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Three Restoration Divines: Barrow, South and Tillotson. Volume I

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Irène Simon

Part one

Chapter one. The Reform of Pulpit Oratory in the Seventeenth Century

Texte intégral

1In the sermon he preached at the funeral of his friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Burnet praised Tillotson for having set to himself a new pattern of preaching; “such a one it was”, he said, “that ‘tis hoped it will be long and much followed”, Tillotson, he explained, had always kept a due mean between a low flatness and the dresses of rhetoric, and he had retrenched all superfluities and needless enlargements; in his sermons there was

  • 1 Gilbert Burnet: A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Most Reverend Father in God John, By Divin (...)

no affectation of learning, no squeezing of Texts, no superficial Strains, no false Thoughts nor bold Flights, all was solid yet lively, and grave as well as fine1.

  • 2 The Works of John Tillotson, With the Life of the Author, by Thomas Birch, London, 1820, I, xiii.
  • 3 Ibid., p. xiv.

2Though twentieth-century readers may not value Tillotson’s sermons as highly as did the Bishop of Sarum, they will readily grant that he aptly defined the change that had come over pulpit oratory in England in the course of the seventeenth century. That the new style of preaching had come to stay appears from Thomas Birch’s slight alteration to this passage, which he quoted in the Life of the Author prefixed to his folio edition of Tillotson’s sermons in 1752: “He formed therefore [a pattern] to himself, which has been justly considered as the best model for all succeeding ages”2. Birch then proceeded to give a brief sketch of the history of preaching since the Reformation, and ascribed the great corruption of pulpit oratory before the Restoration to Lancelot Andrewes, “whose reputation on other accounts gave a sanction to that vicious taste introduced by him several years before the death of Queen Elizabeth”, This taste, Birch said, was fostered by the pedantry of King James’s Court and resulted in “the degeneracy of all true eloquence, so that the most applauded preachers of that time are now insupportable; and all the wit and learning of Dr. Donne cannot secure his sermons from universal neglect”3. However wrong-headed this view may appear to twentieth-century readers, it is one that many people after the Restoration would have endorsed. On 15 July, 1683, Evelyn entered this note in his diary:

  • 4 John Evelyn: Diary, ed. E.S. de Beer, Oxford, 1955, IV, 330.

15 A stranger preached on 6. Jer:8: The not harkning to Instruction, portentous of desolation to a people: The old man preached much after Bish: Andrews’s method, full of Logical divisions, in short, and broken periods, and latine sentences, now quite out of fashion in the pulpet; grown into a far more profitable way, of plaine and practical, of which sort this Nation nor any other ever had greater plenty, and more profitable (I am confident) since the Apostles time4.

  • 5 Histoire de la littérature anglaise, Paris, 192115, III, 265 ss.

3The reform in pulpit oratory is only one aspect of the triumph of ‘nature’ and ‘sense’ which characterizes the neo-classical period, and Birch’s remark may be compared with Johnson’s censure of Donne’s wit in the Life of Cowley. With Tillotson, and particularly with his eighteenth-century imitators, the plain way of preaching may be thought to have triumphed with a vengeance, and we may share Taine’s amazement5 at the popularity of such sermons, although before ascribing the taste for them, as he does, to the naturally dull temper of the English we had better inquire why or how this new taste had developed. This way of preaching (together with other factors) may indeed have led to the utter dessication of religious life in the eighteenth century and made the Wesleyan revival imperative, but in the later seventeenth century the need was obviously felt to restore something like the old humanistic manner of preaching in order to curb the worst extravagances. For this change in pulpit oratory reasons were not far to seek, in the religious and political history of the times no less than in the development of the literary tradition.

  • 6 A Priest to the Temple, or The Country Parson, (first published in 1652, but written before 1633; (...)
  • 7 See W.F. Mitchell: Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson, London, 1932, p. 16.
  • 8 Lancelot Andrewes’s sermons were published after his death, “by his Majesties special command”, by (...)
  • 9 Quoted by Mitchell, op. cit., p. 157.
  • 10 See, for instance: Seven Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions, London, 1651..
  • 11 See his Sermon preached at White-Hall, on the 24 of March, 1621, being the day of the beginning of (...)
  • 12 He is an imitator of Donne rather than of Andrewes, and indeed was closely associated with the Dea (...)
  • 13 Mitchell (op. cit., p. 166) quotes a characteristic example, the opening of the third sermon Hacke (...)
  • 14 See An Apology Against a Pamphlet, in Complete Prose Works, New Haven, 1953, I, 894. Hall’s later (...)
  • 15 Birch recognizes this, but his views are slightly confused. It is not clear, for instance, whether (...)
  • 16 They were published by his son, John, in three folio volumes: LXXX Sermons (with Walton’s Life), i (...)

4Though George Herbert advised country parsons not to follow “the other way of crumbling a text into small parts”6 the method was characteristic of much witty preaching in the earlier seventeenth century and is best illustrated by Andrewes’s sermons. These, it has been asserted7, impressed his generation and may have set a fashion8. William Laud, Bishop of London and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, is usually numbered among the imitators of Andrewes, and his words on the scaffold are often quoted as evidence of his wit: “I am going apace, as you see, towards the Red Sea, and my feet are now upon the very brink of it; an argument, I hope, that God is bringing me into the Land of Promise”9. Laud’s sermons were published in his lifetime and reprinted during the Commonwealth10, and they too may have exerted some influence on young divines, especially since his martyrdom enhanced his reputation. Yet, in few of these do we find examples of metaphysical wit. Nor does Laud ‘squeeze’ his texts, though he may be a little too prone to find a king ‘every way’ in them11. His style is Senecan and not unlike Andrewes’s, but it is usually free of the agnominations which are one of the hallmarks of the latter’s prose. Even when preaching before the King he seldom crumbles his text in order to expound the nicest points in it; indeed, in such sermons as that on Ps. CXXII. 6,7, preached on 19 June, 1621, the division is as simple, and the overall plan as clear, as any later reformer of pulpit oratory could have wished. Other Anglican divines, such as Richard Corbet, Bishop of Oxford, John Cosin, Bishop of Durham, Henry King, Bishop of Chichester12, or John Hacket, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield13, had a reputation for witty preaching, while Joseph Hall, ‘our English Seneca was called by Milton a ‘tormentor of semicolons’ for the brevity of his style14. It is natural, therefore, that this style of preaching should have been associated with the Anglo-Catholic divines of the earlier seventeenth century, even though some of them, notably Bishop Sanderson, did preach in a more easy and natural manner15. The other great Anglican divine whose fame in his time equalled that of Andrewes does not seem to have been held responsible for the ‘corruption’ of pulpit oratory. Birch found that for all his wit and learning (or rather, because of it) Donne deserved to be forgotten, but he only mentioned his sermons as an instance of the ‘vicious taste’ of James I and his Court. Nor does any of the Restoration attacks against the oratory of the former times refer to Donne specifically, though many of the ‘vices’ censured might be illustrated from his sermons, particularly the learned allusions, the conceits, or the play of wit. Yet Donne’s sermons were also in print16 and might have exerted some influence on prospective divines. True, one of the elegies prefixed to the 1633 edition of his Poems, which praises him as a second Chrysostom, refers to the ‘beetles’ that slighted in him “that good, They could not see, and much less understood”:

  • 17 ‘In Memory of Doctor Donne: By Mr R.B.’, ll. 39-44, in The Poems of John Donne, ed. H.J.C. Grierso (...)

‘Tis true, they quitted him, to their poore power,
They humm’d against him; And with face most sowre
Call’d him a strong lin’d man, a Macaroon,
And no way fit to speak to clouted shoone,
As fine words (truly) as you would desire,
But (verily) but a bad edifier.17

5This, however, suggests no more than that Donne’s eloquence was not suited to the capacity of some hearers,—‘clouted shoone’ at that! But the increasing attacks on the blind mouths that scarce themselves knew how to hold a sheep-hook while the sheep looked up and were not fed, drew attention to the necessity for the preacher to speak to the capacity of all his hearers. Donne and Andrewes may well have felt that their sermons were ‘seasonable’ to their audience, as the reformers were to claim that all sermons should be; only their audience was not the hungry sheep who looked up to their pastor for doctrine and use. Donne certainly seasoned his discourses to the taste of the critical congregation at Lincoln’s Inn, where he himself had been a student and where he served as Reader in Divinity from 1616 to 1622, preaching twice every Sunday in term time. Nor, if we are to believe Walton, did his audience come away unedified by his sermons, whether at St. Paul’s Cathedral or at Court, for he preached the Word so,

  • 18 Izaak Walton: The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, and Rober (...)

as shewed his own heart was possest with those very thoughts and joys that he laboured to distill into others: A Preacher in earnest; weeping sometimes for his Auditory, sometimes with them: always preaching to himself, like an Angel from a cloud, but in none; carrying some, as St Paul was, to Heaven in holy raptures, and inticing others by a sacred Art and Courtship to amend their lives: here picturing a vice so as to make it ugly to those that practised it; and a virtue so, as to make it be beloved even by those that lov’d it not; and all this with a most particular grace and an unexpressible addition of comeliness18.

  • 19 Among English divines, he mentions Andrewes, Hall, and Taylor, whose style of preaching he would h (...)
  • 20 Deaths Duell, or, A Consolation To the Soule, Against the Dying Life, and the Living Death of the (...)
  • 21 The five ways of preaching he imitates are: Bishop Andrewes’s, Bishop Hall’s, Dr. Mayne’s and Mr. (...)
  • 22 South’s ridicule of the jingle on egress, ingress and regress in his sermon The Scribe Instructed (...)

6That there were ‘beetles’ who could not see, and much less understand, ‘that good he preached’, we may readily grant. We may also surmise that his references to the Church Fathers, as well as his use of scientific or pseudo-scientific imagery, were not relished by stricter members of his congregation, with whom he can hardly have been in favour after he preached, by command of the King, a sermon justifying the Instructions to Preachers which James had just issued to restrain Puritan preachers (1622). Still, in the literature dealing with the reform of pulpit oratory Donne never figures as the arch-corrupter. Indeed, his name does not even appear in the list of eminent English divines which John Wilkins gives in Ecclesiastes (1646). Since in this part of his book (Part 2, Matter) Wilkins is dealing with reference books, dictionaries, concordances, commentaries on Scripture, books of controversy, etc., irrespective of the particular denomination of the individual authors, or of their way of handling their subject19 there is no reason to assume that he left out Donne on purpose. This surprising omission, by a man who was familiar with Donne’s works of controversy, makes one wonder if the sermons of the Dean of St. Paul’s—the last of these, Deaths Duell, had impressed his audience so deeply that it was published the year after his death with an elaborate title recalling its impact upon his hearers20—were already falling into oblivion. In any case, few preachers if any could have imitated Donne, or even learned from him, while Andrewes’s style could have been easily taken as a model, even by preachers who did not command comparable powers of exegetical analysis. It is characteristic that Abraham Wright did not try his hand at a sermon in Dr. Donne’s way in his Five Sermons in Five Several Styles (1656)21, in which he gave imitations of different ways of preaching. His imitation of Andrewes is close enough to make one wonder if it is an imitation, though it may be significant that he hardly uses agnominations since, as Evelyn’s note shows, Andrewes seems to have been remembered especially for ‘crumbling his text’22.

  • 23 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 99.
  • 24 Whatever interpretation may be put on Donne’s motives for taking holy orders, James’s reply to Som (...)
  • 25 For instance in the sermon preached by Laud on 19 June, 1621: “And surely we have a Jerusalem, a S (...)
  • 26 Great Britains Salomon. A Sermon Preached at the Magnificent Funerall of the most high and mighty (...)
  • 27 Thus Anthony Weldon, clerk of the kitchen to James I, in The Court and Character of King James, Lo (...)

7The ‘pedantry’ of James I and his Court may indeed have fostered a ‘vicious taste’ in oratory. James, we know, prided himself on his knowledge of divinity no less than on his skill in poetry, and indeed was so much concerned with points of doctrine that he sent a delegation of English divines to the Synod of Dordt to defend the Calvinists against the claims of the Remonstrants. He certainly took delight in the “steady march of logic and passion23” with which Lancelot Andrewes edified the Court; he may have prompted Donne’s final decision to enter the priesthood by refusing to prefer him any other way24; and he made William Laud Bishop of London. That James was generally regarded as the Solomon of his day appears not only from various comparisons25, but from the title of the sermon preached at his funeral by John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln: Great Britains Salomon26. That he was himself witty we know from contemporary testimony27, and he seems to have had a taste for witty conceits; thus in a speech to Parliament advocating the Union of England and Scotland, he is reported to have said:

  • 28 Quoted in G.M. Trevelyan: England Under the Stuarts, London, 193316, p. 107.

I am the husband and the whole isle is my wife. I hope, therefore, that no man will be so unreasonable as to think that I, a Christian King, under the Gospel, should be the Polygamist and husband of two wives28.

  • 29 On Playfere’s reputation for antimetaboles see Williamson, op. cit., pp. 94-95. For examples, see (...)

8Before, however, we tax James with corrupting taste we should remember that metaphysical preaching had enjoyed considerable favour before his time. Thomas Playfere, who was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge from 1596 to 1609, freely indulged in wordplay, in strange and often ludicrous similes, in balanced antitheses and antimetaboles29, as much as in crumbling his text. Thus in a sermon delivered at Paul’s Cross in 1593, and later dedicated to James I, he at one point compares the world’s delights to the sirens against which Ulysses stopped his ears, and then says:

  • 30 Hearts Delight. A Sermon Preached at Parties Crosse in London in Easter Terme, 1593, London, 1617, (...)

Yea, we must binde our selves to the mast of the shippe, that is, to the Crosse of Christ, every one of us saying with our heavenly Ulysses, God forbid that I should delight in any thing, but in the Crosse of Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For the world and all worldly delight is likened to a hedgehogge. A Hedgehog seemes to bee but a poore silly creature, not likely to doe any great harme, yet indeed it is full of bristles and prickles, whereby it may annoy a man very shrewdly. So worldly delight seemeth to bee little or nothing dangerous at the first, yet afterward as with bristles or pricks, it peaceth [= pierceth] through the very conscience with untollerable paines. Therefore wee must deale with this delight, as a man would handle a hedge hogge. The safest way to handle a hedge hogge is to take him by the heele30.

  • 31 Op. cit., p. 95. Williamson quotes from Nashe’s Strange Newes (1592): “Few such men speak out of Fa (...)
  • 32 Ibid., p. 231. On the difference between Playfere and Andrewes, see J.W. Blench: Preaching in Engl (...)

9Professor Williamson has reminded us that Thomas Nashe admired Playfere and could on occasion compliment him in kind31, and that Lyly commended Lancelot Andrewes to Nashe even before he became a well-known Court-preacher32 It would seem, then, that the taste for witty or metaphysical sermons developed at the same time, and from the same causes, as did the taste for metaphysical poetry.

  • 33 II, 121-2.
  • 34 Lettre a M. Dacier sur les occupations de l’Académie (1714), in Fenelon: De l’Existence et des Att (...)

10Nor was this peculiar to England, and the blame attached to James I and his Court for encouraging this ‘vicious taste’ must be further tempered when we consider, for instance, the vogue of the conception théologique in France, which is best remembered from Boileau’s censure of it in the Art Poétique33. As late as 1714 Fenelon was still denouncing the false taste for “jeux de mots affectes” in pulpit oratory34, though Boileau considered it as extinct by 1674. In 1688 La Bruyere again inveighed against the florid or witty oratory which in some quarters was mistaken for wit:

  • 35 De la chaire, in La Bruyere: Les Caracteres de Théophraste traduits du Grec. Avec les Caracteres o (...)

C’est avoir de l’esprit que de plaire au peuple dans un sermon par un style fleuri, une morale enjouée, des figures reiterees, des traits brillans et de vives descriptions; mais ce n’est point en avoir assez. Un meilleur esprit neglige ces ornemens etrangers indignes de servir a l’Evangile; il preche simplement, fortement, chrétiennement35.

11He recognized that some of the worst ornaments had gone out of fashion at Court, but that this false taste still prevailed in town:

  • 36 Ibid., pp. 241-2.

Les citations profanes, les froides allusions, le mauvais pathetique, les antitheses, les figures outrees, ont fini: les portraits finiront, et feront place a une simple explication de l’Evangile, jointe aux mouvements qui inspirent la conversion.
Cet homme que je souhaitais impatiemment, et que je ne daignais pas esperer de notre siecle, est enfin venu. Les courtisans, a force de gout et de connaîre les bienseances, lui ont applaudi: ils ont, chose incroyable! abandonne la chapelle du roi pour venir entendre avec le peuple la parole de Dieu annoncee par cet homme apostolique. La ville n’a pas ete de l’avis de la cour. Ou il a prêché, les paroissiens ont deserte36.

12This was written thirty years after Furetiere had shown, in his Nouvelle Allégorique, ou Histoire des derniers troubles arrives au Royaume d’Eloquence (1658), how Queen Rhetoric, aided by her prime minister Good Sense, succeeded in vanquishing her many foes, such as false similes, conceits, puns and the like. But the battle had to be fought again and again before the enemy was finally driven from the field. Long before La Bruyere, too, Saint Cyran, Le Maître de Sacy and others of Port-Royal had inveighed against the gaudy conceits and vain trimmings which defaced the Word of God. Bossuet, too, had emphasized that truth alone is to be preached, and that the pomp of false ornaments only serves to flatter the ear:

  • 37 Sermon sur la parole de Dieu (1661), in Bossuet: Œuvres Oratoires, ed. J. Lebarcq, Lille-Paris, 18 (...)

Car les oreilles sont flattees par la cadence et l’arrangement des paroles; l’imagination, rejouie par la delicatesse des pensees; l’esprit, persuade quelquefois par la vraisemblance du raisonnement: la conscience veut la verite; et comme c’est a la conscience que parlent les predicateurs, ils doivent rechercher, mes soeurs, non des brillans qui egayent, ni une harmonie qui delecte, ni des mouvements qui chatouillent, mais des eclairs qui percent, un tonnerre qui émeuve, un foudre qui brise les coeurs37.

13The year after he preached this sermon Bossuet had occasion, in his funeral oration for Father Bourgoing, Superior General of the Oratory, to praise a true minister of God who disdained the artifices of rhetoric and preached truth:

  • 38 Oraison funebre du Pere Bourgoing (4 Dec., 1662), in Bossuet: Oraisons Funebres, ed. Jacques Truch (...)

La parole de l’Evangile sortait de sa bouche, vive, penetrante, animée, toute pleine d’esprit et de feu... D’ou lui venait cette force? C’est, mes Freres, qu’il etait plein de la doctrine celeste, c’est qu’il s’etait nourri et rassasie du meilleur suc du Christianisme, c’est qu’il faisait regner dans ses sermons la verite et la sagesse: l’éloquence suivait comme la servante, non recherchee avec soin, mais attiree par les choses mêmes. Ainsi «son discours se repandait a la maniere d’un torrent; et s’il trouvait en son chemin les fleurs de l’élocution, il les entramait plutot par sa propre impetuosite qu’il ne les cueillait pour se parer d’un tel ornement»: Fertur quippe impetu suo; et elocutionis pulchritudinem, si occurrerit, vi rerum rapit, non cura decoris assumit38.

  • 39 Ibid., p. 52. Bossuet could hardly have enlarged on this point since he had just reminded his hear (...)
  • 40 George Herbert comes nearer to Bossuet’s pattern when he advises country parsons to move their hea (...)
  • 41 For attacks on Latitudinarians, particularly on Tillotson, as practical preachers, see below.

14The discourse as a whole may be usefully compared with Burnet’s oration on the death of Archbishop Tillotson thirty years later, since both praise the true pastor and develop similar points: the need of preparation for the ministry, the nature of true Christian eloquence, the value of prayer, the care for souls. Yet the differences too are striking: whereas Burnet enlarges on the works of charity of Tillotson, Bossuet draws a veil over one of the main tasks of his pastor, “la conduite des âmes”, and is content to honour “par notre silence le mysterieux secret que Dieu a impose a ses ministres”39; whereas Burnet’s praise of Tillotson’s style of preaching is mainly negative, Bossuet stresses the force, feu, lumiere ardente of Bourgoing’s sermons, and of course the two orations themselves differ in style if not much in method. In fact, though both preachers agree on what corrupts sacred eloquence, their standards are altogether different: plain, solid, edifying sermons for the one; for the otherla parole de l’Evangile... vive, penetrante, animée, toute pleine d’esprit et de feu”40. True, the divine whom Burnet was praising may be called a “practical preacher”41, while Father Bourgoing, a disciple of Berulle, is one of the representative members of what has come to be known as “1’école française de spiritualité”; but the difference is also to be linked with the diverging trends in pulpit oratory in England and in France in the latter half of the century, and with the circumstances from which these arose.

  • 42 G. Williamson, op. cit., p. 247.
  • 43 Thomas Fuller: The Worthies of England, ed. John Freeman, London, 1952, p. 320.
  • 44 Edward Reynolds: The Pastoral Office, opened in a visitation sermon, preached at Norwich, Oct. 10, (...)
  • 45 Williamson quotes a Restoration parody of a sermon by Andrewes in which his practice of division i (...)

15In England a change in the taste in pulpit oratory already appears from the later sermons of Bishop Hall, which testify to the gradual decline of the curt style. They are, indeed, “less terse, less spasmodic, more continuous in style than his early sermons”42; they were praised by Sir Henry Wotton for the “pureness, plainness, and fulness” of their style43, and by Hall’s successor to the see of Norwich, Edward Reynolds, for being “like the land of Canaan, flowing with milk and honey”44. True, Reynolds argued that wit “sanctified by grace, and fixed by humility” could be of great use to the Church of God, and some of the examples he gives, from the Fathers of the Church, show that he did not condemncurious elegancies and paranomasias; but from his own style it is clear that he did not favour the kind of witty preaching that flourished in the third and fourth decades of the century. In the sermons of Anglican divines, then, a more relaxed style seems to have superseded the brief, jerky style which Andrewes’s method inevitably entailed45, and Wotton’s phrase ‘fulness of style’ aptly characterizes the easier flow of the sentences in Hall’s later sermons.

