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With an Appreciation of the Reformer 


Very Rev. Principal* STORY, D.D., LL.D. 



1 6 Pilgrim Street, E.C. 


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INDEX . . . . . 














JOHN KNOX. (From an old Portrait) 




JOHN CALVIN. {Aflor OH old Print) 






B lairs College) . 
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. (After OH old PritU) 

JOHN KNOx's HOUSE. {AfUr OH old Print) 


Print) . 


Facing page 14 


the Portrait in 


















THIS biography of the great Scottish Reformer 
has been directly inspired by the quater- 
centenary of his birth, which is to be celebrated this 
year. This is at once its excuse and its justification. 
The book is intended to fill a place midway between 
the larger and the smaller biographies of Knox 
already in existence. It is meant to meet the wants 
of those whose desire is to have a full sketch of 
the Reformer's career, but one which, at the same 
time, is not overburdened with unnecessary details. 

I have to express my indebtedness to writers who 
have gone over the field before me : to the historians 
of the period, and in particular to the two chief 
biographers of Knox, Dr. McCrie and Dr. Hume 
Brown. Among the smaller biographies I have 
found that of Mrs. Maccunn the most suggestive. 
Dr. David Laing's well-known edition of Knox's 
works has, of course, been my chief source of 
information. Two books recently published are 

also of special note ; these are the Baird Lecture 




of the kte Professor Mitchell and the Croall Lecture 
of the kte Professor Hastie. Dr. Mitchell^s work, 
edited with great care by Dr. Hay Fleming, gives 
a very luminous sketch of the polity of Enox, and 
Dr. Hastie^s volume is invaluable for its exposition 
of the Reformer's theology. 

The question of the date of Knox's birth, recently 
raised, is discussed in the Appendix. It is not 
pretended that the matter has been finally settled, 
but no evidence yet adduced seems to me strong 
enough to cause us to depart from the date 
mentioned by Spottiswoode and Buchanan. Knox's 
spelling has been in most instances modernised, but 
the original form has been preserved where it 
appeared most effective. 

Whatever value the book possesses is, I feel, 
greatly enhanced by Principal Story's Introduction, 
in which he gives an appreciation of the Reformer 
at once distinctive and illuminative. 

My best thanks ai*e due to Mr. William 

Wallace, LL.D., for valuable suggestions made 

while the work was passing through the press, 

to the Rev. P. H. Aitken, B.D., and the Rev. 

George Drummond, B.D., for kindly revising the 

proofs, and to the Rev. R. S. V. Logic, M.A., for 

preparing the Index. 


February 20, 1905. 

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THIS book needs no introduction to the public 
firom me, being, as well as I can judge, an 
excellent piece of biographical literature — clear, 
compact, impartial — which can stand securely on 
its own merits. Nor does the subject of it require 
that any one Scotsman need vindicate any other^s 
right to take a share in the general tribute to the 
illustrious memory of John Enox. 

In Scotland at least, and in this year which 
(according to general tradition) sees the 400th 
anniversary of his birth, none will think the 
tribute undeserved or mistimed. Columba, when 
looking for the last time on the humble scenes of 
his apostolic life and labours, foretold, with a manly 
confidence in the worth of the work he had done, 
that ^^ small and mean ^ although lona appeared, it 
yet would be held in reverence by many races and 
rulers of men. The Christianity and civilisation of 
the realms of Scotland, of Northumbria and of Wales, 
have borne witness to his prophetic truth. The 
second great champion of the Northern Church, 
with a like lofty consciousness of having done his 

• • 

• • 

2'- •• • • ' iNTRODUCnON 

'* •' cfuty • to* liis'&iheftend, said, ere his course was 
finished, ^^ What I have been to my country although 
this unthankful age will not know, yet iiie ages to 
come will be compelled to bear witness to the 

We are not unthankful, and we need no compul- 
sion to prompt us to bear our testimony, of gratitude 
and veneration, to the stoutest assertor of the 
religious liberties and civil rights of the people 
of Scotland. But yet one is tempted to ponder 
whether his honoured name is as fEuniliar to us as 
it was to our forefathers : whether his words, ^^ half 
battles of the free,'' ring with as dear a challenge 
as of yore to ^^ the help of the Lord against the 
mighty " : whether the example of his high-hearted 
patriotism is still felt to be as inspiring as it was 
in the old time before us. If, in answering this 
question, our mind is in any way clouded with a 
doubt, it is high time we examined ourselves on our 
relation to the memory of John Enox. Why should 
his memory appeal to our sentiments of patriotism, 
of religion, of love of liberty, as that of no other 
Scotsman does ? I think we find convincing answer 
in the records of his life, as set forth in these pages. 
The story of that life has been often told, both by 
friend and foe. It has also been rehearsed by 
writers who sometimes almost appear to be moved 
by a personal ill-will, or a distorting fanaticism, 
which forbade their seeing clearly or interpreting 
candidly his principles and actions. But it is 


remarkable that the general consent of impartial 
students of history has always awarded to Enox a 
place second to none in the Scots^ Valhalla of the 
great and good — " the one Scotsman,*" says Carlyle, 
** to whom, of all others, his country and the whole 
world owe a debf It is well that this Anniversary 
should not be suffered to pass into the silence and the 
darkness, wherewith our life is bound, without some 
record of our loyalty to the name, which is more 
inseparably associated than any other with the 
establishment of Scottish Protestantism and the 
assertion of Scottish Nationality. The two causes 
are of a unity so absolute that the one cannot be 
severed firom the other without loss of life to both, 
any more than the bleeding half of a dismembered 
body can survive its wound. 

Knox^s well-known belief in a policy of Union 
between Scotland and England may seem to dis- 
credit this assertion — ^but only to the superficial 
observer. When he came in 1560 from Greneva to 
take the lead in the social, political, and religious 
revolution that was then hastening to its crisis in 
his native country, he found the Kingdom weltering 
in a chaos of discordant elements. The Crown was 
in the hands of a foreign r^ent, and the nobles, who 
should have been its strength and stay, were for the 
most part a selfish gang, greedy of place and power, 
seeking in the general turmoil whatever spoil they 
could lay their hands on. The politicians were men 
of shifty principles, now intriguing for the good-will 


of England, now for the friendship of France. The 
middle class of burghers and traders, men of sounder 
morals and better education than the lairds, had not 
yet gained the firm hold, which their intelligence and 
wealth afterwards won for them, on the mind of their 
compatriots and on the course of public affairs. 
Everywhere the body politic was infected with 
disorder, discontent, unrest, and suspicion. The 
Church, by its own acknowledgment, was flagrantly 
corrupt — the lives of the Clergy, from the Arch- 
bishop to the De£UX)n, shamelessly immoral and 
scandalously depraved: the seculars ignorant, rude, 
and flagitious ; the regulars wasting their substance 
in riotous living, or in luxurious sloth, in their 
magnificent monasteries. The keen eye of the 
Reformer saw, through the gloom and confusion, 
one dear ray of hope which might brighten into a 
perfect day when Scotland should be orderly, united, 
educated, delivered from superstition, and blessed 
with freedom: and that hope was to be realised 
through English help« There was no desire to 
surrender Scottish Nationality. On the contrary, 
there was the desire for the scdvation of all that 
was worth saving in the National life of Scotland. 
For a time the nominal Nationality might appear to 
lose or veil its rugged features, but the real Nation- 
ality — ^the stubbornness, the fidelity to the highest 
and the best, the honesty, the bravery, the patient 
loyalty, which had siurived all the malign influences 
of generations of misrule — ^these, which lay near the 


roots of the Scottish character, would remain and 
would assert themselves in a free and fijendly 
alliance with the sister power of England. To gain 
that alliance, and to maintain it, Knox saw was the 
truest patriotism : but absolutely irreconcilable with 
this was the continued supremstcy of the Roman 
Church, which from the days of Margaret had held 
Scotland in a bitter spiritual bondage. 

The first essential for reformation — in every 
department of life, domestic, social, industrial, 
political — was a Revolution in Religion. Without 
that no reform was possible, or even conceivable. 
The paralysing hand of the Church must be unclasped, 
its ruthless interference with all liberty of thought 
and action must be defied, its irrational dogmas dis- 
lodged from their high places, its idolatries and 
superstitions dragged into the light of day and 
trampled in the dust. There was nothing else for it ; 
no via medioy no temporising readjustments would 
serve the cruel need. The Revolution must be 
complete, in doctrine, in practice, in ritual, in govern- 
ment. As is evident from his History^ Knox took 
the weapons with which he was to lead it to victory 
from the armoury of Greneva, whence CfJvin guided 
and inspired the campaign of freedom against tyranny. 
We may mark, with some regret, how far Calvin''s 
mind dominated his, and Ctdvinistic doctrine repro- 
duced itself in his theology. But in the revolt from 
Rome, and in the suspicion of even the modified 
sacramentarianism of Luther, no system less thorough- 


going than Calvin'^s could satisfy a man like Enox, 
with his inveterate hatred of idolatry and passionate 
devotion to what he believed to be the Divine and 
righteous will : — ^passionate devotion of this sort, and 
passionate conviction of the inherent right of every 
human creature to have its own immediate access to 
the very throne of Gk)d, by the "new and living 
way,** unaided, or unhindered, by any services or 
devices or mediations of men or churches. 

As far as help from outside — firom England or 
elsewhere — went, Enox for long owed it but little. 
The Tudor Autocrat could not forget or forgive 
the obloquy he had poured on " the Monstrous,'' the 
« Monstruous,'' the « Monstriferous "^ Regiment of 
Women ; and she watched Knox's career with a vindic- 
tivenesswhich would, if she could, have hampered every 
effort her advisers made to lend English aid to the 
Scots Reformers : but the battle was practically won, 
speedily and essentially without external succours. 

Knox spoke his prophet's message to the Scots, 
and the Nation rallied to his calL They had never 
forgotten him, all the time he had been away in the 
accursed French galleys, in England, in Dieppe, in 
Frankfort and Greneva, with but brief returns to the 
North ; and they recognised their Leader now. The 
Man needed for the time had come, his voice putting 
more heart into them than " five hundred trumpets 
blustering in their ears " ; a sermon from him worth a 
squadron of cavalry, the man of their own blood and 
class, yet not ashamed to stand before kings, and to 


tell the honest truth to any man ; not afraid to say 
to the Privy Councillors who had his life in their 
hands, ^ I am in the place where I am demanded by 
conscience to speak the truth, and therefore the truth 
I speak, impugn it whoso list.^ He never paltered 
with the truth, or sought fine phrases to mislead his 
hearers or veil his meaning. " I call,'' said he, " a fig 
a fig and a spade a spade.'' His language was plain 
and strong,homelyand racy, yet now and again soaring 
to flights of impassioned eloquence or pathetic plead- 
ing that swayed all hearts like a wheat-field before 
a gale. His sarcasm, his humour, his invective, were 
biting and brilliant, but no written record can convey 
the vivid impression his speech produced. It was the 
impetuous force and burning conviction which urged 
his words, joined to the commanding personality of 
the man, that bore all before him. 

Some disorder and violence accompcmied a few of 
his earlier denunciations and appeals; but he gave 
this no encouragement or approval The popular 
hatred and contempt spent themselves chiefly on the 
Monastic establishments, whose hoarded wealth and 
idle luxury had long provoked the jealousy and resent- 
ment of the unruly populace, ever ready to make a 
pernicious profit out of sources of religious or secular 
unrest. But Knox was incapable of playing on the 
passions of ^^ the rascal multitude." On the occasions 
when he appeared before the Court or the Privy 
Council, he spoke with a gravity, a weight, a self- 
respect which compelled respect in its turn. " Who 


are you,^ asked Mary, "that interfere with my 
government within this Reahn?^ "Mcwlam,'' he 
replied, "a subject bom within the same.*" The 
whole claims of the rights of religion and of personal 
liberty were summed up in the words, lifting, as they 
did, iiie matter in hand out of all meaner relations 
to the broad platform of public right and justice, — 
from the question of what was due to the Crown 
from the subject, to the larger one of what was due 
to the subject frt)m the Crown. 

In all his interviews with the Queen he stands 
before the beautiful Mary, in his Geneva gown, a 
somewhat grim but yet a stately figure, austere, 
incorruptible, with a rigid persuasion of the righteous- 
ness of the cause which he felt he was commissioned 
to uphold. To him that cause was nothing less than 
Grod% of whose immediate sovereignty over the 
realm of Scotland he, John Knox, and not Mary 
Stuart, was the representative. His faith in his own 
office as the Messenger of a New Covenant with 
Scotland, which should establish God^s Kingdom 
there on a divine foundation never to be shaken, — 
foundation of a pure evangel — of an Apostolic 
Church— of a free and godly people, — was as profound 
as his belief in the unchangeable and inscrutable 
Decree which had fixed his destiny from all Eternity. 
It was a stem belief, but, to the children of the 
Covenant, a hopeful one, as they saw the Lord's 
work prospering in their hands, and hailed it as a 
sign that tiiey were of the Elect, their righteousness 


inflexible as that of God Himself. A creed less 
absolute in its moral standard, less assured of its 
foothold within the veil, would not have been the 
fortress which Knox and men like him needed 
in those days of storm and stress. No doubt of his 
commission ever darkened his mind. No fear of man 
ever unstrung his nerve or daunted his resolution. 
For the Scottish Nation, wearied of falsehood and 
faction, with its life d^raded and its conscience 
demoraUsed, he created a soul "under the ribs of 
death ^ ; roused it to a sense of its responsibility to 
God, awoke its benumbed love of liberty to a deter- 
mination to a«^rt the sacred rights of 4edom. 

All this was a work not done easily, or in a hurry. 
Year after year he fought his battles and won his 
victories. "This that Knox did for his Nation,'' 
says Ccurlyle, " we may really call a Resurrection as 
from Death.'' 

John Knox's teaching and discipline (of which 
his Confession of Faith and First Book of Discipline 
were the embodiments) laid down the principles, 
and inspired the practices, which, in the words of an 
historian of the time, chansced the Scots from bein^ 
-one of the rudest? most^orant, indigent, and 
tiurbulent of peoples, into one of the most civilised, 
educated, prosperous, and upright, which our family 
of Nations can show." And yet not all his noble 
ideas were realised. A just provision for the Clergy, 
who took the place of the former priests and Church- 
men, was pared down to a beggarly pittance ; and 


the wolfish rapacity of the *^ nobles^ clutched also 
the wealth of the monks and friars on its way to the 
support of the poor and the endowment of colleges 
and schools. His wholesomest and most statesman- 
like schemes for the general welfare were thwarted 
and sneered at as ^devout imaginations'*^ by those 
who had it in their power to direct, for a time, the 
public policy, to the lasting detriment of Church and 
State. We are still trying, by belated l^slations, to 
efiect social, economical, and educational reforms 
which would have been achieved four hundred years 
ago, if only Enox had had full fireedom to act. The 
great body of the people stood by him and were 
thoroughly loyal to him« The aristocracy was not. 
Half-hearted support, wavering allegiance to the 
cause, shuffling S3nnpathy with its Champion, dis- 
paragement of his motives, mendacious aspersion of 
his character, misrepresentation and abuse — these 
were common and current among the classes who loved 
the old Faith and the yoimg Queen, and those who 
at bottom, caring little for either, hated Enox^s 
discipline and hungered for the spoils of the 

The discipline no doubt was stem (the Puritanic 
element showed itself distinctly in Enox^s character 
and ecclesiastical economy), but it was of a higher 
strain at anyrate than could consort with the dis- 
solute manners of the wanton Court At the head 
of the Coiurt, and of the political party identified 
with it, was the uncompromising enemy of the 


Reformed Religion, the most fSascinating woman of 
her time ; and Enox knew, and she knew, that between 
her influence and his the struggle was for life or 
death. In the Queen^s Mass in the Chapel Royal 
Knox saw nothing but rank idolatry and National 
downfall and disgrace. He would have none of it. 
He was "intolerant,'' undoubtedly : but could he be 
otherwise? Could he be tolerant of that ungodly 
power which for four hundred years had sucked the 
blood of Scotland, had slain her martyrs, had burned 
her witnessess of the Truth, had held down her 
people in Spiritual darkness and made religion a 
byword in the land P 

There are some things in the world that no free 
and honest man can, or ought to, tolerate. And 
the Scoto-Roman Church in the reign of Mary Stuart 
was one of them. If Scotland was to live, U must 
die. Knox dealt it its deathblow: and with him, 
after a tough contest, remained the victory of liberty 
and Truth. It was not an absolute triumph. Ei^e 
he was in his grave the forces of reaction had b^un 
to raise their noxious heads; to rebel against the 
Church's "godly discipline," and seemly order; to 
stumble into ihe crooked paths of Prelacy, and 
the superstitions of Sacerdotalism and Saoramen- 
tarianism. Yet it was but for a time. The new 
faith and order of the Ptesbjrterian Kirk — a free 
Church in a free State — ^were too firmly planted in 
the minds and consciences of an enfranchised people 
to be shaken by the temporary success, or fSedlure, of 


ecclesiastical factions or political parties. For four 
hundred years they have stood as on a rock. 

And the Church of Scotland — Apostolic, National, 
Reformed — ^will continue so to stand as long as Scots- 
men are faithful to the trust which Knox bequeathed 
to them. Let them not forget or misunderstand 
what it is — ^the Custody of the Faith once delivered 
to the Saints; the unbroken Tradition of the 
primitive Church ; the Ideal of that city of God 
which is Eternal in the Heavens. 

R. Ii. S. 




THE first forty years of John Enox^s life are 
almost an unbroken blank. His History of 
the ReformcUion in ScotluTid^ which is practically his 
own biography writ large, maintains a singular silence 
regarding tiie early years of his career. It is sup- 
posed that he was so ashamed *^ of the time spent in 
the puddle of papestry ^ that he preferred to make 
no reference to it. What we know of his birth and 
parentage, and the influences which were at work 
in producing him, can be briefly stated. 

He was bom in the vear 1605 ^ at Giflbrd Gate, 
near Haddington. His father was called William, 
and he had a brother of the same name. His mother 
was a Sinclair. This we know from the fact that, 
following the common custom of the time, he used 

^ See Appendix. 



her name as his own to shelter him from persecution. 
His earlier bic^praphers connect his family with the 
noUe House of the Enoxes of Ranfurly in Renfrew- 
shire, but there is no ground for this belief. He 
describes himself as ^*a man of base estate and 
condition,"" and in an interesting interview which he 
had with the Earl of Bothwell the fact of his humble 
origin is made perfectly dear. *^ For albeit that to 
this hour it hath not chanced me to speak with your 
Lordship, face to face, yet have I borne a good mind 
to your house. . . . For, my Lord, my grandfetther, 
goodsher, and father have served your Lordship^s 
predecessors, and some of them have died under 
their standards."" It is possible that Knox here refers 
to the Battle of Flodden; in any case the inter- 
view shows that. a feudal relation existed between 
the House of Bothwell and his &mily. Like the 
other two supreme Scotsmen, Bums and Carlyle, he 
sprang from the people. In mind and heart and char- 
acter he was a genuine product of the Scottish soiL 

The district of 'East Lothian was, long before 
Knox"s day, one of the greenest and most fertile 
parts of Scotland. It had litUe in its physical 
features to suggest that hardiness and sternness of 
character which have been associated with Knox in 
popular tradition. But, as those who have made a 
deeper study of the life of the great Reformer know, 
there was a tenderness in his character which formed 
no unfitting counterpart to the scenes of his childhood 
and youth. The religious Revolution, in which he 


was to play so distinguished a part, demanded 
qualities which threw into the background the 
sympathy and gentieness which by nature were his. 
In his native town Knox would see the Romish 
Church in all its splendour and, at the same time, in 
all its corruption. Haddington was rich in monas- 
teries and churches, and one of the latter, from its 
beauty of architecture, was called ^^The Lamp of 
Lothian.^ Whatever his affection for Haddington 
may have been, he was at no pains to hide the slowness 
witii which it accepted the new religion. In the 
account which he gives of Wishart^s preaching there, 
he declares that Haddington was fonder of witnessing 
Clerk Flays than listening to the GrospeL The 
wealth and power of the Church in that dktrict may 
have accounted for this. 

The future Reformer was educated first in the 
Burgh School of his native town, and afterwards in 
the University of Glasgow. Scotland, even at so 
early a date, showed that interest in education which 
has characterised it ever since. Knox afterwards, in 
his Book of Discipline, gave a sketch of an ideal 
system of education for his country, but that system 
was not his own invention ; it had its bedrock in 
pre - Reformation times. The burgh schools of 
Scotland were no unwortiiy precursors of the fiEunous 
grammar schools of a later age. 

Knox entered Glasgow University in 16S2, at the 
age of seventeen years. He would naturally have 
gone to the University of St. Andrews, which was 


nearer, but the fkme of John Major, who had recently 
been appointed principal r^ent or tutor in the 
College of the Faculty of Arts in Glasgow, and who 
was himself a Haddington man, and educated in its 
Burgh School, drew Knox to the younger and more 
distant University of the West. 

John Major would seem to have been the beau- 
ideal of the Scottish professor of the time, but, read- 
ing his works in the light of modem thought, it is 
not easy to discover the secret of his popularity. 
Buchanan, who studied under him afterwards in St. 
Andrews, is at no pains to conceal his contempt. 
He criticises his professor^s teaching as *^ sophistry 
rather than dialectics,^ and the fact that both he and 
Knox should have afterwards travelled far in different 
directions from the teaching of Major, shows that he 
had no great influence over them. Major was a type 
of the Schoolman who knew something of the new 
Learning without being affected by it. He studied 
in Paris in the same College as Erasmus, but, unlike 
the great Humanist, he remained practically unin- 
fluenced by the spirit of the Renaissance. All the 
same, he had imbibed some generous opinions of 
government and of the natural rights and liberty of 
subjects in relation to their rulers. In this respect 
he influenced both Buchanan and Knox, and the 
latter^s manly insistence on his independence and 
rights to Queen Mary, ^^ Madam, a subject bom within 
the same,**^ may have been the full development of the 
views of his old master. 


Glasgow University at that time gave little or no 
promise of its great future. It was poor in en- 
dowments and in teaching. The city itself was 
dominated by the Church. The Cathedral, with its 
Archbishop and Prebendaries, was the centre and 
source of the life both of the city and the University. 
Knox had the benefit of Major^s teaching for a 
year only, for the latter was transferred in 15S3 to 
the University of St. Andrews, and he himself is 
supposed to have left without taking a d^ree. 

Thus fax the career of the Reformer can be partly 
traced, but for the next twenty years hardly a single 
record of it can be found. It is generally believed, 
however, that he returned to East Lothian, and 
acted first as a notary and afterwards as private 
tutor in the families of the local gentry. Indeed, 
this can be authenticated, for documents have been 
recently discovered which prove him to have acted 
in the former capacity, and he himself tells us that 
at the time of Wishart^s preaching in Haddington 
he was private tutor in the families of Cockbum 
of Ormiston and Hugh Douglas of Longniddiy. 
There is no record of the time when he took 
priest^s Orders, but in later years his Catholic 
adversaries raUed at him as one of the ^^Fope^s 
Knights,^ and as having received Orders by which 
he "were umquhile called Sir John." The tradi- 
tion, incorporated in his Life by Beza, and repeated 
and expanded by later biographers, that he excelled 
as a lecturer in Philosophy, and threw over the 


study of Aristotle for that of St. Jerome and St. 
Augustine, may be true, but it is without historical 

Knox, however, must have been during those long 
years directing his attention to the great questions 
which were influencing the whole of Western Europe. 
The minds of men everywhere were being stirred by 
the religious Revolution which had already all but 
run its course on the Continent, and the fact that 
Knox suddenly appeared in the Castle of St. 
Andrews in 1647 fully armed for the great warfai-e 
which he was to wage, shows that he must have been 
preparing for it by a long course of thought and 
study. He never pretended that there was anything 
miraculous in his renunciation of the old religion 
and his acceptance of the new. Study and reflection, 
and external influences, must be regarded as having 
plajred an important part in that transformation of 
heart and mind which not only saved himself but 
his country from Popish darkness and superstition. 

On the Continent, and even in England, the 
Renaissance preceded the Reformation ; in Scotland 
this was reversed. Indeed, the Renaissance never 
really took hold in Scottish soiL The Revolution 
was pre-eminentiy a religious one. This may 
account for its thoroughness, and for the supreme 
influence which the Reformed religion exercised over 
the life and thought of Scotland for generations. 
Theology became the absorbing interest, to the 
exclusion of Art and Letters. In Grermany and in 


England it was different. The Renaissance in the 
former country preceded the Reformation, and in 
England they went hand in hand. This may ex- 
plain the more human religious life of Luther and 
the less intense fervour of the English Reformers. 
They took a broader view of life and destiny. 
Their minds were both Hebraistic and Hellenistic ; 
while the Scottish mind was Hebraistic only. It is 
hard to say whether the Scottish people have gained 
or lost by this. For one thing, it has given that 
moral grit to the nation which has made it great ; 
while, on the other hand, it has, to a certain extent, 
robbed it of those more human interests which play 
a necessary part in* the all-round development of a 

But long before the times of Luther and CfiJvin a 
spirit of reform had manifested itself in the Scottish 
Church. The Lollards of Kyle in the fifteenth 
century preached some of those very doctrines which 
afterwards became the watchwords of the Reforma- 
tion. They had their spiritual descendants, and 
from their day until the time of Knox himself, the 
blood of Scottish martyrs testified that the spirit 
of pure religion was tax from dead. The country 
was thus prepared for a full participation in the 
religious Revolution which had already powerfully 
affected the Continent, and was making rapid head- 
way in England. The Reformed views were being 
spread by means of books and preachers. The 
nations tiiat had been under the influence of the 


Papacy were banning to assert their political rights 
and to become individualised. They were attaining 
to self-consciousness. The age of unquestioning 
faith was gone ; and Scotland, though a little in the 
rear of this movement, was about to show that in 
carrying it out it meant to be thorough. 

Had the Church in England, however, not been 
reformed it is possible that no religious Revolution 
would have taken place in Scotland. The northern 
country at this time was divided in its all^iance 
between France and England. Both countries 
courted its alliance. James v. was dead. The 
nation was nominally under the R^ency of Arran, 
but, as a matter of fact, the real power lay in the 
hands of Cardinal Beaton and the Queen-Dowager 
Mary of Lorraine. Those who were bound by every 
tie to France saw in an alliance with it the only 
hope for the Catholic Church. England, on the 
other hand, courted the friendship of Scotland chiefly 
for political reasons. Henry viil, in order to bind 
the two countries together, determined to marry his 
son, the future King Edward vi., to the young Queen 
Mary of Scots. Between Scotland and England 
there had been a long and deadly enmity, and the 
natural tendency of politicians was to favour an 
understanding with Fiunce ; but the secret policy of 
the latter country, which was to make of Scotland a 
French province, caused them to hesitate, and the 
Protestant party in the country, which was now con- 
siderable, saw that their only chance of success lay in 


friendship with England. Had England remained 
Roman Catholic the incipient Protestantism of 
Scotland would have died a natiu*al death, for it 
was the support, partly genuine and partly selfish and 
political, which the country across the border gave 
in the time of need that really saved Protestantism 
for Scotland. 



NO external force, political, religious, or personal, 
could have destroyed the Church had it 
encouraged soundness of t^u^hing and fostered purity 
of life ; but its corruption was beyond healing. The 
disease was too deep and had lasted too long, and 
death was the natural and only deliverance. The 
leaders of the Church were alive to the need of 
reform, but their efforts were too late. Ecclesiastical 
Councils and Acts of Parliament insisted upon 
amendment, but in vain. The laity were crying out 
for the purification of the ecclesiastical life of the 
day, and deplored the " opm sclander that is gevm 
to the haill estates thruch the said spirituall mene^s 
ungodly and dissollute lives.**^ In the opening 
chapters of his History of the Rrformation in Scotland 
Knox gives a picture of the corruptions that existed 
in the Church, and particularly of the scandalous 
lives of the cl^*gy, which in graphic detail and 
humour has seldom been equalled. 

Even if half of what he said were true, and we 



know it to be essentially true, the times were ripe for 
a thorough cleansing of the Augean stable. The 
shameful trafficking in benefices ; the large parishes 
entirely neglected; the greed and wealth of the 
higher deigy; the perversion of doctrine; the 
fostering of superstition; and the immoral and 
shameless lives of the Bishops, whom Knox scathingly 
characterises as ^ idle bellies and dumb dogs,^ were 
more than the country could stand, and the zeal for 
righteousness inherent in human nature was stirred, 
and cried for the reform or the abolition of a Church 
that was a scandal to Christendom. 

If, however, the Church could not be reformed 
from within it must be defended from without. So 
thought the leading ecclesiastics in Scotland. They 
entered accordingly upon that course of persecution 
which began with the burning of James Resby in 
Perth in 1407, eight years before the martyrdom of 
Hubs and Jerome of IVague, and which ceased not 
till the burning of Walter Mill in St. Andrews in 
1568. But persecution never yet killed truth, and 
the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton at St. Andrews 
in 16S8 centralised, so to speak, the new movement, 
and imparted to it an impelling power which, outside 
influences being favourable, was prophetic of victory. 
Indeed, Knox dates the history of the Reformation 
in Scotland from Hamilton's death. 

This young teacher of the new religion was only 
in his twenty-fourth year when his tongue was 
silenced for ever. He belonged to the patrician family 


of that name, was a native of West Lothian, took 
Orders in the Roman Catholic Church and became 
Abbot of Feme, but receiving a taste of the new 
learning and religion at St. Andrews, where he 
studied, he travelled to Grermany, and at the Uni- 
versities of Marburg and Wittenberg came directly 
under the influence of the Lutheran theology. In his 
thesis, which was afterwards published under the title 
o{Pairick*s Places, he gave the first systematised state- 
ment of the Reformed religion by any Scotsman. 
Returning to his native country he became a power. 
He was so gentle and winning in character, and, for 
his time, so learned, that his preaching took deep 
root in the hearts of those who listened to it. The 
Church took alarm, and James Beaton, Archbishop 
of St. Andrews, the uncle of his more famous 
successor. Cardinal Beaton, put Hamilton on his 
trial and caused him to be condemned and burned. 

The next man of outstanding importance who 
appears in the history of Scottish religious life is 
Greorge Wishart. Between his death and that of 
Hamilton there is a period almost of twenty years. 
During that interval the Reformed views were being 
spread by books and preaching, for under the 
Regency of Arran the Bible was allowed to be cir- 
culated and read in the vernacular. Other influences 
were also at work. Poetry and the Drama were 
playing their part The Satires of Sir David 
Lindsay were casting ridicule on the Church and 
Clergy, and '' The Gude and Godlie BaUatis"" of the 


IVedderbums were incorporating the new truths in a 
form which could be read and sung by the common 
people. In keeping with this spirit, John Erskine of 
Dim, one of the most notable men of the period, 
encouraged young Wishart, who, like his patron, was 
a native of ihe Meams, to teach the Greek Testament 
in Montrose. This was the first time that ^^ Greek ^ 
was taught in Scotland. But Cardinal Beaton, who 
was now in the ascendant, and who was determined 
to foster an alliance with France and to crush the 
Reformation in Scotiand, was laying violent hands 
upon all who were of the Reformed ways. 

Wishart took alarm and fled to England. He 
afterwards travelled on the Continent, translated into 
English the first Helvetic Confession, taught theology 
at Cambridge University, and impressed his scholai^ 
by his simplicity, charity, and learning. *^ He was a 
man,^ writes one of them, Emery Tylney, " courteous, 
lowly, lovely, glad to teach, desirous to leam.^ 

He returned to his native country in 1648, and 
b^an preaching in Montrose and Dundee. He subse- 
quentiy went to Ayrshire, but revisited Dundee on 
learning that the plague had broken out in that dty, 
and won the love and reverence of the people by his 
devotion and self-sacrifice. Thereafter he crossed 
to Leith, but his friends, the Lairds of Ormiston, 
Longniddry, and Brunston, took him for greater 
safety to East Lothian, and it was while there that 
he and Knox were brought into personal and friendly 
contact. The first real glimpse we get of the future 


Rdbrmer is in the capacity of annour-bearer, going 
before Wishart with the two-handed sword that was 
now necessary for his protection. It was in those 
days that are called the ^^Holy days of Yule^ that 
Wishart came to East Lothian. 

Knox displajTS a marked enthusiasm in speaking of 
Wishart. He characterises him as ^ a man of such 
graces as before him was never heard within this 
realm, and are rare yet in any man, notwithstanding 
this great lyght of Grod that since his dajrs has 
sduned unto us.^ There is every reason for thinking 
that Knox r^^arded him as his spiritual father. It 
was under the inspiring teaching of Wishart that 
the future Reformer attained to his religious self- 
consciousness, came out into the open, and deter- 
mined to give himself heart and soul to the preaching 
and propagation of the new religion. 

Wishart was disappointed at the sparseness of the 
audience that assembled to hear him at Haddington, 
and he unburdened his soul to Knox. ^^ Walking up 
and down behind the High Altar,^ waiting for the 
hour of sermon, he said to Knox that he '' wearied of 
the world because he perceived that men began to 
weary of Grod.^ The fact is, the people of Haddington 
were intimidated by the presence in the neighbour- 
hood of Cardinal Beaton, and the knowledge that 
the preacher was a marked man. 

Beaton^s hatred of Wishart was twofold. He 
saw in him an enemy not only of the Romish Church 
but of himself. A plot at this time was being 


hatched against the Cardmal, and some of the very 
men who were aiding and defending Wishart in his 
propagandism were known to be involved in it. No 
proof has been adduced to show that Wishart was 
a party to the scheme, which had the approval of 
Henry viu. and the English faction in Scotland. 
He was naturally associated in his life-work with the 
Protestants in the country who both on religious and 
political grounds were inimical to the CardinaL 

After sermon Wishart returned to the house of 
Ormiston, and upon Knox insisting on accompanying 
him, Wishart put him gently aside by saying, *^ Nay : 
return to your bairns and Grod bless you.^ Knox 
obeyed reluctantly, and, giving up the two-handed 
sword, parted from Wishart, whom he was never to 
see again. 

That night the house of Ormiston was surrounded 
by the Earl of BothweU and his retainers, and 
Wishart was entrusted to their charge on the 
distinct understanding that he was not to be handed 
over to the Civil or Ecclesiastical authorities. But 
BothweU broke his pledge. Wishart was soon carried 
to the Castle of Edinburgh, and thereafter to the' 
Castle of St. Andrews. All this happened early in 
1546, and in March of the same year he suffered 
martyrdom at St. Andrews. 

Knox now found himself a marked man, and, 
wearying of the persecution to which he was subjected, 
he resolved to flee the country. Germany, and not 
Switzerland, seemed to attract him most; but he 


changed his mind in later years, and when at last he 
did go to the Continent it was to Greneva and not 
to Wittenberg. He had by that time made 
deliberate choice of the Reformed Theology. The 
fathers of his pupils, loth to lose his services, 
persuaded him to seek refuge in the Castle of St. 
Andrews, and to take his young charges with him. 

Strange and even startling things had happened 
in that old grey city since Knox parted from his 
friend Wishart at the door of Haddington Church. 
Wishart himself had been martyred, but Beaton, the 
prime mover in the business, had also been slain. A 
band of desperate men, of whom Melville of Cambee, 
William Kirkcaldy, younger, of Grange, and John 
and Norman Leslie were the chief, pledged them- 
selves to avenge the martyrdom of Wishart, and 
early on the S9th day of May, while the Cardinal 
still slept in his chamber, they seized the Castle of 
St. Andrews, which he thought impr^nable, and 
ruthlessly put him to death. ^^ I am a priest, ye will 
not slay me!^ cried the once great ecclesiastic in 
abject terror, but the word Mercy drew no response 
from those desperate men. For answer he received 
a sword-thrust, and while drawing his last breath he 
was asked to repent of the murder of George 
Wishart, ^ that notable instrument of God.^ 

Beaton was the last of the great ecclesiastical 
statesmen that the Romish Chiurch produced in 
Scotland, and probeJ[>ly the greatest. He has 
earned undying obloquy by his murder of Greorge 


Wishart and his persecution of the preachers of the 
Reformed religion. But the historians of the period 
take a wider view of his character and career, and 
find in him the ablest Scottish politician of the time. 
He was a patriot inasmuch as he opposed, to the 
utmost, the alliance with England, in which he 
thought there lay great danger to his country ; and 
he certainly cannot be accused of being in the pay of 
Henry vni., like the Earls of Glencaim, Cassillis, and 
others. But his opposition to the English alliance 
was dictated as much, perhaps, by his devotion to the 
Romish Chiurch as his love of Scotland, for he saw 
in the policy of Henry vin. the probable future 
success of Protestantism. He cultivated the friend- 
ship of France, partly, no doubt, for the purpose of 
thwarting the aims of the English monarch, but in 
this he, at the same time, endangered the freedom 
of his own country, and did his best to perpetuate 
the superstition that then prevailed. Personal 
ambition, perchance as much as anything, guided 
his public conduct, for the policy which he pursued 
necessitated his own eminence, and demanded that 
the leading ecclesiastic should also be the chief 
statesman of the day. This policy was doomed to 
failure, and whatever his more estimable qualities 
may have been, the popular judgment of the country 
has, notwithstanding vcuious attempts to whitewash 
his character, been steadily cast against him. 



IT was on the 10th of April 1647 that Knox 
entered the Castle of St. Andrews. The com- 
pany that welcomed him was a strange one. It con- 
sisted almost entirely of political rebels and religious 
refugees, or, as Pitscottie quaintly puts it, of those 
who ^^ suspected themselves to be privy to the said 
slaughter.^ Among them were such sober-minded 
men as Sir David Lindsay, Henry Balnaves, and 
John Rough, and, along with these, those who had 
taken an active part in the murder of Beaton, 
such as young Kirkcaldy, Melville, and the two 

It would be absurd, of course, to regard these last 
as murderers in the ordinary sense. Their crime 
was political, and assassination in those days was 
quietly debated in the cabinets of kings, and 
determined on as the only means of suppressing 
troublesome opponents. But the company in the 
Castle, which at this time numbered one hundred and 
fifty, was, to say the least, a very mixed one. Knox 


was shocked at the conduct of some of them, openly 
rebuked them, and declared that the corrupt life 
which they led ^^ could not escape the judgment of 
God.^ He did his best to instruct their minds and 
reform their morals by his teaching and preaching. 
He continued instructing the three lads who were 
under his care, and took up their lessons at the 
point where he had stopped before entering the 

He has told us the nature of the instruction 
which he imparted. " Besides their grammar and 
other human authors he read unto them the 
Catechism, an account of which he caused them 
to give publicly in the Parish Kirk of St. Andrews. 
He read, moreover, unto them, proceeding where he 
left at his departure from Longniddry, where 
befDre his residence was, and that lecture he read 
at the Castle, in the chapel within the Castle, at 
a certain horn*.'" 

The garrison was not long in discovering that a 
man of more than ordinary power was now in their 
midst. John Rough was very good in his way, but 
it was perfectly clear to their minds that he was 
not equal to John Knox. The leading men among 
them were anxious that the latter would assume the 
official position of a preacher of the new fiedth, and 
they made a representation to him to that effect. 
The future Reformer did not yidd easily. He held 
the most serious views on the tremendous re- 
sponsibility which rested on a man who assumed 


such an office. At first, he tells us, he utterly 
refused, alleging that ^ he would not run where God 
had not called hun.^ Lmdsay and Balnaves, 
who were shrewd judges of character and had a 
quick eye for talent, and who had been deeply 
impressed by Knox^s catechising and teaching of his 
pupils, insisted upon him giving his consent; and 
Rough, after a special sermon on the election of 
mmisters, suddenly turned to Knox and in the name 
of all present called upon him to accept the holy 
vocation of a minister of the GrospeL Then address- 
ing the people, he said : *^ Was not this yom* charge 
to me ? " With one voice they answered : " Thou 
and we approve it.^ This appeal quite overcame 
Knox. He felt that this call to the ministry was 
in reality a call from Grod ; that the Almighty was 
speaking through the voice of the people. It was 
like the summons which in ancient times was issued 
to the prophets of Israel, and he could not refuse it. 
Overwhelmed by the appeal, he, as he himself tells 
us, ^^ abashed, burst forth in most abundant tears 
and withdrew himself to his chamber.*" 

To us also, at this time of day, there seems a 
Divine purpose in the call which he thus received to 
the ministry. The man was ready to discharge the 
great duties which the times demanded. He 
did not probably know this himself, but the bold- 
ness and ability with which he almost there and 
then took up his new duties showed that the long 
yeai*s of preparation were ended, that their purpose 


was served, and that the man was fully equipped at 
all points. He was ready to wage that battle against 
ignorance, superstition, and immorality, which would 
end in the overthrow of the Romish Church and in 
the establishment of the Protestant religion. 

In the very first sermon which he preached in the 
Parish Church before the University, the garrison, 
and the townspeople, he struck straight at the roots 
of the evils of which the Papacy was the fruit. 
He identified it with the Man of Sin ; with Anti- 
Christ ; with the Whore of Babylon ; and ^* deciphered 
by the way the lives of the vcurious Popes,^ condemn- 
ing their lives and jeering at their doctrines as 
idolatry. The imagery of Knox^s sermon, taken 
from Daniel, St. Paul, and the Apocalypse, was a 
revelation to his audience if familiar to us. He 
made a great impression. Some said, ^^ Master 
Greorge Wishart spoke never so plainly, and yet he 
was burned; even so will he be.^ Others said, 
^ Others hewed the branches of the Papacy, but this 
man strikes at the root.^ 

Archbishop Hamilton, having heard of this 
sermon, wrote to John Wynram, Sub-Prior of the 
Monastery of St. Andrews, and called upon him to 
take steps to have Knox suppressed. This was 
easier said than done. Wynram, who had a leaning 
towards the Reformed views, was bound to make a 
ehow of obedience, and he caused nine heretical 
propositions taken from the preaching of Rough and 
Knox to be drawn up, and the two preachers were 



summoned before a gathering of the Romish clergy 
in St. Leonard's College to defend themselves. 

Rough was a "good man*" and "without cor- 
ruption,^ but while liked by the people he was not 
the most learned He had also experienced difficulty 
at former times in meeting the theological attacks 
of his opponents, but on this occasion he was assisted 
by a champion who was more than a match for all 
the Professors and Doctors in St. Andrews. Wjmram, 
who first took up the dispute, soon handed it over 
to a Franciscan friar, who entirely lost his head, 
and to the dismay of his fellows made the extra- 
ordinary statement, "That the Apostles had not 
received the Holy Ghost when they had wrote their 
Epistles, but after they received Him, and then they 
did order their ceremonies.'" 

But of much more importance than the overthrow 
of his opponents in argument was the hold that 
Knox was evidently gaining on the minds and hearts 
of the common people. We read that they heard 
him gladly, and in his very first sermon he sounded 
that note of religious freedom which afterwards 
burst into a veritable trumpet peal, and siunmoned 
to his side the commons of Scotland in the fresh 
vigour of their new-found independence. In June 
he administered the Sacrament to two hundred 
people after the Reformed manner. This was the 
second occasion on which the Death of our Lord 
had been commemorated in this fieishion. Greorge 
Wiflhart, on the night before his execution, celebrated 

* * 


the Sacrament with his jailer according to the rites 
of the Reformed Church. From this dates the over- 
throw of the Romish Sacrament of the Mass, which 
Knox was never weary of declaring to be rank 

The Earl of Arran, unable to subdue the garrison, 
tried to bribe it into surrender. He secured a 
pardon from the Pope which in reality was no 
pardon at all, and the garrison, looking for assistance 
from England, determined to prolong the struggle, 
but on the last day of June a French fleet appeared 
outside the bay of St. Andrews, and Knox for one 
saw the doom that was imminent. He declared that 
their defences would be but ^^ ^g-shells,^ and that 
they would ^^fall into the enemy^s hands and be 
carried into a strange country.^ 

The French, who knew how to beleaguer a strong- 
hold, posted cannon in such positions as could 
command the Castle, and on Saturday the last of 
July it surrendered. They were careful, however, to 
yield themselves to the French Admiral rather than 
to the R^ent of Scotland, and they laid down the 
condition that their lives be saved, that they 
should be transported to France, and if unable to 
remain in the French service they should be con. 
veyed at the cost of their captors back to Scotland. 
This pledge was no sooner given than it was broken. 
The members of the captured garrison were at once 
consigned to the galleys and to prisons in France. 
Among the former was Knox, who for nineteen 


months toiled as a galley slave, and endured bodily 
sufferings and anguish of mind and spirit which were 
almost unutterable. 

Knox is very reticent about his life on board the 
galleys, but on the one or two occasions on which he 
refers to it, it can be seen that the iron had entered 
his soul, and that he could not look back upon that 
period without a shudder. ^ How long,^ he says in 
one passage, '^ I continued a prisoner ; what torment 
I sustained in the gallejrs and what were the sobs of 
my heart, is now no time to recite.^ His hatred of 
France is well known, and the nineteen months spent 
by him as a gaUey slave must, to say the least, have 
intensified it. 

It is almost impossible for us at this time of day 
to imagine the kind of life that those miserable 
wretches who toiled in the French warships had to 
endure. One of those galleys carried a complement 
of 460 men ; of these 150 formed the crew, and the 
remaining 300 were slaves who toiled at the oars. 
Five or six of them sat on a bench which stretched 
crosswise from side to side of the ship. To this 
bench they were chained night and day. The 
labour of rowing was intense. In taking their stroke 
they had to rise from the bench, and the effort was 
so great that even in the coldest weather perspira- 
tion burst out on their faces. They were scantily 
dad with coarse canvas coat and cap, and their food 
was a kind of porridge made of oil and beans, with 
a biscuit thrown in. From stem to stem ran a 


gangway, called the caumer^ and along it walked 
the oflBoer m chaige with whip in hand, which he 
pUed unsparingly to anyone who lagged at his task. 
A slight awning screened the slaves firom the burning 
sun ; but in rough weather it was removed, and left 
them exposed to wind and rain and cold. 

It almost passes human imagination to picture the 
horrors of such a life, especially for a man like Knox, 
who was there for conscience^ sake, and who had 
been accustomed to the amenities which, for most 
human beings, make existence tolerable. Chained at 
the same oar with him may have been a Turk or a 
Moor, a thief or a murderer; but there was no 
escape. He had to bear the companionship without 
a moment^s relief. One shrinks from even hinting 
at the horrible conditions under which those poor 
wretches lived and toiled. Enough to mention 
that the hospital, which was in the centre and 
bottom of the ship, was such a plague-stricken hole 
that many a poor sick creature preferred to die 
toiling at his oar rather than be put into it. 

The French officers would seem to have concerned 
themselves about the religious opinions of their 
prisoners, and to have attempted to convert the 
heretics among them to the old fitith. In this 
connection an incident of considerable interest is 
related by Knox, and, although he does not say so, 
he himself must have been the hero of it. 

^Those that were in the gallejrs,^ he remarks in 
History qf the Rrformationj ^'were threatened 


with torments if they wonld not give reverence to 
the Mass, but they could never get the poorest of 
that company to give reverence to that idoL Yea, 
upon the Saturday at night when they sang their 
Salve Regina the whole Scottishmen put on their 
hoods or such things as they had to cover their 
heads, and when the others were compelled to kiss 
a painted board called Notre Dame they were not 
pressed after that once, for this was the chance. 
Soon after the arrival at Nantes their great Salve 
was sung, and a glorious painted lady was brought in 
to be kissed: and among others was presented to 
one of the Scottishmen then chained. He gently 
said, ^ Trouble me not, such an idol is accursed, and 
therefore I will not touch it.^ The patron and the 
Argoussin, with two officers having the charge of 
such matters, said : ^ Thou shalt handle it,^ and so, 
they violently thrust it to his (ajce and put it betwixt 
his hands, who seeing the extremity took the idol, 
and advisedly looking about cast it into the river, 
and said : ^ Let om* lady now save herself, she is light 
enough, let her leam to swim.** After that,^ he 
grimly adds, ^^was no Scottishman urged with 
that idolatry.^ 

It would appear that on two occasions, while a 
slave in the galleys, the ship in which he toiled 
came within sight of the Scottish coast, and the 
view of his native land seems to have inspired the 
hope that one day he would be at liberty. On the 
second of these occasions they were lying between 


St. Andrews and Dundee. The hardships which 
he had endured were beginning to tell on him^ and 
he was now broken in health, but his answer to 
James Balfour, one of his companions at the oar, 
who asked him if he recognised the spot, shows 
that, however dejected, he was convinc^ that the 
task to which he was consecrated would still be 
discharged by him. "Yes,'* answered ElUOX, "I 
know it well, for I see the steeple of the place where 
God first in pubUc opened my lips to His glory, 
and I am fiilly persuaded how weak soever I may 
now appear, I shall not depart this life till that my 
tongue shall glorify His godly name in that plaoe.^ 

It would seem, however, that a certain liberty 
must have been allowed to Knox, for he was able 
to correspond with those members of the garrison 
who were confined in difi*erent castles along the 
coast of France. Young Kirkcaldy of Grange, and 
three other Scotsmen who were imprisoned in the 
Benedictine Abbey of Mont St. Michel, were 
meditating their escape, and consulted Knox if they 
might make the attempt. He replied : ^^ Certainly, 
if ye shed no blood.^ They took his advice, and 
in place of killing their jailers they made them 
drunk with wine and so attained their liberty. 

