Though he would eventually become the head of the Church of England, when Frederick Temple was born, his father envisioned his son as a farmer. While this early training may have contributed to his famous work ethic and rough manner, Frederick Temple had other plans. He did well in school and attended Oxford on a scholarship, near the beginning of the Oxford Movement, graduating in 1842. In a time of great conflict in the Anglican Church, Temple was a moderate, who emphasized unity. He was also zealous for the cause of foreign missions, seeing the British Empire as uniquely positioned to bring the Gospel to all nations. In 1858 he took his inexhaustible energies to the young minds at Rugby School. There, at the core of the British educational system, he preached the 113 included in this collection.
The motto at Rugby being Orando Laborando (By praying, by working), Temple’s 15 hour work days and indomitable spirit were a perfect match for the school. Though initially not well liked, he soon became popular with the students and staff. His sermons made deep impressions on the boys, teaching loyalty, faith, and duty. Temple believed deeply in the importance of science, and he strengthened Rugby’s academic reputation—instituting scholarships for the natural sciences and building laboratories for scientific study. Reflected in these sermons are Temple’s love of knowledge, hard work, cooperation, and the Gospel. From the man who led the Church through the close of the nineteenth century, they are a valuable measure of the religious pulse of history’s largest empire.
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Frederick Temple (1821–1902) was an English academic, teacher, and clergyman. He graduated from Oxford in 1842, earning first class honors in both Mathematics and Logic. He was headmaster of Rugby School from 1858 to 1869, bishop of Exeter from 1869 to 1885, Bishop of London from 1885 to 1896, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1896 until his death. He was known his whole life for his tremendous work ethic, which saw him working 15 hour days and contributed to his blindness later in life. He supported solidarity in the face of disputes within the Church. His son William was also Archbishop of Canterbury.