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session of which brings man to the image of God, is the love of truth. God is the God of truth. Christ, the Saviour, is full of grace and truth. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth. Truth is the great instrument of sanctification; and practical godliness is walking in truth. The predicted apostasy of the man of sin would never have spread with such “deceivableness of unrighteousness," had men been guarded by “the love of the truth.” Against everything, therefore, which tends to destroy, or even to weaken, this holy affection, it behoves the youthful mind, especially, most carefully to guard. Ultimately truth must triumph ; and in this final triumph none shall share, who have not been faithful in the previous contest. And even now, never should it be forgotten that “the judgment of God is according to truth.” Our party may triumph ; our opinions may prevail; we may have all the exultation of a strongly-gratified self-complacency. But what avails this, if our opinions be all contradicted by the judgment of God, and our self-complacency be only gratified by the temporal success of falsehood ? He alone who rightly loves the truth, and faithfully adheres to it, preserves that temper of mind which is pleasing to the God of truth, and is prepared to study with advantage the history of man, which is never understood but when considered as the history of the moral providence and dominion of God.
Nearly two hundred years have elapsed since the death of Charles the First; but what was his character, and what that of the great events of his reign, are questions as keenly contested as The prejudices of party are never more obvious than in the opinions which relate to him and his proceedings. By some persons he is considered as a saint and martyr; by others as a tyrant, who, contending with his people, was overcome by them, brought into judgment, and condemned. And these opposite conclusions, when impartially examined, will be found to arise, not so much from the scarcity or the complication of evidence, as from the partyprinciples which have previously been embraced. The facts of the case are plain; but they are examined from very different positions. He who would study the reign of Charles the First to advantage, ought first of all to ask, On what
ground ought I to stand, as fearing God, and loving truth? We fear that he who thus finds the right point of observation will see little in the proceedings of either party, as they come before him in the progress of events, either to satisfy him at all, or to satisfy him long.
Charles was the third son of James the First, and was born in Scotland, in November, 1600. Robert, the second son, died in his infancy; and Prince Henry, the oldest, died in his nineteenth year, 1612. The old King was exceedingly desirous to connect his son, by marriage, with one of the more powerful of the European nations; and to secure this object, willingly surrendered the interests of Protestantism. His daughter, Elizabeth, had married the Elector Palatine, to whom the Bohemians, when the Austrian Emperor had trampled on their religious privileges, offered their crown, hoping that he would be supported by his Protestant fatherin-law. It was James's policy, however, to conciliate, not to oppose, the Romanist Sovereigns of Europe: he left his daughter's husband, therefore, to defeat, and the family to apparent ruin, that he might obtain for his heir-apparent a Romanist wife. He was successful; but could he have foreseen the results, his success would have afforded him no gratification. Charles, after negotiations had been carried on for some years with the King of Spain, and which were eventually broken off, married Henrietta Maria, youngest daughter of Henry IV. of France, in 1625, shortly after the death of his father. It would not be difficult to trace onwards, from this event, the course of occurrences which finally issued in the expulsion of the Stuarts from the British throne. In the meantime, the daughter of Elizabeth, who, with her husband, had been driven from their dominions by triumphant Romanism, James refusing to assist them, having married the Elector of Hanover, and become the mother of a son, that son was called to the throne of Great Britain, under the title of George the First.
Every reader of English history knows what were the leading events of the reign of Charles the First. He appears to have been educated in the highest notions of the regal prerogative; and as the constitution had not then undergone its
final revision and balance, his attention was fixed exclusively on those facts of history which supported the power of the crown, without modifying his conclusions by noticing other facts, also presented by history, and which were favourable to the liberty of the subject. He took one part of the theory of the constitution, and endeavoured to change the other, by dealing with Parliaments as though they were entirely dependent on his will. Had his first plans been successful, the British monarchy would have become such an one as was the French under Louis XIV.
At first, the opposition of the Parliament was undoubtedly patriotic; but, as events proceeded, a republican party acquired increasing power, and ultimately triumphed. By these, the unhappy Charles, after what was but the mockery of a trial,—for it was only a portion of a Parliament that created the Court which was to sit in judgment on the fallen Monarch,—was, on the 30th of January, 1649, brought to the block, and beheaded in front of the Banqueting-House, Whitehall. Charles was in reality put to death by Oliver Cromwell, and the republican officers of his army.
