master Heresy”. who established his allegiance by opening his sermon with a litany of ecclesiastical connections between the Holy See and Saint Augustine. in Rome. He blamed England’s monarchs for placing the Church in England in “open contradiction and almost perpetual controversy”.

. p. O Emmanuel). the Irish. Yet Gregory was not the apostle who accomplished the Christianization of England. The History of the Book of Common Prayer. Ibid. 77 Ibid. who left Gregory’s home on Caelian hill in Rome to achieve this goal. were re-entering England to mingle with its people and restore the faith of Rome.74 Ultimately. and “O antiphons.g. This achievement was left to Saint Augustine. 29. Manning jubilantly told his listeners – who. p. on ours it is a faith that knows no doubt.. O Sapientia. (London. were British – “Gregory is still living and giving life. sheetz-nguyen which they could not and would not believe. The tradition of the antiphon – verses from the Psalms sung during Lauds and Evensong – dates from the 8th century. over whom man has no power. those who kept the faith. seven “O” antiphons were part of the Magnificat that signified preparations for the feast of the Nativity. pp. Maude. 75 74 . where he intended to teach the word of God to the Saxons. See Orby Shipley. he remarked that it was in this role that Saint Gregory headed to Britain.. 29. not wealth. 9.226 jessica a. the prelate argued. The practice in the Church of England is discussed in J. p. 1911). O Adonai.” The Catholic Encyclopedia.. 27. This is what England needs. pluck up every root and fibre of self. more likely than not. Manning observed that while the Catholic Church had been suppressed for hundreds of years. Purify our hearts. 1872). p. Herbermann et al. A Glossary of Ecclesiastical Terms (London. Addressing the lives of the saints. the son of God (e. In the Roman Catholic tradition. 2nd ed. 1900). 173.76 Celebrating the lives of Saints Gregory and Augustine and their work in England. whence is this undying life? On thy part is the presence of the Incarnate Word.75 In seeking to carry the idea of the Church’s mission on earth to contemporary Britain. Twelve centuries have passed. not intellect. but the supernatural grace of faith. but the work of faith is here”.77 Drawing on the liturgical practice of the “antiphon”. it was by faith that man united his reason with God. p. when he died. Charles G.. he was revered by his colleagues as an ecclesiastical scholar but hailed by Ibid. he jubilantly exclaimed: O imperishable Church of God! On whom time falls light. 78 Ibid.. 76 Ibid. 325. 59–60. 9 (New York.78 These sermons and lectures demonstrate the broad spectrum of Manning’s interests and lucidly explain why. ed. p.H. faith that demonstrated itself in simplicity and sincerity. 20–22.. and fill us with Thine own unchanging Presence. pp. Each antiphon provided another name for Christ. not power (though all be good because gifts of God).

In London alone. Poor Laws.” Sessional Papers. that God takes the side of the good or virtuous man. Manning wanted to know how preaching and the character of the person declaiming his beliefs could shape and influence society. Rather. Annual Report. Manning embodied the Tridentine teaching that education and religion went hand in hand. 1867–68. 1843). In fact. Annual Report. 83 Henry Edward Manning. 154. Westminster Diocesan Education Fund. A Charge Delivered at the Ordinary Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Chichester in July 1843 (London. 1867–68. he turned the table on politics by politicizing spiritual beliefs and turning faith into action.” appendix. 1861. 8.” Fortnightly Review 43 (1888).81 In 1868 a diocesan report stated that more than 60 percent of the children listed as Catholics in these workhouses had been orphaned. Westminster Diocesan Education Fund. 1868). appendix. 36. “What is to be done?” In response. II. Annual Report. theological. each 79 Henry Edward Manning.79 Like Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Lenin. Manning believed. on Drury Lane and Charles Street. as Joseph Butler argued. before they will believe us”. Manning wrote. p. 81 House of Commons. p. “Roman Catholic Children in Metropolitan Workhouses and Schools.83 Upon being appointed inspector of diocesan schools by Cardinal Wiseman. . not historical. more than 10. Such Catholic schools had been established in the lowliest districts of Central London. or born out of wedlock. Westminster Diocesan Education Fund. close to the end of his life. “a starving man has a natural right to his neighbour’s bread”. he channeled his energies through his connections with wealthy English Catholics to promote the transfer of all Roman Catholic children from “Protestant Workhouses” to Roman Catholic certified Poor Law boarding schools and to obtain equal funding from Poor Law guardians for their support. or political. p. p. “We must be the thing we preach. 1867–68 (London. “Distress in London. 82 Commons. 10. Manning dared to preaching in victorian england 227 British Catholics as the “people’s Cardinal”.000 Catholic children were reportedly admitted to Poor Law workhouses and boarding schools between 1859 and 1867.82 Putting faith into action. His greatest interests were practical. 45. He argued that too many people spent too much energy debating whether the source of wisdom for the church should flow from the Bible.80 This statement expressed the primary message of Manning’s Anglican and Catholic days: that an individual had an obligation to be faithful to the Church and the Church had a responsibility to work with and on behalf of the poor. 80 Henry Edward Manning. writing. deserted. “Metropolitan Workhouses (Roman Catholic Children) Return to an order of the House of Commons.

separate was not equal. who joined the brothers of Saint Philip Neri at the Oratory. sheetz-nguyen year after the restoration of the hierarchy. and stated that it taught prayer and increased trust. Leach argued that Poor Law guardians denied Catholic children their right to learn their catechism and practice the religion of their parents. was not suited to a church. Ibid. p.86 Leach exhorted Catholics to listen. including the members of the wealthy Brompton Oratory community. p. he claimed. Yet.88 Others helped Wiseman and Manning too.000 for support of poor children. . 703. 27. p.” Catholic World (1865). and to try to understand the political nature of his cause: Some might object to me. he enlisted the help of wealthy English Catholics. he feared the 84 85 86 87 88 89 “Catholic Progress in London. 25. a self-identified “Catholic Englishman”. p.. especially relating to the Catholic poor in the workhouse. Ibid.” Catholic World (1865). regarding the inheritance the poor have in the Church of Christ”.A. a thousand or more children were added to school rolls. As director of the Westminster Diocesan Education Fund. clearly expressed in a lecture with the inflammatory title of the “Legalised Perversion of English Catholic Children in the Workhouse”. Ibid. 25. “Catholic Progress in London. let those be blamed who studiously shut us out of every more availing channel for the public witness of our sentiments. Leach claimed that the “cause is one. Further.84 Manning politicized the place of the Roman Catholic Church in England by protesting against the inequities of the poor law system and by developing a public–private partnership between the poor law guardians and the Church. Leach. Leach. 28. Frederick William Faber.228 jessica a.. whose interests R. to take his address seriously. if it were not. Faber marveled at the gift of faith. Legalised Perversion of Catholic Children in the English Workhouses. 703.89 Another convert and follower of Newman. a time of penitence for all Catholics.87 Acknowledging the politics of poverty. He had prepared this homily for the Lenten season. Written at the request of Cardinal Wiseman. In this talk.. – that the subject being political.85 The Month then published this Sunday afternoon presentation that was delivered in Hanwell. who supplied no less than £12. directly and poignantly confronted the problem of London workhouse children in a brief outline of a sermon titled “The Workhouse Grievance”.

he argued: It is no answer to say they would not be there if their parents did not consent. the group founded in 1847 to “train up children in the purity and sanctity of the Holy Catholic faith. congregating in “our maze of courts”. preaching in victorian england 229 “last times” were near and that he was witness to the days of the Antichrist. Manning queried. 5. 92 Ibid. p. Hence. Every Catholic father and mother unless they be sordid. In closing. The only thing humanity could do was to call upon the Father of the fatherless to “get them the light of faith”. ed.. good Catholics “ought to do penance” unless they made a bona fide effort to save them. p. the second collection would be taken to aid the “Poor School Committee”.E. Next. catechisms. and rise up in unconsciousness and insensibility at the spiritual death of thousands before our eyes?”93 These children were hidden. and teachers. could anyone “eat and drink.” The Times (London). J. How. somewhere between 7.92 According to Manning. Hunger and thirst and nakedness drive them to the workhouse. Their parents do not consent. 11 June 1866. p. lie down. because with faith all things were possible.000 and 12. he argued. Manning claimed.91 On this Sunday.. . These remarks stemmed from a dire description of workhouse life wherein its existence was a “hidden wound” and its evil was so immense that it seemed beyond human strength to ameliorate. To deprive them of their faith tradition. Manning wrote about the plight of workhouse children. and largely neglected by their parents. Manning issued a pastoral to be read by all priests in the diocese of Westminster on 10 June 1866. object with all their heart and strength to the perversion of their child.90 After he succeeded Wiseman as archbishop. and sell their souls. and to protect them against seduction and robbery by which they may be stripped of their inheritance”. pp. prayers. 837–38. or the perversion and apostasy of one baptized child is a sorrow which breaks the heart of a father or a mother”. and their helplessness may give way 90 Frederick William Faber. 1866). 5. Dr. Children living in the workhouse were without “kith or kin” and clearly on their “dismal deathbeds”. was an act of fraud against God. The “ruin and depravity.000 Catholic children in London were without education. 93 Ibid. the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Bowden (London. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. who were being educated with Protestant books. 5. the workhouse was an object which demanded faith and prayers. For this. 91 “The Education of the Poor Roman Catholic Children of London: Pastoral from The Rev.

Manning argued for equity and fairness in pay and working hours for these part-time workers. he said “In the early morning of society.95 More pastoral efforts were forthcoming. For Manning. 97 Henry Edward Manning.94 Manning implored his parishioners to remember the bitterness of Catholic parents who would rather see their child in a “parish coffin” than in a Poor Law school. In 1887 and 1888.230 jessica a. for which their children cry around them. Rights and Dignity of Labour (London. Ibid. 5. p.. nor in the apathy of a man who is faint with hunger in the midst of hungry children. sheetz-nguyen under the temptations of meat and drink and warmth. especially in terms of religious rights and equitable funding. 11 March 1871. brings the faithful to acts of charity.. In a lecture entitled The Rights and Dignity of Labour that was delivered at Manchester. In the wake of the 1870 Education Act. in which the pontiff asserted that socialism should be regarded as heresy. labour was up and stirring before capital was awake”. from which emanate the spiritual blessings of God. Manning delivered a sermon at the Roman Catholic Church on Bunhill Row warning parents and relatives that they had to get their children enrolled in Catholic schools. receiving life Ibid. 96 “Archbishop Manning on the School Board. p. When the Cardinal took a stand on political economy.96 Catholics argued that receiving the sacraments. 4–5. a bitterness that could only be relieved by “prayers to open the doors of these houses of bondage. pp.97 Manning enumerated the privileges of one’s labor as a capital investment. Manning went across London. … There is no consent in this. rather than the silent hand of the market and the principle of free trade. Profit should be met and checked by a moral condition. and by your alms” to aid the poor children of the future. east and west.” The Tower Hamlets Independent. 1887). to carry the message of needed reforms in the Poor Law system. He wished to ensure that young pupils would learn about the “Holy Scriptures” in keeping with Catholic tradition. Despite Pius IX’s “Syllabus of Errors”. 5. p. The right of the laborer to work for whom he pleased and to enjoy the fruits of his work was indisputable. he gingerly broached the subject. 95 94 . Manning engaged in helping the London dock workers settle a lengthy strike with dock owners. Manning called for a count of Catholic children attending public schools in order to assess the overall need for Catholic education in London. equal to property. 6. “capital” was “dead money”.

Indeed. 23. pp. “Distress in London II: ‘A Note on Outdoor Relief.99 In keeping with his idea that there was a moral component to the acquisition of great sums of money. 101 Joseph Butler.. Language in the able hands of the Victorians proved a valuable and effective tool for promoting social values.E. and a starving man has a natural right to his neighbour’s bread. the pressures of rebuilding the church on earth in England came with very special challenges.100 In sum. meshing his spiritual credentials with his political power. So strict is this natural right that it prevails over all positive laws of property. which were expressed in the striking brilliance of the language used in English Catholic sermons. sometimes many families in one room. and lectures that aimed to serve the needs of the community. the elect. but the homes of the poor in London are often very miserable.98 Manning. The Analogy of Religion. 100 Henry Cardinal Manning. these things ought not to go on.’ ” Fortnightly Review 43 (1888). the piling-up of wealth like mountains in the possession of classes or of individuals. 14. The state of the houses – families living in single rooms. for the inspired. Ibid. pamphlets. ed. No commonwealth can rest on such foundations. a corner a piece. The accumulation of wealth in the land.. 153–56. p. p. cannot go on if these moral conditions of our people are not healed. and to the food necessary for the sustenance of life. Necessity has no law. we have seen that Catholic preaching reached out to feed both body and soul by following the injunction from the Council of Trent to nourish the people with Ibid. W. These things cannot go on. a “small still voice” spoke to them and lit the way for a life of virtue over vice. summarized his concerns in these words: What may be the homes in our great manufacturing districts I do not know. 1907). Manning expanded his thought in an article published a year later in Fortnightly Review where he claimed: The obligation to feed the hungry springs from the natural right of every man to life. 99 98 .catholic preaching in victorian england 231 only from the power and skill of the laborer. Gladstone (London.101 Conclusion From the time of Catholic Emancipation to the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in England. 60–61.

clearly demonstrated the importance attached to faith and works in the Catholic community.102 The mystical ritual of the Mass. However. 102 Waterworth. While not definitive. The Council of Trent. sheetz-nguyen wholesome words and to preach the things necessary for salvation through brief and plain discourse in order to obtain the glory of heaven. After the restoration of the hierarchy. spiking political awareness and clarifying the place of the papacy in the life of the Church and the separation of spiritual and temporal worlds resonated in sermons.232 jessica a. priests were expected to become models of virtue. 28. offered a place of peace and safety from the profanity of the world. executed for the most part in Latin. So. Clearly. so also did the Victorian leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in England accomplish this goal through preaching and teaching. this initial exploration of Catholic preaching in Victorian Britain offers a sampling of exemplary Catholic sermons. to teach the faithful preparation for the sacraments and to enlist the giving of alms to the poor. more study. p. Nonetheless. just as the Council of Trent required priests. as shepherds to tend and feed their flocks. these remained a primary goal of all Catholic sermons. . as witnessed through the sermons and publications of Henry Edward Manning. the politicization of religion. research and writing remain in the future. and the repetition of the liturgy may have offered more solace than the sermon.

n. potted history. Ryle. and aversion to Popery.). then. What Do the Times Require? (London. and the occasional layman. that the sheer quantity of anti-Catholic sermons tracks fairly closely to the sheer quantity of anti-Catholic uproar in the culture at large.d. . anti-Catholic catechisms. Ryle1 The 19th-century reader seeking to arm him. An enterprising preacher like the indefatigable (and apparently inexhaustible) Baptist Charles Haddon Spurgeon could publish a new sermon every week. in 1829. the Catholic 1 J. which was once almost universal in this realm. ex-priests. p. It is not surprising. and certainly in the same year as they originally delivered it. dread. tracts and pamphlets galore.C.ANTI-CATHOLIC SERMONS IN VICTORIAN BRITAIN Miriam Elizabeth Burstein There is no longer that general dislike. the sermon came closest to the tract or pamphlet in its ability to respond almost instantly to the ebb and flow of particular Protestant causes. Obviously. ranging from John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments (full or abridged) to Anthony Gavin’s The Red Dragon or Master-Key of Popery. 1. The edge of the old British feeling about Protestantism seems blunted and dull. and didactic fiction. magazines dedicated to the Protestant cause. reprints of earlier Protestant classics.or herself against the blandishments of Rome could turn to a number of useful sources: lecture series. whether attended live or read in their published form. –J. but even relatively unknown clergymen might see an individual sermon through the press fairly rapidly. there would be some delay between the sermon’s initial oral delivery and its eventual appearance in the press. Historians have consistently identified the early 1850s as the high water mark in Victorian anti-Catholic sentiment. In this veritable cacophony of texts competing for the reader’s attention. Catholic deconversion narratives written by ex-nuns. thanks to the resentment rapidly compounding on a series of perceived slights to the Protestant establishment: first.C. which might be speeded by a full printing or report in a dedicated journal like The Pulpit.

Jenkins (Camden Fourth Series) 40 (London.I. 1845–c. 2006). which funded the Irish college dedicated to training Catholic priests. with honesty of purpose & courage”. even treasonous invasion of the nation’s boundaries. Catholics could matriculate at Oxford and Cambridge. 1858–1865. although it was temporarily fanned back into flames by the controversy over Ritualism (or AngloCatholicism) within the Church of England itself. see D. and finally. Machin. 3 Sir John Trelawny. widely understood as a subversive. The Catholic Question in English Politics. In terms of legislation. of course. 1982). much of the uproar had died down. CA. 1964). then. 1820 to 1830 (Oxford. in 1850. and politicians soon discovered that it was not actually enforceable without great embarrassment to all concerned. MO. although such liberalization was not greeted with much enthusiasm by the Catholic hierarchy. did not neatly follow those of anti-Catholic sentiment in high For general overviews. was the last significant attempt at passing anti-Catholic legislation – or. 1990). which arose and died during the 1820s. the overall trend in the 19th century was undeniably positive for both Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics. the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England.2 There was also ongoing Protestant angst about the noticeable failure of the so-called Second Reformation in Ireland.3 By the end of the century. John Wolffe. By 1860. The rhythms of anti-Catholic sentiment in the wider culture. The Protestant Crusade in Great Britain 1829–1860 (Oxford. beginning in 1845. the debate over renewing the Maynooth Grant. NY. Catholic Emancipation: A Shake to Men’s Minds (Oxford. Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England: Mr. at least. While Sir John Trelawny might write in 1865 that the ardent anti-Catholic campaigner Charles Newdigate Newdegate was definitely receiving a more serious hearing than formerly. The Parliamentary Diaries of Sir John Trelawny. 1993). Frank H.G. 1992). Popular Anti-Catholicism in MidVictorian Britain (Lewiston. it was still the case that Newdegate’s pet project – inspecting monasteries and convents – conspicuously failed to gain much traction. T. For Newdegate’s career. 318. 1890 (London. then. Wallis. thanks to “time and perseverance. 2 .T. Wendy Hinde. 1991). Paz. 1992) and G. Popular Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Victorian England (Stanford. and for the Catholic Emancipation Act. Newdegate and the Nuns (Columbia.234 miriam elizabeth burstein Emancipation Act. ed. The Public Worship Regulation Act (1874). Erik Sidenvall questions the extent of the decline in anti-Catholic sentiments after 1860 in After Anti-Catholicism: John Henry Newman and Victorian Britain. p.A. who feared that an ecumenical learning environment would undermine students’ faith. intended to outlaw Ritualist practices. see Walter Arnstein. quasi-anti-Catholic legislation – in the 19th century.

the Church Association. were part of the regular calendar. the Irish evangelical George Croly. only one clergyman. Hence the ongoing market for anti-Catholic fiction. Elizabeth Hely Walshe. Alice Lang. including the Catholic Emancipation Act and the Papal Aggression. p. The Religious Tract Society regularly published anti-Catholic children’s fiction into the early 20th century. Others responded to specific agitations of the time. This would appear to confirm Sheridan Gilley’s observation that “the Irish in England do not significantly . and. delivered in 1835. 1849). the rhetoric of these sermons does not change 4 George Croly. as evidenced in the work of mid. most notably the Scottish Reformation Society. let alone fellow parliamentarians. some anti-Catholic associations. The argument is based on a sample of over one hundred sermons. and the Protestant Truth Society. the internal failures of modern Protestantism. one wishes to count allusions to the Whore of Babylon). These themes cluster into recognizable groups: the self-propagation of Catholicism. Nevertheless. although it occasionally ventures beyond those chronological markers. the emphasis on erotic perversions of various sorts. so common in both nonfictional and fictional anti-Catholic texts (unless. of course. Papal Rome. 5. and Emma Jane Worboise. Similarly. Still others. the sermons do not touch on some topics that were popular in other forms of anti-Catholic propaganda – in particular. Emma Leslie.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 235 politics. A Sermon (London. from the late 1820s into the 1860s. George Sargent. Some of them. Notably.4 Finally. The Principles and Practises [sic] of Rome Alike Condemned by the Gospel. the spiritual and ecclesiastical histories of Catholicism. Most of these sermons were delivered in recognizable clusters. were part of the international Reformation tercentenary celebrations. And the anti-Catholic and anti-Ritualist agitator John Kensit achieved martyr status – in the eyes of sympathizers.and late-Victorian novelists like Emily Sarah Holt. such as those commemorating the collapse of the Popish Plot on 5 November. In this sampling. managed to survive the 19th (and indeed the 20th) century intact. such cultural anti-Catholicism no longer had much use when it came to rousing voters. blamed the Irish in this matter. finally. and the role of Irish immigrants in strengthening Catholicism’s hold in England. at least – when he was killed during a riot in Liverpool in 1902. This chapter analyzes the most popular themes of sermons published during the hottest years of anti-Catholic sentiment. ways of revitalizing Protestantism and beating back the Catholic threat. most of them evangelical and High Church Anglican.

g. <books. As Peter Toon correctly observes.. provided a context within which Protestants (or. I: 1830–50. 110. 2nd ed. or advocate persecution of the Other.M. To the Protestant. p. its unifying theme is this: clergymen did not preach anti-Catholic sermons merely to warn against the Other. although there are significant shifts in emphasis at particular moments of crisis (e. rather. providential drama of salvation. Anti-Catholicism. noting that he had last heard Maguire criticizing Roman Catholicism two decades previously (Orthodox London: Or. Evangelical Theology. pp. p. [London. Davies listened to the Rev. there might well be Catholics in the room. 1979). but more importantly to guide the auditor to a godly life. it was all figure in the enormous specifically religious literature of Victorian anti-Catholicism” (“Protestant London. sermons on the Royal Supremacy during the debates over the Catholic Emancipation Act). but because it answered to a basic. accessed 6 July 2007]. My thanks to Arnold Hunt for this reference. in fact.4 [1969]. in the early 1870s. Yet the purpose of a sermon is to expound the Scriptures. 5 Peter J. 1830–60. and conscious of his or her place in the divine. not simply to lead the auditor to a right interpretation of the text. 212). a firm believer in the Bible as the sole thing needful for salvation. 108–22). Roman Catholicism propagated itself not because it was true. Phases of Religious Life in the Church of England.5 That is. Toon’s observation applies to what follows here. 1874. a point that extends to the evangelical response to Catholicism itself. there is a resounding “negativism” in evangelical responses to the Tractarian challenge.” Recusant History 10. non-Roman Catholic Catholics) could name what was uniquely Scriptural about Protestantism. yet perverted. as articulated in the sermons. 77. At the most literal level. human need. 6>. they preached anti-Catholic sermons to warn their auditors against themselves. Toon. clergymen shaped the ideal Protestant: at war with his or her own fallen nature. Evangelical Theology 1833–1856: A Response to Tractarianism (Atlanta. 77. in the case of High Churchmen. Robert Maguire preach two very conventional anti-Catholic discourses to appreciative audiences. While this chapter is intended as a survey. In defining the morally compromised nature of Roman Catholic belief. For example. C. No-Popery and the Irish Poor. convert the Other.236 miriam elizabeth burstein markedly during the period under discussion. . Roman Catholicism was not simply different. evangelicals faced with the Tractarian critique of the post-Reformation Church of England generally resorted to what Toon calls the “reiteration of old Protestant truths”6 as opposed to developing a positive program.

1837. 1838). Chester Square. 8 Hugh M’Neile.7 To use a common turn of phrase. that it is emphatically the religion of human nature.909 (1839). 9 Henry Melvill. J. rpt. Hamilton. with a thorough security that its consequences may be averted. Roman Catholicism was a religion of human nature. Protestants meant that Roman Catholicism derived its authority not from the Scriptures. just one more manifestation of man’s postlapsarian nature. p. pp.N. Edward Bickersteth.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 237 too familiar. to any great extent.” in Lectures to the Young Men’s Christian Association. at Percy Chapel. . The Present Duties of the Protestant Churches. itself derives from 16th-century Protestant critiques of Catholic idolatry. Paul. Protestantism and Popery (London.). Oct. speaking in 1835. 231–33. the “natural heart of poor fallen man”. that the enlarged intelligence of the times. 1876). who can persuade himself of its truth. 16. are an ample security against the revival. 203–12. when they hastily pronounce. “Perverted Tradition the Bane of the Church.. 1837). the “proud and carnal heart”.9 Melvill. Michael’s Church. Eire. 2. The Romish Hierarchy in England: A Sermon Preached in St. But they quite forget. November 3rd. from Sermons. 1848–49 (London. tradition draws not on revealed truth. 14. and the increase of liberality. here articulates a position that remains consistent across the Victorian period – and. p. but instead on the minds and souls of postlapsarian man. 10 On the Reformation antecedents of the “religion of nature. 13. Catholic worship falsely consecrates and objectifies man’s impulses – and his worst impulses. p. on Sunday Morning. here defined 7 Respectively. passes into a position the most coveted by the mass of our race. as the prominent Irish evangelical Hugh M’Neile put it in a lecture to the Young Men’s Christian Association. 38. the diffusion of knowledge. Whereas.g. with the high and determined aim to renew it to conformity with God”. Josiah Pratt. By “religion of human nature”. Protestantism expresses “antagonism to human nature as it is. that Popery has no likelihood of being revived in an enlightened age. 9.” The Pulpit 36. at that. of a system so absurd and repulsive as Popery. 1986). Carlos M.H. as Developed in Their Respective Teaching and Worship. 1850 (London. “The Characteristics of Romanism and of Protestantism. 219. May 5. 1839. p.10 The intellectual who prides himself upon the effects of progress. War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (Cambridge. that in which sin may be committed. indeed.d. on Friday Evening.8 As Henry Melvill explained. As such. It emerged from and was perfectly suited to a “fallen heart”. but from entirely manmade traditions and rituals. 1839. n. and that he. Men would indeed persuade you.” see. e. London (London. Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. A Sermon Preached before the British Society for Promoting the Religious Principles of the Reformation.

however. The enlightened intellectual believes. this “enlightened” position mistakes the effect (“Popery”) for the cause. superstition. and Catholicism promises it: not by turning man away from his worst impulses. Roman Catholicism simply institutionalizes the base lusts that lurk in every human soul. and therefore easily resisted by the rightly-educated Christian. in our formality. . in our love of ostentatious display. that we reject Catholicism well-nigh instinctively.S. in our light thoughts of sin. it appears. Interpreted improperly. But he also tutors the good Protestant in the art of deciphering Roman Catholicism’s true meaning. Hawtrey argued during the debates over Emancipation. The Mystery of Iniquity. Once faced with this objectified vision of his hidden sins. 1827). Education slowly but surely perfects human consciousness. p. finds “security” in the postEnlightenment mind. however. For Melvill and others like him. at the Episcopal Jews’ Chapel. now represented as self-evidently “absurd and repulsive”. in our contempt of God’s word. in our love of cruelty. 5. “diffusion of knowledge”. For. in our carnal policy.S. in our attachment to blind traditions. but instead by claiming that he may sin with impunity. at the very least. – in all these things (and the seeds of all these evils are in us) we see the materials of which Popery is constructed. if we take these clergymen at their word. even erotically seductive. But Melvill’s rejoinder transfers “security” from the secular improvements purportedly standing in Catholicism’s way to the state of mind characteristic of all fallen selves. [i]n our self-righteous pride. Man indeed wants security.11 By repeating the pronoun “our”. that Catholicism is unnatural. Cambridge Heath… (London. Founded on the Analogy Between the Corruptions of Popery. the Protestant will be led to a greater reliance on Christ. a Warning to Protestants. Interpreted properly. in effect. Hawtrey forces the reader or listener to contemplate his unwitting collaboration with the powers that drive Roman Catholicism. then. Hawtrey. would be its own act of sinful pride. 1826. and the Corruptions of the Human Heart. 12. Roman Catholicism remains deeply. We are now so rational. To regard Roman Catholics as “the Other”. precisely because it is a mirror of man’s fondest and 11 C. and hypocrisy.238 miriam elizabeth burstein in pointedly secular terms (“enlarged intelligence”. it renders it less susceptible to the attractions of Catholicism. As C. Roman Catholicism leads the Protestant to reflect upon his own fallen nature. “increase of liberality”). Nov. A Sermon. Preached on Sunday.

R. and most men would rather engage in the implicit self-worship of idolatry than the total self-abasement of true Christianity. the Prebendary of Salisbury. Together with Reports of His Addresses in Italian. For that reason. Whish. Reported in Full by T. Gabrielle Ceraldi suggests “irresistible contagion” as one way of describing Catholicism’s frighteningly effective appeal. the Religion of the Bible. as the sensational antiCatholic lecturer Father Gavazzi told audiences. Phonographer. p. 1829. Preached on Thursday. and rev. are attractive precisely because they are manmade. in short. the boundary between Protestantism and Catholicism was itself far more porous than it might first appear: for what is Popery. but the substitution of the name for the spirit of a Christian? what. Mary Redcliff Church (Bristol. argued in 1829. A Sermon.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31 (2003). that the devout Roman Catholic is unconscious of the enormities which he practices. 1853). but the mistaking the shadow for the substance? what. Not surprisingly.12 We might add that the situation is even more threatening if Popish tendencies already reside in every apparently serious Protestant believer. Corrected and Authorized by Himself. 1829). in any event. as M. “ ‘Popish Legends and Bible Truths’: English Protestant Identity in Catherine Sinclair’s Beatrice. It must follow. p. to His Countrymen in New York.C. and spirit. Not Popery. before the crucified but exalted Redeemer?13 If all men yearn for “idols”. “On Relics and Images. but the bowing down to the idols of self and the world. then all men – even purportedly good Protestant men – are effectively Roman Catholics at heart. Madame Julie de Marguerites (New York. trans. at St. the Life of Father Gavazzi. Leland.” in Father Gavazzi’s Lectures in New York. instead of prostrating body. then. Father [Alessandro] Gavazzi. but the setting up of man in the place of God? what. material or otherwise. Whish. led Englishwomen on to Popery. Protestantism. Also. January 29. are merely a projection of all-too-human impulses instead of an 12 Gabrielle Ceraldi. such experiences cannot act as evidence in favor of Catholic truth. even wearing the cross as a fashion statement. 13 M. soul. In her reading of the anti-Catholic Scottish novelist Catherine Sinclair. 21. and Roman Catholicism is one of the purest (or impurest) expressions of that yearning. Whish’s rhetoric is clear enough: manmade images of the divine. . because they derive from non-scriptural origins and. The Roman Catholic epitomizes the bad reader. the nominal Christian. 367.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 239 darkest desires. 226. the demoralized slave. Being the Ninth Anniversary of His Present Majesty’s Accession to the Throne of the Protestant Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. his spiritual experiences must be immediately ruled out of court.R.

Jenny Franchot notes that “[i]t [Roman Catholicism] played the fiction to Protestantism’s truth. 14 . Now best-remembered for Salathiel the Immortal (1829). on Monday. Observers called the Roman church a yarn spinner.) Note that Vance’s position implies that maintaining what would be called “pure” religious belief is difficult. or to be kept at a distance without a perpetual effort”. so far from being an argument in favour of the practice. a powerful argument against it. CA. p. is. 1994]. and therefore takes refuge in the illegitimate consolations of dealing with lesser divinities. January 29.). Preached at the Parish Church of St.240 miriam elizabeth burstein authentic encounter with the divine. William Ford Vance argued that [t]he very comfort which many Roman Catholics say they feel in invoking the assistance and intercession of angelic spirits. 15 William Ford Vance. a Dublin native who found considerable success with English audiences. No clergyman rode this latter hobbyhorse harder than George Croly.16 The Protestant maintains a constant spiritual agon. On the Invocation of Angels. his Speaking of anti-Catholic rhetoric in antebellum American culture. Catholics therefore cannot testify. May 8.15 In this interpretation. as it were. participating in a series of sermons on Catholic errors delivered in the run-up to Emancipation. of eating the lotus. Roman Catholics exist in a state of permanent spiritual torpor – the equivalent. carefully monitoring his desires and avoiding recourse to those “comforts” that would lull. the weaker femininity to its superior masculinity. not upbraid. Hugh M’Neile had made this point explicit just two years earlier. Roman Catholic “comfort” is actually the comfort of the damned: the Catholic actively (if unconsciously) desires to avoid God. February 5.d. p. and the Virgin Mary: Two Sermons Preached at Tavistock Chapel. Saints. (Vance’s auditors would not have missed the implication that Catholicism was polytheistic. complaining that “[t]he spirit of Popery is too congenial to the nature of fallen man to be given up without a desperate struggle. The Abominations of Babylon. the depraved soul. for it shews what a strong tendency our fallen and depraved nature has to take comfort and pleasure in every thing except God himself. the failure to its progress. 1828 (London.14 Thus. Clement’s Danes. 12. 1828). 58. the Second on Tuesday. in the Course of Lectures on the Points in Controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants. 16 Hugh M’Neile. M’Neile makes clear. n. Strand. Drury Lane. A Sermon. before the Continental Society (London. turning out ever taller tales to meet the ‘pressing and practical’ demand for miracles in Rome” (Roads to Rome: The Antebellum Protestant Encounter with Protestantism [Berkeley. p. 1826. the First on Tuesday. 14). By contrast. on the contrary.

The Miracles of Scripture Contrasted with the Fictions of Popery. working according to an irrational inner logic that never finds a ground in the Bible’s objective truths. in his sermons. September 1850 (London. Walbrook… (London. By repeatedly relegating Catholic belief and practice to the world of fantastic make-believe. And no wonder. 9. Popery the Antichrist. Such inquiry is not self-reflexive.18 Roman Catholicism is. Stephen. but of the scriptures. 17 George Croly. as well as the layman. and he elsewhere indicted the Church for relying on “shallow impostures. although it presupposes that the inquirer feels discontented with the state of his soul. 1848). Brighton. no mercy. as in the Congregationalist John Angell James’ influential The Anxious Inquirer After Salvation Directed and Encouraged (1834). Preached in the Church of St. p. Croly could sound reasonably conciliatory: I call upon the priest of popery. Croly complained. childish. in its transformation of hard divine truths into soft. Croly. Relic-worship.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 241 successful novel about the Wandering Jew. for the erring. Five Sermons. I ask no more. in October and November 1851… (London. given what Croly thought of such teachings. even infantile. p. Catholicism becomes a religion of endless pliability.17 “Inquire” is a key verb in anti-Catholic polemic. pleasurable fictions. 6. Croly. albeit not confined to it. There is nothing in Catholic theology that “would not discredit the brains of a child”. Croly does not so much argue against Catholicism as deprive it of true theological content. Preached in St. p. and take up everything in our hands – Image-worship. Peter’s Church. p. to inquire. And the Coming Trial of Nations. On the surface. in a very real sense. and daring pretences to miracle”. Penances. A Sermon. 5. 1852). 19. not to mention “palpable absurdities”. 1850). Hence the less-than-conciliatory nature of this apparently conciliatory request. Preached in the Church of Saint Stephen Walbrook. The maxim of the Christian must be. Authentic inquiry must confine itself to the Bible alone. Croly was also an ardent campaigner against Popery. The Popish Primacy. Croly’s Catholicism is a virtual pawnshop of theological rubbish: We may walk through the great Romish Repository. since Croly’s “call” lumps Catholic traditions in with the “judgment of man”. George Croly. excluding any supplementary teachings. I solicit them to bring their principles not to the judgment of man. but is rather a matter of biblical study. for error. the inquiring Christian above all yearns to understand how to be saved. . Papal Rome. all compassion. 18 Respectively. Two Sermons on the Conversions to Popery. obsolete legends. Saintship.

loaded with the “dust” that indicates their decrepit and anachronistic state. Preached in Amblecote Church. with no regard to classification or relative importance. 20 19 .20 But biblical hermeneutics. such adjustments offend on multiple levels: they deprive Christ of his proper worship. How can a reader interpret the Scriptures when he cannot even tell the difference between a metaphor and a statement of fact? Protestant clergy frequently pointed to the doctrine Croly.242 miriam elizabeth burstein Indulgences. O’Malley has found in the anti-Catholic polemics of a writer like Charles Kingsley an “obsession with the epistemological crisis of language. 1851). Absolution. 89.21 For Grier. Their possible meanings thus collapse under the burden of their “tangible” materiality. 21 John W. all tangible. in its usual sense of logic and learning. O’Malley. with no clarification. Catholic rituals and doctrines mingle pell-mell. is superfluous. A Sermon on the Worship of Mary. John Grier claimed that the “ignorant and superstitious” are allowed to address the Virgin Mary as “ ‘The Refuge of Sinners’ ” and “ ‘The only hope of Sinners’ ”. 19. they trim religious belief according to the sophistication of the hearer. part first (London. Thus. they are obviously silly. and heaped in studied confusion. p. Catholic deceptiveness boiled down to a persistent confusion of the figurative with the literal. Stourbridge. Popish Primacy. and though disguised with antique dust. and Victorian Gothic Culture (Cambridge. whether by substituting the one for the other at strategic moments or collapsing the distinction between the two. were at stake. Croly implies. But Catholics. Sexual Deviance. Here. In their sensual immediacy. 12. controversy. Confusing the figurative and the literal can only lead to wild hermeneutical disarray. p. and they abuse language itself. would rather not handle the instruments of their own intellectual and spiritual subjection. Yet contempt for Catholic stupidity (personal or theological) coexisted alongside another thread in anti-Catholic polemic: a sense that Catholicism itself could not be mastered by the Protestant mind – or any other mind. Grier. p. Patrick R. At base. whereas elite believers are informed that “they are only figurative expressions”. which O’Malley links to anxieties over sexuality. Patrick R. as much as sexual identity. all lying before us. with the inability of an interpreter to know the stable truth of language’s meaning”.19 Croly transforms what he thinks is Catholicism’s outrageous materialism into a sign of its obvious intellectual decadence. Catholicism. 2006).

with homage which expresses no feeling. and with importunity which knows not what it urges?”23 Unlike the sacrament which becomes what it is supposed to merely signify. As David Ruell argued in 1828. if the bread and wine no longer remain. 1828. – A sacrament is “an outward sign of an invisible grace. for example) for signifieds.’ and even the priests conceive of their utterances as magical and efficacious” (The Faust Myth: Religion and the Rise of Representation [New York. 1828). then. the literal meaning of the words would destroy the very nature of a sacrament. but are actually turned into the body and blood of Christ. Ruell is arguing that Catholics improperly substitute a very corporeal. on Tuesday. In this particular case. Drury Lane. and therefore cannot be the true one. 2007]. in the Course of Lectures on the Points in Controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants (London. on Tuesday. On Praying in an Unknown Tongue: A Sermon Preached at Tavistock Chapel. 23 Charles Jerram. It was also possible to reverse direction and claim that Catholics also substituted signs (church rituals. in this. 22 David Ruell.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 243 of transubstantiation as the most egregious case of Catholic confusion on this subject. with sounds to which we attach no ideas. 1828).22 Note that Ruell’s argument pushes the flaw in Catholic reasoning a step further: not only do Catholics misunderstand the nature of the Real Presence. where is the “sign” in this sacrament? It is entirely gone. January 22. In particular. “[t]he Latin mass is experienced by the laity as ‘secret words. Whichever way the clergyman cared to take this argument. On the Administration of the Lord’s Supper to the Laity in One Kind: A Sermon Preached at Tavistock Chapel. very visible signified for what is supposed to be an “outward sign” – thereby reducing the sacrament to a purely materialist and implicitly cannibalistic act. This critique dates back to the Reformation. infinitely preposterous to draw near to him with unmeaning words. but also they fail to think through the relationship between the sign and its signified. in the Course of Lectures on the Points in Controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants (London. the Catholic babbles in the mistaken belief that the pure sounds of the words themselves confers some special relationship to God. David Hawkes argues that for Luther. 22–23. the end was clear enough: Catholics thrashed about in a net of linguistic confusion that was not so much proto-postmodernist as simply a mess. Protestants singled out the role of Latin in the Catholic liturgy: “Is it not. 28). 1828. the ne plus ultra of meaningless ritual. Drury Lane. pp. Catholic ritual perverts the very nature of language itself. March 18. p. 21. the liturgy empties itself of signifieds altogether. . p. stripping it of objective and subjective reference alike.” Now. and nothing remains but the thing signified.

