His political and economical pamphlets are almost unmatched as clear presentations of the views of their writer.
It is vain, therefore, to look for clearly defined and systematic presentations of the idea among ancient writers.
His presentations of character and motives, whether truthful or not, are undeniably fine; but his doctrine that there should be "no theorizing" about history tended to narrow his survey, and consequently he sometimes, as in his remarks on the foreign policy of Elizabeth, seems to misapprehend the tendencies of a period on which he is writing.
It should be noticed that this (very common) psychological interpretation of "conception" differs from the metaphysical or general philosophical definition given above, in so far as it includes mental presentations in which the universal is not specifically distinguished from the particulars.
But, generally speaking, there was no heart in preaching, sermons were unimpassioned, stilted and formal presentations of ethics and apologetics, seldom delivered extempore.