by literary standards and the conviction that simple ideas simply expressed were more effective in moving the human heart. The structure of the sermon could be based on the discursive development of a biblical or moral theme, as in the Reformed sermon, which usually took the exegesis of a biblical verse as its point of departure. Catholic preachers were more inclined to organize their sermons according to an external theme. Thus, in Germany, the popular 'class' sermon (Standepredigt) mirrored the social order, successively reviewing each social level, age group, and profession. Another well-liked genre was the 'letter sermon'. The name JESUS, for instance, offered the more imaginative sermonizer an opportunity to enlarge on the typological meanings implicit in the letter 'I'; he might consider Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, and Isaiah, as well as iustus, iudex, and illuminator.8 Reformed preachers, less constrained than their colleagues in the choice of subject matter, liked to employ the lectio continua, that is, producing series on a particular biblical book or a catechism. Among the Lutherans, the Wiirttemberger preacher Georg Conrad Rieger (1687-1743) sermonized no less than one thousand times on Matthew, and even then only got to chapter 19. There were other methods of 'invention'; John Newton (1722-1807), the Anglican evangelical, published fifty sermons on the biblical verse used in Handel's Messiah. In the Lutheran world the use ofpericopes and a fixed preaching scheme that reflected the liturgical year was obligatory, putting the less resourceful at a disadvantage. Preachers therefore utilized rhetorical schemes which allowed the sermon to take on different forms, or ensured variety by taking recourse to collections of anecdotes, parables, examples, and quotes from pagan and patristic antiquity.
Calvinist preachers followed older theorists such as Johannes Hoornbeek (1617-66), who regarded the sermon as 'a holy act in which Scripture is explained and applied with the aim of edifying the church'.9 Most preachers of the confessional period would have agreed that the sermon ought to convey instruction, intellectual and moral, to an audience. The Pietist Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705) censured excesses in his Pia Desideria (1675), an influential call for urgent reform combining theological reflection with a practical attitude. He insisted on Erbauung, or edification, as the sermon's central aim and contended that a sermon should, above all, be intelligible and clear. Followers of the German philosopher Christian Wolff set great store by rational argument, concise terminology and transparent arrangement, precisely to counter what they regarded as amorphous Pietist oratory. The Prussian king Frederick William I even attempted to introduce the Wolffian sermon model by officially prescribing the homiletics of Johann Gustav Reinbeck to his clergy in
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