The Kingly Gift


This is a modern spelling edition of Basilicon Doron taken from the book King James VI and I: Political Writings, published by Cambridge University Press. The book was published with the original spelling and punctuation. I have changed the punctuation and spelling to the modern standard for the purposes of readability.

It is sad that many today cannot appreciate the blessing of having a right and proper king. Though King James VI & I was not a Baptist, nor a fundamentalist, he was a ruler that understood that he was personally accountable to Almighty God. I wish I could say the same for all of America’s Presidents. Sadly, I cannot. Most of the Presidents of the United States have not known the LORD God, and certainly did not write about Scriptural things — King James VI & I did.
Even though King James VI & I was not a Baptist, Baptists owe him a great debt — for it was this king that God moved to authorize and order the translating of the Scriptures with the primary goal of accuracy and adherence to the true word of God. It is astounding to consider that King James knew which Greek and Hebrew texts were the word of God. These things alone make his writings valuable reading. It is hoped that the advice that King James VI & I gave his son Henry would be of value to the modern reader. Please read and rejoice in the writings of a good and godly king. — Editor

Editor’s Notes

There are some words in the books that I have yet to find a suitable modern equivalent. Thus, they remain in the document until I find an equivalent. It should also be noted that King James used Latin and Greek words and phrases for emphasis. I have attempted to duplicate them here as closely as possible. In so doing, I make use of certain Greek fonts such as SPIonic. If you wish to view the words properly, you must have SPIonic Truetype font on your system. This font, and other free fonts can be obtained here.

Basilicon Doron: The First Book
A Kings’ Christian Duty Towards God
Basilicon Doron: The Second Book
Of a King’s Duty in His Office
Basilicon Doron: The Third Book
Of a King’s Behavior in Indifferent Things
Addresses what a King’s attitude and relationship to God and His word (the Scriptures) ought to be. Acknowledges the fact that God is the one who elevates an individual to kingship over a country, and that the king is accountable to God. This portion of Basilicon Doron reveals much about King James’ views concerning the Scripture and his relationship with God. Addresses how to govern properly with a proper concern for the law. Instructs on the execution of laws and that calling Parliament into session for the making of laws ought to be seldom. Particularly instructs on the make-up of the king’s court and what sort of individuals the king ought to have around him.
This section reveals that King James did not like Puritans at all, as they questioned his rule over the Church of England. He reveals at length his views on the institution of marriage and its purpose and effect upon the individual and particularly the office of King.
Addresses the fact that the king lives in a ‘fishbowl’ in which every action, no matter how slight, is examined to death by friend and foe alike. Here he speaks of all the little things that can destroy a king and his ability to rule effectively. He addresses what things to be involved in, and what not to be involved in. He reveals that certain sports are conducive to building proper character, while others are actually destructive to proper character.
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