  • 46 The Golden Grove. Selected Passages from the Sermons and Writings of Jeremy Taylor, ed. L. Pearsal (...)

16With this went some of the schemes and figures of sound which were part and parcel of Andrewes’s exegesis, but not all ornaments of style were discarded. In some preachers, notably Jeremy Taylor, the easy and harmonious prose is enriched by the sensuous beauty of the imagery. Taylor is indeed the great mellifluous preacher, and for those who, like Coleridge, value sweetness and delicacy, he is a source of endless delight. When discussing him, few critics have forborne to refer to his magic, his haunting verbal music; indeed, as Logan Pearsall Smith said, one “is led captive by a charm and spell which (one) cannot analyse”46. His rich and often vivid imagery is sometimes marred by a certain quaintness, which South ridiculed in a 1668 sermon. The felicity of his diction is partly due to his use of unexpected or archaic words, or of words in their Latin sense (though he advised his clergy to keep to the common speech of the day). With Taylor ornate prose comes closest to poetry, instinct with emotion and sensuous richness, but many of the vices later condemned by the reformers of pulpit oratory may be exemplified from his sermons. Such decorativeness, no less than metaphysical wit, was soon to be out of fashion.

17How far these earlier models may have affected preachers after the Restoration is hard to assess, but it is clear that they were not entirely forgotten. For even those Anglicans who, at the time of Laud’s power, had resented his ceremonial innovations, the excessive power of the bishops, and particularly the Court of High Commission, were alarmed when the Anglican system as a whole came under attack, and they looked back wistfully to the days when the Church had been flourishing. The execution of Laud and of Charles I inevitably confirmed their allegiance to the old order and increased their admiration for the great Anglo-Catholic divines of James’s and Charles’s time. After Cromwell took power the Anglican clergy were mostly undisturbed, and many of them conducted Prayer Book services if not openly at least without being molested. A notable example is that of John Owen, the Independent who became Dean of Christ Church and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University in 1650 and who

  • 47 From a contemporary account, quoted in V.H.H. Green: Religion at Oxford and Cambridge, London, 196 (...)

suffered to meet quietly about three hundred Evangelicals every Lord’s Day over against his own door, where they celebrated divine service according to the worship of the Church of England. And though he was often urged to it, yet he would never give them the least disturbance47.

  • 48 Robert S. Bosher: The Making of the Restoration Settlement, 1642-1662, London, 1951, p. 12.
  • 49 Ibid., p. 41.
  • 50 Mitchell refers to Bishop Cosin’s sermons, which “may be taken as a proof that the Anglo-Catholic (...)
  • 51 For Lyly’s and Nashe’s admiration for Playfere’s wit, see above.

18Besides, Anglicans “availed themselves of parishioners’ power to elect lecturers”48, which the Puritans had early used to ensure the ‘right’ teaching of the Gospel, and which Parliament had confirmed by ordinance in 1641. Thus, besides those who, like Taylor at Golden Grove, acted as private chaplains and taught little congregations of loyalists, some Anglican divines went on preaching during the Interregnum, particularly between 1650, when the laws against them were relaxed, and 1656 when sterner measures were taken against the sequestred clergy49. It is probable that the earlier mode of preaching was continued in some of these sermons50. When the Church was restored in 1660 the High-Church clergy were active in shaping the religious policy which led to the Act of Uniformity, and these churchmen of the old school may well have revived the fashion for witty eloquence as well as for intolerance. Prominent among these was Thomas Pierce, as relentless a defender of the old order as Peter Heylyn, and as ‘witty’ a preacher as Andrewes. That the fashion lasted well into the Restoration period may be gathered from the many references to witty preaching by all the reformers of pulpit oratory, as well as from Dryden’s remark, in The Dramatic Poetry of the Last Age (1672), that playing with words first ascended into the pulpit in Sidney’s time51, “where (if you will give me leave to clench too) it yet finds the benefit of its clergy”.

  • 52 The distinction is Bosher’s. He quotes a passage from one of Fuller’s sermons justifying his submi (...)
  • 53 R.S. Bosher, who has done most to show how the Restoration settlement was prepared by the Laudian (...)
  • 54 See Dryden’s reference to Clevelandism in the Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668).
  • 55 S.T. Coleridge: Notes on Stillingfleet, ed. R. Garnett, Glasgow, 1875, p. 7. Coleridge finds St. s (...)

19However important such men as Pierce may have been in continuing or reviving the old style of preaching, we should not forget that among the ‘disaffected conformists’ were men like Jasper Mayne and Simon Patrick, and among the ‘loyal conformists’ men like Fuller and Edward Reynolds, both of whom were to become bishops after the Restoration52. One of the legends accredited by the High-Churchmen after the Restoration was that their party had been oppressed and persecuted during the Interregnum, but this is flatly contradicted by many testimonies53. The survival of the vicious taste in pulpit oratory cannot, therefore, be wholly ascribed to the triumph of the Laudian clergy in 1662, any more than can the continued taste for metaphysical wit in some quarters long after it had been banished from the conversation of gentlemen54. Similarly, Thomas Birch’s view about the corrupting influence of Anglo-Catholic divines may be regarded as an expression of eighteenth-century partiality for the Low Church, to which Coleridge referred in his notes on Stillingfleet55.

  • 56 J.R. Sutherland: On English Prose, Toronto-London, 1957, p. 63.

20It is tempting to ascribe the reform of pulpit oratory to the Puritans since their first avowed aim, from the days of Elizabeth, had been to provide a worthy preaching ministry for the people. The Marprelate tracts abound in accusations of sloth and ignorance against the clergy, which recall the attacks of Wycliff and of the early reformers and look forward to Milton’s denunciation of the blind mouths. It is true, also, that “the greatest of all the Puritan writers, John Bunyan, habitually spoke to the capacity of his hearers in a prose as bare of ornaments as a dissenters’ meetinghouse, but with a single-minded conviction and a passionate earnestness that made his words shine with an almost unearthly light”56. Yet the crusade for a plain method and style of preaching in the later seventeenth-century was the work of Anglicans and mostly directed against the excesses of Puritan preaching. Nor should it be forgotten that one of the great admirers of Church ritual, George Herbert, could envisage an unlearned country audience and advised his parson to speak the kind of language they would understand:

  • 57 Op. cit., p. 233.

Sometimes he tells them stories, and sayings of others, according as his text invites him; for them also men heed, and remember better then exhortations; which though earnest, yet often dy with the sermon, especially with Country people; which are thick, and heavy, and hard to raise to a poynt of Zeal, and fervency, and need a mountaine of fire to kindle them: but stories and sayings they will remember57.

  • 58 Ibid.

21Baxter would have agreed with Herbert that the country parson “is not witty, or learned, or eloquent, but Holy58” and would have approved his method:

  • 59 Ibid., pp. 234-5.

The Parsons Method in handling a text consists of two parts; first, a plain and evident declaration of the meaning of the text; and secondly some choyce Observations drawn out of the whole text, as it lyes entire, and unbroken in the Scripture it self. This he thinks naturall, and sweet, and grave59.

22Yet, when set beside Herbert’s poem ‘The Windows’, the following sentences of Baxter reveal the difference between the two men:

  • 60 Richard Baxter: Gildas Salvianus, The Reform’d Pastor, (1656), in The Practical Works of the Late (...)

Truth loves the Light, and is most Beautiful when most naked. It is a Sign of an envious Enemy to hide the Truth; and a Sign of an Hypocrite to do this under pretence of Revealing it: And Therefore painted obscure Sermons (like the Painted Glass in the Windows that keep out the Light) are too oft the Marks of painted Hypocrites60.

  • 61 J.R. Sutherland, op. cit., p. 62.

23Behind such condemnation of eloquence there lurks “the same horror of luxury that drove the Puritans to repudiate and destroy rites and ceremonies, ecclesiastical vestments and painted windows”61. A comparison by another Anglican divine, Thomas Fuller, will point up the difference:

  • 62 The Holy State (1642), p. 84, quoted by Logan Pearsall Smith, op. cit., p. xxxv.

Reasons are the pillars of the fabrick of a Sermon; but similitudes are the windows which give the best light62.

24Besides, not all Puritans preached in a plain style at the beginning of the century. The term ‘Puritan’ is perhaps too loose to be applied usefully to the Nonconformist Baxter on the one hand and on the other to the Elizabethan Henry Smith and the Jacobean Thomas Adams. This last, however, was a strict Calvinist who did not disdain the aids of rhetoric when preaching the Word of God; his schemata, not unlike Andrewes’s, recall the character-writers, whom he often imitates in his sermons. The following example, from one of his sermons, is a moral exemplum “in the witty vein of Overbury”:

  • 63 Sermons, ed. John Brown, 1909, p. 227. Quoted by Williamson, op. cit., p. 242.

His words are precise, his deeds concise; he prays so long in the church, that he may with less suspicion prey on the church63.

25As to ‘silver-tongued Smith’, the darling of the people, in spite of his strong Puritan sympathies he studded his sermons not only with homely proverbs but with vivid similes, which would bring home to his hearers the lesson he was teaching; for instance:

  • 64 Henry Smith: The Godly Man’s Request, in Sermons, 1611, p. 276. Quoted by V.H.H. Green, op. cit., (...)

Our Fathers marvelling to see how suddenly men are, and are not, compared life to a dream in the night, to a bubble in the water, to a ship on the sea, to an arrow which never resteth till it fall, to a player, which speaketh his part upon the stage and straight he giveth place to another; to a man which cometh to the market to buy one thing and sell another, and then is gone home again: so the figure of this World passeth away64.

  • 65 The Art of Prophesying, or a Treatise concerning the sacred and true manner and method of preachin (...)

26On the other hand, William Perkins, whose Art of Prophesying exerted a deep influence on the Puritans, recommended that ‘a speech’ be “both simple and perspicuous, fit both for the people’s understanding and to express the majesty of the spirit”, for it must be “spiritual and gracious”65; it will be gracious if it expresses the grace of the heart, and it will be fit for the people’s understanding if

  • 66 Ibid., pp. 670-1.

neither the words of art, nor Greek and Latin phrases and quirkes be intermingled in the sermon.
1 They disturb the mind of the auditors...
2 A strange word hindreth the understanding of those things that are spoken. 3 It draws the mind away from the purpose to some other matter66.

  • 67 Ibid., p. 654. As one might expect the example he gives is: “This is my body which is broken for y (...)
  • 68 Ibid., p. 651.

27Perkins does not censure similes and metaphors, but his condemnation of them may be inferred from his definition of style as well as from his repudiation of human skill. Yet he gives cautions concerning sacred tropes in order to help preachers discover the meaning of ‘cryptical or hidden places’ in Scripture, that is, when “the native (or natural) signification of the words do manifestly disagree with either the analogy of faith, or very perspicuous places in Scripture”67, thereby acknowledging that the Word of God is sometimes figurative. In view of later developments in Puritan preaching, and of Restoration attacks against it, it is worth noting that Perkins reaffirms what Tyndale among others had stressed, that “There is onely one sense, and the same is literal”68. He also emphasizes that human wisdom must be concealed both in the matter and in the ‘uttering’ of the sermon,

  • 69 Ibid., p. 670.

because the preaching of the word is the Testimonie of God, and the profession of the knowledge of Christ, and not of humane skill. If any man think that by this means barbarism should be brought into pulpits; he must understand that the minister may, yea and must, privately use all the libertie of the Arts, Philosophy, and vanity of reading, whilst he is in framing his sermon: but he ought in public to conceal all these from the people, and not to make the least ostentation. Artis etiam est celare artem69.

28Since Perkins shows that he had profited from the vanity of reading Pagan authors, an uncharitable reader, like South, might be induced to reverse Baxter’s sentence and say: “It is a sign of an envious enemy to hide the truth; and a sign of a hypocrite to conceal his learning under pretence of revealing the Spirit”. In any case, unlike some mid-century Puritans, Perkins did not deny the use of learning for a minister. Whether the method he recommends would promote a plain way of preaching, i.e. one that is not only simple and perspicuous in language but that eschews obscure notions and needless controversies and presents clearly the essential points of doctrine and of right practice, would depend on how preachers interpreted Perkins’s “right dividing of the word” (Chapter VI). About this he says little more than that it comprises “resolution, or partition, and application”, the former consisting in “resolving the place propounded into sundry doctrines” by notation or by collection. This left plenty of scope for interpretation.

  • 70 John Eachard: The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into. (...)

29The impression one forms after reading the tracts of the reformers of pulpit oratory after the Restoration is that the influence of earlier models was not so strong in corrupting the way of preaching as the training prospective divines received at the Universities and the method they were taught, particularly the undue emphasis on the rhetoric of ornaments. In this respect the Artes Concionandi and the various aids to elocution recommended to students probably had more far-reaching effects than the printed sermons of any masters of pulpit oratory. From John Eachard’s Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into (1670) we gather that schools and Universities were to blame for the ignorance of the clergy, to which Eachard ascribes their false way of preaching. The main faults are on the one hand their “inconsiderate use of frightful metaphors” and “packing their sermons full of similitudes”, and on the other “their common method of preaching”, whether making the text “like something or other”, dividing it so as to “make all fly into shivers”, deriving strange observations from the text, choosing obscure texts or making senseless use of concordances. Now, according to Eachard, these derive from two chief heads: excessive use of storehouses of similes and over-ingenuity instead of logic. He expatiates on the choiceness of the authors out of which the clergy are furnished, particularly on the treasuries of similitudes “ready fitted to most preaching subjects, for the help of young beginners, who sometimes will not make them hit handsomely70. He does not trace their false method to any particular cause, but the source of this may be sought in some of the Artes Concionandi from which students learnt the art of oratory.

  • 71 The manual went through at least 7 editions before the end of the century.
  • 72 For instance: Abraham Fraunce’s The Arcadian Rhetorike (1588) and John Hoskins’s Directions for Sp (...)
  • 73 By distinguishing the fields proper to dialectic (invention and disposition) and to rhetoric (eloc (...)
  • 74 For the influence of Ramist logic and rhetoric on the development of metaphysical poetry, see Rose (...)

30From Wilkins’s attempt in his manual Ecclesiastes (1646) to teach a better way of preaching by outlining a clear method and by defining the appropriate style for sermons71, as well as from Eachard’s censure of the outstanding faults of the ignorant clergy, it appears that the tradition of classical oratory favoured by the humanists had been broken by undue emphasis on some aspects of rhetoric. Neither of the more influential manuals on the art of preaching—Keckermann’s Rhetoreticae Ecclesiasticae (Hanover, 1606) and the Puritan William Perkins’s Art of Prophesying (published in Latin in 1592, translated into English in 1631)—encouraged ‘crumbling the text’ or packing sermons with similitudes, but such later works as William Chappel’s The Preacher, or the Art and Method of Preaching (1656) may have led to multiple division of the text. On the other hand, the rhetorics of ornaments72 i.e. those dealing exclusively with schemes and tropes, which began to multiply towards the end of the sixteenth century as Ramist logic and Talean rhetoric gained ground in England73, certainly furnished ample storehouses of similes, which could be used, and no doubt were used, by some preachers without due regard to propriety. They certainly put a premium on images and figures of all kinds, while Ramist logic emphasized that images are ‘arguments’74. Since Cambridge had early become a Ramist centre, the teaching of Ramist logic and Talean rhetoric must have influenced the training of young preachers, and one can easily guess what were the effects of such training on the verbal exegesis practised by young divines, or on the method of their sermons.

31Moreover, the tendency to use ornaments in sermons was certainly encouraged by collections of images and figures gathered from the Bible. Such a one is Sacred Eloquence, or the Art of Rhetoric as it is laid down in Scripture (1659), by the Oxford Puritan John Prideaux, who became Bishop of Worcester in 1641. The title tells its own tale: not only is the use of ornaments vindicated from the precedent of Scripture, but rhetoric is equated with ornament. Though the author warns his readers that

  • 75 p. 57.

Divers aim to show how much they can say on a text with no regard at all how little their auditors can bear away; as though they came into a Pulpit to open their store, not to feed their flocks; and to beg applause of their congregations, that they are ready preachers, not to so lead them that they may be profitable hearers75

32his book must have been used by many as a ‘magazine of phrases Its main purpose, however, seems to have been to vindicate eloquence against the advocates of the bare style.

33John Eachard, a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, from 1658, must have been aware of the influence of such teaching in his own University. Moreover, he animadverted in his tract on the harm done to future preachers by the disputations and other academic exercises, because these fostered a spirit of contentiousness and levity, prejudiced students against sober sense, and disposed them to trifling and jingling. This, one feels, must have gone further to unfit them for the edification of their parishioners than any model from former times, and this was precisely one of the grounds of contempt for university training among the extreme Puritans who were in favour of a godly rather than a learned ministry. In Eachard’s view the two main evils of university training lay in the absence of English exercises—whereas the students were encouraged to produce ‘dainty stuff’ for a Latin entertainment out of their magazines of collected phrases—and the practice of academic exercises. To the latter, Eachard intimates, can be traced all the evils which degrade pulpit oratory, and which all the reformers condemned, whether squeezing or crumbling of texts, improper observations from Scripture, fantastic phrases, Latin or Greek tags, jingles, etc. The whole passage, though long, may be quoted if only because the tone no less than the content must have incensed the sober bands who, misunderstanding Eachard’s purpose, felt it necessary to rebuke him for his attack on the clergy:

  • 76 Op. cit., pp. 261-2.

The second Inquiry that may be made is this: Whether or not Punning, Quibbling, and that which they call Joquing (joking), and such delicacies of Wit, highly admired in some Academic Exercises, might not be very conveniently omitted?
For one may desire but to know this one thing: in what Profession shall that sort of Wit prove of advantage? As for Law, where nothing but the most reaching subtility and the closest arguing is allowed of; it is not to be imagined that blending now and then a piece of a dry verse, and wreathing here and there an odd Latin Saying into a dismal jingle, should give Title to an estate, or clear out an obscure evidence! And as little serviceable can it be to Physic, which is made up of severe Reason and well tried Experiments!
And as for Divinity, in this place I shall say no more, but that those usually that have been Rope Dancers in the Schools, ofttimes prove Jack Puddings in the Pulpit. For he that in his youth has allowed himself this liberty of Academic Wit; by this means he has usually so thinned his judgement, becomes so prejudiced against sober sense, and so altogether disposed to trifling and jingling; that, so soon as he gets hold of a text, he presently thinks he has catched one of his old School Questions; and so falls a flinging it out of one hand into another! tossing it this way, and that! lets it run a little upon the line, then “tanutus! high jingo! come again!” here catching at a word! there lie nibbling and sucking at an and, a by, a quis or a quid, a sic or a sicut! and thus minces the Text so small that his parishioners, until he rendez-vous (reassemble) it again, can scarce tell, what is become of it76

  • 77 Op. cit., I, 854.

34Before we—like those who took up the cudgels to vindicate the clergy—censure Eachard for fouling his own nest, we might remember that another Cambridge man had criticized university teaching in equally harsh terms almost thirty years before. In The Reason of Church Government Urg’d against Prelaty (1641) Milton had wondered how studious men came to write in defense of prelacy while the liturgy of the Church of England itself confessed the service of God to be perfect freedom, and he had found the answer in the false training that young men receive in Universities: the hackney course of literature to dazzle the ignorant, the fondness for ‘metaphysical gargarisms’ rather than true and generous philosophy, the sophistry, and the fond overstudy of useless controversies77. Milton returned to the attack eighteen years later in his Considerations touching the likeliest Means to Remove Hirelings out of the Church (1659), urging the vanity of university training as an argument against tithes:

  • 78 John Milton: Works, New York, 1932, VI, 95.

And those theological disputations held there by Professors and graduates are such as tend least of all to the edification or capacitie of the people, but rather perplex and leaven pure doctrine with scholastical trash then enable any minister to the better preaching of the gospel78.

  • 79 He wrote A Fuller Institution of the Art of Logic, Arranged after the Manner of Peter Ramus (1672)
  • 80 Op. cit., p. 332. Miss Tuve reminds us that it was Sidney who aroused Abraham Fraunce’s interest i (...)

35Milton’s view is no doubt biassed but no such charge can be preferred against Eachard, soon to become Master of St. Catharine’s College. The irony is that the tendency to perplex the pure doctrine, as well as to argue from similitudes, may have been fostered by Ramist logic and rhetoric, which Milton highly valued79. As Miss Tuve remarked: “it is not mere chance that the two poets (Sidney and Milton) most indisputably connected with Ramist thought were Puritan in their sympathies”80. When in 1645 Parliamentary Commissioners were appointed to ensure ‘godly and religious preaching’ at Cambridge they would hardly have objected to teaching based on the work of a Protestant martyr (whom Marlowe had celebrated in his Massacre at Paris). This is not to say that over-ingenuity, dividing the text and fantastic similes are to be laid at the door of the Puritans, though after the Restoration these vices came to be regarded as characteristic of ‘fanatic’ preaching. The point is that while Anglo-Catholic divines of the earlier seventeenth century were later to be blamed for fostering a vicious taste, similar influences were at work in other quarters.

  • 81 The term is as misleading as ‘Puritan’ since the Church of England as such was, nominally at least (...)
  • 82 Hales was not a member of the delegation, but as Chaplain to the Ambassador, Sir Dudley Carleton, (...)
  • 83 See John Tulloch: Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in the Seventeenth Century(...)
  • 84 Eachard’s censure of the ‘cunning observations, doctrines, and inferences’ in the common method of (...)
  • 85 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 94.

