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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XII. Divines of the Church of England 1660–1700

§ 10. Stillingfleet and Patrick

With Burnet, may, not unfairly, be associated the name of another divine, who was his antithesis in character, Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester. His personal attractiveness gave him wide popularity; men called him “the beauty of holiness.” His Irenicum (1659), which, though directed against nonconformity, regards the system of church government as unimportant, gave him a place among “latitude men”; but one of his earlier works was a defence of Laud’s Relation of his controversy with the Jesuit John Fisher against the Pretended Answer of T. C. (1664). Burnet commended him to William III as “the learnedst man of his age in all respects”—a description justified by his Origines Sacrae (1662), and Origines Britann cae (1685). Stillingfleet’s writing has no exceptional merit as literature. It reflected, without enriching, the manner of his time; and, when his learning became obsolete, his books passed out of use. Though his reputation as a man of letters during his life was higher than any of those yet mentioned, his style entirely lacked the distinction which could make it permanent. Another friend of Burnet was Simon Patrick, bishop, successively, of Chichester and Ely, who, commended at the revolution to the new king’s notice, afterwards became one of the commission through which the royal patronage was exercised in the interests of latitudinarians and whigs. Patrick was much influenced by the Cambridge Platonists and preached the funeral sermon of John Smith. He was a voluminous writer, controversial, exegetical, homiletic; but his chief excellence lay in his sermons. Burnet called him “a great preacher” and he was said to be an example to all bishops, and all dissenters, in “sermonising.” What he did at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, William Beveridge did at St. Peter’s, Cornhill: churches were filled and multitudes were influenced by the earnestness of the preacher. Robert Nelson, himself a writer of importance as well as a leading lay churchman, said of Beveridge that he had “a way of touching the consciences of his hearers which seemed to revive the spirit of the Apostolic age.” This, indeed, is the character of his writings—eminently emotional, tender, full of feeling and pathos. He was ranked among the churchmen whom a later age called evangelical, but he was as emphatic in stating the doctrines of the church as any member of the school of Andrewes or Laud.