In a letter of 14 March 1828 to the Reverend F. C. Blackstone, Arnold confides to his friend, "My views of things certainly become daily more reforming" (89) and he increasingly sees

a close union between Christian reformers and those who are often, as I think, falsely charged with being enemies of Christianity. It is a part of the perfection of the Gospel that it is attractive to all those who love truth and goodness, as soon as it is known in its true nature, whilst it tends to clear away those erroneous views and evil passions with which philanthropy and philosophy, so long as they stand aloof from it, are ever in some degree corrupted. My feeling towards men whom I believe to be sincere lovers of truth and the happiness of their fellow creatures, while they seek these ends otherwise than through the medium of the Gospel, is rather that they are not far from the kingdom of God, and might be brought into it altogether, than that they are enemies whose views are directly opposed to our own. That they are not brought into it is, I think, to a considerable degree, chargeable upon the professors of Christianity; the high Church party seeming to think that the establishment in Church and State is all in all, and tliat the Gospel principles must be accommodated to our existing institutions, instead of offering a pattern by which those institutions should be purified; and the Evangelicals by their ignorance and narrow-mindedness, and their seeming wish to keep the world and the Church ever distinct, instead of labouring to destroy the one by increasing the influence of the other, and making the kingdoms of the world indeed the kingdoms of Christ. [90]

Like the former Evangelical, Ruskin, Arnold takes the position that one should not, as Ruskin puts it in "Traffic," separate one's religion from one's life. Arnold, who was attacked by both High and Low Churchmen, shared much with both parties, though his combined insistence on political reform and a broadly inclusive Christianity ultimately separated him from them.

References

Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn. The life and correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D.D., late head-master of Rugby school, and regius professor of modern history in the University of Oxford. 4th ed. 2 vols. London: B. Fellowes, 1845.


Victorian Overview Religion sermons: An
Overview Thomas Arnold of Rugby

Last modified 16 July 2006