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of a divine superintendence. But it is not surely to be expected, that throughout the whole duration of a great empire, any more than throughout the whole life of an individual, there is to be one uninterrupted course of prosperity and success. Admonitions and checks, corrections and punishments, may be, and undoubtedly are, in both cases sometimes useful, perhaps essentially necessary; and the care and even kindness of Providence may be no less visible in these salutary severities, than in the distribution of its most valuable blessings..
Both private and public afflictions have a natural tendency to awaken, to alarm, to instruct, to humanize, to meliorate the heart of man ; and they may be ultimately attended with other very important and beneficial consequences. This was eminently the case in that turbulent period we are now commemorating. The convulsions into which the nation was then thrown seem to have been the efforts of a vigorous, though at that time disordered, constitution ; which shaking off in those violent
agitations some of its most malignant humours, acquired in the end a degree of health and soundness unknown to it before.
These however might, by a skilful management, have been much sooner established.
The lenient remedies of LAW AND PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY, which were at first applied, had made so great a progress in subduing the maladies of the state, that there was all the encouragement in the world to persevere in that regular and prudent course. But most unfortunately for the nation, it was too hastily relinquished; and in an evil hour recourse was had to that most dangerous and desperate of all experiments, which nothing but extreme necessity can justify, MILITARY FORCE.
They who set out with the very best principles, and the purest intentions, were insensibly led by a few artful incendiaries into excesses of which at one time they would have thought themselves utterly incapable. In their haste to reform every thing, they unhappily forgot that the other two branches of the legislature, THE KING AND THE LORDS, had rights as sacred and as essential to the public welfare, as those of the COMMONS; and that it was no less injurious and dangerous to violate the constitution, for the sake of advancing the power of the people, than for the purpose of extending the prerogative of the crown. Heated with those visionary plans which they had formed of absolute perfection in church and state, they thought it allowable to promote such righteous ends by the most unrighteous means ; by trampling on all those sacred laws of truth, justice, equity, charity, and humanity, which were undoubtedly meant (however little we may regard that meaning) to govern our political as well as private conduct ; and which can never be transgressed, not even in pursuit of liberty itself, without the most pernicious effects.
No wonder, then, that these effects followed in the present instance, and that the Almighty pursued such unchristian practices with the most exemplary vengeance. It is, indeed, very remarkable, that every one of those parties which bore a share in this miserable contest, king, nobles, com
mons, puritans, and patriots, were disappointed of their aim, and found every thing fall out the very reverse of what they expected. Each in their turn became the victim of their own devices; and the new race, which sprung up from their dregs, exhibited to the world a most singular, but at the same time most instructive, spectacle. Instead of that unlimited freedom, temporal and spiritual, which they conceived themselves commissioned by Heaven to establish, confusion and bloodshed, tyranny and anarchy, every folly and every extravagance which enthusiasm could engender, followed each other in quick succession. Ashamed and tired of such disgraceful and capricious insults, the nation was at length roused, and with one voice recalled the exiled monarch to the throne. But as if it was meant by Providence that every part of this unexampled scene should hold forth some useful lesson to mankind, it appeared from the conclusion no less than from the whole progress of it, how completely all immoderate vehemence of temper and conduct defeats its
own purposes, and by grasping at too much loses every thing. For, as one extreme naturally begets another, excessive rigour to the father produced excessive indulgence to the son ; and in one fond moment of joy was lost the fruit of all the preceding struggles against the exorbitant claims and encroachments of the crown.
But when, in the following reign, a different conduct was observed, the event was also different, and Heaven gave its sanction to the glorious work. At that memorable period all the injustice and oppression was on the part of the sovereign, all the forbearance and moderation on the part of the subject. For although the invasions made both on our civil and religious rights, by James the Second, were far bolder and more alarming than those attempted by his unhappy father, yet they produced no hasty, no licentious excesses among the people. Every legal, every constitutional mode of redress was first tried, and when those failed of success, more vigorous and efficacious measures became necessary. Yet even these were,