The English Church in the Eighteenth Century

The English Church in the Eighteenth Century

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The English Church in the Eighteenth Century, by Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.net
Title: The English Church in the Eighteenth Century
Author: Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton
Release Date: October 2, 2005 [eBook #16791]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ENGLISH CHURCH IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY***
E-text prepared by Jonathan Ingram, Lisa Reigel, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net/)
THE ENGLISH CHURCH IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
BY
CHARLES J. ABBEY
RECTOR OF CHECKENDON: FORMERLY FELLOW OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, OXFORD
AND
JOHN H. OVERTON
CANON OF LINCOLN AND RECTOR OF EPWORTH
REVISED AND ABRIDGED
NEW EDITION
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
LONDON, NEW YORK, AND BOMBAY
1896
PREFACE
TO
THE SECOND EDITION
Although this edition has been shortened to about half the length of the original one, it is essentially the same work. The reduction has been effected, partly by the omission of some whole chapters, partly by excisions. The chapters omitted are those upon the Jacobites, the Essayists, Church Cries, and Sacred Poetry —subjects which have only a more or less incidental bearing on the Church history of the period. The passages excised are, for the most part, quotations, discursive reflections, explanatory notes, occasional repetitions, and, speaking generally, whatever could be removed without injury to the general purpose of the narrative. There has been no attempt at abridgment in any other form.
The authors are indebted to their reviewers for many kind remarks and much careful criticism. They have endeavoured to correct all errors which have been thus pointed out to them.
As the nature of this work has sometimes been a little misapprehended, it should be added that its authors at no time intended it to be a regular history. When they first mapped out their respective shares in the joint undertaking, their design had been to write a number of short es says relating to many different features in the religion and Church histo ry of England in the Eighteenth Century. This general purpose was adhered to; and it was only after much deliberation that the word 'Chapters' was substituted for 'Essays.' There was, however, one important modification. Fewer subjects were, in the issue,
specifically discussed, but these more in detail; w hile some questions—such, for instance, as that of the Church in the Colonies—were scarcely touched upon. Hence a certain disproportion of treatment, which a general introductory chapter could but partially remedy.
PREFACE
TO
THE FIRST EDITION
Some years have elapsed since the authors of this w ork first entertained the idea of writing upon certain aspects of religious l ife and thought in the Eighteenth Century. If the ground is no longer so unoccupied as it was then, it appears to them that there is still abundant room for the book which they now lay before the public. Their main subject is expressly the English Church, and they write as English Churchmen, taking, however, no narrower basis than that of the National Church itself.
They desire to be responsible each for his own opinions only, and therefore the initials of the writer are attached to each chapter he has written.
CONTENTS
CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY.
(C.J. Abbey.)
Revived interest in the religious life of the eighteenth century1 Lowered tone prevalent during a great part of the period2 Loss of strength in the Puritan and Nonjuring ejections3 Absorbing speculations connected with the Deistical controversy4 Development of the ground principles of the Reformation5 Fruits of the Deistical controversy6 Its relation to the Methodist and Evangelical revivals7 Impetus to Protestant feeling in the Revolution of 16898 Projects of Church comprehension8
Methodism and the Church9 The French Revolution10 Passive Obedience and Divine Right10 Jacobitism11 Loss of the Nonjuring type of High Churchmen12 Toleration13 Church and State15 Respect for the Church16 Early part of the century richest in incident17 Religious societies17 The Sacheverell trial18 Convocation19 The later Nonjurors19 The Essayists20 Hoadly and the Bangorian controversy21 The Methodist and Evangelical movements21 Evidence writers22 Results of the Evidential theology23 Revival of practical activity at the end of the century24 The Episcopate24 General condition of religion and morality25 Clergy and people25
CHAPTER II.
ROBERT NELSON: HIS FRIENDS AND CHURCH PRINCIPLES.
(C.J. Abbey.)
