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Britain and the Bible

Great rulers loved God's Word


From "Thy Kingdom Come" - a publication of The Association of the
Covenant People - Vol.17, No.12, December 2004.

     Among the outstanding characteristics of the CeltoSaxon
peoples have been love and reverence for the Bible. These are
distinctive marks of the true Israel of God.
     At the same time, it is true to say that the nations which
rejoice in the open Bible are, generally speaking, those whose
monarchies and rulers have upheld the Book; that is to say, the
Celto-Saxon peoples of the North-West European countries, the
nations of the British Commonwealth and the United States of
America. On the other hand, the nations which have rejected the
Bible and remained in darkness and superstition have been those
whose monarchs have opposed the open Bible, such as Spain and
     It is also significant that the monarchies which still
endure in so-called Christendom, and are most firmly enthroned in
the love and affection of their peoples, are the very ones which
have shown their devotion to the Word of God. Amongst these none
has manifested greater love and reverence for the Bible than the
Royal House of Britain. [At least up to George VI, the previous
     One of the most illustrious ancestors of our present Royal
House, Alfred the Great, who was crowned king of the West Saxons
in A.D. 871, was a man of prayer and a lover of the Bible. In
A.D. 893 he became nominally king of all England, and it has been
written of him, 'He was the first English king who gave up his
whole life to the welfare of his country.' Other kings had
regarded their kingship largely as a position to be used for
their own pleasure and ambition. Alfred treated his solely as a
duty which he owed to his people. He was not content to be merely
a king; he was a father of his fatherland, a servant of his own
     It was without doubt prayerful study of God's Holy Word,
under the influence of the Holy Spirit, was responsible for
Alfred's remarkable character. He instituted great educational
reforms and expressed a desire that every youth should be able to
read the Scriptures before studying any other subject. Alfred
ordered a translation of the whole Bible into Anglo-Saxon, and
took part in that work of translation himself.
     More than six hundred years elapse before we read of any
further important connection between the Bible and a British
monarch, years which saw the growth of darkness and superstition
in a priest-ridden land. In the sixteenth century, William
Tyndale, who found that he could not print the Scriptures in the
English tongue in his own land, owing to Roman Catholic
opposition, succeeded in printing English New Testaments on the
Continent and importing them secretly into England. On October
6th, 1536, however, he was strangled and burnt at the stake in
Belgium as a heretic. The last words of the martyr were: "Lord,
open the King of England's eyes."
     Tyndale's prayer was answered, and in that same year King
Henry VIII, although he remained a Roman Catholic to the last,
was induced by his Lord Chancellor, Thomas Crom well, to grant a
royal licence for the issue of the Bible in the English language.
This was produced by John Rogers, who was afterwards burnt at the
stake in Mary Tudor's reign. In 1538, Henry issued a Royal
Injunction that the Bible should be set up in all parish
churches, so that it might be available to all who could read.
     This version appeared in 1539 and was known as 'The Great
Bible' owing to its size; also as the 'Chained Bible', because it
was chained to the desks of the churches for safe keeping. When
the king saw it, he said: 'In God's name, let it go forth among
our people.' This was therefore the first really authorized
version of the Bible. Unfortunately, however, Henry afterwards
ceased to encourage the circulation of the Scriptures, and many
copies of the Bible were destroyed.
     In 1547 the boy-king, Edward VI, succeeded his father, Henry
VIII. His tutors were not only scholars but lovers of the Bible,
and Edward VI grew in an atmosphere of Christian in fluence and
piety. He has been called the 'young Josiah', because, like that
ancient king of Judah, he sought to destroy idolatry and lead his
people in the way of the. Lord. It is said that at his Coronation
three swords of state were brought to be carried before him, as
the king of three kingdoms. Edward remarked that there was yet
one wanting and, when the nobles enquired his meaning; he replied
that it was the Bible, adding: 'That book is the Sword of the
Spirit, and to be preferred before these swords. That ought in
all right to govern us, who use them for the people's safety by
God's appointment. Without that sword we are nothing, we can do
nothing, we have no power. From that we are what we are this day.
From that we receive whatsoever it is that we at this present do
assume. He that rules without it is not to be called God's
minister, or a king. Under that we ought to live, to fight, to
govern the people and to perform all our own affairs. From that
alone we obtain all power, virtue, grace, salvation, and
whatsoever we need of Divine strength.'
     He then commanded a Bible to be brought and carried before
him with great reverence. One of his earliest acts was an
injunction requiring the great Bible to be placed in every parish
church within three months, and that everyone should be exhorted
by the clergy to read it.
     Following the boy-king's death, during the dark days and
persecutions of Mary's reign, every possible step was taken to
undo Edward's work, and thus it was Queen Elizabeth's task, when
she succeeded to the Throne, to restore to her people the open
Bible. For her public entry into London the inhabitants of the
city had prepared a number of triumphal arches to welcome their
new Queen. These arches bore witness to the hopes of the people,
for they were rich in elaborate symbolism. Some of them were
historical and allegorical tableaux. Among them, one exhibited
"Time" leading forth from the curse of ignorance of his daughter,
Truth. Truth bore in her hand an English Bible, which she
presented to the Queen. Elizabeth took it reverently in both
hands, pressed it to her heart and raised it to her lips. This
was a happy augury for her reign. Realizing that the days of
tyranny and oppression were passed, the populace gave way to
rejoicing. The year after her Coronation she accepted the
dedication of the Geneva Bible, copies of which were issued in
smaller forms suitable for personal and domestic use, and thus,
under Elizabeth, the Word of God spread rapidly from the churches
to the homes of England.
     Elizabeth I in her reign the Word of God spread rapidly from
the churches to the homes of England.