Altholz. M. Christ. Hobart Seymour. A Sermon Preached at Tavistock Chapel. 25 See Josef L. shifting from argument to argument with the ease of a particularly agile mountain goat. complained that they are men who can say and then unsay. and when we drive them from one. Ruell’s and Grier’s recourse to the image of the conceptually confused Catholic itself had to share space with the Catholic as master rhetorician. as I am bold to declare in respect of the Romish Church. December 4. Blackfriars. and all the arts of sophistry are employed to blend them into one. Hobart Seymour.909 (1839). Here is undeniably the Romish doctrine. pp.and book-length. Drury Lane. As John Henry Owen grumbled. with all her pretensions to unity of faith. They at the same time hold directly opposite principles. 232.26 Catholicism is quite literally confused. who inveigled against Roman Catholicism at both sermon. 1828). with a facility that is peculiarly their own. 1839. The embattled 24 M.” The Pulpit 36. Catholic theology consists of such dizzying rhetorical operations writ large. something in which. (It did not help that the canonization of Alfonso Liguori suggested to British Protestants that the Catholic Church had formally approved of lying. they immediately have recourse for protection to the other. the speaker or writer engages in complex mental gymnastics without sensing any disturbance in the argumentative waters.1 (1975). . not clearcut categories. on Sunday Afternoon. and does its best to construct an apparently organic whole out of what ought to be clearly-defined parts. 26 John Henry Owen. 3. such a continued shifting of the ground. Ann’s Church. It deals in “shades”. that.244 miriam elizabeth burstein Nevertheless. there is an uniformity of opinion and sentiment among the members of an infallible church. and say. it is next to impossible to know upon what place to take our stand. 10–11. Nov. and the conclusions obviously false. the Rock of the Church. “Truth and Equivocation: Liguori’s Moral Theology and Newman’s Apologia.24 Catholic language appears singularly unmoored from any objective referent. Not Peter. 1827. there is. wherein. in the Course of Lectures on the Points in Controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants (London. Preached at St. is a very different matter from detecting a fallacy where the shades of error and of truth sometimes appear almost to amalgamate. moreover. who can assert and then deny.25) Even worse. on Tuesday. in all its parts. “Danger to England from Treacherous Popery and Unwatchful Protestantism.” Church History 44. here is something tangible. 73–85. To overthrow an argument where the premises are totally inadmissible.

. in the Parish Church of Pett. Alton Hatchard. The battle was therefore not provincial. Newport puts it. p. Newport.C. 11–12). were it not that the Protestant complaint is that Catholicism is apparently not constructed at all: the controversialist in search of the perfectly authoritative statement. 2000). pp. that Napoleon was a divinely ordained punishment for those countries which failed to appropriately reform their churches (“Romanism Overthrown by Wellington. which suggests a jumble accumulated over time. “it sees the course of history from the time of John the Seer or Daniel the prophet to the apocalyptic return of Christ (and even a little beyond) as being punctuated by prophetic fulfillment”. Despite all the claims for the sheer confusion of Roman Catholic doctrine.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 245 Protestant.C. finds only quicksand. Apocalypse and Millennium: Studies in Biblical Eisegesis (Cambridge. among other things. 7. seeking to take his “stand” on Catholicism’s intellectual territory. 28 Kenneth G. Protestants also argued that any apparent alterations were merely cosmetic. But what is also at stake here is uncertainty about the historical development of Roman Catholicism and its theology. rather.” A Sermon Preached on Advent Sunday. but universal in its scope. the Pope was the Antichrist and the Church itself the Whore of Babylon.B. In making such associations (an interpretation of the prophesies so common by this point in the 19th century as to be banal). let alone in one with “pretensions to unity of faith”? Part of the problem. mundane space and time. 1852]).28 In this exegetical mode. lay out the entire narrative of global history. Instead. the Duke of Wellington [London. Surely such a thing cannot be possible in an “infallible church”. The Church was not just “the Church”. they were merely the visible manifestations of the prophesied struggle between Christ and the Antichrist. who argued. the one thing on which all Catholics agree. Elliot (in 27 The most overly optimistic sermon in this providential vein was perhaps that delivered by J. Protestant preachers reminded their audiences that the local events of Catholic Emancipation or Papal Aggression were not playing out in desacralized. Sussex. if properly interpreted. is that Protestant controversialists frequently failed to grasp what “infallibility” actually meant in a Catholic context. is instead thrown into the muck of arguments among different believers.27 Most of the sermons on apocalyptic themes utilize what is known as “historicist” exegesis – that is. We might quip that Catholicism is self-deconstructing. on the Death of F. the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.M. as Kenneth G. Victorian interpreters of prophecy such as E. of course.

Grattan Guinness (at the end) all found biblical prophesies coming to fruition in current events. Landow note that obsession with prophecy had reached “an unprecedented peak of popularity by 1860”.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31 (2003). The Duty of British Christians at the Present Alarming Crisis. that blood which still calls aloud for vengeance – let that proclaim: or could the past be blotted out. more recent precedents in the historical work of such Reformation worthies as John Bale and John Foxe – but it was part of a more general resurgence of interest in prophecy. the doctrines she maintains. 1829 (London. Spenser. see.g. 1984).29 John Edmund Jones. 30 John Edmund Jones. York Minster. Milton (Ithaca. 16. Patrides and Joseph Wittreich (Ithaca. Dee. 62–3.246 miriam elizabeth burstein the early Victorian period). rolling sentence: That Popery is the same now it ever was – that its nature is unchanged and unchangeable. see “Ambiguous Revelations: The Apocalypse and Victorian Literature. NY. and Repercussions. None of this was new – the association of the papacy with Antichrist originated in the 12th century. Ellison and Carol Marie Engelhardt. see Michael Trott. Nationalism and Historical Loss in Renaissance England: Foxe. the maxims she adopts. let the tortures of the Inquisition teach. pp. . NY. Katherine Firth. p.. and Ritual Revivalism in the Church of England (Eastbourne. see Robert H. Antecedents. was swayed by apocalyptic thought. let the spirit which Popery at present manifests. and then may have deconverted yet again. let the page of history exhibit. 164. p. Andrew Escobedo. who converted. The Life of Richard Waldo Sibthorp: Evangelical. and what that nature is. John Cumming (midway through). (Rev. On Cumming’s monumental output devoted to this topic. ed. and (where opportunity is given) the deeds which she perpetrates – let these things convince us that her true name is “MYSTERY. 1829). Romanists themselves admit. 303. without directly connecting the resurgence to antiCatholic agitation. 373–89. 1979). xvii. “Prophecy and Anti-Popery in Victorian London: John Cumming Reconsidered.3 (1973): 377–95. 16. pp. Newport.A. and H. Richard Waldo Sibthorp. let the valleys of Piedmont testify.)30 29 For helpful overviews of apocalyptic historical narratives in Britain. BABYLON THE GREAT.” in The Apocalypse in English Renaissance Thought and Literature: Patterns. and evangelicals could point to important. on Sunday Afternoon. 81–140. The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain 1530–1645 (Oxford. A Sermon Preached in the Parish Church of Chilvers Coton. THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH”. February 15. Catholic. Mary Wilson Carpenter and George P. deconverted.” Church History 42. suggesting that the millennium might well be at hand. warning against Emancipation. 5. C. summed up the danger in a single. Paul Misner examines the revival of interest in the Pope as Antichrist during the early decades of the 19th century in “Newman and the Tradition Concerning the Papal Antichrist. let the blood of our martyred forefathers. in the County of Warwick. let the transactions of Queen Mary’s reign declare. Apocalypse and Millennium. 2004). reconverted. e. 2005).

5. Preached in the Parish Church of Walthamstow. nor suffer his mark to brand their foreheads or their hands! And this spirit – the spirit of our sires – we are sure. [t]here are many spots in our land. pp. Preachers did not shy away from urging their audience on to potential martyrdom. that is. the Inquisition. and this dark trinity pointedly associates Catholicism with violent persecution. A Sermon. (London. and the Church itself. woman. and hewing to Scriptural religion is a form of “fighting” available to every Protestant – man. Gloucester! bear witness. . where the fierce flames consumed their unresisting and triumphant victims: – bear witness. As Set Forth in Scripture: Its Guilt. and child. history offers a perversion or inversion of Christian witnessing. 2nd ed. His three chosen events – the reign of Mary I. Popery. 1851). 20–21. still lives!31 Bennett progresses from what at first appears like a genteel tourist’s invocation of the picturesque to a far different view of the English landscape. But Jones moves a step further: the “blood” collapses the distance between past and present. Smithfield! bear witness. and the 17th-century persecutions of the Waldensians – were instantly recognizable way stations of Protestant Reformation and post-Reformation historical narrative. Jones proposes that when it comes to the Church. crying out against the Church even as Jones speaks. Jones takes his audience back into a past that apparently speaks for itself. sacralized by the torments of the witnesses to Protestant truth. Oxford! bear witness. and Its Doom. Nov. by seeking to literally erase those with whom it disagrees – and yet. the mechanisms of persecution themselves inadvertently testify to the Church’s true nature. a choice of verb that suggests a response to an accusation. even stripped of all its historical baggage. still pointed out and cherished in our memories. Hadley! – because they would not worship the image of the Beast. In the exalted words of William Bennett. in which the audience 31 William Bennett. Essex.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 247 In his series of anaphoristic clauses. This turn to apocalyptics puts even the humblest listener in the role of a potential hero in the struggle against Romanism: the battle against the Church rages on around the audience. on Tuesday. Catholicism manifests itself in history. 1850. He imagines a Protestantized pilgrimage. After claiming that Catholics themselves “admit” to their Church’s apparently immutable qualities. utters its own condemnation.

p.57 (Thursday. pp.C. then resisting Rome was a matter of spiritual life and death. . A Sermon on the Roman Catholic Question.248 miriam elizabeth burstein mentally traverses England in search of models for their own good deaths in the Christian cause. both clergy and lay Protestants warned that any compromise with Catholicism would fatally taint Britain with Romish corruption. and there is reason to fear that. respectively.” The Protestant Magazine 1. in a last-ditch effort to ward off Emancipation. was at stake. it is worth remembering that on the ground. I. “Illustrations. Emancipation in place. 1860). the British parlayed with Catholics at the peril of their immortal souls – and. Dillon suggested 1864 as the most likely date for the end of the Pope’s rule. The Fourth and Fifth Vials of the Apocalypse Exemplified in the Late Contest in Italy and the Present Condition of the Roman States (London.. (On the Duration of Popery) at St.C. indeed. No.” The Preacher 3.34 A decade later. 186. See. as one body politic. while “Nemesis” argued for 1866. 5–6. Jennings. 6. And the entire nation. given that some fellow Victorians were predicting the imminent fall of Rome and the beginning of the Last Days. “A Sermon Delivered by the Rev.33 T. Bennett’s energy is not surprising. not just individuals. rev. on Sunday. the 8th Day of MARCH. when the judgments of God come upon that corrupt Church. England’s Last Effort.32 There was nothing abstract about Catholicism’s threat. Britain had allowed itself to be “polluted” – that Catholic Emancipation was “our revolt against our God and against his Christ”. Preached at St..35 Willfully blind to their own self-destruction.). 3rd ed. 10. the Rev. James’s Church. Bristol. Dillon. chose the route of 32 Thus. the novelist Charlotte Elizabeth grimly surveyed the scene and concluded that. but an ongoing process. requiring all the efforts of present-day Protestants to beat back the threat of Rome. even while acknowledging the very real contemporary objections. that it could be safely amended”. 1 September 1831). R. (Bristol. 34 T. 12.F. 35 Charlotte Elizabeth. Bennett insists that the Reformation is not a matter of accomplished fact. Like Jones.d.F. as Protestant exegetes had been arguing since the 16th century. Clerkenwell. Jennings. 1831. apparently. 33 Hinde. Thomas Church. to take two random but representative examples.1 (January 1839). R. if Rome truly was the Antichrist. Catholic Emancipation. all the kingdoms and States which are polluted with her “mark” will be made partakers of her plagues. 1829. told his listeners that we shall thereby become identified with them. While modern historians may look back at Emancipation as an act that “showed that the constitution was not sacrosanct. n.

since the latter illuminated the Antichrist’s wiles in the former. 7. In a sermon originally 36 Michael Wheeler. 1900 b. The Old Enemies: Catholic and Protestant in Nineteenth-Century English Culture (Cambridge. 139. [i]n the case of Catholic Emancipation … it was the Protestant constitution itself that seemed to be in danger. John Gore Tipper argued that modern Catholic ritual actually derived from the worship of Semiramis. Stephen’s Church. Protestants also had to master the perhaps less appetizing details of ecclesiastical history. then.37 What defined the pure church was its rejection of anything except the Scriptures as a test of doctrine – in other words. 2006).36 For evangelicals like Elizabeth. Being the Day on which the Attention of the Congregations throughout the Parish of Islington was Directed to the Subject of UltraRitualism (London.. but that it had been corrupted by accretions from Jewish and pagan traditions. Protestants usually dated the end of this original apostolic church to the end of the 5th century or beginning of the 6th century a. A Sermon Preached in St. the insufficiency of the Scriptures. was penetrated by a foreign power. 1867). its allegiance to sola scriptura. although they also pointed to the Council of Trent as a more recent source of innovation. Thus. 37 John Gore Tipper. and papal infallibility coming in at the top of the list. British Protestants had to recognize that Revelation provided an all-too-clear guide to Rome’s nature and its role in Christian history. c. on the other hand. February 10. 10–12. and sometimes as many as a dozen or fifteen – with transubstantiation. On the one hand. pp. The Protestant keywords here were “novelty” and “innovation”. when Catholics once again took their seats in Parliament. Protestants argued that there had originally been a “pure” apostolic church.c. Prophetic history and ecclesiastical history could hardly be separated. . 1867. Tammuz. A standard feature of anti-Catholic sermons is the catalog of innovations – rarely fewer than three items. Canterbury. In the words of Michael Wheeler. the invocation of saints.d. in a rather extreme example. as Fortress England. p. and that the symbols on the priest’s vestments referred to the Babylonian fish-god Dagon and Semiramis’ son. Emancipation was just the first step on Britain’s path towards open alliance with the Antichrist. providentially chosen by God as the site of true reformed religion.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 249 political expediency over that of salvation. on Sunday Morning.. and they were as likely to appear in High Church contexts as they were in evangelical ones.

After time-traveling backwards through a series of authentically “Protestant” believers. Ours. and freed from the rubbish accumulated on it by ages of superstition. Christ himself. but the betrayal of a truth fixed at the moment of its origin. of transubstantiation to the thirteenth century – let them prove it older if they can. As Melvill’s language suggests. Catholics hoist themselves by their own petard in even alluding to historicity. as we have already intimated. Popery is Protestantism mutilated. of seven sacraments to the twelfth century – let them prove it older if they can. and overlaid with corrupt additions. theirs is the new … We fix the doctrine of the Papal supremacy to the sixth century – let them prove it older if they can. And yet Protestantism is the spurious manufacture of a late date. deformed. it is the true faith concealed beneath accumulated layers of historical graffiti. change over time constitutes not a development of an inwardly consistent principle. The Reformation is not innovation. whilst Popery is the venerable transmission from the first year of the Christian era. as though it had sprung up in the sixteenth century. Melvill arrives at “the Protestantism of Christ and his Apostles”: The Reformed Religion is no novelty. Yes. cleansed from false glosses. once again. The Roman Catholics indeed would taunt us with the recent origin of our faith. Catholic doctrine constitutes a violent attack on original truths. if it can be proved a day younger than Christ and his Apostles. whilst their own is hallowed by all the suffrages of antiquity. . instead. but all that is true in Popery makes up Protestantism. It was no invention of Luther and his fellow-labourers.250 miriam elizabeth burstein delivered as part of the international celebration of the Reformation tercentenary. but a return to the principles of the original Protestant. devolving as it does into a gigantic junk heap. Protestantism and Popery. pp. and never a more unwarranted boast. From Melvill’s point of view. is the old religion. 7–8. There was never a more insolent taunt. all that is true in Popery has been transmitted from the earliest days of Christianity. Henry Melvill rendered the stakes behind such catalogs quite clear. In this logic. Protestantism is Popery restored to its first purity. Catholicism seems to lack a truly intelligible historical narrative of its own. one that produces unreadable “rubbish”. away with it from the earth as a pernicious delusion. Protestantism neither emerges from nor succeeds Catholicism. since the very possibility of dating a doctrine after the apostolic period actually disproves that doctrine! 38 Melvill. as in Croly. disguised.38 Melvill’s historical narrative deliberately lays waste to any purely secular chronology.

N. John Medley triumphantly called on “Gröstete Bishop of Lincoln.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 251 By taking Protestantism all the way back to Christ himself. I.” in Beyond Arthurian Romances: The Reach of Victorian Medievalism. and Hugh MacDougall. 31–40.41 Similarly. 149–58. 1850 (London. If such were the case.42 39 There are a number of excellent overviews of this topic. “Thou Shalt Not Remove Thy Neighbour’s Landmark. 1835). and others” as exemplars of England’s resistance to Roman ecclesiastical trespass. To summarize briefly. Waldensians. proto-Protestantism had an extra dimension: proving that Christianity existed there prior to the mission of St Augustine of Canterbury in 596. or Parliament. Anthony Milton. Truro (Truro. Hammersmith. Cathars. and when she had free access to the word of God. despite Augustine’s eventual success. Holloway (New York. pp. within herself. ed. The Tricentenary of the Reformation. then Catholicism was not just a “novelty”. 2005). Melvill engages in an extreme form of the proto-Protestant argument – that is. Protestants Rewrite the Middle Ages. Two Sermons. 44.40 Thus. Teutons. 1982).39 In Britain (and America as well). Lollards. & Unconstitutional. always burned.E. But the Christian Liberty and Doctrines of the British . pp. Racial Myth in English History: Trojans. 7. 1850). Or. but the very light. however obscurely and dimly. 1995).N.E. p. and Anglo-Saxons (Montreal. 1999). Stephen’s.” Church History 68. Molesworth claimed that not only was there a time when the national church was not yoked to either the dominion or the superstitions of popery. either Joseph of Arimathea or (the imaginary) King Lucius had been responsible for evangelizing the Anglo-Saxons. Wickliffe. which blazed upon her. British Identities Before Nationalism: Ethnicity and Nationhood in the Atlantic World. Bradwardine. p. 42 John Medley. Molesworth. while I. William Cooke argued that. pp. after a long period of darkness and delusion. Uncanonical. Palmgren and Lorretta M. “Where Was Your Church before Luther? Claims for the Antiquity of Protestantism Examined. pp. 270–310. and so forth. Jennifer A.” The Romish Aggression Unscriptural. 41 William Cooke.1 (1999).J. The Reformation Not the Establishment of a New Religion. see especially S. the claim that signs of the Protestant faith underlying Catholic “corruptions” providentially manifest themselves in the so-called heresies of the Hussites. 1600–1640 (Cambridge. 99–122. 40 I discuss the specifically Victorian manifestation of this historical debate in “Counter-Medievalism. on the 24th Sunday After Trinity. Barnett. Catholic and Reformed: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought. see also Colin Kidd. or Church to her ancient rights and liberties’ ”. but was also not of native growth. “still the English History shows that not a generation passed without some assertion being made of the independence of the English Church – ‘some witness borne by King. 14–41. 1600–1800 (Cambridge. Preached in Saint John’s Chapel. A Sermon Preached in the Church of St.

p. IN. Westminster. as Medley’s list of proto-Protestant eminences purports to demonstrate. Nugent Wade did not mince words: But now at length after so long a time the Bishop of Rome affects to attempt to draw us under his yoke again: treats our land pretty much as a heathen country. Religious Ideology & Cultural Fantasy: Catholic and AntiCatholic Discourses in Early Modern England (Notre Dame. since everyone on Medley’s list predates Luther. 1835. at least as one in which no such thing existed as a national branch of CHRIST’s Holy Catholic Church. The “Englishness” (or Britishness) of Protestantism thus explains. then. perhaps. as if no such thing as Bishops. then the restoration of the hierarchy might look suspiciously like a repetition of that first assault. Marotti. 44 Nugent Wade. on Sunday. If St Augustine was a Roman Catholic invader instead of an authentic evangelist. .252 miriam elizabeth burstein The specifically English Reformation. which Protestants saw as an assault on both spiritual and physical territory. too. we can see how both prophetic and ecclesiastical history drove the authors’ responses. Romish Aggression: The Spirit in Which We Should Resist It. the English mindset naturally tends to Protestantism. Marotti has noted that in the early modern period. A Sermon Preached in the Parish Church of St. Moreover.44 Church. 1835). the sheer rage occasioned by the so-called Papal Aggression. A Sermon. and a similar narrative underpins the sermons – with. does not just restore the apostolic church in general. This. Protestantism may fulfill a universal prophesy. in part. nor Clergy. parcels it out into Sees under Bishops of his own appointment. the Spanish Armada “provided a model of international Catholic threat followed by providential deliverance. emphasis in original. but it does so with a distinctly nationalist edge. in reality an explicitly English and independent spirituality mounts an ongoing resistance to Papal “dominion”. but the apostolic church as it was originally preached to the Anglo-Saxons. was part of received proto-Protestant historiography. Despite the apparent subjugation of the English Church to Rome after St Augustine of Canterbury’s mission. nor a Christian people had hitherto existed amongst us. the Third Centenary of the Bible in the English Tongue (Canterbury. 13. 43 Arthur F. 132. Vindicated from Romish Usurpation. p. Preached October 4. Arthur F. incorporated into a national mythology”. more anxiety about when the “providential deliverance” is to be forthcoming. the English actually have the advantage in the Reformation sweepstakes. 2005). In fact.43 In sermons that explicitly respond to the Aggression. Anne. Catholic sentiments simply do not mesh with the “natives’” spiritual tendencies.

1850). warned against those who thought conversions (or. “[I]t is a fact at once ‘wonderful and horrible’ ”. if not yet for the supremacy of an alien Pope. rather than military might. p. since the former may lead to the latter. 12. Testimony Against Romanism: A Sermon. 31. on Jeremiah 5. . for Romish legends and traditions. are daily and weekly to be November 17…To Which Are Appended the Parochial Addresses to the Queen and the Bishop of London: Together with His Lordship’s Reply (London. attempts to erase both ecclesiastical and cartographical history. in every cathedral and parish church. and for the spiritual dominion of a home clergy. The preacher begins with the sensual attractions that seduce the unwary. for Wade and others like him. 45 Charles Girdlestone. the last four clauses position those who have wandered over to Rome on a dangerous precipice (“for…if not yet”). Looking back on the aggression from the vantage point of nearly fifty years. if not yet for its more gross idolatries.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 253 Wade’s sentiments are representative: the papal aggression is an act of imperial conquest (or re-conquest) that lays claim to actual English territory. Dec. quoting from his text. The semi-colon marks the break between those attractions that tread a fine line between the religious and the secular. on Sunday.45 Girdlestone’s mostly parallel clauses are not arranged randomly. according to the use of Sarum. the old English service books. 1. interesting even to random tourists in search of a good show. An anguished Charles Girdlestone. and explicitly doctrinal issues. for the fond superstitions of Rome. Morris Fuller’s diagnosis was blunt: While at this hour.9) and thus cherish a taste for its pomps and ceremonies. perversions) to Catholicism were of little matter. preaching on Jeremiah 5:30–31. Girdlestone says. at Wordsley. 1850 (London. as Girdlestone would have put it. pp. and then between domestic tyranny and – the climax! – treasonous allegiance to a foreign ruler. Preached at the Parish Church of Kingswinford. first between the silly and the genuinely egregious. Finally. 7–8. for Romish fasts and festivals. that so many have fallen prey to the “leaven of Romanism” (here probably thinking of Galatians 5. starting with the spectacular (“pomps and ceremonies”) and culminating with the apparently ethereal (“modes of church music”). for its fashions of church vestures and its modes of church music. That it is conquest through language. 1850). 30. Converts quite literally estrange themselves. for its models of church building and its forms of church furniture. The Pope. is no consolation.

. Catholicism. ed. W. Hamilton did not mince words: “The emissaries of Rome have too long been permitted to play the traitor within the walls of our Zion. Mark’s. 7. in some cases. 47 Hamilton. J. It called the entire Church of England into question through its unsavory example. n. p. scarcely anything English is to be heard or seen.). 44. shows any true affection for the monarchy. there are Catholics in England. p. Fuller goes on to argue. on the contrary. But had weaknesses in Protestantism itself allowed matters to reach such a state in the first place? It is here that the cracks in the Protestant armor. but – to borrow a turn of phrase from Rupert Brooke – there are no Catholics of England. on Sundays. For some. pp. it neither speaks the language (literally) nor.H. Readers will not be shocked to discover that both evangelicals and traditional High Churchmen blamed the Tractarians and their followers. Two Sermons Preached at S. See “Sources of English Conversions to Roman Catholicism in the Era of the Oxford Movement. but also notes that “while Oxford Tractarian converts may not have been representative of converts in general. 9. Tractarianism was part 46 Morris Fuller. their importance was necessarily out of all proportion to their numbers on account of their educational. July 5th and 12th. Romish Hierarchy.48 As Hamilton’s mix of military and religious metaphors suggests. their opponents interpreted as a full-barrel assault on the Church of England’s independence. has failed to root itself organically in English culture. in the Romanist Chapels. Tractarian dishonesty was not just a matter of sneaking Roman Catholic rituals in under Anglican pretences. The Pope’s Encyclical and the Papal Aggression.46 In that sense. between Low and High Church as well as between Established Church and Dissent.d. bolstered by the defection of eminent Tractarians like John Henry Newman to Roman Catholicism. Marylebone Road. 46. 1896 (London. 48 Peter B.254 miriam elizabeth burstein heard. quickly reveal themselves. Moreover. the presence of Tractarian clergy in the Church of England constituted a double treason against the spiritual and corporeal bodies of English churchmen.” in By Whose Authority? Newman. intellectual and cultural status”. . and to make some of our own churches so many decoys to the ranks of the enemy”. Manning and the Magisterium. 1996). Nockles observes that “[t]he lapsed Irish immigrant was more statistically significant in conversion figures than the Oxonian academic”.47 This accusation was a common (if probably inaccurate) one. V. as a new reformation – of the Church. What Tractarians represented as a necessary renewal – indeed. Alan McClelland (Bath. still foreign despite its bishoprics.

when it came to the aggression. on Sunday Evening. Dissenters charged that the Reformation had failed to expunge it in the first place. convert to Catholicism. September 8. on the 3rd November.50 If clergy of a lower churchmanship argued that the Tractarians brought Roman Catholicism in. No. 1850. p. p. the Sermon in the morning was on the Historical Inaccuracies of the Books of Moses. As one put it while apparently restraining a yawn. The Romish Hierarchy in England. that not very long ago. on the Advantages of Auricular Confession!49 Tractarian Oxford.d. 152. 1850 (London. TX. D. n. 26. 15. 403. A Sermon Preached at Devonshire Square Chapel. convert to skepticism. were brothers. they simply embodied both sides of the same unholy coin. 152–95. (London.” as Now Imperilled [sic] by the Romish Doctrines and Practices of the Tractarian Heresy: Being the Substance of a Sermon Preached in Saint Martin’s Church. and Francis Newman.” The Christian Guardian and Churchman’s Magazine 1 (August 1850). 50 “Truth and Peace. 51 Timothy Larsen. London. Dissenters John Cade Miller. 1850). and that the most dignified course is to bear it with Christian meekness”. Not for an Hour:” A Warning to Protestant Christians. pp. One writer for an evangelical magazine found it entirely to the point that John Henry Newman. it [the aggression] is really of no moment. discredits the Scriptures (in what sounds like an unintended prophecy of Bishop Colenso’s The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined [1862]) while encouraging students to engage in behavior both non-scriptural and tending to promote the threatening power of an elite priesthood.G. and it is true that a number of Dissenters cheerfully acknowledged their debt to Catholicism for their own liberty. 2004). John Cade Miller sourly observed that I have been told on good authority. Birmingham. after all. “I observe. despite their apparent differences.” “Further Thoughts on the Present Controversies.52 Still.51 Moreover. a number of Dissenters were unmoved or even amused by what they regarded as establishment hysteria. secondly.). 52 John Howard Hinton. 3rd ed. “Subjection. in Behalf of the “Truth of the Gospel. Contested Christianity: The Political and Social Contexts of Victorian Theology (Waco.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 255 of an unlikely ménage-a-trois with Roman Catholicism and an ominous skepticism. Paz offers a much less enthusiastic assessment of Dissent’s supposed pro-tolerationist position in Popular Anti-Catholicism. and that in the afternoon. thinks Miller. Timothy Larsen has recently praised Dissenters for their willingness to “help those whose religious opinions and practices they considered anathema to find a securer. more equitable place in English society”. p. that as a mere matter of offence. 49 . in the University of Oxford.

and one that deserves its most serious reflection. 208–12. The exceptionally popular Congregationalist preacher John Angell James. 17.A. both Tractarianism (or Puseyism) and the aggression were the logical outcomes of the Church of England’s residual Popery. Dec. Oxford. should have been felt by so many of its clergy. Anglican evangelicals cannot brush off their connections with the hated Tractarians quite as easily as they desire.B. Romish and . A Pastoral Address to His Flock (London. 55 Alex King. or it actually supports that “serious leaning”. without merit. pp. As far as many Dissenters could tell. Alexander King.. while John Hamilton Thom dryly observed that. A Sermon. Rome had treated the Church of England exactly as the Church of England treated Dissenters. 1856). and Puseyism is the offspring. The Papal Aggression and Popery Contemplated Religiously. when it came to dividing up spiritual territory. It is indeed a portentous sign for that Church. see.54 For James. The Rev. Pusey and the Tractarians was thought to have suggested to the Roman Catholic Church that the Church of England was ready to be reunited with its parent. e. and Glances at Modern Incidents in the Lives of the Popes. 14th. Romanism: A Warning to Protestant Churches. 1856 (Brighton. illegitimate as it is contended by its evangelical members. 54 A suspicion that was not. that such a serious leaning towards Rome. His indictment of Establishment as an adequate defense for Protestantism goes in two directions: either the Church of England is too politically and affectively weak to maintain its clergy’s Protestant allegiances. James’ charge recurs frequently elsewhere. preaching in full apocalyptic mode some years after the aggression. and that it should possess either no power or no will to rid itself of the evil. who thought that the aggression had at least reactivated true Protestant sentiment. while it strangely flatters and succumbs to the anti-christian Priestism of Rome”.256 miriam elizabeth burstein who supported Catholic civil liberties usually drew the line at supporting Catholicism eo ipso. John Hamilton Thom.R. p. Preached in Queen Square Chapel. Admonitory Sketches of the Papacy.g. Brighton. p. charged that “[t]he system of the established Church is ritually and clerically constituted so as to dishonor and endanger our common Protestantism. 1985). in fact. The English Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century (1984. Ecclesiastical Pretensions. of the Church of England.55 Indeed. Norman. James.53 While James’ logic may not at first be obvious – why should a movement within the Church of England somehow lead to invasion from Rome? – we should remember that the work of E. on Sunday Evening. 16. E. Thom went on to 53 J. gently noted that [i]t is impossible to forget that Puseyism has no doubt led to the present aggression of Rome. 1851).

28). A Sermon.. 22. Pimlico. 1873 (Wolverhampton. 1850 (London. Wolverhampton. the Church of England was not Protestant at all. this Reformation was neither Protestant nor related to anything that looks like what he terms “modern Romanism”. Portal.59 Body English. “Socinians”. Those Tractarians and their followers who refused to follow Newman to the Roman Catholic Church. Being a Sermon Preached in Renshaw Street Chapel.56 Evangelicalism and Romanism are not opponents but unwitting doubles. 1873). the principles of the English Reformation were Catholic and Sacramental. who argued a decade later that Tractarianism had been itself a “Reformation”. A Sermon in Three Parts. Curate (London. Preached on Behalf of the English Church Union. pp. 18–19. Preached in Church of All Saints. Cf. Sunday. In this reading. p. by which he means anything post-Council of Trent. 57 G. not British. p. On Some of the Prevalent Objections to Ritual Observances. Margaret Street. . 5–6. albeit one temporarily derailed by mistaking “Romish fashions” for genuine traditions (The Fiftieth Year of the Reformation of the Nineteenth Century. G. 56 Thom. November 17. “Lutherans”. 59 Ibid. with the Antidote Which a Catholic Protestantism Supplies. Ecclesiastical Pretensions. Reformation rests on the continuity between the Church of England and a native English Christian tradition. 1850). pp. For them. p.R. The doctrine of the Priestly Commission and power we learn from our Ordinal – the doctrine of Holy Baptism and of the Blessed Sacrament from our Book of Common Prayer – the power of Absolution from the express statements of the Church – and the privilege of Confession from her own invitations. for Body. by the Rev. 1883]. whereas Dissenters entirely resist the still-priestly foundations on which the Establishment is founded. in Christ Church. Liverpool. and that evangelicals hated Rome because they used similar techniques to maintain their own power.58 Body’s support for a specifically English. to the Reformation. A Sermon Preached in S. 11.57 As George Body would sigh in the early 1870s. on the Second Sunday after Easter. M. The Principle of the English Reformation. 1883 [London. repeatedly pointed to the Church of England’s own institutions in order to identify their own allegiances to the Church. Bedmore Compton. on October 29. Establishment anti-Romanism is itself perpetrated on Romanist principles. on the First Three Sundays of November. especially if Protestantism apparently encompassed “Jews”. 21.. appropriating each other’s strategies and appealing to similar tastes. Barnabas’ Church.R. meanwhile. and “Mormonites”.A. 6. pp. A Tract for the Times. Portal. 1854). and indeed to England itself. 58 George Body.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 257 argue of the evangelical wing that it had inadvertently publicized Popery in its vehement assaults on it.

18. arguing that their attempts to jettison all tradition in fact led to fatal confusion: “Now the real fact is. Preached in St. we can only discern authentic truth from corrupt innovation by relying on the best traditions of biblical interpretation and scholarship. Popery Refuted by Tradition. “Postscriptum. p.258 miriam elizabeth burstein could point to a line of Tractarian and Tractarian-influenced commentators in support of this position. 1840). But given the Bible’s sheer complexity. he became more overtly critical. 1825. 1994). Hook. whenever Scripture is ambiguous or doubtful”. 48.60 By the 1840s. A Sermon. 1847). the Church of England has provided such interpretive assistance in its “Ritual. see Peter B. 1839). Andrew’s Church. Walter Farquhar Hook. Hook was taking an irenic position. The Catholicism of the Anglican Church and Its Branches: A Sermon. that you may in this way prove almost any Scriptural truth to be Popish. the Church of England. in novel additions to ancient and true doctrines”. pp. certainly. In his sermons. modern “Popery” does not exist in a vacuum-sealed container.61 That is. despite its multifold errors. or even the Scriptures. Articles. (London. The Novelties of Romanism: Or. nevertheless still taught essential truths. Hook criticized Anglican evangelicals and Dissenters for their relentless bibliocentrism.62 Hook makes a very significant distinction here: the Church 60 Walter Farquhar Hook. 4. Preached at the Primary Visitation of Charles Thomas Lord Bishop of Ripon… With Notes and an Appendix. especially sola scriptura and the concomitant jettisoning of tradition. A Sermon. March 20th. 62 Walter Farquhar Hook. on Sunday. As it happens. an accusation he regarded with reasonable equanimity. Tractarians.” in Three Reformations: Lutheran–Roman– Anglican (London. however. p. it does not reject Scriptural truths so much as it improperly expands those truths into new and distorted forms. Tridentine “Popery”. which are not innovations on Scriptural truth but only “confirmatory of the true meaning of Scripture. apart from the universal Catholic Church. counseling that the Roman Catholic Church. Hook explained elsewhere. . at least as early as 1825. Hook noted in a lecture published in 1847 that he himself was suspected of being “a Papist”. 104–45. A Call to Union on the Principles of the English Reformation. 1844). and Formularies”. Preached in the Episcopal Chapel at Stirling. Manchester (London. Containing Copious Extracts from the Reformers. 4th ed. and evangelicals about the Reformation legacy. because Popery consists in novel enlargements of old Catholic truths. at the Consecration of Bishop Luscombe (Leeds. For the arguments among so-called “Old” (or Orthodox) High Churchmen. of whom the most notable was the Vicar of Leeds. The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760–1857 (Cambridge. seeking in particular to distinguish between a universal Catholic Church (to which the Church of England belonged) and the corrupt. 21. p. Nockles. Liturgy. 61 Walter Farquhar Hook. p.

p. (London. however. This was something of a sore point with Anglicans of a similarly High Churchmanship.g. Preached in the Parish Church of Leeds. insisted that Protestants and Catholics were effectively (if perhaps inadvertently) collaborating on a project to redefine the meaning of prejudice. A Sermon…. clergymen frequently “interpreted the difficulties of the times as a punishment by God of their own past toleration”. with a Preface.66 Others. pp. p. Edward Bickersteth complained that modern Protestantism sugarcoated the Gospels: The Protestant Churches. 14. Norman notes. e.R. whereas Roman Catholic tradition supplies doctrines entirely absent from Scripture. in their fancied wisdom. Hook and his fellow High Churchmen agreed with the Dissenters on at least one thing: when it came to interpretation.64 In a sense. Hook suggested in 1842 that extreme anti-Catholic rhetoric had backfired: too many horrific tales had been disproved. Almost everyone agreed. 1848).63 Thus. meaning that Protestants were now far less likely to listen to explanations of Roman Catholicism’s true errors. . October 29th. pp. 65 Norman. and Copious Notes… (London. Anti-Catholicism. 7–8. have not only nearly ceased to call the Pope Antichrist and the 63 William Dodsworth. Peril of Idolatry. he demonstrated that far from leading to necessarily Roman Catholic conclusions.. Appendix. 2nd ed. that Protestant (or Anglican) culture was slowly committing suicide through the exercise of toleration. By so doing. not one of the sacraments. despite all their protestations to the contrary. who felt that their evangelical brethren were simply substituting one “received interpretation” for another. Anglican evangelicals practiced what they claimed the Roman Catholics preached. 1848. gentleness. 66 Walter Farquhar Hook. Romanism Successfully Opposed Only on Catholic Principles. they argued. Auricular Confession: A Sermon. (London. deferring to apostolic traditions could actually undermine the Roman Catholic position. 18–20. A Sermon. 69.65 Enormities such as the Catholic Emancipation Act.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 259 of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles are intended to clarify what is already in Scripture. 2nd ed. As E. and liberality. 1842). for example. then. 1839). 64 Walter Farquhar Hook. all derived from a uniquely 19th-century unwillingness to call evil things by their proper names. and later the Ritualist movement. the Papal Aggression. Hook argued from both Scripture and tradition that auricular confession was an option reserved for those in severe need. however.

