Religious Thought: Wesley, Swedenborg
At the end of the eighteenth century, the established Church of England was in a state of extreme spiritual and physical decay. Rural parishes were characterised by absentee incumbents or pleasure-seeking parsons, the growing industrial towns were largely unchurched, while the cities experienced a spiritual vacuum (there were six communicants in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Easter Day 1800). Coleridge, the son of a clergyman, had doubts in 1800 about the baptism of his sons: ‘shall I suffer the Toad of Priesthood to spurt out his foul juice in this Babe’s face?’ (letter to William Godwin). Blake satirised the clergy as lying hypocrites.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Industrial Town Love Divine Rural Parish Unitarian Family
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