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

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Irène Simon

Part one

Chapter four. Barrow, South, and Tillotson

Texte intégral

Isaac Barrow (1630-1677)

  • 1 Abraham Hill: ‘Some Account of the Life of Dr. Barrow, a letter to the Reverend Dr. Tillotson’, pr (...)
  • 2 See Allibone: A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, London, 1859, p. 130.

1When Charles II appointed Isaac Barrow Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1672, he remarked that he had bestowed this dignity on the best scholar in England1. Barrow had by then achieved eminence in mathematics and in classical scholarship; he was one of the King’s chaplains in ordinary, he had preached at Court and manifested his ready wit in encounters with the Earl of Rochester2 and the Duke of Buckingham, and he was soon to engage in the most thorough-going refutation of the Pope’s claim to supremacy. Not his least merit was to have recognized the superior qualifications of his pupil Isaac Newton, whose help in revising his lectures on optics he gratefully acknowledged and to whom he had resigned his chair of mathematics at Cambridge. The King may have been slow to promote this brilliant scholar; and Barrow may have shared the feeling that Charles had passed an Act of Oblivion on his old friends when he wrote the often quoted epigram:

Te magis optavit rediturum, Carole, nemo,
Et nemo sensit te rediisse minus.

2But the King obviously knew what best suited this learned man, for at Trinity Barrow could pursue his studies in a congenial atmosphere and labour to make his College a renowned centre of learning by laying the foundation of its magnificent library.

  • 3 Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig. a 2.
  • 4 “But the Master silenced them with this; Barrow is a better man than any of us”, Abr. Hill, op. ci (...)
  • 5 “When the Ingagement was imposed, he subscribed it, but upon second thoughts, repenting of what he (...)

3His first years at school, however, had been unpromising for he seemed to take more pleasure in fighting than in accidence and syntax. Not until his father had removed him from the Charterhouse and placed him under the care of Martin Holbeach at Felstead school in Essex, did young Isaac apply himself seriously to study. His father, who was linen-draper to Charles I and followed the King to Oxford, was soon unable to provide for him so that Isaac’s master made the boy a ‘little tutor’ to one of his schoolfellows, Viscount Fairfax. In 1643 Barrow was admitted to Peter-house, where his uncle was a fellow; when he came to Cambridge in 1645, however, his uncle had been ejected from his fellowship and Isaac entered Trinity College. He was able to complete his course of studies there thanks to the kindness of Dr. Henry Hammond. In 1647, he was chosen scholar of the House; the next year he proceeded B.A. and in 1649 he was elected Fellow. Although he was a protégé of Dr. Hammond, and although he refused to take the Covenant, Barrow “gained the good will of the chief governors of the University”3, notably of the Master of Trinity, Thomas Hill, who had been intruded by the Parliamentary Visitors, but stood by Barrow4 when some fellows urged his expulsion in 1651 because he had extolled James I in a Latin Oration on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Nor does Barrow seem to have suffered for having failed to take the Engagement5. He took his M.A. degree in 1652 and the next year was incorporated M.A. at Oxford.

  • 6 Ibid.
  • 7 Mainly a refutation on Baconian principles.
  • 8 Besides Hill’s Account, further biographical information may be found inJohn Aubrey’s Brief Lives, (...)
  • 9 Op. cit., sig. b.

4Barrow seems to have first intended to become a physician, “finding the times not favourable to men of his opinion in the affairs of Church and State”6, and to this purpose he applied himself to anatomy, botany and chemistry; not satisfied with the science then taught at Cambridge, he studied Bacon and Descartes, and in one of his theses for his M.A. degree demonstrated that “Cartesiana hypothesis de materia et motu haud satisfecit praecipuis Naturae Phaenomenis”7. On being elected fellow, however, he had taken an oath to make divinity the end of his studies. According to his first biographer, Abraham Hill8, it was the study of chronology, i.e. the chronology of events related in the Bible, which led him to take an interest in astronomy and in geometry, and so, says Hill, “he made his first entry into the mathematics”9. He had also proved an excellent Greek scholar for when his tutor, Dr. Duport, himself a reputed philologist, resigned his chair in 1654, he recommended Barrow for his successor. Whether it was felt that Barrow had better concentrate on mathematics, or whether his royalist sympathies were held against him, in any case he was not appointed. Though he still enjoyed the favour of men like Whichcote, the war waged by Barebone’s Parliament of nominated Saints against places of learning may have induced him to leave Cambridge for a time: he was granted by his college a patent for travelling for three years (with a small allowance), he sold all his books and in June 1655 sailed for France, where his father was staying with the English Court. From Paris he proceeded to Italy, spent some time in Florence and in 1657 took ship for the East, visiting Smyrna and finally Constantinople, where he applied himself to study of his favourite Father, Chrysostom. On his return the ship was attacked by Barbary pirates and Barrow grappled with them on the deck. After journeying through Germany and Holland he reached England in 1659, and at once sought ordination from Bishop Brownrigg, who had been extruded from his see and had become preacher to the Temple. Barrow returned to Trinity College in September 1659, i.e. after the fall of Richard Cromwell, and found a new master there who was to prove a staunch friend, John Wilkins (soon to be deprived in favour of a nominee of Charles II).

  • 10 See S.P. Rigaud, ed., op. cit., II, 32-76.
  • 11 J.C. Crowther, op. cit., p. 239 (Isaac Newton).
  • 12 See his letter to John Collins, Easter Eve, 1669, Correspondence, op. cit., II, 71.
  • 13 See Newton’s letter to Collins, 10 Dec., 1672: “We are here very glad that we shall enjoy Dr. Barr (...)

5Upon the Restoration Ralph Widdrington, who had succeeded Dr. Duport, resigned his chair, and Barrow was appointed Regius professor of Greek. In 1661 he was given a B.D. degree honoris causa, and in 1670 he was created D.D. by royal mandate. Mean-while he gave lectures on Aristotle, which, from his own account in Oratio Sarcasmica in Schola Graeca, were not very successful. On the death of Laurance Rooke John Wilkins had him elected professor of geometry at Gresham College (1662) and Barrow resumed his mathematical studies, taking also astronomy into his province since he had to officiate for Walter Pope, then journeying abroad. For two years he lectured regularly at Gresham College, but resigned his post in 1664 when he was appointed to the first chair of mathematics at Cambridge, endowed by Henry Lucas. In 1663 he had been elected Fellow of the Royal Society; he does not seem to have attended the meetings but he had many friends among the Fellows and kept up an active correspondence with John Collins, F.R.S., to whom he expounded his theorems and whom he asked to send the latest books on mathematical problems10. At Cambridge he lectured on optics and on geometry; his researches “led him towards the discovery of the calculus, and he applied his mathematical method to optical problems in particular”2. It was Barrow who “set Newton’s genius on fire”11 and stimulated him to further research. His duties as Lucasian professor left him little time to compose the theological discourses which the statutes of the College required him to write before he could become a College preacher. In 1669 “out of term”12, he set himself to writing the Expositions on the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Decalogue and Sacraments; perhaps he was the more inclined to turn to divinity because he had discovered among his pupils one that was likely to excel him in mathematics. At any rate in 1670 he relinquished his professorship in favour of Newton; henceforth, though he kept up his interest in mathematical problems, Barrow devoted all his time to the study of divinity. In the same year he appeared on the list of the Chaplains at Court, and in 1671 he was appointed College preacher. His uncle Isaac, who had been consecrated Bishop of Man in 1663 and was now Bishop of Asaph, gave him a sinecure in Wales, and Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, offered him a prebend in his Cathedral. On the death of John Wilkins in 1672 the Master of Trinity College, Pearson, succeeded him in the see of Rochester, and Barrow was promoted to the mastership, to the delight of the fellows and particularly of Newton13.

  • 14 John Ward, op. cit., I, 164.

6Among the tasks Barrow set himself then were the refutation of the Romanist claims and the building of a new library. Though he failed to convince other heads of Houses that the University needed a library, he was tireless in raising funds for the erection of a new library at Trinity and applied in writing to all the friends of the College for subscriptions. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor for the year 1675-1676, and in February 1676 he laid the foundation stone of the new building, to be erected from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren. Unfortunately, Barrow did not live to see this great work completed: while on a visit to London in the Spring of 1677 he caught a fever and died there on the fourth of May. No funeral sermon was preached when this great scholar, the friend of Ray and Newton, of Tillotson and Wilkins, was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. “The estate he left”, says Abraham Hill, “was books”. His father, Thomas Barrow, entrusted his papers to Tillotson and Hill “with a power to print such of them as they thought proper”14. Barrow’s memory could not have been served better than by Tillotson’s edition of his works, which perpetuated his fame as one of the great Anglican divines.

  • 15 W. Whewell, op. cit., p. xxxv.
  • 16 See Correspondence, op. cit., passim.
  • 17 See Plutarch: Symposiaca problemata (VIII, 2, 718 B): Πῶς Πλάτων ἔλεγε τὀν θεὀν ἀεὶ γεωµετρεῖν;
  • 18 Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig. d.

7Though Barrow is regarded as “one of the immediate precursors of Newton and Leibnitz in the invention of differential calculus”15—both Newton and Wallis thought highly of him16—his fame rests chiefly on his theological works. Not only was he, as Whewell said, a geometer-theologian—he inscribed on the flyleaf of one of his books an invocation to God as Ὁ θεὸς γεωμετρεῖ17—, he was at home in Greek and in Hebrew and he was versed in ecclesiastical history. In fact as a scholar he had taken all knowledge into his province. He is said to have remarked “that general scholars did more please themselves, but they who prosecuted particular subjects did more service to others”18; he might have achieved greater eminence in mathematics if he had devoted all his energy to it, but his particular excellence as a divine lay in his masterful grasp of such a variety of subjects, in the extraordinary fertility of his mind and in the copiousness of his verbal imagination. Whatever theme he handled he always seemed to extend the boundaries of it, and to bring in more arguments from his varied learning to bear on the point at issue. As an experienced philologist he knew the value of words and, as his revisions show, he was not satisfied until he had rendered the full compass of his thought with the utmost precision; he had a vast store of words at his command to express all the shades of meaning and thus enrich his theme. But his training in mathematics as well as in rhetoric ensured a firm control on the matter in hand, and whatever his amplifications he never allowed them to stray from the theme proposed at the outset. True, in his sermons as in his Treatise of The Pope’s Supremacy he may be said to break off rather than to conclude, and he always leaves his readers with the impression that he has more to say on the subject. But by the time he comes to an end his readers have travelled with him over a wide expanse, for his trains of thought open up endless vistas. Such fecundity was the product of his many-sided interests, and of the diligence with which he pursued whatever study he was engaged in. Charles II called him an unfair preacher because he exhausted whatever subject he handled and left others nothing to say after him: this may not have been unqualified praise, for one can hardly imagine the Merry Monarch keeping awake through one of Barrow’s sermons; all the same Charles had clearly seen that this preacher’s powerful flow of words issued from a richly stored mind.

  • 19 Walter Pope relates that “He was unmercifully cruel to a lean Carcass, not allowing it sufficient (...)
  • 20 John Aubrey: Brief Lives, ed. cit., I, 91. See also Walter Pope, op. cit., pp. 148, 155.

8In his brief account, Abraham Hill stressed “the harmonious, regular, constant tenour” of Barrow’s life, and regretted that he could not make his narrative more vivid since there were no shadows to set off his piece. Indeed Barrow seems to have had no enemy nor even to have suffered for his allegiance to the King during the Interregnum. He was of a peaceable temper, wholly engrossed in his studies, and averse from controversies. This temper is reflected in his sermons: the steady march of his mind, moving from consideration to consideration until he seems to have exhausted his theme, suggests the quiet as well as the relentless labours19 of the scholar’s life. Hill also tells us that Barrow was negligent in his dress; as Aubrey put it, he “was by no meanes a spruce man”20. Such indifference to his outward appearance has its counterpart in his lack of concern for the patience, or ease, of his auditory: not only were his sermons unduly long, even for an age that loved sermons, but if we are to believe Walter Pope, he seems to have paid no heed to the reactions of his public, and to have made little effort to catch their attention.

  • 21 S.T. Coleridge: Table Talk, ed. H.N. Coleridge, London, 1884, p. 294 (July 5, 1834).

9Coleridge thought that Barrow closed “the first great period in the English language”21. His luxuriousness as well as his Latinisms often recall the prose-writers of the earlier seventeenth century, but the structure of his sentences clearly belongs to a later age. His language is unadorned, he eschews florid imagery as well as scheme and point—unless one counts as schemes his numerous reiterations of similar syntactical structures and his endless strings of “appositions”, He can use vivid images, but on the whole his style is plain, and the syntax fairly simple. He has moved a long way from the Ciceronian period, though he does not often attain the simpler sentence structure of Dryden at his best. At times he can be brief, but his is not the brevity characteristic of the pregnant “strong lines”, and since he often repeats the same movement in successive sentences he always enlarges the meaning. What he favours is the open structure, which gives him scope to expand his thought; his sentences grow by addition and reiteration, sweeping along in a uniform movement. Though he was a Fellow of the Royal Society he did not aim at mathematical plainness; after all his favourite father was Chrysostom, and like him he had a rich store of words at his disposal to illustrate his thoughts. He usually accumulates subordinates or adjuncts, or independent clauses, built on the same pattern, thereby gradually defining the meaning, which he then gathers up in a final synthesis. For instance:

  • 22 Works, 1683, I, 14 (Sermon II, on The Profitableness of Godliness).

The gain of money, or of somewhat equivalent thereto, is therefore specially termed Profit, because it readily supplieth necessity, furnisheth convenience, feedeth pleasure, satisfieth fancy and curiosity, promoteth ease and liberty, supporteth honour and dignity, procureth power, dependencies and friendships, rendreth a man some-body, considerable in the world; in fine, enableth to doe good, or to perform works of beneficence and charity22.

  • 23 For instance: “First then we may consider, that Piety is exceeding usefull for all sorts of men, i (...)
  • 24 As J.E. Kempe remarked: “Every sermon... is exhaustive in the sense of being a comprehensive discu (...)
  • 25 See, for instance, the opening of the sermon of the Passion, printed below.

10Whole passages consist of parallel sentences, in which some of the parts too are expanded: thus an initial statement is elaborated and all the facets of it are revealed progressively as the sentence carries along his varied observations23. These enlargements are not dictated by Barrow’s care for rhythm, but by his wish to cover the whole of the subject under consideration24. In fact he seems to be unmindful of the rhythm of his sentences, as well as of the repetitiveness this method of composition entails. At times such accumulation makes for a majestic movement entirely in keeping with the thought, and gives weight to it25; at times it merely issues in monotony, even though the cumulative effect may contribute to win assent to the initial proposition. Perhaps it is difficult to judge of the effectiveness of such a manner apart from the inflexions of the speaking voice; but only a very skilful orator could have modulated such long passages so as to move gradually to a climax in the synthesis, for all the parts are of equal weight and value. It is on this account that Barrow has sometimes been accused of prolixity and of excessive fondness for “appositions”. Though he may become tiresome when his subject does not particularly interest the modern reader—for instance, when he is dealing with the profitableness of piety—it must be granted that his many “appositions” are not mere tautologies. It is no wonder that Coleridge admired Barrow’s verbal imagination when, on such unpromising themes as that mentioned above, he could use images like these:

  • 26 Works, ed. cit., I, 22 (sermon 2).

If from bare worldly wealth ... a man seeketh Honour, he is deluded, for he is not thereby truly honourable; he is but a shining Earth-worm, a well-trapped Ass, a gaudy Statue, a theatrical Grandee26,

11or distinguish between states of mind or feelings closely akin to each other as in:

  • 27 Works, ed. cit., I, 22 (sermon 2).

If he propoundeth to himself thence the enjoyment of Pleasure, he will also much fail therein: for in lieu thereof he shall find care and trouble, surfeiting and disease, wearisome satiety and bitter regret; being void of all true delight in his mind, and satisfaction in his Conscience; nothing here being able to furnish solid and stable pleasure27.

  • 28 For instance, points 1 to 8 under head IV of the Sermon on Quietness are built on the same pattern (...)
  • 29 Preliminary Dissertation to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, quoted by Allibone, op. cit.
  • 30 “On every subject, [Barrow] multiplies words with an overflowing copiousness; but it is always a t (...)

12The structure of Barrow’s sentences is the same as that of the discourse as a whole, in which he usually offers an impressive number of considerations to support the theme he has explained at the beginning. Though the plan of his sermon is clear and firm enough, he develops each point by means of amplification, often repeating the same syntactical structures in paragraph after paragraph28. In fact he often seems to proceed in the manner taught by the rhetoricians, i.e. considering in succession the various loci of his theme. The impression is one of abundance and even prodigality, of a comprehensive mind marshalling a variety of arguments drawn from his wide studies as well as from his observation of men and manners. The cumulative effect is impressive, though apt to become wearisome in the long run. His is not the copiousness that Bacon censured, for it is the counterpart of his fertile thought; none the less he is often closer to the age that held “copy” for the supreme quality of the orator than to the age in which moderation, order in variety, easy and graceful movement, were most prized. While the gentleman of the Restoration affected negligence, Barrow the scholar ploughed his field relentlessly. He had little or no regard for the varied rhythm of prose; rather he tended to carry on for whole stretches at a time now in one mode, now in another. For instance he will heap up when-subordinates for a whole folio page, all of them built on the same pattern; or he will have an equally long list of rhetorical questions; or again he will write a long passage in shorter, simple expository style. What he rarely does is to alternate from the one to the other in the course of a paragraph. Dugald Stewart aptly characterized Barrow’s eloquence when he called it vigorous though unpolished29. The cumulative force of his amplifications, the power which sustains his long aggregate sentences, the precision with which he distinguishes and defines, and above all his verbal fertility, reveal a bold and vigorous mind moving to its proposed end30. Such singleness of purpose made him unmindful of the ease of his movements. Though he showed Newton the way and kept abreast of scientific research in his age, in language and style Barrow was still close to such amphibious creatures as Sir Thomas Browne or even Robert Burton. He never learnt from the conversation of gentlemen the unemphatic, graceful style which was developing in his time. Only occasionally did he use that slightly stylized form of the common speech which Dryden was learning to master in his essays, and which made his friend Tillotson such a successful preacher. What his style lacks, above all, is the ease and simple elegance that distinguish Restoration prose at its best.

  • 31 Coleridge also noted that he “sometimes adopted the slang of L’Estrange and Town Brown”, op. cit., (...)
  • 32 “It happened that sometimes he let slip a word not commonly used, which upon reflexion he would do (...)
  • 33 See his letter to Collins, 12 Nov., 1664, in which he censures Mengolus for using “abundance of ne (...)

13Though Barrow could be racy at times and use a colloquial phrase31 particularly when censuring vice or deprecating vanities, he used many uncommon, latinate terms which must have baffled some of his hearers less familiar than he was himself with the vocabulary of the schoolmen. Sometimes these words were needed for precision, but most often one feels that they simply were part of the common speech of the scholars with whom he was conversant. Such a habit was certainly not mere pedantry on his part, as Abraham Hill already remarked32; in fact Barrow himself objected to the use of “new definitions and uncouth terms” in mathematics when the new notions could have been expressed “in the usual manner of speaking”33. The Latinisms and obsolete words seem to have come as naturally to him as did the slang phrase to L’Estrange or Tom Brown. But the vivid colloquial expressions often strike a strange note in the midst of a predominantly learned vocabulary, and are therefore noticed all the more readily. Moreover, Barrow occasionally used a slightly old-fashioned word-order, as in:

  • 34 Works, ed. cit., III, 161 (Sermon 14, The Consideration of our Latter End).

this consideration [...] will [...] justify that advice and verify that assertion of the Wise-man: [...] it well applyed will pluck down the high places reared to that great Idol of clay in mens hearts34

14which strikes the modern reader as the more quaint because of the vividness of the image that follows; or again in:

  • 35 Ibid., I, 158, 159 (Sermon 11, On the Gunpowder-Treason).

I shall onely farther remark, that the word here used is by the Greek rendred ἐπαινεθήσνται, they shall be praised...35

15or again in:

You farther considering this signal testimony of Divine Goodness, will thereby be moved to hope and confide in God...1

  • 36 Printed below.
  • 37 Caroline F. Richardson said that “the majority of Barrow’s sermons... were written to be read, not (...)

16Barrow’s abundant quotations from Scripture or from the Fathers, even more than his vocabulary and syntax, make him akin to the preachers of the preceding age. Besides, he was fond of indicating in the margin more references even than those from which he had actually quoted in the sermon; as a consequence his works appear slightly forbidding to the modern reader, who, from a mere look at his pages, might infer that his demonstrations are all from authority. This would be a gross mistake, for Barrow always grounds his arguments on the reason of the thing as much as on the word of Scripture or of any of its commentators. But he makes plentiful use of illustrations from such sources to support his argument or to enlarge upon his theme. This distinguishes him decidedly from most of his Anglican contemporaries, and notably from South and Tillotson, who make only sparing use of authority and rarely give references to their sources. Barrow therefore seems to owe more to the method of the schoolmen, though his thought is probably more alien to theirs than was South’s, for instance; in this as in so much else he appears as the scholar preacher. Such display of learning was beginning to be less and less relished by his contemporaries, as the gentleman or honnete homme came to take precedence over the scholar, who was too often mistaken for a mere pedant. But Barrow was an experienced philologist and he often explained the exact meaning of his text by reference to the Greek or even the Hebrew words, or by comparing the various passages in which a particular term is used in Scripture. Several of his sermons open with such exegesis, from which modern critics might profitably learn how to proceed in their explication de texte. He does not labour the point, or “crumble” his text after the manner of Andrewes, but he makes clear what is the precise value of the terms used in his text. A good example of this may be found in his sermons on justifying faith and justification by faith36. His care for words, here as in his amplifications, merely reflects his care for right thinking, since to him as to his brother Anglicans the false notions regarding faith resulted from the abuse of words. Barrow may be more concerned than were most of his contemporaries with the niceties of his text, but this never leads him into far-fetched observations from the text. Perhaps it should be remembered that most of his sermons were preached to university audiences37, though the Orator of Oxford University, Robert South, preached to similar audiences in a quite different manner. To such hearers, Barrow’s style would have sounded less old-fashioned than it would to a City congregation or at Court. The few sermons which we know to have been delivered elsewhere are not, however, noticeably different in method or style. Barrow’s friend, Tillotson, or the former Master of Trinity, Wilkins, even when preaching to distinguished audiences eschewed such appeal to authority, and unlike Barrow relied on demonstration rather than amplification to carry their point.

  • 38 See Works, ed. cit., I, 421-63.
  • 39 See his sermon Against Foolish Talking and Jesting, printed below.

17Barrow’s manner may seem slightly antiquated in the context of Restoration sermon literature, but the advantage of his style of preaching appears best when he is dealing with the commonplaces of morality. There, though the theme be trite, the wealth of his observations, supported by confirmations from his sources, often gives new vigour to the old truths. The best instance of this is probably his Spital sermon on Bounty to the Poor, which, Walter Pope tells us, lasted for three hours and a half, and which he published “with what farther he had prepared to say”. The sermon is too long38 to be included in the present selection, and a brief outline of it can hardly suggest the amazing wealth of considerations and the wide variety of observations with which he enriches this worn-out theme. The sermon in fact images the liberal bounty which it recommends through the rich outpourings from Barrow’s own store. Having explained the meaning of his text, Ps. CXII.9, he proceeds to demonstrate it by propounding considerations under five several heads: the advantages with which Scripture represents this duty to us and presses it upon us (pp. 425-33); the reasonableness and equity of the laws of charity in regard to God (pp. 433-42), in regard to our neighbour (pp. 442-47), in regard to ourselves (pp. 447-51), and in regard to our wealth itself (pp. 451-9). He concludes by giving instances of the felicity proper to a bountiful person (pp. 459-63). As such these topics have nothing uncommon or new, nor have the several considerations under each head; thus under the fourth he develops the following points: 1. What is he whose need craves our bounty? 2. Whence comes the distinction between our poor neighbour and ourselves? 3. One main end of this difference among us is that some men’s industry and patience might be exercised by their poverty while other men should by their wealth have ability of practising justice and charity. 4. Poverty itself is no such contemptible thing. 5. Every poor man is our near kinsman. 6. He is nearly allied to us by society of common nature and more strictly joined to us by the bands of spiritual consanguinity. Each point, however, is developed with such strength of argument and such wealth of detailed observation that Barrow seems to have pictured the vast scene of human actions, at least in respect to wealth or the want of it. Barrow may have been no spellbinder, but he obviously knew what to say to a City congregation and dwelt on such considerations as were likely to impress the rich merchants and tradesmen who were only too apt to consider their commercial success as a mark of God’s favour. His appeal for support to the City hospitals must have made them take the doctrine of stewardship to heart. But Barrow could use the same wealth of description to define “so versatile and multiform” a thing as wit39 which again images his own kind of wit, i.e. his inventiveness and verbal fertility.

  • 40 J.H. Overton: Life in the English Church, 1660-1714, London, 1885, p. 39.
  • 41 See Chapter II: Anglican Rationalism, above.
  • 42 See Chapter III: Church and State after the Restoration, above.
  • 43 Printed below.
  • 44 See his prayer to Ὁ θεὀς γεωµετρεῖ , quoted by Hill, op. cit., sig. b 2 v.

