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fallen into the error of those who poisoned the Emperor Titus to make room for Domitian, who made away Augustus that they might have Tiberius, and changed Claudius for Nero.
66 6 I am sensible these examples are foreign from my subject, since the Romans, in those days, were buried in lewdness and luxury; whereas the people of England are now renowned, all over the world, for their great virtue and discipline ; and yet suffer an idiot, without courage, without sense, nay, without ambition, to have dominion in a country of liberty.
“One could bear a little with Oliver Cromwell, though, contrary to his oath of fidelity to the parliament, contrary to his duty to the public, contrary to the respect he owed to that venerable body from whom he received his authority, he usurped the government. His merit was so extraordinary, that our judgment and passions might be blinded by it. He made his way to empire by the most illustrious actions. He held under his command an army that had made him a conqueror, and a people that had made him their general.
“. But as for Richard Cromwell, his son, who is he? What are his titles? We have seen that he has a sword by his side, but did he ever draw it? And, what is of more importance in this case, is he fit to get obedience from a mighty nation who could never make a footman obey him? Yet, we must recognize this man as our king, under the style of Protector !-a man without birth, without courage, without conduct. For my part, I declare, sir, it shall never be said that I made such a man my master.”
Richard immediately resigned, and spent the rest of his long life in a private station, which he adorned by his amiable disposition and social virtues; and displayed more solid wisdom, though less splendor of talent, than his misguided and ambitious father.
The events immediately following we may pass over in silence. On the restoration of Charles, Sir Henry Vane was of course one of the first victims. He was committed to various places of confinement, all of which he consecrated by his prayers, and by the employment of his pen in the cause of religion and human happiness. His compositions at this time breathe delightfully the pure and elevated spirit of a Christian martyr. His “Meditations on Death,” and his letter to his wife, contain some sweet and touching thoughts ; full of affection and Christian resignation. “ Death,” he says, “is not to be feared and fled from, as it is by most, but sweetly and patiently to be waited for, as a thing natural, reasonable, and inevitable. This,
as it gives us a fuller fruition of Christ, is a very great gain, that the sooner we are possessors of the better.”
Writing to his wife he says :
“ This dark night and black shade which God hath drawn over his work, in the midst of us, may be (for aught we know) the ground color to some beautiful piece that he is exposing to light."
Again :-“ If the storm against us grow still higher and higher, so as to strip us of all we have, the earth is still the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; he hath a good storehouse for us to live upon."
“I know nothing that remains to us but, like a tossed ship in a storm, to let ourselves be tossed and driven with the winds, till He that can make these storms to cease, and bring us into a safe haven, do work out our deliverance for us."
We have not time to go through the interesting trial which took place soon after writing the letter to his wife. It was, perhaps, as perfect a mockery of justice, and as shameless a display of corruption, as ever disgraced the annals of jurisprudence. The prisoner defended himself with wonderful ability and presence of mind ; justified himself from the allegations against him, and repelled every attack, and all this though he was denied the benefit of counsel, and was not permitted to see his indictment before it was read in court, nor to have a copy of it afterward. His condemnation was evidently predetermined ; and it is to the disgrace of the age that a court was found sufficiently infamous to gratify the malice of an abandoned monarch. And what was the ground of his condemnation? The charge was treason; though he all along acted by authority of parliament. But the real ground was a fear of his eminent abilities and a hatred of the purity of his principles.* Charles and his minions could never feel themselves secure while such men as Vane were about them. And to send him to the block was an offering to their libertinism in politics and in morals.
But two days intervened between his sentence and execution. This time he spent in exhortations to his friends and family, and in various offices of devotion. To one who reminded him of some promise of Scripture, he replied, “I bless the Lord, I have not had any discomposure of spirit these two years; but I do wait upon the Lord, till he shall be pleased to put an end to these days of mine, knowing that I shall change for the better: for in heaven there is an innumerable company of angels, the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus, the blessed Mediator of the new covenant."
When about to part with his wife and children, " I bless God, by the eye of faith I can see through all my relations to Mount Sion, and there I shall need none of them.”
