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Title: John Knox
Author: Taylor, William M. (William Mackergo), 1829-1895
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "John Knox" ***

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[Frontispiece: John Knox.  Engraved by B. Holl, from a Picture in the
Posession of Lord Somerville.]




_Author of "Limitations of Life," etc._










The sources from which the following narrative has been derived are (1)
the splendidly edited and complete edition of Knox's Works in six
volumes, by Dr. David Laing; (2) the Memoir of the Reformer, by Dr.
Thomas McCrie, forming the first volume of the collected works of that
eminent theologian; (3) the monograph by the late Professor Lorimer,
D.D., entitled "John Knox and the Church of England"; and (4) the
Histories of the Period, more especially that of Scotland, by John Hill
Burton, vols. iii. and iv., and that of England, by J. A. Froude, vols.
v. and vi.  Some assistance also has been derived from "The Scottish
Reformation," by Professor Lorimer; and the two sketches by Carlyle,
the one in his "Heroes and Hero Worship," and the other in his essay on
the Portraits {vi} of John Knox, have been both helpful and suggestive.
Quotations have been generally indicated, but this acknowledgment must
cover any accidental omission to give to each author his due; and for
the rest the reader may be assured that while no material fact has been
omitted, nothing has been recorded for which ample authority could not
be given.  The figure has been felt to be too large for the canvas to
which we have been restricted, but we have sought to reproduce, as
faithfully as possible the man as he was, and if we may succeed in
removing any of the unreasonable prejudice, with which many still
regard the Scottish Reformer, the story of his life will not be retold
by us in vain.

W. M. T.





EARLY LIFE AND CALL TO THE MINISTRY, 1505-1547 . . . . . . . .      1


IN THE FRENCH GALLEYS, 1547-1549 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     20


MINISTRY IN BERWICK-ON-TWEED, 1549-1550  . . . . . . . . . . .     29




LAST DAYS IN ENGLAND, 1553 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     64


FIRST DAYS IN EXILE, 1554  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     71


THE TROUBLES AT FRANKFORT, 1554-1555 . . . . . . . . . . . . .     83


THE MINISTRY AT GENEVA, 1555-1559  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     95



RETURN TO SCOTLAND, 1559 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    115




KNOX AND QUEEN MARY STUART, 1561-1563  . . . . . . . . . . . .    157


MINISTRY AT EDINBURGH, 1564-1570 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    179


LAST DAYS, 1570-1572 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    191




On the sixteenth day of January, 1546, George Wishart delivered a
remarkable sermon in the church of Haddington.  Two things had combined
to produce special depression in his heart.  Shortly before he entered
the pulpit a boy had put into his hands a letter informing him that his
friends in Kyle would not be able to keep an appointment which they had
made to meet him in Edinburgh.  This news so saddened him that he
expressed himself as "weary of the world," because he perceived that
"men began to be weary of God."  Nor was his despondency removed when
he rose to preach, for instead of the crowds that used to assemble to
hear him in that church, there were not more than a hundred persons
present.  It was thus made apparent to him that the efforts of his
enemies for his overthrow were now to be successful, and so instead of
treating the second table of the law as he had been expected to do, he
poured forth a torrent of warning and denunciation, not unlike some of
the fervid {2} utterances of the old Hebrew prophets.  The effect
produced was all the more solemn, because he evidently felt that he was
bearing his last public testimony against the evils of his times.

When he had concluded he bade his friends farewell, and to John Knox,
who throughout his sojourn in Lothian had attended him, armed with a
two-handed sword, as a protection against the assassination with which
he had twice been threatened, and who had pressed to be allowed to
accompany him to Ormiston, where he was to spend the night, he said,
"Nay, return to your bairns" (pupils), "and God bless you!  One is
sufficient for one sacrifice."

The good man's presentiment was all too surely realized.  Before
midnight the house in which he slept was surrounded by a band of which
the Earl of Bothwell was the head, and he was given up by his host to
that nobleman, only however on the receipt of a pledge, over which
"hands" were "struck," to the effect that his personal safety should be
secured, and he should not be delivered into his enemies' power.  But
promises in these days were not of much account, and Bothwell was
easily prevailed upon to give him up to Cardinal Beaton, who took him
first to Edinburgh Castle, and afterwards to St. Andrews.  There, in
defiance of the protest of the Regent, he was hurriedly subjected to
the form of a trial by the cardinal, and being, of course, found
guilty, he was executed at the stake on the first of March.


Thus it is, as the body-guard of Wishart, that we get our first glimpse
of John Knox in history; and very characteristic of the man this first
appearance was.  He comes upon the scene as unheralded as Elijah, and,
like him too, he is seen from the first to be set for the defence of
the truth.  He was a sword-bearer all through; only when he laid aside
the two-handed brand which he carried before Wishart, he took in its
stead "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Before proceeding to tell the stirring story of his life, however, it
may be well to take a brief survey of the condition of Scotland at the
moment when he stepped into the arena of its national strife.

Little more than three years before the date of Wishart's execution,
the Queen of Scotland had given birth to that Mary Stuart, whose
character has been the puzzle of historians, and whose chequered career
has been the theme of poets almost ever since.  Her father, James V.,
broken-hearted by the utter defeat of his army by the English at the
battle of Solway Moss, died only a few days after his daughter's birth.
Thus it came about, that in a critical time which tested the
statesmanship of the world's strongest rulers, alike in England,
France, Germany, and Spain, Scotland had a baby sovereign, and the
controlling of its affairs became an object of keen competition between
contending parties.  The queen-mother, Mary of Guise, a woman of marked
ability, of much cunning, and of little principle, was, both from
national and religious leanings, on {4} the side of the Catholic party.
Of that party the head at this time was David Beaton, Archbishop of St.
Andrews, and a Cardinal of the Church.  This artful prelate, "the
nephew of his uncle," was possessed of eminent talents, but was
characterized by cruelty, licentiousness, and unscrupulousness.  He had
prevailed on James V. to violate the promise which he had made to his
uncle, Henry VIII., to meet him at Newcastle.  The haughty Tudor had
now broken with the Romish see, and was anxious, if possible, to induce
his nephew to follow his example.  But the cardinal, as great a master
of intrigue as was the English king himself, had succeeded in keeping
the Scottish monarch from putting himself under the spell of his
uncle's influence, and Henry, exasperated at his defeat, sent into
Scotland an army, whose success at Solway Moss led indirectly, as we
have seen, to the death of James.  When that event occurred, Beaton
produced a forged will, purporting to be the last testament of the
king, and nominating him as Regent with three of the nobles as his
assistants.  On the strength of that document he had himself proclaimed
as Regent at the Cross of Edinburgh.  But the validity of the
instrument was annulled by the Scottish Parliament; and in the spring
of 1543, James, Earl of Arran, heir presumptive of the crown, was
appointed to the dignity which the cardinal had so eagerly, and so
unrighteously sought to make his own.

This nobleman, "notorious," as Burton says, "for fickleness," had been
at first on the side of the Reformation, {5} and was then assiduously
courted by Henry VIII.  He had even consented to the marriage of the
baby queen to the young English Prince Edward.  But the influence of
the queen-mother and the cardinal, backed by that of his own natural
brother, the Abbot of Paisley, together with the unjust and impolitic
demands of the English monarch himself, combined to turn him from his
original leanings.  He publicly abjured the Protestant faith, and was
received into the bosom of the Catholic Church.  He broke off all
negotiations for a matrimonial alliance between the royal houses of
England and Scotland, and ultimately consented to the betrothal of Mary
to the Dauphin of France.  The result of these proceedings was a
protracted war with England, during which Scotland was repeatedly
invaded, and portions of it devastated by the southern forces.

But while these political and international intrigues, in which it must
be confessed that there was little scrupulousness on either side, were
going on, a great spiritual movement was making quiet progress among
the people.  The Reformation from Popery had begun in Scotland also.
Patrick Hamilton, its protomartyr, had been put to death in 1528; but
the smoke of his burning, to borrow the well-known words of one of the
elder Beaton's own servants, "had infected all on whom it blew"; and
the books of the German Reformers, together with the English Testaments
of William Tyndale, had wrought like hidden leaven, especially among
the more intelligent of the community.  {6} Thus we account for the
fact that, in spite of legal prohibitions and public executions, the
knowledge of evangelical truth was diffused, even when there was no
living voice to proclaim it publicly in the hearing of the multitudes;
so that when a man like Wishart did make his appearance, he found
crowds to listen to him appreciatively both in Dundee and Ayr.  The
Lollards of Kyle had still worthy descendants in that historic
district; and the merchants in towns like that of Leith, whose commerce
brought them into contact with men from Hamburg, Antwerp, and the
cities of the Rhine, were disposed to welcome the new doctrines.  Among
the nobles, men like Glencairn and Errol and Ruthven ranged themselves
on the side of the Reformers; while the influence of a satirist like
Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, and a scholar like Henry Balnaves of
Halhill, was given heartily to their cause.

But next only to the diffusion of the Scriptures among the people, the
greatest factor in the production of the Reformation in Scotland was
the degraded condition into which in that country the Church of Rome
itself had sunk.  "That which decayeth is ready to vanish away."  There
were no longer in it the elements of vitality.  It was past purifying,
and had to be swept clean out.  Its corruptions were too open to be
denied, and too gross to be defended.  The grasping selfishness and
shameless licentiousness of the upper clergy were equalled only by the
ignorance and general incompetence of the lower, so that there had
sprung up among the people generally a {7} hatred of the order to which
both belonged.  This was deepened and intensified by the spirit in
which the first efforts of the Reformers had been met, for in Scotland
as elsewhere the prison and the stake were the short and easy answers
made by papal intolerance to all the arguments which the preachers
brought against the errors of Romanism.  But these were answers which
only turned more general attention to the statements of the Reformers,
and gave wider circulation to their words.  The storm of contrary wind
unfurls the banner, and makes thereby its inscription the more legible,
and in the same way the persecution of those who proclaimed the truth
only fell out to the furtherance of that which it was designed to

But Cardinal Beaton's conscience was too hard to feel the crime, and
his eye was too dim to see the blunder which he was committing in
putting Wishart to death.  He looked only at immediate results, and
thought perhaps that by silencing the preacher he could arrest the
influence of the words which had already gone from him.  But in reality
he was himself standing above a mine which before long exploded for his
own destruction.  His checkmating of Henry VIII. so exasperated that
monarch that he entered into correspondence, through his agent Sir
Robert Sadler, with certain Scotsmen whose disaffection to the cardinal
was well known, and who, at his suggestion, or at least with his
concurrence and approval, perhaps also with his reward, entered into a
conspiracy to "take him out of the way." {8} Accordingly on the morning
of the 29th of May, just three months after the martyrdom of Wishart,
Cardinal Beaton was assassinated by a company of men headed by Norman
Leslie.  That the wily priest had himself been guilty of attempts to
get rid of his adversaries by the same unscrupulous means is not to be
denied.  It is equally certain that, as things then were, it would have
been impossible to bring him to trial for any of his enormities.  But
still the manner of his "taking off" is not only utterly indefensible,
but also worthy of the deepest reprobation, and it is too true, as Dr.
Lorimer has said, that "the exasperation of feeling called forth by a
deed so daring and criminal gave rise to proceedings against the
conspirators which, being extended to all their abettors real or
supposed, had the effect of retarding the progress of the Reformation
for many years, and of weighing it down with a load of opprobrium from
the effects of which it could only slowly recover."[1]

Foreseeing that they would be the objects of bitter attack, the
conspirators, after they had done their bloody work, resolved to keep
possession of the Castle of St. Andrews which they had so unexpectedly
seized, and there they were speedily joined by at least one hundred and
forty persons, numbering among them Kirkaldy of Grange, Melville of
Raith, Balfour of Mount-quhany, and many gentlemen of Fife and the
neighbouring {9} counties.  They put the castle into a state of
defence, and were besieged by an army under command of the Regent
Arran, against whom they held out, more perhaps from the incompetence
of the besiegers than from the skill or strength of the besieged, until
the end of January, 1547.  At that date the siege was suspended under
an agreement which stipulated that the Castle was still to remain in
the hands of its defenders, on the conditions that they should hold it
for the Regent and not deliver it to England; and that they should not
be required to surrender it even to the Regent until he had obtained
from Rome absolution for those who had been implicated in the murder of
the cardinal.  Upon his side the Regent agreed to withdraw his forces
to the south of the Forth, and from the beginning of the year on till
the following June the inmates of the Castle were permitted to go out
and in at their pleasure, and to receive all that came to them.

Thus the Castle of St. Andrews became for the time a kind of sanctuary
for all who were seeking relief or refuge from the oppression of the
rulers in Church and State; and at the following Easter, which fell
that year on the 10th of April, John Knox entered its gates under
circumstances which he himself has thus described: "At the Pasch after,
came to the Castle of St. Andrews John Knox, who, wearied of removing
from place to place by reason of the persecution that came upon him by
this Bishop of St. Andrews, was determined to have left Scotland and to
have visited the schools of Germany {10} (of England then he had no
pleasure by reason that the Pope's name being suppressed, his laws and
corruptions remained in full vigour).  But because he had the care of
some gentlemen's children, whom certain years he had nourished in
godliness, their fathers solicited him to go to St. Andrews, that
himself might have the benefit of the castle, and their children the
benefit of his doctrine, and so (we say) came he the time foresaid, to
the said place, and having in his company Francis Douglas of
Longniddry, George his brother, and Alexander Cockburn, eldest son to
the laird of Ormiston, began to exercise them after his accustomed

Knox was at this time in the prime and vigour of his manhood, being
forty-two years of age.  He was born in 1505 at Gifford-gate, a suburb
connected with Haddington by the old stone bridge across the Tyne.  His
parents were not distinguished either for rank or fortune, for one of
his adversaries affirms that he was "obscuris natus parentibus" (born
of obscure parents), and even one of his admirers says that "he
descended but of lineage small."  His father was William Knox, and his
mother's name was Sinclair.  Both of them apparently belonged to
families that were in some way feudatories to the Earls of Bothwell,
for at the Reformer's first interview with that earl, whose name is so
tragically {11} coupled with Queen Mary's, he said, "Albeit that to
this hour it hath not chanced me to speak to your lordship face to
face, yet have I borne a good mind to your house; ... for, my lord, my
grandfather, goodschir (_i.e._, according to Mr. Laing, maternal
grandfather) and father have served your lordship's predecessors, and
some of them have died under their standards."  He received his
earliest education at the Grammar School of Haddington, and passed when
he was about sixteen years of age to the University of Glasgow, in the
register of which his name appears among those of the students who were
incorporated on the 25th October, 1522.

At that time and for a year later John Major, or Mair, Doctor of the
Sorbonne, was Principal of the Glasgow University and Professor of
Divinity in the same.  He had some opinions, both ecclesiastical and
political, which were considerably in advance of his age, and it has
been supposed that Knox may have received from him some of those
principles which he afterwards so ably advocated.  But perhaps too much
has been made of this by the Reformer's biographers, for Major remained
only one year in Glasgow after Knox had been registered as a student at
the University; and though he held some liberal notions in politics, he
was in theology to the last a rigid scholastic.  Moreover, he was so
far from being a zealous promoter of the cause of the Reformation that
his name appears as a judge on several of the tribunals at which the
early Scottish {12} confessors were condemned to banishment or death.
Taking these things into consideration along with the youth of Knox
when he first entered college, it will appear hardly likely that he
received from Major anything more than a general impulse in the
direction of liberty and liberality, which prepared him to look with
favour on the efforts of those who, though they might be called
innovators, were in reality only seeking to get back to the original
simplicity of the gospel, and the primitive purity of the Church.

Knox left Glasgow without taking the degree of Master of Arts, and
there is no evidence whatever for the statement sometimes made that he
was afterwards connected with the University of St. Andrews.  In fact
we lose sight of him entirely for a period of eighteen years from the
time of his leaving Glasgow.  During that interval he was ordained a
priest, though by whom, or at what precise date, it is now impossible
to determine; but his signature has been found,[3] as notary, to an
instrument in the charter-room at Tyninghame, bearing date March 27,
1543, a fact which establishes that up till that time he retained his
character as a priest and had the papal authority to act as a notary.
With these functions he seems to have combined that of a teacher of
youth, for at the time we come upon him in connection with Wishart, he
had under his charge some young men of good family in the land.


We have no details concerning his conversion from the Romish to the
Protestant faith.  According to one authority it was Thomas Guillaume
who was "the first to give Mr. Knox a taste of the truth."  That
eloquent preacher,--a native of East Lothian, who had risen to a high
place in the order of the Dominicans,--had through the influence of the
party of progress been appointed chaplain to the Regent Arran at the
time when that weak ruler was favouring the Reformers.  Knox himself
has described him as "a man of solid judgment, reasonable letters (as
for that age), and of prompt and good utterance; his doctrine was
wholesome without great vehemency against superstition."  It does not
appear, however, from anything he says that he ever came personally
into contact with him, though it is possible that some of those clear
expositions of Scripture for which Guillaume was so esteemed may have
been heard by him, and may have produced a deep impression on his mind.
But beyond all question George Wishart was the true spiritual father of
John Knox.  The preaching and companionship of that earnest man during
that journey through the Lothians, which ended in his apprehension at
Ormiston, did more for Knox than any other human instrumentality
whatever.  They wrought conviction in him, and brought him out into
decision, so that from the moment when these two men parted from each
other for the last time at the church of Haddington, it was no longer
possible for Knox to return into the position of comparative obscurity
from which he had {14} emerged to become the body-guard of Wishart.  He
had come prominently out on the side of the Reformation, and the
martyrdom of his teacher would only deepen his determination that he
should not go back.

But there was no need for him to throw his life away as a gratuitous
sacrifice, and therefore, when he was compelled to seek safety from his
persecutors by removing from place to place, and out of weariness was
minded to go to Germany, he consented, at the earnest solicitations of
the parents of his pupils, to find protection in the Castle of St.
Andrews.  Let it be noted, however, that he did not enter that
stronghold until the 10th of April, 1547, that is, more than ten months
after Beaton's murder, and therefore he is not to be reckoned among
those who had concocted and carried out the assassination of that
prelate.  He was at that date in too obscure a station to be in any
way, even the most remote, associated with those who had committed that
foul murder, and he went to St. Andrews simply that he might be able to
carry on uninterruptedly the education of his pupils.  Accordingly, so
soon as he was fairly settled there, he resumed the regular routine of
his work with them.  What that was he has himself informed us in these
words: "Besides their grammar and other humane authors" (that is,
authors in what were then called the humanity classes) "he read unto
them a catechism, an account whereof he caused them to give publicly in
the parish church of St. Andrews.  He read moreover unto them the
Gospel of John proceeding where he" (had) {15} "left" (off) "at his
departing from Longniddry where before his residence was, and that
lecture he read in the chapel within the castle at a certain hour."
These public exercises attracted to them a large number of those who
were then sojourning in the castle, among whom were Henry Balnaves of
Halhill, a distinguished jurist, who had been already, and was to be
again, one of the judges of the court of session, and John Rough, who
was the stated preacher to the congregation within the castle.  These
men were greatly impressed alike with the matter, the method, and the
manner of delivery of the lectures, and seeing his fitness for the
work, they earnestly entreated Knox to enter at once upon the office of
the ministry.  But he declared that "he would not run where God had not
called him," and peremptorily refused to accede to their request.  Upon
this they took counsel with Sir David Lindsay, of the Mount, and
others, and ultimately agreed that Rough, without giving any formal
warning that he was about to do anything of the kind, should address to
Knox a special public call in the name and before the face of the
congregation.  Accordingly, in the presence of the people, and after
having preached a sermon on the election of ministers, Rough turned to
Knox and said, "Brother, ye shall not be offended, albeit that I speak
unto you that which I have in charge even from all those that are here
present, which is this: In the name of God and of His Son Jesus Christ,
and in the name of these that presently call you by my mouth, I charge
you that ye refuse {16} not this holy vocation, but that, as ye tender
the glory of God, the increase of Christ's kingdom, the edification of
your brethren, and the comfort of me whom you understand well enough to
be oppressed by the multitude of labours, that ye take upon you the
public office and charge of preaching even as ye look to avoid God's
heavy displeasure, and desire that He shall multiply His graces with
you."  Then turning to the congregation he said, "Was not this your
charge to me?"  They answered, "It was, and we approve it."  The
combined suddenness and solemnity of this appeal completely unmanned
Knox.  He burst into tears and hastened to his closet, where we may
well believe that he sought light from God; and the result Was that he
was led to take up that ministry which he laid down only with his life.
Not from the impulse of caprice, or because he desired the position of
a preacher, but because he could not otherwise meet the responsibility
which God had laid upon him, did he enter upon that high and honourable
vocation.  He was to do a work for his countrymen not unlike that which
Moses did for his kinsmen, and so like Moses he was called to it in the
full maturity of his powers, and entered upon it with the conviction
that God had given him his commission, and he dared not disobey.

Nor did he tarry long before he began to preach, for the call of
Providence came almost simultaneously with that of the church.  It
happened just then that Mr. Rough was engaged in a controversy with a
popish {17} dean named Annand.  For such a discussion Rough was but
poorly furnished, since, as McCrie says, though he was sound in
doctrine, his literary acquirements were only moderate.  In his
emergency he had been much assisted by Knox, who made such good use of
the pen that he beat back his adversary from all his defences.  As a
last resort Annand took refuge in the authority of the Church, upon
which Knox at once exclaimed, in the hearing of those who were present
at the discussion, that a distinction must be drawn between the true
spouse of Christ and the Church of Rome, and offered to prove by word
or writing that the Papal Church had degenerated from that of primitive
times more than the Jews who crucified the Saviour had fallen from the
ordinances of Moses.  On hearing this, the people alleged that they
could not all read his writings, but could all listen to his preaching,
and therefore insisted, in the name of God, that he would let them hear
his proof of the assertion which he had made.  Such an appeal was not
to be resisted, and therefore on the very next Sunday Knox entered the
pulpit, and preached (from the text Daniel vii. 24, 25) a sermon, in
which, after having given the true marks of the Church, he went on to
expose the corruptions of the Romish clergy in their lives, the
erroneous doctrine taught by them, especially in the matter of
justification, and the enslaving laws enjoined by them in regard to
days, and meats, and marriage.  In particular he inveighed against the
blasphemies of popery.  He identified the Papal {18} Church with the
Babylonian harlot in the book of the Revelation, and concluded by
demanding the most thorough investigation of all the statements which
he had made, and the most minute examination of the authorities whom he
had cited.  This discourse was listened to by a large assembly, among
whom was John Major, his old Glasgow principal, and it produced a great
effect upon all.  Some said, "Others lopped off the branches of the
papistry, but he strikes at the root to destroy the whole."  Others
predicted that he would meet the fate of Wishart, who had never spoken
quite so plainly as Knox had done that day.  The new archbishop of St.
Andrews, not yet consecrated to his office, expostulated with the
vicar-general of the diocese for allowing such heretical doctrines to
be promulgated without opposition, and that led to the calling of a
convention of the learned men of the abbey and the university, before
which Rough and Knox were summoned to make answer to nine articles,
involving heresies, which had been drawn from their sermons.  But
nothing more serious resulted from that meeting than a debate between
Knox and a friar named Arbuckle, whose arguments Knox easily refuted,
and that too with a considerable mixture of the grim humour which ever
and anon laughs outright in the pages of his history.  Clearly,
therefore, it would be a perilous thing for the Church to let such a
man do all the preaching to the people; and so orders were issued that
each of the learned men in the abbey and university should preach {19}
in his own turn on the Sundays in the parish church.  This deprived
Knox of the opportunity of addressing the congregation on those days
when the greatest numbers were in attendance; but he continued his
ministry on the other days of the week, and that with such success that
although it lasted in all at this time not more than three months, many
of the inhabitants of the town renounced popery, and made confession of
the Protestant faith by partaking of the Lord's Supper in the reformed
manner, the first occasion on which the ordinance was publicly
administered in Scotland after that fashion.

Thus the beginning of Knox's work marks a distinct stage in the history
of the Scottish Reformation.  At first, and under what has been called
by Lorimer the Hamilton period, peculiar emphasis was laid upon the
truths which were revived in the teaching of Luther; under the Wishart
period the doctrine of the sacraments came into prominence, and then
first the influence of Switzerland began to be felt by Scotland; but
under Knox attention was directed especially to the nature and
constitution of the church, and the first sermon which he preached, and
of which we have given the barest outline, had already in it "the
promise and the potency" of the great work which he was yet to
accomplish for his native land.

[1] "The Scottish Reformation."  A Historical Sketch by Peter Lorimer,
D.D.  London: R. Griffin & Co., 1860, p. 157.

[2] "The Works of John Knox," collected and edited by Dr. David Laing,
vol. i. p. 185.  Once for all let it be said that in making these
quotations the spelling is modernized, but otherwise no alteration is

[3] By Dr. David Laing: see "Knox's Works," vol. vi. pp. xxii. xxiii.




During the months which had elapsed since the time when the Castle of
St. Andrews had become a refuge for those who had so summarily and
unscrupulously murdered Beaton, changes had occurred both in England
and in France which deeply affected their interests.  Henry VIII. died
on the 28th January, 1547, and for a short time during the minority of
Edward the reins of government had been virtually given into the hands
of the Duke of Somerset, under the name of Protector.  This deprived
the besieged of their most powerful friend, for although after Henry's
decease the Privy Council fulfilled his directions and voted money to
Leslie and others as individuals, together with a certain sum for the
maintenance of a garrison in the castle, yet Somerset took little
further care of those who remained within its shelter, and left them
virtually to their own resources.  The death of Francis I. of France,
which took place on the 31st of March in the same year, added to their
danger, for he was succeeded by Henry II., who as Dauphin had been the
leader of the party {21} most opposed to England, and who was therefore
by no means indisposed to do anything that would tend to widen the
breach between that country and his own.  When therefore Somerset,
unwisely insisting on reviving the pretensions of feudal superiority
over Scotland which had been put forth by Edward I., permitted the
Borders to be wasted by fire and sword, and urged the French to abstain
from interference, he was met with the reply that their king "might not
suffer the old friends of France to be oppressed and alienated from
him."  In France, therefore, the Regent Arran and the queen-mother
found a willing ally, and in the beginning of June Leo Strozzi, prior
of Capua, appeared with a fleet of French galleys in sight of the
Castle of St. Andrews, and demanded the surrender of its inmates.
According to agreement this was conditioned on the reception from Rome
of absolution for the murderers of Beaton.  But although Strozzi
brought absolution with him, it was expressed in such an equivocal
form,--"Remittimus irremissibile," we pardon that which is
unpardonable,--that the persons interested refused to accept it, and
the siege was renewed.  Arran, hearing of the arrival of his allies,
hastened from the west country to co-operate with them, and the result
was such as might have been expected.  For this time the defenders had
to contend with skilled gunners, before whose batteries, as Knox had
forewarned them would be the case, "their walls were no better than
eggshells."  From the steeple of St. Salvador's College and the towers
of the Abbey, as well as from the galleys in {22} the bay, the cannon
of their assailants poured shot in upon them, while within the walls
the plague broke out with virulence.  So in the end of July Kirkcaldy
of Grange went forth with a flag of truce to make the best possible
terms with the victors.  The conditions obtained were that the lives of
all within the castle, whether English or Scotch, should be spared;
that they should be safely transported to France; and that in case,
upon conditions that by the king of France should be offered unto them,
they could not be content to remain in service and freedom there, they
should, at the expense of the king of France, be safely conveyed to
what country they would require, other than Scotland.  These promises,
however, were shamefully broken, for the vanquished were taken on board
the vessels which had been plentifully loaded with the spoils of the
castle, and carried to France, where they were held in bondage for many
months.  One detachment of them was taken to Cherbourg, and another to
Mount St. Michael.  Knox himself was reduced to the condition of a

We have no connected account of his experiences in this time of trial,
but here and there in his works he has dropped incidental hints which
give us glimpses of his sufferings, and of the manner in which they
were endured by him.  In his history of the Reformation, in connection
with the account of an effort made by some of his friends to dissuade
him in the year 1559 from preaching in St. Andrews, we have a report of
the answer which he gave to them, and in that occurs the following
passage: {23} "In this town and church began God first to call me to
the dignity of a preacher, from, the which I was reft by the tyranny of
France by procurement of the bishops as ye all well enough know.  How
long I continued prisoner, _what torment I sustained in the galleys,
and what were the sobs of my heart_, is now no time to consider."  An
equally pathetic reference to his misery during this season of bondage,
and to his solace under it, is to be found in his treatise on the true
nature and object of prayer, in which after having referred to the
words, (Ps. vii. 16, 17) "His mischief shall return upon his own head,
and his violent dealings shall come down upon his own pate.  I will
praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to
the name of the Lord most high," he goes on to say, "This is not
written for David only, but for all such as shall suffer tribulation to
the end of the world.  For I, the writer hereof (let this be said to
the laud and praise of God alone), in _anguish of mind and vehement
tribulation and affliction_, called to the Lord, when not only the
ungodly, but even my faithful brethren, yea and mine own self, that is
all natural understanding in me, judged my cause to be irremediable;
and yet in my greatest calamity, and when my pains were most cruel,
would His eternal wisdom that I should write far contrary to the
judgment of carnal wisdom, which His mercy has proved true.  Blessed be
His holy name!  And therefore I dare be bold, in the verity of God's
word to promise that notwithstanding the vehemence of trouble, the long
continuance thereof, the {24} dispersion of all men, the fearfulness,
danger, dolor, and anguish of our hearts; yet if we call constantly to
God, that beyond expectation of all men, He shall deliver."  There can
be little doubt, as Dr. Laing remarks in a foot-note to this passage,
that Knox here refers to his bodily and mental sufferings during his
confinement on board the French galley, and so we see that his faith
was not a mere sentimental thing, that, as he has himself elsewhere
expressed it, he was no mere "speculative theologue," but indeed a
steadfast believer, who had proved God's faithfulness to His promise
even in the sorest tribulation.

Again in the epistle to the congregation of the Castle of St. Andrews
prefixed by him to the tract on Justification by Faith, which his
friend Henry Balnaves had written during his imprisonment at Rouen, we
find among other allusions to his support under his sufferings the
following words: "I exhort that ye read diligently this treatise, not
only with earnest prayer that ye may understand the same aright, but
also with humble and due thanksgiving unto our most merciful Father,
who of His infinite power hath so strengthened the hearts of His
prisoners, that in despite of Satan they desist not yet to work, but in
the most vehemency of tribulation seek the utility and salvation of

And in a letter written in December, 1559, he speaks of "all the
torments of the galleys" in such a way as to lead us to conclude that
he was subjected to the greatest hardships.  Once more, and perhaps
most pathetically of {25} all, in that letter to the congregation of
Berwick which Dr. Lorimer first printed in his "John Knox and the
Church of England," and to which we shall have to make fuller reference
by-and-by, he thus writes: "This day I am more vile and of low
reputation in my own eyes than I was either that day that _my feet were
chained in the prison of dolor_ (the galleys I mean), or yet that day
that I was delivered by His only providence from the same."

It is clear, therefore, that his sufferings were severe, and while he
endured them with a fortitude that was sustained by his faith in God,
he was careful also to maintain always a conscience void of offence.
He tells us that those who were in the galleys "were threatened with
torments if they would not give reverence to the mass, but they could
never make the poorest of that company to give reverence to that idol."
He adds the following narrative, and from the ironic humour that plays
about his style as he recites it, we cannot doubt that he was himself
the hero of the story.  "Soon after the arrival at Nantes, their great
salve was sung, and a glorious (gaudy) painted board was brought in to
be kissed, and amongst others was presented to one of the Scotchmen
then chained.  He gently said, 'Trouble me not; such an idol is
accursed, and therefore I will not touch it.'  The patron and the
arguesyn (_i.e._ sergeant who commanded the forçats) with two officers,
having the chief charge of all such matters, said, 'Thou shalt handle
it,' and so they violently thrust it to his face, and put it betwixt
his hands, who seeing the extremity, taking the {26} idol, and
advisedly looking about, he cast it into the river, and said, 'Let our
lady now save herself; she is light enough; let her learn to swim.'
After that was no Scotchman urged with that idolatry."