18Canon Overton remarked that Barrow formed a link between two generations of Churchmen, since he was supported in his youth by the defender of the Laudian Church, Dr. Hammond, and later became the friend of Tillotson40. If Barrow was old-fashioned in his language and style of preaching, as a theologian he was very much of his age and he has often been classed with the Latitudemen. Like his Anglican brethren he believed that faith is the perfection of reason and that a living faith must issue in practice. Like them he demonstrated the absurdity of infidelity, and he grounded his belief in Scripture on reason and the testimony of the senses. He proved the being of God from the frame of the world, from human nature, from universal consent and from supernatural effects; but like them too he insisted that bare reason alone is not sufficient, that Christianity is both reasonable and mysterious. He censured both the implicit faith of the Romanists and the doctrine of eternal election or reprobation of the Puritans41. In matters of discipline he opposed the claims of the separatists and upheld the order and decency of the established Church; above all he opposed the claims of the Roman Church to be the sole heir of Christ, and of the Pope to infallibility in matters of doctrine and discipline. He recommended obedience to the pastors and governors of the Church; he preached passive obedience to the civil magistrate42 and as a faithful member of the national Church he duly solemnized such anniversaries as the fifth of November and Royal Oak day. Yet in his sermons he did not allow himself to be drawn into controversy beyond the necessary refutation of what were to him dangerous views; indeed he was markedly moderate in his censure of enemies of the Church and never slandered or ridiculed them as did some of his brethren, notably South. He believed that rebuke should be mild and affectionate rather than harsh, and that pastors should speak in the still voice of their Master. Yet he could be firm in demonstrating the folly of unbelief or of slander, or the heinousness of sin. He was averse from all excesses, an equable and peace-loving man, and such was the temper he tried to instil into his hearers. He was too much the geometer-theologian ever to express the ardour of faith or to convey the sense of the unfathomable mystery of the Godhead and the poignancy of the mystery of the divine sacrifice. Though his sermon on the Passion43 is more “pathetic” than his expositions of the Creed, yet one cannot help feeling that he hardly realized the full significance of the Atonement. If in many ways he recalls the Norwich Doctor, yet unlike him he was not ready to be teased out of thought by an O! Altitudo. Rather he envisaged the beatific vision as the full revelation of the many theorems which his geometer-God could grasp at one glance44. His was a deep and earnest, but not an ardent faith; nor was he perturbed by the immense distance between the Creator and His creatures. Though he emphasized the necessity to do the will of God before the full light of truth might be granted us, he hardly seems to have been aware that more was needed than a rational conviction to enable man to walk upright. Too often indeed the choice seems to be as simple and as easy as between two propositions in mathematics, one of which is plainly false. That is why, perhaps, his moral sermons and even his sermons on the love of God seem so dry to us.

19Like many of his Anglican brethren Barrow was a “moral preacher” and recommended such virtues as patience, industry, love of our neighbour, etc. These sermons are not likely to appeal much to the modern reader, any more than are the majority of those on the Creed. The sermons printed below have been chosen because they deal with matters which were of central concern to the Anglican divines and which may be deemed to reflect important aspects of the thought of the day. Such were the rise of infidelity and the danger of scoffing at religion, the problem of justifying faith, and the question of obedience to spiritual guides. The sermon on the Passion has been included because in it Barrow achieves greater intensity than is usual with him, and at times recalls the great Anglican divine who in his sermons as well as in his poems could make his hearers or readers realize the baffling nature of the central event in Christianity. Such a choice inevitably reflects the editor’s taste and interests, but it is hoped that it will present to the modern reader a fair sample of the oratory of Isaac Barrow.

Robert South (1634-1716)

  • 45 Narcissus Luttrell: A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to April 1714(...)

20Robert South, ‘the scourge of the fanatics’, outlived most of his contemporaries, yet in March 1709 Narcissus Luttrell thought him dead45 and in June of the same year Swift wrote to Lord Halifax:

  • 46 Jonathan Swift: Correspondence, ed. Harold Williams, Oxford, 1963, I, 143. Postscript to a letter (...)

Pray, My Lord, desire Dr South to dy about the Fall of the Leaf, for he has a Prebend of Westminster which will make me your neighbor, and a Sinecure in the Country, both in the Queen’s Gift; which my Friends have often told me would fitt me extreamly46.

  • 47 Ibid., p. 150.
  • 48 Ibid., p. 159.
  • 49 Reliquiae Hearnianae: The Remains of Thomas Hearne, Extracts from his Diaries, collected by Philip (...)
  • 50 See Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. cit„ III, 248. “South is one of the best, if you except his pec (...)
  • 51 See Allan Wendt: ‘Fielding and South’s “Luscious Morsel”: A Last Word’, N. & Q., ccii (N.S. IV), 2 (...)

21In October, however, Halifax remarked: “Dr South holds out still, but He can not be immortal”47, nor would “the gentle winter [of 1709/10] carry off the old man”48. Swift was to be disappointed of his hopes, for the Queen had been dead almost two years and Swift consigned to his Dublin deanery when on Tuesday, 10th July, 1716, “Christ Church bell rung for the death of Dr South”49. The last rites at his burial were performed, as he had desired, by his friend Atterbury, former Dean of Christ Church, and now Bishop of Rochester, who was later to be involved in attempts to restore the Pretender and sentenced to banishment. A funeral oration was spoken by the Captain of the Westminster scholars, of whom South had been one, but it was left to the ‘unspeakable Curll to publish the—anonymous—Memoirs of the Life of Dr South (1716). His collected Works, reissued first by his bookseller Jonah Bowyer and then by Jacob Tonson, included no biography; nor did the additional volumes published by Charles Bathurst in 1744. While the works of Tillotson, Chilling worth, and Stilling fleet, among others, appeared in folio editions, South’s sermons were only available in octavo collections. They delighted such men as Johnson50 and Fielding51 but were probably too much out of tune with the prevailing temper to be thought worthy of further editions. When in 1795 a well-intentioned man proposed to publish extracts from South’s sermons he found that his proposals had shocked one of the readers of the Evangelical Magazine, who reminded him that the sermons had been inspired by the Devil himself. The editor thought it necessary to explain that “whatever other acrimonious parts were”, the passages he had selected could not have been so written; he further explained that he had searched his heart before proceeding with his work and was satisfied that he had not been “headstrong and self-willed in the matter”, that in any case “truth is certainly the same in itself, whoever may be the speaker or writer”. Such was, in some circles at least, the inability of sermon readers to respond to wit and their ignorance of the events to which the sermons referred that this editor himself was unable to understand the sentence of South censured by his Evangelical critic:

Having sent my proposals, respecting an abridgement of South, to the printer of the Evangelical Magazine, (a benevolent and useful publication) when, upon a visit at Nottingham, I took up the Magazine for May, and dropping upon page 205, I read the following lines:
“The saying of a celebrated divine, more remarkable for the brilliancy of his wit, than the fervor of his piety, has been often quoted and too often credited, viz. That the study of the book of Revelation either found persons mad or made them so f. We shall be in little danger of feeling an improper bias from his decision, if we pay any deference to the judgment of the amiable and candid Doddridge, who thought his (i.e. South’s) discourses dictated by so bad a spirit, that he said, if ever any sermons were written by the inspiration of the devil, it was Dr South’s.”

  • 52 The Beauties of South, Extracts from the Works of Robert South, London, 1795. Preface, p. v. The s (...)

† No pious, sensible man can agree to this witty but weak observation of the doctor’s, because it contradicts Rev. I.352.

22The tide had long turned against South’s bracing and pungent expositions of High-Church doctrine and Tory loyalty. Readers of a ‘benevolent and useful’ magazine could certainly not countenance such a witty and violent preacher, and for many years his reputation was to suffer from this emphasis on benevolence and usefulness, while the practical preachers were relished for their moderation, and the best exponent of Latitudinarianism, Tillotson, was proposed as a model for style by essayists and grammarians alike. South’s manner was no more congenial to the Victorians, and the Whig historians taking their cue from Macaulay could hardly be expected to redress the balance. Canon Overton is one of the few to have done South justice in the nineteenth century, and he pointed out the chief cause of the decline in the reputation of this great Anglican divine when he remarked that “so far from avoiding controversy, (South) sniffed the battle from afar” and “hardly ever preached without dealing some shrewd blows to his adversaries on the right hand and on the left”, He hits hard, said Overton, but he hits fair:

  • 53 J.H. Overton, op. cit., p. 239.

If some of his utterances startle us, we must remember that our forefathers were not so mealy-mouthed as we are, and that congregations were used to hear a spade called a spade, even in the pulpit53

  • 54 In 1823, 1843 and 1865.

23South was probably the best preacher of his age, and he had a mind of the highest order; if his sermons had been more widely read in the eighteenth century they might have infused some intellectual vigour into the life of the Church. Instead, the mealy-mouthed triumphed; even though three collected editions of his sermons appeared in the nineteenth century54 he is hardly known to the modern reader. Yet as writer and thinker he may stand beside his fellow High-Churchman Swift, who like him dealt so many shrewd blows that he, too, failed to get preferment. South’s letter to Harley refusing the deanery of Westminster might well have been written by the Dean of St. Patrick:

  • 55 British Museum MS. Loan (Portland Papers) 29/200. The letter was published by the Historical Manus (...)

My Most Honoured Lord,
Could my present circumstances, and condition, in any Degree come up to the Gracious, and surpriseing offer lately brought me from her Majesty, I should with the utmost Gratitude, and Deepest Humility Cast myself at Her Royall Feet, and with Both Armes Embrace it.
But alas, my Lord, That Answer which Alexander the Great once gave a Souldier petitioning Him for an Office in his Army may no lesse properly become her majesty to my Poor Self, (though not Petitioning for, but prevented by her Princely Favour,) Freind, said He, I own that I can give thee this Place, but I cannot make thee Fitt for it. And this, my Lord, is my unhappy case.
For haveing, for now above these Fourty years, the Best, the Ablest, and most usefull part of my Age, not bin thought fitt by my Superiors, to serve the Crown or Church in any other way, or Station, than what I have held hitherto, I cannot, but in modesty (and, even, in Respect to them) judge myself unworthy, and unfitt to serve them in any higher, or greater Post now; being grown Equally superannuated to the Active, as well as Enjoying Part of Life. For Age, my Lord, is not to be Defyed, nor forced by All, that Art, or Nature can doe, to retreat one step backward: And even the Richest Spread Table, with the Kindest Invitations to it, Come but too late to one, who has lost both his Stomack, and his Appetite too.
In fine, my good Lord, after the Utmost Acknowledgement, Duty and Devotion paid to the Sacred Fountain-Head from which all this Goodnesse flowes, the same Gratitude, in the very next place, commands me, with the Profoundest Deference to Own, and Blesse that Noble Channell, by which it has so liberally passed upon,
(Great Sir)
Your Honours most obliged, Humble, and obedient Servant
Robert South.
Westminster Abbey,
8 June, 1713,
Nothing, my Lord, afflicts me more than that I am disabled from bringing your Honour, these my Acknowledgements (and many more with them) in Person my Self55.

  • 56 “William Huddesforth relates: ‘A. Wood complained to Dr. South of a disorder with which he was muc (...)
  • 57 Dr. Donald E. Fitch, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, is working on a biography o (...)

24If South suffered neglect from the mealy-mouthed, he was no better served by the malicious gossip to whom we owe most of our knowledge of life at Oxford in the second half of the seventeenth century. Anthony Wood’s pique against South has often been attributed to the heartless joke the Doctor made when Wood complained of a painful disorder; but as the editor of The Life and Times of Anthony Wood has shown, the antiquary had long disliked the preacher whose wit spared no man56. Though Wood’s Athenae Oxonienses remains the most reliable source for information on South as on other Oxford men, his relation must be checked against other contemporary evidence, for the view he gives of his fellow-Oxonians is often coloured by his gall. Nor should it be forgotten that he was expelled from the University after the second earl of Clarendon had sued him for libel of his father on the publication of his biographical dictionary in 1691-2. Since South was Chaplain to Clarendon, Wood’s severe judgement on him may be the more untrustworthy. The Memoirs published by Curll is not wholly reliable either, and it ignores the aspersions of Wood. It is the more unfortunate that no scholarly biography of South has yet appeared57 and that for biographical material we must rely on the scattered references which served as a basis for the life of South in the Dictonary of National Biography (by Alexander Gordon), supplemented by a few letters which have come to light since, for these still leave unsolved the question of South’s attitude in the years preceding the Restoration.

  • 58 See his ‘Petition to His Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth’, dated 2 December, 1656, (...)
  • 59 Athenae Oxonienses, ed. Philip Bliss, Oxford, 1813-1820, IV, 632.
  • 60 Memoirs of the Life of the Late Reverend Dr. South, Second edition, London, 1721, p. 4.
  • 61 The poem was reprinted by Curll in Opera Latina Posthuma, London, 1717, p. XIII.
  • 62 Athenae Oxonienses, op. cit., p. 632. Wood’s source is Mirabilis Annus Secundus, London, 1662, a c (...)

25South was the son of a London merchant who suffered some loss during the Civil War58. In 1647 he was entered a King’s scholar at Westminster School under Dr. Busby, where, says Wood, “he obtained a considerable stock of grammar and philological learning, but more of impudence and sauciness”59. According to the author of the Memoirs, “he made himself remarkable... by Reading the Latin Prayers in the School, on the Day of King Charles the 1st’s Martyrdom, and praying for his Majesty by Name”60. In 1651 he was elected to Christ Church (where Locke followed him the next year). In 1654 he contributed a poem to Musarum Oxoniensium ἘΛΑΙΟΦΟΡΙΑ, i.e. verses to the Protector celebrating the Peace with Holland61, and the next year he proceeded B.A. In or about that time, according to Wood, “he was appointed to do some exercise in the public and spacious refectory” of the College, the whole scope of which was “little other than a most blasphemous invective against godliness, and the most serious and conscientious professors of it”62. It was during this public exercise that he was first seized with a qualm; henceforward, says Wood,

  • 63 Ibid.

he seemed to be much more serious than before, and by degrees insinuated himself into the good opinion of the then present dean of his house, Dr Owen, as also with those of the presbyterian and independent party thereof63.

  • 64 Op. cit., pp. 6-8. It should be remembered, however, that Owen did not try to hunt down loyal Chur (...)
  • 65 See Memoirs, p. 10. Wood says nothing of this and may even suggest that this is not true: “In 1657 (...)
  • 66 Op. cit., pp. 633-4.
  • 67 See: Notes on the affairs of the University under the Puritan domination, 1648-1660, Life and Time (...)

26The anonymous author of the Memoirs gives a very different account of South’s attitude at the time. According to him John Owen, Vice-Chancellor of the University, opposed South’s proceeding M.A. in 1657, because he had been found in episcopal meetings making use of the Book of Common Prayer, after the example of John Fell64. In 1658 South received ordination from a deprived bishop65 and the next year he was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge. Wood says that in his sermons at St. Mary’s, South “still appeared the great champion for Calvinism against Socinianism and Arminianism” and ingratiated himself with the Independents, but changed sides when the Presbyterians began to lift their heads, and again when the success of Monck foreshadowed the restoration of Charles II. Not only does Wood brand South as a time-server, he further accuses him of turning informer to the royalists66. Wood reiterated these charges in other notes which were published in the Life and Times67; needless to say, the anonymous Memoirs does not mention any such changes of allegiance.

  • 68 See Chapter II, p. 136.
  • 69 John Fell, Dolben and Allestree, who had served in the royalist forces, were deprived of their stu (...)
  • 70 See Anthony Wood: The History and Antiquities o[the Colleges and Halls in the University of Oxford(...)
  • 71 Visitors’Register, p. 358, quoted in V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 147.
  • 72 See Bosher, op. cit., p. 30.
  • 73 See Bosher, op. cit., passim.
  • 74 Ibid., p. 29. As Bosher says, such “disaffected conformists... constituted, from the Protector’s v (...)
  • 75 See Anthony Wood: Fasti, ed. Philip Bliss, Oxford, 1813-1820, II, 373.

27For lack of further evidence it is hard for us to decide which of the two versions is to be credited. The earliest sermon South himself published, preached at the Assizes in July 1659, is directed against the Independents, and does not particularly glance at the Presbyterians; in later sermons he often attacked the Presbyterians and accused them of hypocrisy for pleading not-guilty of the murder of the King though they had been the first to rebel; but this does not confute Wood’s view, since he implies that South was the more violent against the Presbyterians because he had earlier sided with them. Among the sermons published from South’s notes after his death only one suggests that in the fifties his conception of grace may have been closer to that of the strict Calvinists68. What makes it hard to accept Wood’s version is not so much the discrepancy with the account given in the Memoirs—which was clearly intended as a panegyric—but the difficulty of reconciling such an attitude on the part of South with the credit he enjoyed among men who either had been ejected or were known for their loyalty to the Church, many of whom had been at Oxford in the years preceding the Restoration69. John Owen was ousted from the Deanery of Christ Church in 1659 and Edward Reynolds, who had been ‘thrust in’ by Parliament in 1648 but forced to leave in 1651 when he refused to take the Engagement, was restored as Dean when the secluded Members were re-admitted to Parliament; after the Restoration Reynolds was replaced by George Morley, who had been ejected in 1641 and who became Bishop of Worcester in 1660; John Fell, son of the former Dean, then succeeded him and remained Dean of Christ Church even after he was elevated to the see of Oxford in 167670. Now, John Fell had stayed in Oxford all through the Interregnum and was among those who were “suffered to meet quietly... every Lord’s Day... (to celebrate) divine service according to the worship of the Church of England”71; he was closely associated with the Laudians who remained aloof from the Establishment and he kept in touch with the exiled leaders of the Church party72; he can hardly have been ignorant of the sympathies of a Christ-Church man who, from Wood’s own account, so actively canvassed his views. If South did succeed in ingratiating himself with the new masters, Fell must have demurred when, in August 1660, such a time-server was elected Public Orator of the University. Moreover, Clarendon who, as appears from recent research73, had actively prepared the Restoration settlement and kept in touch with loyal Churchmen during the Protectorate, and who was elected Chancellor of Oxford University in October 1660, could hardly have failed to hear something of the intrigues of the man whom he appointed his Chaplain in 1661. True, one of South’s friends, the learned orientalist Edward Pocock, had submitted when the Parliamentary visitors ejected Samuel Fell from Christ Church; but another disaffected Churchman who had no wish to conform and even made his parish a centre of propaganda for the Anglican cause74, Jasper Mayne, must have been a friend of South’s or he would hardly have made him one of his executors75.

  • 76 See Life and Times, op. cit„ II, 259: “Mar. 10 (1673). Dr (Ralph) Bath(urst) told me that he was t (...)
  • 77 For instance, Dr. Sanderson.
  • 78 For instance, Dr. Hammond.
  • 79 Bosher, op. cit., p. 27.

28Unless South was a consummate actor—though we know that he could mimic his enemies in the pulpit, Wood’s account rather suggests that he blazoned his views at St. Mary’s—he could hardly have succeeded in hoodwinking so many men whose chief concern was to make possible the restoration of Anglican discipline. If Wood alone was able to see through the mask, he must have been gifted with uncommon insight. Rather, one feels, he was such a Paul Pry76 that he was kept out of the secret counsels of the Churchmen who were busy preparing the future. On the other hand, though the anonymous author of the Memoirs is sometimes inaccurate, he may have been a Christ-Church man and have reported the opinion current in the College; for whatever were Curll’s methods, his claim to have obtained from Dr. Aldrich, late Dean of Christ Church, the three sermons he printed together with the life of South, and the letter which South sent from Poland to his friend Edward Pocock, seems to have been justified: the sermons are close enough to represent an earlier version of the texts South himself prepared for the press, and Curll does not seem to have got into trouble with South’s executors; neither Atterbury, who had succeeded Aldrich as Dean of Christ Church before being elevated to the see of Rochester, and who was still in a position to defend his friend’s memory, nor any other ChristChurch man seems to have given Curll the lie. If the printer had good authority for his texts, his anonymous biographer may also have had reliable information for the Life. For all these reasons, and in the absence of further evidence, it is safer at least to suspend judgement, especially since more recent experience of troubled times and conflicts of loyalties may incline the twentieth-century reader to take a less clear-cut view of the men who in the Interregnum had to decide how best to serve their Church. As Bosher has shown in The Making of the Restoration Settlement, sincere Churchmen could argue with equal honesty and pertinency both for and against accepting modifications in the ritual so as to preserve the essentials of true worship; while some eminent Churchmen encouraged men to take the Engagement77 others dissuaded them from it78. Opinion among the Anglican clergy was divided as to which was the best way to preserve the Church from utter destruction, and many were accused of being time-servers simply because, like Fuller, “they felt able to join in the life of the Establishment when denied their first desire”, that is, “to live under that Church government they best affected”79.

  • 80 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, printed below.
  • 81 When he published this sermon in the first volume of the collected edition (1692) South added a fo (...)

29Whatever South’s feelings may have been during the last years of the Protectorate, in the sermon he preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, on 24 July, 165980, he took as his theme the denial of Christ before men. In this discourse—to which he gave the title Interest Deposed—he considered the many ways in which men deny Christ and His truths, and the causes of such denial, but he also discussed how far a man may consult his safety in time of persecution. This must have been a dangerous theme for him to pitch upon if he had been a time-server, particularly in a place where he was well-known. He did make clear that “he does not deny Christ by flying, who therefore flies that he may not deny him”, and that it is wiser for a man to conceal his judgement rather than make rash professions of faith, for “he... that thus throws himself upon the sword, runs to heaven before he is called for; where though perhaps Christ may in mercy receive the man, yet he will be sure to disown the martyr”. But he went on to state that a man is sometimes bound to confess Christ openly though he thereby court persecution, and specifically that “Ministers of God are not to evade, or take refuge” by flying or by concealing their judgement. He had reminded his audience at the outset that on sending out His ministers Christ had enjoined them to be both wise as serpents and harmless as doves. He had also availed himself of the occasion of his text to insist that Christ needed a learned and faithful ministry81, which may indeed have pleased the Presbyterians no less than the Anglicans among his hearers, but this is a theme to which South was to revert again and again, particularly in The Scribe Instructed, a sermon he preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, on 29th July, 1660, which constitutes one of the best defences of the use of learning for pastors. South, who under Dr. Busby had already acquired “a considerable stock of grammar and philological learning”, distrusted all ‘promptings of the Spirit’ and felt nothing but contempt for the premium set by the Triers on the godly deportment of those who interpreted God’s Word without rightly understanding the words of Scripture. Not all the supporters of a godly and faithful ministry were ignorant men, and South must have been aware that the Independent Dean of Christ Church, John Owen, was himself a learned man. None the less by casting a slur on human learning they sapped the basis of sound scholarship on which all explication of texts must be built. The Assize sermon may therefore be considered as a tract for the times.

  • 82 The two sermons were published together in 1661 as Interest Deposed and Truth Restored; the dedica (...)
  • 83 F. Madan, op. cit., III, 33.

30So was the sermon South preached shortly after at Lincoln’s Inn82, in which he demonstrated that ecclesiastical policy is the best policy, that is, that the best way to strengthen the civil power is to establish the worship of God in the right exercise of religion, and that the surest means to destroy religion is to ‘embase’ the teachers of it by divesting them of all temporal privileges and by admitting ignorant persons to the ministry. The drift of this sermon is that the Temple must be rebuilt; though the usurper Jeroboam in the text is clearly to be equated with Cromwell, there is little doubt as to how the Temple is to be rebuilt, i.e. so as to restore episcopal discipline. Here again, however, South directs his main attacks against those who claimed that human learning is not a necessary requisite for the ministry, i.e. against men connected with the Independents, not with the Presbyterians. Since, however, he considers the civil power as the mainstay of true religion—he states emphatically that the civil power cannot be subjected to the ecclesiastical power—; since he also blames the late confusions on the frequent innovations and changes which ultimately cast suspicion on religion, it is easy to guess that the Presbyterians too are responsible for the destruction of the Temple. At this stage, however, South does not accuse them openly, and Anthony Wood may have thought that he was waiting to see which way the cat would jump before committing himself. Perhaps, one should remember that South, who had been admitted to Christ Church in the year that the Independent Owen succeeded Edward Reynolds as Dean, and was a student at the time when “the hotheads in Parliament and elsewhere were anxious... to suppress all Universities” (1653 and 1654) and when the Quakers arrived in Oxford (1654)83, had had direct experience of the rule of the Saints but had no particular reason to resent the measures of the Presbyterians who, by the time he came to Oxford, had ceased to play any part in the direction of affairs. True, South contributed a poem in praise of Cromwell, who had become Chancellor of Oxford University in 1651; but even the bitterest enemies of the Protector must have recognized that the Peace he had concluded with the Dutch was advantageous to England, and the collection of poems by Oxford graduates was fitly called ἘΛΑΙΟΦΟΡΙΑ.

  • 84 Op. cit., V, scr. 2, printed below.

31South’s attacks against the Presbyterians were to be voiced soon after the Act of Uniformity was passed, notably in a sermon preached on 30 January, 166384, in which he laid the disturbances in Church and State at the door of those who had initiated the further reformation of religious discipline. Such innovations had led to the utter destruction of the Church and to the ‘execrable murder’ of the King; henceforth South was to include the Presbyterians in his opprobrium, all the more as they formed the most important group among the Dissenters and therefore represented the main danger to the restored discipline of the Church at a time when efforts were made towards obtaining either comprehension of the Dissenters or indulgence for Dissenters and Romanists alike. Though the sermon preached at Lincoln’s Inn is not directed against the Presbyterians one can foresee the stand South will take in the matter of the Church’s treatment of Dissenters, for he stresses the danger to religion of attempts to purify it, as well as the need for a close alliance between the civil and the ecclesiastical power.

32In spite of Wood’s assertions it is therefore tempting to believe that when South was chosen Public Orator of the University in August 1660, the emissaries of Clarendon who had been active in Oxford during the Protectorate must have concurred in, if not suggested, the choice. Clarendon himself was to become Chancellor of the University in October, and the next year he appointed South his chaplain. According to Wood it was Clarendon who

  • 85 Athenae Oxonienses, ed. cit., IV, 635.

being much delighted with a sermon [South] had preach’d before him,... made way for him to preach the same sermon again before his majesty85.