Contrast with the coarser forms of High Churchmanship in that age26 Robert Nelson: general sketch of his life and doings27 His Nonjuring friends31 Ken31 Bancroft and Frampton32 Kettlewell33 Dodwell34 Hickes36 Lee38 Brokesby, Jeremy Collier, &c.39 Exclusiveness among many Nonjurors39 His friends in the National Church40 Bull40 Beveridge42 Sharp44 Smalridge46 Grabe47 Bray48 Oglethorpe, Mapletoft, &c.49 R. Nelson a High Churchman of wide sympathies50 Deterioration of the later type of eighteenth century Anglicanism51
Harm done to the English Church from the Nonjuring secession51 Coincidence at that time of political and theological parties52 Passive obedience as 'a doctrine of the Cross'53 Decline of the doctrine55 Loyalty56 The State prayers57 Temporary difficulties and permanent principles58 Nonjuring Church principles scarcely separable from those of most High Churchmen of that age in the National Church60 Nonjuror usages61 Nonjuror Protestantism63 Isolated position of the Nonjurors64 Communications with the Eastern Church65 General type of the Nonjuring theology and type of piety68 Important function of this party in a Church73 Religious promise of the early years of the century74 Disappointment in the main of these hopes75
CHAPTER III.
THE DEISTS.
(J.H. Overton.)
Points at issue in the Deistical controversy75-6 Deists not properly a sect76 Some negative tenets of the Deists77 Excitement caused by the subject of Deism78 Toland's 'Christianity not mysterious'79 Shaftesbury's 'Characteristics'80-2 His protest against the Utilitarian view of Christianity81 Collins's 'Discourse of Freethinking'82-3 Bentley's 'Remarks' on Collins'83-4 Collins's 'Discourse on the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion'84-5 Woolston's 'Six Discourses on the Miracles'85 Sherlock's 'Tryal of the Witnesses'86 Annet's 'Resurrection of Jesus Considered'86 Tindal's 'Christianity as old as the Creation'86-7 Conybeare's 'Defence of Revealed Religion'87 Tindal the chief exponent of Deism88 Morgan's 'Moral Philosopher'89 Chubbs's works90-1 'Christianity not founded on argument'92-3 Bolingbroke's 'Philosophical Works'93-6 Butler's 'Analogy'96-7 Warburton's 'Divine Legation of Moses'97-8 Berkeley's 'Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher'98-9 Leland's 'View of the Deistical Writers'100-1 Pope's 'Essay on Man'101-2
John Locke's relation to Deism102-5 Effects of the Deistical controversy106-8 Collapse of Deism108 Want of sympathy with the Deists110 Their unpopularity111
CHAPTER IV.
LATITUDINARIAN CHURCHMANSHIP.
(1.) CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF ARCHBISHOP TILLOTSON'S THEOLOGY.
(C.J. Abbey.)
Use of the term 'Latitudinarian'112 In the eighteenth century113 Archbishop Tillotson:— His close relationship with the eighteenth century115 His immense repute as a writer and divine115 Vehemence of the attack upon his opinions117 His representative character118 His appeal to reason in all religious questions119 On spiritual influence119 On Christian evidences119 On involuntary error120 On private judgment, its rights and limitations121 Liberty of thought and 'Freethinking' in Tillotson's and the succeeding age 125 Tillotson on 'mysteries'127 On the doctrine of the Trinity129 On Christ's redemption130 Theory of accommodation131 The future state133 Inadequate insistance on distinctive Christian doctrine140 Religion and ethics141 Goodness and happiness142 Prudential religion143 General type of Tillotson's latitudinarianism145
CHAPTER V.
LATITUDINARIAN CHURCHMANSHIP.
(2.) CHURCH COMPREHENSION AND CHURCH REFORMERS.
(C.J. Abbey.)