Henry Balnaves, who was confined in the Palace 
of Rouen, solicited Knox^s judgment on a TVeatise 
on JugHficaHon by Faithy in the composition of 
which he had relieved the monotony of his 
imprisonment. ^This composition,^ Knox states. 


^^was come into his hands while he was in Rouen 
l3dng in irons and was troubled by corporal infirmity 
in a galley called Nostre DameJ* Knox evidently 
had leisure not only to read the work, ^to the 
comfort of his spirit,^ but to divide it into chapters 
and write a digest of it. He afterward sent it with 
a letter of introduction and commendation to the 
" Congr^ation of the Castle of St. Andrews.** This 
work by Balnaves, which will afterwards be referred 
to, is of considerable interest as the first systematic 
statement of the Reformed religion prepared by 
any Scotsman. Patrick Hamilton's Places was a 
bald composition in comparison, and though both 
of them were conceived largely on the same lines, 
that of Balnaves is fuller and more logically 

But liberty was at last in sight for Knox and 
his companions. The friendly policy between the 
two Governments of France and England, which 
b^an during the last period of Edward the Sixth's 
reign, was continued by Protector Somerset Eng- 
land at last remembered that the garrison of St. 
Andrews had been fighting as her allies. Terms 
were arranged between the two Grovemments, and 
some time in the month of February 1549 Knox 
gained his fr-eedom, and in 1550 all his fellclw- 
prisoners were allowed to leave France. 



KNOX on r^aining liberty would naturally have 
returned to Scotland, but had he done so he 
would have courted the £Eite of Greorge Wishart. The 
country was in a very unsettled condition, and the 
policy of the governing classes was dead against the 
Reformation. He accordingly went to England, where 
he was welcomed by the Duke of Somerset as one 
likely to aid him in spreading the Protestant religion. 

England at this time possessed very few capaUe 
preachers. Its parochial clergy were for the most 
part ignorant priests, who ought to have been living 
m retirement on their pensions, but who had been 
allowed by Henry vni. to serve their cures and 
draw their stipends in order to save his Exchequer. 
The reaction which took place under Bloody Mary 
would perhaps never have succeeded had it not been 
that in most parishes the ministers were Roman 
Catholic at heart, and ready to support a revival 
of the old superstition. 

Knox was sent to Berwick-on-Tweed as a licensed 



preacher. The place was well chosen. There he 
had a congr^ation composed partly of Scotsmen 
from across the border, who had repaired thither 
for safety. Knox^s fame afterwards drew more of 
his countrymen to that town. In Berwick there 
was also a garrison, and the Reformer's experience 
in the Castle of St. Andrews, among the rough 
soldiery, would stand him in good stead. We can 
well believe that his simple and direct method of 
address, his graphic style, forcible delivery and 
clear, strong, and burning convictions, would have 
great power over those who were placed under his 
care. '^ Though the Battle appears strong, your 
Captain is inexpugnable;^ ''Abide, stand, and call 
for His support, and so the enemies which now affi:ay 
you shall be confounded,^ are specimens of the kind 
of imagery which he employed, and indicate how 
vivid and real his preaching must have been. 

Knox's Scottish admirers forget that he spent 
what must have been the ten best years of his life 
among Englishmen. Five were passed in England 
preaching in different parts of the country, and to 
the Court, and in taking his part in framing the 
Artides of Belief and the Prayer Book. Ejiox, 
wherever he was, invariably was the real head of the 
table. In other words, he possessed a personality 
so strong that it influenced all who came into con- 
tact wiiii him, and his convictions were so definite 
and his courage so marked that he never allowed 
his oonscience to be wounded by timid silence. It 


is now seen that the part which he played in 
shaping the Reformation in England was very oon- 
sideraUe, and that he was instrumental in impartinir 
to it a spirit of pure and sturdy Puritani«n wS^ 
a later age burst forth in all its power and saved the 
country from ruin. It seems to us, therefore, some- 
what necessary that we should at this stage try to 
understand what Knox^s religious views really were. 

It is the fashicm to discount him as a systematic 
theologian, and he himself in the Letter of Com- 
mendation which he wrote to Balnaves^ Treatise 
makes no daim to scientific scholarship; for he 
remarks: ^^It is no speculative Theolog which 
desires to give you courage, but even so, a brother 
in affiction, which partly hath experienced what 
Satan^s wrath may do against the chosen of 6od.^ 
With the exception of St. Paul, none of the Apostles 
pretended to be sjrstematic theologians, and yet we 
hear of the Petrine and Johannine Gospels. It is 
the ^affliction of experience,^ after all, to which 
Knox refers, that makes the true teacher and 
preacher. For Theology, we are told, is as much 
of the heart as of the head. In this respect Knox 
stands out pre-eminent, and to it he owed the 
tremendous power which he had over his hearers, 
and it was in virtue of it that he afterwards moved 
Scotland and conquered it for Protestantism. 

Dr. M^Crie, the first formal biographer of Knox, 
treats at considerable length of his religious views, 
and we are bound to say that he seems to us to be 


nearer the truth than Dr. Hume Brown, Enox'^s 
later biogrc^her. The latter, in a very interesting 
chapter on Knox% ^^ Religious Opinions,^ gives far 
too much weight to the supposed influence which 
Balnaves^ Treatise on JugHfication by Faith had 
on the Reformer. He imagines that because Knox 
wrote the Note of Commendation to the book it 
therefore expresses his entire religious views. Now, 
as a matter of fact, although with all the other 
Reformers he attached great importance to the 
doctrine of Justification by Faith, he did not by 
any means regard it as the leading doctrine of 
Protestantism. Dr. Hume Brown would be the 
first to admit that, like Knox himself, he is no 
*^ speculative Theolog,^^ and therefore cannot speak 
with supreme authority on this question. 

To discover the Reformer's position we have not 
only to read his works, but to interpret them in 
the light of scientific knowledge of the subject 
This, fortunately, has recently been done by one of 
the greatest Scottish theologians of recent times, 
the late Professor Hastie of Glasgow University. 
In his Croall Lectures on the ^^ Theology of the 
Reformed Oiurch,^ a work published after his death. 
Dr. Hastie gives a luminous sketch of Knox's 
religious opinions, and he shows that he accepted 
the Reformed rather than the Lutheran view of 
the Phitestant Faith. 

In order to arrive at a dear knowledge^of Knox's 
theological views it is^ necessary to bear in mind a 


fundamental distinction between the Lutheran and 
Beformed presentations of Fhitestantism. While 
Luther, and those who sided with him, protested 
with all their might against the doctrine of Works 
or the Judaic element in the Romish CJhurch, 
Zwingli and Calvin raised their voices with equal 
vehemence against the doctrine of image wordiip 
or the pagan element in that Communion. Now 
while all the Reformers accepted the two positions of 
Protestantism thus stated, the Lutherans emphasised 
the former distinction and the Reformed theologians 
the latter : and it is quite impossible to understand 
the governing principles of the two Reforming parties 
in Protestantism without bearing these divisions 
constantly in mind. Knox, as can be clearly shown, 
was fix>m the very beginning an ardent dkdple of 
the Reformed theologians, and from the first sermon 
which he preached in St. Andrews to his last he 
never ceased to denounce the pagan or idolatrous 
element in the Romish Church, which made it, in 
his eyes, no Church at all, but a monstrosity that 
ought at whatever cost to be got rid of. 

Indeed, Eiiox^s watchword of "No idolatry,*" 
sounded in his famous sermon at Perth, was also 
the watchword of the Lollards of Kyle, who in the 
fifteenth century, during the reign of James iv., 
introduced into Scotland the religious teaching of 
John Wydiff. We find that among the thirty-four 
Articles of Heresy charged against them there were 
several that clearly foreshadowed the position of 


Knox. One of them was that ^' images were not to 
be had nor yet to be worshipped.^ A second, that 
*^ the relics of saints are not to be worshipped,^ and 
a third that ^^after the consecration in the Mass 
there remains but bread.^ 

The next g««t movement in the religious life of 
Scotland is represented by Patrick Hamilton, the 
protomartyr of the Reformation, who was burned at 
St. Andrews in 1 5S8. He had as a young man imbibed 
the Lutheran teaching at Witt^iberg ; and, as was 
then the fashion, he embodied his theological convic- 
tions in a thesis or set of articles which were 
published after his death under the title of Patricks 
Places^ or, as we would say, ^^ Commonplaces ^ or 
^^ Heads ^ of Theology. This treatise is tiioroughly 
Lutheran in standpoint, form, and expression, and it 
would seem as if it was to be the divine of Erfurt 
and not the theologian of Greneva who was to give his 
impress to the Reformation movement in Scotland. 

But after Hamilton came Greorge Wishart. 
Eighteen years divided the two, and during that 
period the religious views of Scotland were being 
moulded afresh by the influences that were bearing 
upon the country from the Continent and England. 
Wishart gave a new direction to the religious revival, 
for he was a believer in the Reformed Theology. He 
had come under its influence while travelling on the 
Continent, and bore testimony to his convictions by 
translating into English the first Helvetic Confession. 
Indeed one of the Articles for which he suffered 


martyrdom was his repudiation of trausubstantiation 
and the Mass. And we read that one of the results 
of his preaching was an attack by the men of Dundee 
and Montrose on some of the religious houses of 
these towns, which were gloriously bedecked, and full 
of those images the worship of which the Reformed 
Theologians declared to be gross idolatry. 

Knox had, by the time he began his duties as a 
licensed preacher in England, written almost nothing. 
His introduction to and synopsis of Balnaves^ TreaJtise 
on Justification would seem to have been his sole 
literary venture, his only other record being one 
sermon preached by him, that in St. Andrews, and 
his disputations with the leaders of the Romish 
Church there. But these are quite enough to show 
the quality of the man both as a speaker and as a 
writer, and it is hard fM* us to believe that they were 
his first ventures in either capacity, for they display 
a knowledge of the subject, a maturity of thought, a 
directness and ease of expression that would do no 
discredit to a past master. What Knox was then he 
remained ever after, and we find that in the sermon 
he enunciated those opinions which he ever held by. 

Thus from the very b^inning he was an adherent 
of the Reformed rather than of the Lutheran con- 
ception of the Fhitestant Faith. He dedared the 
Pope to be ^^that Man of Sin^ and the Romish 
Church to be ^the Synagogue of Satan,^ and deplored 
the degeneracy of the Roman Church as compared 
with the purity which was in the days of the 


Apostles. While lying in irons in the French galley 
on the Loire he flung overboard the image of the 
Virgin which he was asked to worship, declaring it to 
be " but a pented brod.^ 

In his defence at Newcastle on the 4th April 1550, 
he made a powerful indictment against the idolatry 
of the Roman Church as seen in the sacrifice of the 
Mass, declaring it to be idolatry ; and in a ^^ Summary 
according to the Holy Scriptures of the Sacrament 
of the Lord^s Supper,**^ drawn up about the same 
time, he distinctly throws in his lot with the up- 
holders of the Reformed Theology, repudiating the 
doctrine not only of transubstantiation but that of 
consubstantiation as well, and declaring the Sacrament 
to be altogether spiritual His notable stand against 
the rubric in the Second Prayer Book of Edward vi« 
(October 165SX enjoining kneeling as the proper 
attitude for receiving the Sacrament, resulted in 
a note being inserted that in such a posture no 
^^ adoration^ is intended. 

In subsequent publications written while in 
England, and before he came under the personal 
influence of Calvin, who is supposed to have moulded 
him to his own sweet will, we find the same principle 
laid down, and his whole position may be summed 
up in his declaration that *^ all worshipping, honour- 
ing, or service of Gtxl invented by the brain of man 
in the religion of Grod without His own express 
command is idolatry.^ 



KNOX, holding these views, found himself in 
very congenial surroundings when, in 1549, 
he was appointed by the Privy Council of England, 
as one of their licensed preachers, to minister to the 
garrison and people of Berwick. Henry viii. had 
been two years dead, and those who were respon- 
sible for the government of the Church held much 
more drastic views regarding the reform of religion 
than he had ever entertained. The English monarch 
was content for the most part to break with the 
Church of Rome, and to apportion between himself 
and his favourites among the nobility the wealth 
and lands of the Church. He did not interfere much 
with its doctrine or ritual, but since his death these 
had been taken in hand, and the signs were auspicious 
for a thoroughgoing religious revolution. 

It is true that the bulk of the people loved the 
old ways, and dung, as their custom is, to use and 
wont; but London, whose influence was very pre- 
dominant in this and other matters at that time, was 



strongly in favour of the Reformation, and the 
aristocracy, who had shared in the property of the 
Church, were not only loth to give up what they had 
already grabbed, but were very anxious to secure as 
large a share as possible of the remaining spoils. 

Knox accordingly experienced great £ceedom in 
his ministry at Berwick, and it would seem that he 
discharged his duties entirely according to his own 
light and convictions. Proof of this is found in a 
letter written by him at a later date, in which he 
declares that he dispensed the Communion in exactly 
the same fieishion as he did in St. Andrews. We 
know that on that occasion the manner in which he 
administered the sacred rite was in accordance with 
Scriptural simplicity, and it may be taken for granted 
that in conducting the service on the Sundays, 
and in the general discharge of his duties, he adhered 
to the forms which had received the approval 
of Zwingli, Calvin, and the other leaders of the 
Reformed Church on the Continent. 

His great desire was to remove every obstacle that 
might stand between the soul of the beUever and his 
Grod. He was anxious that nothing should intervene 
between the suppliant and his Maker ; and it must 
have been his public insistence on this which 
brought him under the unfavourable notice of 
Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, and others in that 
diocese, who in their hearts still clung to the old 
wa3rs. In any case, as has already been indicated, he 
was asked to give an account to the Bishop of the 


doctrine which he taught, and he himself in somewhat 
triumphant terms describes the occasion, when before 
a notable gathering at Newcastle on the 4th of April 
1650 he proved to his own satisfaction, at least, that 
the sacrifice of the Mass is idolatry. So pleased was 
he with this performance that he afterwards published 
it as a separate work, under the title, A Vmdicaiion 
qf the Doctrine thai the Sacrifice of the Mass is 
Idolatry. This being the first independent work 
which he gave to the world, it may not be unfitly 
regarded as his manifesto. 

Knox was not allowed to remain long in Berwick. 
In 1551 he was removed, presumably by the order 
of the Privy Council, to Newcastle. During the 
two years he was in the Border town he had proved 
himself to be one of the outstanding champions of 
the new religion. He would feel himself on safer 
ground in Newcastle, for not a little progress had 
been made in putting into force the views which he 
himself advocated. An Act of Parliament, for 
instance, had recently been passed ordering the 
removal of images and paintings from the churches. 
Altars also were being condemned, and Cranmer and 
his household had celebrated the season of Lent in 
1550 by eating meat. 

Knox, however, was not by any means satisfied 
with what had been accomplished, and he was looking 
forward with eagerness to the appearance of the 
Second Prayer Book of Edward vl, which he hoped 
would put a true face on the Church of Eng- 


land, and in this he was not to be altc^ther 
disappointed. He was mot, however, Uind to the 
existing conditicni of aflhin in the country, but 
clearly saw that before a thoroughgoing Reformation 
could be accomplished in England, if indeed it ever 
would be accomplished, those who advocated the new 
ways would have to pass through a fiery furnace. 

On this, as on other occasions, he had a vigilant eye 
for the signs of the times, and his capacity to under- 
stand current events and the trend of afiairs gave 
him, in theeyes of contemporaries, the character of a 
prophet. He indeed was no prophet in the vulgar 
acceptance of the term, but if penetration, shrewd- 
ness, and absence of cant and humbug, go to the 
making of a prophet, then he certainly was one. It 
was because of his singular power of detachment, and 
ability to see things as they really were, that he was 
able to forecast coming events and earn for himself 
a reverence and a notoriety which stood him in very 
good stead, and helped not a little to give divine 
sanction to his words and actions. 

He saw, for one thing, that the Reformation in 
England depended on young King Edward^s life, 
that the statesmen who for the time being advocated 
it were governed purely by selfish motives, and that 
even the two men, Somerset and Northumberland, 
who were all powerful in the Councils of the nation, 
were not the inspired religionists which scmie 
imagined, but— -especially the latter — calculating 
schemers, who managed the popular movement for 


their own ends. Somerset, who a year earlier had 
fallen into dis&vour, was in January 155S, shortly 
after Knox came to Newcastle, beheaded, and the 
Reformer, who was far from being whole-hearted in 
his admiration of the Protector, yet openly lamented 
his death, and was ^ compelled of conscience to con- 
demn^ the means invented by Northumberland ^to 
take away his innocent friend' 

A new honour awaited Knox about this time. The 
Privy Council in 1551 determined that six Eing^s 
chaplains should be appointed, and the following year 
Knox was chosen one of them. Edward vi., in the 
private diary which he kept, explains the nature of 
the duties which these chaplains were expected to 
discharge. Two of them had to be in attendance at 
the Court, and the other four were to act as itinerant 
preachers, covering the whole country by their pere- 
grinations and ministrations. Ejiox in due time was 
summoned to preach before the Court in the order 
and in virtue of his office, but previous to that he 
received a singular and additional mark of distinction 
by being offered the Bishopric of Rochester. 

The proposal that he should be appointed to that 
See came from Northumberland. Some are at a loss 
to know whether it was his admiration for, or dislike 
of^ Knox that prompted him. Northumberland, in 
virtue of his position as Greneral Warden of the 
Marches, was brought in 155S into dose touch with 
Knox, and the Reformer was not slack to take advan- 
tage in his preaching on public affairs to drive home 


the truths which he felt commissioned to dedaie. 
He testifies himself to the natu^ of his utterances at 
this time, and some of them cannot have been very 
pleasing to Northumberland. The latter accordingly, 
wishing to get rid of Knox, made the proposal to 
which we have referred. The reasons with which he 
backed up the suggested appointment were that Knox 
would "whet Cranmer^s appetite,** put the Ana- 
baptists to rout, get himself out of the north, and 
at the same time rid Newcastie of the Scots who had 
gathered round him. 

But Northumberland did not know the man with 
whom he had to deal. Knox refused the Bishopric. 
It is not unfrequently allied in this connection 
that the reason why he declined the See of Rochester 
was because he did not believe in bishops. He 
himself does not say so. It should not be forgotten 
that at this time the Church of England was not 
only in sympathy, but in communion with the 
Reformed Churches everywhere. The divine right 
of Episcopacy was not a part of its creed, and John 
Knox and other preachers, whose Orders were genuine 
but not hierarchical, were freely recommended and 
cordially welcomed, not only to the ministry but to 
the very highest positions in its command. It was 
only in later years, during the time of Laud, that 
the Anglican Church b^an to air those pretensions 
which have gradually alienated from it the other 
Churches of the Reformation with which in early 
times it was in communion. 


Knox, it must be admitted, was never particularly 
in love with the office of a bishop. He knew what 
it had led to in the Romish Church. The wealth 
and the arrogance, the tyranny and the moral 
corruption of bishops, were lai^ely due, he knew, to 
their office. This must have weighed with him no 
doubt in coming to a decision, but the real reason 
lay in the unreality and insecurity of the Reforma- 
tion in England. Shortly after this he confessed as 
much. When in exile he wrote: "What moved 
me to refuse, and that with displeasure of all men, 
those high promotions ? Assuredly the foresight of 
troubles to come. How oft have I said that the 
time would not be long that England would give 
me bread.^ 

In the autiunn of 1552 Knox took his turn as 
Court preacher, and his first sermon created a sensa- 
tion. In a letter, dated London, 12th October 
1552, received by Bullmger from a friend, there is 
the following passage : " Some disputes have arisen 
within these few days among the Bishops in conse- 
quence of a sermon of a pious preacher, chaplain to 
iJie Duke of Northumberland, preached by him 
before the Kinir and Council, in which he inveiirhed 
with great frJdom againTkneding at the Ws 
Supper, which is still retained here by the EnglisL 
This good man, however, a Scotsman by nation, has 
so wrought upon the minds of many persons that we 
may hope some good to the Church will at length 
arise, which I earnestly implore the Lord to grant.^ 


To Knox the question of kneeling at the Loid^s 
Supper was the question of the hour. At this very 
time the Second Prayer Book of Edward vi. was on 
the eve of being published, and the rulnic on kneeling 
was the one to which Knox took most exception. 
Ridley and Peter Martyr supported him in his 
objection, but Cranmer could see no harm in the 
practice. Enox^s protest, however, was so strong 
that in the end deference was paid to it. The 
publication of the book was stopped, a leaf was 
inserted into those already in type stating that no 
adoration was intended by kneeling, and in subse- 
quent issues this declaration formed a part of the 
book, and has ever since been known as the ^* black 
rubric.^ That this concession was due to Knox is 
rendered ahnost certain by the statement of one 
Dr. Weston, a Catholic opponent, who in a dispute 
with Latimer at Oxford in 1554 said : ^^ A renegade 
Scot did take away the adoration or worshipping of 
Christ in the Sacrament, by whose procurement it was 
put into the last Prayer Book.**^ 

It would almost seem as if for the moment Knox 
overlooked the great victory which he had gained, — 
for this very question of kneeling was one of the 
main articles in dispute between the Church of Rome 
and the Reformed Churches, — so concerned was he 
as to the effect which the Prayer Book would have 
upon the worship of his old congr^ation at Berwick. 
We have seen tiie extreme simpUdty of the ritual 
which he observed while ministering to them, and 


the new Prayer Book, although he admits that *^at 
one tune he had a good opinion of it,^ necessarily in 
some respects broke through that simpliciiy. He 
himself had determined to submit to it, and in the 
end he counselled them to do the same. 

But another triumph was in store for Knox as 
showing the profound influence which he had not only 
upon the ritual but upon the doctrine of the Churdi 
of England. Archbidiop Cranmer had been engaged 
for the last four years in drawing up Articles of Belief, 
and had now all but finished his task, and they were 
on the point of publication. At first forty-five in 
number, they were afterwards reduced to forty-two, 
and finally to thirty-nine. These Articles were 
submitted to the chaplains for their considera- 
tion, and Knox, among others, protested against the 
thirty-eighth Article, which expressly stated that the 
ceremonies enjoined in the new Prayer Book were in 
full accord with evangelical liberty. One of these 
ceremonies, of course, was this one of kneeling against 
which Knox had raised strong objections, and so 
persistent was he in his opposition, and determined 
in his efforts, that as in the case of the Prayer Book, 
so now in that of the Articles, he triumphed, for when 
they appeared a short time afterwards the obnoxious 
clause was omitted. 

About this time he was offered the Vicarage of 
of All-Hallows in Bread Street, London, but this 
second offer of promotion he also declined. It 
would seem that the Council were not a little 


annoyed at Knox^s repeated refusals, and they 
summoned him to state his reasons. On the 14th 
of April 1568 he appeared before them, and they 
demanded of him three questions : (1) Why he re- 
fused the benefice provided for him ; (2) Whether he 
thought that no Christian might serve in the evangelic 
ministration according to the rights and laws of the 
realm of England; (3) If kneeling at the Lord^s 
Table was not indifferent. To the first he answered 
that he thought he could be of more service in some 
other place than in London ; to the second that 
discipline in the Church of England was lax, seeing 
that no minister had the power to separate the 
lepers from the ^^heal^ ; and to the third he answered 
that Christ dispensed the Communion without kneel- 
ing, and that His example ought to be followed. 

Nothing further came of this, and we find him 
fulfilling his duties with a freedom and power which 
must have won him respect and even admiration. 
Plainness of speech was one of his great virtues, and 
we are not surprised to find that he practised it 
when addressing even the highest in the land. This 
was pretty much the fashion of the time among 
notable preachers in England, and in their sermons 
before the Court they spared not the proudest. In 
the last sermon which he himself preached before 
Ejng Edward we find a specimen of his style, and 
of the way in which he attacked not only the 
corruptions but the corrupters of the time. 

«I recited," he remarks, "the histories of 


Achitophel, Shebna, and Judas. The two former 
had high offices and promotions, with great authority, 
under the most godly princes David and Hezekiah, 
and Judas was purse master with Christ Jesus . . . 
Were David, said I, 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 Achitophel be 
counsellor, that Judas bear the purse, and that 
Shebna be scribe, comptroller, and treasurer.*" 

Under this transparent veil he described the 
characters of Northumberland, Winchester, and 
others who at the time were the leading councillors 
of Edward vi. Such boldness of speech necessarily 
endangered Knox^s life, but exaggeration in the 
pulpit would seem to have been not only a habit of 
the time, but one that was tolerated, and as the 
sermons of the Court preachers usually lasted three 
or four hours it gave those who were being attacked 
ample opportunity of leaving the church, a privil^e 
of which, we undei*stand, they not unfi^uently 
availed themselves. 

Edward vl died on the 6th of July 1553, and the 
country was thrown into confusion. Enox at the 
time was in Buckingham, and preaching on the 16th 
of July in Amersham Parish Church, before a large 
and excited congr^ation, he burst forth into one of 
the most eloquent passages that he ever spoke or 


penned. ^^Oh! England, England,^ he exclaims, 
"wilt thou yet obey the voice of thy God and 
submit thyself to His holy words ? TVuly if thou 
wilt thou shalt find mercy in His sight, and the 
state of thy commonwealth will be preserved.^ But 
the persecutions which marked the first year of 
Mary^s reign gave no hope of Grod^s voice being 
listened to. Many of the foreign divines were 
driven out of the country, and certain of the Bishops 
were in prison. Cranmer, however, quailed not, but 
remained steadfiGist at Lambeth, and so did others. 

The 20th of December was the limit fixed for 
toleration of the Reformed views. Knox at the time 
was in Newcastle. He was poor and in ill health. 
He was being watched, and his servant was seized 
and his letters taken possession of. His friends 
implored him with tears to flee the country. He 
was loth to do this, but at last he yielded to their 
solicitations and quitted England at the banning 
of the following year. " Some will ask,'' he says, 
" why did I fly. Assuredly I cannot tell, but of one 
thing I am sure, the fear of death was not the chief 
cause of my flying.'' 

This we readily believe, and we must also believe 
that a higher Hand waa guiding his destiny. The 
time was coming when Scotland would require him, 
and for the great work that he was to acomiplish 
there ttie training which he was now undergoing was, 
under Providence, a necessary preparation. 



WE have seen the influence that Knox had 
upon the Church of England The form 
which the Reformation took in that country was not 
a little due to him. I^t may be true that his arrival 
on the scene was too late to give it that cast which 
he himself chiefly favoured, and which he was 
afterwards able to impose upon the Church of 
Scotland ; all the same, he impressed the leaders of 
Churdi and State at the time with his personality, 
and introduced certain features Into the doctrine 
and ritual of the Church of England that have 
characterised it ever since. 

But it may be asked in turn if England had no 
influence upon Knox. It should never be forgotten 
that he spent five years of the best part of his life in 
that country, and that the next five years were 
passed on the Continent, but in ministering to 
an English congrq^tion. The experience which he 
gained as a consequence was most valuable, and stood 
him in good stead in after years when he had to 



carry through the Reformation in his own country. 
But there are those who think that that experience 
was not the only benefit which he received from 
England and Englishmen. They imagine that his 
natural asperity was somewhat softened by fellowship 
with men and women who belonged to an older 
civilisation, and that the amenity of life which 
prevailed in the sister country across the border 
toned down his innate tendency to sharpness of 
temper and harshness of judgment. 

lliis, of course, is very flattering to England, and 
not very complimentary to Knox. We fail to see 
the trutii of it. Enox^s character was all of a piece. 
The ftiendahips which figure prominentiy in his life 
at that time, and which were made immediately after 
his appearance in England, show that by nature he 
was not the rough, rude, self-contained man that 
some imagine him to have been ; for beneath a rugged 
exterior there was a depth of affection and tenderness 
which drew to him those who felt the need of 
support and comfort while waging the battle of 

It may appear singular that his English friends 
were for the most part women. His relations toward 
them form one of the most charming features of his 
life. Knox before and after this time had many 
men friends, but his attitude towards them was 
quite different fit>m that which existed between him 
and his women friends. The men joined with the 
Reformer in the great public work which the times 


demanded. Their friendship was largely a matter 
of intellectual and political sympathy, but his 
relations to women were quite different. They 
looked to him for spiritual comfort and leaned upon 
him for religious support, and this is all the more 
remarkable because, in his First Blast against the 
Monstruous Regiment of WomeUy he is not slack in 
declaring his poor opinion of the gentler sex. 
^^ Women,^ he said in that remarkable and imprudent 
production, ^^ women are weak, frail, impatient, 
feeble, and foolish ^ ; and yet he in turn would seem 
to have leaned upon women and to have found them 
the most helpful of friends. The truth is that in 
Knox^s case, as in that of many others, the head and 
heart were at war, and his practice was better than 
his belief 

We can well conceive how the Reformer may have 
impressed the imagination of many on his appear- 
ance in Berwick as a preacher of the GrospeL His 
reputation and his sufferings would have gone before 
him. Here was the man who had spent nineteen 
months as a slave in the French galleys for his 
religious convictions, who was recognised as the 
representative Scotsman on the Protestant side, the 
man on whose shoulders had fallen the mantle of 
Wishart, and who had worsted in aigument the 
doctors and dignitaries of the Romish Church. His 
feune as a preadber, too, would have gone before 
him, and it is not at all unlikely that for these very 
reasons he would be looked upon with interest, and 


would appeal to the female mind and heart. In 
any case he had not been long m Berwick when 
he drew to his side one who dung to him during 
the rest of her life, and to whom he was indeed a 
spuitual adviser and comforter. 

This admirer was Mrs. Elizabeth Bowes, wife of 
Richard Bowes, Gk>vemor of the Castle of Norham. 
She would seem to have been one of those women 
who are affected by a spirit of religious melancholy 
bordering almost on morbidness. She had many 
temptations real or imaginary, and tortured herself 
by introspection, and was in constant doubt as to 
her own ultimate salvation. Such a woman found 
in Knox that strong tower and refuge which her 
soul desired, and between them there sprang up a 
dose fellowship which was only broken by death. 
^^ Great familiarity,^ he himself declared, ^^ and long 
acquaintance, the cause of which was neither flesh 
nor blood but a troubled conscience upon her part, 
which never suffered her to rest but when she was 
in the company of the faithful, and who (from the 
first hearing of the word in my mouth) she judged 
me to be one.^ That is Knox^s own explanation 
of the intimate relation that existed between them, 
and, we must admit, a very satisfactory one. "I 
have always delighted,^ he afterwards said, ^in 
your company, and, when labours would permit, 
you know I have not spared hours of talk and 
commune with you." For years he listened with 
sympathy to her various complaints, and when 


absent answered all her questions in a kindly and 
painstaking manner. 

It is not strange that occasionally he felt some- 
what impatient, and replied to her as follows : 
^^ My daily labours must now increase, and therefore 
spare me as much as you may. My old malady 
troubles me sore, and nothing is more contrary to 
my health than writing.'" Knox here refers to the 
disease which he contracted while in the French 
galleys. It interfered not a little with his labours, 
and he suffered from the effects of it to his d3dng 

It ought to be remembered when reading of the 
outpourings of Mrs. Bowes that both she and Knox 
had but recently severed their connection with 
the Roman Catholic Church, where confession was 
a recognised and long-standing usage. It was the 
custom then, as it stiU is in the Roman CathoUc 
Church, for those afflicted by a troubled conscience 
to pour out their " dolours " to their father confessor. 
We can quite understand how difficult it would be 
for those who but a year or two ago had been 
members of that Church to break away from the 
custom. This will account for such a confidence as 
the following on the part of Knox to Mrs. Bowes : 
" Call to mind," he says, ** what I did standing at 
a cupboard in Alnwick. In very deed I thought 
that no creature had been tempted as I was.**^ But 
the wife of Richard Bowes was anxious that the 
relation between her family and Knox should be 



closer than that of mere friendship, and she favoured 
the proposal that Marjory, her fifth daughter, and 
one of a family of twdve, a girl still in her teens, 
should marry Knox. The Reformer himself was quite 
eager that this proposal should be carried out, and 
in due time he became betrothed to Marjory Bowes 
and subsequently married her. 

But all this did not take place without very 
considerable trouble, and more than once it almost 
seemed as if Knox^s hopes would have sufiered 
shipwreck. The Bowes family did not regard the 
union with approval Richard Bowes himself was 
still a Roman Catholic, and on that account and 
for other reasons he endeavoured to stop the match. 
Knox was a man of uncertain prospects, his refusal 
of a bishopric and an important vicarage made him 
to be r^arded as somewhat impracticable, nor was 
he quite young, and his family could not boast of 
the lineage of that of Richard Bowes, the Governor 
of Norham Castle. But Knox was persistent, and 
so was his future mother-in-law, and the Reformer 
declared after some rebufis which she experienced 
that it should now be ^^ his business.^ ^ It behoved 
him,** he says, " to jeopard his life for the comfort 
of his own flesh, both fear and friendship of all 
earthly creatures laid aside.^ 

He accordingly interviewed Sir Robert Bowes, the 
head of the house and the bride^s uncle, in London. 
He got, however, a very cold reception. He found 
Sir Robert not only a despiser but also a taunter 


of ^ God^s messengers,^ ^* Grod be merciful mito him.^ 
Knox stood firm and ^^kept a good countenance, 
but the despiteful words had so pierced his heart 
that his life was bitter unto him.^ After this 
plainly imfavourable reception he seemed almost to 
have lost heart Yet during his last month in 
England almost, when dangers were thickening 
round him, he undertook a perilous journey to 
Newcastle in the hope of seeing Mrs. Bowes and 
Marjory, but he had to leave the country without 
an interview. 

When he revisited it, however, it was to take 
back to the Continent the daughter as his bride. 
This Marjory figures now and again in Enox^s 
history, and always in a favourable light. There 
are those who declare that she married Knox 
because her mother wished it, or because her 
imagination was fired by the sufierings of the 
Reformer and by the halo of sanctity which sur- 
rounded him. There might be worse reasons for 
marriage, although we are not inclined to admit 
that these were the sole motives which induced 
her to become Enox^s wife. She proved faithful 
and devoted, and earned the praise of Calvin, and, 
after her death, the sorrowful regret of her husband. 

These were not the only female friends that Knox 
had. He had several in Edinburgh, and he cor- 
responded with them regularly after his first visit to 
his native country. It would seem, however, that 
he was not specially enamoured with his ^^Edin- 


burgh sisters,^ as he calls them, and somewhat blmitly 
remarks in one of his letters that his communications 
were not intended for any one individually, that what 
he wrote to one was meant for alL We cannot fail 
to be impressed by his patience in listening to the 
complaints of these Edinburgh sisters, and in answer- 
ing their questions regarding, among other things, 
the kind of dress that females ought to wear. He 
replies at great length to such queries, writing, if 
not a treatise, certainly a pamphlet on the subject. 
One of them, Mrs. Mackgil, wife of the Clerk 
Register, would seem to have been troubled by 
the fact that her husband was still an enemy to 
the Reformation, and by her scruples as to how she 
should conduct herself towards him. Knox^s views 
on a delicate point of this kind were very cautious 
and prudent, but he naturally inclined to the 
opinion that the Clerk Raster would have been 
more worthy of the respect and obedience of his 
wife had he been a Protestant. 

But the woman in whose friendship he would seem 
to have found the most satisfaction was Mrs. Anne 
Locke, the wife of a merchant in Cheapside, London. 
It is possible that she was the one of the three women 
who, on hearing a letter of Mrs. Bowes read in 
their presence, exclaimed, ^^Oh! would to Grod I 
might speak with that person, for I perceive there 
are more tempted than I.*" Mrs. Hickman, the wife 
of another merchant, would also seem to have shown 
Knox much kindness during his stay in London, but 


it was Mrs. Locke who proved his most valued and 
confidential friend. For the next ten years he 
corresponded with her regularly, telling her of the 
progress of the Reformation in Scotland, asking her 
to procure books for him, and at the same time 
giving her that spiritual guidance which she desired. 

It is in a letter to her that the following sentence 
occurs, which is one of the clearest bits of self- 
revelation in which Enox ever indulged: *^0f 
nature,^ he says, ** I am churlish, and in conditions 
different from many, yet one thing I ashame not to 
affirm, that familiarity once thoroughly contracted 
was never yet broken of my default. The cause may 
be that I have rather need of all than that any have 
need of me." 

It was towards the end of February or the 
banning of March, 1554, that Enox left England. 
He would seem to have gone direct to Dieppe. He 
chose this place possibly because he would be within 
reach of his old congregations, in whose spiritual 
welfare he ever continued to be deeply interested. 
One of the first things which he did on his arrival at 
the French seaport was to finish his treatise on the 
Sixth Psalm, which he was composing for the benefit 
of Mrs. Bowes, and to despatch it to her. He 
thereafter set himself to address words of exhorta- 
tion and comfort to his old flock in England. 

This production, which was afterwards published 
under the title of A Godly Letter to the Faithful in 
London^ Newcastle^ and Berwick^ is spirited and 


eloqu^it, and shows Kuox at his best. He harks 
back on his old subject of the idolatry of the Romish 
Chiux;h, and, afraid lest they should revert to their 
old belief, he warns them of the plagues that would 
visit them, and encourages them to adhere to their 
former profession. 

One is not a little surprised at the optimism 
which underlies this address, for really the times 
were far from promising for the new religion. Maiy 
of England had begun to persecute and bum the 
faithful Henry ii. of France was setting himself 
to stamp out the new religion, and Mary of Lorraine 
had made Scotland an impossible harbour for those 
who had accepted the Protestant Faith. It is very 
remarkable how, all through, Enox'^s courage and 
hopes of final victory would never seem to have left 
him. He may have been reminded by his present 
surroundings of the dark days when, as a galley 
slave, sick and sad at heart, he looked on these 
same shores of France, and how the Almighty had 
at last deHvered him and given him a great work to 
do in England. The remembrance of this would no 
doubt strengthen his faith, and add to his old 
conviction that he would one day lift up his voice 
in that kirk where by the mercy of Grod he had first 
been called to preach the evangel. 

He did not stay long in Dieppe, but left it, as he 
remarks, with a **sore troubled heart, journeying 
whither Grod knoweth." For two months he 
travelled from one place to another, chiefly in 


Switzerland, reasoning with the ** pastors and many 
other excellent learned men upon such matters as 
now I cannot commit to writing.^* Everjrwhere he 
was received as a friend and as a brother. The two 
most distinguished men whose acquaintance he made 
at this time were Calvin and BuUmger. Enox was 
familiar with the writings of these men, and he 
held them both, but particularly the first, in great 
respect. Calvin had not at this time attained the 
position which he afterwards occupied as a leader in 
the Reformed Church, but he was already recognised 
as one of its chief men, and Enox even at that time 
characterises him as that *^ singular instrument of 

Enox's knowledge of the political and religious 
circumstances that prevailed in Europe, and chiefly 
in England and Scotland, suggested to him seversd 
very important and far-reaching questions which he 
would seem to have freely discussed with Calvin, 
and about which he desired his opinion. These 
questions really formed the basis of Enox'^s subse- 
quent action as the leader of the Reformation 
in Scotland, and at this early date, in absolute 
independence of Calvin and others, he pondered over 
and subsequently solved them to his own satisfEu^ion, 
and to the benefit of his native country and the 

He shortly afterwards left Geneva, and passed to 
Zurich with a letter of introduction from Calvin to 
Bullinger. His interview with the Swiss Reformer 


had for its mam object the discussion of the very 
questions about which he and Calvin had conversed. 
In a letter of BuUinger^s these questions with his 
answers are fortunately preserved for us. They are 
four in number. The first refers to the l^ality of 
the government of Edward vi., seeing that the King 
was a minor ; the second relates to female rule ; the 
third raises the question of the submission of the 
subject to a magistrate who forces idolatry and who 
condemns true religion ; and the fourth anticipates 
the situation in Scotland, and asks what godly 
persons should do when a religious nobility rises up 
against an idolatrous sovereign. Anyone can see 
that in these questions Knox raised the whole 
religious and civil revolution of that and subsequent 
times in Scotch and English history. They con- 
tain within them the dethronement of Queen Mary 
and the execution of Charles i. 

It is absurd in the face of them to speak of 
Knox^s subjection to Calvin or any other. The 
dictator of Greneva was a systematic theologian and 
biblical exegete of the first rank, but his mind had 
not the political penetration and sweep of Knox\ 
nor was he as capable as the latter of dealing with 
practical difficulties on a large scale. Bullinger^s 
opinions are sensible and cautious, but his attitude 
was quite incapable of meeting the circumstances 
that soon arose in the life of Knox and in his work 
in Scotland. 

In the month of May Knox was again at Dieppe. 


It is probable that he visited the sea-coast town in 
the hope of learning some news of England. The 
persecution in that country had almost reached its 
full height ; Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer were in 
prison, one or two notable men had been executed, 
and Mary^s marriage with Philip of Spain was 
imminent. Enox thought of visiting England to 
^^et men see what may be done with a safe 
conscience in these dolorous and dangerous days,^ 
but the fear of what might happen, not so much to 
himself as to others, restrained him. He contented 
himself, meanwhile, with writing two letters to his 
afflicted brethren in England, telling them not 
to despair, but to take courage from the experiences 
of the Church which in past days had gone through 
similar trials. 

But the most notable production penned by him 
during these weary and anxious days at Dieppe 
was his FaUhfid Admonition to the Prqfessora of 
God's Truth in England, This pamphlet has been 
sharply criticised Ind strongly l^ndemned for its 
harsh judgments, but it should not be foigotten 
that it was written under trying and tragic cir- 
cumstances. The fires of Smithfield were already 
ablaze, the prisons were packed with leading 
preachers, and the Reformation was to all appear- 
ances to be ruthlessly trampled under foot in 
England. What wonder that Enox^s heart was on 
fire, and that he cried out for vengeance on the 
"DeviPs Gardiner,'' and "Bloody Bonner," who, as 


"blind buzzards and bloodthirsty wolves," were 
huDting Grod^s servants to their doom. 

llie most Reverend Fathers in God, the Biahope of 
Winchester and London, who were thus characteriBed, 


truth, even though in terms of exaggeration, 
and to appeal to the imagination of the people 
by his graphic and epigrammatic language. In 
judging of Knox in this and in other respects we 
should do so in relation to his times. The age was 
not one which indulged in smooth things, either in 
word or action, and controversy was conducted not 
by rapier thrusts but by sword blows. In these 
more tolerant da3rs his pamphlet may appear rough 
and harsh, but by the men of his own day it would 
not be characterised in that fashion. 



KNOX left Dieppe about the banning of 
August, and journeyed to Geneva: "The 
most perfect School of Christ that ever was on earth 
since the days of the Apostles." Calvin must have 


laid down, that they would conform to the creed of 
that Church. That creed was Calvinistic, and the 
English congr^ation discarded, as a consequence, 
the Second Prayer Book of Edward vi. Shortly 
afterwards, in adopting one for their own use, they 
modified the English Service Book, omitting the 
litany, kneeling at communion and responses. 
They also substituted a new Confession for the one 
in the English book, and concluded the service after 
the Swiss and Scottish fashion with ^*a psalm in 
metre in a plain tune.*" 

It is perfectly dear from their ready acceptance 
of the French creed, and afterwards by the very 
drastic changes which they made on the English 
Prayer Book, that they belonged to that party in 
the Church of England who a year or two b^ore 
were making strong efforts to bring the Reformation 
into line with the teaching of Scripture and the 
practice of the Early Church. Hooper was one of 
the leaders of this party, and Enox was another. 
They were in a small minority, but all the same they 
managed to make very important changes in the 
doctrine and ritual of the Church, and they started 
that movement which afterwards became so well 
known as Puritanism. Whittingham and his con- 
gr^ation endeavoured to induce tiieir fellow-country- 
men who were at Zurich, Strasburg, and Wesel to 
come to Frankfort, but after some correspondence 
it was seen that the English exiles in these towns 
were strongly opposed to the views of the Frank- 


fort congregation, and bo fchej refused the invita- 

Shortly aR& tiiis, on the S4)th of September, a 
letter with twenty-one signatures was sent to Knox 
at Geneva, inviting him to become one of the 
minbteis of the English Church at Frankfort The 
Scottish preacher was very much disinclined to 
accept the ofier. His hfe for the past t«a years 
had been a troublous, stormy, and strenuous one, 
and it is not at all unlikely that he welcomed the 
peace and repose of Geneva and the intellectual 
companionship which he found there. He was also 
anxious to repair the defects of his scholarship, and 


at it from its effects on the subsequent history of 
the religious life and thought of England, it is full 
of significance. Knox's religious opinions, which 
must have been formed before he became a Protestant 
in name, were boldly advocated by him from the 
very first. In St. Andrews, in the French galleys, 
and in England, he remained true to his early 
convictions, and was able to persuade others to 
adopt them. The English Reformation he regarded 
as a ** mingle-mangle.^ He did his best to free 
it of ^^ popish dregs,^ and to impart to it Scriptural 
purity and simplicity, and now at Frankfort he felt 
called upon to stand fast to his old opinions. The 
Service Book which the English congregation in that 
city had adopted would seem to have been only 
temporary in its character, and one of the first tasks 
which awaited him was to decide on a new Order. 
Two were suggested, that of Greneva and the Service 
Book of Edward vi. Knox felt that in the circum- 
stances it would not be prudent, or even possible, 
to introduce either, and being convinced that his 
presence would not be conducive to the peace of 
the church he proposed to leave. To this, however, 
"they would in no wise consent.'' As a way out 
of the difficulty they proposed to consult the man 
of Greneva, and it was agreed that Whittingham 
and Knox should send to Calvin a "platt," or 
description of the English Service Book, and ask 
him for his opinion. 

It cannot be said that the account which was 


given by these two men of the Second Prayer Book 
of Edward vl was altogether unbiassed. Certain 
expressions occur which show that they did not 
r^ard it as perfect by any means. This, of course, 
was to be expected. Calvin took fully a month 
in forming his opinion, and that opinion, as might 
be anticipated, was far from favourable. He could 
not understand what they meant by ^Melighting 
so greatly in the leavings of popish dr^s,^ and he 
added that there were ^'tolerable foolish things'" 
in the book. Enox again desired to leave, and in 
any case he counselled moderation. At last a com- 
promise was arrived at, and a tempoiury arrangement 
made for the conduct of public worship and the 
dispensing of the Sacraments. 

But at the very moment when peace at last prevailed 
fresh troubles broke out. On the 13th of March 
1555 a new band of English exiles led by Richard 
Cox arrived in Frankfort Cox had been a man of 
considerable importance in England during the reign 
of King Edward. He never attained to the first 
position among the Reformers, but he lacked neither 
ability nor courage. He and his companions were in 
full S3rmpathy with the English Prayer Book, and 
felt that there was almost something dishonourable in 
then* feUow^untrymen renouncing a work for which 
many were now in exile, and for adherence to which 
Cranmer, Ridley, and others were in prison, and 
would soon be put to death. Cox during the last 
reign had been Chancellor of Oxford University, 


and tutor and almoner to the King. Apart from 
his own undoubted strength of character, the offices 
which he had thus held gave him considerable 
weight Ejiox and his friends welcomed them to 
their congregation, but on the very first Sunday on 
which they attended church they raised the responses, 
and on the following Sunday one of them mounted 
the pulpit, read the litany, and gave the responses, 
Cox at the same time declaring they ^^ would do 
as they had done in England, and their church 
should have an English face.^ 

This, on the lowest ground, was a breach of 
Christian courtesy and good manners. They had 
been welcomed on the understanding that they 
would conform to the accepted service. They must 
have known of the troubles that had already 
caused much dispeace in the congregation, and it 
was a gross breach of privilege thus rudely and with- 
out warning to introduce fresh disturbance. Knox 
happened to be the preacher appointed for the 
afternoon, and, roused by the arrogance of Cox and 
his confrh-eSy he ^* set his face like a flint ^ to resist 
their bold attempt, and preached such a sermon 
as they had very probably never listened to before. 

