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ISO T.-( A, *! ., 

Heroes of the Reformation 

A Series of Biographies of the Leaders 
of the Protestant Reformation 



Professor of Church History, New York University 

Each Crown Octavo. Fully Illustrated 


New York London 

tbcroes of tbe TReformattcn 


Samuel flftacaules 3acheon 


v, TO f OLVTO 











Cbe Knickerbocker press 





Ube ftnicfcerbocfter pres, "Hew ffiorh 



in grateful remembrance of many words of wise counsel and 
many acts of thoughtful kindness received from him during 
thirty years of friendship; 


as a sincere tribute to his private worth and public life-work, 
as a high-minded and honourable statesman, a loyal and 
devoted churchman, an effective writer and speaker on 
religious and ecclesiastical subjects, a liberal benefactor of 
the universities which he has long represented in Parliament, 
and a generous friend of missionary and philanthropic 



TT) have omitted John Knox from a series of 
* Heroes of the Reformation would have been 
an unpardonable exclusion ; and the year accepted 
by British and American Churches (whether 
rightly or wrongly) for the Quater-centenary 
commemoration of his birth, appeared to be the 
most appropriate time for the issue of this volume. 
The author acknowledges his indebtedness to 
earlier labourers in the same field ; and his sources 
are given in the accompanying list. In that list 
(apart, of course, from what was written during 
or soon after the Reformer s own century), three 
works are of special value. The Life of Knox, 
by Rev. Dr. McCrie, published nearly a century 
ago, signally revived the interest not only of 
Scotland but of Christendom in the Reformer, 
and vindicated his name from many unjust im 
putations. Ten years ago, Professor Hume Brown 
gave to the world two substantial and scholarly 
volumes which contain almost all of importance 
that is known about Knox, including much that 

vi Preface 

was unknown to Dr. McCrie. Most valuable of 
all is the monumental edition of Knoxs Works, 
with learned introductions, notes, and appen 
dices, by the late David Laing, LL.D. (1846-1864). 
Through this magnum opus the reader is able to 
form an independent judgment, from original 
sources, of the Reformer s character, history, and 
influence. The aim of the present writer has 
been, in the limited space at his disposal, to 
describe those portions of the career of Knox 
which are most likely to be of general interest ; to 
place his life-work in its historical setting; to 
facilitate for students the consultation of original 
authorities; and to present a picture of the 
Reformer which, without concealing his infirm 
ities, would help to vindicate his right to enrol 
ment alike among the foremost heroes of the 
Reformation, and among the greatest and noblest 
of Scotsmen. In the revision of proofs, the 
writer s esteemed colleague, Professor Nicol, along 
with the editor himself, has been most helpful. 
To Mr. Pittendrigh Macgillivray, R.S.A., and to 
others, the author and publishers are indebted 
for permission to reproduce several illustrations. 
Kind friends in various scenes of Knox s ministry 
have contributed many photographs. The schol- 

Preface vii 

arly minister of Guthrie has rendered efficient 
service in the preparation of the Index. It is a 
disputed question how far one is justified, when 
quoting Knox, in modernising the spelling. To 
retain uniformly the original form of the words 
is not only inconvenient for many readers, but is 
sometimes even misleading; as when the Re 
former writes of certain "pure" men, meaning 
not innocent but poor. The author, accordingly, 
has modified the spelling in most cases, retaining 
occasionally, however, archaic forms where such 
retention appeared to add to the significance. 

H. C. 

ABERDEEN, April, 1905. 


PREFACE ......... V 





I. The Scottish Celtic Church: its foundation and 
development independently, for the most part, 
of Rome. II. Independent attitude of the 
Scottish Church toward Rome on various oc 
casions during the period of Roman supremacy. 

III. Diminished prestige and influence of the 
Roman Church in Scotland owing to practical 
abuses in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

IV. Inauguration in Scotland of doctrinal re 

volt against Rome in the fifteenth century . 1-21 


1513 (OR 

I. Date of Knox s birth: divergent testimonies. 
II. Place of birth : diversity of opinion. III. 
Parentage of Knox. IV. Boyhood and 
education at Haddington. V. Contemporary 
Reforming movement in Scotland; Preaching 


x Contents 

and martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton. VI. 
Probable influence of Hamilton s testimony and 
martyrdom over Knox; Professional employ 
ment. VII. Long reticence and reserve of 
Knox regarding the Reformation movement; 
The probable causes of his reserve: (i) Aca 
demic influence of Major; (2) Hierarchical 
repression and persecution; (3) Patriotic re 
luctance of Knox to identify himself with an 
unpatriotic party. Additional Note on the date 
of Knox s birth ...... 22-48 






I. The Protestant movement after the death of 
James V. under the Regent Arran; John Knox 
and Thomas William, the Regent s chaplain. 
II. Recantation of Arran and restoration of 
Cardinal Beaton to power. III. George 
Wishart: his preaching, martyrdom, and in 
fluence over Knox. Additional Note on the 
alleged complicity of George Wishart in the con 
spiracy against Cardinal Beaton . . . 49-67 





I. Assassination of Cardinal Beaton Knox s re 
sort to the castle of St. Andrews. II. Knox 
and Rough; Formal call to the ministry. III. 

Contents xi 

Knox s testimony and work at St. Andrews. 
IV. His capture by the French; Servitude in 
a French galley and eventual liberation . . 68-87 



I. Ecclesiastical condition of Scotland at the time 
of Knox s restoration to liberty; His settle 
ment in England. II. Knox at Benvick; 
Public ministry. III. Knox at Berwick; 
Private life and relations. IV. Knox at New 
castle; Testimony against the Mass. V. Ap 
pointment to Royal chaplaincy and offer of a 
bishopric Knox s influence in the Church of 
England. VI. Knox in England under Mary 
Tudor; Eventual escape to the Continent . 88-117 






I. Significance of Knox s continental life and work; 
His mindfulness of home. II. Knox at 
Dieppe; His first visit to Switzerland. III. 
Knox at Frankfort; Conflict with Anglicans. 
IV. Knox at Geneva prior to his first return to 
Scotland in 1555. V. Ministry at Geneva 
after his return from Scotland in 1556. VI. 
Temporary interruption of Genevan pastorate 
in 1557. VII. Latest ministry at Geneva; 
His departure. VIII. Service of Knox to 
French Reformed Church at Dieppe in 1559. 
Additional Note: Knox on Predestination . 118-155 

xii Contents 



I. Brightening of the ecclesiastical horizon in Scot 
land. II. Knox s arrival in Scotland in the 
autumn of 1555; Withdrawal of Protestants 
from attendance at Mass. III. Evangelistic 
ministry of Knox during the winter and spring 
f x 555-56- IV. Citation of Knox by the 
Hierarchy in May, 1556 ; The issue. V. 
Letter of Knox to the Regent Mary and its 
reception. VI. Other literary work of the 
Reformer during this period. VII. Departure 
of Knox from Scotland in July, 1556; Burning 
of Knox in effigy ...... 156-174 