Some one suggested that by making submission to the king per. haps his life might be spared. He replied :
“If the king does not think himself more concerned for his honor and word, than I am for my life, let him take it. Nay, I declare that I value my life less in a good cause, than the king can do his promise. He is so sufficiently obliged to spare my life, that it is fitter for him to do it, than for me to seek it.""
When they came to take him to the scaffold, one said, there must be a sled. The martyr replied, "Any way, how they please, for I long to be at home, to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is best of all.” On the way, many prayed aloud for blessings on his head. To one who inquired how he was, he replied, “ Never better in all my life.” Another replied, “How should he do ill that suffers for so glorious a cause?” Some said, “How cheerful he is !" Others, " He does not look like a dying man!”
* Bishop Burnet, though he did not rightly appreciate Vane's character, asserts that this was the real ground of his execution. Above all," his words are,"
*the great opinion that was had of his parts and capacity to embroil matters again, made the court think it necessary to put him out of the way."-Burnet's History of his own Times, vol. I, p. 180. London, 1818.
At the scaffold, on his speaking to the concourse, such was the dread of the effect, that trumpets were sounded and drums beaten to drown his voice. Sir John Robinson, and others, rushed upon him, to tear his papers from his hand. He kept them off, however, and tearing them up himself, handed them to a friend, from whom they were taken by violence. The whole scene upon the scaffold was most brutal and shocking; during all which the prisoner maintained a most surprising and heroic composure. Such was the admiration his conduct excited, that even a zealous royalist exclaimed, “He dies like a prince !"
After this he offered a prayer, " which ior sublimity, truth, simplicity, and pathos," was perhaps never excelled by any similar human composition, in ancient or modern times. Then laying his head upon the block, he said, "Father, glorify thy servant in the sight of men, that he may glorify thee in the discharge of his duty to thee and to his country." Then at one blow the executioner severed his head from his body.
Thus perished Sir Henry Vane the younger, on the 14th day of June, 1662, in the 50th year of his age. As a pure and upright patriot, a most skilful statesman, a profound and original thinker, a most zealous and conscientious Christian, all in one, he was perhaps never excelled by man. His death is not to be classed with those of Laud and Strafford. Theirs were the reward, justly or unjustly is not the question, of their crimes. He died for his virtues, for even his enemies could prove nothing against him, nor even frame their allegations without self-contradictions. As he was a terror to tyrants while he lived, so his death shook the throne of the abandoned Charles to its very foundations. Nothing disgusted the kingdom with the royal administration so much as the manner of Vane's death. Even the royalists confessed that the “king lost more by that man's death than he will get again for a good while." But while the royalists trembled, the republicans exulted. They regarded Vane as a champion and a martyr, whose death shed more glory upon their cause than a thousand lives could have done, and gave them an advantage over their enemies which they were not speedily to lose. No doubt the victim himself foresaw this; and it served to render him more willing to meet the blow, and helped to fortify him for the occasion. Surely he has his reward: for all “future generations shall call him blessed," while they read an important lesson in his history. Well, therefore, does Mr. Upham apply to him the felicitous line of the ancient poet,
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
We are aware that we have drawn largely upon the facts in this biography. Yet we have by no means exhausted the subject. We therefore cheerfully refer the reader to the work itself for more detailed information, as well as to form a more correct knowledge of Vane's talents and sentiments, especially his sentiments on civil and religious liberty, a subject ever dear to the hearts of Americans, He will find the book written in a sprightly, agreeable style, sometimes perhaps rather feeble and diffuse, yet fitted to occupy a highly creditable position in our national literature. In the sentiments he will find very little to reject. On one or two points we have had occasion 'to differ from him; and to these we may add his views on the death of Charles I. We cannot quite admit that the condemnation of this unfortunate monarch was not “a more shocking transaction than the condemnation of any other public or pritate criminal.” As persons in authority are peculiarly exposed to the odium of the populace, and to the shafts of malevolence, so their lives ought to be more sacredly guarded. Besides, their very position in society engrosses a larger portion of public attention, invests them with greater interest, and renders them more important. Their death produces a concussion of feeling and an uprooting of confidence that that of a private person would not. So the world has sipce learned. So we should all feel if a president of the United States were the victim. To the sentiment quoted from the statesman Fox, as to its elevation of the British character in the eyes of other nations, we have no objection; only we could wish it had been intimated that the same end would have been more wisely, more mercifully, and quite as effectually answered, by doing as England did subsequently to James II., and France to Charles X. We think that Charles had justly forfeited his crown; but not the head that wore it. However, it is not the only case in which the wisdom of the world came some centuries too late. It was so in the case of Strafford and Laud; but with this difference between the cases: their death was in accordance with the laws and usages of the land; that of the king was a violation of both.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review. THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN HIS FOLLOWERS.
