Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/29

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26
The Romanes Lecture 1892

relative attitude of the Universities that, against Cartwright, there rose up from Oxford Richard Hooker, the first really great name in English theology since the Reformation, who has received the glowing eulogy of Mr. Hallam[1], and who remains a classic of British literature, while his opponent, I fear, has been given to the cobweb and the moth.

Through the first half of the seventeenth century, the strife of Anglican and Puritan raged fiercely in the womb of the Church of England; but the Universities, considered as academic bodies, were in fairer condition than under the fiercer strain and stress of the Reformation. The period which followed the Restoration was perhaps the best they had known since the days of Erasmus. Then came into being, through the agency of Oxford, the Royal Society for the promotion of Natural Science: and then, with rival honour, grew in Cambridge a school of Philosophy which is adorned by the names of Whichcote, Cudworth, John Smith, and Henry More.

But there is another growth, mainly of the seventeenth century, which has sufficient greatness to demand notice on academic grounds, although it belongs strictly to the sphere of the Church. That is, the formation of what might be termed, or might safely have been termed, until a very recent day, the standard

  1. Constitutional History, vol. i. 230 seqq. (4to edition). I am informed by Lord Acton that Hooker received an eulogy yet more remarkable from Dr. Döllinger, in the earlier period of his long life, and in his Lectures on dogmatic theology, Locus de Ecclesiâ.