I. Increasing strength and self-reliance of the Re 
formers; Policy of aggression; Knox s letter 
from Dieppe; The First Covenant; Introduc 
tion of a Reformed Book of Common Prayer; 
Petition of the Lords of the Congregation. II. 
Decreasing friendliness of the Regent towards 
Protestants, issuing in antagonism; Marriage 
of Mary Stuart and the Dauphin; Its effect on 
the Regent s ecclesiastical policy. III. In 
creasing boldness of the Hierarchy as the result 
of the Regent s attitude Renewal of persecu- 

Contents xiii 

tion; Martyrdom of Walter Milne. IV. 
Growth of popular sentiment against Roman 
ism and against the French alliance. V. 
Knox s "Appellation to the Estates" and 
"Address to the Commonalty." VI. The 
Protestation before Parliament in November, 
1558. VII. Open alliance of the Regent with 
the Hierarchy, and precipitation of the conflict 
by the interdict and citation of Protestant 
preachers ....... 175-195 





I5S9-I5 60 

I. Knox s return to Scotland ; Proclamation of the 
preachers as outlaws. II. Knox preaching at 
Perth; The "Rascal Multitude." III. Ser 
mon of Knox at St. Andrews; Temporary 
truce. IV. Knox in St. Giles ; Protestant 
manifesto; Temporary compromise between 
Reformers and Regent. V. Knox preaching 
throughout Scotland, and negotiating with Eng 
land. VI. Renunciation of allegiance to the 
Regent under Knox s guidance. VII. Knox 
with the Reformers at Stirling; Fresh negotia 
tions with England through Maitland of Leth- 
ington. VIII. Knox at St. Andrews; Open 
alliance between England and the Scottish Re 
formers. IX. The English in Scotland; The 
Scottish band. X. Siege of Leith; Death of 
the Regent ; Treaty of Leith. XI. The Parlia 
ment of 1560 and its ecclesiastical enactments; 
Knox and the Reformed Confession of Faith . 196-234 

xiv Contents 




I. The First Book of Discipline as the ideal em 
bodiment of the Church s polity. II. Provi 
sions regarding ecclesiastical office-bearers and 
Church government. III. Regulations re 
garding ritual ; The Book of Common Order. IV. 
Arrangements as to ecclesiastical discipline. 
V. Provisions for the education of the young. 
VI. Proposals regarding the Church s patri 
mony. VII. Reception of the Book of Dis 
cipline by Church and State. VIII. Public 
discussion soon after the Reformation between 
representatives of the Old Faith and the New. 
IX. Knox s literary labour, domestic trouble, 
and political anxiety during the first year of 
the Reformed Church ..... 235-260 




I. The return of Mary Stuart to Scotland in 1561; 
The danger to the Reform cause. II. The 
attitude of Knox towards the Court and to 
wards the celebration of Mass at Holyrood. 
III. Knox s first interview with Queen Mary ; 
His reply to her charges and complaints. IV. 
Four subsequent private interviews. V. 
Trial of Knox for treason at Royal instigation ; 
His acquittal; Continued mutual antagonism. 
VI. General review of Knox s attitude to 
wards the Queen ...... 261-289 

Contents xv 





I. Divergence between Knox and Protestant states 
men as to Reform policy prior to Queen Mary s 
return to Scotland. II. Continued divergence 
after the Queen s return, occasioned by (i) the 
question of the Holyrood Mass, (2) the com 
bination of political with religious aims on the 
part of Protestant statesmen, (3) the powers 
claimed by Knox for the General Assembly, 
(4) the Reformer s public references to the 
Queen. III. Crisis of divergence at the time 
of Mary s first Parliament ; Temporising policy 
of the Protestant statesmen denounced by 
Knox as a relapse from Christ. IV. Fruitless 
attempt to arrive at a common understanding ; 
Questions discussed at a private conference 
of moderate and thorough supporters of the 
Reformation. V. Personal estrangement be 
tween Knox and Moray; Its detrimental influ 
ence ........ 290-303 



I. Marriage of the Queen to Darnley and her libera 
tion from Protestant control. II. Attitude of 
Knox towards the Royal marriage; Claims of 
the General Assembly ; Sermon of Knox before 
Darnley. III. Incipient Catholic reaction 
and exile of Protestant statesmen ; The Church 
appoints a Fast and commissions Knox to plant 

xvi Contents 

new Kirks. IV. Compact of Darnley and 
Lennox with Protestant statesmen against Riz- 
zio; Rizzio s assassination; Was Knox impli 
cated? V. Apparent reconciliation of Mary 
with Darnley; Flight of the Protestant con 
spirators; Knox in Ayrshire. VI. Ascend 
ency of Bothwell; Knox s return to public life; 
The Reformer in St. Andrews; General ap 
proval of the later Helvetic Confession; The 
Reformer in Edinburgh; Protest of General 
Assembly against re-instature of Archbishop 
Hamilton. VII. Knox in England; Remon 
strance against the deprival of English Puritans ; 
Visit to his sons at Berwick. VIII. Murder of 
Darnley Remarriage, imprisonment, and com 
pulsory abdication of Mary; Knox s relation 
to the Revolution. IX. Co-operation of Knox 
with Murray ; Parliamentary ratification of the 
Protestant establishment in December, 1567 . 304-333 


I. Political trouble; Rival parties; Assassination 
of Moray; Knox s lamentation. II. Eccle 
siastical trouble ; Secession of influential Prot 
estants to Queen s party; Selfish attitude of 
Regent s party towards the Church. III. 
Personal trouble; Apoplexy; Controversy; 
Anonymous attacks upon Knox. IV. With 
drawal to St. Andrews; Physical infirmity; 
Pulpit labours; Literary work. V. Introduc 
tion of a modified Episcopacy into the Church ; 
Concordat of Leith; Knox s attitude and pro 
cedure. Additional Note on Catholic Calumni 
ators of Knox . 334-3S 8 

Contents xvii 





I. Return of Knox to Edinburgh ; Appointment of 
Lawson as his colleague. II. Latest pulpit 
efforts; Massacre of St. Bartholomew; Induc 
tion of Lawson. III. Knox on his death-bed; 
Death and funeral. IV. Estimate of the 
Reformer s character. V. His influence upon 
Scotland and other countries. Additional 
Notes on "John Knox s House" and "John 
Knox s Person and Family" .... 359-393 

INDEX 395 



Acts of Parliament of Scotland [i 124-1707], The. London, 
1844 sqq. 12 vols. 

ADAMNAN: Vita S. Columba. See Historians of Scotland. 

AILRED : Life of Saint Ninian. See Historians of Scotland. 

ALESIUS, ALEXANDER: Primus liber Psalmorum 
expositus. Leipzig, 1554. 

ANONYMOUS QAMES LAWSON?) Eximii viri Johannis 
Knoxii vera extremice vita et obitus historia. See Thomas 
Smeton. Translated in Laing, Works of John Knox, vi., 649- 

AYLMER, JOHN: An harborowe for faithfull and trewe sub- 
jectes against the late bloune Blaste concerning the governmit of 
Wemen. Wherein be confuted all such reasons as a straunger of 
late made in that behalf e, with a briefe exhortation to obedience. 
Strassburg, 1559. 

BAILLIE, ALEXANDER: True Information. Edinburgh, 1628. 

BAIN, JOSEPH: Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. 
Edinburgh, 1881. 

BALNAVES, HENRY: A briefe sommarie of the work by 
Balnaves on Justification. In Laing, IF. of K., iii., 13-28. 
The Confession of Faith, conteining how the troubled man should 
seeke refuge at his God thereto led by faith: with the declaration 
of the article of justification at length. The order of good 
workes, which are the fruites of faith: And how the faithful, and 
justified man, should walke and live, in the perfite and true 
Christian religion, according to his vocation. Edinburgh, 1584. 
In Laing, W. of K., iii., 431-542. 

xxiv Books Referred To 

BANNATYNE, GEORGE: Ancient Scottish Poems. Edinburgh, 

BANNATYNE, RICHARD: Memoriales of Transactions in 
Scotland, 1569-73. Ed. R. Pitcairn. Edinburgh: Ban- 
natyne Club, 1836. 

BEDE: Ecclesiastical History. English trans., in Bohn s 
Antiquarian Library. 

BELLESHEIM, ALPHONS: History of the Catholic Church of 
Scotland. Edinburgh, 1887-90. 4 vols. 

BEZA, THEODORE: Volumen Tractationum Theologicarum. 
Geneva, 1570-82. 3 vols. 

BEZA, THEODORE: Epistolarum Theologicarum liber unus, 
Geneva. 1573. 

BEZA, THEODORE: I cones, id est verce imagines virorum 
doctrina simul et pietate ilhistrium, quorum prascipue minis- 
terio partim bonarum liter arum studia sunt restituta, partim 
vera Religio in variis orbis Christiani regionibus, nostra pa- 
trumque memoria fuit instaurata: additis eorundem vitce & 
opera descriptionibus , quibus adiectce sunt nonnullce picture 
quas EMBLEMATA vacant. Genevae, apud loannem Laonium 


Book of Common Order (The}; or, the form of prayers and 
ministration of the sacraments, etc., approved and received by 
the Church of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1564 (In Laing, W . of K., 
vi., 274-333). 

Book of Discipline See Buke, 

BOWER, WALTER: Scotichronicon. See Historians of 
Scotland (under John of Fordun). 

BRIGGS, CHARLES AUGUSTUS: American Presbyterianism. 
Its origin and history. Together with an appendix of letters and 
documents, many of which have recently been discovered. New 
York, 1885. 

BROWN, PETER HUME: John Knox : A Biography. Lon 
don, 1895. 2 vols. 

BUCHANAN, DAVID: "Life and Death of John Knox "(pre 
faced to his edition of John Knox s Historie of the Reforma- 
tioun . . . of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1644. 2ded.,i645). 

BUCHANAN, GEORGE: The History of Scotland. Glasgow, 
Edinburgh, London, 1855. 6 vols. 

Books Referred To xxv 

Buke (The) of Discipline. Edinburgh, 1560. In Laing, 
W. of. K., ii., 183-259. 

BURNE, NICOL: The Disputation concerning the controvertit 
headdis of religion, holdin in the realme of Scotland, the zeir 
of God one thousand fyue hundreth fourscoir zeiris. Betwix 
the prcstendit minister-is of the deformed Kirk in Scotland, and 
Nicol Burne, Professor of Philosophic in S. Leonardis College, 
&c. Paris, 1581. 

BURNET, GILBERT: The History of the Reformation of the 
Church of England. Ed. N. Pocock, Oxford, 1865. 7 vols. 

BURNS, WILLIAM : The Scottish War of Independence. 
Glasgow, 1874. 2 vols. 

BURTON, JOHN HILL: History of Scotland. Edinburgh, 
1867-70. 7 vols. 

OALDERWOOD, DAVID: The True History of the Church of 
Scotland. Ed. T. Thomson. Edinburgh: Wodrow Society, 
1842-49. 8 vols. 

CALVIN, JOHN : Opera. Ed. Baum, Cunitz, Reuss, Erichson, 
Berlin, 1900. 59 vols. 

OARLYLE, THOMAS: On Heroes, Hero-worship and the 
Heroic in History. London, 1840. Many editions. 

CARLYLE, THOMAS: Inaugural Address at Edinburgh, April 
2d, 1866 ("On the choice of books"). Edinburgh, 1866. 

CHALMERS, GEORGE: Caledonia. London, 1807-24. 3 

COCHET, JEAN BENOIT DESIRE: Repertoire Archeologique 
du Departement de la Seine, Inferieure. Paris, 1871. 

Confessioun (The) of Faith professit and belevit be the 
Protestantis within the realme of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1561. 
In Laing, W. of K., ii., 93-154. 

Contra Collatorem. See PROSPER. 

COOK, GEORGE: History of the Reformation in Scotland. 
Edinburgh, 1881. 3 vols. 

COWAN, HENRY: The Influence of the Scottish Church in 
Christendom. London, 1896. 

CRAMOND, WILLIAM: The Truth about George Wishart. 
Mont rose, 1898. 

CUNNINGHAM, JOHN: The Church History of Scotland. 
Edinburgh, 1859. 2 vols - ad. ed., 1882. 

xxvi Books Referred To 

DEMPSTER, THOMAS: Historia ecclesiastica gentis Scotorum. 
Ed. D. Irving. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1829. 

DESMARQUETS, M.: Memoires chronologiques . . . dc 
Dieppe. Dieppe, 1785. 

Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents (A) . . . since the 
Death of King James IV., till . . . 1575. Ed. T. Thom 
son. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1833. 

DRYSDALE, A. H.: History of the Presbyterians in England, 
their Rise, Decline, and Revival. London, 1889. 

DUNBAR, WILLIAM: " Visitation of St. Francis "; " Friar of 
Berwick"; "Fly ting." See The Poems of William Dunbar. 
Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1884. 

DUVAL, GUILLAUME ET JEAN : Histoire de la Reformation a 
Dieppe, 1557-1657. Ed. Emile Lesens. Rouen, 1878-79. 
2 vols. 

FLEMING, DAVID HAY: Mary Queen of Scots from her 
Birth to her Flight into England. London, 1897. 

FORBES, ALEXANDER PENROSE: Saint Ninian and Saint 
Kentigern. See Historians of Scotland. 

FORBES, PATRICK: A Full View of the Public Transactions 
in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth . London, 1740-41. 2 vols. 

FORDUN, JOHN OF: Chronicle of the Scottish Nation. See 
Historians of Scotland. 

FOXE, JOHN: Acts and Monuments. Ed. George Town- 
send. London, 1843-49. 8 vols. 

FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY: History of England. London, 
1856-70. 12 vols. (Many editions). 

GAIRDNER, JAMES: The English Church in the Sixteenth 
Century, from the Accession of Henry VIII. to the Death of 
Mary. London, 1903. 

