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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

T.S. Eliot on Andrewes

When comparing the two preachers, Andrewes and Latimer, Eliot wrote the following in his work, For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on Style and Order and said:
It is not merely that Andrewes knew Greek, or that Latimer was addressing a far less cultivated public, or that the sermons of Andrewes are peppered with allusion and quotation. It is rather that Latimer, the preacher of Henry VIII and Edward VI, is merely a Protestant; but the voice of Andrewes is the voice of a man who has a formed visible Church behind him, who speaks with the positive authority and the new culture. It is the difference of negative and positive: Andrewes is the first great preacher of the English Catholic Church."
This is indeed true. Andrewes is the father of English Catholicism and was all about renewing the Church on its foundation with a view to changing the present. Andrewes' theological foundation was described by him as one canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period. This was the framework of all of his thought and ecclesiology. The Church existed to defend Andrewes; not for him to defend her.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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