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(* Ah! mother, what art thou doing?" And, tenderly pressing her hand, in raising her up, he added, in a low voice, « Rome is saved, but thy son is lost!"
Early the next morning, Coriolanus broke up bis camp, and peaceably marched bis army homewards. Nobody bad the boldness to contradict his orders. Many were exceed. ingly dissatisfied with his conduct ; but others excused it, being more affected with his filial respect to his mother, than with their own interests. HOOKE'S ROMAN HISTORY.
Execution of Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Queen Mary determined to bring Cranmer, whom she had long detained in prison, to punishment; and in order more fully to satiate her vengeance, she resolved to punish him for heresy, rather than for treason. He was cited by the Pope to stand his trial at Rome ; and though he was known to be kept in close custody at Oxford, he was, upon his not appearing, condemned as contumacious. Bonner, bishop of London, and Thirleby, bishop of Ely, were sent to degrade him; and the former executed the melancholy ceremony, with all the joy and exultation which suited his savage nature. The implacable spirit of the Queen, not satisfied with the future misery of Cranmer, which she believed inevitable, and with the execution of that dreadful sentence to which he was condemned, prompted her also to seek the ruin of his honour, and the infamy of his name. Persons were employed to attack him, not in the way of disputation, against which he was sufficiently armed; but by flattery, insinuation, and address ; by representing the dignities to which his character still entitled him, if he would merit them by a recantation ; by giving him hopes of long enjoying those powerful friends, whom bis beneficent disposition had attach. ed to him, during the course of his prosperity. Overcome by the fond love of life ; terrified by the prospect of those tortures which awaited him; he allowed, in an unguarded bour, the sentiments of nature to prevail over his resolution, an agreed to subscribe the doctrines of the papal supremacy, and of the real presence. The court, equally perfidious and cruel, was determined that this recantation should avail him nothing; and sent orders that he should be required to acknowledge his errors in church before the whole people : and that he should thence be immediately carried to execution. · Cranmer, whether he had received a secret intimation of their design, or had repented of his weakness, surprised the audience by a contrary declaration. He said that he was well apprised of the obedience which he owed to his sove. reign and the laws ; but that this duty extended no farther than to submit patiently to their commands; and to bear, without resistance, whatever hardships they should impose upon him : that a superior duty, the duty which he owed to his Maker, obliged him to speak truth on all occasions ; and not to relinquish, by a base denial, the boly doctrine which the Supreme Being had revealed to mankind : that there was one miscarriage in his life, of which above all others, he severely repented; the insincere declaration of faith to which he had the weakness to consent, and which the fear of death alone had extorted from him : that he took this opportunity of atoning for his error by a sincere and open recantation ; and was willing to seal with his blood, that doctrine which he firmly believed to be communicated from heaven : and that, as his hand bad erred, by betraying his heart, it should first be punished, by a severe, but just doom, and should first pay the forfeit of its offences.
He was then led to the stake, amidst the insults of his enemies : and having now summoned up all the force of his mind, he bore their scorn, as well as the torture of his punishment, with singular fortitude. He stretched out his hand, and, without betraying, either by his countenance, or motions, the least sign of weakness, or even of feeling, he held it in the flames till it was entirely consumed. His thoughts seemed wholly occupied with reflections on his former fault, and he called aloud several times, “ This hand bas offended." Satisfied with that atonement, he then discovered a serenity in his countenance; and when the fire attacked bis body, he seemed to be quite insensible of his outward sufferings, and by the force of hope and resolution, to have collected his mind altogether within itself, and to repel the fury of the flames. He was undoubtedly a man of merit; possessed of learning and capacity, and adorned with candour, .sincerity, and beneficence, and all those virtues which were fitted to render him useful and amiable in society.
Christianity furnishes the best consolation under the evils of life.
It is of great importance to contemplate the Christian religion in the light of consolation ; as bringing aid and relief to us amidst the distresses of life. Here our religion incontestibly triumphs; and its happy effects, in this respect, furnish a strong argument to every benevolent mind, for wishing them to be farther diffused throughout the world. For without the belief and hope afforded by Divine Revelation, the circumstances of man are extremely forlorn. He finds himself placed here as a stranger in a vast upi. verse, where the powers and operations of nature are very imperfectly known; where both the beginnings and the is. sues of things are involved in mysterious darkness; where he is unable to discover, with any certainty, whence he sprung, or for what purpose he was brought into this state of existence; whether he is subjected to the government of a mild, or of a wrathsul ruler; what construction he is to put on many of the dispensations of his providence; and what his fate is to be when he departs hence. What a disconsolate situation, to a serious, inquiring mind! The greater degree of virtue it possesses, the more its sensibility is likely to be oppressed by this burden of labouring thought. Even though it were in one's power to banish all uneasy thought, and to fill up the hours of life with perpetual amusement, life so filled up would, upon reflection, appear poor and trivial. But these are far from being the terms upon which man is brought into this world. He is conscious that bis being is frail and feeble ; he sees himself beset with various dangers ; and is exposed to many a melancholy appre. hension, from the evils which he may have to encounter, before he arrives at the close of life. In this distressed condition, to reveal to him such discoveries of the Supreme Being as the Christian religion affords, is to reveal to him a father and a friend ; is to let in a ray of the most cheering light upon the darkness of the human state. He who was before a destitute orphan, wandering in the inhospitable desert, has now gained a shelter from the bitter and inclement blast. He now knows to whom to pray, and in whom to trust; where to unbosom his sorrows; and from what hand to look for relief.