33This was probably the first time South preached at Whitehall, but his reputation as an orator had preceded him there, for, as Wood relates,

  • 86 Ibid.

happy was he or she amongst the greatest wits in the town, that could accommodate their humour in getting convenient room in the Chappel at Whitehall, to hang upon the lips of this so great an oracle86.

  • 87 This is Richard Baxter’s account of the event: “this man [i.e. South] being Houshold Chaplain to t (...)

34Perhaps Wood overdoes this, for his account is so shaped as to show that pride must have a fall: in the midst of this sermon South swooned and could not proceed, and Wood relates this with evident gusto, quoting the ‘fanatic’s’ comment on this in Mirabilis Annus Secundus, which interprets the fit as a rebuke from the Lord for South’s contemptuous references to the Puritans87.

  • 88 Memoirs, p. 16.

35With no less a patron than the Lord High Chancellor of England and with such fame as a preacher, South was, as his anonymous biographer says, “in the Road to Church Preferments”88 In March 1663 he was installed prebendary of St. Peter’s, Westminster, and in October he was created B.D. and D.D. on letters from Clarendon,

  • 89 Ibid. Wood gives a more colourful account of this, reiterating the charge that S. had preached aga (...)

though strenuous opposition was made against the Grant of that Favour by the Batchelors of Divinity, and Masters of Arts, who were against such a Concession, by reason that he was a Master of Arts but of six years standing89.

  • 90 See The Royal Society: Its Origins and Founders, ed. cit., ‘The Rev. John Wallis’, by J.F. Scott, (...)

36It is one of fate’s little ironies that South was finally admitted B.D. and D.D. “by the double presentations” of John Wallis, Savilian Professor of Geometry, who was also accused by Wood (and Aubrey) of being elected Custos Archivorum through the perjury of the senior proctor on account of services rendered to the Protector90. In 1664 South was incorporated D.D. at Cambridge and given a sinecure in Wales by Clarendon.

  • 91 Clarendon resigned his Chancellorship of Oxford University in December 1667; Archbishop Sheldon wa (...)
  • 92 John Evelyn: Diary, ed. cit., III, 531-2 (9 July, 1669).
  • 93 See the letter from John Wallis to Robert Boyle, dated 17 July, 1669: “After the voting of this le (...)

37On the fall of the Chancellor91 in 1667 South became chaplain to the Duke of York. By then he had preached several times at Whitehall and at Westminster Abbey and was highly valued by Charles II, who made him one of his chaplains in ordinary. As Public Orator of the University he had delivered a Latin speech to the King when he visited Oxford in 1663, and again when the Court came to Oxford during the plague in 1665, and he had also preached to the Queen on that occasion; he had delivered the funeral oration (in Latin) on the death of Archbishop Juxon in 1663. In May 1669 he had to congratulate Cosmo de Medici on behalf of the University, and in July he spoke at the dedication of the Sheldonian Theatre. In this speech he lavished praise on Archbishop Sheldon and on Wren, but his attack on the Royal Society as underminers of the Universities92 (i.e. because the Society proposed to grant University degrees) offended not only Evelyn but John Wallis93. The year after he was installed canon of Christ Church.

  • 94 Autograph in the Bodleian Library, MS. Rawlinson, C. 936 f. 57. South’s successor as Public Orator (...)

38South must have remained on good terms with his former patron’s family for when Laurence Hyde, second son of Clarendon, was sent as ambassador extraordinary to congratulate Sobieski on his election to the throne of Poland, he took South with him as his chaplain. South resigned from the office of Public Orator in October 167794 and on December 16, 1677, he sent an account of his travels to his friend and fellow-canon at Christ Church, Edward Pocock, then Regius professor of Hebrew. This letter, published by Curll as part of the Memoirs, shows that South took an interest in the history and geography of the country he visited, in its religious and economic affairs, in the state of learning, in the laws, language and customs of the people, in the privileges and in the administration of the cities, etc. Though not a systematic report, South’s letter is full of interesting details and of keen observations on things and people. Shortly after his return he became rector of Islip in Oxfords hire (1678). There he rebuilt the Chancel of the Church (1680), built a new parsonage, and, as Wood himself remarks, “exercised much his charity there”. Indeed Thomas Hearne noted in his diary on 28 November, 1705:

  • 95 Reliquiae Hearnianae, op. cit., I, 68.

Dr South told Dr Hudson that he was resolved never to pocket a farthing of the income of the parsonage of Islip, and that he had already new built and beautified the chancel of the church, built a noble parsonage house, with outhouses and all other conveniences, both for the parson and tennant: and that besides he had all along sent several boys to schole, and bound them out to apprentiships, and has lately purchased some land to be settled upon the parish for ever, for these uses. And that moreover he intended to lay out what he had received from his canonry of Christ Church, upon small vicarages, and as Dr Hudson inferred from something in his discourse, upon such vicarages as belonged to Christ Church95.

  • 96 Op. cit., p. 106.

39According to the author of the Memoirs the living was worth 200l per annum; “out of his generous temper” South allowed his curate 100l and expended the rest “in educating and apprenticing the poorer children of that place”96. Wood’s account of South’s life in Athenae Oxonienses closes at this point; he merely adds that “to this day, (Apr. I an. 1694)” South kept his rectory, sinecure and two prebendships, but lived upon his temporal estate at Caversham near Reading

  • 97 Op. cit., p. 637.

in a discontented and clamorous condition for want of more preferment (as many people in Oxon think) or else respect and adoration which he gapes after97.

40Perhaps Wood thought that since South no longer lived at Oxford he could not faithfully report his doings. He might, however, have mentioned that South was recommended for the see of Oxford in 1686 on the death of John Fell, since this was at least matter connected with the place whose history he was writing. Whatever Wood’s gall his last sentences sum up adequately the main characteristics of the divine he disliked so much: his charity and his bitterness.

41South was probably justified in feeling discontent, for when he was once preaching before the King at Westminster Abbey, Charles is said to have remarked to Lord Rochester:

  • 98 Memoirs, p. 108. This remark is usually said to have been made when South was preaching on Pcov. X (...)

Ods fish, Lory, Your Chaplain must be a Bishop, therefore put me in mind of him at the next Death98.

  • 99 Ibid., p. 110. The offer was made through the recommendation of Laurence Hyde, then Earl of Roches (...)

42But Charles must have forgotten this promise, as he did so many others. When South was offered an Archbishopric in Ireland after the accession of James II99 he declined the offer. According to the author of the Memoirs, James also found South unacceptable when the Earl of Rochester proposed him as a champion of the cause of the Church against two Romanists nominated by the King, because then as always South denounced all attempts at toleration which were canvassed with equal zeal by both Papists and Dissenters. On the death of John Fell, Evelyn noted in his diary that South was among the candidates for the bishopric of Oxford and the Deanery of Christ Church, but he added:

  • 100 Op. cit., IV, 519 (11 July, 1686).

Dr Walker (now apostatizing) came to Court, and was doubtlesse very buisy100.

  • 101 See Sancroft’s letter to the King in: George D’Oyly: The Life of William Sancroft, Archbishop of C (...)
  • 102 The letter, dated 26 August, 1686, is in the Bodleian Library (Tanner MS. 30, ff. 109-10).
  • 103 David Ogg, op. cit., p. 167.

43Though he was recommended for this office by no less a man than Archbishop Sancroft101, South was not preferred. It is easy to guess why such a staunch opponent of all indulgences was not acceptable to James II, but South seems to have been accused of having, in a letter shown to the King, reflected upon Obadiah Walker, Master of University College, who was celebrating mass in his College, for on 26 August he wrote to Sancroft to clear himself of the charge102. Samuel Parker was elevated to the see of Oxford, while John Massey was made Dean of Christ Church. This was clearly part of James’s “policy of infiltration”103, since both were known for their leanings to Rome.

  • 104 Wood records that on the reception of James II at Oxford, in September 1687, the King “talked to D (...)

44At the Revolution, South, who had been loyal to his King even though he could not countenance his religious policy104, was faced with a difficult choice. Bishop Kennett noted in his biographical memoranda that South

  • 105 British Museum MS. Lansdowne 987, f. 242 v.

made a demurr upon submitting to the Revolution, and thought himself deceived by Dr Sherlock, which was the true foundation of the bitter difference in writing about the Trinity105.

  • 106 The letters and an extract from this account were first published by W.M.T. Dodds in ‘Robert South (...)
  • 107 Ibid., p. 216. In his answer to Sherlock’s ‘base letter’ South reminds him of this: “Sir, I do aga (...)
  • 108 W.M.T. Dodds, loc. cit, p. 215.
  • 109 For quotation see Ch. II, p. 96, n. 8. On 18 July, 1704, South drew Locke’s attention to the base (...)
  • 110 When Tillotson became Archbishop of Canterbury.

45Both Sherlock and South hesitated about taking the oaths of allegiance to William and Mary. As appears from letters exchanged between them and from an account of their discussions written by South, Sherlock changed his mind at least twice: he first declared himself ready to take the oaths; then he argued against the lawfulness of them and wished “to suppress all report of his previous discourse in favour of them”106, even accusing South of spreading the report; finally—after the battle of the Boyne—he decided to comply. By July 1689, however, South had satisfied himself that it was lawful to take the oaths107, but Sherlock’s change of front, together with his accusations, must have rankled, for the books South wrote against Sherlock in the Trinitarian controversy “are spiced with allusions to breaking of oaths and turning of coats”108. The same view of Sherlock is reflected in a letter from Locke to Molyneux, dated 22 February, 1697; since Locke and South were exchanging friendly letters at the time South may have been the informant who told the author of the Essay what to think of his adversary109. South must have felt the more bitter when Sherlock was made Dean of St. Paul’s under the new sovereigns110. He himself refused the offer of one of the sees vacated by the Non-Jurors in 1691, declaring

  • 111 Memoirs, p. 115.

that notwithstanding he himself saw nothing that was contrary to the Laws of God, and the common practice of all Nations to submit to Princes in Possession of the Throne, yet others might have their Reasons for contrary Opinion; and he bless’d God, that he was neither so Ambitious, nor in want of Preferment, as for the sake of it, to build his Rise upon the Ruines of any one Father of the Church, who for Piety, good Morals, and strictness of Life which every one of the Deprived Bishops were famed for might be said not to have left their Equal111.

  • 112 See, for instance, the Epistle Dedicatory to the University of Oxford in his second volume of serm (...)

46Though South had taken the oaths he could not be reconciled to the Act of Toleration and he actively opposed all schemes for comprehension with the Dissenters. In his sermons he repeatedly warned against the danger to the Church of altering the ritual so as to please the Nonconformists. Such innovations smacked too much of those proposed in the forties, which resulted in “reforming the Churches to the ground”; all attempts to restore the pristine purity of the divine service would only leave the Church naked and all the more exposed to the danger of Socinianism. Tirelessly South denounced this danger and the fallacy of the plea of tender consciences. To him this was a repetition of the war waged earlier in the century against his beloved Church, and, not unnaturally, he fought with as much violence as he had in the sixties in order to preserve the Restoration settlement. In fact he was fighting a rearguard action112 which his former patron, Clarendon, would certainly have approved, and he was as much out of step with the then leaders of the hierarchy as the Lord Chancellor had been with the merry gang of Charles II. No wonder he was bitter and discontented.

  • 113 In answer to Sherlock’s Defence of his Vindication, published in 1695.
  • 114 W.M.T. Dodds, loc. cit., attributes to him A Short History of Valentinus Gentilis the Tritheist... (...)
  • 115 Unitarianism was officially condemned when, on 3 January, 1694, the Lords spiritual and temporal o (...)

47Meanwhile he began to prepare his sermons for the press, and the first collected volume appeared in 1692. But other matters also engaged his energy. In 1690 Arthur Bury had published The Naked Gospel; a spate of Socinian tracts followed, expounding views similar to those put forward in Stephen Nye’s A Briefe History of the Unitarians, called also Socinians (1687), which had been published at the suggestion of Thomas Firmin, a friend of Tillotson’s. William Sherlock promptly entered the lists and in 1690 published A Vindication of the Doctrine of the Holy and Ever Blessed Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Son of God. (Imprimatur, June 9, 1690). Unfortunately Sherlock was no trained controversialist, and his book did more harm than good to the cause he had espoused. South was quick to seize this opportunity to turn the tables on the man who had accused him of treachery. In Animadversions upon Dr Sherlock’s Book Entituled A Vindication of..., published anonymously in 1693, he demonstrated that far from having proved three distinct persons in the Godhead, Sherlock, now Dean of St. Paul’s, had proved three distinct gods, and shown by his very explanations that he did not know the true nature of the mysteries of faith, which is to be above reason. South reiterated his attacks in Tritheism Charged upon Dr Sherlock’s New Notion of the Trinity (1695)113 and in other works which recent research has conclusively attributed to him114. The Trinitarian controversy raged for several years until the King interposed (February 1693) and directed the archbishops and bishops to allow no preacher to express any doctrine other than that contained in the three Creeds and in the Thirty-Nine Articles115. South obeyed, but he resented the liberty taken by his opponent’s friend Edward Stilling fleet, then Bishop of Worcester, in referring to the controversy in the preface to his Vindication of the Trinity (1696, written in answer to Toland’s Christianity Not Mysterious). When South published the third volume of his collected sermons in 1698, he referred, in the Epistle Dedicatory to Narcissus Boyle, Archbishop of Dublin, to the royal injunctions for composing disputes about the Trinity, and he glanced at the bishop who had debased his style and character so low as to defend the Tritheist. Included in this volume was a sermon South had preached at Westminster Abbey in 1694 on Christianity Mysterious, and the Wisdom of God in Making it so, in which he not only refers to the many innovations and blasphemies against the Christian doctrine, as well as to the naked truths and naked gospels published in recent years, but clearly glances at Sherlock when he says:

  • 116 Op. cit., III, ser. 6, pp. 251-2.

he who thinks and says he can understand all Mysteries, and resolve all Controversies, undeniably shews, that he really understands none116

48What with preaching, collecting his sermons, and writing against Sherlock, South must have been very busy during the nineties. One cannot help wondering if he had time to spare on that other controversy in which several Christ-Church men engaged at the time, and if so, whether he shared their views. It was Henry Aldrich. Dean of the College, who requested Charles Boyle to edit the Epistles of Phalaris (published 1695) after Temple’s Essays on Ancient and Modern Learning had appeared. When, in the Appendix to the second edition of Wotton’s Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning (1697), Bentley proved that the Letters were spurious, Boyle set out to defend their genuineness (1698) and was helped in this task by other Christ-Church men: Atterbury, Smallridge and Alsop. South could hardly have remained ignorant of this; our complete lack of information on the view he took of this quarrel is the more irritating since the controversy was to prompt a young satirist whose wit is akin to South’s to write The Battle of the Books.

  • 117 See the five letters from South to Locke preserved in the Bodleian Library (MS. Locke C. 18) and d (...)
  • 118 Published after his death, but prepared for the press by himself.
  • 119 Since South revised his sermons for publication this may be a later addition.

49South was now more and more estranged from the hierarchy, but he was probably active among his brethren in the Lower House of Convocation, whose opposition to the Latitudinarian bishops he may have abetted. He was keeping abreast of the latest developments in philosophy and of other works published at the time: he read Locke’s replies to Stilling fleet, and approved of them, as he did of Locke’s confutation of Malebranche (not yet published); he thought so highly of the Essay that he suggested that Locke should have it translated into Latin so as to reach a wider public; and he also drew Locke’s attention to Sherlock’s aspersions on his philosophy and character117. His spirits must have revived on the accession of Queen Anne. If William had protected the Dissenters, the High-Church Queen might be counted upon to reverse his policy. The Tories were quick to launch an attack against the Act of Toleration, though some years went by before they could take the most decisive step against the Dissenters. South must have approved of the Schism Act (1714), which aimed at destroying the Dissenting academies, for he chose to publish, as the first sermon in his fifth volume118, a discourse on the virtuous education of youth which he had prepared to deliver at Westminster School in 1685 and in which he advocated the suppression of such academies119. He must also have welcomed the Occasional Conformity Bill (1711), for in several sermons he had derided the men of tender conscience who did not scruple to conform occasionally in order to be allowed to hold office. The death of the Queen and the final triumph of the Whigs must have shattered his hopes for ever, and we can well believe his biographer, who reports that on the death of Queen Anne, South told a friend

  • 120 Memoirs, p. 138.

That it was time for him to prepare for his Journey to a blessed Immortality; since all that was Good, and Gracious, the very Breath of his Nostrils had made its Departure to the Regions of Bliss, and Eternal Happiness120.

50His health was failing—according to the Memoirs he had a “bloody flux” followed by “the Strangury” about the time he published his third volume of sermons (1698)—and

  • 121 Ibid., p. 136.

During the greatest part of the Reign of Queen Anne, he was in a State of Inactivity, and the Infirmities of Old Age growing upon him, he performed very little of the Duties of his Ministerial Function, otherwise than when his health would allow of his going to the Abbey Church at Westminster, to be present at Divine Service121.

  • 122 See his letter to Robert Freind, Second Master of Westminster School, dated 27 April, 1706, in whi (...)
  • 123 See his letter of 18 Nov. 1703, to Dr. Hudson, Head keeper of the Bodleian Library, asking him to (...)
  • 124 Memoirs, pp. 137, 139. The Duke of Ormonde, who was Chancellor of Oxford University, died in 1688. (...)
  • 125 See his letter to Harley, quoted pp. 231-2.

51Now as ever spiteful tongues were ready to blame him for excessive or foolish criticism, and he did his best to protect himself against such slanderers122. He could still be active in behalf of his friends123 or of High-Churchmen: we are told that he interceded in favour of Dr. Sacheverell when this high-flying Tory was brought to trial, and that when almost on his deathbed he had himself carried to Westminster in order to cast his vote in favour of the late Duke of Ormonde’s brother as Chancellor of Oxford University124. But when, on the death of Sprat in 1713, he was offered the deanery of Westminster, South declined the honour125 and his friend Francis Atterbury, then Dean of Christ Church, became Dean of Westminster as well as Bishop of Rochester.

  • 126 See his Last Will and Testament, Memoirs, p. 80: “Also to the poor of the Parish of Cavesham, alia (...)
  • 127 See his letters to Dr. Sloane in the British Museum, Addit. MS. 4043, f. 47 (31 May, 1712), f. 118 (...)
  • 128 See his letter to Edward Harley, in the Harley Papers, ed. cit., VII, 261.

52South seems to have resided most of the time at Caversham126, corresponding with his friends at Oxford and preparing his sermons for the press. He probably preached very little, if at all, in his last years, for he suffered a “paralytic blow” in 1710 and in 1712 complained of dizziness in the head127. William Stratford, who visited him several times at Caversham, thought in August 1713 that South was beginning “to fail in his understanding”128; if so the change must have come pretty quickly, for in his letter to the Earl of Oxford, dated 8 June, 1713, declining the deanery of Westminster, South appears at his best, spicing his gratitude with irony, but expressing it with a flourish worthy of such a rhetorician. Besides, he was then preparing his fourth volume of sermons for the press, and was to prepare two more before his death. Perhaps Stratford’s impression came from the fact that, as South complained to Dr. Sloane, the paralytic blow had bereft him of the plainness of his speech.

  • 129 Op. cit., I, 365.
  • 130 British Museum MS. Lansdowne 987, f. 242. South left all his lands “in or bordering upon the paris (...)

53If South ever failed in his understanding, he had certainly recovered by the time he made his will on 30 March, 1714, and when he added codicils to it on 2 June of the same year. Thomas Hearne found that South “made but a foolish will” because he left all he had (apart from many bequests!) “to a widow that lived with him”129. Bishop Kennett, on the other hand, was content to note in his memoranda that South “left her the greatest part of his Estate, which got her an able husband”130. That ‘arrant knave’ Curll, who specialized in this kind of publications, included South’s Last Will and Testament in the Memoirs, so that all could read the long list of benefactions South had designed: to Christ Church, to the Bodleian Library (for buying books), to the incumbents of several vicarages, to poor ministers’ widows, etc. If South was bitter and could lash out against his own or his Church’s enemies, he could also, as Wood himself noted, exercise his charity on a large scale.

***

  • 131 Loc. cit., f. 242v.
  • 132 “A Mr Wal (i.e. George Walls) is of a restless disposition... and will never enjoy tranquillity of (...)
  • 133 See his footnote to sermon 12, in vol. III (1698) ridiculing a sentence in one of Tillotson’s serm (...)

54In his memoranda Bishop Kennett wrote that South “had a great deal of ill nature with a good deal of good humour, and good manners in him”131 Evelyn, as well as Burnet, found him an ill-natured man; Wood thought him an insolent fellow embittered by his failure to get preferment; Humphrey Prideaux wrote to a friend that South was perpetually discontented132. From his heartless joke to the ailing Wood it is easy to imagine that South’s sharp tongue must have made him many enemies. It is equally clear from his sermons that he could never suffer fools gladly, and from his treatment of Sherlock that he could be merciless when striking at his adversaries. Far from compounding disputes, he went out of his way to join issue with his enemies, whether dead or alive133. Yet, if he could not restrain his tongue nor forget an injury, if he was always ready to wound or rail, those he attacked appear to have been guilty in his eyes of more than personal offence. He had the temper of a crusader and dealt his blows without respect of persons, charging at any that seemed to him to insult at the honour due to the Church. He was not the man to compromise; as his biographer says.

  • 134 Memoirs, p. 113.

Lukewarmness in Devotion was what his Soul abhor’d, and he look’d upon Sectarists of all sorts, as Enemies, who tho’ different in Persuasion, join’d together in Attempts for the Destruction of the Holy Catholick Church134

55He heaped ridicule and contempt upon the enemies of the Church, and in his zeal for God’s House he did not stop to distinguish or to inquire into motives: all were branded as dangerous fanatics who did not wholeheartedly espouse the cause of the Church as established by law. As a consequence his world, no less than Bunyan’s, seems to be the battleground of angels of light and angels of darkness; with no less violence than Bunyan he denounces all those who, in one way or another, truckle to the powers of darkness. His outright rejection of any plea for accommodation or toleration, his relentless opposition to any form of relief for men of a different persuasion, suggest the singleness of purpose of the Christian soldiers of an earlier generation. A staunch champion of unity in doctrine and discipline, he resisted the tide that was gathering momentum in this sceptical age, an age that was ultimately to learn the benefits of toleration. No wonder South felt stranded on a strange shore after the Whig revolution had triumphed; no wonder his bitterness increased and he felt discontented. Yet this was the man who, in the late nineties, was writing to his “worthy esteemed” friend Locke, taking delight in his work and commending his philosophy. Whatever his prejudices, he must have had a mind of a high order to value the apostle of tolerance, and to have been thought worthy by him of perusing the new chapters of the Essay as they were written: far from joining in the outcry against the Essay, South ascribed the opposition to it to spite and envy, probably sensing rightly that Locke was being attacked, not for the philosophy he was expounding, but for being the author of The Reasonableness of Christianity. If South was adamant on the subject of the Dissenters, if he refused to acknowledge the sincerity of their plea, it is probably because he formed his views at a time when the mere idea of toleration could not even be entertained, and he never changed his position. He championed an order that was fast disappearing, and in this as in so much else he resembles the Tory satirists of the next age, Swift and Pope; like them he thought that the accession of the Hanovrians ushered in the reign of Dullness, like them too he used the power of his wit to defend right thinking against all encroachments of ‘dullness’.

  • 135 Op. cit.
  • 136 Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. cit., III, 247-8.
  • 137 Characteristic of this attitude is the view expressed by G.G. Perry in his History of the Church o (...)

56As Allibone quaintly puts it. South was “equally distinguished for learning, wit, loyalty, pecuniary generosity, personal disinterestedness, and theological and political intolerance”135. His wit was probably resented more deeply than his intolerance; among his fellow-Anglicans many were as ready as he was to have the Dissenters persecuted, but to him alone was paid the honour of being called the scourge of fanaticism. He was Charles II’s favourite preacher and highly valued by the wits, but his reputation as a witty preacher has done him more harm than good. Johnson’s robust sense made him prefer South to the tamer Tillotson136; but many turned away, shocked if not disgusted by South’s sallies, or were unable to stomach his strong arguments and strong language. South was to be accused again and again of debasing the pulpit by his unseemly wit, even by reverend gentlemen who should have recognized that many of his ‘indecent’ metaphors had their source in Scripture; but by then the Bible too needed to be bowdlerized, and such strong meat was no longer acceptable from a preacher. Like Swift South has suffered for calling a spade a spade; even those who could appreciate his qualities often warned their readers that he was to be admired but not imitated137.

  • 138 Bishop Kennett notes in his memoranda that South “laboured very much to compose his sermons, and i (...)
  • 139 The Tatler praised South’s “admirable discourse” on The Ways of Pleasantness (sermon 1 in vol. I) (...)

57Barrow knew how multiform a thing is wit, and South certainly exemplified various kinds of it in his sermons, from buffoonery in the pulpit, or at least something like it138, to what Pope would have called true wit (Addison might not have concurred, but then he was somewhat mealy-mouthed himself and preferred the more moderate, and duller, Tillotson139). South’s characteristic kind of wit is first and foremost an acuteness and subtlety of thought given a clear outline and a sharp edge by the accurate phrasing, which is often though not always pointed. It is a gift for thinking clearly and for expressing his thought with precision, in a nervous sentence, eschewing all decoration but often rendering it more concrete by a vivid metaphor; a gift for terse and pregnant statements in a closely argued demonstration as well as for lively images illuminating the meaning; a gift for the telling phrase that etches out the thought and drives it home with the swiftness and ease of an arrow. For the movement is easy and natural, the syntax is that of speech so that the colloquial phrase comes as naturally as the exact definition; the proverb is as much at home in such discourse as the Scriptural or the homely metaphor, and the concrete image demonstrates as much as does the abstract reasoning. Though South had ample store of learning and had been trained in the subtle methods of the Schools, his sermons are unencumbered by pedantic references to authorities; these he merely mentions without giving chapter and verse for them, so that his demonstration moves along lightly. He leaves out all superfluities, compressing instead of expanding, arguing instead of considering. Whereas Barrow develops all the places in his theme, South demonstrates the whys and wherefores, states the objections and refutes them: he is the dialectician setting forth the logical basis of his propositions, and rounding off his argument when he can write Q.E.D. Whereas Barrow forever amplifies, his sentences no less than his theme, South condenses even to epigrammatic brevity. Hence the impression of pungency and directness. Sometimes he demonstrates by means of narrative, as he does in the sermon of 30 January; but here again his relation must be followed step by step for each point tells in the total effect. While one is often tempted to skip some of Barrow’s developments, to miss one stage in South’s argument is fatal, so strict is the logic of his development. Of course he sometimes offers various reasons to establish one point, but in general they move gradually nearer to the centre or to a climax.

