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Robert South (4 September 1634 – 8 July 1716) was an English churchman, known for his combative preaching.

Early life

He was the son of Robert South, a London merchant, and Elizabeth Berry. He was born at Hackney, Middlesex, and was educated at Westminster School under Richard Busby, and at Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating on 11 December 1651.[1]

Among his college exercises was a panegyric on Oliver Cromwell in Latin verse on the conclusion of peace wat the end of the First Anglo-Dutch War (5 April 1654). He commenced B.A. on 24 February 1654–5. On account of his using the Book of Common Prayer John Owen, then Dean of Christ Church and vice-chancellor, unsuccessfully opposed his proceeding M.A. on 12 June 1657. South travelled on the continent, and in 1658 privately received episcopal ordination, perhaps from Thomas Sydserf. He was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1659. His assize sermon at St. Mary's on 24 July 1659 was an attack on the Independents, with a sample of the humour for which South became famous. In his university sermon on 29 July 1660 he included the Presbyterians in his invective, referring to Henry Wilkinson as ‘Holderforth.’[1]

Under Charles II

He was chosen public orator to the university on 10 August 1660, an office which he held till 1677. Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon made him his chaplain, in consequence of his oration on his installation as chancellor (15 November). On 30 March 1663 he was installed prebendary of Westminster. On 1 Oct. 1663 he was created B.D. and D.D. on letters from Clarendon. The creation was opposed in convocation by those who reckoned South a time-server. On a scrutiny, Nathaniel Crew, the senior proctor, declared the majority to be for South, who was presented by John Wallis. He was incorporated D.D. at Cambridge in 1664. Clarendon gave him in 1667 the sinecure rectory of Llanrhaiadr-y-Mochnant, Denbighshire, and on Clarendon's fall, at the end of that year, he became chaplain to James, Duke of York.[1]

South's ridicule of the Royal Society, in an oration at the dedication of the Sheldonian Theatre, July 1669, called forth a remonstrance from Wallis, addressed to Robert Boyle. South was installed canon of Christ Church on 29 Dec. 1670.[1]

A zealous advocate of the doctrine of passive obedience, he strongly opposed the Toleration Act, declaiming in unmeasured terms against the various Nonconformist sects. In 1676 he was appointed chaplain to Lawrence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, ambassador-extraordinary to the king of Poland, and he sent an account of his visit to Edward Pococke in a letter, dated Dantzic, 16 December 1677, which was printed along with South's Posthumous Works in 1717. In 1678 he was presented to the rectory of Islip, Oxfordshire.[1]

He lived at Caversham, near Reading, Berkshire, where he had an estate. South was chaplain in ordinary to Charles II, but had no other preferment from him than the Westminster prebend.[1]

Under James II

In James II's reign Rochester, then lord-lieutenant of Ireland, is said to have offered South an Irish archbishopric (Cashel was vacant, 1685–91). Rochester nominated South (November 1686) as one of two Anglican divines to discuss points of doctrine with two of the church of Rome; but James objected to South, and Simon Patrick was substituted.

Under William and Mary

At the Glorious Revolution South hesitated to transfer his allegiance, being, according to White Kennett, under the influence of William Sherlock, D.D. He at length took the oath, adopting the parliamentary fiction that James's flight constituted an abdication. He is said to have declined a bishopric vacated by a nonjuror. He opposed the scheme for a comprehension of dissenters, but was not a member either of the royal commission (13 September 1689) on the subject, or of the convocation of that year.[1]

In 1693 South intervened anonymously in the Socinian controversy, with strong animus against Sherlock, his Animadversions on Sherlock's Animadversions on Dr Sherlock's Book, entitled a Vindication of the Holy and Ever Blessed Trinity (1690) being ‘humbly offered to his admirers, and to himself the chief of them.’ He made galling references to Sherlock's career, ‘tainted with a conventicle’ at the outset; vehemently assailed his earlier writings as heterodox on the doctrine of atonement, and maintained his ‘new notion’ of the Trinity to be tritheistic; an opinion reiterated in his ''Tritheism Charged upon Dr Sherlock's New Notion of the Trinity, and the Charge Made Good (1695). The anonymity of these attacks was transparent. It is not certain that South was the translator of A Short History of Valentinus Gentilis the Tritheist (1696) from the Latin of Benedict Aretius; the dedication to the hierarchy is in his manner, and there is a reference to Gentilis in Tritheism Charged. p. 47. South's position is mainly that of Wallis; but he chiefly devotes learning and to demolishing Sherlock. Public judgment on the controversy was expressed in William Pittis's ballad, ‘The Battle Royal’.[1] The controversy was carried into the pulpit, and made for such sharp feelings that the king interposed to stop it.

Under Queen Anne

During the greater part of the reign of Anne South remained comparatively quiet; his health was broken. He roused himself in 1710 to take part on the High Church side in the affair of Henry Sacheverell. On the death (20 May 1713) of Thomas Sprat the bishopric of Rochester and deanery of Westminster were offered to him; but he turned them down. He died at Westminster on 8 July 1716, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. South gave orders that his ashes should rest near those of Richard Busby.[1] At the south wall of the sanctuary stands a large monument of white marble with a reclining figure, right arm on a cushion, and hand on a skull, and a closed book in the left. The background is framed by two fluted Corinthian column, on either side of an inscription tablet, surmounted by a glory, and two cherubs on drapery. On the cornice is an armorial cartouche decorated with flora festoonns, between two flaming urns.

Works

He published a large number of sermons, and they appeared in a collected form in 1692 in six volumes, reaching a second edition in his lifetime in 1715. There have been several later issues; one in two volumes, with a memoir (Henry George Bohn, 1845).

