OUR IDENTITY TESTIFIED BY THE BISHOP OF ST DAVID’S, 5OO YEARS AGO
IT was the year that the great conqueror Edward III, the father of English commerce, died. Edward the Black Prince, the heir to the British crown, had passed away, to the grief of the nation, in June the previous year (A.D. 1376); and his son, Richard of Bordeaux, the Prince of Wales, a stripling of 11 years of age, was next for the throne. His grandfather’s reign, which had extended to 51 years, had been most glorious in the annals of British history. It included In its scope the victories of Crecy and of Poictiers; the conquest of France; the captivity of its king, John; the triumphs of the Black Prince in Spain; and the rise and rapid growth of Civil Liberty in England.
At that crisis, Richard of Bordeaux, the Prince of Wales and Heir-Apparent, was introduced to the Parliament sitting in A.D. 1377 (the year of the King’s death), by the Bishop of St David’s. The speech made by that Prelate on the occasion was a remarkable one and should be interesting to us Israelites as being singularly confirmatory of the views we hold in regard to the origin of our nation.
Addressing the Houses the Diocesan of St David’s said, in the quaint language of that day:
“And so you may embrace your noble King with the arms of your perfect love, since he has sent you him whom you longed for. And after your King, embrace with love as perfect, my Lord the Prince, who is here present (God save him!), whom you so ardently desired and at now seeing whom you may repeat your Nunc Dimittis; for there is through him that peace over Israel which the Scriptures name - Israel being the heritage of God, and that heritage being also - England! For in good truth, I believe that God would never have honoured this country by victories such as had given glory to Israel, had He not intended it for His heritage also.”
Those are remarkable words to have emanated in A.D. 1377, from lips ecclesiastical and prelatical! We should hardly have credited their use, had we not proof in our own Book of Common Prayer, that 200 years later, in the 16th century, the compilers of the State Church formularies recognized (in a non-natural sense it may be) that this realm is the habitat of Israel! The due succession of the reigning family is there prayed for, and the national petition we are taught to send up to the throne of God is “that our posterity may see her (Victoria’s) children’s children and peace upon Israel!”
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