A due degree of zeal
Enthusiasm and Methodism
in Reformation without end
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This chapter is about anti-Methodism and focuses especially on Warburton’s Doctrine of Grace (1763). Firstly, it reveals how Warburton’s engagement with George Whitefield’s Journals; with John Byrom’s work on enthusiasm; and with Daniel Neal’s History of the Puritans shaped and sharpened his thinking about Methodism. Secondly, it anatomizes the argument of a long anti-Methodist manuscript — The True Methodist — that Warburton wrote during the mid 1750s, yet never published. Finally, it shows how Warburton reworked the True Methodist’s anti-Methodist arguments in his Doctrine of Grace. Running through all of Warburton’s thinking on Methodism, from Methodism’s emergence in the late 1730s until the end of his life, was a fear of enthusiasm. Precisely what constituted enthusiasm was up for debate during the eighteenth century. Yet while enthusiasm was a labile term during the eighteenth century, it was almost always associated with the disordered religious and political life of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. This chapter shows how and why contemporaries made that association.

Reformation without end

Religion, politics and the past in post-revolutionary England

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