But sorely bestead as he was in his captivity, he would not sanction
any attempt to escape which should savour of violence.  Though himself
innocent of all complicity in Beaton's murder, he had seen the cause
which he had at heart so greatly hindered by the consequences of that
evil deed, and he was withal so utterly opposed to everything which he
believed that God had forbidden, that he would be no party to doing
evil that good might come.  Accordingly when Kirkcaldy and two other
friends who were confined with him at Mount St. Michael wrote to him to
inquire whether they might with safe conscience break their prison, he
replied, that if without the shedding of any blood they could set
themselves at liberty, they might do so without sin, but that he would
never consent to their slaying of others in order to obtain
deliverance.  He added the expression of his own assurance that God
Himself would work out their enlargement in such a way that "the praise
thereof should redound to His glory alone."  Nor was that with him a
mere temporary or intermittent sentiment.  It was the settled
conviction of his soul; for from the very beginning of his captivity
when one of his fellow-prisoners would often ask him if he thought that
they should ever be delivered, his invariable answer was that "God
would deliver them from that bondage {27} to His glory, even in this
life."  Nor did he falter, even when his own strength seemed ebbing
out, for when the galleys had returned to Scotland in the summer of
1548, and were lying between Dundee and St. Andrews, while he himself
was so reduced by illness that his life was despaired of, the same
companion bidding him look to the land, asked him if he knew it,
whereupon he made reply, "Yes, I know it well, for I see the steeple of
that place where God first opened my mouth to His glory, and I am fully
persuaded, how weak soever I now appear, that I shall not depart this
life till that my tongue shall glorify His holy name in the same
place."  He tells this almost as if he believed that the Spirit of
prophecy spoke through him at the moment; but it is not necessary for
us, while admitting the full truth of the narrative, to accept any such
explanation.  If his anticipation had not been verified, his words
might have been entirely forgotten; and the probability is that his
conviction rested rather upon his general apprehension of the
principles of the Divine administration, than upon any supernatural
communication of a special sort.  The Psalmist writes that "the secret
of the Lord is with them that fear Him;" and this gracious
illumination, which is the heritage of all in the proportion in which
they possess the character with which it is associated, is sufficient
to account for the correctness of his impression, without having
recourse to the theory of prophetic inspiration.  That even Knox
himself would have thus regarded this matter, seems clear from a
passage in {28} his "Faithful Admonition to the Professors of God's
Truth in England," which Dr. Lorimer thinks is of standard authority as
giving the principle of interpretation for all those places in which he
speaks in what may be called a prophetic tone and manner; and in which
it has sometimes been thought that he spoke not without some endowment
of supernatural insight and foreknowledge.  We quote the following
sentences: "But ye would know the grounds of my certitude.  God grant
that hearing them, ye may understand and steadfastly believe the same.
My assurances are not marvels of Merlin, nor yet the dark sentences of
profane prophecies; but (1) the plain truth of God's word, (2) the
invincible justice of the everlasting God, and (3) the ordinary course
of His punishments and plagues from the beginning, are my assurances
and grounds" (p. 85).

But however we may account for the assurance which he felt, his
forecast of the future was certainly remarkably fulfilled; and there
are few contrasts in history more striking and suggestive than that
between the weak and apparently dying galley-slave looking longingly on
the shores of his native land; and the energetic Reformer of a later
date, of whom the English ambassador wrote to Cecil saying: "I assure
you the voice of one man is able in an hour to put more life in us than
six hundred trumpets continually blustering in our ears."




By what means Knox obtained his release from the galling servitude in
which he had been held by the French, we have not been able to
discover; but it is believed that he was indebted for it to the
intercession of England, and it is certain that in the early part of
the year 1549, he was employed by the Privy Council of that country as
one of the ministers whom its members commissioned to preach the
doctrines of the Reformation throughout the kingdom.  The probability
is that he arrived in London about the month of February, and it is
conjectured that as Henry Balnaves was in that city as a commissioner
from the besieged in St. Andrews, at the time of the death of Henry
VIII., Knox, who had just then entered upon his ministry, may have been
beholden to his friend for bringing his name to the favourable notice
of the English Reformers.  But however that may have been, we come upon
authentic and reliable information, when we find in the register of the
Privy Council, under date April 7th, 1549, an entry authorizing the
payment of five pounds "to {30} John Knox, preacher, by way of reward."
Besides this, his name occurs as the sixty-fourth in a list of eighty
who obtained licence to preach in England during the reign of Edward
the Sixth.  He himself informs us in his History, that "he was first
appointed preacher to Berwick, then to Newcastle; last he was called to
London and to the southern parts of England, where he remained till the
death of Edward the Sixth."  This is all that he has said directly in
that work concerning his residence in England; but so much new light
has been shed on this part of the Reformer's career by the painstaking
and elaborate monogram of Dr. Lorimer, that we are now able to follow
his steps with something like minuteness.

He was settled first at the border town of Berwick-on-Tweed, which in
those days was "the focus of a long and bloody war between the two
kingdoms, which had begun with the tremendous slaughter of the Scots at
Pinkey in the autumn of 1547, and in which the Scots, having received
large assistance from France, were still able to maintain so vigorous a
defence that there was no near prospect of a return of peace."[1]  Thus
it happened that its garrison was larger than ordinary, and everything
about the place was volcanic.  Quarrels among the soldiers were common,
and the civilians themselves were not over peaceful, so that the
chronic state of the town was one of disorder.  John Brende, "master of
the musters," reports to the Protector Somerset concerning {31} it:
"There is better order among the Tartars than in this town; the whole
picture of the place is one of social disorder and the worst
police."[2]  Besides all this, the great majority of the people were as
yet probably papists, for the doctrines of the Reformation had made
little progress thus far in the northern counties, and matters
ecclesiastical were very unsettled.  In March of that year the first
Prayer-Book of Edward VI. was sanctioned by Parliament and published
for the use of the Church.  The new liturgy still retained much of the
leaven of sacerdotalism and sacramentarianism, but it was decidedly in
advance of anything which could have been issued in the days of Henry
VIII.  It was thoroughly approved by but a portion of the bishops, and
there were several counties in the remoter parts of the kingdom where
it was never introduced at all.  Tunstall, then Bishop of Durham, who
was no friend to the cause of reform, was in no haste to give effect to
the new legislation; and the council of the north, to which was
committed the care of public affairs in that then distant corner of the
realm, probably thought it advisable to refrain from enforcing it upon
the people, until they were prepared, by the instructions of some
eminent preacher, for receiving and obeying it.  Thus we account for
the fact that, all the time he was in Berwick, Knox was left very much
to his own discretion as to the doctrines which he preached, and the
methods {32} which he adopted for the conduct of Divine service and the
administration of the sacraments.

Already in his preface to Balnaves's treatise on Justification, the
first of his printed productions so far as can be traced, he had
written a summary of his belief on that great central doctrine; and in
his disputation with Arbuckle in St. Andrews, he had been truly charged
with holding the following opinions--viz. first, man may neither make
nor devise a religion that is acceptable to God, but is bound to
observe and keep the religion that from God is received without
chopping or changing thereof; second, the sacraments of the New
Testament ought to be ministered as they were instituted by Christ
Jesus and practised by the apostles, nothing ought to be added to them,
nothing ought to be diminished from them; third, the mass is abominable
idolatry, blasphemous to the death of Christ, and a profanation of the
Lord's Supper.  When therefore he began his labours at Berwick he set
himself to the proclamation of the great truths which radiate from the
priesthood of Christ; and in his dispensation of the supper he followed
an order of his own, which was not improbably the same as he had
adopted in the Castle of St. Andrews.  This is put beyond dispute by
his letter to the congregation of Berwick, written probably about the
close of 1552, and the fragment entitled "The Practice of the Lord's
Supper used in Berwick-upon-Tweed by John Knox, preacher to the
congregation of the Church there," both of which are to be found in
{33} Dr. Lorimer's Appendix.  The matter is of more than mere
antiquarian interest, and we may therefore make one or two extracts
from the more important of these documents.

In regard to his preaching he thus writes: "As for the variety and
diversity of opinions touching the doctrine and chief points of
religion which ye have received, God I take to witness, and the Lord
Jesus Christ, before whom at once shall all flesh appear, that I never
taught unto you, nor unto any others my auditory, that doctrine as
necessary to be believed which I did not find written in God's holy law
and testament.  And, therefore, in that case with Paul I will say, 'If
an angel from heaven shall teach unto you another gospel than ye have
heard and externally received, let him be accursed.'"  Then after
stating in a positive form what he understands by the gospel he adds:
"If in any of these chief and principal points any man vary from that
doctrine which ye have professed, let him be accursed:[3] (1) as if any
man teach any other cause moving God to elect and choose us than His
own infinite goodness and mere mercy; (2) any other name in heaven or
under the heaven wherein salvation stands, but only the name of Jesus;
(3) any other means whereby we are justified and absolved from wrath
and damnation that our sins deserve, than by faith only; (4) any other
cause or end of good works than that first we are made good trees, and
thereafter bring {34} forth fruits accordingly, to witness that we are
lively members of Christ's holy and most sanctified body, prepared
vessels to the honour and praise of our Father's glory; (5) if any
teach prayers to be made to other than God above; (6) if any Mediator
betwixt God and man, but only our Lord Jesus; (7) if more or other
sacraments be affirmed or required to be used than Christ Jesus left
ordinary in His Church, to wit, Baptism and the Lord's Table, or
mystical supper; (8) if any deny remission of sins, resurrection of the
flesh and life everlasting to appertain to us in Christ's blood, which,
sprinkled in our hearts by faith, doth purge us from all sin; so that
we need no more nor other sacrifices than that oblation once offered
for all, by the which God's elect be fully sanctified and made perfect;
if any I say, require any other sacrifice to be made for sins than
Christ's death, which once He suffered, or any other manner whereby
Christ's death may be applied to man, than by faith only, which also is
the gift of God, so that man hath no cause to glory in works; and yet,
if any deny good works to be profitable as not necessary to a true
Christian profession, let the affirmers, teachers, or maintainers of
such a doctrine be accursed of you, as they are of God unless they
repent."  In these articles we are struck with the absence of all
reference to the Holy Spirit and regeneration; but we have many
allusions to these subjects elsewhere, some, indeed, in this very
document, and we may suppose that as it was specifically the
mediatorial work of Christ that was then in controversy, {35} he
designedly restricted himself to that.  But from this summary, brief as
it is, we learn that even at this early date, long before he had
visited Geneva, or met Calvin, Knox had found his own way by the study
of the Scriptures to those views of gospel truth which are now
associated with the name of the great Frenchman; and that they formed
the chief themes of his public discourse at Berwick is evident from the
solemn words with which he has here introduced their enumeration.

Nor was his proclamation of them there in vain; for in his vindication
of himself, at a later date before Queen Mary of Scotland, from the
charge of causing great sedition and slaughter in England, and securing
his ends by necromancy, he said among other things, "I shame not
further to affirm that God so blessed my weak labours, that in Berwick,
where commonly before there used to be slaughter by reason of quarrels
that used to arise among the soldiers, there was as great quietness all
the time that I remained there, as there is this day in Edinburgh."[4]
Besides this, there is in the letter from which we have quoted abundant
evidence that his biographer was not wrong when he affirmed that during
his two years in Berwick numbers were converted and a visible
reformation was produced upon the soldiers of the garrison who had been
notorious for turbulence and licentiousness.

But his procedure in regard to the Lord's Supper was even more
remarkable for its independence, than {36} the tenour of his discourses
was for its adherence to the Pauline theology.  In the Book of Common
Prayer issued by the joint authorization of Convocation and Parliament
in 1549, the rubric for the Lord's Supper provided that bread
"unleavened and round as it was afore" should be used.  But in regard
to that Knox took the bold course of ignoring the authoritative
rubrics.  He substituted common bread for the wafer, and he
administered the "elements" to the people while they sat, according to
the form still followed in the nonconforming churches of England, and
the Presbyterian churches in all parts of the world.  It may seem to
some that this was a defiance of the law; and perhaps in strictest
construction so it was; but it is to be remembered that, as yet, the
law had not become operative in the district to which Berwick belonged,
and that therefore it was open meanwhile for Knox to take the course
which he believed to be best.  Thus he writes:[5] "Kneeling at the
Lord's Supper I have proved by doctrine (teaching) to be no convenient
gesture for a table; (a gesture) which hath been given in that action
to such a presence of Christ, as no place of God's Scripture doth teach
unto us.  And therefore, _kneeling in that action_, appearing to be
joined with certain dangers, no less in maintaining superstition than
in using Christ's holy institution with other gestures than either He
used or commanded to be used, _I thought good amongst you to avoid and
to {37} use sitting at the Lord's Table_; which ye did not refuse, but
with all reverence and thanksgiving to God for His truth knowing, as I
suppose, ye confirmed the doctrine with your gestures and confession."
The order which he observed[6] began with a sermon on the benefits
given us by God through Jesus Christ; this was followed by prayer,
after which was read the account of the institution of the ordinance
from 1 Corinthians xi. 20-30.  Then a declaration of "what persons be
unworthy to be partakers" was made; after which "common prayer was
offered in the form of confession."  At the conclusion of this prayer,
some notable passage in which God's mercy is most evidently declared
was read from the gospel, and thereafter the minister pronounced
absolution to such as unfeignedly repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
After this came prayer for the congregation and for the sovereign.

At this point the fragment which we have been following breaks off, but
there is every reason to believe that the remainder of the service was
the same as that afterwards adopted in Scotland; and any one at all
conversant with the ecclesiastical ritual of the Presbyterian churches
in that country may see in the portion which we have given the origin
of the "action" sermon, the "fencing of the tables;" and the frequent
if not invariable use of the passage from first Corinthians as the
"warrant" for the observance of the Supper, {38} which characterize a
communion "occasion" in that country.  But the singular thing about the
matter is that this Puritan and Presbyterian form of administering the
ordinance of the Lord's Supper was observed in England by John Knox
when he was labouring at Berwick as a recognised minister of the Church
of England, and acting under the authority, or perhaps, to put it more
correctly, with the permission, of the government.  This was at a date
anterior by ten years to the time when it was introduced into Scotland
with the sanction of its Parliament.

But it deserves notice that although Knox was thus conscientiously
opposed to kneeling at the Lord's Table, he was not so intolerant as to
declare that the taking of that posture at that table was necessarily
sinful.  The reader of the letter addressed to the congregation at
Berwick cannot fail to be struck with the broad Pauline spirit
manifested by the Reformer in his treatment of this subject.  He is
advising his friends as to what they should do if, now that he had
ceased to have the oversight of them, the practice of kneeling at the
communion table should be insisted upon; and he affirms that he neither
recants nor repents his former teaching, but still prefers sitting to
any other posture; yet he adds[7] "because I am but one having in my
contrair, magistrates, common order, and judgments of many learned, I
am not minded for maintenance of that one thing to gainstand the
magistrates in all and {39} other chief points of religion agreeing
with Christ, and His true doctrine, nor yet to break nor trouble common
Order, thought meet to be kept for unity and peace in the congregations
for a time.  And least of all do I intend to condemn or lightly regard
the grave judgments of such men as unfeignedly I fear (reverence), love
and will obey, in all things judged expedient to promote God's glory,
_these subsequents granted to me_."  Then follow three conditions which
may be summarized thus,--first, that the magistrates make known that
kneeling is not required for any superstitious reasons or for any
adoration of Christ's natural body believed to be there present, but
only for the sake of uniform Order and that for a time; second, that
kneeling is not imposed as a thing essential to the right observance of
the ordinance, or required by Christ, but enjoined only as a ceremony
thought seemly by men; and third, that the brethren shall have regard
to his conscience, and not bring any uncharitable accusation against
him, because he seeks to follow what Christ has commanded rather than
what men have required.  With these concessions granted, he declares
that he would be satisfied; and that there may be no breach of charity,
he recommends his former flock, should these conditions be complied
with, to conform to the requirements of the Prayer-Book if those in
authority should insist on their so doing.  We have been the more
particular in bringing out this fact at this particular time, because
of its bearing on his conduct in connection with the {40} issue of the
revised Prayer-Book in 1552, of which we shall have to speak more
particularly by-and-by.

So much for the Reformer's public work in Berwick; but before we
accompany him to Newcastle, we must pause to mention that it was during
his residence at this time in the border town that he made the
acquaintance of and was engaged to the lady who afterwards became his
wife.  Her name was Marjory Bowes, and she was the daughter of Richard
Bowes, youngest son of Sir Ralph Bowes, of Streatham.  Her mother was
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Aske, of Aske.  The father, probably
on account of Knox's religious opinions, was opposed to the marriage,
and so the union was deferred for some years.  But the mother was
friendly to the Reformer, and with her he kept up a constant
correspondence in which many of the softer traits of his character come
beautifully out.  Mrs. Bowes was subject to religious melancholy, and
the tender manner in which he often seeks in his letters to bind up her
bruised spirit shows that, when occasion needed, he could be a "son of
consolation" as well as a "son of thunder."  Sometimes too, as when his
heart was stirred with solicitude for the spiritual interests of those
among whom he had laboured, or when he was required to confront the
possible issue of his uncompromising adherence to what he believed to
be right, he rises to a strain of heroism which reminds us of the
greatest of the apostles.  One example of this occurs in his letter to
his Berwick friends, and we may fitly {41} close this chapter by
reproducing it here.  "If any man be offended with me that I, willing
to avoid God's wrath and vengeance threatened against such as having no
necessity despise His ordinances, do purpose and intend to obey God,
embracing such as He has offered unto me (rather) than to please and
flatter man that unjustly held the same from me; if any, I say, for
this cause be offended and will seek my displeasure or trouble, let the
same understand, that as I have a body, which only they may hurt, and
not unless God so permit; so have they bodies and souls which both
shall God punish in fire inextinguishably with the devil and his
angels, unless suddenly they repent and cease to malign against God and
His holy ordinance.  With life and death, dear brethren, I am at
point,--they before me in equal balances.  Transitory life is not so
sweet to me that for defence thereof I will jeopard to lose the life
everlasting.  Nor yet is corporeal death to me so fearful that albeit
most certainly I understood the same shortly to follow my godly
purpose, I would therefore depone myself to die in God's wrath and
anger for ever and ever, which no doubt I should do, if for man's
pleasure I refused God's perfect ordinance."[8]  There is no mistaking
the ring of such words as these; and lie who wrote them takes his place
in the honourable company of the heroes of conscience to whom the world
no less than the Church has owed so much.

[1] Lorimer, p. 17.

[2] Lorimer, p. 18

[3] Lorimer, pp. 257-8.

[4] Lorimer, p. 16.

[5] Lorimer, p. 261.

[6] Lorimer, p. 290.

[7] Lorimer, pp. 261-2.

[8] Lorimer, p. 260.




From Berwick Knox was removed, in the early summer of 1551, to
Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he laboured, with occasional absences, for
nearly two years.  Already, in the spring of 1550, he had made a public
discourse of great importance there, and perhaps the impression
produced by his words then, may have led to his being ultimately
transferred thither.  There is extant among his writings "A Vindication
of the Doctrine that the Sacrifice of the Mass is Idolatry," to which
this note is prefixed: "The fourth of April, in the year 1550, was
appointed to John Knox, preacher of the Holy Evangel of Jesus Christ,
to give his confession why he affirmed the mass idolatry; which day, in
presence of the Council, and congregation, amongst whom was also
present the Bishop of Durham, in this manner he beginneth."  This has
been supposed by some to indicate that he was under accusation of
heresy, and had been called to Newcastle to make his defence.  But
though it is not unlikely that his {43} doctrine had been objected to
by Tunstall, yet the Council of the North was not an ecclesiastical
tribunal, and there is nothing in the whole address to imply that the
speaker was upon his trial.  The truth seems rather to have been that
the members of the Council invited him to declare and enforce his
opinions concerning the mass before an audience which filled the great
church of St. Nicholas.

The argument of his discourse on this occasion was an amplification of
the following syllogism: "all worshipping, honouring, or service,
invented by the brain of man, in the religion of God, without His
express commandment is idolatry: the mass is invented by the brain of
man without any commandment of God; therefore, the mass is idolatry."
The ground here taken was identical with that which he had defended
against Arbuckle, and is distinctively different from the position
which, in the very same year, was taken by Cranmer in his "Defence of
the true Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament."  The Anglican primate
meant by idolatry the substitution of a false God for the true, as in
the adoration of the host, for the real body, blood, soul and divinity
of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But by the same term, as his major premise
makes abundantly evident, Knox designated that which we should call now
constructive idolatry, namely, "the invention of strange worshippings
of God, introduced without any warrant from His word;" or what the
Westminster divines meant, when in their Shorter Catechism in answer to
the {44} question, "What is forbidden in the second commandment?" they
reply, "The worshipping of God by images, _or any other way not
appointed in His word_."  With Cranmer the word meant the worshipping
as God of that which is no God; with Knox it denoted the worshipping of
God in a manner invented by men and unauthorized by God.  Cranmer was
the father of the Anglican churchmen; Knox was the earliest, and by no
means the least noteworthy, of the Puritans, for the principle which he
advocated was one which he was as ready to apply to ceremonies in the
reformed churches as to the idolatries of the Romish worship.  The
utterance of these sentiments by him at this time marks the beginning
of that movement which has continued even until now, and which in its
progress, among other less conspicuous results, called into existence
the various nonconforming churches of England; inspired the covenanters
of Scotland to begin and carry through their long and painful struggle
with the second Charles; widened the civil liberties of Great Britain;
and planted the seed from which the American Republic has grown into
stateliness and strength.

Its more immediate personal effect, as we have conjectured, was the
transference of Knox from Berwick to Newcastle, where he continued to
administer word and sacraments in the same manner as he had been
accustomed to follow.  On the banks of the Tyne he was as faithful and
fearless in his pulpit utterances, and as simple in his ritual
observances, as he had been on the {45} banks of the Tweed.  "God is
witness," said he in a letter to his Newcastle friends, written by him
from the continent in 1558; "and I refuse not your own judgments, how
simply and uprightly I conversed and walked among you, that neither for
fear did I spare to speak the simple truth unto you; neither for hope
of worldly promotion, dignity, or honour, did I wittingly adulterate
any part of God's Scriptures, whether it were in exposition, in
preaching, contention, or writing; but that simply and plainly, as it
pleased the merciful goodness of my God to give unto me the utterance,
understanding, and spirit, I did distribute the bread of life, as of
Christ Jesus I had received it;"[1] and again, "How oft have ye
assisted to baptism?  How oft have ye been partakers of the Lord's
Table prepared, and used, and ministered, in all simplicity, not as a
man had devised, neither as the king's proceedings did allow, but as
Christ Jesus did institute, and as it is evident that Saint Paul did
practise?"[2]  How it came that he was permitted to administer the
sacrament in that manner does not appear; but the fact that he did so
is incontrovertible, and that he did not stand quite alone in taking
such a course is evident from these words in Becon's "Displaying of the
Mass," written in the reign of Queen Mary: "How oft have I seen here,
in England, people sitting at the Lord's Table!"  It is well known also
that the opinions of Hooper, on this subject, were in full accord with
those of Knox; and though we have not been able {46} to find any
distinct statement that he had actually reduced them to practice, yet
it is all but certain that he did so.

But in any case his nonconformity in the matter of kneeling did not
keep Knox from attaining a prominent place among the leaders of his
time, for in December, 1551, six months after he had been stationed at
Newcastle, he was appointed one of King Edward the Sixth's chaplains,
who were six in number, and all of whom were selected because they were
"accounted the most zealous and ready preachers of that time."  This
preferment was a recognition of the ability which Knox had shown.  It
added much to his consideration and weight in the social scale, while
it gave him an opportunity of making his influence felt in
ecclesiastical affairs in a manner which has left its mark on the
English Prayer-Book even until the present day.  To understand how this
came about, it is needful to bear in mind that the Second or Revised
Book of Common Prayer was completed at the press in August, 1552, and
had been appointed by the Parliament of that year to come into use in
the churches on the first day of November.  Into that book had been
reintroduced from the "order of communion," published in 1548,[3] {47}
the injunction that the people should receive the bread and wine
"kneeling."  That had, indeed, been the accustomed posture before, but
no instruction for its observance had been contained in the First
Prayer-Book published in 1549.  There the directions are thus given:
"Then shall the priest first receive the communion in both kinds
himself, and next deliver it to other ministers, if any be there
present (that they may be ready to help the chief minister), and after
to the people."  But in the two years immediately following the
publication of that First Prayer-Book, discussion on the posture at the
Lord's Table had been brought up, and as Cranmer, Ridley, and the most
of the other Reforming Bishops were opposed to the views and practices
of Knox, Hooper, and others, they deemed it advisable to foreclose
debate and put an end to diversity of order by an authoritative
injunction.  For this purpose, in the Prayer-Book in 1552 the rubric
was made to read thus: "Then shall the minister first receive the
communion in both kinds himself, and next deliver it to the other {48}
ministers, if any be there present (that they may help the chief
minister), and after to the people, in their hands, kneeling."  Thus it
came about that what had been left undefined in the former book was
expressly limited in the new one; and, therefore, though in other
respects the latter was much more in harmony with the sentiments of
Knox, it was in this less tolerant than the former.  When, therefore,
Knox was appointed to preach before the king in the autumn of that
year, having probably seen one of the first-issued copies of the book,
he took occasion to enter fully into the discussion of the mode of
administering the communion, and his discourse was not without
immediate effect, for in a letter of John Utenhovius to Henry
Bullinger, dated October 12, 1552, the writer says:[4] "Some disputes
have arisen among the bishops, within these few days, in consequence of
a sermon by a pious preacher, chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland,
preached by him, before the king and Council, in which he inveighed
with great freedom against kneeling at the Lord's Supper, which is
still retained here in England.  This good man, however, a Scotsman by
nation, has so wrought upon the minds of many that we may hope some
good to the church will at length arise from it, which I earnestly
implore the Lord to grant."  Now there can be no doubt that the
preacher here referred to was Knox, who as having been in contact with
Northumberland as Warden-General of the border counties, might easily
be {49} mistaken by a foreigner for the chaplain of that nobleman.
Other facts to be taken in connection with the information furnished by
Utenhovius are the following:[5] In the Record of the Privy Council,
under date 26th September, 1552, there is an order to Grafton, the
printer, forbidding him to issue any copies of the new Prayer-Book; and
commanding that if any had been already distributed to his
fellow-publishers they should "not be put abroad until certain faults
therein had been corrected."  Clearly therefore, as copies of the book
had been sold, it was possible for Knox to have obtained one, and as
Lorimer says, "none would be more eager purchasers than those ministers
of the Church who were most zealous for reform."  Meetings of the
Council were held on October 4th and 6th, at one or other of which
objections to the rubric seem to have been made, probably as the result
of Knox's sermon, and to have been referred to Cranmer for his review.
On October 7th, Cranmer wrote to the Council in vindication of the
rubric on kneeling, a letter which purports to be a reply to certain
objections against it which had been forwarded to him by its members.
On the _agenda_ paper of the business to be transacted at the meeting
of the Council on the 20th of October, and which still exists in the
handwriting of Cecil, there is a line to this effect: "Mr. Knocks--b of
Cat|rb|--ye book in ye B of Durh|m|," and at that very meeting, as we
learn from the Record, "a letter was directed to Messrs. Harley, Bill,
Horn, {50} Grindal, Pern, and Knox, to consider certain articles
exhibited to the King's Majesty, to be subscribed by all such as shall
be admitted to be preachers or ministers in any part of the realm, and
to make report of their opinions touching the same."  These articles,
therefore, must have come at this time into Knox's hands, and, though
many of them must have received his cordial endorsement, there was one
of them which he could not have approved; that, namely, which contained
this clause: "and as to the character of the ceremonies, they are
repugnant in nothing to the wholesome liberty of the gospel, if they
are judged from their own nature, but very well agree with it, and in
very many respects further the same in a high degree."  How could Knox,
after his recent sermon on kneeling in the Lord's Supper, give his
sanction to that article?  Manifestly he would feel that he must
protest against such an assertion as it contained; and then, as Lorimer
says, "the thought would seem to have flashed upon him that he had now
another and quite an unexpected opportunity of making a fresh appeal to
the king and Council on that very question of the rubric on kneeling,
which was still apparently in dependence.  There was still time to make
one more attempt.  In addition to his judgment upon the articles at
large, which need not go to the Council so quickly, what if he should
single out this 38th Article and make it the subject of a separate
representation, and distinguishing between the ceremony of kneeling and
all the rest; what if he should confine the bulk {51} of his
representations to this single point, which was now the only one in
which it was feasible to look for any immediate alteration?"  That at
least was done by the memorial, which by its authors is called their
confession in regard to the 38th Article, and which Lorimer has printed
for the first time in his appendix.  No names are subscribed to the
document, but the first portion of it bears strong internal evidence of
having been the production of Knox; and though in other parts there are
traces, as the painstaking editor thinks, of the hands of Thomas Becon
and Roger Hutchinson, we agree with him in believing that every one who
examines the whole statement with care will conclude "that whatever
Englishman may have joined him in the memorial, and whatever they may
have contributed to its substance of thought, it was Knox himself who
held the pen."  This memorial could have been of no use after the final
action of the Council on the matter of "kneeling;" and it was evidently
called forth by the reference of the articles to the royal chaplains,
therefore it must have been prepared between the 20th and 27th October,
and must have been presented to the meeting of the Council on the
latter of these two dates, on which also, and we may conclude as the
result of the arguments contained in the memorial, the "Declaration on
Kneeling," which has all the marks of the style of Cranmer, and which
therefore had probably been sent by him to the Council as a suggested
compromise, was adopted, and ordered to be {52} inserted in the
forthcoming book.  This accounts for the circumstance mentioned by the
editor of "The Two Liturgies" in a note, that the paragraph in question
"is printed on a separate leaf in some copies, and as is evident from
the signatures, was added afterwards."  In one copy, "the leaf is
pasted in after the copy was bound, and several copies are without it."
Now putting all these things together, the conclusion is not only
legitimate but inevitable, that the insertion of the declaration on
kneeling in the Prayer-Book was due to the agency of Knox, more
probably than to that of any other man.  As Lorimer writes (p. 121),
"The compromise prevailed, but apparently there would not have been so
much as a compromise obtained if the 'confession' had not been thrown
into the scale at the very last moment....  His last blow had the
effect of overcoming the resistance to all further change which a
majority of the Council had hitherto maintained."  Hence, though we may
not approve of the spirit in which Weston uttered the words, or accept
either his description of Knox or his designation of the doctrine on
which he insisted, yet he was correct as to the matter of fact when he
said, "a renegade Scot did take away the adoration and worshipping of
Christ in the sacrament, by whose procurement that heresy was put into
the last communion book; so much prevailed that one man's authority at
that time."

The Declaration itself was in the following words:--"Although no order
can be so perfectly devised, but it {53} may be of some, either for
their ignorance and infirmity, or else of malice and obstinacy,
misconstrued, depraved, and interpreted in a wrong part: And yet,
because brotherly charity willeth, that so much as conveniently may be,
offences should be taken away; therefore we willing to do the same:
Whereas it is ordained in the Book of Common Prayer, in the
administration of the Lord's Supper, that the communicants kneeling
should receive the Holy Communion: which thing being well meant, for a
signification of the humble and grateful acknowledging of the benefits
of Christ, given unto the worthy receiver, and to avoid the profanation
and disorder, which about the Holy Communion might else ensue: lest yet
the same kneeling might be thought or taken otherwise, we do declare
that it is not meant thereby, that any adoration is done, or ought to
be done, either unto the sacramental bread and wine there bodily
received, or to any real and essential presence there being of Christ's
natural flesh and blood.  For as concerning the sacramental bread and
wine, they remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore
may not be adored, for that were Idolatry to be abhorred of all
faithful Christians.  And as concerning the natural body and blood of
our Saviour Christ they are in heaven and not here.  For it is against
the truth of Christ's true natural body, to be in more places than in
one at one time."  Opinions will of course differ as to whether in this
matter the influence of Knox was beneficial or the reverse.  We are
writing biography, not a treatise on {54} theology, and what we have
been seeking to show is the share that Knox had in the English
Reformation.  Sacramentarians generally will agree in styling the
Declaration which we have quoted "the black rubric," but for ourselves
we have no hesitation in avowing our agreement with Lorimer that "there
is nothing in the whole English Liturgy which is, to say the least,
more Protestant;" and it may be well, to give completeness to our
reference to the subject, that we should add that author's very
condensed summary of the subsequent history of this famous rubric.  "At
the accession of Elizabeth it was dropped out of the Prayer-Book, along
with that portion of the 35th Article upon which it rested; and it
remained outside the Liturgy for a hundred years.  And why?  Simply
because its omission was judged as important by the Church's leaders
then as its insertion had been at first.  Elizabeth's church policy was
a comprehensive policy, and neither James I. nor Charles I. had any
wish to depart from it.  She wished, and so did her council and first
Parliament, to make it as easy as possible for the "Roman party to
continue in the National Church, but she and they knew that such a
comprehension was impossible as long as the "Declaration on Kneeling"
remained in the Prayer-Book.  Its insertion had taken place in order to
"comprehend" the Puritan party, to the exclusion of the Romanists; and
now its omission took place in order to comprehend the Romanists, at
the risk of driving out the Puritans.  But why do we now {55} find the
"Declaration" restored to its old place?  What was the motive of so
remarkable a rehabilitation in 1662?  It is easy to discern it.  The
circle of church evolution and change had then returned into itself.
In 1662 the old policy of conciliating and comprehending the Puritans
instead of the Catholics was again in season--was again the key of the
situation.  To this policy the "Declaration on Kneeling" was again
indispensable, and again, therefore, this most remarkable rubric was
restored, in substantially the same form, to its vacant place.  Nor has
its history yet exhausted itself.  It has retained its recovered place
through all the changes of the last two centuries only to come forward
into new significance and importance in our own day.  The last chapter
of its history was written only the other day in the long discussion
and the fateful decision of the Bennett case.  Its simple but trenchant
language was often quoted in the pleadings, and passed into the body of
the judgment itself: "As concerning the natural body and blood of our
Saviour Christ they are in heaven, not here: for it is against the
truth of Christ's true natural body to be in more places than in one at
one time."

