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Robert Nelson's Festivals and Fasts and the Problem of the Sacred in Early Eighteenth-Century England


The pious layman Robert Nelson's 1704 tract A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England was arguably the most popular and important Anglican devotional work of the eighteenth century. Ostensibly a simple guidebook to the Anglican liturgical calendar, Nelson's Festivals and Fasts was, in fact, a précis of Anglican theology and ecclesiology. What has been less clearly recognized, however, was the extent to which Nelson's Festivals and Fasts was also a sharply polemical work. This article considers Nelson's tract as a defense of “the sacred” as demarcating a socially and cognitively distinct sphere of life. Nelson's work takes great pains to maintain the spaces, offices, festivals and personnel of the church as “set apart” from the commerce of everyday life; and nearly every page exudes a fear of encroachment on the sacred. Nelson's conception of the sacred, and the manifold threats to its differentiation, provokes a reconsideration of the prevalent narratives of religious transformation in the early English enlightenment. Most importantly, it underscores the serious limitations of the current debate over secularization in this period.

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1 Edmund McClure, ed., A Chapter in English Church History: Being the Minutes of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for the years 1698–1704 (London: SPCK, 1888), 254, 258; Robert Nelson to Humphrey Wanley, March 6, 1705/1706, British Library [BL] Harleian MS 3780, f. 231.

2 C.F. Secretan, Memoirs of the Life and Times of the Pious Robert Nelson (London: John Murray, 1860), 165.

3 Thomas Rogerson to Robert Nelson, February 11, 1705, C. Hoare & Co. Archives [CHC] RN/1/15; J. Scandret, Sacrifice The Divine Service from the Covenant of Grace to the Mystery of Man's Redemption (London: Geo. Strahan, 1707), 15; Two Discourses, Whereof the First, is an exhortation To the Strict Observance of Ash-Wednesday. The second, a defence of those who keep Lent, and observe the other fasts of the church (London: W. Carter, 1708), epistle dedicatory; Isaac Sharpe, The church of England's complaint against the irregularities of some of its clergy (n.p., 1709), 8; Charles Wheatly, The church of England man's companion (Oxford: n.p., 1710), preface; Thomas Bennett, Directions for Studying I. A General System or Body of Divinity II. The thirty-nine Articles of Religion (London: W. Innys, 1715), 21–22.

4 Joseph Downing, A New Catalogue of Books and Small Tracts against Vice and Immorality; and for Promoting the Knowledge and Practice of the Christian Religion, 2nd ed. (London: Joseph Downing, 1708), 19.

5 Bible Fund Minutes, October 14, 1740, CHC BF/1; and see John Wickham Legg, English Church Life from the Restoration to the Tractarian Movement (London: Longman, Green & Co., 1914), 339.

6 Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (New York: Oxford University, 1994), 284.

7 Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Or, The History of a Young Lady, 7 vols. (London: Printed for S. Richardson, 1748), III: 290; Richardson actually expressed his hope to Lady Bradshaigh that the volumes of his novel might have a place alongside her cherished works of Anglican piety, such as Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Holy Dying and Nelson's Fasts and Festivals, “not as being worthy of such company, but that they may have a chance of being dipt into thirty years hence.” The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, 6 vols. (London: Richard Phillips, 1804), IV: 237. Also see Latimer Bonnie, “Pious Frauds: ‘Honest Tricks’ and the Patterns of Anglican Devotional Thought in Richardson,” Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 32, no. 3 (September 2009): 339351.

8 Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English language, 2 vols., 4th ed. (Dublin: Printed for Thomas Ewing, 1775). Nelson is quoted under the entries for “Moroseness”, “Profane”, “Reconcilable”, and “Redemption”. See Allen Reddick, The Making of Johnson's Dictionary, 1746–1773 (New York: Cambridge University, 1990), 142–143, 155–156; J.C.D. Clark, Samuel Johnson: Literature, Religion and English cultural politics from the Restoration to Romanticism (New York: Cambridge University, 1994), 130, 211; Matthew M. Davis, “Ask for the Old Paths: Johnson and the Nonjurors,” in The Politics of Samuel Johnson, ed. J.C.D. Clark and Howard Erskine-Hill (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 112–167.

9 Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. George Bickbeck Hill, 6 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1887), II: 458.