Comprehension in the English Church147 Attitude towards Rome in eighteenth century148
Strength of Protestant feeling148 Exceptional interest in the Gallican Church149 Archbishop Wake and the Sorbonne divines149 Alienation unmixed with interest in the middle of the eighteenth century152 The exiled French clergy154 The reformed churches abroad:— Relationship with them a practical question of great interest since James II.'s time155 Alternation of feeling on the subject since the Reformation156 The Protestant cause at the opening of the eighteenth century158 The English Liturgy and Prussian Lutherans160 Subsidence of interest in foreign Protestantism163 Nonconformists at home:— Strong feeling in favour of a national unity in Church matters164 Feeling at one time in favour of comprehension, both among Churchmen and Nonconformists166 General view of the Comprehension Bills169 The opportunity transitory174 Church comprehension in the early part of the eighteenth century confessedly hopeless175 Partial revival of the idea in the middle of the century177 Comprehension of Methodists180 Occasional conformity:— A simple question complicated by the Test Act183 The Occasional Conformity Bill184 Occasional conformity, apart from the test, a 'healing custom'185 But by some strongly condemned186 Important position it might have held in the system of the National Church 187 Revision of Church formularies; subscription:— Distaste for any ecclesiastical changes188 The 'Free and Candid Disquisitions'189 Subscription to the Articles190 Arian subscription193 Proposed revision of Church formularies195 Isolation of the English Church at the end of the last century195 The period unfitted to entertain and carry out ideas of Church development196
CHAPTER VI.
THE TRINITARIAN CONTROVERSY.
(J.H. Overton.)
Importance of the question at issue197 Four different views on the subject198 Bull's 'Defensio Fidei Nicænæ'199 Sherlock, Wallis, and South on the Trinity200 Charles Leslie on Socinianism201-2 William Whiston on the Trinity202-4
Samuel Clarke the reviver of modern Arianism204 Opponents of Clarke205 Waterland on the Trinity205-13 Excellences of Waterland's writings213 Convocation and Dr. Clarke214 Arianism among Dissenters215 Arianism lapses into Socinianism.—Faustus Socinus215 Modern Socinianism216 Isaac Watts on the Trinity217-9 Blackburne's 'Confessional'219 Jones of Nayland on the Trinity219-20 Priestley on the Trinity220 Horsley's replies to Priestley220-4 Unitarians and Trinitarians (nomenclature)225 Deism and Unitarianism226
CHAPTER VII.
'ENTHUSIASM.'
(C.J. Abbey.)
Meaning of 'Enthusiasm' as generally dreaded in the eighteenth century226 A vague term, but important in the history of the period227 As entering into most theological questions then under discussion229 Cambridge Platonists: Cudworth, Henry More230 Influence of Locke's philosophy234 Warburton's 'Doctrine of Grace'237 Sympathy with the reasonable rather than the spiritual side of religion237 Absence of Mysticism in the last century, on any conspicuous scale238 Mysticism found its chief vent in Quakerism240 Quakerism in eighteenth century241 Its strength, its decline, its claim to attention244 French Mysticism in England. The 'French Prophets'246 Fénelon, Bourignon, and Guyon249 German Mysticism in England. Behmen251 William Law253 His active part in theological controversy254 Effects of Mysticism on his theology255 His breadth of sympathy and appreciation of all spiritual excellence257 Position of, in the Deist controversy259 Views on the Atonement259 On the Christian evidences260 Controversy with Mandeville on the foundations of moral virtue261 His speculation on the future state261 On Enthusiasm263 His imitator in verse, John Byrom264 The Moravians265 Wesley's early intimacy with W. Law and with the Moravians266 Lavington and others on the enthusiasm of Methodists269
Points of resemblance and difference between Methodism and the Mystic revivals271 Bearing of Berkeley's philosophy on the Mystic theology274 William Blake275 Dean Graves on enthusiasm276 Samuel Coleridge277
CHAPTER VIII.
CHURCH ABUSES.
(J.H. Overton.)
