The World’s Famous Orations.
Great Britain: I. (710–1777). 1906.
Speech on the Scaffold
It was also laid to my charge that I was antimonarchical. It was ever my thoughts that kingly government was the best of all where justly executed; I mean, such as it was by our ancient laws—that is, a king, and a legal, free-chosen Parliament—the king having, as I conceive, power enough to make him great; the people also as much property as to make them happy; they being, as it were, contracted to one another! And who will deny me that this was not the justly constituted government of our nation? How absurd is it, then, for men of sense to maintain that tho the one party of his contract break all conditions, the other should be obliged to perform their part? No; this error is contrary to the law of God, the law of nations, and the law of reason.
But as pride hath been the bait the devil hath caught most by ever since the creation, so it continues to this day with us. Pride caused our first parents to fall from the blessed state wherein they were created—they aiming to be higher and wiser than God allowed, which brought an everlasting curse on them and their posterity. It was pride caused God to drown the old world. And it was Nimrod’s pride in building Babel that caused that heavy curse of division of tongues to be spread among us, as it is at this day, one of the greatest afflictions the Church of God groaneth under, that there should be so many divisions during their pilgrimage here; but this is their comfort that the day draweth near where, as there is but one shepherd, there shall be but one sheepfold. It was, therefore, in the defense of this party, in their just rights and liberties, against popery and slavery! I die this day in defense of the ancient laws and liberties of these nations; and tho God, for reasons best known to Himself, hath not seen it fit to honor us, as to make us the instruments for the deliverance of His people, yet as I have lived, so I die in the faith that He will speedily arise for the deliverance of His Church and people. And I desire of all you to prepare for this with speed. I may say this is a deluded generation, veiled with ignorance, that tho popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; tho I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him. Not but that I am well satisfied that God hath wisely ordered different stations for men in the world, as I have already said; kings having as much power as to make them great and the people as much property as to make them happy. And to conclude, I shall only add my wishes for the salvation of all men who were created for that end.