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balanced between the human and the divine, the glories of heaven and the vanities of earth, then the spirit that actuated the “Fathers of Methodism” was to be traced in the “Evangelical Fathers,” not so much in their burning zeal, as in their insubordination to episcopal rule, and their unquenchable thirst for spiritual excitement a.

But if we would judge the Evangelicals fairly, we must carry ourselves back to the time and circumstances in which they lived. If they were not conspicuous for theological learning, it must be remembered that in those days, when Bishoprics and Dean. eries, and the highest prizes of the Church, were bestowed, not on personal merit or learning, but on account of aristocratical or political connexion, theological studies were, by universal consent, thrown into the background. The Evangelicals felt that people did not need so much to be aroused to the belief, as to the sense and practice, of religion; and that the requirement of the day was a fervent, heart-stirring enthusiasm. They cared little for doctrine, except their own interpretation of it; they set little store by Apostolical succession, and by the value of sacraments; they gave an exclusive pre-eminence to the doctrine of “ Justification by Faith,” and, although they indignantly denied the charge of Antinomianism, they dwelt little on the necessity of good works as

. Stephen's Essays in Eccl. Biog., ii. 171.

the fruits of Faith ; Regeneration they confused with Conversion ; the Holy Eucharist they valued as a bare commemoration, not as the Sacrament by which Faith is nourished in the soul; sermons and extempore prayers they placed before the PrayerBook and Creeds, and the pulpit before the altar. They were blind admirers of the Reformation, of which they formed an entirely erroneous impression; they first coined a system of theology utterly unlike that of the Prayer-Book, and in order to invest it with some air of consistency, they invented the theory that the identity of the Church was broken, and Protestantism established, at the Reformation. The English Church they regarded simply as one of the Protestant Communions throughout the world.

The starting-point of the Evangelicals was the exact opposite to that of the Rationalists, which had been so much in vogue during the eighteenth century. With the latter, the Religion of Nature and the Christian Religion were almost convertible terms; with the Evangelicals, on the other hand, human nature was opposed to everything that is good; nature and grace were two antagonistic principles, and until nature is changed by grace, and that by no external ordinances, but by the perception of an inward change, there is in man a radical and insuperable repugnance to religion. Dividing their hearers into two classes, believers and unbelievers, in which latter class they included by far the greater number (and that for two opposite reasons, because some were too wicked, and others trusted too much to good works), they took the Bible as their sole guide, they substituted Bible truth for abstract argument, and applied it to the consciences of their people. Their sermons frequently lasted an hour, sometimes an hour and a half; they would preach, as they said, half an hour before Christ came, and an hour afterwards : they represented sin in its most hideous colours-an enraged God as a severe creditor who would exact the uttermost farthingand the Saviour as the sinner's friend, ready and willing to save. Personal election, sudden conversion, experimental religion, these were considered as the tests of gospel truth; a person must not only have a special revelation that Christ died for him, but must feel that his salvation is now so certain as to place him beyond further doubt. Faults he might have, but he was saved ; others might have virtues, but unless they had this personal assurance, they were not only not saved, but they had not advanced one step on the road to salvation.

The sources from which, next to the Bible, the Evangelicals drew their inspiration were not works of Patristic nor Anglo-Catholic theology, nor such as were familiar to English Churchmen, but Protestant books of the sixteenth, and Nonconformist books of the seventeenth, century b. The Homilies

• Stoughton's Religion in England.

were their delight, and to them they appealed in support of their views ; certain Articles, especially the seventeenth, they regarded with particular favour, whilst several parts of the Church's formularies, especially the Baptismal and Burial Services, were little to their taste. They firmly believed in the Bible, that it was given by Inspiration of God; but if they were asked why their interpretation was right, and the opinions of those who differed from them were wrong, or why they accepted certain books as canonical and rejected others, they had no answer to give.

In their lives they were pious and consistent Christians, living as they taught others to live, holding, indeed, that the chief duty of a Clergyman was preaching, to which everything else inust give place, yet zealous and laborious parish priests, instant in season and out of season ; caring little for remuneration, they worked incessantly in visiting the sick, in exhorting the whole, in seeking out sinners, in teaching in schools; they promoted missions to the heathen, and they eradicated the lingering vestiges of Arianism.

The existence of a party within the Church, from whose doctrine, and discipline, and ritual it essentially differed; of men who, not troubling themselves about matters of doctrine and discipline, attacked the strongholds of Satan by preaching the Gospel simply and from their hearts, was a peculiar feature of the eighteenth century. How came such a party to find a place within the Church of England? That the

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Church was intended by our Reformers to remain as Catholic after the Reformation as it was before, there cannot be the least doubt. The word “Protestant,” as applied to our Church, is both etymologically and historically misleading. In its strict sense it denotes those German Princes, Clergy, and others, who on April 29, 1529, lodged their Protest against the condemnation of Luther by the Diet of Spires, and appealed thence to a General Council. It is a matter of historical fact that there never has been any official relation between the Church of England and German Lutheranism. That Luther's powerful genius influenced the Reformation everywhere, even in those countries which were most opposed to him, is indisputable: and thus his teaching is, to some extent, traceable in the Anglican Formularies. Zurich and Geneva, in which places the exiles from England sought refuge during the reign of Mary, were, the former the centre of Zwinglian, the latter of Calvinistic, teaching; with Wittenburg, the abode of Lutheran Theology, Zurich was at open war; and this fact explains the lack of sympathy on the part of the exiles of Zurich with Lutheranism. So that when this party of Marian exiles, which formed the nucleus of the Puritan school, returned to England at the accession of Elizabeth, the faith which they brought with them was Zwinglo-Calvinist, and not

c See vol. i. p. 47.

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