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Insular ChristianityAlternative models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570–c.1700$
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Robert Armstrong and Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086984

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086984.001.0001

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Between Reformation and Enlightenment: Presbyterian clergy, religious liberty and intellectual change*

Between Reformation and Enlightenment: Presbyterian clergy, religious liberty and intellectual change*

Chapter:
(p.252) Chapter 13 Between Reformation and Enlightenment: Presbyterian clergy, religious liberty and intellectual change*
Source:
Insular Christianity
Author(s):

John Coffey

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719086984.003.0013

Religious liberty was a significant intellectual problem for eighteenth-century Presbyterians. The problem stemmed from the conflict between the traditional magisterial Reformation commitment to religious uniformity and the ‘universal religious toleration’ which John Marshall sees as ‘the central value’ of the early Enlightenment of Locke and Bayle. Presbyterians found it hard to ignore this clash of values, because the older view was written into their official standards, in particular into two clauses of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XX section 4 which warned that those who abused Christian liberty could be called to account by the power of the Civil Magistrate and Chapter XXIII section 3 which clarified the role of the magistrate in matters of religion. This paper examines how Presbyterian clergy negotiated their way around these awkward texts and navigated between this confessional heritage and their new intellectual, political and religious environment.

Keywords:   Toleration, Westminster Confession, Liberty, Edmund Calamy, Rational Dissenters

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