Today is the feast day of John Keble (1792-1866), ordained Priest in 1816, tutor at Oxford from 1818 to 1823. He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1831 to 1841, and from 1836 until his death thirty years later he was priest of a small parish in the village of Hursley near Winchester.
Today marks the 134th anniversary of the Assize Sermon that he preached at Oxford. (This sermon marks the opening of a term of the civil and criminal courts, and is officially addressed to the judges and officers of the court, exhorting them to deal justly.) His sermon was called "National Apostasy," and denounced the Nation for turning away from God, and for regarding the Church as a mere institution of society, rather than as the prophetic voice of God, commissioned by Him to warn and instruct the people. The sermon was a nationwide sensation, and is considered to be the beginning of the religious revival known as the Tractarian Movement or as the Oxford Movement. Because the Tractarians emphasized the importance of the ministry and of the sacraments as God-given ordinances, they were suspected by their opponents of Roman Catholic tendencies, and the suspicion was reinforced when some of their leaders did in fact become Roman Catholics. But the movement survived, and has profoundly influenced the religious thinking, practice, and worship of large portions of Christendom. Their insistence, for example, that it was the normal practice for all Christians to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion every Sunday.
Three years after his death, his friends and admirers established Keble College at Oxford.
Today John Keble is remembered for his hymns, but he has always been a champion to me, as I agree with many of his "church views" (it's largely were the term "High Church" or Anglo-Catholic comes from) but ALL of his views calling for kindness and decency in the way we live our lives.
Photos are attached below.
Please see the First Comment for text and notes.