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to restore; she had empty magazines to fill; she had a decaying commerce to invigorate; she had an exhausted exchequer to replenish.-All these, by the blessing of God on the strength of her mind, and the wisdom of her councils, she accomplished. She not only paid her own debts; but, without any great additional burdens on her subjects, she discharged those also which were due to the people from her two immediate predecessors. At the same time, she fostered genius, she encouraged literature, she attracted all the great talents of the age within the sphere of her own activity. And, though she constantly ⚫ availed herself of all the judgment and talents of her ministers, her acquiescence in their measures was that of conviction, never of implicit confidence.
treasury frugality is.' The same sentiments seem to have been adopted by another Roman statesman, a royal favourite too. Pliny affirms, that a prince will be pardoned, who gives nothing to his subjects, provided he takes nothing away from them.'
Those princes, who despising frugality, have been prodigal for the sake of a little temporary applause, have seldom achieved lasting good. And, allowing that this lavish generosity may be for the moment a popular quality, yet, there is scarcely any thing which has contributed to bring more calamities on a state, than the means used for enabling the prince to indulge it. It was not in Rome alone, as recent instances testify, that when the government has wanted money, the rich have been always found to be the guilty. A prodigal generosity, as we have seen in the case of Cæsar, and in our own time, may be a useful instrument for paving the way to a throne; but an established sovereign will find economy a more certain means of keeping him in it. The emperor Nero was extolled for the felicity which he was diffusing by his bounty, while Rome was groaning under the burthen of his exactions. That liberality which would make a prince necessitous, and a people poor, would, by hurting his fame, weaken his influence; for reputation is power. After all, such a care and improvement of the revenue, as will enable him to spare his subjects, is the truest liberality in a prince.
Her exact frugality may not, by superficial judges, be reckoned among the shining parts of her character. Yet, those who see more deeply, must allow, that it was a quality from which the most important benefits were derived to her people; and without which all her great abilities would have been comparatively inefficient. The parsimony of her grandfather was the rapine and exaction of an extortioner; hers, the wise economy of a provident parent. If we are to judge of the value of actions by their consequences, let us compare the effects upon the country, of the prodigality, both of her father, and of her successor, with her own frugality. As it has been asserted by Plutarch, that the money idly thrown away by the Athenians on But, to return-The distinguishing qualities the representations of two dramatic poets only, of Elizabeth appear to have been economy, pruamounted to a larger sum than had been ex-dence, and moderation. Yet in some instances pended on all their wars against the Persians, in defence of their liberty; so it has been affirmed, that the first James spent more treasure on his favourites, than it had cost Elizabeth to maintain all her wars. Yet, there have not been wanting historians, who have given the praise of liberality to James, and especially to Henry, while Elizabeth has suffered the imputation of avarice. But we ought to judge of good and evil, by their own weight and measure, and not by the specious names which the latter can assume, nor by the injurious terms which may be bestowed on the former.
the former was rigid, not to say unjust.* Nor had her frugality always the purest motives. She was, it is true, very unwilling to trouble parliament for money, for which, indeed, they were extremely unwilling to be troubled; but her desire to keep herself independent of them seems to have been her motive for this forbearance. What she might have gained in supplies she must have lost in power.
To her moderation and that middle line of conduct which she observed, much of her success may be ascribed. To her moderation in the contests between papists and puritans, it is It is not from the splenetic critic in retired chiefly to be attributed, that the reformation islife, from the declaimer, ignorant of the duties sued in a happier medium in England, than in and the requisitions of princes, that we should any other country.-To her moderation, in retake our sentiments on the point of royal econo- spect to foreign war, from which she was sinmy; but from men, who, however possessing gularly averse, may be ascribed at that rapid different characters and views, yet agree in this improvement at home, which took place under one respect, that their exalted public situations, her reign.-If we were to estimate Elizabeth as and great personal experience enable them to a private female, she would doubtless appear engive a fair and sound opinion. The judgment titled to but little veneration. If as an instrueven of the emperor Tiberius was not so impairment raised up by Divine Providence to carry ed by his vices, but that he could insist, that an exchequer, exhausted by prodigality, must be replenished with oppression. Cicero, versed in public business, no less than in the knowledge of mankind, affirms, that a liberal prince loses more hearts than he gains, and that the resentment of those from whom he takes the money, is much stronger than the gratitude of those to whom he gives it.' And, on another occasion he says, that men are not aware what a rich In his inquiry whether the Athenians were more eminent in the arts of war or peace.
through the most arduous enterprises in the most difficult emergencies, we can hardly rate her too highly. We owe her much as Englishmen. As protestants, what do we not owe her? If we look at the woman, wo shall see much to blame; if at the sovereign, we shall see almost every thing to admire.-Her great, faults though they derogated from her personal character, seldom deeply affected her administration. In one instance only, her favouritism was prejudicial * Particularly her keeping the see of Ely vacant nineteen years, in order to retain the revenue.