69 Charlton Lane. Dobson praised the modern “spirit of genuine and open-hearted liberality”.P. not just accusations of Protestants who.” in Protestant Lectures on the Errors and Abuses of Romanism (London. p. p. pp. n. the contemporary Catholic complained about “what he calls the persecuting spirit of Protestant bigotry”. democratic tendencies. “Liberality” and “liberalism” went in both directions: in 1829. on Monday. 1826. could not be “persecuting” in the act of reiterating biblical truths. the sermons and writings of authors like him – enacts the Protestant’s right relationship to biblical language. 26. the Protestants. let alone killing. and the Irish: Papal Aggression and Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Nineteenth Century England [New York and London. the Congregationalist J. Bickersteth’s own sermon – and. see Wheeler. and in so doing elevates linguistic sensitivity over an objective truth (howsoever defined). was a startling exception to the rule (Robert J. p. Gregory’s observations about the definition of persecution in the sixteenth century and earlier are still to the point here: “True doctrine legitimated prosecution. 25. 4. by extension. but such complaints had to be taken for what they were worth: the outraged cries of those who resented the truth. a regular keyword in such critiques. by definition. It is both liberalism. after all. it is not the modern speaker who condemns Popery. 68 67 . whereas. but in the doubtfulness of faith engendered by modern disputations. Brad S. Preached at the Parish Church of St. Strand. and unthinking generosity. The Abominations of Babylon. who once suggested that confessors be executed. p. 1999]. and antagonism to authority. 1828.69 An enraged Francis Close pointed out the Bickersteth. Clement’s Danes. True. Catholics – Hugh M’Neile.67 “Liberality”. A Sermon.68 Bickersteth’s complaint foreshadows our own culture wars over political correctness: the modern Protestant refuses to speak the proper names assigned to the Pope in the Scriptures. On the general outlines of Catholic-Protestant debates over liberalism. The Pope. The Old Enemies. 1851). a far crankier Hugh M’Neile complained about “the whining affectation of that undistinguishing liberalism which neutralizes in our times the principles of the Reformation!” See Dobson. A Sermon.d. indeed made it prosecution rather than persecution” (Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe [Cambridge. While the Victorians were not thinking of “prosecuting”. with its reluctance to criticize anyone or anything. May 8. p. 1987]. three years earlier. 1829). Before the Monthly Association of Congregational Ministers (London. Klaus. “Rule of Faith. 88). April 10. with its overtones of individualism.260 miriam elizabeth burstein Man of Sin. MA. p. 16. No true Protestant regards anything in the Bible as “unspeakable”. Present Duties. By contrast. 245–72. M’Neile.). but the divinely-inspired Bible itself. as Charlton Lane put it. Delivered at Kensington. on Thursday. encompasses both the political and the sentimental spheres. 229) – the general logic holds. The Advantages and Deficiencies of the Protestant Reformation. Before the Continental Society (London. have almost ceased to view any longer Popery in its true scriptural character.

toleration neither promoted comfortable Protestant-Catholic relations nor contributed to the nation’s spiritual health. Why proclaim a Protestant identity if Protestantism and Catholicism had. NON-ESSENTIALS AND MINOR DIFFERENCES!”70 In representing the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism as a matter of adiaphora (things indifferent). 1835 (London. in Consequence of the Attempts Recently Made to Introduce Romanism Amongst Them (London. p. 1858). the modern Protestant implicitly rewrote history. . Nevertheless.72 Nor. political threat to Protestant apologetics and Protestant government alike. 1835). namely. from a strong 70 Francis Close. 17. nearly twenty years later. 72 William Harrison.” Being the Substance of a Sermon. displacing the Protestant martyrs from their key positions as witnesses to revealed truth and instead making their deaths into regrettable follies. Nov. But Bird also maps out a more long-term goal. Preached in the Parish Church. Such revisionism. 18. which fatally undermined Protestantism’s received historical narratives. or “The Way Called Heresy. called the very nature of Protestant faith into question. 71 Charles Smith Bird. 1839).71 Bird’s allusion to 1 Peter 3:15. one that would reestablish a defined Protestant identity – defined. 18. told his auditors that “[w]e must remind Protestants of their peculiar principles. it appears that Protestants had not yet been awakened to the necessity of asserting their essential differences. which urges believers to testify to the truth in the face of persecution. that the Reformers then must have been martyred “in defence of MERE MATTERS OF OPINION. to every man that asketh them. Cheltenham. Colchester. on Sunday. it also posed a more pragmatic. after all. we must build up the weak. For staunch Protestants. in part. so very much in common – if the Reformation was a mistake? If toleration posed a threat to Protestant narratives. The Protestant Faith. William Harrison complained of “the indifference of all classes in this country to this vital matter”. 1858 (Colchester. A Sermon Preached at the Church of St. p. and instruct the ill-informed. In 1839.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 261 obvious conclusions to be drawn from modern toleration. Charles Smith Bird. December 13th. on Wednesday. 4. by its ability (as in Bickersteth’s sermon) to speak the truth to those who would undermine it. puts modern Protestants in a distinctly embattled position. Transubstantiation Tried by Scripture and Reason. trying to protect the parishioners of Reading from what was apparently a mass distribution of Catholic apologetics. p. The Blessings of the Reformation. and enable them to ‘give. Mary-at-the-Walls. Addressed to the Protestant Inhabitants of Reading. a reason of the hope that is in them’ ”.

Escot. then. right with Catholicism). At the base of everything that had gone wrong with Protestantism (and. James. p. “A forgetful man is an unthankful man. Mary.T. p. far from “satisf[ying] the Roman Catholic thirst”. dourly observed that “concessions”. to find men of such high pretensions to sanctity as to spurn the Established Church on the ground of its not being thoroughly purged of Romish impurities. there is little in the way of either theological or political argument to prevent Catholics from taking the proverbial mile. the Bible Rescued from Papal Thraldom by the Reformation. 1852. and giving “their power and strength unto the Beast”. cringed at the thought of how the great English martyrs would react to modern Dissent: How would the spirits of Latimer. had things changed much by the 1860s. May 3. p. and behind that indifference lay a theological amnesia that imperiled the very possibility of Protestantism itself. And. in the District Church of St. have confessedly little or nothing to do with the essentials of the Gospel.74 Without remembrance. and thinks upon them. Or. Ottery St. preaching on Luke 8:16–18 as part of the Reformation tercentenary. above all. Hill. . Philip and St. 75 John Norman Pearson. Protestants failed to read the Bible. 1835 (London. there is no salvation – not for the individual. Before the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bristol. In the words of F. and Tyndal [sic]. speaking in 1852. 1835). once the inch has been granted. looking back at the aggression and forward to the imminent prospect of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. 21. the same will walk before the Lord.73 Theological trimming for the sake of peace creates not contented Catholics. if not purely secular. The Royal Supremacy: England’s Safeguard Against Rome’s Aggression. but insatiable thirst for the entire country. 1868 (London. on Sunday. but he who recalls to mind his mercies. and Taylor burn within them. 74 F. John Norman Pearson. and to render unto Him thanks for all his benefits”. and Hooper. Islington. – to find these very men linked with the infidel party. Mark’s Chapel. they failed to read their Foxe. 21.262 miriam elizabeth burstein Protestant point of view. A Type of Popery. they failed to remember the Reformation. on Sunday Morning. 1868). A Sermon Preached on the 5th November. 1852). The Candle of the Lord Uncovered. not for the country. Mary (London. Balaam.T. James Hollins. October 4. A Sermon. was indifference. A Sermon Preached at St. Preached at the Parish Church of St. they failed to relinquish worldly desires. 8.75 73 James Hollins. Hill. apparently. had simply made them hungrier for yet more leeway. could they revisit the land in which they sealed their abhorrence of Popery at the stake. for objects which.

Such relics. relics. the long tresses of womanhood to prove. 76 Bennett. when Papists hating Popery. There is more than a hint of Gothic in William Bennett’s invocation of the Inquisition. presumably. so common in other lines of anti-Catholic polemic and so usually missing from the sermons. that the return of Roman Catholicism necessarily involves a repetition of Roman Catholic persecution. in effect. their torture) signals Catholicism’s ultimate depravity: the male inquisitor violates female bodies without compunction and with spectacular disregard for both ideal gender relations and human sympathy itself. yet these “traces” of suffering. but neither unremembered before God? Were there not there found. if proof were wanting. their individuality eradicated. in effect. . p. have nevertheless been memorialized by the divine historian. were martyred. and every lingering trace of human feeling all effaced. and dark. the presence of women in the prison (and. Mapping out the forgotten territory of Catholic wrongdoing. in fact contribute to the collapse of Protestantism by elevating adiaphora over the “essentials” for which Latimer et al. too. where such fierce superstition reigns?76 Bennett resorts to a familiar topos of anti-Catholic polemic – namely. Dissenters.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 263 In the pun on “burn”. A hint of the Gothic intrudes here as well. exasperation replaces forgotten martyrdoms. far from going on display in elaborate reliquaries. “that foul. 22. Pearson asks his audience to. and bloody court”: …Have not its dread secrets been but lately brought to light? Were not its sullen chambers and its dungeons dank but recently explored. Bennett finds what are. that mercy is unknown. Moreover. In fact. this violence against women suggests the entire collapse of community under Catholic “reign”. in rejecting the Church of England as insufficiently “reformed”. drove out in base disguise their Pope? And what was seen? Were there not heaps of calcined human bones – the last faint traces – upon earth – of stedfastness [sic] and cruelty. has been conveniently forgotten by liberalizing elements in Protestant circles. And all this. Popery. are instead buried in “heaps”. since devotion to “superstition” now trumps devotion to one’s weaker fellows. imagine the martyrs returning from the dead to cast judgement on the modern world – a haunting justified by modern forgetfulness. Bennett warns. that sex and weakness can move no relenting. despite their attempted erasure by human hands.

to any perceived “innovations” in this direction. 13–14. some Anglican preachers of a higher churchmanship suggested that it was time for Convocation to be restored and more bishops appointed. Leicester. 1850 (Leicester. Charles Berry. In particular. Alexander King cleverly argued that Catholic political power would only result in a “despotism that would be equally ruinous to us and to them” – “them” being the Catholics. John Shelton Reed. 14. in reality. any attack on Catholic civil rights might well lead to an attack on Dissenters themselves.79 Such strategies would purify faith while strengthening those intellectual skills necessary for resisting Romanist propaganda. then.81 Others proposed more local measures.82 In Girdlestone’s system.).78 King thus proposed allowing anti-Catholic Dissenters to have their civil liberties cake and eat it too. Glorious Battle: The Cultural Politics of Victorian Anglo-Catholicism (Nashville. Nigel Yates. 169–72. 15. Romanism. Leeds. 1996).W. 1850). G. Meanwhile. not surprisingly. Nov. n. King. on Sunday Evening. A Sermon. 82 Edward Girdlestone. The Papal Aggression. Edward Girdlestone called on his listeners to be on their guard for any attempts. 1850 (York. 23. sometimes violently. after all. Tricentenary of the Reformation. 57–59. 17th November. 83 See. A Sermon on the Recent Papal Movement. this question was deeply problematic. p. pp. Remarks on Popery. in the midst of some basic theological advice.80 John Edmund Jones. pp. A Sermon Delivered at the Great Meeting. 80 George Trevor. 79 Respectively. A Sermon Preached in Bristol Cathedral. pp.d. 78 77 . thought that petitioning the government would be a good idea. 1858). Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830–1910 (Oxford. Conder. p. York Minster. the clergy most commonly called their parishioners to resist Catholicism through a life of intensified piety and discipline. pp. “Danger. 81 Jones. to alter church doctrines or furnishings in any way that looked vaguely Popish. even by their superiors. Preached in York Minster. on Wednesday Morning. on Sunday. 25–26. 10. the laity did object strongly. p.” p. 231. disestablishing the Church altogether. 1850 (Leeds. pp. to reverse the “coldness” with which amnesiac Protestants apparently regarded the Catholic onslaught?77 For Dissenters. 1850). the clergy urged Protestants to return to a Seymour.g. and the Present Anti-Papal Agitation. TN. 20–21. Preached in Belgrave Chapel. 1999).264 miriam elizabeth burstein How. Other Dissenters proposed renovating the educational system on a secular plan and. Protestantism for 1850. November 17th 1858 (Bristol.83 Yet despite these suggestions for Church reform and political or ecclesiastical activism. e. December 8. the laity would be very much in charge of holding their clerical brethren to the Protestant line – and..

with illuminated margins and highly-finished woodcuts. 25. M’Neile demands that readers jettison their “gaudily ornamented” texts for the Word experienced purely as words. the best defense against the Catholic menace was also the hardest: recognizing that the fault lay not simply with those who invaded from without. – that we 84 Hugh M’Neile. A Sermon. 1835. Preached in Christ Church. 86 Miller. in Commemoration of the Third Centenary of the Reformation.84 Such aesthetically-pleasing texts. 1835 [sic] (London. p. Mary Stratford Bow. a Re-Assertion of Primitive Christianity. Catholicism itself had become attractive only because Protestantism – especially in the form of the Church of England – had ceased to offer a spiritual home: How seldom is the busy hum of life disturbed by the deep bell of the Church.86 Ultimately.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 265 regular program of Bible reading. and warned them to stay away from anyone who did not adhere to recognizably Protestant doctrine. 30–31. 1835). Catholicism could not have made such inroads into a Protestant nation if Protestant faith had not itself faltered. blamed the “Sunday Newspapers” for similarly distracting readers from the more substantial. even by those commissioned to administer them! Oh! what is the party-spirit of the present day. substitute the sensual pleasure of the book as object for the more demanding encounter with the Word of God. but. John Stock. October 4th. Subjection. exercise of Scripture reading. saw dangers afoot in the popularity of nonScriptural religious books – “interesting tales. 18. In the textual equivalent of iconoclasm. but also more difficult. like John Cade Miller. 85 John Stock. reminded their audiences of the importance of preaching. 1858). but an evidence that faith and love have waxed cold among ourselves! This is it that has caused many to feel dissatisfied with our position. addressing his flock on the Reformation tercentenary. Newgate Street. and prepared in gaudily ornamented bindings” – which distracted even the well-meaning reader from the Bible and inexorably led him or her on to Popery. on Sunday. Middlesex. A Sermon Preached in the Parish Churches of St. (Liverpool. 2nd ed. described in pointedly materialist terms. 1858. or companions to devotion. Indeed. p.85 Other clergymen. commemorating the accession of Elizabeth I. calling her children to pray! How are the bread of life and the waters of salvation withdrawn. . on the 17th of November. October 4th. the Tercentenary Commemoration of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth. with those whose Protestantism was not as purely defined as it should have been. however. Poplar. Hugh M’Neile. and of All Saints. The English Reformation. pp. just as importantly. and of the Publication of the First Entire Protestant English Version of the Bible.

87 . for example. then. 1993). of the Late Incumbent. But they also link Protestantism and English national identity.266 miriam elizabeth burstein lack a system of faith and practice which may proclaim a priesthood living wholly unto God.) On the Last Sunday in Trinity. In an irony that would not have been appreciated by most of the clergymen discussed here. p. diagnoses a fatal gap between religious observance and the rhythms of secular life. 1851 (Wakefield. Sachs. evangelicals like Edward Bickersteth would have taken a far grimmer view.). The sermons consistently ask the auditor and reader to return to the sterner. 88 William L. The Transformation of Anglicanism: From State Church to Global Communion (Cambridge. Hence. to be Catholic is to be un-English in one’s very essence. then. we see that the anti-Catholic sermons ultimately link Protestantism to a proper way of testifying to religious truth. most Protestants saw the appeal of Roman Catholicism (and. Protestants and Catholics were more alike than not: all men are sinners. but purified. but the Catholic fails to resist temptation – and his religion encourages him in this failure. Over and over again.87 Charles Frederick Milner.88 While Walter Farquhar Hook might have enjoyed that outcome. instead. n. As we have seen. doctrines contained in the Scriptures. in a way that affects the Catholic believer’s emotions and mental processes alike. modern observers of the Church of England have suggested that it was the Tractarians – for anti-Catholic preachers. Departure from the Faith. Anglo-Catholicism) as the necessary but avoidable consequence of man’s fallen nature. in which the Protestant speaker becomes unselfconsciously one with Scriptural language. and thus failed in its obligations. p. the fifth column out to hand England back to Rome – who were primarily responsible for shaping “a viable modern identity” for Anglicanism. the exasperation of many clergymen with tolerationist positions: it is impossible to be “intolerant” if the language of and rationale for one’s condemnation of Roman Catholicism Charles Frederick Milner. it has lapsed into a mere echo of the world. for that matter. who is here contemplating his immediate predecessor’s conversion. 121. the one true method of combating Roman Catholicism’s appeal was to rejuvenate the universal Catholic Church of England. The Church neither makes demands on the people nor offers its spiritual gifts to them. offering a Protestantism that might be lived organically by both clergy and people. (With Special Reference to the Recent Secession to Rome. A Sermon Preached in Shadwell Church. 13.d. At that level. For Milner and those who thought like him.

sin and misery. 1835). infidelity and heresy. on Sunday. Tricentenary Celebration of the First English Translation of the Whole Bible: Being the Substance of a Sermon. Ultimately. – chasing away ignorance and superstition. . The Bible itself was God’s weapon. bigotry and prejudice. 1835… (Dublin. shine upon the world. Preached in the Methodist Chapel. and the latter-day glory. full orbed in the completeness of their own beauty. – of which prophets wrote and apostles spoke. p. Protestants would do nothing themselves against the Catholic threat. and vigour. October 4. Whitefriar Street. to order both their lives and their utterances by revealed truth. Protestants the mere instrument. – will appear to bless the earth.anti-catholic sermons in victorian britain 267 derives from the Scriptures! By calling for Protestants to live in Scripture. and brightness. and for which the sainted of every time and place earnestly pray. the clergy made the Bible itself the ultimate weapon against Roman Catholicism. 14. As James Benjamin Gillman joyously proclaimed: Let the Scriptures. and causing righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations!89 89 James Benjamin Gillman.


See. Edward Caird. and Christianity was … tacitly assumed. and C. the year Henslow’s comment was published. Walter Bagehot. 1896). Evolution and the Religion of the Future (London. Anna Swanwick. and even religion. or.2 Henslow’s more famous contemporary Thomas H. 2 1 . in 1859. 1893).1 By 1896. 1894). art. (Glasgow. The Evolution of Religion. Christ No Product of Evolution (London. between the estimation in which Darwin’s views are George Henslow. among other forms of religion. for example. the theory of evolution had gained sufficient acceptance among British scientists and literati that the next task for the intelligentsia was to apply evolutionary theory to other areas of knowledge – history. 2 vols. 1872). without any great. Physics and Politics. break in the continuity of moral thought or interference whatever. this principle has been taken up and applied elsewhere than in the physical world … It was soon thought by some that the time had come to apply it to religions. the son of Charles Darwin’s mentor John Stevens Henslow (1796–1861). 1896). George Henslow (1835–1925).NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH SERMONS ON EVOLUTION AND THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES: THE DOG THAT DIDN’T BARK? Keith A. Huxley (1825– 95) had noted in the 1880s that the journey to the point in time at which evolution was just another scientific theory with applications outside of science had not been smooth. and brought to the front the old doctrine of the evolution of living things. noted: Since Darwin published his work. Hubert H. Francis Writing at the end of the 19th century. but on a new basis. to have been evolved by some natural process out of Judaism or elsewhere. The Origin of Species. politics. Parry. if any. 3. Huxley drew attention to what he considered was a major shift in attitude: The contrast between the present condition of public opinion on the Darwinian question. The Evolution of the Art of Music (London. Thoughts on the Application of the Principles of “Natural Selection” and “Inheritance” to Political Society (London. Commenting on the significance of Darwin’s achievement. p.

6 “years had to pass away before misrepresentation.4 Huxley’s description fits into what James Moore has characterized as the “military metaphor” of the reception of The Origin of Species. “On the Reception of the ‘Origin of Species. Moore. is so startling that.270 keith a. I should be sometimes inclined to think my memories dreams.3 when the new theory respecting the origin of species first became known to the older generation to which I belong. pp. “Darwin poured new life-blood into the ancient frame” of the philosophy of evolution”. The Origin of Species was not published until 24 November 1859. but ignorant.’ ” pp. 1979). and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection”. “even theologians have almost ceased to pit the plain meaning of Genesis against the no less plain meaning of Nature”. 1870–1900 (Cambridge. of dark and malevolent. 2: 181. except for documentary evidence. or at least quiescence. particularly Darwin.’ ” in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin.7 The picture Huxley drew was. 181. including men such as Bishop Samuel Wilberforce who was “a shallow pretender to a Master in Science”. and denunciation. 1887). “On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties. francis now held in the scientific world. Darwin’s ideas were opposed by the “dullest antagonists”. p. 182. there was no “outburst of antagonism” in the ensuing days and weeks. to continue his graphic imagery. 4 Thomas H. 6 Samuel Wilberforce (1805–73) was the son of the English abolitionist William Wilberforce. 19–49. As the book is more commonly known as The Origin of Species. 183. ridicule. Francis Darwin (London. “On the Reception of the ‘Origin of Species. 7 Huxley. of the theologians of the self-respecting order at the present day and the outburst of antagonism on all sides in 1858–9. forces allied against scientific truth and the seekers of scientific truth. ceased to be the most notable constituents of the majority of the multitudinous criticisms of his work which poured from the press”. The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America. Huxley. he became the Bishop of Oxford (1845–69) and the Bishop of Winchester (1869–73). that nomenclature will be used throughout this chapter. 5 James R. The title of the book was On the Origin of Species until the sixth edition which was published in 1872. in the end. but. was presented to the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858. . The joint-paper of Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) on their evolutionary theory of descent by modification through natural selection. including an Autobiographical Chapter. ed.5 The theory of evolution had been “bound hand and foot and cast into utter darkness during the millennium of theological scholasticism”. between the acquiescence. 3 Huxley’s use of these dates is interesting and surprising.

2000). 525–35 and Adrian Desmond.” Annals of Science 32 (November 1975). with regard to the history of the relationship between science and religion. . Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion (New York. Famously. as he was inclined to do. The activities of the proponents of various types of creationism in the 20th and 21st centuries have ensured that the military metaphor continues to be used. John William Draper (1811–82) in his History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1875) and Andrew Dickson White (1832–1918) in his A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) are the best known for giving a similar analysis. Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (Cambridge. 1962). or even “winners” and “losers”. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago. 16–81. “Huxley’s Defence of Darwin. 1–6. Huxley: From Devil’s Disciple to Evolution’s High Priest (Reading. 1997).nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 271 While it is possible to argue that Huxley was exaggerating to make a point or indulging in rhetorical flourish.11 More recently.8 he was neither the first nor the last to see a battle between science and religion or between scientist and theologian. it is important to recognize that there are no easy categorizations of “proponents” and “opponents” or “right” and “wrong”. 12 See John Hedley Brooke.12 8 See Michael Bartholomew. Anti-Evolution: A Reader’s Guide to Writings Before and After Darwin (Baltimore. John Hedley Brooke in his Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (1991) put forward the notion of “complexity” as an historiographical approach. 9 See Tom McIver. According to Brooke. Of his contemporaries. Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) proposed the idea of “paradigm shift” – that new scientific theories replace older ones when the accumulating evidence can no longer be explained using the latter.9 perhaps one of the most intriguing titles being Did the Devil Make Darwin Do It? Modern Perspectives on the Creation-Evolution Controversy (1983). MA. Other historians have suggested alternative understandings of the reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution in the 19th century which are equally compelling.10 Eye-catching or controversial statements may provide fodder for vocal proponents of a pro-evolution or anti-evolution position. 1991). MD. 15–41 and 106–38. 1988) for an extensive list of anti-evolution books and tracts published in the 19th and 20th centuries. but they are not conclusive evidence that an actual “war” was occurring. particularly pp. and 321–22. particularly pp. See also John Hedley Brooke and Geoffrey Cantor. Wilson. 266–85 and 307–08. 4–22 and 52–85. 10 A group of essays published by Iowa State University Press and edited by David B. 11 Thomas Kuhn. particularly pp. pp.

that is. notes Chadwick. on their faith in the inspired truth of the Old Testament. if at all. and Custom (1871) he argued that origins of religion could be found in so-called animist cultures and that religion developed from animism to polytheism to monotheism. When compared to the hundreds of thousands who attended church Sunday after Sunday and Owen Chadwick. and nearly all official members of the Roman Catholic Church. 2: 23–24.13 Further. the discussion about The Origin of Species and evolutionary theory in the churches seems more like the proverbial “storm in a tea-cup”. the debate ought not to be described as a controversy and certainly not a “war”. The Victorian Church.15 Given Chadwick’s characterization. Although it may seem an excessive focus on “ordinary” people. 15 Chadwick. mildly regretted what they heard of Huxley and. The Victorian Church. no doubt. 1972). a British anthropologist. knew that their faith rested upon moral considerations inaccessible to the physical sciences.272 keith a. commenting on the impact of scientific theories which supposedly undermined the truth of Christianity. pp. If the debate about the theory of evolution was simply among some scientists and some Anglican and Nonconformist ministers. 2: 35. Religion. Chadwick remarks: In the pews. continued to know nothing of evolution or to refuse to accept it on religious grounds. 14 13 . There may have been conflict between some scientists and some ministers but the details of Darwin’s arguments were only vaguely known. In Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology. Chadwick argues that understanding the reaction to The Origin of Species in terms of “controversy” is the wrong approach (and ignores the difficulty of establishing exactly what causes people to change their views). the point made by Chadwick and others is valid. by most of British society. 2nd ed. “For a decade or two after 1896”. Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917). (London. Art. continued to sit large numbers of worshippers who had never heard of Tylor. p. In his magnum opus on the Victorian church. even if the participants numbered a thousand. Philosophy. especially among the evangelicals. and most of the simple worshippers among the chapels of the poor. francis Perhaps more important than the new perspectives on the reception of Darwin’s theory provided by historians such as Brooke is the view of others such as Owen Chadwick. some members of the Church of England. if they thought about it all. and they wrote in national publications such as The Times or The Edinburgh Review.14 were indifferent to Darwin.

1995).17 That figure represents a greater 16 See K. a thousand is a rather small number. (The sermon was literature in the sense that it was written. The Nineteenth-Century Church and English Society (Cambridge. 21–95 and 128–92. if not all. 63–74 and 255–61.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 273 remained unaffected by the debate about evolution. correspondence.M. 1800–2000 (London. and Catholics as a percentage of the population remained steady. 1994). 17 Robert Currie. God and Greater Britain: Religion and National Life in Britain and Ireland 1843–1945 (London. for example. and John Wolffe. One test. Rival Jerusalems: The Geography of Victorian Religion (Cambridge. eds. either in the form of notes or in full. this would still mean that more than a million people heard sermons around the country. There was one type of literature in the 19th century with which the majority of people in Britain came into contact: the sermon. 2001). if the membership of the churches in England. It was also rhetoric because ministers preached their sermons. 145–61. and the like – is not sufficient. Just because some ordinary people were discussing Darwin or The Origin of Species does not mean that the majority were doing so. of the impact of The Origin of Species in the 19th century is the effect it had on the lives of the parishioners with whom the ministers and theologians came into contact. pp. before it was spoken. 2000). and Callum Brown. Snell and Paul S. the numbers of Anglicans.16 For 1891. but is he correct? Substantiating the validity of Chadwick’s characterization presents a major difficulty for the historian: how is it possible to ascertain what “ordinary worshipers” were thinking? Taking the usual means for discovering the thinking of a group – diaries.. It then became a new type of literature if the minister chose to publish it because most. and Wales was approximately six million and only 20 per cent attended on a given Sunday.D. published sermons were edited versions of the preached sermons. Scotland.) While the numbers of people attending church declined steadily in the 19th century. Was Darwin or The Origin of Species a major topic of conversation for “ordinary” people in the church congregations all over Britain? Chadwick suggests not. This runs the risk of falling into the same trap of extrapolation as the controversy between scientists and ministers. . 1977). Alan Gilbert. 395–420. Nonconformists. 201–206. newspapers. pp. pp. Frances Knight. and Lee Horsley. Ell. The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularization. pp. then. pp. Churches and Churchgoers: Patterns of Church Growth in the British Isles Since 1700 (Oxford.

21 Scholarly efforts to rectify this lack of knowledge have begun. and Co. Spurgeon (London. known more for his preaching while an Anglican. Spurgeon’s Sermons 1855–1917: In the New Park Street and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (Pasadena. The numbers of sermons published by Spurgeon. was a growing industry in printed sermons. but unknown. John Henry Newman (1801–90). even more so than the two previous centuries. francis exposure for sermons than the most popular newspapers. either precisely or approximately. published his eight-volume Parochial and Plain Sermons between 1834 and 1843. 20 A complete and revised set of the eight volumes was published by Longmans. H. What there was in the 19th century. or novels. TX. Despite the fact that well-known. The New Park Street Pulpit: Containing Sermons Preached and Revised by the Rev. and 1872 by Dunnill. and virtually unknown clergymen had their sermons published. 1869. H.600 sermons. like the centuries before and after. and The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.20 An equally well-known and even more prolific preacher such as Samuel Wilberforce published several volumes of sermons. “The British Pulpit Online.18 Alexander Maclaren (1826–1910). most of these sermons died with the men. A future project.274 keith a. H. Palmer & Co. Unfortunately. added to his single pamphlet sermons.21 Nevertheless. Green. and Wilberforce are suggestive of a large.19 These volumes contain more than four hundred sermons.” will incorporate a catalog of more than 90 per cent of the sermons published in the 19th century. perhaps even more influential than Spurgeon in the Baptist Union. a conspicuous example being the Baptist preacher and author Charles Spurgeon (1834–92). . 1856–62). 1863–1917). 19 Published in 1859. This volume represents one attempt. in 1901. Publishing individual sermons as leaflets and books of sermons became a second career for some ministers. who preached them. A Complete Index to C. historians do not know. published nineteen volumes of sermons including his best-known series Sermons Preached in Union Chapel. journals. and a few women. Sermons Preached and Revised by C. Maclaren. corpus of sermons. In the 19th century there was no means to capture all of these utterances and. they do lend credence to 18 See Charles Spurgeon. Manchester. the total number of published sermons for the 19th or any other century. 1980). Charles Spurgeon collated the majority of his published sermons into a new volume of sermons each year from 1855 onwards. there are more than three hundred of Wilberforce’s sermons in print. Spurgeon (London. not-so-well-known. Newman. C. these amounted to 191 sermons. there was no attempt to record all of them. This series eventually reached sixtythree volumes and contains approximately 3.

“Foreign Travel. 1870). See Alexander R. 1881). Seven Years. The Country Curate’s Offering to His Parishioners: Consisting of Eight Village Sermons (London..24 There were sermons for special occasions and jubilees such as opening of schools. by William. Randall Thomas Davidson. William Jackson. A Sermon Preached in the Chapel of Harrow School on Founder’s Day.W.” Sermon Preached in the West London Synagogue of British Jews. 1853). and Harry John Wilmot Buxton. Parochial Sermons (London. 1901). ed. Thirty Plain Sermons. 1895). on the Sabbath Following the Death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. pp. A Charge Delivered at the Triennial Visitation of the Diocese. A Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of York. Sabine Baring-Gould. “our name is Legion for we are many” could apply as well to published 22 Robert H. 1867). George Bellett. Lord Bishop of Oxford. The Inheritance of a Great Name. A Sermon Preached in Westminster Abbey. Including Many for the Principal Church Seasons (London. October 11.22 As might be expected. 1868). and Herbert Hensley Henson. Beyond Religious Discourse: Sermons. UK. (London.23 There were sermons by bishops encouraging their clergy to be diligent ministers. to be more unusual or esoteric subjects such as foreign travel or the cholera epidemic of 1866. Preaching and Evangelical Protestants in Nineteenthcentury Irish Society (Milton Keynes. Robert Nye. Joseph M. Arthur George Baxter.25 There were even sermons on what seem. 1976).nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 275 the assertion by Robert H. Such sermon collections were also entitled “Village Sermons”. the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the doctrine of the immaculate conception. 2007). November 11. 1899). (London. January 25th. “Cholera. Plain Village Sermons for the Sundays of the Christian Year. Bible Object Lessons.C. Lord Archbishop of York (London. and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter (Oxford. 3. Lord High Almoner to Her Majesty the Queen. 4 vols. 23 Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons is a good example of this genre. 1852). Church. Ellison. 1750–1850 (Cheadle. from the distance of time. 1839). vol. January 27th. 1998).26 To use a biblical analogy. The Sunday Round. Village Sermons. There were sermons on all aspects of the Christian life. 1869). 1869 by Samuel. Isidore Harris. “Thine is the Kingdom. UK.N. 1883 (London. . Wilberforce. 1903). William Thomson. Ellison and others that the published sermon was one of the most common forms of literature in the 19th century. 1822). 278–97 and Charles Kingsley. Dallas. Instaurare omnia in Christo (London. and J. Bampton. November MDCCCLX (Oxford. 1883). Delivered in October 1870. 25 Thomas Legh Claughton. pp.” in Pascal and other Sermons (London. on the Occasion of the Death of Queen Victoria of Blessed Memory (London. and Other Sermons (London. PA. 1901). The English Sermon: An Anthology. Plain Sermons Preached to Country Congregations (London. Parochial Sermons (London. 15–28. 2 vols. the subject matter of these sermons was diverse. A Charge Delivered to the Diocese of Oxford. 1904). Godly Teaching: A Sermon Preached on the Occasion of the Reopening of Archbishop Harsnett’s Free Grammar School (London. 26 See R.” in The Water of Life. 1860). pp. The Victorian Pulpit: Spoken and Written Sermons in NineteenthCentury Britain (Selinsgrove. 1901. p. 260–279. and the death of Queen Victoria. See also Francis Foreman Clarke. 13. Ian Dickson. 1901 (London. 24 Samuel Wilberforce. at His Eighth Visitation.