It is certain, that when the heart bleeds from some wound of recent misfortune, nothing is of equal efficacy with religious comfort. It is of power to enlighten the darkest hour, and to assuage the severest wo, by the belief of the Divine favour, and the prospect of a blessed immortality. In such bopes, the mind expatiates with joy ; and, when bereaved of its earthly friends, solaces itself with the thoughts of one Friend, who will never forsake it. Refined reasonings concerning the nature of the human condition, and the improvement which philosophy teaches us to make of every event, may entertain the mind when it is at ease ; may perhaps contribute to sooth it, when slightly touched with sorrow : but when it is torn with any sore distress, they are cold and foe. ble, compared with the direct promise from the Father of mercies. This is an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast." This has given consolation and refuge to many a virtuous heart, at a time when the most cogent reasonings would have proved utterly unavailing.
Upon the approach of death, when, if a man thinks at all, his anxiety about his future interests must naturally increase, the power of religious consolation is sensibly felt. Then appears in the most striking light, the high value of the disa coveries made by the gospel; not only life and immortality revealed, but a Mediator with God discovered ; mercy proclaimed, through him, to the frailties of the peniient and the humble ; and his presence promised to be with them when they are passing through “ the valley of the shadow of death,” in order to bring them safe into unseen habitations of rest and joy. Here is ground for their leaving the world with comfort and peace. But in this severe and trying period, this labouring hour of nature, how shall the unhappy man support himself, who knows not, or believes not, the discoveries of religion ? Secretly conscious to himself that he has not acted his part as he ought to have done, the sins of his past life arise before him in sad remembrance. He wishes to exist after death, and yet dreads that, existence.
The Governor of the world is unknown. He cannot tell whether every endeavour to obtain his mercy may not be in vain. All is awful obscurity around him; and, in the midst of endless doubts and perplexities, the trembling, re. luctant soul is forced away from the body. As the misfortunes of life must, to such a man, have been most oppressive, so its end is bitter. His sun sets in a dark cloud; and the night of death closes over his head, full of misery.
Benefits to be derived from scenes of distress.
SONE periods of sadness have, in our present situation, a just and natural place; and they are requisite to the true enjoyment of pleasure; but I shall at present decline considering the subject in this view ; and confine myself to point out the direct effects of a proper attention to the distresses of life, upon our moral and religious character.
In the first place, the house of mourning is calculated to give a proper check to our natural thoughtlessness and levity. The indolence of mankind, and their love of pleasure, spread, through all characters and ranks, some degree of aversion to what is grave and serious. They grasp at any object, either of business or amusement, which makes the present moment pass smoothly away ; which carries their thoughts abroad, and saves them from the trouble of reflect ing on themselves. With too many, this passes into a habit of constant dissipation. If their fortune and rank allow them to indulge their inclinations, they devote themselves to the pursuit of amusement through all its different forms. The skilful arrangement of its successive scenes, and the preparatory study for shining in each, are the only exertions in which their understanding is employed. Such a mode of life may keep alive, for awhile, a frivolous vivacity : it may improve men in some of those exterior accoinplishments, which sparkle in the eyes of the giddy and the vain ; but it must sink them in the esteem of all the wise. It renders them strangers to themselves; and useless, if not pernicious, to the world. They lose every manly principle. Their minds become relaxed and effeminate. All that is great or respectable in the human character is buried under a • mass of trifles and follies.
If some measures ought to be taken for rescuing the mind from this disgraceful levity ; if some principles must be acquired, which may give more dignity and steadiness to conduct; where are these to be looked for ? Not surely in the house of feasting, where every object fatters the senses, and strengthens the seductions to which we are already prone ; where the spirit of dissipation circulates from heart to heart; and the children of folly mutually admire and are admired. It is in the sober and serious house of mourning that the