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when circumstances are thrown into vehement agitation and strife, it becomes impossible to regulate action by that calm and quiet settlement of affairs dictated either in the stillness of the study, or when events flow along imperturbed by the excitements and passions of great party strife.

VI.

THE TRAINING OF THE IRONSIDES.

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CHAPTER VI.

THE TRAINING OF THE IRONSIDES.

BUT

UT before this time Cromwell had foreseen the

destinies of the contest, and from among the freeholders and their sons in his own neighbourhood he formed his immortal troop of Ironsides, those men who in many a well-fougt: field turned the tide of conflict, men who "jeopardized their lives on the high places of the field.” These men were peculiarly moulded; their training was even more religious than military; they were men of position and character. Oliver preached to them, prayed with them, directed their vision to all the desperate and difficult embroilments of the times. These men were Puritans all; Independents; men who, however painful it may be to our more Christian notions, used their Bible as a matchlock, and relieved their guard by revolving texts of Holy Writ, and refreshed their courage by draughts from God's Book.

Oliver said, at a later time, he saw that all the cavaliers were a dissipated, godless race of men ; there could be no hope for success but in religious and godly men. He allied the cause of Puritanism to such an enthusiasm, such a blaze of martial glory, that indeed they could be no other than irresistible. They grasped the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God; they held communion with the skies, these

men.

What! shall we compare Tancreds, and Ivanhoes, and Red Cross Knights with these realities, this band of Puritan Havelocks ? Not soldiers of a tournament were they ; in very deed fighting against "principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places ;" theirs was a piety exasperated to enthusiasm, and blazing at last into warlike vehemence! Then the Civil War was up in earnest, and Oliver soon found work. Since the last civil wars, the battles of the Roses, several generations had passed away, and England had grown in wealth and power; but widely different were the interests represented by the two contests to the mind: this was the struggle, indeed, with the last faint life of feudalism. In some sort the contest of the city and the castle was represented even by the Wars of the Roses; but much more here, and hence over the whole land soon passed the echoes of strife. Old villages that had slept quietly for centuries beneath the shadow of the church spire or tower; old halls, famous for the good cheer and merry songs of roistering Christmas time; fields, spreading wide with the rich herbage, and green meadow-land,—all these were dyed with blood. The river that had for ages crept lazily along through the woodland became choked with the bodies of the dead and crimsoned with the blood of the slain. Winding

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