Monday, December 12, 2011

The Catholics and England

King Phillip of Spain wanted to do his missionary work and return England to the Catholic Church, destroying the work of the Reformation in that country. He prayed continually for God to help him defeat Sir Francis Drake's little fleet whereby he could then invade that nation. He assembled the Armada with a fleet of very large ships that would face off Drake's limited and small battle wagons.

There is no question that God in His sovereignty destroyed the Spanish Armada and spared England. His providence brought about a miracle that is one-of-a-kind in history. Here are some specific things that the Lord did to defeat the ships of Spain:

Before the conflict began Drake was able (1) to destroy the material by which the Spanish built the staves and casks for storing water and food for their fleet. The casks were inferior and leaked, pouring forth the needed water and spoiling the food supply. (2) Drake's fleet was made up of smaller ships that could maneuver and turn more quickly with the wind. The Spanish galleons were larger and more cumbersome and less able to turn when in combat with Drake's swift, little ships. Drake could move in and out among the Spanish fleet thus more easily destroying them while on the run with the wind.

The sailors of the Spanish fleet were (3) multi-national and thus were not able to communicate with each other very well, whereas the English navy was made up of all Englishmen who could speak more distinctly with each other while in combat. The British navy was more professional and had trained well together. They (4) could load and reload their weapons rapidly. It took about four minutes for the Spanish to load their canons while the English could do so in about one minute's time. The English ships (5) rode low on the water-line and therefore were much harder to see in order to hit them with canon balls where the water would pour in. The Spanish ships rode higher on the water and were easy targets for the English gunners.

The Spanish ships were (6) crowded and therefore had a lot of diseases running rampant throughout the crew. The Spanish sailors (7) had no beds or hammocks to sleep in. They had to "sleep by the guns" with the deck wet. Most of the Spanish sailors had no blankets. They lived miserably on board their ships! The English sailors slept high and dry in warm hammocks.

When the Spanish Armada moved north to Calais and put into port, (8) they were trapped when Drake attacked with eight fire ships that moved in and out of the fleet, causing havoc among the sailors and their vessels. The Spanish fleet (9) was not supplied with enough ammunition, gun powder and canon balls, to fight the English. This caused many Spanish ships to sail limited in their attempt to attack the English fleet.

When the Spanish fleet moved into the English Channel, heading for England, (10) God sent a terrible storm that scattered the ships and sunk many. The English considered, rightly so, this as the miracle of miracles that really destroyed the Spanish fleet along with their plans for invading Britain. (11) Out of 128 Spanish ships, only half were saved when the battle was over.

To escape the English, the Spanish fleet circled England and passed by the shores of Ireland and Scotland. Many of the Spanish galleons (12) were wrecked on the coast with thousands of the sailors killed by the people living on the coast. Only a handful of Spanish sailors ever returned back to Spain.

Since God is the God of all of history, His providence brought on this victory for the people of the Reformation who lived in Reformation England. Many of the people of England brought their faith to our American shores. America became Reformation and Protestant and not Catholic! We are indebted to the Lord for stopping the intentions of the Catholics who wished to return the English people back to the Mother Church! —Dr. Mal Couch