Further. the ground-breaking research on heredity and genes done by scientists such as Gregor Mendel (1822–84). 14–150. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. was profound.28 Darwin’s hope was realized in ways that he could not have imagined.30 This confluence of “The Age of Darwin” and the “Age of the Sermon” provides a useful context for testing the impact of both.29 the theory of evolution became orthodox science by 1900. 29 The attacks on natural selection are described well in Peter Bowler’s The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900 (Baltimore. the theory of evolution. The impact of The Origin of Species and Darwin’s theory of evolution on science. or when analogous views are generally admitted. Darwin. was challenged by scientists. Darwin was generally. and one of the biologists who was involved in bringing together gene theory and Darwinian natural selection. the preached and published sermon. 28 27 . and William Bateson (1861–1926) which resulted in a version of Darwin’s theory becoming the standard explanation of evolution in the 20th century was begun within a couple of decades of the publication of The Origin of Species. francis sermons in the 19th century as the demon-possessed man in the Gadarenes. we can dimly foresee that there will be a considerable revolution in natural history”. although not quite universally. By the turn of the century. See Luke 8:26–31. Hugo de Vries (1848–1935). 30 Julian Huxley (1887–1925). and the form of rhetoric. 1942). Equally. 484.276 keith a. Edwin Charles Dargan (1852–1930). Darwin had expressed the hope in 1859 that “when the views entertained in this volume on the origin of species. or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London.27 The 19th century was the age of the sermon. Whether ministers’ sermons were influenced by the ideas in The Origin of Species or descriptions by scientists of the theory of evolution were influenced by what was preached in church are both interesting questions worth examining. acknowledged as the “father” of evolution. In 1912. grandson of Thomas Huxley. The idea. While his particular theory of evolution. a former professor of Homiletics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. 1859). were both supposed to influence the thinking and behavior of a large portion of the population. describes this history well in Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (New York. p. particularly the biological sciences. 1983). This chapter will focus on the former. pp. it would not be inaccurate to describe the 19th century as “the Age of Darwin”. descent by modification through natural selection.

who were the ministers preaching sermons about The Origin of Species and evolution. Materialistic evolution as a theory of all causes and phenomena. Given the importance of Chadwick’s work on the Victorian church and Dargan’s advantage as a witness. what was the purpose of these sermons? Did the preachers perceive them as one weapon in a war against the theory of evolution. for example? Or. what does the content and purpose of the sermons suggest about the reception of Darwin’s ideas and the theory of evolution in the latter half of the 19th century? Would people attending church services have been aware of a 31 Edwin C. Vol. These two interpretations do draw attention to the fact that some basic questions about sermons on evolution need to be answered. First. Dargan. what was the expectation for sermons in the 19th century: what did the preacher and the congregation expect would be achieved by the sermon. . A History of Preaching. In terms of time. 1572–1900 (New York. particularly one that condemned or supported the theory of evolution? Third. the theory of evolution had a profound effect on the sermons preached in the last half of the 19th century. until.31 Dargan’s analysis is the opposite of Owen Chadwick’s. Three are the most obvious. but threatened to become the substitute of all spiritual thinking. This scientific opposition to historical and spiritual religion was a fearful opponent of preaching and at the same time a powerful stimulus to it. Was Dargan overstating or Chadwick understating? Darwin’s ideas were controversial: this suggests that Dargan’s interpretation is the more accurate one (and is certainly an analysis that Thomas Huxley would have recognized). the inadequacy of so one-sided a view of life began to produce the inevitable reaction. II: From the Close of the Reformation Period to the End of the Nineteenth Century. furthermore. not only attacked the foundations of the Christian faith.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 277 Kentucky. it is important to find a way to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory analyses of the period. Both phases of this effect are traceable in the sermons of the period. 357. Dargan was closer to the events he described and. p. and what exactly did they say? Second. commented on the impact of the “Age of Darwin” on the “Age of the Sermon”: The wonderful development of physical science and the rise of the British school of scientific speculation about the middle of the nineteenth century made an epoch for preaching as for other departments of human thinking. 1912). to him. toward the end of the century. the pre-eminent English naturalist of the 19th century until he was overshadowed by Darwin. 1st ed. and Timothy T. he wrote in the second edition of The Origin of Species. p. p. eds. 1860). 206. 481. 1981).36 with 32 Paul H. Weinshank. Gottleber. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. 35 Darwin. it is a slight exaggeration to suggest this. www .33 Darwin took the same rhetorical approach to ministers and those with objections to his theory based on religion. Darwin quoted Owen and Cuvier.darwinproject.35 The author in question was Charles Kingsley (1819–75) best-known today for writing the children’s book The Water Babies (1863) but who was also a Church of England priest. was mentioned eighteen times in the first edition of The Origin of Species. such as JeanBaptiste Lamarck (1744–1829). Richard Owen (1804–92). Barrett. 34 Darwin. pp. and professor of modern history at Cambridge University (1860–69). 33 See The Origin of Species. . First Edition (Ithaca. the opinions of both men seeming to bolster Darwin’s argument. A Concordance to Darwin’s Origin of Species. NY. Donald J. as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws. Letter 2534. but there is a sense in which Darwin baited his future opponents. or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. accessed 19 October 2008. Nevertheless. Darwin Correspondence Project. francis “controversy” or felt that they were participants in a controversy from the sermons they heard? Given his dislike of controversy.34 In the next sentence Darwin quoted “a celebrated author and divine” who had written to him noting that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms. prolific preacher.. p. Darwin might have hoped for it but he realized that support for his theory from men such as Owen was unlikely. 134. proponents of a theory of evolution.32 Owen was a disciple of the French naturalist Georges Cuvier (1769–1832) who had dominated the French Academy of Science in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was partly responsible for the marginalization of transformists.html. 545. 2nd ed. On the Origin of Species. (London: John Murray. Kingsley wrote the words Darwin quoted in a letter dated 18 November 1859.278 keith a. “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one”. 36 Charles Kingsley to Darwin.

Baden Powell’s son Robert. p. p. 95– not a casual phenomenon’ ”. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Letter dated “Nov.. 427. and Ieuan Ellis. p. noted Darwin. Darwin had included the opinion of a 37 Darwin to Kingsley. 39 Charles Darwin. As Powell did not die until 11 June 1860. Darwin Correspondence Project. Kingsley’s support for The Origin of Species is well known. Peter Brent. Darwin first wrote his historical sketch as a preface to the third American edition of The Origin of Species which was published in 1860. had died twelve years before the publication of The Origin of Species. 2003). Charles Darwin: A Man of Enlarged Curiosity (New York. Janet Browne. xiv and Darwin.40 Darwin quoted more than thirty authors. Baden Powell. Darwin (New York. in his ‘Essays on the Unity of Worlds. 50–63. pp.darwinproject. 1995). in his historical “sketch of the progress of opinion on the Origin of Species” – only two were clergymen. a former dean of Manchester (1840–47). 1861). 3rd ed. Charles Darwin: Voyaging (New York. “Nothing can be more striking than the manner in which he shows that the introduction of new species is ‘a regular. William Herbert (1778–1847). or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (New York. pp. which so scandalized some Anglicans that only his untimely death removed the possibility that he might be prosecuted for heresy. 3rd ed. . mainly naturalists. pp. Darwin took the bold step of publishing the comments of a private letter:37 Darwin could only have been more provocative if he had named Kingsley as the author. was the founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. 1980). 21.41 The other clergyman mentioned. was also the author of the essay “On the Study of the Evidences of Christianity” in Essays and Reviews (1860).html.39 Baden Powell (1796–1860). 30” [1859].’ 1855”. 41 Darwin. 38 Adrian Desmond and James Moore. pp. 1860–64 (Aldershot. . the future Lord Baden-Powell. 446.38 Less commented on is an observation made by Darwin in the third edition. “The ‘Philosophy of Creation’ has been treated in a masterly manner by the Rev. as several of Darwin’s biographers have noted. Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (New York. 157–212. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. v–xi. Letter 2561. (London. pp. UK. 322. 160–61. pp. 477. 1860). Altholz. Anglican priest and professor of geometry at Oxford University. Seven Against Christ: A Study of ‘Essays and Reviews’ (Leiden. 40 See Josef L. 1992). 1981).nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 279 Kingsley’s permission. Anatomy of a Controversy: The Debate over Essays and Reviews. Janet Browne. accessed 19 October 2008. 488. 1994). xviii. The Origin of Species. or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

44 See Darwin to Charles Lyell. 1988). & . 42 .45 it was almost as if he was inviting comment from the Written and published sermons were (and are) important literature of the Victorian period but. and would be preaching to congregations amenable to sermons on scientific subjects. amateur scientists (or “naturalists”. and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact”.42 With regard to Powell and Kingsley. for their unorthodoxy: Baden Powell for his liberal theological views and Kingsley for his support of political causes such as workers’ rights and socialism. it is clear that those sermons were preached in a specific historical 481–482 and 3rd ed. it seems that postmodernist theories about literature being beyond the control of the author once published do not apply. Herbert). ‘unity of design’.darwinproject. 106–23. Without knowing exactly who preached sermons on The Origin of Species and/or evolution. preached on any Sunday without a care for the “occasion”. accessed 20 October 2008. 122–27 and Corsi.43 Darwin was well aware that he was invoking the support of clergymen whose views many Anglicans would find difficult to accept. pp. The ministers could not be afraid to court controversy. 9–20. would have more than a fair knowledge of science and the scientific method.280 keith a. Darwin had chosen the type of clergyman who would preach on The Origin of Species. in part. Letter dated “Dec. 1800– 1860 (Cambridge. Darwin Correspondence Project. 43 See Gregory P. www. 2. 516. www. Anglicans.html. francis living. any published sermons on evolution or The Origin of Species Pietro Corsi. 14th. 73–79. much less Christians in other churches (and this may explain. pp. and the Development of a Doctrine of Providential Evolution (Lanham. in the case of The Origin of Species.. accessed 20 October 2008. or philosophers.” Letter 2566.darwinproject. would be scientists. 45 Darwin. 1996) 1st Letter dated “Dec.html. Catholics.darwinproject. The sermons themselves could not be commonplace. in the parlance of most of the 19th century). and well-connected clergyman (as well as that of a clergyman in the mainstream. p.44 When Darwin wrote that “it is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the ‘plan of creation’. why Darwin did not name Kingsley). both were known. pp. pp. controversial.. Elder.” Letter 2565. www . Darwin to John Lubbock. Furthermore. 5–8 and 124–224. MD. Science and Religion.” Letter 2584. Darwin to John Murray. accessed 20 October 2008. Chronic Vigour: Darwin. Science and Religion: Baden Powell and the Anglican Debate. The Origin of Species.. Letter dated “Dec 2d. perhaps notorious. In a sense.

First.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 281 could only sell on the basis that there was a public willing to read this special category of sermon. gave these lectures to a congregation consisting of English visitors to Rome. usually in opposition. of which the question of evolution was one part. Twelve Lectures on the Connexion between Science and Revealed Religion. and members of the public interested in the lecture topics. not a group of academics or specialists. archeology. beginning in the late 18th-century after the dissemination of the theories of transformists such as Lamarck. In this context. French editions were published in 1836. “science should be dedicated to the service of religion”. 2 vols. three points made by Wiseman stand out. and 1856. and clergymen. an institution created for the training of English Catholic priests. in other words. and oriental languages. Wiseman. The publication of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation in 1844 with its progressivist ideas about nature and society – both were evolving and needed to evolve as a law of life – provoked comment. 46 See James A. the work of geologists and paleontologists in particular had raised questions about the traditional interpretations about the origins of life and state of the natural world. Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication. Though his talks functioned as both lecture and sermon they were detailed expositions of the science of the day and covered a wide range of topics – the comparative study of languages. 17–24. As historians such as James Secord have shown. his colleagues at the College. a series of lectures/sermons given by Nicholas Wiseman (1802–65) during Lent in 1835 is worth noting. pp. 1836). Reception and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (Chicago. the history of the earliest civilizations.46 But even before Vestiges. who in 1828 became the rector of the English College in Rome. (London. 2000). As Secord notes. Only after his death did his friend Alexander Ireland reveal that Robert Chambers (1802–71) was the author. The 19th-century debate about the relationship between science and religion. soon after the publication of The Origin of Species. 1842. 495–98. the natural history of the human race. Secord. . from scientists. the natural sciences. part of the excitement with regard to Vestiges was its unnamed author. literati. preceded Darwin’s birth. students at the College. 47 Nicholas Wiseman.47 Taking into account the arguments made by preachers later in the century. and included on the cover page of the published book so that it could not be missed by later readers. controversy and debate about evolution did not begin in 1859 or 1860. 1841.

1st ed. the context of Charles Kingsley’s positive reaction to Darwin’s book was the preceding years in which Kingsley had thought about the natural world. In a sermon entitled “God’s World”. however it might seem to Christians who were not experts. 50 Ibid. there was no contradiction between scientific knowledge and revelation. Wiseman noted.49 This tripartite defensive strategy. 51 The text reads: “O Lord. pp. Twenty-Five Village Sermons. Wiseman was not the only preacher interested in scientific questions such as evolutionary theory before the publication of The Origin of Species. paleontologists. “It has been the malice of superficial men”. Wiseman seemed to reserve his strongest arguments for the lectures on oriental languages. existed more than twenty years before the publication of The Origin of Species. p. 1852). 1–3. used by most of those who preached about evolution. . science. Twelve Lectures on the Connexion between Science and Revealed Religion. in fact. 52 Charles Kingsley.. “religion has nothing to fear from the legitimate advance of human learning”. the earth is full of thy riches” (Authorized Version). 1849). 49 Wiseman. revised (London. Perhaps even more noteworthy in the context of an examination of the impact of evolutionary theory on the average layperson.48 Third. or geologists. may the soonest be changed into fittest places for profound admiration”. 1: 261–62. thinking that the study of natural history had no place in the pulpit bordered on materialism. against truths revealed”. Twelve Lectures. 3rd ed.52 But spirituality was about more than living the Christian life. pp.50 Unsurprisingly. from her laws. “Had they boldly advanced”. For example. The 48 Wiseman. Wiseman argued. 2nd ed. no matter the advances in science. the implications for Christian doctrine of the research being done on languages such as Koinē Greek and Hebrew – lower and higher biblical criticism – were more troubling than the work of transformists. and the future of society. how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all. preached on the text Psalm 104:24 in the late 1840s or early 1850s. francis Second. “they would have discovered … that the depths which serve to conceal her darkest mysteries. (London. Kingsley explained to his congregation. “who had not patience or courage to penetrate into the sanctuary of nature. 1: vii. Lectures X and XI.282 keith a.. that has suggested objections.51 Kingsley noted that “contemporary thinking” was that a psalm glorifying natural history was inappropriate for worship – it was not “spiritual” enough.

and dance in the sunbeam for a short hour of gay life. Sermons on National Subjects (London. and odd. .55 Put another way. that they may have a chance of coming out of the ground when the day stirs the little life in them. in a sermon preached on 4 May 1851 entitled “The Fount of Science”. and practical sense?” Referring to the Great Exhibition going on at the time. Kingsley asked the congregation: “Do we give the glory of our scientific discoveries to God. Thus. even before the publication of The Origin of Species preachers were already commenting on theories of evolution to their congregations. to feed creatures nobler and more precious than themselves. 1890).54 As the sermons of Wiseman and Kingsley show. honest. seems to be God’s absence from it. That kind of materialism was dangerous. God looks after the poor gnats in the winter time. p. nature is not static: it is progressive. 4–5. Ibid. pp. and the all-conquering powers of the human mind. pp. scientists study nature and so they are examining phenomena over which God has control. or nobody’s earth”. they were also developing a strategy of defense. Scientific study reveals how nature works but God is at the heart of nature.. 111. Charles Kingsley. to make us fancy that we insects of a day. Wiseman and Kingsley’s defense was: God ordered and orders nature – how intimately or precisely neither of them was willing to say. scientific discoveries even if they seem contradictory to revealed religion will prove not to be. with regard to science which they would employ later when reacting to The Origin of Species and evolutionary theory. and talk big about the progress of the species. Kingsley stressed that God is behind all the forces and laws of nature. he answered his own question: “Our notion of God’s blessing it. evolutionary.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 283 difference between the Psalmist’s and contemporary society was that “David looked on the earth as God’s earth. 8. 115. Furthermore. a system of apologetics. have found out these things for ourselves. in any real. we look on it as man’s earth. a hope and trust that God will leave it and us alone …”. Equally important. Kingsley argued: What madness is this which has come upon us in these last days..53 In a theme that he would repeat in later sermons. and the triumphs of the intellect. 53 54 55 Ibid. before they return to dust whence they were made. Kingsley noted.

His famous “Tree of Life” diagram in The Origin of Species which Darwin used to illustrate the relationship between species. 1985). the philosophy of a chain of being as formulated by Aristotle – one group being to superior to another and every organism having its fixed place in the economy of nature – helped to underpin social constructs such as the relationship between the classes and the status of women in society. and William L. On the other hand. given that he had written a review of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation in 1845. 116 and 117.. Most important. The Origin of Species.” The Westminster Review 44 (September–December 1845). the French zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772– 1844). Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. pp. 2nd ed. Charles Darwin: Voyaging. 2005). were vastly inferior to complex organisms such as mammals. 58 “Art. 4th Edition. (Chicago. 1959). . Kingsley’s view of evolution was different from Darwin’s. V. 59–196. CT.59 The simplest. 51–355 and Keith Thomson. and how varieties diverged to become new species. p. Rudwick. pp. one-celled organisms. francis That preachers such as Wiseman and Kingsley began to develop the outlines of a philosophy of science which incorporated evolutionary theory well before the publication of The Origin of Species is a reflection of the era. there was a lively debate about the implications of geological phenomena such as fossils for an understanding of the natural history of the world in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Kingsley was orthodox for the time in the sense that he believed some species were superior to others. Interestingly. Forerunners of Darwin: 1745–1859 (Baltimore..S. Straus.284 keith a. even before having the opportunity to consider the consequences of Darwin’s theory. however.60 Conversely. pp. 59 In the 19th century. The Meaning of Fossils: Episodes in the History of Palaeontology. Darwin avoided judgements about superiority in explanations of his theory. – 2.57 In fact. 83–217. diagram between pp. 195–203 and Browne. 57 See Bentley Glass. Owsei Temkin. Jr. the ideas of Lamarck. without overstating the extent to which they should be considered forerunners of Darwin. Before Darwin: Reconciling God and Nature (New Haven. This is the reason why the gnats in Kingsley’s sermon “God’s World” died to provide nourishment for “nobler creatures”. MD. 464. eds. has no top or bottom. for example. German philosophers such as Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803) and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). the Tree of Life diagram 56 Martin J. humans were at the apex of all organisms. and even Cuvier and Owen had already precipitated a debate about evolution. Churchill.58 it is possible that Kingsley had this book in mind when he referred to evolutionary theory in his sermons. As historians such as Martin Rudwick have shown. 60 Darwin. 1st ed.56 Also.

He suggested that study of nature without the assumption that God was directing or interfering in it was “an extinct science”. 247. trans. diagram between pp. 1852. education. 61 . (Perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek. Both of the published volumes went through several editions. had amoeba near the bottom and man at the top.. Of the two men. he noted that people talk about Nature – the word is capitalized in the text of the sermon – as though it has an organic unity. pp. It was three years after the publication of The Water Babies. and 1862. and eleven years after the publication of Glaucus: or the Wonders of the Shore. however. Kingsley acknowledged that to be crushed “by brute necessity. Joseph McCabe (New York. Kingsley. This was a key component of Darwin’s theory of evolution but Kingsley disagreed with it. pp. The Water of Life. was appointed chaplain to the Queen in 1859 and a canon of Westminster in 1873. industrialization and social progress. a book on marine biology: the royal audience could not be surprised that Kingsley talked about science in his address. Although Kingsley spent most of the sermon discussing the relationship between providence and science. The Evolution of Man: A Popular Scientific Study. First. although he did not receive a clerical preferment as impressive as Wiseman’s.62 Wiseman became a cardinal and the first archbishop of Westminster in 1850. Kingsley preached a sermon entitled “The Meteor Shower” at the Chapel Royal. 63 Kingsley. 1854. 62 Editions of Kingsley’s Twenty-Five Village Sermons were published in 1849. 247–48. particularly evolutionary theory. he pointed out that science.61 There is no record of the reaction of the congregation to Kingsley’s and Wiseman’s sermons but it could not have been overwhelmingly negative. Kingsley’s novel dealing with evolution. not by ill-will. freed contemporary humans from the excessive fear experienced by their predecessors which was engendered by the supposed capriciousness of Nature. On 26 November 1866. 5th ed.63 Second.64) Thus it was important to recognize that God’s care of and interference in nature was part Ernst Haeckel.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 285 drawn by one of Darwin’s most vocal defenders. he made two points that were references to evolutionary theory. but by inevitable law” might be equally terror-inducing. 2: 418 and 419. 1910). the German scientist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919). St James’ Palace. 64 Ibid. 255. it was Kingsley who returned at regular intervals in his life to the question of the consequences of evolutionary theory and the relationship between the revelation of the Bible and science..

Apart from other sermons and the famous example of his novel The Water Babies. a charitable organization founded by sailors in 1514. 70 Elder. p. “one perpetual and innumerable series of special providences”. science and religion are “twin sisters meant to aid each other and mankind in the battle with the brute forces of this universe”. Men say. Ultimately. Kingsley told the congregation. In his preaching. Kingsley noted: These are days in which there is much dispute about religion and science–how far they agree with each other. A Concordance to Darwin’s Origin of Species. Kingsley had drawn attention to this difference. p. pp. 37. p. Evolution is an example of the laws of nature at work. God’s intervention in the world demonstrates that Christianity works. in part. 69 Ibid. francis of a greater law. Darwin’s theory of evolution was different from Kingsley’s: nature’s laws did not require the direction of God in Darwin’s cosmogony. lecturing. Chronic Vigour. (Of course.286 keith a.67 The congregation. and save himself from danger by science and experience. Darwin had confused matters by using the word Creator. Barrett. eight times in The Origin of Species. 251. 67 Charles Kingsley. the application of science to technology. “I cannot see why we should not allow” the existence of fixed laws and providence. and Gottleber. whether they contradict or interfere with each other. members of the Corporation of Trinity House. more accurately. pp.. Weinshank. and writing. 121–142.70 This is an accurate characterization. the more we find everything governed by fixed and regular laws. 66 65 .69 Gregory Elder has described Kingsley’s approach as a providential theory of evolution.66) Earlier in 1866.. that man is bound to find out those laws.68 The use of science (or technology) and reliance on God are complementary. p. Kingsley seemed determined to build a bridge between evolutionary theory and Christianity. 24–25. 1–8. to support the investigation of ways to make sea travel safer. 166.. In a sermon entitled “Prayer and Science”. Discipline. and truly. Especially there is dispute about Providence. 68 Ibid. with a capital C.65 Clearly Charles Kingsley was able to incorporate Darwin’s evolutionary theory into his theology. 1868). that the more we look into the world. Kingsley explicated Ibid. 23. and Other Sermons (London. was interested in science or.

. if it – evolution or Christianity – improved society then it must be good (and have originated from God). p. and Charles Kingsley. Nature was the first book of the revelation of the divine mind. p. 72 The same could be said of Wiseman but. as the great suns flash along without colliding. was among this group. also in 1871. 1874). Charles Kingsley. pp. put the idea more poetically in a sermon to a group of teenagers and adolescents: Every law of nature. pp. according to Spurgeon. they sing psalms to the marvelous power of God. 35. Winnington-Ingram. even though the too 71 See “The God of Nature” in The Water of Life. the second was entitled “The Study of Natural History” and the audience was a group of soldiers at the Royal Artillery Institution in Woolwich. The Study of Natural History (Woolwich. so as the little earth speeds on its way. v–xxxii. there is a sense in which Kingsley had not advanced much beyond the natural theology of some of his colleagues not known for their comments on evolution. his approach is understandable. 1901). Sermons Preached and Revised by C. “The Queen of sciences must be at one with her imperial sisters. Addresses to Working Lads (London. 74 A.71 In Kingsley’s thinking. head of the Oxford House. “Lessons from Nature” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. Bethnal Green and a future bishop of London (1901–39). to wise men the one illustrates and establishes the other”. we are bound to keep our hand moving or the stone falls. Westminster Sermons (London. Spurgeon. during the Year 1871 (London. as his discourses were given after the French transformists had failed to convince their fellows in the Academy of Science of the validity of evolution and before the publication of The Origin of Species. Spurgeon. 73 Charles H. we are told by science. for example. 446.73 Arthur Winnington-Ingram (1858–1946). H.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 287 this theme in detail in two lectures given in 1871: the first was a paper on natural theology read to a group of clergymen meeting at Sion College. Samuel Wilberforce. and the Bible the second. and we can understand that. told his Metropolitan Tabernacle congregation that “there is no quarrel between nature and revelation. 1874). fools only think so. many other clergymen shared Kingsley’s view. for when we whirl a stone round at the end of a string.F. While Charles Darwin appreciated the fact that he had the support of a well-known clergyman.74 In fact. he argued during a charge to the Oxford clergy in 1869.72 Charles Spurgeon. the object of Thomas Huxley’s opprobrium for his opposition to Darwin’s theory of evolution. 1872). “Between true Science and the Christian Revelation there can be no conflict”. 317–28. needs a continual application of force.

disagreement or opposition was to be expected. What is interesting about Wilberforce’s comment is its context. “Faith amongst us has already endured a far ruder shock from perversions to Rome. 34. Winnington-Ingram.. For some preachers.288 keith a. with regard to sermons on The Origin of Species. the untruthfulness. another was disagreement or opposition. and even evolutionary theory. Wilberforce noted. and Wilberforce are not a surprise. than from those scientific discoveries which are by some supposed mainly to endanger its continuance”. Kingsley. the fact that Wilberforce was much less concerned about new theories in science than other matters is significant. Wilberforce. pp. was not as troublesome to them – or for their congregations – as other matters.76 The conversions of friends and his brothers Henry and Robert to Roman Catholicism was one reason why Wilberforce focused on that particular “danger” but. It appeared in a charge given nine years after the nowinfamous meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science [BAAS] in Oxford. 75 Wilberforce. if the challenges posed by Darwin’s evolutionary theory were not a pressing problem then there was no need to preach sermons about these challenges on a regular or frequent basis.75 Given the popularity of natural theology in the first half of the 19th century. and their clerical colleagues could say what they said partly because 19thcentury science. But the supposed conflict between religion and science or creation and evolution was not the object of Wilberforce’s concern. and the superstitions of the Papacy”. and Andrew Dickson White did not invent a controversy: their perceptions were based on actual events. francis eager and perhaps half-instructed followers of each may indulge in passionate brawls and unseemly contentions”. at His Eighth Visitation. . the “real and great danger” was “the corruptions. If “God reveals Himself in nature” or “nature’s revelation of God does not differ from revealed revelation” was one reaction of 19thcentury clergymen to evolutionary theory. John William Draper. 33–34. Like seeing Darwin’s theory as part of natural theology. Darwin was wrong: it is why they believed evolutionary theory was incorrect and how they chose to express this which sheds light on the fierceness of the controversy. Spurgeon. and its enduring attraction in the latter half of the century. Thomas Huxley. 76 Ibid. Equally important. during which Wilberforce had publicly criticized the ideas in The Origin of Species. the statements of Kingsley. 33. pp. A Charge Delivered to the Diocese of Oxford.

The sermon is noteworthy for several reasons: first. 77 . Christopher Benson (1788–1868). preached a sermon entitled “The First and Second Verses of the Book of Genesis Examined”. In the conclusion of the sermon he stated that “the geologist need have no dread of interfering with the declarations of Holy Writ. 79 Ibid. and by similar modes of expression.78 Despite his sterling defense of the creative power of God and the veracity of the Genesis account. because it was preached within a year or two of the publication of The Origin of Species. 78 Ibid. and second. a canon of Worcester. 1st ed. p. because Benson seemed more exercised by the ideas of geologists such as Charles Lyell (1797–1875) rather than naturalists of Darwin’s ilk. 282. does the sacred historian represent the origination of things. thus shewing that it was the result of a divine and special command – not the gradual operation of any settled laws and imparted powers regulating the productive agency of matter – by which the time and order of their appearance was determined. The First and Second Verses of the Book of Genesis Examined (London.77 Most of the sermon followed the same line of argument. or the modes by which it was brought into that state. The Origin of Species.80 Benson conceded to both: Scripture neither tells us how long [the Earth’s] crust had existed in the state in which it was found just before the six days’ creation. Darwin had argued that his theory could not exist without the time-scale and uniformitarian principles explicated by Lyell. Geological conjectures and theories may therefore be safely indulged in … whether as to the nature of the revolutions through which Christopher Benson.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 289 At some time in 1860 or 1861. Benson’s sermon was not simply a rejection of the science of Lyell or Darwin. Focusing on the theory of uniformitarianism made famous by Lyell in his Principles of Geology (1830–33). pp. nor does it reveal to us the times when. Creation occurred “through the declaration of the divine will carried into effect by the divine power” and the book of Genesis “contains a full and regular narrative of the mode and order in which each part of this world’s creation was effected”. 5. p. whilst pursuing his investigations into our globe’s original structure and successive modifications”. Benson argued: By these [“Let there be light” and similar phrases in Genesis 1]. 80 Darwin.. 36. 34–35. 38..79 And this statement was the beginning of more than a minor concession to modern science. 1861). pp..

Goodwin’s Essay on Mosaic Cosmogony (Cambridge. 83 D. 1866). Further. p.290 keith a.. Gooch. or as to the time. The “false” science had to be separated out from the “true” science. francis our planet has passed. and the Laws of Nature (London. History. and he can overrule them or act contrarily to them whenever He pleases. For the duration that preceded the period assigned to the creation of the present heavens and earth must have been that of the Eternal. that though the laws of nature are immutable in the sense that they will remain in force till the end of the world.. 38–39. C. Prayer. Moorfields. That he has done so. for example. Eng. “It must be distinctly understood”. pp. for example. and the Bible incontestably prove. See also p. Knowledgeable or not. 2.84 Benson. London. 2. 16–36. in a point which was the foundation of all the others made in the discourses. The Record of Creation.83 Thus. Geology. Gilbert took a position directly opposite to that of Darwin’s but claimed it was equally tenable for a Christian. the millions or hundreds of millions of years which those revolutions may have required. a Catholic priest. the fact is that Benson made the distinction. 1862) and Charles Pritchard. 13 [Discourse II]. Darwin was wrong but much of modern science was not. At some time in 1865 or 1866. 82 81 . See. pp. Gilbert. A cathedral congregation might be more familiar with the newest scientific theories than Charles Kingsley’s country parish of Eversley in Hampshire. but they are in God’s power. p. he argued. gave a series of five discourses on the relationship between miracles and science in the Pro-Cathedral of St Mary’s. 84 Ibid. Considered in an Examination of Mr. Five Discourses on Miracles. “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation” in Occasional Thoughts of an Astronomer on Nature & Revelation (London. The First and Second Verses of the Book of Genesis Examined. they are not so absolutely. Benson’s approach is typical of sermons preached in opposition to The Origin of Species. 1889). While admitting that the sermons were not for the scientific or highly educated. some preachers argued that the falsehood of Darwin’s theory was a matter of logic. Daniel Gilbert (d. at the beginning of each discourse Gilbert stressed that he intended to make an argument rather than rely on Christian tradition or statements of faith. 1897).82 Following the modern scientific method as they understood it.81 It would be interesting to know the reaction of the congregation to Benson’s distinction between the days of creation and the formation of the planet.

. if prayer has no effect where the laws of nature are concerned. p. no Bible. 366. the notion that nature’s laws could never be altered. and a greater marvel. and these modifications of natural causes are sufficient to account for many of the difficulties against miracles and the efficacy of prayer”. pp.. 2nd ed.. 329. 1st ed. He applied the same standard to Darwin’s work: Would you not maintain that such a belief was a greater tax on the intellect or reason. 8. p. à la Lamarck. à la Darwin. 43–51. a fable that has cheated us. 3rd ed. then it follows infallibly that there is no Revelation. Five Discourses. p. for if Revelation and the birth and the resurrection of our Saviour be not real miracle.. Ibid.88 It is likely that Gilbert’s discourses were an apology for the Catholic view of miracles. because asserting these two “facts” makes miracles and the efficacy of prayer “more certain” and the “experience of every age” was that miracles occur and prayer works. 88 Gilbert.86 Gilbert did not rely on the argument from necessity which might have struck some in the congregation as not particularly logical. as Gilbert noted in his first discourse. pp. 336.87 In his second discourse he used a theory of change to argue against Darwin’s theory of modification by immutable laws: “If there is one truth in science. thus ruling out miracles. no Redemption. 89 See ibid. p. pp.. particularly with regard to beatification and canonization of saints – Discourse V was a plea for “English fair play” in viewing the actions of the Congregation of Rites89 – and his comments focused on what made sense to a thinking person.85 There could be no spontaneous generation. 4. it is that constant modification in natural causes have been and always are taking place. or development of species. In his first discourse he drew attention to the number of scientists who disagreed with Darwin by quoting a list that Darwin himself provided in The Origin of Species. than the collection of all the miracles that have ever been recorded? Yet this is the theory which Darwin and his followers offer to supply the place of the miraculous creation of the Ibid. 87 See The Origin of Species. and no Saviour. Five Discourses. if there has never been any interposition in the laws of nature. 86 85 . Christianity is a bubble that has deceived us. p.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 291 Furthermore. 7. and Gilbert. 328.. had farreaching implications for Christianity: For if there has never been a miracle. 13–14.

on the First Sunday in Lent. (London. an ordained priest and future Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford University (1870–93). 43.292 keith a. Mary the Virgin. 2 vols. Darwin’s theory seemed promising but Darwin did not solve the problem he raised. as it were. Preached Before the University. extended Gilbert’s argument further. Pritchard. and logic. and Henry P. act altruistically or selflessly. 1868). Pritchard commented: On reading Mr. 1868 (London. 92 H. pp. nevertheless. and Selection with Relation to Sex. who leads us up and down Elysian fields. antiquated theories of miraculous creation and revelation. though true. we seem to be. or act morally.P. 93 Both Pritchard and Liddon ignored the fact that Darwin did not intend to discuss the origin of life or the origins of morality in The Origin of Species. Oxford. For Pritchard. Liddon (1829–90). francis different species of plants and animals by God … Balance the theories of Darwin … against the old. as we hope. The Honour of Humanity: A Sermon.. His best-known answer to the criticisms of Pritchard and Liddon is in The Descent of Man. If humans are simply a higher form of animal. 8–9. 91 90 . first at the Church Congress meeting in Brighton Ibid. chaplain to the Bishop of Salisbury. if true. and you will own that the latter are far more in accordance with reason. Liddon. “a cultured brute”. pp. Darwin’s theory. 20–21. In a note added to his sermon “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation”.92 Whether it was Darwin’s inability or unwillingness to explain the beginning of organic life or Darwin’s placing of humans in too close a relationship to other living beings. which he preached at the BAAS meeting in Nottingham in 1866. 11 [Discourse I]. then there is no need for any person to obey laws. we are nearing the hill-top and getting a sight of the primordial genesis of organised beings. the chariot on which he has mounted us rolls down the hill like the stone of Sisyphus. intellect. pointing out to us on this side and on that new aspects of things which.93 In 1874 Pritchard preached a sermon entitled “Modern Science and Natural Religion”. Darwin addressed both questions in later works. were beyond the reach of our expectations. in the Church of St. when.” p. a future canon of St Paul’s and one of the best-known preachers of the late 19th century.91 For Liddon. in the hands of a great magician. would undermine the bonds that hold human society together. 1: 9–213. p. “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation.90 Charles Pritchard (1808–93). Darwin’s enchanting volume. 1871). for some clergymen Darwin’s assertions could not be substantiated by the evidence given to support them.

. astronomy.97 Turning to the science of chemistry. p. The italics are Pritchard’s. Butler is best known as a moral theologian and philosopher. Quoting Joseph Butler (1692–1752).” p.” pp. a detailed analysis of Darwin’s theory of evolution. and photography. too great a facility of ruin by slight disarrangement. it makes no alteration in the matter before us whether He acts in Nature every moment. to the Constitution and Course of Nature (1736).. There are too many curved surfaces. The eye was too complicated an instrument to be produced through “any amount of evolution”: too much needed to occur correctly. too many densities of the media. 125. 97 Ibid. “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation. The author of The Analogy of Religion. 96 Ibid.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 293 and then at the BAAS meeting in Belfast. 39–40 and 41. On both occasions the knowledge and sophistication of the congregations warranted. and throughout the whole region of the stellar universe. to admit of anything short of the intervention of an intelligent Will at some stage of the evolutionary process. 125. Pritchard noted that James Clerk Maxwell (1831–79) had argued that no theory of evolution can be formed to account for the similarity of molecules throughout all time. “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation. for 94 Butler was the bishop of Bristol (1738–50) and Durham (1750–52). He argued that the “how” of creation did not matter. or at once contrived and executed his own part in the plan of the world”. Natural and Revealed. While he disagrees with Darwin there is also the outline of another kind of reaction to the theory of descent by modification through natural selection: invoking an intelligent God as the prime cause or mover of the changes in nature. . Pritchard made a similar point in notes for the sermon “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation” preached in 1866 and the preface to a sermon preached in 1867 entitled “The Analogy of Intellectual Progress to Religious Growth”. At the beginning of the sermon Pritchard addressed the question of the mode of creation.95 As a caveat Pritchard added that modern scientists could do much and so creation by evolution might be provable in a laboratory but chemists thus far had been unable to produce living matter from “lifeless molecules”.94 he stated that “an intelligent Author of Nature being supposed. p. Pritchard declared. in Pritchard’s thinking. 95 Pritchard. each essential to the other.96 In the next part of the sermon Pritchard commented on theory of evolution based on his scientific specializations. 124. too many distances. geometry. See Pritchard.

Do you say it was evolved in the lapse of countless ages? I ask you. Antievolutionism Before World War I (Creationism in Twentieth-Century America) 1 (New York. 133–35. 100 Ronald L. of generation or destruction. 1995). “The Continuity of the Schemes of Nature and Revelation. Ronald Numbers has noted that within fifteen or twenty years of the publication of The Origin of Species “scientific defenders of special creation could scarcely be found on the North American continent”. in the case of Britain.” p. and how? If human life be the refined product of a thousand evolutions from the original protoplasm. Hull.294 keith a. 129. that is. God. 99 98 . Ibid. ix. we challenge these men [agnostics and atheists] to give any intelligible account of how this bright world and all that lives in it came into existence without the action of a great first cause. MA. evolved from what. See also David L. James Clerk Maxwell. 3–77. compiler. was William Thomson Pritchard.99 Pritchard was drawing attention to an important criticism of Darwin’s theory by his fellow scientists: making the origin of species subject to natural law was useless unless the same could be done for the origin of life and the origin of matter. as you have been asked a hundred times before. Pritchard was a scientist preaching to scientists. As Archibald Campbell Tait (1811–82). who were not willing to defend Darwin’s theory of evolution either. pp. p. the Archbishop of Canterbury. Numbers. whom Pritchard quoted. francis evolution necessarily implies continuous change. how was the protoplasm endowed with this power of an almost endless fecundity? You gain nothing by driving your hypothesis back through the dark mists of an unknown antiquity – at last you must come to something which could not generate itself and endow itself with marvellous powers. pp. put it in a charge delivered in September 1880: On the hard ground of strictest logical argumentation. was (and is) one of the major British scientists of the 19th century. and the molecule is incapable of growth or decay. 1973). 130. both as a scientist and for his criticisms of Darwin’s theory. it is also true that there were a number of prominent scientists.. Darwin and His Critics: The Reception of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by the Scientific Community (Cambridge. some clergy and some not. Perhaps even better known than Pritchard and Maxwell.100 That may well be true but.98 Pritchard admitted that Maxwell could be wrong and that two great scientists could come to opposite conclusions based on the same evidence but he insisted that a major weakness of evolutionary theory was the inability of its proponents to explain the origin of original matter.