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to the state; her appointment of Leicester to |
illustrious princess. Real virtue will, in every
Our censures, therefore, must not be lost in our admiration, nor must our gratitude warp our judgment. And it may be useful to inquire how came to pass that Elizabeth, with so much power, so much prudence, and so much popularity, should at length become completely miserable, and die, neglected and forsaken, her sun setting ingloriously after so bright a day of prosperity and honour.
May we not venture to attribute it to the defectiveness, not to say unsoundness, of her moral principles? Though corrupt principles for a certain period may conceal themselves, and even dazzle, by the success of the projects to which, in the view of superficial reasoners, they may have appeared conducive; they will, in a long course of action, betray their intrinsic weakness. -They may not entirely have prevented the public good effects of other useful qualities with which they were associated; but they do most fatally operate against the personal honour of the individual; and against her reaping that harvest of gratitude and respect, to which she might otherwise have been so justly entitled.
the forsaken death-bed of Elizabeth, the exem-
Moral advantages to be derived from the study
THE knowledge of great events and splendid characters, and even of the customs, laws, and manners of different nations; an acquaintance, however accurate, with the state of the arts, sciences, and commerce of those nations, important sidered as of primary importance in the study as is this knowledge, must not however be conof history.-There are still higher uses to which that study may be turned. History furnishes a mental doctrines of our religion, the corruption strong practical illustration of one of the fundaof human nature. To this truth it constantly bears witness by exemplifying it under every shape and shade, and colour, and gradation; the Vanity was, too probably, the spring of some of Elizabeth's most admired actions; but the annals of the world, indeed, from its commencesame vanity also produced that jealousy, whichment to the present hour, presenting little else terminated in the death of Mary. It was the same vanity which led her first to court the admiration of Essex, and then to suffer him to fall a victim to her wounded pride. Her temper was uncontrolled.-While we pardon her ignorance of the principles of liberty, we should not forget how little she respected the privileges of parliament, claiming a right of imprisoning its very members, without deigning to give any account of her proceedings.
Policy was her favourite science, but in that day a liberal policy was not understood; and Elizabeth was too apt to substitute both simulation and dissimulation for an open and generous conduct. This dissimulation at length lost her the confidence of her subjects, and while it inspired her with a distrust, it also forfeited the attachment of her friends. Her insincerity, as was natural, infected those around her. The young Cecil himself was so far alienated from his royal mistress, and tainted with the prevailing spirit of intrigue, as to be secretly corresponding with her rival James.
That such mortifying occurrences were too likely to arise, from the very nature of existing eircumstances, where the dying prince was the last of her race, and the nearly vacant throne about to be possessed by a stranger, must as suredly be allowed. But it may still be asserted, that nothing but deficiency of moral character could have so desolated the closing scene of an
than a strongly interwoven tissue of those cor-
That reader looks to little purpose over the eventful page of history, who does not accustom himself to mark therein the finger of the Almighty, governing kings and kingdoms; protracing out beforehand, in the unimpeachable longing or contracting the duration of empires; cessive empires, which subsequent events have page of the prophet Daniel,* an outline of suc
*The parts of the book of Daniel chiefly alluded to are Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's interpretation of it, in the second chapter; and his own vision of the four beasts, in the eighth, These two passages alone, preserved as they have been by the most invete. rate enemies of Christianity, amount to an irrefragible most ancient and most learned opposers of revelation is demonstration that our religion is divine. One of the said to have denied the possibility of these prophecies having existed before the events. But we know they did exist, and no modern infidel dares to dispute it. their own inconsequence of mind, they inevitably, But, admitting this, however they may take refuge in though indirectly, allow the truth of Christianity.
realized with the most critical exactness; and describing their eventful subservience to the spiritual kingdom of the Messiah, with a circumstantial accuracy which the well-informed Christian, who is versed in scripture language, and whose heart is interested in the subject, reads with unutterable and never-ceasing astonishment. It is, in fact, this wonderful correspondence, which gives its highest value to the more ancient half of the historic series. What would it profit us, at this day, to learn from Xenophon, that the Assyrian monarch had subjugated all those countries, with the exception of Media, which spread eastward from the Mediterranean, if it were not that, by this statement, he confirms that important portion of sacred and prophetic history! And to what solidly useful purpose would the same historian's detail of the taking of Babylon be applicable, if it did not forcibly as well as minutely, illustrate the almost equally detailed denunciations of the prophet Isaiah? It was partly for the purpose of elucidating this correspondence between sacred prophecy and ancient history; and showing, by how regular a providential chain the successive empires of the ancient world were connected with each other, and ultimately with Christianity, that the excellent Rollin composed his well-known work; and the impression which his researches left upon his own mind, may be seen in those sublimely pious remarks with which his last volume is concluded.