^^ I told them,^ says Knox, in giving an account of 
this discourse, ^' that it became not the proudest of 
them all to enterprise the breach of any order 
within that church gathered in the name of Christ.^ 
^ Among many sins,^ he continued, ^* that moved Grod 
to plague England, that slackness to reform religion 


when time and place was granted was one, and 
therefore that it did become us to be circumspect 
how we did lay now our foundations, and how we 
went forward, and because that some men nothing 
ashamed to say and affirm openly that there had been 
no impediment nor stop in England, but that religion 
might go forth and grow to the purity, and that it 
was already brought to perfection. I reproved this 
opinion as feigned and untrue by the lack of 
discipline which is not in the book, neither could in 
England be obtained, and by the trouble that Mr. 
Hooper for the rochet and such trifles in the book 
allowed, as also by that which appeared in all men^s 
eyes, that one man was permitted to have power 
of five benefices to the sktnder of the Gospel and 
defraudation of Christ's flock of their lively food 
and sustenance.^ 

But although Knox spoke thus strongly, he, 
against the advice of many, recommended that 
Cox and his party should be admitted into the full 
membership of the Chiux^ This concession was ill 
repaid, for those who were thus favoui'ed immediately 
b^gan to devise ways and means for having their own 
aims realised, and the best way to accomplish this, 
they well knew, was at all hazards to get rid of 
Knox. After some vain attempts at reconciliation 
the Coxian party began to show their hand. They 
threatened Knox. Their threats he treated with 
contempt. But they had one weapon in their hand 
which they now determined to use. That "out- 


rageous pamphlet^ of his, The Admoniiion to the 
Professors of God's Truth, which had " added much 
oil to the flame of persecution in England,^ was now 
produced, and they formally accused him to the 
Frankfort Senate of " Nine articles of high treason 
against the Emperor, his son Philip, and the Queen 
of England."" 

The Senate had a good opinion of Knox, and they 
were not at all inclined to believe the charges without 
certain proof. The Emperor was at that moment at 
Augsburg, and afraid lest the matter should come to 
his ears they asked the offensive passage to be trans- 
lated into Latin and submitted to them. Then, 
afraid lest they might be accused of harbouring 
traitors, they, through Whittingham and Williams, 
counselled Knox to leave the city as the most prudent 
course for him and them. On the night before his 
departure he preached to a company of friends ^^a 
most comforting sermon " in his lodgings, and on the 
following day they accompanied him three or four 
miles out of the city, wishing him God-speed " with 
great heaviness of heart and plenty of tears."" 

Knox went direct to Geneva, where Calvin was 
now supreme. In his opinion, and that of his friends, 
this little town of twelve thousand inhabitants, 
on the shores of Lake Leman, was the ideal of a 
Christian community. It is doubtful, however, if 
the strict rule of Calvin was conducive to a healthy 
civic life. It aimed at suppressing vice rather than 
reforming the morals of the community. It is not 


therefore surprising to learn that a tumult broke out 
on the 16th of May 1555, the object of the rebels 
being to put to death the foreigners in the city, the 
number of whom was very considerable. These 
Outlanders came to Greneva because, theologically, 
they were of the same mind as Calvin ; and enjoying 
the franchise they supported him in his policy. 
Should they be got out of the way those who 
groaned under the tyranny of the Reformer would 
again obtain liberty. The tumult was put down, 
and the rebels were brought to trial; some were 
punished, others were banished; and the power of 
Calvin was again supreme. 

The English colony that had now gathered in 
Greneva were granted a place of worship, and Knox 
was appointed their muiister. .He would seem, 
however, to have at this time stayed only a few 
weeks in Greneva, for by the month of August he 
had left for Scotland. It was now eight years since 
he had been in his native country, and we can well 
imagine his feelings on revisiting it, for many 
changes, both of a political and religious kind, had 
taken place since the day on which he was summarily 
shipped in a French galley and chained as a slave 
to the oar. 

The two parties which had been at strife prior to 
Knox^s departure in 1547 were still contending. 
France on the one hand and England on the other 
were fighting for the favour of Scotland; and 
Scottish statesmen were divided in their sympathies, 


some courting the English alliance and others the 
FrencL Indeed, Scotland had become the battle- 
field of these two foreign countries. Protector 
Somerset invaded the country in 1547 with eighteen 
thousand men, laying waste the land and destroying 
the Religious Houses, the ^^ fair Abbey ^ of Melrose 
being of the number. The Battle of Pinkie, which 
long continued to be a sad memory in the minds 
and hearts of Scotsmen, was fought on the 10th of 
September. The Regent Arran solicited the aid of 
France, and in June of 1548 six thousand French- 
men landed in Scotland. The object of both 
countries was to win the hand of the young Queen 
of Scots ; in the one case for King Edward, and in 
the other for the Dauphin. France was suocessfuL 
Mary was taken to that country, and in due time 
married to the heir to the French throne. 

It was the policy of the Queen Mother, Mary of 
Lorraine, to maintain the alliance with France, and 
to defend the Roman Catholic Church against the 
attacks of the Protestant party ; and it was the policy 
of her brothers, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal 
of Lorraine, to make Scotland an appanage of 
France. This scheme was frustrated, and not the 
least important tador in defeating it was the 
disorderly and brutal conduct of the French troops 
quartered in Scotland. Their behaviour was so 
inhuman and disgraceful that the Scotch revolted, 
and tiumed upon them with a bitter hatred. Many, 
accordingly, who had previously been friendly to 


France, now favoured a political alliance with 
England, and this feeling, afterwards strengthened 
by the religious revival in favour of ProtestantiBm, 
destroyed for ever the hopes of France, and carried 
throi^h the revolution of 1560. 

It was the ambition of the Queoi Mother, in order 
to cany out with greater success her policy of an 
alliance with France, to become Regent, and the 
£»*1 of Arran, who was well meaning but weak, was 
bribed by the offer of the Dukedom of Chfitelherault 
in France to rengn in favour of Mary of Guise. In 
1554 her ambition was realised, and she thought 
that she was now firee to proceed with that 


Hamilton and Mary, representing the ecclesiastical 
and civil powers, were compelled to leave the Pro- 
testants alone. 

The new reUgion was making very considerable 
progress in the country, and chiefly among the lower 
classes. It was only at a later day, when they saw 
hopes of plmider, that the nobility joined with any 
degree of .eagerness in the Reformation. They had 
by that time seen the vast material benefits that had 
accrued to the English aristocracy by the destruc- 
tion of the Roman Catholic Church, and being the 
poorest nobility, and also the proudest in the world, 
they saw hopes of plunder and of wealth in the 
reUgious movement that was affecting the countiy. 

The leaders of the Roman Catholic Chiurch were 
at last becoming alive to their danger. This can 
be seen by the various Provincial Councils that were 
held. One that met in Edinburgh shortly after 
Beaton^s death petitioned the Regent to put down 
heresy, for, unless it was stamped out, it would 
undermine and destroy the Church. Another Pro- 
vincial Council that was held in 1549 passed sixty- 
two statutes, which were prefaced by a remarkable 
confession, that ^^ the root and cause of the troubles 
and heresies which afflicted the Chiu*ch were the 
corruption, the profane lewdness, the gross ignorance 
of Churchmen of almost all ranks. The clergy 
therefore were enjoined to put away their con- 
cubines imder pain of deprivation of their benefices, 
to dismiss from their houses the children bom to 


them in concubinage, not to promote such children 
to benefices, nor to enrich the daughters with 
doweries, the sons with baronies, from the patrimony 
of the Church. Prelates were admonished not to 
keep in their households manifest drunkards, 
gamblers, brawlers, night-walkers, buffoons, blas- 
phemers, profane swearers.^ 

We cannot help admiring the frankness and good 
intentions of this Provincial Council They were 
perfectly honest in their desire to reform the Church 
from within, but the corruptions from which it was 
suffering, and which they themselves enumerate, were 
evidently beyond remedy ; and we are not surprised 
to learn that the instructions and recommendations 
drawn up for the reform of the clergy, and their 
guidance in the discharge of their duties, were 
entirely disregarded. The Church was too late in 
its attempt at reform, the only cure was to come 
frx)m without ; the axe was already laid at the root 
of the ecclesiastical tree whose overthrow and de- 
struction were only a matter of time. 

The most notable and laudable attempt on the 
part of the Church to purify its life, and to inspire 
its teachers with a sense of duty, was the famous 
Catechism of Archbishop Hamilton. The real 
author is supposed to have been John Wynram. 
It was written in the Scottish dialect, and gives a 
lucid and simple epitome of the chief doctrines of 
the Catholic Church. It incidentally throws light 
on the glaring defects of the clergy. It would seem 


that parish priests were not able to read without 
stumbling, and we are not surprised to leam that 
their schoolboy efforts to decipher the Catechism 
were met by the jeers of their conirreirations. These 
saoie cong^til w^ beginr.^ display that 
intelligence which has since charactensed the Scottish 
people. The religious revival was awakemng them, 
and they were beginning to read, and to think on 
the questions that the Protestant preachers had 
raised. Books we are told were in circulation, and 
by them the Reformed views were disseminated over 
the land. Ballads, too, satirising and ridiculing the 
Romish Church and the clergy, were being printed. 
YlThenever an institution can be laughed at, its fate 
is sealed. The Roman Catholic Church had reached 
this stage, and the contempt of the people was 
prophetic of its approaching death. 

Another {actor in spreading the Reformation in 
Scotland during this period was the persecution by 
Bloody Mary of English Protestants. Many had to 
choose between banishment and the fires of Smithfield. 
Hundreds fled to the Continent, and a considerable 
number came across the border and sought refuge in 
Scotland. The two most notable men among these 
were William Harlaw and John Willock. Both were 
noted preachers, and one of them was a distinguished 
scholar. They laboured earnestly and successfully, 
and by means of their preaching the cause of 
Protestantism was greatly strengthened in the land. 
^^ And last came John Knox in the end of harvest.^ 



IT will thus be seen that the time was not 
unfavourable for Knox^s visit. Some suppose 
that he went to Scotland on the invitation of the 
leading men who favoured the Protestant cause, but 
there is no good ground for this opinion, and he 
himself gives no countenance to it. On the contrary, 
he distinctly declares that his visit was entirely due 
to the entreaties of Mrs. Bowes. " You alone,'' he 
remarks, ^^ Grod made the instrument to draw me from 
the den of my own ease, you alone did draw me from 
the rest of my quiet study." As a matter of fact 
Knox came home to be married, and although there 
is no record of it, it is generally held that the 
wedding took place on his arrival at Berwick, where 
Mrs. Bowes and her daughter Marjory were then 
residing. The betrothal very probably took place 
before Knox left England for the Continent, and 
under the circumstances we can quite well under- 
stand Mrs. Bowes' ^^ entreaties " and Knox's response. 

He did not stay long in Berwick, for we find him 



almost immediately in Edinburgh, and the reception 
accorded to him in the capital was not only a 
surprise but a great joy to Knox. In writing to 
his mother-in-law he says he was startled by the 
welcome he received among brethren who with 
<^ fervent thirst were night and day groaning and 
sobbing for the bread of life.'' "Oh! sweet were 
the death that should follow such forty days in 
Edinburgh as here I have had three;'' and again, 
"If I had not seen it with my eyes in my own 
country I would not have believed it." On arriving 
in the capital he was received as a guest in the house 
of one James Syme, " that notable man of God," and 
there he preached to all who cared to hear him. 

Fresh courage would be given him on finding 
among his hearers some of the best-known men 
in the coimtry. A question was at this time 
troubling the minds of the new converts to the 
Protestant Faith, and it was one which in the eyes 
of Knox had a far-reaching consequence. It was as 
to whether they might attend the services of the 
Reformed religion and at the same time privately 
partake of the Mass. Knox had only one opinion 
about the matter. He at once made the absolute 
statement that " nowise it was lawful to a Christian 
to present himself to that idoL" A memorable 
discussion regarding this question took place at a 
supper-party in the house of Erskine of Dun. In 
some respects it was the most important supper- 
party that had up till that time been held in 


Scotland, for it settled the diaracter of the Reforma- 
tion, diaowned any compromise with the Romish 
Church, and declared that the new movement must 
be thorough. 

The chief among those mvited to meet Knox on 
this occasion, and to take part in the debate, were 
John Willock, Maitland of Lethington, and Erskine 
of Dun himself. These three were prominent public 
characters, and took a leading part in subsequent 
events. They were brought into very dose contact 
with Knox during the years which followed his 
final arrival in the country, and it may not, accord- 
ingly, be inappropriate to give a passing glance at 

John Willock was an Ayrshire man, and he began 
his public career as a Franciscan friar. On re- 
noimcing the Romish Chiux^h he fled to England, 
and afterwards took up residence in Friesland. In 
both countries he occupied important positions, and 
was noted for his piety, learning, and prudence. 
After the Reformation he became Superintendent 
of the West, and he held this position while he was 
at the same time a beneficed clergyman of the Church 
of England. We have already indicated the im- 
portant part he played in aiding the new movement 
in Scotland during Enox^s absence on the Continent. 
The latter held him in high esteem, and both co- 
operated in the most cordial fashion for the attain- 
ment of the end which they had in view. 

Maitland of Lethington was, next to Knox, the 


ablest man of the time in the country. Randolph, 
the English Ambassador, in a letter to Cecil draws 
his portrait thus: ^^ Lethington hath a crafty wit 
and a fell tongue ; ^ and at a later date he added, 
^^ He is more given to policy than to Master Knox^s 
preachings.^ He was held in high r^ard by Mary 
of Lorraine, and also by her daughter, the Queen of 
Scots, under whom he became Secretary of State. 
Queen Elizabeth once described him as the ^^ finest 
wit of any in Scotland,^ and Knox as ^^a man of 
good learning and of sharp wit and reasoning.^ He 
never really became a thorough convert to the new 
religion, but he judged of the movement entirely on 
its political side. He was one of the leaders of the 
English party, and it was because he saw in the 
Reformation a powerful agent, which could be used 
in support of his policy, that he gave it his counten- 
ance. As Mr. Andrew Lang puts it, ^^He was a 
modem of the modems, cool, witty, ironical, subtle, 
and unconvinced.^ Knox and he had many an intel- 
lectual bout and trial of wit, and although they 
differed on many pcnnts they always maintained a 
qualified respect for each other. 

Erskine of Dun was the one layman of that period 
for whom we feel the deepest regard. If any man 
was governed by unselfish motives in adopting and 
aiding the new faith, it was surely he, for there was 
nothing of a worldly nature that he could possibly 
gain by becoming a Protestant, and there was much 
that he might lose, even life itself. He was one of 


those naturally able, level-headed, kind-hearted, 
patriotic and God-fearing men, that have from time 
to time adorned the eldership of the Church, and 
Knox was fortunate indeed in having him on his side, 
for his name was of great influence among the best 
men in Scotland. Erskine, who was a man of means 
and of an ancient stock, belonged to Forfarshire ; he 
was well educated, and had travelled extensively on 
the Continent Strange to say the first glimpse we 
get of him is in the Bell Tower of Montrose, where, 
in early manhood, he struck a priest to death. The 
reason we know not. He was the first to introduce 
the study of Greek into Scotland; he stood by 
Wishart in his evil hom*, and clung steadily to the 
Reformed Faith during the dangerous time that 
followed the murder of Beaton ; and now we see him 
welcoming Knox and giving him every encourage- 
ment in preaching the Reformed doctrines in 

In the discussion to which we have referred the 
case of PaiJ was adduced, who, to conciliate the 
other Apostles, paid a vow in the Temple. Knox 
said there was every distinction between paying a 
vow and bowing before an idol, nor would he admit 
that Paul'*8 conduct on this occasion was prompted 
by the Holy Spirit, and he drove his argument home 
by referring to the unhappy consequences which 
pursued the Apostle on this occasion. There could 
be no opposing masterful argument of this kind, and 
so Lethington exclaimed, '^ I see perfectly that our 


shifts will serve nothing before God, seeing that they 
stand in so small stead before man.^ 

In the opinion of some this discussion struck the 
keynote of the Reformation. It differentiated 
between the old religion and the new, showed how 
they were radically opposed, and made dear that 
between them there could be no compromise what- 
soever. Knox in the discussion emphasised the 
position for which he had always contended, that 
the new movement was Chru^h-Reforming, that 
it struck at the element of worship, brushed aside all 
image worship or anything that flavoured of idolatry. 
This, as we have seen, was the radical feature of the 
Reformed Theology as compared with the Lutheran, 
which struck as its keynote Justification by Faith. 
This, also, was the reason why Knox saw in one 
Mass a greater danger than ten thousand armed men 
marching down the streets of Edinburgh. He saw 
clearly that unless the worship of the Mass, with all 
that it signified, was stamped out, the new Scottish 
Chiuxh would be no better than the ecclesiastical 
^^ mingle-mangle ^ which he found and condemned in 

After his stay in Edinburgh Knox went to the 
Meams as the guest of Erskine of Dun. He stayed 
a month, and preached with great acceptance. The 
district was favourable to the Reformation, for was it 
not in Montrose and its neighbourhood that Wishart 
had done some of his best work? He afterwards 
accepted an invitation to Calder House, the residence 


of Sir James Sandilands. The Sandilands were a 
notable family, strong supporters of the new move- 
ment, and at Calder House now, and at a later date, 
Knox preached not only to the members of the family 
but to many distinguished visitors fix>m Edinburgh 
and elsewhere. To this house came Lord Erskine, 
the Earl of Mar, Lord Lome, and Lord James 
Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews. The last of these, 
who made Knox^s acquaintance in London in 1552, 
was bom for great things. He was an illegitimate 
son of James v. by Lady Margaret Douglas, sister 
of Xord Erskine. His father meant him for the 
Church, and at the early age of five appointed him 
Prior of St. Andrews. He never, however, took 
Orders, preferring a political to an ecclesiastical 
career. Although now in his twenty-fourth year 
only, he had already given proof of those qualities 
which were soon to make him the leading man in the 
State, and the chief assistant of Knox, on the political 
side, in carrying through the Reformation. Unlike 
Maitland of Lethington, he put his religion before 
his politics, and in taking a leading part in the 
revolution which was impending he was absolutely 
sincere. His ambiguous position as a member of the 
royal family, near the throne and yet separated from 
it by an impassable gulf, made him reserved and 
cautious, and gave a colour to the charge of subtlety 
and equivocal dealing which has been made against 
him. By his ability, character, and devotion to the 
interests of the country he not only gained the 


highest position then open to him in the State, by 
becoming Regent, but, what is of more consequence, 
the affections of the people. He was known at his 
death, and has ever since remained in the hearts of 
aU Scotsmen, as the "Good Regenf* 

Knox on leaving Calder House visited Ayrshire, 
where he spent three months of active and success- 
ful work. The Earl of Glencaim invited him to 
Finlayson, where he dispensed the Communion after 
the Reformed fSetshion. He again returned to Calder 
House, and once more repaired to Dun, every stage 
of his progre» being marked by fresh adherents to 
the new opinions. The Church became alarmed, and 
smnmoned him to Edinburgh on the 15th of May to 
give an account of himself. Knox, accompanied by 
Erskine of Dun and other leading men, was deter- 
mined to meet any charges that might be made 
against him. The Bishops and others who ought 
to have taken part in the trial failed to put in an 
appearance, and they contented themselves by 
excommunicating and burning him in effigy after he 
had left the country. Glencaim and others advised 
Knox at this time to write a letter to the Queen 
Regent, in the hope that she might be persuaded to 
favour the new religion. Mary of Lorraine accepted 
the epistle, and handed it witii a joke to the Arch- 
bishop of Glasgow, saying, " Please you, my Lord, 
to read a PasquiL^ Knox on hearing of this was 
roused to resentment, and in publishing the letter 
with additions and an introduction he gave free 



vent to his indignatioiL It has to be admitted that 
his outburst of wrath and scorn reads much bett^ 
than the original epistle. The fire and vigour of 
the former ccmtrast favourably with the somewhat 
timid and formal tone of the latter. Knox did not 
shine as a courtier, his role was that of a Jeremiah. 

Just at the moment when the work would seem to 
be progressing most favourably, Knox received a 
letter from tiie Englisl;! congr^ation at Geneva 
** commanding him, in Grod^s name, as he was their 
chosen pastor, to repair unto them for their o^ifort^ 
He did not feel at liberty to resist this appeal, and 
having sent on his wife and mother-in-law before 
him to Dieppe, he soon afterwards followed. It was 
rather a strong step for Mrs. Bowes to take, seeing 
that she was a wife and the mother of twelve 
children, but her departure may have made things 
easier at Norham Castle. 

Enox^s visit to Scotland at this time gave a great 
impetus to the Reformation ; it drew together and 
gave a lead to those who were its prime movers, and 
before and after his departure he laid down some 
rules for their guidance. Those who were associated 
with him while he was in Edinburgh and in other 
parts of the country preaching the Reformed 
doctrines were, as we have seen, certain members 
of the nobility and gentry, and on the first blush it 
may seem strange that the chief movers in the 
impending revolution were found in that class. We 
naturally associate attempts of this kind with the 


peopla It may of course be true that the Commons 
of Scotland had not as yet attained to true conscious- 
ness, and that it was the Reformation itself which 
was to accomplish this for them ; besides, the people 
of Scotland had never hitherto taken action in 
matters of this kind. The country was practically 
governed by the nobles. 

While this may be true, it is not at all unlikely, 
as has been alleged, that the nobles were troubled 
by an itching palm. The wealth of the Church 
they well knew to be enormous, and even before 
this date the revenues of the great abbeys and 
priories were held in commendam by laymen whose 
services to the State were thus rewarded. The 
Regent Arran, who was not supposed to be a 
political wiseacre, hit the truth when he said to 
Sadler that ^^ unless the sin of covetousness brought 
them to it he saw no chance of reformation^ 
through the nobles. What Hallam says of the 
English nobility was equally true of the Scotch. 
^^ According to the general laws of human nature 
they gave a readier reception to truths which made 
their estates more secure.^ Dr. Hume Brown is 
at considerable trouble to explain that those who 
afterwards were known as the Lords of the Congrega- 
tion were unselfish men, entirely actuated by the 
highest religious motives. This may be true of 
Erskine of Dun and one or two more, but facts 
are against its general acceptance, and he really 
gives his case away when he asks, ^^What were 


these men to gain by heading the Refomjiation ? 
Would it not have paid them much better to have 
supported the Queen R^ent in her policy of 
suppression ? ^ It is only necessary to reply to this 
that by standing loyally to the Queen Regent they 
would have been no better off materially than they 
were before, and from the pensions that many of 
them were not ashamed to accept from the English 
Grovemment it is dear that they were poor, and that 
what they chiefly desired was an addition to their 
resources. What greater temptation, then, could be 
offered to such men than the Church lands, which 
covered the half of Scotland ? And when the hour 
of trial came they did not for a moment hesitate 
to seize the opportunity which it gave them to 
enrich themselves at the expense of the Church and 
Nation* Ejiox himself was deceived in them. If he 
co-operated with them to carry out his religious 
policy, they certainly took advantage of him to gain 
their own selfish ends. 

But what were the people thinking and sa3ring all 
this time ? Had they no share at all in the move- 
ment? In the fourteenth century, when the 
followers of Wycliff came to Scotland, it was the 
commons and peasants of Ayrshire who were moved 
to revolt against the Papacy, and to imbibe the 
doctrines of a purer taiitu Greorge Wishart, too, 
found a ready response among the working men 
of Dundee and Montrose. Had these working men 
and peasants now become silent ? We shall see on 

• • • • • • ■ 

• • • • • * • 

• • 


Enox^s return to Scotland that this was far from 
being the case, and we have evidence that, at the 
very time of which we are speaking, they were being 
stirred to throw off the rule of a Churdi which had 
become corrupt beyond all remedy. If the better 
educated looked with contempt upon the ignorant 
priests, who could not even read their own Church 
Catechism in the Scottish language, the common 
people laughed in the face of those clerics who tried 
to awe them by superstitions which were now ex- 
ploded. Carlyle complains that no clear view is 
given of the travail of the common people at this 
tima What he wished to know wad what they 
were thinking and not what their betters were 
doing. The information which he desired may not 
be so full as we might wish, but information there 
happens to be. 

Knox in his History gives an amusing and 
significant account of an incident which shows the 
contempt with which the people were now regarding 
some of the sacred customs of the Church. A 
renegade priest inveighing against his brethren pours 
ridicule on the ^^curse^ which had once been so effect- 
ive. " When the vicar,** he said, "rose on Sunday and 
cried, * One hath tint a spurtell, there is a flail stolen 
from them beyond the bum; the goodwife on the 
other side of the gate hath lost a horn spoon, 6od*s 
curse and mine I give to them that knoweth of this 
gear and restores it not,* ** the people laughed in his 
face. This shows what they were thinking. The de- 

. ' • \ 


nunciations of the Church had become a farce which 
provoked ridicule. " Will they not give us a letter 
of cursing for a plack," continues this same renegade 
priest, ** to last for a whole year, to curse all that 
looks over our dyke, that keepeth our com better 
than the sleeping boy who will have three shillings 
in fee, a sark and a pair of shoon in the year.^ 

Another indication of the mind of the people is 
found in the **Gude and Godlie Ballatis^ of the 
brothers Wedderbum. These rhymes were printed 
on broad sheets and scattered over the country; 
they were hymns translated in great part from 
the German, and they reflect the aspirations of the 
middle and lower classes. The common people, 
whatever they may have become afterwards, were 
not at this time greatly enamoiured of Doctrinal 
Theology, and if the Reformation among them had to 
be effected by such works as that of Knox on 
Predestination, for instance, they would even yet, we 
fear, be in the " puddle of papestry.*" If the songs 
of a people are an index to their life and history, 
then these " Gude and Godlie Ballatis^ give us some 
idea of what the people were thinking. They were 
set to popular airs and were sung on Sunday and 
Saturday, and being moulded on the Reformed 
lines, throwing ridicule on Popish doctrines and 
pointing to the new faith, they did more to spread 
the movement than could ever have been done by 
the theological works of Calvin or, as some think, by 
the preaching of Knox himself. 


Here is a specimen. It is a denunciation of 
prayer to Saints — 

"To pray to Peter, James and Johne, 
Our Saulis to saif» power haif they none, 
For that belangs to Christ allone, 
He deit thairfoir. He deit thaudbir." 

Purgatory, too, and the exactions of the Church 
in freeing the soul therefrom were also vigorously 
attacked — 

"Of the £Us fyre of Purgatorie, 
Is nocht left in ane sponk ; 
Thairfoir sayis Geddie woe is me, 
Gone is Priest, Freir and Monk. 

The reik [smoke] sa wounder deir they solde 

For money, gold and landis: 
Quhill half the lyches on the molde 

Is seasit in their handis." 

Other leading doctrines of the Reformation, both 
of a destructive and constructive nature, found 
homely expression in these popular ^^Ballatis.^ 
During the next two years they played their part 
in preparing the soil for the revolution which 
was accomplished in 1560. Knox on his next 
appearance had not to seek for an audience in the 
lM>use of James Syme, ^^ that notable man of God,^ in 
Edinburgh, for in Perth, St. Andrews, and latterly in 
the capital itself, he found ready to his heuid 
the ^rascal multitude,^, as he calls them, who were 
prepared, not only to listen to his preaching, but 
to carry that preaching far beyond the limits that 
he aimed at. 



KNOX left Scotland in July 1556, and on the 
18tb of September he was formally admitted 
member of the English congr^ation in Greneva, along 
with his wife and his mother-in-law. At the annual 
election of ministers on the 16th of December, Knox 
and Goodman were re-elected. 

The Reformer now entered upon the most peaceful 
and, in some respects, the most fiiiitful period of his 
labours. In Geneva he was the head of a congr^a- 
tion entirely to his mind, and he used an order of 
service composed on the lines for which he contended 
at Frankfort A special church, the ** Temple de 
Notre Dame la Neuve,^ was set apart for the joint 
7 use of the Italian and English refugees, and here 

' Knox, with his colleague Goodman, conducted services 

and preached sermons absolutely devoid of any taint 
of Popery. The " Church Order ^ which they used 
was afterwards introduced by Knox himself into the 
service of the Church of Scotland, and continued for 

many years as the Directory of Public Worship in 



the country. We shall refer to it later on, mean- 
while it is enough to say that it was probably the 
first Service Book drawn up on Calvinistic lines 
ever used by an English-speaking congr^ation. Of 
course at Frankfort the Service Book of the French 
Protestants (1564) was used by Whittingham, but 
it was printed in Latin, and it never met with 
general acceptance. 

Greneva at this time, in its civil, social, and 
reHgious aspects, presented a pattern wWch the 
exiles who gathered there would like to have seen 
copied by their respective countries. It was a 
theocracy with Calvin at its head However service- 
able it may have been at the time as a necessary 
agent in establishing the Reformation, we cannot, 
with the best intentions in the world, wish that it 
had been perpetuated. *^In other places,^ says 
Ejiox, ^* I confess Christ to be truly preached, but 
manners and religion so sincerely reformed I have 
not yet seen in any other place.*** 

Sjiox^s work must have been very congenial to 
him. His sermons would take up a considerable 
portion of his time, for he had to preach frequently, 
and among his audience were some of the most 
learned men in Europe. He must also have been 
hard at study acquiring a knowledge of Hebrew, 
and repairing those defects in his education which 
he himself regretted. Nor was his pen idle, for 
during his stay on the Continent he wrote many 
letters and pamphlets, and their contents, as in- 



dicating his political and theological outlook, were 
more important and significant than anjrthing fomid 
in any previous publications by him. Besides, he 
was in the midst of the most congenial society. The 
distinguished Reformers who from England and 
elsewhere found refuge in Greneva would be his 
daily companions. In his household was there not 
his wife Marjory Bowes, who earned the praise of 
Calvin as one of the ^^ sweetest ^ of women. It may 
be true that his mother-in-law was a tax on his 
patience, for her religious morbidness, tending almost 
to melancholia, demanded the constant attention of 
her son-in-law, and not the least remarkable trait 
in his character was the resignation with which he 
bore her religious querulousness and tried to meet 
her spiritual difficulties at every point. 

Calvin, of course, was the chief attraction, but 
Knox did not go to Greneva to leam from him. 
He cultivated his friendship because of intellectual 
and spiritual sympathy. Knox^s mind, as we have 
seen, had been made up on all the great questions 
of the time before he ever saw Calvin, and so far 
as his political views were concerned he was a long 
way ahead of the man of Greneva. 

^^It was there, and at this time,^ says the late 
Professor Mitchell in his able and interesting 
Baird Lecture on the ^^ Scottish Reformation,^ 
^^it was there that Puritanism was organised as 
a distinct school, if not also as a distinct pariy, 
in the ChurcL There,^ he continues, ^^was first 


dearly proclaimed in our native language those 
principles of constitutional government and the 
limited authority of the ^ upper powers^ which are 
now universally accepted by the Anglo-Saxon race. 
There was first deliberately adopted, and resolutely 
put in practice among British Christians, a form of 
Church constitution which eliminated Sacerdotalism 
and taught the members of the Church their true 
dignity and responsibility as priests to God and 
witnesses for Christ in the world,'' Carlyle's 
panegyric on Puritanism is weU known. To it he 
attributes the moral and intellectual energy of 
England and Scotland. Compared with Anglican- 
ism and Lutheranism it was *^a faith or religion 
which came forth as a real business of the heart, 
indeed the only phasis of Protestantism that ever 
got to the rank of being a fEuth.'' 

That is great praise, nor is it altogether unmerited, 
but the point which ought to be noted in this con- 
nection is the form which that faith took in Scotland 
as compared with England. In the latter country 
it remained a doctrine, which during the Common- 
wealth attained its highest results in the thoughts 
and actions of Cromwell and his followers. But 
in Scotland it became established as the national 
religion, grew into a form of Church government, 
and embodied itself in that Presbyterianism which 
has preserved it as a vital force in the life of the 
people. This, we think, was Knox's great achieve- 
ment. Grant that the political circumstances of 


the two countries were different, and that those of 
England rendered such an achievement on the part 
of Hooper, for mstance, unpossible, stiU Knox's 
triiunph was none the less; and however we may 
view his work in itself, the fact that he successfully 
guided the religion of the country along the lines 
which he favoured, and got that religion legalised 
by the State, was no mean victory. 

While the Reformer was thus enjo3ring his life 
and work in Geneva, a letter was brought to him 
from Scotland, in May 1557, demanding his presence 
there. This letter came from the leading Protest- 
ant nobles, Glencaim, Argyle, Erskine, and James 
Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews. It indicated that 
the prospects of the Reformed religion were most 
hopeful, and that all that was now necessary was 
Knox's presence among them. This letter was laid 
before Calvin and his brother ministers, in accordance 
with the law of Geneva, and they "all with one 
consent said that he could not refiise that Vocation 
unless he would declare himself rebellious unto his 
God and unmerciful to his country.'' Knox, how- 
ever, would not appear to have been in any hurry 
to depart, for although he received the letter in 
May he did not leave until towards the end of 

On arriving at Dieppe he was not a little dis- 
gusted to find two letters " not very pleasing to the 
flesh," probably inspired by those who afterwards 
became the Lords of the Congregation, stopping 


his fiBurther progress, allying the tune was not ripe 
for the projected revolution. Knox wrote to these 
same Lords, speaking his mind very freely to them, 
with the result that they drew up a "bond^ or 
godly covenant, the first of the kind, to further 
the Reformation. He felt ashamed to go back 
to Geneva after the solemn farewells which had 
taken place, but there was no help for him, and 
return he did, to spend one more year of peaceful 
and happy labour there. It would seem all the 
same that he was not very eager to venture to 
Scotland at this time, for in a private letter to 
a Mrs. Guthrie he confesses as much, and gives as 
his reason the fear of heading a revolution which 
might end in serious bloodshed. Knox did not 
love civil war, nor did he ever encourage bloodshed. 
Quite the contrary. His aim all through was to 
carry out his far-reaching political and religious 
schemes by constitutional means if possible, and only 
when these failed to have recourse to arms. 

It was during his forced stay at Dieppe that he 
wrote most of those important letters and pamphlets 
to which we have referred, so that his residence 
there, however disagreeable to himself, was fruitful 
in other respects. True, he did not n^lect his 
special vocation, for he seized every opportunity of 
preaching in the town and rall3dng the small and 
somewhat disheartened congregation that he found 
there. He put new life into it. It grew in numbers 
and spirit, and afterwards took an important part in 


the defence of Protestantism, under Admiral Gdigny 
and the Prince of Condd 

We shall now take up his literary productions at 
this time, and discuss the political and religious 
programme which they forecast. 

One result of the Reformation was to make men 
think. It forced them to consider their relations 
not only to the Church but to the State. It also 
gave them a new sense of their rights as responsible 
human beings. One of the first things that followed 
it was a transference of ecclesiastical power from the 
Pope to the reigning monarch. Tliis took place 
particularly in Grermany and in England. The 
power of the individual State as represented by the 
Crown was thereby increased. In England the King 
was put into the position formerly occupied by the 
Pope, and he thus became the head of the Church. 
A considerable section of the people, however, in 
almost every country where the Reformation became 
a force, carried its doctrines considerably farther, 
and demanded a fuller recognition of their personal 
rights as thinking agents. Hence there sprung up a 
body called Anabaptists, who were the fi^e-thinkers 
and also the free-livers of the period. Rejoicing in 
their emancipation from the bondage of Roman 
Catholicism, they carried their principles to extremes, 
and revolted agsdnst all law and order, human and 
divine. Their liberty d^enerated into licence. 

The Reformers looked upon these sectaries with 
strong disapproval, for they saw them not only 


violating the doctrines of the Christian religion 
but bringing the Reformation itself into contempt. 
How could statesmen, responsible for the government 
of a nation, favour a revolution which threatened to 
produce nothing but anarchy? Both Luther and 
Calvin set their faces against these extreme adherents 
of the new religion, and did their best to restrain 
them. The Peasants' War in Germany, which was 
the result of the teaching of these fanatics, caused 
general dismay, and no one was so forward as Luther 
himself in putting it down. But Knox was not 
driven into meamngless conservatism by the dread of 
such upheavals. We saw that he had been brooding 
over the questions which go to the very foundation 
of dvil and religious right and liberty. He did not 
find much encouragement from Calvin and Bullinger 
in solving the problems which the new condition of 
things raised. But he was not the man to be 
influenced by anyone, let his authority be never so 
high. During these months of retirement in Dieppe, 
while fuming against the slight which the Scottish 
nobles had done him, and pondering on the political 
outlook, he put into writing, in the series of letters 
which he then and shortly afterwards despatched 
to Scotland, thoughts that were now thorou^y 
matured into convictions, and which were afterwards 
to be carried out, almost to the letter, in the revolu- 
tion that was impending. In each of these letters 
a distinct question is raised and solved. 

In the first, addressed to his ^^ Brethren in 


Scotland,^ the problem of the RelaHan between Creed 
and Conduct emerges. We have just referred to the 
abuses which followed on the Reformation chiefly in 
Grermany, but the country of Luther was not ex- 
ceptional in this respect. Those who can be classed 
under the general title of Anabaptists were found in 
England and Scotland as welL It had come to 
Enox^s ears that some of those who in his native 
country had made the loudest profession of fSedth in 
the new i«ligion had Men away, and wer« bringing 
disgrace not only on themselves, but on their fellow- 
Protestants and on Protestantism itsel£ The op- 
ponents of the new religion were not slow to take 
advantage of this, and they b^an to ask if that 
religion could be divine which produced or was associ- 
ated with such immoral conduct? This naturally 
put Knox and the leaders of the Reformed views in 
a very awkward position, for one of the chief grounds 
of their attack on the Roman Catholic Church was 
the shameless lives of those who ought to have set a 
higher example to the people. ^^ The Romish Church 
bore corrupt fruit, therefore let it be cut down,^ but 
— and this was the difficulty — ^the Protestant religion 
was no better, seeing that the lives of some of its 
professors were equally corrupt. 

To this Knox replied that ^^ the life and conversa- 
tion of man is no assured note, sign, or token of 
Christ^s visible ChurcL^ But if that were so, what 
need was ih&re for a Reformation at all? let the 
Roman Catholic Church remain. Knox then goes 


to the root of the matter by dedaring that, apart 
from conduct altogether, true belief is of vital 
importance. Whatever might be said of the lives of 
the members of the Catholic Church, the doctrines of 
that Church were corrupt beyond all remedy, and on 
that account the Reformation, which he was heading, 
was an absolute necessity.* We do not for a moment 
dispute Enox^s contention. The position which he 
maintains is one that has to be defended by the 
modern nuni^r and missionary, for they ar. Lme- 
times told that the lives of the heathen compare 
favourably with those of Christians. They, too, are 
asked, ^ What is the use of introducing the Protestant 
Religion into countries where the moral conduct of 
the people is in many respects so blameless ? ^ We 
cannot separate Creed and Conduct all the same. 
Truth is truth whatever its outward fruits maybe, 
and no case of special pleading, such as that we have 
just referred to, can be accepted as a reason for not 
proclaiming it. But the weakness which these early 
opponents of the Calvinistic theology discovered in 
that system, is one which has proved a weakness ever 
since, for there has always been a temptation on the 
part of those who have prided themselves on their 
"true views'* to n^lect the weightier matters of 
the law which make for righteousness. Their con- 
duct has not always squared with their creed, and 
they have not infrequentiy been content with 
the latter to the exclusion of the former. It 
is this that brings religion into contempt even 


now, and gives a handle to those who are unfriendly 
to it. 

The second letter, the one which he addressed to 
the ^^ Professors of the Truth in Scotland,^ discusses 
another problem, namely, the Limits of Obedience^ or 
the Laxfffvinus ofRebeUion. Eno^ we saw, feivoured 
the policy of canying out the religious revolution by 
constitutional means if possible. That, however, could 
take place only in those countries where the Govern- 
ment or i«ign4 prince was friendly ; but in Scotland 
at this time both were opposed to the new religion, 
hence Enox^s duty to guide the Professors of the 
Truth aright. The views which he advocates may 
be said to form the stepping-stone from his more 
conservative position of earlier days to the one 
which he shortiy afterwards found himself compelled 
to adopt. He does not counsel open rebellion ; on 
the contrary, he advises his readers to be obedient as 
far as possible to the powers that be, but — and here 
is the important point — ^if they found their brethren 
for conscience^ sake being tyraimised over by an 
unr^enerated authority tiiey would be justified in 
defending them. While advising them to submit in 
all things not repugnant to Grod, ^^ ye lawfully may ,^ 
he says, ^^ attempt the extremity which is to prove 
whether the authority will consent or no, that 
Christ^s evangel may be truly preached, and His Holy 
Sacraments rightiy ministered unto you and to your 
brethren, the sinbjects of that realm ; and further, ye 
lawfully may, yea and thereto are bound, to defend 


your brethren from persecution and tyranny, be it 
against princes or emperors, to the uttermost of your 

The next production in which we find an expression 
of his opinions is in a ^^ Letter to the Queen R^^nt 
with Additions,^ and in it he boldly Jiutifies the 
Religious Revolution. The original letter, we saw, 
was a formal and courteous production, but Knox 
had learned a few things since then, one of them 
being Mary of Lorraine's veiled hostility to the 
Reformation, and another her contemptuous treat- 
ment of his own production. We cannot help think- 
ing that the sting in the ^^ Additions '^ may be 
explained on personal grounds ; all the same Knox 
now openly declares himself, and brushes aside the 
aiguments of those who would characterise the up- 
rising of a people in defence of their religion as 
^^ sedition.'' He quotes Isaiah against such reasoning, 
to the effect that ^^all is not reputed before Grod 
sedition and conjuration which the foolish multitude 
so esteemeth ; neither yet," he continues, " is every 
tumult and breach of public order contrary to God's 
commandment"; and in support of this he quotes 
Christ Himself, who came not to send peace but a 
sword, and the Prophets and Apostles who turned 
the political and religious world of their day upside 
down. There can be no doubt now as to the 
tendency of Knox's political thinking. 

In the fourth of these publications a question is 
raised which has been more finitful of controversy 


than almost any other that has agitated the Church. 
We mean the question of the Duij/ of the Civil 
MoffiHrate. In his ^ Appellation to the Nobles and 
Estates of Scotland ^ Knox gives expression to views 
which are thoroughly Erastian. In setting before 
them their duty he says : ^' I am not ignorant that 
Satan of old time for maintenance of his darkness 
hath obtained of the blind world two chief points. 
Former he hath persuaded to Princes, Rulers, and 
Magistrates that the feeding of Christ^s flock 
appertaineth nothing to their charge, but that it is 
rejected upon the Bishops and estate ecclesiastical : 
and secondly that the reformation of religion, be it 
never so corrupt, and th^ punishment of such as be 
sworn soldiers in their kingdom are exempted from 
all dvil power and are reserved to themselves and to 
their own cognition. But that no offender can be 
justly exempted from punishment, and that the 
ordering and reformation of religion, with the 
instruction of subjects, doth especially appertain to 
the Civil Magistrate, shall God^s perfect ordinance. 
His plain Word and the facts and examples of those 
that of God are highly praised, most evidently 
declare.^ He then goes on, as is customary with 
him, to support this proposition by examples fix)m 
the Bible, and he points to Moses, who united in 
himself both civil and religious power. He was 
primarily a magistrate in the full significance of that 
term, but God also commissioned him with the due 
(Hrdering and observance of religion* This con- 


ception of Ijiox of the relation between Church 
and State was afterwards embodied in the Confession 
of Faith of 1560, and it was inserted, even in 
stronger terpis, in the Westminster Confession. 
From the days of Melville until our own the question 
has cropped up in various forms, but Knox and 
those who thought with him had no notion of a 
religion which was not national, and they never 
dreamt of any separation between Church and State. 
To divorce the one fix)m the other they felt would 
be d^rading to both. The union of the two gave 
stability and independence to the Church, and to the 
State sanctification. 

The last of these letters, which has now to be 
considered, is in some respects the most important of 
alL In it he addresses directly the People of 
Scotland^ or, as he calls them, ^^ his Beloved Brethren 
the Commonalty of Scotland.^ This is the first 
occasion on which Knox speaks to them, and the fact 
that he now r^ards them as worthy of consideration 
shows the position which they were beginning to 
hold in national affairs. Froude^s Lecture on the 
^Influence of the Reformation on the Scottish 
Character ^ is well known, and Carlyle^s remarks on 
the same subject are equally familiar. Both these 
great writers'hit the lark in dedaring that the 
Reformation created the Commons of Scotland. 
Previous to that time they had no voice, as we have 
already indicated, in the ^vemment of the country. 
As a political force they did not exist. HThe ruling 


and governing dass was the nobles, and the rest of 
the people were practically their retainers, who had 
no independence whatsoever. 

But the Reformation brought these men to self^ 
consciousness ; they were made to think, to consider 
their relations as responsible individuab to Church 
and State alike. The books that were being brought 
into the country teaching the doctrines of the 
Reformed religion, the popular ballads and the 
preacher^s voice, were putting a new life into the 
middle and lower classes, and preparing them for 
that part which they took in the Reformation, when 
all but they had practically deserted the cause. It 
was upon them in the end that Knox depended for 
carrying through the work to which he had put his 
hand, and now at the very b^inning of the great 
task that awaited him he addresses the common 
people and gives them a conception of their man- 
hood, their rights, their responsibilities, and their 
duties as citizens, not only of the Kingdom of 
Scotland but of the Kingdom of Heaven, which to 
them must have been a perfect revelation. Had 
Knox never done any more for his native country 
than this he would deserve its und3dng gratitude. 
Modem Scotland, with its teeming cities, its enter- 
prise, its energy and its intelligence and wealth, is 
practically his creation. 

This is how he addresses them : " Neither would I 
that ye should esteem the reformation and the care 
of religion less to appertain to you because you are 


no kings, rulers, judges, nobles, nor in authority. 
Beloved brethren, ye are Gknl^s creatures, created and 
formed to His own image and similitude, for whose 
redemption was shed the most precious blood of the 
only beloved Son of Grod. . . . For albeit Gckl hath 
put and ordained distinction and difference between 
the king and subjects, between the rulers and the 
common people in the regimen and administration of 
civil policies, yet in the hope of life to come He hath 
made all equaL^ Then he goes on to point out to 
them what their duty is in view of the present 
crisis. If in God^s eyes they are of equal value with 
the greatest noble in the land, then they must be 
ready to discharge the duties which this equality 
demands. The practical task that lies before them 
is to maintain the true Church and to unite in the 
defence of it, and he hints that if the clergy fail to 
reform religion they should bring them to their 
senses by refusing to support them. He says : *' Ye 
may, moreover, withhold the fruits and profits which 
your false Bishops and clergy most unjustly receive 
of you unto such time as they be compelled faithfully 
to do their charge and duties.^ 

We know how the common people acted on this 
advice, and how after the lapse of twelve years only, 
the change in their character and condition became 
so marked that Eilligrew, the English Ambassador 
in Scotland, wrote as follows to Cecil : ^^ Methinks I 
see the nobleman^s great credit decay in this country, 
and the barons, burrows, and suchlike take more 


upon them.^ That was really so, and as the years 
advanced they still took more upon them, until the 
balance of power was reversed and they became, 
through their parliamentary representatives, the real 
governors of the nation. 

These letters of Knox would no doubt play their 
part in helping on the Reformation. They would 
be passed fix)m hand to hand among those to whom 
they were specially addressed, and all who were in 
sympathy with the new views would receive light 
BJod encouragement from them. They would also 
afford guidance to the leaders and give them a 
definite policy. The seeds of the revolution had 
now been sown, and it only required time and careful 
husbandly to bring them to full growth. 

But the work which at the time created the 
greatest stir and caused the most noise has still to 
be mentioned. We refer to Tlie Firat Bkui of the 
Trumpet against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. 
The title is suflSdently striking, and on the first blush 
would seem to imply iliat Kn ox had but a poor opinion 
of the weaker sex. This, as we know, was fetr from 
being the case. Very few men have been so fortunate 
as he, not only in the number of their female friends 
but in their devotion. In England, in Scotland, 
and on the Continent he was surrounded by female 
admirers who constantly sought his advice, and when 
absent corresponded with him, laying before him 
their doubts and difficulties, and beseeching him for 
godly counsel It is remarkable how sympathetic he 


was in dealing with the tender consdenoes of these 
women, and at what pains he instructed and cheered 
them ; indeed his letters to them form not the least 
interesting bit of his biography, and reveal a side of 
his character which is certainly not that of popular 

But this blast of the trumpet was blown not against 
women, but against what he characterised as their 
^' monstruous r^iment,^ or rule. There can be no 
doubt that it was immediately inspired by what was 
taking place at that very time in England and 
Scotland. Here was he at Dieppe, eager to cross the 
Channel in order to aid the Reformation in Scotland 
and in England, but it was impossible for him to do 
it in either country. He was in this French seaport 
on the invitation of the leading men in his native 
land, and he was unable to proceed farther because of 
the government of Mary of Lorraine, who made it 
dangerous for him to appear in Scotland at that 
time. He had taken a solemn farewell of his congre- 
gation and friends at Geneva, and, entirely owing to 
these two women, Mary Tudor and Mary of Guise, 
he was compelled not only to delay his journey but 
to return to the Swiss town. His mind, too, we have 
seen, had been brooding over the rights of subjects 
in relation to their rulers, and the duty which they 
owed, in defiance of all authority, to their religion 
and their God. His schemes of reform grown to 
maturity he publiahed in those letters which we 
have just discussed. Why, then, should he not bring 


his whole argument to a point, and find the ground 
of all for which he was contending in the unjust and 
cruel government of these two queens ? 