36Strict Calvinists81, in Britain as elsewhere, favoured closely reasoned arguments and emulated the logical coherence of their master, which led them to concentrate on dialectics rather than on rhetoric, to define dogmas and explicate their texts with the stern logic they had learnt from the Institutes. Many of them were remarkable for their dialectical skill, for their dry, scholastic method of arguing from a text. In the controversy with the Remonstrants and especially in the discourses at the Synod of Dordt they displayed their disputatious zeal for defining nice points of theology, so much so that, of the English divines who had intended to support their Calvinist brethren, many came back sobered by the experience. One of them, John Hales of Eton82 after attending the debates finally ‘bade John Calvin good night If the barren controversies of the Lutherans opened a new scholastic period of dogmatic frivolity and led to the rabies theologorum which finally silenced the humanist Melanchton, the elaboration of Augustinianism at the hands of Calvin and his disciples issued in a system in which each proposition was argued with stern logical consecutiveness83. In sermons chains of syllogisms and explication of propositions nicely ‘partitioned’ from the text would result in fairly complicated arguments, which only a well-trained mind could follow. It is easy to understand that such arguments might also deteriorate into what Marvell was to call ‘syllogistical legerdemain’ and sometimes lead to out-of-the way observations whose relation to the main design was most tenuous84. Such sermons, then, were often highly elaborate, though not ornate. William Prynne, “who preached not from the pulpit but from the press”85, may be an extreme exponent of this heavy-going march of logic, but the syllogistic cast of his tracts is none the less characteristic of much Presbyterian eloquence. When the controversy over the discipline of the Church came to a head in England, Scripture was searched assiduously and texts expounded at great length to support the ‘right’ discipline. We need only turn to Milton’s tracts to see with what zeal and contentiousness arguments from Scripture were marshalled in defence of reformation (or, for that matter, of divorce).

  • 86 As Logan Pearsall Smith remarks (op. cit., p. xx), “The advantages of religious toleration were no (...)
  • 87 William Laud was dissatisfied with this tract, which circulated in manuscript, and sent for Hales (...)
  • 88 This is even clearer in Hales’s sermon Of Enquiry and Private Judgement in Religion, see John Hale (...)

37It should be remembered that at this point the other party began to answer in kind, and in their attempt to prove the divine origin of episcopacy Anglicans like Joseph Hall were led to argue in much the same manner as their opponents. In the circumstances one can understand the advice of the soberer divines to leave off all controversies and to confine preaching to the essential points of doctrine and use. True, these soberer minds usually came from the Anglican fold, who at the time had most to gain by the cessation of such controversies. Still, such pleas for toleration as Jeremy Taylor’s Discourse of the Liberty of Prophesying (1647)86 or John Hales’s Tract concerning Schism and Schismatics (1642, but probably written about 1636)87 are appeals to concord and charity directed against the hardening of differences which, to these men, were not religious differences at all yet were powerful enough to break the unity of common faith and worship. It is worth noting, too, that both defended private judgement and the freedom of rational inquiry88, on grounds which look forward to the stand taken by the Anglicans after the Restoration. The same plea was made in a sermon preached by Jasper Mayne at Oxford in 1646 on Rom. XII. 18 If it be possible, as much as lyeth in you, live peaceably with all men. Mayne urged

  • 89 A Sermon Concerning Unity and Agreement, preached at Carfax Church in Oxford, August 9, 1646, by J (...)

that we scholars, in those high mysterious points which have equal argument and proof on both sides, and which both sides (for ought I know) may hold, yet meet in heaven, doe factiously or peremptorily betake ourselves to neither; but either lay them aside, as things of mere contemplation, not of practise or use; or else speak of them to the people, only in that general sense wherein all sides agree, and as that general sense is laid down to us in the Scripture89.

38If it be argued that Mayne was out to secure toleration for his own party, we need only turn to a sermon preached to the House of Commons on 31 March, 1647, and printed by their command, Ralph Cudworth’s on 1 John II. 3,4 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. In his dedication Cudworth states again that the scope of his sermon

  • 90 R. Cudworth: A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons, At Westminster, March 31, 1 (...)

was not to contend for this or that opinion; but onely to perswade men to the Life of Christ, as the Pith and Kernel of all Religion. Without which, I may boldly say, all the severall Forms of Religion in the World, though we please our selves never so much in them, are but so many severall Dreams. And those many Opinions about Religion, that are every where so eagerly contended for on all sides, where This doth not lie at the Bottome, are but so many Shadows fighting with one another90.

39He compares those that

spend all their zeal upon a violent obtruding of their own Opinions and Apprehensions upon others

40to bellows that will blow a perpetual fire of discord, while

  • 91 Ibid., sig. 3 v. and [4].

these hungry, and starved Opinions, devoure all the Life and Substance of Religion91.

41The opening words of the sermon itself throw light on the endless disputations raging at the time, in the pulpit as well as in the press:

  • 92 Ibid., p. 1.

We have much enquiry concerning knowledge in these latter times. The sonnes of Adam are now as busie as ever himself was, about Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, shaking the boughs of it, and scrambling for the fruit: whilest, I fear, many are too unmindfull of the Tree of Life92.

  • 93 Ibid., sig. A, A v.
  • 94 Cudworth cannot be regarded as a Puritan, but he was acceptable to the new rulers while Jasper May (...)

42Lest this be misunderstood for indifference to doctrine or for denial of the use of knowledge, it may be worth remembering that Cudworth ended his dedication with an appeal to the House of Commons “to promote ingenuous Learning”, and was careful to add: “not that onely, which furnisheth the Pulpit, which you seem to be regardfull of”, but all that contributes to “the Noble and generous Improvement of an Understanding Faculty”93. From this, if from nothing else, we might gather that Cudworth disapproved of the prevalent disputations as much as did Jasper Mayne, and was far from allying himself with those who were soon to attack human learning and even to advocate the suppression of Universities. Yet, Cudworth had been appointed Master of Clare Hall, Cambridge, by the Parliamentary Visitors, and he was later on intimate terms with Cromwell’s secretary, Thurloe. This only goes to show that men of different persuasions94 were weary of the contentiousness which the pulpit as well as the press helped to foster, and that their plea for avoiding disputes was prompted by their desire both to establish concord and to promote the true Christian life. Unless we keep this in mind we cannot rightly assess the object of the reform of pulpit oratory, or its effect on the manner and matter of sermons in the succeeding age.

  • 95 A Presbyterian minister. Geree is said to have been so horrified at the execution of Charles I tha (...)

43A little tract published in 1646 by John Geree95, The Character of an old English puritane or non-conformist, may help us form a fair estimate of what the Puritans of an earlier generation expected of their sermons and what, no doubt, many of those who were not caught by the frenzy to argue or in thrall to the extremer Sects, continued to expect. The author, a “Preacher of the Word”, is obviously harking back to happier days: the old English Puritan, he tells us, was such a one that

  • 96 The Character of an old English puritane or non-conformist. By John Geree, M.A. and Preacher of th (...)

he esteemed that preaching best wherein was most of God, least of man, when vain flourishes of wit, and words were declined, and the demonstration of Gods power and spirit studied, yet could he distinguish between studied plainnesse and negligent rudenesse. He accounted perspicuitie the best grace of a Preacher. And that method best which was most helpful to understanding, affection, and memory. To which ordinarily he esteemed none so conducible as that by doctrine, reason and use96.

44As to discipline, it is beyond argument:

  • 97 Ibid., p. 4.

He thought God had left a rule in his word for discipline, and that Aristocraticall by Elders, not Monarchicall by bishops, nor democraticall by the people97.

45In true Puritan fashion the author then goes on:

  • 98 Ibid.

he disliked such Church-musicke as moved sensual delight, and was hinderance to spiritual enlargements. He accounted subjection to the Higher powers to be part of pure religion... Yet did he distinguish between Authority, and lust of Magistrates98.

46Given the varieties of Puritan as well as of Anglican preaching, it would seem, then, that the distinguishing mark between the two groups lay mainly in the use of ‘carnal wisdom’: to Geree preaching is best wherein is most of God, least of man. Even though this may not always be a safe criterion, it certainly accounts for the emphasis, in later discussions of pulpit oratory, on the use of human learning as well as on the use of figurative language. As we shall see, one of the central themes of Anglican divines after the Restoration was the agreeableness of faith to reason, which to the Puritans was anathema since they firmly held to the segregation of the realms of nature and of grace. The Anglican reformers of pulpit oratory advised preachers to make sparing use of quotations, not because this was evil but because it was apt to be above the capacity of their hearers, and was often no more than mere ostentation of learning. On the other hand, the Word of God being often figurative the Puritans did not discourage the use of tropes provided they derived from the Bible; nor did they discourage the use of familiar images which brought the Word of God to the capacity of their hearers. This no doubt encouraged the Puritans’ —or rather, some extreme Sects’—use of cant, which was ridiculed after the Restoration, notably by Robert South.

  • 99 Hobbes also thought that the Independents were ‘a brood of Presbyterian hatching
  • 100 See, for instance, those of Edmund Calamy, Richard Baxter, and Mr. Bates, in Farewell Sermons Prea (...)
  • 101 Reynolds became Bishop of Norwich in 1661, i.e. before the Savoy Conference had failed to give sat (...)

47The older Puritans’slight on ‘carnal wisdom’ had usually been counterbalanced by their logical strictness, but after the Assembly of Divines failed to establish a National Church the Sects began to proliferate, and in many of them inspiration took the place of dialectics. The spirit of enthusiasm was abroad. Just as in the social and political fields the more conservative Presbyterians tended to veer towards the old Loyalists, as they were to do in the Convention Parliament of 1659, so in the matter of preaching they would frown upon the extravagances of the ‘fanatics’ no less than did the Anglicans, and Prynne thundered against the Sects with as much violence as he had against the Prelates. After the Restoration, however, attacks on the fanatics’ jargon always imply that this was a characteristic of all Puritans. This blurring of differences no doubt made matters easier for those who wished to include them all in their opprobrium or ridicule; it may also have reflected the view voiced by South in an anniversary sermon on the death of Charles I, that the Presbyterians were in fact responsible for letting loose the flood of enthusiasm no less than of republican feelings99 From then on the distinction seems to be clear-cut between Conformists’ and Nonconformists’ oratory; or, at least, so the members of the Establishment would have us believe. But we should not allow ourselves to be guided by their prejudices. We need only turn to the sermons of Baxter or of Calamy to disprove this view. On reading, for instance, the Farewell Sermons100 preached by the ministers who were ejected in 1662, one is struck by their reasonableness and by their moderate tone, and their language is just as ‘sensible’ as any Anglican divine’s. Among the former Presbyterians who did conform Edward Reynolds101 may be accounted one of the best preachers of his time: the clear exposition and smooth development of the theme, the pregnant statement, the nervous yet easy style, together with the controlled feeling, suggest a mind of the first order. Indeed, on reading him one wonders whether in his brief career as Dean of Christ Church he did not contribute to mould the young divine whose sermons have the same vigour and pregnancy, Robert South.

  • 102 A Sermon touching the use of humane learning. Preached in Mercers’Chapel, at the Funeral of that l (...)
  • 103 The Pastoral Office, opened in a visitation sermon preached at Ipswich, Oct. 10, 1662, in The Whol (...)
  • 104 Ibid.
  • 105 Ibid.

48Edward Reynolds, no less than Ralph Cudworth, highly valued human learning, and for one of his sermons (preached in 1657) he chose as his text Acts VII. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds; in it he argued that by the apostle Paul—who, he says, mentions it among his privileges, that he was brought up a scholar—“the Lord has given so much honour unto humane learning”102. He returned to the point in a sermon to his clergy on The Pastoral Office (1662), and asked the question which would inevitably have occurred to many of them: “how far forth a minister may make use of human wit or learning in the service of the Church”, In answer to which he stated clearly that learning is a gift of God, and “every good gift of God may be sanctified for the use of the Church”103. He did not hesitate to tell them that wit too “though it be naturally a proud and unruly thing, yet it may be so sanctified with grace, and fixed by humility, as to be of great use to the Church of God”104; he warned them, however, not to indulge in it too much, “nor loosen the reins unto luxuriancy and fancy”, but to “proportion their ballast to their sail... so as they (might) render severe and solid truths the more amiable”105.

  • 106 See Barbara Kiefer-Lewalski: ‘Milton: Political Beliefs and Polemical Methods, 1659-60’, PMLA, LXX (...)
  • 107 See, for instance, the Baptist Samuel How’s The Sufficiency of the Spirits Teaching, without Human (...)
  • 108 Quoted by Mitchell, op. cit., p. 126.
  • 109 John Webster: Academiarum Examen, or the Examination of Academies, London, 1653, p. 3; The Saints (...)

49Perkins also had recognized the use of profane learning for the preparation of sermons, provided it be concealed in the ‘promulgation’ of them. By mid-century, however, the position had hardened in certain quarters. Milton’s repudiation of university learning as unprofitable for preachers may be part of his tactical game to gain his main point, the suppression of tithes106; it is none the less characteristic of the extreme view held by some Puritans107. At one point he even goes so far as to state that “that which makes fit a minister, the scripture can best informe us to be only from above”, thus seemingly endorsing the view that all a minister needs is the inner light. Sydrach Simpson, the Independent Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, also asserted that human learning was not a preparation appointed by Christ, “either for the right understanding or right teaching of the Gospel”108. But some went even further, for instance, John Webster, a Cambridge graduate and a former Army Chaplain, who denied the use of learning altogether on the ground that preaching is by direct inspiration. In two tracts published in 1653, Academiarum Examen (dedicated to Major General Lambert) and The Saints Guide, he argued that just as poeta nascitur, non fit, what the preacher needs is the divine afflatus, not art109. William Dell, a former Army Chaplain and then Master of Caius College, Cambridge, also denied the use of human learning in his Confutation of Divers Gross and Antichristian Errors (1654),

  • 110 Quoted by V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 138.

For humane (as opposed to scriptural) learning mingled with divinity, or the Gospel of Christ understood according to Aristotle, hath begun, continued, and perfected the mysterie of iniquity in the outward Church110.

  • 111 William Dell: The Tryall of Spirits, both in Teachers and Hearers, wherein is held forth the clear (...)
  • 112 John Owen: Of the Divine Originall, Authority, Self-Evidencing Light and Power of the Scripture, O (...)

50He had already expounded this view the preceding year in The Tryall of Spirits, which can best be described as highly ‘enthusiastic’111. John Owen, Dean of Christ Church and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford after Reynolds, though by no means ready to do away with houses of learning, also stressed the danger of mixing human learning in the explication of Scripture112.

51Such repudiation of human knowledge openly contradicted the injunctions of the Directory for Public Worship issued by ordinance of Parliament in 1644. Though the Directory ordered that the preacher should speak

  • 113 A Directory for the Public Worship of God Throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and (...)

Plainly, that the meanest may understand, delivering the truth, not in the entising words of mans wisdome, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, least the Crosse of Christ should be made of none effect: abstaining also from unprofitable use of unknown Tongues, strange phrases, and cadences of sounds and words, sparingly citing sentences of Ecclesiastical, or other humane writers, ancient or moderne, be they never so elegant113

52it also stated that

  • 114 Ibid., pp. 27-28.

It is presupposed (according to the Rules for Ordination) that the Minister of Christ is in some good measure gifted for so weighty a service, by his skill in the Originall Languages, and in such Arts and Sciences as are handmaids of Divinity, by his knowledge in the whole Body of Theology but most of all in the holy Scriptures114.

53The whole chapter of the Directory on ‘The Preaching of the Word’ in fact gives clear directions for avoiding most of the excesses which later reformers were to denounce, and some of these reformers were probably indebted to it, notably Wilkins. But by the fifties these directions were no longer heeded, and, as in the case of Reynolds, moderate Presbyterians had been replaced by Independents in many influential places (Dell and Simpson were both heads of Cambridge Houses). Not that the Independents were all illuminati; but Cromwell’s policy of toleration allowed the Sects to worship and preach freely, and the Independents were loth to restrain them, as they themselves had been restrained by the ‘new forcers of conscience Moreover, some of the Independents denied, contrary to the Presbyterians (and to the Anglicans), that special revelations had ceased; hence, their readiness to allow for the gift of preaching under the guidance of the Spirit alone.

  • 115 V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 140. Cromwell, who had become Chancellor of Oxford University in 1650, (...)
  • 116 Bosher, op. cit., p. 7.
  • 117 See The Scribe Instructed, in Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th ed., London, 1727, IV, (...)

54Whatever the defects of university training and their corrupting influence on preaching, which even Anglicans like Eachard denounced as late as 1670, only the extreme Puritans were out to suppress learning and advocated disendowment of Universities. “Cromwell himself had had no doubt that the Universities must serve as nurseries of ‘godly’ learning. He would defend them against threatened disendowment by extremists of his own party, but he held sternly that their chief function was to supply pious teachers and ministers”115. Cudworth’s appeal to the Commons in 1647 is significant in so far as he assumed that they would be careful of learning “which furnishes the pulpit”, but urged them also to further’ ingenuous learning’. The conflict between advocates of a learned and those of a godly ministry became sharper after the ordinance of March 1654 for regulating the selection of ministers. Commissioners or ‘Triers’ were appointed to examine the qualification of the candidates: “Including Presbyterians, Independents, and Anabaptists, the Commission determined whether the applicant was of ‘known godliness and integrity’ and of ‘holy and good conversation’. It was not empowered to deal with questions of ordination or doctrine”116. The Triers were to be remembered bitterly by South117, and no doubt in their proceedings they often put a premium on the godly deportment of men, whether sincere or feigned. The fear that men wholly unfit might be selected for the ministry prompted a number of defences of human learning by both Anglicans and moderate Puritans, who regarded it as a necessary part of the ministers’ training.

  • 118 He says he was “prevented by illness from preaching”.
  • 119 Gildas Salvianus, The Reform’d Pastor, op. cit., p. 360.
  • 120 The sermon was preached on 31 March; on 1 May, 1647, appeared an ordinance of Parliament for the V (...)
  • 121 No more than Cudworth can Whichcote be called a Puritan, though he seems to have admired Cromwell. (...)

55Reynolds, as we saw, vindicated the use of learning in 1657. In a sermon he had prepared to preach on 4 December, 1655, and published in 1656118, Baxter warned the people against “Papists in garb of Sects”, who, to bring them back to Rome, were crying down tithes and maintenance of clergy, both of which were then usually justified partly by the need to repay ministers for the expense of their education and to allow them to prepare adequately for their task by further study. Baxter, however, not only insisted on the necessity for the pastor to speak to the capacity of all men, but advised him to use evidence and ornaments from Scripture rather than from “Aristotle and the authority of men”; “let all writers, he said, have their due esteem, but compare none of them with the Word of God”119. As early as 1647 Cudworth strongly urged the Commons to promote learning at the Universities120. The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Benjamin Whichcote121, also supported learning and to him Sedgewick dedicated his reply to William Dell in 1653. Even Anthony Tuckney, the rigid Calvinist Master of St. John’s, Cambridge, is reported to have said, at the time of electing fellows, that

  • 122 Quoted by Tulloch, op. cit., II, 54.

no one should have a greater regard to the godly than himself; but he was determined to choose none but scholars— adding very wisely, ‘they may deceive me in their godliness, they cannot in their scholarship’122.

  • 123 (Seth Ward): Vindiciae Academiarnm. Containing Some briefe Animadversions upon Mr Websters Book St (...)

56The Anglican Seth Ward published (anonymously) a tract in reply to the attacks of William Dell and John Webster (and Hobbes) and called it after the latter’s pamphlet Vindiciae Academiarum123. Another tract, also directed against William Dell, is of particular interest because it shows to what fantastic use of language the enthusiasts resorted as a consequence of being driven by the Spirit alone. In ἘIIIΣΚOIIOΣ ΔIΔAKTIKOΣ (1653), which he dedicated to Whichcote, Joseph Sedgewick, himself a Fellow of Christ’s, Cambridge, repudiated Dell’s assertion that to a gospel ministry learning, arts, and sciences are altogether unnecessary. He demonstrated that the text from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians (II, 8), which the supporters of a godly rather than a learned ministry always invoked, had been misunderstood by them:

  • 124 Joseph Sedgewick: ἘIIIΣΚOIIOΣ ΔIΔAKTIKOΣ. Learning’s necessity to an able minister of the Gospel, (...)

What learning St Paul speaks against, is condemned by learning itself. Philosophy, or the then-Philosophy, opposed reason as well as the Gospel. The place of Col. 2 answers itself. Philosophy according to the traditions of men and the principles of the world, the philosophy of the Sects, philosophical quirks and subtilties and ungrounded dreams and fancies concerning Angels and the like, is nothing to genuine Philosophy proceeding upon true principles of nature, that is, God’s discovery of himself to our understandings by the light of reason and works of Creation124.

  • 125 William Dell: The Stumbling Stone, London, 1653.
  • 126 He rehearses the usual accusations against the learned clergy: that they speak Hebrew, Latin and G (...)

57Sedgewick published this tract together with a sermon he had preached at St. Mary’s, Cambridge, on 1 May, 1653. The title of the book defines his object clearly enough: A sermon preached at St Maries’in the University of Cambridge, May 1st, 1653. Or, An Essay to the Discovery of the Spirit of Enthusiasm and pretended Inspiration, that disturbs and strikes at the Universities. Together with an Appendix, wherein Mr Dell’s Stumbling Stone125 is briefly replied unto. And a fuller discourse of the use of Universities and Learning upon ecclesiastic all accounts, etc. In the sermon he argues that it is contrary to the Apostle’s words to despise the gifts of God, and that ministers must make use of their gifts126. In the answer to Dell he states emphatically that he should be

  • 127 Op. cit., p. 20.

ill-satisfied in an irrational gospel, and an opposition betwixt the discovery of God in natural light and post-revealed truth; for the first is a divine revelation127.