But the memorial to the Privy Council, which we have traced to Knox,
prevailed also so far as to secure a modification of the article on
ceremonies, which, originally numbered as the 38th, came out owing to
some minor condensations as the 35th, and took this ultimate shape--(we
give Lorimer's translation from {56} the Latin)--"The book which of
very late time was given to the Church of England by the king's
authority and the Parliament, containing the manner and form of praying
and ministering the sacraments in the Church of England, likewise also
the book of ordering ministers of the Church set forth by the foresaid
authority, are godly, and in no point repugnant to the wholesome
doctrine of the gospel, but agreeable thereunto, furthering and
beautifying the same not a little; and therefore of all faithful
members of the Church of England, and chiefly of the ministers of the
Lord, they ought to be received and allowed with all readiness of mind
and thanksgiving, and to be commended to the people of God."[6]  When
this is compared with the clause formerly given it will be seen that
what before was said of the "ceremonies" is here restricted to the
"doctrine," and that everything to which the memorial had taken
exception is omitted.

But though the insertion of the Declaration on Kneeling into the
Prayer-Book satisfied one of the conditions which, in his letter to his
Berwick friends, Knox had laid down as essential to his conforming to
"common Order": it did not meet the others, and so he steadily refused
to accept a formal charge in the Church of England.  At the very time
when the Council was {57} engaged in the discussions which we have just
mentioned, the Duke of Northumberland wrote from Chelsea, under date
October 27th, 1552, to Secretary Cecil, in these words:[7] "I would to
God it might please the King's majesty to appoint Mr. Knox to the
office of Rochester bishopric, which for three reasons would be very
well.  First: he would not only be a whetstone to quicken and sharp the
Bishop of Canterbury, whereof he hath need, but also would be a great
confounder of the Anabaptists lately sprung up in Kent.  Secondly, he
should not continue the ministration in the north, contrary to this set
forth here" (meaning to the usual form prescribed at this time).
"Thirdly, the family of the Scots now inhabiting in Newcastle, chiefly
for his fellowship, would not continue there, wherein many resort to
them out of Scotland, which is not requisite."  These are certainly
rather strange reasons why Knox should be promoted to a bishopric, but
they prove not only that he had acted an independent part in Newcastle,
but also that his fame had gone so widely over Scotland that multitudes
of his fellow-countrymen were attracted to that place for the sake of
enjoying his ministrations.  But he would not be made a bishop, and he
must have expressed his refusal with all his wonted plainness of
speech, for a few weeks later, on the 7th December, Northumberland
writes to the same correspondent: "Master Knox's being here to speak
with me, saying he was so willed by you; I do return him again, {58}
because I love not to have to do with men which be neither grateful nor
pleasable."[8]  So his grace is minded to put the case; but with his
former letter in our hands we can see that gratitude in his vocabulary
meant falling in with his individual plans, and "pleasableness" was
with him a synonym for "squeezeableness."

In the following February (1553) Knox was offered the Vicarage of All
Hallows in Bread Street (London); but that also he declined, and we
have from the pen of Calderwood an account of what occurred in
connection with that.[9]  "In a letter, dated the 14th of April, 1553,
and written with his own hand, I find," says that author, "that he was
called before the Council of England for kneeling, who demanded of him
three questions.  First, why he refused the benefice provided for him?
secondly, whether he thought that no Christian might serve in the
ecclesiastical ministration according to the rites and laws of the
realm of England? thirdly, if kneeling at the Lord's Table was not
indifferent?  To the first he answered, that his conscience did witness
that he might profit more in some other place than in London; and
therefore had no pleasure to accept any office in the same.  Howbeit,
he might have answered otherwise, that he refused that parsonage
because of my Lord of Northumberland's command.  To the second, that
many things were worthy of reformation in the ministry of England,
without the reformation whereof no minister {59} did discharge, or
could discharge, his conscience before God; for no minister in England
had authority to divide and separate the lepers from the whole, which
was a chief point of his office; yet did he not refuse such office as
might appear to promote God's glory in utterance of Christ's gospel in
a mean degree, where more he might edify by preaching of the true word
than hinder by sufferance of manifest iniquity, seeing that reformation
of manners did not appertain to all ministers.  To the third he
answered, that Christ's action in itself was most perfect, and Christ's
action was done without kneeling; that kneeling was man's addition or
imagination; that it was most sure to follow the example of Christ,
whose action was done sitting and not kneeling.  In this last question
there was great contention betwixt the whole table of the lords and
him.  There were present there the Bishops of Canterbury and Ely, my
Lord Treasurer, the Marquis of Northampton, the Earl of Bedford, the
Earl of Shrewsbury, Master Comptroller, my Lord Chamberlain, both the
Secretaries, and other inferior lords.  After long reasoning, it was
said unto him that he was not called of any evil mind; that they were
sorry to know him of a contrary mind to the common Order.  He answered
that he was more sorry that a common Order should be contrary to
Christ's institution.  With some gentle speeches he was dismissed, and
willed to advise with himself if he would communicate after that
Order."  But, unlike Hooper, who, after a long controversy about
vestments and a brief {60} imprisonment for his refusal to wear them,
accepted the bishopric of Gloucester, vestments and all, only however
to suffer martyrdom at last under Queen Mary, Knox remained steadfast
to the position which he had taken up; and, refusing a permanent
charge, which would have required him to give his assent and consent to
the Articles, and to conform to the common Order, he was sent in June,
1553, as one of the itinerary preachers into Buckinghamshire, where he
laboured with great zeal and assiduity for some weeks.

In the interval between October, 1552, and March, 1553, we find that
Knox had been back at Newcastle, where he was bitterly opposed by Sir
Robert Brandling, the Mayor, whose zeal was checked, however, by the
agency of Lord Wharton, then Lord Warden of the North, at the
suggestion of Northumberland; and there are some interesting letters
belonging to this portion of his life which give us delightful glimpses
into his heart and habits.  In one we see him "sitting at his book,"
and contemplating Matthew's Gospel by the help of "some most godly
expositions, and among the rest Chrysostom."  In another he writes,
"This day ye know to be the day of my study and prayer to God."  And in
a third, written to Mrs. Bowes from London, whither he had been
summoned in haste before the Privy Council, we have this record: "The
very instant hour that your letters were presented unto me was I
talking of you, by reason that three honest poor women were come to me,
and were complaining their great infirmity, and were {61} showing unto
me the great assaults of the enemy, and I was opening the causes and
commodities thereof, whereby all our eyes wept at once; and I was
praying unto God that you and some others had been there with me for
the space of two hours, and even at that instant came your letters to
my hands, whereof the part I read unto them; and one of them said, 'Oh
would to God I might speak with that person, for I perceive there be
more tempted than I.'"  Thus amid the multiplicity and weight of his
public labours he did not neglect either the study or the closet; and
the weeping Knox, seeking to comfort those that were cast down, is a
picture that must seem strange to many who know little more about him
than that his fortitude made Mary Stuart shed tears of wounded pride
and disappointed ambition.

In April he preached in the Chapel Royal before the young king, and
inveighed in the strongest terms against Northumberland and Paulet,
finishing one of his scathing passages in this way: "Was David and
Hezekiah, princes of great and godly gifts and experience, abused by
crafty counsellors and dissembling hypocrites?  What wonder is it,
then, that a young and innocent king be deceived by crafty, covetous,
wicked, and ungodly counsellors?  I am greatly afraid that Ahithophel
be councillor, that Judas bear the purse, and that Shebna be scribe,
comptroller and treasurer."  The pulpit in those days had to discharge
the duties of public criticism on politics and morals, which are now
much more appropriately performed by the press; and so, as Froude {62}
remarks, "since discipline could not be restored, Knox, and those who
felt with him the enormities of the times, established, by their own
authority, this second form of excommunication."  It was then perhaps a
necessity, but it is always, more or less, a dangerous thing for a
minister to do; and it must be admitted that Knox was not always just
in such philippics.  But he was always conscientious, and he was always
brave; and he well knew at the moment the risk which he was running.
In the present case, if little good came out of it to the country, no
harm resulted from it to himself; for, as we have seen, he was shortly
afterwards engaged to preach in Buckinghamshire.  And there he laboured
on, like another Jeremiah, forecasting evils which none of his hearers
would believe could happen, until at the death of Edward the Sixth, on
the 6th of July, 1553, they were rudely awakened from their sleep of

Such was Knox's share in the working out of the English Reformation;
and we have dwelt thus long upon it because the facts which we have
stated have only recently been brought to light; and because we wished
to set forth with as much clearness as condensation would allow the
opinions which were held, and the mode of worship which was observed,
by him, even at this early stage in his history.  If Knox did something
for England, England did much also for him.  If he was instrumental in
keeping the Church of that country from greater affinity with Romanism
than it might otherwise have shown, there can be no doubt that the evil
effects {63} of compromise as witnessed by him there helped to make him
more thorough in his later work in Scotland; while it is also most true
that during his residence there his contact with the Christian people
whom he met did something to soften and sweeten his piety, and to make
it more inward and sympathising.  Most of all, God was preparing him by
it for the great work which he was afterwards to perform in his native
land; and his years of service in England were blessed in securing for
him the friendship and confidence of her ablest statesmen, without
whose assistance, humanly speaking, Scotland might have been lost to
Protestantism in the very crisis of her history.

[1] Lorimer, p. 73.

[2] Ibid., p. 74.

[3] Dr. Lorimer has said (p. 31) that "in both the formularies recently
set forth," the Order of Communion in 1548 and the "Book of Common
Prayer" in 1549, the practice of kneeling in the Lord's Supper had been
retained; and on a subsequent page (112) that "in the Second
Prayer-Book of King Edward VI. a rubric had _for the first time_ been
inserted appointing the Lord's Supper to be administered to the
communicants in a kneeling posture."  But these statements are not made
with that author's usual accuracy.  For the "Order of Communion" reads
thus: "Then shall the priest rise, the people still reverently
kneeling, and the priest shall deliver the communion, first to the
ministers, if any be there present, that they may help the chief
minister, and after to the others."  But in the "Book" of 1549, the
rubric is as we give it in the text.  What the motive was for the
omission of kneeling in the Book of 1549 it is not easy to say, but the
fact of its omission is undoubted.  (See "The Two Liturgies," by Rev.
Joseph Kelley, p. 92.)

[4] Lorimer, p. 98.

[5] Lorimer, p. 109.

[6] For the full discussion of this subject we refer to Dr. Lorimer's
monograph, "John Knox and the Church of England," a most valuable and
original contribution to English Ecclesiastical history, though the
absence of an index makes it less serviceable to the student than such
a work should be.

[7] Lorimer, pp. 149-150.

[8] Lorimer, p. 151.

[9] See Laing: "Knox's Works," vol. iii. pp. 86-7.




During the last illness of the young King Edward, Knox, as we have
seen, received a commission to go upon a preaching tour in the county
of Buckingham, where, like an old Hebrew prophet, he warned his hearers
of the coming crisis.  He was back in London, however, as we learn from
the date of the first of his published letters, on the 23rd of June
(1553); but before the death of his majesty, which happened on the 6th
of July, he had returned to Buckinghamshire, and there, at Amersham, on
the 16th of that month, he preached a sermon suited to the times in the
very thick of the turmoil caused by the dispute as to the succession to
the crown.  The Duke of Northumberland had presumed to set the Lady
Jane Dudley on the throne, but Mary Tudor's adherents could not brook
such disloyalty to their mistress, and had already entered on that
struggle which ended in the collapse of the reign of "the twelfth-day
Queen."  The county of Bucks, as Froude tells us, "both Catholic and
Protestant," was "arming to the teeth."  Sir Edward Hastings had called
{65} out its musters, in Mary's name, and had been joined by Peckham,
the cofferer of the royal household, who had gone off with the treasure
under his charge, so that the Reformer was speaking "at the peril of
his life among the troopers of Hastings."  Nevertheless, nothing
daunted, he thus apostrophised the land:[1] "O England! now is God's
wrath kindled against thee.  Now hath He begun to punish as He hath
threatened a long while by His true prophets and messengers.  He hath
taken from thee the crown of thy glory, and hath left thee without
honour as a body without a head.  And this appeareth to be only the
beginning of sorrows, which appeareth to increase.  For I perceive that
the heart, the tongue, and the hand of one Englishman is bent against
another, and division to be in the whole realm, which is an assured
sign of desolation to come.  O England!  England! dost thou not
consider that thy commonwealth is like a ship sailing on the sea; if
thy mariners and governors shall one consume another, shalt thou not
suffer shipwreck in short process of time?  O England!  England! alas
these plagues are poured upon thee, for that thou wouldest not know the
most happy time of thy gentle visitation.  But wilt thou yet obey the
voice of thy God and submit thyself to His holy words?  Truly if thou
wilt, thou shalt find mercy in His sight, and the estate of thy
commonwealth shall be preserved.  But if thou obstinately wilt return
into Egypt, that is, if thou contract marriage, confederacy, and league
with such {66} princes as do maintain and advance idolatry (such as the
Emperor, which is no less enemy unto Christ than ever was Nero); if for
the pleasure and friendship (I say) of such princes them return to
thine old abominations, before used under the papistry, then assuredly,
O England, thou shall be plagued and brought to desolation by the means
of those whose favour thou seekest, and by whom thou art procured to
fall from Christ and to serve Antichrist."  These were bold words.
Some of them, indeed, might be called rash, and, as we shall see,
furnished a weapon for his adversaries at a future day; but there was
no quailing in the heart of him who uttered them, and the sting of them
after all was in their truth.

From Amersham he went up to London, where on the 19th of July he was a
witness of the great outburst of popular enthusiasm with which Mary was
welcomed to the throne; but he could not share in the wild delight of
the multitude, for as he tells us himself, "in London, in more places
than one, when fires of joy and riotous banqueting were at the
proclamation of Mary," his tongue was vehement in declaring his
forebodings of the storm which was so soon to break.  On the 26th of
July he wrote to Mrs. Bowes from Carlisle, and again on the 25th of
September we find him writing to her on his return to London from Kent,
where he seems to have been labouring for some weeks.  The dates
indicate that he was both "in labours abundant" and "in journeyings
often," and show that he had little reason to {67} upbraid himself, as
in one of his writings referring to this time he does, for "allowing
the love of friends and carnal affection for some men more than others
to allure him to make more residence in one place than another, thus
having more respect to the pleasure of a few than to the necessity of
many, and not sufficiently considering how many hungry souls were in
other places to whom none took pains to break and distribute the bread
of life."  But he was ere long to be "in peril" as well as labour.
From the first he had augured nothing but evil from the accession of
Mary, and it is to his honour that with such misgivings in his heart,
he was at this very time in the habit of using in the pulpit a prayer
of singular beauty and comprehensiveness, in which we find this
petition: "Illuminate the heart of our Sovereign Lady Queen Mary with
pregnant gifts of the Holy Ghost, and influence the hearts of her
council with Thy true fear and love."  As the months rolled round,
however, it became only too apparent that England would no longer be a
safe place for him.  The door of opportunity which Edward had opened
was speedily closed by Mary.  In August, indeed, she issued a
proclamation giving toleration to all meanwhile, forbidding her
Protestant and Catholic subjects to interrupt each other's services,
yet prohibiting all preaching on either side without licence from
herself.  But in November, under the influence of the violent reaction
which had set in, and in obedience to the opinion of the people,
three-fourths of whom were still attached to the old religion, the {68}
Commons, by a vote of 350 to 80, enacted that from the 20th December
following there should be no other form of service in the churches but
what had been used in the last year of Henry the Eighth, and leaving it
free to all up till that date to use either of the books appointed by
Edward or the old one at their pleasure.  Up till the day thus
specified, therefore, Knox was comparatively safe, and during that time
he was probably in London a guest in the families of the Lockes and the
Hickmans, with whose members he afterwards corresponded.  It was in
this interval also, as seems most probable, that he began to prepare
his exposition of the sixth Psalm, and his "godly letter to the
faithful in London, Newcastle, Berwick, and all others within the realm
of England that love the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," both of
which were afterwards finished in France.

From London he went to Newcastle, whence on the 22nd of December he
wrote to Mrs. Bowes a letter which contains a postscript to this
effect: "I may not answer the places of Scripture, nor yet write the
exposition of the sixth Psalm, for every day of this week must I
preach, if this wicked carcase will permit."  But dangers began to
thicken around him; for in the end of December or beginning of January,
his servant was seized as he carried letters from him to Mrs. Bowes and
her daughter, in the expectation of finding something in them that
might furnish matter of accusation against him.  They contained nothing
but religious advices and such things as he was prepared to avow before
any {69} tribunal in the country, but fearing that the report of the
matter might cause uneasiness to his friends at Berwick, he set out to
visit them in person.  On the way, however, he was met by some of the
relatives of his betrothed, who prevailed on him to relinquish his
intention, and to retire to a place of safety on the coast, from which,
if necessary, he might escape out of the country by sea.  From this
retreat he wrote to his friends, saying that "his brethren had, partly
by tears and partly by admonition, compelled him to obey, somewhat
contrary to his own mind, for never could he die in a more honest
quarrel than by suffering as a witness for that truth of which God had
made him a messenger," yet promising if Providence prepared the way to
do as his counsellors advised, and "give place to the fury and rage of
Satan for a time."  So when he became satisfied that the apprehensions
of his friends were, well founded, he procured a vessel which landed
him safely at Dieppe on the 20th of January, 1554.  What his pecuniary
circumstances at this time were may be inferred from these words in a
letter to his future mother-in-law: "I will not make you privy how rich
I am, but off (_i.e._ from) London I departed with less money than ten
groats; but God has since provided, and will provide I doubt not
hereafter abundantly for this life.  Either the Queen's Majesty or some
treasurer will be forty pounds richer by me, for so much lack I of duty
of my patents (that is, salary as Royal Chaplain), but that little
troubles me."  And more interesting even than that glimpse {70} into
his poverty is the recital of his feelings toward England in a letter
to the same correspondent written just before his embarkation: "My
daily prayer is for the sore afflicted in those quarters.  Some time I
have thought that it had been impossible so to have removed my
affection from Scotland that any realm or nation could have been
equally dear unto me; but I take God to record in my conscience that
the troubles present and appearing to be in the realm of England are
doubly more dolorous unto my heart than ever were the troubles of

Thus Knox parted from the realm of England.  Had he remained much
longer in it, he would most probably have shared the fate of Cranmer,
Ridley, Latimer, and the "noble army," whom Mary's intolerance "chased
up to heaven."  But God had other work for him to do, and it was well
for Scotland that he listened to the entreaty of those who counselled
him when he was "persecuted in one country" to "flee to another"; so it
came about that for a brief season he found refuge in that land wherein
only a few years before he had been a galley-slave.

[1] "Works," vol. iii. pp. 308-9.




From England Knox went to Dieppe, where he sojourned at this time for a
month, and finished his exposition of the sixth Psalm, the first
instalment of which he had sent to Mrs. Bowes just before leaving the
shores of Britain.  This production was primarily designed for the
consolation and encouragement of that lady, who, as we have already
hinted, seems to have been afflicted with religious melancholy.
Apparently she was one of those, of whom every pastor has had some
experience, who believe that God has cast them off, and who while
"fearing the Lord," yet "walk in darkness and have no light."  Her life
was one constant wrestle with spiritual depression, by which her
intimate friends were afflicted almost as much as she was herself.
Knox dealt with her most tenderly, and under the influence of his wise
words she regained her comfort for a time, but after a little she was
in the depths again, and the whole process had to be gone over with her
anew.  Had she lived in modern days, a prudent friend would have
counselled her to consult a skilful physician, {72} and would have
sought to combine medical treatment with religious advice.  We cannot
wonder, however, that we have nothing in this tractate bearing on that
aspect of the matter.  The writer deals throughout with the malady as
spiritual, but he treats it most wisely, and the great well of
tenderness in his heart reveals itself to the reader in such a passage
as the following:[1] "These things put I you in mind of, beloved
mother, that albeit your pains sometimes be so horrible that no release
nor comfort ye find neither in spirit nor yet in body, yet if the heart
can only _sob unto_ God, despair not, you shall obtain your heart's
desire, and destitute you are not of faith.  For at such time as the
flesh, natural reason, the law of God, the present torment, and the
devil at once do cry God is angry, and therefore is there neither help
nor remedy to be hoped for at His hands; at such time, I say, to sob
unto God is the demonstration of the secret seed of God which is hid in
God's elect children, and that only sob is unto God a more acceptable
sacrifice than, without this cross, to give our bodies to be burned
even for the truth's sake."  Very comprehensive also is this expansion
of the second petition of the Lord's Prayer in the same treatise.[2]
"We are commanded daily to pray, 'Thy kingdom come,' which petition
asketh that sin may cease, that death may be devoured, that transitory
troubles may have an end, that Satan may be trodden under our feet,
that the whole {73} body of Christ may be restored to life, liberty,
and joy, that the powers and kingdoms of this earth may be dissolved
and destroyed, and that God the Father may be all in all things, after
that His Son Christ Jesus, the Saviour, hath rendered up the kingdom
for ever."  And in these days when so much is written, both wise and
otherwise, on the subject of eschatology, some interest may be felt in
the following "bit" of exposition.  "'For there is no remembrance of
Thee in death; who laudeth Thee in the pit?'  As (if) David would say,
'O Lord, how shall I pray and declare Thy goodness when I am dead, and
gone into the grave?  It is not the ordinary course to have Thy
miracles and wondrous works preached unto men by those that are buried
and gone down into the pit.  Those that are dead make no mention of
Thee in the earth, and therefore, O Lord, spare Thy servant, that yet
for a time I may show and witness Thy wondrous works unto mankind.'
These most godly affections in David did engender in him a vehement
horror and fear of death, besides that which is natural and common to
all men, because he perfectly understood that by death he shall be
lettit (hindered) any further to advance the glory of God.  Of the same
he complaineth most vehemently in the 88th Psalm, where apparently he
taketh from them that are dead, sense, remembrance, feeling, and
understanding, alleging that God worketh no miracles by the dead, that
the goodness of God cannot be preached in the grave, nor His faith in
perdition, and that His marvellous works {74} are not known in
darkness.  By which speeches we may not understand that David taketh
all sense and feeling from the dead, neither yet that they who are dead
in Christ are in such estate that by God they have not consolation and
life.  No; Christ Himself doth witness the contrary.  But David so
vehemently depresses their estate and condition, because that after
death they are deprived from (of) all ordinary ministration in the Kirk
of God.  None of those that are departed are appointed to be preachers
of God's glory unto mankind.  But after death they cease any more to
advance God's holy name here among the living on earth, and so shall
even they in that behalf be unprofitable to the congregation as
touching anything that they can do, either in body or soul after death.
And therefore most earnestly desired David to live in Israel for the
further manifestation of God's glory."[3]

Appended to this tract there is the date "upon the very point of my
journey, the last of February, 1553(4), so that Knox left Dieppe about
the beginning of March, but before his departure he finished and
transmitted the first of that series of admonitions and consolatory
epistles which during his exile on the continent he addressed to his
friends in England, and from which we have already quoted so many
passages throwing light upon his labours among them.  This earliest of
the series is entitled "A Godly Letter of Warning or Admonition to the
Faithful in London, Newcastle, and Berwick," {75} and is written in a
strain of burning and impassioned expostulation.  It is mainly founded
on the sermon preached by Jeremiah to the princes and all the people of
Judah in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, as recorded in the
26th chapter of his prophecies.  Knox runs a skilful parallel between
the circumstances of the Jews before the destruction of their capital
by Nebuchadnezzar, and those of the people of England under Mary, and
with the presage of coming judgment darkening his spirit, he exhorts
the "remnant" to fidelity and earnestness.  One extract will give the
reader some slight idea of its style and purport.  [4]"Hitherto have I
recited the estate of Judah before the destruction of Jerusalem and
subversion of that commonwealth.  Now I appeal to the conscience of any
indifferent (_i.e._ impartial) man in what one point differ the
manners, estate and regiment (_i.e._ government) of England this day
from the abuse and estate rehearsed of Judah in these days, except that
they had a king, a man of his own nature (as appeared), more facile
than cruel, who sometimes was entreated in the prophet's favour, and
also in some cases heard his counsel; and ye have a queen, a woman of a
stout stomach (_i.e._ of a haughty spirit), more stiff in opinion than
flexible to the truth, who no wise may abide the presence of God's
prophets.  In this one thing you disagree; in all other things as like
as one bean or nut is like to another, (1) Their king was led by
pestilent priests; who guides your queen, it is not {76} unknown.  (2)
Under Zedekiah and his council the idolatry which by Josiah was
suppressed, came to light again; but more abominable idolatry was never
in the earth than is that which of late is now set up again by your
pestilent papists among you.  (3) In Jerusalem was Jeremiah persecuted
and cast into prison for speaking the truth and rebuking their
idolatry; what prison in London tormenteth not some true prophet of God
for the same causes?  And O thou dungeon of darkness, where that
abominable idol of late days was first erected (thou Tower of London, I
mean), in thee are tormented more Jeremiahs than one, whom God shall
comfort according to His promise, and shall reward their persecutors
even as they have deserved; in which day also shalt thou tremble for
fear, and such as pretend to defend thee shall perish with thee,
because thou wast first defiled with that abominable idol."

The letter concludes with the following touching sentences:--"The peace
of God rest with you all.  From one sore troubled heart upon my
departure from Dieppe--1553(4)--whither God knoweth.  In God is my
trust, through Jesus Christ His Son; and therefore I fear not the
tyranny of man, neither yet what the devil can invent against me.
Rejoice, ye faithful, for in joy shall we meet where death may not
dissever us."

At the time when he wrote these words he seems to have had no definite
purpose as to his immediate destination, but we have now no difficulty
in tracing his movements, for in a letter addressed to his afflicted
{77} brethren in England, and dated Dieppe, 10th May, 1554, we find the
following words:--"My own estate is this: since the 28th of January I
have travelled through all the congregations of Helvetia (Switzerland),
and have reasoned with all the pastors and many other excellent learned
men upon such matters as now I cannot commit to writing; gladly I would
by tongue or by pen utter the same to God's glory."  What these things
were may perhaps be inferred from the words of Bullinger to Calvin in a
letter dated 26th March, 1554, to this effect: "I have enclosed in this
letter the answer I made to the Scotsman whom you commended to me; you
will return it to me when you have opportunity."[5]  Now as Knox
visited Geneva in that month of March, and obtained from Calvin a
letter of introduction to Bullinger, there can be no doubt, as Dr.
Laing has shown, that the reference is to him.  The questions which he
submitted to Bullinger were the following, and we give them entire,
with a brief summary of the answer to each, that we may make plain the
gravity and importance of the matters which were at this time
engrossing his attention:--(1) "Whether the son of a king, upon his
father's death, though unable by reason of his tender age to conduct
the government of the kingdom, is nevertheless by right of inheritance
to be regarded as a lawful magistrate, and as such to be obeyed as of
Divine right?"  This, illustrating his statement by a reference to King
Edward the Sixth of England, Bullinger answers in the {78} affirmative.
(2) "Whether a female can preside over and rule a kingdom by Divine
right, and so transfer the right of sovereignty to her husband?"  To
this Bullinger replies, that, though the law of God ordains the woman
to be in subjection, yet as it is a hazardous thing for godly persons
to set themselves up in opposition to political regulations, and in the
gospel does not seem to unsettle hereditary rights, the people of God
may rejoice in a female sovereign if she be like Deborah; and if she be
of a different character, they may have an example and consolation in
the case of Athaliah; but with respect to the right of transferring the
government to her husband, only those persons who are acquainted with
the laws and customs of the realm can give a proper answer.  (3)
"Whether obedience is to be rendered to a magistrate who enforces
idolatry and condemns true religion; and whether those authorities who
are still in military occupations of towns and fortresses are permitted
to repel this ungodly violence from themselves and their friends?"  No
definite or categorical answer is given to this inquiry, on the ground
that it is difficult to pronounce on every particular case; but while
there is need of wisdom, lest by rashness and corruption much mischief
may be occasioned to many worthy persons, it is unequivocally asserted
that death itself is far preferable to the admission of idolatry.  (4)
"To which party must godly persons attach themselves in the case of a
religious nobility resisting an idolatrous sovereign?"  This is left by
the Swiss Reformer to the judgment of the individual {79} conscience.
Between the lines of these questions we can easily read that Knox was
pondering questions which lie near the foundation of civil and
religious liberty; and that, foreseeing the occasion which he might
soon have for dealing practically with them, he availed himself of the
opportunity furnished by his exile for consulting the most eminent
Swiss Protestant divines regarding them.

He returned to Dieppe in May, 1554, and remained there until the end of
July in order that he might gain accurate information concerning his
brethren in England, and might learn whether he could do anything in
their behalf.  To these weeks must be assigned the preparation and
transmission of his "Faithful Admonition unto the Professors of God's
Truth in England," which caused him so much trouble in the Frankfort
episode of his history.  For that reason, therefore, it may be well to
give a brief account of this trenchant production.  It is evidently the
expansion of a discourse formerly preached by him on the experience of
the disciples in the storm, when they "toiled in rowing" because "the
wind was contrary unto them," with a pungent and sometimes not very
prudent, application of its lessons to the circumstances which then
existed in England.  It was his habit to preach his sermons before he
wrote them, and indeed, so far as appears, he did not often write them
out, even after they had been delivered, but usually contented himself
with speaking from a few notes, which were made in the margin of his
Bible, and which remained the sole {80} memoranda of the discourse.  In
the present case the note was to the effect "_Videat Anglia_"--"Let
England beware!" and the matter written in his book in Latin was this:
"Seldom it is that God worketh any notable work to the comfort of His
Church but that trouble, fear, and labour cometh upon such as God hath
used for His servants and His workmen; and also tribulation most
commonly followeth that Church where Christ Jesus is most truly
preached."  In his exposition he goes on to explain why, after the
miracle of the feeding of the multitude, Christ sent both the people at
large and His disciples away; and dwells on the danger to which the
apostles were exposed, the manner of their deliverance through the
coming and the word of Christ, the zeal of Peter in seeking to meet the
Lord on the waves, and his fear in sinking in the waters, and the mercy
of the Master in permitting neither Peter nor the rest of the disciples
to perish, but gloriously delivering them all.  Into his treatment of
these several things he introduces plentiful allusions to the state of
affairs in England, and the object which he has before him as a whole
is two-fold--first, to encourage those who had made a profession of the
Reformed Faith to maintain the beginning of their confidence steadfast
unto the end; and second, to give warning of the dangers which were to
be apprehended if the kingdom should come under the dominion of
strangers, as it would infallibly do when Mary became the wife of
Philip of Spain.  The admonition bears the imprint "20th day of July,
1554."  Now the marriage {81} of Mary to Philip was celebrated on the
25th day of that same month, and it was provided by the treaty for that
alliance, and confirmed by Act of Parliament, that Philip, as the
husband of Mary, "should have and enjoy, jointly with the Queen his
wife, the style, honour, and kingly name of the realm and dominions
unto the said Queen appertaining, and shall aid her Highness, being his
wife, in the happy administration of her realm and dominions."  This
helps us to understand one of the questions which Knox had proposed to
Bullinger, and explains at least, if it cannot justify, the vehemence
of his feelings and the violence of his words in the "admonition."  He
speaks of "Stephen Gardiner and his black brood;" calls the wafer of
the host "the round clipped God;" declares that "the devil rageth in
his obedient servants, wily Winchester, dreaming Durham, and bloody
Bonner, with the rest of their bloody, butcherly brood;" avers that
Jezebel "never erected half so many gallows in all Israel as
mischievous Mary hath done within London alone;" denounces Mary as a
"breaker of promises;" calls her that most unhappy and wicked woman;"
and foretells evil for England if she--_i.e._ England--contract
marriage, confederacy, or league with such princes as do maintain and
advance idolatry (such as the Emperor, which is no less an enemy here
to Christ than ever was Nero)."  All this is dreadful enough.  But let
us bear in mind that Mary, on her accession, had publicly declared that
she "meant graciously not to compel or strain other men's consciences
otherwise than God should, as she trusted, {82} put in their hearts a
persuasion of the truth, through the opening of His word unto them,"
and that, by her subsequent conduct she had utterly falsified that
word; let it be remembered that at the very time of Knox's writing,
Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer had been prisoners for seven or eight
months in the Tower, first under the charge of treason, and latterly
under that of heresy; let it be considered that reports were
continually coming to Knox's ears of the daily increasing sufferings of
the Protestants in England, and then some allowance will be made for
the outburst of his indignation in these passionate utterances.  Still,
when we have made all such allowance, we must admit that a more
cautious man would have foreseen that a probable effect of such a
bitter onslaught would be the increase of the persecutor's fury, and
would not have gone out of his way to irritate the German Emperor by
comparing him with Nero.  But caution never was one of Knox's
distinctive excellences.  If it had, he would not have become a
Reformer, for your merely cautious men are of very little service
either to their generation or to the world.  Boldness is necessary for
progress, and where the boldness is, we must reconcile ourselves as
best we may to its attendant shadow.  In the present instance Knox paid
dearly enough for his imprudence, as we shall shortly see, and we may
therefore content ourselves with this simple reference to it.

[1] "Works," vol. iii. p. 137.

