« ForrigeFortsett »
The troubled Tiber chafing with his shores,
Men at some times are masters of their fates:
and I have heard our fathers say,
ENGLAND was great and glorious while her religion was Popery. She then reared her head above the nations, outstripped them all in the career of improvement, and soared above them towards the heaven of liberty. The great charter of her freedom was then wrested from unwilling power: commerce and manufactures were raising her citizens, burgesses, and merchants, to wealth and intelligence, and placing them side by side with her barons; while, from contending elements, arose the harmony of representative government. She was great while that change called Reformation was proceeding, or retarded, or subsiding into
fixedness, through successive reigns. She then began to wave her flag of sovereignty over the sea; her laws were framed in wisdom; and her literature, splendid in genius, profound in learning, and mighty in originality, advanced with giant step. She was great at that tremendous period when the crown was trampled in the dust, a regal head fell on the scaffold, and Cromwell sat on an ungarnished throne. Episcopacy was not her religion then. The Church of England fled to the wilderness; the mitre was crushed under sectarian feet, and the crosier snapped asunder by unconsecrated hands:-yet then she was great; not a nation but cringed for her friendship, and trembled at her frown. Was there persecution,oppression, or insult, on the Continent? she lifted her voice of thunder, and Europe's hills were moved; her mountains quaked and trembled to their foundations. And while Episcopacy has been Church-of-Englandism, our country has been great and glorious still; yes, through vicissitude, great; in adversity and disappointment, in privation and suffering, in all changes and chances, in arms and arts, in literature and benevolence. The monuments of her majesty reflect the glittering of every star of heaven; and not a wind can blow that has not wafted from her shores some freight of charity. And she would be great, were this patronized sect lost in oblivion, with all its robes, and forms, and wealth, and creeds: still to her would the nations look, as to an elder sister of the earth, pre-eminent in wisdom, grace, and majesty.
Yes; England, independently of adventitious circumstances, or predominant sects, must be admired and loved by all who can rightly think and feel; nor would the hand that might not object to pull down the clustering ivy from the oak, whose strength it wasted, and impaired its beauty, touch profanely one leaf of the hallowed tree. Oh, my country!-land of my birth, my love, and my pride—land of freedom and of glory-land of bards and heroes, of statesmen, philosophers, and patriots-land of Alfred and of
Sydney, of Hampden and of Russel, of Newton, Locke, and Milton; may thy security, liberty, generosity, peace, and pre-eminence, be eternal! May thy children prize their birthright, and well guard and extend their privileges! From the annals of thy renown, the deeds of thy worthies, the precious volumes of thy sages, may they imbibe the love of freedom, of virtue, of their country! May the pure gospel be their portion! Through every future age, may they arise, as of yore, the protectors of the oppressed, the terror of tyrants, the guardians of the rights and peace of nations, the champions of civil and religious liberty; and may they be the possessors and diffusers of genuine Christianity to all countries, through all generations!
The seal is set. Now welcome thou dread power!
That we become a part of what has been,
And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot!
I see before me the Gladiator lie:
The arena swims around him!—He is gone,
He heard it, but he heeded not: his eyes
All this rush'd with his blood. Shall be expire,
It must be som - Plato, thou reason'st well!