The term "homiletics" refers to sacred rhetoric and, more specifically, implies the actual art of preaching or sermon-giving. In "Hudson's Statue", Thomas Carlyle shows great disrespect for English clergymen who preach the words of God in a superficial manner and who believe that religion is a materially-based institution. According to Carlyle, religion must reside within one's soul; liturgies and homiletics signify nothing when inspired by anything other than the self in relation to God.
Carlyle scorns those who "have renounced fealty to Nature and its Almighty Maker." He distorts reality somewhat by presenting these clergymen and churchgoers as Devil worshippers in an effort to exaggerate his original point. Carlyle attempts to put their beliefs into words:
Don't we keep a Church, this long while; best-behaved of Churches, which meddles with nobody, assiduously grinding its organs, reading its liturgies, homiletics, and excellent old moral horn-books, so patiently as Church never did? Can't we doff our hats to it; even look in upon it occasionally, on a wet Sunday; and so, at the trifling charge of a few millions annually, serve both God and the Devil?
Last modified 23 October 2002