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For Researchers in British History and Theology—

Pulpit Publications 1660-1782

An Enhanced Version of John Cooke's Classic 1783 Reference Work The Preacher's Assistant, with New Introductory Matter, Indexes, Tables and other Interpretative Apparatus

Edited by John Gordon Spaulding

Now available from Ross Publishing, this remarkable work—25 years in the making—offers a gold mine of information to all those interested in the study of 17th- and 18th-century England.

At a time in England when affairs of church and state were more interrelated than they are today, sermons were often delivered on political, cultural, scientific and social subjects, as well as religious subjects.

Because of this, they offer invaluable insights into the period in which they were preached. In addition, data such as the biblical texts on which sermons were based, the groups or persons before whom sermons were given, the occasions for which sermons were written, or the cities in which sermons were published, are also of great significance for researchers. Before the present work was available, extracting these data from original sources and then listing, comparing and analyzing them to achieve meaningful research results would have been an impossibly lengthy task.

Fortunately for the research commmunity, Dr. John Gordon Spaulding, helped by several generations of computers, took on this herculean task. His Pulpit Publications now makes available in six volumes a wealth of data on thousands of sermons published from 1660 to 1782. Using as his starting point a two-volume directory of sermons published in 1783 by the Rev. John Cooke, entitled The Preacher's Assistant, Dr. Spaulding has indexed Cooke's original information in many different ways. In doing so he has produced a book of rare value for all those doing historical and theological research.


Many researchers have long been aware of John Cooke's two-volume The Preacher's Assistant, published in 1783, cataloguing sermon literature published from Charles II's Restoration up to the end of the American Revolution. Based on prior records by Sampson Letsome (1753), William Crowe (1668) and others, this index contains some 34,000 entries in total! The first volume lists the sermons, and the second (reprinted here as the second volume) lists the authors who wrote them and the publications which contained them. Cooke's work, an amazing achievement for its time, is particularly valuable because:


Dr. John Gordon Spaulding, late Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, was using The Preacher's Assistant at the British Museum in 1961 when he saw the possibility of gaining new insights into the history of the period covered by Cooke's catalog by correlating the entries in the first volume with the entries in the second volume, using the then "new" technology of the computer. By 1966 he had both volumes encoded on punch cards. He then started the laborious process of correlating the two sets of records, a process that took him much of the next 25 years but which has resulted in this extraordinary work.

Dr. Spaulding compiled a comprehensive system of cross references which will be enormously valuable to any student of English History and the Church of England from the late 17th to the late 18th centuries.

As Dr. Spaulding himself said, "By translating the data from Cooke's two volumes into six volumes it lays out the data in ways that make them accessible for purposes that Cooke did not have in mind. His catalogue of sermons is herein transformed from an Assistant to Preachers into an Assistant for Historians who wish to search out the vital relations between religion and literature, philosophy, science and politics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries or, more generally, are making bibliographical, philological and economic studies concerning the period. The usefulness of the sermon catalogue in historical studies is enhanced by the fact that the data within the catalogue come close to being exhaustive in regard to certain aspects of the period and, in the form presented within the present edition, make some novel statistical studies quite possible." He added that "Transformation of Cooke's The Preacher's Assistant into a source work for historical studies should not, of course, diminish its usefulness for students of theology." [From the Preface.]


Author's copies of Pulpit Publications 1660-1782 have been on deposit for several years at both the Huntington Library and the Yale Divinity School Library. They have been used by many scholars who have spoken of the work's enormous value.

From a letter to John Gordon Spaulding:

"I was as delighted to find this resource as a greedy miser is overjoyed at the discovery of nuggets of gold. I was astonished at your industry and stunned by the value of your work for future research in the area of English religion.... I can assure you that my students will derive enormous benefit from your work for many years to come."
   - James E. Bradley, Prof. of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary



*Volume I - Index Volume - 500 pages

Volume II - Reproduction of Volume II of Cooke's The Preacher's Assistant - 412 pages

Volume III - Sermons Listed by Biblical Text - 503 pages

Volume IV - Sermons Listed by Author's Names - 461 pages

Volume V - Publications, and their Provenance, Listed by Year - 542 pages

Volume VI - Sermons Listed by Year of Printing - 450 pages

* Note that Volume I, the Index Volume, describes in some detail Cooke's work and its coverage as well as the methods Spaulding used to verify and compare Cooke's data and eventually produce his five volumes out of Cooke's two. The indexes in Volume I (covering Volumes III and V) contain some of the most interesting manipulations of data that Dr. Spaulding produced.

Contents of Volume I:

Indexes to Volume III: Data Within Cooke's Records of Sermons
- Some Notable Series of Lectures Within Cooke's Period
- Some Collective Editions of Sermons by Several Authors
- Some Special Audiences to Whom Sermons Were Addressed
(Note: Spaulding enhances this index with a special appendix in which he sorts and analyzes items by biblical text reference.)
- Occasions or Causes For Which Some of the Sermons were Delivered, and a Few Topics Related to these Occasions or Causes
(Note: Spaulding enhances this index with a special appendix listing some sets of occasion or subject items sorted and analyzed by biblical text.)
- Subjects or Occasions of Sermons that are Not Indexed in the Preceding Indexes.
(Note: Spaulding uses here a "Keyword-In-Context," or KWIC system.) Indexes to Volume V: Data Within Cooke's Lists of Publications
- Notable Series of Lectures
(Note: This is not identical to any Index to Volume III, either in its sub-headings or in items under its sub- headings.)
- Some Collections of Sermons by Anonymous or Several Authors
(Note: Again, this is not identical to any Index to Volume III.)
- References to People
(Note: This is an alphabetical list of 850 people referred to in Cooke's records and why they were referred to.)
- Places of Publication other than London and, in the case of Sermons in Single-Sermon Editions, Presumably Also the Places of their Oral Delivery
- Places of Delivery (but Presumably not also of Publication)
- Libraries Named as Provenances in Cooke's List
(Note: Includes Oxford Libraries; Cambridge Libraries, Libraries at London and Eton.)

Available now from Ross Publishing Inc., Pulpit Publications 1660-1782 includes a reproduction of Volume II of Cooke's original work plus five additional volumes, all printed on acid-free paper. The work, truly a labor of love, is a gift from one great student of the humanities, John Gordon Spaulding, to generations of students and researchers to come. We regret that Dr. Spaulding died before he could see his work in print.

Pulpit Publications 1660-1782, six volumes
(An enhanced edition of The Preacher's Assistant)
With New Introductory Matter, Indexes, Statistical Tables, and other Interpretive Apparatus
Edited by John Gordon Spaulding

In six volumes, 8 1/2" X 11", library binding, 1996
2868 pages

Volume 1: 0-88354-126-2
Volume 2: 0-88354-127-0
Volume 3: 0-88354-128-9
Volume 4: 0-88354-129-7
Volume 5: 0-88354-130-0
Volume 6: 0-88354-131-9

List price for six volumes (sold only as a set; printed on demand)...............$600.00

This title is also available in pdf, $100.