[2] Ibid., p. 128.

[3] "Works," vol. iii. pp. 151-2.

[4] "Works," vol. iii. pp. 187-8.

[5] "Works," vol. iii. pp. 219, 226.




From Dieppe, after having launched across the channel the thunderbolt
of the "Faithful Admonition," Knox retired to Geneva, where he enjoyed
the friendship of John Calvin and other Swiss divines, and where,
though he was now bordering on fifty years of age, he applied himself
to the study of Hebrew with all the ardour of youth.  But such a man
could not long be permitted to enjoy learned leisure.  Accordingly we
find that in the end of September, 1554, he was called to be one of the
pastors of a congregation of English exiles who had found an asylum in
Frankfort-on-the-Maine, a city whose inhabitants had early embraced the
principles of the Reformation, and befriended refugees from all
countries so far as that could be done by them without coming to an
open breach with the Emperor.  Already a church of French Protestants
was in existence there, and on application to the authorities the
English exiles obtained the joint use of the place of worship allotted
to that congregation, on condition that they should in their {84}
service conform as nearly as possible to the forms observed by the
French.  This was thankfully accepted by the English, who agreed among
themselves, be it observed before Knox appeared among them, to give up
the audible responses, the Litany, the surplice, and other things which
"in these reformed churches would seem more than strange."  It is added
in the "Brief Discourse of the Troubles begun at Frankfort" which lies
before us as we write, that "as touching the ministration of the
sacraments, sundry things were also by common consent omitted as
superstitious and superfluous;" and that "after that the congregation
had thus concluded and agreed, and had chosen their minister and
deacons to serve for a time, they entered their church on the 29th of

Having thus secured for themselves religious privileges, the Frankfort
exiles by a circular letter invited their brethren in other continental
cities to come and share the blessing with them.  To this the English
residents at Strasburg replied recommending certain persons as well
qualified to fill the offices of superintendent or bishop, and pastors,
but before receiving that communication the brethren at Frankfort had
already chosen three persons, one of whom was Knox, to be their
pastors, and to be invested with co-ordinate authority.  The invitation
was not specially attractive to Knox, both because he was loth to
sacrifice the advantages for study which he was enjoying at Geneva, and
because he feared the outbreak of such a {85} controversy as ultimately
arose.  But moved by what McCrie has styled "the powerful intercession
of Calvin," he accepted the call and went to Frankfort about the end of
October or the beginning of November.  Before his arrival there,
however, the harmony of the congregation had been disturbed by the
reception of a letter from the English residents at Zurich, who
declined to come to Frankfort unless they obtained security that the
Church would use the Prayer-Book of King Edward VI., on the ground that
the rejection or alteration of that form of service would give occasion
for the charge against them of fickleness in their religion, and would
be a virtual condemnation of those who at that very time were suffering
persecution on its account.  To this the members of the church at
Frankfort replied that they had obtained permission to use their place
of worship on the condition of their conforming as closely as possible
to the French ritual; that there were some things in the English book
which would give offence to the Protestants of the place whose
hospitality they were enjoying; that certain ceremonies in that book
had been occasion of scruple to conscientious persons at home; that
they were very far indeed from pronouncing condemnation of those who
had drawn up that book, since they themselves had altered many things;
and that the sufferers in England were testifying for more important
matters than rites of mere human appointment.  This answer, while it
somewhat abated the confidence of the friends at Zurich, did not {86}
drive them from their purpose, for they instigated their brethren at
Strasburg to make the same request both by letter and by deputation,
and thus widened the area of the controversy.

This was the state of things when Knox appeared upon the scene, and
although his convictions were strongly on the side of those who opposed
the adoption of the Book of Common Prayer, he strove to act the part of
a peacemaker, as far as he consistently could.  For when the
congregation agreed to adopt the order of worship followed in Calvin's
Church at Geneva, he declined to carry out that determination until
their learned brethren in other places should be consulted.  He
confessed that he could not conscientiously administer the sacraments
according to the English book, but he offered to restrict himself
solely to the preaching of the word, and let some one else administer
the sacraments; and if that freedom could not be granted to him, he
desired that he might be altogether released from the pastorate to
which he had been chosen.  But the congregation would not consent to
give him up, and in the hope of preventing future controversy, Knox,
who was joined by Whittingham, afterwards Dean of Durham, and others,
drew up a fair summary and description of the English Prayer-Book,
which they sent to Calvin for his inspection and advice.  In his reply
the Genevese Reformer bewailed the existence of unseemly contentions
among them; claimed that he had always counselled moderation respecting
external {87} ceremonies, yet condemned the obstinacy of those who
would consent to no change of old customs; declared that in the English
liturgy he had found many "_tolerabiles ineptias_,"--tolerable
fooleries,--which might be borne with in the beginning of the
Reformation, but ought to be removed as soon as possible; gave it as
his opinion that the circumstances of the exiles in Frankfort warranted
them to attempt the removal of such blemishes; and rather caustically
remarked that "he could not tell what they meant who so greatly
delighted in the leavings of popish dregs."

This letter produced considerable effect, and a committee, of which
Knox was one, was appointed to draw up a form which might harmonize all
parties.  When this committee met, Knox acknowledging that there was no
hope of peace unless "one party something relented," indicated how far
he was willing to go in the direction of compromise; and the result was
the drawing up of a form of which "some part was taken from the English
Prayer-Book, and other things put to, as the state of the Church
required."  By the consent of the congregation this order was to
continue until the month of April; and if any contention should
meanwhile arise, the matter was to be referred for decision to these
five learned men, namely, Calvin, Musculus, Martyr, Bullinger, and
Vyret.  This agreement was put in writing, and subscribed by the
members of the congregation amid the joy of all.  "Thanks were given to
God, brotherly reconciliation followed, great familiarity (was) used,
and the former {88} grudges forgotten; yea, the Holy Communion was upon
this happy agreement also ministered."

But this peace was not of long continuance, for on the 13th of March
Dr. Richard Cox, who had been the preceptor of Edward VI., and who was
afterwards a bishop under Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Frankfort with a
company like-minded with himself; and on the very first day on which
they attended public worship, they broke the _concordat_ by indulging
in audible responses.  When they were expostulated with by some of the
seniors, or elders, of the congregation for their disorderly conduct,
they replied that "they would do as they had done in England, and that
they would have the face of an English Church;" and on the following
Sunday one of their number, without the knowledge or consent of the
congregation, entered the pulpit and read the Litany, while the rest
answered aloud.  This was a still more flagrant breach of the
agreement, for Knox and his friends specially objected to the Litany;
and therefore on the afternoon, it being his turn to preach, Knox made
a public protest against such procedure.  He showed how after long
trouble and contention among them, a godly agreement had been made, and
how it had been ungodly broken, "which thing it became not the proudest
of them all to have attempted."  He further alleged that as we must
seek our warrant for the establishing of religion from the word of God,
and without that nothing should be thrust into any Christian
congregation; and as in the English Prayer Book there {89} were, as he
was prepared to prove, things both superstitious, impure, and
imperfect, he would not consent that it should be received in that
Church; and he declared that if the attempt should be made, he would
not fail to speak against it from that place, as his text might furnish
occasion.  He also affirmed that, among other things which provoked
God's anger against England, slackness to reform religion when time and
opportunity were granted was one; and as an instance of that slackness
he specified, to the sore wounding of some then present, the allowing
of one man to have three, four, or five benefices, to the slander of
the gospel, and the defrauding of the people.

This remonstrance brought things to a crisis, and on the following
Tuesday the congregation met to take the whole matter into
consideration.  Cox and his company claimed the right of sitting and
voting with the rest, but it was contended that they should not be
admitted until they had subscribed the discipline of the Church.  This
objection would have prevailed, but on the intercession of Knox they
were received, and they rewarded his magnanimity by outvoting him, and,
at the instigation of Cox, discharging him from preaching and from all
interference in the affairs of the congregation.  This, however, only
made matters worse; and to prevent a disgraceful tumult, the whole case
was referred to the senate of the city, from whom they had obtained
permission to use the place of worship in which they assembled.  That
body, after in vain recommending a {90} private accommodation, issued
an order requiring the congregation to conform exactly to the French
ritual, and threatening if that were disobeyed to shut up the church.
With this injunction Cox and his party outwardly complied for the time;
but seeing the influence which Knox possessed, and having no hope of
carrying their point so long as he should remain among them, they took
means of the basest sort to get him out of the way.  For two of them
went privately to the magistrates of the city and accused Knox of high
treason against the emperor, and against Mary, Queen of England,
putting forth as the ground of their charge those passages from the
Faithful Admonition which we have already quoted.  On receipt of this
charge the magistrates sent for Whittingham, and asked him concerning
the character of Knox, whom he described in his reply as "a learned,
grave, and godly man."  They then informed him of the charge which had
been preferred against him, and requested that he would furnish them
with an exact Latin translation of the sentences of his tract, nine in
number, which had been brought to their particular attention.  They
gave orders also that meanwhile Knox should desist from preaching until
their pleasure should be known.  With this command Knox loyally
complied; but when he appeared next day in the church as an ordinary
hearer, not thinking that any would be offended at his presence, "some
departed from the sermon, protesting with great vehemence that they
would not tarry where he was."


The action of the informers was most embarrassing to the magistrates,
who abhorred the malice by which they were evidently actuated, but at
the same time feared that the matter might come to the ears of the
emperor's council then sitting at Augsburg, and that they might be
compelled to give Knox up to them or to the Queen of England; and as
the best means of extricating themselves from the difficulty, they
suggested that he should privately withdraw from the city.  Accordingly
on the evening of the 25th of March, 1555, he delivered a most
consolatory address to about fifty of the members of the Church in his
own lodgings; and "the next day," to borrow the words of the author of
the Brief Discourse, "he was brought three or four miles on his way by
some of these unto whom the night before he had made that exhortation,
who, with great heaviness of heart and plenty of tears, committed him
to the Lord."

The sequel is soon told.  Cox, by falsely representing that the
congregation was now unanimous, obtained an order from the senate for
the unrestricted use of the English Prayer-Book, and then procured in
the Church the abrogation of the code of discipline, and the
appointment of a superintendent or bishop over the other pastors.  The
result was that a considerable number of the members left the city, and
the remainder continued a prey to strife, which Cox and his friends did
not stay to compose, for they also soon took their departure to other
places.  The Church was thus virtually broken {92} up; and it is not
without significance that, in seeking afterwards to be excused from
performing service before a crucifix in the chapel of Queen Elizabeth,
Cox employed the very argument which Knox had urged without effect upon
himself, for he said, "I ought to do nothing touching religion which
may appear doubtful, whether it pleaseth God or not; for our religion
ought to be certain, and grounded upon God's word and will."

We have gone thus fully into the "Frankfort troubles," not so much
because, as McCrie says, they present in miniature a striking picture
of that contentious scene which was afterwards exhibited on a larger
scale in England, or because it would not be difficult to find similar
divisions on precisely similar points in the days in which we live, but
because of the insight which the history gives us into the character of
Knox himself.  The controversy was keen and bitter; but throughout it
all our Reformer shows to great advantage,--evincing what Carlyle has
called "a great and unexpected patience," by which we suppose he means
a patience which those who know nothing more about him than the usual
caricature of his character, which too many have accepted, would hardly
have expected.  But the readers of his letter to his Berwick friends,
on which we have already commented, could have looked for nothing else
at his hands; and we commend the study of this episode in his history
to all those who have been accustomed to regard him as a dogmatic,
domineering, impracticable {93} man, who was determined always to have
his way in the scorn of every consequence.  The offer to restrict
himself solely to preaching, or, if that should not be granted, to go
quietly away, stands out to his lasting honour, and shows how eager he
was to prevent all strife; while the simple mention by the chronicler
of the "plenty of tears" shed by those who accompanied him out of the
city, witnesses to the tenderness of his friendship; and by both alike
we are reminded of the great apostle whose words were so constantly
upon his lips.  In reviewing the whole case, he cannot help recalling
that his opponents had brought against him the old cry, "He is not
Caesar's friend;" but he prays for them thus, "O Lord God, open their
hearts that they may see their wickedness, and forgive them for Thy
manifold mercies; and I forgive them, O Lord, from the bottom of my
heart.  But that Thy message sent by my mouth should not be slandered,
I am compelled to declare the cause of my departing, and so to utter
their folly, to their amendment I trust, and the example of others who,
in the same banishment, can have so cruel hearts to persecute their
brethren."  His opponents tried to excuse themselves, and in a letter
to Calvin put the best possible construction on their case; but nothing
said by them altered the opinion of the great Reformer, in which we are
persuaded all fair-minded men, whatever may be their ecclesiastical
opinions will agree, to this effect:--"But certainly this one thing I
cannot keep secret, that Mr. Knox was, in my judgment, neither godly
nor {94} brotherly dealt withal."  It was a hard and bitter experience,
and no doubt it had its influence in determining him, when he came to
deal with the Reformation of Scotland, to make more thorough work of it
than they had done in England.




On his departure from Frankfort Knox made his way to Geneva, whither he
was followed by a considerable number of those who had adhered to him
in the former city.  There it seems evident that he was invited by
them, and probably also by others who had joined them, to resume his
pastoral labours; for at the solicitation of Calvin, the Lesser Council
of Geneva granted for the joint use of the English and Italian
congregations the church called the Temple de Nostre Dame la Nove; and
it is recorded that on the first of November, 1555, when the English
Church was formed, Christopher Goodman and Arthur Gilby were "appointed
to preach the word, _in the absence of John Knox_."  This indicates
that Knox was already recognised as one of the permanent pastors of the
Church, and that just at that time he was for some reason or other,
away for a long season from the scene of his labours.

Where he was and what he was doing we have ample means of tracing, for
in the September of that {96} year we find him back again in Scotland,
for the first time since he had been taken prisoner by the French.  But
much as he cared for the spiritual interests of his native land, it is
probable that his return to Great Britain at this time was more
immediately prompted by feelings of a personal nature.  We have already
referred to his attachment to Marjory Bowes, daughter of Richard Bowes,
and of Elizabeth Aske, of Aske, near Berwick, and Dr. Laing has given
strong reasons for believing that he came now for the purpose of making
her his wife.  The precise date of his marriage, indeed, is uncertain.
Dr. McCrie has put it in 1553, before he left England on the ground
that after that date Knox invariably addressed Mrs. Bowes as his
"mother" and spoke of Marjory as his "wife."  The truth, however, seems
to have been that owing to the strong opposition of her father and
other relatives to the alliance, and also, perhaps, to the very
uncertain position of the Reformer himself, in these times of
unsettlement and peril, they contented themselves in 1553 with formally
pledging themselves to each other "before witnesses."  But now,
immediately on his landing, at a point on the east shore not far from
the boundary between England and Scotland, he repaired to Berwick,
where he found Marjory and her mother enjoying the happiness of
religious society.  After this, he visited Scotland, where he laboured
for some months, and the marriage may not have taken place until the
time when, preparatory to their setting out for Geneva, Mrs. Bowes {97}
resolved to leave all her relatives and cast in her lot with her

The visit of Knox to Scotland, at this juncture, was of immense service
to the cause of the Reformation.  The clergy, unable or unwilling to
discern the signs of the times, had sunk into supineness, under the
belief that what they called heresy had been well-nigh banished from
the land.  Arran, now Duke of Chatellerault, had given place as Regent
to Mary, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots, whose policy it was just
then to temporize with the Protestant nobles, and to disguise for a
season her deep-rooted and undying hatred of their cause.  In the good
providence of God, also, a number of the leading adherents of the new
faith, like Erskine of Dun, Maitland of Lethington, and others, had
come to Edinburgh to confer with and enjoy the ministrations of John
Willock, who had been sent over by the Duchess of East Friesland,
ostensibly on a commercial mission to the Scottish court, but really to
see "what good work God would do by him to his native land;" and the
private meetings which he held with the Protestants in Edinburgh for
prayer and the exposition of the word, may have suggested to Knox that
he should follow a similar plan.  That at least was the course which he
determined to pursue.  He was received into the houses of certain
burgesses whose names he has enshrined in his history, and though the
number of meetings and the necessity of holding them in secret kept him
busy night and day, he was greatly {98} encouraged by the results.
Writing to Mrs. Bowes, he says that "the fervent thirst of his
brethren, night and day, sobbing and groaning for the bread of life,
was such, that if he had not seen it with his own eyes he could not
have believed it;" and again that "the fervency here did far exceed all
others that he had seen;" and "did so ravish him, that he could not but
accuse and condemn his slothful coldness."

The news of his arrival spread among the Reformers in all parts of the
country, and his presence was so eagerly desired everywhere that he was
obliged to postpone his return to Berwick, and enter upon a series of
evangelistic journeys through different districts of the land.  But we
will allow him to describe his work at this time himself.  Thus he
writes in his "History": "John Knox, at the request of the Laird of
Dun, followed him to his place of Dun, where he remained a month, daily
exercised in doctrine, whereunto resorted the principal men of that
country.  After his returning, his residence was most in Calder, where
repaired unto him the Lord Erskine, the Lord Lorn, and Lord James
Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews (half-brother to Mary Stuart), where they
heard and so approved his doctrine, that they wished it to have been
public.  That same winter he taught commonly in Edinburgh; and after
the Yule (Christmas) by the conduct of the Laird of Barr, and Robert
Campbell of Kinzeancleugh, he came to Kyle, and taught in the Barr, in
the house of the Carnell, in the Kinzeancleugh, in the town of Ayr,
{99} and in the houses of Ochiltree and Gadgirth, and in some of them
ministered the Lord's Table.  Before the Pasch (Easter) the Earl of
Glencairn sent for him to his place of Finlaston, where, after
doctrine, he likewise ministered the Lord's Table; whereof, besides
himself, were partakers his lady, two of his sons, and certain of his
friends.  And so returned he to Calder, where divers from Edinburgh,
and from the country about, convened as well for the doctrine as for
the right use of the Lord's Table, which before they had never
practised.  From thence he departed the second time to the Laird of
Dun, and teaching them in greater liberty, the gentlemen required that
he should minister likewise unto them the Table of the Lord Jesus;
whereof were partakers the most part of the gentlemen of the Mearns,
who professed that they refused all society with idolatry and bound
themselves to the uttermost of their power to maintain the true
preaching of the Evangel of Jesus Christ, as God should offer to them
preachers and opportunity."  Well done, ye men of the Mearns, and ye
worthy descendants of the Lollards of Kyle!  Often in the history of
Scotland have the dwellers in these parts stood up manfully for the
truth, but never was a nobler thing done in either locality, than when
ye thus received and welcomed the apostle of your country's Reformation!

Such labours were sure sooner or later to attract the attention of the
bishops; and accordingly while he was in the Mearns he was summoned to
appear {100} before them at Edinburgh, in the Church of the
Blackfriars, on the 15th May, 1556.  They probably imagined that this
mere "show of force" on their part would suffice to frighten him into
silence.  If they did, they reckoned without their host; for encouraged
by his friends he came to Edinburgh to meet and face his accusers.  But
when it came to the pinch, they shrank from the encounter; and so it
was that on the very day on which he had been summoned to stand before
them, he preached, of all places, in the very lodging of the Bishop of
Dunkeld, to a greater audience than he had hitherto addressed in
Edinburgh.  For ten days he continued morning and afternoon at this
work, and so thoroughly was his heart refreshed by it that he writes of
it thus to Mrs. Bowes: "O sweet were the death that should follow such
forty days in Edinburgh as here I have had three."

But the boldest, if we should not call it the most audacious thing,
which he did in this visit, was to address a letter to the Queen
Regent, wherein he vindicated himself from the charges made by his
enemies against him, and exhorted her to hear the word of God, and
regulate her government by its principles.  The suggestion to send such
an epistle came from the Earl Mareschal and Henry Drummond, who had
been brought to hear him by Lord Glencairn, and who declared, on what
they said they knew of the queen's mind, that she was in a mood to be
propitious.  But though the letter is correctly described by Lorimer as
one "which for its {101} courtesy of phrase, and faithfulness of
counsel, was equally suitable to her dignity as a queen, and to his
character as a minister of God," it met with only a mocking reception.
"Please you, my lord, to read a pasquil," said Mary of Guise, after it
had been put into her hands, and while she was giving it to the
Archbishop of Glasgow, and that was all the notice of it which she
condescended to take.  This treatment of his expostulation being
reported to Knox, revealed to him how little he had to expect from Mary
of Guise; and as just at this time letters arrived from Geneva
"commanding him, in God's name, as he that was their chosen pastor, to
repair unto them for their comfort," he made immediate preparations for
his departure thither.  He took leave of the several congregations to
whom he had preached, and sent on his wife and his mother-in-law to
Dieppe before him, there to await his arrival.  He reached them in the
month of July, and shortly after went with them to Geneva; for in the
"Livre des Anglois" there is an entry to the effect that on the 13th of
September, 1556, John Knox; Marjory, his wife; Elizabeth, her mother;
James ----, his servant; and Patrick, his pupil, were received and
admitted members of the English Church and congregation there.

The reception of Mrs. Bowes into his household, especially with his
knowledge of her deep-seated melancholia, says much for the kindliness
of Knox's heart; and contrasts strongly with the spirit manifested on a
similar matter by that other Scotsman whose {102} correspondence has so
recently been given to the world.  We know not if the cheap sneer
indulged in by so many at the expense of the mother-in-law were as
common in his days as it is in ours, but, in any case, Knox in all this
was thoughtfully tender, and though he admits that the desponding habit
of Mrs. Bowes was often a great trial to him, yet he never withdrew his
regard from her.  The following sentences of Dr. Laing express all that
needs to be said more on this subject: "Her husband, I presume, was a
bigoted adherent of the Roman Catholic faith, and this may serve as the
key both to his opposition to Knox's marriage with his daughter, and to
the mother's attachment to her son-in-law.  It cannot at least be said
that Knox was actuated by the expectation of wealth.  In his last will
and testament he states that all the money he received from the
mother's succession for the benefit of his two sons was one hundred
marks sterling, which he, 'out of his poverty,' had increased to five
hundred pounds Scots, and had paid through Mr. Randolph to their uncle,
Mr. Robert Bowes, for their use.  The comparative value of money at
this time was very variable; but we may reckon (that) the hundred
marks, or £66 13s. 4d., were increased by Knox to £100 sterling."[1]

After Knox left Scotland the courage of the bishops revived, for they
actually summoned him again, and on his failure to put in an appearance
they were bold enough to burn him in effigy at the Cross of Edinburgh!
{103} But this _brutum fulmen_ of theirs could not undo the work which
he had wrought.  For by his labours at this time, especially in
exposing the evil of the Protestants' any longer countenancing, papal
worship, he detached from the Romish communion the nucleus round which
the Church of Scotland, in a reformed state, was ultimately to form
itself.  Hitherto there had been no separate organization of the
adherents to the Protestant faith; and no formal observance by them of
the ordinance of the Supper.  But now they had, to some extent at
least, committed themselves to ultimate separation from the Church of
Rome.  As Lorimer says, "They were now a "Congregation" or community of
Evangelical Christians, as much bound to one another as they were
dissevered from the Church of the popes."  And Knox's leaving of them
in that condition was as much for their good as his arrival among them
some months before had been.  Had he remained longer in Scotland at
this time, his presence would have undoubtedly provoked an outburst of
persecuting fury on the part of the bishops and their friends; while as
it was, the seed which he sowed had opportunity to root itself in the
hearts of those who had received it at his hands; and this it would
assuredly do if they followed the directions which he had left behind
him.  For before his departure he drew up a letter of wholesome counsel
addressed to his brethren in Scotland, in which he exhorts them to give
themselves to the daily study of the Bible and worship of God in their
homes, and gives them {104} directions as to the holding and conducting
of assemblies for public worship and mutual conference and prayer,
recommending them to observe a regular course in their reading, and
cautioning those who should speak, to do so with modesty, avoiding
"multiplication of words, perplexed interpretation, and wilfulness in
reasoning."  If anything occurred in the text which they could not
resolve for themselves, he advised them to apply for assistance to the
more learned, and offered if they should refer it to him, to give them
such help as he could render, saying, "I will more gladly spend fifteen
hours in communicating my judgment with you, in explaining as God
pleases to open to me any place of Scripture, than half an hour in any
matter beside."

To the same period belong his "Answers to some Questions concerning
Baptism," etc., which had been proposed to him by some inquirers, and
which are of a sort that have often troubled young converts in similar
cases.  They are, whether baptism administered by the popish priests
was valid and did not require repetition?  Whether the decree of the
apostles and elders at Jerusalem be still in all its points binding on
believers?  Whether the prohibition in 2 John 10 extended to the common
salutation of those who taught erroneous doctrine?  How the directions
respecting dress in 1 Peter iii. 3 are to be obeyed? and the like.  And
with them all he deals in a spirit of wisdom for which multitudes
unacquainted with his works would hardly give him credit.  We need not
enter into details regarding them; {105} but as the first mentioned of
the above subjects was debated a few years ago in the Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (North) of the United States, it may not be
uninteresting to state that, while Knox declares unequivocally that it
would be wrong for Protestant believers to seek baptism for their
children from popish priests, he yet as plainly affirms that a man who
had been baptized in infancy in papistry ought not to be rebaptized
when he cometh to knowledge, because Christ's institution could not be
utterly abolished by the malice of Satan or by the abuse of man.

From September, 1556, to September, 1557, Knox laboured in Geneva,
delighting in his work and rejoicing in the fellowship of congenial
friends.  Indeed, these halcyon months seem to have been the most
peaceful of his chequered life, and we do not wonder that he wrote
regarding Geneva: "I neither fear nor shame to say, it is the most
perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of
the apostles."  In the public services of the Church he used the form
of prayer which had been drawn up by himself and others for the English
congregation, and which was the groundwork of the "Book of Common
Order" that was received by the Church of Scotland in 1565.  But as
that will come up for description in its proper place, we need not
dwell upon it here.  The harmony of the Geneva Church was sweet after
the controversies of Frankfort, and the intercourse of the brethren
from England, who were then engaged in the preparation of that version
of the {106} Scriptures which continued to be for nearly a hundred
years the favourite Bible of the Puritans, must have been a constant

But this happiness did not last long; for in the month of May (1557)
James Syme and James Barron, two burgesses of Edinburgh, and his own
very devoted friends, arrived with a letter from Glencairn, Lorn,
Erskine, and Lord James Stuart, beseeching "in the name of the Lord,"
that he would return to his native land; and affirming that he would
find all the faithful whom he had left behind him, not only glad to
hear his doctrine, but also ready to jeopardise their lives and goods
for the setting forward of the glory of God.  The opinion of Calvin and
other friends to whom he submitted this request, was that he could not
refuse such a call "without declaring himself rebellious unto God and
unmerciful to his country"; and no doubt his own heart had already
given a similar response.  Accordingly, after making all due
arrangements for the leaving of his charge, and for the care of his
family in his absence, he set out from Geneva in the end of September,
and arrived at Dieppe on the 24th October.  He was met there, however,
with letters which gave him the impression that those who had invited
him to return to Scotland had repented of their action in that regard;
and that many of the professed adherents of the truth had drawn back
and became faint-hearted in the cause.  This brought him to a stand,
and he determined to go no farther until his way should be more clear.
He {107} immediately wrote to his correspondents, explaining how he
came to be at Dieppe, upbraiding them for their fear and fickleness;
admonishing them of the great importance of the enterprise to which
they had committed themselves; and alleging that they ought to hazard
their lives and fortunes to deliver themselves and their brethren from
spiritual bondage.  This letter is dated October 27th, 1557, and was
followed by another of a more general tenour to his brethren in
Scotland, which appears to have been written in the same place on the
1st of December.

In the expectation of receiving some definite information from
Scotland, Knox lingered in Dieppe for some considerable time, and
officiated as temporary preacher to a Protestant Church which had
recently been formed there.  But when no answer came to his appeal to
his countrymen, he set his face again toward Geneva, to which, after
visiting Lyons, Rochelle, and other towns, he returned in the spring of

But though he had heard nothing from Scotland, matters there had been
making steady progress.  There may have been just enough of wavering on
the part of some to give occasion for the desponding letters which had
arrested him at Dieppe, yet there had been no great reaction.  For on
the 3rd December, perhaps after the receipt of Knox's letter of the
preceding October, there had been a conference of the leading
Protestants as to what was best to be done, and as the result a Common
Bond or Band--the earliest of those {108} covenants which have had so
conspicuous a place in the church history of Scotland--was drawn up and
subscribed by Argyle, Glencairn, Morton, Lorn, Erskine of Dun, and many
others.  By this "engagement" they pledged themselves in the most
solemn manner "to strive in their Master's cause even unto death;" "to
maintain, set forward, and establish the most blessed word of God, and
His congregation;" with their "whole power, substance, and their very
lives; and to labour to the utmost of their possibility, to have
faithful ministers purely and truly to preach Christ's gospel, and
minister His sacraments to His people."

This was brave and hopeful in the highest degree.  But Knox knew
nothing of it meanwhile, and in his despondency composed and issued
that tract which must be pronounced the greatest mistake of his life.
We refer, of course, to "The First Blast of the Trumpet against the
monstrous Regiment (_i.e._ government) of Women," which is an elaborate
argument designed to establish the proposition that "to promote a woman
to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire, above any realm,
nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumely to God, a thing most
contrarious to His revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally it
is the subversion of good order, of all equality and justice."  We have
already seen from the questions which he put to Bullinger, that he had
been pondering this subject for some time; and there is evidence in the
tract itself, that he had diligently consulted what we should now {109}
call "the literature of the subject," for he refers to Aristotle's
politics; to the Books of the Digests; to such Fathers of the Church as
Tertullian, Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, etc.  But it was clearly
prompted by the fact that Mary Tudor was on the throne of England; and
there is throughout a strong undercurrent of application to her
character and cruelties.  Whatever opinion may be taken on the main
question, however,--and the very existence of the Salic law in some
states still proves that there _are_ two sides to it, there can be no
doubt that Knox's treatment of it at all, not to speak of the sort of
treatment which he gave it, was at this time impolitic and imprudent.
In his preface he intimates that he is prepared to be condemned by
multitudes, and even for being accused by some of high treason; and
doubtless, he thought that he had counted the cost before he built his
tower.  But the publication brought such a storm about his head, that
though he had purposed to follow his first blast with a second and a
third, the two latter were never blown.  His friend and colleague,
Christopher Goodman, put himself by his side in a work entitled "How
Superior Powers ought to be Obeyed of their Subjects;" and at a later
day John Milton, in quoting from Goodman, and referring to him and
others, in his "Tenure of Kings and Magistrates" says, "These were the
pastors of those saints and confessors, who, flying from the bloody
persecution of Queen Mary, gathered up at length their scattered
members into {110} many congregations ...  _These were the true
Protestant divines of England_, our fathers in the faith we hold."[2]
But such laudations were exceptional.  Foxe, the martyrologist, wrote a
long and friendly letter to Knox, in which he expostulated with him on
the impropriety of its publication; and even his friend John Calvin, in
a letter to Cecil, felt compelled to deny all complicity with its
production.  Mary Tudor did not live long to resent it; but her sister
Elizabeth never either forgot or forgave it; and it prejudiced the mind
of Mary Stuart against him long before she looked upon his face.  Not
many months after its publication he was constrained to say "My first
Blast hath blown from me all my friends in England," and could he have
foreseen what the alliance of Elizabeth was ultimately to do for
Scotland in the very climax of her Reformation agony, we may safely say
that the work would neither have been written nor published.

But his excuse (_valeat quantum_) is not far to seek, and we cannot do
better than give it in the words of Carlyle.[3]  "It is written with
very great vehemency; the excuse for which, so far as it may really
need excuse, is to be found in the fact that it was written while the
fires of Smithfield were still blazing, on best of bloody Mary, and not
long after Mary of Guise had been raised to the Regency of
Scotland--maleficent crowned women these two--covering poor England and
poor Scotland {111} with mere ruin and horror, in Knox's judgment, and
may we not still say to a considerable extent, in that of all candid
persons?  The book is by no means without merit; has in it various
little traits unconsciously autobiographic, and others which are
illuminative and interesting.  One ought to add withal, that Knox was
no despiser of women, far the reverse in fact; his behaviour to good
and pious women is full of respect; and his tenderness, his filial
helpfulness in their suffering and infirmities (see the letters to his
mother-in-law and others) are beautifully conspicuous.  For the rest
his poor book testifies to many high intellectual qualities in Knox,
and especially to far more of learning than has ever been ascribed to
him, or is anywhere traceable in his other writings."

To this time also belongs his treatise on Predestination, in answer to
an anonymous writer who called his work "The Careless of Necessity."
It is the most elaborate of all the Reformer's productions, and goes
into the Augustinian controversy, on the side of the great
ecclesiastical father, with much vigour of logic, great clearness of
language, and apt and extended references to Scripture.  Nowhere else,
as it seems to us, does Knox indulge in such closely compacted
argument, or write in such a nervous style.  He is very careful to keep
himself from misrepresentation, and all he states may be accepted as
true; but there is another side to the shield to which he rarely
refers, and which must be admitted as implicitly as that to which he
has restricted {112} his attention.  It is not, of course, equal to the
great work of Mozley on the same subject; but they who would master the
literature of the controversy cannot afford to overlook this valuable
contribution to its documents.