Indeed, John Aylmer, one of the English exiles 
who wrote a reply to Enox^s book, is candid enough 
to find a justification for the latter^s vehemency in 
what was taking place at the time. ^^ For I have that 
opinion,^ he says, " of the man^s " — ^that is Enox^s 
— ^' honesty and godliness that he will not disdain to 
hear any reasons nor be loth to be taught in any- 
thing he misseth. So this author,^ he continues, 
^'seeing the torments of martyrs, the murdering 
of good men, the imprisonment of innocents, the 
racking of the guiltless, the banishing of Christ, the 
receiving of Anti-Christ, the spoiling of subjects, the 
maintenance of strangers, the moving of wars, the 
loss of England^s honour, the purchasing of hatred 
where we had love, the procuring of trouble where 
we had peace, the spending of treasure where it was 
needless, and, to be short, all out of joint, he could 
not but mislike that Regiment from whence such 
fruits did spring." 

Knox did not publish his book until the following 
year, 1558, and it came out anonymously. He 
explains this exception to his general rule of putting 
his name to all he wrote, by sajdng that he was 
going to blow the trumpet thrice, and that the 
name of the author would appear on the title-page 
of the third blast. But another reason which he 
does not mention may have influenced him, and 


that was that neither Calvin nor Bullinger con- 
sidered the course which he was taking to be 
expedient It wiU be recollected that shortly after 
his first arrival in Greneva he had consulted these 
two leaders on this and other subjects, and while 
both approved generally of the abstract question 
r^arding female rule, neither of them thought it 
advisable to interfere with existing Grovemments of 
which a woman was the head« Knox, however, was 
not convinced. He took his own way, but to prevent 
any contretemps in the happy relations that existed 
between him and his friends in Geneva he sent it 
forth anonymously. Calvin afterwards practically 
disowned the book. On sending a copy of his 
Commentary on Isaiah to Queen Elizabeth, he 
found that it was very coldly received, and he 
learned that the cause was his having permitted 
the publication at Geneva of Knox^s First Blast, 
Calvin declared that he knew nothing about it for 
a whole year after it was given to the world, and 
hinted that if he had known he would have pre- 
vented it. Knox possibly never learned this, for 
his relations with Calvin remained unbroken to the 

But he made a greater enemy than ever Calvin 
would have been by his publication, no other than 
Queen Elizabeth herself. Indeed, his work was most 
untimely, and, with r^ard to the end which he had 
in view, most unfortunate. Had he known that 
Mary Tudor would have died shortly after the 


publication of his book, and that Elizabeth would 
succeed her on the throne, it would probably have 
never seen the light, for his policy was to bring 
about a union between England and Scotland, and 
nothing afterwards stood more in his way than his 
First Blast against the Monstruous Regiment of 
Women, Elizabeth was mortally offended by it, 
and could never afterwards tolerate Knox. On his 
final departure from Geneva she refused hun liberty 
to pass through England, and were it not that she 
saw that the interests of her country lay in a friendly 
understanding with Scotland, she would never have 
favoured the policy which Knox advocated, but 
which, after all, was the wisest and best for both 

It is ifnnecessary to deal with the pamphlet as a 
whole, one or two sentences from it wUl give an 
indication of its general contents. ^ To promote a 
woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion or empire 
above any realm, nation or city, is repugnant to 
nature, contumilie to Grod, a thing most contrary to 
His revealed will and approved ordinance ; and finally 
it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and 
justice." He then proceeds with great vigour, and 
not a little incoherence, as if the book after all were 
a hurried performance, to prove this by quoting the 
Bible, Aristotie, Justin, the Pandects, the Digest, 
Tertullianj Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, and 
Basil. ^^ There, and nowhere else in his books," 
says Carlyle, ^ have we direct proof of how studiously 


and profitably his early years up to the age of forty 
must have been spent, a man of much varied, diligent, 
solid reading and inquiry as we find him here, a 
man of serious and continual meditation we might 
already have known him to be.^ Still Carlyle r^rets 
that this is the only one of his books which is 
accessible to English readers, for it is written not in 
the Scottish but in the common English dialect 
It is not by any means the best of his books, hr 
otherwise, in style, in argument, and in temper. Its 
value lies in testifying to the courage and self-reliance 
of the man, to his discharge of an imperative duty 
in defiance of all consequences, and) further, in the 
indication which it gives of his political policy ; for 
beneath the question of the right of women to rule 
there was the tar deeper question of the right of 
rulers to govern in defiance of true religion. If the 
" Regiment '^ of women was a violation of Scripture, 
and therefore should be put down, much more ought 
those rulers to be overthrown, whether they were 
men or women, who were governing contrary to the 
Word of God. 

Here really lies the sting of the whole argument 
and its significance. The pamphlet accordingly is 
not an unworthy completion to that series of pro- 
ductions which Knox wrote in Dieppe. When they 
are taken together, and studied as a whole, they will 
be found to contain the sum and substance of his 
political thinking. 



EVENTS were now hastening on, and the 
way was being rapidly paved for Enox^s 
appearance in Scotland. He did not know that 
within a year Queen Mary of England would be 
dead and his native country ready to receive him. 
Still he must have been glad to get back to Greneva, 
for his wife and family were there ; his congregation, 
too, and his many friends would cordiaUy welcome 
him. There is Uttle record of his work during this 
period, but one or two events of a domestic nattu^e 
happened which must have been of considerable 
interest. During his residence in Greneva two sons 
were bom to him, Nathaniel and Eleazer. Whitting- 
ham stood as god-father for the first, and Miles 
Coverdale for the second. Only on two occasions 
afterwards do we find any reference to these sons, 
one in an account which he gives in his History of 
an interview with Queen Mary, and another in his 
last will and testament. 

It would also seem that during this year his friend 




Mrs. Anne Locke, with her son and daughter, 
accompanied by a maid-servant, joined the Church 
of the exiles. Of all his women friends she was the 
one with whom he corresponded on a footing almost 
of equality, and his letters to her reveal, as we have 
seen, not a little of his mind and policy. 

It is not generally believed that Knox took any 
part in the translation of the Bible, which was 
being done at that time by the English Reformers 
in Greneva. Among his fellow-exiles there were a 
number of eminent scholars who would be better 
able for the task. He was essentiaUy a preacher and 
a man of action, but one work he must have begun 
during his last stay in Greneva, and that was his 
pamphlet on Predestination. It is supposed that he 
was interrupted in the task by the death of Queen 
Mary on the 17th of November 1558. This broke 
up the English congr^ation in Greneva. Everyone 
was eager to return to England, where, under the 
rule of Elizabeth, freedom to worship after the 
Reformed fashion would be granted. 

It is possible that many of them would experience 
not a little disappointment in the forms of service 
and the Articles of Belief of the EngUsh Church, for 
these remained pretty much what they were in the 
time of Edward vi. The purity of doctrine and 
ritual which they enjoyed in Geneva was not to 
be permitted them in England, but they did not 
renounce their convictions all the same. These con- 
victions spread, and, a few generations later, found 


full expression in the religious and political revolu- 
tion which sent Charles l to the scaffold 

Ejioz also left Greneva, intending to go first to 
England and then to Scotland* His declared object 
in visiting England was to come face to face with 
his old congr^ations at Newcastle, Berwick, and 
"other parties in the North.** It is not unlikely 
that he had a deeper object. It was a part of his 
policy to come to an understanding with England, 
and gain its support on behalf of the Reformation in 
Scotland. His residence in the former country, and 
the important posts which he held, enabled him to 
form acquaintances with its leading men. They 
knew his value and the weight of his character, and 
were prepared, should the coast be dear, to exchange 
opinions with him on the political and religious 

He accordingly journeyed to Dieppe, intending to 
cross to England at the earliest opportunity, but he 
found his farther progress stopped, not, as on the 
previous occasion, by letters from Scotland) but by 
the lack of a letter from England. He wrote to 
Cecil asking for a passport, but both his request 
and his letter were ignored. He was now beginning 
to reap in a very real fashion the fruits of his 
First Blast. It had indeed, as he himself was 
forced to admit, " blown all his friends from him.** 
It besides turned against him, among others. Queen 
Elizabeth, who ever afterwards regarded Knox 
as the incarnation of all that was detestable in 


religion. She would have none of him in England, 
and for three months he had to cool his heels in 
Dieppe, writing meanwhile letters to Cecil of the 
strongest possible character. 

But Ejiox could not be idle, he filled in his time 
by preaching to the Protestant congregation which 
he himself practically formed, and which in a veiy 
short time became one of the largest in any town in 
France. It was there at this time, also, that he 
probably finished his pamphlet on Predestination, 
the one theological treatise of any size and import- 
ance ever written by him. The subject was not of 
Knox'*s own choosing, nor was the task undertaken at 
his own desire. A request had come from England 
to the Reformers in Geneva askmg them to prepare 
a reply to a certain Englishman who had written 
against the subject. The work was the production 
of an Anabaptist. We do not know its title nor its 
author. Ejiox calls it " The Careless by Necessity.** 
The Anabaptists were, as we have seen, the free- 
thinkers of the period, and, like all fr'ee-thinkers, 
objected to dogma. They glorified the freedom 
of the will, and, true to their doctrine, the lives of 
many were as loose as their views. In these days of 
a more liberal theology we are apt to agree with the 
Anabaptists in their revolt against the hard-and-fast 
system of the early Reformers. It is quite true that 
we can do so with an impunity which they could 
not. Luther and Zwingli, Calvin and Knox, had 
broken away from the Roman Catholic Church, ft*om 



its creed, its worship, and itself as an institution and 
organisation, and the practical question faced them, 
" What are we going to put in place of all these ? ^ 

Had they followed the course adopted by the 
Anabaptists, and simply left their adherents to 
the freedom of their own will with r^ard to 
doctrine and worship, the Reformation would have 
collapsed. What they had to do was to form a 
strong theological phalanx which would act as a 
defence against all attacks from the outside; to 
prepare forms of belief upon which the people could 
take their stand* It was impossible for them to 
organise in a few months, or years, a great Church 
like the Roman Catholic, which of itself gave a 
strength to its members which the Reformers were 
not completely able to break down. Hence the 
absolute necessity which devolved upon the leaders 
of the new movement to discover a substitute for 
that Church, and they found it in the theology of 
their Confessions and Creeds, and particularly in the 
system of Calvin, which is as difficult to break down 
as was the Romish Church itself 

It is easy for us in these days to find fault with 
what we are pleased to term the narrowness and 
intolerance of the theological views of the leaders of 
the Reformed Chiuxh. But they could not afford to 
be broad and tolerant, although we can. It was 
what we term the ^^ harshness^ of their theology 
that made the Reformed Church itself possible, and 
has preserved it for us to this hour. Now the head 


and front of that system is the doctrine of Pre- 
destination, and it shows the confidence which his 
fellow Reformers had in Ejiox that they asked him 
to prepare the reply desired by their co-ieligionists 
in England. The book was published in Geneva 
with the full authority of Calvin and his friends, to 
whom it gave entire satisfetction. 

Predestination was a late arrival among the 
doctrines of the Reformed Church. Although pre- 
supposed in most of the early Lutheran and Re- 
formed Confessions it did not appear prominently in 
them, but by the time Calvin wrote his Institutes it 
was advancing to a leading position. In the earlier 
editions of his famous work he deals with the subject 
somewhat briefly, but in the later editions he stated 
it at length, and wrote elaborate replies to attacks 
that were made upon it. During the time that 
Knox was in Greneva it formed the chief subject of 
controversy, and all the resources of the Reformed 
Theology were strained to vindicate it It would be 
beyond our present purpose to discuss this doctrine 
at length. It finds a modified place in the Scots 
Confession of 1560, from which its most repellent 
features are absent, thus showing that though Knox 
could write a vigorous controversial pamphlet of some 
four hundred pages on the subject, he did not think 
it necessary or advisable to include its most doubtful 
and objectional features in the Confession which he 
prepared for his own Church. In the Westminster 
Confession these features appear in full elaboration. 


and they are responsible for the strong desire on the 
part of many at the present moment to have that 
Confession recast or its terms of subscription relaxed. 

But viewing the subject of Predestination in its 
broadest aspect there are few who will not be ready 
to admit that it is the only theological and phil- 
osophical explanation of the universe that can 
recommend itself to the mind of man. It places 
all under the sovereign rule and grace of God, it 
claims that nothing happens by chance, that the 
world and human life are ordered by design, that 
religion and history are subject to the law of 
development, that there is an end towards which 
the whole creation is moving, that there is a unity 
amidst all the differences that exist around us, and 
that "the whole round earth is every way bound 
by gold chains about the feet of Grod.^ This, 
indeed, is the most modem theory of the universe, it 
is the final word of the scientist, the historian, the 
moralist, and the philosopher, as well as the theo- 
logian. Determinism, as it is called, or in other 
words Predestination, is accepted by the profoundest 
thinkers of the day. Calvin and Darwin, Zwingli 
and Hegel, are at one on this point, and where they 
agree who will dare to differ ? What has brought 
the Reformed view of the subject into disrepute 
is the doctrine of Reprobation, or the dualism which 
differentiates between the saved and the lost in the 
future world. 

But the latest word of the Reformed Theology 


has not yet, we are told, been spoken. The view 
of the world which prevailed at that time has 
changed, and with it k^ also changed the Reformed 
eschatology, whose ideal, says Dr. Hastie, ^^is an 
endless progression in the future life under con- 
ditions modified by the result of the present develop- 
ment, and carrying that development forward under 
new conditions of divine determination. The Re- 
formed Theology has not yet fully solved this 
profoundest problem of all, but it is passing in 
this connection through a new period of vital 
development, and the issue shall be a deepened 
belief in the endless development of all created 
souls, tiU the absolute purpose of God shall be 
realised in an infinitely diversified spirit world, 
reconciled, perfected, and unified in eternal harmony 
through spiritual communion with Christ around 
the throne of Grod.'' 

We should not blame Knox for his defective 
eschatology, it is enough for us to know that he 
held with a firm grasp a doctrine which has so much 
to commend it, and which is now, in one form or 
another, almost universally accepted by thinking 
men. He showed thorough familiarity with it in 
his reply to his Anabaptist adversary. We have 
travelled far from the points that were so bitterly 
discussed between them, and we should be satisfied 
that in the controversy he proved himself a champion 
of whom neither his country nor his colleagues had 
any reason to be ashamed. 


Events had been proceeding at . a rapid pace in 
Scotland from July I6569 when Ejiox left it, to 
the 2nd of May 1559, when he landed at Leith to 
be the head and front of the movement which was 
soon to be carried to a successful issue. The whole 
nation had, in the interval, become involved in the 
revolution that was agitating the «,untry, and every 
force — political, religious, and social — was engaged 
in it. 

The policy of the Queen R^ent, which had all 
along been in favour of France, was strained to 
the point of breaking. Henry il was anxious to 
involve Scotland in the war which, along with 
Paul IV., he was waging against Philip of Spain. 
It was necessary for success that England should 
be kept in check, and he looked to Scotland to 
effect this for him. He reminded the Scottish 
nobles of their engagement, ratified at Haddington, 
to aid him in the case of such an emergency, but 
when the Queen R^ent solicited their support on 
his behalf they coldly refused. They had become 
suspicious of France, resented the promotion to the 
chief offices in the State of Frenchmen, and were in 
no mood to enter into a conflict with England. 
Mary of Guise, seeing their temper, abetted Henry 
in hastening on the marriage of the young Queen 
of Scots to the Dauphin, in the hope of making 
Scotland an appanage of France. Eight Com- 
missioners were appointed to represent Scotland at 
the ceremony, which took place on the 24th of April 


1558, and of these only four returned. It was 
supposed that the rest had been poisoned. Henry, 
too, to make the French rights to the Scottish 
crown thoroughly secure, entered into a private 
treaty with the young Queen ; and not content with 
all the advantages that he had already gained, he 
asked for the crown to be sent over to France in 
order to be placed on the head of the Dauphin. 
But an event took place on the 17th of November 
of this year which diverted the course of European 
politics, and in the end freed Scotland from the 
dominance of France ; for on that date M cuy Tudor 
died, and was succeeded by the Protestant Elizabeth. 
This gave hope to the firiends of the Reformation, 
who looked to England for support, that the cause 
which they had at heart would now triumph. 

It will be recollected that Knox, before he left 
the country in 1556, wrote a letter of " Wholesome 
Counsel" to his friends and adherents, directing and 
encouraging them to hold fast to their convictions, 
and to conduct worship in their own households, 
at least, should a more public place be denied them. 
In a letter which was sent to him by the leading 
Protestants in the country, a year later, to Geneva, 
it is pomted out that the good work begun was 
progressing. The Protestant religion was spreading, 
and the face of a Church was gradually appearing 
in the land. In his reply from Dieppe he lays 
before them their duty as tiie leaders of the people, 
and, partly owing to his advice and to the favourable 


conditions which then prevailed, those whom he 
addressed formed themselves into a body* and sifcned 
. Co™«.t-th. tot rf ,»», of it. ki^ in ScXd 
— binding themselves, at the risk of life and limb, to 
adhere to, and assist by every means in their power, 
the reUgious Reformation. They at the same tune 
drew up resolutions laying bare the evils that were 
in the Church, and approving of the use of Common 
Prayers on Sundays and Holy Days. 

The Lords of the Congregation, as they now for 
the first time called themselves, pressed on the 
advantages which they had already gained. They, 
through Sir James Sandilands, presented a petition 
to the R^ent claiming the right of public and 
private prayer in the common tongue. Some of 
them also kept preachers in their household, for 
the twofold object of defending the ministers against 
the tyranny of the Romish Church and of instructing 
both themselves and their families in the truths 
of the new religion. It is a cause of no surprise, 
accordingly, to learn that Archbishop Hamilton and 
his clergy became alarmed at the progress which the 
new views were making, and that they had recourse, 
fortunately for the last time in the history of 
Scotland, to the only method for suppressing heresy 
known to the Romish Church. The victim on this 
occasion was Walter Mill, who was burned at St. 
Andrews on or about the SOth of April 1558. 
Pitscottie says that Mill ^^was warming him in a 
poor woman^s house in Dysart, and teaching the 


commandments of God to her and her bairns, and 
learning her how she should instruct her house to 
bring up her bairns in the fear of Gixl^ when 
arrested. It was while performing this sacred duty 
that the poor old man was seized. The sympathies 
of the people were so strong in his favour that 
^^ neither a cord to bind him to the stake nor a tar 
barrel to bum him could be got for the bujdng.^ 
On being consigned to the flames, and while expiring, 
he uttered these pathetic and prophetic words : ^^ As 
for me, I am fourscore and two years old, and cannot 
live long by the course of nature, but a hundred 
better shall arise out of the ashes of my bones. 
I trust in Gixl I shall be the last to sufler death 
in Scotland in this cause.^ Immediately after his 
death a cairn of stones was erected on the spot 
to his memory. 

The feelings of the people on this occasion show 
in what direction their opinions were tending. No 
one could remain any longer blind to the fact that 
the revolutionary party was backed up by strong 
popular sympathy and force. The Queen R^ent, 
accordingly, felt that the time had at last come for 
making a determined effort to suppress Protestantism. 
She had for a considerable time tried to conciliate 
those who were favourable to the new views for the 
purpose of gaining their support in the prosecution 
of her policy, but the chief aim of that policy having 
now been attained by the marriage of her daughter 
to the Dauphin, she felt that there was no need 


for temporisiiig any longer. She must also have 
perceived that if she was to maintain her authority 
the new movement must be suppressed, for those who 
were heading it clearly aimed at the overthrow of 
her government. 

She accordingly summoned to her presence the 
Protestant preachers. They, knowing the strength 
of their backing, were quite prepared to obey her, 
and supported by a great many friends and followers 
they appeared in Edinburgh. She was alarmed 
at their numbers and was anxious to have them 
dispersed, but before this could be done several 
made their way into the chamber where the Regent 
and the leading clergy were assembled, and one of 
them, James Chalmers of Gadgirth, addressed her 
as follows: ^ Madam, we vow to God we shall 
make ane day of it. They oppress us and our 
tenants for feeding of their idle bellies ; they trouble 
our preachers, and would murder them and us : shall 
we suffer this any longer ? No, Madam, it shall not 
be,^ and therewith every man put on his steel 
bonnet. There was heard nothing on the Queen^s 
part but " My joys, my heart, what ails you ? Me 
means no evil to you nor to your preachers.^ With 
these and suchlike fair words, as Knox, who gives a 
very graphic account of the interview, remarks, ** she 
kept the peace at that time.^ 

But perhaps the incident which shows the extent 
and character of the religious revolt more than any 
other, is the treatment accorded to St. Giles, the 


patron saint of Edinburgh. In the previous year 
his image had been stolen from the church and cast 
into the Nor** Loch, and this year the clergy, in 
order to celebrate his day with due honour, had 
to borrow money to buy a new one. The Queen 
herself honoured the occasion and took part in its 
festivities, but she retired to dine at the house 
of Sandie Carpetyne " betwixt the Bowes,'' in time 
to escape a great tumult, for the populace attacked 
the procession, made short work of the idol, and 
chased the priests as hard as they could run to 
sanctucuy. It may be true that the lower classes 
are always ready to take part in a riot, but the 
treatment meted out on this occasion to young St. 
Giles clearly shows the way the wind was blowing, 
for when the religious observances of a Church can 
be treated in this fashion it is a clear sign that 
that Church is doomed. 

The Protestants, in order to bring matters to a 
point, petitioned Parliament through the Queen 
Regent, claiming absolute freedom of worship, and 
on her declining to accept their petition they 
determined to approach Parliament themselves. 
But the social discontent which characterised the 
movement has still to be mentioned. There is a 
popular belief that the Reformation in Scotland 
was entirely carried through by those who called 
themselves the Lords of the Congregation. Un- 
doubtedly they took a leading part in its inception, 
but unless the movement had been national it would 


never have reached its dimensioiis nor attained its 
results. The common people, and even the lower 
classes, had their share in its accomplishment. Nor 
was the revolution entirely religious, as some think, 
or partly religious and partly political only, as others 
imagine ; it was social as well, and in this we see its 
not least hopeful sign. Indeed, that element in it 
which then, for the first time, found articulate 
expression is the one that has had least justice done 
to it, and, at the same time, it is the one which 
perhaps was the deepest of alL The condition of 
the working classes and of the poor was miserable in 
the extreme, and that condition was due in no 
small measure to the Church, which ought to have 
made eveiy effort to improve it. 

This is brought out in what a recent historian 
has declared to have been the most remarkable 
document produced by the Reformation, ^^The 
B^gars^ Summonds,^ which on the 1st of January 
1559 was stuck on the gates of all the Religious 
Houses in Scotland. In was a striking and signifi- 
cant paper, purporting to be from ^^ the blind, crooked, 
b^gars, widows, and all other poor,^ accusing the 
clergy of having ''falsely stolen the wealth given by 
the pious for the service of the poor,*^ and concluding 
with the threat, '' We have thought good, therefore, 
to warn you that you remove forth of our said 
hospitals betwixt this and the feast of Whitsunday 
next, certifying you if ye fifiull we will at the said 
term in whole number, with the help of God and 


assistance of His saints on earth, of whose ready 
support we doubt not, enter and take possession of 
our said patrimony and eject you utterly forth of 
the same. Let him, therefore, that before hath 
stolen, steal no more, but rather let him work with 
his hands that he may be helpful to the poor.^ It is 
not known who wrote this document. It is written 
with a strong hand, and breathes the spirit of 
revolution. It must have been the production of 
someone who was in the secret counsels of the 
leaders of the movement, for it in a sense reveals 
their plan. The menace with which it ends was ful- 
filled almost to the letter. 

A Provincial Council of the clergy was held about 
this time. The ecclesiastical authorities evidently 
saw that unless something were done speedily, in the 
way of drastic reform, the Church would be over- 
thrown. The recommendations which it made were, 
for the Romish Church, searching and far-reaching, 
and if they had been carried out a generation or two 
earlier the religious revolution might never have 
been attempted ; but it was now too late, and the 
Queen Regent, seeing that it was quite impossible to 
r^ain the sjonpathies of the Protestants for the 
Church, turned once more to her poUcy of suppression, 
and shortly before Easter issued an order for the 
observance of that festival after the Roman manner, 
strictly forbidding the preaching of unauthorised 
persons. The Protestants, in alarm, made a re- 
presentation to her through the Earl of Glencaim 


and Sir Hew Campbell, Sheriff of Ayr, to whom she 
replied in memorable words : ^^ In despite of you 
and of your ministers both, they shall be banished 
out of Scotland albeit they preached as truly as ever 
did St. PauL^ On having her previous promises 
recalled she replied in words that have become 
historical, ^^ it became not subjects to burden their 
princes with promises further than it pleased them 
to keep the same.^ At last the die was cast, and 
the preachers were summoned to appear at Stirling 
on the 10th of May. 




KNOX'S arrival in Edinburgh (2nd of May 1669) 
was the signal for renewed activity on both 
sides. The Queen R^ent was in Glasgow, and on 
the third day after his arrival she ordered him to be 
*^ blown loud to the hom.^ It will be remembered 
that after his departure in 1666 he was excommuni- 
cated and burned in effigy, and outlawry was involved 
in the sentence then passed. He remained only two 
nights in Edinburgh, for hearing that the brethren 
had assembled in force in Dundee he hastened to 
join them. ^^ I am come,^ he writes to his friend 
Mrs. Locke, *^ I am come, I praise God even in the 
brunt of the battle, if Grod impede not I shall 
present myweif^ before the Queen and Council, 
**there by life, by death, or else by both, to glorify 
EKs godly name who thus mercifully hath heard my 
long cries.'' 

The Protestants who had assembled at Dundee 
were incensed by the preachers being summoned to 

appear before the Queen Regent at Stirling on the 




10th of May, and they determined to march in a body 
on Perth, Knox accompanying thenu It being their 
object to avoid every sign of rebellion, they sent 
Erskine of Dun to lay their demands before the 
R^ent. She promised to delay the summons, but 
almost immediately afterwards she broke her promise 
and proclaimed the preachers as outlaws. ^^The 
multitude,^ says Knox, ^^on learning this was so 
inflamed that neither could the exhortation of the 
preacher nor the commandment of the magistrate stay 
them from destroying of the places of idolatry/^ 

We here touch on a question that has be^i much 
and even hotly debated: Whether the Protestant 
preachers, and notably Knox, were responsible for 
the destruction of the numerous rich and beautiful 
Religious Houses that then adorned Scotland ? One 
fact at least is clear, that the b^inning of the 
iconoclastic work was due to the perfidy of the 
Queen Regent, whose breach of faith in the case of 
the preachers incited the populace to their task of 
destruction. Still there can be no denying the fact 
that Knox, and those who thought with him, preached 
against image worship of every kind, and he himself 
states that immediately before the first considerable 
attack on the Religious Houses of Scotland was made, 
he had frt>m the pulpit been stirring up the people 
against idolatry of all sorts. Indeed, it would seem 
that the very next day after the preachers were 
outlawed he himself delivered a vehement discourse 
against idolatry. At its close a priest, in contempt, 


attempted to celebrate the Mass. Among the 
audience was a young boy who rebuked the priest 
for thus violating the Word of God. The latter 
^^ struck the child a great blow, who in anger took up 
artone, and casting at the priest did hit ihe taber- 
nade and broke down an image, and inmiediately the 
whole multitude that was about cast stones and put 
hands to the same tabernacle and to all other 
monuments of idolatry.*^ That was the beginning 
of a general attack on the Religious Houses of Perth, 
and the ^^ rascal multitude,^ as Knox calls them, 
rejoicing in the opportunity for riot which the 
occasion gave them, very soon demolished the three 
most notable ecclesiastical buildings in the dty, 
including the Charter House, an edifice of ^^ wondrous 
cost and greatness ^ ; so thorough was the work of 
destruction that only the walls remained of these 
glorious buildings. This was the b^inning of 
trouble, and all over the country sacred ^lifices that 
had been erected at great labour and much expense 
shared the same fate as those of Perth. 

It should not be forgotten that years before 
this Hertford and his English army laid waste the 
Abbeys of the South of Scotland, and even previous 
to the arrival of Knox we leam of tumults in which 
the ecclesiastical buildings of the country suffered. 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, whose testimony on all matters 
is that of a plain, blunt soldier, states, in writing to 
Percy, what would seem to have been the policy of 
the Reformers with regard to this matter. ^The 


manner of their proceedings,"" he says, " is this : They 
pull down all manner of Priories and Abbeys which 
willingly receive not their Reformation ; as to Parish 
Churches, they cleanse them of images and all other 
monuments of idolatry.'" This policy, severe enough, 
is not so drastic as many would have us to believe. 
Parish Churches were to be left intact, their vain 
adornments being swept away; and all the great 
Religious Houses were to remain untouched, except 
where the holders of them defied the rising authority. 
Now, considering Knox^s conception of the new 
movement, which was Church Reform, we cannot see 
very well how he could have done otherwise. His 
protest, as we have seen, was against the worship of 
the Romish Church, that worship being contrary to 
the purity of Scriptural teaching, and consequently, 
in his eyes, idolatry. If the work to which he had 
put his hand, and for which he had suffered greatly, 
risking fearlessly for its sake life and limb, was to 
be accomplished, it could only be by ridding the 
Parish Churches and great Religious Houses of all 
that in his eye defiled or made a lie. We are aware 
that on more than one occasion he did his very best 
to restrain the mob from ruthlessly tearing down 
edifices that he would have spared, but, as everyone 
knows, when the passion for destruction seizes the 
lower orders there is no withholding them, and 
the excesses which they indulged in were but a 
repetition of the acts of destruction which character- 
ised the movement in France, Switzerland, and 


Holland. There are few who do not regret the 
vandalism of the period. There was then destroyed 
what can never be replaced ; but it may be better 
after all that these great edifices, with all their 
aesthetic beauty, should be but desolate ruins, than 
that the purity of worship which we now enjoy 
should, for their sakes, have been sacrificed. 

The Queen was so enraged at the conduct of the 
Protestants in Perth that she vowed "utterly to 
destroy Saint Johnstone, man, woman, and child, 
and to consume the same by fire, and thereafter to 
salt it in sign of a perpetual desolation.^ It was the 
aim of the Protestant party to avoid every appear- 
ance of rebellion ; they were anxious to carry through 
their reforms by constitutional means if possible, and 
have recourse to arms only as a last resort They 
accordingly at this juncture issued four Manifestoes, 
in which we clearly see the hand of Knox. The 
Reformer on this occasion, as indeed at every critical 
moment in the history of the Reformation, stood 
out as the one man of light and leading. He saw 
the significance of the how*, and directed the fortunes 
of his party. In these Manifestoes he stated the 
case of the Congregation, and disabused the minds of 
his countrymen of misrepresentations regardmg their 
intentions; for the Queen Regent had been busy 
poisoning all whom it might concern, hinting that 
it was Rebellion, and not Reformation, that they 
were contemplating. 

The first of these Manifestoes is addressed to the 


^^ Queen'^s Grace Regent,^ and it roundly states that 
"unless this cruelty be stayed by your wisdom we 
will be condemned to take the sword of just defence 
against all that shall pursue us for the matter of 
religion, and for our conscience^ sake,^ and hints that 
in her present course of conduct she was not acting 
in conformity with the wishes of the young Queen of 
Scots and her husband the Dauphin. The second, 
which was addressed to " D'Oysel and the Frenchmen 
in her Service,'' indicates liiat unless they cease 
taking part in the present' persecution a feud would 
be created between France and Scotland that would 
"last as long as Scotchmen should have power to 
i-evenge such cruelty.'' In the third of these addresses, 
the one to the "Nobility of Scotland," Knox calls 
upon them to rise to the height of their great 
responsibilities, and threatens them with excommuni- 
cation if they fail to obey his summons. "Unless 
ye join yourselves with us," he says, " as of God ye 
are reputed traitors, so shall ye be exconununicated 
from om* society ; the gloiy of the victory which God 
shall give to His Church, yea, even in the eyes of 
men, shall not appeii:ain to you." The last was 
addressed to the "Generation of Anti-Christ, the 
Pestilent Prelates and their Shavelings within Scot- 
land," and he warns them that unless they "cease 
betimes from their blind rage they shall be entreated 
as murderers and open enemies to God." 

These letters found their way, as was intended, cdl 
over Scotland. The one addressed to the Nobility 


fell into the hands of the Earl of Glencaim, among 
others, and he was so stirred by it that he declared : 
^^ Let every man serve his conscience, I will by Grod^s 
grace see my brethren in St. Johnstone, yea, albeit 
never a man should accompany me I will go, and if 
it were but with a pike upon my shoulder, for I 
would rather die with that company than live after- 
wards.^ The EarPs boast was no vain one, for he 
immediately rallied round him the sturdy Protestants 
of Ayrshire and the West, and to the number of two 
thousand they made a rapid march through ^^ desert 
and mountain^ to the relief of their brethren at 
Perth. This quickened the conciliatory mood of the 
Queen Regent, for she sent Representatives to the 
Lords of iiie Congregation to learn their demands. 
Knox and his friends declared that they were not 
aiming at rebellion, but simply desiring freedom to 
worship Grod according to their consciences. The 
following were the terms which the Protestants 
were prepared to accept: They would leave the 
town on condition that all who were of their party 
should be cdlowed perfect freedom of worship, and 
that no French garrison should be quartered on the 
citizens. These terms being accepted, the Protestants 
were allowed to leave Perth with a free pardon. Of 
the three Commissioners who represented the Queen 
on this occasion, two were Argyle and the Lord 
James. Knox rebuked them sharply for their 
defection, and they solemnly promised that if the 
R^ent broke her pledges they would instantly 


desert her and throw in their lot with the Protestant 

It was not long before the opportunity presented 
itself for fulfiUing this promise. On the 29th of May, 
the date fixed for the occupation of Perth by the Queen 
Regent, the Protestants entered into another bond, 
the chief note of which was that they pledged them- 
selves to put down all idolatry. Thereafter the 
majority of them journeyed to St. Andrews, and on 
the march they carried out, too literally perhaps, the 
agreement which they had come to; for different 
churches on the route bore witness afterwards to 
their zeal for purity, among them being those of 
Crail and Anstruther, in which Knox preached. 

The Queen R^ent, almost on the very day on 
which she entered Perth, broke her pledges by 
quartering Scottish soldiers in the pay of France on 
the citizens, by restoring the old religion, and by her 
cruel treatment of the Protestants. Many of the 
Nobility and others, among whom were Argyle and 
the Lord James, immediately left her and joined 
Knox and the body of Protestants who had already 
arrived at St. Andrews. 

In St. Andrews, as in Perth, Knox acted the lead- 
ing part It was his intention, he says, to preach 
in the famous Cathedral City on Sunday the 4th of 
June. On coming to this understanding with himself 
he could not be aware of the determined effort that 
was to be made to prevent him. That effort, as we 
shall see, proved futile, and Knox^s purpose was 


/*«jfr ISO. 


carried out. We can imagine his feelings on visiting 
St. Andrews, for the first time, since his forced 
embarkation as a prisoner in the French galleys. 
He had undergone much su£Fering since then, had 
seen many lands, and taken a leading part wherever 
he went in advocating by word and pen the doctrines 
of the Reformed religion. But he never during all 
his wanderings forgot his native country, and he 
must have felt exultant at the mere hope of fulfilling 
the vow which he had made to his friend James 
Balfour, when, as a prisoner, he came within sight, in 
the French fleet, of the steeple of the parish church 
in which God publicly opened his mouth as a 
preacher — ^that he would in that same church witness 
again before he died to the grace and glory of Grod. 
Archbishop Hamilton, who was at Falkland, 
hastened to St. Andrews with three hundred armed 
men to prevent Enox from discharging this vow, for 
he well knew the Reformer^'s power, and was afraid 
that if he were allowed to preach to the citizens of 
St. Andrews it would go hard with the old Church. 
Indeed the Archbishop threatened that in case ^' John 
Knox presented himself to the preaching place, in his 
town and principal Church, he should make him be 
saluted with a dozen of culverins whereof the most 
part would light upon his nose.^ The Reformer's 
friends were intimidated by this threat, for they 
were not in great force in the city ; but Knox would 
listen to no half-hearted counsels, and, brushing aside 
their scruples and fears, he kept his word and 


preached a sennon on ^^the ejection of the buyers 
and sellers fixmi the Temple.^ The result of this 
discoiurse was similar to that of those preached in 
other churches, for ^'the Magistrates, the Provost 
and Bailies, as the commonalty, for the most part 
within the town, did agree to remove all monuments 
of idolatry, which also they did with expedition.*" 
St. Andrews, when Knox entered it, was not 
altogether whole-hearted for the Reformation, but 
before he left the majority of its citizens sided with 
him; and some years later, when he had to leave 
Edinburgh, his life being in danger, he found friendly 
shelter within its walls. Argyle and the Lord James, 
who now joined the Protestants in St Andrews, 
were accompanied by a considerable following ; others 
joined them, and their numbers became so great that 
Knox is forced to exclaim that it appeared ^^ as men 
had rained from the clouds.^ 

The Regent, with her forces led by the Duke of 
Chatelherault and D^Oysel, marched on St. Andrews. 
The Lords of the Congregation went out to meet 
them. Neither side was eager for battle. Indeed, 
one of the remarkable features of the whole Revolution 
was the disinclination of both parties to shed blood. 
The forces that opposed each other were pretty 
equally matched, so far as niunbers were concerned, 
and what those of the Protestants lacked in discipline 
was more than made up in enthusiasm and loyalty. 
The Regent could not depend upon her army, for 
many of her soldiers favoured the new religion. Both 


sides accordingly courted delay, and a truce of eight 
days was agreed upon in the hope that terms might 
in the interval be arranged. 

It was at this juncture that Knox made a proposal 
for soliciting the aid of England. He himself tells 
us that the matter was first discussed in a private 
conversation between him and Kirkcaldy of Grange. 
These two had been early brought together, and 
although their paths had diverged, and would diverge 
again, they ever continued to have a sincere r^ard 
for each other. They, probably, of all who took 
part in the rising had least to gain from its success, 
and the unselfishness of their motives could not fail 
to be perceived by all their associates. They had 
nothing of that local patriotism which distorted the 
vision of most Scottish politicians. They were not 
possessed by an irrational suspicion or dread of 
England; tiiey both saw that only by an under- 
standing with that country could success be attained ; 
for Sarkcaldy, as a soldier and general, must have 
been impressed by the military weakness of the 
Protestant party, and Knox looked forward to the 
union of the two countries as his chief hope of their 
salvation from the tyranny and superstition of the 
Romish Church, and the progress and establishment 
of the true religion. Knox, besides, from his long 
residence in England, the important posts he held 
there, his intimate knowledge of its political 
tendencies and acquaintance with its chief men, was 
especially fitted to pave the way for such a union. 


In this conversation Knox ^* after many words 
burst forth, ^If England would foresee their own 
commodity they would not suffer us to perish in this 
quarreL'" He was also convinced that "if the 
hearts of the Borderers of both parts can be united 
together in God^s fear our victory shall then be easy."*^ 
Indeed it was to unite the hearts of these same 
Borderers that he craved permission when at Dieppe 
to pass through England on his way to Scotland. 
He subsequently wrote to Cecil : " My eye hath long 
looked to a perpetual concord betwixt these two 
realms.^ At a later date this same policy is seen in 
his desire to see Queen Elizabeth married to the 
Earl of Arran, the next heir to the Scottish throne. 
Knox^s visions were those of a true patriot and far- 
seeing statesman as well as of a Religious Reformer. 
He did not live to see the fulfilment of his dream, 
which was reserved for a later day; but he paved 
the way for, and took the first step in, that union 
of the two Nations which is now the joy and strength 
of both. 



THE contending forces did not long remain 
facing each other at St. Andrews. The 
Queen Regent marched by Stirling to Edinburgh 
and then to Dunbar, which she made her head- 
quarters for the time being. The Protestants made 
Edinburgh their objective, and on the way relieved 
Perth, which was held by the Queen R^ent. It 
was after its relief that the Abbey and Palace of 
Scone were burned down. This was not the work 
of the ^^ rascal multitude,^ but of certain of the 
Protestants of Dundee and Perth. The leaders 
of the Reformation, Knox included, did everything 
in their power to restrain the mob, but without 
effect. It must have been in reference to this that 
Knox shortly afterwards wrote the following letter 
to Cecil, incidentally deploring, and at the same 
time apologising for the violence that accompanied 
the new movement: ^^The common bruit I doubt 
not carrieth unto you the troubles that be lately 

here risen for the controversy in religion. The 



truth is that many of the nobility, the most part 
of barons and gentlemen, with many towns and one 
city, have put to their hands to remove Idolatry 
and the monuments of the same. The Reformation 
is somewhat violent because the adversaries be 

On arriving at Edinburgh the Protestants found the 
churches ah*eady ^^ purified " of all their images and 
^^ monuments of idolatry.'' The Congregation were 
only thirteen himdred in niunber, and the majority 
of the citizens were against them, but in a very short 
time their strength was augmented to six thousand 
by the appearance of the Earl of Glencaim. This 
nobleman was a great tower of strength to the 
Protestant party. He aided it not only by his 
ability and prudence but also by the powerful 
influence which he exercised over the Western 
Counties. There was now no retreat possible for 
either party. The Protestants had gone too far to 
hope for anything by yielding; they had staked 
their lives on the issue, and should they fail they 
could only hope for banishment or death. There 
was but one course open to the Queen Regent. 
Her government had been disowned, and she could 
only secure peace by conquering her opponents. 
To become a Protestant was beyond the range of 
possibility for a daughter of the House of Guise. 
She knew that she had. much to hope from delay, 
and that prolonged inactivity would be fatal to 
her opponents. She accordingly began to spread 


defection among their ranks by encouraging the 
report that the Lord James was aiming at the 
throne and that they were engaged in a rebellion. 

The Congregation could not long hold together, 
because those who formed it were only soldiers for 
the hour, and no active service being demanded of 
them they retired in great numbers to their own 
homes. Were it not for Knox it is not at all 
unlikely that the Protestant party would at this 
time have entirely broken up, but he held them 
together, and, being now minister of Edinburgh, 
he preached discourses which kept steadily before 
them the great cause for which they were fighting, 
and kindled their enthusiasm on its behalf. The 
Queen R^ent, hearing of the thinning of the ranks 
of the Congregation by dispersion, marched on Leith, 
which opened its gates after the firing of a single 
shot. The Protestants looked to Lord Erskine, the 
Grovemor of the Castle, for support, but he had 
pledged himself to the Regent, and threatened to 
fire on them and the city unless they came to 
terms. They had no option, and an agreement was 
come to by which they should surrender Hcdyrood 
Palace and quit Edinburgh within twenty-four hours. 
The Protestants, on the other hand, were to be 
permitted full liberty of worship, no French garrison 
was to be admitted within the city, which was to be 
left to its own discretion in the matter of religion. 
The ban of outlawry against their preachers was also 
withdrawn, so that they practically gained all that 


they in the meantime were contending for. The 
Congregation left Edinburgh on the S6th of July, 
Knox accompanying them, and shortly after they 
left they entered into another bond, pledging each 
other not to be cajoled by the Queen R^ent into 
a desertion of the Protestant cause. 

Willock was left behind to represent Knox as 
minister of Edinburgh, and he earned the praise of 
his colleague by his staunch adherence to the 
Reformed religion and his vigorous defence of the 
same by his preaching in St. 6iles\ No special 
record of the order of service at this time in use 
is left us, although Kirkcaldy of Grange, in the 
letter to Sir Henry Percy to which reference has 
already been made, stat^ that the Service Book 
which was followed was the Second Prayer Book of 
Edward vi. This book never attained to an assured 
position in the Church, nor did it continue long in 
use, for Knox would have none of it, but it served 
its purpose for the time being in giving guidance to 
the preacher and formmg a basis of union for the 
people. Willock^s was no easy task, for the majority 
of the citizens of Edinburgh were still Catholics, and 
the Prendi soldiers delighted to disturb his service 
by marching up and down the floor of St. Giles^ and 
jeering at his preaching. 

No sooner had the Congregation reached Stirling 
than they made plans for gaining the support of 
England. Knox, we have seen, had discussed this 
Ser earlier with his friend Kirkcaldy of Grange. 


It was a weary business, and its chief advocate, Knox, 
had to stand many a gibe at the slowness of the 
negotiations, and was told that they would no doubt 
be brought to a conclusion when it would be too 
late. The interest of England in a union with the 
Congregation was becoming every day clearer, and 
the sudden death of Henry il brought home to 
Elizabeth and her Council the desirability, if not 
the necessity, of coming to terms with the Protestant 
pai-ty. It was the policy of France, even before 
Henry ^s death, to get possession of Scotland ; and 
France^s supremacy being secured over the Northern 
country, the next step would be to extend that 
supremacy over the Southern as welL The accession 
to the French throne of Francis 11. increased England^s 
danger still more, for his young Queen was the niece 
of the Guises, whose voice was now all powerful in 
the Councils of the French Grovemment. Strong 
Catholics, they wished to see a revival of the old 
religion in Scotland and in England. Their niece 
was not only Queen of France, but Queen of Scotland 
as well, and, regarding Elizabeth as ill^timate, they 
wished to press M ary'^s claims as the next heir to the 
English throne. 

Elizabeth and her Secretary Cecil understood all 
this perfectly weU, but two difficulties stood in their 
way. The first was that peace reigned between 
France and England, and the second that they 
were not assured of a complete breach between the 
Protestants and the Queen Regent. The old feuds 


between Scotland and England were not as yet 
altogether healed, and at any moment a hatred of 
the ^^ old enemy ^ might stir the Scotch to acts of 
hostility. Besides, Elizabeth was very loth to abet 
subjects in their revolt against their sovereign, for 
in doing so she might be cutting a stick with which 
to break her own back. 

The Congregation, having determined to open 
negotiations with England, looked upon Knox, who 
was at this time acting as their Secretary, as the 
man who should take the first step. We have 
referred to his qualifications for this task, although 
diplomacy cannot be regarded as one of them. He 
was bold in speech, and, when occasion demanded, 
sufficiently prudent in action, but his methods were 
too direct and open to suit the wily men who guided 
the policy of Elizabeth. Throgmorton, the English 
Ambassador at Paris, pressed on Cecil the claims of 
Knox, and wrote saying that notwithstanding his 
authorship of TTie First Blast : ^^ Yet forasmuch as 
he is now in Scotland in as great credit as ever man 
was there, with such as may be able to serve the 
Queens's Majesty's term, it were well done not to 
use him otherwise in mine opinion than may be for 
the advancement of the Queen's Majesty's service.'' 
Knox wrote to Cecil expressing a desire to see him, 
so that they might come to an understanding face 
to face. But Elizabeth's Secretary was in no mood 
to endanger the relations of France and England 
by granting an interview to the one man in Scotland 



who was making the government of that country 
impossible ; besides the Secretary knew full well that 
to grant Knox^s request would be to incur the 
implacable wrath of his own mistress, for there was 
no man so much detested by Elizabeth as the 
Reformer. She had little love for his Calvinism 
and less for his Puritanism ; besides he had committed 
the unpardonable sin of writing The First Blast, 
The authorship of that book she would never forgive 

It shows Enox^'s courage that he took pen in 
hand and wrote direct to EUzabeth herself, one of 
the most extraordinary letters that ever he produced. 
It was on the SOth of July that he concocted this 
famous production, for it must have been a laborious 
task. Taking the high ground of a Servant of 
Jesus Christ and a preacher of His Holy Evangel, he 
discharged his conscience towards her, reminding 
her how she ^^ had declined from Christ in the day 
of His battle for fear of her life,'' and while express- 
ing attachment to EUzabeth's own person, and the 
sincerest regard for her many virtues, he would not 
recede one inch from his old position in regarding 
the regiment or rule of a woman as ^^ repugnant to 
nature, contumilie to God, and contrarious to His 
Revealed Word.'' Elizabeth's power to help Enox 
in the present crisis did not affect that opinion one 
bit, but still as one or two women, notably Deborah, 
had in the providence of God been raised up to do 
Him special service, so God had raised up Elizabeth 


from ^^ the dust to rule above His people for the 
comfort of His Kirk.^ 

This letter was enclosed in his epistle to Cecil, 
and the Secretary, who was a prudent man, wisely 
omitted to deliver it. The Lords of the Congre- 
gation also wrote at the same time on their own 
behalf. They despatched two letters, one to 
Elizabeth and another to CeciL The latter they 
knew to be a friend of the Reformation, and they 
opened their heart and mind to him with singular 
frankness. They proposed to form a lasting union 
with England to '^ the praise of God^s glory and the 
comfort of the faithful in both realms,^ and they 
hinted that unless the R^ent came to their way of 
thinking, that complete breach between her and 
them, which Cecil desired, would take place. Their 
letter to the Queen had less of religion in it and 
more of politics; they knew that she valued her 
crown more than her Bible, so they hinted at what 
might happen to England if their venture fiedled. 
" If in this battle,*^ they say, " we shall be overthrown, 
we fear that our ruin shall be but the entrance to 
a greater cruelty.^ Elizabeth knew this as well as 
they did, and in due time she came to their 

Although Knox failed in the end to induce Cecil 
to grant him an interview, he journeyed to England 
with that object He was to have met the Secretary 
at his country house at Stamford, but the Reformer 
did not get farther than Berwick* Here he met 


Sir James Crofts, the Governor of that town, and 
submitted to him the proposals of the Congregation. 
If England took up their cause, they would form a 
mutual league against the French. Their reasons 
for desiring such a league were two, the Reform of 
Religion and the restoration of their ancient laws 
and liberties. Sir James Crofts, it is alleged, 
believing Knox to be unsuited for the mission which 
he was now attempting to discharge, advised him to 
return home, saying, ^^ I think it not expedient that 
in such rarety of preachers ye be any long time 
absent from the Lords.^ But the fact is that Crofts 
himself was suspected of playing false to his coimtry, 
and in any case it was tiie desire of Cecil that 
Knox at this time should not venture far into 

He returned to Stirling with some difficulty 
about the 6th of August, for the Regent, hearing of 
his mission, had given orders to seize him. Cecil'^s 
reply to the Congr^ation was not very satisfactory. 
He advised the Lords to follow the practice of the 
English noH% and enrich themselves at the 
expense of the Church. The time was not yet ripe 
for acting on that advice ; in due course they would 
take it to heart with a vengeance. Cecil, however, 
was better than his word, for ere long Sadler was 
entrusted by Elizabeth with three thousand pounds 
to distribute as he thought best in the interests 
of England. 