Another important end to the study of general history, distinct from that which has just been mentioned, but by no means unconnected with it, is the contemplation of divine wisdom and goodness, as exercised in gradually civilizing the human race, through the instrumentality of their own agitation. In this view the mind of the pupil should be particularly led to observe that mysterious yet most obvious operation of Providence, by which, through successive ages, the complicated chaos of human agency has been so over-ruled as to make all things work together for general good: the hostile collision of nations being often made conducive, almost in its immediate consequences, to their common benefit, and often rendered subservient to the general improvement, and progressive advancement of the great commonwealth of mankind.
If this view, respecting the world at large, should be deemed too vast for satisfactory consideration, it may be limited to that part with which we are most nearly connected; and to which it is hardly too bold to say, that Divine Providence itself has, during the latter ages of the world, seemed to direct its chief attentionI mean the continent of Europe. Let it simply be asked, what was the state of this continent two thousand years ago? The answer must be
from the Alps to the Frozen Ocean, a moral as well as physical wilderness. That the human powers were formed for extended exercise, and in some sense for boundless improvement, the very contemplation of those powers is sufficient to evince. But that improvement had not then begun, nor was the frost of their dreariest winter more benumbing than that in which their minds had been for ages locked up. To what then but a regular design of Providence can we attribute the amazing change! And it is doubtless the part, no less of religious gratitude than of philosophical curiosity, to inquire into the se
A careful perusal of the historical and prophetical parts of scripture will prepare us for reading profane history with great advantage. In the former we are admitted within the veil. We are informed how the vices of nations drew down on them the wrath of the Almighty; and how some neighbouring potentate was employed as the instrument of divine vengeance. How his ambition, his courage, and military skill were but the means of fulfilling the divine pre-ries of instrumental causes by which the transdiction, or of inflicting the divine punishment. How, when the mighty conqueror, the executioner of the sentence of Heaven, had performed his assigned task, he was put aside, and was himself, perhaps in his turn, humbled and laid low. Such are the familiar incidents of his toric and prophetic Scripture. But, in addition to the stock of knowledge which we received from thence, we shall have learned in the divine school to little purpose, if we do not find the benefit of our studies in the general impression and habits of mind which we derive from them; if we do not open our eyes to the agency of Providence in the varying fortunes of nations, and in the talents, characters, and fates of the chief actors in the great drama of life.
Do we read in the prophetic page the solemn call and designations of Cyrus ?-Let us learn to recognise no less, as the instrument of the Almighty, a Gustavus, and a Marlborough! Are we many hundred years before informed, by Him who can alone see the end from the beginning, of the military exploits of the conqueror of Babylon, and the overturner of the Assyrian empire?-Let us learn to refer no less to that same all-disposing power, the victories of Lutzen and of Blenheim, the. humiliation of Austrian arrogance, and of French ambition.