Knox continued at Geneva until the month of January, 1559, when, in
response to a request sent to him by those who had signed the "Godly
Band," which was backed by letters of a more recent date, informing him
of the state of things in Scotland, he left his wife and family behind
him and set out for his native land.  Mary, the English queen, had now
gone to her account, and her sister Elizabeth had succeeded to the
throne, so that the Protestant refugees on the continent could safely
return to their own country, and it was, therefore, no longer necessary
for him to retain his position as pastor.  Before the breaking up of
the congregation, however, its members met to give thanks to God, and
agreed to send one of their number with letters to their brethren in
Frankfort and other places, congratulating them on the happy change
which had come about at home, and requesting them to forget all past
unpleasantness, while they co-operated as brethren to procure such a
settlement of religion in England as would be well-pleasing to all the
friends of the Reformation.  Having received favourable replies to
these letters, they went in a body to the council of the city, and
William Whittingham, in their name, expressed to the seigneurie the
gratitude which they felt for the good reception given to them during
{113} their exile, presenting them at the same time as a lasting
memorial of their names the "Livre des Anglois," which is still
preserved among the archives of Geneva, and from which we have quoted
an interesting entry.  They then left the city in which they had found
so safe an asylum, and Knox sent letters with them to some of his
former acquaintances in England, desiring that they would obtain
permission for him to travel through England on his way to Scotland.
Naturally enough he wished to see some of those among whom he had
formerly laboured; but there is reason to believe that his principal
motive in asking this favour, at this time, was that he might disclose
to Cecil the existence of a plan which had been formed by the Princes
of Lorraine, with which somehow he had become acquainted, and which had
for its objects the setting up of the claim of Mary Stuart to the
throne of England, the dethronement of Elizabeth under pretence that
she was a bastard and a heretic, the union of England and Scotland
under one crown, and the suppression of the Reformation in both by
bringing the whole island under the virtual control of France.  But the
indignation of Elizabeth at his "First Blast" was such that his request
was indignantly refused, and it was with difficulty that those who
presented his letters escaped imprisonment.  He did not learn this
result of his application until his arrival in Dieppe; and even then,
impressed with the importance of the information which he had to
communicate, he himself wrote to Cecil, seeking to remove all
difficulties, and desiring a personal {114} interview.  But this
overture met with no better success; and so, determined to wait no
longer for that which seemed to be hopeless, he sailed from Dieppe on
the 22nd of April, and arrived at Leith on the 2nd of May, 1559.  From
this time up till his decease, with the exception of a brief visit
which he made to England, Scotland was the sole scene of his labours;
and during these thirteen years the incidents of his public life became
part and parcel of the history of his country.

[1] "Works," vol. vi. p. lxvi.

[2] "Knox's Works," by Laing, vol. iv. p. 359.

[3] Carlyle's Works, vol. xii. p. 137.




The landing of Knox in Scotland was almost dramatic in its timeliness;
and though we cannot here undertake to rewrite the annals of the
period, we must as briefly as possible outline the situation.  The
Queen Regent, who had so far succeeded in her temporizing policy as
even at one time to have secured the commendation of Knox, had now
openly declared herself as the enemy of the Reformation; and, at that
very moment, four of its preachers were under summons, at her instance,
to stand trial before the justiciary court at Stirling on the 10th of
May, for "administering without the consent of the ordinaries the
sacrament of the altar in a manner different from that of the Catholic
Church, during three several days of the late feast of Easter, in the
burghs and boundaries of Dundee, Montrose, and various other places in
the sheriffdoms of Forfar and Kincardine, and for convening the
subjects in these places, preaching to them, seducing them to their
erroneous doctrines, and exciting seditions and tumults."  How things
had come to this crisis it is not hard to tell.  {116} At the
consultation at which the "Godly Band" was adopted, the Reformers
agreed besides on these two things, viz. first, that prayers and the
lessons of the Old and New Testaments should be read in English,
according to the Book of Common Prayer, in every parish on Sundays and
festival days by the curates, or, if they refused, by such persons
within the bounds as were best qualified; and second, that the Reformed
preachers should teach in private houses only, until the government
should allow them to do so in public.  In accordance with the latter of
these resolutions, the Protestant noblemen took preachers as private
chaplains into their homes, kept them under their protection, and
encouraged them in informal and domestic meetings to expound the word
of God.  This soon came to the knowledge of the bishops, and the
primate, presuming on his influence with some of Argyle's friends,
wrote to that earl, expostulating with him for having John Douglas
under his care.  Such interference provoked a very smart and stinging
retort; and the archbishop, falling back on the old tactics of
persecution, thought he would strike terror into the hearts of the
Protestants by another execution.  He found a victim in Walter Mill, a
venerable old man, who, though condemned years before as a heretic by
Cardinal Beaton, had escaped the stake at that time, but was now
discovered and consigned to the flames, in the midst of which he
expired, with these pathetic and prophetic words upon his lips, "As for
me, I am four-score and two years old, and cannot live long by the
{117} course of nature, but a hundred better shall arise out of the
ashes of my bones.  I trust in God I shall be the last to suffer death
in Scotland in this cause."  This horrible deed--done on the 28th
August, 1558--thrilled the people into earnestness in a moment, and
determined them to make open profession of their adherence to the
Reformed worship, so that their ministers were emboldened to preach and
administer the sacraments in public, even without the permission of the
government, for which until then they had waited.

Meanwhile, in the month of July, a formal petition had been presented
to the Regent by the Protestant barons, requesting her to restrain the
violence of the clergy, and asking liberty of worship according to a
restricted plan, to which they were willing to conform until their
grievances should be examined and redressed.  To this she replied after
her usual plausible fashion, in such a way as to make them believe that
she was friendly to their proposals.  But the hollowness of her words
is apparent from the fact that in the very same month she was in
consultation with the archbishop of St. Andrews, as to the course which
should be adopted for checking the Reformation; yet, as she needed the
help of the Protestants at the meeting of the Parliament in November
for the carrying of certain measures on which her heart was set,
nothing was done openly by her against them until after that date.  In
December, however, she gave the primate such assurances of her support,
that he summoned the Reformed preachers to {118} appear before him at
St. Andrews on the and of February following, to answer the charges of
usurping the sacred office and of disseminating heresy.  This
proceeding on his part stirred up the Protestant nobles, so that they
informed the Regent that if the trial went on they would be present to
see justice done, and she, fearing the consequences, prevailed upon the
archbishop to prorogue the trial.  At the same time she summoned a
convention of the nobility to meet at Edinburgh on the 7th of March,
and induced the archbishop to call a provincial council of the clergy
to meet in the city on the first of the same month.

When the clergy met, two representations were laid before them, one
from the Protestants, asking what they felt to be needed, and another
from persons still attached to the Roman Catholic faith, praying for
the redress of certain grievances in ecclesiastical administration; but
both were treated with indifference.  A secret treaty had been entered
into by them with the Queen Regent, wherein they had promised to raise
a large sum of money to enable her to put down all heresy, and so in
the most uncompromising confidence they confirmed all the doctrines and
practices of the Church, and declared that both the preachers who
administered the sacraments after the Reformed manner, and those who
received them at their hands should be excommunicated.

This action of theirs convinced the Reformers that nothing was to be
hoped for from the clergy, and the {119} treaty to which we have
referred having somehow come to their knowledge revealed to them that
they had just as little to hope for from the court; so they broke off
all further negotiations and left the city.  But they had scarcely gone
when a proclamation was made at the Market Cross, by order of the
Regent, prohibiting any person from preaching or administering the
sacraments without authority from the bishops; and it was because they
had disregarded that injunction that Paul Methven, John Christison,
William Harlow, and John Willock were now summoned to appear at
Stirling on the 10th of May, before the Court of Justiciary.  When,
therefore, Knox arrived at Leith on the 2nd of that month, he could
truly say that he had come "even in the brunt of the battle."  Nor was
he dismayed thereat.  Rather like the war-horse of the sacred poet, he
said among the trumpets Aha! and went forth rejoicing in his strength
to mingle in the fray.

The next morning the announcement of his arrival to the provincial
council of the clergy which was still in session in Edinburgh broke up
that assembly in haste, but not before its members had despatched a
messenger with the news to the Queen Regent who was then at Glasgow,
and who a few days later proclaimed Knox as a rebel and an outlaw in
virtue of the sentence formerly pronounced against him in his absence
by the bishops.  But all this counted for little with him, for after
waiting only a few hours at Edinburgh, he had already gone to Dundee,
where he found the Protestants of Angus and {120} neighbourhood
gathered in great numbers and determined to attend their ministers to
Stirling.  Lest, however, they should do harm, when they only intended
to do good, they determined to halt at Perth, from which place they
sent forward Erskine of Dun to inform the Regent at Stirling of the
peaceable object of their approach.  As usual, when she heard what he
had to say, she sought to gain time by temporizing.  She authorized him
to promise in her name that the trial should not go on, and prevailed
on him to persuade them to give up their purpose.  Accordingly the
larger number of them returned to their homes.  But when the day
appointed for the trial came, the summons was called by the Regent's
orders, the ministers were outlawed for non-appearance, and all persons
were prohibited, under pain of being treated as rebels, from harbouring
or assisting them.  Erskine, finding that he had been grievously
befooled, escaped from Stirling and carried the news to Perth, where on
the day of his arrival Knox preached a sermon in which he denounced the
idolatry of the mass, and on which consequences followed which he did
not at the moment anticipate.  For after his discourse had been
concluded a priest "in contempt" uncovered a rich altar-piece and
prepared to celebrate mass, whereupon a youth uttered an exclamation of
indignation.  This provoked the priest to strike him "a great blow,"
and he retaliated "in anger" by throwing a stone at the priest, which
hit the altar and broke one of the images.  This was the spark to which
the people were {121} as tow, and in the course of a few minutes
everything in the church that savoured of idolatry--altar, images,
ornaments and the like--was thrown down and demolished.  The report of
this outbreak soon gathered a mob described by Knox as "not of the
gentlemen, neither of them that were earnest professors, but of the
rascal multitude," who finding nothing more to be done in the church
rushed to the monasteries of the Black and Grey Friars and to the
Charterhouse and laid them all in ruins.

This was the beginning of that demolition of Roman Catholic edifices
for which Knox has been so grievously assailed.  But, without entering
minutely into the merits of the question, and cheerfully admitting
that--owing to human imperfection--a work like that in which our
Reformer was engaged could not be carried through without the doing of
some things of which men in less troublous times must disapprove, we
must be permitted to advance the following considerations.  First, the
outbreak at Perth was in a manner accidental, and was not either
premeditated or instigated by Knox.  Second, when the work of purifying
the churches was systematically entered upon, special instructions were
given to those entrusted with it to guard against any injury to the
fabrics themselves; for in a document enjoining the purgation of the
Cathedral of Dunkeld and subscribed by Argyle and Ruthven on the 12th
August, 1560, the parties commissioned are thus addressed: "Fail not
ye, but that ye take good heed that neither the desks, {122} windows,
nor doors be anywise burnt or broken, either glass-work or iron-work."
Third, the work of absolute destruction was reserved for the
monasteries.  Now we can clearly see the reason for such a distinction.
The churches were the property of the people, and after being cleansed
were preserved for the people's use; but the monasteries, as Burton
candidly admits, were in a manner "fortresses of the enemy," and as
such were demolished.  Yet even for the destruction of them Knox and
his brethren are not solely to be blamed; for as the historian just
named has said[1]: "In the history of the invasions directed by King
Henry and Somerset we have seen enough to account for large items in
the ruin that overcame ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland.  For
Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh, and the many other buildings torn down in
these inroads, the Scots Reformers have no censure beyond that of
neutrality or passiveness.  The ruined edifices were not restored as
they naturally would have been had the old Church remained
predominant."  When all these things are taken into account, it will be
seen that there is very little foundation for the common outcry against
Knox in this matter.

In the present instance the demolition of the monasteries by the mob in
Perth seriously complicated the situation, and gave the Regent an
advantage which she was not slow to improve.  For in an address to the
nobility in Stirling, she so employed it as to succeed in getting their
assistance in advancing against Perth", _with {123} an army_, for the
purpose of putting down what she chose to call a dangerous rebellion.
The Reformers wrote to her disclaiming all such intention; but finding
her inflexible, they prepared to defend themselves, and were assisted
by the opportune arrival of Glencairn from Ayrshire, with 2,500
volunteers.  When therefore she reached Perth she discovered that her
force was greatly outnumbered by theirs, and she was obliged to accept
an "appointment," by which she engaged to leave the citizens unmolested
in the exercise of their religion, and they pledged themselves to
return to their homes.  This agreement she violated in many ways, and
so finally lost the confidence and support of Argyle and Lord James
Stuart, both of whom had been thus far politically on her side, but now
cast in their lot whole-heartedly with the congregation.  After this
experience the leaders determined to take a step in advance and set up
Protestant worship in those places where their own personal influence
or the adherence of the people promised success, and it was resolved to
begin at St. Andrews.  They therefore set a day for Knox to meet them
in that city, where he arrived on the 9th of July.  When the archbishop
learned that he intended to preach in the cathedral he sent a message
to his friends to the effect that, "In case John Knox presented himself
at the preaching-place in his town and principal church, he should make
him be saluted with a dozen of culverings, whereof the most part would
light upon his nose."  This threat somewhat daunted those by whom he
was {124} accompanied, and they endeavoured to dissuade him from
preaching; but the reply of the Reformer takes its place beside
Luther's words on the way to Worms, for he said, "As for the fear of
danger that may come to me let no man be solicitous, for my life is in
the custody of Him whose glory I seek, and therefore I cannot so fear
their boast or tyranny that I will cease from doing my duty, when of
His mercy He offereth me the occasion.  I desire the hand or weapon of
no man to defend me.  I only crave audience, which if it be denied me
here I must seek further where I may have it."  There was no resisting
such a determination, and the result justified his courage, for
remembering doubtless his own words years before, while a slave in the
French galley, he preached on the Sunday, nor on that day alone, but
also on the four next following, without seeing anything either of the
archbishop or his culverings; and such was the effect of his discourses
that the provost, magistrates, and inhabitants agreed to set up the
Reformed worship forthwith, and proceeded at once to strip the church
of its images and to pull down the monasteries.

The report of all this taken to the Queen Regent in the palace of
Falkland by the archbishop, led to the affair of Cupar Muir, which
Carlyle has thus described after his own manner: "Not itself a fight,
but the prologue or foreshadow of all the fighting that followed.  The
Queen Regent and her Frenchmen had marched in triumphant humour out of
Falkland, with their artillery ahead, soon after midnight, trusting to
find at St. Andrews {125} the two chief lords of the congregation, the
Earl of Argyle and Lord James Stuart (afterwards Regent Murray), with
scarcely a hundred men about them,--found suddenly that the hundred
men, by good industry over-night, had risen to an army; and that the
congregation itself, under these two lords, was here, as if by _tryst_,
at mid-distance, skilfully posted, and ready for battle either in the
way of cannon or of spear.  Sudden halt of the triumphant Falklanders
in consequence; and after that a multifarious manoeuvring, circling,
and wheeling, now in clear light, now hidden in clouds of mist; Scots
standing steadfast on their ground, and answering message-trumpets in
an inflexible manner, till, after many hours, the thing had to end in
an 'appointment,' truce, or offer of peace, and a retreat to Falkland
of the Queen Regent and her Frenchmen, as from an enterprise
unexpectedly impossible."[2]

From this place Knox accompanied the forces of the congregation to
Perth, and thence to Edinburgh, where on the 7th of July the
Protestants of the city chose him to be their minister, and then for
the first time his voice sounded through the cathedral of St. Giles in
ringing notes of trumpet power.  But soon after the lords of the
congregation, having been compelled to conclude a treaty with the
Regent, by the terms of which they agreed to quit Edinburgh and deliver
it up to her, judged it unsafe that he, being so obnoxious to her,
{126} should remain there without their protection, and so, putting the
less objectionable John Willock for the time into his place, they set
him free for a preaching excursion through different parts of the

How he wrought on that occasion, and where, he has himself described in
one of his letters thus: "I have been in continual travel since the day
of appointment (_i.e._ the treaty with the Regent), and notwithstanding
the fevers have vexed me the space of a month, yet have I travelled
through the most part of this realm, where all praise be to his blessed
Majesty, men of all sorts and conditions embrace the truth.  Enemies we
have many, by reason of the Frenchmen who are lately arrived, of whom
all parties hope golden hills and such support as we are not able to
resist.  We do nothing but go about Jericho, blowing with trumpets as
God giveth strength, hoping victory by His laws alone.  Christ Jesus is
preached even in Edinburgh, and His blessed sacraments rightly
ministered in all congregations where the ministry is established; and
they be these, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Dundee, Perth, Brechin,
Montrose, Stirling, and Ayr.  And now Christ Jesus is begun to be
preached upon the south borders in Jedburgh and Kelso, so that the
trumpet soundeth over all, blessed be our God."

This was written on the 2nd September, 1559, and on the 20th, his wife,
having obtained through the influence of Throckmorton, the English
ambassador at Paris, that permission to pass through England which had
been denied to her husband, reached Scotland in safety.  Her {127}
mother came with her as far as Northumberland, and after remaining a
short time with her friends there, took up her abode in Knox's
household, and continued a member of his family, at least till the
death of her daughter, though some believe that even after that she
remained with him, with but a brief interval, till her own decease.
Mrs. Knox was accompanied by Christopher Goodman, who had been the
colleague of her husband in Geneva, and who continued to labour in
Scotland, first at Ayr and afterwards at St. Andrews, until his return
to England in 1565.

But the work in Scotland was too great to be successfully carried out
by its own people, even if they had been united among themselves,
which, unhappily, they were not.  The Reformers there had to contend
not only with the adherents of the papacy in their own land, but also
with the power and diplomacy of France, and therefore it was of the
utmost consequence that assistance from England should be secured.  It
was, fortunately, also quite important for England that France should
be prevented from securing a permanent hold on Scotland; but it was
some time before the English queen could be induced to commit herself
in any way to the cause of the Scottish congregation; and many
negotiations were required before that result was obtained.  Neither
into the details of these, nor into the particulars of the civil war,
which lasted at this time in Scotland for about a year, can we enter
here.  They will be found at length in the pages of the historians; and
it may suffice in this {128} place to say that at last, as the fruit of
the mission of the younger Maitland to the English Court, Elizabeth
consented to send a fleet into the Firth of Forth, and an array across
the border; and that the ultimate issue was a treaty entered upon
during the siege of Leith, on the 7th July, 1560, which secured that
the French troops should be immediately removed from Scotland; that an
amnesty should be granted to all who had been engaged in the late
resistance to the Queen Regent; that the principal grievances in the
civil administration should be redressed; and that a Free Parliament
should be held to settle the affairs of the kingdom.

Before this turn was given to matters, and at midnight between the 10th
and 11th of June, the Queen Regent, Mary of Lorraine, the mother of the
Queen of Scots, had passed away from the earth, and thus the stage was
as it were cleared for the important things which were so soon to be
achieved.  The one Mary had gone to her account; the other had not yet
come from France to take personal possession of the throne of her
native land, and in the interval many things otherwise--humanly
speaking at least--unattainable were obtained.  "The stars in their
courses" were fighting for the Reformation; the providence of God was
on its side, and blind indeed must the historian be who sees no
indication of that fact.  But because we fully recognise His hand, it
is the more important that we distinctly note also the obliquities
which characterized the conduct of many of the human actors in these
transactions; and it is with a {129} sense of something like
mortification that we confess that even Knox did not stand the ordeal
without deterioration.  He was, as Laing remarks, "a chief instigator
and agent" in the negotiations with England; and, for the most part, he
manifested the strictest integrity.  But there is one letter extant
which prevents us from being able to say that he never lent his
countenance to deceit.  He is writing to Sir James Croft requesting
that men should be sent by him to the help of the Reformers; and in
answer to the objection that the league between England and France made
it impossible to do that without offending France, he says,[3] "If ye
list to craft with them, the sending of a thousand men to us can break
no league nor point of peace contracted between you and France; for it
is free for your subjects to serve in war any prince or nation for
their wages; and if you fear that such excuses shall not prevail, you
may declare them rebels to your realm, when ye shall be assured that
they are in our company."  We mention it that we may not be accused of
concealing any portion of the truth concerning him.  We do not
extenuate it; we cannot vindicate it.  We say only that it is, so far
as we know, the solitary instance of the kind in the extensive
correspondence of our Reformer; that it is a clear exception to the
general outspoken, and in some cases even indiscreet, frankness by
which he was characterized; and that, perhaps, he caught the infection
from those with whom he was treating, for Froude says of Elizabeth at
{130} this time, "It is certain only that on the one hand she was
distinctly doing, what as distinctly she said she was not doing; and on
the other, that she was holding out hopes which, if she could help it,
she never meant to fulfil;"[4] and even Cecil, as the same author
proves, was a master in the same kind of craft, so that his indignant
reference to Knox's proposal reads to us now like an illustration of
"Satan reproving sin."  It was in truth, as Laing has said, "an age of
dissimulation;" but Knox knew better; he was before his age in other
things, and should have been above it in this.

But enough, we gladly turn from censure to praise, and wish to direct
attention at this point to Knox's views concerning civil government.
There was an assembly of nobles, barons, and representatives of burghs
held at Edinburgh on the 21st of October, 1559, at which the propriety
or lawfulness of depriving the Queen Regent of her authority (which was
afterwards resolved upon) was debated; and before which John Willock
and Knox were asked to give their opinion on the question.  Willock
alleged that the power of rulers is limited, that they might be
deprived of it on valid grounds; and that the fortification of Leith,
and the introduction of foreign troops into the kingdom, was a good
reason why the Regent should be divested of her authority.  Knox, while
agreeing with what he had said, added that the assembly might safely
proceed on these principles, provided only that they did not suffer the
misconduct of {131} the Regent to alienate them from their allegiance
to their own proper sovereigns, Francis and Mary; that they were not
actuated by any private hatred of the Regent herself; and that any
sentence which they should now pronounce should not preclude her
re-admission to office if she afterwards acknowledged her error, and
agreed to submit to the estates of the realm.  These sentiments,
considering the circumstances in which the Reformers were then placed,
were moderate and wise.  They show how very far from revolutionary Knox
and his associates were; and it is no small praise to him to say that
in a struggle which strained everything to the utmost, he sought to
maintain law while striving after liberty, and was careful to
discriminate between condemnation of the manner in which an office was
filled, and repudiation of the office itself.  The relation of the
Reformation from popery to civil liberty is a theme which might furnish
materials for a goodly volume, and space will not allow us to enlarge
upon it here; but it might be well in these days if more attention were
directed to the opinions of the Reformers regarding political
government, and the share which these have had in laying the foundation
of freedom, as it is now enjoyed in Great Britain and the United
States.  So far as Knox is concerned, we could have no better summary
of his views on the subject than that which is given by his great
biographer, from which we quote the following sentence,[5] each clause
of which is amply confirmed by {132} McCrie in the learned and
elaborate note which he has appended to his statement:--"He held that
rulers, supreme as well as subordinate, were invested with authority
for the public good; that obedience was not due to them in anything
contrary to the Divine law, natural or revealed; that in every free and
well-constituted government, the law of the land was superior to the
will of the prince; that inferior magistrates and subjects might
restrain the supreme magistrate from particular illegal acts, without
throwing off their allegiance, or being guilty of rebellion; that no
class of men have an original, inherent, and indefeasible right to rule
over a people, independently of their will and consent; that every
nation is entitled to provide and require that they shall be ruled by
laws which are agreeable to the Divine law, and calculated to promote
their welfare; that there is a mutual compact, tacit and implied, if
not formal and explicit, between rulers and their subjects; and if the
former shall flagrantly violate this, employ that power for the
destruction of the commonwealth which was committed to them for its
preservation and benefit, or, in one word, if they shall become
habitual tyrants and notorious oppressors, that the people are absolved
from allegiance, and have a right to resist them, formally to depose
them from their place, and to elect others in their room."  It may
surprise some of our readers to discover how fully Knox in these
particulars was abreast of many of the views of the most enlightened
Liberals of our generation; but even Major, the principal of the {133}
Glasgow University when Knox became a student, had struck out in the
same direction, and in one of his works[6] has declared that "a free
people first gives strength to a king, whose power depends on the whole
people;" and that "a people can discard or depose a king and his
children for misconduct just as it appointed him at first;" and similar
sentiments might be cited from the pages of Buchanan.  Major taught
them in the class, and Buchanan wrote them in his works; but Knox gave
them utterance, and that too with such force, that they were widely
diffused among the people, so that in due season the divine-right
nonsense of the Stuarts was exploded, and the beginning of a new order
of things introduced.

But even in this matter, advanced as he was, Knox was not entirely
above the narrowness of his age.  In common with all the Reformers, and
the most of the Puritans, he held that the theocracy of the Jews was
the ideal state, and as a consequence, that it was the duty of the
civil government to punish idolatry with death, to set up and maintain
the true religion by all the means at its disposal, and to put down
heresy as rebellion.  {134} Neither the statesmen nor the divines of
that age seem to have perceived that the true analogue to the Jewish
theocracy is the spiritual Church of Christ, and so we account for the
fact that they continually referred to the Old Testament as their
warrant for seeking to advance what they believed to be the truth, and
to put down what they considered to be error by force.  They did not
remember that in the Jewish state God was in no mere figurative sense,
but really and absolutely the King, so that in it to fear God and to
honour the king was virtually the same thing, and sin in every form was
also _ipso facto_ crime, was indeed treason, as committed against the
head of the government, and so was punishable by civil pains and
penalties.  Forgetting or not perceiving _that_, the Reformers took the
Jewish for the model constitution.  In all the states which they sought
to remodel, they lost sight of the distinction between a theocracy and
an ordinary government, and confounded crime with sin, and sin with
crime.  More especially they made the crime of crimes to be, the
resisting or not conforming to what they themselves believed to be the
true religion as revealed by God, and as such they punished that with
all severity.  There is no instance indeed on record of Knox himself
being in any way mixed up with persecution, understanding by that word
merely the putting of one to death for religious practices or opinions.
No such controversy can be raised over him as that which has been held
regarding Calvin and the prosecution of Servetus.  But they all alike
held {135} that it was the duty of the government to establish and
maintain, as a government, and that means by enactments enforced by
penalties, the true religion; and from that persecution follows; rather
let us say, in that persecution is involved.  To this error, which,
however, was the common opinion of their times, may be traced most of
the difficulties in which they were involved in the prosecution of
their work.  The world has been slow to come to it, but no perfect
liberty either in Church or in state is possible save through the
separation of the one from the other, and the restriction of each to
its own proper domain.  When this shall be attained in Scotland and
England, then shall be the beginning of another era, as strongly marked
as that which began in the overthrow of the Papal Church three hundred
years ago.  The course of our narrative takes us now into parliamentary
debates, and royal closets, fully as often as into assemblies of the
Church, and therefore before we enter upon this section of the history,
we deem it right to indicate once for all the views which we ourselves
hold upon the subject.  It is the province of the biographer to
narrate, and he must not be held as endorsing everything which he

[1] "History of Scotland," vol. iii. p. 354.

[2] "An Essay on the Portraits of John Knox," pp. 139-140.  "Works,"
vol. xii.

[3] "Works," vol. vi. p. 90.

[4] Froude's "History of England," vol. vi. p. 273.

[5] McCrie's "Works," vol. i. p. 149.

[6] "De Historia Gentis Scotorum," book iv. chap. 22.  I am indebted
for these citations to my late friend, Dr. J. M. Ross, whose researches
into the literature of Scotland have been recently published, and whose
early death is mourned by all who knew his worth.  His work on the
Pre-reformation Literature of Scotland is a perfect thesaurus of
precious things, and has attracted the widest attention.




The meeting of Parliament, provided for in the Treaty of Leith, was
opened with great ceremony on the 1st of August, 1560, and was attended
by an unusually large number of members.  Knox "improved" the occasion
by preaching from the cathedral pulpit a series of expository sermons
on the prophecies of Haggai, with special application to the
circumstances of the country at the time.  On his own showing he was
"vehement," and as he inveighed strongly against those who had been
enriched with the revenues of the Church, his words gave great offence
to many.  Maitland sneeringly said, "What! we must now forget ourselves
and bear the barrow to build the house of God,"--words which already
showed that spirit of insincerity which afterwards took him into the
opposite camp.  The great matter before this Parliament, after it had
approved the articles of the treaty, was the settlement of religion,
and as a preliminary to that the ministers were requested to draw up a
summary statement of "that doctrine which they would maintain as
wholesome and true, and only {137} necessary to be believed."  This
work was done by them in four days, at the end of which they produced
the Confession which Knox has given at full length in his history.  It
is all but certain that he had a considerable hand in its preparation,
and it has been described by the younger McCrie as "remarkably free
from metaphysical distinctions and minutiae," and as "running in an
easy style, and in fact reading like a good sermon in old Scotch."  It
is, of course, Calvinistic, but in the article on election, there is
nothing of either reprobation or preterition.  In that on the Lord's
Supper it repudiates alike the doctrine of transubstantiation, and that
of those who believe it to be "nothing else but a naked and bare sign,"
insisting on some mystical influence as connected with it, but yet
confessing that such influence is given "neither at that only time, nor
yet by the proper power of the sacraments only," so that it is
exceedingly difficult to get from it a definite statement of what
precisely the "grace" in the sacrament is; but that difficulty is felt,
in our judgment, as seriously by those who desire to reduce to plain
language the words of the Westminster standards on the same subject.
In the section which treats of the authority of Scripture, there is no
attempt to formulate any theory of inspiration, but simply a
declaration that "in those books which of the ancients have been
reputed canonical, all things necessary to be believed for the
salvation of mankind are sufficiently expressed," and an affirmation
that "such as allege the Scriptures to have no other authority, but
that which is received from {138} the Kirk (Church) are blasphemous
against God, and injurious to the true Kirk, which always heareth and
obeyeth the voice of her own spouse and pastor, and taketh not on her
to be mistress of the same."  On the subject of the civil magistrate
its words run thus: "That to kings, princes, rulers, and magistrates,
we affirm that chiefly and most principally the reformation and
purgation of the religion appertains; so that not only they are
appointed for civil policy, but also for maintenance of the true
religion, and for suppressing of idolatry and superstition, as in
David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others highly commended for
their zeal, in that case may be espied," a statement which amply
confirms what we have just said regarding the position taken by the
Reformers on this matter.  We ought to add, however, that according to
Randolph, the representative of the English Court, who was present on
the occasion of the ratification of the Confession, the section on the
civil magistrate had been expunged by Maitland, to whose revision, as
well as that of the Lord James Stuart, it had been submitted, and by
whom certain strong phrases in other parts of the document had been
softened.  In Knox's history we have no word of anything like that, but
simply the Confession as it was actually ratified, and in that a
paragraph on the civil magistrate stands with the rest.  But as there
is in that paragraph a good deal about the prerogatives of rulers, and
the duty of obedience to them, while there is no word of the limits of
allegiance to them, and the right of {139} resisting them when they
violate either the laws of the realm or the dictates of conscience, on
both of which points we know that Knox and his brethren held strong
convictions, it is probable that at first the article contained some
things on these aspects of the question, which were afterwards stricken
out, by the two men whom we have named, as being likely if retained to
imperil the acceptance of the document as a whole.  This is only a
conjecture of our own, but it is not inherently improbable, and it
serves to harmonize the statement of Randolph with the appearance in
Knox's history of a chapter on the civil magistrate in the Confession
as adopted.

This summary of doctrine was laid before Parliament, and carefully read
over article by article.  Then, that no one should have a pretext for
complaining of undue haste, its further consideration was adjourned to
another day, the 17th of August, on which it was almost unanimously
accepted, and "ratified by the three estates of the realm."  This was
followed on the 24th of the same month by the passing of Acts
abolishing the jurisdiction of the Pope in Scotland, repealing all
former statutes passed in favour of the Roman Catholic Church, and
ordaining that all who said mass, or heard mass, should for the first
offence be punished with confiscation of goods, for the second with
banishment, and for the third with death.  Thus on the very threshold
of their undertaking they manifested the same intolerance from which
they had themselves suffered so much.


With a view to the proper organization of the Protestant Church, the
Lords of the Privy Council appointed Knox, along with five other
ministers, to draw up a plan of reconstruction which in their judgment
should be both agreeable to Scripture and practicable in the
circumstances of the country at the time.  The outcome of their labours
was that scheme of Church government and order, which is known in
Scottish ecclesiastical history as "The First Book of Discipline."  It
specifies the officers of the Church, permanent and temporary,
describes the manner of their election and appointment, particularizes
their duties, and gives principles for guidance as to general
discipline, while it also furnishes directions as to the celebration of
marriages and the conducting of funerals.  At the same time it outlines
with great fulness a magnificent system of national education, such as
Scotland is only now beginning to realize, though for centuries it has
enjoyed something of an approximation to it.