Knox at this time was touring the country. 


preaching everywhere, and spreading the doctrines 
of the Reformed religion all over the land. So far 
carnal weapons had not availed him and his friends 
to any appreciable extent. His own voice, as the 
English Ambassador afterwards remarked, put more 
courage into them than ^^five hundred trumpets 
continually blustering in their ears ^ ; and thus in a 
letter to Mrs. Locke, of date 2nd of September, he 
writes: "We do nothing but go about Jericho 
blowing with trumpets as Grod giveth strength, 
hoping victory by His power aJone.'' St. Andrews 
was at this time his headquarters, and from it he 
sallied forth, sounding this same trumpet of the 
Evangel and rousing all who heard it to fresh 
activity in the cause of the Reformed Faith. 

Consternation befell the Congregation on the 
announcement that a thousand French soldiers had 
landed in Leith; and being accompanied by their 
wives and children it looked as if they intended to 
stay. The feeUng among Scotsmen now ran very 
high. The popular antipathy against the Regent 
and her French allies was roused, and the clamour 
was so loud and disaffection so widespread, that in 
self-defence she published a Manifesto laying her 
case before the world. She likened herself to "a 
small bird which being pursued will provide some 
nest, so her Grace could do no less than provide 
some sure retreat for herself and her company. '^ 
This sentence is very well turned, but her nest must 
have been of very considerable dimensions and of 


extraordinary formation, for it was strongly fortified, 
and contained three thousand French solcQers armed 
to the teeth. The Congregation, most likely by the 
pen of Knox, replied to this Manifesto, and the 
sufferings which the poor realm of Scotland was 
enduring at the hands of the Regent are described 
in the strongest and most vivid terms. Taxes had 
been increased, the coinage debased, Frenchmen 
promoted over the heads of Scotsmen, and the 
country was being overrun by foreign soldiers, who 
sacked ^^ the barnyards newly gathered, the granaries 
replenished, the houses garnished, and by force put 
the just posssesors and ancient inhabitants therefix)m 
to shift for themselves.^ The Congregation in this 
Manifesto appealed to the patriotism of the nation, 
and tried to rouse their countrymen to a sense of 
the danger that was now more than imminent. 

The Protestant party was strengthened at this 
time by the adhesion of the Earl of Arran. This 
yoimg man was the heir of the House of Hamilton, 
and, after Mary, stood next to the throne. He was 
instrumental also in winning over his father, the 
Duke. This considerably added to the prestige of 
the Congregation in the eyes of Elizabeth, and 
would no doubt also have its influence upon the 
country at large. Arran's future was very different 
from what most men expected. At this time no 
bounds could be placed to the possibilities of his 
career. Not only the Scotch but even the English 
throne was believed to be within his reach; the 


latter by his marriage with Elizabeth herself!. The 
Regent fortified Leith ; the Congr^ation protested. 
Eight hundred more Frenchmen landed in the country, 
action must be immediate, so the Protestants deter- 
mined to march on Edinburgh. 



IN considering the position of the opposing peurties 
we find that the Congr^ation though strong in 
numbers were poor in resources. Their good men 
were for the most p€urt " country fellows,'' untrained 
and undisciplined. It was the 16th of October 
before they could join their leaders in their march 
on Edinburgh, for the harvest was late that year. 
In a few weeks their farms and crofts would again 
demand their attention, for they would require to 
prepare the ground for the harvest of the follow- 
ing year. Unless immediate action could be taken 
there was every prospect of a fresh dispersion. Nor 
could the Lords of the Congregation hold out any 
prospects to them ; they had no money. Knox knew 
this, and in a letter to Cecil he pleads for financial 
support : " For albeit," he says, " that money by the 
adversary p€urty largely offered could not corrupt 
them, yet should extreme poverty compel them to 
remain at home; for they are so super-expended 

already that they are not able to bear out their 



train, and the same thing I write unto you again 
requiring you to signify the same to such as tender 
the furtherance of this cause.^ The R^ent, on the 
other hand, had a compact and well-equipped army, 
protected in Leith by walls and forts, and duly 
supplied with all the matericds of war. The struggle 
indeed on these terms was hopeless, and this the 
Congregation very soon found out. 

They began with a war of Proclamations, which 
came to nothing. The only possible good these 
could do was to keep the Loids of the Congregation 
formally right. On the 21st of October, only five 
days dFter their occupation of the capital, the 
Protestants took the extreme step of deposing the 
Queen Regent. The course of events necessarily led 
up to this, and the Proclamation which was published 
vindicating their action was composed with great 
deliberation and very deftly done. The remarkable 
feature about it was its practical omission of any 
reference to the Reformation of Religion. The 
reason put forth was the unconstitutional govern- 
ment of the Regent, the tyranny of the French, 
the robbery of the people and the d^radation of 
the country. The appeal was not to the religion 
but to the patriotism of the people. 

Mr. Andrew Lang, contrasting this Proclamation 
with its predecessors, traces in it the hand of 
Maitland of Lethington. That astute politician had 
not as yet thrown in his lot with the Protestant party, 
although he was soon to do so. Some think that 


Knox was put into the background and that his 
views were overruled. We do not think so. He was 
not such a fanatic as to wreck the Reformation 
by refusing to take advantage of any move in the 
game that would help his cause. The appeal to 
religion had already gathered round the revolu- 
tionists a very considerable proportion of the nation, 
and it was only common prudence, in this Proclama- 
tion, to appeal to other sections of the nation, even 
to Catholics who felt indignant at the present 
degradation and threatened subversion of their 
country. Besides, the Protestants were eagerly 
soliciting the assistance of Elizabeth, and they had 
to consider the ground on which she would be most 
ready to give her support. We can well believe 
that this Manifesto was issued with Enox^s approval, 
and we have no reason, except the opinion of 
inimical historians, to think otherwise. 

It may have seemed a bold thing for the Congre- 
gation to depose the Regent, but from Enox^s 
well-known opinions, already discussed, there will 
be no surprise felt at his action in the matter. 
He and WiUock were consulted, and they gave the 
proposal their heartiest approval Knox would have 
no scruples whatsoever in supporting the action of 
his lay firiends. He was, as we have seen, a pupil of 
John Major, who declared that a ^^ free people first 
gives str^igth to a Eong whose power depends upon 
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.^ These views had been 
advocated by Knox, and when the time came he did 
not hesitate to put them into force. We do not 
think them revolutionary now, though they were fiEU* 
in advance of the opinions generally held in his day. 
Upon them every free government, our own in- 
cluded, is now based. 

There is one statement in this Proclamation which 
has caused some surprise. That is where the Pro- 
testant Lords declare that they depose the Queen 
Regent by the authority of their lawful sovereigns. 
This, on the face of it, was taking a good deal 
for granted ; but the explanation is found in the 
fact that these men naturally held that their lawful 
sovereigns would govern lawfully, which the Queen 
R^ent was not doing, and it was at the same 
time an indication that, whoever the sovereign or 
governor might be, they would be quite justified on 
the authority of the Constitution to do unto him or 
her what they had now done to the Regent. In our 
judgment this taking the name of their lawful 
sovereigns in vain was the most significant feature in 
the whole Proclamation, and was prophetic of the 
vindication of the rights and liberty of subjects in 
relation to all rulers whatsoever. 

The Protestant party soon discovered that the 
subjugation of Leith was no easy task. The support 
which they asked from England was not granted, if 
we except an instalment of one thousand pounds 
which Elizabeth sent them. This, unfortunately, 


never reached dheir hands, for it was seized by the 
Earl of Bothwell on its way. Fresh misfortunes 
foUowed. The French, making a sortie from Leith, 
drove the army of the Congr^ation down the 
Canongate into Edinburgh, and a further defeat on 
the 5th of November made them feel that their 
position was unsafe and hopeless. ^^From that 
day," says Enox, " the courage of many was dejected, 
with great difficuHy could men be retained in the 
town; yea some of the greatest estimation deter- 
mined with themselves to leave the enterprise, many 
fled away secretly, and those that did abide appeared 
destitute of counsel and manhood." 

The one man who did not lose heart was Enox 
himself : his labours at this time were far beyond his 
strength. Along with Willock he preached daily in 
St Giles^ to crowded congregations, stirring their 
enthusiasm and holding together the different 
members of a p€urty that constantly seemed on the 
eve of a final and fatal disruption. His wife, who 
had joined him, assisted him in his secretarial work. 
" The rest of my wife," he says, " has been so un- 
restful since her arriving, that scarcely could she tell 
upon the morrow what she wrote at night." His move- 
ments were closely watched, and a large sum promised 
for his head; but in spite of all he lost "no jot 
of hope or heart," but in the darkest hour of his party'^s 
fortune encouraged them with his own optimism. 

It was at this time that he wrote a letter to Sir 
James Crofts which has been made the subject of 


sharp criticism. A recent historian joyfully seizes 
on it in proof of his contention that the morality of 
Knox the preacher was inferior to that of Crofts 
the politician, and a biographer of the Reformer 
bemocqis it as the one blot on his public career. It 
does not seem to us so terrible after alL When the 
Congregation were in their darkest hour Knox 
appealed to Crofts for help. Knowing it was the 
object of Elizabeth not to ofiend France, he suggested 
that the soldiers whom he sought to be sent across 
the border might be regarded by the English as 
rebels to their realm. Elizabeth, who was in the 
habit of making promises which she never intended 
to fulfil, and of refusing what she had fully made up 
her mind to grant, would regard this counsel as 
venial in the extreme; and when we consider the 
craft that was practised on all hands, by almost 
everyone who held important political posts, Knox's 
sug£c^tion cannot appear so dreadful. 

K was at this timHLt Maitland of Lethi^gton 
joined the Congregation. Knox welcomed him be- 
cause of his proved ability and influence, and also 
for the relief that he would bring, because Lethington 
undertook the duties of secretary for which by 
nature and training he was better fitted than 
Knox. The Lords of the Congregation, against 
the advice of Maitland, determined to quit Edin- 
burgh, and they left amidst the jeers of the populace. 
^* The despiteful tongues of the wicked railed upon 
us, calling us traitors and heretics, everyone pro- 


voked other to cast stones at us, and thus as a 
sword of dolour passed through our hearts, so were the 
cogitations and former determinations of many hearts 
then revealed." But it was Enox again who revived 
their drooping spirits, for after they arrived at Stirling 
he preached a sermon which was long remembered 
by everyone who heard it, for he declared, " What- 
ever shall become- of us and our mortal bodies 
I doubt not that but this cause (notwithstanding 
the enmity of Satan) shall prevail in the realm, for 
as it is ilie eternal truth of the Eternal God, so 
shall it finally prevail though it be resisted for a 
season. It may be that God shall plague some 
because they do not relish the truth, though from 
worldly motives they pretend to favour it, yea 
God may take some of His dearest children away 
before their eyes see greater calamities, but neither 
the one nor the other shall so hinder this cause but 
that in the end it shall triumph." A council of the 
Congregation was held shortly after they came to 
Stirling: the journey of Maitland to England to 
win over Elizabeth to their cause was its object It 
was determined that Maitland should go, and this 
decision was the tummg-point m the fortunes of the 

Shortly after the despatch of Maitland the Con- 
gr^ation determined to divide themselves into two 
companies, one of which should make Glasgow its 
centre and the other St. Andrews. To the former 
city went Chatelherault, Glencaim, and Argyle, 


and to the latter the Lord James, Arran, Lord 
Ruthven, Kirkcaldy of Grange, and Knox. The 
Reformer acted as secretary to his party. He would 
appear at this time to have taken less active interest 
in the revolution than during its earlier periods. 
The reason was that the Lords of the Congregation 
were now basing their action on the threatened 
invasion of France. The Reformation of Religion 
was put into the background. It was their desire to 
draw into their net as large a number as possible, 
and for this purpose they made it of different meshes. 
Towards the close of the year they met in Stirling for 
the purpose of considering a letter from Maitland, 
who wished to receive further instructions r^arding 
his mission to England. The Queen R^ent heard 
of this gathering, and a force was sent under D'^Oysel 
to attack it. The Congregation heard of the move- 
ment and made their escape. The French followed 
up their advemtage emd pursued them almost to the 
very gates of St. Andrews. Their march was stoutly 
contested, the Lord James, Arran, and Kirkcaldy 
particularly distinguishing themselves. " For twenty 
and one days,'' says Knox, " the first two lay in their 
clothes, their boots never came off, they had skirmish- 
ing almost every day, yea some days from mom to 
eve.*" The Queen Regent thought that her triumph 
was at hand, and exclaimed, ^^ Where is now John 
Knox, his God ! My God is now stronger than his, 
yea even in Fife.'' 

Although Knox could take no part in the actual 


warfare that was being waged, he was by no meahs 
idle. He had up to this time, while in St. Andrews, 
employed his leisure in the writing of his History ^ 
and when the fortune of his party seemed almost 
hopeless he again rose to the occasion, and in Cupar 
preached a sermon that put fresh heart into them. 
Maitland was also busy, and his patient diplomacy 
was about to be crowned with success. He was the 
one man in Scotland fitted for the task which he was 
discharging. He was friendly with Cecil, a favourite 
with Elizabeth, and a lover of his country. He 
believed in a union with England, and he brought 
all his well-known and exceptional talents to bear 
upon its accomplishment. Elizabeth hesitated, 
changed her mind, but at last jdelded. Hence was it 
that the French, while engaged with that section of 
the Congregation that occupied Fife, were surprised 
when crossing the river Leven on the 28rd of 
January 1560 to see a fleet in the Firth of Forth. 
They took it to be the promised fleet expected frt>m 
France, but their fond hopes were dispelled on 
finding that two ships which were being despatched 
to them with supplies were seized. They then 
discovered that the vessels were English. D'^Oysel 
beat a hasty retreat towards Stirling. The country 
rose up behind him, and he was hotly pursued by 
those who had suffered so harshly at his hands. He 
rested not until he reached Linlithgow, and did not 
feel himself safe until he found shelter behind the 
fortifications of Leith. 


This was only one result of Maitland^s mission, 
the other was the despatch to Scotland of an English 
army. But before this could be finally agreed on it 
was necessary that a bond should be entered into 
between the Lords of the Congregation and their 
English allies. For this purpose Norfolk was sent to 
the north of England, and it was proposed that a 
meeting should take place between him and repre- 
sentatives of the Congregation. The party under the 
Duke of Ch&telherault arranged to meet Norfolk at 
Carlisle, but Knox disapproved of this. He wrote a 
strong letter to the Duke, accusing him at the same 
time of slackness in the cause. It was accordingly 
agreed that a meeting should take place at Berwick- 
on-Tweed, and on the 27th of February an Agreement 
was come to by which England and the Lords of the 
Congregation mutually bound themselves against the 
French. The forces of the Queen Regent, to the 
nrunber of over two thousand, made one supreme effort 
to overthrow the Congregation. Their attack on St. 
Andrews having failed they marched on Glasgow. 
The Protestant party in that city fled to Hamilton, 
and the French after working their will on Glasgow 
returned to Leith. The Queen R^ent, whose health 
was declining, and whose outlook was now becoming 
almost hopeless, received permission to leave Leith 
and take refuge in the Castle of Edinburgh. 

The Protestant leaders made strenuous efforts to 
rouse the whole country. With this object they 
issued a fresh Proclamation, in which no mention 


was made of the Reform of Religion. Their appeal 
was only partially successful, and with the forces at 
their command ^ey joined the English who had 
now arrived at Leitii. The joint armies numbered 
between nine thousand and ten thousand men. It 
was a new experience in the history of both 
countries to see their armies united in a common 
action. Men could hardly believe their eyes on 
seeing the Scotch and the English soldiers cunicably 
entertaining each other. Indeed it was the suspicion 
in the minds of many Scotsmen that Elizabeth had 
some sinister object in view which kept them from 
joining the Congr^ation. They were afraid that 
the English, supposing the French were driven out 
of the country, would take their place. Even the 
Congregation had a dread lest they might be 
overreached and terms be agreed on by friends 
and foes alike, which in the end might prove 
injurious to them. It was perhaps more for the 
purpose of keeping themselves right in the eye of 
the Constitution, than from any hope of being 
successful, that a final appeal was made to the 
Regent to dismiss the Frenchmen and govern 
according to the laws of the realm. Nothing of 
course came of this last effort. 

The allied armies now attempted to penetrate 
the fortifications of Leith, but with veiy unfortunate 
results. They were repulsed with considerable loss. 
Knox relates some stories that were spread abroad, 
retailing the conduct and words of the Queen 


R^ent after one of these repulses. " Now will I go 
to the Mass and praise God for that which my eyes 
have seen,"" he reports her to have said ; and again, 
when the French laid the dead bodies of the Scotch 
and English along their wall, she is alleged to have 
exclaimed: "Yonder is the fairest tapestry that 
ever I saw.^ Some doubt is cast on the truth of 
these reports by the fact that Edinburgh Castle was 
too distant from the walls of Leith to enable any- 
one to distinguish very clearly between dead bodies 
and living ones, and the poor Queen Regent^s health 
must have been too low to permit her to view such 
scenes or to remark upon them with sarcasm. 

Emissaries were passing to and fro between the 
French and English camps for the purpose of 
breaking up the compact between the English and 
the ScotcL The Protestant leaders, afraid lest 
dissension might be sown among their own mnks, 
drew up a new bond of mutual adhesion which 
Huntly and Morton among others signed. These 
two earls were powerful additions to their ranks, and 
the fact of their going over to the Protestant party 
showed in which direction the tide of success was 
beginning to flow. None of the combatants were at 
all anxious to prolong the struggle, indeed they 
were all eager for peace. The French Government 
had quite enough on its hands at home. Elizabeth 
grudged the expense, and the Congregation were 
afraid of the dispersion of their followers. The 
death of the Regent, which took place on the 10th 


of June, brought matters to a crisis, and six days 
later Commissioners arrived from Englimd and 
France for the purpose of drawing up terms of 

The portrait which Enox draws of Mary of Guise 
is by no means flattering. ^^ Unhappy from the 
first day she entered into the kingdom unto the day 
she departed this life,^ is his judgment ; and he adds, 
^^God for His great mercy^s sake rid us from the 
rest of the Guisian blood. Amen, amen.^ From his 
point of view the judgment which he thus passes 
upon her life is defensible enough. She represented 
to him that *^ seed of Anti-Christ ^ which he beUeved 
it was his commission to uproot and destroy. It 
should not be forgotten that this very year, in the 
month of March 1560, many French Protestants, 
some of them men of distinction, had been done to 
death through the instrumentality of her brother 
the Cardinal, and that he, with fVancis il and his 
young Queen, Mary Stuart, looked from their 
palace windows at the torments of these poor 
wretches. Nor could Enox ever forget the cruelty 
which he had suffered at the hands of the French, 
or the degradation of his country of which they 
were the cause. He associated the Queen Regent 
with all the evils, religious and civil, which Scotland 
had endured for the past generation. It was 
through her mainly that a nation whose friendship 
with Scotland was ancient and dose had been 
turned into an enemy. In her defeat and death he 


saw the overthrow of all that his soul hated. It 
was not an age when men did things by halves; 
the struggle in which he was engaged was a deadly 
one, and his thorough conviction that he was fighting 
the battle of the Almighty justified him in triumph- 
ing over the defeat of those who were opposed to 

But notwithstanding all this we cannot help 
thinking that Mary of Guise was not less blame- 
worthy than misguided and unfortunate. Her attach- 
ment to her own family was so strong that she 
governed Scotland in their interests and in the 
interests of France. If she had thought less of her 
brothers and more of her own daughter she would 
have guided the affairs of the nation very differ- 
ently. She €dienated from herself not only the 
Protestants, but every rank and section of the 
people, by making Scotland an appanage of France. 
To serve her own ends she allowed the Congr^ation 
to grow in numbers and in influence, and to serve 
her own ends again she tried to destroy them. One 
cannot help feelmgs of regret for her, a foreign 
princess and a widow, surrounded by a nobiUty that 
was governed by strong emd uncontrollable passions. 
She had tact and diplomacy, and was not without 
kindness of heart, but her ideal was false. She 
herself suffered for her errors, and left a heritage for 
her daughter which that unhappy Queen was quite 
incapable of managing aright. 

The Treaty was signed at Edinburgh on the 


6th of July, and by it the French were to leave 
Scotland, the fortifications of Leith were to be 
destroyed, a general pcurdon was to be granted, a 
Parliament was to assemble on the 10th of July and 
all its Acts were to be as l^al as if it were presided 
over by the Queen herself. It is not quite dear 
what part Knox played in the last sti^e of the 
struggle. He was in Edinburgh during the d^e of 
Leith, and firom the account which he gives of it in 
his History it is evident that he was an eye-witness 
of much that took place. His sermons in St. Giles^ 
and his commanding influence with the Congregation 
would all tell on the course of the conflict. He was 
necessarily debarred from taking part in the actual 
warfare and in the negotiations that led up to the 
final settlement. During the last stage it was the 
civil rather than the religious element that was 
adduced as the ground of the revolution, but it was 
he, and no other, who set the force in motion which 
in the end triumphed. 



TVT O time was lo«t in putting the nuiin clauses of 
1 ^ the Treaty into force. On the 16th of July 
the French sailed firom Leith, and almost immediately 
thereafter the English left for their own comitry. The 
occasion was one not only of national but of deep 
religious importance, and Enox seized it in order to 
commemorate in a worthy fashion the great deUver- 
ance that had been vouchsafed to his country. Four 
days after the departure of their allies the ^ whole 
nobility," he tells us, " and the greatest part of the 
Congregation, assembled in St. Giles^ Church in 
Edinburgh, where after the sermon made for that 
purpose public thanks were given unto God for His 
merciful deliverance." Knox does not say who the 
preacher was, but there is every likelihood that it was 
himself. No report is given of the sermon, but the 
prayer is found in his History. In the petitions 
which he offered up. Old Testament incidents are 
freely referred to in illustration of the position of 
the Protestant Church in Scotland at that time. 



Much fault is found with Knox and the early 
Reformers for founding the superstructure of the new 
fiedth on the Old, rather than on the New, Testament 
But it should not be forgotten that the national 
movements of the time found striking parallels in 
the history of the Jewish people. The religion of 
C!hrist was not national in the same sense as that of 
Moses. It was universal rather than local It was 
not bound up with, nor did it touch, the different 
spheres and interests of the national life. This, it 
seems to us, reasonably accounts for the fondness of 
Enox for Old Testament incidents and experiences ; 
he found them reproduced in the struggle which 
his own country was passing through at the time. 
Cheap and ignorant abuse has been freely heaped on 
the head of the Reformer on this account, but a little 
knowledge of the times in which he lived, and of the 
character of the work which he had to accomplish, 
ought to free the minds of even prejudiced readers 
and students of this common cant. The Prayer of 
Thanksgiving which he offered up contains one 
clause of political import. He calls upon the 
Almighty to aid them in proving true to their 
alliance with England ; ^^the instrument,^ he declares, 
** by which we are now set at this liberty, to which 
we in Thy name have promised mutual fiedth again, 
let us never fall to that unkindness, O Lord, that 
either we declare ourselves unthankful unto them or 
profaners of Thy holy name.'' 

Very soon thereafter steps were taken for the 


ordering of the Churdi. The first thing to be done 
was to distribute sudi ministers as there were over 
the country. The chief cities and towns were of 
course first supplied. Knox himself was appointed 
to Edinburgh; and St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Perth, 
Jedburgh, Dundee, Dunfermline, and Leith had 
preachers assigned to them. Five superintendents 
were also nominated. The Parliament which met on 
the 10th of July, and which was again pronged to 
the 1st of August, was soon to reassemble, and for 
the purpose of leading up to the importfimt work 
which it had to do Enox preached a series of 
discourses in St. GiW on the prophecy of HaggaL 
" The doctrine,** he says, " was proper for the time." 
That may have been so, but the efiect of it was to 
give the first indication of the blow that was to dash 
one of his dearest hopes. ^^ In application whereof,** 
he continues, ^^he was so special and so vehement 
that some having greater respect to the world than 
to Grod*s glory, feeling themselves pricked, said in 
mocking, ^ We must now forget ourselves and bear 
the barrow to build the house of God.* Grod be 
merciful to the speaker,** who, we are told, was 

A petition at the same time was drawn up, to be 
presented to Parliament by the barons, gentlemen, 
burgesses and others, calling upon the l^islature to 
abolish the old religion and to establish the new. Of 
the many exposures which, up to this date, had 
been made of the corruptions and abuses of the 


Romish Church, this assuredly is the strongest It 
attacks the lives of the clergy, their doctrinal errors, 
the idolatry of the Mass, and the supremacy of the 
Pope, whom it roundly declares to be " that Man of 
Sin.^ The reading of this petition produced divers 
opinions. The nobility had no objections to the 
Reformed doctrine, but firom worldly reasons, as Knox 
mentions, they abhored ^^a perfect Reformation, for 
how many within Scotland that have the name of 
nobility are not unjust possessors of the patrimony 
of the Church.^ They had no desire to disgorge 
the Church lands which they had already, under 
various pretexts, seized, and having an eye on 
what still remained they were determined to put 
off as long as possible a settlement of that part of 
the Church question. Instructions, however, were 
given to the ministers to draw up ^^in plain and 
several heads the sum of that doctrine which they 
would maintain,^ and which they desired the present 
Parliament to establish. This task was willingly 
undertaken, and within four days they presented a 
Confession of Faith which was accepted ^^ without 
alteration of any one sentence.^ 

The Parliament to which this Confession was 
presented was by far the laigest and most important 
that had assembled for years. Many who had a 
right to vote were present for the first time. They 
were the smaller barons and lairds iuid representatives 
of the burghs. Some objection was taken to their 
presence, but it was brushed aside. They were there 


because of their single-minded interests in the 
Reformation. The great noUes were there because 
of their interest in the patrimony of the Church. 
The composition of the House shows the progress 
which the new religion had made in the country, 
and how it was quickening the life of the commons 
and people of Scotland. Men of small d^ree, but 
with the right to vote, were there for the first time 
within seventy years, cmd their presence was an 
indication of the larger representation of the Scottish 
people that would, in the coming years, through the 
new birth in which they had participated by the 
revival of religion, be found in the national 


The Confession of Faith, 

The Confession of Faith which Enox, with the 
assistance of his five colleagues, John Wynram, John 
Spottiswoode, John Willock, John Douglas, and John 
Row, prepared, was publicly read, first in audience 
of the Lords of Articles and afterwards in audience 
of the whole Parliament. The Bishops of St. 
Andrews, Dunblane, and Dunkeld were present, and 
certain of the ministers put in an appearance in 
expectation that objection would be taken to some 
of its clauses. In this they were agreeably dis- 
appointed. The representatives of the old Church 
kept silence, and only one or two of the lay 
members, among them the Earl of Athole, made any 


opposition, for which they could produce no better 
reason than " we will believe as our fathers believed," 
The doctrine of the Confession was unanimously 
approved of, and ratified by the whole body of the 

Enox was not a stranger to the task that he had 
thus been suddenly asked to discharge. We saw 
that while in England he had a hand in the final 
revision of the Second Prayer Book of Edw€u*d vl ; 
and when on the Continent, both at Frankfort and 
Greneva, he had been engaged in preparing Confessions 
for his congregation. In addition, it was the age 
of Confessions. They were so numerous and so 
formidable that Roman Catholics called them in 
derision " Paper Popes.'' Their authority was great, 
and they governed the minds of those who accepted 
them much in the same way as the Vicar of Rome 
ruled his Church. In these days there is a wide- 
spread feeling that it might be better if there had 
been fewer Confessions, and if their treatment of the 
doctrines of Christianity had been less full, elaborate, 
and minute. Many are oppressed by the burden 
of beUef which the sjrmbols of the Church lay on 
their spirit, and the difficulty of shortening or of 
simplifying them makes that burden all the heavier. 
We are apt to criticise and condemn somewhat 
severely our Protestant forefathers for having put 
the firee spirit of Christianity into bonds and fetters 
which we have not the power to break, but we 
should remember that there can be no Church with- 


out a Confession, and that in the dajrs of the 
Reformers it was absolutely necessary, for the very 
existence of the Church, to have subordinate standards 
which all the members could accept as a bond of 
union, and round which they might rally. 

Comparing this Confession of Knox with some 
that went before and came after it, we cannot help 
admiring its firee spirit, and the frankness and 
joyousness almost with which it expresses the 
doctrinal convictions of those who drew it up. 
Dr. Hume Brown complains of Enox^s Mediaevalism, 
and declares that in method he was no better than 
the Schoolmen. He surely cannot have read this 
Confession with a quite unbiassed mind, for we can 
imagine nothing less mediaeval in form and matter. 
It is much more modem in conception and style than 
the Westminster Confession of Faith which replaced 
it. The very first sentence of the preface reveals the 
spirit in which it was undertaken. ^^ Long have we 
thirsted, dear brethren, to have notified unto the 
world the sum of that doctrine which we profess, and 
for the which we have sustained infamy and danger.^ 
That is not how men speak who intend to produce a 
tame and stilted performance ; it is the utterance of 
those whose hearts are full and who are desirous of 
prodaiming to the world the convictions for which 
they have suffered. 

Nor can we help admiring the spirit in which they 
regard their completed tasL It is one of charity. 
^^If any man will note in this our Confession any 


article or sentence repugnant to Grod's holy Word, 
that it would please him of his gentleness and for 
Christian charity^s sake to ckdmonish us of the same 
in writing, and we of our honour and fidelity do 
promise unto him satisfaction from the mouth of 
Grod (that is, firom His holy Scriptures), or else 
reformation of that which he shall prove to be 
amiss.^ A recent historian is kind enough to 
suggest that this was only a phrase in the mouth 
of the Reformers, and not to be taken seriously. 
In this he shows less charity than those he is 
ctccusing of the lack of it, and Knox^s controversy 
with the Jesuit Tyrie, the very last work published 
by him, in which he answers the charges of his 
opponent point by point, is surely proof enough that 
he and those who drew up the Confession with him 
meant what they said. 

Dr. Mitchell points out that although four days 
only were allowed for presenting the Confession, 
instructions to prepare it were probably given as 
early as the month of April, at the same time that 
the nobles and barons asked Enox, when signing one 
of their "godly bonds,^ to draw up the Book of 
Discipline. The matter would thus be gradually 
arranging itself in his mind even though not a word 
were written, and when the time came for putting 
the Confession as a whole into shape he would be 
quite prepared for doing so. Randolph, the English 
envoy, wrote to Cecil two days afterwards, " I never 
heard matters of so great importance neither sooner 


despatched nor with better will agreed to. . . . The 
old Lord Lindsay, as grave and godly a man as ever I 
saw, said, ^ I have lived many years, I am the oldest 
in this company of my sort, now that it hath pleased 
Grod to let me see this day where so many nobles and 
others have allowed so worthy a work, I will say with 
Simeon, Nmic dimittis.^ " 

Whatever may be said about this and other 
Confessions of the Reformation time, it should 
never be forgotten that they bore witness to 
religious thought which found expression in con- 
duct. There was nothing mediaeval about them in 
that respect. They were not the mere quibbling of 
Schoolmen, but the assured beliefs of those who were 
persuaded that their salvation, here and hereafter, 
depended upon the €ux%ptance of these beUefs, and 
also upon the measiu^ of success with which they 
carried them out in their daily life. Their duty to 
God they did not feel to be perfectly realised until it 
found expression in service to man. 

It is impossible, and perhaps on the whole un- 
necessary, to deal in detail with the first Confession 
of the Reformed Church of Scotland, but one or two 
outstanding features of it must be referred to. We 
cannot, for instance, agree with Dr. Mitchell that 
with regard to the doctrine of Election Enox^s 
Confession is as explicit in content and purpose as 
the Westminster Confession itself. On the contrary, 
the way in which the first Confession of the Re- 
formed Church handles this difficult subject makes 


it much easier for the modern man. The Confession's 
treatment of it is general, and it declines to enter 
into details and to forecast the unknown future; 
problems which offered no difficulty to those who 
drew up the Westminster Standards. While putting 
in the forefiront the sovereignty of Grod, it does not 
fail to emphasise His Fatherhood. Indeed, in the 
veiy chapter which treats of Election the filial 
relationship of the beUever towards Grod is duly 
notified, and agam and again throughout the docu- 
ment similar references occur, freeing Knox's Con- 
fession, at anyrate, from the charge of sternness, 
and of glorying only in the terrible judgments of 
the Almighty. 

Knox's doctrine of the Church is perhaps the most 
outstanding feature of the whole Confession. It may 
interest those who find in our Reformer's teaching 
nothing save h€u*d-and-fast and, to them, repellent 
Calvinism, to know that this doctrine was held by 
Zwingli the earliest theologian of the Reformed 
Church, and that Knox's theology on the whole had 
taken definite shape long before he had seen Calvin 
or probably read many of his books. " Those who 
drew up the Confession of Faith of 1560," says the 
late Professor Hastie, ^^laid it down that the true 
Church of which they were members was essentially 
grounded in an Invisible Church, which had existed 
in the world from the banning of all true religion, 
and was coextensive with all true religion. And in 
so far as this Invisible Church, the true Edngdom of 


Grod, the holy communion of saints, became visible, 
it was distinguishable by certain dear and perfect 
notes whereby any branch of it could be easily and 
certainly recognised : namely, first, the true preaching 
of the Word of God as the highest, divinest truth 
known to man ; secondly, the right cLdministration of 
the Sacraments as the sealing of that truth on the 
hearts and lives of men; and, lastly, ecclesiastical 
discipline uprifi;htly ministered as Grod^s Word 

nourished.^ ^ Such was the large and comprehensive 
conception of the Church accepted and advocated by 
John Knox, and indeed it was upon this idea of the 
Invisible Church that ^^ the leaders of the Reformed 
Church took their stand and did their imperishable 
work for Grod and the world. It is a Church that 
embraces in its fold the saved and purified spirits of 
all time, the spiritual elect of the race, even the 
saintly souls that had whitened into the pure 
radiance of eternity amid the foul corruptions of 
the idolatry of Rome." 

This large and generous conception of the Church 
was held by the Reformed Churches everywhere ; they 
cultivated intercommunion, for they r^arded them- 
selves as members of the one ChurcL It is after a 
revival of this ideal that many are striving at the 
present moment. The exdusiveness, or, as it might 
be justly enough phrased, the ecdesiastical snobbery 
of certain of the Reformed Churches was a later 
growth. It took its rise in the ChiuxJi of England, 


under Laud, and since his day it has gone on 

Nor can we help admiring the broad way in which 
Knox deals with General Councils and Ceremonies. 
While paying every respect to the judgments of 
Councils, he does not by any means accept them 
without examination. He will test their actions 
by the Word of God. Nor does he admit that any 
order of Church Government can be accepted as 
divine or can be regarded as binding for aU time. 
Episcopacy and Presbytery he puts on this footing ; 
and as for Ceremonies, ^^ such as men have devised, 
they are but temporal, so may and ought they to be 
changed when they rather foster superstition than 
they edify the Eirk using same.^ Tliis is surely a 
saner deliverance than that of some modems, who 
on the one hand condemn the narrowness of the 
Reformer, and at the same time r^ard as of divine 
institution articles of Church millinery and forms of 
ritual which, in the words of Knox, are ^^ such as men 
have devised.** 

It is alleged by some, who base their statements 
on the information which Randolph sent to Cecil 
on the 7th of September 1560, that before the Con- 
fession was publicly presented it was remitted 
privately to certain Lords of Parliament, and revised 
by Wyniam and Lethington, who went the length 
of recommending the omission of a chapter, that on 
** Obedience cmd Disobedience due firom Subjects to 
Magistrates.** Professor Mitchell does not believe 



that anything of the kind took place, and holds 
that the chapter which treats of the Civil Magistrate 
is the original and only chapter written on the 
subject. In it Knox, following the other great 
theologians of the Reformed Church, r^ards the 
State as a divine institution, maintained under the 
Providence of God for the well-being of man and 
the manifestation of His own glory. If God is to 
be found in nature, much more should He be found 
in man, and especially in man^s ordered life under 
civil govemmenr 

It followed, therefore, as a necessity, that with this 
conception of the State there should be a union 
between it and the Church ; for the Church r^arded 
the State to be hke itself a divine institution under 
the universal headship of Christ, and the State saw 
in the Church an institution which was possessed by 
a spirit fitted to maintain and promote its own 
highest well-being. The co-ordinate relation of 
Church and State, which is a distinctive note of the 
Church of Scotland as the Established Church of 
the land, was first of all conceived by John Knox, 
and by his wise and far-seeing statesmanship put 
into the form which from then till now has never 
changed nor varied. 

At the present moment, when the tendency all 
round would seem to be towards shorter and simpler 
creeds, it is not surprising to hear a desire expressed 
that we should revert to the Confession of John 
Knox, for the other doctrines with which it deals, 


such as the authority of the Scriptures, the unity 
and attributes of God, the effects of the Fall, the 
nature and work of the Holy Spirit, and the 
Sacraments, are treated in much the same frank 
and free spirit as those we have more fully discussed. 
We can therefore quite understand this modem 
tendency, although those who support it may not 
be able altogether to endorse the high eulogium 
passed upon Knox^s Confession by Edward Irving. 
*^ This document,^ he declares, ^ is the pillar of the 
Reformation Church of Scotland, which hath derived 
little help from the Westminster Confession of Faith ; 
for, though the latter was adopted as a platform of 
communion with the English j Presbyterians in the 
year 1647, it exerted little or no influence upon our 
Church, and was hardly felt as an operative principle 
either of good or evil until the revolution of 1688, 
so that the Scottish Confession was the banner of 
the Church in all her wrestlings and conflicts, the 
Westminster Confession but as the camp colours 
which she hath used during her days of peace, — ^the 
one for battle, the other for fcdr appearance and 
good order.^ Irving was in the habit of reading 
it twice a year to his own congr^ation in London, 
for he felt there was ^ a freshness of life about it 
which no frequency of reading wore off.** 

But there are one or two features in Enox^s 
Confession, apart altogether from its conception of 
the doctrines of the Church, which would make a 
return to it practically impossiUe. It contains 


certain vituperative clauses and expressions that 
refer to the pre-Reformation Church which would 
not be at all to the taste of the modem mind« 
The Roman Catholic Church is characterised as 
the "pestilent sjmagogue," the "filthy sjmagogue,^ 
and the " horrible harlot and kirk malignant ^ ; and 
in the last chapter the language of Revelation xiv. 11 
(" the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever 
and ever, and they have no rest day nor night who 
worship the beast and his image ^) is adduced to 
point to the doom of those who delight in super- 
stition and idolatry. 

Many critics, of course, seize upon these and 
similar expressions as the chief notes, not only 
of the Confession but of the teaching of the Re- 
formers as a whole. They make considerable capital 
out of such language, and feed the popular mind with 
their comments thereon. But such critics ought to 
remember what has already been pointed out, that 
Knox and his colleagues were engaged in a life-and- 
death struggle, and that the terrible corruptions of 
the Romish Church, which they saw with their own 
eyes, but which we only know, after the lapse of 
long centuries, by hearsay, impressed them so pro- 
foundly as to make such language to their minds 
more than justifiable. 

This Confession was the doctrinal standard of the 
Church for nearly a hundred years, until it was 
replaced by the Westminster Confession, and it has 
never been abrogated. Upon it, as Edward Irving 


points out, the theology of the Scottish Church was 
founded. It is not responsible for the narrower 
views and less liberal practices which prevailed 
during the earlier half of the seventeenth century, 
and which led up to the Westminster Confession 
of Faith. Had the type of theology of the first 
Confession of the Reformed Church of Scotland 
been more closely followed, and had the influence 
of English sectaries been resisted, the religious 
spirit, doctrinal teaching, and ethical principles of 
the Church of a bygone age would commend them- 
selves more to oin* mind than they now do, and 
would have saved the Church of Knox from many 
of the troubles and trials which since his day have 
time and again grievously afflicted it. 

The same Parliament which ratified the Confession 
passed three Acts which abolished the Church of 
Rome so far as it could be abolished by l^islative 
enactments. By the first of these Acts the power 
and authority of the Pope were destroyed; by 
the second condemnation was passed on all doctrinal 
practices contrary to the new Confession; and by 
the third the celebration of the Mass was prc^bited. 
The penalties involved for disobeying the last enact- 
ment were : to hear the Mass was to incur confisca- 
tion, to say or hear it for the second time exile, and 
for the third time death. This also may seem harsh 
to many, and contrary to the more tolerant spirit 
that prevails in our time, but it should not be 
forgotten that Scotland had just passed through 


a political revolution as well as a religious reforma- 
tion, and that ihe elements which respectively belong 
to such movements were so bound up as to make 
it impossible to separate them. In considering the 
laws passed by nations that have just gone through 
some great civil crisis, and which are much harsher 
and sterner than those decreed by the Scottish 
Parliament of 1560, we say that they were necessary, 
that had not the supreme power asserted its authority 
the fight for freedom would have been fought in vain« 
K we thus justify the acts of Cromwell, why should 
we condemn the deeds of Knox ? And, as a matter 
of fact, however stem the enactments which the Scot- 
tish Reformers countenanced may seem, they were 
more honoured in the breach than the observance. 

Acute minds have recently been exercising 
themselves about the reason why the Scottish 
people accepted at the Reformation the Calvinistic 
type of theology. Mr. Lang rather superciliously 
declares that it suited the national spirit because 
of its cheapness, and Dr. Hume Brown maintains 
that it was agreeable to the national mind 
because of its metaphysics ; but the vast majority 
hold that it was Knox, the pupil of Calvin, 
who by his strong will and personality imposed it 
upon the people. We believe that all three reasons 
are beside the mark. The Scottish Reformation 
was not transacted in a day or hour. In the end 
it may have been sudden and complete, but, like 
all great movements, it was a growth. 


The seeds were sown in the fourteenth century 
by the followers of Wydiff. They were nourished 
by the blood of Patrick Hamilton and G^rge 
Wishart^ and by the sacrifice of pure and noble 
spirits who suffered exile and death rather than 
deny the truth. Knox himself and his fellow- 
Reformers had spared neither time nor labour in 
teaching the people, and rousing them to a sense 
of their spiritual birthright. Books and pamphlets, 
hymns and ballads, all saturated with the life of 
the Reformed Faith, had done their part. The 
fetters of superstition, of ignorance and idolatry, 
by which the nation had been boimd, were being 
gradually loosened; the yoke of Rome was being 
thrown off; a new spirit was possessing the people, 
they were attaining to self-consciousness; and after 
having learned, studied, and examined the truth, 
so far as their abilities and opportunities permitted, 
they of their own accord embraced the type of 
theology which is found in Knox's Confession ; and 
so strongly attached to it were they, even from the 
very first, that Randolph, who sounded them as to 
the possibility of arriving at a uniformity with 
England, wrote to the effect, that however much 
they might like such a imiformity they would not 
for its sake give up those special features of their 
own creed, worship, and policy, to which they were 
deeply attached. 

It is very cheap to sneer at Calvinism, but 
it should be remembered that the theology of 


Enox was not technically Calvinistic; it was the 
theology of ihe Reformed Church, and the real 
founder of that theology was Zwingli, and not 
Calvin. Besides, Scotland had only other two types 
of theology to choose from, Lutheranism and 
Arminianism. We know the types of national life 
which these two rehgions have produced, and we 
also know ihe type Calvinism has produced; and 
if religion be the dominating factor in a people^s 
life, as we hold it to be, very few will be prepared 
to maintain that the mould into which Calvinism 
has cast Scotland is inferior to that into which 
Arminianism has cast England and Lutheranism 
Germany. Those who condemn the religion of their 
own country should be consistent, and condemn their 
country at the same time, for we fail to see how 
they can separate the one fit>m the other. 


7%^ Book of DiscipUne. 

The next meeting of the Scottish Estates did not 
take place till January of the following year. Knox 
in the interval was not idle. Along with the same 
men who had assisted him in prepcuing the Con- 
fession of Faith he was busy drawing up what is 
known as the First Book of Discipline. This task, 
we have seen, had been allotted to him in April of 
1560 by the Protestant Lords, and the commission 



had been renewed and the work completed by the 
autiunn of that year. 

The events which marked the period that lapsed 
between ihe dose of the first Parliament of 
Protestant Scotland and the second could not have 
been altogether of a reassuring nature to Enox. 
Mary and Francis steadily refused to ratify the 
Acts of the Parliament to set up the Reformed 
religion. Knox did not, however, attach much im- 
portance to this, for the Parliament was a free and 
properly constituted one; and, besides, it mattered 
not to him whether the Queen assented or not, 
for the new faith he believed to be the true doctrine 
of God, and it was the Creed of the people. Queen 
Elizabeth, although outwardly friendly, was un- 
willing to form a closer alliance between Scotland 
and England than what existed, for she refused 
to marry the Earl of Arran, a union on which the 
Scottish nobles had set their heart 

The sudden death of Francis il, the husband 
of Queen Mary, lifted a load off Enox^s mind, for 
he had the fear that she was only waiting until 
she returned to Scotland in order to overthrow 
Protestantism and re-establish the Romish Church ; 
but with the dealii of Francis, Mary^s power in 
France would cease, and wilii it would vanish the 
influence of the House of Guise. The danger then 
from that quarter was not so imminent, but an 
event of a more personal and domestic nature 
happened to Knox at this time, in the death of 


his wife, Marjory Bowes. We have only occasional 
glimpses of her, but these are all of a favourable 
character, and we can well believe him when he 
says that he was in ^^ no small heaviness ^ by reason 
of her deatL Little time was given him to mourn 
his loss, for the preachers, he remarks, "vehemently 
exhorted us to establish the Book of Discipline by 
an Act and public law."" The Church had got its 
creed, but it was without a policy. The minist^^ 
were permitted to preach, but they were without 
assured sustenance. Something must be done, and 
done speedily, for they affirmed that "if they 
suffered things to hing in suspense, when God had 
given unto tiiem sufficient power in their hands, 
after they should sob for it but should not get it.^ 

The Book of Discipline is admitted by competent 
authorities to be the most important production 
of the Reformation time in Scotland. Compared 
with the Confession of Faith it is more of a native 
growth, and bears the stamp of original conception. 
Books dealing with the government and policy of 
the Reformed Church had seen the light in Germany, 
France, Switzerland, and England. Knox and his 
colleagues had these books before them, and made 
use of such parts as suited their purpose. But their 
work, all the same, has many special features for which 
they themselves were responsible. They give an 
outline of their views regarding the future of the 
Church which is broad and judicious, and which, if 
carried out, would have put a new face on Scottish 


religious and national life. The Book of Discipline 
consists altogether of nine heads, but we think it 
better in place of following these in detail to arrange 
their contents according to subjects. Though the 
book as a whole possesses a unity of conception, the 
arrangement is not altogether such as one could 

The first three heads deal with topics, such as the 
Sacraments, that are fully discussed in the Confession 
of Faith, and it is not necessary to refer to them in 
this connection. The first main subject treated is 
the government of the Church. The Reformers 
make it perfectly clear that to their mind presbyter 
and bishop, as used in Scripture, are convertible 
terms ; and although Presbyterianism, as we know it, 
was of later growth, the lines originaUy laid down in 
the Book of Discipline inevitably led up to it. The 
office-bearers of a permanent character, recognised by 
Knox, were the pastor, the doctor, the elder, and the 
deacon. The chief place, of course, was given to the 
first, and his main function was preaching. The 
elder and deacon were to be chosen annually from 
the most godly men in the Churdu and the duty of 
the former was to assist the minister m the exercise 
of discipline, and, generally, in the management of 
the affairs of the Church. But it would seem that 
he was to keep an eye not only on the flock, but on 
the pastor himself, and was even enjoined to reason 

It is probable that in this we see a reaction against 


the Roman Catholic Church, where the clergy were 
altogether independent, and being without any check 
on the part of the laity they sank to the lowest leveL 
The duty of the deacons was to collect and distribute 
the funds for the poor. Other two classes of office- 
bearers find a place in the Book of Discipline, but it is 
perfectly dear that their office was only of a temporary 
nature. These were the readers and superintendents. 
The need for both arose from the ecclesiastical 
conditions of the time. There were only a few 
Reformed ministers for the hundreds of parishes that 
existed, and it was accordingly impossible to find a 
pastor for every cure. Knox and his colleagues could 
not contemplate the idea of the majority of parishes 
being without some spiritual guide, so they instituted 
these two orders until such time as a sufficient 
number of ministers could be reared to meet the 
spiritual wants of the whole country. To those 
parishes where there were no minister a reader was 
appointed, and his duty was to read the Common 
IVayers and the Scriptures in the parish church. 
He very often acted as schoolmaster, and he might 
in time develop into a minister by taking advantage 
of the weekly meetings which were held in those 
districts which afterwards became Presbjrteries, and 
at which the Scriptures and the doctrines of the 
Church were freely discussed and handled. 

