Friday, July 15, 2005

king charles the martyr

I have been meditating this afternoon on some of the prayers of Blessed Charles, shortly before his martyrdom in 1648. They are eddifying. They can be found in the Eikon Basilike, Charles's memoirs and prayers.
Of related interest, Dcn. Lee Nelson has a post about the last of the Stuart heirs to the throne of England, who was a Roman Cardinal. He was Henry Benedict Maria Clement Thomas Francis Xavier Stuart. King Charles is also the Patron of this blog.

Holy Charles, pray for us.

Where thou dwellest, O King of Kings; who fillest Heaven and Earth, who art the fountaine of eternall life, in whom is no shadow of death.

Thou O God art both the just Afflicter of death upon us, and the mercifull Saviour of us in it, and from it.

Yea, it is better for us to be dead to our selves, and live in thee; than by living in our selves to be deprived of thee.

O make the many bitter aggravations of My death as a Man, and a King, the opportunities and advantages of thy speciall graces and comforts in My Soule, as a Christian.

If thou Lord wilt be with Me, I shall neither feare nor feel any evill, though I walke through the valley of the shadow of death.

To contend with death is the worke of a weake and mortall man; to overcome it, is the grace of thee alone, who art the Almighty and immortall God.

O My Saviour, who knowest what it is to die with Me, as a Man; make Me to know what it is to passe through death to life with thee My God.

Though I die, yet I know, that thou my Redeemer livest for ever: though thou slayest Me, yet thou hast incouraged me to trust in thee for eternall life.

O withdraw not thy favour from me, which is better than life.

O be not farre from me, for I know not how neer a violent and cruell death is to me.

As thy Omniscience, O God, discovers, so thy Omnipotence can defeat the designes of those who have, or shall conspire my destruction.

O shew me the goodnesse of thy will, through the wickednesse of theirs.

Thou givest me leave as a man to pray, that this cup may passe from me; but thou hast taught Me as a Christian by the example of Christ to adde, not My will, but thine be done.

Yea Lord, let»our wills be one, by wholly resolving mine into thine: let not the desire of life in me be so great, as that of doing or suffering thy will in either life or death.

As I believe thou hast forgiven all the errours of my life, so I hope thou wilt save me from the terrours of my death.

Make me content to leave the worlds nothing, that I may come really to enjoy all in thee, who hast made Christ unto me in life, gaine; and in death, advantage.

Though my Destroyers forget their duty to thee and me, yet doe not thou, O Lord, forget to be mercifull to them.

For, what profit is there in my bloud, or in their gaining my Kingdomes, if they lose their owne Soules?

Such as have not onely resisted my just Power, but wholly usurped and turned it against my self, though they may deserve, yet let them not receive to themselves damnation.

Thou madest thy Sonne a Saviour to many, that Crucified Him, while at once he suffered violently by them, and yet willingly for them.

O let the voice of his bloud be heard for My Murtherers, louder than the cry of mine against them.

Prepare them for thy mercy by due convictions of their sinne, and let them not at once deceive and damne their owne Soules by fallacious pretensions of Justice in destroying me, while the conscience of their unjust usurpation of power against me, chiefly tempts them to use all extremities against me.

O Lord, thou knowest I have found their mercies to me as very false, so very cruell; who pretending to preserve me, have meditated nothing but my ruine.

O deale not with them as bloud-thirsty and deceitfull men; but overcome their cruelty with thy compassion and my charity.

And when thou makest inquisition for My bloud, O sprinkle their polluted, yet penitent Soules with the bloud of thy Sonne, that thy destroying Angel may passe over them.

Though they think my Kingdomes on earth too

little to entertaine at once both them and me, yet let the capacious Kingdome of thy infinite mercy at last receive both me and my enemies.

When being reconciled to thee in the bloud of the same Redeemer, we shall live farre above these ambitious desires, which beget such mortall enmities.

When their hands shall be heaviest, and cruellest upon me, O let me fall into the armes of thy tender and eternall mercies.

That what is cut off of my life in this miserable moment, may be repaied in thy ever-blessed eternity.

Lord, let thy Servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salvation.

Vota dabunt, quae bella negarunt.


J-Tron said...

Dude, blogs can have patron saints? I am soooo going with John Denver for mine.

koenigsfreunde said...

With all due respect, I remember Charles I as an inept king, who suppressed the Puritans (with Abp. Laud). Perhaps I should expect an Anglo-Catholic blog to love his theological convictions. Maybe he had a change of heart as he saw his execution drawing nigh. Nevertheless, methinks you would show more charity to Calvinist-inclined brethren (or sisteren) like myself.

father wb said...


Read the prayers again. Its incredible. In imitation of our Lord, on the very edge of his own death, he spent his time praying for his murderers.

Of course I love his theological convictions! The Scots needed Apostolic Succession and the Blessed Sacrament. Basically, Blessed Charles died because he brought to them the Body of Christ. They reviled not only the Blessed Sacrament, but also the Lord's anointed.

Here is an edifying excerpt from a contemporary account of Saint Charles's martyrdom, from the Society of King Charles the Martyr:

He said that his desire was for liberty, freedom and the rule of law and government and not for arbitrary rule; for all this, “I am a martyr of the people.” He concluded by saying, “I die a Christian according to the profession of the Church of England as I found it left to me by my father...I have a good cause and I have a gracious God.”

He then spoke words of forgiveness to the two headsmen and explained that he would give a signal when he was ready for the axe’s blow. Juxon helped the King to tuck his long hair into a cap so that it might not impede the axe.

The Bishop said, “There is but one stage more which though turbulent and troublesome, yet is a very short one; you may consider that it will carry you a very great way; it will carry you from Earth to Heaven, and there you shall find to your great joy, the prize you hasten to; a Crown of Glory.”

Charles replied, “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world.” He then passed his George to Juxon and said, “Remember!”

Charles stood for a moment in silent prayer, then lay down with his head on the block. After a few seconds of prayer he stretched out his hands as the sign. The ‘bright axe’ flashed and at one blow Charles’s head was severed from his body. Contemporary accounts record that a great groan went up from the crowd. One of the headsmen held up the blessed martyr’s head and against custom, did so in silence. Sir William Sanderson, who was a witness, recorded that the fatal blow was struck within a minute to two o’clock.