Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/171

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its independence, in what form could the religious expression of the conscience of the English people be best organised, compatibly with the right organisation of the Church and the full maintenance of Catholic doctrine? That was the problem which the English bishops and the English people had to solve with the inadequate material at their command.

Things would have gone on much more rapidly had the English people been united. But the two reactions through which they had passed had left their mark upon them too, and that mark became more and more conspicuous as the new system was found not to work so well as it ought to have worked. This "slenderness of ministers and nakedness of religion" made people think that this separate Church of England, this Church which was to express the desires of the English people, could not last. Its basis seemed too narrow. If it were to last, men felt that it must be either a branch of violent, aggressive, iconoclastic Protestantism, which would break entirely with the past, or else it must be part of the old system with all its splendour and variety of traditions. It is easy to see how such ideas must have prevailed, and how inevitably the extremists on either side would tend to separate themselves off and struggle to bring about either of these results.

The Calvinistic party did not in the least believe that the Church of England was scriptural. They felt that it must be swept away. However, they were Englishmen, and claimed their right as Englishmen to be members of the English Church, though they disregarded its formularies and paid no heed to its