Famous British characters of the past
Queen Victoria (24th May 1819 - 22nd January 1901) - Her reign lasted for 63 years, longer than any British monarch to date. The Victorian era represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress in Britain. Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire; during this period it reached its zenith, becoming the foremost global power of the time.
Oliver Cromwell (25th April 1599 - 3rd September 1658) - An English military general, famous for his part in the English Civil War. He was best known politically for his involvement in making England into a republican Commonwealth and for his later role as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Edward VI (12th October 1537 - 6th July 1553) - Crowned King of England and Ireland on 20th February 1547, at nine years of age. He became known as the 'boy king' of England, and it was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was fully established for the first time in England.
David Livingstone (19th March 1813 - 1st May 1873) A Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary and explorer in central Africa. He was the first European to see Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls), to which he gave the English name in honour of his monarch, Queen Victoria. He is the subject of the meeting with H. M. Stanley, which gave rise to the popular quotation, "Dr Livingstone, I presume?"
Elizabeth I (7th September 1533 - 24th March 1603) Queen of England and Ireland from 17th November 1558 until her death, she was the sixth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. One of her first moves as queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today's Church of England. The defeat of the Spanish armada in 1588 associated her name forever with what is popularly viewed as one of the greatest victories in British history.
Horatio Nelson (29th September 1758 - 21st October 1805) A British admiral famous for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars, most notably in the Battle of Trafalgar, a decisive British victory in the war, during which he lost his life. His actions during these wars and his heroic image as a one-armed, one-eyed patriot, ensured that before and after his death he was revered. His memory lives on in numerous monuments, the most notable of which is London's Nelson's Column, which stands in the centre of Trafalgar Square.
Despite what some may say, there are many aspects of British history that we have every right to be proud of. But if these famous British characters of old could see Great Britain as it is today, would they be proud of us?
Signs of the times
Alcohol: 1 in 4 UK adults is drinking hazardously - 38% of men, and 15% of women. (Source: www.scotland.gov.uk). Heavy drinking is blamed for up to 33,000 deaths a year in the UK (Source: BBC News). 25% of 11-15 year old boys regularly drink alcohol. Beer, lager and cider were the most popular types of alcohol drunk by both boys and girls.
Smoking: Last year, over 5 million people died worldwide as a result of tobacco. That many coffins would stretch, end-to-end from London to Bangkok. On average, smoking reduces life expectancy by 15 - 20 years, and causes a whole range of health complications and deadly diseases. Despite the seeming insanity of smoking, in 2005, 24% of adults aged 16 or over in Great Britain smoked cigarettes.
Crime: The average prison population in England and Wales was just over 73,000 in 2003 - the highest annual figure ever recorded. It was over 28,000 more than in 1993, an increase of 64%.
Family breakdown: Approximately 150,000 divorces occur in the UK every year. Marriages in England and Wales fell by 4% in 2006 to 236,980, which is the lowest number of marriages since 1895.
Mental health: 1 in 10 children has a mental disorder. Suicide, although not classified as a mental disorder, has strong associations with mental health (5,554 adult suicides in the UK in 2006). The prevalence of mental disorders also varies by some family characteristics. It was greater among children in lone parent families (16%) than among those in two parent families (8%). There was also found to be a strong link between mental disorder and rates of smoking, drinking and cannabis use among children aged 11-15 years in Great Britain. Children who smoke are 7 times more likely to develop a metal disorder, 4 times more likely if they drink, and 6 times more likely if they use Cannabis. In short, smoking, drinking and drug taking are destroying the minds of our young people.
Zombie Nation: A 'Time Use Survey' revealed that Britons mostly sleep, work and watch TV. On average, two and a half hours were spent watching TV and listening to music every day, whilst a measly 23 minutes was spent reading, and 13 minutes spent on sports activities. Nearly 1 in 4 of UK adults is obese, up 50% in the last 10 years. 1 in 6 UK children are obese.
Drug Abuse: 1 in 3 young men use cannabis. In 2004/05, 14% of men and 8% of women aged 16 to 59 in England and Wales said that they had taken an illicit drug in the previous year. Roughly 2,500 people die every year in the UK from drug abuse. In terms of the quantity of drugs seized, well over four tonnes of cocaine and 4.6 million tablets of ecstasy were seized in 2004.
HIV/AIDS: By the end of 2005, 63,500 adults aged 15 to 59 were estimated to be living with HIV in the United Kingdom. In 2005, 7,450 new HIV cases were diagnosed - nearly double the number diagnosed in 2000. MSM remain the behavioural group at greatest risk of acquiring HIV within the UK (The term MSM refers to men who have sex with men).
Fornication: Over a third of men aged under 25 reported having more than one sexual partner in the previous year. The incidence of sexually transmitted disease has been rising steeply in the UK in recent years, particularly among young people. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Since the mid 1990s the number of cases has more than tripled from 30,794 cases diagnosed in 1995 to 109,958 in 2005. Between 1991 and 2001, the number of new episodes of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) doubled from 669,291 to 1,332,910.
