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42 - eighteenth-century term it emphasized the emotional...

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Another factor in the novel which relates to this moral dialogue is the religious controversy which  forms part of the novel's background. About 1739, John and Charles Wesley founded the Methodist  Society, and sometime afterwards the group split with the established Anglican Church. In practice  the two denominations came to stand for opposed viewpoints. Anglicanism in the late eighteenth  century favored rationality, tolerance, an easy-going and practical approach towards matters of the  spirit. As the established church, it held the loyalty of most of the "settled" people of England — the  upper and middle classes and the tradition-bound agricultural workers — and tended to support the  social and economic status quo. Methodism, on the other hand, was "enthusiastic," to use the 
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Unformatted text preview: eighteenth-century term; it emphasized the emotional side of religion and attempted to make religion the focal point in the lives of men. Because the Methodists concentrated upon aiding and converting the poor, they were often looked upon as agitators by the social establishment. As in the case of Adam and Seth, the author uses this distinction between viewpoints to get across her own moral orientation. The moral standards in Adam Bede are Mr. Irwine and Dinah Morris, one an Anglican, the other a Methodist. Eliot implies that no matter what one's church is, the balance of spiritual and practical is essential to true religious feeling....
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