GREGORY I., POPE: Epistles. Eng. trans, of selected 
epistles by James Barmby, in Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers. 2d series, vol. xiii. The Epistles on Image Worship 
in Marseilles are ix., 105 (p. 23) and xi., 13 (p. 53). 

GRUB, GEORGE: An Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, from 
the Introduction of Christianity to the Present Time. Edin 
burgh, 1 86 1. 4 vols. 

GUIBERT, MICHEL CLAUDE: Memoires pour servir a I 
Histoire de la Ville de Dieppe. Dieppe, 1878. 2 vols. 

Books Referred To xxvii 

Henry Spelman s Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents. 
Oxford, 1869-78. 4 vols. 

HAILES, DAVID DALRYMPLE: Annals of Scotland. 3d ed. 
Edinburgh, 1819. 3 vols. 

HAMILTON, ARCHIBALD: De confusions Calviniance sectoe 
apud Scotos Ecclesioe nomen ridicule usurpantis dialogus. 
Paris, 1577. 

HAMILTON, ARCHIBALD: Calviniance Confusionis demon- 
stratio, contra malcdicam ministrorum Scotice responsionem, in 
duos divisa libros. Quorum prior: proprietatum veraz Ecclesice 
evictionim: posterior, carundem in hypothesi ad res subjectas 
applicatarum, content ionem continet. Paris, 1581. 

Hamilton Papers, The. Letters and Papers illustrating the 
political relations of England and Scotland in the XVI. Century. 
Formerly in the possession of the Duke of Hamilton, now in the 
British Museum. Ed. Joseph Bain. Edinburgh, 1890-92. 
2 vols. 

HARDY, SAMUEL: Histoire de V Eglise Protestante de Dieppe. 
Paris, 1897. 

HENRY, PAUL: Das Leben Johann Calvins. Hamburg, 
1835-44. 3 vols. Eng. trans, by Henry Stebbins, London, 
1851. 2 vols. 

HERKLESS, JOHN: Cardinal Beaton. London, 1891. 

Historians (The), of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1871-80. 10 
vols. Vols. i., iv., John of Fordun s Chronicle of the Scottish 
Nation. Ed. W. F. Skene, 1871, 1874. Vols. ii, iii., ix., 
Andrew of Wyntoun, Metrical Chronicle. Ed. D. Laing, 
1872, 1879. Vol. v., Lives of Saint Ninian [by Ailred] and 
of Saint Kentigern [by Jocelyne]. Ed. A. P. Forbes, 1874. 
Vol. vi., Life of Saint Columba, written by Adamnan. Ed. 
W. Reeves, 1874. Vols. vii., x., The Book of Pluscarden, 
being unpublished continuation of Fordun s Chronicle, by 
M. Buchanan. Ed. Felix Skene, 1877, 1880. Vol. viii., 
Thomas Innes, Critical Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of 
Scotland. Ed. George Grub, 1879. 

"History of the Estate of Scotland from 1558-1560." In 
Wodrow Miscellany. See Laing, David. 

HODGE, CHARLES : The Constitutional History of the Presby- 

xxviii Books Referred To 

terian Church in the United States of America. Part I., 1705- 
1741. Part II., 1741-1788. Philadelphia, 1839-40. 2 vols 

HURAUT, ETIENNE: John Knox et ses relations avec les 
eglises re formees du Continent. Cahors, 1902. 

JOCELYNE: Life of Saint Kentigern. See Historians of 

KEITH, ROBERT: The History of the Affairs of Church and 
State in Scotland from the beginning of the Reformation to 1 568. 
Edinburgh, 1734. Reprinted by the Spottiswoode Society, 
Edinburgh, 1844-50. 3 vols. 

KERR, SAMUEL: Where John Knox was Born. Edinburgh, 

KNOX, JOHN: History of the Reformation. Ed. David 
Laing. See Laing, Works of Knox. Quoted uniformly as 
Knox, H. of R. 

LABANOFF (Lobanov-Rostovsky, Alexsander Ivanovich), 
Prince: Lettres inedites de Marie Stuart. Paris, 1839. 

LAING, DAVID: The Works of John Knox. Edinburgh: 
Wodrow Society, 1846-64. 6 vols. (Quoted uniformly as 
Laing, W. of K.}. 

LAING, DAVID: The Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, 
containing Tracts and Original Letters Chiefly Relating to 
the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Scotland during the Sixteenth 
and Seventeenth Centuries. Edinburgh : Wodrow Society, 

LAING, JAMES: De vita et moribus atque rebus gestis heret- 
icorum nostri temporis. Paris, 1581. 

LANG, ANDREW: History of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1900- 
1904. 3 vols. 

LAW, THOMAS GRAVES: New Testament in Scots. London, 

LEE, JOHN : Lectures on the History of the Church of Scotland 
from the Reformation to the Revolution Settlement. Ed. William 
Lee. Edinburgh, 1860. 2 vols. 

LEES, JAMES CAMERON: St. Giles , Edinburgh. Ch*urch 
College and Cathedral from the earliest times to the present day. 
Edinburgh, 1889. 

LESLEY, JOHN: History of Scotland, 1436-1561. Edin 
burgh, 1830. 

Books Referred To xxix 

(LESLIE): The historic of Scotland, wrytten first in Latin 
translated into Scottish. Edinburgh: Scottish Text 
Society, 1885-95. 2 vols. 

Livre des Anglois a Geneve. Ed. J. S. Burn. London, 
1.831. Ed. also by A. F. Mitchell (see below). Also by H. 
B. Hacket in the " Bibliotheca Sacra." (Andover, Mass.) 
Vol. for 1862. 

LORIMER, PETER: Precursors of Knox; or, Memoirs of 
Patrick Hamilton. . . . Alexander Alane or Alesius, 
and Sir David Lindsay, of the Mount. Edinburgh, 
1857. ad ed., 1860. 

*LORIMER, PETER: The Scottish Reformation. London and 
Glasgow, 1860. 

LORIMER, PETER: John Knox and the Church of England. 
London, 1875. 

LOUDEN, DAVID: The History of Morham. Haddington, 

LUTHER, MARTIN: Briefwcchsel. Best ed. E. L. Enders. 
Frankfurt-am-Main, 1884 sqq. Luther s letters will be found 
translated into modern German in vols. xxia and b., of the 
Walch edition of Luther s writings, published by the Con- 
cordia Publishing House. St. Louis, Mo., 1903-5. 

LYNDSAY, SIR DAVID: The Poetical Works. (Contains his 
" Complaynt of the Papyngo," " Ane Pleasant Satyre of the 
Thrie Estaites in commendation of vertue and vituperation 
of vice," and " The Tragedie of the Cardinall.") Ed. George 
Chalmers, London, 1806, 3 vols.; David Laing, Edinburgh, 
1871, 3 vols.; Early English Text Society, London, 1863, 

McCRiE, THOMAS: The Life of John Knox. Edinburgh, 
1812. Many editions, best by Thomas McCrie, the younger. 
Edinburgh, 1855. 

McCRiE, THOMAS: Life of Andrew Melville, ad ed. 
Edinburgh, 1824. 2 vols. 

