« PreviousContinue »
extraordinary conductor of this portentous revolution, (which involves the fates of
many kingdoms,) has no origin assigned him, but is produced out of the teeming womb of time and chance. “ Cut out of the mountain"-(or the mass of mankind, in a state of anarchical confusion, by “a mighty tumult from the Lord,”*). “ without hands,"—that is, by no sagacity or foresight of man, no political influence or power either designing or being set to work, in the first instance, to open the way. But the instrument which proves so fully competent to the work, is of God's own providing, for the secret purposes of his un-, searchable wisdom; and the means of bring
; ing him forward, and the field of action itself, on which his first exploits were to be displayed, are all the creation of providential circumstances, in which the hand of man hath no share, nor the contingencies of changeful fortune have any power of controul.
A man, not ennobled by ancestry, in the midst of a proud nation, but of plebeian ex
* Zech. xiiii. 13;
traction, and even a foreigner, growing up in unnoticed obscurity, and unknown to the world till it felt, by fatal experience, the mighty energies of his mind; rises up suddenly upon the eagle wings of unforeseen but favorable opportunity, and circumstances, which his courage and genius alone were competent to seize, and turn to his own advantage. Diffi- . culties and dangers that would have put a fatal period to the most ventrous daring in almost
other man, (such is the cast of the die, and so has the will of heaven ordained !) dy before him like the misty vapours of the morning before the rising sun. Every thing conspires to open a broad and easy way for him (as it was promised to Cyrus in prophecy*) to pass on to the next object of his rising ambition, as if it were the design of Providence to excite, by fresh acquisitions, a greater thirst of conquests predestinated to his sword. The eye of justice, meanwhile, is averted, and forbears to take notice (for the present) of the means made use of to en
* Isai. xlv. 1, 2, 3.
sure and hasten the acquisition of his desire Little scrupulous of the sentiments of the
people, in a fickle nation (where the rights of man and the adoration of reason had overthrown legitimate government and religious establishments, and had become the objects of a new idolatry,) he erects upon the of liberty, a military tyranny, whose little finger was more grievous than even the loins of the former corrupt and oppressive government. Confiding in his fortune, and in defiance of the prejudices of the people, he resolutely fixes himself in the seat of their hereditary kings, in a country shaken to the very centre with revolutionary anarchy, and convulsed with the most unprincipled and atheistical licentiousness and sanguinary cruelty. In the midst of the scene of unexampled terror on every side, and undismayed by the infernal yell of jacobin perfidiousness, or the slaughtered carcasses and still reeking blood of other tyrants, which had trodden before him the same perilous path of glory, and fallen at the very goal; he plants the chair of supreme au
thority, and usurps the doubtful post himself, and soon converts it to an imperial throne.
" I set out in the current of the tide,
KING CHARLES I.
Such a man as this, and in such circumstances of the times, seems by nature to have been placed at an immeasurable distance from the giddy height of this lofty pinnacle of the temple of fame : yet he attained it by hasty, strides : while the same invisible hand that pushed him upwards, continued afterwards, (for the perfecting of the work designed,) to wrap
him in a cloud from the nerveless stroke of the assassin's dagger, and the fruitless conspiracy of injured liberty, or disappointed envy and ambition. For it cannot be, that his bold and successful career can be terminated by a