CHAPTER 36
LIBERALISM AND REACTION AMONG FRIENDS

THE liberal movement among Friends was largely, at first, a reaction from the Evangelical theology and the Quietist attitude of hostility to philosophy and science. In America it was also a rebound from the extremes of the revival theology. In both countries, but especially in England where it developed first, it was stimulated by intellectual movements in the church at large and by the new spirit of the age. Scientific speculation was provoked by the new discoveries and theories in the natural sciences, especially the new geology and the Darwinian doctrine of evolution. New approaches to philosophical and theological problems were provided by the quickened historical sense of the age and by the social and political changes following the Industrial Revolution. Friends were made more susceptible to these influences by long contacts with liberal thinkers in many social and political reforms. They were also more open to influences from outside the Society at the time when the abandonment of the traditional peculiarities let down many of the old barriers against the world.

Friends were particularly influenced by a number of religious writers and liberal preachers of England and Scotland and by the writings of: Kingsley, Maurice, Browning and Tennyson. The later writings of John Greenleaf Whittier were among the earliest of the liberal forces within the Society. He had gained a large public through his antislavery efforts, and his poems exerted an influence far be

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