McCRiE, THOMAS (the younger): Sketches of Scottish 
Church History. Edinburgh, 1841, n. e., 1875. 

MAJOR, JOHN: A History of Greater Britain, as well England 
as Scotland. Trans, by A. Constable. Edinburgh: Scottish 
Historical Society, 1892. 

xxx Books Referred To 

MAJOR, JOHN: Quartus sententiarum [of Peter Lombard]. 
Paris, 1509, n. e., 1519. 

MAJOR, JOHN : Commentary on Matthew (in quatuor 
Evangelia expositions) . Paris, 1529. 

MARSDEN, JOHN BUXTON : The History of the Early Puritans 
from the Reformation to the opening of the Civil War in 1642. 
London, 1850. 

MARTEILHE, JEAN: Autobiography. Trans, from the 
French. London: R. T. S., 1866 (later editions). 

MARTINE, GEORGE: Reliquiae Divi Andrea; or, The State 
of the . . . See of St. Andrews. St. Andrews, 1797. 

MATHIESON, W. L.: Politics and Religion: A Study in 
Scottish History from Reformation to Revolution. Edinburgh, 
1902. 2 vols. 

MATTHEW PARIS: Historia Anglorum. Eng. trans. Eng 
lish history, 1235-7273. In Bohn s Antiquarian Library. 

MELANCHTHON, PHILIP: Opera in "Corpus Reformator- 
um," i. Halle, 1834. 

MELVILLE, JAMES: Memoirs of his own Life; 1549-93. 
Ed. T. Thomson. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1827. 

MILLER, DAVID: The Lamp of Lothian; or, The History of 
Haddington. Haddington, 1844. 

MILLER, ROBERT: John Knox and the Town Council of 
Edinburgh. Edinburgh, 1898. 

MILLIGAN, GEORGE: The English Bible. A Sketch of its 
History. Edinburgh, 1895. 

tion. London, 1900. 

MONCRIEFF, JAMES : The Influence of Knox and the Scottish 
Reformation on England. London (Y. M. C. A. Lectures), 

MONIPENNIE, JOHN: The abridgement or summarie of the 
Scots Chronicles. Edinburgh, 1633. 2ded., 1650. 

Munimenta Alme U niversitatis Glasguensis. Glasgow: 
Maitland Club, 1854. 4 vols. 

MURRAY (afterwards AUST), Hon. S. (Mrs.): A Companion 
and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland &c. London, 
1779-1803. 2 vols. 

NAU, CHARLES: The History of Alary Stewart, from the 

Books Referred To xxxi 

Murder of Riccio until her Flight into England. Edinburgh, 

National MSS. of Scotland, Facsimiles of. Southampton, 
1867-71. 3 parts. 

PERRY, GEORGE GRESLEY: History of the Reformation in 
England. London, 1886. 

PETRIE, ALEXANDER: A Compendious History of the 
Catholick Church from . . . 600 to 1600. Hague, 1662. 

PINKERTON, JOHN: History of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1797. 
2 vols. 

PITSCOTTIE (properly Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie) : 
The History and Chronicles of Scotland. Ed. A. J. G. Mackay. 
Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1899. 

Pluscarden, Book of. See Historians of Scotland. 

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. See 

PROSPER, of Aquitaine: Chronicon. In Migne, Pat. Lat. LI. 

PROSPER, of Aquitaine: Liber contra Collatorem (against 
Cassian s Collationes Patrum). Ibid. 

Registre des Bourgeois, of Geneva. Preserved in Geneva. 

Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, Munimenta Ecclesie 
Metropolitane Glasgitensis a sede restaurata seculo ineunte 
XII. ad reformatam religionem. Ed. C. Innes. Edinburgh: 
Bannatyne Club, 1843. 2 vols. 

ROBERTSON, JOSEPH: Statuta (Concilia Scotice Ecclesice 
ScoticancB statuta 1225-1559.) Ed. Joseph Robertson. 
Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1866. 

ROGERS, CHARLES: Life of George Wishart. Edinburgh, 

ROGERS, CHARLES : Genealogical Memoirs of John Knox and 
of the Family of Knox. London: Grampian Club, 1879. 

Row, JOHN: The History of the Kirk of Scotland, 1558-1639. 
Edinburgh, Wodrow Society, 1842. 

RUTHVEN, PATRICK: A Relation of the Death of David 
Rizzio. London, 1699. 

SADLER PAPERS (The State Papers and Letters of Sir Ralph 
Sadler. Ed. Arthur Clifford. Edinburgh, 1809. 2 vols.). 

SCHAFF, PHILIP: History of the Christian Church. Vol. vii. 
The Swiss Reformation. New York, 1892. 

xxxii Books Referred To 

SKELTON, JOHN: Maitland of Lethington and the Scotland 
of Mary Stuart. Edinburgh, 1887. 2 vols. 

SKENE, WILLIAM FORBES: Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh, 
1876-80. 3 vols. 

SMETON, THOMAS: Ad virulentum Archibaldi Hamiltonii 
Apostates dialogum, de confusione Calviniana Sectce apud 
Scotos . . . orthodoxa respondia . . . Adjectaestvera 
historia extremes vita; et obitus Johannis Knoxii. Edinburgh, 


SMITH, WM., and CHEETHAM, SAMUEL: Dictionary of 
Christian Antiquities. London: John Murray, 1875-80. 2 

Spalding Club (The new) Miscellany. Aberdeen, 1890. 

SPOTTISWOODE, JOHN: History of the Church of Scotland. 
Edinburgh: Spottiswoode Society, 1847-51. 3 vols. 

STALKER, JAMES: John Knox, his Ideas and Ideals. Lon 
don and New York, 1904. 

STARK, JOHN: The Picture of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, 1806. 
Sixth edition, 1834. 

State Papers published under the authority of His Majesty s 
Commission. London, 1830 sqq. 

STEBBING, HENRY: Life of Calvin. See Henry, Paul. 

STEPHEN, THOMAS: The History of the Church of Scotland, 
from the Reformation to the Present Time. London, 1843-45. 
4 vols. 

STEVENSON, ROBERT Louis: Familiar Studies of Men and 
Books. London, 1882. 

STORY, ROBERT HERBERT: The Church of Scotland, Past 
and Present. London, 1890-91. 5 vols. 

STRYPE, JOHN: Ecclesiastical Memorials. London, 1721. 
3 vols. (The Clarendon Press ed. of his works, Oxford, 
1812-24. 19 vols.) 

d Etat relatifs a I histoire de I Ecosse au XV I e siecle. Edin 
burgh: Bannatyne Club, 1851-60. 3 vols. 

THEINER, AUGUSTUS: Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et 
Scotorum historiam illustrantia. Rome, 1864. 

THOMPSON, ROBERT ELLIS: A History of the Presbyterian 
Churches in the United States. New York, 1895. 

Books Referred To xxxiii 

Transactions (or Proceedings) of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1792 sqq. 

