« PreviousContinue »
whole world the justice and expediency of those measures to which you judged it necessary to resort, in defence of the laws and constitution of the kingdom.'
At the time we are writing, the Elections have nearly terminated throughout the kingdom. Violent conflicting opinions have in many places been called forth. We do not, pretend to estimate the probable character of the new Parliament, in their disposition to support or to oppose the existing administration. But we feel confident : that the number and weight of those who advocate a violent and sudden change in the system of Representation will not be increased. It is satisfactory to observe that in one instance, iŋ the large manu, facturing town of Coventry, where an advocate of Radical Reform, (second to no one of similar sentiments in talent, but having no private reputation or influence, to conceal the tendency of bis doctrines,) was a candidate to be returned to Parliament, his pretensions were rejected with scorn and indignation, ::... ils son?
The greater part of the wretched men who labour under the sasa picion of meditating one of the most atrocious acts that ever disa graced a Christian country, have been committed to the Tower under charges of high treason. The first proceedings connected with their trial commenced on the 27th instant, when the Grand Jury were sworn, and charged as to their duties, by the Lord Chief Justice, All good meň must hope that if these accused persons are guilty of, the great crimes laid to their charge, their guilt may be proved in the most complete manner, so as to leave no doubt of its extent, on the minds of the most unbelieving. The just man will rejoice at the punishment of the offence ; however the merciful man may weep over the misery of the offender. ... The conduct of those persons who were the leaders of an immense meeting at Manchester, on the 16th of August last, is undergoing & full and impartial investigation, before a Jury of their countrymen. Whatever may be the result as to the parties accused, the manner in which the trial has been conducted will manifest to all who have witnessed, or all who have read of the proceedings, that the English Laws are administered with a purity and forbearance, which leave the utmost possible freedom of opinion and action compatible with the public safety, and that no opinions and wishes of power, either expressed or understood, could set before the seat of Justice any other rule or principle, than the, upright and undeviating authority of the truth and wisdom of the laws there explained and enforced.
It is a blessing which Englishmen too often forget, that the laws and institutions which are our boast, have been bequeathed to us as a quiet inheritance from our forefathers. But in other countries the march of good government has not been so rapid; despotism has still held its ancient sway; and the opinions of the people are therefore often forced into opposition to existing circumstances. An example of this has just occurred in Spain. That nation had for several cens turies been subjected to laws and customs, founded upon the princi,
ples of arbitrary power and 'unchristiá'n superstition. In 1812, when the noble assistance of Great Britain had enabled Spain to resist her invader, the authorities' who acted in the absence of the King endeaa voured to establish a more liberal Constitution, founded upon the basis of national representation. We apprehend that many things in this Constitution, though perhaps right in' theory, were unsuited to the knowledge and habits of the Spanish people, and therefore useless, if not dangerous, in practice. The Monarch; upon his restoration, was advised to reject this Constitution; and to govern upon the ancient principles. Hi avoiding one extreme he fell into the contrary. That country has therefore been miserably distracted ; and at length, the people have asserted the necessity of a differeřít order of things. It is honourable to the national character, that this necessity has been enforced and acknowledged without bloodshed. Ferdinand VII. has sworn to adhere to the Constitution of 1812, and to re-establish the Córtes, or ancient Parliament of Spain.
In addition to the acts emanating from the King, in furtherance of hiş resolution to accept the Constitution, and to convoke the Cortes, he has also addressed a proclamation to the Spanish people. In this manifesto, his Majesty very explicitly avows his intentions as to the future. It commences by stating, that when he returned to Spain, liberated by the heroic efforts of his subjects, from á captivity in which he was held by the most úpheard-of perfidy,' every thing taught him to believe that the people wished to return to their ancient mode of government. It was therefore his anxious wish to secure for them this object. At the same time, he could not be ignorant that the rapid progress of European civilizatiori, the universal diffusion of knowledge among the lower clášses, and the more frequent intercourse between different countries, had inspired ideas and wishes unknown to their ancestors.' These changes he had considered, and was endeavouring to adapt the political institutions of Spain to them, in order to obtain that harimony between men and the laws, upon which are founded the repose and stability of States.' While, however, he was so occupied, ? the people manifested to him their wish for the re-establishment of the constitution as promulgated at Cádiz in 1812. I heard your wishes, continues hiš Majesty, and like a tender father, I have done that which my children think most likely to secure their happiness. I have sworn to the Constitution which you desire, and I shall always be its firmest supporter. I have already employed the most appropriate means for immediately convoking the Cortes. In their bosom, united with your Representatives, I shall rejoice in assisting to promote the great work of national prosperity,'.