10 And this is leaving aside its proliferation in various bowdlerized or abridged forms, such as the relatively svelte Mr. Nelson's Companion for the festivals and fasts of the Church of England abridged (London: Printed for T. Astley, 1739); Elizabeth Belson, The Fasts and Festivals of the Church of England Abridged from the Works of the Excellent and Pious Mr Nelson. Interspersed with Dialogue Adapted to the Capacity of Youth (London: Minerva Press, 1810); and John Henry Hobart, A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (New York: T. & J. Swords, 1804). In the American theological milieu of Bishop Hobart's adaptation of Nelson, it was incumbent to affirm Anglican high church ecclesiology not only against the religious liberalism with which Nelson himself contended, but more urgently, against evangelicalism; see Robert Bruce Mullin, Episcopal Vision/American Reality: High Church Theology and Social Thought in Evangelical America (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 1986), 26–32; E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2003), 234–255; Diana Hochstedt Butler, Standing Against the Whirlwind: Evangelical Episcopalians in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University, 1995), 3–60; Phillip Tovey, Anglican Confirmation 1662–1820 (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2014), 156–159.

11 On Nelson's early influence on John and Charles Wesley, see Albert C. Outler, ed. John Wesley (New York: Oxford University, 1964), 8, 62; Ted A. Campbell, John Wesley and Christian Antiquity (Nashville, Tenn.: Kingswood, 1991), 15, 25–28; on Nelson's influence on the eighteenth and nineteenth century Anglican high churchmanship, see Peter B. Nockles, The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship, 1760–1857 (New York: Cambridge University, 1994), 211; Richard Sharp, “New Perspectives on the High Church Tradition: historical background 1730–1780,” in Tradition Renewed: The Oxford Movement Conference Papers, ed. Geoffrey Rowell (Allison Park, Penn.: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1986), 4–23; Geoffrey Rowell, “‘Church Principles’ and ‘Protestant Kempism’, some theological forerunners of the Tractarians,” in From Oxford to the People: Reconsidering Newman and the Oxford Movement, ed. Paul Vaiss (Leominster: Gracewing, 1996), 17–59; see also Sheridan Gilley, “John Keble and the Victorian Churching of Romanticism,” in An Infinite Complexity: Essays on Romanticism, ed. John Richard Watson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1983), 226–239. By contrast, upon being presented with Nelson's tract at an inn in Beaconsfield in 1811, the evangelical lawyer and abolitionist James Stephen, confessed it was “a book that I do not remember to have seen before.” The Correspondence of William Wilberforce, ed. Robert Isaac Wilberforce and Samuel Wilberforce, 2 vols. (London: John Murray, 1840), II: 219.

12 Issac Williams, “No. 80: On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge,” Tracts for the Times, 6 vols. (London, Rivington, 1840), IV: 72; and see William Henry Teale, Lives of English Laymen (London: James Burns, 1842), 278–280.

13 As W.H. Hutton concedes, Nelson's Festivals and Fasts, “is not more than good, certainly not great literature.” W.H. Hutton, “Divines of the Church of England, 1660–1700,” in Age of Dryden, ed. A.W. Ward and A.R. Walker (New York: Cambridge University, 1932), 308. Even Nelson's worshipful Victorian biographer the Tractarian Charles Frederick Secretan cannot but admit of the book, that “the most prominent defect in this (as in Nelson's other writings) is an entire absence of imagination,” which renders the work, “a very prosaic ‘Christian Year’”—a reference to John Keble's work, with which the Festivals and Fasts is often compared. Secretan, Life of Robert Nelson, 168. A Victorian reviewer concurred with Secretan's judgment, noting that Nelson's devotions “partake of the formality of his day, and if they never offend the taste, seldom reach the heart.” The Ecclesiastic and Theologian 22 (1860): 129–130. These were, to be sure, partisans of a more ornate and effusive Anglicanism, but their literary assessments are not wrong.

14 This, of course, stands in the lineage stretching back at least as far as Durkheim's pioneering formulation of the term: “Sacred things are those which the interdictions protect and isolate; profane things, those things to which these interdictions are applied and what must remain at a distance from the first.” Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. Joseph Ward Swain (New York: Free Press, 1915), 56.

15 Veikko Anttonen, “Sacred,” Guide to the Study of Religion, ed. Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (London: Bloomsbury, 2000), 271–282. For the most important recent formulations of this structural (rather than phenomenological) conception of the sacred, see the works of Jonathan Z. Smith, above all, To Take Place: Toward a Theory of Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1987); and more recently, “The Topography of the Sacred,” Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2004), 101–116.

