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hulk, and new mis-shapen and disagreeing pieces of his own, he made up, with much ado, that piratical vessel which we have seen him command, and which, how tight indeed it was, may best be judged by its perpetual leaking.
"First then (much more wicked than those foolish daughters in the fable, who cut their old father into pieces, in hope by charms and witchcraft to make him young and lusty again), this man endeavoured to destroy the building, before he could imagine in what manner, with what materials, by what workmen, or what architect, it was to be rebuilt. Secondly, if he had dreamt himself to be able to revive that body which he had killed, yet it had been hut the insupportable insolence of an ignorant mountebank: and thirdly (which concerns us nearest), that very new thing, which he made out of the ruins of the old, is no more like the original, either for beauty, use, or duration, than an artificial plant, raised by the fire of a chemist, is comparable to the true and natural one which he first burnt, that out of the ashes of it he might produce an imperfect similitude of his own making.
"Your last argument is such (when reduced to syllogism), that the major proposition of it would make strange work in the world, if it were received for truth; to wit, that he who has the best parts in a nation has the right of being king over it. We had enough to do here of old with the contention between two branches of the same family: what would become of us, when every man in England should lay his claim to the government f And truly, if Cromwell should have commenced his plea, when he seems to have begun his ambition, there were few persons besides that might not at the same time have put in theirs too. But his deserts, I suppose, you will date from the same term that I do his great demerits, that is, from the beginning of our late calamities (for, as for his private faults before, I can only wish, and that with as much charity to him as to the public, that he had continued in them till his death, rather than changed them for those of his latter days); and therefore we must begin the consideration of his greatness from the unlucky era of our own misfortunes; which puts me in mind of what was said less truly of Pompey the Great, ' Nostra miseria magnus es.' But, because the general ground of your argumentation consists in this, that all men who are effecters of extraordinary mutations in the world must needs have extraordinary forces of nature, by which they are enabled to turn about, as they please, so great a wheel; I shall speak first a few words upon this universal proposition, which seems so reasonable, and is so popular, before I descend to the particular examination of the eminences of that person which is in question.
"I have often observed (with all submission and resignation of spirit to the inscrutable mysteries of Eternal Providence), that when the fulness and maturity of time is come, that produces the great con» fusions and changes in the world, it usually pleases God to make it appear, by the manner of them, that they are not the effects of human force or policy, but of the divine justice and predestination; and, though we see a man, like that which we call Jack of the clock-house, striking, as it were, the hour of that fulness of time, yet our reason must needs be convinced, that the hand is moved by some secret, and, to us who stand without, invisible direction. And the stream of the current is then so violent, that the strongest men in the world cannot draw up against it; and none are so weak, but they may sail down with it. These are the spring-tides of public affairs, which we see often happen, but seek in vain to discover any certain causes:
— Omnia fluminis
Ritu feruntur, nunc medio alveo
Cum pace delabentis Etruscum
Stirp6sque raptas, & pecus & domos
Volventis una, non sine montium
Irritat amnes. Hoii. 3 Carm. xxix.
"And one man then, by maliciously opening all the
sluices that he can come at, can never be the sole author of all this (though he may be as guilty as if really he were, by intending and imagining to be so); but it is God that breaks up the flood-gates of so general a deluge, and all the art then and industry of mankind is not sufficient to raise up dikes and ramparts against it. In such a time it was as this, that not all the wisdom and power of the Roman senate, nor the wit and eloquence of Cicero, nor the courage and virtue of Brutus, was able to defend their country, or themselves, against the unexperienced rashness of a beardless boy, and the loose rage of a voluptuous madman. The valour and prudent counsels on the one side are made fruitless, and the errors and cowardice on the other harmless, by unexpected accidents. The one general saves his life, and gains the whole world, by a very dream; and the other loses both at once, by a little mistake of the shortness of his sight. And though this be not always so, for we see that, in the translation of the great monarchies from one to another, it pleased God to make choise of the most eminent men in nature, as Cyrus, Alexander, Scipio and his contemporaries, for his chief instruments and actors in so admirable a work (the end of this being, not only to destroy or punish one nation, which may be done by the worst of mankind, but to exalt and bless another, which is only to be effected by great and virtuous persons); yet, when God only intends the temporary chastisement of a people, he doe»
VOL. III. I
not raise up his servant Cyrus (as he himself is pleased to call him), or an Alexander (who had as many virtues to do good, as vices to do harm); but he makes the Massanellos, and the Johns of Leyden, the instruments of his vengeance, that the power of the Almighty might be more evident by the weakness of the means which he chooses to demonstrate it. He did not assemble the serpents and the monsters of Afric, to correct the pride of the Egyptians; but called for his armies of locusts out of ./Ethiopia, and formed new ones of vermin out of the very dust; and because you see a whole country destroyed by these, will you argue from thence they must needs have had both the craft of foxes, and the courage of lions?
"It is easy to apply this general observation to the particular case of our troubles in England: and that they seem only to be meant for a temporary chastisement of our sins, and not for a total abolishment of the old, and introduction of a new government, appears probable to me from these considerations, as far as we may be bold to make a judgment of the will of God in future events. First, because he has suffered nothing to settle or take root in the place of that, which hath been so unwisely and unjustly removed, that none of these untempered mortars can hold out against the next blast of wind, nor any stone stick to a stone, till that which these foolish builders have refused be made again the head of the corner. For, when the indisposed and long-tormented