58The point is of interest because it is a central tenet of Anglican thought after the Restoration that the Word of God is a second revelation, the first being the natural notions implanted in the heart of man. Equally important is the fact that Sedgewick, who would not countenance an ‘irrational Gospel was also horrified by the extravagant language of the enthusiasts. He thus makes clear the relation between ‘enthusiasm’—even though limited, as in the case of some Independents, to belief that special revelations had not ceased—and the cant for which after the Restoration all Puritan preaching came to be branded. In enthusiasm, then, rather than in Puritanism as such, lies the source of the attacks on human learning as well as of the fantastic jargon which discredited the Saints. Having shown that St. Paul only meant to censure vain philosophy and the painted rhetoric of his times, Sedgewick went on to say:

  • 128 Op. cit., p. 55.

Yet true raisedness of expression, a majestical state, and artificial and genuine insinuations, with most pathetical captivatings of the mind, are obvious in Scripture: as obvious as fantastical cloud-reachings are affectedly frequent in our new formalists enthusiasm128.

59In his sermon at Carfax Church in 1646 Jasper Mayne had already attacked the dangerous error that universities, books, studies, and learning, are not necessary preparatories to make a preacher of the Gospel, and that

  • 129 Op. cit., p. 6.

any layman... if he find by himself that he is called by the Spirit of God, may put himself into orders and take the ministry upon him129.

60Though he was ready to grant that private inspiration was still possible, and that God might raise prophets now, yet he very much doubted whether God actually did so. In refuting the view that the Anglican clergy was unsanctified because the preacher did not claim to speak by the gift of the Spirit, he remarked on the new style of preaching and on the extravagances with which extempore—i.e. ‘gifted’ —preachers dazzled the people:

  • 130 Op. cit., p. 38.

Some pulpits have been thought unsanctified, because the preacher was not gifted, because he has not expressed himself in that light, fluent, running, passionate, zealous style, which should make him for that time appear religiously distracted, or beside himself. Or because his prayer, or Sermon hath been premeditated, and has not flown from him in such an ex-tempore loose career of devout emptiness and nothings, as serve only to entertain the people, as bubbles do children, with a thin, unsolid, brittle, painted blast of wind and air130

61Beside this Sedgewick’s denunciation of enthusiasm may well have struck South as mere ‘post-dated loyalty’.

  • 131 See George Williamson: ‘The Restoration Revolt against Enthusiasm’, SP, XXX (1933), 571-604.
  • 132 J.R. Sutherland: ‘Robert South’, Review of English Literature, I, 1 (1960).
  • 133 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 110.

62By showing up the absurdity of preaching by the Spirit, and the ‘entertainment’ it offered to the uneducated, Mayne had indirectly defined one aspect of the ‘rationalism’ of the succeeding age, and also implied the class-distinction which marks off enthusiastic writing from neo-classical literature. Conversely, one may say that the stress on reason and good sense, premeditation and control, which characterizes neo-classicism, was due, partly at least, to the reaction against the excesses of enthusiasm in religion in the preceding age131. It is surely no accident that the classical temper is best defined in a sermon on extempore prayers by Robert South (like Mayne, a Christ-Church man); nor that the patrician scorn132 of this Restoration preacher should be so often aimed at the unthinking rabble that can be entertained by mere bubbles. The clarity and sobriety of Restoration prose, the premium set on perspicuity, the distrust of metaphorical language, the preference for language such as men do use, may well have other sources than this reaction against the turgid speeches which had caused such revolutions in Church and State. But the revulsion from this should also be taken into account. Similarly, the emphasis on order and propriety in language and literature no less than in religion and politics, appears as the natural reaction against the anarchy of the closing years of the Interregnum. One need only turn to the poems celebrating the return of Charles II to realize that the promise of peace and order was welcomed with relief. And these are the very qualities which the reformers of pulpit oratory advocated again and again: a clear method, a perspicuous and natural style, a sober exposition of doctrine and use, and above all avoidance of needless controversies. Though emphasis on these qualities did in the long run foster the dullness of eighteenth-century preaching, though indeed by the end of the seventeenth century “the great days of pulpit oratory are over”133 it was an inevitable, and on the whole a healthy, reaction against the excesses of the previous age. Together with other factors, it certainly encouraged a taste for clear thinking and precise statement, for easy and natural expression, for a mode of exposition that is at once persuasive and undogmatic, and for a style that is both polished and free from decoration. It may also have contributed to bring home to the poets that, as T.S. Eliot himself a great admirer of Dryden said, verse should have the virtues of good prose. The fact that for mediocre writers poetry was hardly more than rhymed prose—and not good prose at that—casts no reflection on the practice of men like Dryden, whose prose and verse alike show to what varied uses he could put the medium which the reformers had contributed to shape.

  • 134 As we shall see, Baxter’s warning against Papists in the garb of Sects cannot be dismissed as a me (...)
  • 135 This was laid down explicitly in the Directions Concerning Preachers issued by the King in 1662: “ (...)
  • 136 See Pilgrim’s visit to Vanity Fair.
  • 137 The parishioners of Tillotson at Keddington were dissatisfied because he did not ‘preach Jesus Chr (...)

63On the other hand, the rationalism of Anglican theology after the Restoration, however deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church of England, was no doubt accentuated by the need to resist attacks against reason on both fronts, from the Dissenters and from the Romanists134. The Church’s emphasis, after the Restoration, on the agreeableness of faith and reason, her refusal to be drawn into controversy over ‘abstruse and speculative notions’ such as election and reprobation, her insistence upon catechetical doctrines and upon their application to right practice135, may be regarded in the main as a return to the humanistic tradition, from which the subtle arguments of the Calvinists or the exegesis of the witty preachers no less than the extravagances of the Saints widely diverged. And the efforts of the reformers of pulpit oratory all bore in the same direction. It is surely no accident that the most influential of these, both through his treatise on preaching and through his own practice and life, should have called his manual for aspiring preachers Ecclesiastes. Such emphasis often resulted in ‘mere moral preaching an accusation that was often levelled at the Anglican clergy by the Dissenters136 or even by the stricter members of their own congregations137; but it also ensured that the people should be edified in the central truths of Christianity, truths which, as the preachers repeatedly emphasized, are not merely speculative, but operative truths. And this very insistence was made the more necessary by the spread of Antinomianism as well as of infidelity and licentiousness. Given the circumstances, the reform of pulpit oratory was bound to be towards simplicity and perspicuity, and to emphasize the need for preachers to be trained in human as well as in divine knowledge.

***

  • 138 F.P. Wilson, op. cit, p. 101.

64When we consider the chorus of divines who “by the third quarter of the century [are] pleading for the plain style and alluding contemptuously to fantastic wit or the squeezing of a text”138, the most striking thing is that they all come from the Anglican fold, and that many of them distinctly refer the vices they censure to the Puritans’ practice. This was not unnatural considering the excesses of the Saints and of some Calvinists, even though the Anglicans may have been a little too prone to fasten the blame on the other party. In the earlier part of the century, however, the attacks had usually come from the other side, from Puritans concerned that all the sheep be fed. Such was clearly one of the main purposes of the Directory issued by the Assembly of Divines in 1644, which among the reasons for abolishing the Book of Common Prayer, stated that

  • 139 Directory, op. cit., Preface, p. 3.

Prelates and their Faction have laboured to raise the Estimation of it to such an Height... to the great hinderance of the Preaching of the Word, and (in some places, especially of late) to the justling it out, as unnecessary; or (at best) as far inferiour to the Reading of Common-Prayer139.

65Both the method and the style recommended in their directions for preaching are plain and perspicuous: the minister is to choose a text ‘holding forth some principle or head of Religion to give a brief and perspicuous introduction from the text, or context, or some parallel place; if the text is long he is to give a brief summary, if short a paraphrase, but

  • 140 Ibid., p. 29.

In both, looking diligently to the scope of the Text, and pointing at the chief heads and grounds of Doctrine, which he is to raise from it140.

66This would have restrained the argumentative skill of preachers apt to enlarge upon their text in order to bring in far-fetched observations, as would the recommendation on how to “raise doctrine from the text”, particularly

  • 141 pp. 29-30.

that he chiefly insist upon those Doctrines which are principally intended, and make most for the edification of the hearers141.

  • 142 p. 38.
  • 143 p. 24.

67Division of the text according to words is to be eschewed, nor must the members be so numerous that they burden the memory of the hearers or entail the use of terms of art. The doctrine must be plain, and the arguments solid; all cavils are to be avoided. The preacher is to apply the doctrine for instruction, to exhort or dehort, to apply comfort or give’ notes of trial’ that the hearers “may be able to examine themselves”142. He is neither to prosecute all the doctrines in the text nor to infer all the uses. And the style is to be plain “that the meanest may understand”, free from quotations in unknown tongues and from “cadences of sounds and words”143.

  • 144 London, 1646.
  • 145 See Thomas Sprat: History of the Royal Society (1667), ed. J.I. Cope and H.W. Jones, St. Louis-Lon (...)
  • 146 Ecclesiastes, Preface.

68Such a method would, on the whole, have suited most Anglican reformers after the Restoration. And it is characteristic that the sermon manual most influential in the next age was clearly based on the Directory. This appears from Wilkins’s subtitle to Ecclesiastes, or A Discourse Concerning the Gift of Preaching as it falls under the rules of art. Shewing the most proper rules and directions, for method, invention, books, expression, whereby a minister may be furnished with such abilities as may make him a Workman that needs not to be ashamed, but may save himself, and those that heare him144. The last words (“a Workman that...”) reproduce verbatim the end of the first paragraph on preaching in the Directory and must have been recognizable to all readers. Besides, the Directory went on to say that certain abilities were ‘presupposed’ in all ministers, and Wilkins proposes to furnish them with such abilities. A reference in the preface To the Reader to “the vacancy of many places purged from scandalous ministers” may reveal the author’s sympathies with the Puritans, unless he is merely using the cant of the time. Wilkins, who was later to become Bishop of Chester, could be all things to all men, and was eminently fit to act as a mediator; he could rise above party, and he encouraged research and peaceful exchange of ideas at a time when controversies were raging145. In his sermon manual, as in his later dealings with men of opposite parties, he fostered that reasonable and equable temper that was his main quality. Though his was not, it seems, a mind of the first order, his interests—ranging from mechanics to the principles of a ‘Universal Character’ and to divinity—were as many and as diverse as his sympathies were wide, and he is perhaps best described as an early Latitudinarian. His manual is intended to show to “those who pretend to the gift of preaching yet understand only their mother tongue... that great disadvantage in the want of academic education and learning”, for the gift of preaching is an art, and must be acquired, it is “no longer bestowed upon men by any special infusion”; as he says: “A man may as well expect to be inspired with a gift of tongues, as with a gift of preaching”146.

  • 147 On Keckermann, see Mitchell, op. cit., pp. 95 ff.

69For all its dependence on the Directory Wilkins’s method differs from that of the Presbyterian divines, and the differences, however slight, emphasize his own sobriety and reasonableness, just as the reference books to which he directs aspiring preachers are characteristic of his own catholic taste and broad-mindedness. First he gives a list of learned men, Protestant and others, who have written on the subject, and he states that a preacher needs both ‘spiritual’ and ‘artificial’ abilities. The best method is ‘by doctrine and use the divine orator is to teach clearly, to convince strongly, and to persuade powerfully; hence the sermon is to consist of three parts: explication, confirmation, and application. This is an important simplification of the method propounded by Keckermann as well as of the directions of the Assembly of Divines. Keckermann’ s five-fold division—consideration of the text, division, explanation, amplification, application, with the third and fourth constituting the main body of the sermon—had usually entailed a highly coloured story at the beginning (replacing the old exordium of classical oratory); though he had advised preachers to divide their text into few parts—over against the endless subdivisions of the scholastics, which many strict Calvinists were to imitate—he had also envisaged explication as discussion of every word in the text, which Andrewes and other Anglo-Catholic divines were to favour147. As to the 1644 Directory, not only had it recommended a long extempore prayer before the sermon—which, as events proved, gave occasion to many gospel preachers to show how ‘ravished’ they were—as well as another such prayer after the sermon, but it proposed a plan consisting of: introduction to the text; summary or paraphrase of it; analysis and division; raising of doctrines; arguments and illustrations, together with (occasional) clearing of doubtful places; instruction, with confirmation of doctrine and confutation of false doctrines; and finally, dehortation, comfort and (occasionally) aids to self-examination. This need not, but often may, have entailed a more complex structure than that envisaged by Wilkins. The Directory’s seven points reappear when Wilkins explains how each of the three main partsmay be further subdivided”, but by insisting on the simpler, three-fold, division he was ensuring that the sermon should have a clear and firm plan, free from all excrescences. And the advice he gave on how to handle each part contributed to the same end.

70First, for Explication. He advised preachers to avoid ingenious interpretations:

  • 148 Op. cit., p. 9.

Beware of that vain affectation of finding something new and strange in every text, though never so plain. It will not so much shew our parts (which such men aim at) as our pride, and wantonness of wit. These new projectors in Divinity are the fittest matter out of which to shape, first a Sceptick, after that a Heretick, and then an Atheist148.

  • 149 See particularly: John Wilkins: Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion, London, 1675 (ed (...)
  • 150 p. 12.

71While the first sentence reminds us of Bacon’s denunciation of the vain affectations of learning and of the cobwebs which the mind of man spins out of its own substance, the second looks forward to the insistence of Restoration divines on eschewing vain speculations because these are apt to raise doubts and to encourage infidelity. Wilkins, we remember, was to be both the friend of the new projectors in natural philosophy and a champion of faith, who opposed the spread of infidelity by insisting on the agreeableness of natural and revealed religion149. As for division of the text, he dismisses this in a few words; it is needless, and the “common practice of dissecting the words into minute parts” has too often been the occasion of impertinency150. Next, the preacher should unfold his text by inferring observations from it “by strong logical consequence” for “the wrestling of Scripture unto improper truths, may easily occasion the applying of them unto grosse falshoods”; the observations must be

  • 151 p. 12.

laid down in the most easie and perspicuous phrase that may be, not obscured by any theoretical or affected expressions; for if the hearers mistake in that, all that follows will be to little purpose151.

72In the second part, the Confirmation, the preacher is to use arguments of two kinds, quod sit and cur sit. This is the usual method recommended in all artes concionandi, but the grave Assembly divines may well have frowned on reading that the confirmation should be from testimony both human and divine, and when Wilkins went on to state that

  • 152 p. 13.

testimonies of heathen men may be proper to shew a truth agreeable to natural light152.

73True, he did not say at this stage, as he was to say later in his Principles and Duties of Natural Religion, and as his friend and disciple Tillotson was to emphasize repeatedly, that natural religion, being implanted in the heart of man by God, is the fundament of revealed religion. True, he was careful to warn his readers that

  • 153 p. 13.

to stuff a sermon with citations of authors, and the witty sayings of others, is to make a feast of vinegar and pepper, which may be delightful being used moderately as sauces, but must needs be very improper and offensive to be fed upon as diet153;

74but the difference from Perkins’s injunction to conceal all human wisdom, as well as from the Directory, is one of great moment.

  • 154 p. 14.

75Equally important is his view that the third part, the Application, is “the life and soul of a sermon”154. Though he considers two kinds of applications, doctrinal and practical, he warns preachers that in the doctrinal part

  • 155 p. 16.

we ought to be specially careful that we manage these polemical discourses 1. with solid pressing arguments... 2. with much meeknesse and lenity in differences not fundamental155.

  • 156 See (Edward Fowler): The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of Eng (...)

76This meekness and lenity in differences not fundamental rather recalls the temper of the discussions at Great Tew in the preceding decade than the tone and style of the sermons and pamphlets in the year when Wilkins published his Ecclesiastes. Though he was not associated with the men who gathered round Falkland, Wilkins may be regarded as a link between these sober and tolerant men and the Restoration divines in whom the gentle spirit of moderation prevailed, and who for that reason were called by the then opprobrious name ‘Latitudinarians’ 156.

  • 157 “1. It must be plain and natural, not being darkned with the affectation of scholastical harshness (...)

77Wilkins’s recommendations for Expression, in the third part of his manual, have been given due importance in all discussions of seventeenth-century prose because they must have contributed to the triumph of the plain prose that became the standard after the Restoration. The phrase, Wilkins said, should be plain, full, wholesome, and affectionate; and in developing the first two points157 he described a mean between the extremes of brevity and orotundity, and categorically repudiated all ornaments of speech, invoking the authority of St. Paul, though others had shown, and were to show, that the Apostle had only condemned vain rhetoric. Wilkins, then, favoured bare rather than plain prose, and the reason for this may be found in what he says on the next point, wholesomeness:

  • 158 p. 73.

False opinions doe many times insinuate themselves by the use of suspicious phrases. And ’tis a dangerous fault when men cannot content themselves with the wholsome form of sound words, but do altogether affect new light and new language, which may in time destroy practical Godliness and the power of religion158.

  • 159 R.F. Jones has argued that Wilkins’s first two requirements for style derived from the impact of t (...)

78Like Jasper Mayne, Wilkins clearly feared the empty nothings and far-fetched similitudes which dazzle the people and destroy practical godliness. Though his own reasonable temper as well as his interest in scientific experiments159 may have made him naturally averse from all metaphorical language, it is clear that his main concern is with the corruption of doctrine that may result from the imposture of words. A man whose temper and style were as different as may be from Wilkins’s, Robert South, was to say no less of the absurd language that perverted people’s religion. What Wilkins recommends, then, is a clear and perspicuous style, free from needless amplifications and from ‘flaunting affected eloquence’. True, in his later Discourse Concerning the Gift of Prayer (1653) Wilkins condemned both negligence and affectation of wild ‘mystical’ phrases, both of which characterized the enthusiasts’ discourses. But his later work on a universal character, i.e. a set of symbols which might figure ideas in an unambiguous way and thus avoid the danger of confusion through the metaphorical use of language, only accentuated his bent towards mathematical plainness. However interesting his Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668)—and Newton devoted some time to similar research—such reduction of words to mathematical symbols could only have resulted in something like the language used by the inhabitants of Swift’s flying island. But given the interest many people then took in reducing language to method, such schemes were likely to appeal to men like Sir William Petty, Evelyn, and other members of the Royal Society, who, like Hobbes, were much concerned with the inconstant signification of words.

  • 160 Sermons preached upon several occasions before the King at Whitehall, By the Right Rev. Father in (...)
  • 161 Op. cit., p. 110.
  • 162 The last of Wilkins’s recommendations need not concern us here: expression must be “affectionate a (...)

79The danger of Wilkins’s emphasis on bareness is at once apparent when one turns to his own sermons160: the style is indeed plain and natural, and he certainly has not made it his chief study to polish his phrases and words; but after reading him one may say with Pope: “We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep”. Such may well have been the opinion of the Merry Monarch, who liked sermons to be short and plain, but pithy, and who relished the sallies of Robert South. When we come to Wilkins’s disciple Tillotson we realize that, as Burnet said in his funeral oration, he had profited from his work on the Universal Character, but we may also agree with the late F.P. Wilson that “he has every virtue and but one vice, the vice of being dull”161. More was needed than to retrench empty tautologies and rhetorical flourishes or to avoid scholastical harshness; but at the time when Wilkins was writing his manual, closeness to the matter in hand must have appeared as devoutly to be wished 162. And later reformers of pulpit oratory were to emphasize the point again and again.

  • 163 p. 43.
  • 164 p. 49.

80To consider only the method and style of preaching recommended by Wilkins may be misleading if one ignores the second part of his book, dealing with matter. Though the minister is to avoid all affectation of learning in his sermons, he must command considerable knowledge to expound Scripture rightly. Wilkins takes it for granted that a minister has the Old and the New Testament both in the originals and in the most authentic translations, and he only lists reference books which will help him to interpret Scripture. These alone cover more than forty pages of his manual, ranging from dictionaries to ascertain the true meaning of Hebrew or Greek words, to commentaries on Scripture, to controversies about points of doctrine and of discipline, to studies on Jewish and pagan philosophy, on the writings of the Fathers, on ecclesiastical history, etc. Wilkins’s undogmatic cast of mind best appears here, for he is content to list the reference works, and to say which side the writers defend, e.g. for or against episcopacy, for or against the Papists, for or against the Socinians, etc. True, he says that many of the controversies of the schoolmen are “but as cobwebs, fine for the spinning, but useless”163—after all Erasmus is his master—but he also acknowledges that writers such as Lombard and Aquinas will be useful. And, which is more daring at this date, he praises some Roman Catholic commentators for their “solid, pious matter” and the Jesuits for their “collections of former writers”164. Clearly a minister who followed the pattern laid down by Wilkins would not only be clear and perspicuous, but his teaching would be grounded on solid learning; what is even more important, he would have inquired impartially into the points of doctrine and discipline before he set up as a preacher. In view of the stress laid by many Restoration divines on the need for rational inquiry, Wilkins’s contribution to what Dryden called a sceptical method cannot be overemphasized. Perhaps this openness of mind is more in evidence among the Latitudinarians than among the High-Churchmen, but these too were to take their stand on reason and freedom of inquiry.

  • 165 Taking notes at sermons or even taking down whole sermons in shorthand seems to have been fairly c (...)
  • 166 Cp. with Edward Reynolds above.
  • 167 The sermon is printed in full below.

81If followers of Wilkins often sinned through dullness, no such danger threatened the divinity students who took to heart the sermon Robert South preached on 29 July, 1660, at St. Mary s, Oxford, when the King’s Commissioners met there for the visitation of the University. This sermon, The Scribe Instructed, was not published until the early eighteenth century, but since South was a renowned preacher, Orator of Oxford University from 1660 and a Canon of Christ Church from 1670, his influence is not to be discounted165, especially if we remember that his own college was a seminary of young divines. On this occasion he took for his text Matt. XIII. 52 Then said he unto them, therefore every Scribe which is instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven, is like unto a Man that is an Householder, which bringeth forth out of his Treasure Things new and old, and from this he showed what qualifications are required of a minister of God, i.e. natural abilities and abilities acquired by art or study. The three ‘faculties’ the scribe must be endowed with are judicium, to distinguish truth from error; memory, to treasure up his reading; and ‘invention i.e. imagination. This last point, South knew, was apt to offend many of his hearers, and he proceeds to vindicate this most decried faculty not only as a gift of God which may be sanctified in the work of the ministry166. but as an “excellent endowment of the mind, which gives a gloss and a shine to all the rest”167.