16 See Alexandra Walsham, The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (New York: Oxford University, 2011), 204–206, 283–293, 491; Graham Parry, “Sacred Space in Laudian England,” in Sacred Text—Sacred Space: Architectural, Spiritual and Literary Convergences in England and Wales, ed. Joseph Sterett and Peter Thomas (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 123–140; Dzelzainis Martin, “‘Undoubted Realities’: Clarendon on Sacrilege,” Historical Journal 33, no. 3 (September 1990): 515540; Gary Hamilton, “Marvell, sacrilege, and Protestant historiography: contextualizing ‘Upon Appeton House’,” in Religion, Literature, and Politics in Post-Reformation England 1540–1688, ed. Donna Hamilton and Richard Streier (New York: Cambridge University, 1996), 161–186.

17 On the evolution of this distinction, see Sheehan Jonathan, “Sacred and Profane: Idolatry, Antiquarianism and the Polemics of Distinction in the Seventeenth Century,” Past and Present 192, no. 1 (August 2006): 3566.

18 For recent historiographical overviews, see Young B.W., “Religious History and the Eighteenth Century Historian,” Historical Journal 43, no. 3 (September 2000): 849868; Robert G. Ingram, “Sykes's Shadow: Thoughts on the Recent Historiography of the Eighteenth-Century Church of England,” in Cromohs Virtual Seminars. Recent historiographical trends of the British Studies (17th–18th Centuries), ed. M. Caricchio, G. Tarantino (2006–2007): 1–3,; Gregory Jeremy, “Introduction: Transforming ‘the Age of Reason' into an ‘Age of Faiths’: or, Putting Religions (Back) into the Eighteenth Century,” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 32, no. 3 (September 2009): 287305; Walsham Alexandra, “Migrations of the Holy: Explaining Religious Change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 44, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 241280.

19 José Casanova deems social differentiation “the unassailable core of modern theories of secularization.” Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1994), 40. And see David Martin, A General Theory of Secularization (New York: Harper & Row, 1978), who credits Talcott Parsons's late career explorations of religion for the model of social differentiation he employs—above all, Talcott Parsons, “Christianity,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. David L. Sills (New York: Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), 425–447. See also Martin Riesebrodt, The Promise of Salvation: A Theory of Religion, trans. Steven Rendall (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010) 174–181; David Martin, On Secularization: Towards a Revised General Theory (Burlingto, Vt.: Ashgate, 2005).

20 For an overview, see Alan D. Gilbert, The Making of Post-Christian Britain (Harlow: Longman, 1980); Jeffrey Cox notes that scholars still interested specifically religious decline (or de-Christianization) have adopted what he calls “a new religious chronology of modern history, one in which the crucial turning points are the 1520s, the 1790s and the 1960s,” rather than the enlightenment of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Jeffrey Cox, “Toward Eliminating the Concept of Secularisation: A Progress Report,” Secularisation in the Christian World, ed. Callum G. Brown and Michael Snape (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2010), 18.

21 C. John Sommerville, The Secularization of Early Modern England (New York: Oxford University, 1992); and on the viability of social differentiation theory, see the exchange between Stark Rodney, “Secularization, R.I.P.,” Sociology of Religion 60, no. 3 (Fall 1999): 249273; and Sommerville C. John, “Stark's Age of Faith Argument and the Secularization of Things: A Commentary,” Sociology of Religion 63, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 361372. See also Blair Worden, “The question of secularization,” in A Nation Transformed: England after the Restoration, ed. Steve Pincus and Alan Houston (New York: Cambridge University, 2001), 20–40; and Steve Pincus, “Repositionining Early Modern Secularization,” unpublished conference paper, North American Conference on British Studies, 2009. My thanks to Dr. Pincus for making this paper available to me.

22 Roy Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (London: Penguin, 2001), 205–229; for other examples of secularization as social differentiation in this period, see Steve Pincus, “From holy cause to economic interest: the study of population and the invention of the state,” in A Nation Transformed, 272–298; Christopher Dudley, “The Decline of Religion in British Politics, 1710–1734,” British Scholar 3, no. 1 (September 2010): 43–60; Isabel Rivers, Reason, Grace and Sentiment: a study of the language of religion and ethics in England, 1660–1780, Volume I: Whichcote to Wesley (New York: Cambridge University, 1991); Volume II: Shaftesbury to Hume (New York: Cambridge University, 2000); Carol Stewart, The Eighteenth-Century Novel and the Secularization of Ethics (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2010).

