If my people, which are called by my
name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will
heal their land. 2 Chronicles
The Dawson family prayer book was languishing in a second hand shop when the
author purchased it.
How the book
found its way there, who can tell? The calf binding was all but worn away.
Published in the reign of George II, in 1755, the frontispiece is a fine
portrait of the king, ruler of a Protestant state only recently established by
Thomas Dawson proudly record his ownership with pen and ink on the rear fly leaf.
His son William and his daughter Jane went on to do the same. The process
became less formal through the 19th century until the last named
owner, Margaret Smith in 1938, was recorded in pencil by the same hand as
several predecessors. A sterile heirloom, it was soon to be lost to the family
A well visited section
This Dawson prayer book is a social document
chronicling the decline of a Bible believing nation, a nation gloriously
delivered by God in order to send His Word around the whole world, a nation
which once knew and acknowledged its great, providential Days of Deliverance.
The ease with which the Prayer Book fell open at the place shown in our
illustration, indicates that this was a well visited section, at least by the
Here we find a
whole service, not just a single prayer, a service containing many poignant
Scriptures impressing urgently upon the reader the divine Deliverer’s jealous
watchfulness over this humble people, His determination to place His good hand
upon them and overthrow their adversaries.
event that this service celebrates is the unmasking of the Jesuit’s treasonable
plotting by which our king and his ministers were to have been blown up by
gunpowder as they assembled in the Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605.
Publicly, distinctly and plainly
service is a kind of indicator of our national Protestant life, both at the
time the service was created and subsequently. It is entitled, Form of
Prayer with Thanksgiving to be used yearly on the Fifth day of November; for
the happy deliverance of King James the first and the three estates of England
from the most traitorous and bloody intended massacre by gunpowder: and also
for the happy arrival of his majesty King William on this day for the
deliverance of our church and nation. The minister was commanded to
preface the liturgy by reading, “publicly distinctly and plainly,” the Act of
Parliament passed for the observance of it.
The Act was
proposed when parliament reopened for the first time after the discovered plot,
on Tuesday 21st January 1606. The immediate task of members was to consider measures against,
“the Danger of Papistical Practices”. This business done, two days later the
member for Northamptonshire, Puritan Sir Edward Montague, a “man of plain and
downright English spirit” introduced a bill he had personally drafted for a
Yet in 1858,
with Rome no less of a threat
than it was in 1605, “The Earl of Stanhope… asked the Queen to abolish the
liturgy because it was politically obsolete and unfair to Catholics”. The
Archbishop of Canterbury supported the motion and Victoria acquiesced. “In March 1859 the statute requiring the liturgy was
repealed. Once state involvement was removed the celebration was persecuted at
the local level until such time as a compromise was made between law
enforcement and bonfire societies who were willing to control their
Rome moves her terrorist base
Yet the mid 19th
century was the very period in our history when Rome was moving her terrorist base from Spain (the land of the gunpowder plotters) to Ireland, in order to redouble her assaults upon us, assaults that continue
to this day. Thus when the bombing of the Cabinet at the Grand Hotel, Brighton in 1984, was first announced
scarcely one journalist failed to notice the sinister similarity between that
and the 1605 gunpowder treason. These immediate reactions, spoken before
modern rationalisations would reassert themselves, were very enlightening.
Not since Guy Fawkes
A BBC leader,
typical of many, stated, “Not since Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot of 1605
had such an audacious crime been attempted in the name of politics”. The Irish
Republican Army commented, “Today we were unlucky, but remember we have only to
be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always”. The BBC went on, “This was
the Irish Republican Army’s chilling statement after they had carried out the
most outrageous crime in their history – the attempted murder of the whole
British Cabinet at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, on Oct 12th 1984”.
said when interviewed in 1993, “I have remained ever grateful that the lights
were on, on our floor”. Grateful to whom she did not exactly say. Mrs Thatcher
was defiant concerning this “attempt to cripple her Majesty’s democratically
elected government”. She ordered her conference to continue as she emerged
from the rear entrance of the Grand, to the amazement of her close advisors.
She later recalled in the same interview: “It was a very British
reaction, we were British, that is what it was,” accentuating the word British
on both occasions.
When she mounted
the podium later that morning, Mrs Thatcher promised the conference: “All
attempts to destroy (British) democracy by terrorism will fail”. But she did
not exactly allude to the means by which they would be foiled. One was left to
conclude that the force to achieve this happy outcome would be “Britishness”.
The great difficulty that besets us is that the “downright English spirit” (for
there was no Union then) of Sir
Edward Montague was more than just his tenacity of character. On the contrary,
it was based on his conviction that a nation cleaving to the True Gospel and
taking the glad tidings around the world, could expect God to honour the
scriptural promises and principles as set forth in the November 5th
Liturgy to “hear them from heaven” and bring deliverance.
