Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > Caroline Divines > Joseph Hall
  Richard Mountague William Juxon; William Sancroft  


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

VI. Caroline Divines.

§ 19. Joseph Hall.

The other wing of the army is well represented by Joseph Hall, bishop, satirist, poet, preacher, as well as controversialist. In 1640, he issued, with Laud’s approbation and assistance, his Episcopacy by Divine Right Asserted, which is anti-presbyterian. He declares the supreme authority of bishops to be from Christ and “both universal and unalterable.” His meditations or “contemplations” are of more permanent value: they have been reprinted again and again, and have passed into the stock material of Anglican devotions, marked, as they are, by that quiet reticence and sobriety, relieved by quaint humorous touches, which, since the time of Sir Thomas More, at least, seem to us, in such matters, to be typically English.   29
  In all this we are still close to the name of Laud, and, because all the English theological literature of his day is more or less connected with him, we may pause to consider his sermons as typical of those of the reign of Charles I.   30
  The sermons that are preserved are but seven, and they were all preached on special occasions. Thus, they may not be typical of the preacher’s ordinary manner, for he preached often and ad populum: here, we find him at court, where a certain stiffness and freedom in quotation from fathers and classics were expected. They were recognised at the time to be “in the Bishop of Winchester’s manner,” but they have not Andrewes’s spiritual beauty. The text is most carefully analysed, dissected, “crumbled”: it is often made to bear more than it can hold. The thesis is put clearly, and often repeated for emphasis. The illustrations are from medieval writers as well as the early fathers: moderns, outside England, are little used, except Calvin—whom everybody knew and expected to hear referred to. But, most characteristic of the writer and, to some extent, of the school to which he belonged, are two outstanding features in every sermon. Laud continually refers to the psalms or lessons of the day; he was so familiar with the church’s daily services that he naturally took them as providing each day with its lesson from God, and that lesson should be the first he would employ for application or illustration. This was personal to the man: it occurs again and again in his diary and tinges his prayers. A second feature is historical allusion. Laud was more historical, perhaps, than strictly theological in his outlook. English society came before him as an ordered system which had its roots in the past, its analogies with foreign developments, its debts to dead heroes and saints, its best hopes in imitations of the good things of byegone ages. This thought is shown abundantly in historical reference, be it to Julius Caesar, Frederic stupor mundi, or Saladin, and even the quotations of which all the writers of the age were fond have, in his case, it seems, a special direction: they emphasise precedent as a part of the divine ordering of the world.   31

  Richard Mountague William Juxon; William Sancroft  

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