82South had said in his introduction that Christ, the great preacher of righteousness, was furnished with a strain of heavenly oratory, that in his sermons he used grace and ornament to gratify his hearers and the advantages of rhetoric “so as to give [his words] an easier entrance and admission into the mind and affections Here, then, was a defence of rhetoric, on the best of all authorities. The minister is to preach truth, but he is to dress it in a way that may be gratifying to his hearers; grace and ornament are necessary for, as South says, “piety engages no man to be dull, though lately, I confess, it passed with some for a mark of regeneration”, He knew, however, that imagination was associated with enthusiasm, and therefore distinguished it from “a conceited, curious, whimsical brain, which is apt to please itself in strange, odd, and ungrounded notions”. The distinction is an important one, especially as he himself was so often to ridicule the flights of fancy and the unnatural jargon of the Puritans; but he had stated at the outset that preparation for the ministry is by instruction, not by infusion. Indeed, the whole drift of the discourse is a defence of the learning necessary to ministers, and a refutation of the arguments which had been advanced in the previous years for the disendowment of Universities. South obviously took occasion of the Commissioners meeting to enter this plea in favour of a learned ministry, of which the defence of rhetoric is only a part. He recognized that a sermon must be adapted to the circumstances, tempers, and apprehensions of the hearers and therefore must “rise or fall in the degrees of its plainness, or quickness, according to their dullness, or docility”; the preacher is to bring out of his treasure such entertainment as will be answerable to his guests’ palates as well as to the season of the feast. Both propriety and grace are necessary. His ideal—and he does say that he is giving a rule for the perfection to which preachers ought to aspire—may be regarded as that of the classical orators. The central notion is decorum, which governs the use of ornament. Indeed, South ventures to give of Christ’s sermons—with a reverential acknowledgment of the differences—the testimony which Cicero gave of Demosthenes’ orations. Like Cicero he wishes the preacher not only to be furnished with imagination, but to be trained in the use of it, that is, in rhetoric, for “as bare words convey, so the propriety and elegancy of them gives force and facility to the conveyance”. To him as to the Puritan John Prideaux Scripture is not only a body of religion but “a system of rhetoric”. He argues against the upholders of the bare style that Scripture does not engage men to be dull, flat and slovenly in their sermons, for this is to mistake the majesty of the matter. Still, a caution is needed since some enemies of rhetoric have also developed a new kind of figurative language, “their whole discourse being one continued meiosis to diminish, lessen, and debase the great things of the Gospel”. The words of the text he is expounding, South argues, mean nothing else but a plenty, or fluent dexterity of the most suitable words, and pregnant arguments, to set off and enforce Gospel truths. He would have agreed that ‘True wit is nature to advantage dressed’, since he had vindicated fancy on the ground that it is the

power or ability of the mind, which suggests apposite and pertinent expressions, and handsome ways of clothing and setting off those truths, which the judgment has rationally pitched upon.

  • 168 See Francis Bacon: Advancement of Learning, in Works, ed. J. Spedding, R.L. Ellis & D.D. Heath, Lo (...)

83In all this one is struck by South’s emphasis on the traditional conception of rhetoric as an art of persuasion in aid of, and grounded in, logic. He condemns both the whimsies of an unruly fancy and the dry arguments of mere dialecticians, as well as all slovenly language. Bacon himself would have agreed that rhetoric is necessary to win assent, and he could have found nothing to reprove in South’s programme168. Discipline and control in the use of ornament is what South advocates, and the elegancies will set off the truths propounded. His defence of rhetoric is based, like Bacon’s, on the old faculty psychology: only “that which gives a clear representation of a thing to the apprehension, makes a suitable impression of it upon the will and affections”, therefore the preacher is to give to men not universals but “a clear and lively idea of particulars But he can also ground it on the authority of St. Paul, who could not have insinuated himself so successfully into both Jews and Gentiles if he had not been “a man of learning and skill in the art and methods of rhetoric”.

  • 169 Unless it was inspired by it, since the text as we have it was first published in 1715.
  • 170 It is too long to be quoted here, but see the sermon, below.

84The third part of the sermon—Inferences—defines the right style of pulpit oratory as opposed to the two extremes: “indecent levity” and the “coarse, careless, rude and insipid way Unlike Wilkins, South is not content to define by means of negatives: for him true wit is “a severe and manly thing”, it is consistent with wisdom and in divinity is nothing else but “sacred truths suitably expressed”, a definition which looks forward to Dryden’s ‘propriety of thoughts and words’ 169. The passage is an epitome of all the abuses in pulpit oratory in the seventeenth century, ranged under the two main heads of indecent (i.e. inappropriate) wit and of mean, insipid style170; under the latter, however, he includes the over-subtleties of the strict Calvinists and the extempore preaching of the enthusiasts, and he ascribes them both to the breathings of the spirit. This, of course, is a flagrant distortion of the facts, for the over-ingenious discourses of the Calvinists were the product of their dialectical skill, not of the ‘motions of the spirit’. But South may well have lumped together the Presbyterians’, the Independents’ and the Sects’ ways of preaching for the sake of argument, since the sermon ends on a violent diatribe against the Puritans, typified by his ‘Holderforth’, a nickname that was to stick to them ever after.

  • 171 Op. cit., V, 416.

85However much the picture South gives us of the oratory of the preceding years may be distorted by his partisan zeal, it is none the less interesting because it ranges from the excesses of the Anglo-Catholic divines to the absurdities of the tub-preachers. It should be remembered that South also censured the florid style of Jeremy Taylor—who had once committed what to South was the unpardonable sin, advocating accommodation with the Puritans, but had since persecuted them in his own diocese—in a sermon preached at Christ Church in 1668, shortly after Taylor’s death. In this sermon, on Luke XXI. 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist, South once more vindicates the need of learning for the ministry, as well as their claim to a due maintenance from the country, against those who believe that ministers should live “not only as spiritual persons, but as spirits”171. Christ promised to give his Apostles a mouth and wisdom, since

  • 172 Ibid., p. 430.

it was highly requisite, that those, who were to be the interpreters and spokesmen of Heaven, should have a rhetorick taught them from thence too172.

  • 173 See S. Spiker: ‘Figures of Speech in the Sermons of Robert South’, RES. XVI (1940), 444-55.
  • 174 See R. Tuve, op. cit.

86Now, this ability of speech conferred on the Apostles had, South says, these three properties: clearness and perspicuity; unaffected plainness and simplicity; a suitable and becoming zeal or fervour. In developing these points South defined his own conception of plainness. Whereas in the earlier sermon he had vindicated the use of rhetoric, here the stress is on perspicuity. Some critics have tried to reconcile what seemed to them South’s conflicting views of pulpit oratory173; but in fact the two are perfectly consistent given the teachings of traditional rhetoric, which South had already recalled in his 1660 sermon through his reference to Cicero. Renaissance manuals of oratory and of poetry, like their classical Latin models, had treated imagery as conducive to ‘clearness’, as means to illuminate or convey truths174. South stressed the necessity both to persuade and to convince; he never considered that the two could be divorced, though in one sermon he emphasized the need to reach the ‘intellectual part’ through lively particulars, and in the other that

  • 175 Op. cit., V, 432.

there could be no effectual Passage into the Will, but through the Judgment, nor any free admission into the former, but by a full passport from the latter175

87The premium he set on perspicuity was intended to discourage confused and disorderly thinking as well as obscurity of speech. For all his reference to language as the dress of thought, South did not envisage that the two could exist independently of each other any more than did Pope or Johnson, for, as he said,

  • 176 Ibid., p. 433.

all obscurity of Speech is resolveable into the Confusion and Disorder of the Speaker’s Thoughts;... all Faults or Defects in a Man’s Expressions, must presuppose the same in his Notions first176.

88His defence of plainness in the 1668 sermon cannot be rightly assessed unless we view it in this perspective. When he argues that the great truths Christ and his Apostles delivered would support themselves without the aid of ornaments, that they were proposed in the plainest and most intelligible language, he is attacking the preachers who ‘amuse’ or astonish their auditories

  • 177 Ibid., p. 432.

with difficult Nothings, Rabbinical whimsies, and remote Allusions, which no Man of Sense and solid Reason can hear without Weariness and Contempt177.

  • 178 p. 433.

89Obscurity, whatever its form, defeats the purpose of the minister, and South knew that “none are so transported and pleased with it, as those, who least understand it”178. Hence, fustian bombast, high-flown metaphors, scraps of Greek and Latin, and such ‘insignificant trifles’ are to be banished from pulpit oratory, as are indeed all ‘affected schemes or airy fancies’, tropes and fine conceits, ‘numerous and well-turned periods’, jests and witticisms, language borrowed from ‘plays and romances’, or starched similitudes; in Christ’s sermons, he said, there is nothing

  • 179 pp. 435-6.

of the Fringes of the North-Star; nothing of Nature’s becoming unnatural; nothing of the Down of Angels Wings’, or the beautiful Locks of Cherubims: no starched similitudes, introduced with a thus have I seen a cloud rolling in its airy Mansion, and the like179.

90These phrases had been used by the mellifluous Taylor and would have been recognized by South’s hearers.

91If South could then be rebuked for ridiculing the late Bishop of Down and Connor, he has been more often accused of sinning against his own precepts since he could never curb his wit, and indeed never tried to. But, as in The Scribe Instructed, South is here listing all the excesses against plainness which ‘amuse’ rather than edify the hearers; he is not arguing for a bare style as such. As his own practice shows, he was as much averse to the rude insipid way as to all needless decoration and enlargements. If many of his sermons have the brilliancy of a cut diamond, it is because he set such store on clear thinking and vigorous expression. His own trenchant style closely adheres to his lucid thought and is made more lively by his apt images and his manly wit. He may indeed have inclined to a ‘comical lightness of expression’ whenever he was ridiculing the fanatics, though he might well have argued that he was keeping due decorum, if not to the sacred theme he was handling, at least to the particular matter in hand; but he never resorted to the pitiful embellishments which only emasculate the thought. As he said in another sermon in his characteristic witty way, when once more referring to gifted preachers of the Geneva model,

  • 180 Op. cit., III, 430.

while such Persons are thus busied in Preaching of Judgment, it is much to be wished, that they would do it with Judgment too180.

92The main burden of his teaching is the need for discipline of thought and words, for restraint and orderliness, for concentration and forcefulness; in his recommendations for preaching as well as in his own practice he is the champion of that clear shining beauty which is the product of a lively imagination generating the more fire as it is the better disciplined. South could have subscribed to Pope’s view that “The winged courser, like a gen’rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course”.

93His defence of set prayers best defines the advantages to be reaped from control and premeditation. Extempore prayers he brands as rude, careless, incoherent, and confused; they let the fancy run on impertinent subjects and in impertinent words, there-by encouraging loose talk and distracting the hearers from true devotion: such negligence in addressing God not only argues a profane lack of respect for Him but relaxes the tension and weakens the feelings of the hearers. A set form of prayers, on the contrary, far from stinting the spirit, ensures greater concentration on the essential part of praying, ‘affection’, and thereby intensifies devotion:

  • 181 See A Discourse against long Extemporary Prayers below.

As for a Set form, in which the words are ready prepared to our hands, the Soul has nothing to do, but to attend to the work of raising the Affections and Devotions, to go along with those words: So that all the Powers of the Soul are took up in applying the Heart to this great Duty; and it is the Exercise of the Heart (as has been already shown) that is truly and properly a praying by the Spirit181.

94No wonder that South should have championed brevity; “when the matter is not commensurate to the words”, he said, “all speaking is but tautology”, while compression enhances the energy of the thought or feeling.

  • 182 Ibid, (second sermon).

Devotion so managed, being like Water in a Well, where you have Fullness in a little Compass; which surely is much nobler, than the same carried out into many petit, creeping Rivulets, with length and shallowness together. Let him who prays, bestow all that Strength, Fervour and Attention, upon Shortness and Significance, that would otherwise run out, and lose itself in length and luxuriance of Speech to no purpose182.

  • 183 Thomas Sprat: History of the Royal Society, Section XX, op. cit, p. 113.
  • 184 G. Williamson, op. cit., p. 266.
  • 185 See The Christian Pentecost, printed below.

95Brevity and force, then, are South’s ideal of style, and in this sense he does condemn all ‘rhetorications’. His insistence that the words must be commensurate with the matter may be similar to the recommendations of the Royal Society that the scientists “deliver so many things, almost in an equal number of words183, though South was no friend of the natural philosophers; his ideals may indeed be “definitely Senecan”184; but neither the influence of Senecan models nor of Baconian research is sufficient to account for his true originality. In fact, South speaks like an artist, wishing to impart ‘Life, force, and beauty’ to all he says. Though he is an enemy of all pitiful embellishments, he feels no such horror as Baxter does for the sensuous delight given by Church music or tor the ornaments of the Church, for, he says, “I cannot persuade myself that God ever designed his Church for a rude, naked, unbeautiful lump”185; the beauties of the heavens and of the earth fill him with wonder at the variety of the gifts of God, even as do the plumes of the peacock:

  • 186 See The Christian Pentecost, printed below.

certainly we might live without the Plumes of Peacocks, and the curious Colour of Flowers; without so many different Odours, so many several Tastes, and such an infinite Diversity of Airs and Sounds. But where would then be the Glory and Lustre of the Universe? The Flourish and Gaiety of Nature186?

96Clearly, we have moved a long way from Wilkins; if South is to be accounted an apostle of plainness, it is plainness with a difference, such a difference as between the clear but insipid prose of Wilkins’s sermons and Dryden’s dedication of The Assignation to Sir Charles Sedley.

  • 187 Directions Concerning the Matter and Stile of Sermons, written to W.S., a Young Deacon, by J.A., D (...)
  • 188 See J.E. Spingarn: Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century, Oxford, 1957, II, 310-13.
  • 189 Op. cit., p. 24.
  • 190 p. 29.

97South’s repeated denunciations of vicious pulpit oratory suggest how hard it was to purify the dialect of the tribe. In 1670 Eachard ascribed the contempt of the clergy to their way of preaching. Besides rousing protests from several fellow Anglicans, his tract provoked James Arderne, a graduate of Christ’s College, Cambridge, who became a chaplain to Charles II and later Dean of Chester, to write his Directions Concerning the Matter and Stile of Sermons (1671). In his plea for a clear and plain way of preaching Arderne follows Wilkins fairly closely, and only a few of his points need be mentioned here. First, he tells his reader that the occasion of his letter is the tract in which Eachard “had laid together the most ridiculous passages of Sermons, gathered for the most part, either from Non-Conformists, or Divines of other times”187, thus laying the vices censured at the door of the Puritans and of older models. Second, he is more specific about the common speech which the preacher is to use, and his words echo such views of language as are expressed in Evelyn’s letter to Sir Peter Wyche188. Next, he censures all prying into the ‘abstrusest secrets’ of God’s Word, obviously expatiating on the Directions for Preaching issued in 1662 by the King. Finally, and here he diverges from Wilkins, he mentions a ‘variety of useful figures’ which may be ‘pleasant’, though he cautions his friend not to use too many in his discourse; he is aware that metaphors are “wholly rejected by some”, but to him they are blameable only when “either they are boldly hal’d to our purpose” or “pil’d and stack’d to the dimensions of a lusty Allegory”189. For each figure he discusses he gives similar, sensible advice, such as: not to use ‘synonimie’ in stating the proposition, because this is ‘incongruous to shortness’; to use antithesis with discretion; to avoid the repetition of words of the same sound, though he does not censure other schemes of words. About ‘periods and numbers in speech’ he has little to say except that the preacher must not be “anxiously carefull, how a sentence will fall into exact measures and proportions: this is too delicate and effeminate”190. On the whole, then, what Arderne recommends is a slightly modified form of Wilkins’s plainness, though his Directions are too brief for us to judge how far they could have encouraged a more lively style. Arderne’s advice is sober and moderate, favouring no excess, not even excessive plainness.

  • 191 See J.I. Cope: Joseph Glanvill, Anglican Apologist, St. Louis, 1956.
  • 192 See, for instance, ‘Antifanatick Theologie, and Free Philosophy in a Continuation of the New Atlan (...)
  • 193 In 1661 he had praised Baxter in a letter. See Cope, op. cit., pp. 6-7: “Like More, Stillingfleet, (...)
  • 194 See, for instance, his 1670 sermon: Defence of Reason in the Affairs of Religion, revised as Agree (...)

98Joseph Glanvill’s advocacy of a plain style was part of his vindication of the Church191, and he repeatedly returned to the attack, with varied emphasis as occasion demanded. A strong supporter of the Royal Society, he not only defended the new philosophy but shared the scientists’ stylistic ideals. His main target was religious enthusiasm and the vices in oratory associated with it192. In his two chief tracts on preaching, both published in 1678, An Essay Concerning Preaching and A Seasonable Defence of Preaching and the Plain Way of it, he strongly censured the fantastic style of the Nonconformists193 and recommended a clear perspicuous method and a plain style. Since his main purpose throughout his works was to show that faith was consistent with reason194, he distrusted all appeals to the passions and the imagination through airy mystical phrases; but he was even more concerned to further a reasonable way of preaching tending to give instruction in faith and the good life, for

  • 195 Earnest Invitation to the Sacrament (1672), quoted by Cope, op. cit., pp. 159-60.

when men once ramble in the way of phrases, metaphors, and conceits, as they lose themselves, so they perfectly dazle and amaze those others whom they should instruct195.

99What he advocated, in fact, was the sober, practical way of the Latitudinarians, who were then accused of gentilism and heathen worship because they preached morality. Yet, Glanvill argued, since the great design of religion is to perfect human nature and since Christianity is the height and perfection of morality, to disparage moral preaching is merely to disgrace true godliness and encourage atheism:

  • 196 Sermon on The Way of Happiness (first published in 1670), in Some Discourses, Sermons and Remains (...)

By which we see how ignorantly, and dangerously those people talk, that disparage morality as a dull, lame thing of no account, or reckoning. Upon this the religion of the second table is by too many neglected; and the whole mystery of the new Godliness is laid in frequent hearing, and devout seraphick talk, luscious fancies, new lights, incomes, manifestations, indwellings, sealings, and such like. Thus antinomianism and all kinds of fanaticism have made their way by the disparagement of morality... Yea, through the indiscretions, and inconsiderateness of some preachers, the fantastry and vain babble of others, and the general disposition of the people to admire what makes a great shew, and pretends to more than ordinary spirituality; things, in many places, come to that pass, that those who teach Christian virtue and religion, in plainness and simplicity, without senseless phrases, and fantastic affectations, shall be reckoned for dry moralists, and such as understand nothing of the life, and power of godliness. Yea, those people have been so long used to gibberish and canting, that they cannot understand plain sense196.

100Though Glanvill animadverted more often on the cant of the enthusiasts, he also censured the witty preachers whose vain affectations contributed to the contempt of the clergy. Thus in a sermon published in 1676, The Churches prayer and complaint of contempt from prophane and fanatick Enemies, he said:

  • 197 Ibid., pp. 258-9.

There is nothing by which some preachers have more exposed religion and themselves, than by propounding other ends, and such mean ones as gaining the reputation of being witty, eloquent, or learned: for when they miss their aim (as they always do with the wise) they fall under extreem contempt with them. The affectations of words, and metaphors, and cadencies, and ends of Greek, and Latin, are now the scorn of the judicious, and as much despised and (almost) as generally as they deserve. They are banished from conversation, and are not endured in common matters; for shame then let us not retain them in our pulpits and defile sacred subjects with them197.

  • 198 This is notably the case for The Vanity of Dogmatizing, published in 1661; revised as Scepsis Scie (...)
  • 199 The Churches prayer, op. cit., pp. 259-60.

101As one reads Glanvill’s sermons one cannot help wishing that he had been granted time to revise them as he did many of his other works, which gained in plainness and cogency as the later versions became shorter198. As the above quotations must have made clear, this champion of plainness and perspicuity is fairly prolix, so that one wonders what he regarded as the due mean between fullness and closeness. Still, it is interesting to note that the crusade for retrenching all superfluities and affected phrases was mainly waged by men who were in touch with the educated circles of the metropolis, where such flourishes had been banished from the conversation of gentlemen. Glanvill’s remark is not unlike that of La Bruyere about the false taste now out of fashion at Court but still relished by le peuple. The witty or the florid style of preaching must have lingered in some places, or the reformers would hardly have felt it necessary to refer so often to this false kind of eloquence. It is surely an ironic comment on the taste in oratory that Glanvill’s Discourses, Sermons and Remains were published by Anthony Horneck, Preacher at the Savoy, who wrote a preface for this collection in a flowery and often absurd style. Glanvill’s emphasis on plainness, however, results less from his taste in style than from his wish to instruct effectively: the preacher must be as plain as he can both in doctrine and in expressions; he must speak “in the proper, natural, easie way” so as to instruct “all sorts”, and his ‘discoveries’ must be “in clear, facile, and distinct methods, not involved in confusions, nor spun out in divisions, or numerous particulars”199. This is the practical preacher speaking; one, we guess, who would hardly have understood South’s theory of forcefulness, much less have shared his admiration for the plumes of the peacock. But Glanvill’s audience at the Abbey Church at Bath, and his experience of preaching in the country, was also different from South’s.

  • 200 (Joseph Glanvill): An Essay Concerning Preaching, Written for the Direction of a young divine and (...)
  • 201 Cp. with Wilkins’s ‘plain, full, wholesome, affectionate’.
  • 202 p. 25.