23 J.C.D. Clark, English Society, 1660–1832, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University, 2000). Interestingly, though, Clark does concede, “Daily life was ‘widely’ secular in our sense” (30) in eighteenth century England, merely insisting that non-differentiation persisted at the level of hegemonic structures of power and ideology. See also Clark J.C.D., “Providence, Predestination and Progress: Or, Did the Enlightenment Fail?” Albion 35, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 559589; Clark, “The Re-Enchantment of the World? Religion and Monarchy in Eighteenth-Century Europe,” in Monarchy and Religion: The Transformation of Royal Culture in Eighteenth-Century Europe, ed. M. Schaich (New York: Oxford University, 2007), 47–75.

24 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 1992); Tony Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution (New York: Cambridge University, 1996); and for an assessment, see Clark J. C. D., “Protestantism, Nationalism and National Identity, 1660–1832,” Historical Journal 43, no. 1 (March 2000): 249276; Jeremy Black, “Confessional State or Elect Nation? Religion and Identity in Eighteenth-Century England,” in Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, c. 1650-c. 1850, ed. Tony Claydon and Ian McBride (New York: Cambridge University, 1998), 53–74; Andrew C. Thompson, “Early eighteenth-century Britain as a confessional state,” in Cultures of Power in Europe during the Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Hamish Scott and Brendan Simms (New York: Cambridge University, 2007), 86–109. Thompson provides a link between Clark's “confessional state” model and the protestant nationalism of Linda Colley and makes clear the opposition of both to the secularization theories of Roy Porter, et al.

25 On religious pluralism and the confessional state, see Cornfield Penelope J., “Georigian England: One State, Many Faiths,” History Today 45, no. 4 (April 1995): 1421.

26 Walsham Alexandra, “The Reformation and ‘The Disenchantment of the World’ Reassessed,” Historical Journal 51, no. 2 (June 2008): 497528; Walsham, “Migrations of the Holy,” 241–280; Walsham, Reformation of the Landscape.

27 G. V. Bennett, The Tory Crisis in Church and State, 1688–1730 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975), 22; G. V. Bennett, “Conflict in the Church,” in Britain after the Glorious Revolution, 1689–1714, ed. Geoffrey Holmes (London: Macmillan, 1969), 155–175; but for an alternate view, see Gibson William, “William Talbot and Church Parties, 1688–1730,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 58, no. 1 (January 2007): 2648; Gibson, “Altitudinarian Equivocation: George Smalridge's Churchmanship,” in Religion, Politics and Identity in Britain, 1660–1832, ed. William Gibson and Robert Ingram (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2005), 43–59.

28 The breakdown of “the sacred/profane distinction” plays a critical role in the account of modernization put forward in Charles Taylor's monumental work, A Secular Age (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2007), 76–80, 96, 150, 265–266, 446, 454, 553–554. Although, for Taylor, this breakdown is not, in and of itself, sufficient to produce the kind of secularity he is in interested in explaining: the optionality of belief. A disenchanted world, in which the sacred is no longer “present in concentrated form in certain times, places, persons and actions,” (266) is not, for Taylor, a necessarily less religious world.

29 See the essays in Pincus and Houston, eds. A Nation Transformed; Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2009). On the question of religion in the debate over modernization, see Jeremy Gregory, “The Long Eighteenth Century,” in The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley, ed. Randy L. Maddox and Jason Vickers (New York: Cambridge University, 2009), 13–39.

30 On the Anglican revival, see Brent S. Sirota, The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680–1730 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 2014); William J. Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and its Empire, 1648–1715 (New York: Cambridge University, 2015).

31 For an overview, see Dudley Bahlmann, The Moral Revolution of 1688 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 1957); A. G. Craig, “The Movement for the Reformation of Manners, 1688–1715” (Ph.D diss., University of Edinburgh, 1980); Curtis T. C. and Speck W. A., “The Societies for the Reformation of Manners: A Case Study in the Theory and Practice of Moral Reform,” Literature and History 3 (1976): 4564; Tony Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution; Sonnelitter Karen, “The Reformation of Manners Societies, the Monarchy, and the English State, 1696–1714,” Historian 72, no. 3 (Fall 2010): 517542.

32 George Every, The High Church Party, 1688–1718 (London: SPCK, 1956); R. D. Cornwall, Visible and Apostolic: The Constitution of the Church in High Church Anglican and Non-Juror Thought (Newark: University of Delaware, 1993); Sirota, Christian Monitors, 149–186.