formation was effected. This interesting and most instructive intelligence is conveyed to us by history. We mark the slow but steady developement of the wise and benevolent plan. We see the ambition of Rome breaking up the soil with its resistless plough-share, and scattering even through these British isles the first seeds of civilization. We see the northern invaders burst forth with irresistible violence, bringing back, to all human appearance, the former desolation; but, in reality, conducing, though with an operation like that of lava from a volcano, to a richer harvest of social and civil happiness. We see all that was really valuable spring up again afresh, mingled with new principles of utility and comfort; and above all, quickened and enriched by the wide-spread influences of a pure and heavenly religion. We see the violent passions providentially let loose, when it was necessary for society to be roused from a pernicious torpor. We see an enthusiastic rage for conquests in Asia, inducing an activity of mind, and enlargement of view, out of which eventually grew commerce, liberty, literature, philosophy, and at length, even religious reformation. In brief, if in our perusal of history, we take true wisdom for our guide, we shall not only be instructed by that gracious progressiveness
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which is discernable in past events, but, notwith-, opposite inclinations of equal violence; and standing the awful concussions of the present through the direction of Providence, the pasperiod, we shall learn to trust Almighty wisdom sion finally predominant was generally favourAnd we able to the public good. Do we then mean to admit, that the Almighty and goodness for what is to come. shall be ready to indulge the hope of a yet greatly increased happiness of mankind, when we approves of these excesses in individuals, by consider, that the hand which brought us from which his wisdom often works for the general barbarism to our present circumstances is still benefit? God forbid. Nothing surely could be over us-that progression to still better habits less approved by him, than the licentiousness is equally possible, and equally necessary; and and cruelty of our eighth Henry, though He that no means were rendered more conducive to over-ruled those enormities for the advantages such progress, in the period which is passed, than of the community, and employed them, as his "the agitations of the same awful and afflictive instruments for restoring good government, and kind which we are now doomed to contemplate. for introducing, and at length establishing, the It will be seen that the same Infinite wisdom reformation. England enjoys the inestimable often permits human evils to balance each other, blessing but the monarch is not the less reand in subservience to his grand purpose of sponsible personally for his crimes. We are general good, not only sets good against evil, equally certain, that God did not approve of the but often, where the counteracting principle of insatiable ambition of Alexander, or of his inreligion seems wholly suspended, prevent any credible acquisition of territory by means of fatal preponderance in the scale of human af- unjust wars. Yet, from that ambition, those fairs, by allowing one set of vices to counter-wars, and those conquests, how much may the balance another. Thus, societies, which ap- condition of mankind have been meliorated? pear, on a general view, to have almost wholly The natural humanity of this hero, which he thrown off the divine government, are still pre- had improved by the study of philosophy under served for better things, or perhaps, for the sake one of the greatest masters in the world, disof the righteous few, who still remain in them, posed him to turn his conquests to the benefit by means of those exertions which bad men of mankind. He founded seventy cities, says merce and diffuse civilization. Plutarch* obmake from selfish motives; or by the vigilance his historian, so situated as to promote comwith which one party of bad men watches over another. The clash of parties, and the opposi- serves, that had those nations not been conquertion of human opinion, are likewise often over-ed, Egypt would have had no Alexandria, Mesoruled for good. The compages of the public potamia, no Selucia. He also informs us, that mind, if we may use such a term, are no less Alexander introduced marriage into one conkept together, than the component parts of quered country, and agriculture into another; matter, by opposite tendencies. And, as all that one barbarous nation, who used to eat their human agents are nothing but the instruments parents, was led by him to reverence and mainof God, he can with equal efficacy, though doubt-tain them; that he taught the Persians to reless not with the same complacency, cause spect, and not to marry their mothers; the There was on the whole, something so extrathe effects of evil passions to be counteracted Scythians to bury, and not to eat their dead. by each other, as well as by the opposite virtues. For instance, were it not for indo-ordinary in the career of this monarch, and in the lence and the dread of difficulty and danger, results to which it led, that his historian Arrian, ambition would deluge the world in blood. amidst all the darkness of paganism, was inThe love of praise, and the love of indul-duced to say, that Alexander seemed to have gence, assist, through their mutual opposition, been given to the world by a peculiar dispensato keep each other in order. Avarice and tion of Providence. voluptuousness are almost as hostile to each other, as either is to the opposite virtues; therefore, by pulling different ways, they contribute to keep the world in equipoise. Thus, the same divine hand, which had so adjusted the parts and the properties of matter, as that their apparent opposition produces, not disruption, but harmony, and promotes the general order, has also conceived, through the action and counteraction of the human mind, that no jar of passion, no abuse of free agency, shall eventually defeat the wise and gracious purposes of heaven.
For an illustration of these remarks, we scarcely need go farther than the character of our own heroic Elizabeth. Her passions were naturally of the strongest kind; and it must be acknowledged, that they were not always under the controul of principle. To what then can we so fairly ascribe the success which, even in such instances, attended her, as the effect of one strong passion forcibly operating on another? Inclinations which were too violent to be checked by reason were met and counteracted by
Did the same just Providence, approve of the usurpation of Augustus over his fallen country ?-No-but Providence employed it as the means of restoring peace to remote provinces, which the tyrannical republic had so long harassed and oppressed; and also of estab lishing a general uniformity of law, and facility were signally subservient to the diffusion of that of intercourse between nation and nation, which divine religion, which was so soon to enlighten and to bless mankind.
To adduce one or two instances more, were thousands might be adduced-Did the Almighty approve those frantic wars which arrogated to themselves the name of holy? Yet, with all the extravagance of the enterprise, and the ruinous failure which attended its execution, many beneficial consequences, as has been already inout of them. The Crusaders, as their historians timated, were permitted, incidentally, to grow demonstrate,t beheld in their march, countries
Quoted by Gillies vol. iii. p. 385.
