English Historical Documents, 1660–1832
The changes in typical usage of the various key categories discussed in previous chapters become more pronounced in certain contexts after the late seventeenth century, and the connection with colonies, plantations, and the increasing need for new forms of classification tends to relativize Religion as Christian Truth. This should not be exaggerated. In England the dominance of the church state continues, and the social order is still characterized more in terms of a hierarchy of rank and degree than in terms of Dissenting Individuals motivated by the need for justification and economic salvation. Even Locke's contemporary John Bunyan, whose pilgrimage is an interior moral one, and whose use of the term religious does not refer at all to monastic orders but to a special kind of inner life, still has no concept of a world which is neutral to religion. However, by the early nineteenth century in England there is a clearly gathering momentum to the discourse on “politics” as essentially separate from “religion,” even though the boundaries are hotly disputed and thus by no means yet inscribed into the order of things.
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