During the 'long' eighteenth century, the social and intellectual pressures brought to bear on the sermon as a medium of communication were stronger than ever before. Other channels - the newspaper, the journal, the novel, the public lecture, the coffee house, the debating club, the learned society -were rapidly appropriating its educational and moralizing functions, while audiences were beginning to shift their attention elsewhere. Nevertheless, the sermon remained a chief conduit of public instruction throughout the period, its presence prominent, its appearance varied. The following account is divided into four sections. 'Manifestation' describes the general appearance ofthesermonbetween 1660 and 1800; 'Aspiration' examines its aims; 'Tradition' discusses the confessional type of sermon; and 'Transformation' outlines the successful response of the eighteenth-century sermon to the challenges it faced.
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