33 E.g., Robert Nelson, A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1704), 416–417. All references, unless otherwise noted, are to this edition.

34 Ibid., 10.

35 Ibid., 10, 294;

36 See Nigel Yates, Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830–1910 (New York: Oxford University, 2000).

37 On moralism in late seventeenth century Anglicanism, see C. F. Alison, The Rise of Moralism (New York: Seabury, 1966); John Spurr, The Restoration Church of England 1646–1689 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 1991), 296–311.

38 Festivals, xiii. See also 245–248.

39 Ibid., 1, 8, 38, 112, 159, 200–205, 215–216, 4.

40 Francis Lee, Heads for a biography of Robert Nelson, n.d., BL [British Library] Add. MS 45511, f. 174.

41 Robert Nelson, An Address to Persons of Quality and Estate (London: Richard Smith, 1715), 139, 149–150; on the divergent attitudes among churchmen toward the reformation of manners movement, see Isaacs T., “The Anglican Hierarchy and the Reformation of Manners, 1688–1738,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 33, no. 3 (July 1982): 391411.

42 Nelson first attended on June 29, 1699; also see “The First Circular from the Honourable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge” of November 1699 in McClure, Chapter in Church History, 27, 36–37.

43 February 27, 1702, LPL [Lambeth Palace Library] SPG MSS, Vol. I, f. 1.

44 October 17, 1711, Minutes for the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, LPL MS 2690, p. 4; on the high church complexion of the commission, see White Kennett's “List of Commissioners for Building the Churches,” where he observes, “No one suspected for a Low Ch[urch] Man,” BL Lansdowne MS 1024, f. 338.

45 Nelson's will is reproduced in Secretan, Life of Nelson, 280–288.

46 Francis Lee, Heads for a biography of Robert Nelson, n.d., BL Add. MS 45511, f. 174; and see J. Marshall, A Sermon Preach'd in the Chappel of Ormond-Street On Sunday the 6th of February 1714 Upon Occasion of the much Lamented Death of that Pious and Worthy Gentleman Robert Nelson, Esq. (London: Sam. Keble, 1714).

47 Bahlmann, Moral Revolution of 1688; Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution.

48 Nelson would rejoin the established church after the death of the penultimate deprived bishop William Lloyd of Norwich in 1710; he still would not acknowledge the legitimacy of the new monarchs.

49 For a similar effort in this period by the high church clergyman Lancelot Addison, see Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment, ch. 8.

50 Festivals, 63.

51 On the religious societies, see John Spurr, “The Church, the Societies and the Moral Revolution of 1688,” in The Church of England, c. 1689–c. 1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism, ed. J. Walsh, C. Haydon, and S. Taylor (New York: Cambridge University, 1993), 127–142; Duffy Eamon, “Primitive Christianity Revived: Religious Renewal in Augustan England,” in Studies in Church History 14 (1977): 287300; M. R. Hunt, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680–1780 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 104–114; Scott Thomas Kisker, Foundation for Revival: Anthony Horneck, The Religious Societies, and the Construction of an Anglican Pietism (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2007).

52 Festivals, x-xii.

53 Ibid., 11–12, 4, 409, 10, 8, 86, 11–12, 352.

54 Ibid., i-ii.

55 “Theophilus” to Archbishop Sancroft, September 1, 1689, Bodleian Library [Bodl.], Tanner MS 29, f. 71; Paper addressed to Bishop Compton, ca. 1690, Bodl., Rawlinson MS 983, f. 46; William Lloyd, bishop of Norwich, to Robert Nelson, March 24, 1703, CHC RN/1/12; John Howell, A practical discourse on the Lord's Day (London: Samuel Keble, 1704), dedication, 99; Simon Patrick, Four discourses sent to the clergy of the diocese of Ely (London: Rich. Chiswell, 1704), 91–92; William Nelson, The rights of the clergy of Great Britain (London: Charles Harper, 1709), 191–192; John Johnson, The Clergy-man's Vade Mecum, 2nd ed. (London: John Nicholson, Robert Knaplock & Samuel Ballard, 1707), 152–153; Francis Lee, Memoirs of the Life of Mr. John Kettlewell (London, 1718), 65–66.

56 Charles Buchanan, The Nature and design of holy-days explained (London: Richard Sare, 1705), epistle dedicatory.

57 Matthew Heynes, A sermon for reformation of manners, preach'd at St. Paul's church in Bedford (London: George Ratten, 1701), 15–16.

