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Churchill, an instrument in the hand of God

30 January 2015

SO NOW Winston Churchill belongs to the ages, his long course finished, his last victory won. After all the ups and downs of fame and fortune which marked his career of phenomenal service to his Sovereign, his country and the world, his proud place in history is as secure as that of any man in Britain's annals. The unique place which he held in the hearts of men has been proved by the flood of eloquent tributes (among which the broadcast by the Prime Minister was outstanding) which have poured forth in the Press and on the air this week. . .

No one now living can remember anything quite like the national honours paid to this extraordinary man on his death. But then there has been no one quite like him for longer than anyone can remember. Behind all the pomp and circumstance of this week's ceremonies lie the emotions of which they are the outward symbol. There is sheer gratitude for all that Winston Churchill did in the dark days when Britain once again, under his inspiration, saved herself by her exertions and the world by her example. There is deep admiration for his magnanimity of character, for his ability to pluck victory out of the heart of defeat, for the way in which he treated the two impostors, personal triumph and disaster, as the same. Above all there is the intuitive feeling that, in a sense shared only by the greatest Sovereigns, here was a man who had become identified with his country. There were times when Churchill not only spoke for Britain. He was Britain.

The Church can lay no special claim to him. But the prophets of old would have seen nothing at all strange in the belief that he was an instrument in the hand of the Living God for the purposes of his providence, and that God is to be praised for all that Winston Churchill was inspired to do and say and write in the cause of freedom, righteousness and peace.

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