Mrs Thatcher’s prayer
This is not to say that Mrs Thatcher was
not moved to seek the Lord in private. Once she was removed in the early hours
to a safe house in Lewes she said to her personal assistant, Cynthia Crawford,
“I think we’d better say a prayer and we’d better get down on our knees, dear,
because there are going to be people injured. There are always casualties”.
She was correct, five people were killed, including Sir Anthony Berry MP and
Roberta Wakeham. Margaret Tebbit remains permanently paralysed. It was only a
small delay, due to cabinet business, which saved the Prime Minister from being
crushed by a five ton chimney stack that crashed down, missing her bedroom
where her husband was asleep, but not the bathroom which she would have
otherwise have been using.
Treason was sin
King James 1 was
public and formal when he sought the Lord on behalf of himself and the nation.
Parliament had been kept open for this specific purpose. On the 9th of November 1605 he told those
gathered, “It may well be called a roaring, nay a thundering sin of fire and
brimstone, from which God has so miraculously delivered us all”. According to
the king, such treason against the Lord and his anointed was “sin”, certainly
not “warfare”. The plot’s failure was a miracle wrought by God Himself. And
God’s miraculous deliverance extended to “all”. In this the king graciously
included his Roman Catholic subjects, as is well attested by Romanist
historians. He both opened and concluded by saying, “The Mercy of God is above
all his works”. Sir Edward Hexter called for the Speaker of the House to “make
manifest the thankfulness of the House to God for his (the King’s) safe
James 1 recorded
his thankfulness to God for posterity. A copy of his Workes lies open
before the author. Alongside the inevitable appeal for the Divine Right of the
Kings, is a fine historicist commentary on the Book of Revelation, and a call
to his fellow heads of state in Europe to read it and discover the Lord’s estimation of the papacy as the
Whore of Babylon. His Workes also contains his 9th November 1605 speech before
Parliament together with Discourse on the Maner of the Discoverie of the
Powder Treason. And it is this matter of the ‘maner’, or manner, of the
discovery that brings us to the heart of the matter. This is the area in which
God’s Providence is so
The eye of God
shows the eye of God discovering the plot by miracle. This is just a
depoliticised segment of a much larger engraving which showed God discovering
Guy Fawkes, with the plotters on the right, and God sending the winds to
scatter the Spanish Armada on the left. All this is over the heads of Satan,
the Pope, his Cardinals and the Jesuits all plotting together in a pavilion
labelled In perpetuam papistarum infamiam – (Forever the infamous
papistry). There was no doubt then who was responsible. Naturally modern
history has uncovered more twists and turns in the details of these Days of
deliverance. Each one of these could be considered in themselves a small
miracle, adding up to the whole.
Research suggests that the uncovering of
the gunpowder treason was a complex operation directed by British Intelligence
which was then headed by spymaster Sir Robert Cecil. Although the plot was
discovered well before the event, Cecil seems to have allowed the plotting to
run on for propaganda purposes. James 1’s account suggests that he was aware
of this at the time. James recalls, “So at that time of greatest calme did
this secretly-hatched thunder begin to cast forth the first flashes … For the
Saturday of the week immediately preceding … Lord Mountegle … in his own
lodging … ready to goe to supper at seven of the clocke at night … one of his
footmen … delivered him a letter.” The letter was an anonymous warning to
Mountegle not to attend the opening of parliament.
Oceans of ink
have been spilt by historians to promote all sorts of theories. What they all
agree upon is that the plot was not what it seems. British Intelligence was
then committed to the protection of a Protestant, Bible believing nation. The
gunpowder conspiracy was the 17th, or possibly the 19th,
Jesuit plot against our monarch since 1583. This papal aggression was not
welcomed by the Old Catholics, a subject the author has written upon at length
elsewhere. There was little that Cecil, who had served Elizabeth 1 well, did not get to know.
The details of his agents and counter agents amongst the Jesuits, reaching deep
into the recesses of Rome, only
the Last Day will reveal.
Yet IRA explosives expert Patrick Magee
booked into room 629 of the Grand Hotel Brighton only three weeks before the
conference. Admittedly he used an alias but it could not have masked his
accent. He was able to remove the bath panel, install his 30 pound gelignite
bomb and set his home made video recorder timing device to go off 24 days 6
hours and 36 minutes later at Mrs Thatcher’s accustomed bedtime, without
British Intelligence getting a whiff of information. Readers must draw their
own conclusions. But it was not always so.
The springboard for Rome’s onslaught upon the Open Bible has
moved from Spain to Ireland. It is in the secrets of
Government intelligence that we discover just how much the Lord has graciously
protected us in the last 200 years. We shall take up the theme against in our
next article DV.