King Edward VI reigned in England and Ireland from 1547 to 1553, sadly dying at the very young age of 16. He would be succeeded by Bloody Mary. If Edward had lived to reign longer, the horrendous persecution of Protestants under Mary’s reign could potentially have been avoided. The English nation probably lost some of the best elements of their gene pool due to Mary’s persecution and execution of leading Protestants, which possibly has had a long-term detrimental effect on the English nation. This makes Edward’s premature death doubly regrettable.
On his deathbed, Edward prayed for the continued flourishing of his English nation:
Lord, I commit my spirit to Thee. O Lord, thou knoweth how happy it were for me to be with thee. Yet for thy chosen sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve Thee. O, my Lord God, blesse thy people, and serve thine inheritance. O Lord God, save thy chosen people of England. O my Lord God, defend this realme from papistry, and maintain thy true religion, that I and my people may praise thy holy Name, for thy Sonne, Jesus Christ’s sake.
Edward saw it as his divinely appointed duty to lead God’s chosen English people, a covenant nation with a distinct purpose in serving Christ’s Kingdom. He was determined to see the true religion established, penetrating and sanctifying every aspect of English public life. Furthermore, kinship and national identity was, to the noble king, not merely trivial matters as it is to the godless European leaders of today. He even placed his own desires and comfort subordinate to that of his nation. He saw his own nation as a covenantal cornerstone for the protection and preservation of the true Christian faith.
May God once again grant us godly leaders like King Edward.