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In the general features of these three years there is little to distinguish them from those which precede. The strong feeling against him, though with some abatement of its vehemence, still continued; the effect of it was perhaps visible in the slight falling off in the numbers of the school in 1837–38, at the time of the very height of its academical reputation; and in his own profession it appeared so generally to prevail, that when the present Bishop of Norwich proposed to give him the opportunity of removing some of the misapprehension of his opinions, by preaching his Consecration

at Lambeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury thought it his duty to withhold his permission, solely on the ground of the unfavourable reception which he supposed it would meet among the clergy. But his letters, and some of the Sermons in the fourth volume preached at this time, show how this period of comparative silence was yet, both in thought and action,

sermon

VOL. II.

B

most emphatically his period of battle; when, as if tired of acting on the defensive, he was at last roused to attack in return. The vehemence of the outcry by which he had been assailed, drove him into a more controversial atmosphere. The fact of the more positive formation of his own opinions brought him more immediately into collision with the positive opinions of others. The view with which he thus entered on his chief actual contests with what he conceived to be the two great evils of the age, is expressed in the twentieth Sermon in the fourth volume, preached September, 1836, on the opposite idols of unbelief and superstition, and on the only mode by which, in his judgment, either could be counteracted. These two contests were, on the one hand, against the school then dominant in the London University; on the other hand, against the school then dominant in Oxford.

I. And first, with regard to Oxford. From the earliest formation of his opinions he had looked upon (so-called) High Church doctrines as a great obstruction to the full development of national Christianity. But, up to the time here spoken of, these doctrines were held in a form too vague and impalpable to come into immediate collision with any of his own views. When he wrote the pamphlet on the Roman Catholic question in 1829, he could refer to a sermon of the Rev. W. F. Hook, on the Apostolical Succession, as a strange exception to the general tone of English clergymen. When he wrote his pamphlet on Church Reform in 1833, he could still speak of “ those extraordinary persons who gravely maintain that primitive episcopacy, and episcopacy as

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