“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
King George III of England is well known for several reasons, both in England and in the United States. I suppose he is best known as the King who lost America. But he was also noted for his many children, his long reign of nearly sixty years, and . . . in the end . . . his insanity.
The old king would wander about his palace, a pitiful sight with stooped form and an empty stare. Reason would occasionally return to him for a season, and he would boldly assert, “I am a king!” But then his mind would again become clouded and he would become poorer and more pitiful than the least of his subjects.
A pathetic state of being indeed! And yet, how many of our heavenly Father’s children live their life in the same manner!
Now and then we arise to our state of privilege, and assert our right, and declare, “I am a child of the King,” and live the royal life, a noble life, a life of honour and blessing and plenty. At other times we find ourselves in a far country, or under a convenient juniper, living far beneath our privilege and representing royalty in a most unbecoming manner. We forget our royal state, we lose our sanity, we waste our time and energies on things that are of no eternal value, and we bring shame and reproach upon the royal house.
How hapless is the Christian who lives his life thus, and how greatly to be pitied?
Dear reader, let us not allow ourselves to live beneath our royal state. Let us do our level best to represent the King’s family aright by walking worthy of our high calling, in order that we may sing, together with the great chorus of overcomers in Christ Jesus our Lord, the words of the old hymn:
Editor’s Comments: I really like the analogy Rev. Dr. Kemble employed relating George III’ pathetic illness with the danger we face if we do not walk worthy of our high calling. This is an article that could be read over and over, for it is a great message.
Yet, it almost seems a travesty of justice that King George III is primarily remembered for the two unfavourable events in his life, that is, (1) losing the American colonies and (2) going mad. For, in reality, his reign was placed at a highly significant time in God’s Great Plan for Israel.
It is true that George III had a particularly severe form of porphyria. It was hereditary and other members of the far-flung royal family also suffered from this hereditary disease, including Queen Anne of Great Britain; Frederic the Great of Germany; George IV of Great Britain–son of George III; and George IV’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, who died during childbirth of complications of the disease. The disease also tormented Mary Queen of Scots, who passed it on to her son, King James I of England.
As to the loss of the American colonies, it would have happened regardless of who was on the Throne of England. You know, God is truly amazing, He had Isaiah write, “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other….”, the other meaning America. Depending on one’s viewpoint, George was regarded in quite opposite ways. To the Americans, he was and probably still is, looked upon as a greedy and overbearing monarch and is still hated by many to this very day. Yet, to his subjects of the day, he was popular and conscientious. In truth, George III wasn’t even the instrument that God employed as the stimulus for the break. It was an unwise Parliament that developed the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend duties of 1767 on tea, paper and other products, legislation that led to the War of Independence. Yet, George III deserved the animosity in America because he linked himself with that Parliament.
On the other hand, this was a monarch who fostered a progressive and cultured environment in England. Literature enjoyed a heyday as the writings of men like Scott, Burns, Shelley, Byron and Wordsworth flourished; great artists like Gainsborough and Reynolds created their masterpieces and the British Museum was established (65,000 of his books were later given to the Museum). George personally founded the Royal Academy of Arts. In science and invention, the progress was remarkable during George’s reign, as things like the steam engine; the first machinery, canal construction and spinning frames became realities. And during King George III’s reign the extension of English rule to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many other parts of the world took place as the seeds of the Commonwealth of Nations were sown.
It has often been said that those with the greatest gifts invariably have rough roads to tread. George was certainly a gifted man and it goes without saying that his journey was anything but smooth. Still, it was under George’s kingship that Great Britain emerged as the world’s greatest ever colonial power and George himself as one of the most important monarchs in English history.