The Social and Political Ideas of Some English Thinkers of the Augustan Age, A. D. 1650-1750: A Series of Lectures Delivered at King's College, University of London, during the Session 1927-28

By F. J. C. Hearnshaw | Go to book overview
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VI
BENJAMIN HOADLY, BISHOP OF BANGOR

THE eventful fourscore years and five which saw the unfolding of the tragic fortunes of the Stuart monarchy in England witnessed also the progressive and irreparable crumbling of the Elizabethan creation of a National Church, wherein the entire people should be gathered in a spiritual unity "according to the pattern of God's own ancient elect people." From the outset indeed the Elizabethan Settlement had borne within its womb the seeds of two religious traditions, and before the end of the reign two parties had separated themselves within its communion. The struggle between 'reformers' and 'innovators,' between the champions of Anglicanism and of the Presbyterian system, had resulted in the victory of the former chiefly because the power of the royal supremacy had been exercised heavily against the Puritan party. "By the goodness of Almighty God and His servant Elizabeth we are" was a thanksgiving as truly merited as enthusiastically offered by the grateful Anglicans. But the very closeness of the alliance between the monarchy and the episcopacy which had preserved hitherto the via media so straightly was to prove a source of disaster when the Stuarts succeeded to the throne. Within the Church the conflict of parties was accentuated by the growth of the new school of Laudian divines, who, in return for the protection of Charles I in religious policy, lent the support of their office to his claim to rule without consulting Parliament. The unhappy consequence of the coalition of Church and Crown became evident in the struggles preceding the Civil War, when the combatants ranged themselves largely according to their ecclesiastical allegiance, the Parliamentary party being resolved to destroy root and branch that order of episcopacy which had seemed to Hooker "the glue and soder

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