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The Study Of Literature
English Literature Of The 19th Century:
 Thomas Babington Macaulay

 Thomas Carlyle

 Theological Writers

 Scientific Literature Of The Early Victorian Period

 Charles Robert Darwin

 Thomas Henry Huxley

 John Tyndall

 Periodical Literature And Criticism

 Matthew Arnold

 John Ruskin

 Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century

Theological Writers

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Few writers of theological works can be treated in a history of general literature. Yet some have had such wide effect on the public mind and have given occasion for so much discussion that they claim special mention. Perhaps no one has a stronger claim than John Henry Newman (1801-1890) who, after leading the movement which gave new life to the Church of England, abandoned it for the Church of Rome, in which he was made a Cardinal. He was born in London and educated at Oxford. He held various positions in his University, and in 1827 became vicar of St. Mary's Church, which gave him opportunity by his sermons to direct the minds of the students. He had originally been an Evangelical, but his studies of the early Church led him to adopt views generally considered Roman Catholic. These were justified by his theory of development. In 1833 he began to publish "Tracts for the Times," in which he was assisted by Keble and Dr. Pusey. When Tract No. XC was condemned by the bishops the series stopped. In 1843 Newman re-signed St. Mary's, and two years later he was admitted to the Church of Rome. In its communion he worked quietly. He assisted in the attempt of 1854 to establish a Catholic University in Dublin, but spent most of his time in educational work at Edgbaston, near Birmingham. In 1864, taking advantage of a charge made against him by Kingsley, he issued his famous "Apologia pro Vita Sua" as his defense. By its masterly style and careful argument it turned the public mind in his favor. In 1872 he entered into controversy with Gladstone on Vaticanism. In 1879 Pope Leo XIII advanced him to the Cardinalate, for which he visited Rome. When he died, in August, 189o, men of various positions spoke in praise of his character.

Newman's works comprise nearly 40 volumes, and from these he had edited a selection in his later years. Good judges reckon him among the best English prose writers. His "Sermons" are in this respect much superior to his "Development of Christian Doctrine" and "History of the Arians in the Fourth Century." Their characteristics are simple but impressive language, moderate sentences, sparing use of illustrations and metaphors, perfect clearness, and through them a deep seriousness and solemnity. New-man's few poems are also excellent, the best being the familiar hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light," written in 1833. "The Dream of Gerontius," a vision of death and judgment, was a product of his old age. Soon after his ad-mission to the Roman Church, he published two religious novels : "Callista," a story of the persecution of Christians in North Africa in the Third Century; and "Loss and Gain," a story of his own time.

Newman's early associate in the Tractarian controversy, Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) remained in the Anglican Church, and lived to see his party become dominant in it. He edited the "Oxford Library of the Fathers," translations of early Christian writers. His "Sermons," not so attractive in style as Newman's, were well adapted to University students. The most notable work of his old age is the "Eirenicon," a plea for the re-union of the great Christian Churches.

In sacred verse John Keble (1792-1866) was the successor of the saintly George Herbert of the Seventeenth Century. His "Christian Year" (1828), a series of hymns on the church festivals, elevated the religious feelings of the country and assisted the Oxford movement, which a sermon of his in 1833 started. He had a brilliant course at Oxford, taking many prizes, and in 1831 was made professor of poetry there. He wrote several of the celebrated "Tracts for the Times," but his life was chiefly spent in his country church at Hursley. Besides the "Christian Year" he published "Lyra Innocentium," hymns for children, and "Miscellaneous Poems." All are characterized by perfect taste as well as high spirituality, careful diction and melody.

One of the effective promoters of the Broad Church movement, which grew out of resistance to the extreme views of the Tractarians, was Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872). He had been educated at Cam-bridge, but being then a Unitarian, could not obtain a degree. Under the influence of Coleridge, his views were changed, and he went to Oxford, got his degree, and was ordained in 1834. His rejection of the doctrine of eternal punishment caused him to lose a professorship in King's College, Cambridge. Others who were charged with heresy found in him an able defender, but he refused to form a party. He was a promoter of Christian Socialism, and of plans for the benefit of workingmen. His longest work is "History of Moral Philosophy," of which branch he was made professor at Cambridge in 1866. His writings were numerous and had great influence on other clergymen rather than on the public directly.

More widely known and more prominent in literature was Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815-1881) commonly called Dean Stanley, from his position in Westminster Abbey. He was the son of a bishop and became the son-in-law and biographer of his teacher, Dr. Arnold, of Rug-by. After a distinguished course at Oxford, he held various preferments in the Church and was from 1856 to 1863 professor of ecclesiastical history at Oxford. Church history was the chief field of his studies and writings. Among his works are "Sinai and Palestine" (1854), the result of a tour in the Holy Land; "Lectures on the Greek Church" (1861), derived from a visit to Russia; "History of the Jewish Church" (1843), a volume on "The Church of Scotland," and "Christian Institutions" (1881). Regarding the Church as an historical society, necessarily subject to variations in different ages, he delighted to trace its growth and development. But he sought also to pro-mote in his own day a more comprehensive spirit of Christianity, and took every opportunity to show his recognition of it in other men. Hence he frequently entered into controversy to protect those whom he considered unjustly attacked. The term Broad Church was originated by him to indicate the proper attitude of the English Church towards clashing opinions and doctrines. When canon of Canterbury he prepared the interesting "Memorials of Canterbury" (1855), and later he prepared the still more valuable "Memorials of Westminster Abbey" (1867). In 1878 he visited the United States and afterwards published "Addresses and Sermons" delivered there. The leading characteristic of his speaking and writing was the universality of his religious sympathies, finding good in all men.

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