A passionate and sustained earnestness after a high moral rule, seriously realized in conduct, is the dominant character of these sermons. They showed the strong reaction against slackness of fiber in the religious life; against the poverty, softness, restlessness, worldliness, the blunted and impaired sense of truth, which reigned with little check in the recognized fashions of professing Christianity; the want of depth {3} both of thought and feeling; the strange blindness to the real sternness, nay the austerity, of the New Testament.

 … And in a certain sense it was not eloquence; nevertheless in a very real and deep sense it was so; it was like a message from another world, or like an utterance of a primitive saint or martyr permitted to revisit the world of living men.

If we ask by what means this power was gained at Oxford, the answer must certainly be that it was entirely by his sermons and lectures, expressing as they did his whole character; … There was first the style, always simple, refined and unpretending and without a touch of anything which could be called rhetoric, but always marked by a depth of feeling which evidently sprang from the heart and experience of the speaker and penetrated by a suppressed vein of the poetry which was so strong a feature in Newman's mind, and which appealed at once to the hearts and the highest feelings of his hearers. There was rarely or never anything which could be called a burst of feeling; but both of thought and of suppressed feeling there was every variety, and you were always conscious that you were in the hands of a man who was a perfect master of your heart, and was equally powerful to comfort and to warn you. ...

As for the preacher no one could have been farther removed from the popular conception of the pulpit orator than Newman, nothing less consciously ornate than the language he employed. No histrionic artifice here, no straining after effect, no deliberate attempt to excite the emotions of his audience. Only grave and beautiful thoughts, expressed in language of natural and inherent grace, ideas, and emotions, taking shape and {5} clothing themselves in language of perfect and inevitable simplicity

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