The superintendents were also appointed because 
of the exigencies of the time. It would hardly have 
done to have left a vast number of parishes to the 


spiritual care of the readers, who were not educated 
men or fully qualified to act in all things on their 
own responsibility. They could not preach, nor 
administer the Sacraments, but it occurred to Knox 
that he might adopt a system which was first of all 
recommended by John Alasco, and appoint super- 
intendents for each of the ten or twelve districts, 
or provinces, into which the country was divided. 
These men, while nominally stationary in one town, 
were appointed to preach as often as possible in 
every parish kirk within their province, to see to 
the exercise of discipline, the administration of the 
Sacrament, preside at meetings and Synods and at 
the examination and admission of readers and 
ministers, and generally to supervise the religious 
and ecclesiastical life of their district. They did not 
hold a position above their brethren, for an ordinary 
minister could discharge their duties, and they might, 
like the rest of their brethren, be taken under dis- 
cipline and, if necessary, deposed. like the readers, 
their office ceased whenever a sufficient number of 
ministers was forthcoming to take charge of every 
parish in the land. 

It has been remarked that in the Book of Discipline 
the one court which is conspicuous by its absence is 
the Presbytery. The Greneral Assembly, the Synod, 
and the Session were recognised by Knox, and 
although the Presbytery had not as yet taken shape, 
we have seen how it gradually sprung into being. 
It was a gradual and necessary creation, and in 1581 


Scotland was divided into Presbyteries. It is now, 
next to the General Assembly, the chief court of the 
Church, and the Synod, which in the days of Knox 
was of so much importance, has shrunk almost into a 
shadow. The Kirk Session in later times became 
the governing body in the parish. It has been 
stripped of many of its original functions, but it still 
holds an honoured place in the constitution of the 
ChurcL The General Assembly is the one court 
that has never varied in popularity and power. Not 
only is it the last court of appeal, but it is the 
legislative body from which spring all ecclesiastical 
enactments. Its representative character has kept 
it in favour with the people, and its free and open 
discussion of the important questions which come 
before it has enabled it to maintain its high 

The next main subject discussed is the discipline 
and organisation of the Church. This, in some 
respects, is the most significant and characteristic 
part of the whole document, and the lines laid down 
were more perfectly followed than those of other 
parts of the book. It was the €dm of Knox to re- 
create in Scotland the primitive Church, in doctrine, 
m worship, in government, and in discipline. In all 
these respects the Roman Catholic Church had sunk 
to a very low level. No impartial observer, on com- 
|>aring tiie Apostolic with the Romish Church, could 
see much, if any, resemblance between them. Knox 
was perhaps deficient in historical perspective, and 


failed to appreciate the causes which led to such 
degeneracy. He may also have overlooked the good 
which the pre-Reformation Church had done during 
those long centuries, how it had kept religion alive 
and imparted the spirit of Christianity to the nations 
of Western Europe. 

It is easy for us to think of all these things now. 
We stand at so great a distance from the time of 
Knox, and are able to take a fiill view, but we must 
remember the state of matters which faced him. 
If we were brought into actual contact with 
similar religious corruptions our attitude could not 
be very different from his. We have seen from 
our review of the Confession of Faith that the 
exercise of discipline is r^arded as one of the marks 
of a true Kirk. It had existed in the Early Church ; 
in the Romish Church of Ejiox^s day it was unknown. 
The Reformer'^s idea of the Church was the same as 
the politidan'^s conception of the State. It must be 
an orderly institution, and there can be no order 
without discipline. Laxity in the ecclesiastical is as 
fatal as in the pohtical sphere ; and it was quite in 
keeping with Enox^s thoroughness and statesman- 
like qualities that he should determine that the 
Reformed Church of Scotland should be a well- 
governed and disciplined body. The regulations he 
laid down had for their aim the preservation of the 
Church from the intrusion of the vicious, the pre- 
venting of the evil from contaminating the good, and 
the bringing smners to repentance. 


The Kirk Session and Presbytery recx>rds have 
been ransacked, to discover the methods which 
were employed by the Chmx^ to effect these 
ends. Choice extracts have been culled, and 
delicious tit-bits of discipline published, fen* the 
delectation, chiefly, of English readers; and stem 
Presbjrters have been held up to scorn ftn* their 
narrowness and for the superstition which made 
them parties to the infliction of grotesque penances 
and the burning of witches. Here, again, we have 
to reason with those whose chief delight it would 
seem to be to make capital out of the practices of 
their forefathers. No one can defend the burning 
of witches any more than one can defend many 
of the absurd and inhuman practices of earlier and 
later times, but it would be folly to expect that the 
Churdi should be so much ahead of the times as 
to anticipate the gentler code which regulates our 
conduct. The belief in witchcraft was popular and 
widespread, and was held by the Romish Church as 
strongly as by the Protestant. It was a super- 
stition of the times. The surprising thing is that 
the Reformation Church should, almost at a bound, 
have outgrown so many of the gross superstitions of 
the Romish Church, and should have displayed so 
great enlightenment and attained to so great freedom. 
The age of Knox is indeed a new heaven and a new 
earth compared to the previous century, and it is 
surely the most perverted criticism to condemn him 
and his immediate successors for not having fully 


realised the^^measure of truth and charity of which 
we now boast. It is not at all unlikely that the 
unhistorical student of a coming age, may turn round 
on ours, and condemn us, for what we may r^ard with 
complacency and even approval 

Such critics ought to consider what the condition 
of Scotland would have been if Knox had not put 
into force his Church discipline. Are they prepared 
to advocate that the laxity which prevailed before 
the Reformation should have been permitted to 
continue? Do they believe that the nation would 
have reformed itself without the warnings, checks, 
and incitement which the discipline of the Church 
gave? If they are not prepared to take up this 
position they have no case. Besides, e^ a matter of 
fact, we know what the ecdesic^ical discipline of the 
Reformed Church has accomplished for Scotland, and 
if that discipline can now be relaxed it is a sign 
that it has done its work. When that work is 
fully completed, and we have a perfect Church in a 
perfect State, but not till then, can it be entirely 

If the discipline of the Church seems to us in some 
respects to have been severe, there were compensations. 
Greater liberty we^s given to the members than they 
now possess, and they enjoyed privil^es which are 
denied to the laity of our day. They chose their 
own minister, and they had the opportunity at the 
weekly meetings of airing their gifts and giving 
voice to their opinions. Basing his policy in this 



particular instance on a certain passage on prophesy- 
ing in St. Paul'^s First Epistle to the Corinthians, the 
members of the Reformed Church were, with their 
ministers, invited to meet once a week to discuss 
the questions which then agitated the religious 
mind. ^ Every man,*" it is stated, ^ shall have 
liberty to utter and declare his mind and knowledge 
to the comfort and consolation of the Sark.^ May 
we not see 'in these early conferences the b^^inning 
of that interest in, and knowledge of, thecdogical 
subjects which for generations characterised the 
Scottish nation. Latent talent would be revealed, 
the doctrines of the Church would be spread, and the 
most capable men among the laity would be dis- 
covered and their services utilised for the benefit of 
the Church. The very fact of these meetings and 
discussions is also an answer to those who maintain 
that Calvinism was forced upon the people. Much 
more likely is it that the particular form of the 
Protestant Faith which became the note of the 
Scottish Church was freely accepted by the people. 
They chose it of their own accord, and the task of 
Knox and his colleagues was to interpret it to the 
popular mind. 

The late Dr. John Service, one of the most original 
thinkers that the Church of Scotland produced 
during the last century, held that the privileges whidi 
the Church of Knox^s day enjoyed ought to be 
restored to its members. He did not approve of the 
custom, which now universally prevails, of the laity 


sittmg at all the services in silence. He believed 
that at one diet of worship, at least, the opportunity 
should be granted of expressing their opinions, 
discussing the sermon, revealing their doubts, and 
asking for that guidance in their difficulties which 
the minister or some other member of the church 
might be able to afford. This was r^arded as an 
original suggestion on the part of Dr. Service, but 
we have seen that it emanated first from the brain of 
the Apostle Paul, and was, after the lapse of centuries, 
caught up by John Enox and embodied in his policy 
of the Church. We seriously think that it might be 
revived in our day with very great advantage to all 
concerned. Inside the churches there are many to 
whom the privil^es of such a meeting would be of 
inestimable value ; and outside the churches there are 
men belonging to >dl ranks, classes, and professions, 
who are earnest-minded, sober, and upright, but who 
shrink from becoming members of the Church because 
of certain doubts and difficulties that might be 
dissipated and dispelled if, on the floor of the 
church, they were allowed to thrash out, in a 
respectful and serious manner, the views and the 
questions that disturb them. The great cry of oin* 
day is the lapsing from the Church and the refusal of 
others to join it. It seems to us that if the Church 
trusted the people more, and granted them those 
privileges which are theirs by right, the relation 
between it and the whole body of the people would 
be closer. 


That part of the Book of Discipline for which 
Knox has received the greatest praise is the one 
which deals with education* The leaders of the 
Reformed Church on the Continent and in England 
were equally interested in the subject, and had 
devised means by which it might be furthered ; but 
none of them reached the high ideal which Knox 
conceived, for his scheme embraced the whole nation, 
and provided training for the young from their 
earliest years until such time as they were ready to 
take their place as fully educated members of the 

B^inning with elementary schools, which should 
be found in every parish, he arranged for secondary 
schools in every town and cathedral dty ; and these 
in turn were to lead up to the Universities, which 
were to be so equipped as to prepare the students 
for the learned professions and the highest offices in 
the State. After the rudiments of education were 
taught the pupil passed on to the study of granunar 
and the Latin tongue, and in the higher-class schools 
or colleges to logic, rhetoric, Latin and Greek. 
These higher grade schools, as they might be called, 
prepared the pupil for the University, where his 
education would be completed. The wealthier 
parents were to pay the expenses of the education of 
their sons, and funds in the shape of bursaries and 
scholarships were to provide for the education of 
poorer children. No parent could dispose of his 
children as he liked. Education was to be compulsory. ,. 


^^ All must be compelled to bring up their children 
in learning and virtue.'^ The schools were to be 
inspected every quarter by competent examiners, and 
the sharper boys were to be selected and made to 
continue their education, so that ^^ the Commonwealth 
may have some comfort of them.'^ Three of our four 
Universities, St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, 
were then in existence, but their resources were 
Umited Provision, however, was to be made for 
their full equipment, and a detailed scheme of study 
for each CoU^e and Faculty was drawn up. 

We have travelled a long way in many things 
from the days of Knox, but the scheme of education 
which he conceived for the nation has not yet been 
fully carried out. The resources which he thought 
would be at his disposal were denied him, and for 
that reason the plan broke down ; but the very fact 
of the conception was in itself an inspiration, and 
the love for knowledge, of which the Scottish people 
had never been destitute, was fired by the new 
religion and the proposals and zeal of the Reformer. 
The Church did its best, and it is owing to it that 
the parish schools of Scotland became famous, that 
the young of the nation were taught, and that 
the people were known all the world over for 
their intelligence and enterprise. In these days of 
boasted enlightenment and rapid strides in the 
institution of educational agencies, it might be 
well to reflect on the simple, consistent, and noble 
scheme of Ejiox. 


llie last part of the Book of Discipline whidi we 
have to consider is the provision that was to be 
made for the poor. Fancy pictures have been 
drawn of the easy and comfortable life which the 
less-favoured members of the Commonwealth enjoyed 
under the Romish ChurcL It is popularly supposed 
that their existence was one of peace and plenty. 
^^ The B^gars^ Summonds,^ which has already been 
referred to, is proof sufficient of the absurdity of 
such notions ; and the poems of Sir David Lindsay, 
in which the exactions of the Church are exposed 
and the tyranny of the priest satirised, confirm the 
main charges which that revolutionary manifesto 
made against the Romish clergy. K there is one 
part of all Knox^s writings, or a single act in his 
whole life, which reveals the innate humanity of the 
man, it is his single-minded concern for his poorer 
brethren ; and the policy which he devised for their 
relief is perhaps his most lasting monument It is 
no wonder that the peasants and commons of 
Scotland rallied round the new religion, for they 
perceived that its spirit was one of divine charity, and 
human brotherhood, and that it aspired to carry out 
in practice the tender compassion of the Master for 
the infirm and destitute. Knox would make no terms 
with the sturdy beggar, he would compel him to 
work, but every poor person who was unable to 
labour was to be provided for by the Church of his 
own parish. The proprietors of the land were also 
invoked to deal with their tenants in a more lenient 


fashion than had been the wont of the Papists, who 
^ spoiled and oppressed them ^ ; and the rumour that 
some of these lay proprietors were no better than 
their clerical predecessors kindled Ejiox^s indigna- 
tion. It reflects the highest honour on the ministers 
of the Reformed Church that in their policy they 
thought not so much of themselves as of the youth 
and the poor of the nation. Their patriotism was 
equal to their religious devotion, and their ambition 
was to see in their native land a Christian Common- 

He first question that will occur to most minds 
is, What means had Knox at his disposal for canning 
out the great scheme which the Book of Discipline 
contained ? A national Church, a national system of 
education, and ample provision for the poor, meant 
a large annual expenditure, and Scotland of itself 
w€tf too poor at that time to provide for all these 
schemes. But Knox was no visionary. He saw 
where the money was to come from, and up to the 
last he believed that it would be forthcoming. The 
revenues of the Disestablished Church were enormous. 
Competent authorities maintain that it possessed 
half the wealth of the country, and Knox and those 
who acted with him believed that this wealth would 
be nationalised and devoted to the great purposes 
which he sketched in his policy of the Kirk. 

Unfortunately only a fraction of what he reason- 
ably calculated on we^ ultimately granted, and the 
major part of his proposals necessarily fell to the 


ground. Indications of the manner in which the 
scheme would be accepted by the Estates were 
given before their meeting on the 15th of January 
1561. The Book was ready before that time, and 
was privately examined by mcmy of the nobles and 
others interested. ** Some approved it,^ says Knox, 
^^and willed the same to be set forth by a law. 
others, perceiving their carnal liberty and worldly 
commodity somwhat to be impcdred thereby, grudged 
insomuch that the name of the Book of Discipline 
became odious unto them. Ever3iiiing that was 
repugnant to their corrupt affections was termed in 
their mockage ^devout imaginations.^^ Accord- 
ingly when the book came before the Convention it 
was ^^ vehemently debated,^ and never became law. 
Several of the nobles subscribed it on condition 
that the clergy of the old Church were to retain 
their benefices, provided they mamtained Protestant 
mmisters in thek respective districts. 

As a matter of fact the nobles, Protestant as well 
as Catholic, saw in Knox^s scheme the frustration of 
all their hopes. There is no doubt whatsoever that 
many of them favoured the Reformation because of 
the promise which it gave of adding very materially 
to their rent roUs. Even previous to the Reforma- 
tion the authorities of the Church, seeing what was 
impending, disposed of much of the Church lands, 
which they held m trust, to theu- own relatives and 
friends; and when these lands after the Reformation 
passed to the Crown, they were freely gifted to 


greedy barons, some of whom had akeady laid hands 
on them, and an Act of Parliament was passed by 
the interested parties themselves ratifying the legal 
theft To have agreed to the Book of Discipline 
would be sounding their own death-knell as large 
and wealthy proprietors, and their concern for 
themselves being much greater than for religion or 
education, or the poor, they determined to grab 
what they could, and not to let go their hold. 
Knox was greviously disappointed and indignant. 
He thundered from the pulpit against ^^ the merciless 
devourers of the patrimony of the Church." 
"Nothing,^ he cried, "can suffice a wreche"; and 
again, " the belly has no ears " ; and he declared that 
there " were none within the realm more unmerciful 
to the poor ministers than they were who had 
greatest rents of the Church.'" 

There are those who think that Knox^s whole 
policy was a failure because he was not able to carry 
out the great scheme adumbrated in the Book of 
Discipline, and to transfer for the noble purposes 
sketched therein the wealth of the ancient Church. 
But let it be remembered that the Parliament of that 
day was not the representative body which it now 
is. It was composed chiefly of interested parties, of 
the noble and powerful, whose hearts for a long time 
had been set on the patrimony of the Church, and the 
last thing they contemplated was the giving up of 
what they had already seized or being denied what 
they had their eyes on. Enox fought valiantly in 


the interests of the nation, but he had no v<Moe in 
the deliberations of the highest court in the reahn, 
and he was only one man against many. It has 
been suggested that he ought to have appealed to 
the people, that he should have thrown himself upon 
their s}nnpathy and support and threshed out the 
great cause in their hearing. He was quite oqiable 
of doing this, for it was mainly by popular preaching 
up and down the country that he stirred the people 
and accomplished the Reformation. But it ought 
to be remembered that although he might have 
secured the support of the nation it would have 
availed him nothing, for the people had not the 
power of sending representatives to Parliament, and 
to have moved them greatly would have meant a 
second revolution. It is not di£5cult to foresee what 
the results of such a movement would have been. 
We can only conceive it as national chaos. 


The Book of Common Order. 

The third of the documents which mark the 
Reformation period is the Book of Common Order. 
It was really the first in time, though the last 
authorised by the General Assembly. Its use was 
sanctioned in 1664, and it remained in authority in 
the Church until 16S7. The history of the book is 
interesting. It took its form at the hands of Knox 
in 1554, when he was minister of the English Church 


at Frankfort His congregation worshipped in the 
same building as the French exiles. The latter had 
sought refuge in England during the reign of 
Edward vi. They had their origin as a Protestant 
congregation in Strasburg, where Calvin himself was 
for a short time their minister. He was succeeded 
by Farel, and their pastor during their stay in 
England was PoUanus. He drew up a liturgy for 
their use, and Enox for conformity's sake compiled 
a Prayer Book on similar lines. Owing to the 
failure of the attempt at a larger union with the 
English exiles in other parts of the Continent, the 
scheme fell through, but Knox adopted his book 
when he went to Greneva, as minister of the English 
congr^ation there, and for this reason it is called 
in the First Book of Discipline the "Order of 

It w€tf in use in the Scottish Church before it 
was authorised by the Assembly of 1564, as the . 
references to it in the First Book of Discipline, 
already mentioned, clearly show. It was not the 
first liturgy which found its way into the hands of 
Scottish Protestants. This honour belongs to the 
Second Prayer Book of Edward vi. It was used 
some years before the Reformation in private 
houses, and in those gatherings at which the 
beUevers in the new faith met for common worship. 
But Knox's book gradually superseded it. The 
Reformer himself, we know, by no means approved 
of King Edward's Prayer Book. There were certain 


features of it to which he stroiurly objected, and 
even when in England, as minis^ at Bmdck and 
Newcastle, he did not feel himself bound down to 
the slavish use of it ; considerable freedom was 
allowed, and Ejiox in dispensing the Lord^s Supper 
employed a service of his own. Indeed, the book 
was not intended to be altogether binding on the 
ministers of the Church of England, and Scottish 
Protestants would no doubt use it with considerable 

The Book of Common Order fell into disuse 
through the action of Archbishop Laud and those 
who supported him m trying to foist an aUen and 
Anglican liturgy on the Scottish people. Everybody 
has read of the violent scene in St. Giles', when 
Jenny Geddes threw her stool at the head of the 
officiating dergjnatian, who dared to say ^^a Mass 
in her lug.^ This set fire to the opposition that 
sprung up all over the country, and the Bishops, 
finding that it was impossible to have the book 
accepted of the people, yielded; but they, at the 
same time, ceased to use the Book of Common Order 
which had been in force in the Church for nearly a 
century. Thus it was owing to the action of the 
Episcopalians, and not of the Pre8b3i:erians, that the 
Church of Scotland lost its liturgy. This should not 
be forgotton when Anglican wit makes merry over 
the alleged baldness, irreverence, and unatti^ctive- 
ness of the Presbyterian service. If there is any- 
thing in that service which does not reach the high 


standard of our Anglican neighbours, they ought to 
remember that it is their ecclesiastical forebears who 
are to blame. But the Church has to a large extent 
redeemed its past, and the Euchologion, prepared by 
the Chun^h Servia Society, is now used as a directory 
for public worship, with the result that the services 
of the Church of Scotland, in simplicity, orderliness, 
and reverence, compare favourably with those of any 
Church in Christendom. 

While the Book of Common Order is remarkably 
complete, and not only has services for the conduct 
of public worship, but forms and prayers for almost 
every occasion, it we^ never meant to be absolutely 
binding on the officiating minister. It was intended 
very largely to be a directory, and was used as such. 
Its rubrics make this perfectly dear. For example, 
in the prayer of thanksgiving consecration in the 
Communion the rubric runs : " The minister giveth 
thanks either in these words following, or like in 
effect,'" This last clause indicates that free or 
extemporary prayer was allowed and encouraged ; and 
from the testimony of Calderwood, Row, and others, 
we know that this was the common practice. It 
may be interesting to note the order of service for 
public worship on the Lord'^s Day. "When the 
congregation is assembled,^ so runs the rubric, " the 
minister useth one of these two confessions or like 
in effect^ "This done the people sing a psalm 
altogether, in a plain tune, which ended, the minister 
prayeth for the assistance of God^s Holy Spirit as 


the same shall move his hearty and so proceedeth the 
sermon. The minister after the sermon useth this 
prayer following or such UkeJ** " Then the people 
smg a psalm, which ended, the minister pronounceth 
one of these blessings, and so the congregation 

This Book of Common Order would be of invaluable 
service to the Reformed Church in its earlier years. 
It was absolutely necessary that guidance should be 
given for the services of the Church. The ministers 
themselves required it, and the happy combination 
of set forms and liberty to extemporise would at 
once prevent irr^ularities, and free the ministers 
from that strict adherence to printed matter which 
in the Romish Church had become almost idolatrous. 
It would be of great help also to the readers, for in 
the numerous country parishes where there was no 
minister they had to conduct the service, and it 
would be impossible for them to do so without the 
aid which it gave. The people as a whole would 
benefit by its use. It would be in their hands, and 
read by them and their families ; and seeing that it 
contained a Confession of Faith, selections fix>m the 
Psalms, Hymns, a Catechism, and Prayers for Family 
Worship, it would build them up in the faith and 
give them that instruction in the truths of the 
Christian religion which, as young converts to 
Protestantism, they so much required. There can 
be no doubt that tiie Church suffered greatly during 
the two centuries that elapsed from the abolition ci 


the Book of Common Order to the comparatively 
recent revival in liturgies, the full benefits rf which 
we are now experiencing. The time perhaps has 
not come for the General Assembly to impose on 
the Church any Prayer Book, either in existence or 
that might be framed, but there can be no doubt 
that some such book in general use and in the hands 
of the people, even as a directory, would be of 
inestimable value in developing the religious life and 
devotioncJ feeling of the Church as a whole. 



THE time had now arrived when the two chief 
persons in the State were to be brought face 
to face. Queen Mary landed at Leith on the SOth 
of August 1561, and shortly afterwards she was to 
have her first interview with the man who for thtf 
next six years was to be her chief opponent. 
Knox and she had been stud3dng each other^s 
characters at a distance. When it became dear that 
the time could not be long delayed for her appear- 
ance in Scotland, she began in her French home to 
study the political situation in her native country, 
and the leading men with or against whom she 
would have to act; and Knox, who had succeeded 
after a supreme effort in establishing the Protestant 
religion, had grave suspicions that the advent of the 
young Queen would interfere with all his plans and 

Mary'^s idea of government was radically opposed 
to that of Knox. She believed firmly in the divine 
right of princes, and expressed her views to the 



English Ambassador, Throgmorton, when she said, 
**Grod doth command subjects to be obedient to 
their princes, and commands princes to read His 
law and govern thereby, themselves and the people 
committ^ to their charge.^ Knox^s conception of 
the authority of princes and of the obedience due 
unto them by their subjects was, as we know, very 
diffei'ent. "Princes,^ he declared in Mary's own 
hearing, " were often the most ignorant of God's true 
religion,'' and subjects are only bound to obey them 
when their commands are in accordance with God's 
holy law. We are not, therefore, surprised in learn- 
ing that she regarded the Reformer as the most 
dangerous man in her kingdom, and vowed before 
she put a foot in it that she would either banish him 
from Scotland or refuse to dwell there hersel£ She 
even went the length of trying to prejudice him in 
the eyes of Elizabeth by sending her a copy of his 
First BlaM ; while Knox attempted to do a similar 
disservice to her by warning Elizabeth against Mary's 
overtures, hinting that her object was not so much 
to have his book refuted as to make her path easy 
to the EngUsh throne. "Mary," he says, "would 
not take so much pains unless her craft in so doing 
shot at a further mark." 

The question of the Queen's religion was discussed 
by the Protestant chiefs before her arrival in 
Scotland. Knox foresaw very serious trouble on 
this head, and was firmly convinced that the peace 
and welfare of the country could only be secm^ by 



compelliDg the Queen to conform to the laws of the 
land. The politicians among the Protestant party, 
however, even at this early date, contemplated a 
compromise, and the Lord James, while opposed 
to her celebrating Mass, puhlidy declared that they 
could not prevent her having it ^secretly in her 
chamber.^ Knox foresaw the social and religious 
upheaval that would follow firom even so seemingly 
modest a compromise, but being unable to see his 
own views carried out he was forced to submit and 

In his History of the Reformation he gives a 
graphic account of the Queen^s landing at Leith and 
her arrival at Holyrood. It was a dull and dismal 
morning. ^^ The very face of heaven did manifestly 
speak what comfort was brought unto this country 
with her, to wit, sorrow, dolour, darkness and all 
impiety, for in the memory of man that day of the 
year was never seen a more dolorous face of the 
heaven than was at her arrivaL^ Knox^s forebodings 
were not without reason. The Queen and he were two 
antagonistic forces, and however powerful each might 
be, ultimate success depended very largely upon the 
attitude that would be taken up by Knox'^s old 
friends, the Lords of the Congregation. Prior even 
to this time he was conscious of a growing slackness 
on their part. In the closing stages of the revolu- 
tion, which ended in the establishment of the new 
religion, those who at one time put the cause of 
Protestantism in the front substituted for it 


political reasons. They declared that they were 
fighting for the liberty of the nation, for just govern- 
ment, and for the expulsion of the French from the 
country. Knox, while naturally accepting the new 
situation thus created, for the purpose, it was 
all^^ed, of securing the support of England, never 
wavered in his conviction that religion was the 
ground of contention, and that it would be a 
betrayal of his highest trust to say or do an3rthing 
that would endanger its sure progress. 

As events developed, this breach between him and 
the Protestant Lords became wider, and, as final 
results showed, he was right and they were wrong. 
The policy which they pursued ended in failure, and 
Knox^s cause triumphed. Mary's great object even 
frt)m the very first was to secure the English throne, 
and this ambition was her undoing. She was not 
many days in the country until she saw that the 
men of most weight were the Protestant Lords, and 
she deemed it diplomatic to be friendly with them 
and to use them in carrying out her schemes. The 
Lord James and Maitland of Lethington, in 
particular, became her chief advisers. They, too, 
were anxious for a union with England, and although 
they did not anticipate its accomplishment by the 
means which Mary cherished, they made use of her 
to further their plans. Knox would have none of 
this deception and double dealing. He could not 
believe that any good could come of it, and he 
censured the weak compromises of the Protestant 


politicians, but they, confident in their own wisdom, 
heeded him not. 

The very first Smiday after her arrival saw matters 
brought to a crisis. On that day preparations were 
made for the celebration of the Mass in Holyrood 
ChapeL The news spread quickly, and men began 
openly to speak, ^^ ^ Shall that idol be suffered again 
to take place within this realm? It shall not.^ 
The Lord Lindsay, with the gentlemen of Fife and 
others, plainly cried in the dose, * The idolater priest 
shall die the death according to God^s law.^^ A 
tumult was imminent, and were it not for the Lord 
James, ^^the man whom all the godly did most 
reverence,^ the tumult might have ended in a riot 
and rebellion. He took it upon him to keep the 
chapel door, and assured the mob that no Scotsman 
would be allowed to enter. Mary and her French 
courtiers and servants might please themselves, but 
no countr3anan of his would touch the idoL His 
two brothers, the Lord John and the Lord Robert, 
took the lightened priest under their protection and 
conveyed him safely to his chamber. 

This was surely an indication of what would 
ultimately happen unless the Queen and her advisers 
acted reasonably. But Mary Stuart, like the rest 
of her race, was not so disposed. She carried 
her fortunes in her own hands, and, by rushing 
wildly against the most cherished convictions of 
the best portion of her subjects, courted ultimate 
ruin. On the very next day, at a meeting of her 


Secret Council, composed mainly of Protestants, cm 
Act was passed to the effect that in religion things 
were to remain as the Queen had found them. This 
meant that the Court religion was to be Roman 
Catholicism and that of the nation Protestantism. 
No compromise on the part of her advisers could 
possibly be weaker. It meant one of two things: 
an open conflict between the Queen and Ejiox 
and their respective parties, or the thin end of 
the wedge for the ousting of the Protestant religion 
and the introduction of Popery. The one man 
among the Protestant aristooucy who took a firm 
stand in this matter was the Earl of Arran. He 
made a public protestation to the effect that *^no 
liberty should be given to the Court to offend God'^s 
Majesty and to violate the laws of the land," but 
the Earl stood practically alone. 

The supporters of the Protestant religion, the 
Lords "called of the Congregation'' as Knox sar- 
castically terms them, were coming at this particular 
time in considerable numbers to Edinburgh to present 
themselves to the Queen. On hearing that the Mass 
was permitted they professed at first " great indigna- 
tion, but after that they had remained a certain space 
they were as quiet as the former.'' The Queen was 
evidently bewitching them. Her youth, beauty, and 
vivacity, her charm of mind and manner, the novelty 
of having as their monarch this fair princess, were 
evidently more than the Scottish lords and barons 
could withstand. They yielded to her influence, and 


were prepared to sacrifice even their religious con- 
victions for her favour. Mary knew her power and 
made the most of it. Knox^s old and tried friend, 
Robert Campbell of Einyeandeuch, graphically and 
forcibly stated the situation when he said to Lord 
Ochiltree, who was one of the latest arrivals, ^ My 
lord, now ye are come and almost the last of all 
the rest, and I perceive by your anger that the fire 
edge is not off you yet, but I fear that after that 
the holy water of the Court be sprinkled upon you 
that ye shall become as temperate as the rest; for 
I have been here now five days, and at the first I 
heard every man say * Let us hang the priest,*^ but 
after that they had been twice or thrice in the 
Abbey all that fervency was past. I think there 
be some enchantment whereby men are bewitched.*" 

But there was one man who was not bewitched, 
and that man was John Knox. He immediately 
prepared himself for battle. There was no public 
press in those days, but there was the pulpit ; and 
the pulpit of St. 6iles\ over which Knox had supreme 
control, was the best rostrum in the country. He 
was the one man to be reckoned with, and, grasping 
at once the significance of the situation, he inveighed 
in the strongest possible manner against the conduct 
of the Queen and the Court, and declared that ^ one 
Mass was more fearful to him than if ten thousand 
armed enemies were Icuided in any part of the realm, 
of purpose to suppress the whole religion.^ 

Knox, in afterwards referring to this occasion, 


expresses r^ret that he did not act with more 
firmness and courage and put his thoughts and 
words into force. He had great influence in the 
country, and the commons and peasants would have 
rallied round him, but his sober judgment saved 
hint The whole power of the Court and nobility 
would have been against him, and the conflict could 
only have had one end. He must have seen that 
at the time, and it was characteristic of him, then 
as always, that however vehement his words might 
be his conduct was always prudent and cautious. 
Many of the Protestant Lords must have heard this 
sermon, and reports of it would speedily be carried 
to the Queen. Whether it was on her own initiative 
or by the advice of her Council is not quite dear, 
but Knox was summoned to Holyrood to have his 
fii-st interview with Mary Stuart. ^^ 

This invitation was a direct tribute to the power 
and influence of Knox, for its real object was to win 
him over. The Lord James, who was the only other 
person present at the interview, and who must have 
been privy to the command sent to Knox, ought to 
have known the character of the Reformer better 
than to have believed that even the Queen could 
seduce him from his convictions. The interview 
that followed has drawn to it the eyes of men from 
then till now, because of the important subject 
discussed and of the conflicting opinions expre^ed, 
but chiefly on account of the two great personages 
who took part in it. In Mary and Knox we have 


two types. The former was animated by what may 
be tamed the HeUenistic spirit, and the latter by 
the Hebraistia Mary was a child of nature, fond 
of pleasure, with no serious earnestness or strong 
feeling about religion. Knox, on the other hand, 
felt that he was acting not on his own responsi- 
bility, but as a servant of the Divine ; that the truth 
committed to him must be held sacred at all hazards, 
and that not only was he bound to declare it on 
every occasion, but to resist to the death any who 
might dare to unpugn it These two forces have, 
in the history of the world, frequently come into 
conflict, and the victory has invariably been on the 
side of the Hebraistic spirit. Moral earnestness, 
sincerity, the fear of Grod and no other fear, have 
never Med to give purpose, strength, and endurance 
to those who have fought the battle of the eternal 

Mary began by accusing Knox of disloyalty and 
encouraging rebdlion against her mother, and took 
him to task for his authorship of The First Blast. 
She declared that in England he had been a disturber 
of the peace, and hinted that he was even in league 
with the powers of darkness. Knox defended himself 
against these charges, and explained that if Scotland 
was satisfied with a female ruler he was *^ as content 
to live under her Grace as Paul was to live under 
Nero.'' But the heart of the subiect was only 
reached when she charged him witi. denying t^ 
princes the ri^t to dictate to their subjects the 


religion which they should believe. "Ye have 
taught the people,^ she said, "to receive another 
religion than princes can allow, nor can that doctrine 
be of Grod seeing Grod commands subjects to obey 
their princes.^ 

Knox^s opinion of princes was not of the highest, 
for, with the exception of Edward vl, he had 
not come into contact with any who impressed him 
very favourably, so he replied "princes were often 
the most ignorant of God^s true religion^; and as 
for obedience to them, ithat is only lawful when 
they issue such commands as are conformable to 
the law of Grod ; indeed, if they act contrary to that 
law it is the duty of subjects not only to disobey 
but forcibly to restrain them. " For there is neither 
greater honour,^ he added, "nor greater obedience 
to be given to kings or princes than God has 
commanded to be given unto father and mother; 
but so it is, Madam, that a father may be stricken 
with a firenzy in the which he would slay his own 
children. Now, Madam, if the children arise, join 
themselves together, apprehend the father, take the 
sword or other weapons from him, and finally bind 
his hands and keep him in prison till that his 
frenzy be overpast, think ye. Madam, that the 
children do any wrong ? It is even so. Madam, with 
princes that would murder the children of God that 
are subject unto them.^ These views are common- 
places now, but they were certainly very revolutionary 
then, and we are not surprised when Knox teUs us 


that on hearing them Mary stood aghast ^At 
these words,^ he says, ^the Queen stood as it were 
amazed for a quarter of an hour.^ 

It must now have becx>me perfectly dear, not only 
to the Lord James but to the disputants themselves, 
that reconciliation between views so antagonistic was 
utterly impossible. Mary on recovering from her 
angry surprise said, ^^ Well then, I perceive that my 
subjects shall obey you and not me.^ ^^ God forbid,^ 
he answered in words which conveyed his inmost 
convictions, *^ that ever I take upon me to command 
any to obey me, or yet to set subjects at liberty 
to do what pleaseth them, but my travel is that 
both princes and subjects obey Grod, who commands 
Queens to be nurses unto His people. And this 
subjection,^ he added, ^^unto Grod and unto His 
troubled Church, is the greatest dignity that flesh 
can get upon earth.'* " Yea,** said she, *' but ye are 
not the Church that I will nourish, I will defend 
the Kirk of Rome, for I think it is the true Kirk 
of God. Ye interpret the Scripture in one manner 
and they in another, whom shall I believe?^ ^ Ye 
shaU beUeve God that plainly speaketh in His Word,** 
answered Knox ; and at the dose of his exposition of 
how the Scriptures condenmed, among other things, 
the Mass, she struck in, ^ Ye are too hard for me, 
but if they were here that I have heard they would 
answer you.'' 

If Mary's object was to gam Knox to her side, 
she took the wrong way of doing it. Whatever 


diplomacy she may have had she certainly managed 
to conceal it on this occasion. In truth her diplo- 
macy was neither very deep nor far-seeing. It was 
clever but not convincing. The gulf between her 
and the Reformer must now have seemed to both 
impassable. She may have taken Ejiox^s measure. 
He certainly took hers, for on being asked by sevei'al 
of his intimates what he thought of the Queen, he 
answered ^^ If there be not in her a proud mind, a 
crafty wit and an indurate heart against God and His 
truth, myjudgmentfaileth me.'' The " crafty wit,'' we 
have to acknowledge, is not very conspicuous in her 
management of the interview, and as for her "in- 
durate heart" it was certainly invulnerable to the 
doctrines of the Reformed religion. There was some- 
thing metallic in the charm of Queen Mary which 
robbed it of much of its power. That " softness " in 
woman which Goethe and Byron maintain to be her 
distinctive trait was certainly not the outstanding 
feature in the character of Mary Stuart. 



SEVERAL events now happened in quick succes- 
sion which must have confirmed Knox in his 
fears that the Protestant Lords, even the Lord James 
himself, would yield to the influence of the Queen, 
and possibly endanger beyond recall the prospects of 
the Reformed religion. On the 21st of September 
the Magistrates of Edinburgh commanded the 
statutes of the town to be publicly read. These 
included the banishment from the city of aU Papists. 
On hearing this Mary committed the Provost and 
Bailies to the Tolbootii, and commanded the election 
of other men in their place. Again on the 1st of 
November, "AU Saints Day,^ there were great 
Popish ongoings at Holyrood, and a conference took 
place at the Clerk R^ster^s house between the 
Protestant Lords and the leading ministers regard- 
ing Mary^s right to hold such celebrations. It was 
agreed to appeal to Calvin ; but this was only to 
gain time, and in the meantime Mary, through her 

Council, carried her point. 



In December, at the third Meeting of the General 
Assembly, further attempts were made by those 
whom Knox called the " Rulers of the Court '^ to 
subject the Church and the new religion to the 
autiiority of the Queen. It had been the custom 
of all who were members of the Assembly to meet 
together, but on this occasion the Lords refused 
on the ground that the ministers had secret confer- 
ences with the other members of the Assembly. 
This was denied. But the real purpose of the Lords 
was to destroy the freedom of the Church, for 
through Lethington, who acted as their spokesman, 
they denied that the Church had any right to 
hold Assemblies without the sanction of the Queen. 
This was aiming a blow at the liberty of the Church 
which would be fatal, and Knox resisted it with all 
his power. " K the liberty of the Church,'' he con- 
tended, ^^ should stand upon the Queen's allowance 
or disallowance, we are assured not only to lack 
Assemblies, but also to lack the public preaching 
of the EvangeL" It was agreed to permit a 
representative of the Queen to be present at their 
deliberations if she so desired. 

The attitude of the Rulers of the Court to the 
Book of Discipline, which then came up for discus- 
sion, was a fresh indication that the ^^ holy water of 
the Court " was doing its work. Those who, little 
more than a year ago, had willingly signed it, 
declaring that iiiey ^^ would set the same forward to 
the uttermost of their powers," now publidy disowned 


it. ^ Some even b^an to deny that ever they knew 
such a thing as the Book of Discipline.^ The fact is 
the nobles were beginmng to enjoy the fruits of their 
robbery of the ancient Church, the lands which they 
had grabbed they found to be very pleasant, and they 
were eagerly looking forward to fresh seizures. That 
explains the chamre in their attitude. Some pro- 
virion must, ho3er, be made for the ProtesLt 
clergy, who up to this time had received nothing, or 
had been supported by the "benevolence of men.*" 
The Lords were nothing loth to come to some 
arrangement, for they saw the chance of gifting a 
portion of the Chiurch's patrimony to the Queen. 
The Crown had no claim on the Church lands, but 
still the opportunity was too good to miss ; so two- 
thirds of the patrimony of the Church was to remain 
in the hands of the Catholic clergy, or, in other 
words, of the greedy aristocracy who had appropriated 
it, and the remaining third was to be divided between 
the Queen and the ministers. 

Knox made this unholy division the subject of his 
Sunday^s sermon, in the course of which he said, 
"Well, if the end of this order pretended to be 
taken for sustentation of the ministers, be happy, 
my judgment fedleth me, for I am assured that the 
Spirit of God is not the author of it, for first I see 
two parts freely given to the Devil, and a third must 
be divided betwixt God and the DeviL Well, 
bear witness to me that this day I say it, or it be 
long the Devil shall have three parts of the third. 


and judge you then what part God^s portion shall 

Knox made no secret of his belief that the Protest- 
ant Lords, particularly Maitland of Lethington and 
the Lord James, were largely responsible for the 
Queen^s policy at this time. He was practically 
deserted by his former friends who had worked with 
him in establishing the new Religion ; but he lost no 
jot of hope or heart, and by every means in his power, 
chiefly by his sermons in St. Giles^ and his influence 
in the country, he tried to counteract their efforts. 
An opportunity occurred at this time, of which he 
readily took advantage, for strengthening his own 
party and weakening, as a consequence, those who 
were now working against him. 

The Earl of BothweU, who had a long-standing 
feud against the Earl of Arrau, sought Enox'^s 
counsel for the purpose of bringing about a recon- 
ciliation. The Earl visited Kiiox in the latter^s 
study in his house at the Netherbow, and it was 
during the conversation that then took place that 
the Reformer mentions the old feudal relation that 
existed between his family and the House of 
BothwelL Enox^s efibrts were crowned with success, 
and Arran and BothweU, ostensibly at least, became 
firiends. In the union of these two men, Protestants 
both, and of their families and partisans, Ejiox 
perceived an influence that might hold in check 
the policy of the Protestant Lords and Queen Mary. 
A short time afterwards he endeavoured to make 


that influence all the stronger by arranging an 
interview at a supper-party in his own house on 
a Sunday between Arran^s father and Randolph, 
Elizabeth^s representative at the Scottish Court. 
The aim of Enox^s diplomacy was to bind tc^ther 
the leading Protestants in the country, or as many 
of them as were not afifected by the "holy watco* 
of the Court,*" and to join them in turn in a firiendly 
union with England. This diplomacy was of course 
based upon the Protestant religion. It was a single- 
minded and strong policy, for it was founded upon 
the abiding element in man^s nature. Sjiox^s hopes, 
so far as Arran was concerned, were doomed to 
disappointment, for that yoimg man speedily 
quarrelled with Bothwell, accusing him at the same 
time of treason. It soon became clear that Arran'^s 
mind was deranged, and from that moment he 
became a n^ligible quantity in Scottish politics. 

Enox had a more formidable weapon in his 
armoury which he now used. The Greneral 
Assembly was not, at that time, the strong body 
which it afterwards became, but it represented the 
best minds and the purest spirit in the country. 
It also had law on its side in its contendings, and 
the Rulers of the Court knew that in resisting its 
demands, which had been sanctioned by the Parlia- 
ment of 1560, they were acting illegally. This 
Assembly met on the S9th of June ISGS, and it 
prepared an address to the Queen in which we 
clearly see the hand of Enox. Its chief demand 


was that the Book of Discipline should be made 
law. To yield this point would be for the Court 
and its advisers to give up everything that the 
Church was contending for. It would mean the final 
abolition of the Romish Church, and the establish- 
ing of the Reformed Church on such a basis as 
would enable Knox and his party to resist with 
success the policy of the Court, and the ambition 
of Mary to reinstate the Romish religion in its 
old position in the land. Lethington objected to 
the wording of this address. He did not think it 
respectful in tone nor commendable in expression, 
and he suggested that it should be revised before 
being presented to Queen Mary. He had his way, 
and toned it down by his ^^pednted oratory,^ as 
Knox terms it, to such a degree as raised the 
suspicions of the Queen. ^^Here,^ she exclaimed, 
^^are many fair words, I cannot tell what the 
hearts are." Lethington now, as always, was sitting 
on the fence and riding for a fall. He tried to 
please both parties, and he satisfied neither. Dis- 
trusted by Knox, he was suspected by Mary. 

Shortly after this, on the 11th of August, the 
Queen lefb Edinburgh for the north. Knox, ever 
on the outlook, suspected that some scheme in- 
imical to his cause underlay the journey. She 
intended to go as far north as Aberdeenshire, and 
there was the seat of the Earl of Huntly, whom 
Knox regarded as the strongest peer m the country. 
"Under a prince,'' he says, "there was not such 


a one these three hundred years in the reahn pro- 
duced.^ He was a pronounced Roman Catholic, and 
Knox was afiraid lest Mary intended to join forces 
with him and attempt a CathoUc rismg. 

The signs were not unfavourable for such a 
movement. The Huguenots in France were suffer- 
ing at the hands of the Catholics. The Guises 
were again in the ascendant, and steps were being 
taken for that great union of the Catholic princes 
and kingdoms which was to realise the dream of 
Mary'*s heart — sovereignty over England. Knox 
accordingly left Edinburgh soon after the departure 
of the Queen, and journeyed to Kyle and Galloway, 
where the Protestant cause was the strongest. His 
efforts were very successful, for he rallied together 
the leading supporters of the new religion, and 
induced them to sign a bond for the defence of 
their fiEuth. He had also an interview with the 
Master of Maxwell, the Keeper of the West Marches, 
who in turn communicated with the Earl of Both- 
well, all for the purpose of keeping a watchful eye 
on the Queen^s movements and for the preservation 
of the peace. 