102 In a sermon preached three years earlier for the Christian Evidence Society – a group founded in 1870 to promote Christian apologetics – Thomson was more expansive: The world is full of facts which. Even Charles Kingsley. For the fulfilment of these apparent purposes the wills of men and the facts of nature are bent and overruled in a wonderful degree. put it simply in a sermon preached at the BAAS meeting in Sheffield in 1879: “There is a God. Wisdom guided them. 1879). in the case of any human works of like kind. 157–69. too little time for the development of species as suggested by Darwin. and a mathematician and philosopher in his own right. Such marks of design are very numerous. (Sheffield. the Archbishop of York. then we might be bound to mistrust our own inferences. on Sunday August 24th. not hazard.” Macmillan’s Magazine 5 (March 1862). though he could not claim to be a major scientist. If it could be shown that there is no being in existence to whom this work of wise design could be attributed. “On the Age of the Sun’s Heat. F. they are found equally in the most vast and in the minutest phenomena. F. “On the Secular Cooling of the Earth.R. Kingsley’s Scientific Lectures and Essays was published in 1880. and to seek some other hypothesis than that of an intelligent Creator.R. five years after his death. Lord Archbishop of York.S.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 295 (1824–1907). . the physicist and engineer. Part I (1862). The designer argument had a long history. p. Sheffield. A Sermon Preached before the Members of the Association in the Parish Church. was an above-average amateur. More important with regard to sermons is that some of the opponents of Darwin’s theory were developing an alternative to evolution by natural selection: whatever the process which resulted in life or new species. and as no one denies that it is possible that God 101 See William Thomson.. William Thomson (1819–90). 102 William Thomson. not accidental variation”.101 Certainly Thomas Huxley’s note of triumph on the reception of The Origin of Species mentioned in the introduction to this chapter must be tempered by the criticisms of these scientists. would be conclusive evidence of an intelligent maker: and therefore the mind hastens to the conclusion that intelligence is at work here.S. as was Thomas Aquinas in the medieval period. We see no reason for attributing to accidental variations great changes which have affected the world.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 23. As this cannot be shown. it required an intelligent designer. William Paley was its doyen in the 19th century.G. they extend over long times. 388–93 and Thomson. Thomson argued that the laws of thermodynamics meant that the Earth was as little as twenty million years old. purpose was in them. 7. 1879 by William.

“Mutability and Endurance. not an Impersonal Force. one of his fellowministers. a United Free Church of Scotland minister. to that condition of the world he lived in. exquisite in the perfect grace with which it crowns the life from which it springs. and that man’s state was always … harmonised. but 103 Archbishop of York. or evolution with God as its first cause or director – and maintained it throughout their careers. A sermon preached by Robert Rainy (1826–1906). . Theories of evolution were. 1876 (London. as he is. fallen. opposition to evolution. believing that Darwin had done both. In fact. James’s Church.” in Some Modern Religious Difficulties. p. on Sunday Afternoons. on some principle. Preached by the Request of the Christian Evidence Society. 8–9. More interesting. making evolutionary theory part of natural theology was a rationalization too. Taking his cue from evolutionary theory he said: No doubt it is fallen man of whom this is said. in 1875 at the death of the Reverend William Arnot. 12–14. he withers and fails. then the attraction in our minds between the idea of God and the intelligence that presides in creation is so powerful. Even though Pritchard and others had not rejected evolutionary theory outright. their sermons on Darwin or The Origin of Species were rationalizations. after Easter. that we shall not hesitate to attribute the creation to God …103 While it is unfair to Darwin to state that he argued for “accidental variations” – what he actually said was that the laws of variation are unknown104 – or that he ruled out a designer. 268. in a sense. it may be as well to admit that this world of ours seems to be ordered as a scene of mutability. of the sermons mentioned thus far. The Origin of Species. Pritchard. 466–68. oppositional to Christianity and needed to be incorporated into a Christian framework and turned into something good (somewhat like an oyster and sand). Thomson and others. francis exists.” in Sojourning with God and Other Sermons (London. 104 See Darwin. at St.105 Later in the sermon Rainy took a less Darwinian line: “So the plant reaches its glory in the flower – a miracle of design.296 keith a. Nevertheless to avoid embarrassment. The same could be said of the sermons of Huxley and others. Piccadilly. elements of all three positions are in some sermons. and because he is. Six Sermons. none of the preachers adopted a single position – evolution as natural theology. 1902). 105 Robert Rainy. is a good example of this “inconsistency”. pp. 1876). “God a Personal Being. proposed their own theory of origins. pp.

it was made. He was from everlasting to everlasting..108 In an undated sermon preached at the Chapel Royal. 107 106 . Essays on Apologetic Subjects. There were. was an honorary canon of Christ Church and dean of divinity at Magdalen College. and from the agnosticism of some of its best known champions”. They accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution – although. according to Moore and he wanted “to help disentangle evolution both from the materialism which has been too often identified with it.106 And further on Rainy seems to take an antiDarwinian position: The believers of old were no materialists. Evolution was “a real step onwards in the search for truth”. Moore. With an Introduction (London. apart from Rainy. No truth stands alone. not in every detail – and incorporated their Christian doctrine into the theory rather than vice versa. Ibid. to work itself out into all departments of human knowledge. unsurprisingly. Whitehall. 271–72. aspects of the world that impressed the mind with the sense of ancient and unchanging order. By the Word of the Lord and the breath of His mouth. at the time of his death. It was not that they failed to realise in their own way. 1889). xiv. What exactly evolutionary theory was and how it fit with the knowledge of the day was a problem which others. Yet they found the true root of all in God. preachers who approached the question of evolution completely differently. 108 Aubrey L. We are sure it is established. Oxford. pp. Foremost among these clergymen in terms of reputation was Aubrey Moore (1848–90) who.107 To find out which was the “real” Rainy might be as difficult a task as deciphering whether the Darwin of The Origin of Species in 1859 was more or less “real” than the Darwin of The Origin of Species in 1872. found difficult to deal with consistently. amid all the decay and change of which the world is full. it must have real relations with all other truths. Science and the Faith. p. pp.. but it takes perhaps years for that new truth to be realised. His book Science and the Faith (1889) was an attempt to work out the implications of both “systems” for each other. and must so far change our views Ibid.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 297 short-lived and fading”. From Him came the being of this material world. Moore explained what he perceived to be the task for Christians with regard to evolution: A new truth is launched upon the world. principles of persistency. 273–74. however. of mere duration.

which is now persistently put on one side. then. Essays Scientific and Philosophical (London. 110 G. p. described Moore as “the best case that could be pointed to of the possible co-existence in the same mind of an unshaken Christian faith with all the highest elaborations of secular thought”. pp. Romanes (1848–94). The son of John Stevens Henslow. pp. Think what a change is implied in the acceptance of the Copernican in place of the older astronomy. which ignores the fact of the sin of man. Aubrey L. “The Duty of Realising Religious Truth. George Henslow. a biologist and friend of Darwin’s. one of the Cambridge professors responsible for Darwin’s choice of science as a career. if you will. Moore. how those students of nature who were not astronomers slowly realised the fact that they too had a direct. 111 Moore. No theory of evolution is complete.109 George J. A series of Moore’s reviews of scientific works such Alfred Russel Wallace’s Darwinism (1889) and Romanes’ Mental Evolution in Man (1889) were published posthumously in Essays Scientific and Philosophical (1890). francis of them. Henslow was a fellow of the Linnean Society. are equally illuminating. given his background.J.110 Unfortunately. Romanes. like his father. how the astronomers had to recast their science. was an Anglican clergyman and a scientist. And this takes time. Moore. 1890). and see how slowly even those who have accepted it have realised its bearings on our whole view of nature. the same impulse which showed itself in that theory – is gradually affecting politics and theology and morals. With the “loss” of Moore’s sermons. “Memoir. Or take such a doctrine as that of Evolution. In one essay Moore wrote: A real science of man must some day face the fact.111 Moore had anticipated the work of evolutionary biologists on the origins of morality and altruism. 64–65. Essays Scientific and Philosophical. interest in the discovery. Moore’s death at a relatively young age is one reason why there are few of his sermons published. While every other living thing is striving for its own good. 109 . 40–41. like Darwin. 1892). perhaps the works of George Henslow. a lecturer in botany at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. We have not “realised” all that Evolution means.” in Aubrey L. man alone is found choosing what he knows to be for his hurt. and then see how the same theory – or.298 keith a. Whitehall (London. that in this matter man is a great exception in the order of nature. and the author of several children’s books.” in From Advent to Advent: Sermons Preached at the Chapel Royal. and not as it seemed at first an indirect. even though we may have accepted it as true. xxxix.

The Story of Wild Flowers (London. 1871 at St. pp. A Little Botany for Little People and the Making of Hills and Valleys (London. for example. pp. 114 George Henslow. A Plea for the Doctrine of Evolution”. on Sunday Morning. John’s Marylebone (London.114 He made three major points in the sermon. and The Spiritual Teaching of Christ’s Life (1906) are good examples – there is only one published sermon of his on the subject. Acknowledging that there was a history of “enmity” between science and religion. The Origin of Plant Structures by SelfAdaptation to the Environment (London. 1895).L. and Job 12:8. 115 Ibid. “Speak to the earth. Magee.. and Divine Authority of the Pentateuch (London. and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee”. Though a botanist. and the geological questions about the age and formation of the Earth. A Plea for the Doctrine of Evolution: being a Sermon Preached November 5th. The Christian Theory of the Origin of the Christian Life. 3–5. The title of the sermon was “Genesis and Geology. 1880).113 He chose as his texts Genesis 1:1. August 23. 1864) and W. 1868. 113 See also J.112 Although Henslow also wrote several books on the implication of evolutionary theory for Christianity and vice versa – The Theory of Evolution of Living Things and Application of the Principles of Evolution to Religion Considered as Illustrative of the “Wisdom and Beneficence of the Almighty” (1873). 1900).115 And so. The Pentateuch and the Gospels. and monographs on botany. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. the imprecise language of the Bible could support God doing the creating over some period of time or 112 See. . 1871). First. A Sermon Preached in Norwich Cathedral. Botany for Children. 18–19. A Statement of Our Lord’s Testimony to Mosaic Authorship. Historic Truth. Henslow. In Henslow’s thinking. for example. the geological evidence that the Earth was not created in six literal days was only problematic if a person believes in special creation. 1888). preached on 5 November 1871. 1901).nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 299 textbooks. Genesis and Geology. Henslow based his sermon on the premise that it was an “absolute impossibility” for the Bible and the “works of God” to disagree. perceived the challenge of evolution to Christianity to be in two other areas: the veracity of the Mosaic record of creation and the history found in the Pentateuch. in the Genesis story God creates but he also orders the earth and the waters to create. Porter. “Biblical phraseology is popular but quite unscientific”. Critically Examined (1904).C. The Origin of Floral Structures through Insects and other Agencies (London. like fellow clergymen such as Christopher Benson. on the Occasion of the Meeting of the British Association (London. An Illustrated Elementary Text-book for Junior Classes and Young Children (London. 1868). Present-day Rationalism.

There is a similar “silence” in the sermons of John Page Hopps (1834–1911).300 keith a. By about 1871. Alfred Russel Wallace had argued the same in books such as Action of Natural Selection on Man (1871) and Man’s Place in the Universe: A Study of the Results of Scientific Research in Relation to the Unity or Plurality of Worlds (1903). 20–21. One reason for the aforementioned omission is Henslow himself. Although it is clear from the context that Henslow has both The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man in mind – and the congregation in a city church such as St John’s. the evolution of humans needed “some special interference of the Deity” because. despite the morphological similarities. 8–9. the intellectual and moral powers of humans was superior to animals.116 Second. environmental conditions: Henslow thought both positions were wrong. reiterating his opening premise. p. French anatomist and zoologist who proposed a theory of evolution. francis a doctrine of evolution. Henslow began to think that Darwin’s theory of evolution was incorrect. Marylebone would be knowledgeable enough to recognize this – at no time did Henslow name Darwin or his books.117 Last.119 Thus it is that one of the few sermons which affirms positively the evolutionary idea of the origin of species does not defend The Origin of Species.. Henslow told the congregation.. and stands the test of verification. “You may rest assured”. a Unitarian and Free Church minister whose Ibid. Ibid. pp. The Origin of Floral Structures. pp. 19. Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844).. 14. The evolution of the human body seemed to fit natural law but the same could not be said of human capacities (such as creating a religion). Darwin’s evolution by natural selection seemed to rule out. 9–11. p. or assign a minor role to. Hopps. 117 116 .118 What is intriguing about this sermon is what Henslow does not mention. the truth of science is the same as the truth of God. See also pp. and certainly before 1873. and to revive the ‘Monde ambiant’ of Geoffroy Saint Hilaire. and will then be found to be in perfect harmony with the Word of God. 22. The sermon was a sterling defense of the theory of evolution – sans its best-known proponent. as in the first edition of The Origin of Species. that whatever exposition passes out of [science’s] first and necessary stages of hypothesis and theory. xi. 118 Ibid. will become dignified by the term of Doctrine. As he put it in 1888: “I have attempted in the present work to return to 1795. as the primal cause of change”. as in the sixth edition of The Origin of Species. 19–20. 119 Henslow.

121 His acceptance of evolution coincided with his interest in spiritualism and his belief that God was a spirit rather than corporeal. In a sermon preached in 1889 entitled “The Relation of the Doctrine of Evolution to Theology and Religion”.124 John Page Hopps. 6.123 Although Darwin discussed lower and higher forms of animals in The Descent of Man. 1880). when Hopps stated that evolution is scientific because it fits the laws that we humans see and that “sudden creation” was unscientific because it was “altogether removed from experience”. n. The date 1880 is appropriate because Hopps preached a sermon entitled “The Spirit’s Longing for a Living God” some time before 1864 in which he denigrated the scientific achievements of the era – it was better to be a Norse pagan than to reduce the eternal to a “catalogue of scientific terms”120 – but in his book A Scientific Basis of Belief in a Future Life published in 1880 he stated that “the very Science which seems to be destroying is destined to be the glorious upbuilder of our faith”.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 301 varied career as a populist preacher. 124 Ibid. In Hopps’ two published sermons on evolution. Sermons for the Times (London. 102. Conversely. and others’. he had studiously avoided the idea of evolution as progress in The Origin of Species: if he had a choice. The italics are Hopps’. John Page Hopps. Darwin and The Origin of Species are not mentioned at any time although Hopps makes reference to Darwin’s. 1920). 122 A coincidence: George Henslow became more and more interested in spiritualism towards the end of his life. A Scientific Basis of Belief in a Future Life: or. 123 John Page Hopps. 121 120 .. 1919) and The Religion of the Spirit World. Hopps was probably more convinced by the theory of evolution itself than by Darwin’s specific ideas about it. n. Darwin would have concurred. p. poet. writer. ideas about evolution.p. and social and political activist – he supported anti-vivisection and in 1886 ran against Lord Randolph Churchill in a parliamentary election – made him a larger-than-life figure. [evolution] is simply the doctrine of the development of life from lower to higher forms of being”. the Witness Borne by Modern Science to the Reality and Pre-Eminence of the Unseen Universe (London. See The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism (London. Darwin would have preferred that Hopps did the same. became convinced of the validity of the theory of evolution by 1880. Written by the Spirits Themselves (London. Sermons for Our Day: The Relation of the Doctrine of Evolution to Theology and Religion (London.122 in other words. Hopps remarked that “stripped of all that is not absolutely necessary to a definition. 1864). 1889). p.p.

was that “the world at present is so much in bondage to the absurdly limited chronology of the Old Testament”. He also emphasized his belief that the death of the body is one stage on the path to the immortality of the human spirit: Think only of the real creation of man – not by magic. The difficulty. together with the edifice built upon it. that we are not hideous unmanageable discord in the universe. where God will hide His failures and torment forever the victims of them.p. 127 Ibid. the theory of evolution forces Christians to view the history of humankind as progress: Here. Spiritual Solutions of Pressing Problems. n.p. Ibid. Science. howled. Hopps did not think the aforementioned questions represented insurmountable problems. according to Hopps. 128 John Page Hopps. then. who once hissed. that our great Creator has not failed in creating us. not from the golden age but to it. 1894). and every stage has had God in it …128 Ibid. If the story concerning Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden is not true. 15–16. 126 125 . and raved at the British Association. the great doctrine of development finds its sweet and fruitful blossoming. What a pathetic history it is! Millions of years God has taken to make man. But by a million stages of struggle through countless ages.p. and that we are journeying. A Message for the Day (London. francis Like Daniel Gilbert. n. n. and in a reference to the BAAS meeting in Oxford in 1860. and that the end of us will not be a miserable existence in a miserable Hell.302 keith a. Hopps made his congregation aware of the implications of evolutionary theory: The theologians. the foundation upon which the whole structure of orthodoxy has been raised will disappear. from protoplasm to beast and from beast to man. They knew well enough that if science explodes the Biblical story of the creation and fall of man.. pp.. It teaches us that we are all on the march. knew what they were about. But has He delayed? Not an hour! The great promotion [occurs at] every stage. and God..127 Hopps reiterated the idea of evolution as progress in a sermon preached a few years later. what becomes of the Atonement? What becomes of Election? What becomes of Eternal Damnation? What becomes of the deity of Jesus? What becomes of the infallible Bible?125 Unlike Daniel Gilbert. Pessimism. in a Paradise.126 All that needed to happen was for theologians and Christians to reverse their understanding of history.

The congregations were simply supposed to know that the preacher was referencing Darwin or The Origin of Species. paleontologists. See Hopps. and God. Darwin or The Origin of Species is rarely mentioned explicitly. perhaps his congregations made no particular distinction between these two sermons and the others. and Charles Kingsley’s sermons a third reaction. For example. biology and evolutionary theory. George Henslow.131 Third. for example. Darwin. 620–21. and anatomists were all equally problematic for the traditional interpretation of the Bible or traditional ideas about revelation – a point easily forgotten in the twenty-first century because creationists are so vocal about biological evolution – and so preachers preached sermons dealing with all the “new” science not just.129 Hopps remained a popular preacher throughout his career and. pp. While their willingness to talk about evolution in their sermons is fascinating – even those preachers who disagreed with Darwin took his See Desmond and Moore. who was eminently qualified to comment on Darwin’s ideas about the distribution of plant species. and most notably. their sermons do have several characteristics in common. there is little in the sermons about the specifics of evolutionary theory or Darwin’s theory of evolution. the real subject of the sermons was “science” rather than Darwin’s theories or evolutionary theory. 1st ed. 1: 300–6. The challenges presented by the research of geologists. Pessimism.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 303 Darwin was unimpressed by the claims of spiritualists and spiritualism and so he might have been bemused by the joining of evolutionary theory and spiritualist ideas of progress. to make an artificial distinction. Evolution in general and not the implications of morphology.130 While John Page Hopps’ sermons are representative of one reaction to the ideas in The Origin of Species. for example. 29 131 One exception was Nicolas Wiseman in his discourses. Wiseman. What is clear in these sermons and Hopps’ writing on the subject is that his support for evolution was unreserved: Christianity and the Church would have to change. 130 129 . was the subject matter that preachers chose to focus upon. not the science of evolutionary theorists such as Darwin.. even when claiming otherwise. Second. although some of the sermons include detailed comments about evolution or the science which led naturalists such as Darwin to propose a theory of evolution. 632–64. First. as these sermons are only two of many. Twelve Lectures. See. said nothing about this in his sermon “Genesis and Geology”. p. Science. zoologists. Daniel Gilbert’s sermons another. p.

published sermons on science and scientific subjects is more like the loaves and fishes given to Jesus to perform a miracle compared to the “Legion” of the total number of sermons. The Origin of Species. Queen’s Square House. Edinburgh. A Contribution to Present Controversies. there were relatively few on science.” in Problems of Faith. . 1874). and discourses which were also sermons. In his “Genesis and Geology” sermon. as noted previously. To use another biblical analogy. 59–95. at the Opening of the Session 1874–75 (Edinburgh. Surely any minister concerned for the care of his parishioners would be duty-bound to instruct them on the impact of the new science? Put simply. Daniel Gilbert. A Reply to Professor Huxley’s Address before the British Association. and evolution is not very large. the lack of sermons on science is a surprise. It should be noted that some of the preachers were not ordained priests or ministers. William Carruthers. “Scientific Unbelief. “On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata.304 keith a. pp. and dealt with one more suited to 132 These lectures. or John Page Hopps cannot hide an important fact: the number of sermons on Darwin.133 The Victorian crisis of faith and the supposed conflict between science and religion would seem to be the kind of problem which would warrant extended comment in the pulpit. 212–33. scientific subjects. Robert Watts. at the Late Meeting in Belfast. In fact. This percentage includes sermons on anodyne subjects such as God and nature or God and the natural world as well as lectures. addresses. Delivered at the Presbyterian College. George Henslow recognized that “it may be … thought by some that I have in this sermon stepped too far beyond the usual line of subjects treated of in the pulpit. or the natural world. These “scientific” sermons are certainly less than 5 per cent of the total and are more likely as low as 1 per cent. a non-comprehensive survey conducted by this author reveals that. the total number of published sermons is not known. francis claims seriously in a way that means historians should give them more credit for their efforts – the sermons of a Charles Kingsley. Evolution and Theology: Inaugural Address Delivered in the New College.132 without these the number of “scientific sermons” would be meager indeed. Being a Third Series of Lectures to Young Men. the answer to this question is “no”. Reflecting on the historiography of religion in the 19th century. compared to the total number. and discourses were given in a church or a religious service. pp. 1875).” in Problems of Faith. Although. some preachers even drew attention to the unusual “phenomenon” of discussing a scientific subject in the pulpit. London (London. addresses. 133 Some interesting sermons on evolution not mentioned previously in this chapter include: Robert Rainy.

theology. 1866). a defense of Christianity and. or the traditions of the Church. yet far-reaching thoughts connected with our Holy Religion and our common being.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 305 the lecture-room”. p. More specifically. Genesis and Geology. could not contradict the revelation of God found in the life of Christ. p. 135 134 . Six Lectures by Ministers of the Free Church (Edinburgh. Charles Pritchard.135 His reason. Paul. which come home alike to the Philosopher and Theologian. a fellow of the Royal Society and a vice-president of the Christian Henslow. 136 Pritchard. in some cases. there was no conflict between the two. Charles Pritchard told the congregation that he had “endeavoured to avoid the discussion of controverted points. John H. including Darwin. 30. and prove to us that it is no Bible at all. as if the next morning’s newspaper. the preachers attempted to defend the Bible and the unity of revelation. for preachers such as John Page Hopps. The Analogy of Intellectual Progress to Religious Growth. Gladstone (1827–1902). 137 Thomas Smith. The Analogy of Intellectual Progress to Religious Growth. whether in Physics or in Theology”. Darwin’s research and writing did not now mean that Christians could not trust the Bible.” in Christianity and Recent Speculations. and God. p.136 What then did the preachers of the (few) sermons on evolution hope to accomplish? In the main. Science. v. 29. In the case of the Bible.134 In a sermon at the BAAS meeting in 1867. We are not to hold by our Bible as in a state of suspense. v.138 As for revealed theology and natural theology. 20. A Sermon Preached by Request in the Episcopal Church of St. assurance for the congregation about the validity and relevance of Christianity. and there are many simple. these sermons were apologetic. and philosophy – “smashing the old idols” – and that was a good thing. as Thomas Smith (1817–1906). p. given that there were a significant number of scientists in his congregation? “The brief hour allotted to the preacher is too sacred for such topics. or the next month’s scientific magazine might tear it from our grasp. the Bible. Pessimism. Further. 138 Hopps. p.137 In other words. jokingly put it. to the learned and to the man who is unversed in books”. a Free Church minister. on the Occasion of the Meeting of the British Association at Dundee (London. The findings of scientists. 1867). The creation stories in Genesis did not have to be jettisoned simply because Darwin and others had put forward a compelling case for evolution. “The Bible not Inconsistent with Science. new scientific theories about evolution were forcing Christians to rethink their doctrine.

the astronomer and curator of the Radcliffe Observatory at Oxford. and expect one day to see. Church wrote Johnson a letter in which he described in detail his observation of a total eclipse of the sun which had occurred that day.141 Furthermore. 150–151. reprinted edition. the aspirations of our poetry and art its highest charms. of anything beyond. to accumulate the splendours of discovery and the riches of intellectual satisfaction.” in Pascal and other Sermons. Manuel Johnson (1805–59). by Mary C. . on 15 March 1858. “The Life of Intellectual Self-Sufficiency. 141 Life and Letters of Dean Church. and thinks little. 140 R. 327–28. A Second Course of Lectures Delivered at the Request of the Christian Evidence Society (London. great for the present. gave a lecture entitled “Points of Supposed Collision between the Scriptures and Natural Science” in 1872. 142 See D. Church’s friendship with the renowned American botanist Asa Gray (1810–88) lasted nearly thirty-five years. Dean of St Paul’s. to search. Church. 1905).306 keith a. 1872).142 Soon after the publication of The Origin 139 J. to know. the non-Christian estimate of it: in its noblest form. pp. the will is strengthened and directed to all that is most like Him whom we worship and trust in. pp. and advocates of the theory of evolution. if. Church posed the following questions and the subsequent answers: What is the object of life? Why is it possessed? What is its worth? There is the heathen. to make and unmake hypotheses. and love. And there is the Christian estimate: life.139 The “supposed” in the title sums up the thinking of Charles Kingsley. – a life to which our partial knowledge gives its highest value. ed. and it is great now. to detect mistakes. its import might be more understandable: but Church was not such a man.C.H. illustrates well why preachers said what they said in their sermons but said it so infrequently. A sermon entitled “The Life of Intellectual Self-Sufficiency” preached by Richard Church (1815–90). “Points of Supposed Collision between the Scriptures and Natural Science” in Faith and Free Thought. pp. francis Evidence Society. was a close friend. Dean Church (Oxford. Daniel Gilbert. 251–52. opponents. Gladstone. Church (London. by knowledge and power indeed. 1895). but which knows nothing. Lathbury.W. for what it is to be. 142. and hope. to inquire with the widest imagination and the most delicate methods.140 Had this statement been made by a person well-known for his opposition to the new learning of the 19th century. yet doubly by faith. but immeasurably greater for the future. and George Henslow – supporters. to balance and hesitate.

Church wrote to Gray that “one wishes such a book to be more explicit [about its impact on theology]. p.145 Even with his keen interest in science – during his tenure as a parish priest in Whateley. Pascal and other Sermons. The challenges of biblical 143 144 145 146 147 Life and Letters of Dean Church.nineteenth-century british sermons on evolution 307 of Species. Church. and the Christian world view was the lack of “otherworldliness” of the former.143 How then could Church give a description of thinking that most 19th-century scientists would take pride in and call it “heathen” or. pp.. or the press of more significant problems. Thus. a “rival estimate of life”?144 The distinction that Church made between rationalism. 138–39. which would include scientific investigation. later in the aforementioned sermon. But it is wonderful “shortness of thought” to treat the theory itself as incompatible with ideas of a higher and spiritual order”. Church explained what he meant by “shortness of thought”. 154 [Letter dated 12 March 1860]. A theory such as Darwin’s was not a threat to Christianity. because spiritual matters were of a higher order of importance. p. … her realm is bounded by the grave: in the next life. their lack of interest. Church took children on walks to search for wild flowers that they could view later under his microscope146 – Church believed that the world of earthly knowledge was secondary or even subservient to the spiritual world and spiritual knowledge. It was thinking that “what is in itself a purely physical hypothesis on the mode of creation or origination (in which it seems to me very difficult at present to imagine our knowing anything). 157 [Letter dated 28 March 1861]. . p. 252. Church could say: “Knowledge is God’s precious and wondrous gift … [but] knowledge is the queen of our merely earthly life. evolution and Christianity will be disappointed. most ministers and priests would have agreed with Church’s assessment. In another letter to Gray. Life and Letters of Dean Church. Ibid. Pascal and other Sermons. she whom we know here is nothing”. to be incompatible with moral and religious ideas of an entirely different order”.147 If the total number of published sermons on evolution is an indication of the level of controversy caused by Darwin’s ideas in The Origin of Species then proponents of “war” between science and religion in the 19th century or. Whether it was their ignorance. Somerset. p. written in 1861. more precisely. 253. Church. and could be embraced. later in the sermon.

francis criticism. .308 keith a. more “spiritual”. that the ideas in The Origin of Species. For most preachers and most congregations the dog was not barking. and church attendance at home were more important. For those interested – and the religious and secular Huxleys of the period were vocal – there was a dangerous dog in the neighborhood. Owen Chadwick was right. missions abroad.

pp. As a result. Salem Chapel (London. 2.2 His attempts to break into more fashionable social circles. Arthur Vincent is disappointed by the “[g]reengrocers. If this generates chiefly a social panorama of doctrinal differences. a young dissenting minister finds his aspirations to compose well-researched and wellwrought sermons foiled both by his congregation’s inability to appreciate his often obscure references as well as by his own social ambitions. claimed at least nominally by the town’s High Church clergy. with some dress-makers of inferior pretensions. milkmen. 3. 1986). dealers in cheese and bacon. 239.THE VICTORIAN SERMON NOVEL: DOMESTICATED SPIRITUALITY AND THE SERMON’S SENSATIONALIZATION Tamara S. In order to please an “audience” that pays him and hence believes that it owns him. The divergent ways of achieving popularity are pivotal to the novel’s narrativization of pervasive anxieties about both prestige and integrity. In “the bloom of hope and intellectualism. Ibid.. Vincent refuses to cater to consumer demands. map the shifting class-alignments of religious communities in Victorian Britain. [that] formed the elite of the congregation”. he feels compelled to write for effect. As it thereby evinces the ready availability of the sermon for discourses on popularity at large. p. it all the more emphatically pinpoints the very pervasiveness of religion as a central aspect of daily life and a pervasive theme in the literature of the time. a young man of the newest school”.1 In Margaret Oliphant’s Salem Chapel (1863). and we pays [sic] him well”. and teachers of day-schools of similar humble character. It is a humiliating experience that is detailed with sympathy – a sympathy primarily premised on a metaphorical alignment of professional preaching with the production of popular fiction. he fails to 1 2 Margaret Oliphant. Both are shown to be at the mercy of an increasingly competitive marketplace that can be detrimental to the writer’s and the preacher’s vocation. Salem Chapel offers a peculiarly insightful point-of-entry into a much needed reassessment of fictional engagements with the sermon in the Victorian novel. . Wagner “Preaching’s his business … He’s in our employ.

[as] a forum for getting back at her literary rivals” (“Rewriting Trollope and Yonge. 4 3 . While illustrating the divisiveness between divergent denominations of Christianity in Victorian Britain. what remains at the heart of the social panorama is a fondly satirical mapping of provincial society.4 This move indicates both the complexity of market forces and the author’s self-conscious awareness of them. Despite her insistent criticism of the sensation genre. So far from distracting from the main plot. with its emphasis on the eponymous Salem Chapel and its minister.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 39. underscores a linkage between the sermon and fiction that articulates variously interlinked concerns.. the infiltration of the sensational literalizes his oscillation between sensation’s allure and the integrity of his work. 125). wagner adjust to the social requirements of his position. first introduced in a cursory subplot. where his success was to be measured by the seat-letting. I shall therefore first situate the fictional functions of sermons within representations of religion in Victorian literature. The self-reflexivity with which sermons are evoked in Victorian fiction. upstage Vincent’s writing problems.3 is invested with particular sympathy in its identification with the equivalent struggles faced by the popular writer. to meet the needs of his flock. whose range had greatly expanded beyond the Dissenting interest. This is not only because his repugnance at the thought of serving in a “preaching shop. If Salem Chapel appropriated sensational elements. she injects some of its most effective devices into her Carlingford series. Joseph O’Mealy argues that Oliphant’s revaluative parodies were aimed to “set aside a rival’s vision of reality. in fact. kidnapping. Divorce. Phoebe Junior (1876) reasserted Oliphant’s “mastery of the genre that had become identified no longer with George Eliot. Their treatment of the preacher “in their employ” of course sharpens the satire at the expense of all sides. p. however.2 [1997]. This bifurcation in the plot structure is the result of Oliphant’s endeavor to boost her own sinking sales figures. A juxtaposition of still largely ignored non-canonical religious fiction on the one hand and the much better known satires of sermons in Ibid. but increasingly with Anthony Trollope and Charlotte Yonge” (p. 127). An additional edge. Mrs Oliphant’s Phoebe Junior and the Realism Wars. and murder.310 tamara s. and his soul decanted out into periodical issue under the seal of Tozer & Co”. realist narratives of domestic. provincial life. Before analyzing specific texts in more detail. 48. is given to the representation of popularity in the integration of sensational elements in the narrative itself.

third. After an overview of doctrinally inspired novels at the midcentury that draws on a range of narratives to exemplify diverse forms of the “sermon novel”.5 Their merit as literary works. 264. pp. as some narratives were produced “so mechanically to the order of the dogma” that they resulted in nothing but “fierce polemical tirade”. and their sermons in fiction. 1859). David Masson deplored that “[h]ardly a question or doctrine of the last years can be pointed out that has not had a novel framed in its interest. 264–65. Serial Story Sermons: Religious Fiction at the Mid-Century The vexed issue of popularity constituted not merely the most common. morality in domestic fiction. (which are generally 5 David Masson. was various.6 In a notorious article on “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists”. but by far the most easily effected and frequently sensationalized. second. published in the Westminster Review in 1856. 6 Ibid. if not necessarily secularized. and what is perhaps the most creative articulation of the anxieties underlying these developments. a growing preference for a more generally social. British Novelists and Their Styles: Being A Critical Sketch of the History of British Prose Fiction (Cambridge.the victorian sermon novel 311 canonical novels on the other reveals three major developments in the sermon’s role in the Victorian novel: first. In British Novelists and Their Styles (1859). no matter by which denomination they were claimed: there was little difference between them in their aesthetic and intellectual limitations. both professionals and amateurs. p. George Eliot even more virulently expressed her derision for their theologically limited fictional visions.. he added. opening for a fictional use of sermons. a growing number of religious writers took to the novel genre as a medium to propagate their agenda by capitalizing on its cultural impact as an easily disseminated form of instruction. as they ranged from “the oracular. the domestication of spirituality within the idolized Victorian family as both the effect of and a potential counterpoint to this shift. a sensationalization of preachers. I shall conclude by looking more closely at the figure of the sensational and often fraudulent clergyman as an embodiment of cultural crises surrounding the sermon’s popularity in Victorian culture. Conversely. To a great extent tales and novels now serve the purpose of pamphlets”. positively or negatively. .

or the secularization. the evolution of the Victorian “sermon novel” was an intricate process of juggling and renegotiating a number of changing factors. or the secularization of morality. divorced from specific doctrine. it operates as a fictionalized sermon itself. Harriet Beecher Stowe. it may tangentially address atheism.8 As expressions of religious experience or interpretation were thus “wrapped up” in fiction. a revelation. forthwith he wraps it up in a serial story”. p. of morality. 1963). 317.9 On the contrary. ed. as in St Paul’s. which represent the tone of thought and feeling in the Evangelical party […]. Thomas Pinney (London. 1872). Harriet Beecher Stowe complained that serial fiction had taken over any other mode of preaching on both sides of the Atlantic: “Hath any one in our day. Hence. Essays. Novelists. their composition. as Masson put it. that contains or centrally features sermons. The latter is different from more loosely defined “didactic fiction” in that it is concerned primarily with religious communities. p. they also became blended with more general moral concerns. or generalization. a doctrine. even as “the Novel of Purpose”. It was to a large extent instrumental in 7 8 9 George Eliot. or transcendental Christianity)”. wagner inspired by some form of High Church. My Wife and I (New York. Masson. Despite a range and diversity that cannot be reduced to simple categories. an interpretation. while it likewise needs to be distinguished from a novel of religious doubt.312 tamara s. more specifically. . either regarding the absorption of a “purpose” into the conventional paradigms of fashionable fiction. or reception. it less often tackles spiritual crises than it offers guidelines with reference both to moral behavior and to specific debates arising from doctrinal differences within the expanding heterogeneity of Victorian Protestantism. it was by no means a case of simple substitution. However. a tongue. 264. it may be seen as essentially twofold: on a general level. yet the emphasis continues to rest on moral issues that simultaneously help to express a specific religious agenda. this form of the sermon novel concentrates on the shifting lines of division between different forms of the Christian faith over the course of the 19th century. delivery. As a result. an Evangelical substitute for the fashionable novel”. of a certain length. a psalm. the sermon novel refers to any fictional narrative. 2. agnosticism. More than a fictionalized sermon. became more and more invested in social or political issues.7 By 1871. p. to novels of “the white neck-cloth species.

Their markedly divergent fictionalization testified to this dichotomy within the larger cultural understanding of what was an ever-expanding religious diversity. 1974]. p. including Anglo-Catholicism. pp. Catholicism. they reassessed different angles on religious dissent or lapsed into direct attacks on other denominations. from Charlotte Elizabeth (Mrs Tonna) to Charlotte Yonge. It is almost in a tongue-in-cheek manner that their “sweet innocence of party” is shown to mislead them woefully as they are tempted into unregulated charitable work that does nobody any good. p. The Deferred Confirmation (1854) maintain that their confusion is “only a result of the uncomfortable disunion and party spirit of the time we live in”. Ibid. helped to encourage. even including Jewish novelist Grace Aguilar (Yesterday’s Woman: Domestic Realism in the English Novel [Princeton. God and Greater Britain: Religion and National Life in Britain and Ireland 1843–1945 (London. By contrast. 11 10 . 20.10 Yet as the subtitle firmly establishes. 1855).11 Such sermon novels frequently both probed and furthered new directions in religious movements. or anti-Evangelical novels consequently accounted for a substantial amount of religious fiction. and Evangelicalism formed the two most dynamic forces in the religious spectrum of Victorian Britain. the delay of their confirmation is really to blame. anti-Tractarian.” to embrace the extremes from Low Church to High. the heroines of The Castle-Builders. 97. The Castle-Builders (New York. p.the victorian sermon novel 313 further defining interpretations that in turn additionally solidified party lines – what the popular Tractarian novelist Charlotte Yonge criticized as the socially divisive “party spirit” that could prove so confusing to her young protagonists even as the main agenda of her novels was premised on the very necessity of such a separation. Vineta Colby takes evangelicalism “in its broadest sense. Or. Deploring their sense of uncertainty and dissatisfaction. Yet social panoramas of ecclesiastical micropolitics with their class-conscious landscapes centering on Cathedral towns or competing chapels in Oliphant’s Carlingford series or Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels just as decisively contributed to what are Charlotte Yonge. In a more accentuated vein. 1994).12 Ideologically invested vilification indisputably played a pivotal part in representations of these “rival” denominations. 269. Anti-Catholic. while addressing the divisiveness that they thereby. referring not merely to that school of Protestantism.. 146–47). this discussion of the sermon novel is confined to representations of different denominations within the Christian faith of Victorian Britain. 12 John Wolffe. to an extent unwittingly.

