The Tudor Books of Private Devotion

The Tudor Books of Private Devotion

The Tudor Books of Private Devotion

The Tudor Books of Private Devotion

Excerpt

The fact that a very considerable degree of continuity persisted throughout the revolutionary changes of sixteenth-century English life is pretty generally appreciated. Nowhere is this continuity better illustrated than in the collections of prayers for private devotion which were so popular a feature of the religious publication of the time. But, so far, on the whole, these collections have not received anything like the attention which they deserve.

Probably the main reason for this neglect is the obvious one. They: have simply been overshadowed by the official books for public and common prayer. There is no question of the greater historic significance of these latter for charting the development of the new order which finally took shape in the Elizabethan Settlement. Nor is there any doubt that the official books remain the most certain source of information for over-all devotional influences. For, with the exception of certain privileged foreigners, everyone had to come in contact with the public prayer books as with the public services. That contact, however, might be and doubtless was of all degrees of interest or indifference, of fervor or nominal conformity. So it may be doubted whether for all their general influence the official books reached the religious mind of the time so intimately or reflected it so fully as the manuals of private devotion.

These by the very circumstances of their publication had to appeal to personal conviction and taste in the most personal of spiritual undertakings, solitary prayer. For no one was likely even to consider using a manual of private devotion unless he desired a more intensive exploration of the resources of prayer than was immediately available in common pious practice. And when it came to the choice of his manual, we may be sure that he would take pains to find one which appealed to his own particular tastes and interests. So this field of private devotional literature may well be expected to afford a more direct and more de-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.