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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

§ 18. George Bull

Apart from them, yet still winning fame chiefly through controversial works, is the solitary and dignified figure of George Bull (who died as bishop of St. David’s), perhaps the one English ecclesiastic of the period who attained to European fame. Robert Nelson’s eulogy of his sermons shows that they had a distinction which most sermons of the time lacked; and they amply justified the praise. “He had a way of gaining people’s hearts and teaching their consciences, which bore some resemblance to the apostolical age.” But Bull’s sermons, in the eyes of his own age, were the least of his works. Nelson sent his Judicia Ecclesiae Catholicae to Bossuet, by whom it was presented to the French episcopate; and the great French theologian returned the congratulations of “the whole clergy of France” for his defence of the Divinity of Christ. His Harmonia Apostolica, and, of his sermons, that on the Fall, were, also, titles to high fame. But it is the matter rather than the manner which places Bull among the glories of the Caroline age.

So far, we have considered writers who were closely allied with the national life. The Church of England, in the years which followed the restoration, was the institution round which most affection, and most controversy, gathered; and its representatives were prominent in the public eye. Nonconformist writers, whether Roman Catholic or protestant, had very little influence; they were not conspicuous for learning, and their defective education left them without a valuable literary weapon. It was different with another body which came into existence at a crisis in the national history.