Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/152

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

himself intend the consequences of his actions. His friend Stanley, who, as Carlyle used to say, was always boring holes in the bottom of the Church of England, was yet firmly convinced that he was helping the ship to float. I do not doubt the absolute sincerity of his and Jowett's conviction. But their fellow -passengers, who thought with equal sincerity that they were sending the ship to the bottom, inevitably desired to throw them overboard. Their good intention was no proof of the soundness of their calculation. Undoubtedly they meant well. 'Destroy the Church of England!' said Charles Buller, according to one of the best stories in this book. 'You must be mad! It is the only thing between us and real religion!' Free the Church, that is, from the fetters of Parliament and lay jurisdiction, and you will hand it over to the fanatics. There is doubtless much truth in the epigram, and if for 'real religion' we read 'fanaticism,' Jowett might have accepted the saying. He wished to keep the element of natural belief—of 'soberness and truth'—within the Church; and while he could do so, consistently with 'common honesty,' he was personally justified. But there is another danger. When men of his ability