Religious Movements Of The Past Century In England 1830-1930 -- By: John Macleod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 087:348 (Oct 1930)
Article: Religious Movements Of The Past Century In England 1830-1930
Author: John Macleod

Religious Movements Of The Past Century In England

John Macleod

The last decade of the Eighteenth Century saw the inception of the Missionary movement in the churches of the English-speaking world. It was the age of the French Revolution which was the fruit of a liberalizing movement that was decidedly non-Christian in its leading features. That upheaval was not only the offspring of free-thought; it was an outburst of militant Infidelity. It upset the old order in France. It overturned the thrones of half of Europe. It awakened the slow-working British mind to the public and civil issues that are the outcome of thought in the abstract region of faith and unbelief. But the mere awakening of a thoughtful interest in such questions would not, save by way of occasion, account for the remarkable rise of the Evangelical movement that then began in Great Britain as a whole. The time was one of gracious visitation when real revival was granted to the Church of God; and the working of such revival was to be seen in the Missionary, Bible, and Tract Societies whose work has spread over the whole world and has continued down to this present. The Methodist Revival, alike within and without the Church of England, had been making headway during the latter half of the Eighteenth Century. But the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century marked a distinct advance in its growth. To the north of the Tweed the situation was not quite the same as in England; so it is as well that, in considering the religious movements of the past century, Scotland should receive distinct treatment. Yet just as Evangelicalism had advanced rapidly in England from 1790–1830 it revived wonderfully during that period in the Church of Scotland, too, and by the year 1830 it had come virtually to the ascendant in the old Church of Knox. In respect thus of a spreading Evangelical influence, England and Scot-

land were both visited with the breath of a spring-time that followed a hard winter.

In the Church of England, with its “Calvinistic Articles, Popish Liturgy and Arminian Clergy,” the Evangelical Revival had by 1830 achieved notable results. Thomas Scott, the commentator, who was long one of its older leaders, was not long dead, but his son, John Scott of Hull, was a worthy representative of a worthy father. Daniel Wilson of Islington, afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, was a power in the London pulpit. Legh Richmond was among the most beloved of its public men and was well known for his popular tracts. But above all Charles Simeon was still alive and served as a link between the more Methodistic Evangelism of his youth in the Eighteenth Century and the more correct and conforming Evangelicalism of his later years. It has been said that ...

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