The sermon was published on July 22, under the title National Apostasy. It does not seem to have excited much attention at the time. One of the two judges before whom it was preached is said to have remarked that it was 'an appropriate discourse.' Dr. Pusey, we are told, considered 'some passages rather too pointed.' But there were others who had a truer realization of its significance. To Newman's judgment, already quoted, may be added the words of Dr. J. B. Mozley, one of the ablest of the Tractarians, and one of the deepest thinkers of his time: 'I cannot help thinking it a kind of exordium of a great revolution--shall I call it?--coming on, whether rapidly or slowly we cannot tell, but at any rate most surely.'
Mozley's comment about "a great revolution" matches one of the other great historical events we remember this day: the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, usually identified as the beginning of the French Revolution--Bastille Day.
In Chapter 1 of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Newman remembers his high regard for Keble:The true and primary author of it, however, as is usual with great motive-powers, was out of sight. Having carried off as a mere boy the highest honours of the University, he had turned from the admiration which haunted his steps, and sought for a better and holier satisfaction in pastoral work in the country. Need I say that I am speaking of John Keble? The first time that I was in a room with him was on occasion of my election to a fellowship at Oriel, when I was sent for into the Tower, to shake hands with the Provost and Fellows. How is that hour fixed in my memory after the changes of forty-two years, forty-two this very day on which I write! I have lately had a letter in my hands, which I sent at the time to my great friend, John William Bowden, with whom I passed almost exclusively my Under-graduate years. "I had to hasten to the Tower," I say to him, "to receive the congratulations of all the Fellows. I bore it till Keble took my hand, and then felt so abashed and unworthy of the honour done me, that I seemed desirous of quite sinking into the ground." His had been the first name which I had heard spoken of, with reverence rather than admiration, when I came up to Oxford. When one day I was walking in High Street with my dear earliest friend just mentioned, with what eagerness did he cry out, "There's Keble!" and with what awe did I look at him! Then at another time I heard a Master of Arts of my college give an account how he had just then had occasion to introduce himself on some business to Keble, and how gentle, courteous, and unaffected Keble had been, so as almost to put him out of countenance. Then too it was reported, truly or falsely, how a rising man of brilliant reputation, the present Dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Milman, admired and loved him, adding, that somehow he was strangely unlike any one else. However, at the time when I was elected Fellow of Oriel he was not in residence, and he was shy of me for years in consequence of the marks which I bore upon me of the evangelical and liberal schools. At least so I have ever thought. Hurrell Froude brought us together about 1828: it is one of the sayings preserved in his Remains,—"Do you know the story of the murderer who had done one good thing in his life? Well; if I was ever asked what good deed I had ever done, I should say that I had brought Keble and Newman to understand each other."