The English Church in the Eighteenth Century
By Abbey and Overton

Abbey-Overton – The English Church in the Eighteenth Century is a book of English Church History written in 1896. Chapter titles include Robert Nelson, The Deists, Latitudinarian Churchmanship, Trinitarian Controversy, Enthusiasm, Church Absuses, Evangelical Revival, Church Fabrics and Services. (Full chapter contents follows …)


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(C.J. Abbey.)
Revived interest in the religious life of the eighteenth century, 1
Lowered tone prevalent during a great part of the period, 2
Loss of strength in the Puritan and Nonjuring ejections, 3
Absorbing speculations connected with the Deistical controversy, 4
Development of the ground principles of the Reformation, 5
Fruits of the Deistical controversy, 6
Its relation to the Methodist and Evangelical revivals, 7
Impetus to Protestant feeling in the Revolution of 1689, 8
Projects of Church comprehension, 8
Methodism and the Church, 9
The French Revolution, 10
Passive Obedience and Divine Right, 10
Jacobitism, 11
Loss of the Nonjuring type of High Churchmen, 12
Toleration, 13
Church and State, 15
Respect for the Church, 16
Early part of the century richest in incident, 17
Religious societies, 17
The Sacheverell trial, 18
Convocation, 19
The later Nonjurors, 19
The Essayists, 20
Hoadly and the Bangorian controversy, 21
The Methodist and Evangelical movements, 21
Evidence writers, 22
Results of the Evidential theology, 23
Revival of practical activity at the end of the century, 24
The Episcopate, 24
General condition of religion and morality, 25
Clergy and people, 25
(C.J. Abbey.)
Contrast with the coarser forms of High Churchmanship in that
age, 26
Robert Nelson: general sketch of his life and doings, 27
His Nonjuring friends, 31
Ken, 31
Bancroft and Frampton, 32
Kettlewell,  33
Dodwell, 34
Hickes, 36
Lee, 38
Brokesby, Jeremy Collier, &c., 39
Exclusiveness among many Nonjurors, 39
His friends in the National Church, 40
Bull, 40
Beveridge, 42
Sharp, 44
Smalridge, 46
Grabe, 47
Bray, 48
Oglethorpe, Mapletoft, &c., 49
R. Nelson a High Churchman of wide sympathies, 50
Deterioration of the later type of eighteenth century
Anglicanism, 51
Harm done to the English Church from the Nonjuring secession, 51
Coincidence at that time of political and theological parties, 52
Passive obedience as ‘a doctrine of the Cross’, 53
Decline of the doctrine, 55
Loyalty, 56
The State prayers, 57
Temporary difficulties and permanent principles, 58
Nonjuring Church principles scarcely separable from those of most High
Churchmen of that age in the National Church, 60
Nonjuror usages, 61
Nonjuror Protestantism, 63
Isolated position of the Nonjurors, 64
Communications with the Eastern Church, 65
General type of the Nonjuring theology and type of piety, 68
Important function of this party in a Church, 73
Religious promise of the early years of the century, 74
Disappointment in the main of these hopes, 75
(J.H. Overton.)
Points at issue in the Deistical controversy, 75-6
Deists not properly a sect, 76
Some negative tenets of the Deists, 77
Excitement caused by the subject of Deism, 78
Toland’s ‘Christianity not mysterious’, 79
Shaftesbury’s ‘Characteristics’, 80-2
His protest against the Utilitarian view of Christianity, 81
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 Deism, 88
Morgan’s ‘Moral Philosopher’, 89
Chubbs’s works, 90-1
‘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 Deism, 102-5
Effects of the Deistical controversy, 106-8
Collapse of Deism, 108
Want of sympathy with the Deists, 110
Their unpopularity, 111
(C.J. Abbey.)
Use of the term ‘Latitudinarian’, 112
In the eighteenth century, 113
Archbishop Tillotson:–
His close relationship with the eighteenth century, 115
His immense repute as a writer and divine, 115
Vehemence of the attack upon his opinions, 117
His representative character, 118
His appeal to reason in all religious questions, 119
On spiritual influence, 119
On Christian evidences, 119
On involuntary error, 120
On private judgment, its rights and limitations, 121
Liberty of thought and ‘Freethinking’ in Tillotson’s and the
succeeding age, 125
Tillotson on ‘mysteries’, 127
On the doctrine of the Trinity, 129
On Christ’s redemption, 130
Theory of accommodation, 131
The future state, 133
Inadequate insistance on distinctive Christian doctrine, 140
Religion and ethics, 141
Goodness and happiness, 142
Prudential religion, 143
General type of Tillotson’s latitudinarianism, 145
(C.J. Abbey.)
