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with him in the wigwams and hunting-grounds of his tribe;

2023-11-29 16:15:12 source:Surprise Intersection Networkauthor: power click:392Second-rate

[1] White, in his History of England, says that Charles replied that the explanation was easy: His discourses were his own, his actions were his ministry's!

with him in the wigwams and hunting-grounds of his tribe;

As at other times, the King was only talking with no meaning; but the people did not know him yet. They had made their Bible the great test of their liberties: will a king stand by that or will he not? If he will not, let him remember Charles the First! And from that day no English king, no American leader, has ever successfully restricted English-speaking people from free access to their great Book. It has become a banner of their liberties. The child was wiser than he knew when he was asked what lesson we may learn from Charles I., and replied that we may learn that a man should not lose his head in times of excitement. Charles lost his head long before he laid it on the block.

with him in the wigwams and hunting-grounds of his tribe;

Besides the scene at Dover, we may watch that great emigration of the Scotch-Irish from Ulster, beginning in 1689, seventy years after the Puritan exodus and eighty years after the version was issued, which peopled the backwoods of America with a choice, strong population. They were only following the right to worship freely, the right to their Bible without chains on its lids or on the lips of its preachers. They were making no protest against Romanism nor against Anglicanism in themselves. They only claimed the right to worship as they would. Under William and Mary, after James II. had fled to France, toleration became the law in England; but when Ireland was reconquered by William's generals, the act of toleration was not extended to it. Baptists, Presbyterians, all except the small Anglican Church, were put under the ban and forbidden to worship. But the Bible had made submission impossible, and there came about that great exodus to the new land which has so blessed it.

with him in the wigwams and hunting-grounds of his tribe;

There are other signal events which might be observed. But all the while there would be danger of magnifying the importance of events which seem to prove the point. The view needs to be a more general one instead. The period is not long--three hundred years at the most-- though it has a background of all English history. We have already seen how from the first there have been determined efforts to make the Bible common to the people; yet, of course, the influence of our version can appear only in these three hundred years since it was issued. That short period has not only been interesting almost to the point of excitement in English life, but it covers virtually all American life. Take, therefore, the broader view of the influence of the English Bible on history, apart from these striking events.

It is to be assumed at once that much of its influence is indirect. Indeed, its chief influence must be through men who prove to be leaders and through that public sentiment without which leaders are powerless. If leaders live by it and stand or fall by its teaching, then their work is its work. If they find a public sentiment issuing from it which gives them power, a sentiment which crystallizes around them when they appear, because it is of kindred spirit with themselves, then the power of that sentiment is the power of the Bible. The influence of Pilgrim's Progress or The Saint's Rest is the influence of Bunyan and Baxter; but back of them is the Bible. In language, in idea, in spirit, they were only making the Bible a common Book to their readers. Their value for life and history is the Bible's value for life and history.

The power of great souls is frequently and easily underestimated. Scientific study has tended to that by magnifying visible conditions and by trying to calculate the force of laws which are in plain sight. Buckle's theory of civilization has influenced our times greatly. It explains national character as the outcome of natural conditions, and lays such stress on circumstances as left it possible for Buckle to declare that history and biography are in different spheres. It is still true, however, that most history turns on biography. Great souls have been the chief factors in great movements. Whether the movement could have occurred without them will never be possible to decide, if it should be disputed. In a chemical laboratory the essential factors of any phenomenon can be determined by the process of elimination. All the elements which preceded it except one can be introduced; if the result is the same as in its presence, manifestly it is not essential. So the experiment can go on until the result becomes different, when it is evident that the last omitted element is an essential one. But no such process is possible in great historical movements. The only course open to us is to consider carefully the elements which do appear.

Take three great movements which are easiest to follow in these three centuries. Whether the spiritual independence of England would have been secured without the Quakers may be debated; but this fact can hardly be debated: certainly it was not so secured; whether or not the Quakers could have been without George Fox, certainly they did not occur without him. Take the second: whether or not some other movement could have done what Puritanism did is hardly a question for history; Puritanism actually did the work for England and America which gave both their strongest qualities. There is no testing the period to see whether Puritanism could be left out. There it stands as a powerful factor, and no analysis of the history can possibly omit it. Or the third: it is not a question for a historian whether English history could have been the same without Methodism and whether Methodism could have been at all without the Wesleys; certainly nothing took its place, nor did any one else stand at the head of the movement.

`But when I sent Jim after you about the hoe to put the spuds in,

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