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 637:  Berkeley to Johnson, July 25, 1751.—­G.  Berkeley’s Life and Works, ed.  A.C.  Fraser, iv. 326.]

[Footnote 638:  Warburton and Hurd’s Correspondence, Letter xx.]

[Footnote 639:  Alg.  C. Swinburne, W.  Blake:  a Critical Essay, 41.]

[Footnote 640:  A. Gilchrist’s Life of W. Blake, i. 303.

It was not only that Wordsworth was at one with Blake in his intense feeling of the mysterious loveliness of nature.  There is also an occasional vein of mysticism in his poetry.  Thus it is observed in Ch.  Wordsworth’s Memoirs of his Life (p. 111), that his Expostulation and Reply (1798) was a favourite with the Quakers.  It is the poem in which these verses occur:—­

    ’Nor less I deem that there are powers
      Which of themselves our minds impress;
    That we can feed these minds of ours
      In a wise passiveness. 
    Think you, ’mid all this mighty sum
      Of things for ever speaking,
    That nothing of itself will come,
      But we must still be seeking?’—­Poems, iv. 180.]

[Footnote 641:  Gilchrist, i. 311.]

[Footnote 642:  Id. 190-1.]

[Footnote 643:  Swinburne, 274.]

[Footnote 644:  Gilchrist, 321.]

[Footnote 645:  R. Graves’s Works, ‘The Apostles not Enthusiasts,’ i. 199-200.]

[Footnote 646:  Id., Memoirs, i. lvi.]

[Footnote 647:  S.T.  Coleridge’s Poetical Works, ‘Religious Musings,’ i. 83-4.]

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Never since her Reformation had the Church of England given so fair a promise of a useful and prosperous career as she did at the beginning of the eighteenth century.  Everything seemed to be in her favour.  In 1702 a sovereign ascended the throne who was enthusiastically devoted to her interests, and endeavoured to live according to the spirit of her teaching.  The two great political parties were both bidding for her support.  Each accused the other of being her enemy, as the worst accusation that could be brought against them.  The most effective cry which the Whigs could raise against the Tories was, that they were imperilling the Church by dallying with France and Rome; the most effective cry which the Tories could raise against the Whigs was, that the Church was in danger under an administration which favoured sectaries and heretics.  Both parties vehemently denied the charge, and represented themselves as the truest friends of the Church.  Had they done otherwise they would have forfeited at once the national confidence.  For the nation at large, and the lower classes even more than the higher, were vehement partisans of the National Church.  The now unusual spectacle of a High Church mob was then not at all unusual.[648] The enemies of the Church seemed to be effectually silenced.  Rome had tried her strength against her and had failed—­failed in argument and failed in policy.  Protestant Dissent was declining in numbers, in influence, and in ability.  Both Romanists and Nonconformists would have been only too thankful to have been allowed to enjoy their own opinions in peace, without attempting any aggressive work against the dominant Church.

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