Saturday, 14 July 2012

"...Very different are the feelings with which it seems natural for a true Churchman to regard such a state of things, from those which would arise in his mind on witnessing the mere triumph of any given set of adverse opinions, exaggerated or even heretical as he might deem them. He might feel as melancholy,—he could hardly feel so indignant.
But this is not a becoming place, nor are these safe topics, for the indulgence of mere feeling. The point really to be considered is, whether, according to the coolest estimate, the fashionable liberality of this generation be not ascribable, in a great measure, to the same temper which led the Jews voluntarily to set about degrading themselves to a level with the idolatrous Gentiles? And, if it be true anywhere, that such enactments are forced on the Legislature by public opinion, is APOSTASY too hard a word to describe the temper of that nation?
The same tendency is still more apparent, because the fair gloss of candour and forbearance is wanting, in the surly or scornful impatience often exhibited, by persons who would regret passing for unbelievers, when Christian motives are suggested, and checks from Christian principles attempted to be enforced on their public conduct. I say, 'their public conduct,' more especially ; because in that, I know not how, persons are apt to be more shameless, and readier to avow the irreligion that is in them ;—amongst other reasons, probably, from each feeling that he is one of multitude, and fancying, therefore, that his responsibility is divided...."
John Keble: from the Assize Sermon  preached at St. Mary's, Oxford, on July 14, 1833, accounted by most commentators (including Bl John Henry Newman*) as the beginning of the Oxford Movement. The full text is here

* "...The following Sunday, July 14th, Mr. Keble preached the Assize Sermon in the University Pulpit. It was published under the title of "National Apostasy." I have ever considered and kept the day, as the start of the religious movement of 1833"
Apologia pro Vita Sua,  part 3.

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