Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
An Academic Sketch

theology of the English Church: that theology into which, by a normal process, it settled down, when the tempest of sheer violence had been sufficiently allayed to give fair scope and shelter for the action of tranquil thought and the labours of the pen. It attracted the sympathies of great foreigners, such as Casaubon, Grotius, and De Dominis[1]; and it was marked, from the time of Andrewes onwards, by deep learning and by great and varied ability. The Bishops of the Restoration, if judged by results, were no small ecclesiastical statesmen. The men who executed the Authorised Translation of the Scriptures were not mere pedants, fanatics, or bookworms. The Anglican divines of the seventeenth century were, probably to a man, reared within the Universities. It appears to me that of the work which they jointly performed, though this is not perhaps the general impression, the larger and weightier part was due to Cambridge.

If now we proceed to take the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in one group, and endeavour to test the relative greatness of the two Universities, during that period, by the greatness of the individual

  1. Every one is aware that De Dominis returned to Italy, and it is, I believe, certain that in some terms and in some sense he renounced his own previous action with respect to the Church of England. But he was treated by the Latin Church, after his death, as a heretic; and it may be a question whether he did not act all along upon that view of the Church at large which was resolutely held in the seventeenth century by Bishop Goodman of Gloucester, and perhaps (within my own memory) by that devout, eloquent, and attractive clergyman of the present century, Mr. R. Waldo Sibthorp.