Abortion: The murder of our unborn continues. There were 193,737 abortions in England and Wales in 2006. Statistics for 2006, showed nearly 15,000 women were having their third or more abortion, and if that doesn't make your blood boil, 54 of those had terminated eight or more pregnancies (source: BBC news website).
Unless otherwise stated, the statistics used can be found at: www.statistics.gov.uk
We don't seem to be doing too well. We are no different than Israel of old, who kept straying from God's Commandments into lawlessness. From there, they lost the blessings which flowed from keeping God's law, which were conditional upon righteousness (see: Deuteronomy 28:15-46).
Our 'green and pleasant land' is no longer pleasant. Violence and sin has made her ugly. The thought that we have somehow offended God, doesn't even enter the area of our godless reflection. Winston Churchill was right when he said: "If a nation won't be ruled by God, it will be ruled by anarchy." A city whose drivers are lawful, has the liberty of flowing, problem-free traffic. But if drivers refuse to obey traffic laws, there will be accidents, pain and chaos. We are suffering the aftermath of a national loss of self-control, and consequently, lawlessness. Here again is just some of the chaotic fruit of not keeping God's law- rape, incest, adultery, pornography, theft, greed, knife crime, corruption, hypocrisy, hatred, murder, sexual perversion, child abuse, etc. If you are the victim of the sins of Great Britain, God knows you pain. His day of justice is drawing nearer. Know one is going to get away with anything.
Even though the situation seems hopeless, there is a way to avert the needless death, decay and destruction that if left unchecked, will destroy Great Britain. There is a way, by the grace of God, we can bring healing to this once great nation.
The answer is in your hands
Let's stop talking about the sins of Great Britain, and see how you and I personally stand morally. Answer the following with a tender conscience: Have you ever told a lie? This includes any fibs, white lies, half-truths or exaggerations told in the past. Remember, time doesn't forgive sin. God sees the sins of your youth as though it were yesterday. If you have lied even once, then you are a liar. Have you ever stolen anything? The value of the item is totally irrelevant. If you have stolen anything, then you are a thief.
Have you ever hated anyone? The Bible says: "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15). Jesus said: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) Have you ever looked at a man or woman with lust? Have you had sex outside of marriage, or committed adultery, or desired to? "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Have you kept the Sabbath holy, always honoured your parents, and put God first in your affections, loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Have you always loved your neighbour as much as you love yourself? Have you ever blasphemed the name of God, or His Son - Jesus Christ? Have you made a 'god' to suit yourself, one you feel comfortable with? Have you ever coveted (or desired) anything that belongs to someone else? How often we shake our heads, and say "tut, tut" when we read statistics like those mentioned earlier, but did YOU contribute to them?
If you have broken even one of the Ten Commandments, then you have sinned against God. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10). On Judgment Day every sin you have ever committed will come out as evidence of your guilt. The all-knowing, all-seeing God will find you guilty on that day, and will have no choice but to cast you into His prison - called Hell. "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:12) Jesus warned that unless you repent, you will perish (Luke 13:3). Don't add self-righteousness to your sins by saying you are basically a 'good' person. If you refuse to admit that Great Britain's sins are your sins, you will never seek God's mercy. Don't be fooled into thinking that God will overlook your sins because He is 'good'. It is His 'goodness' that will make sure that justice is done.
Turning over a new leaf will not help either. Cleaning up your life and doing good will not erase the multitude of crimes you have already committed that have offended God. Good deeds do not off-set evil ones - try that in a court of law and you won't get very far. The Bible says: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The punishment for sin against God is eternal death in Hell. The debt of sin you owe to God is something you could never pay, but still, His justice demands a payment.
For this reason, 2000 years ago, God sent His Son (God in human form) into the world to take the punishment for sin upon Himself. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) When Jesus (an innocent, perfect sacrifice) died on the cross, He stepped into the courtroom and paid the fine for us. His suffering was necessary to satisfy the law you and I violated. The moment we repent and trust Him, God forgives our sins and grants us everlasting life. However, it is possible for you to know about this, and yet still go to Hell. You could know about a cure for cancer, and yet still die from the disease. The cure will only work, if you take it. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)
That's how Great Britain can be healed of her plagues. God can forgive our sins because of what Jesus did on the cross. If you care about Great Britain, if you care about your eternal salvation, tell God you are sorry for your sins, then turn from them in humble repentance. Think of it this way - you are a man who has committed adultery. You have violated the trust of a loving and faithful wife. She is more than willing to forgive you, so how can you reconcile the relationship? You humble yourself, tell her you are truly sorry, then vow to never (even think of) committing adultery again. You shouldn't need someone to write words of sorrow for you to read to your wife, and you shouldn't have to read a prayer of repentance to God from this tract. Just pour out your heart to Him. It's your heart, not the words that really matter. Then put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Trust in Him the same way you would trust a pilot with your life when you fly on a plane. He is but a fallible man, so how much more should you trust in God. Read the Bible (Authorised Version) daily, and obey what you read, and God will never fail you. May God bless you, your family, and may God bless Great Britain.