TURGOTUS: Vita Margaretcs. Eng. trans, by William 
Forbes-Leith : Life of Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland. 
3d ed. Edinburgh, 1896. 

TYTLER, PATRICK ERASER: England under the Reigns of 
Edward VI. and Mary. London, 1839. 2 vols. 

TYTLER, PATRICK ERASER: History of Scotland. Edinburgh, 
1850. n. e., London, 1877. 4 vols. 

VITET, Louis: Histoire des anciennes villes de France. 
Haute N ormandie . Dieppe. Paris, 1833. 

WARREN, FREDERICK EDWARD: Liturgy and Ritual of the 
Celtic Church. Oxford, 1881. 

WEBSTER, RICHARD: A History of the Presbyterian Church 
in America, from its Origin until the Year 1760. With Bio 
graphical Sketches of its Early Ministers. Philadelphia, 1858. 

WINZET, NINIAN: Certane tractatis for reformation of 
doctryne and maneris in Scotland, 1562-3. Ed. J. K. 
Hewison. Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1888-90. 2 

Wodrow Miscellany. See Laing, David. 

WYNTOUN: Cronykil. See Historians of Scotland. 




JOHN KNOX, by universal acknowledgment, 
is the hero of the Scottish Reformation. In 
the final revolt of Scotland against Rome, as well 
as in the establishment, organisation, and con 
solidation of the Reformed Church, his influence 
was paramount and his service unique. Not only, 
however, does an important share in the accom 
plishment of the work belong to his immediate 
predecessors, as well as coadjutors, in the six 
teenth century; but the way was prepared by a 
series of events and a chain of influences extend 
ing over many generations. 

I. The foundations of the Christian Church in 
what is now called Scotland were laid, for the 
most part, independently of the Roman See. The 
direct connection with Rome of Ninian of Whit- 
horn in Galloway the earliest conspicuous figure 

2 John Knox 

of North British Christendom rests mainly on the 
meagre testimony of the Venerable Bede who 
wrote in 731, three centuries after Ninian s 
death. He states that Ninian was "a most rev 
erend bishop and holy man of the British nation, 
who had been regularly instructed at Rome in 
the faith and in the mysteries of the truth," J but 
he says not a word about Ninian having been 
sent on a mission by Rome, or of Rome exercising 
any ecclesiastical authority over or through him. 
Palladius was undoubtedly sent forth, as his con 
temporary, Prosper of Acquitaine, testifies, by 
Ccelestius, Bishop of Rome, in 431 A.D., to be " first 
bishop of the Scots who believe in Christ" 2 ; and 
a brief missionary ministry among the Scots of 
Ireland is universally attributed to him ; but it 
is disputed whether what is now called Scotland 
received more than his venerated bones. 3 Even 
if the story of his arrival in the Mearns (Kin- 

1 Bede, Hist. Eccl., iii., 4. Ailred s account (in the twelfth 
century) of Ninian being sent forth by the Bishop of Rome 
as an apostle to North Britain is too late to be trustworthy. 
(Life of S. Ninian, chap, ii.) 

2 Prosper, Chron., under 431 ; Cont. Collat., ch. xxi. 

3 The late Dr. W. F. Skene, the chief modern authority 
regarding Celtic Scotland, considers it "probable" that only 
the relics of Palladius were brought to the Mearns by his 
disciple, Ternan; on the ground (i) that in an Irish com 
position belonging to the ninth century, Palladius is repre 
sented as suffering martyrdom in Ireland, and (2) that in 
another ancient document, Ternan is identified with Palladius 
(Skene, Celtic Scotland, ii., 27-30). Andrew Lang concurs 
with Skene (Hist, of Sc., i., 20). 

Introductory Survey 3 

cardineshire) be accepted, 1 his influence was local 
and limited: the later records of an extensive 
ecclesiastical organisation created by him in Scot 
land are unhistorical. 2 Kentigern entered on his 
missionary career in the valley of the Clyde about 
the middle of the sixth century, not only without 
any Roman commission, but if the disinterested 
testimony of his biographer in the twelfth cen 
tury can be trusted after consecration at Glasgow 
administered by a single bishop, and therefore, 
from the Roman standpoint, irregular. 3 

Still more significant is the entrance of Kenti 
gern s great contemporary, Columba, on his mem 
orable ministry as Abbot of lona and Apostle 
of Caledonia, neither on Roman impulse nor under 

1 Haddan and Stubbs (Counc. and Eccl. Doc., vol. ii., part 
ii., 291) regard the "balance of evidence" as in favour of 
this view. 

2 Skene, ii., 31, 32, 197. The exaggerated representation 
of Palladius s work in Scotland depends mainly on the 
authority of Fordun, Scotichr., iii., 8, 9 (fourteenth cen 

3 Jocelyne, Life of S. Kent., xi. Jocelyne wrote this bio 
graphy on the basis of documents and traditions found in 
Glasgow. He must have discovered strong evidence of the 
non- Roman character of Kentigem s consecration ; other 
wise he would hardly, as a Roman monk, have given promin 
ence to the irregularity. On the other hand, his account of 
Kentigern s seven journeys to Rome and of a pontifical con 
firmation of his irregular episcopate cannot be accepted as 
historical: the tradition is apparently the outcome of later 
belief in the necessity of such ratification. See Grub, Eccl. 
Hist, of Scot., i., 40; Forbes, 5. Ninian and S. Kent., p. 

4 John Knox 

papal patronage. 1 Ecclesiastical independence 
was a characteristic of the Columban Church. 
In the period which immediately followed the 
death of its founder in 597, this Church, rather 
than accept certain Roman usages (particularly 
regarding the exact time of observing Easter) 
inconsistent with Celtic tradition, withdrew 
in 664 from its great work of Anglo-Saxon 
evangelisation inaugurated at Lindisfarne, thirty 
years before, by Aidan, a monk of lona. 2 There 
is no trace in Scotland, for several centuries after 
Columba s time of what Protestants regard as 
"Mary-worship," or of the superstitious venera 
tion of images ; although these errors, during this 
period, became prevalent in Roman Christendom. 3 
The government of the early Scottish Church 

1 Adamnan, Life of S. Col., 2nd Pref. ; i., 7; iii., 4; Bede, 
Hist. Eccl., iii., 4. 

2 Bede, iii., 3, 5, 21-26. The significance of this proceeding 
is not nullified by the Church s voluntary adoption (in the 
eighth century) of the Roman mode of fixing the date of 

3 For illustrations of the Virgin in Christian art as an 
object of ultra-veneration so early as the sixth century, see 
Smith, Diet. Chr. Ant., ii., 1154. This excessive veneration 
was fostered through the designation "Theotokos" Mother 
of God (sanctioned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451), as 
well as through the festival of the Virgin s "Assumption," 
instituted in the sixth century. During the pontificate of 
Gregory I. (590-604), a bishop of Marseilles represented 
"image- worship" as rife in his diocese (Greg., Epis.,ni., 13). 
In 787, the ultra- veneration of images already established as a 
usage, was sanctioned by the Seventh (Ecumenical Council, 
which was acknowledged by Rome. 

