Aspiration

Some Catholic preachers - including Jacques Benigne Bossuet (1627-1704) in a sermon held in 1661 on Matt. 17:5 ('This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him') - conceived the sermon in analogy to the Eucharist. Where the altar symbolized the physical reality of Christ, the pulpit represented his verbal reality; whilst hearers experienced 'inner preaching' through the Eucharist, they witnessed 'outer preaching' through the sermon.5 The impact of the early modern sermon might be enhanced by combining oratory with other, audio-visual methods of communication. Jesuit, Oratorian, or Capuchin missionary sermons were sometimes integrated into elaborate shows replete with banners, processions, choruses and dramatic action performed in front of imposing stage designs. Evangelicals set spiritual texts to spirited melodies. If a lengthy Calvinist exposition and application of a passage from the Bible seems far removed from such exuberance, the aim and form of most if not all sermons was quite similar. For the purpose of this outline, we may regard the early modern sermon as an oral discourse on the Christian faith intended

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