The political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, as now accepted by Ferdinand VII. was promulgated at an Assembly of the General and Extraordinary Cortes, held at Cadiz, March 19, 1812. It consists of 384 articles, and is divided into chapters and sections. The second and third articles state, that the Spanish nation is free and independent, and neither is nor can be the property of any family or person. In the thirteenth article it is declared, that the object of governments is the welfare of nations; as is the happiness of the individuals who compose them, that of all political societies; and in the fourteenth article it is established, that the Government of Spain is a moderate, hereditary monarchy. The principle of the Spanish Constitution, according to the best models of govertiment, is, that the legislative power shall be vested in the assembly of the people, and the executive in the King. Agreeably to the first prin: ciple of our own Monarchy, the Spanish Monarch is not responsible for any thing.'. All the ordinary regal prerogatives are attached to the Crown of Spain : the power of declaring war; the 'nomination of magistrates and all civil and military officers ; of ambassadors, ministers, and consuls; the coinage of money; the pardon of criminals. The restrictions upon the regal authority equally provide for the permanency of the Constitution and the liberty of the subject;— the King cannot prevent the meeting of the Cortes; cannot renounce the authority to another person, or abdicate the throne to the lawful heir without consent of the Cortes; can make no alliance with or subsidize foreign powers ; cannot impose contributions; grant exclusive privileges; dispossess individuals or corporations of their property; or punish any person or deprive him of his liberty. The oath of the King prescribes the observance of these most essential points of the Constitution,
We most sincerely trust that the issue will be happiness and prosperity to this noble and interesting people. Their future security is perhaps in the hands of the popular party. In all changes there is the danger that we may desire too much possible good, without accommodating that good to circumstances, which are not so easily changed. Theories and practice then disagree; and disorder naturally ensues. The opinion of Lord Bacon, one of the wisest men of any country, points out the course of safety in all such circumstances. He says, “It were good that men in their innovations would follow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived ; for otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for; and ever it mends some, and impairs. others : and he that is holpen takes it for a fortune, and thanks the time ; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. It is good also not to try experiments in States, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident; and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not the desire of change that pretendeth the reformation. . And, lastly, that the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a suspect; and, as the Scripture saith, “ That we make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk ju it.”? 1
EDITOR-K March 28.
The Christian Monitor;
LECTURES ON THE BIBLE.
Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man ; but holy men of God
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter, i. 21.
PROPHECY signifies the supernatural gift of God to enable men to foretel future events.
Inspiration is also a supernatural assistance from God, giving men extraordinary wisdom, with powers of writing and speaking above their natural understanding.'
It is necessary to have a just notion of the meaning of these two words, before we enter upon the consideration of the prophecies contained in the Bible; and it is desirable also that we should recollect and rightly understand the purpose of prophecy.
As God condescended to instruct mankind in the early ages of the world, and to set them right on a matter of so much importance as the nature of his power and their own duty, there were no other means of bringing it about than by a direct communication of the truth from heaven.' For this purpose, therefore, he admitted chosen persons to an immediate intercourse with himself.' We are informed in Genesis that Adam was permitted to converse with God. Noah, Abraham, Moses, received the same marks of peculiar favour.
In after times, as the world advanced in improvement, God be. stowed knowledge on certain holy men, acquainting them with his commands in dreams and visions, making known to them things that should afterwards happen, and inspiring them with wonderful powers of speech, through which they might instruct his people. Had he made them only a gift of extraordinary understanding and eloquence, it is probable that mankind would have listened to them only as the efforts of human reason.
Nothing could be more unpleasing or more unacceptable to them than the instructions of the prophets; they constantly reproved their vices in the seferest language; they forbade them the practice of those
wicked indulgences in which they chiefly delighted. They strove to bring them back to the worship of the Supreme Being whom they had long and habitually neglected. Had they reasoned with them without giving extraordinary proofs of the authority with which they were sent, or had they threatened them, without shewing the power of punishment which they were permitted to exercise, the people would have still persisted in their wickedness ; they might indeed have listened to them for awhile from idle curiosity, but they would soon have turned away in complete indifference, equally regardless of their threats and their remonstrances.
When God, therefore, gave these holy men whom he chose to be the instruments of his will, the gift of Divine wisdom, he gave them a foreknowledge of certain events which they might declare to the people in proof of their inspiration.
Now we can easily understand that those who treated the remonstrances of the prophets with disrespect at first, must be convinced of their high importance, and be greatly alarmed at their own errors, when the things those holy men foretold did actually come to pass. They would see at once that their authority, being from heaven, was no longer to be despised. But besides these proofs of their authority, the Almighty confirmed their declarations by the immediate execution of that vengeance with which they threatened the disobedient. The destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, (which we read in the 16th chapter of Numbers) is a remarkable example of the sudden indignation of God against those upon whom his prophet had called down his displeasure.
To bring back mankind to the knowledge of the true God, was a main purpose of his gracious interference in human affairs. It was also necessary to inform them of the grand scheme of salvation which the Almighty had formed from the very beginning of the world. Having resolved to offer up his only son Jesus Christ to die for them as a full atonement for their sins, this most important information could only be made known to them by miraculous means. The knowledge that this great event would take place, was required as an inducement to mankind to obey the will of God, that they through faith and obedience might be admitted to the high advantages which were thus to be obtained for them.
* But the minds of men were not prepared to receive this knowledge all at once ; and, in reading the Bible with attention, it will accordo ingly be observed that this revelation was made to them by degrees, as thus:
When Adam had through transgression brought death upon his children, God was pleased to assure him, darkly, of the future victory which they should obtain over death, and over his fatal enemy, the tempter. The seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head ; that is, Christ, in his human nature, should overcome the power of the devil.
To Lamech it was revealed that Noah should remove the curse upon