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A CHECKLIST OF EXTANT QUAKER SERMONS, 1650-1700 By Michael P. Graves* That oral rhetoric was an important part of early Quakerism should go without saying, but there is even today a common stereotype of the Quaker as a quiet individual whose form of worship allows little emphasis upon the spoken word. However correct this description of a Quaker may be when applied to some historical or contemporary Quakers, it is not an accurate representation of the Quakers during their first fifty years. William C. Braithwaite came closer to the true image of early Quakers when he wrote: "Friends were under a necessity to express themselves. They were continually driven to bear their witness in the markets and the churches."1 As a checklist preliminary to a study of the rhetoric of early Quakerism,2 a search was made for extant sermons delivered by early Quakers, in either manuscript or printed form.13 The study revealed that eighty-nine Quaker sermons have survived the period 1650-1700, eighty-eight of which are considered to be authentic.4 Given the propensity of early Quakers for the impromptu method of sermon preparation, and the explicit instructions of some against printed sermons, it is remarkable that so many sermons have been preserved. The sermons in the checklist are of three categories: (1) those which exist only in manuscript form, never having been printed; (2) those which survive both in manuscript and print; and (3) those which are found only in printed form. In any case, however, the texts cannot be taken to be verbatim records, but only close *Associate Professor of Communication Arts, George Fox College. 1.The Beginnings of Quakerism, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: University Press, 1955), p. 132. 2.See my "The Rhetoric of the Inward Light: An examination of extant sermons delivered by early Quakers, 1671-1700" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation , University of Southern California, 1972). 3.The collections at Friends House Library, London, die Quaker Collection of Haverford College Library, and the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College were used. The search was facilitated by the advice of Henry J. Cadbury, T. Canby Jones, and Arthur O. Roberts, and by a grant from die Friends World Committee. 4.An anonymous sermon ostensibly delivered in Southwark Park, London, in 1687 is probably spurious. See note 7. 53 54QUAKER HISTORY approximations of what the speakers actually said. In no case is a sermon manuscript the product of the speaker's prior effort; it is, instead, the work of a skilled note-taker. The practice of taking shorthand notes of sermons was common among Anglicans and Puritans, and it is not unlikely that the skill was also present to some extent among Quakers. Some Anglican and Puritan sermons may have undergone revision before publication, involving a comparison of shorthand notes with a preacher's manuscript.5 No such possibility exists with Quaker sermons where original manuscripts were lacking. Among Quakers, the printed sermon represents the work of an auditor skilled in shorthand, and an enterprising printer. For most of the early Quaker preachers who are listed in the following checklist, we have only one, or at the most two, examples of their sermonizing. There are four notable exceptions to this generalization, however. From George Fox, eleven sermons are extant.6 William Penn's preaching is preserved in ten printed sermons . Thirty-two sermons by Steven Crisp have survived, and eight by George Keith, the schismatic. Of the identifiable places where the sermons were delivered, all are in London except numbers 12, 50, 51, and 52. The eleven sources are indicated by number and are given in short-title form at the end of the checklist. The sources given are not exhaustive; several of the sermons also appear elsewhere. 5.W. Fraser Mitchell, English Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson, A Study of Its Literary Aspects (LondonĀ· Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1932), pp. 36-37. 6.I have included in the checklist several sermons from a volume at Friends House Library entitled A Collection of Several Sermons and Testimonies, Spoke or Deliver'd by G. Fox, the Quaker's Great Apostle, in which the editor has obviously collected what appear to be poor...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 53-57
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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