Trollope “made open avowal of the parentage of his Evangelical brood”.17 It is in various ways symptomatic of the sermon 13 Robert Lee Wolff. Charlotte Mary Yonge. I have done so in Mr Slope. p. Among the most memorable examples of what has been termed “hypocritical and untrustworthy Low-Church clergymen” as literary figures undoubtedly stands scheming Obadiah Slope in Barchester Towers (1853). 59. 1979). Gains and Losses: Novels of Faith and Doubt in Victorian England (New York.H. As Elisabeth Jay has already pointed out.16 At its most hilarious.314 tamara s. or Eliza Lynn Linton participated in the fictionalization of debates on religious party-lines through satire. 2004]. it tells most about the Protestantisms of the period (Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction [Cambridge. but the unbeneficed descendant of my mother’s Vicar of Wrexhill”. or both. “Dickens gibbeted cant in the person of Dissenters.. telling T. wagner now considered recognizable types and tropes. however. p. such satire provides “not unwelcome comic relief ”. p. Yet Slope is prefigured by an equally obnoxious character in The Vicar of Wrexhill (1837) by Fanny Trollope. Gains.15 The most virulent attacks. 1977). her novel moreover had its counterpart in her anti-Catholic Father Eustace (1845). 14 Elisabeth Jay. of whom I never knew anything. p. 16 Wolff. Domestic. Robert Lee Wolff refers to a “procession of members of the lunatic fringe of mid 19thcentury English religion” in Newman’s seminal Loss and Gain (1848): it depicts a spectrum of perspectives based either on contemporaries or iconographical representations of religious groups. 4). sensationalizing melodrama. an Anglican. The Religion of the Heart: Anglican Evangelicalism and the NineteenthCentury Novel (Oxford. 15 Anti-Catholic fiction makes up a disproportionate number of 19th-century literary representations of religion. 17 Ibid. Now rarely read writers as different as John Henry Newman. . See also Colby. The latter revealingly shared most of its elements with a plethora of popular narratives rooted in a Gothic tradition that employed religious typecasting primarily for stylistic effect. yet it is “also a serious expression of Newman’s intolerant disgust with the proliferating sects”. p. 10.13 This evinces a markedly revealing confusion within the alignment of literary figures with specific denominations.14 A somewhat vitriolic warning against the abuses of evangelicalism that drew on readily available stereotypes for the creation of its villains. Anthony’s mother. 150. Escott. 208. p. yet as Susan Griffin stresses. permeated fiction that was specifically invested in religious beliefs and practices rather than simply about religious issues. 59.

His fictional and nonfictional works illuminated the ongoing internal conflicts and divisiveness among the proliferating groups of Victorian Protestantism and their impact on the cultural and literary discourses of the time.the victorian sermon novel 315 novel at its most didactic. Newman therein helped to instigate a much more acceptable employment of fiction as a means of expressing. 8. 1986). it added new impetus to already prevailing anxieties about the closeness of Anglo-Catholicism. Although Newman’s novel has been read as a personal conversion narrative. specific doctrinal interpretations. Newman’s first novel. was in contrast to the well-established suspicion of fiction that had pervaded so much of evangelical discourse 18 19 John Henry Newman. or Tractarianism. Loss and Gain: The Story of a Convert (Oxford. The remarkable ease with which Tractarian writers turned to literature as the most apposite medium to promulgate their beliefs. the narrative was intended as a “suitable answer” to a “tale. In this. it is important to note. n. Newman came to embody the hopes and fears of conversion. and a social satire of socio-historical more than literary interest. in fact. was in itself provoked by hostile representations of Catholic converts in the fiction of the time. published anonymously in 1847. a fictionalized autobiographical account of the Oxford Movement.p. and preaching of moral or theological concerns could become intertwined. an early university or campus novel.18 It was specifically in reply to From Oxford to Rome: And how it fared with some who lately made the journey. and expressively promoting.19 As one of the leading Tractarians who was eventually to convert to Roman Catholicism. As it was put in the advertisement to the sixth edition of Loss and Gain. Among the founders of the Oxford Movement. By a Companion Traveller by Elizabeth Harris. but also ridiculed various religious types – especially different forms of hypocrites – with much spite. directed against the Oxford converts to the Catholic Faith”. indictment. Griffin. launching in 1833 The Tracts of the Times from which Tractarianism took its name. Sermon fiction not only sported the most outrageously overdrawn caricatures of other denominations. p. . showing to what extent ridicule. to the “Romish” Church. which was considered both foreign and an enemy within. The religious panic that followed Newman’s conversion in 1845 gave rise to a renewed onslaught of anti-Catholic literature. it is therefore vital to remember that it was written with the express purpose of countering anti-Catholic stereotyping. Anti-Catholicism.

like his fiction. had specifically cautioned her. 14. and Antony H. 24 Valentine Cunningham. of course. “Charlotte Mary Yonge and Tractarian Aesthetics. Alison Chapman. Harrison (Oxford. whereas High Anglicans “took naturally to the novel” (Wolff. 23 Knight and Mason. her religious and literary mentor. “a grim enough warning against trying to incorporate in a novel the sort of theological depth and subtlety that was appropriately informative in the Apologia”. p. p. works. Stephen Prickett. in Valentine Cunningham’s words. This welding together in narrative form did not always work seamlessly. Everywhere Spoken Against: Dissent in the Victorian Novel (Oxford. Not only did his Christian Year (1827) form the flagship volume of Tractarian poetry. Nineteenth-Century Religion and Literature (Oxford. . 72. Keble was perhaps the most vital major figure of the movement. See also William McKelvy. underlines the interchange between religious controversies and their representations in literature as essentially a two-way engagement.22 Besides Newman. succeeded especially well in producing sustained narratives that contained an agenda and yet never descended into explicit preaching – a tendency against which John Keble.21 Charlotte Yonge. it has been remarked.23 So far from simply boiling down to preaching in literary form. “Tractarian Poetry. 113. 1774–1880 (Charlottesville. Newman’s Loss and Gain specifically is. 21 Mark Knight and Emma Mason. Nineteenth-Century. we shall see. 2006). Tractarian writing promoted the simultaneity of aesthetic and religious experience. 1965). Richard Cronin. p. 12. p.” in A Companion to Victorian Poetry.” Victorian Poetry 44. “read like a manifesto designed to educate the reader in religious poetics while teaching him or her how to respond to it correctly”. pp. 49–50. 15. wagner from the previous century onwards. followed by Lyra Innocentium (1846) and the posthumous Miscellaneous Poems (1869). Gains. A Chaplet for Charlotte Yonge (London. ed. yet in other ways fundamentally flawed. The English Cult of Literature: Devoted Readers. 87. 2002). 199). 22 Georgina Battiscombe and Marghanita Laski.24 20 Evangelical novelists themselves therefore make their “own positive case somewhat uneasily in a form which they always mistrust as such (novels are almost as wicked as stage plays)”. pp. as it did in so many highly influential.316 tamara s. p.1 (2006). It could easily seem a form of “sermonizing”. 12. Elisabeth Jay.20 The Oxford Movement as “a religious and literary group … headed by preacher-poets whose doctrines and aesthetics alike enchanted writers from Wordsworth to Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins” hence developed a doctrinal system “grounded in poetics as much as theology”. His Lectures on Poetry (1832–41). culturally insightful. 279. 2007). 1975). Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864). Newman’s nonfictional account of his experience.

a sacred vocation with the power to sanctify human experience.26 In his recent reassessment of Tractarian poetry. 26 As William McKelvy has argued in some detail in his discussion of the “cult of literature” in the long 19th century.the victorian sermon novel 317 What is most important to consider in this context. Despite its shortcomings as a literary text – or partly perhaps because of its inconsistencies and the problematic typecasting underlying them – Loss and Gain can thus be said to have provided a crucial conduit for the emergence of the Victorian sermon novel. it moreover explicitly marked a shift to the narrative exploration of doctrinal doubts both in and through fiction. As its ongoing revisions and especially the prefaces Newman prepared for them sought to underline its fictional value.” Modern Language Notes 65. or. was a claim made repeatedly in 19th-century Britain. It came to the fore with such insistence not only because the movement had been conceived in controversy from the start. Stephen Prickett has shown why the literature of the Oxford Movement was riveted by subtexts that could never be very deeply submerged. but because so many of its original adherents either went over to Rome. A literary rewriting of prevalent misconceptions. it had an undeniable impact on the functions of religion in fiction and vice versa. it set off a cascade of reactions. however. It was a claim that needs to be reinvestigated. it is a fictionalization of doctrine. thereby “confirming what its detractors had always known”. “The Novel That Occasioned Newman’s Loss and Gain. each revision aimed to amplify Newman’s “pointed denial in his preface that Loss and Gain was based on fact. either of contemporary incident or of the author’s experience”. and yet as a belief current at the time. moving further away from its connections to autobiographical experience. Newman nevertheless was inducted into it.25 In expressing a belief system in narrative form that was to resonate beyond an accounting of personal experience. As Charlotte Crawford has pointed out. Froude and 25 Charlotte Crawford.6 (1950). Cult. is not a novel about religious issues. satire. and self-reflective reconsiderations. 2). p. It even enlisted Newman: “An implacable enemy to the liberal cult of literature. which deliberately “lessened the topical effect of the novel”. thereby illustrating the cult’s power to canonize reluctant saints” (McKelvy. in which the emphasis rests firmly on the role of fiction in accomplishing the work of a sermon. it thereby at once contributed to the formation of a subgenre and countered the secularization of and through fiction. of emulation. Loss and Gain. . like Newman. like J. in other words. 417–18.A. that literature was becoming modernity’s functional religion. is that Newman’s deliberate negotiation of doctrinal issues in fiction helped to generate a new subgenre.

“Tractarian. In this. Eleanor McNees (East Sussex. as it explores the challenges readers face when engaging with fiction that pushes an agenda. If they are rarely mentioned with reference to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848). 102.27 Yet Prickett further stresses the popularity of Tractarian literature.28 This sea change in popularity and influence has been even more extreme with regard to the Tractarian novel. 245–47. Talia Schaffer’s article on Yonge’s 1879 Magnum Bonum is tellingly entitled “The Mysterious Magnum Bonum: Fighting to Read Charlotte Yonge”. but anæmic and pale”.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31. ed. which makes its lack of posthumous acclaim all the more noticeable.1 (2003). 279–80. its satirical renditions. Rev. p. 44–45). 28 27 . 30 Jennifer Stolpa. and entertaining to others”. wagner Mark Pattison. lost their faith altogether.” pp. not dead. and then primarily. conventional. Yet doctrinal undercurrents in her sister Anne’s fiction are thus still either considered with discomfort or dismissed as of little interest. its religious and moral tenor “drained the natural lifeblood from Agnes Grey leaving it.30 As Ernest Raymond put it in his 1949 article. 225. the heroine of Wildfell Hall simply “proselytizes [her husband] to death” (“Acts of Custody and Incarceration in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. the novel presents an opportunity for Victorian women “to enter into a forbidden zone– theological commentary” (p.2 (2000). at the time: in market terms. straightforward. it was immensely successful. By contrast.. in tune with a wide audience. in The Brontë Sisters: Critical Assessments. “Preaching to the Clergy: Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey as a Treatise on Sermon Style and Delivery. “useful to some.31 Yet the novel’s pairing of Tractarian rector and evangelical curate brings out issues that accentuate the narrative’s function as an ideal sermon: simple. p. 1996). 29 See Talia Schaffer.” Novel 30. “Exiled and Harassed Anne. and conservative” despite its challenge of traditional assumptions about sermons as the prerogative of the clergy. as Laura Berry has provocatively put it.29 What has instead become the most memorable and often discussed section of religious fiction of the Victorian age is the representation of the evangelical.1 [1996]. 227). what has been seen as their obtrusive centrality in Agnes Grey (1847) has caused the novel to be set aside as “simplistic. especially poetry. and guiding the readers to interpret the Prickett. 31 Ernest Raymond. “The Mysterious Magnum Bonum: Fighting to Read Charlotte Yonge.” Brontë Society Transactions 11 (1949): 225–36. Ibid.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 55. Brocklehurst in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) may have become one of the most notorious religious hypocrites in fiction.318 tamara s. 279. Stolpa argues. rpt.

and it is suggested. it is really his style of delivery that seems to give most offense. Wolff. Ibid. but the connection between its fictional and its religious manifestation needs to be teased out. and the clearness and force of his style”.” pp. Although the choice of subject is criticized as well. Wolff. Agnes Grey (Oxford. . but probably not many modern readers can tell why”. 3. When his new curate. p. Stolpa.35 The main distinction between the two clergymen rests in their different sermons. who would come sailing up the aisle. while the instructions of his evangelical counterpart. informed by a pretended earnestness.34 More recently. it is important to note. 83. one of the most self-conscious sermon novels that at once features good and bad sermons and works as a sermon itself: the Tractarian rector is interested more in ritual than analysis. pompous. Weston. pp. Ibid. 1988). p. which appeared to [her] good – infinitely better.37 32 33 34 35 36 37 Anne Brontë. as well as the earnest simplicity of his manner. 6..the victorian sermon novel 319 moral for themselves. 85. It is notably introduced through a negative definition. with his rich silk gown flying behind him and rustling against the pew doors. his curate Weston. at least. and the still less edifying harangues of the rector. Brontë. Grey. Jennifer Stolpa has argued that the novel’s often dismissively treated form is an example of a “metasermon”. Gains.. Whereas Weston’s are as simple and straightforward as the novel in which they are embedded. his style of reading and preaching contrasts favorably with that of Hatfield: Agnes comments on Weston’s “style of reading.36 Weston’s sermon is “refreshing” after the dry. or “Puseyite”. or rather sweeping along like a whirlwind. 85. arrives. it would have emerged very clearly that he is a “High Churchman”. p. operate similarly to the idea of the sermon endorsed and indeed exemplified by the novel itself. already takes the novel’s criticism of the rector as a starting point for an exploration of references that are now often regarded as obscure: it is “obvious that Anne Brontë thoroughly dislikes Mr Hatfield. or “Anglo-Catholic”.33 For her audience in 1847. or “Tractarian”. prosy discourses of the former curate.32 This is an emphatically evangelical position. p. than Mr Hatfield’s” and further on “the evangelical truth of his doctrine. 6. “Preaching. 229–33. Hatfield’s are artificial.

... p.38 But if these are all signs of his Tractarian leanings (the words Tractarian or Anglo-Catholic never appear in the narrative itself). as the vividly painted manifestations of his opinions on “church. pp. 86.42 Readers familiar with Jane Eyre’s ordeal in the Red Room may well balk at Agnes Grey’s exasperation with a young pupil: Sometimes. p. pp. and “cambric handkerchief ” already condemn him. Still. Similarly. “velvet cushion”. Ibid. Ibid. p. and the last service. Ibid. wagner His rustling gown. they are apparently preferable to the “sermon of a different order” he occasionally delivers. I was often on the point of melting into tears during the sermon – the last I was to hear from him … the best I should hear from any one. “wellcurled hair”.40 This depiction of the delivery and reception of sermons in the novel ironically anticipates the satirical and sensational representation of preachers and their sermons in later fiction by authors as different as Wilkie Collins and Charlotte Yonge. or put her in the corner. 100. it can be a disappointment. Ibid. the personal attributes that are thereby drawn into the comparison are more likely to obscure than to highlight the novel’s endorsement of evangelicalism. . discipline. Read simply as a governess novel that recounts the failure of various methods of instruction. the last Sunday was come. or pull her long hair. “bright lavender glove”.41 The “First Lessons in the Art of Instruction”.. 12. – for 38 39 40 41 42 Ibid. who extols “such a sermon”. as chapter 2 is entitled. all too quickly change from being “the care and education of children” to the “task of instruction and surveillance”. rites and ceremonies”. “sunless and severe. 27.320 tamara s. rather than a benevolent father”. simple. which made her “so happy”. exasperated to the utmost pitch. 160. I was well assured. the best testimony to Weston’s excellent sermons may come from a poor. representing the Deity as a terrible task-master. I would shake her violently by the shoulders. 85. yet Agnes’ appreciation of what she believes is the final sermon she shall hear from him does more to declare her love for him than to assert its intrinsic excellence: And now.39 As doctrinal interpretations thus serve as characterization devices. it is in this narrative engagement with doctrinal differences that the novel’s real depths reside. parishioner. 174..

In fact. Dinah Mulock Craik’s Olive (1850). “Realism and Typology in Charlotte M. it also provides a good counterexample to the Tractarian novels that had so quickly come to predominate in the subgenre of sermon fiction.1 (2004).48 Ibid. alternatively. 101. 46 Ibid. informing minute details of plot and characterization”. the Tractarian novel not only made up a substantial part of popular literature and religious writing. 45 Gavin Budge. p.” Victorian Literature and Culture 29. Sewell and Yonge. 92. p.43 In a similar vein. the novel’s second half has been read as the intrusion of a love story into the fictionalized advice manual or. 47 June Sturrock. Compare Dara Rossman Regaignon. p.1 (2003).the victorian sermon novel 321 which she punished me with loud. Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe.. Agnes Grey forms a particularly insightful example of the integration of sermons into plot and modes of characterization. At the same time. her own marriageplot..45 A secularist viewpoint that ignores the centrality of doctrine might miss the point altogether: “Yonge’s commitment to Tractarianism would be merely quaint. shrill. “Catholic Anti-heroines: Craik. 48 Ibid.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31.. and Yonge’s Heartsease (1854). 31. but also extended the confines of domestic realism in intriguing ways that influenced the development of Victorian fiction at large. 193. whereas the majority of 19th-century discourses on Tractarians were hostile. passim. June Sturrock has detailed how the fears that arose after the flood of conversions at the midcentury were expressed the most imaginatively as narrative foils in novels as different as Elizabeth Sewell’s Margaret Percival (1847).44 As it preaches as much on the subject of governesses and their employers as on doctrinal decisions. “Instructive Sufficiency: Re-Reading the Governess through Agnes Grey.” Women’s Writing 11. a failure to move with the times that must call her ability to achieve a truly realist mode of writing into question”.47 Their heroines’ Roman Catholic counterparts act as embodiments of doctrinal differences from Anglo-Catholicism: they are often physically as well as morally weaker. Gavin Budge seeks to retract the general sidestepping of novelistic presentations of religious belief that extend “far beyond superficial pieties. 194. 44 43 . as a resurfacing of the governess’ suppressed story.46 With a similar emphasis on plot structure. In a recent article that aims to redirect approaches to largely forgotten and ideologically problematic authors. piercing screams.1 (2001). that went through my head like a knife.

50 49 . differences between the proliferating religious communities of the time.322 tamara s. and a great deal of self-assurance – that seems to me to be about where you are!”51 The best-known fictionalizations of Victorian sermons may be embedded in the multiplot social panorama of Dickens. irreconcilable. 41. not surprisingly. Nineteenth-Century. is achieved through Linton’s systematic rejection of all organized religion. as it were. p.50 His unorthodox ideas can be lumped together all too easily with other disruptive. Christian and Communist (1872). including her controversial projection of Christ’s life into the present-day in the bestselling The True History of Joshua Davidson. Under Which Lord may more extensively focus on opposing and. The novel has been read as a more radical version of Kingsley’s Alton Locke (1850) and..49 her contribution to religious fiction was wide-ranging. wagner In turn. Joshua Davidson (London. Eliza Lynn Linton. Its identification of primitive Christianity and communism was nothing new. but additionally helps us to track the development of the sermon novel as well as to retrace the marginalization of the genre even in discussions of non-canonical writing. of course. Joshua? … A little radicalism. as characteristic of the works of a “next generation of writers” that sought out “their vision of a prophetic biblical call for social transformation” in increasingly more polemical experiments in religious fiction (Knight and Mason. 51 Ibid. Linton. combines her exploration of the fundaments of Christian Socialism with a suspicious. or simply “othered” elements: “Going in for socialism. eccentric. mocked by the representatives of institutionalized religion in the novel. 192. even hostile. 1872). Gains. as the novel suggests. yet a degree of balance. George Eliot. in this. but it was the basis of mid-Victorian Christian Socialism. Although Eliza Lynn Linton’s Under Which Lord (1879) has been regarded chiefly as a symptomatic illustration of the “pitch to which anti-Tractarian sentiment could mount”. This reaction not only attests to the effectiveness of religious instruction through fiction. or also Oliphant and the Trollopes. but specifically their literary output. approach to any forms of religious institutions. and hence the hero’s professions that he is “[g]oing in no isms at all [except] for the truth as it is in Christ” are. 165). p. a little Methodism. As Nancy Fix Anderson Wolff. anti-Tractarian fiction increasingly attacked not only the doctrines and communities of Tractarians. it is interesting to remark. p. 41. p. but non-canonical religious – or self-consciously antireligious – writing lays bare the other side of the coin of an increasingly volatile discourse.

Woman Against Women In Victorian England: A Life of Eliza Lynn Linton (Bloomington. The novel as fictionalized sermon. pp. referencing the use of sermons in Adam Bede (1859). pp. Women Writers. McKelvy speaks of “declinist accounts” that “see in the modern cult of literature a reaction to the passing of God. exclusive Ecclesiastical Christianity. The Realistic Imagination: English Fiction from Frankenstein to Lady Chatterley (Chicago. p. 53 Linton. Colby. in fact. and a novel about dissent in that it sympathetically presents Methodists.the victorian sermon novel 323 has phrased it in her biography of Linton. this jewelled.55 Yet as commentators at the time 52 Nancy Fix Anderson. pp. To an extent. p. Gaskell. The fact that in the end she does not agree with Christianity is an indication of just how great her openness is” (Dissent. More recently. Jude Nixon [New York. ornate. Joshua. “Eliot’s highly religious. was regularly directed against specific doctrinal interpretations even as it pushed others. they may be seen as simply taking its doctrinal focus to its extremes. 80. Cunningham has singled out George Eliot as “a writer who will treat Dissenters with enormous compassion and with a notable measure of fairness. novelists at the mid-century resorted to a “preaching of pity”. p. yet need not. 87.53 In a triangulation of cultural intersections between the sermon and the novel. Jude Nixon has highlighted Eliot’s role “in lending shape and definition to all that constitutes religious discourse in the nineteenth century”. Linton’s engagement with religious doubt engenders “anti-sermon novels” that testify to the cultural centrality of the Victorian sermon novel itself. Preaching Pity: Dickens. passim. include a specific religious approach may be most visible in the emergence of social problems fiction at the mid-century. dissenter novel” (“Framing Victorian Religious Discourse: An Introduction. and Sentimentalism in Victorian Culture (New York.52 More precisely. The Victorian novel’s “characteristic morality” is “a George Eliot-like dissolution of easy moral categories”. Instead of cleaving onto doctrine. 2004]. 1987). Adam Bede may be classified as a sermon novel only in that it features a well-received sermon by a character who eventually leaves behind her duties as a wandering preacher.” in Victorian Religious Discourse: New Directions in Criticism. on “Janet’s Repentance”. after a long illness commencing in the Enlightenment died during Victoria’s reign” (Cult. More pointedly still. 57.54 George Levine has argued that 19th-century realism evolved as a reflection of and contribution to the emergence of modernity as a process of secularization. . ed. 54 Mary Lenard. 258. p. and Nineteenth-Century Social Discourse (Chicago. she was a “dedicated agnostic [who] religiously attacked all forms of Victorian Christianity”. The Reader’s Repentance: Women Preachers. she sought to expose all forms of its “modern travesty. 203–9. the ascendancy of a moral vision that could. 4–5). Religion. 1981). who is the ancient Pharisee revived”. 60–61. Domestic. 1999). Christine Krueger. 9). as it is put in Joshua Davidson. Compare Jay. p. 180. 55 George Levine. 9). as Mary Lenard has put it. who. p. 1992).

Finding it irreconcilable with his conscience to make a fresh declaration of conformity to the Liturgy when accepting a preferment. its “purpose” could stretch from “Chartism. as Hilary Fraser has put it. In Masson’s words. &c. 1993]. wagner rightly diagnosed. Thesing [Oxford. Nineteenth-Century. Patrick Brantlinger and William B. a promotion to a better parsonage. What at first sight seems a leaving behind of a matter of doctrine in Gaskell’s North and South (1855).” in A Companion to the Victorian Novel. industrialists. 101–102). pp. that the novel changes “from one kind of novel into another” as it indisputably shifts its main focus to broader social issue (“The Victorian Novel and Religion. Gaskell not only uses her to express “the assumed astonishment of conformist readers to the conversion”. 28. Ellison and Carol Marie Engelhardt refer to the popularity of “sermon-tasting” in Victorian culture to underline Masson. p. Socialism. [to] Anglo-Catholicism. p. pp. pp. away from pastoral cares. Evangelicism.56 Their different exponents did not necessarily divorce religion. or dissolution. as fiction came to be seen as a method of both propagating and condemning certain ideals or ideologies. morality. but aspiring. for example. In placing the heroine between her father’s Dissent and the more intuitive faith of the manufacturer she eventually marries.. and politics. 57 56 . ed.. 264. needs to be reassessed within an awareness of the strong hints the text would have supplied to contemporary readers. Krueger significantly terms Gaskell an “Evangelist of Reconciliation” (Repentance. This does not mean that the doctrinal issues with which the novel opens disappear completely. but deploys the novel “to promote an idea of faith” (Knight and Mason. “Mr Hale’s Doubts in North and South. however. in the sphere of secular politics. 228–29). 30–40. 58 Jay. p.57 It resituates canonical fiction by “doctrinally unconcerned authors” within intricate developments in 19thcentury religious writing and practices. of rivaling moralities presented a clear-cut shift. Close attention to sermons in fiction shows how vital it is to get away from the idea that the ascendancy. Religion. See also Angus Easson. Broad Church. 157). Hale’s religious scruples start off the novel’s movement into industrial spaces and Union politics. social and religious slants were both part of the same development. Froude was a possible model for Mr Hale. &c.” Review of English Studies 31 (1980). a connection Froude himself recognized (Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories ([London. Hale leaves his comfortable vicarage in the South and moves into the industrial North to make a living as a tutor to largely uneducated. and by lecturing to workers.324 tamara s. even as they imbued them with varying degrees of importance. while simultaneously drawing new attention to the significance of sermon novels in presenting alternative literary histories.A. Jenny Uglow suggests that J.58 Fictional Sermon-Tasting: Sensationalizing the Preacher In a recent article. Novelists. in the sphere of ecclesiastical opinion”. This move suggests. Robert H. Rev. 77). 78. 2002].

but also that it was specifically in the 19th century that “the putative religious function of literature became a self-defining subject for public debate”.the victorian sermon novel 325 “the role of religion in shaping. Cult. and clinical discourses from its beginnings in the 18th century. Conversely. 3. 60 McKelvy. its critical engagement with a more general. as Mark Knight and Emma Mason have similarly emphasized. It does so in two complementary ways that further underscore the essentially dual nature of the genre itself. 7. 373. 61 Knight and Mason. 1. sermons in fiction variously negotiate the proposition of a specific morality. consolidating. “Prophecy and Anti-Popery in Victorian London: John Cumming Reconsidered.62 The sermon novel in both its manifestations – as a sermon in narrative form and as a narrative that analyzes fictional sermons – helps to clarify its often obscure centrality in 19th-century literature. This is. 3–4. social morality through a deliberate domestication of spirituality. PA.61 The “doctrinal intricacies of the Church” could be “experienced through texts that were unlikely to appear in a course of formal theology: hymns. poetry. Ellison on a “nation of ‘sermon tasters’ ”. and fiction”. and had come under additional attack in evangelical writing. and challenging that culture”. of religion as daily practice at home rather than as a metaphysical experience. erases the “continual slippage between the sacred and the secular” that might be misleadingly subtle in some texts. a bit perverse at times”. Although the novel as a popular genre had been regarded with suspicion in moral. The sizable overlap between the two forms of the sermon novel is most prominent in the critical representation of the preacher as a popular sensation.” Victorian Literature and Culture (2003). yet which forms the thrust of a surprising number of works. 1998].59 William McKelvy refers to the “familiar history of modernity. 43). See also Robert H.60 Ignoring religion’s centrality in the literature of the time. sensation’s popularity in 59 Robert H. primarily. p. 62 Ibid. tracts. p. Nineteenth-Century. pp. p. the tale of culture’s triumph over religion” to point out that this history was not only “more subtle and sinuous. people for whom church attendance was an intellectual and aesthetic ‘delight’ as well as a religious ‘duty’ ” (The Victorian Pulpit: Spoken and Written Sermons in Nineteenth-Century Britain [Selinsgrove. The metaphorical linkage of sermon-tasting to the dangers of sensational writing implies a much more intricate interconnectedness of fiction and (fictional) sermons than mere referencing of sermons on literature would suggest.. . Ellison and Carol Marie Engelhardt. social.

The Widening World of Children’s Literature (Houndmills. as a direct result. 55–56. 207). and. and both found a catalyst in the literary figure of the sensationalized preacher. Jane Eyre’s self-enclosure through reading is “a particularly nineteenth-century image”. she “would not have inhabited the same setting or thought of reading in the same way”: . became a recurrent theme as realist domestic novels traded on. had no existence independent of their didactic function”. 2000). Most tellingly perhaps. It is reading that saves David Copperfield from being “almost stupefied” as it “kept alive my fancy. while often mocking. and my hope of something beyond that place and time … and did me no harm”. Gains. therefore. and if the novel had been published a century before. Cultural anxiety about public sensation incited by sermon-tasting became interlinked with this concern. 11). wagner the mid-19th century necessarily fuelled such fears. 63 Much has of course been written on the Victorian sensation craze at the midcentury and its primary manifestation in popular serial publications. pp. in heavily didactic children’s literature such as Martha Butt Sherwood’s The History of the Fairchild Family (1818. As Patricia Meyer Spacks points out.63 With a new defensiveness came a more self-reflective reassessment of modes of writing and reading practices. the majority of sermon novels sought to counter Puritan reservations about the fictitious and especially fiction for the young. 1847). in which novel reading scored higher than adultery and was considered equivalent to skepticism (Wolff. David Copperfield (Oxford.64 The reading child. 64 Susan Ang. p. 22. they paralleled one of the most influential reactions to religious fiction that shaped the Victorian novel at large. 1981). 65 Jay stresses this essential contradiction: Butler’s novel “dealt the death-blow to the tradition of the portrayal of Evangelicals in the novel”. while it also “talks of Evangelicalism as a childhood memory and appealed to the same response in its readers” (Religion.66 The Victorian child’s daydreaming is not only harmless. and likewise solitary daydreaming over books that makes the childhood passages of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) so memorable. In this. p.65 such satirized embodiments are hence regularly counterpoised by the powers of the imagination. or the escape from evil through salvation. children simply serve to “demonstrate the effects of non-repentance. the Evangelical Magazine symptomatically published a “spiritual barometer” assigning levels of wickedness to various pastimes. p. 66 Charles Dickens. In embracing literature as a welcome medium for reaching the imagination and emotions and thereby inspiring belief. the parameters of sermon fiction.326 tamara s. In the early 1790s. From Dickens’ Murdstones in David Copperfield (1850) to the bugbears of evangelical childhood in Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh (1903).

The latter are embodied by the illiterate street-sweep Jo. 1989). Dissent. professors of a stern religion.71 Although this aligns him with the more clearly defined evangelical Murdstones and Mrs Clennam. having “no idea. that he does not belong to any particular religious group is further evidence of the “permeable and invisible boundaries of Evangelicalism” itself. p. of the spiritual destitution of a coral reef in the Pacific”. p. the heavily satirized Chadband. although Arthur Clennam has been raised by “[s]trict people as the phrase is. pp. 1985). He identifies the paying of a cab fare with spiritual debt and credit: “It is Mr Chadband’s habit – it is the head and front of his pretensions indeed – to keep this sort of debtor and creditor account in the smallest items.70 In a comical twist. idealizing vaguely perceived ways of doing good afar while ignoring issues at hand. 2003]. an uninteresting home-grown savage resting at the door-step of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.68 The chapter on “Telescopic Philanthropy” in Bleak House (1853) attacks any form of charitable. p. 158. p.69 The omniscient narrator’s often deplored descent into preaching when depicting Jo’s last moments indicates the integration of religious sentiment into social problems fiction.67 It is therefore hardly surprising that Dickens has been seen as notorious for his satirical stabs at evangelicalism. 67 Charles Dickens.. work that looks into the distance. her creator would probably have introduced even into a fictional text some warning about the danger of such stimulation” (Privacy: Concealing the Eighteenth-Century Self [Chicago. 274. and to post it publicly on the most trivial occasions”. their very religion … a gloomy sacrifice of tastes and sympathies that were never their own”. Little Dorrit (Oxford. The same novel. 318. 318.the victorian sermon novel 327 but salutary.. while also proposing a social responsibility that comes close to condemning charity set up as a society. moreover. including missionary. which has “If she read for the sake of imaginative stimulation in 1747 or thereabouts. Bleak House (London. 11. . features one of the oiliest fictional preachers of the Victorian age. p. he has nonetheless retained a “belief in all the gentle and good things his life had been without”. 20–21. poor wretch. 70 Ibid. he “glows with humility and train oil”. 69 Charles Dickens. As it is put with particular poignancy in Dickens’ Little Dorrit (1857). his religious accounting issues a backprojection of pecuniary metaphors customarily associated with evangelical discourse and its satires. 29). 71 Ibid. 68 See Cunningham. Discoursing on patronized objects of charity.