† See especially Robertson's State of Europe
points that good shall be productive of good. To resume the illustration, therefore, from a few of the instances already adduced; what an extensive blessing might Alexander, had he acted with other views and to other ends, have proved to that world, whose happiness he impaired by his ambition, and whose morals he corrupted by his example! How much more effectually, and immediately might the reformation have been promoted, had Henry, laying aside the blind
in which civilization had made a greater pro-, gress than in their own. They saw foreign manufactures in a state of improvement to which they had not been accustomed at home. They perceived remains of knowledge in the East, of which Europe had almost lost sight. Their native projudices were diminished in witnessing improvements to which the state of their own country presented comparative barbarity. The first faint gleam of light dawned on them, the first perceptions of taste and ele-ness of prejudice, and subduing the turbulence gance were awakened, and the first rudiments of many an art were communicated to them by this personal acquaintance with more polished countries. Their views of commerce were improved, and their means of extending it were enlarged.
It is scarcely necessary to add, that the excess to which the popes carried their usurpation, and the Romish clergy, their corruptions, was, by the Providence of God, the immediate cause of the reformation. The taking of Constantinople by the Turks, though in itself, a most de. plorable scene of crimes and calamities, became the occasion of most important benefits to our countries, by compelling the only accomplished scholars then in the world to seek an asylum in the western part of Europe. To these countries they carried with them the Greek language, which ere long proved one of the providential means of introducing the most important event that has occurred since the first establishment of Christianity.
May we not now add to the number of instances in which Providence has over-ruled the crimes of men for good, a recent exemplification of the doctrine, in the ambition of that person, who, by his unjust assumption of imperial power in a neighbouring nation, has, though unintentionally, almost annihilated the wild outcry of false liberty, and the clamour of mad democracy?
All those contingent events which lie without the limits and calculations of human foresight; all those variable loose uncertainties which men call chance, has God taken under his own certain disposal and absolute controul. To reduce uncertainty to method, confusion to arrange ment, and contingency to order, is solely the prerogative of Almighty power.
Nothing can be further from the intention of these remarks, than to countenance, in the slightest degree, the doctrine of optimism in the sense in which it was maintained by Mr. Pope. Far be it from the writer, to intimate that the good which has thus providentially been produced out of evil, is greater than the good, which would have been produced had no such evil been committed; or to insinuate, that the crimes of men do not diminish the quantity of good which is enjoyed. This would, indeed, be to furnish an apology for vice. That God can and does bring good out of evil, is unquestionably true; but to affirm, that he brings more, or so much good out of evil as he would have brought out of good, had good been practised, would be indeed a dangerous position.
If, therefore, God often educes good from ill,' yet man has no right to count upon his always doing it in the same degree in which he ap
of passion, been the zealous and consistent supporter of the protestant cause; the virtuous husband of one virtuous wife, and the parent of children all educated in the sound principles of the reformation? Again, had the popes effectually reformed themselves, how might the unity of the churches have been promoted: and even the schisms, which have arisen in protestant communities, been diminished! It would be superfluous to recapitulate other instances; these, it is presumed, being abundantly sufficient to obviate any charge of the most distant approach towards the fatal doctrine of Neces sity.
On the distinguishing character of Christianity.
THE great leading truths of Scripture are few in number, though the spirit of them is diffused through every page. The being and attributes of the Almighty; the spiritual worship which he requires; the introduction of natural and moral evil in the world; the restoration of man; the life, death, character, and offices of the Redeemer; the holy example he has given us; the divine system of ethics which he has bequeathed us; the awful sanctions with which they are enforced; the spiritual nature of the eternal world; the necessity of repentance; the pardon of sin through faith in a Redeemer; the offer of divine assistance; and the promise of eternal life. The Scripture describes a multitude of persons who exemplify its truth; whose lives bear testimony to the perfection of the divine law; and whose characters, however clouded with infirmity, and subject to temptation, yet, acting under its authority and influence, evince, by the general tenor of their conduct, that they really embrace religion as a governing principle of the heart, and as the motive to all virtue in the life.
In forming the mind of the royal pupil, an early introduction to these Scriptures, the depository of such important truths, will doubtless be considered as a matter of prime concern. And as her mind opens, it will be thought necessary to point out to her, how one great event led to another still greater; till at length we see a series accomplished, and an immovable foundation laid for our faith and hope, which includes every essential principle of moral virtue and genuine happiness.
To have given rules for moral conduct might appear, to mere human wisdom, the aptest method of improving our nature. And, accord