chapter  11
14 Pages

High-Church Devotion in the Church of England, 1620–42

ByGraham Parry

Given the acrimony with which religious differences were pursued in the seventeenth century, and indeed in most centuries, it is an open question whether the devotional literature current in a particular period had the effect of bringing Christians of different persuasions closer together – or did it promote separateness? One would like to think that such writing helped to consolidate the Christian community by emphasizing shared goals and aspirations, encouraging personal piety and heightened spirituality, and downplaying doctrinal questions which were so frequently divisive. The literature I have in mind is that which was written as an aid or inspiration to private worship, and which offered a model to be followed, a discipline to be observed, or presented an accomplished meditation in prose or verse that could be read with profit and reflected upon as an aid to concentrated personal devotion.