This "Book" is one of extreme interest, and is worthy of far more
attention from the mass of the people in these days than it has
received, or perhaps is likely to receive; but to whet the appetites of
our readers for the enjoyment of the work itself, we shall give some
general notion of its contents.  The permanent officers in the Church
were ministers, elders, and deacons.  The ministers were to be elected
by the people, but in case they neglected to do that duty within forty
days the Church of the superintendent with his council was to {141}
"present" to them a man whom they judged apt to feed the flock, yet it
was always to be avoided "that any man be violently intruded or thrust
in upon any congregation."  Thus Knox and his brethren were
"non-intrusionists;" yet we doubt if in the famous controversy which
ended in 1843, they would have come up to the party standard, for the
"Book" says: "But violent intrusion we call not, when the council of
the Kirk, in the fear of God, and for the salvation of the people,
offereth unto them a sufficient man to instruct them, whom they shall
not be forced to admit before examination."  Then elsewhere it is said,
"If his doctrine is wholesome and able to instruct the simple, and if
the Kirk can justly reprehend nothing in his life, doctrine, or
utterance, then we judge the Kirk which before was destitute
unreasonable if they refuse him whom the Kirk did offer, and _they
should be compelled by the censure of the council and Kirk_, to receive
the person appointed and approved by the judgment of the godly and
learned."  Where was "the veto without reasons" then?  And on whose
side was the First Book of Discipline? or was it on both sides?  The
minister so chosen or appointed was to give proof of his gifts by
interpreting before the men of soundest judgment in the neighbourhood,
some place of Scripture selected by his brethren in office.  He was
also to be examined openly "before all that list to hear," by the
ministers and elders of the Kirk, "in all the chief points that now lie
in controversy betwixt us and the Papists, {142} Anabaptists, Arians,
or other such enemies of the Christian religion."  Next he was to
preach to the congregation calling him, that in open audience of his
flock he might give confession of his faith in full.  Then public
"edict" was to be proclaimed, not only in the church where he was to
serve, but also in other places, especially in those in which he had
formerly lived, that if there was known any reason why he should not be
appointed to the ministry it should be shown.  If everything were
satisfactory, the manner of his installation to office was to consist
in the consent of the people to whom he was appointed and the
approbation of the learned ministers by whom he was examined.  The
admission was to be "in open audience."  After a sermon by some
"especial minister" on the duty and office of ministers, exhortations
were to be given to minister and people, and this paragraph follows:
"Other ceremony than the public approbation of the people and
declaration of the chief minister, that the person there presented is
appointed to serve that Kirk, we cannot approve; for albeit the
apostles used the imposition of hands, yet seeing the miracle is
ceased, the using of the ceremony we judge is not necessary."  Most
evidently John Knox believed in "_order_," but just as evidently he did
not believe in "_orders_," and there is no place here for the doctrine
of "succession."

The elders and deacons were to be chosen by the people _annually_, from
among a list given by the minister, and if Churches be of smaller
number than that such {143} office-bearers can be chosen from among
them, they may be joined to the next adjacent Church.  We have here
therefore the "rotatory" eldership, as it has been called by some in
America, recognised in principle, and the reason given for it is "lest
that by long continuance of such officials men presume upon the liberty
of the Church."  Those holding the office were eligible for
re-election, but they must be appointed yearly "by common and free
election."  In another place he says: "This order has been ever
observed since that time in the Kirk of Edinburgh, that is that the old
session before their departure nominate twenty-four in election for
elders, of whom twelve are to be chosen, and thirty-two for deacons, of
whom sixteen are to be elected, which persons are publicly proclaimed
in the audience of the whole Kirk, upon a Sunday before noon, after
sermon, with admonition to the Kirk, that if any man know any notorious
crime or cause that might unfit any of these persons to enter in such
vocation they should notify the same unto the session the next
Thursday; or if any know any persons more able for that charge, they
should notify the same unto the session, to the end that no man, either
present or absent, being one of the Kirk, should complain that he was
spoiled of his liberty in election."  The duty of the elders was to
assist the minister in the oversight and discipline of the flock; and
that of the deacons was to superintend the revenues of the Church and
to take care of the poor.

Besides these permanent offices, two others were {144} recommended for
the meeting of present emergencies.  There were first a class of men
called Readers, whose duty it was to read the Common Prayers and the
Scriptures, in places still destitute of properly qualified ministers,
and which otherwise would have had no service of any sort for public
worship or instruction.  They were restricted to the function of
reading, and hence their name; but they were encouraged to prosecute
their studies, and if they advanced satisfactorily they were permitted,
after examination, to append some exhortations to their readings, and
then they were called Exhorters.  In addition to these, and at the
other end of the scale, the Book recommended the appointment of ten
Superintendents, each of whom was to have the supervision of a district
over which he was required regularly to travel for the purpose of
preaching, planting Churches, and inspecting the conduct of ministers,
exhorters, and readers.  Some have maintained that in this there was a
recognition of Episcopacy, but as Dr. Laing has shown, the office was
merely temporary, and the number never exceeded the five who were first
appointed.  Like other ministers the superintendent was subject to the
Assembly, and might be censured, superseded, or deprived of his office
by its decision.  These office-bearers were to be appointed in the
first instance by the Privy Council, or by a commission appointed by
that body for the purpose; but, afterwards, by the whole ministers of
the district to be superintended, from a list of names already
proclaimed by the ministers, elders, {145} and deacons with the
magistrates and council of the chief town in the province; and for his
installation a form is given, with a list of the questions to be
proposed to him, and the answers to be given by him.  It is added that
"the superintendent being elected and appointed to his charge, must be
subjected to the censure and correction of the ministers and elders,
not only of his chief town, but also of the whole province over the
which he is appointed overseer."

It may be added here, that "The Book of Common Order" makes mention of
still another class of office-bearers, called Teachers or Doctors, who
were to be men of learning for the exposition of God's word, and whose
nearest modern equivalent seems to us to be the professors in
theological seminaries, but it is said "for lack of opportunity we
cannot well have the use thereof."

In regard to the sacraments the "Book of Discipline" lays down that the
Lord's Supper should be observed after the manner already described by
us when we were treating of Knox's ministry in Berwick.  In great towns
it was recommended that it should be observed four times in the year,
and in order to keep off Easter, the first Sundays in March, June,
September, and December are suggested, because "we study to suppress
superstition."  It was also specified that in large towns there should
be daily sermon, or else common prayer, with some exercise of reading
the Scriptures; and in smaller places there should be at least one day
besides the {146} Sunday appointed for sermon and prayer.  Baptism
might be administered wherever the word was preached, but it is alleged
to be more expedient that it be on the Sunday, and never in private
unless accompanied by the preaching of the word; for as the Book of
Common Order says, "The sacraments are not ordained of God to be used
in private corners as charms or sorceries, but left to the congregation
and necessarily annexed to God's word as seals of the same."  We admit
the clause about "charms," but with the household baptisms of the
Scriptures before us, and the other baptisms, which were
administered--as it were "extempore"--by the apostles in the house of
the jailer and the house of Cornelius, we are not quite so sure about
the rest of "the rubric."  Marriages were not to be entered into
secretly, but in open face and audience of the church; the place for
their celebration, therefore, was the church, and the time recommended
was Sunday before sermon.  It was suggested that there should be no
service of any sort at funerals; but it is added, "Yet we are not so
precise but that we are content that particular kirks use services in
that behalf, with the consent of the ministry of the same, as they
shall answer to God, and to the assembly of the Church gathered within
the realm."

But the most interesting portion of the Book of Discipline, perhaps, to
us in these days, is that which refers to education, contemplating as
it did the erection of a school in every parish for the instruction of
the {147} young in the grammar of their own language, in the Latin
tongue, and in the principles of religion; the setting up in every
notable town of a "college" for the teaching of "the arts, at least,
logic and rhetoric, and the tongues;" and finally the establishment in
the "towns accustomed,"--that is Aberdeen, St. Andrews, and
Glasgow,--of Universities with full appointments which are minutely
described.  These were to be supported, stipends were to be furnished
for the superintendents, ministers, and readers, and suitable provision
made for ministers' widows, and orphan children, out of the confiscated
revenues of the Church, the bishops, and the cathedral establishments,
together with the rents arising from the endowments of monasteries and
other religious foundations.

The "Common Prayer" so frequently referred to was no doubt "the order
of Geneva which is now used in some of our kirks," as the words within
inverted commas quoted from the Book of Discipline make clear.  That
book had been prepared for the English congregation of Geneva during
Knox's pastorate there; and with such changes as the difference of
circumstances made necessary, it came to be adopted by the Scottish
General Assembly in 1564.  Our reference to it here, therefore, is a
little premature, as we are now writing of events that occurred in
1560; but it may be convenient, as we are treating of the organization
of the Scottish Church, to dispose of the matter, once for all, in this
place.  As we have already incidentally {148} recorded, it was agreed
by those who entered into the "Godly Band," that "common prayers" be
read in the parish churches on Sundays by the curates if they
consented, or if they refused, by such persons within the bounds as
were best qualified to do so.  This probably was meant to specify the
second Prayer-Book of King Edward VI., yet as Dr. Laing remarks, and
the reasoning of Dr. McCrie on the subject tends to confirm his
statement, "the adoption of that book could only have been to a partial
extent, and of no long continuance."  He proceeds thus: "But this,
after all, is a question of very little importance, although it has
been keenly disputed, for it is well to remember that at this period
there were no settled parish churches, and as there were no special
congregations either in Edinburgh or in any of the principal towns
throughout the country, no ministers had been appointed.  The lords of
the congregation and their adherents were much too seriously concerned
in defending themselves from the Queen Regent and her French
auxiliaries, and more intent for that purpose on obtaining the
necessary aid from England, than to be at all concerned about points of
ritual importance.  In the following year, when the French troops were
expelled from Scotland, and the Protestant cause was ultimately
triumphant, we may conjecture that, in some measure swayed by the
avowed dislike of Knox to the English service book, the preference was
given to the forms of Geneva.  We hear at least no more word of the
English Prayer-Book, and {149} in the "Book of Discipline," prepared in
December, 1560, the only form mentioned is "Our Book of Common Order,"
and "The Book of our Common Order, called the Order of Geneva."  There
is also in existence a copy of an edition of that book printed in
Edinburgh in 1562, which shows its actual use at that time.  Afterwards
it was found needful to have it enlarged, and the metrical version of
the Psalms, taken in large proportion from Sternhold and Hopkins, and
accompanied with appropriate tunes, was appended to it.  We cannot go
into all the details of each part of the service here, but will content
ourselves with giving the order which it follows.  It begins with a
confession of faith of considerable extent, but following the lines of
the Apostles' Creed of which it is an expansion; then come sections in
the order in which we name them, and respectively entitled--Of the
Ministers and their Election, Of the Elders and as Touching their
Office and Election; Of the Weekly Assembly of the Ministers, Elders
and Deacons; Of the Interpretation of the Scriptures.  After these
comes the sanctuary service proper, consisting first of a prayer of
confession, of which a choice of one or other of three forms is given,
or perhaps it may have been intended that all three should be used, for
the book is not so explicit here as elsewhere; second, a psalm to a
plain tune sung by the people; third, a prayer by the minister for the
assistance of God's Holy Spirit, for which no form is given, and the
minister is to offer it as the Holy Spirit shall move his heart;
fourth, the {150} sermon; fifth, a prayer for the whole state of
Christ's Church, and for the Queen and her council, and the whole body
of the commonwealth; sixth, the Apostles' Creed; seventh, a psalm sung
by the people; eighth, the Benediction, after one or other of two
forms, to wit, that of Aaron and his sons, or that of the apostle at
the end of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, but in both instances
"us" is substituted for "you;" and so the congregation departeth.  To
this are appended the Genevan form of prayer after sermon; and another
form to be used after sermon, on the week-day appointed for common
prayer; prayers used in the churches of Scotland during the time of
their persecution by the French; the thanksgiving after their
departure; and a prayer for the general assemblies of the Church.  It
will be observed that nothing is here said of the reading of the
Scriptures, but this was not because that was under-valued, but because
the reader, who was in many cases the minister's assistant, had
already, before the commencement of the service proper, attended to
that duty in the hearing of the people.  So far were Knox and his
friends from slurring over that exercise, that in the Book of
Discipline this characteristic passage occurs: "Further, we think it a
thing most expedient and necessary that every church have a Bible in
English, and that the people be commanded to convene to hear the plain
reading or interpretation of the Scriptures as the Church shall
appoint, that by frequent reading this gross ignorance, which in the
{151} accursed papistry hath overflown all, may partly be removed.  We
think it most expedient that the Scriptures be read in order, that is,
that some one book of the Old and the New Testament be begun and
orderly read to the end.  And the same we judge of preaching, where the
minister for the most part remaineth in one place; for this skipping
and divagation from place to place, be it in reading, be it in
preaching, we judge not so profitable to edify the Church, as the
continual following of one text."

The order for baptism follows: the father, or in his absence the
godfather, is to rehearse the articles of his faith (this mention of
the godfather is interesting, and some may be surprised to learn, that
at the baptisms in Geneva of Knox's two sons, who were born there,
Whittingham was godfather to the one and Miles Coverdale to the other);
the minister follows with an exposition of the Creed; after that comes
a prayer; then the minister taketh water in his hand, layeth it on the
child's forehead, repeating the words of the formula of baptism, and
closes with an offering of thanks.  The Book of Discipline had already
disallowed the sign of the cross, all anointings, and the like.  This
is followed by "the manner of the Lord's Supper," into which we need
not go, as that has been already described.  Then there is a single
sentence on burial, discouraging services at the grave; but after
burial "the minister, if he be present and required, goeth to the
church if it be not far off, and maketh some comfortable exhortation to
the {152} people touching death and resurrection."  The book concludes
with "The Order of Ecclesiastical Discipline," pointing out the three
causes of discipline--the two kinds of discipline private and public,
and the like.  There is in it no form for marriage; but that could be
supplied from the "Order of Geneva," which in this respect follows the
lines of other ecclesiastical books.

This "Book of Common Order" has often been called "John Knox's
Liturgy," and within due limitations it is not inaccurately so
denominated; but the term is apt to be misleading, and it needs to be
added that the forms contained in it are not prescribed for constant
and exclusive use, but are given more in the way of a directory to
ministers as to the conduct of the service.  The "Readers" of course
were restricted to them; but ministers were left free to use them or
not at their discretion.  Thus we find in what we may call the
"rubrics" such expressions as these: "When the congregation is
assembled at the hour appointed, the minister useth one of these two
confessions, _or like in effect_;" "the minister after the sermon useth
this prayer following, or _such like_."  Similar liberty is given as to
the prayers in the forms for baptism and the Lord's Supper; and at the
end of the form for the service on the Sunday we have this general
statement: "It shall not be necessary for the minister daily to repeat
all these things before mentioned; but beginning with some manner of
confession, to proceed to the sermon, which ended, he useth either the
prayer for all estates before mentioned, or else {153} prayeth as the
Spirit of God shall move his heart, framing the same according to the
time and manner which he hath entreated of."  Thus the position of the
book, as concerns the debate between liturgy proper and free prayer, is
one of liberty, furnishing forms to those who wished to use them, and
leaving those who did not to pray as the Spirit moved them; but showing
to both alike what order was to be observed in the service as a whole,
what subjects were to be introduced into the prayers, and in what order
and connection they were to be brought into them.  It ought to be noted
also that this book gave a great impulse to congregational singing of
psalms, which was adopted instead of that of choral anthems; and the
fashion now so universal, of printing the tunes in connection with the
Psalms, was followed, if not indeed introduced, so far as Scotland is
concerned by it.  But though Knox had undoubtedly a hand in the
preparation and sanction of this so-called Liturgy, Dr. Laing has
unqualifiedly affirmed "that in no instance do we find himself using
set forms of prayer."  The importance of the subject in itself, and the
general interest now felt in it by most of the Presbyterian and
Congregational Churches alike in Great Britain and America, must be our
apology for going so fully into this interesting history, and for
setting, as far as we may, the exact truth about it before the reader.

But we must now resume the thread of our narrative.  The Book of
Discipline never was so ratified as to become the law of the land.  Its
general outlines, {154} indeed, were followed in the organization of
the Church; but though it received the signatures of many members of
the Privy Council, it was bitterly opposed by others--by some because
they were unwilling to disgorge the share of the Church's patrimony of
which they had taken possession, and by others because of their
aversion to the strict moral _surveillance_ to which it would have
subjected them.  Knox puts the matter in a nutshell when he says:
"Everything that impugned to their corrupt affections was called in
their mockage a 'devout imagination.'  The cause we have already
declared: some were licentious; some had greedily gripped to the
possessions of the Kirk; and others thought that they would not lack
their part of Christ's coat, and that before ever He was hanged, as by
the preachers they were oft rebuked."  The final arrangement of the
temporalities was made later, when the ecclesiastical revenues were
divided into three parts, two of which were given to the ejected popish
clergy for their lives; and the other was divided between the court and
the Protestant ministers.

As to the conduct of public worship the General Assembly of the Church
passed an Act in December, 1562, which enacted that "one uniform order
shall be taken in the administration of the sacraments, solemnization
of marriages, and burial of the dead, according to the Book of Geneva";
and in December, 1564, it was ordained by the same body "that minister,
exhorter, and reader shall have one of the psalm books lately printed
in Edinburgh and use the order contained {155} therein, in prayers,
marriage, and ministration of the sacraments."

In the latter part of 1560 Knox entered upon his ministry in Edinburgh,
with the Cathedral of St. Giles as his parish church, and John Cairns
as his assistant or reader.  The city council provided for his lodging
a house at the Netherbow Port, which had been that of the Abbot of
Dunfermline, and which is now the property of the Free Church of
Scotland, by whom it is preserved as a memorial of the Reformer.  The
council assigned him at first a stipend of £200, besides discharging
his house rent.  After the settlement by the Privy Council above
alluded to, he received at least a part of his stipend from the common
fund of the ministers--for there was an "equal dividend" of the portion
given to the Protestant clergy--and the city council added to that what
was necessary to bring it up to the sum originally given.  An
interesting illustration of their care for his comfort is furnished in
the Act of council of date 30th October, 1561, which runs thus: "The
same day the provost, bailies, and council ordains the Dean of Guild
with all diligence to make a warm study of deals to the minister John
Knox, within his house above the hall of the same, with light and
windows thereunto, and all other necessaries."  But before that time a
dark shadow had fallen upon his dwelling, for toward the end of
December, 1560, his wife died, leaving him with his two boys to mourn
her loss.

Public affairs just then also had a threatening aspect.  {156} Mary and
her husband, the King of France, persistently refused either to ratify
the Treaty of Leith, or to confirm the settlement of the Reformed
Church, and were preparing a French army for the invasion of Scotland;
while agents of the Roman Catholic Church were sent over to rally the
adherents of the old faith.  But "man proposes and God disposes," for
before the projected invasion could be carried out Francis II. died (on
December 5th, 1560), and Lord James Stuart was sent by a convention of
the nobility to France, not, as some have alleged, to invite Mary to
Scotland, but as Lord James himself wrote to Cecil, "for declaration of
our duty and devotion to her highness."  Before his departure he
was--we quote from Knox's "History"'--"plainly premonished that if ever
he condescended that she should have mass publicly or privately said
within the realm of Scotland, that then betrayed he the cause of God,
and exposed the religion even to the uttermost danger that he could do.
That she should have mass publicly, he affirmed that he never should
consent, but to have it secretly in her chamber, who could stop her?
The danger was shown, and so he departed."  He left Edinburgh on the
18th of March, and on the 19th of August, 1561, Mary arrived in
Scotland, where she was received with every demonstration of
enthusiastic welcome.




Beautiful in person, attractive in manner, able, acute, brilliant even,
in intellect, Mary Stuart had many qualities which might have been
turned to good account for the welfare of her country.  But, brought up
in a French court, her moral code was neither of the highest nor the
purest; educated under the supervision of her uncles of Lorraine, she
was taught to believe that the one great object of her life was to
advance the interests of the Roman Catholic Church; and sister-in-law
to him whose name is for ever blackened by the massacre of St.
Bartholomew, she was not likely to be over scrupulous as to the means
which she would employ to gain her end.  So far as she had shaped a
policy to herself, when she came to Scotland, it would seem to have
been to temporize with the Protestants, until she had time either to
fascinate them by the spell of her personal magnetism or to crush them
by her power; then to make the throne of Scotland a stepping-stone to
that of England, to which she claimed to be the lawful heir, and so to
bring that realm also back {158} to its allegiance to the Pope.  This
made her and Elizabeth implacable enemies.  They were neighbours; they
were cousins; they were queens, these two, and the struggle between
them was to the death.  One or other must go down.  Each played a deep
and deceitful game, but Elizabeth was moved by ambition for herself,
while Mary was devoted to a cause, and so it is that as she lays her
head upon the block at Fotheringay it is encircled with the halo of a
kind of martyrdom, and the eye of the sternest judge is for the moment
blinded to the guilt of her life by the tear of pity which dims it as
he looks upon the manner of its close.

Knox and she from the very first seem to have singled each other out
for a conflict hand to hand.  He saw that everything which he counted
dear depended on the manner in which she was dealt with; and she
perceived that he was the moving spirit in that religious revolt which
it was her mission to put down.  He feared the effect of her
blandishments upon others, and she recognised the magnitude of his
influence upon the people.  He saw that if she could be baffled in her
efforts to re-establish popery in the land, the victory would be
finally won; and she felt that so long as he had the opportunity of
swaying the multitude by the fervour of his eloquence, there was no
hope of gaining the end on which her heart was fixed.  He was afraid of
the effect of what his friend Campbell of Kingzeancleugh called "the
sprinkling of the holy water of the court" upon the less reliable of
his adherents; and she feared the fervour of {159} his prayers to God,
and the power of his appeals to his fellow-men.  So there came to be
for some time a kind of duel between them, and the issue was at last a
victory for Knox.  We need not approve unqualifiedly of everything
which he did or said in the course of the struggle, yet we must rejoice
in the result, for Knox "builded better than he knew," and secured, not
immediately but ultimately, the triumph of a larger liberty than that
which he at the time believed in; while she was the representative of
absolute power, and of a feudalism which looked upon the common people
as existing for her convenience and aggrandisement rather than upon
herself as the servant of the state.  "What are you in this
commonwealth?" was her haughty question to him on one occasion.  "A
subject born within the same," was his ever-memorable answer, and the
outcome of it has been that now in the land he loved the sovereign is
for the subjects, and not the subjects for the sovereign; it is a
little difference verbally, but in reality the gulf between the two is
that which divides freedom from slavery.

The first collision between them occurred a few days after her landing.
Naturally enough, as some may think, she gave orders for the
celebration of a solemn mass in the chapel of Holyrood on the first
Sabbath after her arrival.  She knew of the law passed by the
Parliament in 1560; she had probably heard from Lord James Stuart the
warning which had been given to him when he went to France, and
therefore this act on her {160} part was a virtual throwing down of the
gauge of battle at the feet of the Protestants.  And thus they
themselves interpreted it.  Some may imagine that they attached undue
importance to it; yet as Protestantism is still insisted on as a _sine
quâ non_ to succession to the British throne, those who approve the
continuance of the Revolution settlement cannot consistently condemn
them.  Moreover, it is not to be forgotten that to the Reformers the
mass was more than even an idolatrous service.  It was a sign of many
other things: thumbscrews, racks, galley chains, gibbets and the like,
which were inseparably connected with papal supremacy, and in truth, as
one has said, "A man sent to row in French galleys and such like for
teaching the truth in his own land, cannot always be in the mildest
humour."  When therefore her purpose became known, great excitement was
created among the Protestants, and some spoke of preventing her by
force from carrying it out; but Knox used his influence in private,
against such a proposal.  On the following Sunday, however, from his
pulpit he showed his sense of the gravity of the crisis, when, after
exposing the idolatry that was in the mass, he alleged that "one mass
was more fearful unto him than if ten thousand armed enemies were
landed in any part of our realm of purpose to suppress the whole
religion."  Hearing of this outburst Mary sent for him to the palace,
whether of her own motive or at the suggestion of others is not known,
and he had then, in the presence of Lord James Stuart, the first of
{161} those interviews which have been so harped upon by his
vituperators.  We must refer our readers for the details to Knox's own
account in his "History," which has been little more than simply
modernised by McCrie, and must content ourselves with a mere summary of
what occurred.  She began by attacking him for the writing of the
"First Blast," and after he had vindicated himself as best he could for
that, she charged him with having taught the people to receive a
religion different from that which was allowed by their princes.  This
brought out his views as to the limits of obedience to civil rulers,
and on her interpreting his words to mean that her subjects should obey
him and not her, he vehemently repudiated that misapprehension, and
alleged that both rulers and subjects should obey God, and that kings
should be foster-fathers, and queens nursing-mothers to His Church.
That elicited the question from her which is the Church of God? and for
answer thereto he referred her to the Scriptures.  This in its turn
raised the inquiry whose interpretation of Scripture was to be
accepted? which he answered by laying down the duty of private judgment
and of the comparing of one part of Scripture with another.  At length
she very humbly remarked that she was not able to contend with him, but
that if she had those present with her whom she had heard they could
answer him, and he expressed his readiness to meet before her in
argument "the learnedest papist in Europe."  To this she somewhat
tartly retorted, "You may perchance get that sooner {162} than you
believe," and he replied a little sarcastically to the effect that if
he ever got it, then indeed it would be sooner than he believed.  He
took his leave in this courtly yet scriptural fashion, "Madame, I pray
God that you may be as blessed within the commonwealth of Scotland as
ever Deborah was in the commonwealth of Israel."

Thus for the first time they measured their strength, and the result
was, in common speech, a draw.  Mary found that Knox was made of more
unyielding stuff than those whom heretofore she had been in the habit
of meeting; and John formed an estimate of Mary's ability which his
subsequent experience only served to confirm.  It was to be no child's
play between them.  He could not afford to give so subtle and ready an
adversary the least advantage.  Writing to Cecil after this interview
he says, "The Queen neither is, neither shall be of our opinion, and in
very deed her whole proceedings do declare that the cardinal's lessons
are so deeply printed in her heart that the substance and the quality
are like to perish together.  I would be glad to be deceived, but I
fear I shall not.  In communication with her I espied such craft as I
have not found in such age."

Matters went on after this with tolerable quietness for months, and
Knox kept up his stated labours as the minister of Edinburgh.  What
these were seem now to be surprising.  He preached twice every Sunday,
and thrice besides during the week on other days.  He met regularly
once a week with his elders for the oversight of {163} the flock; and
attended weekly the assembly of the ministers, for what was called "the
exercise on the Scriptures."  These stated and constant labours, with
the addition of frequent journeyings by appointment of the General
Assembly to perform in distant parts of the country very much the duty
of a superintendent for the time, were exceedingly exhausting; and the
city council, wishing to relieve him of some of his duties, came (in
April, 1562) to a resolution to call the minister of the Canongate to
undertake the half of his charge; but their object was not accomplished
till June of the following year, when John Craig became his colleague.

Meanwhile the Reformer came again into collision with the court.  In
the beginning of March, 1562, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal
Lorraine made that assault on a peaceable and defenceless congregation
of Huguenots, which is known in French history as the Massacre of
Vassy; and when the report of that was received by Mary, she was so
delighted that she gave in honour of the occasion a splendid ball in
the palace to her foreign servants, by whom dancing was kept up to a
very late hour.  This act of hers was exceedingly painful to Knox, for
he had many warm friends among the Protestants of France, and his heart
was saddened by the tidings of the treatment to which they had been
subjected.  Accordingly he gave vent to his feelings in his pulpit on
the following Sunday, when he preached from the text, "Be wise now, ye
kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth."  After discoursing on
the dignity {164} of magistrates and the obedience which was due to
them, he lamented and condemned the vices to which they were too
commonly addicted, and made some severe strictures on their conduct,
affirming, among other things, "that they were more exercised in
fiddling and flinging, than in reading or hearing God's word," and that
"fiddlers and flatterers" (John was evidently fond of alliteration)
"were more precious in their eyes than men of wisdom and gravity."  The
report of his discourse was carried by some one to Mary; and though he
had made no direct assault upon her, he was summoned on the next day to
the palace.  Introduced to a chamber in which she sat, surrounded by
her maids of honour and principal courtiers, he was treated to a long
"harangue," as he calls it (but it was no doubt a proper scolding), on
the enormity of his conduct.  Very wisely he heard that out without
interruption; then, when his "innings" came, he complained that he had
evidently been misreported to her, and craved leave to repeat to her
precisely what he had said, thus adroitly contriving that for that time
at least she should listen to a sermon.  Beginning with the text, he
went over the main points of his discourse, which, among other things,
had in it this piece of sound sense: "And of dancing, madame, I said
that albeit in Scripture I find no praise of it, and in profane writers
that it is termed the gesture rather of those that are mad and in
frenzy than of sober men; yet do I not utterly condemn it, providing
that two vices be avoided: the former, that the principal {165}
vocation of those that use that exercise be not neglected for the
pleasure of dancing; and the second, that they dance not as the
Philistines their fathers, for the pleasure they take in the
displeasure of God's people."  The accuracy of his rehearsal of his
sermon having been confirmed by those who had heard it when it was
originally given, the Queen said it was bad enough, but admitted that
it had not been so reported to her; and then very naively asked, that
if he heard anything of her that "misliked" him, he would come to
herself and speak of it to her privately.  But Knox believed that
publicity was one great means of securing the vigilance, and through
that the safety, of the people, and therefore he declined to accede to
her request, on the ostensible ground that with the multiplicity of his
labours he had not the time for running about the court and his
congregation individually to deal with them for what he saw amiss.  On
this occasion Knox was the champion of "free speech," and "scored" a
victory, so that he departed "with a reasonable merry countenance;" and
when some of the bystanders said, "He is not afraid," he made reply,
"Why should the pleasing face of a gentle woman affray me?  I have
looked on the faces of many angry men, and yet have not been afraid
above measure," and so he left the Queen and the court for that time.

The Romanists, encouraged by the hope of success, began now to put
forth strenuous exertions, both military and controversial, to recover
their lost ground; but the {166} rising of the Earl of Huntly in the
north was put down by the vigour of Lord James Stuart, who was now
known as the Earl of Murray; and the success of the abbot of
Crossraguel, in debate with Knox, was not such as to encourage others
to follow in his footsteps.  That dignitary, in his chapel in
Kirkoswald, had, on August 30th, 1562, read a series of articles on the
mass and kindred subjects, which he offered to defend against all
comers; and on the following Sunday Knox, who happened to be in the
neighbourhood and heard of the challenge, came to the church to meet
him.  But though he had courteously intimated to the abbot that he
would be present, that dignitary did not put in an appearance, and Knox
himself preached in the chapel.  At the close of the service a letter
from the abbot was put into his hand; and, after negotiations, they met
on the 28th of September in the house of the provost of Maybole, where
forty persons on each side were admitted as witnesses.  The debate
lasted for three days, and strangely enough was made by the abbot to
turn mainly on the significance of the act of Melchizedek in bringing
forth bread and wine when he went out to meet Abraham returning from
his victories over the five kings, which Knox averred "appertained
nothing to the purpose."  At the end of the third day Knox, on the
ground of the scanty accommodation at Maybole, proposed that they
should adjourn to Ayr to finish the discussion; but this was declined
by the abbot, who promised to come to Edinburgh and resume it there if
the Queen would permit.  {167} But he never came to the metropolis,
though Knox alleges that he himself had applied to the Privy Council
for the necessary permission.  As usual in such cases, the victory was
claimed for each by his own partisans; but to counteract the false
reports that were circulated, Knox prepared and published the curious
tract, purporting to be an accurate account of the debate, which Dr.
Laing has reprinted in the sixth volume of the Reformer's works; and
though the discussion itself was on an entirely irrelevant issue, Knox
dealt with the very heart of the question in the prologue of his
pamphlet, which is written in his most vigorous and trenchant style.
One extract will show how sarcastic he could sometimes be, and with
what grim humour he could occasionally treat even the most sacred
subjects.  He has been comparing the making of the "wafer-god" to that
of the idols so witheringly described by Isaiah in the 40th and 41st
chapters of his prophecies, and then proceeds as follows: "These are
the artificers and workmen that travail in making of this god, I think
as many in number as the prophet reciteth to have travailed in making
of the idols; and if the power of both shall be compared, I think they
shall be found in all things equal, except that the god of bread is
subject unto more dangers than were the idols of the Gentiles.  Men
made them: men make it.  They were deaf and dumb: it cannot speak,
hear, or see.  Briefly, in infirmity they wholly agree, except that (as
I have said) the poor god of bread is most miserable of all other
idols; for according to their {168} matter whereof they are made, they
will remain without corruption for many years; but within one year that
god will putrefy, and then he must be burned.  They can abide the
vehemency of the wind, frost, rain, or snow; but the wind will blow
that god to sea, the rain or the snow will make it dough again; yea,
which is most of all to be feared, that god is a prey (if he be not
well kept) to rats and mice; for they will desire no better dinner than
white round gods enow.  But, oh then, what becometh of Christ's natural
body?  By miracle it flies to heaven again, if the papists teach truly;
for how soon soever the mouse takes hold, so soon flieth Christ away,
and letteth her gnaw the bread.  A bold and puissant mouse! but a
feeble and miserable god!  Yet would I ask a question: 'Whether hath
the priest or the mouse greater power?'  By his words it is made a god;
by her teeth it ceaseth to be a god: let them advise and answer."
Truly there is a ring of honest old Hugh Latimer in all this; and if
there were many such passages in Knox's sermons, it is not difficult to
explain how it was that "the common people heard him gladly."

