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Victorian Age

( Originally Published 1902 )

ON January 22, 1901, Queen Victoria died. She was considered in and out of the nation as the best and most successful ruler England ever had. Macaulay, who was only permitted to live out one-third of her reign, said of her, " She is the wiser, greater, happier Elizabeth." Her death removed the most conspicuous and potential figure on the face of the earth. After the mother of Our Lord, perhaps no woman since the world began ever exerted so beneficent an influence upon the hearts and destiny of mankind. How much of the sixty-three years of progress to attribute to Victoria, and how much to the English people, out of whose loins came a Gladstone and a Tennyson, it is difficult to tell: each deserves a full measure of praise. Only a great England could produce a Victoria, and a Victoria could not do other than make a greater England. It took between one and two thousand years of experiment and struggle to make the England of to-day, or its lamented ruler. Her rule extended through almost two-thirds of the most wonderful century the world has ever known, and she and her loyal people contributed their full share to its progress. She saw her sails whiten every sea, her trade mark its footprints in every land, her colonies planted in every clime, her missionaries toiling in every field. When the sceptre fell from her numb fingers it was wielded over one-fourth of the territory, and one-fourth of the population of the globe.

When Victoria became Queen, few people could vote, when she died there were few who could not vote. Her greatest strength as a ruler was in her weakness, in the limitation of her monarchy. The Parliament which the Constitution had thrown about the Crown as a barrier, was, after all, an instrument of protection and safety. Victoria was so much safer and stronger be-cause the House of Lords was in front of her, the House of Commons behind her, and the arms of a loyal people around her. She so adjusted herself to her privileges and duties, met every question with uncommon sense, was so fond of justice, had such a keen sense of righteousness, had such affection for her people, was such an ideal wife and mother, was such a devout Christian, that the respect of her subjects ripened into adoration.

The characteristic of Queen Victoria was her Christliness, the characteristic of the Victorian age was that it was a Christian age. " God alone is great." Jesus Christ is the only King. All earthly potentates receive their lustre from the brightness of his face, and all true authority from his will and love. Queen Victoria fought a good fight, she kept the faith, she has received her crown of righteousness. If we be loyal to Christ, the poorest, the humblest of us will be joint heirs with him, and be elevated to the rulership of an empire whose territory shall know no bounds, whose sway shall know no limit, and whose enjoyment shall know no end.

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