Richard Baxter's contribution to the comprehension controversy : a study in projected church union /
Brown, Earl Kent
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The study was conceived as an investigation of the thought and activity of Richard Baxter in the area of church union and cooperation. The dissertation is based primarily on Baxter's autobiography, the extensive writings of Baxter himself dealing with this problem, and the writings of Baxter's contemporaries. Secondarily it is based on the works of Baxter's biographers, the standard works on the history of Protectorate and Restoration England, and a number of special studies on various aspects of Restoration church life. The method has been historical and descriptive. The author has not attempted to prove a point but rather to provide a correct chronological narrative of the development of one aspect of the thought and actions of perhaps the leading English churchman of his day. In the course of the study four things appeared, which we may adopt as a means of organizing this abstract. The four are the following: (1) a descriptive historical survey of Baxter's thought and activity in the church union area; (2) the reasons for his Nonconformity; (3) the changes in Anglican usage he deemed desirable to achieve comprehension -i.e. the inclusion of the Puritans in the Establishment; (4) the terms he deemed the minimum acceptable to achieve a comprehension. Baxter resisted the narrowness of spirit which characterized his age to give expression to broad principles and an inclusive spirit. Dealing with issues which remain matters of contention, he maintained a breadth of vision and a dream of unity which would be notable in 1956, but which is altogether amazing when viewed against the backdrop of Restoration England.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Boston University Includes abstract and vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 307-325). Microfilm. s
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