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.

Again, the stream of theological thought has to a great extent drifted into a different current from that in which it ran in their day, and this change may have prevented many good men from sympathising with them as they deserved.  The Evangelicals of the last century represented one side, but only one side, of our Church’s teaching.  With the spirituality and fervency of her liturgy and the ‘Gospel’ character of all her formularies, they were far more in harmony than the so-called ‘orthodox’ of their day.  But they did not, to say the least of it, bring into prominence what are now called, and what would have been called in the seventeenth century, the ‘Catholic’ features of the English Church.  They simply regarded her as one of many ‘Protestant’ communions.  Distinctive Church principles, in the technical sense of the term, formed no part of their teaching.  Daily services, frequent communions, the due observance of her Fasts and Festivals, all that is implied in the terms ’the aestheticism and symbolism of worship,’ found no place in their course.  The consequence was that while they formed a compact and influential body which still remained within the pale of the Church, they also revived very largely, though unintentionally, the Dissenting interest, which was at least in as drooping a condition as the Church of England before the Evangelical school arose.  But every English Churchman has reason to be deeply grateful to them for what they did, however much he may be of opinion that their work required supplementing by others no less earnest, but of a different tone of thought.


[Footnote 708:  More true than the assertion which follows—­’and Count Zinzendorf rocked the cradle.’]

[Footnote 709:  He was, however, sometimes tempted to use unseemly language of the clergy.  See extracts from his journals quoted in Warburton’s Doctrine of Grace.]

[Footnote 710:  ‘Remarks on the Life and Character of John Wesley,’ by Alexander Knox, printed at the close of Southey’s Life of Wesley, vol. iii. p. 319.]

[Footnote 711:  In the Minutes of Conference, 1747, ’What instance or ground is there in the New Testament for a “national” Church?  We know none at all,’ &c.  ‘The greatest blow,’ he said, ’Christianity ever received was when Constantine the Great called himself a Christian and poured in a flood of riches, honour, and power upon the Christians, more especially upon the clergy.’  ’If, as my Lady says, all outward establishments are Babel, so is this establishment.  Let it stand for me.  I neither set it up nor pull it down....  Let us build the city of God.’]

[Footnote 712:  But he asserts the rights of the civil power in things indifferent, and reminds a correspondent that allegiance to a national Church in no way affects allegiance to Christ.—­(Letter in answer to Toogood’s Dissent Justified, 1752. Works, x. 503-6.)]

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