Sjiox^s object was to prevent at this stage any 
conflict between the two parties, and he was 
determined not to be tempted by any movement 
which might be made by his opponents. His 
labours in the west and south were: relieved by a 
lively dispute with the Abbot of Crossraguel. The 
discussion took place in the Provost^s house at 


Maybole. It lasted for three days, from eight m 
the morning till the evening. The debate was 
entered on with every formality. There were 
present the Earl of Casillis and forty others, twenty 
being fiiends of either disputant, notaries who i*e- 
ported the proceedings, and as many others as the 
house could hold. Knox afterwards published the 
discussion, which does not throw much fresh light 
on the subjects under dispute. The one result of 
it was the Abbot's giving himself away by ground- 
ing the Mass on the sacrifice and oblation of 
Melchizedek. Sjiox had no difficulty in proving 
that to base the Lord's Supper on so weak a 
foundation, or to see any real relation between the 
two, was a reductio ad absurdum, 

Knox must have been agreeably surprised by 
the course of events in the north. Huntly, in 
place of joining forces, joined issues with the Queen 
and was defeated. It is suggested that this result, 
instead of pleasing, displeased the Queen, for the 
great EarPs defeat took place at the hands of the 
Lord James, who now became the Earl of Moray. 
It is hinted that Mary would have been more 
gratified if the other side had proved victorious, 
and that as events turned out her policy miscarried. 
There may be something in this, for she only 
tolerated, but never trusted, Moray, Lethington, 
and the other Protestant Lords. She used them 
because she could not do without them. The time 
was not yet ripe for dispensing with their counsels, 


but she was evidently just waiting her opportunity 
for their dismissal 

Matters before very long were brought to a crisis 
between Knox and the two men who were the leaders 
of the Coiurt policy. These were Moray and 
Lethington. Knox and the former had continued 
since their first acquaintance to be on good terms 
with each other, and latterly when the Lord James 
threw in his lot with the Reforming party they 
became fast firiends. There was no Scotsman of the 
time for whom Knox had a greater r^ard, and he 
looked upon him as the political hope of the cause 
which he had so close at heart. He viewed with 
distrust and disappointment the course which his 
young fiiend was following, but he had not by any 
means lost hope that he would fulfil his early 
promise. Even so late as February of 156S, at the 
marriage of Moray to the Earl Marischal^s daughter 
in St. 6iles\ Knox, who performed the ceremony, 
when addressing the newly married pair hinted that 
if the bridegroom fell away it would be his wife's 
fault. "Unto this day,'' said the preacher, "the 
Church hath received comfort of you, in the which 
if hereafter you shall be found fainter it will be said 
that your wife hath changed your nature." It was 
about a year afterwards, in May of 1563, that the 
rupture which lasted for a year and a half took place 
between the friends. 

Mary, since her arrival, had never summoned a 
meeting of Parliament. She was afraid lest the 


demand of the Protestants might be conceded, or 
that, if she resisted, a civil war would ensue. The 
Protestant Lords, again, were well aware that Knox 
and his followers would insist for one thing on the 
ratification of the Book of Discipline, and other 
matters which they knew the Queen would never 
agree to. But a meeting of Parliament could not 
very well be delayed much longer, and the question 
was, How to have it and at the same time avoid 
granting the demands that would be put forward on 
behalf of the Reformed Church? The zeal of the 
Protestants had cooled considerably since the arrival 
of the Queen, still, should the attendance be at 
all equal to that of the Parliament of 1560, when 
so many of the smaller barons, lairds, and representa- 
tives of burghs were present, a majority might be 
found against the Court and its policy. 

How to prevent the attendance of these men was 
the problem that now occupied the attention of the 
Rulers of the Court ; nor was it absent from the mind 
of Mary. She accordingly played a card which 
indicated an intention so strongly in favour of the 
Protestant religion that the fears of its strongest 
advocates were allayed ; and thinking that all would 
go well with their claims at the approaching meeting 
of Parliament, many of them absented themselves. 

The law that had been passed against Catholics had 
about this time been put in force by the Protestants 
themselves, and Mary made hersdf its champion. 
Forty-eight persons who had defied the law against 


the odebration of the Mslb&j among whom was 
Hamilton, the ArchfaiBhop of St. Andrews, himself, 
were tried before the Comt of Justiciary on the 19th 
of May, and the majority of them were committed to 
ward. This surely was a certain sign that the Queen 
was conciliating the Protestants, and that in the 
Parliament which was about to meet she would 
sanction the whole policy of the ChurdL Knox, 
however, was not deceived. He saw clearly the in- 
tention of the Queen and Court, and he was both 
disappointed with, and indignant at, the lukewarm- 
ness of his friends in not attending and supporting 
by their voice and vote the just demands of the 

Parliament was opened by the Queen on the S6th 
of May with great ceremony. She was at this time 
at the very height of her popularity. She had so 
far committed no fatal blunder, and hardly any 
indiscretion. She had, at anyrate, done nothing to 
raise the suspicion and distrust of the bulk of the 
people. She was received by the populace with 
cheers and with cries, "God bless her sweet facef 
and when she addressed her Parliament one said to 
another, " This is the voice of a goddess and not of a 
woman.^ All this was very displeasing to Knox. 
His mind was bent on other and more serious things, 
and he flimg out at the weakness and vanity of the 
sex, their light - headedness as well as li^t- 
heartedness. He could not foresee that other day, 
only three years hence, when poor Mary would be 


seen riding down the same street in tattered gar- 
ments amid the jeers and derision of the citizens. 

The great question for Knox was, Would the Book 
of Discipline be accepted or not ? He was told to 
be patient, that this was not the time to bring it 
forward, "Wait till the Queen^s marriage, which 
cannot be very far distant, when she will be asking 
favours at our hands ; that will be the time to press 
your cause. In order to have her own petitions 
granted she will be ready to accede to yours.'' 

Parliament accordingly would have nothing to do 
with the Book of Discipline, and Knox turned at 
once upon the man whom he trusted to see the thing 
carried through. That man was the Earl of Moray. 
Ejiox felt his disappointment bitterly. " The matter 
feU so hot,'' he says, " betwixt the Earl of Moray 
and some others of the Coiurt and John Knox, that 
familiarly after that time they spoke not together 
more than a year and a half, for the said John by 
his letter save a discharire to the said Earl of all 
further intSmission or «^ with his affairs." Thus 
it was Knox who formally broke with Moray. 
"Seeing that I perceive myself firustrate of my 
expectation, which was that you should ever have 
preferred God to your own affection, and the ad- 
vwcement of His truth to your singular commodity, 
I commit you to your own wit and to the conducting 
of those who better can please you. If after this ye 
shall decay (as I fear ye shall), call to mind by what 
means Grod exalted you." 


Moraj, next to Knox, had the sanest mind of 
any Scottish politician of the time. He no doubt 
sincerely believed that the path which he was 
following would lead to a mutual understanding and 
agreement between the Queen and the Congr^ation. 
He wished to be loyal to both, but his outlook was 
not so large as Enox^s ; he did not know so well the 
trend of European politics or fully appreciate the 
policy of the great Catholic States and party. Knox 
was convinced that it was only by making a firm 
stand that Protestantism would flourish, and that no 
concession or conciliation would gain the Queen to 
their side. As events turned out he was found to 
be right, and Moray for a time suffered dearly for 
refusing to follow the guidance of his older and 
wiser fiiend. Had the Protestant Lords followed the 
advice of Ejiox, and insisted, when the Queen set foot 
in Scotland, on making her conform to the new 
religion or abdicate, it would have been much better 
both for Mary herself and for the country. But the 
weak policy of insincere compromise could have only 
one end. 

It was not long after this that Knox and 
Lethington, the second of the two men who ruled 
the Court, came to close quarters. These two had 
frequently engaged in intellectual bouts, from the 
time when in Erskine of Dun^s house in Edinburgh, 
at that famous supper-party when the question as to 
whether the Mass might be said in private was 
debated, until June of 1564, when the same two 


discussed at very great length certain other questions 
which went to the root of religious belief and civil 
government Lethington was a child of the 
Renaissance. He may have been an anti-Romanist 
by conviction, but he had no enthusiasm for religion. 
He probably believed that the Reformed Church 
was better than the Romish, but he had no fancy for 
Creeds and Confessions, and was not at aU inclined 
to put himself into the bonds of theological dogmas 
and formulas. He was a man of the world, and was 
quite prepared to use any Church or man as a pawn 
in the game of politics. Knox was, of course, a 
man of a very different build. He belonged to the 
prophetical order, was governed by strong convictions, 
and, in obedience to what he accepted as divine 
commands, he was prepared at all times to do and 
dare in the cause of righteousness and truth. His 
patriotism, too, was equal to Lethington^s own, 
which was perhaps the most redeeming feature in 
the latter^s character, and in fighting for his con- 
victions he believed that he was contending for the 
best interests of his country. 

The distrust of the Lords and Congregation in each 
other was steadily growing, and a final breach could 
not be long delayed. This happened at the Assembly 
of 1564, when the courtiers refused to attend. Nor 
would they consent to be present until a conference 
had taken place between them and certain of the 
leading ministers regarding matters that required 
clearing up. This was agreed to on condition that 


nothing final should be arranged until the matters 
under dispute were voted on by the Assembly. At 
the Conference the discussion, as usual, ranged itself 
into a contest between Lethington and KnoiL The 
first point raised referred to a clause in Knox^s 
prayer for the Queen, which was to the effect, 
^^niuminate her heart if Thy good pleasure be.^ 
^^ In so doing,^ said Lethington to Knox, ^^ ye put a 
doubt in the people^s head of her conversion.^ ^^ Not 
I, my lord,^ replied Knox, ^ but her own obstinate 
rebellion causes more than me to doubt of her 
conversion." ** Whereunto rebels she against Crod ? " 
asked the Secretary. ^^ In all the actions of her life," 
was the reply. Two particular instances are singled 
out. She will not give up that idol the Mass, nor 
will she attend the preaching of the GrospeL ^ When," 
asked Knox, *^ will she be seen to give her presence 
to the public preaching ? " ** I think never," answers 
Lethington, ^^as long as she is thus entreated." 
Lethington, of course, believed, in a way, in the 
possibility of Mary^s conversion, and we have no 
doubt he was trying to find some via media between 
Romanism and Protestantism wWch the Queen might 
follow. But Knox knew of no such ^^ way," and said so. 
Among the other questions discussed was the 
obedience due by subjects to rulers. Knox^s views 
on this question we know full well. In the course 
of the argument Lethington thought that he had 
confuted Knox when he said, ^^Then will ye make 
subjects to control their princes and rulers?" to which 


came the reply, ^^ And what harm should the Common^ 
wealth receive, if that the corrupt affections of 
ignorant rulers were moderated and so bridled by 
the wisdom and discretion of godly subjects that 
they should do wrong nor violence to no man?^ 
The Rulers of the Court were anxious that the 
Reformed Theology might be stretched so as to 
admit the celebration of the Mass, especially on the 
part of a princess, to be no sacril^e. If this com- 
promise could be agreed to Mary might still follow 
her Romish ways and be a Protestant Queen. Knox, 
of course, could not see this, and when Lethington 
admitted that the ^^ idolater was commanded to die 
the death ^ he practically gave up the argument. 
The Mass was idolatry, and how then could the 
idolater, even though she were a Queen, hope to 

The discussion ended, as it usually did, in favour 
of Knox, for Lethington, being professedly a Pro- 
testant, was bound to accept his premises. How 
then could he escape the inevitable conclusions ? 



BUT the individual who was most opposed to 
Eldox^s policy was the Queen hersell Being a 
Catholic she did not frequent his preachings, and not 
being a hanger-on at the Court he did not have any 
intercourse with her, but on four separate occasions 
she sent for him with the object of winning or brow- 
beating him into subjection. The first of these 
interviews has already been referred to, and we now 
enter upon a consideration of the others. 

We know Ejiox^s opinion of the Queen, which he 
confided to his familiars on leaving Holyrood after 
his first meeting with her. He had not in the 
interval changed his mind, and her doings, of which 
he had frequent information, did not raise her in his 
estimation. Knox^s house in the Netherbow stood 
midway between the Castle and the Palace. It was 
situated at the jimction of the High Street and 
Canongate, and was thus in the very centre of the life 
and traffic and gossip of the capital Glimpses are 

given us through the pages of his History of his mode 


I i^lul ills 

After an old Print. 

Page «53- 


of life there. We can picture him busy at his books 
in that little study overlooking the public thorough- 
fare, and made comfortable for him by the Town 
Council, at whose expense he was housed. Thither 
resorted all classes and conditions of the populace. 
On a Sunday evening he entertains to supper the 
Duke of Chatelherault and the English Ambassador. 
His house is invaded by refractory citizens who 
desire him to intercede on their behalf with the 
Magistrates ; or it is the Earl of Both well who visits 
it to seek his aid in patching up a quarrel with the 
Earl of Arran. Women with troubled consciences 
resort to him for spiritual guidance, and others whose 
domestic affairs are disarranged ask him for worldly 
advice. We can see him stepping on to the 
Netherbow and wending his way to the great Church 
of St. Giles^ interchanging friendly courtesies with 
the citizens, who revere him as their greatest and best 
man. Enox kept his hand on the pulse of public 
life through correspondents on the Continent and in 
England, who kept him well posted in every religious 
and political movement ; and he also watched, with 
the keenest interest, the policy of the Protestant 
Lords, and was thorpughly well informed as to the 
ongoings of Queen Mary and her Court. 

What he had heard of the doings at Holyrood was 
not to his mind. He did not at all approve of the 
French ways of the " four Maries,'' and the Queen 
herself fell far short of his ideal of regal womanhood. 
Enox may have been harsh in his judgments and 


criticism of the Queen ; he forgot that after all she 
was only a young girl, a Catholic, brought up in 
France, and by nature fond of pleasure. To his 
mmd, however, the times were serious and her 
position responsible ; and, as his habit was, he dis- 
coursed in the pulpit, under a thin veil, of those 
questionable doings of which )ie knew by hear- 
say, and did not hesitate to denounce what to 
him appeared ungodly and foreboded mischief and 
sorrow. Randolph, who kept Cecil well informed of 
all that was being said and done, writes : ^^ Knox is so 
full of mistrust in cdl the Queen^s doings, words and 
sayings, as though he were either of Grod^s privy 
council that know how He had determined of her 
from the banning, or that he knew the secrets of 
her heart so well that neither she did, nor could 
have, for ever one good thought of God or of His 
true religion."" 

But Ejiox^s mistrust was far from being unfounded, 
for at this very time she was in correspondence with 
her imcles and the Pope regarding the restoration of 
the Catholic religion in her kingdom, and an encounter 
had just taken place between tiie Catholics, under the 
Duke of Guise, and the Protestants, which ended in 
the massacre of men, women, and children. When 
news of this reached Edinburgh, the dancing at 
Holyrood was prolonged to an unusually late hour. 
This festivity of the Court may have been accidentid^ 
but Knox did not think so, and on the following 
Sunday he inveighed against her conduct and stormed 


at the ^^ ignorance and vanity and the despite of 
princes.^ Mary sent for her untractable subject 
The Queen, he tells us, was in her bedchamber. 
On this occasion she was not alone, for there were 
present the Lord James, the Earl of Morton, 
Lethington, and others. The Queen in a ^long 
harangue or orison^ taxed him with inciting her 
subjects to regard her with disfavour, and to make 
her odious in their eyes. But Knox affirmed that 
she had not been rightly informed, and in order to 
instruct her as to what he really said he repeated 
the main points of his sermon. This we presume 
was the first Protestant discourse that the Queen had 
ever listened to. Mary at once acknowledged that 
his words had not been correctly repeated to her, 
but cJl the same ^* your words are sharp enoucch as 
ye have spoken thei.'' 

She thrsuggested that if there was anything in 
her conduct that he did not approve of, he should 
come to her and tell her of it privately. ^I am 
called, Madam,^ was the unhesitating reply, ^^ to a 
public function within the Kirk of God, and am 
appointed by God to rebuke the sins and vices of all. 
I am not appointed to come to every man in 
particular to show him his offence, for that labour 
would be infinite. ... To wait upon your chamber 
door, or elsewhere, and then to have no further 
liberty but to whisper my mind in your Graoe^s ear, 
or to tell to you what others think and speak of you, 
neither will my conscience nor the vocation whereto 


Grod hath called me to suffer it, for albeit at your 
Grace^s command I am here now, yet cannot I tell 
what other men shcJl judge of me that at this time 
of day I am absent from my Book and waiting upon 
the Court.'' 

Mary must have been amazed, if not staggered, at 
Knox's attitude and words. Her first interview with 
him, and her knowledge of his character, would no 
doubt prepare her somewhat for the position which 
he took up. It was her object to conciliate the 
Protestants, and particularly Knox, and her part in 
the interview was directed to that end. But Knox 
was not to be conciliated, and he was confident that 
it was impossible to conciliate Mary. They were 
different types, and there could be no agreement 
between them, so she dismissed him curtly with the 
words, ** Ye will not always be at your Book,*" and 
turned her back on him. Knox says of himself in 
one of the most striking passages in his History : ^^ The 
said John Knox depcuted with a reasonable merry 
countenance, whereat some Catholics, offended, said, 
*He is not eflfrayed.' Which heard of him, he 
, answered, * Why should the pleasing face of a gentle- 
woman effray me, I have looked on the faces of many 
angry men and yet have not been effi*ayed above 

Knox's next interview with the Queen was in Loch 
Leven Castle, which was to have many mournful 
memories for her in after years. The occasion was 
the " warding " by the Protestants of those Catholics 


who had broken the law by celebrating or counten- 
andng the Mass. Mary pleaded with him to use his 
influence in having the stringent measures relaxed. 
For two whole hours she laboured with him, but 
without success. The Papists were suffering from 
having broken the law, the law must be enforced, and 
if the Queen would not do it, then some of her 
subjects must do it for her. **Will ye,'' asked 
Mary, ^^ allow that they shall take my sword in their 
hands ? ^ Knox was ready with Scriptural parallels 
to show that this was no impossible thing. Samuel 
slew Agag, Elijah the prophets of Baal, and why 
should not John Kjiox or some other slay Archbishop 
Hamilton if need be, with or without royal sanction ? 
At this point the Queen broke off the conference 
with much displeasure. 

It would seem that Kjiox communicated to Moray 
the result of the interview, and he, anxious to 
conciliate Kjiox for diplomatic reasons, induced his 
sister to grant the Reformer another meeting. In 
the conversation which followed we find Mary at her 
very best. At her request Knox waited on her 
while out hawking, west of Kinross. It was early 
morning, for she was active in her habits ; she received 
him graciously, as if nothing had happened the night 
before. Lord Ruthven had offered her a ring. 
What did Mr. Knox think of it ? " I cannot love 
him,'' she added, *^ for I know him to use enchant- 
ment." She had heard that Ejiox was going to 
Dumfries to make Alexander Gordon, a former 



Bishop, Superintendent of the Kirk at Dumfries. If 
he knew him as well as she did he would never 
promote him to that oflice nor to ^ any other within 
the Kirk^; and, by the way, her half-sister Lady 
Argyle and her husband the Earl, as she had reason 
to know, were not on good terms. ^ This,*" she added, 
^ is one of the greatest matters that have touched me 
since I came to this realm, and I must have your 

Knox became interested. He had made peace 
between the couple before, and Lady Argyle had 
promised to make him, and no other, her confidant 
and spiritual adviser. ^^ Do this much for my sake,'' 
said the Queen, ^^as once again to put iiiem at 
unity " ; and so she dismissed him with the promise, 
^^I shall summon all offenders, and ye shall know 
that I shcJl minister justice." Ejiox fell under the 
spell, but only for the moment. She wished to gain 
time for the meeting of the impending Parliament. 
The Protestant members must be kept away at 
whatever cost. She managed her point with tiiem, 
but Knox socm recovered himself, and saw with 
increased anger the trend of her policy. 

We have seen that Ejiox was bitterly disappointed 
with the Parliament, at which he expected the Book 
of Discipline, among other things, to be ratified, and 
as his custom was he referred to the matter from the 
pulpit of St. Giles' on a subsequent Sunday. The 
** most part of the nobility " were present, and he 
rehearsed in their hearing ^the mercies that had 


attended their steps till the great victory that was 
sealed by the Parliament of 1560.'^ A retrospect 
such as the following must have stirred the hearts of 
many who listened to him. ^^ In your most extreme 
dangers Fve been with you. St. Johnstone, Cupar 
Moor, and the Craigs of Edinburgh are yet recent in 
my^ heart ; yea that dark and dolorous night wherein 
all ye, my Lords, with shame and fear left this town is 
yet in my mind, and God forbid that ever I forget 

He animadverted on the part which the Queen 
had taken in resisting their demands, and could not 
tolerate the idea that anyone, even a queen, should 
stand in the way of the realisation of God^s purposes. 
" The Queen, say ye, will not agree with us. Ask 
ye of her that which by God^s Word ye may justly 
require, and if she will not agree with you in God 
ye axe not bound to agree with her in the deviL'' 
Knox had heard rumours regarding the Queen'^s 
marriage to the heir to the Spanish throne. He was 
a Roman Catholic of the deepest dye, and such a 
union would mean the destruction of all that Knox 
had ah*eady accomplished and still hoped for. The 
Reformer accordingly expressed himself in no un- 
measured terms regarding such a project. This was 
too much for Mary, and she accordingly summoned 
him for the fourth and last time to Holyrood. 
Knox by his outspokenness had o£Pended friends and 
foes, but a sufficient number of ardent admirers 
rallied round him and accompanied him to the 


Palace. None, however, were allowed to pass with 
him mto the Queen'^s presence but Erskine of Dun. 
Mary was thoroughly roused, and in a ^^ vehement 
fume ^ poured forth reproaches on the preacher^s head. 
Knox himself has described the interview in one of 
the most memorable passages in his History ^ and by 
quoting it in fiiU we shaU give both a specimen of 
his style and an illustration of the relation that 
existed between him and Queen Mary: — 

^^ The Queen, in a vehement fiune, began to cry 
out that never prince was handled as she was. * I 
have,^ said she, * borne with you in all your rigorous 
manner of speaking, both against myself and against 
my uncles; yea, I have sought your favour by all 
possible means; I offered unto you presence and 
audience whensoever it pleased you to admonish me, 
and yet I cannot be quit of you. I vow to God I 
shall be once revenged.^ And with these words, 
scarcely could Mamock, her secret chamber-boy, get 
napkins to hold her eyes dry for the tears. And 
the howling, besides womanly weeping, stayed her 
speech. The said John did patiently abide all the 
first fume, and at opportunity answered- 

"*True it is. Madam, your Grace and I have 
been at divers conti'oversies, into the which I never 
perceived your Grace to be offended at me. But 
when it shall please Grod to deliver you from that 
bondage of darkness and error in the which ye have 
been nourished, for the lack of true doctrine, your 
Majesty will find the liberty of my tongue nothing 


offensive. Without the preaching place, Madam, I 
think few have occasion to be offended at me ; and 
there, Madam, I am not master of myself, but must 
obey Him who commands me to speak plain, and to 
flatter no flesh upon the face of the earth.^ 

** *.But what have you to do,' said she, * with my 

" * If it please your Majesty,' said he, * patiently to 
hear me, I shall show the truth in plain words, I 
grant your Grace offered unto me more than ever I 
required, but my answer was then as it is now, that 
Grod hath not sent me to wait upon the courts of 
princes, or upon the chamber of ladies; but I am 
sent to preach the Evangel of Jesus Christ to such 
as please to hear it; and it hath two parts. Re- 
pentance and Faith. Now, Madam, in preaching 
repentance, of necessity it is that the sins of men be 
so noted that they may know wherein they offend ; 
but so it is, that the most part of your nobility are 
so addicted to your affections, that neither God's 
Word, nor yet their commonwealth, are rightly 
r^arded ; and therefore it becomes me so to speak 
that they may know their duty.' 

<<<What have you to do,' said she, *with my 
marriage ? Or what are you in this commonwealth ? ' 

^^ ^ A subject bom within the same. Madam,' said 
he. ^ And cJbeit I am neither earl, lord, nor baron 
within it, yet has Gkxl made me — how abject that 
ever I am in your eyes — a profitable member within 
the same ; yea. Madam, 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 crave plainness 
of me, and therefore. Madam, to yourself I say that 
which I spake in public place. Whensoever that 
the nobiUty of this realm shall consent that ye 
be subject to an unfaithful (infidel) husbcmd, they 
do as much as within 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 yoursell^ 

^^At these words, howling was heard, and tears 
might have been seen in greater abundance than the 
matter required. John Erskine of Dun, a man of 
meek and gentle spirit, stood beside, and entreated 
what he could to mitigate her anger, and gave unto 
her many pleasing words of her beauty, of her 
excellency, and how that cJl the princes of Europe 
would be glad to seek her favour. But all that was 
to cast oil in the flaming fire. The said John stood 
still without any alteration of countenance for a 
long season, until that the Queen gave place to such 
inordinate passion ; and in the end he said, * Madam, 
in God^s presence I speak, I never delighted in the 
weeping of any of God^s creatures ; yea, I can 
scarcely abide the tears of my own bojrs, whom 
my own hand corrects, much less can I rejoice in 
your Majesty^s weeping; but seeing that I have 
offered you no just occasion to be offended, but have 
spoken the truth, as my vocation craves of me, I 


must sustain — albeit unwillingly — your Majesty^s 
tears, rather than I dare hurt my conscience or 
betray my commonwealth through my silence.^ 

^^ Herewith was the Queen more offended, and 
commanded the said John to pass forth of the 
cabinet, and to abide farther of her pleasure in the 
chamber. The Laird of Dun tarried, and Lord 
John of Coldingham came into the cabinet ; and so 
they both remained with her near the space of an 
hour. The said John stood in the chamber as one 
whom men had never seen— so were all afraid— 
except that the Lord Ochiltree bore him company ; 
and therefore began he to forge talking with the ladies 
who were there sitting in all their gorgeous apparel, 
which .espied, he merrily said, ^O fair ladies, how 
pleasing was this life of yours if it should ever 
abide, and then in the end that we might pass to 
heaven with all this gay g^. But fie upon that 
knave Death, that will come whether we will or not ! 
and when he has laid on his arrest, the foul worms 
will be busy with the flesh, be it never so fair and 
so tender; and the silly soul, I fear, shall be so 
feeble, that it can neither carry with it gold, 
garnishing, targetting, pearl, nor precious stones.' 
And by such means procured he company of women, 
and so passed the time till that the Laird of Dun 
willed him to depart to his house with new 
advertisement. The Queen would have had the 
sensement of the Lords of Articles if that such 
manner of speaking deserved not punishment; but 


she was counselled to desist, and so that storm 
quieted in appearance, but never in the heart^ 

So far Knox had distinctly the best of the 
encounters, and, however much disappointed, Mary 
was too shrewd to let her feelings be known. She 
was evidently determined, should the opportunity 
ever arise, to have Sjiox silenced, if not condemned, 
by her Council. What she may have conceived as 
his ultimate fate we do not know; banishment 
perhaps, or even something worse: and at last 
the Reformer would seem to have put himself into 
her power. While the Queen was in the west, during 
the autumn of 1563, the Mass was celebrated at 
Holjrrood. As the law at that time stood this 
was only allowable in the Queen^s own presence. 
The Protestants on hearing of what had taken place 
sent two of their number to inquire into the matter, 
and take the names of those who were present at the 
service. Mary, on hearing of what had occurred, 
promptly issued orders that two of the Deputies 
who had made themselves particularly offensive 
should be tried on the charge of forcibly entering 
the Queen^s Palace. The Protestants on learning 
this commissioned Sjiox to despatch a circular 
letter summoning the brethren to appear in Edin- 
burgh on the day of trial If the Mass were to be 
permitted anjrwhere and everywhere the cause of 
Protestantism he felt was lost. 

Although it might seem a bold step to summons 
a meeting, the doing of it was only an assertion of 


the liberty of the Church, and of the members of 
the Commonwealth as a whole, to assemble for 
purposes which were clearly lawful. Knox^s letter 
fell into the hands of the Queen, and she had him at 
once summoned before the Council on a charge of 
treason. A full account of the trial is given in his 
Huitory of the Reformation^ and his description of it 
more than equals, in its graphic details, that of any 
of the other interviews which he had with the Queen. 
This, however, was more than an interview. Knox's 
very life hung in the balance, and if the votes of 
the Council were cast against him he might well 
r^ard himself as a dead man. Moray and Lethington, 
previous to the trial, endeavoiured to persuade him 
to acknowledge his fault and to throw himself on 
the Queen's mercy, but this he distinctly refused 
to do. The Secretary then tried to inveigle him 
into a statement of the grounds of his defence, 
but Knox perceived his craft and declined to be 
entrapped. When the citizens of Edinburgh heard 
of what had happened they followed Knox in a great 
crowd to the Palace, and filled the outer court and 
stairs leading to the chamber where the trial was to 
take place. 

There were assembled the chief men in the State, 
and all the officers of the Court ; Knox stood alone 
and unsupported, to defend himself as best he might. 
The Queen was unable to conceal her feelings. She 
believed that her hour of triumph had come, and 
she forgot that dignity which was due to herself as 


a woman and a princess. ^Her pomp,^ remarks 
Knox, ^^ lacked one principal point, to wit womanly 
gravity, for when she saw John Sjiox standing at the 
other end of the table, beu:dieaded, she first smiled 
and affcer gave a gaulf of laughter, whereat placeboes 
gave their plaudit, aflSrming with like countenance, 
^ this is a good beginning/ She said, ^ But wot ye 
whereat I laugh? Yon man made me greet and 
grate never a tear himself. I will see if I can gar 
him greet."* '^ 

Lethington then stated the charge, and Sjiox 
admitted the authorship of the letter, which he 
was asked to read. When he finished, the Queen, 
^^ looking at the whole table, said, ^ Heard you ever, 
my Lords, a more despiteful and treasonable letter ? ^ ^ 
Lethington then took up the case, and asked Knox 
if he was sorry for having penned such a letter. 
The reply to this was a disquisition on the difference 
between lawful and unlawful convocations, and the 
exposition was so forcible that even Lord Ruthven 
confessed that Knox had done no wrong. The 
Reformer followed up the favourable impression 
which he was evidently making by declaring that 
what he had done was by the authority of the Kirk. 
Even the nobles present. Catholic as well as Pro- 
testant, were beginning to see that if no meeting 
could take place except when summoned by the 
Queen, or with her consent, not only the freedom of 
the Church, but that of the whole Commonwealth 
would be gone. 


As to the charge of cruelty which the Queen 
declared he had made against her, Enox replied that 
it was the Catholics who were distinctly pointed 
at and not the Queen; and he carried the whole 
Council with him when he described the ruthless 
l^nranny of the Romish Church, and the sufferings 
that would follow should that Church again be in 
the ascendant. At this point one stopped him with 
the remark, ''You forget yourself, you are not now in 
the pulpit.^ To which came the memorable answer, 
'' I am in the place where I am demanded by conscience 
to speak the truth, and therefore the truth I speak 
impugn it whoso list.^ After this what could be 
said? Even Lethington perceived that Enox had 
won, and so, after whispering with the Queen, he 
said, ^ Mr. Eiiox, ye may return to your house for 
this night.^ ''I thank Grod and the Queen^s 
Majesty,^ said the other; and with a parting shot 
at the Secretary he added, '' And, Madam, I pray 
God to preserve you firom the counsel of flatterers, 
for, how pleasant that they appear to your ears 
and corrupt affections for the time, experience has 
taught us in what perplexity they have brou^t 
famous princes.^ 

When Enox had departed the vote was taken, and 
he was unanimously acquitted. Even Sinclair, the 
Bishop of Ross, who had handed Enox^s letter to the 
Queen, voted in his favour. Mary in her passion 
turned upon him, and with biting sarcasm said, 
** Trouble not the bairn, I pray you, for he is newly 


wakened out of a sleep. Why should not the old 
fool follow the foosteps of them that have passed 
before him ? " The Bishop answered coldly, " Your 
Grace may consider that it is neither affection to the 
man, nor yet love to his profession, that moved me 
to absolve him, but the simple truth that plainly 
appears in his defence draws me after it, albeit that 
others would condemn him and it.^ The meeting 
then dissolved ; and Knox, in a kind of appendix, 
adds, ^' That night was neither dancing nor fiddling 
in the Court, for Madam was disappointed of her 
purpose, which was to have had John Kiiox in her 
will by vote of her nobihty.'' 

There is no passage in the life of Knox that has 
so strongly affected the popular imagination as the 
conflict between him and Queen Mary. The various 
interviews that he had with her, and the trial of wit 
and logic that took place between them, form one of 
the most outstanding features not only in his life but 
in Scottish history. And what has caused these 
incidents to live and so powerfully to affect the public 
mind is the fact that imdemeath them all lay the 
great question of civil liberty. There is un- 
doubtedly something striking, and even picturesque, 
in this brave man of the people fearlessly standing 
before his Queen and more than holding his own 
with her. Surprise has been frequently expressed at 
him, and him alone, being able to resist the glamour 
of royalty and the beauty and charm of Queen Mary. 
He would very likely have succumbed to her influ- 


ence, like the rest of the Protestants who visited the 
Court, were it not that he was contending for some- 
thing far above any human or worldly interest He 
was the champion of true religion, of pure worship, 
and of Grod^s eternal truth, and if he yielded, all 
these, he felt, would be lost. In their defence he 
was ready to sacrifice his life. 

Bound up with them also, he firmly believed, were 
the spiritual and civil interests of his country. 
Should the cause he championed be lost, not only 
would despite be done to the Almighty, but misery 
entailed on the realm and people of Scotland. 
Sjiox^s coimtrymen have ever felt this, even those of 
them to whom he is only a popular tradition, and 
who cannot put into words the thoughts that possess 
them. They believe in him as their greatest man, 
and honour him as the vindicator of their rights 
and liberty as children of God and members of the 
Scottish Commonwealth. 

More than enough has been said about Knox^s 
seeming lack of courtesy towards his Queen. It 
should be remembered that he only conversed with 
her when she sent for him, and that he had to defend 
himself, always single handed, against chaises, some 
of them of the most serious natiure. His speech had 
to be plain and strong, and we must admit that his 
words are sufficiently civiL It was really the Queen 
who tried to browbeat him and not he the Queen. 
Mary Stuart would have shown much more respect 
for herself if, after the first interview with Knox, 


she had left him alone. A few minutes'* conversation 
ought to have been sufficient to show her the kind 
of man he was ; and in summoning him so often to 
her presaice, and in revealing in the discussions that 
took place much that was womanly weak and un- 
womanly violent, she did herself a disservice, both at 
the time and in the eyes of posterity. 

There was another matter which deeply offended 
Mary, and that was the marriage of Knox, on Palm 
Sunday 1564, to Margaret Stewart, daughter of 
Andrew, Lord Stewart of Ochiltree. The bride was 
of the ** Uood,^ and was thus related to the Queen, 
though distantly. If Knox took upon him to 
interfere with Mary's matrimonial enterprises the 
Queen ^^ fumed "^^ not a little at the contract which 
he was about to form. What surprises one now is 
that Knox should have thought of marriage at alL 
He was a widower with two young children, and his 
domestic affairs were superintended by his mother- 
in-law, Mrs. Bowes; besides, he was now gettmg 
weU on in years. Marrying and re-marrying, then 
as now, did not always follow the lines laid down 
by disinterested parties; and at the present day 
marriages take place, especially in the higher ranks 
of society, with a greater disparity between the 
ages of the bridegroom and bride than what existed 
between those of Knox and his wife. When the 
Reformer Farel married, at the age of sixty-nine, 
a girl younger even than Sjiox^s bride, Calvin, on 
being appealed to, wrote : ^^ Dearest brethren, I am 


in such perplexity that I know not where to make 
a b^inning; certain it is that our poor brother, 
Master William, has for once been so ill advised 
that we must all needs be in shame and confusion 
on his account.'" 

Margaret Stewart, from all accounts, proved a 
true and faithful helpmate to her husband, tended 
his declining years with great care, and was most 
attentive to him on his deathbed. She bore him 
three daughters, all of whom married ; and she herself, 
some years after Enox^s death, married Andrew Eer 
of Faudounside, one of Rizzio^s murderers. Knox'^s 
two sons by his first wife, Marjory Bowes, Nathaniel 
and Eleazer, bom in Geneva in 1557 and 1558, 
matriculated at the University of Cambridge eight 
days after their father^s death. Nathaniel died in 
1580 and his brother in 1591. No direct descendants 
of Knox are now known to exist 



MARY had now been three years in the country, 
and the policy of compromise which she had 
been pursuing, under the eulvice of the Protestant 
Lords, was about to end in failure. Elizabeth was 
no nearer than she had been when Mary first landed 
in the country to a recognition of her as her 
successor to tiie English throne, and the other 
schemes and projects which her advisers had in 
their mind gave very little hope of fulfilment. In 
desperation Moray and Lethington favoured a 
marriage between Don Carlos, heir to the Spanish 
throne, and the Queen of Scots. In such a union 
Mary saw much that pleased her — ^the restoration 
of the old religion and the conquest of England. 
But this, too, fell through; so did the project of 
Elizabeth, who preferred that her cousin should 
marry the Lord Robert Dudley, her own discarded 
lover. Mary contemptuously dismissed him as ^^a 

The Queen, thoroughly disappointed at the fieulure 



of the policy hitherto pursued, determined to free 
herself from the tutelage of the Protestant Lords, 
and by following other counsel, or more probably 
the innate tendency of her own nature, to hew out 
a path of her own. Her eyes turned to the Lord 
Damley, son of the Earl of Lennox, her own cousin, 
and, after herself, the nearest to the English throne. 

She recalled Lennox, who arrived in Scotland in 
September 1664. Shortly afterwards, in February 
of 1566, he was followed by Damley, and the fieunily 
was restored to the honours which it had forfeited 
twenty years before. The Damley marriage had 
much to recommend it. He was a Roman Catholic, 
and his nearness to the English throne would seem 
to hold out hopes to Mary of the realisation of 
the dream of her life. To be Queen of the United 
Kingdoms of England and Scotland, and to see the^ 
old religion re-established in both coimtries, was 
her ambition; and one for which she had been 
plotting and scheming, along with the Pope and 
the heads of other Catholic countries, for some 
time. The breach between Mary and Moray 
became wider, and in a proclamation she referred 
to "some who bore the whole sway with us, and 
who would be kings themselves, or at least, leaving 
to us the bare title and name, would take to 
themselves the credit and whole administration of 
the kingdom.*" 

About this time there appeared on the scene David 
Rizzio, an Italian adventurer, who was to have a 


sinister influence on the life of Mary, and directly to 
involve her in the ruin which followed. He was 
a musician^ had a knowledge of foreign languages, 
made himself useful to the Queen, and acted as her 
secretary. He was thought by the Protestants to 
be a Romish emissary, and there is no doubt that 
his policy tended towards the restoration of the 
Romish Church in Scotland. He was favourable to 
the Damley marriage because he saw in the new 
King a Roman Catholic. He was a much abler 
man than Damley. The latter was a vain and 
dissolute youth, utterly unfit for the position in which 
he was about to be placed, and the very last man 
that Mary should have married. These two, Mary 
and Rizzio, through the spring of 1565, ruled the 
Court, and the Protestant Lords withdrew and drew 
up a bond for their mutual support and defence. 
Knox and Moray would seem to have been reconciled 
at this time, but even they by their joint efforts 
could make no headway. Roman Catholics were 
growing bolder, and were holding services more 
openly. Mary still temporised, and half consented 
to hear the Protestant preachers, John Erskine of 
Dim by preference, for he was "a mild and sweet- 
natured man, with true honesty and uprightness^; 
but when put to the test by the Assembly of 1566, 
which demanded the suppression of the Mass, she 
flatly refused, and affirmed that she would not give 
up her religion nor break with the Catholic Powers. 
Tlie Protestants r^arded this as a challenge, and 


several of the leading men took up arms, ready to 
act if support from England could be depended on. 

On the 29th of July 1666 Mary publicly celebrated 
her marriage with Damley. Elizabeth saw the fiill 
significance of this union, which put an end at once 
to the English alliance. Eiiox also perceived its 
purpose, and saw that it was intended to put an 
end to the Reformed religion. Moray, too, and 
the Protestant Lords read its lesson and fled from 

Sjiox had not been human if he did not gather some 
satisfaction from the fall of the ^^ Rulers of the Court.'" 
They had despised his counsel, scoffed at his warn- 
ings, and disbelieved his prophecies. But the utter 
failure of their policy of compromise now proved 
that he possessed more political wisdom and foresight 
than they did. He was the only man in the country 
who seems to have abated no jot of hope for the 
future of the Reformed religion. He possibly saw 
in the present crisis a clearing of the air and a 
paving of the way for an honest policy which might 
yet end in success. He was well aware of Mary's 
correspondence with the Pope and the heads of 
Catholic countries, and it was with that knowledge in 
his mind that he preached in St. Giles' on the 19th 
of August a sermon which, under the thin veil of 
Old Testament incidents and characters, depicted 
the politiceJ situation of the hour. 

Damley was at church that Sunday. He would 
seem to have been Protestant or Catholic at will. 


and besides it was the policy of the Queen to keep, 
outwardly at least, on good tenns with the Reformed 
party. Knox himself admits that the service lasted 
an hour longer than usual This may account for 
the restlessness which the King is said to have 
displayed, but however dull and uninteresting he 
may have thought the sermon the following passages 
must have startled him into attention. ^* The same 
justice remaineth in God to punish thee Scotland, 
and thee Edinbiurgh in especial, that before punished 
Judah and the city of Jerusalem, for this is the only 
cause why God taketh away the strong man and the 
man of war, the judge and the prophet, the prudent 
and the aged, the captain and the honourable, the 
councillor and the cunning artificer.^ The banish- 
ment of the Protestant Lords was thus alluded to, 
and Damley and the Queen were distinctly referred 
to in what follows. *^ And I will appoint, saith the 
Lord, children to be their princes, and babes shall 
rule over thenL Children are extortioners of my 
people and women have rule over them.^ The 
King, we are told, was so moved at this sermon that 
^ he would not dine, and being troubled with a great 
fury he passed in the afternoon to the hawking.^ 
Knox was roused from his bed that same evening to 
appear before the Council, which suspended him from 
preaching in Edinburgh ^^ during such time that 
their Majesties should remain there.*" 

The stay of the King and Queen in the capital was 
not long. In a week they were at the head of an army. 


marching west to put down the revolt of the 
Protestant Lords, so Knox was permitted to resmne 
his old duties. The Queen on this, as on every 
other, occasion acted with great promptitude and 
courage. She rode at the head of an army ^^ in a steel 
cap, with pistols at her saddlebow.^ The rebel Lords, 
afraid to meet her, rode into Edinburgh on the 31st 
August 1565. Knox on this very day was preparing 
for publication the sermon which he had preached 
on the 19th of the same month. The Castle guns 
opened fire on the rebels, and he writes : " The terrible 
roaring of the guns and the noise of cu'mour do so 
pierce my heart that my soul thirsteth to depart^ 

Little encouragement was given by the citizens 
of Edinburgh to the Protestant Lords and their 
thirteen hundred followers. Moray and his friends 
sought refuge in England ; Elizabeiii gave them but 
a cold reception, and Mary^s authority for the time 
being was supreme. 

The turn which events had taken brought trouble 
on more than the fallen Rulers. Their defeat in- 
volved the Church in a series of misfortunes which 
threatened at the time to prove fatal Among 
those upon whom the blow fell most heavily were 
the clergy, whose stipends were not paid. Tliey, as 
a consequence, were in dire povei*ty, and some of 
them were compelled to give up their charges and 
others to eke out a livelihood by engaging in secular 
work. Young lads who were looking forward to the 
ministry of the Church were forced to relinquish 


their ambition and to take to some employment 
that promised more substantial reward. Knox was 
distressed at the sufferings of those who ought to 
have been in comfortable circumstances if a tithe of 
the property which belonged to the Church had been 
granted for their support. 

This was one of the chief questions considered at 
the Assembly that year, and Knox during its sittings 
wrote two letters, one to the ministers and another 
to the congregations, exhorting the former not "to 
faint suddenly even in the brunt of the battle ^ ; and 
admonishing the latter to prove their faith by their 
Christian liberality. " Let us therefore,^ he remarks, 
"Let us therefore begin to reverence the blessed 
£v€uigel of our salvation. Reverence and magnify it 
we cannot when that we suffer the true preachers 
thereof to be oppressed with poverty before our 
eyes, and yet we shut up the bowels of mercy from 
them.^ Rumours also were afloat that the Catholic 
Powers were about to combine in a general attack on 
Protestantism, and Mary it was known was a willing 
party to the league. " With the help of Grod and 
your Holiness,^ she wrote to the Pope, " I will leap 
over the dyke.^ 

In view of these present troubles and ominous signs 
the General Assembly determined on a public Fast. 
Three reasons were given for this important step: 
the abounding sin in "all estates'"; "the great 
hunger, famine, and oppression of the poor ^ ; and the 
sad condition of their co-religionists "in France, 


Flanders, and other parts.^ Knox now, as at all 
times, made himself the champion of the poor. He 
did not spare the new lairds, Protestants for the 
most part, who had dispossessed the ancient Church. 
He charges them with being far more tyrannical 
and oppressive than the clergy of the Romish Church 
had ever been. It was no argument for a landlord 
to say, ^^ I may do with my own as best pleaseth me.^ 
The tenant and the labourer, according to Knox, 
had inherent rights and interests in the land equal 
to that of the proprietor himself. He had failed to 
nationalise the possessions of the ancient Church, but 
he did not relinquish his belief that they belonged 
to the people, and that they should be under the 
trusteeship of the Reformed Church for the support 
of the three great objects, religion, education, and 
the poor. He calls upon the landlords to let their 
faith express itself in works. ^^We see no good 
reason,^ he says, ^^why it should be thought 
impossible that men should begin to express in their 
lives that which, in word they have publicly 
professed.^ These are some of the passages in the 
order, drawn up by Knox for the General Fast, 
fixed for the b^inning of March. He saw in the 
present distress and suffering the judgment of the 
Almighty on the people for their sins, and he calls 
upon them with no uncertain voice to put them- 
selves right, by confession, in the eyes of Grod; to 
amend iiieir lives; and to do unto others as they 
would have others do unto them. 


Calvinism is accused of being a mere intellectual 
sjTstem of doctrine^ provocative of hypocrisy, and 
with no relation to personal conduct and life. If 
that be so, then Knox was not a Calvinist Creed 
and conduct could not in his mind be separated; 
they were interdependent, and failure on the part of 
one brought discredit on the other. Knox im- 
mediately after this would seem to have gone to the 
south on a preaching tour. This he was charged to 
do by the Church. It was probably thought by his 
friends that his life was not safe in the capita, and 
he was instructed to remain ^so long as occasion 
might suffer.'' 



TT was during these months, when Knox was 
X absent, that the plot was hatched for the murder 
of Rizzio. Morton declares that the Reformer had 
*'* neither art nor part ^ in it. That we can well be- 
lieve. He did not love the shedding of blood, and 
no one ever su£Pered the last penalty because of him. 
He despised Rizzio, speaks contemptuously of him as 
that " vile knave Davie," that " great abuser of this 
commonwealth," and he would have been quite 
wiUinir that the country should be got rid of him by 

the Scottish nobles at that time. Assassination was 
openly accepted as a legitimate method of getting 
quit of a dangerous or obnoxious opponent. Rizzio 
had made himself intolerable by his arrogance, and 
Mary acted with the most fatal imprudence in 
showering favours on him and raising him to the 
highest position at the Court Her marked pre- 
ference for him also roused the jealousy of her 
husband, Damley, who entered into the plot with 



the Earl of Morton, Lord Lindsay, and the Lord 
Ruthven to get rid of the Italian adventurer at 
whatever cost. The murder took place on the 
evening of Saturday the 9th of March. Damley 
entered the Queen'^s Cabinet, where she was at supper 
with Rizzio and her half-sister, the Countess of 
Argyle. The King was soon followed by Ruthven, 
and he by others, and Rizzio was done to death 
before Mary's very eyes. 

Little was gained at the time by those who were 
most active in the plot. Mary acted with great 
determination. She at once talked Damley over, 
detached him from the rest of the conspirators, and 
escaped with him to Dunbar. A week after she 
returned to the capital (18th of March) with a 
considerable following, and surrounded by the 
Catholic and several of the Protestant Lords. 
Mary^s energy and courage on this occasion were 
worthy of the race from which she sprang. Shortly 
after her arrival in the country, when fighting the 
Earl of Huntly, she expressed to the English 
Ambassador her regret that ^^ she was not a man to 
know what life it was, to lie all night in the fields, 
or to walk on the causeway with a jack and knap- 
schalle, a Glasgow buckler and a broadsword.^ 

In place of weakening Mary^s position and 
strengthening that of Damley by the murder of 
Rizzio, Morton and his fellow-conspirators found 
that they had accomplished quite the reverse. The 
Queen had talked over her weak husband, but she 


despised him heartily for his recent conduct, and her 
contempt for him was soon to pass into hatred. His 
fellow-acoomplices also turned upon him, for he had 
betrayed them to the Queen. They sought safety in 
flight. The Protestant cause now lacked the support 
which the presence of its chief leaders would have 
given it, and Mary and the Catholic party were 
accordingly in the ascendant. 

Knox at this time also left the capital On the 
17th of March 1566 he turned his steps towards 
Ayrshire, departing "of the burgh at two hours 
afternoon with a great mourning of the godly of 
religion." Five days before he had penned, "with 
deliberate mind to his God," his famous Confession, 
prefacing it with the prayer, " Lord Jesus receive my 
spirit, and put an end at Thy good pleasure to this 
my miserable life, for justice and truth are not to be 
found among the sons of men." In the month of 
June an event of great national importance took 
place. On the 19th of that month Mary gave birth 
to a son in the Castie of Edinburgh. This child had 
a great destiny before him. It was reserved for him 
to realise the dream of his mother: the union, 
under him as monarch, of the two kingdoms of 
England and Scotland. 