In the May of the following year (1563), Knox was sent for by Mary to
Loch Leven, where she was at the time residing, and treated to another
"interview," in which she endeavoured to induce him to use his
influence to put a stop to the prosecution of certain parties for their
celebration or countenancing of the mass.  But nothing of importance
resulted, though from his own showing it is apparent that on this
occasion he was very {169} nearly thrown off his guard by the skill of
her acting and the "glamour" of her presence.

In this same month Parliament met for the first time since Mary's
arrival in Scotland, and Knox confidently expected that the Treaty of
Leith would be ratified, and the establishment of religion by the
Parliament of 1560 would be put beyond all question by its action.  But
he was doomed to disappointment.  The "holy water of the court" had not
been without effect; the Protestant leaders had slackened in their
enthusiasm, and what he regarded as a great opportunity was lost.  He
expostulated with many of the principal men of the party on the
subject, but his efforts were in vain; and the "contention" between him
and Murray over it was "so sharp" that there was a breach of friendship
between them which lasted for more than a year.  The effect of all this
upon him was exceeding depressing; and on a Sunday before the
dissolution of Parliament he took occasion to unburden his soul to his
congregation.  He expressed his sadness at the thought that those who
had in their hands the opportunity to establish God's cause had
actually betrayed it; he affirmed that the Parliament by which the
Protestant Confession was adopted and the Church reformed was as free
and lawful as any ever held in Scotland; and as reports of the Queen's
marriage were now in circulation, he warned them of the consequences
that would ensue if she should marry a papist.  His words gave great
offence to many Protestants as well as Romanists; and when the Queen
heard of them {170} he was again summoned into her presence.  This was
the occasion on which the much talked of "tears" were so plentifully
shed, and therefore we may reproduce the account of it given by McCrie,
which is itself only a condensation into the language of to-day of the
narrative given by Knox in his History.

"Her Majesty received him in a very different manner from what she had
done at Loch Leven.  Never had prince been handled (she passionately
exclaimed) as she was: she had borne with him in all his rigorous
speeches against herself and her uncles; she had offered unto him
audience whenever he pleased to admonish her.  'And yet,' said she, 'I
cannot be quit of you.  I vow to God I shall be once revenged.'  On
pronouncing these words with great violence she burst into a flood of
tears which interrupted her speech.  When the Queen had composed
herself, he proceeded calmly to make his defence.  Her grace and he had
(he said) at different times been engaged in controversy, and he never
before perceived her offended with him.  When it should please God to
deliver her from the bondage of error in which she had been trained,
through want of instruction in the truth, he trusted that her Majesty
would not find the liberty of his tongue offensive.  Out of the pulpit,
he thought, few had occasion to be offended with him; but there he was
not master of himself, but bound to obey Him who commanded him to speak
plainly, and to flatter no flesh on the face of the earth.

"'But what have you do with my marriage?' said the {171} Queen.  He was
proceeding to state the extent of his commission as a preacher, and the
reasons which led him to touch on that delicate subject; but she
interrupted him by repeating her question: 'What have ye to do with my
marriage?  Or what are you in this commonwealth?'  'A subject born
within the same, madame,' replied the Reformer, piqued by the last
question, and the contemptuous tone in which it was proposed.  'And
albeit I be neither earl, lord, nor baron in it, yet has God made me
(how abject that ever I be in your eyes) a profitable member within the
same.  Yea, madame, to me it appertains no less to forewarn of such
things as may hurt it, if I foresee them, than it doth to any of the
nobility; for both my vocation and conscience requires plainness of me.
And therefore, madame, to yourself I say that which I spake in public
place: whensoever the nobility of this realm shall consent that ye be
subject to an unfaithful husband, they do as much as in them lieth to
renounce Christ, to banish His truth from them, to betray the freedom
of this realm, and perchance shall in the end do small comfort to
yourself.'  At these words the Queen began again to weep and sob with
great bitterness.  The superintendent (Erskine of Dun, who was
present), who was a man of mild and gentle spirit, tried to mitigate
her grief and resentment: he praised her beauty and her
accomplishments, and told her that there was not a prince in Europe who
would not reckon himself happy in gaining her hand.  During this scene,
the severe and inflexible mind of the Reformer displayed {172} itself.
He continued silent, and with unaltered countenance, until the Queen
had given vent to her feelings.  He then protested that he never took
delight in the distress of any creature; it was with great difficulty
that he could see his own boys weep when he corrected them for their
faults, far less could he rejoice in her Majesty's tears; but seeing he
had given her no just reason of offence, and had only discharged his
duty, he was constrained, though unwillingly, to sustain her tears,
rather than hurt his conscience and betray the commonwealth through his

"This apology inflamed the Queen still more: she ordered him
immediately to leave her presence, and wait the signification of her
pleasure in the adjoining room.  There he stood as 'one whom men had
never seen'; all his friends (Lord Ochiltree excepted) being afraid to
show him the smallest countenance.  In this situation he addressed
himself to the court ladies, who sat in their richest dress in the
chamber.  'O fair ladies, how pleasing were this life of yours, if it
should ever abide, and then, in the end, that we might pass to heaven
with all this gay gear!  But fie upon that knave Death, that will come
whether we will or not!'  Having engaged them in a conversation, he
passed the time till Erskine came and informed him that he was allowed
to go home until her Majesty had taken further advice.  The Queen
insisted to have the judgment of the Lords of Articles, whether the
words he had used in the pulpit were not actionable; but she was
persuaded to desist from a {173} prosecution.  'And so that storm
quieted in appearance, but never in the heart.'"[1]

At this time, when many of his friends were cold toward him, an effort
was made by some of his enemies to blacken his moral character by
accusing him of a vile offence, but the lie had nothing in it to make
it formidable.  It was "a lie that was all a lie," and so it could be
"met and fought with outright."  The vindication was so complete that
now very few remember that the allegation was ever made, and we refer
to it here only to show that he too was made an illustration of the
poet's words: "Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt
not escape calumny."

Much more serious was the attempt made about this same time to convict
him of high treason.  During the absence of Mary in Stirling, and on
the day of the observance of the communion in the Protestant churches,
her servants at Holyrood had taken measures for having the mass
celebrated with more than usual publicity and splendour.  The result
was a scene of confusion and "brawling," almost indeed of riot, which
was caused by the interference of some Protestants who were present.
Two of these were afterwards indicted for their offence, which was
called in the technical language of the country and the time,
"forethought felony, hame-sucken, and invasion of the palace."  Knox
had been empowered by a general commission from the Church to ask the
presence of the Protestant leaders in Edinburgh for {174} consultation
and assistance in any emergency which in his judgment might require the
same; and believing that the prosecution of these men might issue in
very serious consequences, he drew up under the advice of the friends
with whom he usually acted a circular letter, which he sent to the
principal gentlemen of the "congregation," stating the circumstances,
and asking them without fail to come to Edinburgh for the trial.  A
copy of this letter found its way into the hands of Mary, who laid it
before the Privy Council, by whom it was pronounced to be treasonable.
The Queen was exultant.  Now was her opportunity, and she resolved to
turn it to the best advantage.  An extraordinary meeting of the
councillors and other noblemen was convened to be held at Edinburgh
about the middle of December, 1563, to try the cause.  Some urged Knox
to acknowledge that he had done wrong, and cast himself on the Queen's
mercy, but that he absolutely refused to do, because he did not believe
that he had committed an offence; and when Secretary Maitland and
Murray called upon him, and somewhat ungenerously sought to get out of
him the nature of the defence which he meant to set up, he very wisely
put an end to the conversation with them, and resolved to keep his own
counsel until he was actually called to vindicate his conduct.

When the day came, he stood forth as the champion of the liberty of
assembly, as before he had appeared in vindication of free speech; and
so admirably did he plead his cause that he was acquitted, if not
unanimously {175} at least _nem. con._, of the charge which had been
brought against him.

Much has been said of the bearing of Knox towards Queen Mary, and said,
as we believe, most unjustly, for though he felt himself constrained to
oppose her course, and would not yield to her wishes, yet he was never
rude, or irreverent, or ungentlemanly.  As Carlyle says, "he was never
in the least ill-tempered with her Majesty;" and most of those who
accuse him in this matter, we shrewdly suspect, have never read the
accounts of his interviews with her, but have simply accepted the
common babblement which has been so long current regarding them.  No
candid student of the rehearsal of these interviews in Knox's History,
we are sure, could refuse to endorse the accuracy of Carlyle's
statement of the case when he says "Mary often enough bursts into
tears, oftener than once into passionate long continued fits of
weeping, Knox standing with mild and pitying visage, but without the
least hair's-breadth of recanting or recoiling, waiting till the fit
pass, and then with all softness but with all inexorability taking up
his theme again."

But while Knox's manner toward her Majesty has been most
microscopically examined, very little attention has been given to
Mary's manner toward Knox; and on this particular occasion, in the
presence of the council and the nobles, sitting too as a kind of court
before which he was on trial for high treason, it was flippant and
unmannerly in the extreme, and was besides entirely {176} incompatible
with the presence in her of a judicial spirit.  When she entered the
chamber and took her seat, she first smiled, and then burst into a loud
guffaw, saying, "This is a good beginning, but wot you whereat I laugh?
That man made me weep, and shed never a tear himself.  I will see now
if I can make him weep."  Then after his letter had been read, and he
was defending himself, she cried, "What is this?  Methinks you trifle
with him.  Who gave him authority to make convocation of my lieges?  Is
not that treason?"  There spake the despot, for beneath the velvet of
her glove there was always a hand of iron; but she touched a chord that
vibrated to a note which she had not thought to sound when she used
these words, for Ruthven said boldly and categorically, "No, madame!"
The gruff nobleman was immediately commanded by her Majesty to "hold
his peace," and Knox went on with his defence in such a way that he
successfully vindicated his right to call and hold a meeting of his
friends for any lawful purpose when and where he chose.  He was next
questioned about the statement in his letter to the effect that he
feared the prosecution of these men would open a door for the
infliction of cruelty upon a greater number; and as he was proceeding
to enlarge upon the deeds of the papists in France, and denouncing
those who had done them, he was interrupted by the ejaculation of one
of the nobles, "You forget yourself; you are not in the pulpit."  This
called forth the often quoted words, "I am in the place where I am
demanded of my {177} conscience to speak the truth; and, therefore, the
truth I speak; impugn it who so list."  The Queen now felt that a
defeat was imminent, and as a last resort, she tried to work on the
sympathy of her lords by referring once more, but this time in another
fashion, to the fact that Knox had made her weep.  That, however, only
gave him an opportunity of rehearsing all that had occurred on the
occasion to which she had referred, and thereby made his victory the
more sure.  But what is to be said of her conduct throughout on this
trial?  "Heard you ever, my lords, a more despiteful and treasonable
letter?"  "You shall not escape so."  "Is it not treason to accuse a
prince of cruelty?"  "Lo! what say you to all that?"  These are a few
of her expressions when she was sitting as a judge, and with these, and
others already quoted, before us, is it not idle to speak of justice,
far less of mannerliness or gentlewomanliness in the case?
Ungentlemanliness is bad enough,--though even of that we maintain that
there was nothing in Knox's treatment of his queen,--but to seek to
overbear a court as Mary did at this time, by the manifestation of her
eagerness to have the accused condemned, either by fair means or foul,
is infinitely worse.  The spirit of Mary here was that of Jeffreys long
after.  It was indeed far from being so coarsely and brutally
expressed, but it is worthy of all reprobation, and in view of the
facts which we have here presented, it is little wonder that Hume, in
writing to the historian Robertson, should have said, "I am afraid that
you, as well as myself, have drawn Mary's character {178} with too
great softenings.  She was undoubtedly _a violent woman at all times_."
But he never altered his representation in his work, and to him,
perhaps, more than to all others, the prevalent misconception of our
Reformer's character, manner, and motives is to be traced.

The result of this trial was announced by Secretary Maitland, when he
said to Knox that he was at liberty to return home for that night.  But
though his voice was smooth, his soul was full of wrath, and Mary's
mortification vented itself in taunting the very man who had given her
the letter, for voting for the acquittal of him who wrote it.  Thus
again the Reformer triumphed, and it is with a glow of satisfaction
akin to that with which Nehemiah recounts his escape from Sanballat,
that he finishes the record thus: "That night was neither dancing nor
fiddling in the court, for madame was disappointed of her purpose,
which was to have had John Knox in her will, by vote of her nobility."

[1] McCrie's "Works," vol. i. pp. 206-8.




In the month of March, 1564, Knox, who had been a widower for now
rather more than three years, was united in marriage to Margaret
Stewart, daughter of Lord Ochiltree, and the room in the old baronial
residence where the ceremony was performed is still pointed out to
visitors.  Despite their dissimilarity in age, the union seems to have
been a very happy one, and such as brightened the last days of the
Reformer's home life.  This year passed with little to make it
memorable save a long discussion between Knox and Secretary Maitland,
which originated in an attempt to restrain the freedom of the
Reformer's utterances on public questions in the pulpit, and wandered
over a great variety of topics, touching, among others, the duties of
magistrates and their subjects, but led to no immediate practical
result.  The calm, however, was not of long continuance, for we come
now to those troublous times and dark doings which have made the reign
of Mary Queen of Scots the great debating ground of modern history.
She determined to marry Lord {180} Henry Darnley, the son of the Earl
of Lennox, a Catholic and an empty-headed fool.  The knowledge of her
purpose provoked the project of an insurrection among some of her
nobles, who were headed by the Earl of Murray; but though they had the
promise of assistance from Elizabeth, she failed them when it came to
the point, and the result was that all who had been concerned in it
were proclaimed as outlaws and banished from the kingdom.  In this
affair Knox took no part whatever, though Lord Ochiltree, his
father-in-law, was implicated in it, and was one of the exiles.  But
though he did not compromise himself by proposing to join in the
meditated appeal to arms, he was as strongly opposed to Mary's marriage
as any of them, and as was his wont he liberated his conscience in the
pulpit, but it was not until after the nuptials had been consummated
that his words were especially regarded.  The marriage was celebrated
on the 29th of July, 1565, and on the 19th of August, Darnley, for some
reason, chose to attend the public services in St. Giles' Cathedral,
where a great throne had been prepared for his reception.  Whether Knox
had received any intimation of his intention to be present we are
unable to say, but in his sermon there were two things which gave great
offence to this prominent hearer.  The first was his quotation of the
passage, "I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall
rule over them; children are their oppressors, and women rule over
them"; and the second, his declaration that "God had punished Ahab
because {181} he did not correct his idolatrous wife Jezebel."  Darnley
believed that these words were meant for him, and went home in the
sulks, making his likeness to Ahab only the more striking by refusing
to eat his dinner.  The preacher was immediately summoned before the
Privy Council, by whom he was told that he must desist from preaching
as long as their majesties were in the city.  For his own exoneration
Knox printed the sermon for the preaching of which he was thus
condemned, and it remains the only specimen of his pulpit work proper
which has come down to us.  It is founded on Isaiah xxvi. 13-21, and is
of the nature of an expository discourse, bringing out the primary
signification and reference of the words, and making application of the
principles evolved by that process to the characters and circumstances
of his hearers.  It gives evidence of considerable scholarship, of
immense familiarity with Scripture, of good acquaintance with ancient
history, and of great fervour of spirit.  It is neither a hasty nor ill
digested production, and it impresses us a good deal more by its
solidity than by its invective.  Indeed, there are in it no passages
that one could put into comparison for that with others which have been
already mentioned by us; and it is a little difficult for the modern
reader to wed in his imagination a style so calm and weighty as that
which he finds here, with a manner so vehement as the Reformer's is
usually described to have been.  But no printer can reproduce the man,
or the surroundings; here are the wood and the lamb indeed; but in
these {182} others were the fire--from heaven too in a sense--which
flamed forth with its energizing and consuming power, and made his
discourse a thing of might.  Such difference as there is between a
bugle, and a bugle blown by a living martial musician, there is between
a printed sermon and the same discourse preached by its author with the
glow of spiritual enthusiasm in his heart and on his face.  The one is
a thing of curious study to the professional man, the other is a
trumpet call which puts heart and heroism into hundreds in a moment.

Knox showed his law-abiding spirit by obeying the injunction of the
authorities.  His biographer, indeed, says that "it does not appear
that he continued any time suspended from preaching," but Dr. Laing
believes that he did not resume his usual ministrations at Edinburgh,
unless at occasional intervals, until after Queen Mary had been
deprived of her authority.  He was not idle, however, in those months,
for he was employed not only in the preparation of his "History of the
Reformation in Scotland," but also in the visitation of churches in the
south of Scotland, and in a journey into England, specially undertaken
to look after his two boys whom he had sent thither for education.

In this interval occurred the murder of David Rizzio, on the 9th March,
1566, in the palace of Holyrood.  That wretched man was an Italian
adventurer, whose knowledge of foreign languages made him useful to
Mary in her correspondence with the other members of the
Anti-Protestant League to which she belonged.  {183} His acquaintance
with her political designs thence derived opened the way for his
becoming one of the most confidential of her advisers.  That roused
against him the enmity of the Scottish nobles, and Darnley became
jealous of his intimacy with the Queen; so with his assistance and
approval David was foully slain almost before the eyes of his mistress.
Attempts have been made to implicate Knox with this affair, but though
he does not conceal his satisfaction at David's "removal," he was in no
wise accessory to his death.  The very next day after this tragedy the
exiled lords returned to Edinburgh, and then followed thick and fast
upon each other events of great and lasting importance to the land.
These were the birth of James VI. on the 19th of June, 1566; the murder
of Darnley, on the night between the 9th and 10th of February, 1567, a
deed which was planned and carried out by Bothwell and his agents, not
without dark grounds for the suspicion, to say the very least, that he
and they were acting with the knowledge and consent of Mary herself;
the marriage on the 15th May, 1567, of Mary to Bothwell, that
black-hearted villain who was the evil genius of her life; the
surrender of Mary to the opposing Lords at Carberry Hill on the 15th of
June; the imprisonment of Mary in Loch Leven Castle, where, on the 24th
of July, she signed a deed abdicating the crown in favour of her infant
son, and appointing Murray regent during his minority; the escape of
Mary from her place of confinement on the 2nd of May, 1568; and the
defeat on May 13th of her {184} forces at Langside, whence she fled to
seek from Elizabeth refuge in England, with the Fotheringay block as
the ultimate result.  For full details regarding all of these we must
refer our readers to the Scottish histories, and we content ourselves
with mentioning them thus in a group in order that we may carry in our
hands the clue for the intelligent following out of our Reformer's

When the infant James was crowned in the parish church of Stirling, on
the 29th of July, 1567, the sermon on the occasion was preached by
Knox, though he objected to perform the ceremony of anointing, which
accordingly was done by another.  In the month of December following he
preached at the opening of Parliament, and had the satisfaction of
seeing an Act passed which ratified all that had been done in the way
of Reformation by the Parliament of 1560; while an additional statute
was now made providing that no prince should afterwards be admitted to
exercise authority in the kingdom without taking an oath to maintain
the Protestant religion.

During the regency of Murray everything went well, but his
assassination (what terrible times these were!) at Linlithgow, by
Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, on the 23rd of January, 1569, was a terrible
blow to Knox.  Indeed, it may be said that he was never quite the same
man afterwards.  Knox and Murray loved and trusted each other
thoroughly--perhaps all the more from the additional insight into each
other's hearts {185} which their temporary estrangement gave them, and
when the Regent was stricken down the Reformer felt as if his chief
human helper had been taken from him.  Murray was a genuine patriot,
and in the main a sincere and noble man.  He had his faults, and on
exceptional occasions like that described by Froude,[1] when he was
made the tool of Elizabeth, he was constrained to be, at least by his
silence, a party to deceit which in his heart he abhorred; but that
historian has not hesitated to call him "a noble gentleman of stainless
honour,"[2] and to affirm that "his noble nature had no taint of self
in it";[3] and though Robertson has done his best to belittle him, the
verdict of history we think will settle in the acceptance of
Spottiswood's eulogy: "a man truly good, and worthy to be ranked among
the best governors that this kingdom hath enjoyed, and therefore to
this day honoured with the title of 'the good Regent.'"  On the Sunday
after this irreparable loss, Knox poured out his heart to God before
the congregation in a prayer which showed how deeply the bereavement
had depressed his spirit, and on the day of the funeral he preached a
sermon from the text, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord," in
which he sketched the character and career of his friend with such
effect that three thousand persons were moved to tears by his words.
The blow fell sorely on the country; and it nearly crushed the {186}
Reformer.  The loss preyed upon his spirit and enfeebled his strength,
so that in the month of October following he was stricken with
paralysis or apoplexy, which laid him aside altogether for a season
from his work, and gave warning of the approaching end.  His enemies
exulted over his illness, and could not refrain from congratulating
themselves on the prospect that he would never preach again; but after
some weeks he so far regained his vigour as to resume, in part at
least, those labours in which he had found so much of his joy.
Throughout the winter and the spring he continued to bear testimony
from his pulpit to the principles which he had so long proclaimed, and
to expose and rebuke the evil-doers who were once more at work in the
land.  For though the murder of Murray brought no permanent advantage
to the party of reaction, it brought back again, for a while at least,
the chaos and contentions out of which he had begun to bring order and
peace.  Lennox, as the grandfather of the infant king, was put into the
place of Murray, but within a comparatively brief period he was
mortally wounded in an assault made upon the adherents of the king at
Stirling, by a force led by Huntly in the interests of Mary, and
Erskine of Mar was chosen as his successor.  This was in September,
1571.  Meanwhile Kirkaldy, of Grange, who had been appointed governor
of the Castle of Edinburgh by Murray, had turned his back upon the
professions and promise of his life, by avowing himself a partisan of
the Queen.  He held that fortress for her {187} behoof, and gave its
protection to Secretary Maitland, who was working earnestly in her
cause.  By Maitland's influence Kirkaldy was encouraged in a course
which was exceedingly painful to Knox.  The Laird of Grange and he had
been fellow-sufferers in the French galleys, and to the last the heart
of the Reformer yearned after him.  Yet he could not permit his conduct
as governor of the Castle to go unreproved.  On two occasions, in
particular, he was constrained to take public notice of his doings.
The first was briefly this.  There had been a scuffle in Dunfermline
between a cousin of Kirkaldy and his relatives, and some of the Duries,
a family with whom the Kirkaldys had a feud; and one of the latter
having been seen shortly afterwards in the streets of Edinburgh, was by
Kirkaldy's orders followed to Leith by some of his tools, that they
might chastise him with a cudgel.  But they took the sword instead and
left him dead.  In the attempt to escape, one of the assailants was
arrested and committed to the Tolbooth, but Grange and his men attacked
the building, violently forced it open, and marched off with their
liberated comrade to the Castle, the guns of which they fired, either
in token of triumph or for the purpose of striking terror into the
citizens.  In his sermon on the following Sunday Knox protested against
this interference with the course of justice, using language which
seems to us both temperate and kindly: "Had it been done," he said, "by
the authority of a bloodthirsty man, or one who had no fear of God, he
would not have been so much {188} moved; but he was affected to think
that one, of whom all good men had formed so great expectations, should
have fallen so low as to act such a part, one too who, when formerly in
prison, had refused to purchase his own liberty by the shedding of
blood."  An utter misrepresentation of this statement was carried to
Kirkaldy, who complained to John Craig, the Reformer's colleague, by
whom he was referred to the elders of the Church of which Kirkaldy
still professed to be a member.  Knox himself, as soon as he had the
matter brought before him, denied that he had used the words imputed to
him, and took the first opportunity of correcting the false report, by
repeating and vindicating what he had really said.

The other occasion was that of the appearance shortly after, in the
church, of Kirkaldy, accompanied by a strong armed escort, composed of
those who had been most conspicuous in the recent outrages.  He had not
attended the public services for nearly a year, and Knox looked upon
his presence so surrounded as an attempt to overawe him.  But he was
not the man to be thus intimidated, and so, as his good servant
Ballantyne tells us, he took occasion then and there to inveigh
"against all such as forget God's benefits received, and in treating of
God's great mercies bestowed upon penitents, according to his common
manner, he forewarned proud contemners that God's mercy appertained not
to such as with knowledge proudly transgressed, and after, more proudly
maintained the same."  Kirkaldy was greatly {189} enraged at these
words, and even in the church he gave vent to his anger so loudly as to
be heard by a great part of the congregation.  The report went out in
consequence that he meant to kill the preacher; but Knox held on his
way, dealing defiantly with the anonymous libels that were sent him,
and publicly declaring in words that have become proverbial, that "from
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other inspired writers, he had learned to call a
fig a fig, and a spade a spade."

But when, in 1571, Kirkaldy received the Hamiltons and their forces
into the Castle, the friends of Knox became seriously alarmed for his
safety.  They proposed to form a guard who should constantly accompany
him for his protection; but he would not accept the offer, and even if
he had accepted it Kirkaldy would not have permitted it to be carried
out.  It was according to military etiquette that he should suppress or
prevent all such outrages, and he expressed his willingness to provide
a guard for Knox from the soldiers of his garrison.  He even tried to
get the Hamiltons to guarantee the safety of the Reformer, but they
declared that they could not enter into any such engagement, "because
there were many rascals and others among them who loved him not, who
might do him harm without their knowledge."  One evening a musket was
fired into his window, and had he not been sitting in a place different
from that which he usually occupied, the ball must have struck him, and
would in all probability have mortally wounded him.  After that he
{190} was importuned by his friends to seek a place of safety
elsewhere, but he refused to leave his post until they told him that
they had made up their minds to defend him, if need be, with their
lives, and that if blood was shed they would leave it on his head.
This argument prevailed, and he consented to remove to St. Andrews,
whither he went by easy stages, and where he arrived in the month of
May, 1571.  In his absence his pulpit in St. Giles was filled for a
while by Alexander Gordon, Bishop of Galloway, who pleased the Queen's
party but displeased the vast majority of the Protestants, so that the
Church of Edinburgh was for a time dissolved, while disorder reigned in
the city, and what was virtually a civil war was raging in the country.

[1] "History," vol. vii. pp. 345-7.

[2] Vol. vii. p. 340.

[3] Vol. iii. p. 355.



LAST DAYS, 1570-1572.

At St. Andrews Knox was free from personal danger, and resumed the work
of preaching.  In the pulpit of the parish church he discoursed almost
regularly, with a vigour which triumphed for the time over his physical
weakness.  We have a most graphic portrait of him at this time from the
pen of James Melville who was then a student at the University, and who
writes thus in his diary: (We are constrained to modernize the words
that they may be generally understood by English and American readers,
but we know how much they must lose thereby in expressiveness, to those
who understand the vernacular) "Of all the benefits that I had that
year (1571), was the coming of that most notable prophet and apostle of
our nation, Mr. John Knox, to St. Andrews, who by the faction of the
Queen occupying the castle and town of Edinburgh, was compelled to
remove therefrom, with a number of the best, and chose to come to St.
Andrews.  I heard him teach there the prophecies of Daniel that summer
and the winter following.  I had my pen and my little {192} book, and
took away such things as I could comprehend.  In the opening up of his
text he was moderate for the space of half an hour; but when he entered
on application, he made me so to shudder (_scottice_, 'grue') and
tremble, that I could not hold my pen to write.  He was very weak.  I
saw him every day of his teaching, go slowly and warily, with a fur of
martens about his neck, a staff in the one hand, and good, godly
Richard Ballantyne, his servant, holding up the other armpit
(_scottice_, 'oxter'), from the abbey to the parish kirk, and by the
said Robert and another servant lifted up to the pulpit, where he
behoved to lean at his first entrance; but before he had done with his
sermon, he was so active and vigorous, that it seemed as if he would
beat the pulpit in pieces (_scottice_, 'ding the pulpit in blads') and
fly out of it."  Nor must we omit this other trait, evincing as it does
the interest taken by the aged warrior in the young soldiers who were
then just girding on their armour.  "He would sometimes come in and
rest in our college yard, and call us scholars unto him, and bless us,
and exhort us to know God, and His work in our country, and stand by
the good cause, to use our time well, and learn the good instructions
and follow the good example of our masters."

In St. Andrews too, at this time, he published his "Answer to the
Letter of a Jesuit named Tyrie," which was the last work that he gave
to the world.  It had been composed years before, in the haste which
was incident to his numerous occupations, but it was now {193} revised
and enlarged, and gives expression in a vigorous manner to his maturest
views on faith, religion, and the Catholic, or true and Universal
Church.  Here is a nugget from it, not without its pertinence to some
popular notions current in the days in which we live.  "We find that
Christ sends not His afflicted Church to seek a lineal succession of
any persons, before He will receive them; but He with all gentleness
calleth His sheep unto Himself, saying, 'Come unto Me all ye that
labour and are laden, and I will ease you.'"  Truly a golden sentence,
touching the very quick of all Church controversies, and emphasizing
the principle never to be forgotten, that we must find our way to the
Church through Christ, and not to Christ through the Church.

In public questions he did not cease to take an interest, although the
state of his health unfitted him for active leadership.  Still, that he
was no unconcerned spectator of what was going forward is apparent from
the following statement, which, because of its faithfulness and
fairness, we take from the article by Dr. Mitchell on "The Last Days of
John Knox."[1]  "In March, 1572, the General Assembly was held in St.
Andrews, in the schools of St. Leonard's College.  This place was no
doubt chosen, in part at least, for the convenience of the aged
Reformer, whose counsel in that time of trouble was specially needed.
It was the last Assembly at which he was able to be present, and
probably the first witnessed by Davidson and Melville.  'There,' the
{194} latter narrates, 'was motioned the making of bishops, to the
which Mr. Knox opposed himself directly and zealously.' ... Some months
before this a convention at Leith had given its sanction to a sort of
mongrel episcopacy, nominally to secure the tithes more completely to
the Church, but really to secure the bulk of them by a more regular
title to certain covetous noblemen, who sought in this way to reimburse
themselves for their services in the cause."  (The noblemen presented
to the bishoprics men who had first covenanted to give by far the
larger portion of the revenues to the patrons, and with a truly
Scottish humour, the people called these dignitaries "tulchan bishops,"
a "tulchan" being the name which was given to a calf's skin stuffed
with straw, which was set up to make the cow give her milk more
willingly.)  "First among these noblemen was the Earl of Morton, then
one of the chief supporters of the young prince, and soon after Regent
of the kingdom.  Having secured a presentation to the Archbishopric of
St. Andrews, for Mr. John Douglas, he came over to the city, had him
elected in terms of the convention, and on the 10th of February
inaugurated into his office.  This was performed by Winram,
superintendent of Fife, according to the order followed in the
admission of superintendents, save that the Bishops of Caithness, the
Superintendent of Lothian, and Mr. David Lindsay, who sat beside
Douglas, laid their hands on his head.  Knox had preached that day as
usual, but, as Ballantyne is careful to tell us, "had {195} refused to
inaugurate the said bishop"; and, as others add, had denounced
"anathema to the giver, and anathema to the receiver," who, as rector
and principal, "had already far more to do than such an aged man could
hope to overtake."  In the face of such a fact, it is idle for
historians to insinuate, as Burton does, that Knox gave in his closing
days even a _quasi_ sanction to episcopacy.

In the month of July, 1572, a cessation of hostilities for a time was
agreed upon between the Regent's party and that of the Queen, so that
the city of Edinburgh was again delivered from annoyance, either at the
hands of the garrison or of "the lewd fellows of the baser sort" who
made its streets unsafe.  As Melville says, "the good and honest men
thereof returned to their homes, and earnestly implored their pastor,
if he could without injury of his health, to do the same; and so Mr.
Knox and his family passed home to Edinburgh," where he arrived on the
23rd of August.  On the following Sunday he preached in his old pulpit;
but as in his weakness he could not make himself heard in the large
cathedral, the western part of the nave, known as the Tolbooth Church,
was fitted up for his use; and that was the scene of his latest
ministrations.  He preached as often as he was able, delivering a
course of sermons on the Redeemer's Passion, which he had always wished
to be the theme of his last discourses.  But in his debilitated
condition, his ancient power had well-nigh departed.  Only once during
this period of decadence {196} did the "wonted fires" flame forth out
of "their ashes."  When he heard of the massacre of St. Bartholomew he
had himself assisted into the pulpit, and there, moved at once by the
tender recollections of the many friends of his own who had been among
the victims, and by his life-long antagonism to the system which was
identified with that horrible cruelty, he thundered forth the vengeance
of Heaven against "that cruel murderer the king of France;" and turning
to Le Croc, the French ambassador, he said, like another Elijah: "Go
tell your master that sentence is pronounced against him; that the
Divine vengeance shall never depart from him or from his house, except
they repent; but his name shall remain an execration to posterity, and
none proceeding from his loins shall enjoy his kingdom in peace."

