Dr Ian Paisley preached the sermon, the union flag was carried, and the principles of Protestantism enunciated. Dr Paisley said: It can be said that the white breakers of the waves are brighter upon the darkest of waters; that the stars shine more gloriously in the blackest of skies, and the diamond sparkles with its greatest brilliance when laid against a background of black velvet.
So liberty mirrors its most brilliant rays in the dark pathway of an existence robed in the exercise of ordinary freedoms.
As we read the great lesson-book of history, this is illustrated to the full. Protestantism is a martyred faith. It smells of the smoke of the fires of torments and carries the scars of the most bitter batterings. There is no persecution so dark as the persecution of those who committed themselves to the faith of the Bible.
The true gospel is the gospel of liberty and the freedom of Christ's emancipation of the sinful soul.
The jackets and shirts of the Protestant population here in this island of Ireland have been wet not only with the shivering rain of cruel misfortunes, but also with their own blood.
But the gospel of the Bible is one of personal liberty, soul liberty, spiritual liberty, religious liberty, and eternal liberty.
Hear these words from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself:
John 8.32: 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you FREE.
John 8:36: 'If the Son therefore shall make you free you shall be free indeed.'
Let it be remembered that the issues of the outcome of the Battle of the Boyne were to secure to the Protestant people of these islands, known as the British Isles, the guarantee of no return to pre-Reformation times and tyranny under a Roman Catholic monarchy as in the past, but rather to the enjoyment of the liberty of gospel grace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The smell of the roasting bodies of the martyrs under the Roman Catholic Bloody Queen Mary was still in the nostrils of the Protestant people of 1690 and the cruel killing times of the Covenanters of Scotland were still present with them.
The United Kingdom decided that for them there would be no going back. remember - 'The liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain' was the battle-cry and charter of William, Prince of Orange. In these gospel texts there is –
- The revealing of the truth;
- The telling of the truth;
- The knowing of the truth;
- The liberating of the truth;
- The crowning of the truth.
1. The revealing of the truth
The truth is the opposite of the lie, and will ever be in conflict with the lie. Heaven's truth and hell's lie cannot be married or in any way united. They are opposites. They have no common ground. An unbridgeable gulf stands between them. They are unmarried and unmarriageable, no matter what the priests of Rome and Protestant ecumenical preachers say.
The Truth is Christ. True religion does not major in a church or a church sacrament. Its centre is the glorious person and saving passion of the Son of God upon the Cross. It is the exaltation of Him who Himself is the truth.
2. The telling of the truth
The gospel is the forthtelling of Christ, the truth. It is the presentation of Christ to our souls by the Holy Spirit through the preached Word of God. Hear! Hear! the truth of God. It is only by preaching that men can know.
3. The knowing of the truth
The truth can only be known by its impartation in its proclaiming, its call for attention to its content, and its reception in our hearts.
4. The liberating of the truth
The truth has an effect. It is either a savour of life unto life or death unto death. It brings into liberty, or by rejecting seals into captivity.
5. The crowning of the truth
The truth is wielded by the Son of God. He commands His own truth. He demonstrates His truth in our hearts and operates in our souls. Forgiveness of sins is the coronation of the truth in our hearts. Freedom from the penalty and power of sin is its saving blessing.
It is this message that is the saving message of the gospel in the individual heart, and it is the same message which can touch the souls of the people of this island and its two political entities.
The crossing of the Boyne can very well be for you the crossing from bondage to freedom, from imprisonment to contentment as it was to these islands in 1690.
There is a twilight dawning on the world,
The herald of a full and perfect day,
When the gospel's wide flag shall be unfurled,
And kings shall bow to her superior sway;
Already she is on her august way,
And marching upward to her final goal;
Nations the warning of her voice obey,
Away the clouds of fear and error roll,
The chain is broken that bound the thralled and fettered soul.
-- J G Percival