Mr Chadband is attached to no particular denomination and is considered by his persecutors to have nothing so very remarkable to say on the greatest of subjects as to render his volunteering. Miles Mirabel in Wilkie Collins’ I Say No (1884) to the pairing of fake and real clergymen in G. Emilius in Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds (1873) and Phineas Redux (1874). Their critical. Chesterton’s “The Blue Cross” (1910). like Oliphant’s Salem Chapel.75 Emilius is a conman. Dickens.K. p. Notable exponents of this literary type are as different as Godfrey Ablewhite. the real thief of the eponymous diamond in Wilkie Collins’ detective novel The Moonstone (1868). wagner been seen as “a factor that led to distorting caricatures among some commentators”.74 What is perhaps the most revealing in this context is that Trollope’s fraudulent clergyman is generated by. a speculator. 2004). a novel that features. The Eustace Diamonds (London. Rev.73 Such indeterminacy renders the preacher an apt embodiment of hypocrisy and prepares for the figure of the fraudulent clergyman in the popular fiction of the century’s second half. The effectiveness of Emilius’ sermons as a social spectacle already condemns him: “He preached his sermon. 12. an impostor who has come over here to make a fortune”. 74 The most sensational elements in Trollope’s oeuvre are without doubt to be found in He Knew He Was Right (1869). on his own account. parental abduction and divorce to juxtapose these intrinsically sensational themes with the micropolitics of a Cathedral town. who has “a wife in Prague. 767. Deceitful preachers in detective fiction range from suspiciously charming Rev. as he expresses it. a bigamist. 73 72 . “in the ministry”.328 tamara s. and a bogus preacher. especially as they operated as antisermon novels in exposing the hypocrisies and impasses fostered by specific doctrines or religious outlooks. BH. and probably two or three elsewhere”. double-faced. or right to set himself up as such: [H]e is. but he has his followers. sensational villains with which realist writing engaged critically. at all incumbent on his conscience.72 He has got no representative value. He encapsulates the narrative attractions of indeterminate. and the converted priest in Collins’ late sensation novel The Black Robe (1881). p. 75 Anthony Trollope. charming the congregation by the graces of his Knight and Mason. A converted “Bohemian Jew …. p. not necessarily always satirical reworking of the paradigms of sermon fiction shows that the representation of sermons in Victorian novels was never fully divorced from a didactic impact. Nineteenth-Century. and for. 315. a critical take on sensation fiction. while trading on their popularity.

the victorian sermon novel


extempore eloquence, – moving every woman there to tears, – and then was after his wife before the ladies had taken their first glass of sherry at luncheon”.76 This tongue-in-cheek presentation renders it mockingly explicit that the feted preacher does not practice what he preaches. To see him simply as an exponent of anti-Semitic stereotyping overlooks the range of Trollope’s play with stereotypes. The willful blindness of those who believe in the popular preacher is symptomatic of society’s double standards at large. Leading a double life, frequently under an assumed name, literalizes the religious hypocrisy that “sermonizing” characters represent in Victorian fiction. In The Moonstone, Godfrey Ablewhite is a philanthropist presiding over various ladies’ committees. He is first introduced in “effigy” in a lady’s bedroom, portrayed in the midst of public speaking: he is “represented speaking at a public meeting, with all his hair blown out by the breath of his own eloquence, and his eyes, most lovely, charming the money out of your pockets”.77 The satire of this “Christian Hero”, as he is repeatedly called by one of his most uncritical adherents, pinpoints the novel’s exposure of conventionalities and seeming conformity, yet his double life also underlines the narrative attractions of the indeterminate preacher as impostor: a “side kept hidden from the general notice” in “a villa in the suburbs which was not taken in his own name, and with a lady in the villa, who was not taken in his own name, either”.78 Like Dickens’ Chadband, Ablewhite is unaffiliated with any denomination, and while this makes their exposure all the more encompassing, it also suggests that this very indeterminacy is the mainspring of their duplicity. But if Ablewhite is a sensational villain who exemplifies the extremes of social and religious hypocrisy, the tract-distributing Miss Clack, his adoring follower, is a figure of fun whose own narrative even more fully exploits the satirical potentials provided by the paradigms of sermon novels. Her reception of Ablewhite’s sermons constitutes a revealing warning, exposing their – fraudulent – value and hence her own unreliability as a narrator of part of the novel:
Rachel and I went alone together to church. A magnificent sermon was preached by my gifted friend on the heathen indifference of the world to the sinfulness of little sins. For more than an hour his eloquence (assisted
76 77 78

Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux (Oxford, 2000), p. 2:40. Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (London, 1998), p. 68. Ibid., p. 452.


tamara s. wagner
by his glorious voice) thundered through the sacred edifice. I said to Rachel, when we came out, “Has it found its way to your heart, dear?” And she answered, “No; it has only made my head ache”. This might have been discouraging to some people; but, once embarked on a career of manifest usefulness, nothing discourages Me.79

Miss Clack’s refusal to be discouraged reads like a threat. If she annoys Rachel Verinder by discoursing on Ablewhite’s eloquence – an hour’s discourse on “the sinfulness of little sins” delivered in a booming voice – she even more invidiously persecutes Rachel’s dying mother with tracts, even after the doctor has expressively forbidden anything but “light” reading. For Miss Clack, this is a struggle between religion and medical science, a struggle familiar from earlier sermon novels as different as Agnes Grey and The Castle-Builders. In both, clergymen are called in like doctors to deal not only with “religious melancholy”, but with a more sustained world-weariness, or depression of spirits. It is indeed part and parcel of their reaction to the secularization brought about by modernity that they preach the superiority of religious instruction over medical diagnoses of what are spiritual or emotional crises. This is where the divergence of different forms of using sermons in fiction and fiction as sermons becomes particularly accentuated. Even while sporting one of the most idealized portrayals of physicians in Victorian literature, Yonge’s The Daisy Chain (1856) and its sequel, The Trial (1864), differentiate between mind, body, and soul in order to rupture an established duality that favored clinical attention. Repeatedly, it is emphasized that “[m]ind and body may be hurt, [but] to think the soul can be hurt” comes near blasphemy, and that “if body and mind come out unscathed, it is the soundness of the spirit that has brought them through”.80 In Brontë’s novel, it is even rendered explicit that the evangelical Weston accomplishes such a cure easily, whereas the Tractarian Hatfield neither knows nor cares much about his parishioners’ spiritual distress.81
Ibid., pp. 253–54. Charlotte Yonge, The Trial; Or, More Links of the Daisy Chain (Doylestown, n.d.), pp. 374–75, 372. 81 When Nancy Brown is “afflicted with religious melancholy”, Hatfield accuses her of having been “among the Methodists,” admonishing her to “come to church, where you’ll hear the scriptures properly explained, instead of sitting poring over your Bible at home” (Grey, pp. 91, 94). Yet Weston reads bits from the Bible and “explained ‘em as clear as the day”, and “that next Sunday he preached such a sermon!” (Grey, pp. 99–100). For the “treatment” of the heroine’s affinity with Tennyson’s Mariana in The CastleBuilders see notes below.
80 79

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It is in a pointed satire of doctrinal instruction as crisis management that Miss Clack is of no more help than Dickens’ Mrs Jellyby, the telescopic philanthropist of Bleak House, or Mrs Pardiggle, who literally sweeps into the households of the poor in the same novel. The perverseness of Miss Clack’s dissemination of unwanted tracts around the house, a violation of domestic space, constitutes an “anti-robbery” as well as a mockery of district visiting. The satire of her failure effectively explodes the twofold credit system in which she amasses points in heaven and creates debts for which she expects to be repaid by those on whom she bestows her spiritual riches.82 Despite the seriousness both of the moral accounting (and the hypocrisy it may help to engender) and of the impasses of attending to physical illness with tracts or, conversely, to emotional crises with pills, the main effect of Miss Clack’s narrative remains comical. Such anti-sermon novels, however, go beyond satire when their attack on specific denominations becomes integral to the main plot. Collins’ earlier novels are populated with religious as well as other hypocrites as much as the novels of Dickens. His belated The Black Robe is a virulently anti-Catholic work that stands in an older Gothic tradition, while it also takes the sensational potential of the popular preacher to its extremes. Its vilification of international Jesuitical networks capitalizes on a new fascination with secret societies and conspiracies, while a suspicion of celibacy, nunneries, and priesthood denotes them as hostile to ideals of the family and the nation that are seen as peculiarly English and Protestant. Conversion to Roman Catholicism is not only part of a Jesuit priest’s ploy to regain land in England, but it turns a sensitive young intellectual, working on the “Origins of Religions” – no more successfully than George Eliot’s Casaubon on his “Key to All Mythologies” – into a priest. The convert’s sermons on the “dreadful superstition of everlasting torment” cause “hysterical shrieks of women [ringing] through the church”.83 What is fake about his priesthood is that it is the result of a cleverly exploited monomania: his feelings of guilt, after killing his opponent in a duel, are practiced on by manipulative Jesuits. Contrary to the plethora of

Ilana Blumberg speaks of this “dissemination of tracts as a kind of anti-robbery”: Miss Clack is seen to slip into the house, leaving her treasures in choice places (“Collins’s Moonstone: The Victorian Novel as Sacrifice, Theft, Gift, and Debt,” Studies in the Novel 37.2 [2005], 172). 83 Wilkie Collins, The Black Robe (London, 1994), p. 214.



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useless advice he receives, he needs neither a doctor nor a priest, but the domestic comforts of a wife and child for whom he should preserve his estate instead of having it seized by priests from Rome. The convert’s own sermon is a symptom and warning of a larger conspiracy. When self-reflective sermon novels trade on the trope of the fake clergyman, he serves as a mouthpiece of ideas or attitudes that need to be excised from the confines of the narrative. Otherwise strikingly different novels, Amelia Edwards’ Hand and Glove (1858) and Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family (1865) both employ a counterfeit, or would-be, clergyman who is ultimately exposed as an absconded speculator. But whereas Edwards’ novel uses the bogus preacher to highlight the dangers of surface attractions, in Yonge’s novel, a reputedly unordained clergyman’s vague reference to doctrinal scruples masks his twofold fraudulence. A comparison of these two novels hence also illustrates the difference between the two main variations of the sermon novel, and I shall therefore analyze them in more detail as a conclusion to the investigation of the Victorian sermon novel’s twofold nature. The swindling preacher comes to embody the problems as well as the various potentials of both forms. Re-presenting Real and Fake Sermons Hand and Glove introduces its dangerously charming villain through a discussion of his first sermon in a new parish. Its impact on the congregation divorces eloquence from moral instruction, effectiveness from improvement, and the mere sensation of experiencing a stirring sermon from the absorption of its content. More significantly still, the violence he evokes in his account of early church history is posed against the novel’s extended imagery of classical heritage, represented by a recently rediscovered Roman columbarium. The archaeological interest of the villain’s rival thereby provides a revealing counterpoint to the fraudulent clergyman’s speculations on the sensations his sermon inspires. Through this juxtaposition, the novel embraces a morality premised on an essentially ecumenical stance. The sermon’s referencing of religious violence as well as martyrdom is the diametrical opposite of the rival’s rational analysis of history. In short, the faith the novel endorses is a humanism based on the importance of balance. If it preaches at all, it is tolerance. Its setting in France enables a twofold projection of religious prejudice. Finding herself unexpectedly in reduced circumstances, Gartha

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Wylde goes out to a remote village in rural France to work as part companion, part governess in a French Protestant family. A small community of gentry and merchants forms “quite a little Protestant colony”, a mirror-image of Catholics in Britain.84 Despite their minority status and separateness, they are nonetheless integrated into surroundings that are exotic to the English heroine. The very house is alluringly different; its doorway appearing “more like the entrance to a convent than the gateway of a gentleman’s house”.85 Still, while Gartha is fascinated by Catholic ritual, its observance remains confined to the peasantry. Her almost anthropological interest in what is “so new and picturesque” in Catholic prayer at roadside crosses never becomes the threat that the aesthetics of ritual poses in so many anti-Catholic novels of the time.86 In Yonge’s The Castle-Builders, for example, attending mass at a Roman Catholic Chapel is a “running after temptation” that is all the more detrimental as the novel’s Tractarian leanings ensure that one of the heroines, in an emotionally and theologically confused state, finds dangerously little to object to: “with the ordinary ignorance about the Roman Catholic services, she was very much taken by surprise at finding so little that was objectionable, and so much that was extremely beautiful”.87 Famed preaching is part of the ritual. As the heroine puts it to an elder sister recently returned from France: “O such a sermon! And that magnificent service – how you must have enjoyed it abroad”.88 In a stab at just such pseudo-ethnographic observance that defends a fascination with Roman Catholicism in Hand and Glove, the sister, wife of an exemplary Protestant clergyman, asserts that they never attended mass abroad not because they saw any danger in it, but simply because “we had a feeling against treating it as a sight”.89 For Yonge, ritual can be found in Tractarian sermons with their own “beauty of the language”, expressive “of the whole Catholic Church, praying with them, and for them” – of Anglo-Catholicism in a careful division from Roman Catholicism.90 In other words, the prevailing anti-Catholic typecasting

Amelia Edwards, Hand and Glove (London, 2000), p. 50. Ibid., p. 35. 86 Ibid., p. 40. 87 Yonge, Castle-Builders, pp. 233–34. 88 Ibid., p. 243. 89 Ibid., p. 243. 90 Ibid., p. 194. The majority of encounters with Roman Catholicism, whether abroad or at home are much more invidious. They range from Lucy Snowe’s desperate recourse to attend confession – a symptom of a breakdown, more than a cure – in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853) to the reuse of traditional Gothic anti-Catholic



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of ritual’s perceived threats is sidestepped, or redirected, rather than addressed. In Edwards’ novel, the danger of an exciting service is transferred into a Protestant milieu and ascribed to its minority status, “the expression of an isolated opinion – the resort of a cultivated minority … of an exceptional religion”.91 The sensuality of the new clergyman, Rev. Alexis Xavier Hamel, highlights this alignment. He is “the most striking, if not the handsomest man whom [Gartha] had ever seen [with an] expression of power, both in features and build; a something which was at the same time fascinating and repellent, intellectual and sensuous”.92 His name (which turns out to be assumed) is “[r]ather too romantic [for] a clergyman”.93 If this is a giveaway as regards the danger he represents, his sermon is an extension of just this mixture of allure and repulsion. It is delivered “in a voice totally unlike that in which he had read the previous half of the service – a voice full, sonorous, and deep-rolling as the under notes of an organ”.94 The eloquence is beyond reproduction:
I shall not endeavour to reproduce the discourse that followed. It would be useless, since I could only mar the eloquence which I but imperfectly remember – eloquence so rare, so impassioned, so spontaneous … But the substance of his sermon I never can forget; and this, to the best of my power, I will now endeavour to outline. It was a history of Christianity – a history of its darkest and most woful [sic] side, drawn by an iron hand, and delivered not only with the profoundest knowledge of “effect”, but at times with something of a splendid yet terrible irony.95

The narrative then details the effects of the sermon on the audience. There is no question of its impact as “a magnificent piece of spontaneous oratory”, yet it is more than uncertain that the congregation can “feel improved by his sermon”.96 The quiet eloquence of Charles Gautier, an amateur archaeologist engaged to Gartha’s charge, therein contrasts with Hamel’s dangerously alluring ways of extolling both violence in the name of religion and, likewise, “a class of literature which, however admirable in its way, deals too largely with feeling to be quite

typecasting in Collins’ The Black Robe. On Villette see Diana Peschier, NineteenthCentury Anti-Catholic Discourses (Houndmills, 2005), pp. 138–61. 91 Edwards, Hand, p. 64. 92 Ibid., p. 64. 93 Ibid., p. 51. 94 Ibid., p. 66. 95 Ibid., pp. 66–67. 96 Ibid., pp. 72, 71.

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healthy reading for the inexperienced and the young”.97 Recommending history over romance, Gautier speaks of the repose exemplified by the Roman columbarium, discovered in his garden, as evidence of a “wise, and poetical religion” that “turned with a smile from the empty terrors of the Skeleton and the Scythe”.98 In his discourse on fiction as worthy of serious discussion, Hamel’s representation becomes conflicted, however. What renders him suspect is his pliable eloquence itself. As his impressionable fiancée puts it, “All that you say is beautiful”.99 He is a fiction himself, eventually exposed as a failed speculator, a fraudster, responsible also for Gartha’s poverty, a onetime actor and returned convict, who has wrongly assumed the guise of a clergyman. His suicide upon his exposure externalizes the self-destructiveness of his eloquent personality. It is an escape from authorial condemnation as well as from legally enforced punishment: “He has indeed escaped”.100 If Hand and Glove uses a sermon extolling violence to illuminate the fraudster’s violation of domestic space, in The Clever Woman of the Family, the fake clergyman acts as an embodiment of concepts, values, and interpretations of faith that need to be expunged. The villain Mauleverer, alias Maddox, appears in “a sort of easy clerical-looking dress …; his air was that of an educated man, his dress that of a clergyman at large, his face keen”.101 His assumed name is as fanciful as it is deliberately misleading: “The card was written, not engraved, the name ‘Rd. R.H.C.L. Mauleverer;’ and a discussion ensued whether the first letters stood for Richard or for Reverend, and if he could be unconscionable enough to have five initials”.102 The first warning sign is his use of unorthodoxy as camouflage: pretending to be “a clerical gentleman who had opinions”, he hides behind a euphemism that masks a much more extensive duplicity as he turns out to be no clergyman at all, but a skilled fraudster, once a commercial agent and financial speculator, who leads an additional double life in “haunts [where] he plays the philanthropical lecturer” for the benefit of a respectable widow and

Ibid., p. 112. Ibid., p. 72. 99 Ibid., p. 108. 100 Ibid., p. 281. 101 Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family (Peterborough, 2001), pp. 206–07. 102 Ibid., p. 210.



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a dissenting minister whose “faith in him was genuine”.103 This promiscuity alone is already ominous. This is where the heroine, ambitious Rachel Curtis, is most to blame. It is not gullibility that makes her trust him, but willful dismissal of doctrinal uncertainties: “Modern research has introduced so many variations of thought, that no good work would be done at all if we required of our fellow-labourers perfect similarity of speculative belief ”.104 Like the unconfirmed heroines of The Castle-Builders, she goes wrong in believing that “the details of party difference melt away” in charitable projects.105 But she does not have their excuse; her punishment hence is the more severe. Only after a child dies of neglect in the school Rachel has set up with his assistance, does Mauleverer stand revealed as a villain. The exposure humiliates her as “the Clever Woman of the family, shown in open court to have been so egregious a dupe”, yet this is about much more than “a silly girl who has let herself be taken in by a sharper”.106 She has made herself accountable not only for solicited charity subscriptions, but for the children’s lives and souls. Yet when the dying child pleads to hear of her Saviour, Rachel is at a loss. It is an uncharacteristic deathbed scene in Victorian literature: “ ‘Please tell me of my Saviour,’ she [the child] added to Rachel. It sounded like set phraseology, and she knew not how to begin”.107 More in accordance with the narrative conventions of domestic fiction, Rachel’s own illness, as she contracts the girl’s diphtheria, is as much an opportunity for redemption as a punishment. Still, in contrast to its symbolic functions in Victorian realist novels without such explicit religious agenda, disease is not cathartic in itself. During a recovery “more trying than illness”, Rachel is “exceedingly depressed, restless, and feverish”.108 In another euphemism that spells out her departure from the endorsed doctrine, the reason for her misery is that there has been “much disturbance of her opinions”, which has notably been imbibed by “the literature that paints contradiction as truth”.109 The comforts of faith come together with a firm belief in marriage and the resignation of misguided self-reliance to domesticity. This

103 104 105 106 107 108 109

Ibid., pp. 211, 364, 390. Ibid., p. 226. Ibid., p. 226. Ibid., pp. 387, 346. Ibid., p. 357. Ibid., pp. 373, 417. Ibid., p. 417.

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alignment is at the heart of the novel, marking it out as Tractarian sermon fiction. It is a domestication of spirituality that deploys the promises of domestic fiction to counteract the satires of religious hypocrisy that drive novels by “doctrinally unconcerned” authors.110 What complicates the conversion from self-sufficiency and intellectual pride to a better sense of humility, however, is the revaluation of both literature and religion. It hinges on a doubling of essay-writing heroines as well as on a reassessment of moral instruction through fiction. Sofa-bound Ermine Williams excels in the composition of instructive essays in which Rachel so notably fails. Her resignation is rewarded with success as writer and editor, the restoration of her fortune, love and – and this is rare in Victorian fiction – marriage despite her physical disability. Indeed, Rachel is termed “a grotesque caricature of what [Ermine] used to be” before her accident.111 All of Yonge’s fiction significantly explores the choice of the right texts, while highlighting the importance of reading itself. Although they never lose sight of their religious approach, their agenda is worked into the narrative. Wolff praises them as “[g]enuine novels” that subordinate propaganda to an extent that can be “deceptive to most modern readers, who may miss the earnest Tractarian message”.112 Vineta Colby additionally stresses that Yonge “most gracefully converted the Tractarian impulse into novels of family life” precisely by being concerned with “her characters’ problems of daily living far more than with their problems of dogma and ritual”.113 The Clever Woman of the Family most effectively reconciles a defense of literature with a warning against both intellectual pride and potentially fraudulent paper fictions that may, however, also assist in truth-finding: Mauleverer stands exposed as he forges ostensible wood-carvings for Rachel’s magazine.114 As in Hand and Glove, the
110 As Wolff has already pointed out, “the most valuable possible clues to the Tractarian outlook” are found “not only on doctrine and practice in the Church, but also on family relationships and the mutual obligations of the social classes” (Gains, p. 198). 111 Yonge, Clever, p. 167. 112 Wolff, Gains, pp. 197, 118. 113 Colby, Domestic, pp. 186–87. 114 The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) pairs an assessment of popular novels with the life and death of an exemplary Tractarian hero and his heir, an older cousin who resents him until he learns humility; The Castle-Builders becomes more overt in condemning the distressed heroine’s emulation of Mariana in Tennyson’s eponymous poem instead of sermons on resignation. Her crisis is taken seriously, but her identification with literary world-weariness is ridiculed as something “put on for the sake of poetry” (p. 279). If The Daisy Chain features a crisis of faith inspired by controversial literature on science, it is averted by both missionary zeal and faith in the family.


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fake clergyman moreover has a history, having impoverished the Williamses through fraud and speculation. In both novels, the dangers associated with the popular preacher are symptomatic of numerous, intersecting, cultural anxieties. Sermons and fiction are discussed side by side as complementary, rather than competing, forms of instruction. So far from simply reflecting or expressing specific doctrinal interpretations, the Victorian sermon novel, in fact, engenders an essentially two-way “re-presentation” of belief as well as of the question of its promulgation (through popular fiction in particular) by creatively reassessing the cultural impact of sermons, those who deliver them and those who receive and attempt to live in accordance with them. If Hand and Glove exemplifies most clearly the multiple use of the effective, yet disturbingly startling, sermon that turns out to be by a fake clergyman, The Clever Woman of the Family uses the same tropes to work out its agenda narratively. As diametrically opposed exponents of the sermon novel, they simultaneously cast a different light on the significance of religion in Victorian fiction. Renewed interest in this long neglected area has both brought forgotten writers back to attention and unearthed likewise long ignored aspects in canonical writing.




Miscellaneous Works (Schenectady. 1804). 2 Thomas Fleming. American (New York. Woodruff. the Fifteenth Day of August. An Oration. 1804). Many citizens began to view dueling as a wasteful and barbaric system that should be outlawed because it was stripping America of some of its best and brightest citizens. Sermons condemning dueling as a folly against God and a scourge against civilized society began to be preached across the country. Lord’s Day. former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Vice-President Aaron Burr met in Weehawken Heights. Occasioned by the Death of General Alexander Hamilton. Pronounced Before The New York State Society of the Cincinnati. pp. Guilt. the American Revolution Society. New York. pp. Timothy Dwight. 1810). Before the State Society of Cincinnati. John M. Alexander Hamilton. 1804 (Albany. 1805). 3 Eliphalet Nott. Commemorative of the Late Major-General Alexander Hamilton. 1804). 1804 (Newburyport. pp. and John M’Donald. 211–14. 1999). who fell in a duel with Aaron Burr. Joseph J.1 The public was outraged and in the aftermath. NY. 1804 (New York. 1804). 85–119. and Published at the Joint Request of the Two Societies (Charleston. Samuel Spring. Carmody On 11 July 1804. MA. On Tuesday. Hamilton was fatally wounded in the exchange of pistol shots and died the following afternoon. 1804. while Burr was derided as a murderer. NY.THE ANTI-DUELING MOVEMENT Thomas J. on the 11th of July. Addressed to the North Congregational Society of Newburyport: August 5. pp. August 12.3 Ministers of various denominations took up this issue and 1 Richard Brookhiser. Aaron Burr and the Future of America (New York. Vice-President of the United States of America. 2004). 1804. The Folly. 2000). Death’s Dominion Over Man Considered: A Sermon. Ellis. Hezekiah N. pp. 1804). 703–709. and Mischiefs of Duelling. September. NY.2 It was in the pulpits of the nation that the cry against dueling found its loudest voices. and Numerous Assemblage of Other Citizens. Mason. Ron Chernow. SC. New Jersey to settle a dispute of honor by fighting a duel. Duel: Alexander Hamilton. Richard Furman. A Sermon Preached in the College Chapel at New Haven. 1999). A Discourse in Consequence of the Late Duel. 1804 (Hartford. Alexander Hamilton. CT. 710–25. Hamilton was publicly eulogized as a martyr. Occasioned by the Death of the Honorable Major General Alexander Hamilton. pp. 20–247. the 31st July. The Danger of Ambition Considered in a Sermon Preached at Scipio. . 333–53 and Chernow. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (New York. A Sermon on the Premature Death of General Alexander Hamilton (Albany. Alexander Hamilton (New York. on the Sabbath Preceding the Annual Commencement. Preached at the Baptist Church in Charleston South Carolina.

with an Appendix. They argue that according to Genesis 4:8. These antidueling ministers reasoned that if they were successful in accomplishing their goal of societal mediation. The Romance of Duelling in All Times and Countries. And To Benevolent Legislators (London. With Anecdotes. 251–53. the practice of dueling was a socially accepted method of seeking satisfaction from any individual whom one considered to have impugned one’s honor. 1971). By A Traveller (1836. 1 (London. UK. facsimile reproduction. was the most widely followed procedural manual for dueling in the United States. See Andrew Steinmetz. The Art of Dueling. these ministers attacked this social problem by framing it against the backdrop of the tragic death of an American patriot in the hope that they would be able to symbolically manage the public’s perception of dueling.342 thomas j. but their public indictment of the social practice of dueling known as the “code of honor”. The Only Approved Guide Through All the Stages of A Quarrel: Reflections Upon Dueling.4 What is interesting for the rhetorical critic in studying examples of these sermons and the social movement they propagated is not their eloquence in commemorating the life and accomplishments of Alexander Hamilton. It was believed at this time that any victor in a trial by combat must be in the right. Documents and Cases. Despite this claim of biblical precedence. . 1971). Richmond.5 Specifically. And The Outline of A Court For Adjustment Of Disputes. Illustrative of Duelling. 1858). or the Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Duelling (Charleston. Wilson was a former governor of South Carolina and his “code”. UK. the history of dueling is generally linked to the age of chivalry and the concept of judicial combat. Richmond. His book had an especially avid following throughout the South. Showing the Whole Manner in which The Duel is to be Conducted. for God had seen fit to spare his life and given him victory over his opponent. with Amusing Anecdotes. Church and State in the United States (New York. Joseph Hamilton. Stokes and Leo Pfeffer. 6 Some authors go so far as to suggest that the earliest recorded duel took place between Cain and Abel. 1868). carmody helped to form anti-dueling associations in the years following the Hamilton-Burr duel. 1950).6 It was a custom primarily 4 Anson P. to which is prefixed a Dissertation on the Origin and Progress of the Duello (Baltimore. pp. Victory was equated with being right. The Code of Honor. and the Character of Gentleman (1824. To Experienced Duellists. SC. MD. then the culturally accepted practice of dueling would elicit public indignation. 5 The British Code of Duel: A Reference to the Laws of Honour. facsimile reproduction. Cain called his brother Abel out and met him in the field where Abel was slain by Cain. 1847). and John Lyde Wilson. 1829). Interesting To Christian Moralists Who Decline The Combat. The Culture of Honor In the 1700s and 1800s. originally published in 1838. The Thirty-Nine Articles. thus hastening its demise. The Code of Honor: or.

189–90. and the practice was regulated by strict rules of procedure known as the code duello. 1965). Campbell was tried for murder and hung despite the best efforts of his wife to gain him a reprieve from the King. and a Memorial to His Majesty. Affairs of Honor. 292. 8 Alexander Hamilton was concerned about the societal repercussions that he might face if he refused Aaron Burr’s challenge. Written Several Months Previous to his Condemnation. 11–48. Lorenzo Sabine. The Duel: A History of Duelling (London. Petitioning the Life of Her Husband (Boston. 1855). pp. His crime was not that he had killed Boyd in a duel but that he had not followed the established rules of the code duello. 2001). Advocates of the code and its opponents all claimed that public opinion was the reason that dueling continued. See Sabine. 38–44. 17–59.” William and Mary Quarterly 53 (April 1996). pp. Notes on Duels. Failure to accept a challenge was tantamount to being branded a coward and often led to severe societal repercussions. 7 The most famous case of an individual being prosecuted for dueling occurred in Ireland in 1808. and Joanne B. Notes on Duels. Condemnation and Execution of Major Henry Alexander Campbell. see Freeman. Although duels were usually fought in secluded settings to avoid possible prosecution in jurisdictions that prohibited such action. Whether actual or implied. pp. 1–4. challenging an individual to a duel was a public demonstration of one man’s moral superiority over another. on the Day Previous to His Execution. Joanne B. Freeman. had a disagreement over the proper way to issue an order. Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic (New Haven. the Other to His Wife. “Dueling as Politics: Reinterpreting the Burr-Hamilton Duel.7 Boys born of privilege were usually schooled in the proper rules for participating in duels and often given a pair of dueling pistols as a symbol of their rise to manhood.the anti-dueling movement 343 exercised by the well-educated male members of society. public opinion was the lynchpin of the debate over dueling. The failure to follow these rules could cause an offender to be charged with murder or. 3–10 and Sabine. August 10. This disagreement led to a duel held in a small private room without the benefit of seconds. Notes on Duels and Duelling. Campbell to Her Condemned Husband in Prison. to be socially disgraced. . 1808). One to his Confidential Friend. for Killing. pp. at the least. 9 Wilson. Alphabetically Arranged. See Henry Alexander Campbell. Freeman.9 The fear of losing one’s pp. and which He Continues Writing and Dating Hour to Hour. pp. The Code of Honor. pp. xv–xxiv. Captain Alexander Boyd: together with Two Letters by Major Campbell.8 The power and influence that public opinion had on the entire culture of honor cannot be emphasized too strongly. a Major Campbell and a Captain Boyd. Two British officers. Subsequently. in a Duel. and Robert Baldick. 202–203. 1808. Particulars Respecting the Trial. For a detailed analysis of the culture of honor and its place in shaping national politics in the early years of the United States. Until Within a Few Minutes of His Exit: also a Letter by Mrs. with a Preliminary Historical Essay (Boston. at the Armagh Assizers. CT. Boyd was mortally wounded in the exchange of shots and indicated to a fellow officer who came to his aid that Campbell had rushed him into the duel and that he had not acted fairly.

second. See Bertram Wyatt-Brown. it fell to rhetors. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York. and. the war against dueling was waged on the battlefield of public opinion. It was fear rather than courage that brought Hamilton to the dueling grounds in Weehawken to face Burr. is the majority of the individual opinions of a whole community. who united themselves in civil society gave it birth. 1830]. Legislation alone could not stop the custom. and to Abolish the Punishment of Death [Boston. for to have the whole nation expressing their opinion against that practice” (What is True Civilization. 12 This position was echoed by James Sega when he argued. “The End of the Affair? Anti-Dueling Laws and Social Norms in Antebellum America. they spoke out against dueling in the hope of changing the public’s opinion of the practice. 10 . could speak out and lead the battle against the widely accepted practice of dueling without having to fear the consequences of the code duello. “Public Opinion is not self-created: the various and opposite interests of those. p.A.” Journal of the Early Republic 15 (Spring 1995). Dueling would only end when the public’s view of the attainment and maintenance of personal honor changed.12 Therefore. unless means are resorted to.11 Hence. 11 C. which requires. or to Punish Crimes. 13 Although a few members of the clergy did fight duels. by their profession. 12). carmody personal honor and reputation became such a motivating factor that men opposed to dueling on moral or religious grounds felt themselves impelled to accept a challenge. 18. 1831–47.” Vanderbilt Law Review 54. it was generally recognized that they could refuse to participate in caning or dueling without suffering the loss of honor. To Prevent.10 The battle to end the social custom of dueling was in essence a rhetorical battle in which the opponents of the code duello sought to symbolically manage the public’s perception of the dueling.13 Clergy from a number of different denominations fought this battle on two fronts.J. Hamilton believed that he had to accept Burr’s challenge even if he objected to the custom on religious grounds. or sanctions dueling. To win this war. state. “The Political Duel in the Early Republic: Burr v. Only the Christian clergy. First. whose position in society gave them a moral platform to speak out against the immorality of this social custom. Hamilton. The public opinion. the opponents of dueling understood that they had to convince the public to view the code of honor and all those who subscribed to it as public pariahs. they helped to form anti-dueling associations that advocated for legislative changes on the local. 1982). or Means to Suppress the Practice of Duelling. yet it will always be the reigning one. in no country. Rorabaugh.4 (2001).344 thomas j. The clergy sought to influence W. Hartwell Wells. 354. and national level. Wells argues that social norms had to change first before the laws enacted to curb the practice of dueling were enforced. p.

1806 (Sag-Harbor. A Sermon. but from a religious perspective. . D. and slaveholding. Applied to the Crime of Slaveholding by One of his Former Parishioners (Boston. In Hamilton’s mind. Hamilton publicly admitted that he had engaged in an affair with a Mrs Reynolds.D. 215–67. Lyman Beecher. See Lyman Beecher. Syrett. pp. Abzug. C. 21 April 1797–July 1798 (New York. 1994). they offered a sacred option. He admitted the affair with Mrs Reynolds but vehemently denied that he gave any political or economic favors to Mr Reynolds. not a public. See Robert H. It is interesting to note that this sermon was adapted thirty-two years later to oppose slaveholding. April 16.16 14 Abzug and Rorabaugh suggest that dueling was the first “social sin” of the Second Great Awakening that ministers rose up to oppose. he was also an admitted adulterer.14 The Death of Hamilton and the Beginning of a Social Movement At first glance. ed. Harold. The anti-dueling movement began to solidify as a result of Lyman Beecher’s sermon against dueling. separate from political partisanship. Though he was one of the most well known of the founders. 43–44 and Rorabaugh. Considering this radical change in perspective. See Lyman Beecher. 16 Homologia is the Greek term meaning “to affirm or confess”. the rhetorical critic must then ask. 20. with whom he had had an affair. Seven years before his death at the hands of Aaron Burr. “The Political Duel. Dueling therefore set the foundation for ministers to subsequently oppose drunkenness. See The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. The Remedy for Duelling. Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and Religious Imagination (New York. Hence. he was guilty of a personal. Alexander Hamilton seems an unlikely candidate to be the impetus of a social movement led by clergy. A Sermon Entitled “The Remedy for Dueling” by Rev. the husband of Maria Reynolds. 1809). having served as Washington’s aide-de-camp during the war and later as the first Secretary of the Treasury and General of the Army. 1838). Delivered before the Presbytery of Long Island at the Opening of Their Session at Aquebogue. NY.the anti-dueling movement 345 American culture and politics not from a Federalist or Republican viewpoint. 1974). “Why did the ministers rise up to praise an admitted adulterer and oppose dueling?” and “How and why was he rhetorically transformed by these ministers from an admitted adulterer to a Christian saint?” The answer to these questions resides in Hamilton’s deathbed confession or homologia. 15 In August of 1797 Hamilton published a pamphlet in response to charges that he used his position as Secretary of the Treasury to grant favors to James Reynolds.” p.15 This disclosure produced universal condemnation by the nation’s clergy as indicated by the many allusions to it in the sermons preached after his death. pp. motivated by their Christian faith and dedicated to reforming American culture. indiscretion. Sabbath-breaking. It is used in the New Testament to indicate when individuals confess their sins in the hope of being granted salvation.

A Collection of the Facts and Documents. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. An Oration. Hamilton knew as soon as he was shot that his injury was fatal. pp. rather. pp. Annals of the American Pulpit or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergyman of Various Denominations. 18 July 1804. D. Austin. and Eulogies. Nathaniel Pendleton. He was well known as a minister and speaker in America in the early nineteenth century. pp. In 1822 he transferred his membership to the Presbyterian Church.19 The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. “This is a mortal wound. 344–47. pp. 299–304. Episcopalian (New York. pp. 1858). 48–50. Relative to the Death of Major-General Alexander Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton’s alma mater. TX. and from 1801–1811 was President of Columbia College. From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five.346 thomas j. and his second. was the pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church in New York City. Dr Hosack. Dutch Reformed minister Reverend John Mitchell Mason. According to the testimony of Dr Hosack. These accounts were subsequently republished in newspapers across the country. After his death. Connecticut Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer. For further biographical information see William B. and The Maryland Gazette. 26. but in Mason’s own published panegyric it is titled as being sent to the editors of the Advertiser. Bishop Moore’s narrative of his meeting with the dying Hamilton was first published in the New York Evening Post on 12 July 1804 and then subsequently republished in newspapers across the country (Mason. for he said.D. William Coleman. From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five. 19 Two printed public criticisms of Bishop Moore and Reverend Mason’s testimonies regarding Hamilton’s deathbed declaration were published in the Prospect. During his lifetime he held various pastorates. D. Annals of the American Pulpit or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergyman of Various Denominations. 26. pp. William Bayard. 1860). was ordained in the Associated Reformed Church at the time of Hamilton’s death.17 The General knew that he would not survive long and requested that a runner be sent to bring back first. helped found a Reformed Seminary. 314–16.18 It was Hamilton’s desire to reconcile himself to God and the Church before he died. Doctor”. Sprague. he was rowed back to New York accompanied by his surgeon. 19 July 1804. carmody Hamilton did not immediately succumb to the wound he received from Burr. with Comments: Together with the Various Orations. and taken to the house of his friend. 37–40). Right Reverend Benjamin Moore. 1972). Sermons. 3 and 4. that have been Published or Written on His Life and Character (1804. Sprague. vols. Reverend John Mitchell Mason. There is some confusion as to whether Mason sent his letter to the editor of the Commercial Advertiser or the editor of the Evening Post. served as Provost of Columbia College and President of Dickerson College. 1–8. 5. Presbyterian (New York. or View of 18 17 . Episcopal Bishop Benjamin Moore and later. For further biographical information on Bishop Moore see William B. both these ministers published their accounts of their soteriological conversations with the deceased and his reaffirmation of his Christian faith in the local papers. facsimile reproduction.D. Coleman titles the letter as coming to him at the Post in his book.

you have. 141–43). If this was the case. or View of the Moral World. Homologia implies an “other world” focus and may not involve a public declaration. Miller. Dr. reduced General Hamilton’s character to that of a feeble-minded man. 270–83 and Brett A. pp. of the Episcopal church.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 67 (August 1981). Mason’s and Moore’s statements are not examples of traditional rhetorical apologia but rather of a uniquely religious rhetorical strategy. Bishop Moore. John Mason. it suffers by defining “Christian apologia” in an expansive manner that is not suggested by classical models. There is no indication that Alexander Hamilton intended to have his interactions with Bishop Moore or Reverend Mason made public and it is doubtful that he was considering his legacy while dying of a bullet wound. then all acts of public liturgical contrition could be viewed as rhetorical defensive strategies. who was desperately seeking the Moral World. Nor did they acquiesce to his requests without assurances from Hamilton himself that he was willing to repent from his sins and believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. following the perspective of Kruse. However. With Remarks on his account of the visit he made to the late General Hamilton. penitents take full responsibility for their actions and look to God for forgiveness. “Apologia in Team Sport. who in going out of this world wanted a passport from a priest.” Prospect. pp.the anti-dueling movement 347 The clergy who ministered to the dying man testified that they did not attend to the general to offer him simple comfort. CT. Kruse argues that sports figures who say “I’m sorry” are using an apologic strategy that is similar to that employed by individuals who publicly recant heresy and pray for salvation. argues that Christians. Which of you was first or last applied to for this purpose is a matter of no consequence” (p. Although Miller’s perspective is interesting. and his perspective loses much of its heuristic value. pp. a strategy for defending their actions. use mortification in their apologia and often define God as the audience of their apology. this claim cannot be substantiated beyond doubt because each letter was signed with a nom de plume. Adolf Koch. deistical perspective. In his definition. a forum for Thomas Paine’s and Elihu Palmer’s anti-Christian. Divine Apology: The Discourse of Religious Image Restoration (Westport. 18 August 1804. In this last letter addressed to Mason. See Noreen Wales Kruse. However. Commonly Called. Koch claims that these attacks on Moore and Mason’s testimony were actually written by Thomas Paine (G. Rather. a homologia or faith confession. One of the Ministers of the Scotch Presbyterian Church of New York.” Prospect. 20 Homologia varies from the traditional view of apologia because the individuals are not attempting to vindicate their reputations or blame others for their actions. Moore of New York. These types of public statements may act as a defense of the accused. This letter is signed “A Member of the Deistical Congregation”. Miller. See “To Mr. or View of the Moral World.20 Their narratives portrayed a penitent suffering as a result of his own actions. Moore. 135–52. all prayers of contrition by a Christian become “apologia”. 276–78 and “To the Rev. Religion of the American Enlightenment [New York. in particular. or at the least. the author declared. 2002). in order to make yourselves appear of some importance. . 294). a simple declaration of contrition does not meet the classical definition of an apologia. “Between you and your rival in communion ceremonies. 4 August 1804. Both Moore and Mason also requested that Hamilton assert that dueling was evil and that he had no ill feelings against Burr. 290–94. pp. 1968].

but they sprouted and grew because they landed in the fertile ground prepared by the Second Great Awakening. they offered no defense for his actions. Rather. Hamilton had no defense available for his spiritual condition. as conveyed by Moore and Mason. 43–66. began to change as ministers and people began to experience the new lively perspective that emphasized a person’s ability to call directly on God for salvation. strongly motivated ministers across the country to speak out against the social custom of dueling. NC. Clerical Calls for Dueling’s Demise As the 18th century came to a close in America. In these testimonies. 1960).22 The stale prescriptive religion of many congregations. for it was as a result of this barbaric social custom that Christianity had lost a “new” and influential advocate. 22 For an overview of the influence of evangelical Christianity in antebellum America. The death of General Alexander Hamilton in a duel. they demanded that he repudiate them. combined with the national ethos of its authors. A homologia is a powerful motivating force for those who share that particular religious perspective. Foster. The only pathway available to the dying general was to confess his sins and throw himself on the mercies of God. . especially in the East. Hamilton’s homologia. a revival of religious fervor known as the Second Great Awakening began to spread across the country. nor justification for his previous actions.348 thomas j.” Communication Studies 42 (Spring 1991). portrayed the general as a penitent sinner embracing the Christian gospel. In Mason’s and Moore’s soteriological perspectives. “From ‘Gay is Good’ to the Scourge of AIDS: The Evolution of Gay Liberation Rhetoric 1977–1990. together with the testimonies of the deceased’s final hours as a sincere penitent. see Charles I. Although the ministers’ testimonies complimented the dying Hamilton in their concluding remarks. Reflecting the growing movement 21 James Darsey. Darsey argues that social movements and their derivative discourse are often a reaction to a significant historical catalytic event. carmody spiritual consolation. This sacred perspective. An Errand of Mercy: The Evangelical United Front 1790– 1837 (Chapel Hill. combined to create the catalytic event that called the anti-dueling movement into existence. Hamilton became an object lesson against the social custom of dueling and for the saving grace of the Christian faith.21 The seeds of this movement were brought forth by the Hamilton’s death.