  • 140 For instance in the sermon on the Trinity, printed below; or in the sermon on the Resurrection (II (...)
  • 141 See note 1, p. 256.
  • 142 Op. cit., I, ser. 1.

58Though both Barrow and South build their sermons on the same pattern, i.e. explication, confirmation and application, the total effect is quite different. While Barrow’s impress the reader through the cumulative weight of his considerations, South’s exercise the mind through the quick movement of his arguments. Not only does South rely on demonstration rather than authorities, but he eschews all unnecessary explications. He can apply his learning to the elucidation of a text and compare various versions of it, or define the exact meaning140 of a term on which he grounds his argument: most often, however, he grounds his explication on the plain meaning of the text as it appears from the context. The sermon recommended to the readers of The Tatler141, on the pleasantness of religion (1665), is as good an example as any of South’s usual manner. His text is Prov. III. 7 Her ways are ways of pleasantness142. He first distinguishes between pleasure and sensuality, and refutes the notion that religion designs to make the world a great monastery since the aim of religion is not to thwart but to perfect nature. He then states the objection that self-denial and the discipline of the Cross are required of men for them to become disciples of Christ; to which he answers first that pleasure is a relative thing, second that the state of man by nature differs from the state of man by grace, since in the former the sensitive appetites rule while in the latter “reason sways the sceptre”. He next faces the further objection that to pass from one state to the other is a laborious and irksome task. He therefore defines the nature of repentance, which implies both sorrow for sin and a change of life; but the sorrow is sweetened by the prospect of deliverance and the difficulty of changing lies in the first entrance into the new life. Having refuted the opposite view, he can now expound the properties that enhance the pleasure of religion: first, it is the proper pleasure of man’s mind, whether considered as pleasure of speculation (i.e. of the understanding) or of practice (i.e. of conscience); second, it is a pleasure that never satiates; third, this pleasure is in nobody’s power but in his that has it. From all which he concludes: ways that are not of pleasantness are not truly ways of religion, no bodily exercise can touch the soul, for “it is not the back, but the heart that must bleed for sin”.

  • 143 Barrow’s is Sermon 1 in vol. I (op. cit.).

59Barrow also preached on the same text (1661), and the difference in method appears at once if we compare the two sermons143. While South simply refers to the context to make clear that by wisdom is meant religion, Barrow begins by explaining the words of his text, and he defines wisdom as “an habitual skill or faculty of judging aright about matters of practice, and chusing according to that right judgment, and conforming the actions to such good choice”. Important differences follow from this, for Barrow’s definition of wisdom makes the text almost a tautology; indeed, a malicious reader might suggest that all he sets out to show is that wisdom is wise. After the explication he proceeds to develop the reasons to confirm the text, and he lists no less than sixteen of them: 1. wisdom is delectable because it is a revelation of truth and a detection of error; 2. it is pleasant in its consequences; 3. it assures us that we take the best course; 4. it begets in us a hope of success in our actions; 5. it prevents discouragement; 6. it makes all the troubles incident to life bearable; 7. it has always a good conscience attending it; 8. it confers a facility in action; 9. it begets a sound complexion of the soul; 10. it acquaints us with ourselves; 11. it procures and preserves a constant favour and fair respect of men; 12. it instructs us to examine, compare and rightly value the objects of our affections; 13. it distinguishes the circumstances and appoints the fit seasons of action; 14. it discovers our relations and duties in respect of men; 15. it acquaints us with the nature and reason of true religion; lastly, it attracts the favour of God. Each of these points is amplified by means of further statements of the same kind or of examples. Characteristic of such a treatment is that the order in which the various considerations are listed hardly matters, and that many more could be added, though no present-day reader would wish Barrow had expanded further on this trite theme. Not only is his conception of wisdom much more commonplace and his conception of religion more practical than South’s, but his developments soon become tiresome.

  • 144 The two sermons are of about the same length. The consecration sermon preached by South (I, 5; 25 (...)
  • 145 For instance: “That Pleasure is Man’s chiefest Good, (because indeed it is the perception of Good (...)
  • 146 For instance: “For there is no doubt, but a Man, while he resigns himself up to brutish Guidance o (...)

60When reading South’s sermon, on the other hand, the interest never flags144 because all through is felt the vigorous mind and the active thought moving to its proposed end. The sermon gives the kind of rational pleasure it recommends as superior to mere sensuality: the argument is bracing, the outline clear; the thought moves forward, the style is direct and easy, whether in the compressed definitions of basic points145 or in the telling comparisons which bring the truths home to the reader146. Some of these images may jolt the reader who is used to more ‘refined’ language from the pulpit. Yet it is obvious that the often quoted example of the stillness of the sow at her wash is meant to produce the shock of recognition; not only is it proper in its context, but South was keeping due decorum in thus branding the pleasures of the epicure. This, at least, was due decorum as understood by the true classicists, though it may have offended against the canons of propriety set up by an effete generation more concerned with airs and graces or with respectability. South has the same vigour as Latimer, though none of his roughness; like him he believed that congregations should be waked out of their torpor, both spiritual and physical. That a preacher of God’s Word should use none but gentle or genteel words would have seemed to him as absurd as to cleanse the Bible of all expressions that might shock the tender sensibilities of a respectable middle-class reader. He can be scurrilous or ‘indecent’ and has no objection to mudslinging. In a sermon on the Gunpowder Plot he refers to the Romanists’ doctrine that kings may be lawfully resisted, cast off and deposed, and says:

  • 147 Op. cit., V, ser. 5, p. 511.

It would be like the stirring of a great Sink, which would be likelier to annoy, than to instruct the Auditory, to draw out from thence all the Pestilential Doctrines and Practices against the Royalty and Supremacy of Princes147

61after which he proceeds to quote chapter and verse for this, from Gratian and from papal bulls. Such strong expressions were required by his theme for, as he said in a sermon on the Execution of Charles I:

  • 148 Op. cit., V, ser. 2, p. 57.

This is the black Subject and Occasion of this Day’s Solemnity. In my Reflexions upon which, if a just Indignation, or indeed even a due Apprehension of the blackest Fact, which the Sun ever saw, since he hid his Face upon the Crucifixion of our Saviour, chance to give an Edge to some of my Expressions, let all such know, the Guilt of whose Actions has made the very strictest Truths look like Satyrs, or Sarcasms, and bare Descriptions sharper than Invectives: I say, let such Censurers (whose Innocence lies only in their Indemnity) know, that to drop the blackest Ink, and the bitterest Gall upon this Fact, is not Satyr, but Propriety148.

62No doubt, he can be ‘indecent’; for instance when, explaining that lust darkens the mind, he concludes:

  • 149 Op. cit., III, ser. 2, p. 74.

The Light within him [i.e. the man who surrenders to lust] shall grow every Day less and less, and at length totally and finally go out, and that in a stink too. So hard, or rather utterly unfeasible is it for Men to be zealous Votaries of the blind God, without losing their Eyes in his Service, and it is well if their Noses do not follow149.

  • 150 Op. cit., IX, ser. 6, p. 181.
  • 151 Op. cit., IX, ser. 5, p. 148.
  • 152 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 187.
  • 153 Ibid., p. 193.
  • 154 Op. cit., V, ser. 2, printed below.
  • 155 For instance: “It was indeed the way of many in the late times to bolster up their crazy, doating (...)

63It is characteristic, however, that some of his telling images come from Scripture or are slight variations of Scriptural phrases; for instance, speaking of repentance he says: “let him hang his head as a bulrush”150, and elsewhere: “if a man carries a luxurious soul in a pining body, or the aspiring mind of a Lucifer in the hanging head of a bulrush, he fasts only to upbraid his Maker”151 (cp. Isa. LVIII. 5); in a consecration sermon he argues that it is also the bishop’s task to preach, for “where God gives a talent, the episcopal Robe can be no napkin to hide it in”152 (cp. Luke XIX. 20 and Matth. XXV. 24). Some of these phrases are hardly distinguishable from homely similes or proverbial expressions, which he uses with equal ease. For instance in the consecration sermon he says that if scorn and rebuke are the only rewards of loyalty, then “many will chuse rather to neglect their duty safely and creditably, than to get a broken pate in the Church’s service”153; in the sermon preached on 30 January, 1663, speaking of the Presbyterians who deny all responsibility for the murder of Charles I, he accuses them of covering “their prevarications with fig-leaves”154. This is an image he often uses to brand hypocrites of one kind or another155; though the phrase may sound humorous to-day it was still in current use at the time in its transferred sense and may have had no such effect; similarly, the Episcopal robe used as a napkin may sound jocular to men less familiar with Luke than with Matthew.

64It is not always easy for the modern reader to say if an image struck South’s hearers as jocular, but from contemporary evidence it is clear that he often drew a laugh from his audience, no doubt from his words as much as from the emphasis he put upon them. One can easily imagine that he gave his telling phrases the necessary relief, especially when they came in an upsurge of passion, as they so often did. What is clear even to the modern reader is that his language has its roots in the common speech, not only of the gentlemen but of the people. He did use the precise abstract vocabulary of philosophy, but he could also draw on the fund of racy expressions which a later generation was to consider as vulgar. His style has the ease of the best prose of the age, and the natural rhythm of the spoken word, but it also has the strength and vividness which only the bolder minds like Dryden could achieve in an age that set such store on polish and grace. Though Evelyn admired South’s sermons, one cannot help feeling that he must occasionally have found them too strong meat for his refined palate.

65Like Dryden South had a gift for ridicule, and his portraits of the fanatic preacher or of the beggarly fellow in his threadbare cloak and greasy hat smack of Doeg or Og. More often, however, he darts a poisoned arrow in the form of an aphorism or an epigram, of an antithesis or a pun. His quibbles are seldom mere jeux de mots for they usually occur when he is stating pungent truths, and they are often half submerged, as they are in Pope. Thus in the sermon on the pleasantness of religion, in which he opposes the pleasures of the mind to those of the body, and true self-denial to mere bodily exercises, he concludes:

  • 156 Op. cit., I, ser. 1, p. 36.

The Truth is, if Mens Religion lies no deeper than their skin, it is possible that they may scourge themselves into very great Improvements156.

66Or, in the sermon on So God created Man in his own Image, he compares the insight Adam had into the nature of things with the knowledge which philosophers have achieved through hard labour:

  • 157 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 54.

Study was not then a Duty, Night-watchings were needless; The Light of Reason wanted not the Assistance of a Candle157.

67In the sermon on Ecclesiastical Policy the best Policy he refers to the new lights, sudden impulses of the Spirit and extraordinary calls which have been alleged to subvert the order of the Church, and adds:

  • 158 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 151.

the Church must needs wither, being blasted with such Inspirations158.

68Speaking of the privileges formerly enjoyed by the Church through the favour of the civil power, he says:

  • 159 Op. cit„ I, ser. 5, p. 205.

We envy not the Greatness and Lustre of the Romish Clergy, neither their scarlet Gowns, nor their scarlet Sins159.

69The literal application of the figurative expression, or the deliberate collocation of the literal and the figurative sense, does indeed surprise or even startle, and as such may provoke laughter; South is certainly being witty, whether he is being jocular is open to question. Sometimes he quibbles to contrast the ways of the world with the ways of God, and the grim joke is then given its full force, as in the sermon on Shamelessness in Sin, in which he refers to the habit of paying visits to worthless people:

  • 160 Op. cit., IV, ser. 3, p. 122.

But now all possible Courtship and Attendance is thought too little to be used towards People infamous and odious, and fit to be visited by none but by God himself, who visits after a very different Manner from the Courtiers of the World160.

70It is but a step from such puns or quibbles to the pregnant phrasing on the one hand, and to the ‘unseemly’ similes on the other. For instance, comparing prelapsarian man to the best philosophers, he says:

  • 161 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 55.

An Aristotle was but the Rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the Rudiments of Paradise161.

71Or, in the same sermon, explaining that man was created free to stand:

  • 162 Ibid., p. 60.

We were not born crooked; we learnt these Windings and Turnings of the Serpent162.

72As appears from this quotation, the pungency of his statements often results from the collision of the concrete and the abstract. When explaining that the service of Christ demands self-denial and may be attended with persecution, he reminds his hearers that

  • 163 Op. cit„ I, ser. 3, p. 105.

The Church is a Place of Graves, as well as of Worship and Profession163.

73His concrete examples often serve to clinch the argument and drive it home more vividly, thus:

  • 164 Op.cit., I, ser. 5, p. 208.

Ignorance indeed, so far as it may be resolved into natural Inability, is, as to Men, at least, inculpable; and consequently, not the Object of Scorn, but Pity; But in a Governour, it cannot be without the Conjunction of the highest Impudence: For who bid such an one aspire to teach, and to govern? A Blind Man sitting in the Chimney Corner is pardonable enough, but sitting at the Helm, he is intolerable. If men will be ignorant and illiterate, let them be so in private, and to themselves, and not set their Defects in an high Place, to make them visible and conspicuous. If Owls will not be hooted at, let them keep close within the Tree, and not perch upon the upper Boughs164.

74Some of his conceits remind one of the preachers of an earlier age; for instance in a sermon on Good Friday he says:

  • 165 Op. cit., III, ser. 9, p. 349.

He who would recount every Part of Christ that suffered must read a Lecture of Anatomy165.

75Like them too he sometimes elaborates the conceit, without however resorting to mere ingenuity. Thus he begins a sermon on the Resurrection with the favourite conceit of the Jacobean divines:

  • 166 Op. cit., V, ser. 4, pp. 157-8.

Christ, the great Sun of Righteousness, and Saviour of the World, having by a glorious Rising, after a Red, and a Bloody Setting, proclaim’d his Deity to Men, and Angels; and by a complete Triumph over the two grand Enemies of Mankind, Sin and Death, set up the everlasting Gospel in the room of all false Religions, has now (as it were) changed the Persian Superstition into the Christian Devotion; and without the least Approach to the Idolatry of the former, made it henceforth the Duty of all Nations, Jews, and Gentiles, to worship the Rising Sun166.

  • 167 Op. cit., II, ser. 8, p. 273.

76South often uses something like a parable and he introduces with equal ease matter from the Bible or from the popular fables, sometimes even in conjunction, without any discrepancy being felt or lack of ‘propriety’, so that one is sometimes reminded of the allegories of life in mediaeval cathedrals. The allegory is usually compressed, but he sometimes develops it as when he relates the story of Jeroboam, who is viewed as the type of the late usurper, or when he applies the text of Matt. XXII.12 to the need for sacramental preparation, a text which he calls “a parabolical Description of God’s vouchsafing to the World the invaluable Blessing of the Gospel”167 and which he himself uses parabolically, the whole sermon being an extended metaphor. The same turn of mind is found in such passages as this, from Interest Deposed:

  • 168 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 84.

The Subject I have here pitched upon, may seem improper in these Times, and in this Place, where the Number of Professors, and of Men, is the same; where the Cause and Interest of Christ has been so cried up; and Christ s personal Reign and Kingdom so call’d for, and expected. But since it has been still preached up, but acted down; and dealt with, as the Eagle in the Fable did with the Oister, carrying it up on high, that by letting it fall he might dash it in Pieces: I say, since Christ must reign, but his Truths be made to serve; I suppose it is but Reason to distinguish between Profession and Pretence, and to conclude that Men s present crying, Hail King, and Bending the Knee to Christ, are only in order to his future Crucifixion168.

77South did not deal in grand generalities; here the particular occasion of the betrayal of Christ as well as the late rule of the Saints are recalled vividly, and the false promise aptly related to the story of the eagle and the oyster. In his instructions to preachers South reminded them that God spoke to the capacity of men and that Christ often uttered His truths in parables because the senses are the channels through which to reach the understanding. For a preacher to insist only upon universals, he said, is “but a cold, faint, languid way of persuading or dissuading”. He himself used the concrete as an “underofficer” of the truth propounded, as in

  • 169 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 93.

Christ demands the Homage of your understanding: He will have your Reason bend to him, you must put your Heads under his Feet169.

78Conviction, he told young preachers, is from particulars. With him, the concrete is, as often as not, a homely simile, which some may feel debases the truth propounded but which usually gives it new vigour. In the consecration sermon he argues that the spiritual order must be fortified with some power that is temporal, for

  • 170 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 196.

If the Bishop has no other defensatives but Excommunication, no other Power but that of the Keys, he may, for any notable Effect that he is like to do upon the Factious and Contumacious, surrender up his Pastoral Staff, shut up his Church, and put those Keys under the Door170.

79Speaking of pride and of the difference between a man when he is poor and when he has been given preferment, he says:

  • 171 Op. cit., IV, ser. 2, pp. 83-84.

His mind, like a Mushroom, has shot up in a Night171;

80or about the persecutions of the early Christians:

  • 172 Op. cit., V, ser. 11, p. 425.

They came so fast upon the Christians, that all the intermission they had from one Persecution, was but a kind of pause or breathing time (a short Parenthesis of ease) to enable them for another172.

  • 173 “The Jews indeed drew their Religion from a purer Fountain than the Gentiles; God himself being th (...)

81South’s frequent use of metaphors and similes results from his conception of rhetoric, which, like Bacon’s, is based on faculty psychology: for him the senses are the underofficers of the understanding, and the imagination has the power to sway the will by presenting to the mind objects to be desired or shunned. Images therefore function as arguments, not as decoration; they persuade through their clearness and vividness as much as do the conceptual statements. South often refers to the use of figurative language in Scripture as a means to utter truths in a form suitable to the apprehension of men. Like his fellow-Anglicans, he insisted that the true meaning of Scripture is the literal, but he did not altogether ignore the typological. True, he mostly touched upon this in order to show that the Jewish religion presented types and shadows of truths which were to be revealed later in their full light173; all the same, his own use of imagery suggests that he was closer to the men that saw correspondences everywhere than to the natural philosophers of his own age. He was too strict a thinker ever to let his mind dwell on fancied analogies, and he had been too often shocked by the extravagant interpretations of the Saints to hunt for types and shadows in the remotest corners; but the world around him was full of concrete particulars imaging the truths he wished to expound to his hearers. In his use of language no less than in his thought South is therefore closer to writers of an earlier generation; and yet he sounds far more modern than Barrow, who shared all the interests of the new age. By temper he was a conservative, yet a conservative that could infuse new vigour in the old traditions or modes of thought, and through his nimble wit give life and force to the language by wielding the old and the new, the abstract and the concrete, the conceptual and the figurative.

  • 174 Thus, when explaining that the Dissenters’ plea for moderation, which they ground on the text of S (...)

82All of South’s sermons are tracts for the times; not only does he deal with urgent problems, but he expounds his themes with particular reference to the specific circumstances, always calling up to his hearers’ minds the concrete background to which the truths contained in his text are applicable. Topical references abound in his sermons, to men, events, or doctrines of the day or of the recent past, and many of his examples or even incidental comparisons are drawn from the scene around him174 This may account for the inability of later sermon readers to get the full gist of what he was saying, and for such misunderstandings as that exemplified in the preface to the 1795 Beauties of South; but it certainly enhances the vividness of his discourses and gives the modern reader a keen sense of their relevancy to the problems confronting men after the Restoration. Like the similes these allusions keep the argument firmly anchored in the concrete reality, and through their immediacy add force and substance to the principles South defines.

83If South’s metaphors contribute to the vividness of his style, and earned him a reputation for wit, he is no less a master of the terse and pregnant statement. True wit, he said, is a severe and manly thing, and in this kind of wit he was himself supreme. His thought is etched out with precision and vigour. Just as his paragraphs hinge on for, therefore, since, though, and the like, so he compresses his sentences to the essentials, for instance:

  • 175 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 45.

Others held a fortuitous Concourse of Atoms; but all seem jointly to explode a Creation; still beating upon this Ground, that the producing Something out of Nothing is impossible and incomprehensible: Incomprehensible indeed I grant, but not therefore impossible175;

84or again:

  • 176 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 200.
  • 177 Ibid., p. 210.

Reputation is Power, and consequently to despise is to weaken176.
Disobedience, if complyed with, is infinitely encroaching, and having gain’d one Degree of Liberty upon Indulgence, will demand another upon Claim. Every vice interprets a Connivance an Approbation177.

85In a sermon on “love your enemies” he says:

  • 178 Op. cit., III, ser. 3, p. 119.

And though I am commanded when my enemy thirsts to give him Drink, yet it is not when he thirsts for my Blood178.

86When demonstrating that faith must issue in works, and that neither assurance of salvation nor profession of faith nor delight in sermons will save a man’s soul, he has a lover of sermons ask if this will not set him right for heaven, and answers:

  • 179 Op. cit., III, ser. 4, p. 166.

Yes, no doubt, if a man were to be pulled up to Heaven by the Ears; or the Gospel would but reverse its Rule, and declare, That not the Doers of the Word, but the Hearers only should be justified179.

87In a sermon on temptation he insists that the wary Christian must fill every minute with business because

  • 180 Op. cit., VI, ser. 10, p. 345.

Grace abhors a Vacuum in Time, as much as Nature does in Place180.

88In such examples the vigour of the thought is all in the compact, vivid statement. It may be noted that several of these examples either begin or conclude a paragraph, thus serving as syntheses, much as do the vivid comparisons, clinching the argument or defining a truth to be demonstrated.

89South’s style is often Senecan in its brevity, but his arguments are not developed in equally terse statements, for the strain on his hearers—or even readers—would be too hard, and the movement would become as jerky as Andrewes’s. On the contrary, the sentences are linked closely, and form a train of argument moving swiftly to the point he wants to make. The parts are usually short, or fairly short, independent clauses, so that the stages in the process can be grasped clearly, and the argument followed easily thanks to the strict logic. Having established his point South often applies the abstract to the concrete, thus wielding together the ‘reason of the thing’ and the truth of experience, on both of which he grounds his propositions. The following paragraph may serve to illustrate this method and style, yet it is not particularly striking in its context:

  • 181 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 200.

Reputation is Power, and consequently to despise is to weaken. For where there is Contempt, there can be no Awe; and where there is no Awe, there will be no Subjection; and if there is no Subjection, it is impossible, without the Help of the former Distinction of a Politick Capacity, to imagine how a Prince can be a Governour. He that makes his Prince despised and undervalued, blows a Trumpet against him in Mens Breasts, beats him out of his Subjects Hearts, and fights him out of their Affections; and after this, he may easily strip him of his other Garrisons, having already dispossessed him of his strongest, by dismantling him of his Honour, and seizing his Reputation181.

  • 182 Coleridge noted that Barrow is below South in dignity. Anima Poetae, ed. E.H. Coleridge, London, 1 (...)

90If South could both argue with the subtlety of a trained logician at home in scholastic arguments and strike home with a colloquial phrase or racy idiom, it is because he could move so easily from principles to facts, from the abstract to the concrete. Because he does this all along, his homely similes hardly ever seem out of place even though they may sometimes offend the nicer critics. When similar idioms appear in Barrow’s slightly pedantic prose the reader is apt to be jarred182 while South’s rhythm and sentence structure make them sound right. His style may owe something to the Senecans, but the main influence is certainly that of the Bible, both in the pattern of his sentences and in the inclusiveness of his idiom. He can hardly, one feels, have approved of the attempts to pare down the language and to restrict it to ‘correct usage’ for he moves through the whole range of the language with complete freedom. Indeed he seems to be above such concerns as propriety and correctness as if he was “to the manner born”.

91For South as for the great neo-classicists decorum did not mean starched formality or mere politeness. When he wishes to diminish, as the old rhetoricians said, and he often does so wish, he uses diminishing figures. He does not feel bound to the level tone of the more moderate or more lukewarm preachers, but lashes out when occasion offers, and he often has good precedent for such violence of language, as when he says:

  • 183 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 162.

And this may suffice concerning the second Way of embasing God’s Ministers; namely, by intrusting the Ministry with raw, unlearned, ill-bred Persons; so that what Solomon speaks of a Proverb in the Mouth of a Fool, the same may be said of the Ministry vested in them, that it is like a Pearl in a Swine’s Snout183.

92Such ‘unseemly’ similes are indeed frequent in his sermons. As he said in The Scribe Instructed, “Piety engages no man to be dull”, and he saw no reason why he should restrain the power of his wit in serving his Church. Nor did he believe that gentle admonitions could reclaim the wicked or discourage the enemies of order in Church and State. He was too much the aristocrat not to speak out boldly and state what he considered as vital truths with all the means at his disposal. He was a powerful preacher just because through the vigour of his intellect and the liveliness of his imagination he could infuse new life into the old truths and make them shine with all the brightness of his sprightly wit. Again and again the brilliant phrase is sparked off this hard flint, “what oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed”. Such gems abound in his sermons, for instance:

  • 184 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 159.

I confess, God has no need of any Man’s Parts, or Learning; but certainly then, he has much less need of his Ignorance, and ill Behaviour184.

  • 185 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, p. 234.

The Doctrine that teaches Alms, and the Persons that need them, are by such equally sent packing185.