Comprehension in the English Church, 147
Attitude towards Rome in eighteenth century, 148
Strength of Protestant feeling, 148
Exceptional interest in the Gallican Church, 149
Archbishop Wake and the Sorbonne divines, 149
Alienation unmixed with interest in the middle of the eighteenth
century, 152
The exiled French clergy, 154
The reformed churches abroad:–
Relationship with them a practical question of great interest since
James II.’s time, 155
Alternation of feeling on the subject since the Reformation, 156
The Protestant cause at the opening of the eighteenth century, 158
The English Liturgy and Prussian Lutherans, 160
Subsidence of interest in foreign Protestantism, 163
Nonconformists at home:–
Strong feeling in favour of a national unity in Church
matters, 164
Feeling at one time in favour of comprehension, both among Churchmen
and Nonconformists, 166
General view of the Comprehension Bills, 169
The opportunity transitory, 174
Church comprehension in the early part of the eighteenth century
confessedly hopeless, 175
Partial revival of the idea in the middle of the century, 177
Comprehension of Methodists, 180
Occasional conformity:–
A simple question complicated by the Test Act, 183
The Occasional Conformity Bill, 184
Occasional conformity, apart from the test, a ‘healing
custom’, 185
But by some strongly condemned, 186
Important position it might have held in the system of the National
Church, 187
Revision of Church formularies; subscription:–
Distaste for any ecclesiastical changes, 188
The ‘Free and Candid Disquisitions’, 189
Subscription to the Articles, 190
Arian subscription,  193
Proposed revision of Church formularies, 195
Isolation of the English Church at the end of the last century, 195
The period unfitted to entertain and carry out ideas of Church
development, 196
(J.H. Overton.)
Importance of the question at issue, 197
Four different views on the subject, 198
Bull’s ‘Defensio Fidei Nicaenae’, 199
Sherlock, Wallis, and South on the Trinity, 200
Charles Leslie on Socinianism, 201-2
William Whiston on the Trinity, 202-4
Samuel Clarke the reviver of modern Arianism, 204
Opponents of Clarke, 205
Waterland on the Trinity, 205-13
Excellences of Waterland’s writings, 213
Convocation and Dr. Clarke, 214
Arianism among Dissenters, 215
Arianism lapses into Socinianism.–Faustus Socinus, 215
Modern Socinianism, 216
Isaac Watts on the Trinity, 217-9
Blackburne’s ‘Confessional’, 219
Jones of Nayland on the Trinity, 219-20
Priestley on the Trinity, 220
Horsley’s replies to Priestley, 220-4
Unitarians and Trinitarians (nomenclature), 225
Deism and Unitarianism, 226
(_C.J. Abbey._)
Meaning of ‘Enthusiasm’ as generally dreaded in the eighteenth
century, 226
A vague term, but important in the history of the period, 227
As entering into most theological questions then under
discussion, 229
Cambridge Platonists: Cudworth, Henry More, 230
Influence of Locke’s philosophy, 234
Warburton’s ‘Doctrine of Grace’, 237
Sympathy with the reasonable rather than the spiritual side of
religion, 237
Absence of Mysticism in the last century, on any conspicuous
scale, 238
Mysticism found its chief vent in Quakerism     240
Quakerism in eighteenth century     241
Its strength, its decline, its claim to attention, 244
French Mysticism in England. The ‘French Prophets’, 246
Fenelon, Bourignon, and Guyon, 249
German Mysticism in England. Behmen, 251
William Law, 253
His active part in theological controversy, 254
Effects of Mysticism on his theology, 255
His breadth of sympathy and appreciation of all spiritual
excellence, 257
Position of, in the Deist controversy, 259
Views on the Atonement, 259
On the Christian evidences, 260
Controversy with Mandeville on the foundations of moral
virtue, 261
His speculation on the future state, 261
On Enthusiasm, 263
His imitator in verse, John Byrom, 264
The Moravians, 265
Wesley’s early intimacy with W. Law and with the Moravians, 266
Lavington and others on the enthusiasm of Methodists, 269
Points of resemblance and difference between Methodism and the Mystic
revivals, 271
Bearing of Berkeley’s philosophy on the Mystic theology, 274
William Blake, 275
Dean Graves on enthusiasm, 276
Samuel Coleridge, 277
(J.H. Overton.)
