Good government and providential delivery. Representations of the 1672 and 1688/89 Orangist revolutions in Dutch sermons
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This article focuses on the justifications of the Orangist revolutions of 1672 and 1688/89 in Dutch sermons. It argues that the representations of these revolutions were very similar. Both providential discourse and the notion of good government were significant themes in the accounts of the changes of government that occurred in the Dutch Republic and England. William III of Orange was seen as a good ruler: a shepherd to his flock, who guided them, preserved them, and was even prepared to give his life for his people. He defended and maintained the laws, liberties, and religion of two Protestant nations and was therefore considered a righteous king and a capable stadholder. In the eyes of Dutch clergymen he was clearly a Protestant hero: an instrument in God’s hands whose purpose of being born was to rescue the Dutch and English from popery and slavery. As will be shown, in the descriptions of the 1672 and 1688/89 revolution Orange charisma was linked with William’s endeavours and virtues. His rule reminded Dutch ministers of his great-grandfather, William I, who, according to them, also defended the religion and freedom of an oppressed nation, and in the end gave his life for his people.