Many members of the Anglican Church had considerable sympathy with the views of the Dissenting Churches. During the nineteenth century, they formed a powerful movement within the Church of England, known as Evangelicalism.

William Wilberforce by Karl Anton KickelEvangelicals believed that human beings are profoundly affected by sin and therefore unable to achieve a close relationship with God by their own efforts, however hard they might try. William Wilberforce (the great social reformer who was one of the leaders of the campaign to end slavery in Britain) and Lord Shaftesbury (who worked to end poverty and the exploitation of children) were both evangelicals.

It is possible that Mrs. Joe's harsh approach to raising children ‘by hand' or Mr. Hubble's pronouncement that Pip is ‘naturally wicious' (chapter 4) and needs to have his sins beaten out of him, may reflect an extreme version of these beliefs, though neither of these figures seem to have much real understanding of Christian teaching. Joe, on the other hand, though less talkative, quietly shows gentleness, kindness, forgiveness and love to Pip.

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