UNEXPECTED INFLUENCE OF HOBBES

Three Sermons preached at the Cathedral in Norwich. And a fourth at a parochial Church in Norfolk. Humbly recommending, I. True Reformation of our Selves. II. Pious Reverence towards God and the King. III. Just Abhorrence of usurping Republicans, and IV. Due Affection to the Monarchy.

London, Printed for W. Kettilby … 1685.

8vo., pp. [12], 175, [1 blank]; title-page to each sermon; prelims chipped at margins, not affecting text, else a good copy in contemporary sheep, bumped at corners and edges, joints chipped with some loss, later red morocco label, gilt; faint ownership inscription to verso of last page.

£850

Approximately:
US $1087€1005

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Three Sermons preached at the Cathedral in Norwich. And a fourth at a parochial Church in Norfolk. Humbly recommending, I. True Reformation of our Selves. II. Pious Reverence towards God and the King. III. Just Abhorrence of usurping Republicans, and IV. Due Affection to the Monarchy.

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First and only edition, rare. The third of these four sermons was delivered on the anniversary of Charles I’s execution, 30 January 1684, drawing on the Proverb: ‘For the transgression of a land, many are the princes there’, in which the plurality of leaders is shown to be the ‘constant mischief’ of republicanism. Graile draws on Hobbes’s Leviathan in his treatment of the state, which without a single sovereign is a diseased and wounded body, the ‘body politick’ of which King Charles was ‘the very soul’, and which had been given over to ‘the very multitude and general crowd, in the whole body of the people: the head and the feet, the brains and the heels, the honourable, the wise, the sober, and all the base and blind and boisterous rabble, having their share in the government’. Condemning the recent Rye House Plot, Graile warns of fresh attempts at ‘dissolving the ligaments of the monarchy’. The clerical use of such obviously Hobbesian metaphors is doubly interesting: firstly for the ambiguity of Leviathan – the dual monarchism and anti-Church, ‘atheistic’ stance for which it had so recently being condemned, Oxford University having burned Leviathan in the quadrangle in 1683 – and secondly for the extreme difficulty of procuring a copy in the 1680s, when the second-hand price had risen to thirty shillings (Parkin, “The Reception of Hobbes’s Leviathan” in The Cambridge Companion to Leviathan, 2007, pp. 449-452).

ESTC shows six copies at BL, Cambridge, King’s Lynn, All Souls Oxford, Huntington and UCLA.

Wing G 1479.

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