King Sermon Illustrations

King Sermon Illustrations

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James the First

Soon after that would-be Solomon came to the throne of England, he went one day to hear the causes in Westminster Hall, in order to show his learning and wisdom, of which he had no mean opinion. Accordingly, being seated on the bench, a cause came on, which the counsel, learned in the law, set forth to such advantage on the part of the plaintiff, that the Royal Judge thought he saw the justice of it so clearly, that he frequently cried out, "The gude man is i' the richt! the gude man is i' the richt! He mun hae it! he mun hae it!" And when the counsel had concluded, he took it as a high affront that the judges of the court should presume to remonstrate to him, that it was the rule to hear the other side before they gave judgment. Curiosity to know what could be said in so clear a case, rather than any respect to their rules, made him defer his decision; but the defendant's counsel had scarcely begun to open his cause, when his majesty appeared greatly discomposed, and was so puzzled as they proceeded, that he had no patience to hear them out, but starting up in a passion, cried, "I'll hear nae mair! I'll hear nae mair! ye are a' knaves aleeke! Ye gi' each other the lee (lie), and neither's i' the richt!"

Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great rang the bell one day, and nobody answered. He opened the door, and found the page sleeping on a sofa. About to wake him, he perceived the end of a billet out of his pocket, and had the curiosity to know the contents: Frederick carefully drew it out, and read it; it was a letter from the mother of the young man, who thanked him for having sent her part of his wages, to assist her in her distress; and it concluded by beseeching God to bless him for his filial goodness. The king returned softly to his room, took a roller of ducats, and slid them, with the letter, into the page's pocket; and then returning to his apartment, rung so violently, that the page came running breathlessly to know what had happened. "You have slept well," said the king. The page made an apology, and, in his embarrassment, he happened to put his hand into his pocket, and felt with astonishment the roller. He drew it out, turned pale, and looking at the king, burst into tears, without being able to speak a word. "What is the matter?" said the king, "what ails you?" "Ah, sire," answered the youth, throwing himself at his feet, "somebody would wish to ruin me; I know not how I came by this money in my pocket." "My friend," said Frederick, "God often sends us good in our sleep. Send this to your mother. Salute her in my name, and assure her I shall take care of her and of you."

Frederick, conqueror as he was, sustained a severe defeat at Coslin in the war of 1755. Some time after, at a review, he jocosely asked a soldier, who had got a deep cut in his cheek, "Friend, at what alehouse did you get that scratch?" "I got it," said the soldier, "at Coslin, where your majesty paid the reckoning."

Frederick was very fond of disputation; but as he generally terminated the discussion by collaring his antagonist and kicking his shins, few of his guests were disposed to enter the arena against him. One day, when he was particularly disposed for an argument, he asked one of his suite why he did not venture to give his opinion on a particular question. "It is impossible, your majesty," was the reply, "to express an opinion before a sovereign who has such very strong convictions, and who wears such very thick boots."


Frederick, in surveying one evening some of the advanced posts of his camp, discovered a soldier endeavouring to pass the sentinel. His majesty stopped him, and insisted on knowing where he was going. "To tell you the truth," answered the soldier, "your majesty has been so worsted in all your attempts, that I was going to desert." "Were you?" answered the monarch. "Remain here but one week longer, and if fortune does not mend in that time, I'll desert with you too."

Louis XIV., playing at backgammon, had a doubtful throw; a dispute arose, and all the courtiers remained silent. The Count de Grammont came in at that instant. "Decide the matter," said the king to him. "Sire," said the count, "your Majesty is in the wrong."—"How so," replied the king; "can you decide without knowing the question?"—"Yes," said the count, "because, had the matter been doubtful, all these gentlemen present would have given it for your majesty."

Louis was told that Lord Stair was the best bred man in Europe. "I shall soon put that to the test," said the king, and asking Lord Stair to take an airing with him, as soon as the door of the coach was opened he bade him pass and go in, the other bowed and obeyed. The king said, "The world was right in the character it gave of Lord Stair—another person would have troubled me with ceremony."

While the Eddystone light-house was erecting, a French privateer took the men upon the rock, together with their tools, and carried them to France; and the captain was in expectation of a reward for the achievement. While the captives lay in prison, the transaction reached the ears of Louis XIV., when he immediately ordered them to be released, and the captors put in their places, declaring, that "Though he was at war with England, he was not so with all mankind." He directed the men to be sent back to their work, with presents—observing, "That the Eddystone light-house was so situated as to be of equal service to all nations having occasion to navigate the channel between England and France."

Louis XII

Josquin, a celebrated composer, was appointed master of the chapel to Louis XII. of France, who promised him a benefice, but contrary to his usual custom, forgot him. Josquin, after suffering great inconvenience from the shortness of his majesty's memory, ventured, by a singular expedient, publicly to remind him of his promise, without giving offence. Being commanded to compose a motet for the chapel royal, he chose the verse of the Psalm, "Oh, think of thy servant as concerning thy word," &c., which he set in so supplicating and exquisite a manner, that it was universally admired, particularly by the king, who was not only charmed with the music, but felt the force of the words so effectually, that he soon after granted his petition, by conferring on him the promised appointment.

George the Second, when returning from his German dominions, on the way between the Brill and Helvoetsluys, was obliged to stay at an obscure public house on the road, while some of his servants went forward to obtain another carriage, that in which he had travelled having broken down. The king ordered refreshment, but all he could get was a pot of coffee for himself and Lord Delawar, and two bottles of gin made into punch for his footmen; however, when the bill was called for, the conscientious Dutchman, knowing his customer, presented it as follows: "To refreshments for His Sacred Majesty, King George the Second, and his household, £91." Lord Delawar was so provoked at this imposition, that the king overheard his altercation with the landlord, and demanded the cause of it. His lordship immediately told him; when his majesty good humouredly replied, "My lord, the fellow is a great knave, but pay him. Kings seldom pass this way."

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