Scottish books seem to have been but little read in England in that day. It was Maurice who first made the substance of Campbell’s teaching known in England. Frederick Denison Maurice was the son of a Unitarian minister, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a time when it was impossible for a Nonconformist to obtain a degree. He was ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1834, even suffering himself to be baptised again. He was chaplain of Lincoln’s Inn and Professor of Theology in King’s College, London. After 1866 he was Professor of Moral Philosophy in Cambridge, though his life-work was over. At the heart of Maurice’s theology lies the contention to which he gave the name of universal redemption. Christ’s work is for every man. Every man is indeed in Christ. Man’s unhappiness lies only in the fact that he will not own this fact and live accordingly. Man as man is the child of God. He cannot undo that fact or alter that relation if he would. He does not need to become a child of God, as the phrase has been. He needs only to recognise that he already is such a child. He can never cease to bear this relationship. He can only refuse to fulfil it. With other words Erskine and Coleridge and Schleiermacher had said this same thing.
For the rest, one may speak briefly of Maurice. He was animated by the strongest desire for Church unity, but at the back of his mind lay a conception of the Church and an insistence upon uniformity which made unity impossible. In the light of his own inheritance his ecclesiastical positivism seems strange. Perhaps it was the course of his experience which made this irrational positivism natural. Few men in his generation suffered greater persecutions under the unwarranted supposition on the part of contemporaries that he had a liberal mind. In reality, few men in his generation had less of a quality which, had he possessed it, would have given him peace and joy even in the midst of his persecutions. The casual remark above made concerning Campbell is true in enhanced degree of Maurice. A large part of the industry of a very industrious life was devoted to the effort to convince others and himself that those few really wonderful glimpses of spiritual truth which he had, had no disastrous consequences for an inherited system of thought in which they certainly did not take their rise. His name was connected with the social enthusiasm that inaugurated a new movement in England which will claim attention in another paragraph.