Introductory Survey 5 

was vested not in bishops, but in abbots, and a 
bishop, while admitted to functional precedence 
in the celebration of Holy Communion and in the 
Ordination service, was under the jurisdiction 
of an abbot of lona who was simply a presbyter. 1 
Down to the age of Queen Margaret, moreover, 
in the eleventh century, the Church retained a 
non-Roman liturgy which to Catholic churchmen 
of the time appeared to be a "ritus barbarus" 2 ; 
the Benedictine rule which mainly regulated 
Roman and monastic life was ignored 3 ; and the 
territorial subdivisions of parish and diocese, es 
tablished elsewhere, were in Scotland unknown. 4 

II. The spiritual decay of the Celtic Church 
of Scotland in the tenth and eleventh centuries 
paved the way for the Romanising as well as (in 
many respects) reforming influence of the Saxon 

1 Bede, iii., 4; Adam., L. of S. Col., i., 29, 35. 

2 So it is called by Turgot, Queen Margaret s confessor and 
biographer, Vita Marg., ii., 16. Probably, however, it was 
an ancient form of service, having affinity with the Gallic, 
Spanish, and Eastern liturgies. See Warren, Celtic Ritual, 
pp. 164, 165, who illustrates such affinity from the liturgical 
fragment (ninth century) in the Book of Deer. 

3 This rule appears to have been introduced into Scotland 
in 1097, when King Edgar restored Coldingham Monastery as 
a Benedictine "house." See Grub, Eccl. Hist, of Sc., i., 205. 

4 Ednam, in Roxburghshire, is believed to be the earliest- 
founded parish in Scotland (noo A.D.). See deed of founda 
tion in National MSS. of Scot., Part I., 8. The division 
into dioceses began about 1 107 under King Alexander I., who 
created the Sees of Moray and Dunkeld out of the national 
bishopric of St. Andrews. His brother and successor, David 
I., practically completed the diocesan organisation. 

6 John Knox 

Queen Margaret and her sons (1067-1153 A.D.). 
Yet even after the Church had become Roman 
in constitution and in usage, much of the Celtic 
spirit of independence survived. Amid occasional 
controversy, indeed, with the Archbishops of York, 
who claimed jurisdiction over bishops in Scot 
land, 1 the Scottish Church readily appropriated 
the designation, conferred in 1188 by Pope 
Clement III., of "Filia specialis" of the Roman 
See. 2 But otherwise subjection to Rome was 
conspicuously minimised, and sometimes deliber 
ately withheld 3 . In the latter part of the twelfth 
century, King William the Lion and a bishop 
of St. Andrews defied a papal excommunication 
and interdict. 4 In the following century Kings 
Alexander II. and III., with the support of the 
leading clergy, resisted the intrusion of papal 
legates who offered advice which was not wanted, 
and claimed (in the name of maintenance) money 
which could ill be spared. 6 In 1274, King and 
clergy "with one voice and one heart" refused a 

1 Book of Pluscarden, vi., 30, 31. 

2 Jos. Robertson, Statuta Eccl. Scot., i., p. xxxix. 

3 "The Scots were never tractable children of Rome." 
Andrew Lang, Hist, of Sc., i., 227. 

*Scotichr. (Bower), vi., 36, 37. 

s Alexander II. is said to have met the legate of Pope 
Gregory IX. at York in 1237, and to have warned him that 
if he came to Scotland it would be at the risk of his life! 
(Matthew Paris, Chronica,m.., 414). Alexander III., in 1265, 
" after consultation with the clergy of the realm," refused 
the "visitation" of a legate (Scotichr., x., 22). 

Introductory Survey 7 

papal demand for crusade-tithes 1 . During the 
Wars of Scottish Independence, opposition to 
papal interference and disregard of Roman juris 
diction were yet more notable. When Pope Boni 
face VIII., in 1302, denounced the patriotic 
hierarchy of Scotland who had sympathised with 
Wallace as "abettors of disturbance and dis 
cord," 2 the practical reply was a more definite 
espousal of the national cause by the leading 
clergy. In 1304, Lamberton, the Bishop of St. 
Andrews, entered into a patriotic covenant with 
Robert Bruce. 3 The Bishop of Moray, with special 
reference to the periodical demands of the Roman 
See for help against the Moslems, declared that 
it was as "meritorious to rise in arms against the 
King of England as to engage in a crusade for 
the recovery of the Holy Land." 4 In 1306, when 
a papal excommunication was about to be pro 
nounced at Rome upon Bruce after the slaughter 
of the Comyn in the Greyfriars Church of Dum 
fries, Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, along with 
other clergy, crowned the delinquent at Scone. $ 
Three years later a General Council of the Scottish 
Church at Dundee issued "to all the faithful in 

1 Fordun, Annals, chap. lix. 

3 Theiner, Monumenta, p. 171; Bellesheim, Cath. Ch. of 
Sc. (Blair s transl.), ii., u. 

3 Hailes, Annals, :., 309. 

* William Burns, Scottish War of Indep., ii., 188. 

s Hailes, ii., 2; Bellesh., ii., 12. The papal interdict which 
followed the excommunication was ignored (Burns, ii., 192). 

8 John Knox 

Christ" a manifesto in which they render due 
fealty to Bruce as "King of Scotland," declaring 
that "with him the faithful of the kingdom will 
live and die." z 

Papal absolutions occasionally met with no 
more respect in Scotland than papal bans. In 
1329, a man charged with murder, whom the 
Pope had absolved, was nevertheless condemned 
and executed. 2 Defiance of Rome in the sphere 
of discipline was accompanied by resistance to 
Roman intrusion and extortion in the dispensa 
tion of ecclesiastical patronage. In 1322, Pope 
John XXII. presented an Italian to a Glasgow 
benefice. King Robert Bruce, with the aid of the 
bishop of the diocese, set aside the presentation, 
and a Scot received the charge. 3 Early in the 
fifteenth century James I. and his Parliament 
withstood the usurpation of Scottish church pat 
ronage by Rome ; as well as the papal abuse by 
which benefices were virtually sold under the pre 
text of confirmation fees being exacted. 4 The 
support which the King received in this matter 
from the hierarchy moved Pope Eugenius IV., in 
1436, to denounce certain Scottish bishops as 
"Pilates rather than prelates." * Manifestly, 

1 National MSS. of Sc., Part II., No. XVII. 

2 Scotichr., xiii., 18; Hailes, Annals, ii., 149. 

3 Reg. Epis. Glasg., i., 230. 

4 Acts of Part, of Sc., pp. 6, 16 (year 1424); Rankine, in 
Story s Church of Sc., ii., 291292. 

s Robertson, Statuta, i., p. Ixxxv. ; Theiner, 373. 

Introductory Survey 9 

during this period of Roman jurisdiction the " Filia 
specialis of the Roman See gave ample evidence 
of her determination not to be hampered by mater 
nal leading-strings. 