Fair prospect at the beginning of the eighteenth century, 279
Contrast between promise and performance, 279
Shortcomings of the Church exaggerated on many sides, 280
_General causes of the low tone of the Church:_–
(1) Her outward prosperity, 280
(2) Influence and policy of Sir R. Walpole, 281
(3) The controversies of her own and previous generations, 282
(4) Political complications, 282
(5) Want of synodal action, 282-4
Pluralities and non-residence, 284-6
Neglect of parochial duties, 286-7
Clerical poverty, 287-9
Clerical dependents, 289
Abuse of Church patronage, 290-2
Evidence in the autobiography of Bishop T. Newton, 292-3
”          ”        ”      Bishop Watson, 293-6
”          ”        ”      Bishop Hurd, 296-7
Clergy too much mixed up with politics, 297-8
Want of parochial machinery, 298-300
Sermons of period too sweepingly censured, 300
But marked by a morbid dread of extremes, 301
Political sermons, 302
Low state of morals, 303
Clergy superior to their contemporaries, 301
The nation passed through a crisis in the eighteenth century, 306
A period of transition in the Church, 307
Torpor extended to all forms of Christianity, 308
Decay of Church discipline, 309-310
England better than her neighbours, 311
Good influences in the later part of the century, 311-2
(J.H. Overton.)
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 Evangelicals, 315
William Law, 316
John Wesley, 316-336
George Whitefield, 337-340
Charles Wesley, 340-3
Fletcher of Madeley, 343-6
Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, 347-354
Other Methodist worthies, 355
Feebleness and unprofitableness of the controversy, 356
The disputes between Wesley and Whitefield, 357-8
Minutes of the Conference of 1770, 358-360
The ‘Circular printed Letter’, 360
Conference of 1771, 361
Controversy breaks out afresh in 1772, 362
Fletcher’s checks to Antinomianism, 363-5
Toplady’s writings, 365
James Hervey, 366-370
Grimshaw of Haworth, 370-1
Berridge of Everton, 371-2
William Romaine, 372-4
Henry Venn, 374-7
Evangelicalism and Methodism contemporaneous, 377-8
John Newton, 378-381
William Cowper, 381-3
Thomas Scott, 384-8
Richard Cecil, 388
Joseph Milner, 388-392
Isaac Milner, 392-3
Robinson of Leicester, 393-4
Bishop Porteus, 394
‘The Clapham Sect’, 394
John and Henry Thornton, 395
William Wilberforce, 395-8
Lords Dartmouth and Teignmouth, 398
Dr. Johnson, 398-9
Hannah More, 399-402
Strength and weakness of the Evangelical leaders, 402-3
(C.J. Abbey.)
The ‘Georgian Age’, 403
General sameness in the externals of worship, 404
Church architecture, 405
Vandalisms, 407
Whitewash, 408
Repairs of churches, 409
Church naves; relics of mediaeval usage, 411
Pews and galleries, 411
Other adjuncts of eighteenth century churches, 414
Chancels and their ornaments, 416
Paintings in churches, 419
Stained glass, 423
Church bells, 425
Churchyards, 427
Church building, 428
Daily services, 429
Wednesday and Friday services; Saints’ days; Lent; Passion Week;
Christmas Day, &c., 432
Wakes; Perambulations, 436
State services,  437
Church attendance, 439
Irreverence in church, 441
Variety of ceremonial, 444
The vestment rubric; copes, 445
The surplice; hood; scarf, &c., 446
Clerical costume, 447
Postures of worship; Responses, &c., 449
Liturgical uniformity, 451
Division of services, 452
The Eucharist; Sacramental usages, 453
Parish clerks, 456
Organs; church music, 458
Cathedrals,  459
The ‘bidding’ and the ‘pulpit’ prayer, 461
Preaching, 463
Lecturers, 466
Funeral sermons, 468
Baptism, 468
Catechising, 469
Confirmation, 470
Marriage, 471
Funerals, 471
Church discipline; excommunication; penance, 472
Sunday observance, 474
Conclusion, 475
APPENDIX: List of Authorities, 477
INDEX, 489


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