Thoresby was also well versed in other national circumstances that influenced his decision to conform. Following the Act of Toleration and the defeat of the last comprehension bill in , moderate Presbyterians were forced to embrace their religious freedom and to give up on hopes of reunion with the Church of England. Thoresby, like others, was concerned about what would follow. The antiquarian identified with contemporary concerns that the Church was weakened by religious pluralism, and threatened by vice and atheism. The latter he took particularly seriously, since his involvement with natural philosophers and members of the Royal Society exposed him to heterodox ideas.
In some cases, these acquaintances matured into intimate friendships and it is evident that Thoresby was advised on religious matters by these men, many of whom were firm conformists. Another more eminent acquaintance was the archbishop of York, John Sharp, who Thoresby came to know in because they were both keen numismatics.
In his only published work, a pamphlet of titled A Discourse Concerning Conscience , Sharp argued that continued separation from the Church was permissible where a dissenter felt it would be sinful to join.
However Sharp also claimed that such matters of conscience were exceptional, and he dismissed education, friendship and force of habit as inadequate grounds for absence from public worship, and altogether condemned the practice of occasional conformity to make one eligible for office holding. For example, in , Sharp sent Thoresby one of his own Books of Common Prayer, and wrote several pages explaining why Common Prayer was, in his own personal experience, superior in its effect to any other form of religious exercise. Around a new minister arrived at the Mill Hill. This was mainly because Manlove was one of a number of Leeds dissenters who were fiercely critical of partial conformity and anyone who practised it.
He began writing this in , and continued to update it until , when it abruptly ends, mid sentence. In the seventeenth century Thoresby was one of a growing number of contemporaries who put pen to paper to record events or occurrences drawn from their own experience. The genre of autobiography was not well defined at the time, but was slowly emerging from other regular writing habits. Smyth, Autobiography in Early Modern England Cambridge, for the wide variety of early modern texts that contained traces of subjectivity.
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British Stud. For studies of other individual spiritual diarists, see T. This process provides a framework for understanding the pattern of his subsequent devotional life. Indeed, the demise of his father prompted a period of extended spiritual crisis and melancholy that was vital in his journey towards a more mature faith. The 5 November entry began as usual with a summary of a recent sermon Thoresby had attended, but quickly shifted into a meditation on the heavy dispensation that he now faced.
Although in the memoir Thoresby suggested that his new, sustaining, daily spiritual regimen began closely following this sad event, the diary shows that he only began regularly rising early to read and pray over a year later. In the interim Thoresby was very troubled in his mind and was often overcome with weeping as he examined and mourned his aggravated and innumerable sins. The sermons that Thoresby attended and made notes on around this time seemed particularly, even suspiciously, well suited to his predicament, providing an insight into the reception of preaching at the level of individual devotion.
Thoresby was particularly affected by those lectures delivered by the dissenting minister Mr. Thoresby marked several parts of the entry recounting this sermon, and put a series of accentuating dots beside several of the passages. Towards the end of April Thoresby again felt the uncomfortable sensation that a preacher was singling him out, when Mr.
Thoresby reflected that though psalm singing had previously been the constant practice in his family he now neglected it, seeing as it bought too sharp a sense of remembrance.
In the memoir Thoresby added that it was two years before he reluctantly attempted singing in family prayer. Yet being bought to a sense of your own helpless depravity was of course an important part of the conversion process, a stage that was common to the experience of numerous earnest puritans in particular. McElligott Aldershot, , pp.
It was his duty to accept, as Mr. His concerns to improve his time were a persistent feature of his diary, yet they became more urgent, and more bitterly lamented in the spring and summer of as this disquiet began to work a change in the young man. These are all terms that recur frequently in earlier puritan spiritual writing and which typify attempts to express the experience of being called to God.
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Alec Ryrie discussed spiritual diaries from the earlier 17th century in Being Protestant , pp. Fulbrook and U. Mason Knappen Chicago, Ill. Other diaries that display similar preoccupations include those of the puritan clergyman Samuel Rogers —43? Webster and K. Shipps Woodbridge, Woodford also appears to have written in his diary each day. Fielding Cambridge, , p. Storey Woodbridge, Most provide details of patterns of private and public devotion centred on prayer, meditation, reading, hearing and repeating sermons, just as Thoresby did.
