Brooks, Phillips


b Boston, Mass, USA 1835, d Boston, 1893. Boston Lat Sch; Harvard Univ; Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Ch in 1859, and began his ministry in the Ch of the Advent, Philadelphia, Penns. In 1862 he was appointed rector of Holy Trinity Ch in the same city. He sprang to instant fame for a single prayer spoken during a commemoration of ex-Harvard men killed in the civil war. He moved to Boston, Mass, as rector of another Trinity Ch in 1868; while there he gave his Lectures on Preaching in 1887 at the Divinity School of Yale Coll. In their published form these enjoyed international success, famously enlarging on his description of preaching as ‘truth through personality’. His 8th and last lecture pointed to the ‘power which lies at the centre of all success in preaching…The power is the value of the human soul, felt by the preacher and inspiring all his work…the intense value which the Saviour always set upon the souls for which he lived and died…May the souls of men be always more precious to you as you come always nearer to Christ’ (cf the notes on C H Spurgeon). Brooks was ‘revered’ (her own word) by Fanny Crosby (F van Alstyne, qv). Oxford Univ awarded him its DD in 1885, and in 1891 he became Bishop of Massachusetts. This appointment was soon terminated by his death 2 years later, not yet 60, news of which was received with great public grief. He was widely regarded as one of N America’s finest preachers; many of his sermons were published and are still available for study. Bp Brooks may be seen as a moderate liberal; in addition to his statue in front of Boston’s Holy Trinity Ch and other monuments in the USA, St Margaret’s Westminster, next to the Abbey, has a memorial window in which he features. Alexander Allen published his Life and Letters in 1900 and Memories of his Life in 1908. No.368.

Hymns and songs by Brooks, Phillips

Number Hymn Name
CP48 O little town of Bethlehem
368 O little town of Bethlehem