At twenty-two he was the most popular preacher of his day.
In 1866 he was Whitehall preacher, and in 1871 he became canon of St Paul's.
As a preacher he was in great request, though possessing but few of the qualities of the popular preacher.
His preaching, his catechizing of the children after evensong, and his connexion with the Bala Methodists - his wife's stepfather being a Methodist preacher - gave great offence.
He was a select preacher at Oxford in 1895-1897, and at Cambridge in 1900; he received a canonry in Bristol cathedral in 1893, but retained his wardenship of Toynbee Hall, while relinquishing the living of St Jude's.