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And all the year dost with thee bring
115. CHARACTER OF CROMWELL.
What can be more extraordinary than that a person of mean birth, no fortune, no eminent qualities of body, which have sometimes, or of mind, which have often, raised men to the highest dignities, should have the courage to attempt, and the happiness to succeed in, so improbable a design as the destruction of one of the most ancient and most solidly-founded monarchies upon the earth ? That he should have the power or boldness to put his prince and master to an open and infamous death; to banish that numerous and strongly-allied family ; to do all this under the name and wages of a parliament; to trample upon them too as he pleased, and spurn them out of doors when he grew weary of them ; to raise up a new and unheard-of monster out of their ashes; to stifle that in the very infancy, and set up himself above all things that ever were called sovereign in England; to oppress all his enemies by arms, and all his friends afterwards by artifice; to serve all parties patiently for awhile, and to command them victoriously at last; to overrun each corner of the three nations, and overcome with equal facility both the riches of the south and the poverty of the north; to be feared and courted by all foreign princes, and adopted a brother to the gods of the earth; to call together parliaments with a word of his pen, and scatter them again with the breath of his mouth ; to be humbly and daily petitioned that he would please to be hired, at the rate of two millions a year, to be the master of those who had hired him before to be their servant; to have the estates and lives of three kingdoms as much at his disposal as was the little inheritance of his father, and to be as noble and liberal in the spending of them; and lastly (for there is no end of all the particulars of his glory), to bequeath all this with one word to his posterity ; to die with peace at home, and triumph abroad ; to be buried among kings, and with more than regal solemnity ; and to leave a name behind him, not to be extinguished, but with the whole world ; which, as it is now too little for his praises, so might have been too for his conquests, if the short line of his human life could have been stretched out to the extent of his immortal designs ?
THEOLOGICAL WRITERS OF THE CIVIL WAR AND THE
116. John Hales. 1584-1656. (Manual, p. 187.)
PEACE IN THE CHURCH. He that shall look into the acts of Christians as they are recorded by more indifferent writers, shall easily perceive that all that were Christians were not saints. But this is the testimony of an enemy. Yea, but have not our friends taken up the same complaint ? Doubtless, if it had been the voice and approbation of the bridegroom, that secular state and authority had belonged to the church, either of due or of necessity, the friends of the bridegroom hearing it would have rejoiced at it; but it is found they have much sorrowed at it. St. Hilary, much offended with the opinion, that even orthodox bishops of his time had taken up that it was a thing very necessary for the church to lay hold on the temporal sword, in a tract of his against Auxentius the Arian bishop of Milan, thus plainly bespeaks them :—“And first of all, I must needs pity the labour of our age, and bewail the fond opinions of the present times, by which men suppose the arm of flesh can much advantage God, and strive to defend by secular ambition the church of Christ. I beseech you, bishops, you that take yourselves so to be, whose authority in preaching of the Gospel did the apostles use ? By the help of what powers preached they Christ, and turned almost all nations from idols to God? Took they unto themselves any honour out of princes' palaces, who, after their stripes, amidst their chains in prison, sung praises unto God? Did St. Paul, when he was made a spectacle in the theatre, summon together the churches of Christ by the edicts and writs of kings ? It is likely he had the safe conduct of Nero, or Vespasian, or Decius, through whose hate unto us the confession of the faith grew famous. Those men who maintained themselves with their own hands and industry, whose solemn meetings were in parlours and secret closets, who travelled through villages and towns, and whole countries by sea and land, in spite of the prohibition of kings and councils.”
117. William Chillingworth.
1602-1644. (Manual, p. 188.)
THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS. When I say the religion of Protestants is, in prudence, to be preferred before yours," I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancthon; nor the Confession of Augusta 2 or Geneva; nor the Catechism of Heidelberg; nor the Articles of the Church of England; no, nor the harmony of Protestant confessions ; but that wherein they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as the perfect rule of their faith and actions,—that is, THE BIBLE. The BIBLE—I say the BIBLE only—is the religion of Protestants! Whatsoever else they believe besides it, and the plain, irrefragable, indubitable consequences of it, well may they hold it as a matter of opinion ; but, as matter of faith and religion, neither can they, with coherence to their own grounds, believe it themselves, nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most schismatical presumption. I, for my part, after a long and (as I verily believe and hope) impartial search of “the true way to eternal happiness," do profess plainly that I cannot find any rest to the sole of my foot but upon this Rock only. I see plainly, and with my own eyes, that there are popes against popes ; councils against councils; some fathers against others; the same fathers against themselves; a consent of fathers of one age against a consent of fathers of another age; the Church of one age against the Church of another age. Traditive interpretations of Scripture are pretended, but there are few or none to be found. No tradition, but only of Scripture, can derive itself from the Fountain, but may be plainly proved either to have been brought in, in such an age after Christ, or that in such an age it was not in. In a word, there is no sufficient certainty, but of Scripture only, for any considering man to build upon. This, therefore, and this only, I have reason to believe ; this I will profess; according to this I will live; and for this, if there be occasion, I will not only willingly, but even gladly, lose my life, though I should be sorry that Christians should take it from me. Propose me anything out of this Book, and require whether I believe it or no, and seem it never so incomprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand and heart, as knowing no demonstration can be stronger than this :—God hath said so; therefore it is true. In other things I will take no man's liberty of judgment from him, neither shall any man take mine from me. I will think no man the worse man, nor the worse Christian ; I will love no man the less for differing in opinion from me. And what
1 The Roman Catholic.
measure I mete to others, I expect from them again. I am fully assured that God does not, and therefore that man ought not, to require any more of any man than this, to believe the Scripture to be God's Word ; to endeavour to find the true sense of it; and to live according to it.
This is the religion which I have chosen, after a long deliberation ; and I am verily persuaded that I have chosen wisely, much more wisely, than if I had guided myself according to your Church's authority.
118. Sir Thomas Browne. 1605-1682. (Manual, p. 188.)
(From the • Hydriotaphia.') In a field of Old Walsingham, not many months past, were digged up between forty and fifty urns, deposited in a dry and sandy soil, not a yard deep, not far from one another : not all strictly of one figure, but most answering these described ; some containing two pounds of bones, distinguishable in skulls, ribs, jaws, thigh-bones, and teeth, with fresh impressions of their combustion ; besides, the extraneous substances, like pieces of small boxes, or combs handsomely wrought, handles of small brass instruments, brazen nippers, and in one some kind of opal.
That these were the urns of Romans, from the common custom and place where they were found, is no obscure conjecture ; not far from a Roman garrison, and but five miles from Brancaster, set down by ancient record under the name of Brannodunum ; and where tne adjoining town, containing seven parishes, in no very different sound, but Saxon termination, still retains the name of Burnham ; which being an early station, it is not improbable the neighbour parts were filled with habitations, either of Romans themselves, or Britons Romanised, which observed the Roman custons.
What song the sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture. What time the persons of these ossuaries entered the famous nations of the dead, and slept with princes and counsellors, might admit a wide solution. But who were the proprietaries of these bones, or what bodies these ashes made up, were a question above antiquarianism : not to be resolved by man, not easily perhaps by spirits, except we consult the provincial guardians, or tutelary observators. Had they made as good provision for their names, as they have done for their relics, they had not so grossly erred in the art of perpetuation. But to subsist in bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in duration,
But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids? Herostratus lives, that burnt the temple of Diana! he is almost lost that built it. Time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon, without the favour of the everlasting register. Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any that stand remembered in the known account of time? The first man had been as unknown as the last, and Methuselah's long life had been his only chronicle.
There is nothing strictly immortal but immortality. Whatever hath no beginning, may be confident of no end. All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of omnipotency, to be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. But the sufficiency of Christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous memory.
Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave; solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre.
To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names, and predicament of chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations, and made one part of their Elysiums. But all this is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief. To live indeed is to be again ourselves, which being not only a hope, but an evidence in noble believers, it is all one to lie in St. Innocent's ? churchyard, as in the sands of Egypt; ready to be any thing in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six foot as the moles of Adrianus.?
119. Thomas Fuller. 1608-1661. (Manual, p. 190.)
THE GOOD SCHOOLMASTER.
(From the ‘Holy State.') There is scarce any profession in the commonwealth more necessary, which is so slightly performed. The reasons whereof I conceive to be these :-First, young scholars make this calling their refuge; yea, perchance, before they have taken any degree in the university, commence schoolmasters in the country, as if nothing else were required to set up this profession but only a rod and a ferula.
1 In Paris, where bodies soon consume.
9 A stately mausoleum, or sepulchral pile, built by Adrianus in Rome, where now standeth the Castle of St. Angelo.