In March 1603 James VI of Scotland, son of the Romanist Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, succeeded to the throne of England, and the two kingdoms have subsequently shared one monarch. In June 1953 Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, committing herself, as a condition of her accession, to the Protestant Faith established in the nation and preserved throughout the centuries – in spite of James and his House and the intrigues of internal and external enemies of Biblical Christianity. In some ways anniversaries may be artificial, but they are reminders of our history and should promote reflection. The anniversaries of public events should remind us of the reasons we have for gratitude to God for His undeserved kindnesses to us as a people and for shame on account of the way we have requited Him.
For a variety of reasons the four hundredth anniversary of James’ accession has passed with little note. Indeed there is little noteworthy from a religious point of view about this devious and immoral man. Though always claiming to be a theoretical Calvinist, he repudiated the instruction and advice of such teachers and advisers as George Buchanan, Andrew Melville and Robert Bruce. In particular, he used his accession to the throne of England as a means of seeking to destroy the Presbyterianism of Scotland. We see the sovereignty of God in using him to promote the production of the Authorised Version of the Bible, and in the preservation of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland despite all his efforts and those of his successors in the way of suppression and persecution.
It appears that national commemoration of the coronation of Her Majesty the Queen on 2 June 1953 is to be a low-key event. Christian Voice, which plans to hold a day of prayer and fasting for national repentance on the fiftieth anniversary of the coronation, asks: “Could it be that the Queen is reluctant to be reminded of the solemn vows she made on that rainy day in 1953?” Over these decades there have been many occasions when it has been necessary to protest against the Queen’s breach of her Coronation promise to rule according to the Holy Bible and to maintain the Protestant Faith of the nation. She has been badly advised and has ruled over a nation in rapid spiritual and moral decline. It is unlikely that the quality of advice given to her in religious matters will improve with the appointment of Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Among many other evidences of his lack of commitment to the Bible is the great length he is going to, along with the leaders of non-Christian religions, to demonstrate “the common ground on which we stand, and to reaffirm the values we share”.
The Church of Christ will be preserved in all circumstances, but the throne and nation that will not acknowledge Him, especially after much gospel privilege, cannot prosper. The establishment principle is more necessary for the state than for the Church. “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted” (Is 60: 12).