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MORALITY, GLORY, AND ANTIPOPERY OF ENGLAND.
The State—Principal Duty-The Glory of England-Morality-Tri-
umphs of Great Britain-Commerce-Justice-Opposition to Spain-
Antipopery-Cromwell's Name—The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
THERE are great crises in the history of man, in which the sovereignty of God over kings and people, however it may be hidden for a time from the eyes of the multitude, is manifested with such demonstrations of power as to excite the conviction of even the most incredulous. While favoring breezes bear the ship smoothly over the wide ocean, the crew and passengers, careless and inattentive, forget the arm of God, and perhaps give way to blasphemy. But when “the Lord commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind,”— when the billows dash over the vessel when the sails are torn away and the masts are broken, -when these thoughtless people “mount up to the heaven, and go down again to the depths,” then the Almighty appears to them in the midst of the storm :-All eyes behold Him ; all hearts tremble before Him; and the most impious, falling on their knees, cry to Him from the bottom of their souls. When man will not hear the “ still small voice" in which Jehovah ordinarily addresses him, then, to use the language of Scripture, “He passes by in a great and strong wind, rending the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces.”
Of all the events which diversify human history, there is none in which mankind more readily acknowledge the intervention of the Deity than in the revolutions of empires,--the setting up and pulling down of kings. These great changes are usually attended by circumstances so unexpected and appalling, that the eyes of the blindest are opened.
Such events happened in England in the middle of the seventeenth century, when an attempt was made to revive the papal power. In every country, this enemy, under the direction of the Jesuits, was rising from beneath the heavy blows inflicted on it by the Reformation. It possessed one spiritual head, which gave unity to its movements; and to support it, Spain, a stirring and fanatical power, was devoted to its interests, and ready to give to it "her seat and great authority.” (Rev. xiii. 2.) Thus the Papacy was recovering a great part of the ground it had lost in Germany, France, the Low Countries, Spain, and even in Italy.
It was imagined that if Rome could possibly succeed in re-conquering England, her cause would be gained and her triumph secured throughout the world; the fruits of the Reformation would be forever lost; and Great Britain and Europe, peopled anew with priests, Jesuits, and monks, would sink as low as Spain has sunk.
The fearful commotions and sanguinary conflicts which shook the British isles in the middle of the seventeenth century, were in the main a direct struggle against Popery. They were like the shakings and shuddering of the earth, in a country threatened with conflagration by subterranean fires. If a traveller in self-defence slays a highway robber, the responsibility of bloodshed does not rest on him. In ordinary times his hand would have been pure from its stain. War is war, and calls, alas ! for blood. In the days of Louis XIV. and of the Stuarts it was a real war that Popery waged against the British islands.
In our days, Rome is striving to re-enter England by means of certain teachers : then, it was through its kings. It was the misfortune and the crime of the Stuarts to have rallied around Rome, and to have desired to range their subjects under the samo banner. Charles I, was the victim of this attempt ; for Popery ever destroys both the princes and the people who espouse it. Of this truth the Stuarts and the Bourbons are memorable examples.
Strong measures, no doubt, were employed to save England from the danger with which it was threatened. But so formidable a disease could not be averted, except by the most active remedies. Royalty was overthrown; and yet royalty possessed—as it does still—the respect of this nation. A republic was established; and yet a republic in so vast an empire is a madman's dream. Episcopacy was abolished; and yet this is the form of the Church which the nation prefers. The blood of a king was shed; and yet the inspired Preacher saith, Curse not the king, (x. 20.) But all these things were accomplished, because the counsel of God had determined before that they should be done, (Acts iv. 28 ;) and thus the prophecy was fulfilled, which saith, I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. (Hosea xiii. 11.)
If England desired in the present day, as her princes desired in the seventeenth century, to restore Popery ;-if the number of those unfaithful ministers, who abjure the Gospel for the Pope, should multiply in her bosom ;-if that superstitious madness should spread to their congregations ;—if the heads of the Church should continue to slumber, and, instead of rescuing their flocks, allow them to proceed towards the wolf that is waiting to devour them ;-if the government, not satisfied with granting liberty to Popery, should encourage it still farther by endowing its seminaries, paying its priests, building its churches, and restoring throughout Great Britain the power of the Roman bishop. . then would England probably be convulsed by a crisis, different, it might he, from those which startled the reign of Charles, but not the less formidable. Again the earth would quake; again would it open to pour forth devouring flames. On this account the study of that remarkable era, in which the