His closing work was the installation of his own successor.  During his
absence from Edinburgh, Mr. John Craig, his colleague, had gone to
another sphere of labour, and his flock had now no other shepherd than
himself.  He was, therefore, very naturally anxious to see some true
and earnest man set over them in the Lord, and accordingly obtained
permission from the General Assembly to induct any minister who might
be chosen by himself, the Superintendent of Lothian, and the Church of
Edinburgh, to take his place.  They agreed to nominate James Lawson, of
Aberdeen, who, being urged by Knox to repair immediately to Edinburgh,
in a touching letter, with a still more touching postscript,--"Haste,
lest ye come too late!"--came to {197} the metropolis, gave such
evidence of his gifts as satisfied all parties concerned, and was
installed on the 9th of November.  Knox preached the sermon on the
occasion in the Tolbooth Church, and after that removed with the
congregation to the larger area of the cathedral, where he went through
the form of admission by proposing the usual questions, and giving
exhortation first to the pastor and then to the people.  He concluded
with prayer and the benediction; "then leaning upon his staff and the
arm of an attendant, he crept down the street, which was lined with the
audience, who, as if anxious to take the last sight of their beloved
pastor, followed him until he entered his house, from which he never
again came out alive."

The next day he was seized with a violent cough, and he gradually
declined until the 24th of November, when, at the age of sixty-seven,
he breathed his last.  His faithful servant, Richard Ballantyne, has
left a minute description of his death-bed experiences and sayings,
which Dr. McCrie has reproduced the main features of in his biography.
We select those which seem to us to give most insight into the
character of the man.  Visited, a few days after his last sickness
began, by two of his personal friends, he "for their cause came to the
table," for it was the hour of dinner, and caused an hogshead of wine
in the cellar to be pierced for their entertainment, at the same time
playfully desiring one of them to send for some of it as long as it
lasted, for he would not tarry until it was all drunk."  To the elders
of his Church who {198} came in a body to his room at his request, he
said, "I profess before God and His holy angels that I never made
merchandise of the sacred word of God; never studied to please men;
never indulged my own private passions or those of others, but
faithfully distributed the talents entrusted to me for the edification
of the Church over which I watched.  Whatever obloquy wicked men may
cast upon me respecting this point, I rejoice in the testimony of a
good conscience."  As they were leaving, he detained his colleague and
the minister of Leith to give them a message to Kirkaldy of Grange,
adding to it these words: "That man's soul is dear to me, and I would
not have it perish, if I could save it."  When they returned and told
him that they had met with a rude reception, he was much grieved, and
said, "that he had been earnest in prayer for that man, and still
trusted that his soul would be saved, although his body should come to
a miserable end."  Such petitions as these dropped from his lips at
intervals, "Come, Lord Jesus.  Be merciful to Thy Church which Thou
hast redeemed.  Give peace to this afflicted commonwealth.  Raise up
faithful pastors who will take the charge of Thy Church.  Grant us,
Lord, the perfect hatred of sin, both by the evidences of Thy wrath and
mercy."  To his friend Fairley, of Braid, he said: "Every one bids me
good-night, but when will you do it?  I have been greatly indebted to
you, for which I shall never be able to recompense you, but I commit
you to one who can, to the eternal God."  To Campbell of Kingzeancleugh
{199} he said, "I must leave the care of my wife and children to you,
to whom you must be a husband in my room."  A few hours before his
death he said to his wife, "Go read where I first cast my anchor," and
she understanding his reference, read to him the 17th chapter of John's
Gospel, and afterwards a part of Calvin's "Sermons on the Ephesians."
Shortly after, seeing that death was fast approaching, and when he was
unable to speak, his servant said to him, "Now, sir, the time that you
have long called to God for, the end of your battle, is come; and
seeing all natural power now fails you, remember the comfortable
promises of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which ofttimes you have shown us.
And that we may understand and know that you hear us, give us some
sign."  And "so he lifted up one of his hands, and incontinent
thereafter rendered up his spirit, apparently without pain or movement,
so that he seemed rather to fall asleep than to die."

He was buried on the 26th of November, his body being accompanied to
the grave by a large concourse of people, among whom were the Earl of
Morton, newly-appointed Regent, and other noblemen.  According to the
rubric of his own Book of Common Order, there was no religious service
at the funeral, but when the body was lowered to its place Calderwood
tells us that the Regent Morton uttered these words: "HERE LIETH A MAN
{200} AND HONOUR."  The precise site of his grave cannot now be
identified.  It was in the churchyard of St. Giles, which extended from
the church down the slope of the hill till it reached the Colgate, and
was wholly obliterated in 1633 when the Parliament House and other
buildings were erected.  If any stone ever marked the spot, it was
probably then removed or destroyed.  Tradition points out as the place
that which is now marked with the letters "I.K., 1572," a few feet to
the west of the statue of Charles II. in the Parliament Square.  What
Charles ever did for Scotland to deserve any such memorial, it would
puzzle the wisest man to say, unless perhaps on the principle that it
was his intolerance which most of all provoked the Revolution; but many
will agree with Dr. Laing in thinking, that "a more appropriate
monument for such a locality would be a statue of the great Reformer."

Knox, we are told, was of small stature, and his constitution never
recovered from the effects of the exposure to which he was subjected in
the French galleys, so that his frame was not well fitted for hardship
and fatigue.  He too had his "thorn in the flesh," and that he did so
much in spite of that is a proof of the dominating power of his
spiritual earnestness over his physical weakness.  Of the five
portraits reproduced and criticised so characteristically by Carlyle in
his "Brochure" on the subject, we give our verdict in favour of that
which he calls the Somerville portrait, and of which he says that it is
"the only probable likeness anywhere known to {201} exist."  It is that
of a true Scottish face--sharp, wedge-like in its contour, surmounted
by a bald dome-like head fringed with scanty hair, the beard short and
not very profuse, the lips firmly set, with the slightest curl of scorn
in their expression, and the eyes small, clear, penetrating, and quick;
altogether "a physiognomy worth looking at," and far more in keeping
with the character and history of the Reformer, than the long-bearded
timber-looking figure-head, surmounted by a Genevan cap, which has been
made so long to represent him to posterity, and which Carlyle has shown
to have no claim to authenticity.

His children were five in number.  His two sons by his first wife
became students in St. John's College, Cambridge, where Nathanael, the
elder, died in 1580.  Eleazar, the younger, after finishing his
studies, became Vicar of Clacton Magna, and died in 1591.  He too was
buried at Cambridge; and, by the death of both, the family of the
Reformer in the male line became extinct.  His three daughters by his
second wife were Martha, Margaret, and Elizabeth.  Martha became the
wife of Alexander Fairley, eldest son of Robert Fairley, of Braid, whom
we have just seen at the Reformer's death-bed.  Margaret married
Zachary Pont, one of the Lords of Session, and latterly minister of St.
Cuthbert's, Edinburgh.  Elizabeth wedded John Welsh, best known as
Minister of Ayr, who was banished for the part which he took in the
holding of the General Assembly at Aberdeen in July, 1605, and spent
many years as pastor of a {202} Protestant Church in France.  It is of
this daughter that the well-known story is told to the effect that when
her husband's health failed she came over to London, and, having
through the influence of friends obtained audience of King James I.,
requested the royal permission for his return to his native land.
After some coarse pleasantry, which need not here be repeated, the king
told her that if she would persuade her husband to submit to the
bishops he would allow him to go back to Scotland, whereupon, lifting
her apron and holding it out toward the king, she answered, like a true
daughter of her father, "Please your Majesty, I'd rather kep his head
(_i.e._ receive it from the block) there!"

Of the writings of Knox we have spoken incidentally in the course of
our narrative, and need not therefore enter now into any minute
criticism of their character and merits.  They were struck out of him
almost extemporaneously by emergencies that arose, and, like all
similar productions, they were mainly ephemeral in their nature, so
that they are studied now, for the most part, only by those who wish to
gain some insight into the man, his times, and his work.  He was not
what might properly be called literary.  He would not have described
himself as another of his countrymen did, as "a writer of books."  On
the contrary, in the preface to the only sermon which he published, he
affirmed that "he considered himself rather called of {203} God to
instruct the ignorant, comfort the sorrowful, confirm the weak, and
rebuke the proud by tongue and living voice in these most corrupt
times, than to compose books for the age to come; seeing that so much
is written (and that by men of most singular condition) and yet so
little well observed, he decreed to contain himself within the bounds
of that vocation whereunto he felt himself specially called."  An
exception to this may perhaps be found in his "History of the
Reformation in Scotland," to which throughout we have been so much
indebted, and which is one of the raciest, clearest, and most
trustworthy records of the heroic struggle in which he was virtually
the leader of the victorious side.  It has been stigmatized by Burton
as egotistical; but Carlyle more justly notices how on one occasion,
when his personal merit far excelled all possible description, "he
hardly names himself at all"; and where he could not be truthful
without speaking of himself, he invariably does so in the third person,
and without any attempt to glorify the work of which he might have
said, "_cujus pars magna fui_."  For the rest, as Carlyle says, "His
account of every event he was present in is that of a well-discerning
eye-witness.  Things he did not himself see, but had reasonable cause
and abundant means to inquire into--battles even, and sieges--are
described with something of a Homeric vigour and simplicity."  It is
unfortunate for modern readers that it is written in the old Scottish
dialect; but if some competent scholar would only honestly modernize
and faithfully edit it, a {204} great boon would be conferred upon the
present generation, for it has in it many elements of popular interest.

His special vocation was that of the preacher rather than of the
author.  The pulpit was the throne of his peculiar and pre-eminent
power.  Other men might equal or surpass him elsewhere, but _there_ he
was supreme.  Different excellences might come out in himself on
different occasions; but in the pulpit all his abilities were
conspicuous, and there they were always at their best.  It was the
glass which focussed all his powers into a point, and quickened their
exercise into a burning intensity which kindled everything it touched.
It brightened his intellect, enlivened his imagination, clarified his
judgment, inflamed his courage, and gave fiery energy to his utterance.
He was never elsewhere so great in any one of these particulars, as he
was, when in the pulpit, in them all; for there, over and above the
"_præfervidum ingenium_" which he had in common with so many of his
countrymen, and the glow of animation which fills the soul of the
orator when he looks upon an audience, he had the feeling that he was
called of God to be faithful, and that made him almost like another
Paul.  Behind him was the cross of his Lord; before him was the throne
at which he was to be accountable, and between these two he stood
"watching for souls as one that must give account."  He began his
discourse most commonly with Biblical exposition, and spent a little
time in calmly, clearly, and fully explaining the meaning of the
passage on which he was engaged.  In this {205} portion of his sermon,
if we may judge from the published tracts which were apparently founded
on pulpit utterances, he was clear, simple, convincing; not making a
parade of learning, yet bringing out withal the true significance of
the sacred text.  Then having cleared away all doubt from that, he made
it the foundation of a battery, whereon he erected a swivel gun, and
with that he swept the whole horizon, firing at every evil which came
within his view.  Nor were the shots mere random things.  They were
deliberately aimed, and they commonly did most effective work.  No
matter who might be the evil-doer, the exposure was sure to be made,
and the expostulation, usually ending in denunciation, unless the
sinner should repent, was sure to follow.  Whatever he might do
elsewhere, he could neither shut his eyes nor keep back his utterance
when he was, as he called it, "in public place."  He was "set as a
watchman" to the people of Scotland, and he would watch with wakeful
vigilance, and give honest warning of everything which he saw wrong;
for the wrong with him was always fraught with danger, and the
wrongness was enough to evoke his protest.  He used no soft words.  He
was no maker of polite phrases.  He spoke in order to be understood,
and therefore he "called a fig a fig, and a spade a spade."  He went
into the pulpit not because he had to say something, but because there
was something in him which was compelling itself to be said.  He spoke
because he "could not but" speak.  That irrepressibility gave {206}
volcanic energy to his manner and fiery force to his words, so that the
effects produced by his sermons were not merely superficial.  Like
those modern missiles which burst in the wounds which they have made,
his words exploded within the hearts of those who had received them,
and set them on fire with convictions that flamed forth in their
conduct.  It was apparently impossible for any one to listen to him
without being deeply moved, either to antagonism, or to enthusiastic
agreement, or--for he could be tender also--to tears.

It may be said indeed that he allowed himself too great liberty in
commenting on public men and national affairs; and we may readily admit
that in ordinary times, and especially in our altered circumstances, it
would be unwise in most preachers to use the pulpit precisely as he
did.  But we have to bear in mind that the crisis through which his
country was passing at the time, was as much religious as political,
and that the pulpit was the only organ at his command.  To his credit
be it recorded, that he was, if not the first, at least one of the very
first to perceive the importance of making and guiding public opinion
aright.  He saw that the people were to be the virtual rulers in the
coming time; nay, he recognised in them the ultimate arbiters for the
decision of the great matters which were then in debate, and therefore
he would not take time to go to royal closets or noblemen's studies,
but made his appeal to the people as a body, and the pulpit was the
only place in which he could do that.  The daily press was not then
born; the {207} public meeting had not yet come into vogue; but what is
now done by our editors in their columns, and by our statesmen in
Midlothian campaigns, and such like, he did by his five weekly sermons
in Edinburgh, and by his various preaching journeys in the south and
west and north divisions of the kingdom.  He informed and aroused
public opinion.  He appealed to the people, speaking to them as one
under oath to the King of kings the while; and when we put the matter
in that light, we have at once the defence of his procedure and the
explanation of his success.

He was not always wise; neither was he always discriminating in his
utterances.  Who is? who especially when surrounded by the difficulties
with which he had to contend? and we may well forgive him his
occasional indiscretions, when we think of the work which, in spite of
these, he was honoured to accomplish.  By that work he has earned the
gratitude of posterity, and deserved a place among the men who are most
worthy to be remembered in these times.  By that work the entire face
and future of Scotland were changed.  She has made great progress in
many directions since his day, and outgrown many of the limitations
within which he would have restricted her; but the success of his work
made it possible for her to become what she is to-day.  The liberty,
the literature, the philosophy, as well as the religion of Scotland,
could not have developed into what they became without the Reformation;
and without Knox, humanly speaking, the Reformation would not {208}
have been at all, or at least would not have been what it actually
became.  He had not the lyric thrill of genius that vibrates in the
songs of Robert Burns; but in his own way and to his own tune he sang,
"A man's a man for a' that," two hundred years before the Ayrshire bard
was born.  He laid the foundation of that national popular education
which has made Scotland at home so intelligent, and carried Scotsmen
with honour abroad into all the countries under heaven; and though he
would have protested very vehemently against the scepticism of Hume and
others, yet the men who have made the Scottish school of philosophy
illustrious, received, consciously or unconsciously, much of their
impulse from his work.  Add to this, that wherever Presbyterianism has
found a foothold, its votaries name Knox side by side with Calvin, as
one of its foremost leaders and organizers.  But when we consider the
shortness of the time within which Knox did his work for Scotland, the
greatness of the man becomes still more conspicuous.  He was forty-two
years of age when he was called to preach in the Castle of St. Andrews,
and he died at sixty-seven.  Within these twenty-five years therefore
his reformation work was done; and yet of these nearly two were spent
as a galley-slave in French captivity, five were passed in England,
three on the continent, and for the last year and a half of his life he
was disabled by paralysis, so that his active labours in his native
land were virtually condensed within little more than fourteen years.
During these, also, he had to contend, save in the brief season {209}
of Murray's regency, with the greatest difficulties, but through them
all he held on, and over them all he secured an ultimate triumph.  His
energy was consuming, his zeal untiring, and his vigilance
unslumbering.  With the eye of a statesman he looked into the future,
while at the same time he keenly scrutinized the movements of the
present.  He had the near sight which sees what is closest to it with
admirable distinctness, and the far sight which descries with equal
accuracy what is distant, and with these he combined the philosophic
spirit which marked very correctly the connection between the two.  He
was a true patriot, and ever willing to sacrifice himself in the
welfare of his country.  And all these qualities in him were raised to
the white heat of enthusiasm, and fused into the unity of holiness by
his devotion to the God and Father of his Saviour the Lord Jesus
Christ.  He spoke, and wrote, and acted as ever in His sight.  This was
the secret of his courage, the root of his inflexibility, and the
source of his power.  As a Reformer he had in him the boldness of
Luther, combined with some of the qualities of Calvin, and though as a
whole he was inferior to both, yet more than either he reminds us of a
Hebrew prophet.  When we see him before Queen Mary, we think at once of
Elijah before Ahab, and more appropriately perhaps than any other man
in modern history he might have taken for the motto of his life the
oft-repeated asseveration of the Tishbite, "As the Lord God of Israel
liveth, _before whom I stand_."


And yet, though sternly uttering in the highest places what he believed
to be the word of God, there were not wanting in his character other
traits of gentleness and geniality.  As Carlyle has truly said, "Tumult
was not his element, it was the tragic feature of his life that he was
forced to dwell in that."  He too, like the granite mountains of his
native land, had in him fountains of tenderness, and valleys laughing
with cheerfulness.  He was not the heartless Stoic that many have
ignorantly painted him, for have we not seen him weeping with those who
were "sobbing unto God"?  And though it may seem strange to those who
have not made themselves acquainted with his history, there was in him
a vein of humour, yea even, as Carlyle says, of "drollery," that makes
him excellent company.  This humour of his, as the writer just named
has admirably diagnosed it, was "not mockery, scorn, bitterness, alone,
though there is enough of that too, but a true, loving, illuminating
laugh mounts up over the earnest visage; not a loud laugh; you would
say a laugh in the _eyes_ most of all."

But now our task is done.  We have tried to show honestly the man as he
was, and to describe dispassionately the work which he did.  He is, if
not pre-eminently the Scotchman of history,--though we think a good
claim might be established for him as such,--yet certainly one of "the
three mightiest," or of "the first three" of his nation; and like the
vine whose branches spread over the wall, his influence has gone in
blessing to other lands, for in his work we have the root of the
English {211} Revolution, and some of the seeds that were carried
westward in the _Mayflower_, and sown in New England fields, had fallen
from his hands.  It is not inappropriate therefore that one whose
labours in the ministry of the gospel have closely connected him alike
with Scotland, England, and America, should pay this willing tribute to
his name and work.

[1] "Catholic Presbyterian," vol. vi. p. 265.



Annand, Dean, Controversy of Knox with, 17.

Answers to some questions concerning Baptism, etc., by Knox, 17.

Arbuckle, Friar, Controversy of, with Knox, concerning the Mass, 18, 32.

Arran, Earl of, appointed Regent of Scotland, 4; character of, 5.

Argyle, Earl of, 108, 116, 125.

Balfour of Mount Quarry, 8.

Balnaves, Henry, 6, 15, 24, 29.

Band, or Bond, Godly, 107, 112, 116.

Beaton, Cardinal, executes George Wishart, 2; character of, 4; produces
a forged will in order to obtain the Regency of Scotland, 4; murder of,
8; condemnation of Walter Mill by, 116.

Becon's Displaying of the Mass, 45.

Berwick on Tweed, Knox appointed to, 30; condition of, at that time,
31; practice of Knox at, in the matter of the Lord's Supper, 32, 36;
preaching of Knox at, 33.

Blast, First, of the Trumpet against the monstrous Regiment of Women,
by Knox, 108.

Book of Common Prayer (English), 31, 36, 46, 47.

Book of Common Order (Scottish), 105, 147.

Book of Discipline, First, 140-147, 153; not ratified, 154.

Bothwell, Earl of, apprehends George Wishart, 2; connection of, with
the family of Knox, 10; part of, in Darnley's murder, 183; marriage of,
to Queen Mary, 183.

Bowes, Marjory, betrothed to Knox, 40; marriage of, to Knox, 96; joins
her husband in Scotland, 126; death of, 155; sons of, 151, 201.

Bowes, Elizabeth, mother-in-law of Knox, 40, 60, 66; character of, 71,
98, 100, 101; kindness of Knox to, 102.

Brandling, Sir Robert, 60, 68.

Bullinger, Henry, 48, 77; questions of Knox to, 77, 81, 108.

Burton's History of Scotland quoted from or referred to, 4, 122, 195,

Cairns, John, appointed reader to Knox in Edinburgh, 155.

Calvin, John, 77, 82; opinion of, on English Prayer Book, 86; criticism
of Knox's treatment at Frankfort by, 93, 106, 110.

Campbell, Robert, of Kingzeaucleuch, 98, 158, 198.

Carlyle, Thomas, Opinions of, on Knox's conduct at Frankfort, 92; on
the First Blast, 110; on Knox's treatment of Queen Mary, 175; on the
portraits of Knox, 200; on Knox's History of the Reformation, 203; on
Knox's tenderness and humor, 210; description of the affair at Cupar
Muir by, 124.

Cecil, Secretary, 49, 113, 130, 162.

Clergy of Scotland, General character of, before the Reformation, 6.

Confession of Faith, Scottish, 137; ratified by Parliament, 139.

Conversion of Knox to Protestantism, 13.

Coverdale, Miles, godfather to one of Knox's sons, 151.

Cox, Dr. Richard, Relation of, to the troubles at Frankfort, 88, 91.

Craig, John, colleague of Knox, 163, 188, 196.

Cranmer, Archbishop, on the Mass, 43; letter of, to English Council,
49; probable author of Declaration on Kneeling, 51; sufferings of, 82.

Crossraguel, Abbot of, Controversy with Knox, 166-168.

Cupar Muir, Affair of, 124.

Darnley, Lord Henry, Marriage of, to Queen Mary Stuart, 180; offended
at sermon by Knox, 180; part of, in murder of Rizzio, 183; murder of,

Deacons, Office of, in First Book of Discipline, 143.

Declaration of Prayer Book on Kneeling in the Lord's Supper, History
of, 48-55.

Demolition of Roman Catholic edifices, Relation of Knox to, 121.

Dieppe, Knox in, 71-76, 79, 113.

Doctors, Office of, in Scottish Church, 145.

Douglas, John, Chaplain to Earl of Argyle, 116.

Edinburgh, Knox chosen minister of, 125; Knox's house in, 155; labors
of Knox in, 163.

Education, Book of Discipline on, 146.

Edward VI., First Prayer Book of, 31, 36, 46, 47; Second Prayer Book
of, 46, 47; order of Communion under, 46; death of, 62.

Elders, Office of, under First Book of Discipline, 142.

Elizabeth, Queen of England, accession to the throne, 112; refuses
Knox's request for permission to travel through England, 113; relation
of, to Mary Stuart, 158; deceitfulness of, 130.

England, Feelings of Knox in regard to, 70; influence of, on Knox, 62.

Erskine, Lord, 98, 106.

Erskine of Dun, 97, 98, 108, 120, 171.

Exposition of the Sixth Psalm by Knox, 71-74.

Faithful Admonition, by Knox, 79-82.

Fairley, Robert, of Braid, 198.

Francis I., of France, Death of, 20.

Francis II., Death of, 156.

Frankfort on the Maine, History of Knox's troubles at, 83-94; departure
of Knox from, 91.

First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, by
Knox, 108, 113, 161; Carlyle on, 110.

Froude, J. A., History of England, 64, 127, 139, 185.

Galleys, French, Knox's experiences in, 23-25.

Geneva, Knox at, 83; pastor of English congregation in, 95; arrival of
Knox and family at, 101; labors of Knox at, 105, 107; thanks of English
refugees to the council of, 112.

Gilby, Arthur, colleague of Knox at Geneva, 95.

Glasgow University, Knox a student at, 11.

Glencairn, Earl of, 106, 108.

Godly Band or Bond, 107, 112, 116.

Godly Letter of Warning, by Knox, 74-76.

Guillaume, Thomas, Connection of Knox with, 13.

Haddington, George Wishart preaching at, 1; birthplace of Knox, 10.

Hamilton, Patrick, 5.

Henry VIII., Dispute of, with James V., 4; connection of, with
conspirators against Beaton, 7; Death of, 20.

Hooper, Bishop, 45, 59.

Hume, David, Letter of, to Dr. Robertson, on character of Mary Stuart,

James V., Death of, 3; dispute with Henry VIII., 3.

James VI., Birth of, 183; coronation of, 184.

Kirkaldy of Grange, 9; makes terms for surrender of the castle of St.
Andrews, 22; dissuaded by Knox from the shedding of blood to escape
from prison, 26; controversy of with Knox, 187; message of Knox to, 198.

Kneeling in the Lord's Supper, Knox's opinions and practice in regard
10, 35, 37, 39; declaration of English Prayer Book on, 62.

Knox, John, First appearance of, as body-guard of Wishart, 2; enters
the castle of St. Andrews, 9, 14; early history of, 10; conversion of,
to Protestantism, 13; within the castle of St. Andrews, 14; called to
the ministry, 15; controversy with Dean Annand, 17; sermon at St.
Andrews, 17; controversy with Friar Arbuckle, 18, 32; made a galley
slave, 22; feelings of, on sight of St. Andrews from the galley, 27;
released from the galleys, 30; preaching of, at Berwick, 33;
administration of Lord's Supper at Berwick, 36; opinions of, on Lord's
Supper, 39; heroism of, 40; removal to Newcastle, 42; discourse on the
Mass, 43; preaching of, at Newcastle, 45; practice in regard to the
Lord's Supper at Newcastle, 45; appointed a Royal Chaplain, 46;
preaches before Edward VI., 48, 61; influence of, on English Book of
Common Prayer, 48-52; relation of, to Duke of Northumberland, 48, 56;
offered a bishopric, 57; offered the vicarage of All Hallows, London,
58; before the English council, 58; in the county of Bucks, 65; sermon
at Amersham, 65; Exposition of Sixth Psalm, 68, 72; leaves England for
France, 69; love of, for England, 70; writes Godly Letter of Warning,
74; first visit of, to Switzerland, 77; returns to Dieppe, 79; writes
"Faithful Admonition", 79; goes to Frankfort on the Maine, 83; history
of troubles there, 84; leaves Frankfort, 91; pastor of English Church
at Geneva, 95; brief visit of, to Scotland, 95; marriage of to Marjory
Bowes, 96; work in Scotland at this time, 97-99; summoned to appear
before the bishops, 100; writes to the Queen Regent, 100; returns to
Geneva 102, labors at, 105; called to return to Scotland, 106; at
Dieppe, 106; returns to Geneva, 107; leaves Geneva for Scotland, 112;
arrives in Scotland, 114; preaches at Perth, 120; and at St. Andrews,
124; chosen minister of St. Giles, Edinburgh, 125; travels through
Scotland, 126; negotiations with Sir James Croft, 129; views of, on
civil government, 130; imperfect understanding of the relation of
Church and State, 133; residence of, in Edinburgh, 155; first interview
with Queen Mary Stuart, 159; second interview, 163; debate of, with
Abbot of Crossraguel, 166; breach between, and Earl of Murray, 169;
third interview with Queen Mary, 168; fourth interview with Mary, 170;
accused falsely of immorality, 175; before the Scottish council, 175;
marriage of, to Margaret Stewart, 179; preaches at coronation of James
VI., 185; mourns over the death of Murray, 185; stricken with
paralysis, 186; controversy with Kirkaldy of Grange, 187; danger of, in
Edinburgh, 189; goes to St. Andrews, 190; Melville's description of, at
this time, 191; publishes "Answer to the Letter of a Jesuit", 192;
returns to Edinburgh, 195; last sermon of, 197; last illness of, 197;
death of, 199; personal appearance of, 200; children of, 201; portraits
of, 200; writings of, 202; preaching of, 204; effect of work on
Scotland, 207; tenderness and humor of, 210.

Knox's History of the Reformation, 9, 22, 25, 27, 35, 98, 121, 124,
138, 156, 161, 170; described by Carlyle, 203.

Laing, David, LL.D., Edition of Knox's Works quoted from or referred
to, 11, 12, 58, 65, 72, 74, 75, 77, 102, 110, 129, 130, 144, 148, 153,
182, 201.

Lawson, John, Induction of, as Knox's successor, 197.

Leslie, Norman, 8, 20.

Lindsay, Sir David, 6, 15.

Liturgy of Knox, 152.

Lollards of Kyle, 99.

Lorimer, Rev. Peter, D.D., Works on Knox quoted from or referred to, 8,
25, 28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 55, 103.

Lorn, Lord, 58, 106.

Lorraine, Princes of, 113.

Lord's Supper, first administered after reformed fashion, 19; practice
followed by Knox regarding at Berwick, 32-34, 36; kneeling in, opposed
by Knox, 38; influence of Knox on English Prayer Book regarding, 46-52;
declaration of Prayer Book on kneeling in, 52.

Lyons, Knox visits, 107.

Major, John, Principal of Glasgow University, 11; opinions of, 11, 133;
present at Knox's sermon at St. Andrews, 18.

McCrie's "Life of Knox" quoted from or referred to, 17, 85, 92, 96,
132, 161, 170, 193, 197.

Maitland of Lethington, 97; the younger, 128, 136, 174, 178, 179.

Marriage, Solemnization of, according to Book of Discipline, 146.

Mary of Guise, character of, 3; Queen Regent of Scotland, 97; policy
of, 97; letter of Knox to, 100; declared enemy of Reformation, 114;
petition of Protestant barons to, 117; prohibits preaching or
administration of the sacrament without authority of bishops, 119;
proclaims Knox a rebel, 119; death of, 128.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, 3; betrothed to the Dauphin of France,
5; reply of Knox to, on the charge of necromancy, 35; death of first
husband of, 156; character of, 157; arrival of, in Scotland, 156;
interviews with Knox, 159, 163, 168, 170, 173, 175; marries Lord Henry
Darnley, 180; marriage of, to Bothwell, 183; abdicates in favor of her
son, 183; defeat of, at Langside, 183; imprisonment of, by Elizabeth,

Mary Tudor, Accession of, to English throne, 66; prayer of Knox for,
67; first proclamation of, 67; marriage of, to Philip of Spain, 81;
attacked by Knox in First Blast, 109.

Mass, Opinions of Knox on the, 32, 43, 107; Becon's Displaying of the,

Melville of Raith, 9.

Melville, James, Description of Knox at St. Andrews by, 191.

Mill, Walter, Martyrdom of, 116.

Milton, John, quoted from, 109.

Ministers, Office of, in Book of Discipline, 141.

Mitchell, Dr., A. F., quoted from, 193.

Morton, Earl of, 108; burial eulogy of, on Knox, 199.

Murray, Earl of (See Lord James Stuart).

Newcastle on Tyne, Removal of Knox to, 42; preaching of Knox at, 45;
practice of Knox at, in regard to the Lord's Supper, 45.

Northumberland, Duke of, 48, 57, 60, 61, 64.

Ochiltree, Lord, 172; father-in-law of Knox, 179, 180.

Ormiston, Laird of, 10.

Prayer Books of Edward VI., First, 31, 36, 46; Second, 46, 47, 49, 52,
56, 85; opinion of Calvin on, 86.

Perth, John Knox at, 121.

Preaching, Knox's habit of preparation for, 79; effect of Knox's, at
Perth, 120; in Edinburgh, 136; before Darnley, 181; Knox's
characterized, 204.

Predestination, Knox's Dissertation on, 111.

Privy Council of England, name of Knox in register of, 29; memorial of
Knox to, on Lord's Supper, 49; appearance of Knox before, 58.

Portraits of Knox, 200.

Randolph, English Ambassador at Edinburgh, 28, 138.

Readers, Office of, in Scottish Church, 140.

Reformation, Beginning of, in Scotland, 5; Hamilton period of, 19;
Wishart period of, 19; Knox period of, 19.

Rizzio, David, character of, 182; murder of, 183.

Robertson, William, D.D., character of Murray in History of Scotland,

Rochelle, Knox visits, 107.

Ross, Dr. John M., quoted from, 133.

Sacraments, Scottish Confession of Faith on, 137; administration of
the, according to Book of Discipline, 145; according to the Book of
Common Order, 151.

Scotland, Condition of, before Reformation, 7; visit of Knox to, in
1555, 97; arrival of Knox at, in 1559, 114; condition of, at that time,
115; labors of Knox in, 126; negotiations of, with England, 127.

St. Andrews, Castle of, an asylum for Protestants, 8; siege of, by
Arran, 9; arrival of Knox in, 9; work of Knox in, 14; Knox called to
the ministry in, 15; Knox preaches in, 17; attacked by Leo Strozzi, 21;
visited by Knox, 123; the scene of Knox's all but latest labors, 191.

Scottish Confession of Faith, 137.

Scottish Parliament, Meeting of, in 1560, 136; in 1563, 169.

Solway Moss, Battle of, 3, 4.

Somerset, Duke of, Protector of England, 20.

Stewart, Margaret, married to Knox, 179.

Stuart, Lord James, Earl of Murray, 98, 106, 125, 138, 156, 166, 169,
174, 180, 184, 185.

Strozzi, Leo, attacks the castle of St. Andrews, 21.

Superintendents, Office of, in Scottish Church, 149.

Switzerland, First visit of Knox to, 77.

Throckmorton, English Ambassador at Paris, 126.

Tulchan Bishops, 194.

Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, 31.

Tyninghame Charter Room, Instrument in, signed by Knox, 12.

Utenhovius, Letter of, to Bullinger, 48.

Whittingham, Dean, with Knox at Frankfort, 86; gives thanks to council
at Geneva for hospitality to English refugees, 112; godfather to one of
Knox's sons, 151.

Willock, John, 97, 126, 130.

Wishart, George, at Haddington, 1; apprehension of, 2; attended by
Knox, 2; executed at St. Andrews, 3; influence of, on Knox, 13.

Writings of Knox, 202.

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[Transcriber's note: the "|" character is used to denote superscripted
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