Sprague. That is why Congregational minister Samuel Spring exhorted parents to teach their children to respect and follow the laws of God: Then. newspapers editors. CT. was born in 1746 in Massachusetts. Theologically. pp. Hatch. He was educated at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) under the tutelage of John Witherspoon. the clergy advocated for the formation of anti-dueling associations that could take the fight against dueling to the legislative chambers and legally end this barbaric practice.D. Specifically.24 These ministers were attempting to persuade parents that they had a religious obligation to teach their children respect for both divine and common laws. Christianity became the religious partner in the process of encouraging people that they could make a difference in society.the anti-dueling movement 349 of popular democracy.23 The ministers preaching their panegyrics on Alexander Hamilton were determined to motivate their audiences to change society through challenging the custom of dueling. Trinitarian Congregational (New York. D. The Reverend Samuel Spring. pp. Finally. They did this by providing specific remedies that the average congregant and citizen could employ.” But O remember that without this early education children will commence Duellists in miniature before they escape your arms. he was an “old school” Calvinist and opponent to Unitarianism. Samuel Hopkins. the clergy directed their arguments toward influencing parents. In 1775 he joined the Continental Army and was chaplain for Benedict Arnold’s failed expedition to Canada. and as they become impressed with a sense of obligation they will tremble while repeating the sixth. then teach your children early to keep the divine commands. Massachusetts. see William B. the spelling of certain words containing the letter “s” has been modernized to make it easier to read. “Thou shalt not kill. Their goal was to encourage parents to teach their youth 23 Nathan O. 26–27. The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven. 85–89. 1856). women. and Joseph Bellamy. and voters. O parents. Annals of the American Pulpit or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergyman of Various Denominations. He was also one of the founders of Andover Theological Seminary. A Discourse. He left the army the following year and assumed the pastorate at a Congregational church at Newburyport. Here and in subsequent quotations taken from this sermon. 3–16. He died in 1819. For further biographical information on Reverend Spring. . 1 and 2. From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five vol. 24 Spring. The ministers understood that education and proper modeling were essential to rear a generation of individuals who abhorred the social custom of dueling. 1989). pp. The first of the remedies for dueling that the clergy suggested was directed toward parents and their children. which says.

especially the fathers. and the various service of their country” rather than with a pistol on the dueling grounds. 92 and Coleman. Miscellaneous. Columbia College and the University of Pennsylvania honored him with the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1815. a position he held until 1828. 1823).27 In keeping with their view that they had a religious obligation to denounce dueling. this custom would find no new victims to bloody its fields of honor. the ministers took on a pastoral role to persuade parents in their audience to protect their families from future grief by resisting dueling. 26 25 . Sprague. p. 27 Ibid. and fill the orphan’s eyes with tears” by participating in a duel. Father Beasley was born in North Carolina in 1777 and he graduated with honors from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1797. and deplore the wretchedness of the duelist”. D. as Nott. the dignity of their characters. see William B. A Collection. p.28 The second rhetorical appeal made by many of these ministers was directed toward women with the hope that they could persuade their fathers. Episcopal priest Nathaniel Bowen asked the parents. 28 Frederick Beasley. 40. MD. April 28. Michael’s Church (Charleston. A Sermon on Duelling Delivered in Christ-Church.. For further biographical information on Fr Beasley. in St. They argued that women had much to lose from “affairs of honor”. Preached October 1807. Episcopalian (New York. SC. Bishop Benjamin Moore of New York ordained him a priest in 1802. 1858). Under Any Circumstances. brothers. It was the clergy’s hope that if parents opposed dueling and made “it a part of the education of our children. 24–25. 477–84. Duelling. p. pp. to inspire them with a deep abhorrence of this inhuman practice”. the tranquility of their lives and the felicity of their souls” and “to despise the folly.25 To strengthen his arguments on this topic.350 thomas j. Nathaniel Bowen. Calling women the “gentler” and “more virtuous sex”.26 Reverend Bowen clarified his comments on honor and dignity by recommending that parents teach their children that they could attain these important traits “through the business of life. the Extreme of Folly: A Sermon. 25. carmody “not rashly to sport with life. these ministers urged them to unite and declare their abhorrence to the code duello. Baltimore. abhor the guilt. to teach their children the proper way “to seek the honor of their names.. 1811). 1811 (Baltimore. pp. 109. nor lightly to wring the widow’s heart with sorrows. He died in 1845. and husbands not to participate in dueling. Annals of the American Pulpit or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergyman of Various Denominations. In 1813 he resigned his position as an associate rector to assume the office of provost of the University of Pennsylvania. From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five. p.D. 5.

n. then. by the University of Berlin in 1838. ed. p. . 161–163.). The Works of the Right Reverend John England. 31 John England. After becoming a priest he used the Irish press to advocate for changes in the deportation and transportation of Irish prisoners to Australia. their brothers. He was a prolific writer and enthusiastic preacher. SC. they encouraged their husbands. Address on the Origin and History of the Duel.. 1957). their husbands. 448. influence the men in their lives to follow a righteous sense of honor. 30 Ibid. For more information. even opening a school for freed slaves. Messmer. but they risked their financial and domestic security “for future happiness”.29 Women gained little from men’s demonstration of honor on the dueling grounds. they were proud to see them marshaled under the command of Washington. see Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone. These two men collaborated on a number of published works and this resulted in Reverend Bachman being awarded a Ph. Delivered Before the Anti-Dueling Society of Charleston. 12. p. eds. 7. South Carolina. In 1820 he was made the first bishop of Charleston.the anti-dueling movement 351 Lutheran pastor John Bachman explained. Sermon on Dueling (Charleston. becoming the first Catholic priest to address the House of Representatives. Sebastian G. vol. (Cleveland. “The actors in these bloody scenes are their fathers. 12. and upon his arrival in the city he set about reorganizing the diocese. their brothers. 1958). 466–67. He was also a respected naturalist and associate of John James Audubon. Abbe-Brazer (New York. III. Dictionary of American Biography.. part 1 and 2.D. and their sons to exhibit their prowess. 1. He reminded women that In the day of trial. in the Cathedral of Charleston. but in deeds of valor for the defense of their homes. For further biographical information see Allen Johnson. or their lovers”. SC. not in disgraceful domestic feuds. for it implied that the fate of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the nation rested on their influence. The idea that women were the true power in society was elucidated in an 29 John Bachman. John England was born in Ireland in 1786. p. Cushman-Fraser (New York. Bachman was a Lutheran minister serving in Charleston. S. ed.d. mothers were found faithful to their country and its right.31 Reminding the women of the noble and patriotic actions of those who preceded them and invoking the name of Washington was a powerful persuasive technique. pp. 1828. Roman Catholic Bishop John England suggested that the way women encouraged their men in the Revolutionary War was an example of the propagation of a proper concept of honor. who was too intrepid to accept a challenge.. and the vindication of their freedom. He was instrumental in both the founding of the Lutheran synod of South Carolina and its first Lutheran seminary. instead. During his tenure as bishop he became an advocate for Catholic education. pp.C. First Bishop of Charleston. Dictionary of American Biography.30 The ministers desired to persuade the women of their audience to reject the false concept of honor supported by the duelists and. 1908).

and its anonymous female author from Mississippi contended If such is the tyranny of popular opinion. if men act in direct opposition to the dictates of nature and of conscience. carmody anti-dueling pamphlet addressed specifically to women that reasoned. The italics and punctuation are in the original document. They have been appropriately styled the conservators of manners”. 36 Ibid. 33 Ibid. it is fully time to turn the current. 3. Finally. women make the manners because they “hold an empire over the habits and manners of society as absolute as it is silent and unobtrusive”. This will be admitted by all. 7. p. Lysistrata is a play by Aristophanes in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex with their men unless they stop fighting their war with Sparta. Addressed to American Ladies.35 It appears that the “means” that the author of this work suggested is withholding sex from all who went to the dueling grounds. but who are to be the agents? We answer – females. 34 Ibid. By A Lady of Mississippi (New York. “The influence of females on the habits and manners of men has been felt and acknowledged by every enlightened statesman and philosopher. 1.. . p. p. the ministers also advocated that the nation’s newspapers had a 32 On Duelling.33 This pamphlet argued that only women could truly influence men to stop participating in duels. to purify our favored country from this deep stain upon her moral character. pp.. 35 Ibid.352 thomas j. The idea is “No Peace. p.. that the commanding intellect of Hamilton could not resist though opposed in principle and feelings to the practice to which he fell a victim. and violation of her salutary laws”. 1829). 1. rather than incur the odium which fashion has attached to a consistent and rational course. 3.32 This argument claimed that although men may make the laws.34 How would women stop the practice of dueling? According to this pamphlet. The author assumed that the remedies women employed would work better to change public opinion and prevent duels than any other type of persuasion or even legislative action.36 Together with the remedies directed toward parents and women.. No Sex”. 7. this publication suggested a Lysistratan solution to the social problem of dueling by suggesting that women would “incur an awful responsibility if we neglect to ‘use the means which God and nature have put in our hands’. they would do this by demonstrating to men their disdain for all who practiced dueling and refusing to marry any man who adhered to that code. The internal quotation marks are in the original document.

680–83. Sermon on Dueling. the challenger often posted a comment in the local papers indicating that his rival was a coward for refusing to settle this affair in an honorable fashion.40 They even requested that “the editors of newspapers. Alexander Hamilton. p. and leave the combatants.39 Although Beasley and Bachman suggested that newspapers stop publishing accounts of duels. 39. pp. Delivered in the First Presbyterian Church. 12. This resolution asked all newspaper editors to use the power of the press to influence public opinion “against this barbarous and murderous practice. Convened for the Purpose of Adopting Resolutions Against Duelling (Pittsburgh. 15. or not fail to communicate them. until it shall be stamped with its own proper infamy. Pittsburgh. opposed to Dueling.the anti-dueling movement 353 responsibility to join the battle against the code duello. A Sermon on Duelling. and those who shall be guilty of this crime be considered and treated as the basest of murderers”. p. 1827).38 The Reverend John Bachman also reflected this view when he argued that newspapers “should refuse to insert a single line. For all these reasons. Before a Large Assembly. Beasley. 40 John Black. in such terms as shall excite a general abhorrence and detestation of them”. the Reverend John Black and various clergy of the city of Pittsburgh went further and passed an anti-dueling resolution. 39 Bachman. If the offended party refused an interview. to trumpet their own praises in the ears of those who approve of such reckless and criminal exploits”.37 It is this article that ignited the correspondences that led both men to that fateful interview at Weehawken. if they take pride in the matter. 38 37 . regardless of the outcome. then newspapers energetically publicized the details of the interview so both parties. Once the duel was concluded. p. A Sermon on National Righteousness and Sin. Negative comments made about a rival would be published in a newspaper in the hope that this action would lead to a challenge. 1827. Reverend Frederick Beasley called on all newspapers to “cease entirely to give publicity to transactions of this nature. April 3. History tells us that Burr sent Hamilton an article from a newspaper in which a Dr Cooper claimed to be present at a party where the General made despairing comments concerning the Vice-President. be requested to publish” all their anti-dueling resolutions in Chernow. could be portrayed as honorable gentlemen. the ministers realized that the nation’s newspapers could be a powerful force to influence public opinion and fight the custom of dueling. Newspapers played an important role by inciting challenges that often led two parties to meet at the dueling grounds to settle their disagreements.

D. Hamilton and Burr met for their interview at Weehawken. Memoirs of Eliphalet Nott.D.. let the council displace the man who offends against their majesty. just eighteen days after that fateful duel.354 thomas j. Death’s Dominion. p. New Jersey because New York had statutes against dueling. Nott. the murderer of his accomplices. LL. Miscellaneous. but his reputation as an eloquent and talented speaker grew during this time until he was considered one of the most gifted preachers in the country. Responding to the death of Hamilton in his panegyric. the most thorough biography on the Reverend Nott is Condman Hislop. as unworthy to appear before them.41 The clergy also proposed legal remedies to end the practice. Reverend Eliphalet Nott. Richard Furman. for Sixty-Two Years President of Union College (New York. Eliphalet Nott (Middletown. D. carmody the hope that the dissemination of this information would inspire others to join in the eradication of this crime. He had resided in Albany for only six years. D.42 Baptist minister Richard Furman requested that “the laws operate. Furman was the most influential religious figure in the South. 16. 1876). This sermon was preached at the Baptist Church in Charleston before the South Carolina State Society of the Cincinnati. Fleeing South Carolina until the end of the war he returned and soon became the leader of the state’s Baptists. Many states had anti-dueling laws in place to dissuade participation in “affairs of honor”. CT.D. 43 Furman. 42 41 . p. educator. was thirty-one years old when he preached his famous eulogy of Hamilton on 29 July 1804. with such precision and force. Consequently. against the practice. inventor..D. However. few individuals were ever prosecuted for dueling because the enforcement of the laws often rested with the same individuals who ascribed to the code of honor. However. let the courts of justice frown from their bar. He was such a passionate advocate for the colonies against Britain during the Revolutionary War that Cornwallis is said to have placed a price on his head. 1971). 21. D. 124. An early and somewhat biased biography of Dr Nott is C[ornelius]Van Santvoord.. despite the existence of these laws. and. p. 110 and Coleman. In 1789 he accepted the call to pastor the Baptist Church of Charleston and later became an important member of the constitutional convention of his state. and Taylor Lewis. Reverend Eliphalet Nott appealed to the elected officials of New York when he pleaded. they called on politicians and civil magistrates to enforce the law. The ministers understood that anti-dueling laws were seldom implemented. that those who have temerity to infringe them may not escape with impunity”. p. and president of Union College for sixty-two years. then.43 In his Ibid. therefore. After moving with his family to South Carolina he experienced conversion. Let. the governor see that the laws are executed. was born in the state of New York in 1755. joined the Baptist Church and was ordained the pastor of a local congregation before he was nineteen years old. A Collection. a Presbyterian clergyman. From 1790 until his death in 1825.

sharing the vision of a “righteous society”.S. . 46 Walter Colton. 4. 56. We call upon them for the enactment and rigid execution of those laws. Navy chaplain Reverend Walter Colton in his anti-dueling sermon when he asked for a national effort to eradicate “affairs of honor”. “Let them level against it the several penalties of the law. Calling on lawmakers to act out of their respect for the law and their fear of God. Fraunces-Hibbard (New York. Baptist (New York.46 The desire for a national legislative movement against dueling was also affirmed by the clergy of the city of Pittsburgh when they adopted the For further biographical information see Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone. follow the laws they enact. 6. 22. the ministers saw it as their duty to encourage their people to follow the nation’s laws. He declared. If laws are not enacted. Therefore. while at the same time they argued that lawmakers must.45 The clergy.the anti-dueling movement 355 Sermon on Duelling. 1932). Remarks on Dueling (New York. to maintain the dignity … let me call on you. and those principals and seconds who survive the contest be declared as publicly infamous and treated as felons by society. for the suppression of this vice within their respective jurisdictions. From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five. 1828). Sprague. 76–77 and William B. p. pp. We appeal to the legislative powers of each state in this Union. Dictionary of American Biography. p. and let her magistrates be vigilant at their posts. ye Legislators. Congregational minister Hezekiah Woodruff declared. Reverend Beasley exhorted civil magistrates to be examples of proper law-abiding citizens through enforcing the statutes against dueling. 39. 161–65. speedily. This idea was expressed by U. In his sermon he also requests that those who kill their challenger in a duel be tried for murder. were motivated to advocate for the cessation of dueling because it violated Divine precepts that they viewed as the foundation for common law. in the fear and in the name of God.. 45 Woodruff.44 The clergy combined their requests for enforcing existing laws with calls for new laws to prevent the practice. and see that those laws be executed and those severe penalties inflicted”. A Sermon on Duelling. Danger of Ambition. He pronounced. which may put an end to this growing evil. by example. to punish every offender. to enact them. Annals of the American Pulpit or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergyman of Various Denominations. as effectually to secure the rights of every citizen. 1865). pp. 44 Beasley. eds. p.

be trusted with the government of others.48 Conversely. with answerable qualifications.. “Without public influence to punish a Duelist or disqualify him from holding any office in the union except that of a retired penitent we are a ruined nation”. He suggested in his anti-dueling sermon that since dueling was a custom and such customs were only “the offspring of the public mind”. For he who wisely governs himself is the best of rulers and the best of men. p. carmody following resolution: “That all good Citizens be requested to unite in petitioning our National Legislature. to arrest its progress. National Righteousness and Sin. A Discourse. they must not only advocate that legislators enforce existing laws and institute new statutes. pp. Ibid. . In this way.49 Spring continued his warning regarding the appropriateness of duelists serving as public officials when he cautioned his audience: Let us avoid all those who are formed and almost fashioned for Duellists. and may. Let him have the direction of millions who has wisdom to manage himself: but never. who have established self-government. A uniquely American remedy advocated by these clergy was their attempt to persuade the public to withhold their vote from any individual who had participated in a duel. Ibid. he argued. and entirely banish it from the nation”. never invest any one with a responsible office. p. the ministers intended to force the social and political leaders of society to acquiesce to their demands. Spring. p. who viewed themselves as being above the common law. 22. for. For can we safely confide in rulers who esteem it the perfection of honor to die like fools? … Let us therefore elect men to govern the nation. a concerted effort on the part of the public to let their true opinions be known through the ballot box would bring a swift end to the practice. the failure of the public to arise and oppose dueling would have ominous effects on the country. who had no dominion over his own passions. The first minister to advocate the withholding of suffrage from any duelist seeking public office was the Reverend Spring.356 thomas j.. 22. to enact such laws against Dueling as to them shall appear most effectual. 24–25. 15.47 Because these clergy understood that dueling was practiced by society’s elite. but they must also encourage their audiences to impel elected officials to change the status quo through the democratic principle of suffrage.50 47 48 49 50 Black.

See Bachman. Isaac Kramnik. It is not surprising that Madison and Spring would share this perspective since both men studied under the Reverend John Witherspoon at the College of New Jersey. 51. 15. 319–20. he argued that all members of society. Remedy for Duelling. Remedy for Duelling. X. before the Presbytery of Long Island at Aquebogue. especially Christians. 31. the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed: and in the next place oblige it to control itself ”. should rise up and fight this evil. In this discourse. Under his direction the college made a transition to university status in 1838 becoming Indiana University. Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. D. see Dumas Malone. For further biographical information on Fr. by the end of 1828 he resigned this post to assume the presidency of Indiana College. almost two years after the death of Alexander Hamilton. The Sin of Duelling. After the wide publication of Beecher’s sermon other ministers began to incorporate his solution into their own anti-dueling discourses. Black.. Elect immoral and weak politicians and the country would become weak and immoral. The Federalist Papers. Sermon on Dueling.. 11–12. In 1842 he became dissatisfied with the Presbyterian Church and joined the Episcopal Church. according to ministers like the Reverend Spring. Beecher presented an address entitled “The Remedy for Duelling”. National Righteousness and Sin. p. 51 James Madison. 577–78.. ed.53 However. pp. but his solution to the problem of genteel society’s apparent acceptance of dueling as a method of resolving matters of honor between gentlemen. the most dramatic and important message of Beecher’s sermon was not his case against dueling itself. . pp. April 1827 (Pittsburgh. 1936). At the time that he preached this sermon Wylie was the president of Washington College. no.52 This sermon was so powerful that the members of the Presbytery immediately requested that Beecher publish it. Dictionary of American Biography. 52 Beecher.the anti-dueling movement 357 Spring’s argument that elected officials must be individuals who practice self-control was similar to James Madison’s stance as expressed in the Federalist Papers: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men. Andrew Wylie. (London. The most influential minister to advocate the use of public suffrage against dueling was the Reverend Lyman Beecher. however. 5–6. 1987).D. 1828). ed. On 16 April 1806. A failure on the part of the people to prevent these duelists from holding public office may cause God to prematurely judge the nation for its sinfulness. He was ordained a priest in this denomination in 1842 while still president of the university. Beecher argued. Preached at Washington Pa.51 Since this government was composed of individuals elected by the people from the people. a government was only as moral and as strong as its elected officials. and Andrew Wylie. 53 Beecher. Troye-Zunser (New York. p. pp. pp.

former teacher. 57 Beecher. any other position for the Christian was unbiblical and. and change the inadequacies of society. Beecher argued that dueling was a social and religious evil that all individuals. For his indictment of dueling. carmody “Withholding the public suffrage from duelists is the only method in which there is the least prospect of arresting the practice of dueling”. unacceptable. “And the judgment is turned away backward. Henry Ward Beecher. Mary Foote Beecher. 4. must rise up and stand against. for truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter”. author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. minister. a nationally known orator and minister. was first of all to be an evangelist for the gospel and. p. Edward Beecher. a minister and ardent abolitionist. Furthermore. influence. As with many sermons published in the early 1800s. Beecher was not troubled by the “sacred” separation between church and state. an advocate for women’s suffrage. Charles Beecher. Rather. in his paradigm. Thomas Kinnicut Beecher. a minister. a minister. which reads. he chose a verse from the fifty-ninth chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah. “justice standeth afar off ” to the common people’s. 22. a pioneer in the education of women. It seems apparent that Lyman Beecher passed on his paradigm to his children: Catherine Ester Beecher. William Henry Beecher.358 thomas j. and “truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter” to the overall harm that dueling causes in society. therefore. minister and author. second. 55 54 . George Beecher. Beecher became one of the first United States clergymen to advocate that American Christians should actively vote against politicians because of their stand on a social issue. He intended to equate “the judgment turned away backward” to the law’s nonchalant attitude toward punishing the duelist.57 Ibid. 56 Isaiah 59:14 (King James Version). Remedy for Duelling. As indicated by his theme verse. Harriet Beecher Stowe.54 Hence.56 In this verse we see Beecher’s plan of argumentation. particularly members of the church. p. he explained his solution to this social and spiritual exigence in his sermon’s thesis when he stated. Lyman Beecher listed the theme verse for his discourse before the actual text of the sermon began.55 According to Beecher.. and especially to the Christian’s. Isabella Beecher Hooker. “the object of the ensuing discourse is to exhibit and illustrate the reasons that should induce every man to withhold his vote from any person who has fought or aided in fighting a duel”. he believed that Christians had a duty and right to confront. to act as a catalyst for societal change. lack of moral outrage over dueling. and justice standeth afar off. minister and Civil War brigadier general by brevet. and James Chaplin Beecher. The job of the minister.

He argued that although government was a divine prescript that derived its particular form from the governed.the anti-dueling movement 359 Following his thesis. God directly prescribed the character required of the leaders in power. in your law you have doomed to die”. 4. a prodigal. and his politics correct. he argued. and his public conduct as yet irreproachable.. Therefore. Therefore. Beecher began to present his case for withholding suffrage from a duelist. If his ability to be adequate. that a man’s principles and his private character are nothing to us. the character of elected officials was more important than the political creeds to which they adhered. Ibid. a man may set his mouth against the heavens – he may be a drunkard in the intervals of official duty. According to Beecher.59 Society’s leaders were to be Godfearing people who prosecuted the evildoers and championed the righteous. he claimed that since according to God’s law. p. he was implying that dueling was both a social and a religious evil. 16. did not meet the divine character requirements needed to be rulers because when challenged on a matter of honor they would forsake God. as the great champion of liberty. family. is an act directly opposed to the precepts of religion”. a politician’s personal character was of utmost importance to the political process if this person is going to protect the public good.. demonstrate that the public’s trust in them was misplaced.58 In this argument. law. according to Beecher. Applying this test to dueling politicians would. conscience. p. a mere savage in his family. He emphasized this concern when he argued: It is said. and all governmental duties to appease the slight to their honor. Duelists. you patronize a criminal whom. He contended that “The elevation of duelists to power. Ibid. “In voting for a duelist. dueling was murder. to vote for a duelist was inconsistent with a Christian’s view of God’s plan for society.60 In Beecher’s perspective. 9.. and still be trumpeted by unprincipled politicians and electioneering handbills. the very Atlas on whose shoulders rests the destiny of his country. He reminded his audience that they had no guarantee that dueling officials would not sport with their interests as easily as they did with the life of another person. this is sufficient. friendship. But are you prepared to be the dupes of such wild absurdity? According to this sentiment. 58 59 60 Ibid. I know. . a tyrant. p.

p. 17.360 thomas j. Beecher claimed that unless the people actively made their united opposition to the code duello known to their elected officials. nor the voice of God. nor the voice of the people. Beecher reminded the people that When an election is depending – when they need your votes to gratify their ambition or satiate their avarice. it was the people who must shoulder the primary blame for allowing dueling to continue in American society.. He suggested that if the people did not vigorously fight against the proliferation of dueling by refusing to vote for a duelist. The people are everything. He declared that the present state of affairs demonstrated the inadequacy of the people’s current perspective against dueling. and a challenge or an insult be given. and. therefore did not consider the issue significant enough for their attention. and their voice is the voice of God. p. but we do not sufficiently abhor – we are sorry. 18. their wishes are sacred. and which they have learned to manage. p. and indirectly encouraging the crime”. Ibid.61 Likewise. .. Ibid.62 Beecher wanted his audience to understand that their elected officials knew that they had an indifferent attitude toward the social custom of dueling. and by whose negligence are they emboldened to wink at this most accursed sin?”63 Since the ultimate responsibility for this crime rested with the people. but we do not compel them. if they wanted to see the custom eradicated. they would be ignored. “We blame our rulers. To further demonstrate the personal character of political duelists and their disregard for the will of the people. According to Beecher. But let this end be accomplished. but we are not indignant – we wish the officer of the government would execute the law. then indeed they sympathize most tenderly with the people. for he contended. they must let their opinion of dueling be known through the ballot box. can avail to 61 62 63 Ibid. and neither liberty nor patriotism. they were guilty of assisting “in the prostration of justice. The italics and punctuation are in the original document. carmody Beecher also chided his audience for having a nonchalant attitude when it came to opposing dueling. but a puny stream which they dare to oppose. he discussed how they behaved during elections. and are therefore not afraid to contravene our feeble will. but by whom are such men made rulers. It is not a torrent unmanageable and dreadful. He asserted: We disapprove. 17. Our rulers and great men know perfectly our debilitated state..

p.66 In his sermon.65 This remedy for dueling would work in Beecher’s view. though a Presbyterian. Will you then vote for men who treat with contempt your opinions and your feelings – who basely prostrate your laws. because it would ensure that new anti-dueling legislators would enforce the laws against the practice. . Beecher was seeking to persuade the people to reject these candidates for public office because of their position on dueling. he believed that. 20. p. when their promotion depends on your will.. could unite against because it was a crime with eternal and temporal consequences for its participants and for the greater society. they would exercise great power in shaping society. 7. regardless of their denominational affiliation. if Christians united to combat this social evil. was no rigid sectarian.. Beecher. Ibid.64 This indictment was designed to provide Beecher’s audience with further evidence of the immorality of those individuals who promised to uphold the will of the people before an election and ignored the people after they assumed office. If his strategy were followed. to unite in opposition to this barbaric custom. regardless of their particular theological outlook. Beecher pleaded for all Christians. but he saw the Church as more concerned with petty sectarian disputes.. p. He believed that it was a Christian’s duty to be a catalyst for social change. according to Beecher. “Withhold your suffrage from the duelist. and the practice of fighting duels will speedily cease”. Once public opinion turned against dueling. Therefore he called on the nation’s Christians to “Arise and stand forth” against the social sin of dueling. Ibid. the practice was doomed. Ibid.the anti-dueling movement 361 deter them from deeds the most barbarous and despotic. Rather. he believed the public’s opinion toward the custom would change to one that saw refusing to fight a duel as more honorable than agreeing to an interview. “It is Christians alone who throw away their influence” when they did not unite to confront specific societal issues 64 65 66 67 Ibid. Hence.67 Dueling is a problem that all Christians. 19–20. He argued. because no political party would risk running a candidate for elected office whose stand on this issue was contrary to the will of the people. pp. and who again creep through all the dirty windings of hypocrisy.. 39. when you have nothing to bestow. However.

Toward this end. advocating legislative action and. These societies afforded the clergy an opportunity to partially restore their position of influence without becoming mired in partisan politics. he advocated the forming of anti-dueling voluntary associations that would aid in coordinating a united movement against dueling and all those who supported the custom. 31401. Savannah Duels and Duellists 1733–1877 (1923. Many ministers saw their ability to influence the public culture decline as a result of their partisan political activities in the election of 1800. 41–48. 72 Philip Hamburger. 70 Ibid. “To The Electors Of The State of New York”. p.68 Christians can and must unite to use the power of the ballot box to elect moral. SC..71 This society had no official legal authority to enforce its ideals of public morals. Included in the appendix of this published sermon are the Constitution of the Anti-Dueling Association of New York and a letter from the organization addressed. 1974). 243. actively interceding to prevent public disagreements from becoming private feuds. so it employed persuasion in an attempt to change public opinion. any association desiring to reform society was doomed to failure. Spartanburg. Savannah. 29. Ibid. Likewise. The Practicability of Suppressing Vice. 69 68 . September 21. Beecher understood that without public support. CT.. in some cases..362 thomas j. 501 Whitaker Street. GA. pp. p. Separation of Church and State (Cambridge.72 Ibid. Documents provided by the Georgia Historical Society. For information on how such societies intervened in disputes to actively prevent duels. Long Island. although their membership often included a number of local Christian clergy. 39.69 These associations were not specifically religious organizations. Long Island. p. facsimile reproduction. carmody that threatened their religious perspectives. they must focus their persuasive talents toward shaping public opinion. anti-dueling leaders and legislators who would assist in changing the public’s opinion against the code duello. They were composed of like-minded individuals seeking to reform society through an organized campaign of persuasion. 1803 (New London. MA. 2002). 181–206. see Savannah Anti-Dueling Association 1826–1837.70 Beecher had previously organized the Moral Society of East Hampton. in EastHampton. 71 Lyman Beecher. and Thomas Gamble. by Means of Societies Instituted for that Purpose: A Sermon Delivered before the Moral Society. in 1803 with the purpose of challenging what its members viewed as the decline in public morality. To do otherwise was to neglect their Godgiven responsibility. he realized that if Christian clergy wished to influence the direction of society. 1804). pp.

solemnly pledge ourselves to each other not to vote at any Election for any man. as indicated by the publication of its founding documents as an appendix to Beecher’s published sermon in the same year. August 8.74 At the time of the organization’s founding. Alexander Hamilton had been dead five years. and persuaded that a proper use of the Right of Suffrage will have a powerful effect in discountenancing and banishing it.73 It is clear that this sermon was the inspiration for the association’s founding. August 15. the organization’s members pledged the following: WE. whose names are hereunto subscribed. from current fame. the increase of the practice of Duelling. do hereby unite ourselves in an Association. like that which has already been established in New York”. the association believed that they had a significant opportunity to shape the public’s opinion against the practice of the code duello. 48). by our signatures hereunto annexed. or our own private conviction. 1809. 1809. The capitalization and punctuation are in the original document. desirous of opposing to its further prevalence the strongest lawful resistance. we shall believe to have sent. approximately twenty-eight months after Lyman Beecher’s sermon to the Presbytery of Long Island. “I will use my best endeavors to promote the establishment of a Court of Honor. or acting as Second or Surgeon therein. August 15. and Beecher. or carried a Challenge to fight a Duel. accepted. Public Advertiser (New York).the anti-dueling movement 363 The Anti-Dueling Association of New York was founded on 8 August 1809. . Remedy for Duelling. 41. but the memory of his death and the circumstances surrounding it were still fresh in the audience’s memory. or to have been in any wise concerned in promoting a Duel. and of an Anti-dueling Society. with alarm. to be called the ANTI-DUELLING ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK: And do. p. 1809. viewing. This statement is indication that the work and reputation of the New York Association had spread across the Atlantic (Hamilton. The Only Approved Guide. In their founding documents. This New York organization was the first recorded anti-dueling association in the United States. 74 New York Commercial Advertiser (New York). p. Combining the people’s memory of their fallen general with Beecher’s solution to eliminate the practice of dueling. who. The members of this organization clearly stated their intent to challenge the practice of dueling by withholding their suffrage from any candidate connected to an “affair of honor” as a principal. in which they provided initial justification 73 Joseph Hamilton – no direct relation to Alexander Hamilton – in his book on dueling and courts of honor published in London in 1829 states. second or a treating physician. after the date hereof. The first correspondence of the association was a letter addressed to “THE ELECTORS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK”.

This is unhappily true. and she is mocked. either as principal or accessory. the association argued: Instead of interfering with the right of election. One measure. p. what causes shall govern him in its application. and she is disregarded. It is the prerogative of every elector to give or deny his vote to any candidate for any reason which to himself is satisfactory. Anticipating this criticism. still remains. And as he may give or refuse it to whomever he pleases at the time of election. however. The italics and punctuation are in the original document. Remedy for Duelling. they were aware that some political leaders and legislators suggested that the withholding of suffrage from candidates simply because of their stand on a single issue was a misappropriation of a citizen’s duty to vote for what was best for the community. so he is at perfect liberty to declare before hand. The politicians who opposed the right of citizens to advocate for a single issue found New York Commercial Advertiser (New York). August 17. 47. Religion has spoken. The laws have spoken. 76 Beecher. or for no other reason than his own choice. Humanity has spoken. The freemen of this state have only to refuse their countenance and their VOTE at the elections to every man who shall hereafter be engaged. In the letter they wrote: But what shall be done? Reason has spoken. It is. carmody for their call to withhold suffrage from any duelist. and they are defied. or in any attempt to promote one.76 The association adeptly answered the criticism that their proposal would significantly hinder the political process by making a candidate’s stand on a single social issue the litmus test of their ability to govern. He enjoys a control over his own vote which no man nor body of men may question. 45–46.75 The anti-dueling association adopted Beecher’s argument and made it the focal point of their legislative agenda. This situation was doubly compounded when an organization publicly advocated that citizens unite around an issue and use their votes to shape the political agenda of society. pp. dignified. one vote”. 1809 and Beecher. the expedient proposed is founded upon the broadest and freest exercise of that right. and she is insulted. Remedy for Duelling. 75 . However. and probably more effectual than any which has been tried hitherto. in the elective franchise.364 thomas j. They responded by invoking the sanctity of the right of suffrage and the democratic concept of “one person. A measure simple. in a duel.

many of the Northern clergy that had campaigned against this barbaric social custom shifted their public discourse to address more immediate social problems. it became illegal for any person who participated in a duel after 1 July 1816 from “holding any office civil or military under the State”. The leaders of the New York Anti-Dueling Association. The lessons these clergy learned in the cultural battle 77 Clifford S. The members of antidueling societies shared this viewpoint and advocated for a united movement to end the practice of dueling. Dueling did not end in America as a result of the unified efforts of the anti-dueling movement. The object of their wrath was a social custom that was neither Federalist nor Republican. 1960). 78 The Recorder (Boston). pp. a charge that often carried considerable political ramifications in a country increasingly embracing Jeffersonian Republicanism.78 The religious and moral implications of dueling provided a perfect opportunity for American clergy to make a transition from the sacred to the secular as they used their pulpit influence to condemn this social problem. although it ceased to be a major social concern in the Northern States. Their Brothers’ Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States. NJ.77 The clergy portrayed dueling as a heinous sin that violated both the nation’s laws and the laws of God. 1800–1865 (New Brunswick. Griffin. According to this new law.the anti-dueling movement 365 themselves accused of elitism by their constituents. Approximately twelve years after the death of Alexander Hamilton and seven years after the establishment of the Anti-Dueling Association of New York. 19 November 1816. and their solution for its eradication was framed against an evangelical Christian backdrop. Their goals were ultimately accomplished as Christian clergy and like-minded lay leaders united in opposition to the social custom of dueling in the years following Hamilton’s death. following ideas expressed in Beecher’s sermon. By the end of the 1820s. Their efforts combined persuasion and social activism directed at public opinion and legislative action. the state’s legislature passed a law to suppress the practice of dueling. thereby damaging the well-being of the entire society. . x–xi. desired to act as the moral stewards of society at the same time they sought to influence the political landscape of their state.

.79 79 Rorabaugh. according to historian W. Rorabaugh.J. “The Political Duel. missions.” p.366 thomas j. 20. carmody against dueling were subsequently employed to fight the new battles against drinking and slavery. temperance. abolition and women’s rights”. including Sunday schools. Their efforts. “marked the beginning of the Second Great Awakening’s move toward a host of reforms.

now an ordained minister.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 2 (2000). And thereby hangs my moral tale.1 As a teenager in the 1960s. The poem is reproduced in part below: The Calf-Path Sam Walter Foss (1858–1911) One day. My personal history of teachers and preachers of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) offers experiential evidence of this pervasive norm. But still he left behind his trail. I infer. And. through the primeval wood. 1 Dorothy A. a New England poet and librarian who celebrated the human condition in his verse. A calf walked home. as it implicitly troubles the categories of teaching and preaching. Since then two hundred years have fled. But made a trail all bent askew. . But I am not ordained to preach – caught my at