The Latitudinarians, a group of prominent clergymen in the late seventeenth-century Church of England, were articulate opponents of Anglicanism's intellectual foes. Against the challenges of Hobbism, Spinozism, Deism, scepticism, and Roman Catholicism, they presented a body of thought emphasizing reason in religion and practical morality over credal speculation. Their theology was designed to combat 'practical atheism' and their sermons stressed that the chief design of Christianity was 'to make men good.' They advocated an alliance of religion and science, and were early participants in the Royal Society. In preaching, they developed a simpler sermon style influential for English prose. As an important part of the Anglican Church at the time of the Glorious Revolution, they helped in drafting the Revolution Settlement, the seedbed, in Macaulay's words, of subsequent personal liberties.
This definition and analysis of Latitudinarianism was completed by the late
Martin Griffin in 1962 and has been updated since his death in 1988 by Professor Richard H. Popkin.
"This work is a perceptive and careful study of seventeenth-century Latitudinarianism. Its intellectual analysis set within the historical context enhances its value. Based upon extensive research, expressed in precise terms, utilizing exact definitions, this study advances the understanding of the subject. It is a priority book for everyone interested in this period."
Frederick V. Mills, Sr.,
Church History, 1995.
"...the book is a valuable addition to the small shelf of Restoration religious studies, and one is grateful to those who saw it through the press."
The Historian, 1996.
students and scholars of 17th century history, theologians and church historians.