Such diaries were shaped by religious and generic conventions, and in most circumstances they were evidently expected to serve a pastoral function. This was certainly the case with Thoresby, who occasionally mentioned explicitly that a passage was intended to be instructive to his children, his anticipated audience. Booy Aldershot, The Diary of Robert Woodford.
Cambers Camden Society, 5th ser. John Thoresby was also responsible for prompting Ralph to begin his own diary, for bound into the memoir is a letter from 15 August The sermons he attended were a vital part of the gradual process of conversion, stirring him to greater repentance and framing his spiritual journey. There he rearranged his experiences, changing the sequence of events and telescoping them to more neatly depict his growing awareness of his own sinfulness, to warn against the snares of excessive affection, and as a reminder of the necessity of repentance as well as the rewards of strict discipline and perseverance.
Taken together, the diary and memoir therefore allow understanding of the ways in which Thoresby retrospectively understood and took meaning from his formative experience. Indeed, how, and why should it be considered formative? Though Thoresby continued to express anxiety over his failure to improve his time sufficiently, he now had a regular and beneficial duty that took him out of the world and sanctioned his continued religious education, providing relief and easing his troubled mind. His morning devotions were repeated in the evening after family prayer, though it seems likely that he spent considerably less time in reading at the end of the day.
Not that this new regimen was all plain sailing. The waxing and waning of daylight hours could also prove problematic, for in March of he noted with pleasure that the vernal equinox had returned, allowing him to once again rise before four, to his satisfaction. Hunter , ii. This pattern of regular daily devotions was the ideal, recommended by Protestant divines in devotional guides and urged on parishioners by ministers in the pulpit. However, it is rare to find a record of such strict adherence to the ideal over such a long time period. The diaries of parliamentarian soldier Adam Eyre —61 and puritan woodturner Nehemiah Wallington are two of the few that bear comparison in this regard, each striving to maintain twice daily prayers as a minimum, though it might be the case that for many others, daily devotions were too commonplace to be mentioned in their writing.
Notebooks of Nehemiah Wallington. After two years he was less meticulous in recording the time and length of daily devotions, but it appears that this was because he achieved a relatively settled regimen, thus he became more likely to record a deviation from his pious practice than the activity itself.
Albert Barnes contributed his Notes in twelve volumes, published in America, which have had a circulation of more than a million copies. It was written progressively from to , and in was revised by the author. It has been tr. The most widely used and frequently published commentary of this period was the Commentary Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson , A.
Fausset , and David Brown Fausset and Brown were prolific authors of books that are still valuable. This work was published in in six volumes, and contains approximately three million words. It has been republished in numerous editions, the last by Eerdmans in The work by Fausset was esp. Several series of commentaries appeared late in the cent. Cook, was published in ten volumes betwen and Parts of it were contributed by some of the leading Biblical scholars of the day, such as R.
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Payne Smith on Jeremiah, W. It was the outcome of the consultation with several bishops to produce a commentary that would defend the Scriptures against the attacks of prevailing skepticism. In , under the editorship of Bishop Perowne and A. Kirkpatrick, was begun the production of the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. The Cambridge Greek Testament under the editorship of Bishop Perowne, was begun in , and publication continued into the next cent.
Both contained work by experts, and have been widely used. The Cambridge Greek Testament has been partly rewritten in recent years. The International Critical Commentary , begun in , has never been completed. Most of these volumes are highly technical, but a few of them have proved to be milestones of Biblical interpretation; e. Charles on Revelation, and esp. Sanday and Headlam on Romans. Another work that never received due recognition was the Popular Commentary on the New Testament edited by Philip Schaff in four volumes The widely used Pulpit Commentary in 49 volumes, edited by H.
Spence and J. Exell was largely homiletical in purpose. It contained numerous excellent individual works by noted scholars; some of the introductions are superb. A series of short but rich commentaries was issued under the direction of Marcus Dods and Alexander Whyte entitled Handbooks for Bible Classes. Apart from these excellent and widely differing series of commentaries there were innumerable commentaries on separate books of the Bible issued in the last cent.
A few of these deserve special mention: on Genesis, R.
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Candlish and J. Murphy ; on Leviticus, A. Bonar, fifth edition ; on Judges, the rare but valuable work by A. Wright ; on Isaiah, T.
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