  • 186 Op. cit., I, ser. 9, p. 346. 3

No man is esteemed any ways considerable for Policy, who wears Religion otherwise than as a Cloak; that is, as such a Garment as may both cover and keep him warm, and yet hang loose upon him too186.

  • 187 Op. cit., II, ser. 1, p. 40.

For the sensual Epicure, he also will find... that there is no Drinking, or Swearing, or Ranting, or Fluxing a Soul out of its Immortality187.

  • 188 Op. cit., II, ser. 11, p. 399.

Such are their [i.e. the Romish Casuists’] Pardons and Indulgences, and giving Men a share in the Saints Merits, out of the Common Bank and Treasury of the Church, which the Pope has the sole custody and disposal of, and is never kept shut to such as come with an open hand188.

  • 189 Op. cit., II, ser. 12, p. 466.

Conscience, if truly tender, never complains without a Cause, though I confess, there is a new fashioned sort of Tenderness of Conscience, which always does so. But that is like the Tenderness of a Bog or Quagmire, and it is very dangerous coming near it, for fear of being swallowed up by it. For when Conscience has once acquired this artificial Tenderness, it will strangely enlarge, or contract its Swallow as it pleases; so that sometimes a Camel shall slide down with Ease, where at other times, even a Gnat may chance to stick by the way. It is, indeed, such a kind of Tenderness, as makes the Person, who has it, generally very tender of obeying the Laws, but never of breaking them. And therefore, since it is commonly at such variance with the Law. I think the Law is the fittest Thing to deal with it189.

  • 190 For South’s bitter reference to Milton, see his 30 January sermon, printed below.

93When quoted out of context the memorable phrases are apt to suggest the happy turns which grace the talk of so many wits in Restoration comedy; yet, while these are often mere airy nothings, delightful but soon forgotten, South’s wit is usually sparked off by the urgency of the thought or the passion of his indictement. Though he would have been offended by the comparison, his telling phrases are not unlike those of another intensely serious writer when he branded the “hireling wolves, whose Gospel is their maw”, or echoed the cries of the stall-reader when he “did but prompt the age to quit their clogs” and found that he had cast pearls to hogs190; the difference is that South could use homely images for purposes other than denunciation, but with equal force, for instance:

  • 191 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, p. 222.

But the severe Notions of Christianity turned all this upside down, filling all with Surprize and Amazement; they came upon the World, like Light darting full upon the Face of a Man asleep, who had a Mind to sleep on, and not to be disturbed191.

  • 192 Lord Brougham, in the Edinburgh Review, quoted by Allibone, op. cit.
  • 193 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, printed below.

94Far from “drawing away the attention from the subject to the epigrammatic diction”, as some critics have said192, South s lucky resultances of thought and words must have exercised his hearers wits and compelled them to think. Right thinking was the aim of all his teaching, but it was the kind of thinking that involves both the intellect and the imagination. His defence of fancy in The Scribe Instructed shows that for him the imagination must contribute to make a lively impression on the hearers’ minds and thereby make them realize more powerfully the exact bearing of the ideas propounded to them. For South, as for Pope, wit (as imagination) and judgement were to act as close partners in setting forth the truths of religion. In this, as in so much else, he was resisting the tide that was ultimately to effect the severance of judgement from fancy; he was, in fact, true to an earlier conception of reason. If for Donne truth stood on a huge hill, cragged and steep, for South it was “a great strong-hold, barred and fortified by God and Nature”, to be laid siege to in a kind of warfare, and only to be reached by men perpetually on the watch, “observing all the avenues and passes to it”, and making their approaches accordingly193. The avenues he chose to pursue in his sermons may not always have conformed with the nicer judges’ sense of propriety, but there is no doubt that he laid siege to his hearers’ indifference or slumbering consciences and that his nimble wit taught them the discipline necessary to reach what he considered as all-important truths.

  • 194 James Sutherland: ‘Robert South’, in A Review of English Literature, I, (1960), 6-7.

95Like other Anglican divines South preached on the duties of religion; like them he believed and taught that faith must issue in works, but in no way can he be called a practical preacher. His main purpose in teaching was to enlighten the understanding and to correct errors of judgement rather than to fortify the will. Among the truths he was out to enforce were the fundamental articles of belief, particularly those that were impugned in his day, such as the Trinity and the mysteriousness of Christianity; like his contemporaries, he also demonstrated the absurdity of unbelief. The main evil against which he fought in sermon after sermon, however, was the corruption of doctrine and discipline deriving from what he believed to be a false conception of faith and of worship. With the utmost violence he denounced new schemes of Church government, extempore prayers or preaching by the Spirit. However partisan he may appear in his unremitting opposition to all pleas of tender conscience, the stand he took against such ‘impostures’ is the logical outcome of his conception of religion, which requires discipline in thought and emotion as well as decency and order in the service of God. He condemned all looseness in thinking as in worshipping, and disorder in the State as in the Church. Believing as he did that the civil power is the necessary prop of the spiritual power, he attacked the enemies of both with equal fire, and in many of his sermons he preached politics as well as religion. These are probably the sermons which modern readers will enjoy most, because of South’s intense concern for the issues at stake in his time. Such are his sermons on Interest Deposed, on Ecclesiastical Policy, on the Nature and Measures of Conscience, on the Fatal Imposture and Force of Words, or the sermon on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. Those on Extempore Prayers, or The Scribe Instructed as well as the doctrinal sermons, on the Pentecost or the Trinity or against unbelief, define with particular cogency the beliefs and temper of this particular divine, which determined the stand he took on political and ecclesiastical issues. All of South’s sermons evince the same qualities of thought and style, even those few which deal with more commonplace themes such as ingratitude or lying. As a consequence an editor is hard put to it to select from such an embarras de richesses. Sermons which appealed to earlier anthologists, such as that on So God Created Man in his own Image, or particularly delighted his contemporaries, such as that on The Lot is cast into the Lap, do not appear in the present selection though they too are likely to interest the modern reader. Much that is good had to be left out of the selection, but it is hoped that from this handful of sermons the reader will be able to gather that South was indeed “a writer of rare distinction” and that we cannot afford to ignore “a man who thinks so clearly and precisely and powerfully as South invariably does”194.

John Tillotson (1630-1694)

96Such was the popularity of Tillotson as a preacher that, when his last remains were taken to the church where he had preached so often, the streets were lined by mourning crowds and

  • 195 Thomas Birch, op. cit., p. ccxxii.

there was a numerous train of coaches filled with persons of rank and condition, who came voluntarily to assist at that solemnity from Lambeth to the church of St Lawrence Jewry195.

  • 196 See The Tatler, no. 101 (1709). Birch, and Macaulay after him, says 2,500 guineas. Cp. with this t (...)
  • 197 “‘Tom is a lively rogue; he remembers a great deal, and can tell many pleasant stories; but a pen (...)
  • 198 Some few mistakes have been corrected, such as the date of Tillotson’s christening, i.e. 10 Octobe (...)
  • 199 Besides Birch’s Life and the notice by Alexander Gordon in the DNB, see James Moffat’s Introductio (...)

97His publisher did not hesitate to pay his widow two thousand five hundred pounds for the copyright of his posthumous sermons196, which proved to be a good investment since in the next fifty years the sermons went through edition after edition. Tillotson’s fame had by no means waned when, in 1752, J. and R. Tonson issued a new folio edition, for which Thomas Birch wrote a life of the author. Birch, who also edited the works of Chillingworth, Bacon, and Boyle among others, may have been no writer, as Johnson said197, but he collected plenty of material and gave such a detailed account of Tillotson’s life that later biographers have found little to add to his account198. Since the main facts are readily available to the twentieth-century reader199, only a brief outline of Tillotson’s life need be given here.

  • 200 See Beardmore’s account, appended to Birch’s Life, op. cit., p. cclxv.
  • 201 According to Alumni Cantabrigienses, ed. John Venn and J.A. Venn, Cambridge, 1927, this was circa (...)
  • 202 See Beardmore’s account, op. cit., p. cclxvii.

98John Tillotson, the son of a Yorkshire clothier of strict Puritan persuasion, was entered a pensioner at Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1647 and proceeded B.A. in 1650. Sometime after he was elected Fellow of the College, and he took his M.A. degree in 1654. At the time he was himself a Puritan, but according to one of his pupils he heard many sermons and, being eclectic, refused to bind himself to opinions200. Soon after leaving Cambridge in 1656 he became tutor to the son of Edmund Prideaux, Cromwell’s Attorney General; he was in London when the Protector died on 3 September, 1658, and happening to be present at Whitehall when some Puritan divines were keeping a fast-day, he was shocked by the bold sallies of enthusiasm offered as prayers by such men as John Owen and Peter Sterry. This may have contributed to sway his sympathies, though he was still to remain among the Puritans for some time. He was ordained, probably in 1661, by Thomas Sydserf, the one Scottish bishop still living201, but was deprived of his fellowship at Clare Hall when Peter Gunning was readmitted after the Restoration202. From 1661 to 1662 he was curate at Cheshunt, Hertfortshire, and in December 1661 he was appointed Tuesday lecturer at St. Lawrence Jewry. He had sat with the Presbyterians at the Savoy Conference, but when the Act of Uniformity was passed he conformed to the discipline of the Church of England. In 1663 he became rector of Keddington, Suffolk, where the minister had been ejected, but where the congregation clearly favoured Gospel preachers, since Tillotson’s parishioners complained that he did not preach Jesus Christ. He resigned this living when he was elected Preacher to Lincoln’s Inn in November 1663. From then on he was to preach regularly to the lawyers on the Sunday and to the City congregation on the Tuesday, often delivering the same discourse in both places and attracting to St. Lawrence Jewry many people who had heard him on the Sunday.

99His acquaintance with John Wilkins, then vicar of St. Lawrence, probably dates from these years; in 1664 Tillotson married Wilkins’s stepdaughter, i.e. the daughter of Robina Cromwell, sister to the Protector, and in the following years he worked with Wilkins on his Essay towards a Real Character and Philosophical Language (published in 1668). His close association with Wilkins and his work on a philosophical language probably strengthened his taste for perspicuity and simplicity in his style of preaching; it may also have contributed to make him less careful of the exact meaning of words and of the distinctions between near synonyms, since the ‘real character’ aimed at devising signs to represent words, but had by its very nature to restrict the number of such signs, which inevitably entailed ignoring differences of meaning. It was probably in recogniton of his work with Wilkins, and at the latter’s suggestion, that he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1671. Of his contribution to the transactions of the Society nothing is known beyond the fact that he communicated to the Fellows Halley’s report on the comet. When Wilkins was elevated to the see of Chester in 1668 Tillotson was chosen to preach the consecration sermon, and Whichcote, whom Tillotson had known at Cambridge, became vicar of St. Lawrence Jewry, so that the City church continued to foster the peaceable temper and the moderation which distinguished these three men in an age when partisan feelings ran so high. After Wilkins’s death in 1672 Tillotson brought out his Principles and Duties of Natural Religion (1675) and his Sermons (1677), thus further contributing to popularize both the reasonable view of Christianity and the plain style of preaching of the man who had done so much to promote concord among Christians.

  • 203 In 1662 had appeared the sermon he preached, before he had conformed, at the Morning Exercise in C (...)

100Meanwhile Tillotson himself had become known to the reading public203: in 1663 he preached before the Lord Mayor and Aidermen of the City a sermon on The Wisdom of Being Religious and, as was usual on such occasions, he was asked to print it “with what farther he had prepared to deliver”. The sermon, first published in 1664, develops the main themes on which he was to preach all through his life: the reasonableness of Christianity, the absurdity of irreligion, the nature of operative faith, and the necessity of the good life. The emphasis on the agreeableness of faith and reason and on the need for faith to issue in practice marked him out at once as the rational, moral preacher, more concerned with practice than with nice points of doctrine, but determined to oppose the growth of infidelity and of any doctrine tending thereunto. Soon after this he was to enter the lists and challenge the main champion of Romanism, which he considered as destructive of all religion because it sapped the very foundation of true faith, the evidence of reason and of the senses. The Rule of Faith, in answer to John Sergeant’s Sure-Footing, appeared in 1666 and from then on Tillotson never missed an opportunity of attacking the Romanists’ doctrine or practices. In the same year he was created D.D. and in 1668 he took part, with Wilkins and Stilling fleet, in negociations with the Dissenters Manton, Bates and Baxter. This attempt to promote a Bill of Comprehension, which had been first proposed by Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Keeper of the Great Seal, and by Lord Chief Baron Hales, was frustrated by the opposition it met in the House of Commons. Yet Tillotson never gave up the hope of bringing about the Union of Protestants, who, as he saw, would be stronger if they could oppose a united front to the Romanists; he once more worked for agreement with the Dissenters in 1674, and again after the Revolution when a Comprehension Bill was before the House of Commons. Though a sincere member of the Church of England, Tillotson never shared the persecuting zeal of many of his Anglican brethren: not only were such partisan feelings alien to his moderate and equable temper, but he did not believe that the discipline of the Church as laid down in the Restoration Settlement was necessarily the best, and he was prepared to give way to the Dissenters on some points of ceremony in order to further peace and union among Protestants. He thereby antagonized many Churchmen, who were prompt to brand him as no true son of the Church, particularly after he had become primate of that Church.

  • 204 The Hazard of Being Saved in the Church of Rome, which was printed surreptitiously in 1673.
  • 205 See ‘Note on the Text of Barrow’s Sermons’, below.
  • 206 Among them Thomas Gouge, whose funeral sermon Tillotson was to preach on 4 November, 1681 (Vol. I, (...)

101In 1668 Charles II made Tillotson—some say, reluctantly—one of his Chaplains. At Court no less than in the City Tillotson denounced the danger of Popery and on one occasion at least provoked the Duke of York, who forbade him to print his sermon204. In 1670 he was made a Prebendary, and in 1672 became Dean, of Canterbury; he was also made a Prebendary, then a Canon, of St. Paul’s (1675). His friend Isaac Barrow having died in 1677, Tillotson was entrusted by Barrow’s father with the manuscript works left by that divine, with a power to print as much as he thought fit. The task of sorting out the manuscripts must have taken up a great deal of Tillotson’s time in the next few years, for he edited his friend’s works with great care and brought out not only A Treatise of the Pope’s Supremacy 1680) (but three folio volumes of sermons (1683-7)205. This was by no means his only occupation in these years, for besides preaching regularly at Lincoln’s Inn and St. Lawrence Jewry, and occasionally at Court or to the House of Commons, he also helped to further the scheme for the diffusion of the Bible in Welsh, together with Stillingfleet, Whichcote and some Nonconformist ministers206, and he helped his friend, the Unitarian Thomas Firmin, in his work for prison reform and other charitable organisations.

102In 1683 the Rye House Plot led to the arrest of his friend Lord Russell, who was sentenced to death. Tillotson visited him in the Tower and, though he never doubted the integrity of Russell, he tried to persuade him that he was deluded in thinking resistance to the King lawful when the basic rights of the people were threatened. He failed to convince his friend, and attended him faithfully to the scaffold; but his letter urging on Russell the duty of passive obedience, which somehow was circulated at the time, was to be remembered by his enemies after he had taken the oaths to the new Sovereigns in 1689.

  • 207 See Chapter III, above.

103In 1683 Tillotson also preached the sermon at the funeral of Whichcote. The year after appeared his Discourse against Transubstantiation, which was promptly translated into French. With the accession of James the threat to the Protestant religion became more and more precise; though Tillotson went on preaching passive obedience to the civil magistrate, he pressed more urgently than ever the duty to remain steadfast to the Protestant religion, particularly in a number of sermons delivered before Princess Anne. He was grieved to find that some of the Nonconformists were ready to support the King’s scheme of Indulgence, and he remonstrated with his friend William Penn for thus playing into the hands of the Romanists. He, on his side, was doing all in his power to help the French Protestant ministers who had sought refuge in England after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and who with their little flocks of exiles were a standing reproach to those English Protestants who pretended to ignore James’s real purpose in promulgating an Indulgence. Tillotson’s health was impaired and he had been struck in his deepest affections: in 1687 he lost his only remaining child and suffered an apoplectic fit. Though still sick he at once responded to the call of Archbishop Sancroft and attended the meeting of the London clergy when, in 1688, James ordered his Declaration of Indulgence to be read in churches. What Tillotson’s feelings were at the time, and the stand he took in this emergency, can easily be guessed; yet there is no evidence that he had anything to do with the invitation sent to William and signed by no less a man than Compton, Bishop of London. Tillotson may, however, have known of it and of the preparations on foot in Holland. In any case he promptly took the oaths to William and Mary, unlike many Churchmen who, having taught non-resistance, did hesitate before transferring their allegiance to the new Sovereigns. As early as 31 January, 1689, Tillotson preached at Lincoln’s Inn a sermon on the happy deliverance of the Church, which left no doubt as to his own choice of allegiance and which may even have been intended to sway the lawyers’ opinion207.

  • 208 See L.G. Locke, op. cit., p. 16.

104Tillotson, who had known William of Orange since 1677, was asked to preach before the King and Queen at Hampton Court on 14 April, 1689, i.e. only three days after they had been crowned. On 27 April he was made Clerk of the King’s Closet, and in November he succeeded Stillingfleet, now Bishop of Worcester, as Dean of St. Paul’s. Though he had been offered one of the bishoprics left vacant by the Non-Jurors, he begged rather to be made Dean and, as appears from his correspondence with Lady Russell, he only reluctantly accepted the Primacy, which William had designed for him from the first. After Sancroft had at last vacated his see, Tillotson was elected, and consecrated at Bow Church on 31 May, 1691. As he had foreseen he was attacked more bitterly than ever, particularly by Non-Jurors, chief among whom was George Hickes, who was to be appointed ‘bishop’ by the exiled James. Tillotson was accused of being a Socinian, an Anabaptist, no true friend of the Church, and not even a son of the Church since it was claimed that he had never been baptized at all (though his baptism had been duly entered in the parish register of Halifax208). Tillotson wisely forbore to answer these charges, but the Sermons Concerning the Divinity and Incarnation of Our Blessed Saviour, which he published in 1693, were probably intended to counteract the effect of such attacks and to show that his doctrine was sound. These attacks must have abated for a while, for in the preface to his next collection, Six Sermons (1694), he expressed his relief at being released from the “irksome and unpleasant work of controversy and wrangling about religion”. Yet, after his death High-Churchmen (among them South) and Non-Jurors alike returned to the attack, and his friend Gilbert Burnet had to vindicate his memory. In November 1694 Tillotson was seized with a sudden illness while at Chapel; he died a few days after in the arms of his friend, ‘the pious Mr Nelson’.

  • 209 See his letter to the Earl, in Birch, op. cit., p. XXXVIII. See also the letter to Sir Thomas Cole (...)
  • 210 See, for instance, his letter of 11 August, 1686, recommending a French minister, in Bodleian Libr (...)
  • 211 See Baxter’s account of one Francis Holdcraft, Fellow of Clare Hall, bedfellow of Tillotson, who w (...)

105Tillotson was no doubt a man of catholic sympathies. Brought up as a child in a strict Puritan family, he was attended in his last illness by a Non-Juror; among his friends he numbered such different men as Isaac Barrow, John Sharp, Gilbert Burnet, Robert Nelson—who had been educated in the family of Nicholas Ferrars at Little Gidding—Thomas Firmin the Socinian and promotor of charitable organisations, Dr. Bates the Presbyterian vicar, Richard Baxter, William Penn the Quaker, and William Prince of Orange. In the age of the great persecution he worked for agreement with the Dissenters and union among Protestants. True, he was as violent in his denunciation of the Romanists as he was mild in his treatment of dissenting Protestants. This may seem surprising in such an eminently charitable man; but even though he was ready to compromise on most points of discipline for the sake of peace, there were some points of doctrine which he thought could not be assailed without the very foundations of religion being wrecked. To him Romanism was evil because it both destroyed the basis of all faith and made a mock of moral principles; for this reason he could give the Papists no quarter. His relentless opposition to the claims of Rome was based on his belief that the Romanists religion was destructive of the good life and endangered the peace of society, which to him were the primary if not the ultimate ends of religion, and it was precisely because of the paramount importance of practice to him that he was ready to relax discipline and seek agreement with the Dissenters so as to further concord among Christians and peace in society. How much weight he put on living well appears not only from his sermons, but also from his stern expostulations with men of dissolute life, such as the Earl of Shrewsbury209. Nor did he merely preach charity and mildness to men of good will, or promote schemes for charitable institutions; he could also exert himself on behalf of men who suffered for conscience sake, such as the French ministers210 or friends who had been ejected211. His former pupil at Cambridge, John Beardmore, tells us that

  • 212 Birch, op. cit., p. cclxxiv.

He was one of a very sweet nature, friendly and obliging, and ready to serve his friends any way that he could by his interest and authority, when they applied to him; and this he did freely and generously, without any oblique designs to serve himself. He was very affable and conversible, not sour or sullen, not proud or haughty, not addicted to any thing of moroseness, affected gravity, or to keep at a great distance from those that were much his inferiors; but open and free, gentle and easy, pleasant and amiable, to those especially that he was acquainted with, or that he looked upon as honest and good212.

  • 213 Ibid.
  • 214 The one example of his wit that is usually quoted is his remark about South, that he wrote like a (...)

106Such an account of Tillotson’s character will be readily accepted by anyone who has read his sermons, for these reflect the sweet reasonableness and kindness of the man; the temper of the speaker which shines through the words on the page and must have been even more perceptible from the tone of his voice, must have greatly contributed to win the favour of his hearers. What is harder to imagine is that Tillotson’s “common and familiar discourse was witty and facetious”213, not only because there is no evidence of wit in his sermons—he would have thought it ‘indecent’ —but because his very style seems to preclude a capacity for wit214. His natural gentleness, his lack of formality in his intercourse with men must have inclined him to develop the easy and natural style which was so much admired by his contemporaries. The smooth flow of his sentences, the relaxed syntax, the preference for unemphatic rhythms, the varied sentence structure no less than the simplicity of his diction suggest the informality of speech. The thought is never compressed or involved; rather he prefers to enlarge, often by means of doublets which tend to blur outlines. As a consequence the thought seems to be less precise, and to match that of the average hearer. Since he eschews not only learned references but also technical terms, since he uses the natural words in their natural order, he must have given his congregation the impression that they were hearing from the pulpit the same kind of language as they were using in everyday life; and the truths he taught them must have sounded all the more familiar as he never drove the argument beyond the point where the average hearer might be expected to feel on familiar ground. If he made the language of everyday life the instrument of religion, it was in order to make his religious teaching an integral part of everyday life. In this he was eminently the practical preacher, and his lucid exposition of the basic truths and duties of Christianity must have been the more readily accepted as his great design was, to use Beardmore’s words, to make men wisely religious, that is, to require neither too strenuous an exercise of their intellects nor to press too hard duties upon them. Not only did he usually select for confirmation the kind of arguments that would be easily grasped by his hearers, and dwell in the application on the immediate duties of the Christian life—on those of the second rather than of the first table—but he often demonstrated that the practice of religion was the most profitable and sensible way of life. Thus both in matter and manner he kept a level course, never soaring too high nor probing too deep, rather relaxing than tautening the tension. His slack rhythms and fairly loose syntax image the lack of rigour of his thought and teaching.

  • 215 Tillotson (and the editor of the posthumous sermons) often printed two or more sermons as one, but (...)
  • 216 See D.D. Brown: “John Tillotson’s Revisions and Dryden’s ‘Talent for English Prose’”, RES, NS, XII (...)
  • 217 He never published it, nor was it included in the posthumous collections of his sermons until 1752 (...)
  • 218 For instance, the general proposition, “whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, do ye ev (...)

107If the redundancies suggest the diffuseness of his thought, the simplicity and perspicuity of his diction as well as the varied movement of his sentences make it easy for both hearer and reader to follow his developments. For his method is clear, indeed, excessively so to the modern reader; each of his discourses is short215 and in each he considers or discusses no more than a few points, stressing each stage in the development. Moreover, his sentences, though loose if compared with more highly patterned prose, are clear and orderly, compound rather than complex, and it appears from his revisions that he was concerned to make the relations between the parts as clear to the reader as they had been to the hearer from the modulation of the speaking voice216. Burnet said in his funeral oration that Tillotson found pulpit oratory deficient and therefore set to himself a pattern that would make the essential truths of Christianity easily accessible to the average man. This was probably deliberate, and Tillotson may have had to train himself in this easy, perspicuous manner, for though many reformers had earlier emphasized the necessity for preachers to speak to the capacity of their hearers, it appears from the first two sermons of Tillotson to be published that at that early stage he used to include more considerations and longer developments under each head than he was to do later. Perhaps The Wisdom of Being Religious is no conclusive proof of this since it was enlarged for publication (and further revised for later editions) and since Tillotson may well have considered this as an opportunity to compose a fully argued refutation of atheism. The sermon he preached at the Morning Exercise at Cripplegate before he conformed to the Church of England217, on the other hand, already develops themes to which he will return again and again in later sermons218 and its drift is similar to that of his later teaching; but the method of it is different from that of his other discourses. The plan is clear enough—explication of the rule expressed in the text; grounds of this rule; instances in which we ought chiefly to practise it; uses—but each part is subdivided and the third has further subdivisions. Thus he first explains that the rule is reasonable, certain, and practicable, and under this last head he not only refutes two objections but develops four means to make the practice of this duty easy. He then proceeds to the grounds of this rule, of which he lists five. The next part, instances, constitutes the main body of the sermon; he considers nine such instances, i.e. in matters of civil respect and conversation, of kindness and courtesy, of charity and compassion, of forbearance and forgiveness, of report and representation of other men and their actions, of trust and fidelity, of duty and obedience, of freedom and liberty, and finally in matters of commerce and contracts which arise from thence. Given the kind of audience he is addressing he naturally develops the last point at greater length, giving it in fact more space than to all the others taken together. He is careful not to specify “what is the exact righteousness in matter of contracts” because he is unacquainted with affairs of the world, but he gives a general rule for the conduct of such affairs, explicates it by considering particular kinds of contracts, and finally lays down special rules for directing commerce, on occasion of which he answers several possible objections. The sum of all this is the duty to use plainness in all commercial dealings. Under the last head, uses, he develops only two points: the heinousness of revenge and the need to respect the second table of the Law. The drift of the whole sermon is thus to teach these righteous men, whose respect for the first table of the Law is so deep, that unless they love the brother whom they have seen they merely pretend to love the God they have not seen. The last part of the sermon in fact emphasizes that to despise such exhortations as mere morality is to nullify Christ’s teaching.