     James VI of Scotland, who succeeded Elizabeth as James I of
England, and united the crowns of the two countries, was once
called by the King of France 'The wisest fool in Christendom'.
Whatever foolish things he may have done, however, James showed
true wisdom in adopting a suggestion made by Dr. Reynolds, one of
the Puritan leaders at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, that
it was time a new translation of the Bible was made. The king
suggested a plan for carrying out this project. This was that
learned men from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge should
be chosen to do the work; that it should then be reviewed by the
bishops and most learned men of the Church, then sanctioned by
the Privy Council, and finally ratified by royal authority and
made the sole Bible to be used in the Church of England. This
version appeared in 1611 and has ever since been known as the
'Authorized' Version, although, for some unknown reason, it was
never laid before the King's Privy Council and officially
authorized as James had intended. From that time to this, no
other version has superseded this excellent translation in its
most beautiful English.
     William III and Mary, who succeeded to the throne upon the
deposition of James II for attempting to subvert the Protestant
Faith and destroy the freedom of the people, were crowned as
joint rulers in 1689, and it was upon this occasion that the
presentation of the Bible to the Sovereign first formed part of
the official coronation ceremony. In their reign the Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge began its work and the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts received a
     Passing over a few more pages of history, it was during the
reign of George 111 (1804) that the British and Foreign Bible
Society was founded. His fourth son, the Duke of Kent, and father
of Queen Victoria, spoke at the Annual Meeting of the Society in
1813 and stated that it was his father's wish that there might
not be a cottage in the land without a Bible, or a child that
could not read it.
     In 1838, a year after her accession, Queen Victoria became
Patron of the Windsor Auxiliary of the Society, and held that
position until her death, when she was succeeded by Queen
Alexandra. That great and noble Queen, Victoria, was a great
lover of the Bible, and she knew how to wield the 'Sword of the
Spirit' to the salvation of souls. On one occasion she was asked
the secret of Britain's greatness. Picking up the Bible which was
beside her, the Queen replied: 'This is the secret of Britain's
greatness.' When the Bible Society celebrated its Jubilee in
1854, the Queen sent a personal gift to the funds; whilst almost
the first public function carried out by the Prince of Wales was
the laying of the foundation stone of the present Bible House in
June 11th, 1866.
     Early in his life King George V promised his mother, Queen
Alexandra, that he would read a chapter of the Bible every day, a
promise which he faithfully fulfilled. It is not sur prising,
therefore, that his son, George VI, a very beloved Sovereign,
grew to love, revere and obey the Bible, and that he, together
with his gracious Consort, on many occasions, stressed the vital
importance of reading the Word of God. During the dark days of
1940, George VI sent the following message to many millions of
men and women in the Services, printed on the flyleaf of
specially published New Testaments: 'To all serving in my Forces
by sea or land or in the air, and, indeed, to all my people
engaged in the defence of the Realm, I commend the reading of
this Book. For centuries the Bible has been a wholesome and
strengthening influence in our national life, and it behoves us
in these momentous days to turn with renewed faith to this Divine
source of comfort and inspiration.'
     In June 1944, when the Bible Society was engaged in a
campaign in London, Her Majesty the Queen sent a personal message
in which she said 'I welcome this effort of the Bible Society to
bring the Bible back to the people and the people back to the
Bible, and it is my earnest prayer that God's rich blessing will
rest upon this and similar enterprises.'

     The reigns of the three great monarchs which were most
conspicuously marked by a national and official recognition of
the Word of God were the three most progressive, most prosperous
and most glorious periods in the whole history of England.

     Thus, in the reign of Alfred the Great our country grew from
a state of ignorance and division into a united and civilized
kingdom. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England for the first
time took her position as a great world power, and during the
reign of the great and good Queen Victoria she enjoyed an era of
blessing and prosperity hitherto unparalleled.

Courtesy The National Message (abridged)



 "And in my governing [of] this land, I have ever set the last
Judgement day before mine eyes, and so to rule, as I shall be
Judged and answer before a higher Judge, to whose Judgement Seat
I do appeal in for those thoughts [that are sometimes] cherished
in my heart that tended not to [be for] my peoples good." (from
last speech of Queen Elizabeth I)


     Yes, there was a time our nations were GREATLY BLESSED.
Though it's leaders and it's people did NOT understand all the
truths of the Bible, and all the ways of the Lord for us to live,
they were in some areas of religion DECIEVED and BLINDED, yet
they were close to the Lord as they knew best, sincere, and had a
mighty LOVE of His WORD, the Holy Bible. With that in view the
Almighty BLESSED them AND the nations they ruled and governed. 

     It is sad to see that today there is NO ONE to lead our
nations to the Bible as our leaders once did. We as nations of
people are continually REJECTING God's Holy Word and Laws, some
call it "progressive" and "tolerance with love" as we continue on
the path of abortion on demand and the legalizing of marriages
between the same sex.

     In rejecting (ever casting God out of our schools etc.) we
head into the day of reaping what we sow. Sin and unrighteousness
can only bring ultimate destruction of our nations. This is the
teaching of all history, the old Roman Empire and its fall is
witness to the end result of sin and evil and a rejection of what
is good, pure, holy, and righteous.

     It was foretold by Jesus that before His return evil was to
abound and the love (true love) of many would wax cold. We are
into those days, we are into the last days of this age and as God
wills, the nations will reap what they have and what they are,

     But beyond the evil and horror of what is yet to come on
this earth, we have the sure promise from God that there is
coming an age of RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS. And the leaders of

     The truths of all that is yet to come, bad and then GOOD, is
expounded fully in many studies on this Website.

     We continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven."

Keith Hunt

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