102The Essay Concerning Preaching200 rehearses the false tastes in pulpit oratory against which Glanvill sets his directions: polite and ingenious discourses with well-chosen words and even periods; witty sermons; new notions and learned observations; quotations and sentences out of the Fathers and the philosophers; numerous texts of Scripture; ‘taking phrases’ and passionate outcries, or conversely dry arguments. To this he opposes his four-fold recommendation: that the sermon be plain, practical, methodical and affectionate201. Compared with Arderne’s Directions, which obviously inspired Glanvill, and which, as we saw, slightly diverged from Wilkins’s manual, Glanvill’s tract is more detailed and more practical, and it grounds the—limited—use of rhetoric in the need to move the hearers’ affections. His main purpose is to ensure instruction, by avoiding mysterious notions and speculations of theology; hence “plainness is for ever the best eloquence”202. By this he means a style free from hard words, deep and mysterious notions, affected rhetorications and phantastical phrases. Since the sermon ought to be practical the method must be natural and obvious, and not include too many particulars. In manner as well as in style proper the ideal is a due mean between ‘tedious prolixity’ and ‘too much conciseness’.

  • 203 p. 56.
  • 204 In a sermon preached in 1667 South said that “the grace of God is pleased to move us by ways suita (...)
  • 205 Op. cit., p. 164.
  • 206 J.I. Cope draws attention to the shift from ‘clearness’ to ‘perspicuity’, mainly under the impact (...)

103A sermon, however, is meant to move as well as to expound truths, and this will be achieved by means of “figures, and earnestness and passionate representations”203. For this use of rhetoric Glanvill finds precedent in God’s own schemes of speech to raise our affections when He condescends to speak to our capacity. Compared with South’s plea for rhetoric204, Glanvill’s defence of it sounds only half-hearted; it is as though the preacher were to speak ‘plainly’ through most of his sermon, and suddenly become earnest and passionate in the application and exhortation. This is, in fact, what Glanvill does in his own sermons; towards the conclusion of these, as J.I. Cope remarks, “the logical parade of propositions and recommendations which move so soporifically past the modern reader disappears, and the ‘motive’ comes on with a rush of rhetoric”205. South’s conception is much closer to the Renaissance notion of ‘clearness’, it is in fact grounded in what one might call a unified or organic view of art, whereas Glanvill, the zealous defender of natural philosophy, envisages on the one hand, clear distinct ideas to strike the mind, and on the other, figures to move the affections. As such, Glanvill’s rhetoric is much nearer to the rhetoric of ornaments, which South would not have countenanced. His—implicit—view that the two can work independently of each other reveals the danger lurking in the current phrase ‘the dress of thought’, and suggests the rhymed commonplaces and false poetic diction which mediocre neo-classical poets—or critics—were apt to mistake for poetry206.

104This appears best in Glanvill’s vindication of wit towards the end of the Essay, when he lists the various defects of preaching, among which he mentions ‘witticizing’ and its opposite, dullness or want of wit. Here he clearly paraphrases Hobbes on wit and fancy, but when he leaves his master he only succeeds in confusing the issues, and reveals his utter inability to grasp South’s notion of wit as a severe and manly thing:

  • 207 Op. cit., pp. 71-73.

I do not by this reprehend all wit whatsoever in Preaching, nor anything that is truly such: for true wit is a perfection in our faculties, chiefly in the understanding and imagination; Wit in the understanding is a sagacity to find out the nature, relations, and consequences of things; Wit in the imagination, is a quickness in the phancy to give things proper images; now the more of these in sermons, the more of judgment and life; and without wit of these kinds Preaching is dull, and unedifying. The Preacher should endeavour to speak sharp, and quick thoughts, and to set them out in lively colours; this is proper, grave, and manly wit, but the other, that which consists in inversion of sentences, and playing with words, and the like, is vile and contemptible fooling...
I have this to advertise more under this head, that even the wit that is true, that may be used, and ought to be endeavoured, should not be hunted after out of the road207.

  • 208 J.I. Cope interprets this passage as meaning that “‘wit’ welcomes imagination as a necessary vehic (...)
  • 209 A Seasonable Defence of Preaching. And the Plain Way of it, A Dialogue, London, (1678) 1703, pp. 4 (...)
  • 210 Ibid., p. 41.

105If for him wit that is true may be found ‘out of the road’, then decoration is not far away208. It may be surprising, too, to hear this prolix writer recommend sharp and quick thoughts set out in lively colours. The explanation is probably to be found in the other tract he published the same year, A Seasonable Defence of Preaching. And the Plain Way of it. Here Glanvill again contends that the plain way is the best, such as that used by “another sort of learned men, whose design has been to study things”, i.e. the natural philosophers, and whose learning and knowledge enable them “to speak with the most judgment, propriety and plainness”209. His defence of preaching, however, is prompted by the fact that it is hard for Anglican ministers to contend for an audience with the Dissenting preachers, who draw large crowds through their eloquence and fine language210. No wonder, then, if at the time he could encourage a kind of liveliness that was obviously above his own reach.

  • 211 The confusion or loose use of words appears, for instance, in his remark that fullness of sense an (...)

106Glanvill’s chief merit is to have contributed to convey ideas originating in better minds than his own. He could be at the same time a propagandist for the ‘Platonic’ philosophy, for the Royal Society, and for the Church. His views on pulpit oratory, though far from original and indeed often confusing211 are the more characteristic of the general drift towards ‘plainness’, a term of praise which by then was used rather loosely to refer to the mathematical plainness recommended by the Royal Society as well as to the polished conversation of gentlemen.

  • 212 R.F. Jones, ‘The Attack on Pulpit Eloquence in the Restoration’, JEGP, XXX (1931), reprinted in Th (...)
  • 213 Reflections upon the Eloquence of these Times, London, 1672; Reflections upon the Use of Eloquence (...)
  • 214 See F. Madan, Oxford Books, Oxford, 1895-1931, no. 2941.
  • 215 And just as different from South’s severe and manly wit. Indeed, one imagines that Rapin would hav (...)
  • 216 See, for instance, Dryden’s references to him and Rymer’s translation of his Reflections on Aristo (...)

107It has been suggested that Glanvill’s face-about on the use of rhetoric may have been due to the influence of Rapin’s Reflexions sur l’eloquence de ce temps (1672)212. Though this seems unnecessary in view of Glanvill’s wish to counter the attraction of the Dissenters, the eagerness with which Rapin’s book was seized upon in England as soon as it appeared illumines one of the ways in which cross-fertilization works in literature. The whole movement for the reform of pulpit oratory in England had its roots in circumstances specifically English, and the evils it tried to eradicate had been aggraved by religious developments which had no counterpart in France. Yet, when the Réflexions appeared in 1672, it must have seemed to be expressing just what many people in England were feeling—even though it did so in a more polished form than many of them had been able or willing to achieve. In the same year two independent translations were published213, one version obviously hurried through the press in order to meet the demand of the public before the other appeared214. If the teachings of the French Jesuit had been heeded by preachers in England they would certainly have conduced to a more polished and graceful style than that of the ministers who left their mark on the succeeding age215. It is doubtful whether Rapin exerted any direct influence on pulpit oratory in England; his influence on critics and wits was none the less pervasive216, and soon hardly to be distinguished from that of Boileau and other French critics. To this extent, then, he may be said to have contributed to further the ideals recommended by the advocates of the ‘plain’ style.

  • 217 Op. cit., p. 142.
  • 218 A Letter to a Young Gentleman entered into Holy Orders, by a person of quality (dated January 9, 1 (...)
  • 219 See the 1709 ms. version of Pope’s Essay on Criticism,11. 488/9:
    Ev’n Pulpits pleas’d with merry Pu (...)
  • 220 p. 75.

108The many defects which the reformers denounced were slow to disappear; that similar advice had to be given to young divines in Ireland half a century later, appears from Swift’s Letter to a Young Gentleman entered into Holy Orders. This tract, R.F. Jones remarked, “would hardly have been out of place had it appeared in 1670 instead of 1721”217. Indeed many of Swift’s recommendations echo Eachard’s, notably his wish that the young divine should apply himself to the study of the English language218, while most of the abuses he censures recall those of the preceding age219, though he is heartily glad that Greek and Latin have been driven out of the pulpit220. More important, because it is characteristic of the trend in Anglican preaching since the Restoration, Swift prefers a plain convincing argument to the ‘art of wetting the handkerchief’; indeed, he is out of conceit with the moving manner of speaking and advises the young clergyman to

  • 221 p. 70.

beware of letting the pathetick part swallow up the rational: for I suppose philosophers have long agreed, that passion should never prevail over reason221.

109‘Pathetic preaching’ was definitely unsavoury to most Anglican divines after the Restoration, associated as it was with enthusiasm and ‘preaching by the Spirit’; as Swift observed, this

  • 222 p. 78. Yet Swift said: “I have been better entertained, and more informed by a chapter in the Pilg (...)

was in esteem and practice among some Church divines, as well as among all the preachers and hearers of the Fanatick or Enthusiastic Strain222

  • 223 At this stage all kinds of Nonconformists are included in the Anglicans’ references to them.
  • 224 Cf. Swift: “a divine hath nothing to say to the wisest congregations of any parish in this Kingdom (...)

110In spite of these few exceptions, strong arguments rather than moving of the passions characterized Anglican sermons after the Restoration, while many Dissenters continued to appeal to the ‘affections’. This became the distinguishing mark of the two parties, or at least, it became the habit for members of the Established Church to brand all the fanatics’ preaching as an enthusiastic strain. Henceforth Puritans were associated with canting, while Anglicans appeared as the upholders of the plain style. The link between ‘rationalism’ and the plain style appears nowhere better than in pulpit oratory, since the new style of sermons, i.e. both the manner and the style proper, was grounded on arguments which in the main distinguished Conformists from Nonconformists223: the strong stand on reason and free inquiry, and the rejection of enthusiasm; the belief that the main truths of Christianity are expressed plainly in Scripture and can be conveyed in plain language224; the ban on doctrinal controversies which might perplex the hearers needlessly and shake their faith; the stress on edifying doctrine rather than speculation and on practical rather than notional Christianity. Not all Anglicans put the same emphasis on each of these points, but they all agreed in the main, while the general rules laid down in the 1662 Directions for Preaching furthered the same ends. These beliefs determined the scope, design, and style of sermons. If the fantastic jargon of the Puritans comes so often under the Anglicans’ fire, it is because it is part and parcel of the fanatics’ religious doctrine, and highlights the dangerous tendency of their teachings. Butler’s knight “could not ope His mouth, but out there flew a Trope”, and this could have been taken as a text by all those who wrote upon the Puritans’ preaching after the Restoration.

  • 225 Printed below.
  • 226 (Simon Patrick): A Friendly Debate betwixt two neighbours. The One a Conformist, the other a Non-C (...)

111Apart from South’s sermon on the imposture of words225 in which the corruption of language is shown to be both the inevitable effect and the cause of loose thinking, the best tract linking doctrinal differences with the use of language is A Friendly Debate between a Conformist and a Non-Conformist (1669) by ‘a lover of the City and of pure religion’, i.e. Simon Patrick, who was to become a Bishop under William. The tract was clearly intended to encourage Dissenters to attend Conformist services rather than have ministers break the law of the land by residing in London226. To achieve this purpose Patrick set out to meet the Nonconformists’ objections to Anglican services and sermons. The first and main objection is that divines of the Church of England preach “only rational discourses”; this Patrick counters by showing that rational and spiritual are not opposed: only carnal reason, i.e. reason guided by fleshly lusts, is opposed to spiritual reason, i.e. guided by the gospel of Christ. For the Conformist, direct inspiration by the Holy Ghost was only vouchsafed to the Apostles; now men can only interpret Scripture by the light of reason; the private illumination claimed by some to guide their interpretation cannot be distinguished from mere fancy and therefore cannot be trusted. Next, the Nonconformist maintains that his minister moves the affections better; but, Patrick answers, there are two ways of moving the affections, through the senses and the imagination or through reason and judgement “to engage the affections to its side”:

If you can be moved by such strength of reason as can conquer the judgment, and so pass to demand submission to the affections, you may find power enough in our pulpits.

112If, on the other hand, you expect to be moved

  • 227 Ibid., p. 16, 15.

by melting tones, pretty similitudes, riming sentences, kind and loving smiles, and sometimes dismally sad looks227,

113then you will seldom find such kind of preaching in the Church, where all kinds of enthusiasm are discouraged. On the other hand, he accuses the Nonconformist ministers of using “new minted words which people take to conceal great mysteries”.

114The distinction is therefore clear between a method and style that aims at edification through enlightenment, and emotional appeal by means of mysterious terms and obscure notions. Enlightenment vs mystery, rationalism vs. obscurantist emotionalism, clear thinking vs effusions of the Spirit, such are the distinguishing marks of the two groups. As one reads the religious literature of the Restoration one realizes all the better how powerful was the need for light and order, a need born of the prevailing chaos in the previous age but rendered all the more acute by the continued exploitation, in some quarters, of confusion in thought and language. The triumph of neo-classical standards in literature was, one feels, the expression of the new rationalism on which the Church took its stand in its fight against enthusiasm, as much as of the changed sensibility or of the taste fostered by French models.

  • 228 Patrick reminds the Nonconformist of the time when their ministry would not hear of liberty of con (...)

115Patrick’s insistence on reason against inspiration is the more significant as his adversary is not a member of an extreme Sect228; and he is no less outspoken on the need for order and decency, whether in prayers or in ceremonies. To the Nonconformist’s plea for praying by the Spirit, that is, effusions in extempore prayers under the motion of the Spirit, he replies that there is no such thing as prayer immediately inspired by the Holy Ghost:

  • 229 p. 88.

The Spirit of God does not suggest to any of us, when we pray, the very matter and words, which we utter. If you pretend to this, then those prayers are as much the Word of God as any of David’s Psalms, or as any part of the Bible; and being written from your mouths, may become canonical Scripture229.

  • 230 p. 104.

116Forms in prayers and ceremonies are lawful, not because they are commanded by God, but because laws are necessary “for the convenient, orderly, and decent worship of God”230. Nor does this take away Christian liberty, unless Christians are to be restrained in nothing, even for public order’s sake. By thus using Hooker’s argument for ceremonies—over against those who in mid-century had claimed divine authority for them—Patrick and all the Restoration Anglicans emphasized the agreement of the laws of God and of natural law, while the stress on orderly and decent worship is characteristic of their sense of form and preference for clear structures.

  • 231 Many Latitudinarians, notably Tillotson and Burnet, became bishops after the Revolution.

117Finally, the Nonconformist objects that Anglican sermons only give moral teaching, whereas he expects to hear doctrine expounded in the pulpit. For Patrick, as for his fellow-Anglicans, the two cannot be separated, even less opposed, and doctrinal points that have no bearing on the Christian life are of no interest. This is a tenet which the Church emphasized strongly after the Restoration, in order particularly to oppose Antinomianism, which the Nonconformists’ stress on doctrine, the power of godliness, or regeneration, was felt to encourage. Hence, though many Dissenters were by no means Antinomians this was a charge repeatedly levelled against them. Patrick did not say that preaching should be restricted to practice, but like other moderate divines of the Church of England, he certainly favoured moral or practical preaching. This was a characteristic of the men who came to be known as Latitudinarians, and whose principles and practice were defended by Edward Fowler. It is worth noting that both these defenders of the Latitudinarians were to become bishops under William231.

  • 232 The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of England, op. cit. To the (...)
  • 233 p. 70. This, incidentally, reveals the shift from Hooker’s right reason to the Restoration concept (...)
  • 234 p. 86.
  • 235 pp. 93-97.

118Like Patrick’s Friendly Debate the year before, Fowler’s tract is intended to promote peace and understanding among Protestants for, he says, “it is high time to be reconciled to moderation and sobriety, to lay aside our uncharitable and (therefore) unchristian heats against each other”232. Though the main burden of the argument is a refutation of the Puritans’ accusations, Fowler also refers to witticisms directed against these moderate divines from the “Stately Oxonian Theatre”, that is by some High-Churchman, probably South. The main accusation is that Latitudinarians preach reason as the basis of religion, and Fowler shows at great length that reason can be no better employed than here since it is through reason that men know Scripture to be the Word of God. For him, “reason is that power, whereby men are enabled to draw clear inferences from evident principles”233 and these evident principles are implanted in man: the law of nature is the law of God, though it needs to be perfected by the revealed law, or Word of God. To assert the reasonableness of Christianity is not to equate it with natural religion since reason alone cannot prompt to us most of the duties enjoined by the Gospel234; though faith is consistent with reason, some things exceed our apprehension: the moderate divines preach the reasonableness of faith but they do not demonstrate the consistency of mysteries with our reason as the schoolmen tried to do, thereby rendering many of these mysteries doubtful235. It was a central tenet of the Church of England, of the High-Churchmen no less than of the Latitudinarians, that the truths of religion are consistent with reason, though sometimes above the reach of human reason, or, as Tillotson and Stillingfleet never tired of saying, some things in religion are beyond reason, but never against reason.

119Attacks on the moderates as mere rational preachers are aimed at their doctrine and at their style in preaching; this, Fowler shows, is inevitable since the one follows from the other: they endeavour to make the doctrine of the gospel easy and intelligible in order to teach men what to believe and how to live accordingly. All doctrine essential to salvation is expressed perspicuously in Scripture, and so are all necessary duties. The moderate divines are therefore

  • 236 p. 105.

far from those mens untoward genius, that delight to exercise their wits in finding out mystical and cabbalistic senses in the plainest parts of Scripture, and in turning everything almost into allegories236.

  • 237 p. 112.
  • 238 pp. 114-17.
  • 239 p. 159.
  • 240 p. 176.
  • 241 From. p. 117 tot p. 189.
  • 242 Which was still nominally Calvinistic. See Article XVII of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

120They are called by their adversaries ‘men of dry reason’ because in preaching they endeavour to conquer their hearers’ judgement and to convince them of duty by solid reasons; they may, indeed, be opposed ‘to spiritual preachers’, i.e. to irrational ones237. They are further accused of being moral preachers, that is, of preaching mere morality. This is because in handling the doctrine of justifying faith they make obedience to follow it; in handling the doctrine of imputed righteousness, they show the absolute necessity of an inherent right in the creature; and in handling the doctrine of God’s grace, they show the indispensableness of men’s endeavours238. In other words, their preaching is grounded in the belief that “faith justifies as it implies obedience”239, an altogether different doctrine from the Papists’ justification by works, and quite consistent with the belief in the freeness of God’s grace240. In refuting these accusations Fowler is led to give a detailed exposition of the Anglican doctrine of justifying faith, imputed righteousness and God’s grace241. These were points at issue between the Church of England242 and the Puritans, and differences on such doctrinal matters would necessarily issue in a different method, style, and purpose in teaching, no less than did the distinction between rational inquiry and interpretation by the inner light. Hence the stress laid by many Puritans on the ‘moving part’ of oratory: Swift’s dislike of “pathetic preaching” reveals more than the classicist’s repugnance for emotional appeal; it expresses the High-Churchman’s opposition to enthusiastic doctrines and modes of teaching. The Latitudinarian Tillotson is no less opposed to such notions of sudden conversions by the Spirit, unless the working of the Spirit is shown to effect lasting moral regeneration, for, as he repeatedly emphasizes, true faith issues in works, and to entertain the doctrine of Christ does not mean to entertain our minds with bare speculations, but to better our lives.

  • 243 Directions, op. cit., point 2.

121The 1662 Directions for Preaching had enjoined that ministers refrain from discussing “the deep points of election and reprobation together with the incomprehensible manner of the concurrence of God’s free grace and man’s free will, and such other controversies as depend thereupon”243. These points of doctrine could not, however, be altogether ignored, especially in sermons addressed to congregations aware of the controversies about them. And many must have been familiar with the points at issue so that it was all the more necessary to define the Church’s doctrine. Barrow, South, and Tillotson did preach on justifying faith. None of them, however, peered into the secret manner of the concurrence of God’s free grace and man’s free will; they only showed that the two were perfectly consistent with each other, and were indispensable for salvation.

  • 244 p. 306.

122Part Two of Fowler’s Principles and Practices is devoted to the moderate divines’ opinions in matters of doctrine, that is, to the doctrines of justifying faith, election, reprobation, and free will, which distinguished the Church of England from the Puritan Calvinists. Towards the end, however, he returns to the fundamental concept of free inquiry based on reason and to the moderate divines’ rejection of any pretence at infallibility, whether by direct inspiration from the Spirit or by an infallible judge such as the Roman Church claims to have. For him, as indeed for all Restoration Anglicans, it is clear that God “intended no infallible judge but our own reason, assisted with his blessing”244 Fowler thereby defines the so-called via media of the Church of England, between the two extremes of enthusiasm and of the infallible Pope or Councils.

  • 245 Their belief that the Roman Church did contradict Scripture accounts for the violence of a notably (...)
  • 246 p. 323.
  • 247 See South’s sermon on Galat., II, 5, in op. cit., vol. V (sermon 12).
  • 248 See Beveridge’s sermon to Convocation in 1689, when the King’s scheme for Comprehension was presen (...)

123While all this may be said to define the Anglican position rather than the Latitudinarians as such, the latter were characterized by their moderation towards men of other persuasions, provided of course these did not openly contradict Scripture245. In matters of discipline too, with which Fowler deals in Part III, the Latitudinarians were moderate, and here they parted company with many of their Anglican brethren, for, as Fowler says, “they did not unchurch other churches”246. Others, notably South, ‘the scourge of the fanatics’, used all their power to oppose any measure tending to accommodation with the Dissenters; some indeed could never be reconciled to the Act of Toleration247 and did their best to foil any scheme of comprehension248.

  • 249 William Nichols: A Defence of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England, London, 1715.