58 H.C. The country-curate's advice to his parishioners, in four parts (London: J. Robinson, 1693), 59.

59 Θυσιατήριον, vel, Scintilla altaris primitive devotion in the feasts and fasts of the Church of England, 8th ed. (London: William Battersby, 1700); the other was William Brough, The Holy feasts and fasts of the Church (London: John Clark, 1657), last published in 1669. See also, A Perfect & Exact Account of All the Holy-daies in the Yeare: Together with the Reasons why They Were Set Apart as Festivals by the Church (London: I. Stafford & F. Coles, 1661).

60 A Collection of Private Forms of Prayers Out of the Common-Prayer Book (London: Sam. Keble and Dan. Brown, 1690); The holy-Days, or the holy feasts & fasts, as they are observed in the Church of England, (throughout the year) explained (London: Sam. Keble, 1706).

61 Historia Sacra: Or, The Holy History; Giving an Exact and Comprehensive Account of all the Feasts and Fasts of the Church of England (London: John Wyatt, 1705), xv, 18. The attribution to Thomas Rodrick seems implausible.

62 Buchanan, Nature and design of holy-days; the first edition was dedicated to the tory MP Sir Edmund Turnor, one of the earliest members of the SPCK.

63 Robert Nelson to Arthur Charlett, February 14, 1707/1708, Bodl. Ballard MS 23, f. 76; the second edition did not mention the SPCK, but specifically recommended itself to “the children educated in the Charity Schools.”

64 David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (Berkeley: University of California, 1989), 171–189; on the importance of the protestant calendar in the British empire in North America, see Brendan McConville, The King's Three Faces: The Rise & Fall of Royal America, 1688–1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2006); Richard W. Vaudry, Anglicans and the Atlantic World (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University, 2003), 64–69.

65 Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution, 100–110.

66 Paul Kléber Monod, Jacobitism and the English People, 1688–1788 (New York: Cambridge University, 1989), 122.

67 Athenian Gazette 12 (May 6, 1693); Mercurius Reformatus 17 (April 2, 1690).

68 Edward Wells, A Letter from a Minister of the Church of England to a Dissenting Parishioner of the Presbyterian Perswasion, 5th ed. (Oxford: Jo. Stephens, 1706), 24.

69 John Hooke, Catholicism without popery. An essay to render the Church of England a means and a pattern of union to the Christian world, 2 vols. (London: J. Lawrence, 1704), I: 83–85.

70 Festivals, 388–389.

71 John Bossy, Christianity in the West 1400–1700 (New York: Oxford University, 1985), 152–161; and see William T. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2011).

72 The historiography of “sacred space” in seventeenth-century England has grown quite extensive in recent years; the notes to Walsham, Reformation of the Landscape, 252–273 provides a sound overview. But, as William Gibson has pointed out, very little work of this sort has been done on the long eighteenth century. William Gibson, “‘Quo Vadis?’ Historiographical Trends in British Studies: The Church of England in the Eighteenth Century,” in Cromohs Virtual Seminars,1–4.

73 Festivals, 423.

74 John Prince, The beauty of God's House: or, consecrated places for religious worship vindicated (London: Sam. Keble, 1701), 34–40.

75 Festivals, 214–215.

76 See Sirota Brent S., “The Occasional Conformity Controversy, Moderation and the Anglican Critique of Modernity, 1700–1714,” Historical Journal 57, no. 1 (January 2014): 81105; for Nelson's own contribution to the occasional conformity controversy, see Robert Nelson, The Necessity of Church communion vindicated (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1705); on toleration, see Festivals, 491.

77 Matthew Tindal, The rights of the Christian Church asserted, 3rd ed. (London: s.n., 1707), 104–105.

78 Robert Gery, The worship of God in the beauty of holiness: a sermon preach'd in the parish church at Isleworth, Middlesex (London: H. Hills, 1706), 7–11; Peter Nourse, Practical discourses on several subjects, 2 vols. (London: John Wyat, 1708), II: 262; John Marshall, A sermon preached at the opening of the new chapel, called, St. George's (London: Sam. Keble, 1706), 10–12; Robert Newton, The worship of God in the beauty of holiness. A sermon preach'd in the parish-church at St. Austin, December 21, 1712 (London: John Wyat, 1713), 8–16.

