The preachers of any period are not to be censured for adapting their style of address and mode of arguing to their hearers. They are as necessarily bound to the preconceived notions, as to the language, of those whom they have to exhort. The pulpit does not so mould the forms into which religious thought in any age runs, it simply accommodates itself to those that exist. For this very reason, because they must follow and cannot lead, sermons are the surest index of the prevailing religious feeling of their age. — Mark Pattison, "Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750," Essays and Reviews (1860).

Preaching had its addictive side. "Nothing would satisfy me", wrote [the Evangelical] Matthias Joyce, "but hearing the people roar under the sermon, from a sense of their misery; and, on the other hand, shouting for joy. through a sense of pardoning love." — John Whale, "Scab on the Story," Times Literary Supplement (17 February 2006): 32.

Dean Hook

The sermon as a Literary Form

Political and Social Contexts

Gender Matters

Individual Preachers and Examples of Their Sermons


Robert Ellison's The Victorian Pulpit (1998)

A New history of the Sermon: the Nineteenth Century. ed. Robert H. Ellison. Brill, 2010. xiii + 236 pp. [Review by Margaret Marwick]

Related Web Resources

Last modified 24 July 2020