Phillips Brooks, 1835 - 1893
Born: 13 December 1835, Boston, Massachusetts
Died: 23 January 1893, Boston, Massachusetts
Though both parents came from long-established Puritan families they had joined the Protestant Episcopal Church, four of their six sons would become priests in that denomination. Phillips attended Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard in 1855. He was unsuccessful as a teacher at Boston Latin so entered the Virginia Theological Seminary at Alexandria, Virginia. He was ordained a deacon in 1859 and priest two years later. He was rector at Church of the Advent until 1862, then served the Church of the Holy Trinity until 1869, both of those parishes in Philadelphia. In 1865 he took an extended European vacation and was moved by a visit to the tidy village of Bethlehem, three years later he wrote a poem about it for a Sunday School program and had it set to music by the church organist. That carol was O Little Town of Bethlehem. He was then called to Trinity Church, Boston which was to embark on building a new building and incorporated several important liturgical changes including bringing the altar out from the back wall and eschewing a formal pulpit. The sanctuary, complete with mosaics commissioned after Brooks' death, has been called "an American Hagia Sophia", high praise. At six feet, four inches (1.95 m) and 300 pounds (136 kg) he was an imposing man but he had the spirit of a poet rather than a scholar and the sanctuary was routinely filled to hear his sermons, delivered from the chancel steps or a simple lectern. He was elected the sixth bishop of Massachusetts in 1891 but died in 1893, fifteen months after his installation. His feast day in the Episcopal calendar is 23 January.
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Phillips Brooks quotes:
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- A prayer in its simplest definition is merely a wish turned Godward. permalink
"Christ's Wish for Man" in Sermons (1885)
- As you emphasize your life, you must localize and define it ... you cannot do everything. permalink
- Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every man were such as you, and every life a life like yours, this earth would be God's Paradise. permalink
- Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. permalink
- Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. permalink
- Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. permalink
- Christianity helps us face the music even when we don't like the tune. permalink
- Christmas day is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both. permalink
- Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. permalink
"Going up to Jerusalem", Sermons (1886)
- Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully. permalink
- For greatness after all, in spite of its name, appears to be not so much a certain size as a certain quality in human lives. It may be present in lives whose range is very small. permalink
- Happiness is the natural flower of duty. permalink
- Heaven does not make holiness, but holiness makes heaven. permalink
- If you could only know and see and feel, all of a sudden, that 'the time is short,' how it would break the spell? How you would go instantly and do the thing, which you might never have another chance to do! permalink
- It is while you are patiently toiling at the little tasks of life that the meaning and shape of the great whole of life dawn on you. permalink
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