79 Robert Nelson, A Companion for the festivals and fasts of the Church of England, 4th edition (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1707), 567–570.

80 Festivals, 423.

81 On Nelson as vindicator of clerical authority, see Champion Justin‘Religion's Safe, with Priestcraft is the War’: Augustan Anticlericalism and the Legacy of the English Revolution, 1660–1720,” The European Legacy 5, no. 4 (June 2000): 547561.

82 Festivals, 214, xvi, 491–492.

83 J. A. I. Champion, The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken (New York: Cambridge University, 1992); idem., “‘To Govern is to Make Subjects Believe’: Anticlericalism, Politics and Power, c. 1680–1717,” in Anticlericalism in Britain, c. 1500–1914, ed. Nigel Aston and Matthew Cragoe (Stroud: Sutton, 2001), 42–66; Nigel Aston, “Anglican Responses to Anticlericalism in the ‘Long’ Eighteenth Century, c. 1689–1830,” in Anticlericalism in Britain, 115–137; S. J. Barnett, Idol Temples and Crafty Priests: The Origins of Enlightenment Anticlericalism (New York: St. Martin's, 1999). But on the compatibility of clericalism and enlightenment, see Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment.

84 Festivals, xxi-xxii.

85 Sirota, Christian Monitors, 149–186.

86 Festivals, 449.

87 See The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer, ed. Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck (New York: Oxford University, 2006), 569.

88 Festivals, 373.

89 See, for instance, Nathaniel Bisbie, Unity of priesthood necessary to the unity of communion in a church (London: s.n., 1692); Jeremy Collier, A Brief essay concerning the independency of church-power (s.l., s.n., 1692); Henry Dodwell, The Doctrine of the Church of England concerning the independency of the clergy on the lay-power (London: s.n., 1694); Charles Leslie, A Discourse shewing who they are that are now qualify'd to administer baptism and the Lord's Supper (London: C. Brome W. Keblewhite and H. Hindmarsh, 1698); George Hickes, Two Treatises, One of the Christian Priesthood, The Other of the Dignity of the Episcopal Order (London: Richard Sare, 1707).

90 Festivals, 374–375, 452, 443–444, 453, 455, 444–445.

91 Ibid., 454, xvii, 479–481 (emphasis mine). John Prince also distinguished things “relatively sacred,” Beauty of God's House, 31; and on the difference between things “essentially” and “instrumentally” spiritual, see J. Cawley, The nature and kinds of simony discussed (London: R. Baldwin, 1689), 16.

92 Festivals, 379, 455, 439–440 (emphasis mine).

93 William Wake to Arthur Charlett, April 21, 1701, Bodl. Ballard MS 3, f. 81.

94 Henry Dodwell, An Epistolary Discourse Proving, from the Scriptures and the First Fathers, that the Soul is a Principle Naturally Mortal (London: R. Smith, 1706); and see Jean-Louis Quantin, “Anglican Scholarship Gone Mad? Henry Dodwell (1641–1711) and Christian Antiquity,” in History of Scholarship: A Selection of Papers from the Seminar on the History of Scholarship held annually at the Warburg Institute (New York: Oxford University, 2006), 308–309, 333, 353; Philip C. Almond, Heaven and Hell in Enlightenment England (New York: Cambridge University, 1994), 60–67.

95 This controversy awaits a thorough analysis, but there is valuable material in Justin Champion, “‘The Men of Matter’ Spirits, Matter and the Politics of Priestcraft, 1701–1709,” in Scepticisme, clandestinité et libre pensée, ed. Gianni Paganini, Miguel Benítez, and James Dybikowski (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2002), 115–150.

96 John Turner, Justice Done to Human Souls, In a Short View of Mr. Dodwell's late Book (London: John Wyat, 1706), 6, 106–107; see also Edmund Chishull, A Charge of Heresy, Maintained against Mr. Dodwell's late Epistolary Discourse (London: Samuel Manship, 1706).

97 Roger Laurence, Lay Baptism Invalid (London: W. Taylor, 1708).

98 Robert D. Cornwall, “Politics and the Lay Baptism Controversy in England, 1708–15,” in Religion, Politics and Dissent, 1660–1832: Essays in Honor of James E. Bradley, ed. Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2010), 147–163; Geordan Hammond, John Wesley in America: Restoring Primitive Christianity (New York: Oxford University, 2014), 67–73; Sirota, Christian Monitors, 178–183.

