The English Church in the Eighteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 807 pages of information about The English Church in the Eighteenth Century.

[Footnote 452:  Address to the Reader, p. viii. prefixed to The Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity.]

[Footnote 453:  Jones of Nayland’s Theological Works, vol. i. p. 214, &c.]

[Footnote 454:  Hunt’s History of Religious Thought, iii. 349.]

[Footnote 455:  Charge, p. 67.]

[Footnote 456:  Id. 43, &c.]

[Footnote 457:  Letter X. to Dr. Priestley, p. 183.]

[Footnote 458:  Letters to Dr. Priestley, p. 249.]

[Footnote 459:  Letters, &c. p. 91, &c.]

[Footnote 460:  Charge, p. 14.]

[Footnote 461:  Charge, p. 17.]

[Footnote 462:  Id. p. 73.]

[Footnote 463:  See Maimbourg’s History of Arianism, i. 6, note 3.]

[Footnote 464:  Letters, p. 215.]

[Footnote 465:  Charge, p. 43.  Horsley rather lays himself open in this passage to the charge of confounding history with mythology; but probably all he meant was to show the extreme antiquity of Trinitarian notions.]

[Footnote 466:  Evanson, Disney, Jebb, Gilbert Wakefield, &c.]

[Footnote 467:  Letters, &c. 243.]

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Few things are more prominent in the religious history of England in the eighteenth century, than the general suspicion entertained against anything that passed under the name of enthusiasm.  It is not merely that the age was, upon the whole, formal and prosaic, and that in general society serenity and moderation stood disproportionately high in the list of virtues.  No doubt zeal was unpopular; but, whatever was the case in the more careless language of conversation, zeal is not what the graver writers of the day usually meant when they inveighed against enthusiasts.  They are often very careful to guard themselves against being thought to disparage religious fervour.  Good and earnest men, no less than others, often spoke of enthusiasm as a thing to be greatly avoided.  Nor was it only fanaticism, though this was especially odious to them.  Some to whom they imputed the charge in question were utterly removed from anything like fanatical extravagance.  The term was expressive of certain modes of thought and feeling rather than of practice.  Under this theological aspect it forms a very important element in the Church history of the period, and is well worthy of attentive consideration.

Enthusiasm no longer bears quite the same meaning that it used to do.  A change, strongly marked by the impress of reaction from the prevailing tone of eighteenth-century feeling, has gradually taken place in the usual signification of the word.  In modern language we commonly speak of enthusiasm in contrast, if not with lukewarmness and indifference, at all events with a dull prosaic level of commonplace

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