On Commencement Sunday in the summer of 1826, Hugh James Rose ascended the pulpit of the University Church at Cambridge to deliver a sermon. As Rose surveyed the assembled crowd, he would have been well aware that before him sat the future of English political, religious, and intellectual life—present and future members of Parliament, the leaders and local prelates of the Church of England, and the next generation of Cambridge scholars. While commencement addresses today are rather formulaic in their celebratory character, the sermon Rose had prepared for that day was far from uplifting. Rose had chosen to preach on Ecclesiastes chapter eleven, verse five: “No man can find out the work, which God maketh, from the beginning to the end.” Using this passage as a decree upon the limits of human knowledge, Rose launched into a blistering attack on the University and the educational philosophy that he believed it espoused. Far from praising the University and its graduates, Rose called into question much of what Cambridge had been doing to educate its students. The essence of Rose’s critique was that the University had lost its way as a religious institution and had become dominated by the search for “knowledge of the material Universe.” Pursuing this end, Rose warned, was a tremendous danger, because in so doing Cambridge was failing to provide a proper moral and religious foundation for those who would guide the nation. Naturally, Rose’s sermon came as a shock to many of those gathered before him, especially since it not only took the University to task but also implicitly seemed to indict some of Rose’s closest friends. His sermon battered one of the girders of Cambridge intellectual and religious life, and of Anglican theology more generally: the notion that natural philosophy was an appropriate handmaiden to religion. The tradition of reasoning up from nature to the Creator had long flourished at Cambridge in the hands of both men of science and theologians. Most at Cambridge took for granted the compatibility between the study of God’s creation and religious faith. For the previous three decades Cambridge had made the works of alumnus William Paley, replete with the ways nature manifested the wisdom and goodness of God, a cornerstone of undergraduate instruction. Ironically, many of Rose’s acquaintances from his own undergraduate days at Cambridge were themselves involved in scientific and mathematical pursuits and were generally sympathetic to Natural Theology. His dearest friend at the University was William Whewell, an intellectual polymath who excelled in mathematics, physics, and mineralogy, as well as moral philosophy, history, and theology. Rose also was a close associate of John Herschel and Charles Babbage, men who were renowned for their astronomical and mathematical work. Himself a fairly accomplished mathematician a decade earlier, Rose even had considered publishing some work to support Herschel and Babbage’s efforts to revitalize Cambridge mathematics during his undergraduate days.