Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > Caroline Divines > Henry Hammond
  The sermons at Paul’s cross James Ussher  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

VI. Caroline Divines.

§ 7. Henry Hammond.

At Paul’s cross, Laud preached on the anniversary of Charles’s coronation; in 1640, Hammond delivered the striking discourse which he called The Poor Man’s Tithing; in 1641, Frank preached a famous sermon on obedience. This last marked the beginning of the end. When bishops had suffered “the tumults about their houses and the riots upon their persons” and the “whole clergy” met with “daily insolences in your streets,” the open pulpit had ceased to influence, it rather accepted the violence which it should have set itself to redress, and free speech was replaced by what the Londoners loved to hear. Paul’s cross ceased to give Englishmen literature when they wanted only polemics. In May, 1643, the cross was torn down by the mob. A notable sermon by Steward, who was nominated dean in 1641, was among the last that was preached there. It was a denunciation of that Christianity which was of the lip not of the life, which kept plantations for criminals and did nothing to spread the gospel beyond the seas; when usury flourished (familiar lament) in spite of the banishment of Jews, when men might say “those words of Aeschines, [char] we are born the Paradox and Riddle of our times, a Reformed Church without a Reformation.” Over against preachers such as these should be placed notable puritans such as Stephen Marshall, whose noble funeral eulogy of Pym is worthy to be placed high in the prose of his age.   9
  Not all the preachers were theologians or men of letters; but few Caroline theologians were not famous preachers, and many men of letters were found among the ministers and preachers of the church. To these we may now pass. Henry Hammond, who has been called “the father of English Biblical criticism,” is now chiefly remembered by Keble’s beautiful eulogy; but, in his own time, no man had a more beneficent influence on the religious literature of the age. His own works were voluminous: his Paraphrase and Annotations on the New Testament (1653) was an achievement in English theological scholarship; his Practical Catechism (1644) occupies a position to some extent between the Devotions of Cosin and of Lewes Baily (The Practice of Piety, dedicated to Charles I when prince of Wales), and The Whole Duty of Man, with the origin of which he was undoubtedly acquainted. But the most valuable of all his work, as literature, are his sermons, models of the best Caroline prose in its simplicity, restraint, clarity, distinction. In his absence of conceits, he shows himself typically a Caroline rather than an Elizabethan. In his avoidance of anything approaching rhetorical adornment, he forms a marked contrast to the school in which we may place the gloomy splendour of Donne and the oriental exuberance of Jeremy Taylor. To write of charity, patience, toleration, befits him better than any other man of his age; and, when theologians and statesmen were wrangling over the limits of the church and the rights or wrongs of the individual in religion, his was almost the first, and certainly the clearest, voice to be lifted up in assertion of toleration as a plain Christian duty and in denunciation of the persecuting spirit as an enemy to religion and truth.   10

  The sermons at Paul’s cross James Ussher  

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