BY WILLIAM M. WILLETT, A. M. The whole system of Divine economy, both Jewish and Christian, is founded in a spirit of labor and self-denial. It was in this spirit that Abram “went out,” not knowing whither he was going; and in this spirit he hastened, at the Divine mandate, to offer up Isaac. In the same spirit Moses chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. As Abram and Moses, the leading instruments in the hands of God in the establishment of the Jewish economy, were moved by a spirit of labor and sacrifice, so Jesus Christ, in the exercise of the same spirit,“ pleased not himself." He was rich, but became poor: he was surrounded with all the glory of heaven, but he took upon him the form of a servant: he was the everlasting Father,—the mighty God, but he was “manifest in the flesh ;" his throne was from everlasting, but he became “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
The injunctions of the Saviour are in accordance with the spirit which he himself manifested, and which Abram and Moses, and all his true followers under every dispensation have shown. " If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." "He that saveth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life, for my sake and the Gospel's, shall find it."
As an internal experience of vital Christianity can be received only by a sacrifice of every inclination, appetite, and practice opposed to its pure requirements—as the eye that offends must be plucked out, and a hand that offends must be cut off,
,-so can it be retained in its purity and power only by exhibiting the same spirit of sacrifice and self-denial in all future life. A Christian should no more seek to please himself than a soldier should look for ease and safety in the field of battle. The question should be, not how he may gratify his own inclinations, but how he may most effectually aid the great object for which Christ died and rose again. And wherever a person is truly imbued with the Spirit of Christ this will be the case. When Saul of Tarsus was arrested by the Spirit in his mad career, the first question he asked was, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" And when labors connected with great personal hazard and sacrifice were pointed out to him, he said, “ None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, if I may but finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” So must the missionary go into heathen lands, if he would be successful in the spirit of labor and sacrifice. But are missionaries only called to labor and to suffer for Christ? Is not every Christian bound to exhibit the same spirit? Can the disciples of Christ sit down in inactivity, or, if they have the means, sleep on beds of down-pamper the appetite-indulge a taste for extravagance and show, and not sacrifice a single sensual indulgence for the cause of Christ? If Christians generally are not called to make the same personal sacrifices—if they are not required to leave their country, home, kindred, and friends, to preach the “unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ”-the greater is their obligation to make sacrifices at home, to forego some of their numerous comforts, in order to aid those who are called to make greater personal sacrifices, and so labor with them in the great work of converting the world. What is it constitutes a Christian? Is it not the subjugation of the will to God? And is not the subjugation of the will the foundation of every Christian effort and sacrifice? So that a spirit of labor and self-denial is inseparable from Christianity. The name of a Christian-a disciple—is synonymous with that of a soldier. His state is a disciplinary one; and it is only by constantly repeated acts of labor and self-denial that he is fitted to acquit himself in that state. St. Paul says, “ They that strive for the mastery are temperate in all things : now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” Shall they who strove for the mastery in some bodily exercises, which profited but little, inure themselves for the struggle by the greatest self-denial, and Christians, who have a greater work to perform, and whose reward is incomparably more glorious, not exercise a universal temperance for the accomplishment of their object ? shall they shrink from any labor or selfdenial, if they may but glorify God by doing good to Zion, by building up the walls of Jerusalem ? What momentary earthly gratification should stand in competition with a sense of duty, or