Fair prospect at the beginning of the eighteenth century279 Contrast between promise and performance279 Shortcomings of the Church exaggerated on many sides280 General causes of the low tone of the Church:(1) Her outward prosperity280 (2) Influence and policy of Sir R. Walpole281 (3) The controversies of her own and previous generations282 (4) Political complications282 (5) Want of synodal action282-4 Pluralities and non-residence284-6 Neglect of parochial duties286-7 Clerical poverty287-9 Clerical dependents289 Abuse of Church patronage290-2 Evidence in the autobiography of Bishop T. Newton292-3 " " " Bishop Watson293-6 " " " Bishop Hurd296-7 Clergy too much mixed up with politics297-8 Want of parochial machinery298-300 Sermons of period too sweepingly censured300 But marked by a morbid dread of extremes301 Political sermons302 Low state of morals303 Clergy superior to their contemporaries304 The nation passed through a crisis in the eighteenth century306 A period of transition in the Church307 Torpor extended to all forms of Christianity308 Decay of Church discipline309-310 England better than her neighbours311 Good influences in the later part of the century311-2
CHAPTER IX.
THE EVANGELICAL REVIVAL.
(J.H. Overton.)
(1.) THE METHODIST MOVEMENT.
Strength and weakness of the Church in the middle of the eighteenth century 313 Propriety of the term 'Evangelical Revival'314 Contrast between Puritans and Evangelicals315 William Law316 John Wesley316-336 George Whitefield337-340 Charles Wesley340-3 Fletcher of Madeley343-6 Selina, Countess of Huntingdon347-354 Other Methodist worthies355
(2.) THE CALVINISTIC CONTROVERSY.
Feebleness and unprofitableness of the controversy356 The disputes between Wesley and Whitefield357-8 Minutes of the Conference of 1770358-360 The 'Circular printed Letter'360 Conference of 1771361 Controversy breaks out afresh in 1772362 Fletcher's checks to Antinomianism363-5 Toplady's writings365
(3.) THE EVANGELISTS.
James Hervey366-370 Grimshaw of Haworth370-1 Berridge of Everton371-2 William Romaine372-4 Henry Venn374-7 Evangelicalism and Methodism contemporaneous377-8 John Newton378-381 William Cowper381-3 Thomas Scott384-8 Richard Cecil388 Joseph Milner388-392 Isaac Milner392-3 Robinson of Leicester393-4 Bishop Porteus394 'The Clapham Sect'394 John and Henry Thornton395 William Wilberforce395-8 Lords Dartmouth and Teignmouth398 Dr. Johnson398-9 Hannah More399-402 Strength and weakness of the Evangelical leaders402-3
CHAPTER X.
CHURCH FABRICS AND SERVICES.
(C.J. Abbey.)
The 'Georgian Age'403 General sameness in the externals of worship404 Church architecture405 Vandalisms407 Whitewash408 Repairs of churches409 Church naves; relics of mediæval usage411 Pews and galleries411 Other adjuncts of eighteenth century churches414 Chancels and their ornaments416 Paintings in churches419 Stained glass423 Church bells425 Churchyards427 Church building428 Daily services429 Wednesday and Friday services; Saints' days; Lent; Passion Week; Christmas Day, &c.432 Wakes; Perambulations436 State services437 Church attendance439 Irreverence in church441 Variety of ceremonial444 The vestment rubric; copes445 The surplice; hood; scarf, &c.446 Clerical costume447 Postures of worship; Responses, &c.449 Liturgical uniformity451 Division of services452 The Eucharist; Sacramental usages453 Parish clerks456 Organs; church music458 Cathedrals459 The 'bidding' and the 'pulpit' prayer461 Preaching463 Lecturers466 Funeral sermons468 Baptism468 Catechising469 Confirmation470 Marriage471 Funerals471 Church discipline; excommunication; penance472 Sunday observance474 Conclusion475