  • 219 For instance, the two sermons on The Nature and Necessity of Restitution, op. cit., III, ser. 116 (...)

108Not only is the overall structure of the sermon less simple than in the later discourses, but parts of it are more argumentative. This may suggest that the audience as well as the preacher were used to the dialectical method of the Calvinists, but it is worth noting that the general tone as well as the arguments themselves is secular rather than religious, that Tillotson’s quotations are from Descartes and Cicero as well as from the Bible. Though the argument may sound dry at the beginning, Tillotson meets his hearers on their own ground so that the particular problems with which they are faced in their everyday life as shopkeepers or merchants are treated specifically. Tillotson is clearly able to speak their own language and to discuss particular cases to which the duty applies; and he also knows the casuistry and subterfuges that many of them are apt to use in their business dealings. As a consequence he sounds much closer to the concrete reality than he does in most of his later sermons, in which the teaching is usually of a general nature. True, he was never to forget that as a moral teacher he had to consider cases in which men might not see clearly which was the right choice, and several of his later sermons indeed examine such particular cases219; but these often sound like mere casuistry, whereas in the Morning Exercise the pressure of the business world, of the actual situations in which his hearers would have to do unto others the things they would that others should do unto them, makes the sermon more cogent and more lively. To the modern reader the topicality enhances, rather than detracts from, the interest because the aptness of the duty enforced, and the way in which it is related to the particular men to whom the sermon is addressed, vividly define the ethos of that class of citizens, their virtues as well as their shortcomings. Before he achieved the correctness which was to earn him such high fame in the eighteenth century Tillotson would have to become a little more remote from this earthy reality and to deal more in the grand generalities which delighted those readers. The modern reader, on the other hand, is more likely to be attracted by the sermons in which Tillotson was moved to take his stand on some problem that had a specific bearing on the life and thought of his age. His success as a preacher no doubt came from his ability to use the common speech of the day, but by the time he chose to appear before the reading public his speech was keyed to that of a public which prized ‘decency’ in subject matter as well as in language, a kind of decency which excluded flashes of wit as well as flights of fancy, vigorous thinking as well as strong language, the severe discipline of thoughts and words as well as the harsh touch of reality. If Tillotson was such a master of the middle style it is probably because as a truly temperate man and an apostle of moderation in all things he felt perfectly at home in this middle zone and feared all extremes.

  • 220 See for instance the headings of the various instances of the duty, mentioned above.

109The style that was praised so often in the next generation or two was a style of thinking as much as of speaking, and if the Morning Exercise strikes a different note it is because Tillotson treats his theme in a more direct manner rather than because he uses language more vividly. Here already one notices his tendency to blur outlines and to slacken his rhythms by means of doublets220; but one also recognizes his ability to state a point clearly and simply, though in no way strikingly. For instance, to show that the rule laid down in his text ought to be practised in matters of freedom and liberty he says:

  • 221 The Morning-Exercise at Cripplegate, or, Several Cases of Conscience Practically Resolved, by Sund (...)

In matters of freedom and liberty; which are not determined by any natural or positive Law, we must permit as much to others, as we assume to ourselves; and this is a sign of an equall, and temperate person, and one that justly values his understanding and power. But there is nothing wherein men usually deal more unequally with one another, than in indifferent opinions and practices of Religion: I account that an indifferent opinion which good men differ about, not that such an opinion is indifferent as to truth or error, but as to salvation or damnation, it is not of necessary belief. By an indifferent practice in Religion, I mean that which is in its own nature, neither a duty, nor a sin to do or omit. Where I am left free, I would not have any man to rob me of my liberty; or intrench upon my freedome, and because he is satisfied, such a thing is lawfull, and fit to be done, expect I should do it, who think it otherwise; or because he is confident such an opinion is true, be angry with me, because I cannot believe as fast as he.... And do not say that thou art in the right, and he that differs from thee in the wrong, and therefore thou mayst impose upon him, though he may not upon thee. Hath not every man this confidence of his own opinion and practice221?

110This is as good an example as any of Tillotson’s lucid expository prose, in which the simple statement leads easily to the advice or unemphatic rhetorical question. Here already appears his ability to manage pauses in the development while linking the stages, as well as to join dissimilar members having a similar syntactic function. Though several sentences have approximately the same length, the structure and rhythm vary from one to the other: the link between the sentences is of the same kind as the link between the parts, that is, taking up a point and developing it through contrast or through definition or through qualification, and using the turn that is natural to speech (e.g. “not that such an opinion is indifferent...”). The level tone is kept all through, yet the variety of movement ensures the smooth flow through the paragraph. Nothing, however, is arresting here; nor is anything emphasized, though the shift from the general to the personal gives relief to the thought. It is characteristic, however, that the language is not concrete, that the statements are general even when applied to I or thou; Tillotson is dealing with men’s attitude to each other, but what he expresses appears as a truth of experience rather than as an experienced fact, it is midway between the abstract and the concrete. This is certainly an apt way of expressing such commonplaces, one that is particularly apposite for the essay, with its mixture of general and particular. Compared with the essay style of an earlier age or with that of Halifax, for instance, Tillotson’s is looser and more ‘natural’; its sentence structure and varied rhythm are not unlike those which Dryden was gradually to achieve, but the relaxed tension in thought and movement suggests a less vigorous temper, one indeed which is more akin to Addison’s.

111Tillotson can be concise at times, but he has few memorable phrases, and even when his sentence bites more sharply—usually when he brands the Romanists’ doctrines or practices—it is never as pregnant as South’s, for instance. Thus when stressing the need for rational enquiry in religious matters he says:

  • 222 Op. cit., I, ser. 21, p. 202. See also in the same sermon, p. 201: “This liberty St Paul allowed; (...)

Is it credible, that God should give a Man judgment in the most fundamental and important Matter of all, viz. To discern the true Religion, and the true Church, from the false; for no other end, but to enable him to choose once for all to whom he should resign and enslave his Judgment for ever? Which is just as reasonable as if one should say, that God hath given a Man Eyes for no other end, but to look out once for all, and to pitch upon a discreet Person to lead him about blindfold all the days of his life222.

112Yet, he tends to repeat the same idea, and often the same keywords, making his point through iteration rather than through the vigour of the expression. Thus the above quotation concludes a paragraph in which the same idea has been rehearsed in several sentences, which may indeed have contributed to drive the point home to his hearers, but which to the reader is merely repetitive since the thought does not progress or become more precise:

  • 223 Ibid., ser. 21, p. 202.

Now, as the Apostle reasons in another Case, if Men be fit to judge for themselves in so great and important a Matter as the choice of their Religion, why should they be thought unworthy to judge in lesser Matters? They tell us indeed that a Man may use his judgment in the choice of his Religion; but when he hath once chosen, he is then for ever to resign up his Judgment to their Church. But what tolerable Reason can any Man give, why a Man should be fit to judge upon the whole, and yet unfit to judge upon particular Points? especially if it be considered, that no Man can make a discreet Judgment of any Religion, before he hath examined the particular Doctrines of it, and made a judgment concerning them223.

  • 224 See preceding quotation. See also another passage on vicious habits: “But vicious habits have a gr (...)

113The effect of the more telling sentences that follow224 is partly destroyed by the repetition. It is as though Tillotson intended to tone down rather than to give life and force to the ideas he is expounding. What his style and thought lack is sinewy strength, and the slackness of his rhythms in fact images this lack of energy. This was no doubt Tillotson’s natural bent, but his revisions show that he deliberately tended to expand or dilute, thereby destroying whatever terseness his sentences may have had originally; which suggests that the voice in the pulpit probably toned down rather than gave relief to the more telling phrase or comparison. For instance, the following sentence from the quarto version of The Wisdom of Being Religious:

And tho’ we have sufficient assurance of another state, yet not so great evidence as if we ourselves had been in the other world, and seen how all things are there

114was revised in the folio edition to:

  • 225 Op. cit., ser. 1, p. 26 (1664 ed. p. 50). See also in the same sermon: “such a thing as a future st (...)

And tho’ we have sufficient assurance of another state, yet no man can think we have so great evidence...225.

115This stylistic characteristic strikes us all the more when he translates some apophthegm, for instance in:

  • 226 Op. cit., I, ser. 44, p. 459.

I will now conclude this whole Discourse with a Saying which I heard from a great and judicious Man, Non amo nimis argutam Theologiam; I love no Doctrines in Divinity which stand so very much upon quirk and subtilty226

116The evidence from the revisions seems to be contradicted by Tillotson’s preface to the Six Sermons, in which he says:

  • 227 Op. cit., I, p. 504.

The style of them is more loose and full of words, than is agreeable to just and exact Discourses: But so I think the Style of Popular Sermons ought to be. And therefore I have not been very careful to mend this matter; chusing rather that they should appear in that native simplicity in which, many years ago, they were first fram’d, than dress’d up with too much Care and Art227;

117but the style of these sermons is not markedly different from his usual manner, which is indeed “loose and full of words”.

  • 228 “Though deep, yet clear, though gentle yet not dull, Strong without rage, without o’er-flowing ful (...)

118Tillotson’s style was defined by Felton in terms which recall Denham’s description of the Thames in Cooper’s Hill228, a description which itself suggests the stylistic ideals of the age:

  • 229 Henry Felton: A Dissertation on Reading the Classicks, and Forming a Just Style, London, 1713, pp. (...)

The famous Tillotson is all over natural and easy in the most unconstrained, and freest elegancy of thoughts and words: his course, both in his reasoning and his style, like a gentle and even current, is clear and deep, and calm and strong. His language is so pure, no water can be more; it floweth with so free, uninterrupted a stream, that it never stoppeth the reader or itself. Every word possesseth its proper place229.

119The smooth surface is seldom ruffled, for even when Tillotson allows himself to be carried away by his anti-popish zeal, he soon breaks off and returns to his level tone. Nor do images appear to enliven the exposition or to strike a more vivid note. As Burnet said, he retrenched all embellishments; like other members of the Royal Society he seems to have regarded metaphorical language with distrust and to have eschewed it as much as possible. He thereby achieved the unaffected plain style which many reformers of pulpit oratory had called for. Given his hearers’ interest in the kind of thought he was expounding one can understand that, as Beardmore tells us,

  • 230 Op. cit., p. cclxxxiii.

The audience generally stood or sat, with the greatest attention, and even waited upon his discourses, hanging upon his lips230,

120for he never taxed their attention or powers and he always gave them something profitable to consider. It is doubtful, however, whether such a style could have riveted the attention of less eager listeners. While Barrow’s verbal imagination or South’s manly wit arouse our interest in the themes they treat, the reader who does not come to Tillotson’s sermons for edification is likely to appreciate the clear and easy style only when the matter treated is of particular interest, that is, defines the preacher’s position and belief as a Church-of-England man of the time, for the prosaic quality of his thought and mind is made all the more obvious by the plainness and simplicity of his style.

  • 231 Op. cit., I, ser. 8 (on Phil. III. 20).

121Tillotson’s limitations are most obvious when he deals with themes which would require bolder and more imaginative thinking as well as greater powers of expression. Such, for instance, is his sermon on The Happiness of a Heavenly Conversation231. Though it may be readily granted that such happiness cannot be fully represented or even apprehended, yet Tillotson’s failure to suggest the transcendent nature of the heavenly state is surely characteristic of his own prosaic mind. From his explication of the text, that the phrase is “an allusion to a City or Corporation, and to the privileges and manners of those who are free of it”, it may be guessed that he will bring the heavenly Jerusalem down to the City of London; whatever he may say, the bliss he attempts to define does not sound altogether different from the peace and contentment to be found in the worldly state, except that it is unmixed with evil, “very great in itself”, and will have no end. True, he also adds that it is “far above any thing that we can now conceive or imagine”, but his words and thoughts are so commonplace that they hardly convey the inexpressible quality he takes for granted. Rather he applies himself to the way in which men may come to be made partakers of this blessed state, and to the—obvious—effects which such considerations should have on their lives. How pedestrian his thought and style is appears most clearly when he weaves biblical phrases into his sentences, for instance:

  • 232 Op. cit., I, 87-88.

How should we welcome the thoughts of that happy hour, when we shall make our escape out of these prisons, when we shall pass out of this howling wilderness into the promised Land; when we shall be removed from all the troubles and temptations of a wicked and ill-natured world; when we shall be past all storms, and secured from all further danger of shipwreck, and shall be safely landed in the regions of bliss and immortality232?

  • 233 The kind of thought and expression that was apt to please eighteenth-century readers may be gather (...)
  • 234 Though it is clear that Tillotson’s purpose is to persuade his hearers to lead the good life here (...)

122The amplification merely tones down, so that everything sounds flat and stale. Yet this sermon was remembered by Addison, who refers to it in No. 600 of The Spectator, from which it may be inferred that for all the insipid style and prosaic thought Tillotson’s considerations struck a chord in some of his readers as well as hearers233. These must have been satisfied with such a tame prospect and with the sweet reasonableness of the heavenly state; they must have been reassured that no violent disruption was to be feared234.

  • 235 John Stoughton: Ecclesiastical History of England, The Church of the Revolution, London, 1874, p. (...)

123The one quality that a twentieth-century reader is likely to prize as much as did Tillotson’s contemporaries, is his urbanity, which is the key to his simplicity and ease. Compared with Barrow he sounds much more modern, but he has none of South’s raciness; his is the common speech of gentlemen, without any attempt at the grace or at the strength that better stylists could achieve. He seems to talk to his congregation, to be one of them, and to share their interests and troubles. If his listeners did hang upon his lips it is not because he was a spellbinder, which he would have despised, but probably because his manner in the pulpit and particularly the modulations of his voice brought him close to his public, as well as because “he brought down Divinity to the level of his congregation”235. From his earnest manner they could feel that the truths he was expounding or the duties he was enforcing mattered as greatly to him as to them, but his amiable tone and easy style must have banished all stiffness from religion as well as from the intercourse between speaker and listeners. If South’s manly wit often suggests the aristocrat, if the discipline of his thought and language urges on his hearers the necessity to exert their minds, Tillotson’s more relaxed manner made his teaching more accessible to a larger section of churchgoers. It gave him the kind of popularity that the essayists of the next century were hoping to achieve; like Tillotson they were concerned to bring if not divinity at least edification down to the level of their public. While South’s incisiveness looks forward to Swift and Pope, Tillotson’s smoothness and correctness look forward to Addison. In the treatment of his themes, in his temper, and in his style, Tillotson anticipates the periodical essayists; no wonder that he was recommended so often to their readers.

  • 236 The remark attributed to Dryden by Congreve in his Dedication of the Dramatic Works (1717) has puz (...)

124Besides his unconstraint, the eighteenth century praised the purity of Tillotson’s diction, the propriety of his language, or his correctness. To an age that felt the lack of any certain standards of correctness he appeared to have used none but proper words, and to have used every word in its proper place. Such unanimous tribute intimates that, whatever his shortcomings as a stylist, he had a sense of language from which even men like Dryden could learn236. Pope numbered Tillotson among the prose writers whose works might serve as a basis for a dictionary, and he is reported to have said:

  • 237 Joseph Spence: Observations, Anecdotes and Characters of Books and Men, ed. E. Malone, London, 182 (...)

There is hardly any laying down particular rules for writing our language, or whether such a particular use of it is proper: one has nothing but authority for it. Is it in Sir William Temple, or Locke, or Tillotson? If it be, we may conclude that it is right, or at least won’t be looked upon as wrong237.

  • 238 “‘I should not advise a preacher at this day to imitate Tillotson’s style; though I don’t know, I (...)
  • 239 John Hawkins, op. cit., p. 116.
  • 240 In Of Style (1698) John Hughes recommended ‘the Incomparable Tillotson’ for his ‘Easiness and beau (...)

125If usage could be defined from Tillotson’s sermons it is surely because even in the next age his style was felt to be idiomatic both in vocabulary and in syntax; besides, one cannot help feeling that his sense of propriety and his preference for the abstract or general must have appealed to those who prized correctness above all. His reputation must still have been high in the last quarter of the century since Johnson hesitated to go against the current in not recommending him for imitation in the pulpit238; Johnson’s own objection, however, may have derived from the style rather than from the language Tillotson used, for he “could but just endure the smooth verbosity” of this divine239. Earlier in the century, Steele among others240 had praised Tillotson for reprehending vice

  • 241 The Spectator, No. 103. The essay includes a long quotation from Tillotson’s sermon on Sincerity ( (...)

in words and thoughts so natural, that any man who reads them would imagine he himself could have been the Author of them241.

  • 242 See his remark on South, quoted above.
  • 243 The Spectator, No. 557. The quotation is again from the sermon on Sincerity. See also The Tatler, (...)

126By thus applying to him Boileau’s definition of true wit, formulated more pregnantly in the Essay on Criticism, Steele clearly ranked Tillotson among the writers from whom eighteenth-century readers could form a true taste. Yet, if Steele’s words anticipate Johnson’s more famous dictum, his use of them in reference to Tillotson suggests that for him ‘what oft was thought’ meant just what to Johnson seemed to depress wit below its natural dignity; for Tillotson lacked that strength of thought which Johnson considered as essential to true wit: the verbosity which the great critic disliked is bound up with the diffuseness of the thought, and one is not surprised to learn from Boswell that he preferred stronger meat, even though occasionally coarse242. To Addison, on the other hand, Tillotson was ‘the great British Preacher’, and this must have been a widely accepted view at the time since it was not necessary to mention his name when quoting from one of his sermons243. Tillotson, one feels, was the very model to propound to those who aspired to education or who had to be reformed by gentle means, for he was himself both gentle and genteel, eminently kind and sober, but, one must conclude, unexciting.

  • 244 Louis G. Locke attempts to do this for T’s literary reputation, op. cit., Ch. IV and V, but he fai (...)
  • 245 See Overton, op. cit., p. 247.

127The history of Tillotson’s reputation in the two centuries after his death throws light not only on standards of taste in style but on changing modes in religious thought244. His popularity in the years after the Restoration was largely due, as Canon Overton said, to the fact that he hit the popular taste245, i.e. gave his public the kind of teaching it was ready for after the storms and passions of the Interregnum. His moderate views and sober temper were equally suited to an age in which liberal theology made such progress as to be at times hardly distinguishable from Deism; he himself had been called a Deist for reducing, or seeming to reduce, religion to the practice of virtue. He was, indeed, a forerunner of the enlightenment, and his moral discourses must have delighted the same readers as did the moral essays of the period. That he came under fire in some quarters may appear from John Wesley’s introduction to a selection from Tillotson’s sermons in A Christian Library, in which he warns the reader:

  • 246 John Wesley: A Christian Library. Choicest Pieces of Practical Divinity, in 30 volumes (first publ (...)

I have the rather inserted the following Extracts for the sake of two sorts of people. Those who are unreasonably prejudiced for, and those who are unreasonably prejudiced against this great man. By this small specimen it will abundantly appear, to all who will at length give themselves leave to judge impartially, that the Archbishop was as far from being the worst, as from being the best of the English writers246.

  • 247 For instance, in Christopher Wordsworth’s Christian Institutes, London, 1837. Wordsworth, who was (...)
  • 248 James Brogden’s Illustrations of the Liturgy and Ritual. Sermons and Discourses selected from the (...)

128In nineteenth-century collections of sermons, Tillotson is no longer given pride of place; in some he does not even appear at all247, and one imagines that he was hardly popular with divines influenced by the Oxford Movement248. Macaulay noted that posterity had reversed the judgement of Tillotson’s contemporaries, who thought he surpassed all rivals living or dead; but he himself found that

  • 249 Op. cit., III, 468-9.

Tillotson still keeps his place as a legitimate English classic. His highest flights were indeed far below those of Taylor, of Barrow, and of South; but his oratory was more correct and equable than theirs ... His reasoning was just sufficiently profound and sufficiently refined to be followed by a popular audience with that slight degree of intellectual exertion which is a pleasure. His style is not brilliant, but it is pure, transparently clear, and equally free from levity and from the stiffness which disfigure the sermons of some eminent divines of the seventeenth century. He is always serious: yet there is about his manner a certain graceful ease which marks him as a man who knows the world, who has lived in populous cities and in splendid courts, and who has conversed, not only with books, but with lawyers and merchants, wits and beauties, statesmen and princes. The greatest charm of his compositions, however, is derived from the benignity and candour which appear in every line, and which shone forth not less conspicuously in his life than in his writings249

129Tillotson’s benignity and candour, no less than his Latitudinarianism, must indeed have shone forth in his writings for such a rhetorician as Macaulay to endorse the earlier eighteenth-century judgement of a divine whose stylistic qualities are so different from his own. Macaulay rightly assessed the reasons why Tillotson pleased the readers of The Spectator: he was sufficiently profound and sufficiently refined, and he required no more than a slight degree of intellectual exertion! For whatever reason, posterity reversed this judgement and Henry Hallam noted that Tillotson’s sermons, which

  • 250 Henry Hallam: Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeent (...)

were for half a century more read than any in our language ... are now bought almost as waste paper, and hardly read at all250.

  • 251 Tillotson: Sermons, Selected, edited and annotated by the Rev. G.W. Weldon, London, 1886.
  • 252 Particularly those in volumes II and III, i.e. those Tillotson did not publish himself.

130While complete editions of South and of Barrow appeared in the nineteenth century, Tillotson only appeared in a selection251, which is probably the best way to honour his memory for many of his moral discourses certainly make dull reading to-day252. Yet, of the three divines under consideration in this study he is the only one with whom twentieth-century readers are likely to be acquainted, through the selections from his writings edited by James Moffat as The Golden Book of Tillotson (1926). Moffat, however, did not print any one sermon in full, he only gave extracts. The procedure is not unlike that of The Spectator, and is probably justified in an age that may be interested in style but is no longer addicted to sermons. Though the extracts form an attractive anthology they cannot suggest the specific qualities of Tillotson as a preacher. Only by following the development of one of his themes can the modern reader rightly assess both his qualities and his limitations, as well as the change that had come over pulpit oratory since the days of the great Jacobean divines. His sermons herald a new age, in thought and feeling as well as in style; they foreshadow the supersession of devotional literature by the essay and look towards the future which the Whig Revolution contributed to shape, to an age in which the divines had less to say than the philosophes and in which the values of civilized living were prized more highly than religious zeal. His sermons have neither the ardency of religious fervour nor the energy of disciplined thought; instead they let in the light of common day and engage men to live amicably together, to tolerate each other’s opinions and to be regardful of their duties to each other in order to salvation.

  • 253 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 41 (The Advantages of Religion to Societies).

131Though Tillotson was indeed a practical preacher, though right living rather than right thinking was for him the Law and the Prophets, yet he did believe and teach that religion is the only certain foundation of the good life, and that Christianity is the best of all religions, as well as the only true one, because it gives the highest assurance of rewards and punishments to encourage and sanction the practice of virtue. To him religion is the only safe basis on which societies can subsist, since it lays “the greatest obligation upon conscience to all civil offices and moral duties”253, both upon the magistrate and upon the subjects. Religion alone is the basis of mutual trust among men; religion alone can curb individual interests and further the good of the community as a whole; religion alone can make men obedient to laws not only out of fear but for conscience sake. In an age in which scepticism and atheism were gaining ground Tillotson stressed that no government could subsist without belief in God, because men need to be restrained by other than human laws; but he also insisted that the duties of religion are conformable to those taught by natural law. He was out to make men wisely religious, by showing them that it is in their own interest to practise virtue, but also by demonstrating the agreeableness of the Christian religion to natural religion, and by opposing the notion that virtue and vice are founded upon custom. He attacked infidelity because to him it was both repugnant to reason and destructive of the common bonds of humanity; likewise, in his constant warfare against Romanism he asserted the need both to inquire rationally into the grounds of faith and to further concord among men. When he touched upon doctrines controverted by some Protestants, such as the irresistible power of Grace, it was again to show that they subvert practice and thereby nullify the very excellence of Christianity, i.e. that it commands all virtues and obliges men to a holy life.

  • 254 Coleridge said in The Christian Observer, 1845: “Tillotson, Hoadly, and the whole sect of Syncreti (...)
  • 255 “Tillotson had the ambition of establishing in the weary, worn out, distracted, perplexed mind and (...)

132Tillotson’s insistence that religion is the highest kind of wisdom, that it is not only true but advantageous to individual men and to societies may at times sound very worldly indeed; but this is redeemed by his natural kindliness and by his deep concern for concord among men, which led him not only to dwell on the clear notions of religion rather than discuss subtle points that might raise controversies, but also to further reconciliation with Protestant brethren who agreed on fundamental points of belief. If such middle-of-the-road position254 lacks depth, it is marked by a genuine desire for peace and by tolerance, a virtue not preeminent among Tillotson’s contemporaries. His teaching hardly stimulates to heroic action or sublime selflessness255; it is more likely to prompt these nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love which won him the hearts of men and women of all ranks.

