Frederick Denison Maurice preached for the last time in February 1872, at St Edward’s church in Cambridge, and died in April that year. Like so many of his eminent Anglican contemporaries, Maurice cannot be said to have formulated a decisive or finally convincing answer, then, to the challenge thrown at Christianity by the revolutionary crisis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He did not seek to construct a systematic theology, but to interpret an ecclesial commitment that he never felt obliged to defend a priori. The intensity of his commitment to the Church he embraced in his twenties lasted to his final moments. This commitment had been sustained through a period of immense change for the Church of England. The Church’s new-found stability, exemplified in its pastoral energy in the mid-Victorian years, was premissed on a fundamental shift in the relationship between church and state.
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