124It may be noted that an early eighteenth-century Defence of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England249 rehearses almost the same accusations of the Nonconformists againstour dry, moral sermons”, but also remarks that they too have given up their fantastic style. Perhaps the Puritans’ temper had changed; perhaps the repeated attacks on their jargon had put a curb on their fancy; perhaps ridicule had at long last effected a reformation while Butler’s rough knocks had only amused the limited circles of the polite world. If ridicule was an effective weapon, the tract that has the highest claim is doubtless the anonymous The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence (1692), which pretends to offer sayings of the most elegant kind collected from sermons. Section I, ‘The true character of the Presbyterian Pastors and people in Scotland’, covers the well-known points: their contempt for mere morality; their fondness for the most mysterious chapters of Ezekiel, Daniel or Revelation; their Antinomianism; their ‘desperate doctrines’ of election and reprobation, which “make their fellows distracted and above all their way of preaching:

  • 250 The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, or. The Foolishness of their Teaching discovered from their boo (...)

The most of their sermons are nonsensick raptures, the abuse of mystic divinity, in canting and confounded vocables, oft-times stuffed with impertinent and base similes and always with homely, course, and ridiculous expressions, very unsuitable to the gravity and solemnity that becomes divinity. They are for the most part upon Believe, believe; and mistaking faith for a meer recumbency, they value no works but such as tend to propagate presbytery. When they speak of Christ, they represent him as a gallant, courting and kissing, by their fulsome, amorous discourses on the mysterious parables of the Canticles... Some of them have an odd way of acting in the pulpit, personating discourses often by way of dialogue betwixt them and the devil250.

125While Section II, ‘Containing some expressions of their printed books’, mostly illustrates the kinds of arguments the Presbyterians conduct, Section III, ‘Containing Notes of the Presbyterian Sermons taken in writing from their mouths’, and Section IV, ‘Containing some few expressions in the Presbyterian Prayers’, amply illustrate the kind of foolish language and ridiculous similes current among them. No doubt, the writer is having great fun and may have added a few touches of his own to the actual expressions taken from the Presbyterians’ mouths; but unless there was some basis for this the book would have been ignored, and it was promptly answered. This long list of illustrations (from page 97 to page 126) brings home to us not only the extent to which fancy could be let loose in such sermons, but the kind of religious edification these may have brought to the hearers. For all the author’s possible exaggeration, the pamphlet makes us realize what lay behind the Anglicans’ relentless denunciation of the fanatics’ jargon and of their doctrine of the indwelling spirit. Compared to this the dryest of rational sermons must have been welcome, and one can easily understand Tillotson’s revulsion from the ‘bold sallies of enthusiasm’ he heard at Whitehall on the fast-day after Cromwell’s death, when John Owen, Thomas Goodwin and Peter Sterry were gathered round the new Protector:

  • 251 Birch, op. cit., p. xii, quoting Burnet’s History of His Own Time (Bk. I, in finem).

God was in a manner reproached with the deceased Protector’s services, and challenged for taking him away so soon. Dr. Goodwin, who had pretended to assure him in a prayer, a very few minutes before he expired, that he was not to die, had now the assurance to say to God, “Thou hast deceived us, and we were deceived”. And Mr. Sterry, praying for Richard, used these indecent words, next to blasphemy—Make him the brightness of the father’s glory, and the express image of his person”251

126Since both Tillotson and Burnet, who reported the story, were ever friendly to the Dissenters and actively promoted schemes for comprehension, we may trust their testimony that the best among the Puritans could be bold with their Maker and ‘impertinent’ in their sallies. In the circumstances, the great improvement in pulpit oratory which Birch would have us ascribe wholly to Tillotson, was bound to be in the direction of reasonableness, decorum and plainness.

Notes

1 Gilbert Burnet: A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Most Reverend Father in God John, By Divine Providence, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate and Metropolitan of all England..., London, 1694, p. 13; pp. 13-14.

2 The Works of John Tillotson, With the Life of the Author, by Thomas Birch, London, 1820, I, xiii.

3 Ibid., p. xiv.

4 John Evelyn: Diary, ed. E.S. de Beer, Oxford, 1955, IV, 330.

5 Histoire de la littérature anglaise, Paris, 192115, III, 265 ss.

6 A Priest to the Temple, or The Country Parson, (first published in 1652, but written before 1633; Herbert died in March 1632/3), in Works, ed. F.E. Hutchinson, Oxford, 1941, p. 235.

7 See W.F. Mitchell: Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson, London, 1932, p. 16.

8 Lancelot Andrewes’s sermons were published after his death, “by his Majesties special command”, by William Laud and John Buckeridge (XCVI Sermons, 1629). George Williamson quotes a remark by Bishop Felton (who died in 1626): “I had almost marred my own natural Trot by endeavouring to imitate his artificial Amble”. The Senecan Amble, A Study in Prose Form from Bacon to Collier, London, 1951, p. 231.

9 Quoted by Mitchell, op. cit., p. 157.

10 See, for instance: Seven Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions, London, 1651..

11 See his Sermon preached at White-Hall, on the 24 of March, 1621, being the day of the beginning of his Majesties most gracious Reigne (on Psal. 21.6,7), London, 1622: “Now we can no sooner meet a blessing in the Text, but we presently find two Authors of it, God and the King: For there is God Blessing the King; and the King Blessing the people. And a King is every way in the Text: For David the King set the Psalme for the People, and the People, they sing the Psalme rejoycing for the King; And all this is, that the King may rejoyce in thy strength, O Lord, v. 1 And when this Psalme is sung in Harmonie, between the King and the People, then there is Blessing”, p. 48.

12 He is an imitator of Donne rather than of Andrewes, and indeed was closely associated with the Dean of St Paul’s.

13 Mitchell (op. cit., p. 166) quotes a characteristic example, the opening of the third sermon Hackett preached on the text: ‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted’ (Matt. IV. 1): “This text, you see, will not let me go. I have been parting from it thrice, and still it invites me to stay: As the Levite took farewell at Bethlem sundry times, and could not get away, Judg. XIX. And now I have good cause to tarry, being led by the leading of the spirit: whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile with him, go with him twain, says Christ, Matt. V. 41, and if the spirit of God compel us to go with him one sermon, we will go with him twain; it cannot be irksome or weary to follow such contemplations.”

14 See An Apology Against a Pamphlet, in Complete Prose Works, New Haven, 1953, I, 894. Hall’s later sermons, however, are less terse.

15 Birch recognizes this, but his views are slightly confused. It is not clear, for instance, whether he means to praise Hall, and it is surely surprising that he should think so highly of Jeremy Taylor, whose florid style of preaching went out of fashion after the Restoration. It is only fair to add that Taylor, being less knotty than the metaphysical preachers, would have struck an eighteenth-century reader as more ‘easy’.

16 They were published by his son, John, in three folio volumes: LXXX Sermons (with Walton’s Life), in 1640; Fifty Sermons, in 1649; XXVI Sermons, in 1660.

17 ‘In Memory of Doctor Donne: By Mr R.B.’, ll. 39-44, in The Poems of John Donne, ed. H.J.C. Grierson, Oxford, 1951, I, 386-7.

18 Izaak Walton: The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, and Robert Sanderson, ed. G. Saintsbury, London, 1927, p. 49.

19 Among English divines, he mentions Andrewes, Hall, and Taylor, whose style of preaching he would hardly have recommended.

20 Deaths Duell, or, A Consolation To the Soule, Against the Dying Life, and the Living Death of the Body... Being his last Sermon, and called by his Majesties household The Doctors Owne Funerall Sermon, London, 1632.

21 The five ways of preaching he imitates are: Bishop Andrewes’s, Bishop Hall’s, Dr. Mayne’s and Mr. Cartwright’s, The Presbyterian Way, and the Independent Way. It appears from the preface, To the Christian Reader, that the author’s purpose was “to shew the difference betwixt Universitie and Citie-breeding up of Preachers; and to let the people know, that any one that hath been bred a scholar is able to preach any way to the capacities and content of any Auditorie” (sig. A2 verso-A3). Given the date, the book must have been prompted by the controversy about a learned ministry.

22 South’s ridicule of the jingle on egress, ingress and regress in his sermon The Scribe Instructed clearly refers to Andrewes’s practice.

23 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 99.

24 Whatever interpretation may be put on Donne’s motives for taking holy orders, James’s reply to Somerset’s petition, as reported by Walton, shows him to have had a keen insight into the abilities of a man who had already signalled himself by his controversial treatises: “I know Mr. Donne is a learned man, has the abilities of a learned Divine; and will prove a powerful Preacher, and my desire is to prefer him that way, and in that way, I will deny you nothing for him”, quoted in W.R. Mueller: John Donne Preacher, London, 1962, pp. 24-25.

25 For instance in the sermon preached by Laud on 19 June, 1621: “And surely we have a Jerusalem, a State, and a Church to pray for, as well as they; And this day was our Salomon, the very Peace of our Jerusalem borne.” Op. cit., p. 23.

26 Great Britains Salomon. A Sermon Preached at the Magnificent Funerall of the most high and mighty King, James..., by the Right Honorable, and Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Lincolne..., London, 1625.

27 Thus Anthony Weldon, clerk of the kitchen to James I, in The Court and Character of King James, London, 1650: “He was very witty, and had as many ready witty jests as any man living, at which he would not smile himselfe, but deliver them in a grave and serious manner.” Reprinted in David Nichol Smith: Characters from the Histories and Memoirs of the Seventeenth Century, Oxford, 1950, p. 6.

28 Quoted in G.M. Trevelyan: England Under the Stuarts, London, 193316, p. 107.

29 On Playfere’s reputation for antimetaboles see Williamson, op. cit., pp. 94-95. For examples, see next note.

30 Hearts Delight. A Sermon Preached at Parties Crosse in London in Easter Terme, 1593, London, 1617, pp. 4-5. See also his comparison of the desires of the godly with the curtains of the tabernacle, because they are “coupled and tyed together, so that one desire draweth another, and all their desires draw together” (p. 25). Here are two examples of his use of antimetabole: “He that loves to desire God, (sayes Bernard) must also desire to love God” (p. 24); “But this he doth, as Augustine testifieth, Not by the love of error, but by the error of love” (p. 19); both show that there was precedent for this in patristic literature since Playfere is merely translating St Bernard’s “qui amat desiderare, desiderat amare” and St Augustine’s “Non erroris amore, sed amoris errore”, which he quotes in the margin. There is little doubt that the Anglo-Catholic Divines’ use of schemes was encouraged by their familiarity with the Fathers of the Church.

31 Op. cit., p. 95. Williamson quotes from Nashe’s Strange Newes (1592): “Few such men speak out of Fames highest Pulpits, though out of her highest Pulpits speake the purest of all speakers.”

32 Ibid., p. 231. On the difference between Playfere and Andrewes, see J.W. Blench: Preaching in England in the late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, Oxford, 1964, pp. 64-70, 107-8.

33 II, 121-2.

34 Lettre a M. Dacier sur les occupations de l’Académie (1714), in Fenelon: De l’Existence et des Attributs de Dieu, Paris, 1864, p. 485. Some thirty years before Fenelon had developed similar views in his Dialogues sur l’éloquence (written between 1681 and 1686). Since from 1697 he was virtually an exile from the polite world his Lettre a M. Dacier may reflect an outdated mode.

35 De la chaire, in La Bruyere: Les Caracteres de Théophraste traduits du Grec. Avec les Caracteres ou les Mceurs de ce Siecle, Paris, 1700, II, 245.

36 Ibid., pp. 241-2.

37 Sermon sur la parole de Dieu (1661), in Bossuet: Œuvres Oratoires, ed. J. Lebarcq, Lille-Paris, 1891, III, 575.

38 Oraison funebre du Pere Bourgoing (4 Dec., 1662), in Bossuet: Oraisons Funebres, ed. Jacques Truchet, Paris, 1961, pp. 50-51.

39 Ibid., p. 52. Bossuet could hardly have enlarged on this point since he had just reminded his hearers that Father Bourgoing had long been “confesseur de feu Monseigneur le Duc d’Orleans, de glorieuse memoire”, though as his editor reminds us, “la memoire de Gaston d’Orleans n’était pas fort glorieuse” (n. 4, p. 51).

40 George Herbert comes nearer to Bossuet’s pattern when he advises country parsons to move their hearers “by dipping, and seasoning all our words and sentences in our hearts, before they come into our mouths, truly affecting, and cordially expressing all that we say; so that the auditors may plainly perceive that every word is hart-deep”, op. cit., p. 233.

41 For attacks on Latitudinarians, particularly on Tillotson, as practical preachers, see below.

42 G. Williamson, op. cit., p. 247.

43 Thomas Fuller: The Worthies of England, ed. John Freeman, London, 1952, p. 320.

44 Edward Reynolds: The Pastoral Office, opened in a visitation sermon, preached at Norwich, Oct. 10, 1662, in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Edward Reynolds, D.D., Lord Bishop of Norwich. Now first collected, ed. by Alexander Chalmers, London, 1826, V, 403.

45 Williamson quotes a Restoration parody of a sermon by Andrewes in which his practice of division is ridiculed in the very title:1 The Ex-ale-tation of Ale’, op. cit., p. 249.

46 The Golden Grove. Selected Passages from the Sermons and Writings of Jeremy Taylor, ed. L. Pearsall Smith, Oxford, 1955, Introduction, p. xxx.

47 From a contemporary account, quoted in V.H.H. Green: Religion at Oxford and Cambridge, London, 1964, p. 147.

48 Robert S. Bosher: The Making of the Restoration Settlement, 1642-1662, London, 1951, p. 12.

49 Ibid., p. 41.

50 Mitchell refers to Bishop Cosin’s sermons, which “may be taken as a proof that the Anglo-Catholic type of sermon was actually continued in some quarters, more or less as a party badge”, op. cit., p. 308.

51 For Lyly’s and Nashe’s admiration for Playfere’s wit, see above.

52 The distinction is Bosher’s. He quotes a passage from one of Fuller’s sermons justifying his submission to the new order, which aptly characterizes the position of the moderate divines: “Not to dissemble in the sight of God and man, I do ingeniously protest that I affect the Episcopal government... best of any other... But I know that religion and learning hath flourished under the Presbyterian government in France, Germany, The Low Countries... I know the most learned and moderate English divines... have allowed the Reformed Churches under Presbyterian discipline for sound and perfect in all essentials necessary to salvation. If, therefore, denied my first desire, to live under that Church government I best affected, I will contentedly conform to the Presbyterian Government, and endeavour to deport myself quietly and comfortably under the same.” Op. cit., pp. 27-28.

53 R.S. Bosher, who has done most to show how the Restoration settlement was prepared by the Laudian clergy in exile and at home, warns us too: “It would be misleading, however, to suggest that the history of the Church of England during the Interregnum can be written exclusively in terms of this minority party. The now well established tradition of depicting Anglicanism as a persecuted underground movement began soon after the Restoration when Laudian writers preferred to ignore the inconvenient truth that Anglican conformity to the Cromwellian Church was widespread.” Op. cit., p. 24, n. 1.

54 See Dryden’s reference to Clevelandism in the Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668).

55 S.T. Coleridge: Notes on Stillingfleet, ed. R. Garnett, Glasgow, 1875, p. 7. Coleridge finds St. superior to Chillingworth and attributes the high regard in which the latter is held to “the prevalency of the Low-Church Lockian Faction”.

56 J.R. Sutherland: On English Prose, Toronto-London, 1957, p. 63.

57 Op. cit., p. 233.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid., pp. 234-5.

60 Richard Baxter: Gildas Salvianus, The Reform’d Pastor, (1656), in The Practical Works of the Late Revd and Pious, Mr. Richard Baxter, London, 1707, IV, 358.

61 J.R. Sutherland, op. cit., p. 62.

62 The Holy State (1642), p. 84, quoted by Logan Pearsall Smith, op. cit., p. xxxv.

63 Sermons, ed. John Brown, 1909, p. 227. Quoted by Williamson, op. cit., p. 242.

64 Henry Smith: The Godly Man’s Request, in Sermons, 1611, p. 276. Quoted by V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 112.

65 The Art of Prophesying, or a Treatise concerning the sacred and true manner and method of preaching. First written in Latin by Mr. William Perkins (1592) and now faithfully translated into English by Thomas Tuke, in William Perkins: Works, London, 1631, II, 670.

66 Ibid., pp. 670-1.

67 Ibid., p. 654. As one might expect the example he gives is: “This is my body which is broken for you.”

68 Ibid., p. 651.

69 Ibid., p. 670.

70 John Eachard: The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into. In a letter written to R.L. London, 1670, in An English Garner: Critical Essays and Literary Fragments, ed. J. Churton Collins, Westminster, 1903, p. 270.

71 The manual went through at least 7 editions before the end of the century.

72 For instance: Abraham Fraunce’s The Arcadian Rhetorike (1588) and John Hoskins’s Directions for Speech and Style (1599).

73 By distinguishing the fields proper to dialectic (invention and disposition) and to rhetoric (elocution) Ramistic handbooks broke with the tradition of the old arts of rhetoric, which had included the methods for inventing and disposing the matter (see, for instance, Thomas Wilson’s Arte of Rhetorique, 1560). Abraham Fraunce himself wrote a book of Ramist logic, The Lawiers Logike (1588).

74 For the influence of Ramist logic and rhetoric on the development of metaphysical poetry, see Rosemond Tuve: Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery, Chicago, 1947 (Part II, Chapter XII).

75 p. 57.

76 Op. cit., pp. 261-2.

77 Op. cit., I, 854.

78 John Milton: Works, New York, 1932, VI, 95.

79 He wrote A Fuller Institution of the Art of Logic, Arranged after the Manner of Peter Ramus (1672).

80 Op. cit., p. 332. Miss Tuve reminds us that it was Sidney who aroused Abraham Fraunce’s interest in Ramus.

81 The term is as misleading as ‘Puritan’ since the Church of England as such was, nominally at least, Calvinistic, that is, if the Thirty-Nine Articles are taken stricto sensu, (see Article XVI ‘Of Predestination and Election’). “Anglicanism was indeed largely hammered out in the course of the [sixteenth] century, in part as a result of the intellectual collision between Puritan and Arminian at the Universities. It was perhaps one of the graver defects of Anglicanism that one of its formularies, the Thirty-Nine Articles, should have been drafted while its doctrinal teaching was still uncertain. It fastened on to the Church of England a set of doctrinal formulations which, intellectually impressive as they were and are, have rarely accorded with its actual teaching, and to which for long Anglican clergy have assented only in a general sense. Yet it is plain that for much of Elizabeth’s reign Calvinism was the dominant theology at both Universities. Puritans and non-Puritans relied equally on the school of Geneva, albeit a reaction against Calvinism was beginning to set in by the end of the reign.” V.H.H. Green, op. cit, p. 107. One of the most frequent accusations against Laud was that he was an Arminian (which he denied).

82 Hales was not a member of the delegation, but as Chaplain to the Ambassador, Sir Dudley Carleton, he was an ‘observer’ at the Debates of the Synod.

83 See John Tulloch: Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in the Seventeenth Century, Edinburgh, 1874, vol. I, ch. I.

84 Eachard’s censure of the ‘cunning observations, doctrines, and inferences’ in the common method of preaching probably refers to the practice inherited from some Puritan preachers.

85 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 94.

86 As Logan Pearsall Smith remarks (op. cit., p. xx), “The advantages of religious toleration were no doubt more apparent to Jeremy Taylor when he and his fellow-Anglicans were being persecuted, and when this book was written, than they appeared afterwards, when his own Church had regained power, and he himself, as one of its prelates, felt himself compelled to fall back on the secular arm to silence his opponents.”

87 William Laud was dissatisfied with this tract, which circulated in manuscript, and sent for Hales to try and argue him out of his tolerant position. See Tulloch, op. cit., ch. IV.

88 This is even clearer in Hales’s sermon Of Enquiry and Private Judgement in Religion, see John Hales: Works, Glasgow, 1765, vol. III.

89 A Sermon Concerning Unity and Agreement, preached at Carfax Church in Oxford, August 9, 1646, by Jasper Mayne, [Oxford], 1646, p. 34. Oxford had capitulated to the Parliamentary forces on 24 June, 1646.

90 R. Cudworth: A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons, At Westminster, March 31, 1647, Cambridge, 1647. The Facsimile Text Society, New York, 1930, sig. 3 r. and v.

91 Ibid., sig. 3 v. and [4].

92 Ibid., p. 1.

93 Ibid., sig. A, A v.

94 Cudworth cannot be regarded as a Puritan, but he was acceptable to the new rulers while Jasper Mayne was not.

95 A Presbyterian minister. Geree is said to have been so horrified at the execution of Charles I that he died of the shock. See Christopher Hill: Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution, London, 1965, p. 5, n. 4.

96 The Character of an old English puritane or non-conformist. By John Geree, M.A. and Preacher of the Word some time at Tewksbury, but now at Saint Albans. Published according to order. London, 1646, p. 2 (the tract has 6 pages in all).

97 Ibid., p. 4.

98 Ibid.

99 Hobbes also thought that the Independents were ‘a brood of Presbyterian hatching

100 See, for instance, those of Edmund Calamy, Richard Baxter, and Mr. Bates, in Farewell Sermons Preached by Mr. Calamy, Dr. Manton..., London, 1663. The sermons were all preached on 17 August, 1662, and published from short-hand notes, i.e. not by the ministers themselves. By the Act of Uniformity ministers had to conform by 24 August, 1662, or leave the Church.

101 Reynolds became Bishop of Norwich in 1661, i.e. before the Savoy Conference had failed to give satisfaction to the Presbyterians and before the Act of Uniformity was passed.