99 Festivals, xvii-xviii.

100 Festivals, 444, 483.

101 For an overview, see Eric J. Evans, “A History of the Tithe System in England, 1690–1850 With Special Reference to Staffordshire” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Warwick, 1970).

102 Festivals, 485–486, 487. See also 168–169.

103 Henry Spelman, The History and Fate of Sacrilege, Discover'd by Examples of Scripture, of Heathens, and of Christians (London: John Hartley, 1698), preface. The History had been deliberately omitted from the Reliquiae Spelmannianae, edited and published by another whig clergyman Edmund Gibson earlier that year, out of concern “it should give offense to the Nobility and Gentry.” For the historical context Spelman's treatise, see James Margaret, “The Political Importance of the Tithes Controversy in the English Revolution, 1640–1660,” History 26 (1941): 118; Christopher Hill, Economic Problems of the Church: From Archbishop Whitgift to the Long Parliament (London: Granada, 1968); on the place of Spelman's History in nonjuring circles, see Theodor Harmsen, Antiquarianism in the Augustan Age: Thomas Hearne, 1678–1735 (Bern: Peter Lang, 2000), 38.

104 Spelman, History of Sacrilege, 1

105 Charles Leslie, An Essay concerning the Divine Right of Tythes (London: Brome, Keblewhite, et al., 1700); White Kennett, The Case of Impropriations and of the Augmentation of Vicarages (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1704); Humphrey Prideaux, The original and right of tithes (Norwich: Fr. Collins, 1710); William Bohun, The law of tithes; shewing their nature, kinds, properties and incidents (London: Weaver Bickerton, 1730). In 1709, the nonjuror George Hickes republished Peter Heylin's A discourse published to undeceive the people in point of tithes, originally written in 1648 in his Three short treatises . . . Formerly printed, and now again pubished by Dr. George Hickes (London: W. Taylor, 1709).

106 Leslie, Divine Right of Tythes, 217–218.

107 Edward Marston, A Sermon of Simony & Sacriledge (London: s.n., 1699), 3, 5–6; see also John Cockburn, Jacob's Vow, or, Man's felicity and duty in two parts (London: Alexander Ogston, 1696), 421–433.

108 Leslie, Divine Right of Tythes, xvii.

109 Festivals, xxi, xi–x, 361.

110 Bahlmann, Moral Revolution; Claydon, Godly Revolution.

111 Hayton David, “Moral Reform and Country Politics in the Late-Seventeenth-Century House of Commons,” Past and Present 128, no. 1 (August 1990): 4891; Kathleen Wilson, “‘Empire of Virtue’: The Imperial Project and Hanoverian Culture, c. 1720–1785,” in An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689 to 1815, ed. Lawrence Stone (New York: Routledge, 1994), 128–164.

112 Geoffrey Holmes, The Trial of Doctor Sacheverell (London: Methuen, 1973); J.P. Kenyon, Revolution Principles: The Politics of Party, 1689–1720 (New York: Cambridge University, 1977), 83–101; J.A.W. Gunn, Beyond Liberty and Property: The Process of Self-Recognition in Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1983), 120–193.

113 Festivals, 361.

114 Interestingly, Alexandra Walsham considers the anxiety concerning sacrilege to have “lingered into the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries” from the Reformation and the Civil Wars, rather than as a traditional rhetoric being used in response to novel transformations in post-Revolutionary English society. Walsham, Reformation of the Landscape, 289.

115 Benjamin Hoadly, The nature of the kingdom, or church, of Christ. A sermon preach'd before the King, at the Royal chapel at St. James, On Sunday, March 31st, 1717, 2nd ed. (London: James Knapton, 1717), 5, 17.

116 Clark, English Society, 352; Andrew Starkie, The Church of England and the Bangorian Controversy, 1716–1721 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2007); William Gibson, Enlightenment Prelate: Benjamin Hoadly, 1676–1761 (Cambridge: Lutterworth, 2004); Henry Rack, “‘Christ's Kingdom Not of This World:’ The Case of Benjamin Hoadly Versus William Law Reconsidered,” in Church, Society and Politics: Papers Read at the Thirteenth Summer Meeting and the Fourteenth Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, ed. Derek Baker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975), 275–291.

117 Gregory, “Transforming the ‘Age of Reason’.”

The author would like to warmly thank Justin Champion, James Vaughn, Matt Kadane and the attendants of the USC-Huntington Early Modern British History Seminar for their very helpful comments on earlier incarnations of this article.

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