133The sermons printed below will, it is hoped, help the reader to form an adequate view of Tillotson the preacher, of his thought and style no less than of his temper. The Wisdom of Being Religious and The Folly of Scoffing at Religion are probably his fullest refutation of infidelity; they outline the main themes of his teaching and throw light on the thought and temper of the age. Since he stood out in his time as one of the main champions against Rome and as such appealed to many readers abroad in the eighteenth century, the selection includes several of his anti-popish sermons, in which he enforces the duty of rational inquiry into the truths of religion. In Instituted Religion not Intended to Undermine Natural he restates the relation between natural religion and Christianity and further defines his objections to Romanism, while in the sermon on Regeneration he expounds the Anglican doctrine of grace in contradistinction to the views of other Protestant Churches or Sects at the time. The sermon on The Fruits of the Spirit the Same with Moral Virtues shows how close he sometimes comes to Deism, while The Necessity of Supernatural Grace, in order to a Christian Life, is sufficient evidence that he did not altogether equate Christianity with the mere practice of moral duties. It has not been thought fit to reprint any of his more practical discourses; as literature they certainly rank lowest and, whatever Addison and Steele may have thought, they are better classed with the useful manuals of devotion: no doubt they served their purpose in their time, and in the next age, but they are unlikely to appeal to the common reader to-day.

Notes

1 Abraham Hill: ‘Some Account of the Life of Dr. Barrow, a letter to the Reverend Dr. Tillotson’, prefixed to the folio edition of Barrow’s Works, London, 1683, I, sig. c. (the letter is dated 10 April, 1683).

2 See Allibone: A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, London, 1859, p. 130.

3 Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig. a 2.

4 “But the Master silenced them with this; Barrow is a better man than any of us”, Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig a 2 v.

5 “When the Ingagement was imposed, he subscribed it, but upon second thoughts, repenting of what he had done, he went back to the Commissioners and declared his dissatisfaction, and got his name rased out of the list”. Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig. a 2 v. For the text of the Engagement, see ch. I, p. 30, n. 1.

6 Ibid.

7 Mainly a refutation on Baconian principles.

8 Besides Hill’s Account, further biographical information may be found inJohn Aubrey’s Brief Lives, ed. cit.; Walter Pope’s The Life of the Right Reverend Father in God Seth (Ward), Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1697, ed. cit.; John Ward: Lives of the Professors of Gresham College, London, 1740; S.P. Rigaud, ed. : Correspondence of Scientific Men of the Seventeenth Century, London, 1841; W. Whewell: Barrow and his Academical Times, in Barrow’s Theological Works, ed. Alexander Napier, Cambridge, 1859, vol. IX; the notice in Allibone’s Critical Dictionary of English Literature, 1859; Canon Overton’s biography in DNB; and the Davy MSS. in the British Museum. Not until the twentieth century did a full-length biography of Barrow appear: P.H. Osmond: Isaac Barrow. His Life and Times, London, 1944.

9 Op. cit., sig. b.

10 See S.P. Rigaud, ed., op. cit., II, 32-76.

11 J.C. Crowther, op. cit., p. 239 (Isaac Newton).

12 See his letter to John Collins, Easter Eve, 1669, Correspondence, op. cit., II, 71.

13 See Newton’s letter to Collins, 10 Dec., 1672: “We are here very glad that we shall enjoy Dr. Barrow again, especially in the circumstances of Master, nor doth any rejoice at it more than, Sir, your obliged humble servant”, Correspondence, op. cit., II, 347.

14 John Ward, op. cit., I, 164.

15 W. Whewell, op. cit., p. xxxv.

16 See Correspondence, op. cit., passim.

17 See Plutarch: Symposiaca problemata (VIII, 2, 718 B): Πῶς Πλάτων ἔλεγε τὀν θεὀν ἀεὶ γεωµετρεῖν;

18 Abr. Hill, op. cit., sig. d.

19 Walter Pope relates that “He was unmercifully cruel to a lean Carcass, not allowing it sufficient Meat or Sleep: during the Winter Months, and some part of the rest, he rose always before it was light, being never without a 1 inderBox and other proper utensils for that purpose; I have frequently known him, after his first sleep, rise, light, and after burning out his Candle, return to Bed before Day”. Op. cit., p. 154.

20 John Aubrey: Brief Lives, ed. cit., I, 91. See also Walter Pope, op. cit., pp. 148, 155.

21 S.T. Coleridge: Table Talk, ed. H.N. Coleridge, London, 1884, p. 294 (July 5, 1834).

22 Works, 1683, I, 14 (Sermon II, on The Profitableness of Godliness).

23 For instance: “First then we may consider, that Piety is exceeding usefull for all sorts of men, in all capacities, all states, all relations; fitting and disposing them to manage all their respective concernments, to discharge all their peculiar duties, in a proper, just and decent manner.
It rendreth all Superiours equal and moderate in their administrations; mild, courteous and affable in their converse; benign and condescensive in all their demeanour toward their Inferiours.
Correspondently it disposeth Inferiours to be sincere and faithfull, modest, loving, respectfull, diligent, apt willingly to yield due subjection and service.
It inclineth Princes to be just, gentle, benign, careful] for their Subjects good, apt to administer Justice uprightly, to protect Right, to encourage Vertue, to check Wickedness.
Answerably it rendreth Subjects loyal, submissive, obedient, quiet and peaceable, ready to yield due Honour, to pay the Tributes and bear the Burthens imposed, to discharge all Duties, and observe all Laws prescribed by their Governours conscionably, patiently, chearfully, without reluctancy, grudging or murmuring.
It maketh Parents loving, gentle, provident for their Childrens good education, and comfortable subsistence; Children again, dutifull, respectfull, gratefull, apt to requite their Parents. Husbands from it become affectionate and compliant to their Wives; Wives submissive and obedient to their Husbands. It disposeth Friends to be Friends indeed, full of cordial affection and goodwill, entirely faithfull, firmly constant, industriously carefull and active in performing all good offices mutually.
It engageth men to be diligent in their Calling, faithfull to their Trusts, contented and peaceable in their Station, and thereby serviceable to Publick good.” Works, ed. cit., I, 16 (Sermon 2).

24 As J.E. Kempe remarked: “Every sermon... is exhaustive in the sense of being a comprehensive discussion of all the component parts of his subject. He goes through them all, one by one, step by step, and places each in its right position. The process, it must be owned, is sometimes tedious, but it must also be allowed that the result in the hands of a strong and laborious workman like Barrow is vastly impressive.” The Classic Preachers of the English Church, London, 1877, pp. 38-39.

25 See, for instance, the opening of the sermon of the Passion, printed below.

26 Works, ed. cit., I, 22 (sermon 2).

27 Works, ed. cit., I, 22 (sermon 2).

28 For instance, points 1 to 8 under head IV of the Sermon on Quietness are built on the same pattern: “1. Quietness is just and equal, Pragmaticalness is injurious... 2. Quietness signifieth Humility.... but pragmaticalness argueth much over-weening and arrogance... 3. Quietness is beneficial to the World...; but pragmaticalness disturbeth the World... 4. Quietness preserveth Concord and Amity...; but pragmaticalness breedeth Dissentions and Feuds... 5. Quietness... begetteth tranquillity and peace...; but the Busy-Body createth vexation and trouble to himself... 6. Quietness is a decent and lovely thing...; but Pragmaticalness is ugly and odious... 7. Quietness adorneth any Profession...; but Pragmaticalness is scandalous... 8. Quietness is a safe practice...; but Pragmaticalness is dangerous...” Works, ed. cit.. III, 304-6.

29 Preliminary Dissertation to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, quoted by Allibone, op. cit.

30 “On every subject, [Barrow] multiplies words with an overflowing copiousness; but it is always a torrent of strong ideas and significant expressions which he pours forth.” Hugh Blair: Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, London, 1783, I, 376.

31 Coleridge also noted that he “sometimes adopted the slang of L’Estrange and Town Brown”, op. cit., p. 294.

32 “It happened that sometimes he let slip a word not commonly used, which upon reflexion he would doubtless have altered, for it was not out of affectation”, op. cit., sig. d. Tillotson altered some of these words (about 70 in all) but he did not do this consistently. The extent of T’s revision of Barrow’s vocabulary has been exaggerated since Napier’s edition in 1859; as a consequence the opinion has prevailed that B’s original text had far more antiquated or hard terms than is really the case. On this, see my ‘Tillotson’s Barrow’, in English Studies, XLV (1964), 193-211, 274-88.

33 See his letter to Collins, 12 Nov., 1664, in which he censures Mengolus for using “abundance of new definitions and uncouth terms, so that one must, as it were, learn new languages to attain to his meaning, though it may be only somewhat ordinary is couched under them. I esteem this a great fault in any writer, for much time is spent, and labour employed, to less purpose than needed, since there is little in any science but may be sufficiently explained in the usual manner of speaking; as particularly M. Des Cartes his geometry doth plainly shew, where so many useful rules are delivered without any new words or definitions at all”. Correspondence, op. cit., pp. 40-41.

34 Works, ed. cit., III, 161 (Sermon 14, The Consideration of our Latter End).

35 Ibid., I, 158, 159 (Sermon 11, On the Gunpowder-Treason).

36 Printed below.

37 Caroline F. Richardson said that “the majority of Barrow’s sermons... were written to be read, not to be preached”, English Preachers and Preaching, 1640-1670, New York, 1928, p. 86. I do not know where she found such information, unless she thus interpreted the following words of Hill: “and he took a course very convenient for his publick person as a Preacher, and his private as a Christian; for those Subjects which he thought most important to be considered for his own use he cast into the method of Sermons for the benefit of others”. Op. cit., sig. c.

38 See Works, ed. cit., I, 421-63.

39 See his sermon Against Foolish Talking and Jesting, printed below.

40 J.H. Overton: Life in the English Church, 1660-1714, London, 1885, p. 39.

41 See Chapter II: Anglican Rationalism, above.

42 See Chapter III: Church and State after the Restoration, above.

43 Printed below.

44 See his prayer to Ὁ θεὀς γεωµετρεῖ , quoted by Hill, op. cit., sig. b 2 v.

45 Narcissus Luttrell: A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to April 1714, Oxford, 1857, VI, 417.12 March, 1708/9.

46 Jonathan Swift: Correspondence, ed. Harold Williams, Oxford, 1963, I, 143. Postscript to a letter to Lord Halifax, dated: Leicester, Jun. 13th, 1709.

47 Ibid., p. 150.

48 Ibid., p. 159.

49 Reliquiae Hearnianae: The Remains of Thomas Hearne, Extracts from his Diaries, collected by Philip Bliss, Oxford, 1857, I, 365. South died on 8 July.

50 See Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. cit„ III, 248. “South is one of the best, if you except his peculiarities, and his violence, and sometimes coarseness of language.” (7 April, 1778). Johnson’s familiarity with South’s sermons appears from his many quotations in the Dictionary. According to Lewis Freed, South is cited 1,092 times in Vol. I (‘The Sources of Johnson’s Dictionary’, Unpublished Dissertation, Cornell, 1939; quoted in P.K. Alkon: ‘Robert South, William Law, and Samuel Johnson’, Studies in English Literature, VI, 1966, 3, 500, n. 4).

51 See Allan Wendt: ‘Fielding and South’s “Luscious Morsel”: A Last Word’, N. & Q., ccii (N.S. IV), 256-7.

52 The Beauties of South, Extracts from the Works of Robert South, London, 1795. Preface, p. v. The sentence quoted is from Sermon 11 in Volume II, on 1 John III. 21, An Account of the Nature and Measures of Conscience. The editor of The Beauties of South obviously knew nothing of the Puritans’ use, and abuse, of the Book of Revelation, to which South refers in his sermon.

53 J.H. Overton, op. cit., p. 239.

54 In 1823, 1843 and 1865.

55 British Museum MS. Loan (Portland Papers) 29/200. The letter was published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in the Reports on the MSS. Of the Duke of Portland, London, 1901, V, 295.

56 “William Huddesforth relates: ‘A. Wood complained to Dr. South of a disorder with which he was much afflicted, and which terminated in his death: viz. a painful suppression of urine; upon which South, in his jocose manner, told him, that if he could not make water he must make earth. Anthony went home, and wrote South s Life’. And he then goes on to say that this heartless joke of South’s on Wood’s disorder called forth1 the severe and in some respects, unjust, character of South in the Athenae’, adding ‘it was South’s custom, if not foible, to suffer neither sacredness of place, nor solemnity of subject, to restrain his vein of humour’. But it will be seen from the Diaries etc. that Robert South had been disliked by Wood for many years.” The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, Antiquary of Oxford, 1632-1695, Described by himself. Collected from his Diaries and other Papers by Andrew Clark, Oxford, 1900, III, 492.

57 Dr. Donald E. Fitch, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, is working on a biography of South.

58 See his ‘Petition to His Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth’, dated 2 December, 1656, for money owing to him for goods seized in the Discovery in 1645 off the coast of Ireland. British Museum MS. Addit. 5716, f. 13.

59 Athenae Oxonienses, ed. Philip Bliss, Oxford, 1813-1820, IV, 632.

60 Memoirs of the Life of the Late Reverend Dr. South, Second edition, London, 1721, p. 4.

61 The poem was reprinted by Curll in Opera Latina Posthuma, London, 1717, p. XIII.

62 Athenae Oxonienses, op. cit., p. 632. Wood’s source is Mirabilis Annus Secundus, London, 1662, a collection of prodigies and of judgements visited upon men who blasphemed against godliness or railed at the Dissenters. South’s fit in the pulpit at Whitehall was interpreted by this ‘fanatic’ as such a judgement, a view also shared by Richard Baxter. See Reliquiae Baxterianae, or Mr Richard Baxter’s Narrative of the most memorable Passages in his Life and Times Faithfully published from his own original Manuscripts by Matthew Sylvester, London, 1696, II, 380.

63 Ibid.

64 Op. cit., pp. 6-8. It should be remembered, however, that Owen did not try to hunt down loyal Churchmen; the College historian says: “without his tacit connivance it would not have been possible for John Fell, Dolben, and Allestree to maintain the Church of England services throughout the time of the Commonwealth, at Beam Hall, opposite Merton Chapel; and when Pocock, the famous Orientalist, after losing his Canonry at Christ Church for refusing to take the engagement, was in danger of being deprived of his living of Childrey, Owen interposed promptly and effectually on his behalf”, H.L. Thompson: Oxford University, College Histories, Oxford, 1900, p. 70 (Christ Church).

65 See Memoirs, p. 10. Wood says nothing of this and may even suggest that this is not true: “In 1657 he proceeded in arts, became a chief and eminent member of that society, and preached frequently (I think without any orders)”. Op. cit., pp. 632-3; my italics. According to the DNB, South was ordained by Thomas Sydserf, the only one of the Scottish bishops deposed to be alive at the time of the Restoration.

66 Op. cit., pp. 633-4.

67 See: Notes on the affairs of the University under the Puritan domination, 1648-1660, Life and Times, I, pp. 368-9. F. Madan still repeats the charge: “he had submitted under the Commonwealth, and was regarded as a timeserver”. Oxford Books, Oxford, 1931, III, 143.

68 See Chapter II, p. 136.

69 John Fell, Dolben and Allestree, who had served in the royalist forces, were deprived of their studentships by the Parliamentary Visitors, but remained at Oxtord during the Commonwealth, see note 5 to p. 234 above. When Dolben was consecrated Bishop of Rochester in 1666 South preached the sermon at Lambeth Chapel.

70 See Anthony Wood: The History and Antiquities o[the Colleges and Halls in the University of Oxford, ed. John Gutch, Oxford, 1786, I.

71 Visitors’Register, p. 358, quoted in V.H.H. Green, op. cit., p. 147.

72 See Bosher, op. cit., p. 30.

73 See Bosher, op. cit., passim.

74 Ibid., p. 29. As Bosher says, such “disaffected conformists... constituted, from the Protector’s viewpoint, a dangerous fifth column within the Establishment”.

75 See Anthony Wood: Fasti, ed. Philip Bliss, Oxford, 1813-1820, II, 373.

76 See Life and Times, op. cit„ II, 259: “Mar. 10 (1673). Dr (Ralph) Bath(urst) told me that he was told that I used to listen at the Com(mon) chamber and else (where) and that I never spoke well of any man. This I suppose came from Dr (Robert) South’s chamber for he was there that day at din(ner) or after and Dr Bath(urst) told me this at night Q(aere).”

77 For instance, Dr. Sanderson.

78 For instance, Dr. Hammond.

79 Bosher, op. cit., p. 27.

80 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, printed below.

81 When he published this sermon in the first volume of the collected edition (1692) South added a footnote referring readers to the 1653 decision of Parliament to encourage a godly and faithful rather a godly and learned ministry.

82 The two sermons were published together in 1661 as Interest Deposed and Truth Restored; the dedication is dated 25 May, 1660.

83 F. Madan, op. cit., III, 33.

84 Op. cit., V, scr. 2, printed below.

85 Athenae Oxonienses, ed. cit., IV, 635.

86 Ibid.

87 This is Richard Baxter’s account of the event: “this man [i.e. South] being Houshold Chaplain to the Lord Chancellor, was appointed to preach before the King; where the crowd had high expectations of some vehement satyr. But when he had preached a quarter of an hour, he was utterly at a loss, and so unable to recollect himself, that he could go no further; but cryed (The Lord be merciful to our infirmities) and so came down. But about a month after, they were resolved yet that Mr. S. should preach the same sermon before the King, and not lose their expected applause. And preach it he did (little more than half an hour, with no admiration at all of the hearers). And for his encouragement the sermon was printed. And when it was printed many desired to see what words they were that he was stopped at the first time. And they found in the printed copy all that he had said first, and one of the next passages which he was to have delivered, was against me for my Holy Commonwealth”. Op. cit., II, 380. Baxter s account is clearly inaccurate on one point: it was not a month later but the next Sunday, 20 April, 1662, that South was asked to deliver his sermon again (see Wood, op. cit., p. 636); on this second occasion Pepys intended to go and “hear South, my Lord Chancellor’s Chaplain, the famous preacher and oratour of Oxford, who the last Lord’s day did sink down in the pulpit before the King, and could not proceed” (Samuel Pepys: Diary, ed. H.B. Wheatley, 1962, I, 208). Another point in Baxter’s narrative is also puzzling, for the sermon (on Eccles. VII.10) does not seem to have appeared in print in South’s lifetime: it was first published in 1744 in the Additional Volumes (Sermon 14 in vol. VII); yet it is true that South does refer to those who “raise Models of State, and Holy Common Wealths, in their little discontented closets; (or) arraign a Council before a Conventicle” (VII, 304). There may have been a surreptitious edition, though it has not been traced by bibliographers; but Baxter’s words seem to imply that South was asked to print this sermon, hence, presumably, had a license for printing. No such item appears among the books licensed by L’Estrange. Like the author of Mirabilis Annus Secundus Baxter tends to interpret the diseases of his enemies as rebukes from God; for a similar comment on Dr. Creighton “who was used to preach Calvin to Hell, and the Calvinists to the Gallows; and by his scornful revilings and jests, to set the Court on a laughter, [and] was suddenly, in the pulpit, (without any sickness) surprized with astonishment, worse than Dr South, the Oxford Orator, had been before him”, see ibid., III, 36.

88 Memoirs, p. 16.

89 Ibid. Wood gives a more colourful account of this, reiterating the charge that S. had preached against the King’s cause when he “closed with the independents”, and adding that all the B.D’s and M.A’s opposed the passing of Clarendon’s letters, but that the proctor “according to his usual perfidy” declared him passed by the majority of the house. Op. cit., p. 637.

90 See The Royal Society: Its Origins and Founders, ed. cit., ‘The Rev. John Wallis’, by J.F. Scott, p. 61.

91 Clarendon resigned his Chancellorship of Oxford University in December 1667; Archbishop Sheldon was elected in his place, but never actually and formally took up the Chancellorship (see F. Madan, op. cit., III, 212). In August 1669 James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, was elected Chancellor of the University (ibid., p. 229).

92 John Evelyn: Diary, ed. cit., III, 531-2 (9 July, 1669).

93 See the letter from John Wallis to Robert Boyle, dated 17 July, 1669: “After the voting of this letter, Dr South, as university orator, made a long oration. The first part of which consisted of satyrical invectives against Cromwell, fanaticks, the Royal Society, and new philosophy; the next of encomiasticks in praise of the Archbishop, the Theatre, the Vice-Chancellor, the architect, and the painter; the last, of execrations against fanaticks, conventicles, comprehension, and new philosophy; damning them ad inferos, ad gehennam”. Robert Boyle: Works, ed. Thomas Birch, London, 1744, V, 514.

94 Autograph in the Bodleian Library, MS. Rawlinson, C. 936 f. 57. South’s successor as Public Orator was Thomas Cradock.

95 Reliquiae Hearnianae, op. cit., I, 68.

96 Op. cit., p. 106.

97 Op. cit., p. 637.

98 Memoirs, p. 108. This remark is usually said to have been made when South was preaching on Pcov. XVI.33, in which sermon he gave an account of “such a bankrupt, beggarly fellow as Cromwell, first entering the Parliament House with a threadbare, torn Cloak and a greasy Hat”; but this sermon as published by South (op. cit., I, ser. 8) is dated 22 February, 1685, at which time Charles II was dead.

99 Ibid., p. 110. The offer was made through the recommendation of Laurence Hyde, then Earl of Rochester and Lord High Treasurer of England, and of his brother, the Earl of Clarendon, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

100 Op. cit., IV, 519 (11 July, 1686).

101 See Sancroft’s letter to the King in: George D’Oyly: The Life of William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, London, 1821, I, 234. The letter, dated 29 July, 1686, is in the Bodleian Library (Tanner MS. 30 f. 91). South was more than willing to accept this office: see his letter of thanks to Sancroft in the Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. 30, f. 91 (dated 27 July, 1686).

102 The letter, dated 26 August, 1686, is in the Bodleian Library (Tanner MS. 30, ff. 109-10).

103 David Ogg, op. cit., p. 167.

104 Wood records that on the reception of James II at Oxford, in September 1687, the King “talked to Dr (Robert) South and commended his preaching, whereupon he answered that he alwaies did and would shew himself loyall in his preaching, or to that effect”. Life and Times, op. cit., III, 238.

105 British Museum MS. Lansdowne 987, f. 242 v.

106 The letters and an extract from this account were first published by W.M.T. Dodds in ‘Robert South and William Sherlock: Some Unpublished Letters’, in MLR, XXXIX (1944), 215-24.

107 Ibid., p. 216. In his answer to Sherlock’s ‘base letter’ South reminds him of this: “Sir, I do again affirm that Sovereign Power actually possess’d (especially without consent and call of the people) answers all or most of the ends of Government and that bare Right or Title void of such power answers no end or use of Government at all, and I leave it to you to prove the contrary position if you can.”. Ibid., p. 217. For a different view, see Swift: Sentiments of a Church-of-England Man, sect. II, in Prose Works, ed. cit., II, 13-16.

108 W.M.T. Dodds, loc. cit, p. 215.

109 For quotation see Ch. II, p. 96, n. 8. On 18 July, 1704, South drew Locke’s attention to the base accusations against him in Sherlock’s Discourse Concerning the Happiness of Good Men and the Punishment of the Wicked in the Next World (1704). See Bodleian MS. Locke, C. 18, f. 174.

110 When Tillotson became Archbishop of Canterbury.

111 Memoirs, p. 115.

112 See, for instance, the Epistle Dedicatory to the University of Oxford in his second volume of sermons, dated 17 November, 1693:
“Amongst which, the chief Design of some of them (i.e. sermons) is to assert the Rights and Constitutions of our excellently Reformed Church, which of late we so often hear reproached (in the modish Dialect of the present Times) by the name of Little Things; and that in order to their being laid aside, not only as Little, but Superfluous. But for my own part, I can account nothing Little in any Church, which has the Stamp of undoubted Authority, and the Practice of primitive Antiquity, as well as the Reason and Decency of the Thing itself, to warrant and support it. Though, if the supposed Littleness of these matters should be a sufficient Reason for the laying them aside, I fear, our Church will be found to have more Little Men to spare, than Little Things.
But I have observed all along, that while this Innovating Spirit has been striking at the Constitutions of our Church, the same has been giving several bold and scurvy strokes at some of her Articles too: An evident Demonstration to me, that whensoever her Discipline shall be destroy’d, her Doctrine will not long survive it.” (Op. cit., II, sig. A 2 v-A 3.)
See also his letter to Dr. Finch, Warden of All Souls, dated 19 November, 1695, relating that a number of divines having waited upon the Court near Althrop had been summarily dismissed, while the Dissenters were entertained sumptuously. (Bodleian Library MS. Ballard, vol. 34, p. 16.) See also his letter to Dr. Charlett, Master of University College, dated 11 May, 1695, urging him to accept the Vice-Chancellorship when Dr. Aldrich would leave, because as a true Church-of-England man he would be able to defend the Church, now “browbeaten and runn down by Whiggs and Latitudinarians” (Bodleian Library MS. Ballard, vol. 34, f. 17).

113 In answer to Sherlock’s Defence of his Vindication, published in 1695.

114 W.M.T. Dodds, loc. cit., attributes to him A Short History of Valentinus Gentilis the Tritheist... Wrote in Latin, by Benedictus Aretius... and now Translated into English for the use of Dr Sherlock... (1696) and Decreti Oxoniensis Vindicatio (1696). The latter is a vindication of the Decree of Convocation censuring the Fellow of University College, Oxford, who in a sermon had asserted the same principles as Dr. Sherlock.