102 A Sermon touching the use of humane learning. Preached in Mercers’Chapel, at the Funeral of that learned Gentleman, Mr. John Langley, late school-master of Paul’s School in London, on the 21st day of September, 1657, in The Whole Works, op. cit., V, 33. The quality of this sermon is best assessed when compared with Tillotson’s sermon at the funeral of Whichcote, his onetime master and predecessor at St. Lawrence Jewry. Reynolds was appointed Dean of Christ Church and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University after the ejection of Samuel Fell by the Parliamentary Visitors in 1647; he lost both the deanery and the vice-chancellorship on his refusal to subscribe to the Engagement, which all heads of Colleges had to take by or before 1 January, 1650. The form of the Engagement was: “I do declare and promise, that I will be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as the same is now Established, without a King or House of Lords” (Resolves of Parliament Touching the Subscribing to an Engagment by or before the first of January next, and the names of the Refusers or Neglecters to be returned to the Parliament. Die Jovis, 11 Octobr. 1649). Reynolds was succeeded by the Independent John Owen.

103 The Pastoral Office, opened in a visitation sermon preached at Ipswich, Oct. 10, 1662, in The Whole Works, op. cit., V, 402, 403. Reynolds’ defence of wit once again reminds us of South.

104 Ibid.

105 Ibid.

106 See Barbara Kiefer-Lewalski: ‘Milton: Political Beliefs and Polemical Methods, 1659-60’, PMLA, LXXIV (1959), 191-202.

107 See, for instance, the Baptist Samuel How’s The Sufficiency of the Spirits Teaching, without Humane Learning, London, 1640. But this was a vexed question among the Puritans. For the position, in the learned-ministry controversy, of the various groups within the Puritan party, see Barbara Kieferlewalski: ‘Milton on Learning and the Learned-Ministry Controversy’, HLQ, XXIV (1961), 267-81.

108 Quoted by Mitchell, op. cit., p. 126.

109 John Webster: Academiarum Examen, or the Examination of Academies, London, 1653, p. 3; The Saints Guide, or Christ the Rule and Ruler of Saints, London, 1653.

110 Quoted by V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 138.

111 William Dell: The Tryall of Spirits, both in Teachers and Hearers, wherein is held forth the clear discovery and certain downfall of the carnall and antichristian Clergie of these times, London, 1653.

112 John Owen: Of the Divine Originall, Authority, Self-Evidencing Light and Power of the Scripture, Oxford, 1659.

113 A Directory for the Public Worship of God Throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland..., London, 1644, p. 34.

114 Ibid., pp. 27-28.

115 V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 140. Cromwell, who had become Chancellor of Oxford University in 1650, gave manuscripts to the University.

116 Bosher, op. cit., p. 7.

117 See The Scribe Instructed, in Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th ed., London, 1727, IV, Sermon I.

118 He says he was “prevented by illness from preaching”.

119 Gildas Salvianus, The Reform’d Pastor, op. cit., p. 360.

120 The sermon was preached on 31 March; on 1 May, 1647, appeared an ordinance of Parliament for the Visitation and Reformation of Oxford University, which led to the ejection of the Vice-Chancellor, Samuel Fell, Dean of Christ Church, and to the appointment of Edward Reynolds in his stead. It must be remembered that when Oxford surrendered in 1646, the commander of the Parliamentary forces, Fairfax, who was himself a cultured man and esteemed learning, “included in the Articles of Surrender a clause to the effect that ‘all Churches, Chapels, Colleges, Halls, Libraries, Schools... shall be preserved from defacing and spoil’”, Thus was prevented the vandalism that wrecked so many colleges in Cambridge. In 1644 Parliament passed an ordinance for the reformation of Cambridge University, “the execution of which was entrusted to the Earl of Manchester, a not wholly unsympathetic governor”. V.H.H. Green, op. cit., pp. 143, 142.

121 No more than Cudworth can Whichcote be called a Puritan, though he seems to have admired Cromwell. He did not, however, take the Covenant and is said to have assisted Isaac Barrow (though unsuccessfully) in his application for the Greek professorship. See Tulloch, op. cit., II, 88.

122 Quoted by Tulloch, op. cit., II, 54.

123 (Seth Ward): Vindiciae Academiarnm. Containing Some briefe Animadversions upon Mr Websters Book Stiled The Examination of Academies. Together with an Appendix concerning what Mr Hobbs and Mr Dell have published on this Argument, Oxford, 1654.

124 Joseph Sedgewick: ἘIIIΣΚOIIOΣ ΔIΔAKTIKOΣ. Learning’s necessity to an able minister of the Gospel, Cambridge, 1653, p. 55.

125 William Dell: The Stumbling Stone, London, 1653.

126 He rehearses the usual accusations against the learned clergy: that they speak Hebrew, Latin and Greek (this, he says, may sometimes be mere affectation; but it does show that they can understand the original text); that they mix philosophical speculations with the Gospel and preach morality; etc.

127 Op. cit., p. 20.

128 Op. cit., p. 55.

129 Op. cit., p. 6.

130 Op. cit., p. 38.

131 See George Williamson: ‘The Restoration Revolt against Enthusiasm’, SP, XXX (1933), 571-604.

132 J.R. Sutherland: ‘Robert South’, Review of English Literature, I, 1 (1960).

133 F.P. Wilson, op. cit., p. 110.

134 As we shall see, Baxter’s warning against Papists in the garb of Sects cannot be dismissed as a mere polemical gesture to frighten the true-blue Protestants.

135 This was laid down explicitly in the Directions Concerning Preachers issued by the King in 1662: “2. That they be admonished not to spend their time and study in the search of abstruse and speculative Notions, especially in and about the deep points of Election and Reprobation, together with the incomprehensible manner of the concurrence of Gods Grace, and mans Free Will, and such other controversies as depend thereupon: But howsoever, that they presume not positively and doctrinally to determine any thing concerning the same... 4. But for the more edifying of the people in faith and godliness-all Ministers and Preachers in their several respective Cures shall... in their ordinary Sermons insist chiefly upon Catechetical Doctrines (wherein are contained all the necessary and undoubted verities of Christian Religion) declaring with all unto their Congregations what influences such Doctrines ought to have into their lives and conversations, and stirring them up effectually, as well by their Examples as their Doctrines, to the practice of such Religious and Moral Duties as are the proper results of the said Doctrines...”.

136 See Pilgrim’s visit to Vanity Fair.

137 The parishioners of Tillotson at Keddington were dissatisfied because he did not ‘preach Jesus Christ’. See Birch, op. cit., p. xviii.

138 F.P. Wilson, op. cit, p. 101.

139 Directory, op. cit., Preface, p. 3.

140 Ibid., p. 29.

141 pp. 29-30.

142 p. 38.

143 p. 24.

144 London, 1646.

145 See Thomas Sprat: History of the Royal Society (1667), ed. J.I. Cope and H.W. Jones, St. Louis-London, 1959, p. 53. On Wilkins, see also: J.G. Crowther: Founders of British Science, London, 1960, and The Royal Society. Its Origins and its Founders, ed. Sir Harold Hartley, London, 1960.

146 Ecclesiastes, Preface.

147 On Keckermann, see Mitchell, op. cit., pp. 95 ff.

148 Op. cit., p. 9.

149 See particularly: John Wilkins: Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion, London, 1675 (edited by Tillotson).

150 p. 12.

151 p. 12.

152 p. 13.

153 p. 13.

154 p. 14.

155 p. 16.

156 See (Edward Fowler): The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of England (greatly misunderstood), Truly represented and defended; Wherein (by the way) some controversies, of no mean importance, are succinctly discussed. In a free discourse between two intimate friends. In III Parts. London, 1670. Fowler, who was to become Bishop of Gloucester under William, refers to the ‘long nick-name’ that has been fastened upon these divines (p. 9).

157 “1. It must be plain and natural, not being darkned with the affectation of scholastical harshness, or rhetorical flourishes. Obscurity in the discourse is an argument of ignorance in the mind. The greatest learning is to be seen in the greatest plainnesse. The more clearly we understand anything ourselves, the more easily can we expound it to others. When the notion itself is good, the best way to set it off, is in the most obvious expression. St. Paul does often glory in this, that his preaching was not in wisdom of words, or excellency of speech, not with inticing words of mans wisdome, not as pleasing men, but God who trieth the heart. A minister should speak as the orator of God, 1 Pet. 4.11. And it will not become the majesty of a divine embassage to be garnished out with flaunting affected eloquence. How unsuitable is it to the expectation of a hungry soul, who comes unto this ordinance with a desire of spiritual comfort and instruction, and there to hear only a starched speech full of puerile worded rhetorick? How properly may such a deceived hearer take up that of Seneca? Quid mihi lusoria ista proponis?... ‘Tis a sign of low thoughts and designs, when a mans chief study is about the polishing of his phrase and words... such a one speaks only from his mouth, and not from his heart.
2. It must be full, without empty and needless tautologies, which are to be avoided in every solid businesse, much more in sacred. Our expression should be so close, that they may not be obscure, and so plain, that they may not seem vain and tedious. To deliver things in a crude, confused manner, without digesting of them by previous meditation, will nauseate the hearers, and is as improper for the edification of the mind, as raw meat is for the nourishment of the body.” Op. cit., pp. 72-73.

158 p. 73.

159 R.F. Jones has argued that Wilkins’s first two requirements for style derived from the impact of the Baconian experimental philosophy. See ‘Science and English Prose Style, 1650-1675’, PMLA, XLV (1930), reprinted in Studies in the Seventeenth Century, Stanford (Cal.), 1951, pp. 75-111.

160 Sermons preached upon several occasions before the King at Whitehall, By the Right Rev. Father in God, John Wilkins, Late Lord Bishop of Chester. To which is added, A Discourse Concerning the Beauty of Providence, by the same Author. London, 1677 (edited by Tillotson).

161 Op. cit., p. 110.

162 The last of Wilkins’s recommendations need not concern us here: expression must be “affectionate and cordial, as proceeding from the heart, and an experimental acquaintance with those truths which we deliver”, op. cit, p. 73. Though the different wording is surely significant, Wilkins’s advice clearly derives from the Directory’s recommendation that the minister deliver the Word of God “6. With loving affection, that the people may see all coming from his godly zeale, and hearty desire to doe them good. And 7. As though of God, and perswaded in his owne heart, that all he teaches, is the truth of Christ”, op. cit., p. 35.

163 p. 43.

164 p. 49.

165 Taking notes at sermons or even taking down whole sermons in shorthand seems to have been fairly common in the seventeenth century. The practice was favoured by the Puritans, and according to Anthony Wood note-taking at sermons was ridiculed at Oxford after the Restoration (Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. A. Clark, Oxford, 1891-95, I, 359). But what Aubrey relates of his college friend Edward Davenant (whose uncle was Bishop of Sarum) shows that such practices obtained elsewhere: “He had an excellent way of improving his childrens memories, which was thus: he would make one of them read a chapter or etc., and then they were (sur le champ) to repeate what they remembred, which did exceedingly profitt them; and so for Sermons, he did not let them write notes (which jaded their memorie) but gave an account viva voce. When his eldest son, John, came to Winton-schoole (where the Boys were enjoyned to write Sermon-notes) he had not wrote; the Master askt him for his Notes—he had none, but sayd, If I doe not give you as good an account of it as they doe, I am much mistaken.” (Brief Lives, ed. A. Clark, Oxford, 1898, I, 202-3). According to Aubrey Katherine Philips could take down sermons verbatim when she was no more than ten; but then “she was when a child much against the Bishops” (Ibid., II, 153). It will be remembered that Pepys discovered that Paulina had left “many good notes of sermons” (Diary, ed. H.B. Wheatley, London, 1962, VIII, 277). For similar practices among Puritans, see Lucy Hutchinson’s Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (ed. J. Hutchinson, London, 1806); in the fragment of her autobiography Mrs. Hutchinson (b. 1620) relates that she was carried to sermons when she was four years old and that when very young she could “remember and repeat them exactly” (p. 16). See also G.H. Healey: The Meditations of Daniel Defoe, Cummington (Mass.), 1946, Introduction, p. vii. In Magnalia Christi Americana (1702) Cotton Mather says that John Winthrop did not take notes but could repeat the sermons he heard. On the other hand, Benjamin Franklin relates of his uncle Benjamin that “he was very pious, a great attender of Sermons of the best Preachers, which he took down in his shorthand and had with him many volumes of them”. (Autobiography, ed. L.W. Labaree, R.L. Ketcham, H.C. Boatfield, & H.H. Fineman, New Haven, 1964, p. 49). Surreptitious editions of sermons were often set up from shorthand notes, and some shorthand manuals were advertised as useful for those who wished to take notes at sermons; see, for instance, the manual by Jeremiah Rich, ‘Semiographer to the Commonwealth’: Charactery or, a Most Easie and Exact Method of Short and Swift Writing: Whereby Sermons and Speeches may be exactly taken..., London, 1646.

166 Cp. with Edward Reynolds above.

167 The sermon is printed in full below.

168 See Francis Bacon: Advancement of Learning, in Works, ed. J. Spedding, R.L. Ellis & D.D. Heath, London, 1857-74, III, 409-11; De Augmentis Scientia rum, VI. 3, ibid., I, 670-4.

169 Unless it was inspired by it, since the text as we have it was first published in 1715.

170 It is too long to be quoted here, but see the sermon, below.

171 Op. cit., V, 416.

172 Ibid., p. 430.

173 See S. Spiker: ‘Figures of Speech in the Sermons of Robert South’, RES. XVI (1940), 444-55.

174 See R. Tuve, op. cit.

175 Op. cit., V, 432.

176 Ibid., p. 433.

177 Ibid., p. 432.

178 p. 433.

179 pp. 435-6.

180 Op. cit., III, 430.

181 See A Discourse against long Extemporary Prayers below.

182 Ibid, (second sermon).

183 Thomas Sprat: History of the Royal Society, Section XX, op. cit, p. 113.

184 G. Williamson, op. cit., p. 266.

185 See The Christian Pentecost, printed below.

186 See The Christian Pentecost, printed below.

187 Directions Concerning the Matter and Stile of Sermons, written to W.S., a Young Deacon, by J.A., D.D., 1671; ed. John Mackay, Luttrell Reprints no. 13, Oxford, 1952, p. 1.

188 See J.E. Spingarn: Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century, Oxford, 1957, II, 310-13.

189 Op. cit., p. 24.

190 p. 29.

191 See J.I. Cope: Joseph Glanvill, Anglican Apologist, St. Louis, 1956.

192 See, for instance, ‘Antifanatick Theologie, and Free Philosophy in a Continuation of the New Atlantis’, the 7th essay, in Essays on Several Important Subjects in Philosophy and Religion, London, 1676.

193 In 1661 he had praised Baxter in a letter. See Cope, op. cit., pp. 6-7: “Like More, Stillingfleet, Tillotson, and so many ‘Latitudinarians’, Glanvill saw in Baxter a learned spirit of conciliation from the other side of the Acts for conformity.”

194 See, for instance, his 1670 sermon: Defence of Reason in the Affairs of Religion, revised as Agreement of reason and religion, the 5th essay in Essays (1676).

195 Earnest Invitation to the Sacrament (1672), quoted by Cope, op. cit., pp. 159-60.

196 Sermon on The Way of Happiness (first published in 1670), in Some Discourses, Sermons and Remains of the Rev. Mr. fos. Glanvill..., published by Ant. Horneck, London, 1681, pp. 73-74.

197 Ibid., pp. 258-9.

198 This is notably the case for The Vanity of Dogmatizing, published in 1661; revised as Scepsis Scientifica (1665), and later compressed into the first essay in Essays on Several Important Subjects, 1676. It has been argued that his gradual relinquishing of florid style testified to the impact of the Royal Society’s recommendations for style. Yet, as one compares the three versions one also realizes that the gradual moving towards the essay form must have influenced the style. The same is true of Plus Ultra, first published in 1668 and later included in the Essays.

199 The Churches prayer, op. cit., pp. 259-60.

200 (Joseph Glanvill): An Essay Concerning Preaching, Written for the Direction of a young divine and useful also for the people in order to profitable hearing, London, 1678.

201 Cp. with Wilkins’s ‘plain, full, wholesome, affectionate’.

202 p. 25.

203 p. 56.

204 In a sermon preached in 1667 South said that “the grace of God is pleased to move us by ways suitable to our nature, and to sanctify these suitable inferior helps to greater and higher purposes” (op. cit., I, 284).

205 Op. cit., p. 164.

206 J.I. Cope draws attention to the shift from ‘clearness’ to ‘perspicuity’, mainly under the impact on literary theory of Hobbes’s distinction between wit and fancy (op. cit., p. 146). It is only fair to add, however, that Dryden no less than Pope, and to a lesser extent Johnson, were out to show that wit includes both judgement and fancy, or, to use Hobbes’s terms, wit and fancy. Pope’s refusal to alter the couplet which Dennis criticized for its ambiguity shows that the ambiguity was deliberate (see An Essay On Criticism, ed. E. Audra and Aubrey Williams, London, 1961, Introduction, p. 213).

207 Op. cit., pp. 71-73.

208 J.I. Cope interprets this passage as meaning that “‘wit’ welcomes imagination as a necessary vehicle for its full expression”, op. cit., p. 165; but he does not quote the second paragraph.

209 A Seasonable Defence of Preaching. And the Plain Way of it, A Dialogue, London, (1678) 1703, pp. 47-48.

210 Ibid., p. 41.

211 The confusion or loose use of words appears, for instance, in his remark that fullness of sense and compactness of writing are real excellencies, “very proper and taking, to the wise especially” (but since hearers of sermons are mixt people, “a certain laxness of style is necessary for them”), and in his condemnation of what he calls “being too full, and close”, where fullness and compactness apparently represent one and the same defect. Essay Concerning Preaching, pp. 63-64.

212 R.F. Jones, ‘The Attack on Pulpit Eloquence in the Restoration’, JEGP, XXX (1931), reprinted in The Seventeenth Century, 1951, pp. 138-9. J.I. Cope, however, thinks that Glanvill’s use of rhetoric in his own sermons “obviates the necessity of attributing Glanvill’s defence of rhetoric to Rapin’s Reflexions”, op. cit., p. 164, n. 57.

213 Reflections upon the Eloquence of these Times, London, 1672; Reflections upon the Use of Eloquence of these Times, Oxford, 1672.

214 See F. Madan, Oxford Books, Oxford, 1895-1931, no. 2941.

215 And just as different from South’s severe and manly wit. Indeed, one imagines that Rapin would have been even more shocked by South’s sallies and vigour of speech than were some of his contemporaries in England.

216 See, for instance, Dryden’s references to him and Rymer’s translation of his Reflections on Aristotle’s Treatise of Poesie (1674).

217 Op. cit., p. 142.

218 A Letter to a Young Gentleman entered into Holy Orders, by a person of quality (dated January 9, 1719/20), in Swift: Prose Works, ed. Herbert Davis, IX: Irish Tracts 1720-1723 And Sermons, Oxford, 1948, p.65. See also Gilbert Burnet: A Discourse of Pastoral Care (1692) and Directions for the Conversation of the Clergy. Collected from the Visitation Charges of the Rt Rev. Father in God, Edward Stillingfleet, Late Ld Bp of Worcester (1710).

219 See the 1709 ms. version of Pope’s Essay on Criticism,11. 488/9:
Ev’n Pulpits pleas’d with merry Puns of yore:
Now All are banish’d to th’ Hibernian Shore!
Pope’s Essay on Criticism 1709, ed. R.M. Schmitz, St. Louis, 1962, p. 62. The lines were omitted in the 1711 edition.

220 p. 75.

221 p. 70.

222 p. 78. Yet Swift said: “I have been better entertained, and more informed by a chapter in the Pilgrim’s Progress, than by a long discourse upon the will and the intellect, and simple or complex ideas” (p. 77).

223 At this stage all kinds of Nonconformists are included in the Anglicans’ references to them.

224 Cf. Swift: “a divine hath nothing to say to the wisest congregations of any parish in this Kingdom, which he may not express in a manner to be understood by the meanest among them. And this assertion must be true, or else God requires from us more than we are able to perform”, op. cit., p. 66.

225 Printed below.

226 (Simon Patrick): A Friendly Debate betwixt two neighbours. The One a Conformist, the other a Non-Conformist. About several weighty matters. Published for the benefit of this City. By a lover of it and of pure religion. London, 1669. The Conventicle Act had been passed in 1664, and the Five-Mile Act in 1665.

227 Ibid., p. 16, 15.

228 Patrick reminds the Nonconformist of the time when their ministry would not hear of liberty of conscience and refers to the letter of the five members, i.e. the plea for accommodation of the non-separating Congregationalists presented to Parliament in 1643 in An Apologetical Narration. The Nonconformist answers that he is not ready to tolerate all Sects.

229 p. 88.

230 p. 104.

231 Many Latitudinarians, notably Tillotson and Burnet, became bishops after the Revolution.

232 The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of England, op. cit. To the Reader. For a similar account of the Latitudinarians, see Burnet’s History of His Own Time, London, 1724, 1734, Book II.

233 p. 70. This, incidentally, reveals the shift from Hooker’s right reason to the Restoration concept of reason as discursive reason.

234 p. 86.

235 pp. 93-97.

236 p. 105.

237 p. 112.

238 pp. 114-17.

239 p. 159.

240 p. 176.

241 From. p. 117 tot p. 189.

242 Which was still nominally Calvinistic. See Article XVII of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

243 Directions, op. cit., point 2.

244 p. 306.

245 Their belief that the Roman Church did contradict Scripture accounts for the violence of a notably temperate man like Tillotson. See his sermons on The Protestant Religion Vindicated and his Discourse on Transubstantiation, printed below.

246 p. 323.

247 See South’s sermon on Galat., II, 5, in op. cit., vol. V (sermon 12).

248 See Beveridge’s sermon to Convocation in 1689, when the King’s scheme for Comprehension was presented to the clergy: Concio ad Synodum, London, 1689.

249 William Nichols: A Defence of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England, London, 1715.

250 The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, or. The Foolishness of their Teaching discovered from their books, sermons, and prayers (by Jacob Curate), London, 1692, pp. 22-23.

251 Birch, op. cit., p. xii, quoting Burnet’s History of His Own Time (Bk. I, in finem).

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