His Opera posthuma Latina, including his will, his Latin poems, and his orations while public orator, with memoirs of his life, appeared in 1717. An edition of his works in 7 vols. was published at Oxford in 1823, another in 5 vols in 1842.

See also

References

  • W. C. Lake, Classic Preachers of the English Church (1st series, 1877).
  • The contemporary notice of South by Anthony Wood in his Athenae is strongly hostile, said to be due to a jest made by South at Wood's expense.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i  "South, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Further reading

  • Gerard Reedy (1992), Robert South (1634-1716): An Introduction to his Life and Sermons
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"South, Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

6 Annotations

Nix  •  Link

From the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica:

SOUTH, ROBERT (1634-1716), English divine, was born at Hackney, Middlesex, in September 1634. He was educated at Westminster school and at Christ Church, Oxford. Before taking orders in 1658 he was in the habit of preaching as the champion of Calvinism against Socinianism and Arminianism. He also at this time showed a leaning to Presbyterianism, but on the approach of the Restoration his views on church government underwent a change; indeed, he was always regarded as a time-server, though by no means a self-seeker. On the 10th of August 1660 he was chosen public orator of the university, and in 1661 domestic chaplain to Lord Clarendon. In March 1663 he was made prebendary of Westminster, and shortly afterwards he received from his university the degree of D.D. In 1667 he became chaplain to the duke of York. He was a zealous advocate of the doctrine of passive obedience, and strongly opposed the Toleration Act, declaiming in unmeasured terms against the various Nonconformist sects. In 1676 he was appointed chaplain to Lawrence Hyde (afterwards earl of Rochester), ambassador-extraordinary to the king of Poland, and of his visit he sent an interesting account to Edward Pococke in a letter, dated Dantzic, 16th December, 1677, which was printed along with Souths Posthumous Works in 1717. In 1678 he was presented to the rectory of Islip, Oxfordshire. Owing, it is said, to a personal grudge, South in 1693 published with transparent anonymity Aniniadversions on Dr Sherlocks Book, entitled a Vindication of the Holy and Ever Blessed Trinity, in which the views of William Sherlock (q.v.) were attacked with much sarcastic bitterness. Sherlock, in answer, published a Defence in 1694, to which South replied in Tritheism Charged upon Dr Sherlocks New Notion of the Trinity, and the Charge Made Good. The controversy was carried by the rival parties into the pulpit, and occasioned such keen feeling that the king interposed to stop it. During the greater part of the reign of Anne South remained comparatively quiet, but in 1710 he ranked himself among the partisans of Sacheverell. He declined the see of Rochester and the deanery of Westminster in 1713. He died on the 8th of July 1716, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

South had a vigorous style and his sermons were marked by homely and humorous appeal. His wit generally inclines towards sarcasm, and it was probably the knowledge of his quarrelsome temperament that prevented his promotion to a bishopric. He was noted for the extent of his charities. He published a large number of single sermons, and they appeared in a collected form in 1692 in six volumes, reaching a second edition in his lifetime in 1715. There have been several later issues; one in two volumes, with a memoir (Bohn, 1845). His Opera posthuma latina, including his will, his Latin poems, and his orations while public orator, with memoirs of his life, appeared in 1717. An edition of his works in 7 vols. was published at Oxford in 1823, another in 5 vols. in f 842. See also W. C. Lake, Classic Preachers of the English Church (1st series, 1877). The contemporary notice of South by Anthony Wood in his Athenae is strongly hostile, said to be due to a jest made by South at Woods expense.

http://60.1911encyclopedia.org/S/SO/SOUTH_ROBER...

Pauline  •  Link

from Project Gutenberg
Robert South, who was born in the borough of Hackney, London, England,
in 1638, attracted wide attention by his vigorous mind and his clear,
argumentative style in preaching. Some of his sermons are notable
specimens of pulpit eloquence. A keen analytical mind, great depth of
feeling, and wide range of fancy combined to make him a powerful and
impressive speaker. By some critics his style has been considered
unsurpassed in force and beauty. What he lacked in tenderness was made
up in masculine strength. He was a born satirist. Henry Rogers said of
him: "Of all the English preachers, South seems to furnish, in point
of style, the truest specimens of pulpit eloquence. His robust
intellect, his shrewd common sense, his vehement feelings, and a
fancy always more distinguished by force than by elegance, admirably
qualified him for a powerful public speaker." South became prebendary
of Westminster in 1663, canon at Oxford in 1670, and rector of Islip
in 1678. An edition of his writings was published in 1823. He died in
1716.

Sjoerd  •  Link

never mind, Vincent, never mind.

Bill  •  Link

This was the learned Robert South, then public orator at Oxford, and afterwards D.D., and prebendary of Westminster, and canon of Christchurch. The story, as copied from a contemporary tract, called Annus Mirabilis Secundum, is given with full details in Wood's Athenae, and Kennett's Register. It is by no means devoid of interest; but, having been so often printed, need not be here repeated. We may observe, however, that South had experienced a similar qualm whilst preaching at Oxford a few months before; but these seizures produced no bad consequences, as he lived to be eighty-three.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

SOUTH, ROBERT (1634-1716), divine; student of Christ Church, Oxford, 1651-5; M.A., 1657; travelled abroad; public orator, Oxford, 1660-7; rector of Islip, 1678; made in his 'Animadversions' of 1690 a crushing attack on William Sherlock, whom he accused in 1695 of Tritheism; was offered, but declined, see of Rochester in 1713; though a court preacher, was homely, pithy, and often very humorous in the pulpit; his sermons frequently reissued and collected.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1662