Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

called Jacobites, from the name of James or Jacobus, whose cause they supported.

There is not much more to interest you in the reign of William III. I should tell you however, that Louis XIV, the friend of James II, made another effort to restore him to the throne. He attempted an invasion of England, and prepared a fleet for the purpose ; but he was defeated by the English, and their allies the Dutch, in the battle of La Hogue, in 1692. James spent the remainder of his life at St. Germain's, near Paris, where he died, thirteen years after his dethronement.

During William's reign, an act was passed in Parliament, which it is important for you to remember. It was called the Bill of Rights, because it secured and confirmed the rights and liberties of the people. It declared, amongst other things, that the pretended power of suspending or executing laws, or of levying money for the use of the crown, by the king, without the consent of the Parliament, is illegal; that it is the right of the subject to petition the king; that excessive fines ought not to be imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted ; and that Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

William lost his excellent wife, Queen Mary, about three

before his own death. She died of the small-pox, which in those days proved fatal to a great many persons; for the art of vaccination was not then known. The king himself lost his life from an accident. He was thrown from his horse, when riding from Kensington to Hampton Court; and died from the effects of the fa!! a few weeks after.

years

And now, before we begin the reign of William's successor, Queen Anne, I wish to make a few remarks, which I could not well do before, without interrupting the course of our narrative. I wish that we should go back once more to the besieged city of Londonderry, and ask the suffering inbabitants there, if they can teach us any lessons from their own example and experience. I think they will say, that they can ; and perbaps we can guess, without much difficulty, what those lessons will be.

One of them will surely be on patient endurance. We have often had examples, in our history, of active courage, and of readiness to suffer cruel and violent death for the sake of truth and of duty. But the case of the besieged sufferers in Londonderry is, in some respects, different from these. The soldiers there had indeed active duties to perform, in which much courage and bravery were required. But then, there were a large number besides who could not be engaged in this way; the women, and children, and aged people, for instance,--and it is of them that I am particularly speaking here. Now in times of calamity, it often requires more stedfastness of purpose, more resolute endurance, to be passive, than to be active. There is an excitement, an impulse, given in action, which prevents reflection, and enables people to go through difficulties which would overpower them perhaps in calmer moments. But it is not so with those who have to sit still in suspense, dreadful suspense, knowing the danger, and awaiting the result. Think how the poor passive sufferers at Londonderry must have felt, as hour after bour they sat in their desolate houses, listening to the firing, and the shouts, and the cries of the wounded; or watching from their windows the horrors around, as far as they were able to discern them. And then, from time to time, came the sad intelligence that some one dear to them had fallen ;—the father of the family perhaps, or a son, or a brother;--some fatal bullet had reached him, some fatal wound had been given, and he was dead.

Now cannot you picture to yourselves a Christian family in such affliction as this, just as you did when we were talking of an affliction of a different kind,--the great Plague of London ? How would such a family act ? What would they do ? We know that there

Had they

were many religious families in Londonderry then, and we may well suppose how they felt, and how they were employed too, at such a time as that. Remember that all the suffering they endured,—the privations, the famine, the dangers, the losses, --were endured for the sake of truth, Protestant truth. been induced to surrender, and to open their gates, and to submit to James, they would have sacrificed principle; and therefore resistance, even to death, was a duty. But we were speaking of those who could not join the brave soldiers of the garrison, in defending themselves from the enemy with their guns and their swords. There were especial duties for them to perform. What were they? There was patience to be exercised; there was confidence in God to be displayed ; and above all, there was prayer to be offered. And we may fully believe that all these duties were attended to then. Many a woman,

and too, might have been found in Londonderry during that siege, praying earnestly for their city, and their country, and their Protestant faith, when they could not fight with "carnal weapons," for the blessings they so highly prized. And we may be assured that the assistance which arrived at last, and the deliverance which followed, came as much in answer to the prayers of the patient sufferers, as in

many a child

VOL. II.

2 C

а

consequence of the means used for defence and preservation by the brave soldiers who manned the walls. We are told that “the righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them, and delivereth them from all their troubles." Oh let us never forget the lessons of patience, and faith, and trust in God, which we may learn from the besieged city of Londonderry. But I have another lesson for

you

of different kind,-one which the sad story of Glencoe has suggested,-a lesson on the duty of exercising mercy and compassion. We owe much to King William, and we ought never to hear his name, without feelings of gratitude for all the blessings which accompanied his accession to the English throne at the time of the Great Revolution, And yet, when we read such a story as that of the massacre of Glencoe, and remember the part he had in it, we cannot think of William with that affection which we would desire to feel for a good king. Now there is something so delightful in a merciful, compassionate, gentle disposition, that I would not pass over this trait in William's character, without taking the opportunity of pressing upon you the importance of cultivating these graces, if you wish to be not only respected, but loved. The king we are speaking of was perhaps naturally deficient in the amiable parts of character; and though he

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »