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how miserably our brethren are distressed and oppressed, how much the common enemy is strengthened, while you be only preparing for relief.” They go on to denounce the principle of toleration, which the Independents (be it said to their honour !) were the first to advocate. “If you tender true religion, you see how the sectaries show themselves plain enemies thereto, and maintain that impious monster of toleration.” But what must strike us now as most strange of all, is the claim they make for subjection to King Charles II., who had then been recently crowned, under Presbyterian auspices, at Scone (January 1, 1651). “Though religion” (they proceed) “were not the question, let loyalty to your king—the only king in the world who is in a religious covenant with God and His people—animate you against these, who are his enemies, because he is a king, and because covenanted.” (14) A covenanted king! And now this king, after ten years' additional exile, is restored to his father's throne. Doubtless it was in pity for the woful condition to which our forefathers had reduced themselves, and in hope that the chastisements inflicted upon them might have sufficed to produce the desired effects ; and doubtless, too, out of regard to the secret prayers and intercessions of many who had shrunk from the turmoil of those distempered times ;-doubtless, I say, it was owing to these causes that the Lord relented, and the outcast sovereign was received back, with every indication of triumphant joy, into the bosom of his fatherland. And with what result ? Alas ! only that we might see
“A fouler vision yet.”
It was true of the prince himself—to whom more especially this marvellous mercy was vouchsafedand not of him alone, that the returning prodigal became after his return a prodigal still more abandoned ; and so God had occasion again to withdraw His face, to turn "the music and dancing” into lamentation and woe, and to summon His instruments of vengeance, more grievous and more terrible even than before, for the punishment of iniquity, now aggravated by fresh ingratitude. And He did summon them. Such were the foreign wars in which, five years after the Restoration, the country became engaged with France and Holland; such was the great plague of that same year 1665; and such, too, the great fire of London in the following year. Let me remind jou how an eminent dignitary of the English Church, preaching in Westminster Abbey, November 5, 1688, described these accumulated calamities :
“Not to insist upon more remote instances of the divine judgments, let us cast our eyes upon these latter ones, much surpassing all the former. And here we shall see three kingdoms for some years bleeding by an unnatural civil war, weltering in their own blood, and wasted and spoiled by the fury of their own inhabitants : a calamity so universal, that like a deluge it involved all sorts, estates, and conditions of men—from the prince to the peasant, from him that wielded the sceptre to him that held the plough. And this war, we shall find, concluded with the success of the rebel cause and army, which, in the midst of peace, continued all the miseries of war; acting all the cruelties of banishments, imprisonments, sequestrations and decimations upon all those that durst own the least loyalty to their prince, or affection to their Church.
“And when it pleased Providence to blow over this storm in the happy restoration of both, it was not long before the destroying angel stretched forth his hand over us in that woful calamity, caused by a spreading devouring sickness, that ceased not to destroy and mow down thousands before it without stay or stop, till at length it gave over, as it were, out of very weariness with killing.
“And when we were still unconcerned, after all these blows falling so thick and heavy upon us, a fire more dreadful than all breaks forth upon the metropolis and glory of our nation, the great magazine of our strength and riches, and makes as great a mortality of houses as the sickness had made of inhabitants.
“ And lastly, when the growing impiety of the nation had baftled this judgment also, and brought us out of this fiery furnace with all our dross about us, God commissions the enemy, whom He had so often delivered into our hands, to come and outbrave us at out very doors, and to fire those ornaments and bulwarks of our English nation, even under our noses—a disgrace and a blot upon us not to be fetched out by the fire that burnt them, nor to be washed off by the whole ocean that carried them; and it is well that there followed not a destruction greater than the disgrace.”
Thus, he adds, “ We have seen and felt what an angry God can do.” (15)
It would be unjust to cast upon the prince him self all the blame for these latter calamities; one portion of his subjects at least must share it with him. The force which was put upon his conscience by the Commissioners from the Scottish Parliament, at Breda, in his twentieth year—1650—the year after his father's execution—and for which more than one of those Commissioners afterwards confessed his shame and remorse—was enough to demoralise his character for life. Let me quote, for example, the words of Mr Alexander Jaffray, Commissary of Aberdeen :
“We did sinfully entangle both the nation and ourselves, and that poor young prince to whom we were sent; making him sign and swear a covenant which we knew ... that he hated in his heart. Yet, finding that upon these terms only he could be admitted to rule over us, he sinfully complied with what we most sinfully pressed upon him; where, I must confess, to my apprehension, our sin was more than his.” (16) This was the first downward step in the career of duplicity and degradation which the young king subsequently pursued. (17) From that fatal moment he must have lost a large portion of his self-respect, and thereby greatly weakened his motives for amendment. But he must have lost also all respect for those whom it was most essential he should esteem—the ministers of the religion which he had been made to swear that he would uphold. One instance may suffice. In the sermon preached on the day of his coronation at Scone, which was the New Year's Day of 1651, by Robert Douglas, then Moderator of the Church of Scotland, are these words: “There are here who were witnesses of the coronation of the late king. The bishops behoved to perform that rite; but now, by the blessing of God, Popery and Prelacy (18) are removed,—the bishops, or limbs of Antichrist, are put to the door;" the bishops who are thus described having been, be it remembered, bishops of a Reformed and Protestant Church, in close communion with the Reformed Church of England, and certainly not less anti-Popish than their English brethren, but rather the contrary. And the said sermon of the Moderator is pronounced by Principal Baillie to have been “pertinent, wise, and good ”! (See Letters and Journals, vol. iii. p. 128.) These, it must be confessed, are sad reminiscences, and sufficient to have excited in a royal, nay in any, breast, an invincible antipathy to the system out