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A Hero and Some Other Folks by William A. Quayle

For the Netherlanders were as aquatic as sea birds


How

sane Browning was! What breadth of meaning is here disclosed! What preacher of this century has preached a more inspired sermon than "Caliban upon Setebos?" He saw the irrationality of rationalism. He knew that knowledge of God came, as the new earth, "down from God out of heaven." Men will do better to receive theologies from God than to create them. A life we may live, having the Pattern "showed us in the mount." Christ gives the lie to Caliban's estimate of Deity. Not spite, nor misused might, nor caprice, nor life surcharged with either indifference or spleen; but love and ministry and fertile thought and wide devotion to others' good, an oblation of Himself--this is God, of whom Caliban had no dream, and of whom the Christ was exegete.

IV

William the Silent

Few illustrious characters are so little known as William the Silent. His face has faded from the sky of history as glory from a sunset cloud; though, on attention, reasons why this is so may not be difficult to find. Some of them are here catalogued: He did not live to celebrate the triumph of his statesmanship. The nation whose autonomy and independence he secured is no longer a Republic, and so has, in a measure, ceased to bear the stamp of his genius. The narrow limits of his theater of action; for the Belgic States were a trifling province of Philip Second's stupendous

empire, stretching, as it did, from Italy to the farthest western promontory of the New World. A theater is something. Throw a heroic career on a world theater, such as Julius Caesar had, and men will look as they would on burning Moscow. The scene prevents obscuration. And last, Holland has, in our days, passed into comparative inconsequence, and presents few symptoms of that strength which once aspired to the rulership of the oceans.

The Belgic provinces were borrowed from the ocean by an industry and audacity which must have astonished the sea, and continues a glory to those men who executed the task, and to all men everywhere as well, since deeds of prowess or genius, wrought by one man or race, inure to the credit of all men and all races, achievement being, not local, but universal. These Netherlands, lying below sea-levels, became the garden-spot of Europe, nurturing a thrifty, capable people, possessing positive genius in industry, so that they not only grew in their fertile soil food for nations, if need be, but became weavers of fabrics for the clothing of aristocracies in remote nations; this, in turn, leading of necessity to a commerce which was, in its time, for the Atlantic what that of Venice had been to the Mediterranean; for the Netherlanders were as aquatic as sea-birds, seeming to be more at home on sea than on dry land. This is a brief survey of those causes which made Flanders, though insignificant in size, a principality any king might esteem riches. In the era of William the Silent the Netherlands had reached an acme of relative wealth, influence, and commanding importance, and supplied birthplace and cradle to the Emperor Charles V, who, for thirty-seven years (reaching from 1519 to 1556) was the controlling force in European politics. This ruler was grandson of Ferdinand


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