Wednesday, January 30, 2013

King Charles the Martyr

(19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, King of Scotland and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.

Charles famously engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England. He was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings, and many in England feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power. Many of his actions, particularly the levying of taxes without Parliament's consent, caused widespread opposition.

Religious conflicts permeated Charles's reign. He married a Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France, over the objections of Parliament and public opinion. He further allied himself with controversial religious figures, including the ecclesiastic Richard Montagu and William Laud, whom Charles appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Many of Charles's subjects felt this brought the Church of England too close to Roman Catholicism. Charles's later attempts to force religious reforms upon Scotland led to the Bishops' Wars that weakened England's government and helped precipitate his downfall.

His last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he was opposed by the forces of Parliament, which challenged his attempts to augment his own power, and by Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and Catholic sympathy. Charles was defeated in the first Civil War (1642 - 1645), after which Parliament expected him to accept demands for a constitutional monarchy. He instead remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Wight. This provoked a second Civil War (1648 - 1649) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason.

Charles was never a Roman Catholic, and firmly refused all urgings to become one, saying that he believed the Church of England to be more truly Catholic than the Church of Rome. However, there were many Roman Catholics in his family. His mother, Anne of Denmark, had converted to Rome. His own wife, Henrietta Maria, a French princess whom he had married in what was originally a political alliance but ended as a love match, was a Roman Catholic. His oldest son Charles became a Roman on his deathbed, and his second son, later James II, became one while still healthy, and lost his throne on account of it. It was accordingly not surprising that the Puritans accused him of being secretly disposed toward Rome, and that they regarded all his moves toward religious toleration as part of a Roman Catholic plan to seize the government.

The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

Propers for Charles I - King of England, Scotland and Ireland - Martyr

The Collect.

Blessed Lord, in whose sight the death of thy saints is precious; we magnify the Name for that abundant grace bestowed on our late Martyred Sovereign; by which he was enabled so cheerfully to follow the steps of his blessed Master and Saviour, in a constant meek bearing of all barbarous indignities, and at last resisting unto blood; and even then, according to the same pattern, praying for his murderers. Let his memory, O Lord, be ever blessed among us, that we may follow the example of his patience, and charity; And grant, that this our Land may be freed from the vengence of his blood, and Thy mercy glorified in the forgiveness of our sings; and all for Jesus Christ His sake. Amen.

The Epistle - I St Peter 2: 13-23.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

The Gospel - St Matthew xxi., 33-42 .

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

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