115 Unitarianism was officially condemned when, on 3 January, 1694, the Lords spiritual and temporal ordered Their Majesties’ Attorney-General to prosecute the author and the printer of A Brief but Clear Confutation of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

116 Op. cit., III, ser. 6, pp. 251-2.

117 See the five letters from South to Locke preserved in the Bodleian Library (MS. Locke C. 18) and dated: 25 March, 1697; 22 September, 1697; 18 June, 1699; 6 December, 1699; and 18 July, 1704. In the essay on South in J.E. Kempe, op. cit., W.C. Lake said that South may have had a part in the expulsion of Locke from Christ Church. Lake does not cite his source. Nothing of this appears in the various accounts of Locke’s ‘expulsion’ (see, for instance: Lord Grenville: Oxford and Locke, 1829; Peter King: Life of John Locke, London, 1830; Ch.J. Fox: A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second, London, 1857; Lord Macaulay: History of England from the Accession of James II, London, 1861, vol. I; H.R. Fox Bourne: Life of John Locke, London, 1876, vol. I). Nor was South present when the King’s mandate for the removal of Locke from his studentship was “read in chapter and ordered to be put in execution” (see the Chapter Book of Christ Church, from 20 March, 1648 to 24 December, 1688, f. 249, 15 November, 1684).

118 Published after his death, but prepared for the press by himself.

119 Since South revised his sermons for publication this may be a later addition.

120 Memoirs, p. 138.

121 Ibid., p. 136.

122 See his letter to Robert Freind, Second Master of Westminster School, dated 27 April, 1706, in which he complains of having his name traduced through the folly of an indiscreet person at Oxford, who had preached an inflammatory sermon, and asks Freind to lay the matter plainly before the Bishop of Exeter, John Trelawney (a Christ-Church man and one of the seven Bishops imprisoned by James II), British Museum MS. Loan 29/193 (Portland Papers) f. 115. The canons of Christ Church were eager to clear both South and their College of such malicious imputations, for William Stratford wrote to a friend on 22 April, 1706, asking him to warn South, and again on 27 April, to Robert Harley, on the same subject. See Harley Papers, ed. by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1891, vol. IV, pp. 295, 297.

123 See his letter of 18 Nov. 1703, to Dr. Hudson, Head keeper of the Bodleian Library, asking him to assist a London physician in finding the books he needs (British Museum MS. Sloane 4276, f. 86).

124 Memoirs, pp. 137, 139. The Duke of Ormonde, who was Chancellor of Oxford University, died in 1688. Convocation was hastily summoned to prevent the King appointing one of his nominees, and elected as Chancellor the late Duke’s Grandson James Butler, now second Duke of Ormonde (who married the daughter of South’s patron, Laurence Hyde, then Earl of Rochester). In 1715 the Duke of Ormonde was impeached for communicating with the Pretender, fled to France, and was attainted. His brother Charles, Earl of Arran, thus had a double claim on South’s loyalty (it was he who, in his capacity as Chancellor, conferred the M.A. degree on Johnson after the completion of his Dictionary in 1755).

125 See his letter to Harley, quoted pp. 231-2.

126 See his Last Will and Testament, Memoirs, p. 80: “Also to the poor of the Parish of Cavesham, alias Caversham, in Oxfordshire, where I have dwelt for many years last past, I give Ten Pounds, ...”

127 See his letters to Dr. Sloane in the British Museum, Addit. MS. 4043, f. 47 (31 May, 1712), f. 118 (Christmas Day, 1712), f. 247 (24 April, 1714).

128 See his letter to Edward Harley, in the Harley Papers, ed. cit., VII, 261.

129 Op. cit., I, 365.

130 British Museum MS. Lansdowne 987, f. 242. South left all his lands “in or bordering upon the parish of Cavesham, alias Caversham, in the County of Oxon”, as well as those in Kentish Town, to Mrs. Margaret Hammond and her assigns “during her natural life, without impeachment of, or for any manner of Waste whatsoever, done or committed during her time of Widowhood or single Life only, which from my heart I desire she would continue to her Lives end, and that for her own sake and interest, as well as my satisfaction, for that otherwise neither she nor I can tell what havock an Husband will make upon the Premises”. See South’s Last Will and Testament, in Memoirs, p. 70.

131 Loc. cit., f. 242v.

132 “A Mr Wal (i.e. George Walls) is of a restless disposition... and will never enjoy tranquillity of mind, but envy and discontent will perpetually be knawering there. Dr South and he are almost of the same disposition as to this point, perpetually discontented.” Humphrey Prideaux, Dean of Norwich: Letters to John Ellis 1674-1722, ed. E.M. Thompson, London, 1875, p. 56 (2 February, 1677).

133 See his footnote to sermon 12, in vol. III (1698) ridiculing a sentence in one of Tillotson’s sermons (T. had died in 1694).

134 Memoirs, p. 113.

135 Op. cit.

136 Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. cit., III, 247-8.

137 Characteristic of this attitude is the view expressed by G.G. Perry in his History of the Church of England from the death of Elizabeth to the Present Time, London, 1864, II, 660: “For popularity in sermons, South stands preeminent, no man being so much followed and so much valued by the wits. But the popularity of South was a vicious one, and though possessed of great genius and skill, he owed the favour with which he was regarded to his constant and somewhat scurrilous attacks on the fanatics and the rebels. A man who was admired because he ventured upon a nearer approach to buffoonery in the pulpit than others dared to do, can scarcely have a high reputation as a divine, whatever may belong to him as a clever, caustic and witty writer.”

138 Bishop Kennett notes in his memoranda that South “laboured very much to compose his sermons, and in the pulpit workt up his body when he came to a piece or any notable saying”, loc. cit., p. 242v. Mark Noble defends South’s use of wit as follows: “It has been objected that he preached wit: he thought, perhaps, that in Charles II’s reign, as wit was the instrument of profligacy, it was lawful to make it the vehicle to teach religion and to deter from vice”, and in a footnote he relates the following story: “Preaching before Charles II and his equally profligate courtiers, he perceived in the middle of his sermon that sleep had taken possession of his hearers. Stopping and changing the tone of his voice, he called thrice to Lord Lauderdale, who, awakened, stood up: “My Lord” says South very composedly “I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you should awaken his majesty”, and then as calmly continued his discourse.” Mark Noble, op. cit., I, 100.

139 The Tatler praised South’s “admirable discourse” on The Ways of Pleasantness (sermon 1 in vol. I) saying that “this charming discourse has in it whatever wit and wisdom can put together” and quoted an extract from it, The Tatler, no. 205 (Saturday July 29 to Tuesday Aug. 1, 1710). This must be the only time a sermon by South was said to be charming. It is characteristic of the aim pursued by The Tatler, as well as of the public the periodical was intended for, that this particular sermon was recommended to the readers. These must have been surprised on turning to the full text, for the passage quoted in no way suggests the main drift of the sermon, i.e. not only that the pleasures of the mind are the only true ones, but that “it is only a pious life, led exactly by the rules of a severe religion, that can authorize a man’s conscience to speak comfortably to him”. Op. cit., I, 23 (my italics).

140 For instance in the sermon on the Trinity, printed below; or in the sermon on the Resurrection (III, 10), where he compares the version of the Septuagint with the Hebrew text in order to explain the meaning of the text from the Acts; or again, in a sermon on Luke XI. 35 (III, 2), he distinguishes between the two meanings of recta ratio before expounding his text; or in a sermon on Isa. LIII. 8 (III, 9) he examines the various interpretations given to the text in order to prove that it refers to Christ.

141 See note 1, p. 256.

142 Op. cit., I, ser. 1.

143 Barrow’s is Sermon 1 in vol. I (op. cit.).

144 The two sermons are of about the same length. The consecration sermon preached by South (I, 5; 25 November, 1666) is also more argumentative than that preached by Barrow (I, 12; 4 July, 1663).

145 For instance: “That Pleasure is Man’s chiefest Good, (because indeed it is the perception of Good that is properly Pleasure) is an Assertion most certainly true, though under the common Acceptance of it, not only false, but odious: For according to this, Pleasure and Sensuality pass for Terms equivalent; and therefore, he that takes it in this Sense, alters the Subject of the Discourse. Sensuality is indeed a Part, or rather one kind of Pleasure, such an one as it is: For Pleasure in general, is the consequent Apprehension of a suitable Object, suitably apply’d to a rightly disposed Faculty; and so must be conversant both about the Faculties of the Body, and of the Soul respectively; as being the Result of the Fruitions belonging to both.” Op. cit., I, 2.

146 For instance: “For there is no doubt, but a Man, while he resigns himself up to brutish Guidance of Sense and Appetite, has no relish at all for the spiritual, refined Delights of a Soul clarified by Grace and Virtue. The Pleasures of an Angel can never be the Pleasures of a Hog.” Ibid., p. 7. Or “The Mind of Man is an image, not only of God’s Spirituality, but of his Infinity. It is not like any of the Senses, limited to this or that Kind of Object... It is (as I may so say) an Ocean, into which all the little Rivulets of Sensation, both external and internal, discharge themselves.” Ibid., p. 7. Or: “How vastly disproportionate are the Pleasures of the Eating, and of the Thinking Man? Indeed as different as the Silence of an Archimedes in the Study of a Problem, and the Stilness of a Sow at her Wash.” Ibid., p. 18.

147 Op. cit., V, ser. 5, p. 511.

148 Op. cit., V, ser. 2, p. 57.

149 Op. cit., III, ser. 2, p. 74.

150 Op. cit., IX, ser. 6, p. 181.

151 Op. cit., IX, ser. 5, p. 148.

152 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 187.

153 Ibid., p. 193.

154 Op. cit., V, ser. 2, printed below.

155 For instance: “It was indeed the way of many in the late times to bolster up their crazy, doating Consciences, with... odd Confidences... All of them (as they understood them) mere Delusions, Trifles, and Fig-leaves”. Op. cit., II, ser. 1, p. 41. “What pitiful Fig-leaves, What senseless and ridiculous Shifts are these, not able to silence, and much less to satisfy an accusing Conscience”. Op. cit., II, ser. 8, p. 298.

156 Op. cit., I, ser. 1, p. 36.

157 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 54.

158 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 151.

159 Op. cit„ I, ser. 5, p. 205.

160 Op. cit., IV, ser. 3, p. 122.

161 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 55.

162 Ibid., p. 60.

163 Op. cit„ I, ser. 3, p. 105.

164 Op.cit., I, ser. 5, p. 208.

165 Op. cit., III, ser. 9, p. 349.

166 Op. cit., V, ser. 4, pp. 157-8.

167 Op. cit., II, ser. 8, p. 273.

168 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 84.

169 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 93.

170 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 196.

171 Op. cit., IV, ser. 2, pp. 83-84.

172 Op. cit., V, ser. 11, p. 425.

173 “The Jews indeed drew their Religion from a purer Fountain than the Gentiles; God himself being the Author of it; and so both ennobling and warranting it with the Stamp of Divine Authority. Yet God was pleased to limit his Operations in this Particular to the Narrowness and small Capacities of the Subject which he had to deal with; and therefore the Jews being naturally of a gross and sensual Apprehension of Things, had the Oeconomy of their Religion, in many Parts of it, brought down to their Temper, and were trained to Spirituals by the Ministry of Carnal Ordinances. Which yet God was pleased to advance in their Signification, by making them Types and Shadows of that glorious Archetype that was to come into the World, his own Son... He therefore being the Person to whom all the Prophets bore witness, to whom all Ceremonies pointed, and whom all the various Types prefigured...” op cit.. III, ser. 7, p. 288. “(the Mosaick Law) stood in the World for the Space of two thousand Years; till at length in the Fullness of Time, the Reason of Men ripening to such a Pitch, as to be above the Pedagogy of Moses s Rod, and the Discipline of Types, God thought fit to display the Substance without the Shadow, and to read the World a Lecture of an higher and more sublime Religion in Christianity”, op. cit., I, ser. 6, p. 215.

174 Thus, when explaining that the Dissenters’ plea for moderation, which they ground on the text of St. Paul Let your moderation be known unto all men, is an abuse of words, he says: “And possibly some Bibles, of a later and more correct Edition, may by this time have improved the Text, by putting Trimming into the Margin”. Op. cit., VI, ser. 1, p. 32. In a sermon on Temptation he concludes one of his points like this: “And in the very worst Circumstances which he can be in, it will be hard to prove that our Allegiance to the King of Kings (according to the new, modish, Whig-Doctrine relating to our temporal King) is only Conditional”, op. cit., VI, ser. 9, pp. 317-8.

175 Op. cit., I, ser. 2, p. 45.

176 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 200.

177 Ibid., p. 210.

178 Op. cit., III, ser. 3, p. 119.

179 Op. cit., III, ser. 4, p. 166.

180 Op. cit., VI, ser. 10, p. 345.

181 Op. cit., I, ser. 5, p. 200.

182 Coleridge noted that Barrow is below South in dignity. Anima Poetae, ed. E.H. Coleridge, London, 1895, p. 47 (Nov. 13, 1803).

183 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 162.

184 Op. cit., I, ser. 4, p. 159.

185 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, p. 234.

186 Op. cit., I, ser. 9, p. 346. 3

187 Op. cit., II, ser. 1, p. 40.

188 Op. cit., II, ser. 11, p. 399.

189 Op. cit., II, ser. 12, p. 466.

190 For South’s bitter reference to Milton, see his 30 January sermon, printed below.

191 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, p. 222.

192 Lord Brougham, in the Edinburgh Review, quoted by Allibone, op. cit.

193 Op. cit., I, ser. 6, printed below.

194 James Sutherland: ‘Robert South’, in A Review of English Literature, I, (1960), 6-7.

195 Thomas Birch, op. cit., p. ccxxii.

196 See The Tatler, no. 101 (1709). Birch, and Macaulay after him, says 2,500 guineas. Cp. with this the sum paid to Dryden for his Aeneis, i.e. 1,300 pounds.

197 “‘Tom is a lively rogue; he remembers a great deal, and can tell many pleasant stories; but a pen is to Tom a torpedo, the touch of it benumbs his hand and brain: Tom can talk; but he is no writer’”. Sir John Hawkins: The Life of Samuel Johnson, ed. B.H. Davis, London, 1961, p. 93.

198 Some few mistakes have been corrected, such as the date of Tillotson’s christening, i.e. 10 October, 1630, not 3 September (see L.G. Locke, op. cit., p. 16) or the date of his election as lecturer to St. Lawrence Jewry, i.e. 1661 not 1663 (see D.D. Brown: An Edition of Selected Sermons of John Tillotson, Unpublished M.A. thesis, London, 1956; the correction is from John Mackay’s unpublished dissertation on Tillotson).

199 Besides Birch’s Life and the notice by Alexander Gordon in the DNB, see James Moffat’s Introduction to The Golden Book of Tillotson, 1926, and Louis G. Locke, op. cit., Ch. I.

200 See Beardmore’s account, appended to Birch’s Life, op. cit., p. cclxv.

201 According to Alumni Cantabrigienses, ed. John Venn and J.A. Venn, Cambridge, 1927, this was circa 1661. Though Sydserf had been intimate with Laud and deposed by the General Assembly and though he had joined Charles I at Newcastle in 1645, Tillotson’s ordination by him does not mean that he was then ready to conform, since Sydserf was accused of ordaining all those who came to him “promiscuously”.

202 See Beardmore’s account, op. cit., p. cclxvii.

203 In 1662 had appeared the sermon he preached, before he had conformed, at the Morning Exercise in Cripplegate; but this was first printed anonymously together with the other sermons delivered on that occasion.

204 The Hazard of Being Saved in the Church of Rome, which was printed surreptitiously in 1673.

205 See ‘Note on the Text of Barrow’s Sermons’, below.

206 Among them Thomas Gouge, whose funeral sermon Tillotson was to preach on 4 November, 1681 (Vol. I, ser. 23).

207 See Chapter III, above.

208 See L.G. Locke, op. cit., p. 16.

209 See his letter to the Earl, in Birch, op. cit., p. XXXVIII. See also the letter to Sir Thomas Colepepper, 15 July, 1681, and the letter to Lady Henrietta, daughter of the Earl of Berkeley, 1682, ibid., pp. lxi, lxvi.

210 See, for instance, his letter of 11 August, 1686, recommending a French minister, in Bodleian Library MS. Tanner, vol. 30, f. 99.

211 See Baxter’s account of one Francis Holdcraft, Fellow of Clare Hall, bedfellow of Tillotson, who was ejected from his living but went on preaching privately at Cambridge until he was arrested in 1663. On being released in 1672 he returned to his preaching and was again imprisoned. “A like indictement with the former being intended, a certiorari was procured for him on the account of a debt, which brought him up to the Fleet. There he lay for a while; but discharging his debt, he was at length released. But in this and his former troubles, he had great experience of the kindness of his old friend Dr Tillotson.” Edmund Calamy, op. cit., II, 86.

212 Birch, op. cit., p. cclxxiv.

213 Ibid.

214 The one example of his wit that is usually quoted is his remark about South, that he wrote like a man but bit like a dog, and when South replied that he had rather bite than fawn, Tillotson’s rejoinder that he would choose to be a spaniel rather than a cur. See Birch, op. cit., p. ccxxv.

215 Tillotson (and the editor of the posthumous sermons) often printed two or more sermons as one, but some were published as they were preached, i.e. as successive parts of a series of sermons on the same text.

216 See D.D. Brown: “John Tillotson’s Revisions and Dryden’s ‘Talent for English Prose’”, RES, NS, XII (1961), 24-39.

217 He never published it, nor was it included in the posthumous collections of his sermons until 1752, i.e. in Birch’s edition. It appeared anonymously in a collection of sermons preached on the same occasion.

218 For instance, the general proposition, “whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them”; the bonds of human society; tolerance of other people’s opinions, particularly in religious matters; equitable dealing with others; charity towards all men; and especially the stress on morality as the chief part of religion, that is, an outspoken defence of works, since loving one’s neighbours is the only way to love God.

219 For instance, the two sermons on The Nature and Necessity of Restitution, op. cit., III, ser. 116 and 117.

220 See for instance the headings of the various instances of the duty, mentioned above.

221 The Morning-Exercise at Cripplegate, or, Several Cases of Conscience Practically Resolved, by Sundry Ministers, London, 1664, p. 228.

222 Op. cit., I, ser. 21, p. 202. See also in the same sermon, p. 201: “This liberty St Paul allowed; and tho’ he was inspired by God, yet he treated those whom he taught like Men”. In Objections against the True Religion Answer’d, speaking of vicious habits, he says: “he that is deeply engaged in Vice is like a Man laid fast in a Bogg, who by a faint and lazy struggling to get out, does but spend his strength to no purpose, and sinks himself the deeper into it: The only way is, by a resolute and vigorous effort to spring out, if possible, at once”. Ibid., ser. 28, p. 293.

223 Ibid., ser. 21, p. 202.

224 See preceding quotation. See also another passage on vicious habits: “But vicious habits have a greater advantage, and are of a quicker growth. For the corrupt nature of man is a rank soil to which vice takes easily, and wherein it thrives apace. The mind of man hath need to be prepared for piety and virtue; it must be cultivated to that end, and ordered with great care and pains: But vices are weeds that grow wild and spring up of themselves. They are in some sort natural to the Soil, and therefore they need not to be planted and watered, tis sufficient if they be neglected and let alone. So that vice having this advantage from our nature, it is no wonder if occasion and temptation easily draw it forth.” Ibid., ser. 10, p. 97 (Of the Deceitfulness and Danger of Sin).

225 Op. cit., ser. 1, p. 26 (1664 ed. p. 50). See also in the same sermon: “such a thing as a future state after this life”, or “that he is a spirit, and consequently, that he is invisible”; the words italicized were added in the later version (1664, p. 46; folio p. 24).

226 Op. cit., I, ser. 44, p. 459.

227 Op. cit., I, p. 504.

228 “Though deep, yet clear, though gentle yet not dull, Strong without rage, without o’er-flowing full.”

229 Henry Felton: A Dissertation on Reading the Classicks, and Forming a Just Style, London, 1713, pp. 154-5.

230 Op. cit., p. cclxxxiii.

231 Op. cit., I, ser. 8 (on Phil. III. 20).

232 Op. cit., I, 87-88.

233 The kind of thought and expression that was apt to please eighteenth-century readers may be gathered from a manuscript note “a beautiful periphrasis” in my own copy of the sermons, where the following passage is marked: “When we consider that we have but a little while to be here, that we are upon our journey travelling towards our heavenly Country where we shall meet with all the delights we can desire, it ought not to trouble us much to endure storms and foul ways, and to want many of those accommodations we might expect at home. This is the common fate of Travellers, and we must take things as we find them and not look to have everything just to our mind. These difficulties and inconveniences will shortly be over, and after a few days will be quite forgotten, and be to us as if they had never been. And when we are safely landed in our own Country, with what pleasure shall we look back upon those rough and boisterous Seas which we have escaped?” Op. cit., I, 86. It should be remembered that the sermon was published by Tillotson, hence that he had the opportunity to revise it.

234 Though it is clear that Tillotson’s purpose is to persuade his hearers to lead the good life here so as to be fit to partake of the blessed state, and though he urges them to become perfect in their lives here on earth, yet the smooth continuity rather than the strenuous ascent is conveyed by such statements as these: “Our souls will continue for ever what we make them in this world. Such a temper and disposition of mind as a man carries with him out of this life he shall retain in the next” (p. 85). Contrast with this Keats’s valley of soul-making.

235 John Stoughton: Ecclesiastical History of England, The Church of the Revolution, London, 1874, p. 193.

236 The remark attributed to Dryden by Congreve in his Dedication of the Dramatic Works (1717) has puzzled many critics: “I have frequently heard him own with Pleasure, that if he had any Talent for English Prose, it was owing to his having often read the Writings of the great Archbishop Tillotson”. For a discussion of Dryden’s possible debt to T., see D.D. Brown: ‘John Tillotson’s Revisions and Dryden’s “Talent for English Prose”’, RES, NS, XII (1961), 24-39. Locke also recommended T. for perspicuity and propriety (see: Thoughts Concerning Reading and Study for a Gentleman, in Works, 1801, III, 271).

237 Joseph Spence: Observations, Anecdotes and Characters of Books and Men, ed. E. Malone, London, 1820, I, 58-59.

238 “‘I should not advise a preacher at this day to imitate Tillotson’s style; though I don’t know, I should be cautious of objecting to what has been applauded by so many suffrages.” Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. cit„ III, 247-8 (7 April, 1778). Hugh Blair praised the purity and perspicuity of T.’s language, but found him feeble and languid (Lecture XIX) or loose and diffuse (Lecture X). Op. cit., I, 192, 393.

239 John Hawkins, op. cit., p. 116.

240 In Of Style (1698) John Hughes recommended ‘the Incomparable Tillotson’ for his ‘Easiness and beautiful Simplicity’. Poems on Several Occasions. With some Select Essays in Prose, London, 1735, I, 254.

241 The Spectator, No. 103. The essay includes a long quotation from Tillotson’s sermon on Sincerity (II, 1), which was quoted again in The Spectator, No. 352. Many later references to Tillotson in eighteenth-century periodical essays are to this very sermon, which suggests that The Spectator may have been influential in creating a taste for his style. It may be worth noting that Steele’s praise in introducing the sermon is based on Burnet’s in the funeral oration; hence also, perhaps, the view prevalent in the 18th century that the reform of pulpit oratory was largely the work of Tillotson.

242 See his remark on South, quoted above.

243 The Spectator, No. 557. The quotation is again from the sermon on Sincerity. See also The Tatler, No. 101: “The most eminent and useful author of the age we live in... Everyone will know that I here mean... the late Archbishop of Canterbury”. See also Lord Orrery to Swift in 1740: “I am preaching to Tillotson”, Correspondence, ed. cit., V, 194.

244 Louis G. Locke attempts to do this for T’s literary reputation, op. cit., Ch. IV and V, but he fails to relate the various pronouncements he quotes to the standards of the several critics. He does not quote Johnson’s censure of T’s verbosity, but relates the remark from Boswell’s Life to the prevalence of another kind of prose, “balanced, rhetorical, elaborate, and typically Johnsonian” (p. 147).

245 See Overton, op. cit., p. 247.

246 John Wesley: A Christian Library. Choicest Pieces of Practical Divinity, in 30 volumes (first published in 1750 in 50 volumes), London, 1826, vol. XXVII.

247 For instance, in Christopher Wordsworth’s Christian Institutes, London, 1837. Wordsworth, who was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, naturally gives large extracts from Barrow, but he also includes two sermons by South.

248 James Brogden’s Illustrations of the Liturgy and Ritual. Sermons and Discourses selected from the works of Eminent Divines of the Seventeenth Century, London, 1842, 3 vols., has five extracts from Barrow and two from South, but none from Tillotson.

249 Op. cit., III, 468-9.

250 Henry Hallam: Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, Paris, 1839, IV, 103.

251 Tillotson: Sermons, Selected, edited and annotated by the Rev. G.W. Weldon, London, 1886.

252 Particularly those in volumes II and III, i.e. those Tillotson did not publish himself.

253 Op. cit., I, ser. 3, p. 41 (The Advantages of Religion to Societies).

254 Coleridge said in The Christian Observer, 1845: “Tillotson, Hoadly, and the whole sect of Syncretists and Coalitionists, I utterly reject.” quoted in Coleridge on the Seventeenth Century, ed. R.F. Brinkley, Durham (N.C.), 1955, p. 267.

255 “Tillotson had the ambition of establishing in the weary, worn out, distracted, perplexed mind and heart of England a Christianity of calm reason, of plain, practical English good sense ... To some, Tillotson profoundly religious, unimpeachable as to his belief in all the great truths of Christianity, but looking to the fruits rather than the dogmas of the Gospel—guilty of candour, of hearing both sides of a question—and dwelling if not exclusively, at least chiefly, on the Christian life, the sober, unexciting Christian life was Arian, Socinian, Deist, Atheist... The calm, equable, harmonious, idiomatic sentences of Tillotson, his plain practical theology, fell as a grateful relief, upon the English ear and heart. To us the prolix, and at times languid, diffuseness of Tillotson is wearisome... but Tillotson must be taken with his age; and if we can throw ourselves back upon his age, we shall comprehend the mastery which he held, for a century at least, over the religion and over the literature of the country.” H.H. Milman: Annals of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, 1868, pp. 419-21.

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