SIDNEY FIVE DEANS John Colet John Donne Jonathan Swift Arthur
Penrhyn Stanley William Ralph Inge NKW VORKL IIARCOURT, BRACE AND
COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1928, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AN T D COMPANY, IMC.
MADE IN THE U. S A BY POUYCflAPHlC COMPANY OF AMERICA. INC Nl W
YORK, N Y CONTEN TS PREFACE Page 7 JOHN COLET I JOHN DONNE 54
JONATHAN SWIFT 1 09 ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY I 4 WILLIAM RALPH INGE
209 PREFACE IN the studies in this book, I have been mainly
concerned to suggest the relation of each of the individuals whom I
have considered to the movements and reactions of his time. Of the
five Deans, Donne and Swift were far more distinguished as men of
letters than as Churchmen, and Dr. Inge is far more interested in
philosophy than in piety. But it is mainly as Churchmen that I have
considered the three Deans of St. Pauls, the one Dean of
Westminster and the one Dean of St. Patricks, as Churchmen and as
typical representatives of the English Church in the years
immediately before the Reformation, in the years that immediately
followed it, in the eighteenth, in the nine teenth and in the
twentieth centuries. It may be sug gested, not unjustly, that there
is no place for Swift in a volume devoted to ecclesiastics and
ecclesiastical affairs. Thackeray would have it that the great
ironist was a great scoundrel, but no man has suggested that he was
a great Churchman. To me the fact of importance is that Swift was a
Churchman at all. The Church was to him and to Donne the only
possible means of livelihood. That they were ordained is much less
a reflection on their characters than a criticism of the Church and
a demonstration of its character in the times in which they lived.
Action and reaction have markedthe history of the English Church
during the last five centuries as they mark the history of every
institution in all the ages. The high hopes of the Oxford
humanists, at the beginning of the sixteenth century were swamped
in the chaos of the Reformation with its destruction of European
unity and its sorry gift to the world of a new, colourless,
negative religion. The fight of the English Church to preserve
something of its Catholic character against the eager PREFACE
onslaughts of the Puritans lasted from Elizabeth to the Non-jurors
who, though they went out into a lonely and arid wilderness, were
responsible for the religious revival of the last two decades of
the seventeenth century which left as a legacy to the Church two
great societies - the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and
the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. There followed the
dead years of the eighteenth century with their prevailing
Latitudinarianism and the decay of the Church to a spiritual
deadness against which Methodism and the Evangelical revival were
the revolt. Methodism, almost against the will of Wesley, grew into
a schism, and the evangelical revival had no great lasting effect
on the life of the Church itself, which, in the years immediately
before the beginning of the Oxford Movement, was as worldly and as
dead as it had been in the preceding century. From 1833 until
to-day two antagonistic influences have contended for supremacy
within the English Church. I have endeavoured to make the character
of these influences clear in my study of Dean Stanley who, while
himself a Liberal Erastian, had a toleration which was all his own
and which was shared neither by his master, Arnold, nor by
theLiberal Erastians of our time who still secure the most
desirable preferment and sit in the seats of the ecclesiastical
mighty. Stanley was the apostle, if he was not the inventor, of
comprehensiveness Arnold would have driven the Tractarians out of
the Church into which he was eager to welcome Unitarians. Stanley
defended Pusey as he defended Colenso. He was per fectly
consistent, because if the Church of England is, as he contended,
mainly to be regarded as an invaluable national possession, then it
is clear that the wider its boundaries, the better...
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