The behaviour of Charles on his pretended trial was dignified and Christian. During his prosperity, his character appears by no means to the same advantage as after his imprisonment, and its mournful humiliations. The evidences of his insincerity are too strong to allow it to be supposed that he was truly under the influence of religion, even were it not known that the vice of swearing was, at least occasionally, practised by him, as it had been by James and Elizabeth. He hazarded every thing, at first, to establish monarchy in the State, and episcopacy, with no toleration, in the Church, both as to England and Scotland. After a series of defeats, he offered concessions which some of his opponents would have accepted, could they have trusted him; but the more powerful party would not, because, grown wanton with success, they had resolved to remodel the constitution, and establish a republic. They opposed the King for attempting to alter the constitution in one way; and as soon as they were successful, they altered it, in another way, indeed, but still, as decidedly, themselves. There can be no doubt but that the
“Restoration," as the return of Charles the Second, in 1660, is called in English history, is chiefly to be attributed to the love of the nation for its ancient constitution.
BETWEEN GEORGE AND HIS MINISTER. George. I will thank you, Sir, to assist me in gaining clearer and more impressive views, respecting some other record of the truly wonderful works of our Lord.
Minister. I engage in the task with pleasure, inasmuch as I have always found it profitable to myself. The subordinate particulars connected with the actual performance of these miracles are themselves instructive, and they directly tend to place the miracles before us not only as supernatural events, but as occurrences of real life. While thus considering them, we seem ourselves to become spectators.
George. I have Mr. Townsend's “Arrangement” here, Sir. To what page shall I turn ?
Minister. Turn first to page 194. (Matt. xv. 29, &c.; Mark vii. 31, &c.) You there take up the narrative where we left off.
George. Yes, Sir. Our Lord leaves the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and crosses the country, west and east, to what I suppose was his usual residence, near the Sea of Galilee.
Minister. Is any particular occurrence mentioned ?
George. A person who is deaf, and has an impediment in his speech, is brought to him. I see that his conduct on this occasion is very peculiar.
Minister. He evidently, as a man, both thought and felt deeply. His human nature is not to be excluded from our view. He looks up to heaven, and sighed. Who can tell the depth of his emotion? He thought, probably, of the hardness of the human heart, or of its levity; the difficulty with which an impression is made upon it, or the quickness with which the awakened feeling passes away. Then, he touches the ear, and evidently seeks, by a somewhat slower process than usual, to draw attention to the case, even when he had withdrawn the man from the crowd; or, perhaps, by momentary suspense, to make the impression more lasting on the man himself. But the power was the same, and the effect followed the word.
George. I perceive that he again directs that silence should be observed.
Minister. On all occasions he avoided even the appearance of ostentation. Excellence of character was to be shown, for example's sake, as well as divine power, for the proof of his claims. But what followed ?
George. The people were filled with wonder, and when they went away, made the occurrence a subject of conversation.
Minister. While he sought to impress them, he not less sought to check what might easily be only vague reports. As it was, a general persuasion of his supernatural power was produced.
George. So much so, that when he sought for quiet by retiring to one of the hills in the neighbourhood, “great multitudes came to him," bringing those who needed cure, and placing them before him.
Minister. Imagine that you were present. He is seated on the side of one of the elevated places of the neighbourhood. Multitudes throng to him. Now a blind man is brought; now one that is lame; the maimed, the sick. What could medicine do in such cases ? But mark the simple emphasis of inspiration : “And he healed them.” Health and strength came at his word. No wonder the people were seriously affected.
George. I find that they not merely admired the power, the exercise of which they witnessed, but connected their admiration with religious feeling.
Minister. This was one of his objects. They glorified the God of Israel." It was his design that they should do so. Man is then in what may be called his right position, when, whatever is the immediate subject of thought, it is at once referred to God. Whether we regard what is done by the creature, or whether we look at creation, we are looking at God's instruments, or at God's works. In both, whatever be the earthen vessel, the excellency of the power is of God.