of Christianity held by Hoadly, then bishop of Bangor. Although triggered by the political aspect of Hoadly's teaching, the controversy came to centre on the spiritual authority of the church. Hoadly's most effective opponent was a Nonjuror, William Law.18 He appealed to an understanding of the English church as it had been defined by the sixteenth-century reformers, with its claim to spiritual authority resting on the evidences of Christ, the Apostles, the Fathers, and the Councils. This was to be a generally prevalent argument in the latter part of the century.
In the 1660s, the church had seen itself as being assailed from both Geneva and Rome. By the 1730s, it was becoming evident that both challenges had been beaten off: the church would retain the position which had been defined for it by law. The High Church party, meanwhile, suffered a major defeat. In emphasizing the divine mandate for the church, High Churchmen had sometimes ascribed separate authority to the church's legislature. Hooker had not defined the relation between Convocation and parliament, and this relationship remained uncertain after 1660. Convocation surrendered the right to set clerical taxation in 1664, and was rewarded by not being summoned between 1664 and 1688. It met again in 1689, but there was increasing controversy over its role. The 'Convocation Controversy' was fought on political grounds after William III once more prorogued that body in 1689.19 Convocation's chief champion became Francis Atterbury, from 1713 Bishop of Rochester, a juror but also a Jacobite; the leading champions on the other side were Edmund Gibson, bishop of Lincoln from 1716, and William Wake, from 1716 Archbishop of Canterbury. Hoadly now became the last straw. His theological heterodoxy was a challenge that Convocation could not avoid, and Convocation's evident intention to discipline him raised the stakes. The Whig regime took pre-emptive action. After several turbulent annual sessions Convocation was suspended in 1717. With Convocation's suspension it became necessary to treat parliament, however implausibly, as the lay synod of the Church of England.
A principled defence of establishment, in deliberately Whiggish language, was now provided by William Warburton. Yet Warburton was in his own day not widely credited with having provided the church's official rationale. This is because Hooker's model of the essential unity of church and state, as reinterpreted from the 1660s, precluded Warburton's model of a contract between two essentially separate bodies, church and state. Anglican doctrine asserting the essential unity of the secular and the sacred had been fully formed by 1713. Warburton's tract of 1736 was one of few in the later period centrally to address the question of church-state relations, because the issue could be regarded as having been settled in the era of Potter and Gibson. In this light,
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