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F.D. Maurice - Click To Enlarge

F.D. Maurice
(My complete GMD bio/commentary is here).



F.D. Maurice made the acquaintance of George MacDonald in 1858 and they became quick friends until Maurice's death in 1872. Maurice, an Anglican clergyman, was nearly twenty years older than MacDonald and may be seen as somewhat of a spiritual father to him. MacDonald found a sure kinship with the elder minister, both of them taking a stance against certain Anglican or Calvinist  doctrines such as predestination, or eternal punishment, and each of them holding a firm belief that God would allow no man to live forever outside his love. Many fellow clergymen looked askance at them however, believing these concepts to be heterodox, even though Maurice had always been careful to give quotations from the holy scriptures to back his theological concepts. His stance on these doctrines however, would eventually become the grounds for his dismissal from King's College in 1853, where he had held the chair in Divinity, and was also professor of English history and literature for well over a decade.

Maurice had many supporters who sympathized with him doctrinally, and upon his release from King's College, he easily retained his position as Royal Chaplain at Lincoln's Inn, the same position held by John Donne two centuries earlier. Since Maurice had trained in law at Trinity Hall earlier in life, he was ideal for this role at the famous barrister's association.

Maurice had previously established the Queen's College for Women in 1848. Shortly after leaving King's College, Maurice would also go on to form the Working Man's College in London in 1854, a school for the underprivileged that Charles Williams would later attend beginning in 1904. Maurice would also, in 1866, become the Senior Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge, a chair he would hold until his death.

F.D. Maurice authored several books almost entirely dedicated to theology and church based social reform. He was a soft hearted man with a great sympathy for the poor. He believed a government based upon church principles would help to alleviate the suffering of the impoverished, and thus he coined the phrase--Christian Socialism. George MacDonald would disagree with him on this attempt at a social reform very nearly based on Theocracy, not because he was in disagreement over the need to help the poor, but because he had little faith in mankind's willingness to unite behind church politics.

Maurice wrote a lengthy letter in 1853 to Rev. Dr. Jelf at King's College laying out his defense against: "The Word 'Eternal' and the Punishment of the Wicked", something which probably had a large and looming influence upon George MacDonald as can be read in MacDonald's own stance against eternal punishment in his Unspoken Sermons, Volume 3. The largest extent of his argument can be read in the full biography section of this website in the chapter titled: "The Un-Fundamentalist".


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