The quarrel between Mary and Damley grew 
more bitter, and became a scandal to the whole of 
Europe. The Queen, who would seem never to have 
been able to continue for any length of time without 
committing her heart to the care of someone, how- 


ever unworthy, began now to look with favour upon 
the Earl of Bothwell, who was ultimatelj to prove 
her ruin. He was a noble of the swash-buckler 
order, rash and venturesome, and the very last man 
to guide with wisdom the troubled affairs of 
Scotland In the eyes of Knox he possessed two 
redeeming qualities: he was a Protestant, and the 
head of the House to which Knox^s family were 
feudally related. It was probably for these reasons 
that he used his influence on behalf of the Reformed 
Church. Certainly while he was in favour better 
treatment was meted out to the ministers, who 
received as a gift, but not as a right, a part of their 

On the 23rd of December an event took place 
which caused the greatest consternation among the 
Protestants. On that date the Archbishop of St. 
Andrews was restored to full Consistorial jurisdiction. 
The General Assembly which met in December 
instructed Knox to rouse the Protestant nobles to 
a sense of the great danger that threatened them, 
and he also wrote an epistle, on his own account, 
to the adherents of Protestantism throughout the 
country, awakening them to a full realisation of the 
significance of the act which the Queen had done. 
At the same Assembly Knox was commissioned to 
^^ address a letter to the pastors and bishops of 
England, in which in name of the Reformed Scottish 
Church he besought them to deal tenderly with the 
consciences of their brethren.^ He at the same time 










determined to visit England. The object of his 
journey was partly, no doubt, to commune with and 
strengthen those who were being troubled by recent 
ecclesiastical enactments, chiefly affecting ritual 
No record is left of this journey, but he would most 
likely visit Berwick, possibly Newcastle, and other 
places associated with his early ministry in the sister 

Knox had much need of this holiday, for since his 
return to Scotland, seven years before, he had laboured 
with an energy, zeal, and perseverance that would 
have taxed a much stronger constitution than his. 
He had taken the foremost part in carrying through 
the Reformation, with its accompanying Revolution ; 
and in addition to his multifarious labours as 
preacher of the Gospel and minister of St. 6iles\ he 
had to carry the heavy responsibility of initiating 
and guiding the course of events towards a definite 
end. For several years, when deserted by his old 
associates, he had to fight the battle of Protestantism 
with almost no man of mark behind him ; and were it 
not that he had roused the commons of Scotland to 
a sense of their religious and civil birthright, the 
cause which he championed must have been lost. 
With a wise prescience he fostered the Protestant 
religion in the chief towns and counties, and when, 
shortly after this date, the decision as to which 
religion was to triumph had to be taken, pubUc 
opinion was found to be on his side. His duties as 
minister of Edinbiurgh were in themselves sufficient 


for any ordinary man. When we consider the 
number of sermons that he preached weekly, their 
inordinate length, the meetings of his elders and 
deacons which he faithfully attended, the demands 
made upon his time and thought by seekers after 
truth, and others who were troubled in their con- 
science or by domestic or worldly affairs, our 
surprise is that he was able to bear up under it all, 
and to perform his various tasks not only with 
faithfulness but distinction. 

But during all these years, indeed ever since 
1559, he had another work on hand, one that in 
itself would have been sufficient for an ordinary 
man: that was the writing of his famous History 
of the Reformation, After the Lords of the Con- 
gr^ation had set themselves seriously to the reform 
of religion they found that their purpose and 
conduct were being misrepresented. Foreign nations 
were forming false opinions of them, through garbled 
reports sent by unfriendly hands. The leaders of 
the movement felt it to be their duty to put them- 
selves right in the eyes of the world, and com- 
missioned Knox to do this for them by giving a 
fedthful account, day by day, of their proceedings. 
This he did in the second and third books of his 
History. In addition he wrote an introductory 
book and also a supplementary one, the first and 
fourth. It is fortunate for us that he did so, for 
they are by far the most interesting. In the first 
we get the measure of the author as an historian. 





and in the fourth his personality is fully revealed. 
Were it not for the latter book Knox would not 
be the man he is in the hearts of Scotsmen. It 
is unconsciously autobiographical; and the vivid, 
forcible, and, at times, humorous sketches which he 
gives of incidents, characters, and encounters of a 
warlike and more pacific nature, make the period 
and the meh that he describes live before us. It 
is not at all unlikely that .he gave the finishing 
touches to his History while he was in England. 
In any case, during his stay a few months earlier 
in Kyle he wrote the preface to the fourth book. 
The fifth book was not written by him. He may 
have prepared the notes for it, but in its actual 
composition he had no part. 

While Knox was absent in England events of 
the first importance were happening in Scotland. 
The breach between Mary and Damley had become 
wider, the relations between the Queen and Bothwell 
closer, and the final outcome was the murder of 
the King at Kirk o"^ Field, near Edinburgh, on the 
10th of February 1667. This dreadful crime caused 
the utmost consternation. Suspicion at once fixed 
on Bothwell, and his marriage with Mary on the 
15th of May implicated her also in the tragedy. 
The national sense was shocked by this union. To 
make their marriage possible Bothwell had to procure 
a divorce from his wife, and as this was obtained 
from the Archbishop of St Andrews the reason 
for the restoration of the Consistorial powers of 


that prelate was at once seen. The noUes rose 
up in revolt against Mary and Bothwell, took the 
former prisoner at Carberry Hill, led her to Edin- 
burgh amid the scofib and jeers of the populace, 
and finally on ^the 16th of June confined her in 
Loch Leven Castle, where she remained till the 
2nd of May 1568, when she made her escape. Both 
Mary and Bothwell were believed by the people 
to be guilty of the murder of Damley. This 
conviction tiioroughly roused the commons, who 
judged her condemned by the laws of Grod and 
of the nation. Knox^s strenuous labours now bore 
fruit in the injured conscience of the community ; 
and while the nobles for the most part were inclined 
to forgive and forget, the people would do neither, 
but were determined that no one suspected of 
murder, and who afterwards married her paramour, 
should reign over them. 

The country was now without any govenmient, 
and the only body that could act was the General 
Assembly. It was convened to meet on the 25th 
of June, and Knox returned from England in order 
to be present, but as the attendance was small it 
was decided that another meeting should be held 
on the 26th of July. No Assembly of equal 
importance had been held since the Reformed 
religion had been set up. It was the channel 
through which the national mind was to express 
itself, and upon it hung the fate of Mary. It must 
have appeared to Knox that all for wUch he had 


been so long contending was to be achieved at last. 
He held the Queen to be guilty, and stirred the 
people to a sense of her iniquity and of the 
national shame which that inquity entailed. The 
Assembly, so far as its power went, dethroned Mary, 
reaffirmed the Acts of 1560 establishing the new 
religion, and received an assurance from the Lords 
present that at the first meeting of the Estates 
Parliamentary assent should be given to all that 
had been done in the interests of the Church. 

Enox^s triumph was not yet absolute. The final 
victory was won when, on the 29th of July, the 
infant Prince was crowned at Stirling, Knox preaching 
the sermon. On the 23nd of August the Earl of 
Moray returned to act as Regent. The government 
of the country was now in capable hands ; and Knox, 
between whom and the Earl the old friendship was 
resumed, would feel that the Reformed religion had 
triumphed at last. Parliament met on the 15th of 
December ; Knox preached the opening sermon, and 
the Estates ratified afresh all that the Reformer had 
contended for. Knox and his colleagues put forth 
their whole strength to rally the people round the 
new government, and their efforts met with so marked 
success that those nobles who had stood aloof were 
compelled to come in and support the government of 
the R^ent. Indeed, matters looked so promising 
that the Assembly which met on the S5th of 
December was able to write in the foUowing hopeful 
strain to John Willock, then in England, and whom 



thej invited to return to Scotland to take his share 
in the task that was almost completed : ^^ Our enemies, 
praise be God, are dashed, religion established, 
suiBdent provision made for ministers, order taken 
and penalty appointed for all sort of transgression 
and transgressors. And above all, a godly magistrate, 
whom God of His Eternal and heavenly Providence 
hath reserved to this age to put in execution whatso- 
ever He by His law commandeth.^ 

Although the cause of the Reformation was 
practically won, there were many serious troubles 
ahead which the writers of this optimistic letter did 
not foresee. Moray^s government after all was very 
unstable. Though it was ^^broad-based upon the 
people^s will,^ it had many secret and open foes to 
contend against both in Scotland and in England. 
The Hamiltons could never forgive Moray the slight 
cast upon their House by his R^ency, and Elizabeth 
was not in a mood to support those whom she 
regarded as rebels against their Queen. 

Mary^s party were far from idle, and on the 2nd 
of May 1568 they contrived her escape from Loch 
Leven Castle. The Battle of Langside was fought 
a fortnight afterwards; Maxy was a frigitive in 
England, and Moray^s triumph seemed complete. 
Knox, however, was not so hopefrd. In letters 
written by him at this time traces are found not 
only of pessimism r^arding the friture of his country, 
but of decaying strength in himself. Until now his 
outlook had remained hopefrd, but old age was 


claiming him at last, and with it came that lack of 
energy which advancing years usually bring. His 
forebodings were fulfilled in the assassination of the 
R^ent on the SSrd of January 1570, and his grief 
was intensified by the fact that tiie assassin, Hamiltoii 
of Bothwellhaugh, had been pardoned by the Regent 
on his intercession. At the funeral of Moray Knox 
preached the sermon from the text, ^^ Blessed are the 
dead which die in the Lord,^ and it is recorded that 
he moved ^^ three thousand persons to shed tears for 
the loss of such a good and godly governor.^ 

The death of Moray was indeed irreparable to the 
country, and particidarly to Knox. He was the 
spiritual child of the Reformer ; his splendid powers 
had grown and developed under the approving eye of 
Knox. They were bound together by a common cause 
and hope. In their patriotism and policy, religion 
and character, they were one. Moray was a bom 
ruler, his prudence equalled his judgment, and his 
eneigy was only outstripped by his zeaL Scotland 
does well to remember him ; and the popular judg- 
ment, which in the end seldom errs, has ever regarded 
him as the " Grood Regenf 



KNOX'S public work was now practically over, 
and his ministry in Edinburgh was coming 
to an end. The two years of life still left him 
were clouded by the civil war into which his country 
had been plunged. Between the parties of the King 
and Queen there was a bitter struggle ; fiiends, and 
even families, were divided, and no Scotsman can look 
back upon the period without regret and sorrow. In 
addition to the distress caused by the unsatisfiGustory 
condition of public affairs, Knox was also wounded 
by unscrupulous maligners who tried to injure his 
character and discredit his policy. He was the less 
able now to withstand such attacks, for in the 
autumn of this year he had a stroke of apoplexy 
which impeded his speech for some time. 

He still displayed his old spirit, and repelled the 
attacks with scorn ; and when the zeal of others was 
slackening he ceased not to inveigh firom the pulpit 
against the Queen, and to declare that all the 
troubles from which the country was at that time 


suffering were due to the leniency which they had 
displayed towards her who, he was thoroughly 
convinced, was guilty of the most heinous crimes. 
At the Meeting of the Assembly in March of that 
year libels against Knox were dropped on to the 
floor, or stuck on the door, inciting the members to 
condemn him for refusing to pray for the Queen, and 
calling upon him to justify his support of Elizabeth 
in view of the opinions against female rule advocated 
in the notorious Fir^ Blast. 

These, after all, were but pin-pricks, which in the 
days of his hardy manhood would not have affected 
him much, nor are there many signs of their havmg 
disturbed him greatly now. A more serious cause 
of dejection was found in the fact that his old 
comrade and fiiend, Kirkcaldy of Grange, had 
forsaken him and joined the party of the Queen. 
Grange and he had been together in the Castle of 
St. Andrews, were fellow-prisoners in the French 
galleys, and had afterwards worked hand in hand 
in promoting the Reformation. Grange, who was 
a capable soldier and a staunch Protestant, was 
entrusted by the R^ent with the charge of Edin- 
burgh Castle, one of the most important posts in 
the country. Even prior to Moray^'s death Kirkcaldy 
showed signs of defection, which is supposed to have 
been due to the wUes of Lethington, who wm a 
strong Queen^s man, and as an inmate of the Castle 
had talked Kirkcaldy over. Knox had refrained 
from inakii>g any public reference to Eirkcald/s 


conduct, but when the Captain of the Castle stormed 
the Tolbooth and liberated one of his own followers 
who had been imprisoned on a charge of man- 
slaughter, Knox felt that even old fiiendship could 
not demand his silence, and he broke out the 
following Sunday in the pulpit of St. Giles^ into no 
measured condemnation of Grangers deed. Kirk- 
caldy, to whom a garbled account of the discourse 
had been conveyed, demanded that public reparation 
should be made by Ejiox, and even went the length 
of accusing him before the Session of maligning his 
character. Knox had no difficulty in meeting this 
attack. The true version of what he said was 
enough to refute the charges of Kirkcaldy. 

The adherents of the Queen were now flocking to 
Edinburgh, and finding welcome shelter in the Castle. 
The King^s party, under Lennox, who had been 
appointed Regent, were stationed at Leith. A 
conflict seemed imminent. The fiiends of Knox 
were alarmed lest any harm should befall him, for 
the Castle gims commanded the city, and cannons 
had been posted on the steeple of St. Giles\ the 
largest of them being christened by the soldiers 
^^ John Knox.**^ Friends in Ayrshire, who had heard 
that Grange was threatening Knox^s life, wrote to 
the Captain of the Castle warning him against any 
attack on Knox^s person, and recalling to his mind 
the great work which the Reformer had accomplished. 
Friends in Edinburgh besought him to leave the 
city, and Grange even offered him the shelter of the 


Castle. Knox steadily resisted all appeals; but a 
shot fired into his house, and which might have 
proved fatal if he had been occupjdng his usual 
seat, was significant of the intention of the more evil- 
minded of his enemies, so on the 5th of May 1571 
he departed from Edinburgh and crossed to Fife. 

After stajong for a short time at Abbotshall, near 
Kirkcaldy, he pursued his journey to St. Andrews, 
which he reached in the banning of July 1571. 
He was accompanied by his wife and family, and 
made arrangements for his temporary settlement in 
the " cold grey city by the sea." He was safe in St. 
Andrews from the cannon of Edinburgh Castle, but 
he was not to experience that peace which his soul 
desired, for, whatever it may be now, St Andrews was 
then a hot-bed of cliques, ecclesiastical and academ- 
ical, and Knox was dragged into the squabbles in 
which the leading citizens seemed to find their chief 
delight. Of the three collies which comprised the 
University, St. Leonardos was the only one which 
favoured the Reformation ; and the city, as a whole, 
was divided in its allegiance between the old fSeuth 
and the new. 

Pen portraits showing what Knox was like during 
the two last years of his life have been left us by 
Richard Bannatjme and James Melville. The former 
was Knox^s secretary and personal attendant, and the 
latter was a student in St. Leonardos Collie at the 
time when the Reformer was resident in St. Andrews. 
Melville gives a graphic description of Ejiox^s 


appearances in St. Andrews at this time. ^* But of 
all the benefits I had that year,'" he says, ^^ was the 
coming of that most notaUe prophet and apostle of 
our nation, Mr. John Knox, to St. Andrews, who, 
by the faction of the Queen occupjdng the Castle and 
Town of Edinburgh, was compelled to remove there- 
from, with a number of the best, and chose to come 
to St. Andrews. I heard him teach there the 
prophecy of Daniel that summer and winter follow- 
ing. I had my pen and my little 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 to application he made 
me so to grew and tremble that I could not hold a 
pen to write. . . . Mr. Knox would sometime come 
in and repose him in our collie yard and call us 
scholars unto him, and bless us and exhort us to know 
Grod 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. ... I saw him every day of his doctrine 
go slowly and warily, with a furring of martrix about 
his neck, a staff in the one hand, and good godly 
Richard Bannatyne, his servant, holding up the 
other oxter, from the Abbey to the Parish Kirk, and 
by the said Richard and another servant lifted up to 
the pulpit, where he behoved to lean at his first 
entry, but ere he had done with his sermon he was 
so active and vigorous that he was like to ding that 
pulpit in blads and flie out of it.^ 


Knox still kept a watchful eye on domestic and 
foreign affairs, and though ^^ half deid,^ as he himself 
expresses it, was quite alive to, and deeply interested 
in, all that was passing. Accordingly when in 157S 
Morton introduced his new policy of creating bishops, 
Knox resisted him to the utmost of his power. It is 
possible that the Earl experienced some difficulty in 
finding sufficient money to carry on the war against 
the Queen's party, and it is not at all unlikely, be- 
sides, that, in keeping with his grasping nature, he 
wished to add to his own possessions. In any case 
he was determined to lay his hands on what remained 
of the Churches property, and to accomplish this with 
a seeming compliance to the law and constitution he 
introduced what is known as ^^Tulchan Bishops.**^ 
In other words, while bishops were to be appointed 
to the various Sees, their salaries were to be nominal, 
and Morton for one would pocket the original 
stipend. It was a mean device, and no one can 
r^ret its ultimate fiailure. 

The first to receive the revived honour was John 
Douglas, the Rector of the University, who was 
nominated Archbishop of St. Andrews. Morton, 
afraid lest the appointment might miscarry, was 
present at the service. Wynram preached the sermon, 
and Knox was asked by the Earl to deliver the 
ordination charge. He refused, and would take no 
part in the inauguration of the new Bishop. Knox 
experienced now a repetition of the pin-pricks which 
in Edinburgh, a short time previously, galled without 


wounding him. He never could foigive the 
Hamiltons for their conduct during the R^ency of 
Mofay, nor could he forget that it was one of that 
name and house who was the R^ent^s assassin. There 
was a Hamilton in St. Andrews at this time who 
did his best to discredit the Reformer, and who 
charged him with being one of the signatories to the 
plot for the murder of Rizado. Knox immediately 
brought him to his senses, but the calumniator pursued 
Knox after his death with vile charges which, dis- 
believed then, are now all but forgotten. 

It was at this time also that Knox published 
his reply to the Jesuit Tjrrie. This learned and 
Catholic Scotsman, who had been specially trained 
in Rome for the purpose, attacked the Reformed 
religion in a letter sent to his brother. The pro- 
duction having fedlen into Ejiox^s hands, he immedi- 
ately set himself to reply to the charges point by 
point. This was in 1566, and now in St. Andrews, 
in 1572, he publishes the piece with a preface and 
appendix, which may be regarded as his literary 
farewell to the world. It is evident that he was not 
altogether satisfied with his residence in St. Andrews 
at this time, and that he felt the petty squabbles in 
which he had been involved. It is only on this 
ground that we can account for the letter which he 
addressed to the Assembly which met in Perth in 
the beginning of August. In his communication he 
charges the Church to keep a watchful eye on the 
Universities, and on no account to permit them to 


escape from its controL Such a warning would be 
unneeded now. The Universities have been practically 
liberated from the government of the Church, but it 
is an open question whether the new relations in which 
they have been placed is more to their advantage. 

Knox left St. Andrews on the 17th of August. A 
truce prevailed between the two parties of the King 
and Queen, the citizens were returning to Edinburgh, 
and Enox^s own congregation wished him back. Craig, 
his colleague, was not giving satis&ction. He was 
suspected of being in sjrmpathy with the Castle. On 
the 4th of August Commissioners came to Knox 
requesting his return. He complied, and preached 
in St. Giles^ on the last Sunday of the month. 
Knox was nothing loth to leave St. Andrews. He 
had not been particularly happy there, and his 
heart was in Edinburgh. There he would be with 
his own congregation, and he would also be in 
touch with public affairs. He was not able, how- 
ever, to preach in the great church, as his shattered 
health made it impossible for him to stand the 
strain. He had to conduct the service in the Tol- 
booth, a part of the church which from its limited 
size enabled him to preach with the hope of being 
heard by the congregation. One of his first acts 
after his retiun was the appointment of a colleague 
and successor. Craig had now deserted him, and 
Knox, who knew that his end could not be long 
delayed, was most anxious to have the place filled at 
the earliest moment. Choice fell upon Lawson, Sub- 


Principal of Aberdeen University. Knox urged him 
to come at once, that they might ^^ confer together 
of heavenly things.'' "Haste," he adds, "lest ye 
come too late." In due course Lawson was inducted 
to his new office, and Knox now could turn his mind 
to other things. 

An event of deep significance and far-reaching 
consequence now occurred in the Massacre of St. 
Bartholomew, which caused the greatest consternation 
all over Europe. Knox at once took advantage of 
it to strengthen the cause of Protestantism, and the 
result was that, mainly through his efibrts, a league 
was entered into by Scotland, England, and otlier 
Protestant countries, against Roman Catholicism. 

Mary was still the cause of great trouble, and 
Elizabeth was finding her, though a prisoner, a 
disturbing factor in the country. It would accord- 
ingly seem to have been decided that she should be 
sent back to Scotland and there tried and executed. 
Mar and Morton would appear to have agreed to 
this, nor could Knox have any objections. His 
opinion of Mary was well known; he judged her 
deserving of death. 

Killigrew, the English Agent, in writing to Cecil 
on the matter, gives a description of Knox's health 
and disposition at this time which is of considerable 
interest : " John Knox is now so feeble as scarce can 
he stand alone or speak to be heard of any audience, 
yet doth he every Sunday cause himself to be carried 
to a place where a certain number do hear him, and 


preacheth with the same vehemence and zeal that he 
ever did. He doth reverence your Lordship much, 
and willed me once again to send you word that he 
thanked Grod he had obtained at His hands that the 
Gk)spel of Jesus Christ is truly and simply preached 
throughout Scotland, which doth so comfort him as 
he now desireth to be out of this miserable life. He 
said further that it was not long of your Lordship 
that he was not a great bishop in England but that 
effect grown in Scotland, he being an instrument, 
doth much more satisfy him. He desired me to 
make his last commendations most humbly to your 
Lordship, and with all that he prayed Grod to increase 
His strong spirit in you, saying, ^ There was never 
more need ^ ; and quoth he to me, ^ Take heed how ye 
believe them of the Castle, for sure they wiU deceive 
you, and trust me I know they seek nothing more 
than the ruin of your Mistress, which they have been 
about for a long time.^ ''^ 

On November the 9th (1572) Knox preached 
his last sermon. It was at the induction of his 
colleague Mr. Lawson in St. 6iles\ He was so 
feeble that he scarcely could be heard. After the 
benediction was pronounced he made homewards, 
followed by the congregation and leaning on his staff. 
He reached his house in the Netherbow and never 
again left it. On the 11th he was attacked by a 
severe cough, his breathing became difficult, and 
feeling that the end was near he called one of his 
servants and paid him his wages, with the words, 


" Thou wilt never get no more from me in this life." 
Hb mind now began to wander. On Friday, think- 
ing it was Sunday, he wished to go to church to 
preach "on the resurrection.'' On Saturday when 
two friends called he ordered a hogshead of wine to 
be pierced in their honour, and urged them to drink, 
and to continue sending for it as long as it lasted, as 
he himself would " never tarry until it was drunken.'* 

On Monday the 17th he called the oflSce-bearers 
of St. Giles' around him, and in solemn words re- 
viewed his ministry and bade farewell to them alL 
Lethington in the Castle was the cause of much 
dispeace to Knox diuing his last days on earth. 
The Secretary complained to the Kirk Session that 
Ejiox had slandered him as an "enemy to all 
religion," and with having said "that heaven and 
hell are things devised to fray bairns." Accompany- 
ing the complaint was a demand for evidence or 
apology. Knox was too weak to reply, as he other- 
Mrise would have done, but he appealed to all who 
heard him if Lethington's actions did not bear out 
all that he had said. For Kirkcaldy of Grange, 
Lethington's companion in the Castle, he felt much 
pity, for he knew that he was but the tool of the 
Secretary, and he made a last effort, through 
Lindsay, the minister of Leith, to induce him to 
give up the Castle and join his old friends, warning 
him at the same time of what would happen unless 
this advice were followed. 

He could not now speak except with great pain. 


Everyone knew that his end could not be long 
delayed, and his friends, one after another, called to 
take the last farewell The nobles in Edinburgh, 
Ruthven, Morton, Boyd, and Lindsay, spent a few 
moments at his bedside. Morton, who was soon to 
be R^ent, was asked if he had been privy to the 
murder of Damley, and receiving a reply in the 
negative, Knox spoke out in his usual plain manner, 
charging him to use his position and influence better 
in time to come ^^ than you have done in time past. 
K so you do, God shall bless and honour you, but if 
you do it not, Grod shall spoil you of these benefits, 
and your end shall be ignominy and shame.^ 
Women too, " devout and honourable,'' came for the 
last look and word. To one of them who praised 
him for his work he replied with a flash of the old 
spirit, " Tongue, tongue, lady, flesh of itself is 
overproud and needs no means to esteem itself.'' 

On Friday the Slst he ordered Bannatyne to 
have his coflin prepared. On the Sunday he tJiought 
the end had come. His last night on earth was 
spent in a spiritual wrestle, Satan tempting him to 
trust in his own works, but through the grace of 
God he gained the victory. On Monday the S4fth 
he called to his wife, ^^ Go read where I cast my first 
anchor." She tinned to the 17th chapter of John. 
After this he fell into a disturbed slumber. Shortly 
after ten the evening prayers were read. When 
finished, they asked him if he had heard. ^^ Would 
to God," he answered, ^* that you and all men had 


heard them as I have heard them.^ Towards elev^i 
o^clock he gave a deep sigh and said, ^^Now it is 
come.^ Bannatyne drew near and asked for one 
sign that he heard the words of comfort which he 
had just spoken to him, and which the Reformer 
himself had so often declared to others. Knox, as if 
*^ collecting his whole strength,^ lifted his hand, and 
without apparent struggle passed peacefully away. 
On Wednesday following, the ^th, he was buried 
immediately to the south of St. Giles^ CSiurch. The 
R^ent Morton, standing by the grave, gave him 
an *^ honourable testimony,^ and pronounced the 
memorable eulogy, "Here lies one who neither 
flattered nor feared any flesh.'*' 

What was the personal appearance of this man 
who holds the highest place in the esteem of all 
Scotsmen? A contemporary, one Peter Young, 
Buchanan's assistant in the alucation of James vl, 
thus describes it in a letter to Beza : — 

"In stature he was slightly under the middle 
height, of well-knit and graceful figure, with shoulders 
somewhat broad, longish fingers, head of moderate 
size, hair black, complexion somewhat dark, and 
general appearance not unpleasing. In his stem 
and severe countenance there was a natural dignity 
and majesty, not without a certain grace, and in 
anger there was an air of command on his brow. 
Under a somewhat narrow forehead his brows stood 
out under a slight ridge over his ruddy and slightly 
swelling cheeks, so that his eyes seemed to retreat 


into his head. The colour of his eyes was bluish- 
grey, their glance keen and animated, his face was 
rather long, his nose of more than ordinary length, 
the mouth large, the lips full, the upper a little 
thicker than the lower, his black beard mingled with 
grey, a span and a half long and moderately thick.^ 
Such was the man in outward appearance, and the 
history of Scotland, political, social, and religious, 
from then till now, has been but an unfolding of 
what he was in heart and mind and spirit; and 
it has borne ample testimony to the Reformer'^s own 
confident hope when he said, "What I have been 
to my country albeit this ungrateful age will not 
know, yet the ages to come will be compelled to 
bear witness to the truth.'' 




CONSmERABLE interest has lateljr been mani- 
fested in the date of Knox^s birth, but as 
only a few years, after all, are in dispute, and as 
no one believes that any point of vital importance 
hanffs on the issue, the discussion may be safely left 
^ in the hands of the contending critics. Some sig- 
nificance may of course attach to the question m 
view of the auater-centenary celebration of the 
Reformer's birtn having been arranged to take place 
this year, but unless something more convincing 
than anything that has yet been said against the 
traditionary view appears, the Churches may proceed 
with their preparations without any misgiving. 

1. The authorities primarily involved in the 
question are four in number, two on each side. 
For the 1505 date there are Spottiswoode and David 
Buchanan; for a later date Beza and Sir Peter 
Young. Now the first important fact that emerges 
is that Spottiswoode and Buchanan agree, ^He 
died,'' sa)rs Spottiswoode, "the twenty -seventh of 
November, in the sixty -seventh year of his age.'' 
"He departed," writes Buchanan, "about eleven 



hours at night, the 67 years of his ace,^ and 
in an earlier part of his biographical sketdi of 
Knox he says that the Reformer was bom in ^^ the 
year of Christ ISOS."" But Beza and Sir Peter 
Young disagree. Beza in his IconeSj published in 
Greneva in 1580, says that Knox died in his fifty- 
seventh year (guinquaginta septem annorumX and Sir 
Peter Young m a letter to Beza, discovered in the 
Ducal Library at Grotha, and printed in Dr. Hume 
Brown^s Life of Knox^ says that the Reformer died 
in his fifty-ninth year — Decessit undesexagesimo 
setatis anno. 

2. Spottiswoode and Buchanan wrote jfidg^endi^n^i^ 
of each other. Spottiswoode died in 1689, and as 
Buchanfim^s edition of Knox'^s History was not 
published till 1644, he could not have had that 
work before him, nor could Buchanan have seen 
Spottiswoode^s History^ which was not published till 
1655. Professor Cowan^s attempt (Jthenceum^ 
December 3, 1904) to prove, from internal evidence, 
that Buchanan had Spottiswoode^s MS. before him 
is too far-fetched to be of much weight. Because 
both authors speak of Knox as being bom of 
^^ honest parentage,^ the one he thinks must have 
copied fex)m the other. Everyone, of course, knows 
that this was almost a stereotyped phrase to which 
no one could claun an original or prescriptive right 
Beza and Sir Peter Yoimg did not write inde- 
pendently of each other, fieza, according to Dr. 
Hay Fleming (Scotsman, May 27, 1904), had Sur 
Peter Young s letter before him when he wrote his 
lames. The letter was written 18th November 
1579, and the Icones appeared in 1580. 

S. Both Spottiswoode and Buchanan must have 


been familiar with Beza^s Icones. It was dedicated 
to King James vl, was a book well known at the 
time on account of its author and subject, yet they 
reject his statement regarding Knox^s arc. They 
must have had more reliable evidence before them. 

4. Even Beza would seem to have doubted 
Young'^s testimony, for he makes Knox out to have 
been 57 when he died, while his correspondent 
declares that he was 59. Must we fall back 
on the old view that Beza^s 57 is a misprint for 
67? This would explain his disagreement with 
Youmr, and Spottiswoode and Buchanan^s apparent 
diJ^ment Sh hinu ^^^^ 

5. Nor can there be any doubt as to who is 
the writer of greatest authority. Spottiswoode 
unquestionably is admitted on all hands to have 
more weight than Beza, and to be as a rule more 
accurate. His facts are generally admitted even by 
inimical historians, and the worst that can be said 
against him is that he was opposed to Presby- 
terianisra. But take, for instance, Beza^s ^^ Icon ^ of 
Knox. Carlyle declares it to be ^*a blotch of 
ignorant confusion,^ and he proves his assertion by 

Erinted references. Dr. Hay Fleming indulges the 
ope that Lawson^s letter to Beza, which Young told 
him was being sent, giving fuU particulars ofSnox, 
may turn up. K it does, Beza will be found guilty 
of having ignored or ^ossly misrepresented its 
contents, for we can harcUy conceive Lawson'^s send- 
ingto Geneva such a " blotch of ignorant confusion « 
as Beza s Icones. 

6. Sir Peter Young was a student at St. Andrews 
when Knox returned to Scotland in 1559, and he 
must have frequently seen the Reformer, then in the 


full vigour of his manhood, for Knox made St. 
Andrews his headquarters at iiiat time. But Young 
left for the Continent in 1562, and did not return 
again till 1568-69, the very year when Knox wrote 
to John Wood, *^ I live as a man already dead from 
all civil affairs and therefore I prsdse my God.*" 
Again that same year he writes to a friend in 
England, ^^ Are not thou (Knox) in that estate by age 
that nature itself calleth thee from the pleasure of 
things temporal.*** 

Now the Knox whom Young describes in his letter 
to Beza is not this Knox, but the Knox of 1559, 
whose imaro had been imprinted on the young 
student^s ramd. Indeed it is doubtful if Young saw 
Knox on his return from the Continent, for he was 
immediately appointed to assist Greorge Buchanan 
in tutoring the King at Stirling, "where he was 
fixed to the palace never to be taken from it unless 
by turns.*" 

Young'^s pen-portrait of Knox is of a man some- 
what turned fifty, " beard blcusk mingled with grey,'* 
ftdl of vigour, " well knit and graceful figure," — sudi 
a man as Knox was when in 1559 Young saw him 
at St. Andrews, and certainly not such a man as he 
was in 1569, a year before he had a stroke of 
apoplexy. Young, accordingly, would naturally, from 
his first and only recollection of Knox, be inchned to 
make him younger than he really was at the time of 
his death, and he could have had no special know- 
ledge of the date of the Reformer's birth. Spottis- 
woode was in a difierent position. His father, who 
was Knox's coUeague and friend, lived for a number 
of years after the Reformer's death, so that the 
future historian, though only seven when Knox died. 


would be in a position to get the most reliable infor- 
mation on the point at issue. 

7. Knox's repeated references (two of which we have 
quoted) to himself as an old man, during the closing 
years of his life, tell their own story; and such 
eminent authorities as the late Professor Mitchell 
and Dr. Hume Brown saw no reason, even with Sir 
Peter Young's letter before them, to give up the 
1505 date. 

8. The minor points mentioned by Dr. Cowan and 
Mr. Andrew Lang need not concern us much. 

(a) Beza's t^mony is regarded as weighty on 
the ground that he ^^ knew Knox for several years 
in Switzerland.'' There is no evidence for this 
assertion. There is no record of him ever having 
seen Knox. He did not ^o to Greneva until Knox 
had left it. Besides, if he knew Knox, what was the 
necessity for Sir Peter Young sending him his pen- 
portrait of the Reformer ? 

(b) Much is made of the tradition that Knox 
studied under Major in St Andrews. There is 
nothing to prove this; but, admitting it, what 
then? Does that prove that he did not study at 
Glasgow University? It does not Knox was at 
Glasgow in 15S2, and Major left Glasgow for St 
Andrews in 15^. It is possible that Knox may 
have followed him. But it is argued that Knox was 
under Major at St Andrews between 15^ and 1535, 
and the only fact given in support of this view is that 
six or seven full pages of nis History are devoted 
to events that took place in St Andrews during 
these years, about a page for each year. Surely an 
eye-witness, as Dr. Cowan alleges him to have been, 
of the events chronicled would have given more ; a 


careful searcher for £Eu:ts and documents, such as 
Knox was, could not have given less. 

(c) Nor is there anything extraordinaiy, as Mr. 
Andrew Lang alleges, in EnEx, a man of t^rt^-nine 
or forty, showing deference to George Wishart. 
Wishart^s enthusiasm and representative position are 
a sufficient explanation. Knox'^s respect for Calvin'^s 
theological eminence can be accounted for in the 
same manner. Greatness does not go by age. 

(d) To accept the later date would reduce by eight 
or ten years the blank in the first period of his ufe. 
It certamly would, but Knox does not by any means 
stand alone in this respect. There is a blank of 
twenty years in David Buchanan^s own life ; and as 
for Calderwood, the Church historian, the year of his 
birth, the place of his education, and the character 
of the family firom which he was descended are all 
unknown. The earliest ascertained fact of his life is 
his settlement in 1604 as minister at Crailing in 


Alasco, John, 205. 
All-Hallows Vicarage, 57. 
Anabaptists, 54, no, 112, 139. 
Argyle, Earl of, 108, 149, 150, 

Aristocracy, la 
Arran, Earl of, 165, 201, 229, 

239, 240. 
Arran, The Regent {see CMtel- 

herault), 20, 24, 35, 85. 
Assembly, General, 205, 206, 

2^, 240, 249, 274, 284, 

Aylmer, John, 122. 

Bahiaves, HeniY, 30, 39, 44. 
Bannatyne, Richard, 295, 303. 
Beaton, Cardinal, 20, 24, 25, 26, 

Beaton, James, Archbishop, 24. 
"Bega^ws* Summonds, The," 

140, 214. 
Berwick, Knox minister at, 41, 

49, 63, 220. 
Berwick, Treaty of, 176. 
Beza, 17, 307, 308, 309, 310, 

Bible in vernacular, 24, 

Birthplace of Knox, 13. 

Bishopric of Rochester offered 

Knox, 53. 

Black Rubric, The, 56. 

Book of Common Order, 218- 

Book of Discipline, First, 9, 15, 

200-218, 237, 241, 245, 247. 
Bothweil, Earl of, 14, 27, 239, 

Bowes, Mrs., 64, 90. 
Bowes, Marjory, 66, 67, 90, 

106, 202. 
Bowes, Richard, 64, 66. 
Brown, Dr. Hume, 44, 99^ 188, 

Buchanan, David, 307, 308, 

George, 16, 310. 

Bullinger, 55, 71, iii, 123. 

Bums, 14. 

Calder House, 96, 97. 
Calderwood, 312. 
Call to the ministry, Knox's, 32. 
Calumnies on Knox, 292, 297. 
Calvin, 5, 45, 48» 5°. 7h 7^, 76, 

78,79,83, 106,111,123, 130, 

191, 219, 236, 312. 
Calvinism in Scotland, 198, 280. 
Carlyle, 3, 9, 14, loi, 107, 117, 

Carberry HHl, 288. 

Cassillis, Earl of, 29, 243. 

Castle of St. Andrews, 18, 28, 





Catechism of Archbishop Hamil- 
ton, 88. 

Cedl, 93. "9, 1*9. i54. IS5» 

i6o, 163, 254. 300. 
Chahners, James, 138. 
Charles v., 74, 83. 
Chfttelherault, Dake of {see 

Arran), 86, 152, 253. 
Church and State, 194. 
Church of England and Re- 
formed Churches, 54. 
Church Older, The, of Geneva, 

79, 104, 219. 
CivU liberty, 268. 
Cockbum of Ormiston, 17. 
Columba, i. 
Common people, The, 34, 87, 

99, 100, 117, 140. 
Confession, Helvetic, 25, 46. 
Confession, The Scots, of 1560, 

117, 132, i86-2oa 
Confession, Westminster, 117, 

132, 188. 
Congregation, The, 156, 157, 

IM>, 167. 
Corruption of the Church, 4, 22, 

23, 87. 
Courage of Knox, 7, 42, Kg, 256. 
Covenant, The first, 136, 
Coverdale, Miles, 126. 
Cowan, Professor, 36S, 311. 
Cox, Richard, 8a 
Cranmer, Archbishop, 51, 56, 

57. 60, 73. 
Crofts, Sir James, 163, 171. 
Crown, The, and Reformation, 

Cupidity of the Nobles, 10, 185, 

216, 238, 279, 

Damley, 273, 275, 281, 287. 

Deaconate, The, 203. 

Dieppe, Knox at, 69, 70, 72, 

109, 121, 128. 
Directory of PublicWorship, 104. 

Discussion with Abbot of Cross- 

raguel, 242. 
Divine right of princes, 224, 

Don Carlos of Spain, 272. 

Douglas, Hugh, of Longniddry, 

Douglas^ohn, 186, 297. 

Drama, The, 24. 

Dunbar, 155, 282. 

Dundee, 25, 143. 

East Lothian, 14, 17, 26. 

Education, 212. 

Edward vi., 20, 53, 59. 

Effigy, Knox burnt in, 97. 

Eldership, The, 203. 

Elizabeth, Queen, 6, 123, 129, 
159, 160, 201, 29a 

Enf^land and Scottish Reforma- 
tion, 21. 

England, Influence of, on Knox, 
42. 61, 153, 154, 158. 

English and French parties, 20» 

84, 159. 
English Refohnation, Knox s 

opinion of, 79. 

English throne, Maury's ambi- 
tion, 227, 273. 

Erasmus, 16. 

Erskine, John, oi Dun, 25, 92, 
93, 99, 108, 260, 262, 274. 

Faith of Knox, 8. 

Faithful Adnumition to the 

Professors of Go(fs 7>utk in 

England, 73, 83. 
Farel, 219. 
Fasts, Public, 278. 
First Blast against the Man- 

struous Regiment of Women, 

6, 120, 128, 225, 232. 295. 
Fleming, Dr. Hay, 308, 309. 
Flodden, 14. 
Francis II., 159, 179, 201. 




Frankfort-on-the-Main, 76, 78, 

Freedom, Religions, 34. 
French influence, 84, 134, 159. 
Froude, 117. 

Galleys, The French, 35-40. 
Geneva, 5, 76, 83, 84, 104, 105. 
Geneva, Order of, 79, 104, 219. 
Glasgow UniversitY, 15, 17, 311. 
Glencaim, Earl of, 29, 97, 108, 

142, 149, 156. 
Godly Letter to the Faithful in 

London^ NewcastU^ and Btr^ 

wukf 69. 
"Good Regent, The," 97. 
Government, Church, 203. 
"Gude and Godlie Ballatis," 

24, 102. 
Guise, House of, 201, 242. 
Guthrie, Mrs., 109. 

Haddington, 13, 15. 
Hamilton, Archbishop, 33, 86, 

136, 151, 246. 
Hamilton, Patrick, 23, 40, 46. 
Harlaw, William, 89. 
Hastie, Professor, 44, 133, 191. 
Hebraistic mind, 19, 232. 
Henry viii., 20, 27, 29, 49. 
Hennr ii. of France, 70, 134. 
Hertford, 145. 
Hickman, Mrs., 68. 
History if the Reformation in 

Scotland, Knox's, 13, 22, 37, 

Hooper, 77, 108. 
Huguenots, 242. 
Huntly, Earl of, 178, 241, 243. 

IconeSf Beza's, 308, 309. 
Iconodasm, 144, 145, 155. 
Idolatry, 6, 35, 38, 45, 48, 51. 
Interviews with Queen Mary, 
Knox's,23i,252, 255,256,259. 

James vi., Birth of, 283. 

Killigrew, English Agent, 119, 

King's Chaplain, Knox a, 53. 
Kinyeancleuch, Campbell of, 

Kirkcaldy of Grange, 28, 30, 

39, I53» 293- 
Kirk o' Field, 287. 

Kneeling at the Lord's Supper, 

48, 56, 58. 

Lamp of Lothian, The, 15. 
Lang, Mr. Andrew, 93, 168, 

i^, jii, 312. 
Langside, Battle of, 290. 
Latimer, 73. 
Laud and ecclesiastical ex- 

clusiveness, 193. 

and Liturgy, 220. 

Law against Papists, 245, 257. 
Lawson James, 300, 309. 
Lcith, 157, 166, 170, 177, 

Lennox, 273, 294. 

Leslie, Norman and John, 28, 

Lethington. {See Maitland.) 
Letters, Knox's, to Scotland — 

Appellation to the Nobles and 
Estates of Scotland , 1 1 6. 
to the— 

Brethren in Scotland, iii. 

People of Scotland, 117. 

Professors of the Truth in 
Scotland, 114. 

Queen Regent, with Additions, 

Letter to Elizabeth, Knox's, i6i* 

Lindsay, Sir David, 24, 30, 214. 
Liturgy, 220. 
Loch Leven, 288, 290. 
Locke, Mrs, Aime, 68, 127, 



LoUards of Kyle, 19, 45. 
London and the Reformation, 

Lords of the Congregation, The, 

108, 136, 140^ 172, 226, 236, 

245, 249^ 237, 277. 

Lutheianism, 5, 44, 45, 46, 47, 


M'Crie, Dr., 43. 
Mackgil, Mrs., 6S. 
Major, John, 16, 169, 31 1. 
Maitland oi Lethington, 92, 93, 

168, 172, I73i 175*^7,239, 

241, 244, 248, 293, 302. 
Manifestoes, 147. 
Mary of England, 74, 76, 89, 

121, 127, 135. 
Mary of Lorraine, 20, 70, 85, 

97, "I, 134, 138, 143, 147, 

155, 178. 
Mary, Queen of Scots, 85, 135, 

1^9, 179, 224, Chapters xv.- 

zix. • 

Mass in Holyrood, 228, 251, 

Maxwell, Master of, 242. 
Melrose Abbey, 85. 
Melville of Carnbee, 28, 3a 
Melville, James, 295. 
MiU, Walter, 23, 136. 
Mitchell, Professor, 106, i89> 

190, 193, 3". 
Moray, Earl of (see Stuart, 

Lord James), 243, 244, 247, 

289, 291. 

Morton, Earl of, 178, 282, 297, 


Nationality, 4. 

Netherbow, Knox's house in the, 

239, 252, 301. 
Newcastle, 51, 22a 
Norfolk, 176. 
Norham Castle, 64. 

Northumberland, Duke of, 52, 

53, 59. 
Notary, Knox a, 17. 

Ochiltree, Lord, 263. 
Order of Geneva, 79, IG4, 219. 
Ormiston, 25, 27. 
Outlawry of Knox, 143. 

Parentage of Knox, 13. 
Parliament, The Soots, 186, 

197, 200, 217, 246. 
Patricias Places^ 24, 40, 46. 
Patrimony of the Kirk, 215, 238. 
Pen-Portraits of Knox, 295, 304. 
Persecution in England, 73, 89. 
Perth, 144, 145. 
Pinkie, Battle of, 85. 
Pitscottie, 30, 137. 
Pollanus, 219. 
Poor, The, 214. 
Prayer Book of Edward vi.. The 

Second, 48, 51, 56, 77, 79. 80, 

158, 219. 
Preaching of Knox, 33, 34, 42, 

58, 60, 81, 164. 
Predestination, iv^etseq, 
Presbyterianism, 107, 203. 
Presbj^tery, The, 204, 205. 
Proclamations, War by, 168, 176. 
Professors of the Truth in Scot- 

land^ Letter to the, 1 14. 
Puritanism, 43, 77, 106. 

Randolph, English Ambassador, 

93, 189, 240, 254. 
Ranfurly, Knoxes of, 14. 
"Rascal Multitude, The," 7, 103. 
Reader, The, 204. 
Reconstruction of the Church, 

Chapter xiv. 
Reformed Theology, 28, 44-48, 

Relation between Creed and 

Conduct, 112. 



Religious views of Knox, 43-48, 

Renaissance, The, 18, 19. 

Resby, James, 23. 

Ridley, 73. 

Rizzio, 273, 281. 

Rochester Bishopric offered 

Knox, 53. 
Rough, John, 30, 31, 34. 
Row, John, 186. 
Rulers of the Court, 245, 251, 

237, 275. 
Ruthven, Lord, 

257, 266, 282. 

St Andrews, 150, 17^, 295. 
St. Andrews' University, 15, 17, 

St Bartholomew Massacre, 

St Giles' pulpit, 171, 230, 238, 

275» 294, 301. 
Sacerdotalism, 11. 

Sacramentarianism, 11. 

Sandilands, Sir James, 96, 136. 

Service, Dr. Jolm, 210. 

Session, The, 205. 

Sinclair, Bishop of Ross, 267. 

Social influences, 140. 

Somerset, Duke of, 40, 41, 52, 

Sons of Knox, Nathaniel and 

Eleazer, 126, 271. 
Spottiswoode, John, 186. 
Spottiswoode the Historian, 

307, 308, 309, 310. 
Statesmanship of Knox, 52, 71, 

IS4, 248, 275, 297. 
Stuart, Lord James {see Moray), 

96, 108, 150, 152, 226, 227, 

228, 239. 

Superintendents, 184, 204. 
Supper- party in house of Erskine 

of Dun, 91, 248. 
Syme, James, 91. 
Synod, The, 205. 

Theology in Scotland, 18. 
Throgmorton, English Agent, 

160, 225. 
Treatise on JustificaHon by 

Faiihy Balnaves', 39, 44. 
" Tulchan Bishops, '^^297. 
Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, 

Tyrie, The, Jesuit, 298. 

Union with England, 3, 5, 20, 

124, 153, 162, 24a 
Universities, 212. 

Vindication of the Doctrine that 
the Sacrifice of the Mass is 
Idolatry^ 51. 

Wallace, Adam, 86. 
Wedderbums, The, 25. 
Weekly meeting. The, 204, 209. 
Weston, Dr., 56. 
Willocl^ John, 89, 92, 158, 

Wishart, George, 24-27, 46, 

Wycliff, John, 45, 199. 
Wynram, John, 33, tA^ 297. 

Young, Sir Peter, 307, 308, 309, 

ZwingU, 45, 50, 191, 20a 
Zurich, 71. 




9am BOOK 18 DUB ON 1 

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