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Edited by P.E. Hewison
Categories: 16th Century, 17th Century, Christianity
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (192 pages)
(Pub. Oct 1995)
...all the creatures in Heaven and earth seemed to hear this His mournful complaint, and in their kind to show their regard of it. The sun in Heaven shrinking in his light, the earth trembling under it, the very stones cleaving in sunder, as if they had sense and sympathy of it, and sinful men only not moved with it...
from 'Sermon of the Passion, Good Friday, 1604'
Thanks to T. S. Eliot's For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on Style and Order (1928), the name of the great divine (1555-1626) lives, but his work is little known. This selection, the first for many years, reintroduces Andrewes as a substantial, engaging writer whose sermons, which 'rank with the finest English prose of their time' (Eliot), and other work breathe the energy of a turbulent, formative period.
In the pulpit, Andrews initiated the 'witty' or 'metaphysical' style of sermonising, erudite, ornate, punning, allusive, full of sharp conceits and acutely analytical, yet frequently dramatic and poetic. He was admired by Lyly, Nashe and other contemporaries. Despite this fame, he remained a gentle, learned man, refusing two bishoprics offered by Elizabeth and trying, not always successfully, to steer clear of controversy. Under James I he became Bishop of Chichester, Ely, and finally Winchester, and contributed to the King James Bible. His Devotions affected Newman and churchmen of the nineteenth century. This good, lucid voice of the morning of Anglicanism has a place today, as a major prose writer and as a divine speaking to a Church whose memory has become foreshortened by politics and fashion.
P. E. Hewison lectures in English at the University of Aberdeen.
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