III. Scotland owes much to her Roman clergy 
beautiful cathedrals and abbeys; a goodly 
educational heritage, and not a few bright ex 
amples of devotion : but, before the close of the 
fourteenth century, Scottish resistance to papal 
aggression had begun to be supplemented by re 
sentment at clerical demoralisation. In the latter 
part of that century Christendom had been scan 
dalised by the mutual anathemas of rival pontiffs 
during the period of Papal schism; and in 1410 
this scandal was exceeded by the appointment of 
a pope John XXIII. whose flagrant immorality 
excited universal disgust. Turpitude in the Roman 
See could not but be widely reproduced among 
the clergy, and in Scotland there were special 
causes of declension. During the long conflict 
with England, church dignitaries often neglected 
their spiritual functions in order to engage in 
warfare, 1 and set the example, under pressure, of 
repeated breach of their oaths of allegiance. 2 
The social disorganisation, moreover, which 

1 The practice of a portion of the clergy may be gathered 
from the fact that a synod, held during this period at St. 
Andrews, considered it necessary to forbid priests to carry 
about long knives called "hangers," or to celebrate mass 
in a short secular tunic. (Robertson, Statuta, ii., 66, 67.) 

3 Burton, Hist, of Sc., ii., 258; Burns, ii., 170-171. 

io John Knox 

resulted from protracted political troubles, under 
mined clerical discipline. This is illustrated by 
the leniency with which a Scottish ecclesiastical 
statute of the fourteenth century dealt with priestly 
concubinage. After a first, and again after a 
second warning the transgressor was to be pun 
ished with a moderate fine; only after the 
neglect of a third warning was suspension to be 
pronounced. 1 

King James I., although hampered as a church 
reformer by his need of help from the clergy 
against a turbulent nobility, gave voice in 1425 
to the growing national discontent in a remark 
able letter of admonition to the heads of monas 
teries. He declares that the degeneracy of the 
times is due largely to the covetousness and car 
nality of the religious orders ; exhorts those whom 
he addresses to " manifest a holy strictness" ; and 
warns them that "where the helm of discipline is 
neglected, nothing remains but the shipwreck of 
religion." Bishop Wardlaw also, who held the 
See of St. Andrews under James I., signalised his 
episcopate by his "repression of many disorders 
which had crept in among the clergy. " 3 His suc 
cessor. Bishop Kennedy, was equally earnest in 

1 Robertson, Statuta, ii., 65. 

2 Scotichr., xvi., 32. 

3 Geo. Martine, Reliquiae Div. Andr., pp. 230-232 (composed 
in 1683; but an old MS. is quoted). Dempster (Hist. Eccl., 
ii., 660) states that in his time (seventeenth century) a work 
of Wardlaw was extant, entitled Reformation of the Clergy. 

Introductory Survey n 

his endeavour to remove ecclesiastical abuses, and 
with this view visited each parish in his diocese 
four times a year. 1 * Before the close of the fif 
teenth century, however, the evil apparently had 
become too deep-seated for cure without drastic 
treatment. In 1459, James II. petitioned the 
Pope to suppress a monastery of Red Friars in 
Ayrshire on account of their flagrant and abomin 
able immorality. 2 A synodal Statute of St. An 
drews during the primacy of Bishop Forman 
(1515-1521) admits that even the lenient laws 
against clerical licentiousness had not in the past 
been enforced. 3 How, indeed, could such statutes 
be effectively administered by ecclesiastical dig 
nitaries who themselves were often heinous trans 
gressors ? <* 

To this gross abuse, which could not but alienate 
from the Church a large proportion of the virtu 
ous, there was added another scandal which 
moved the contempt of the intelligent clerical 
ignorance. The story related by Foxe regarding 
Bishop Crighton of Dunkeld (consecrated in 1527), 
whose learning was confined to his breviary and 
pontifical, and who thanked God that he "never 
knew what the Old and New Testaments were," 
is probably legendary; but the very fact of its 

1 Lesley , Hist, of Sc. , p. 37 (Vernac. ed.); Spottisw., ii., 33; 
Buchan., Hist, of Sc., xii., 23; Pitscottie, Hist, of Sc., p. no. 

2 Theiner, 421-422. 

3 Robertson, Statuta, i., p. cclxxii. 

4 Ibid., ii., 283. 

12 John Knox 

being handed down as a proverbial testimony is 
significant. 1 The troubles of the time are ex 
pressly ascribed by an ecclesiastical council in 1549 
to the " crass ignorance," along with " moral cor 
ruption," prevalent among " clergy of all ranks." 2 
A suggestive side-light is thrown on the wide-spread 
incapacity of the priesthood in the age preceding 
the Reformation by the warning which accom 
panied the publication of Archbishop Hamilton s 
Catechism in 1552. 

"Let rectors, vicars, curates take care to prepare 
themselves by daily repetition of the portion (of the 
Catechism) to be read on the next occasion, in order 
that they may not expose themselves to the mockery 
of their hearers, by stammering or stumbling." 3 

While the virtuous and the intelligent were 
thus estranged from the Church by the immoral 
ity and ignorance of the ministry, a third scandal 
excited the animosity even of the worldly-minded 
and the ill-living clerical covetousness. At the 

1 Foxe, Acts and Monuments, v., 622 (Townsend s ed.). 
He states that out of the incident a proverb arose in Scot 
land, "Ye are like the Bishop of Dunkeld that knew neither 
old nor new law." Cf. Lyndsay, Satyr e of the Three Estaites, 
1. 2920-2922, where the "Spirituality" is represented (about 
1535 A. D.) as acknowledging: 

"I read never the New Testament nor Auld: 
Nor ever think to do so by the Rood : 
I hear Friars say that reading does no good." 

2 Robertson, Statuta, ii., 81. 

3 Ibid., 138. 

Introductory Survey 13 

close of the fifteenth century, about one-half of 
the wealth of the kingdom is believed to have 
been in ecclesiastical hands, 1 and an impoverished 
or self-seeking nobility and gentry were thus 
tempted to become spoilers of the Church. Yet 
clerical greed continued to manifest itself in mul 
tiplied pluralities and ecclesiastical exactions. It 
was common for a bishop to supplement his ample 
episcopal income with the revenue of one or more 
rich abbacies. Even Bishop Kennedy was not 
free from this abuse. 2 In preceding periods the 
Church had been endowed by the munificence of 
the living; she now enriched herself through 
thinly veiled plunder of the dying and the dead. 
The Provincial Council held at Perth in 1428 de 
clared that bishops had the right to confirm all 
wills and to appoint executors for intestates ; that 
one-third of what was left without a will should 
be set apart mainly for funeral rites and subse 
quent masses ; and that the service of the bishop 
should be requited with a tax of twelve pence 

iPinkerton, Hist, of Sc., ii., 415; Rankinc, in Story s Ch. 
of Sc., ii., 426. The Spiritual Estate allowed the Church to 
be burdened with one half of any special assessment. 

2 Major, Hist, of Greater Brit., vi., 19. Dunbar, in his 
World s Instability, refers to bishops who held seven bene 
fices. Archbishop James Beaton held the Chancellorship and 
the Abbacies of Dunfermline, Arbroath, and Kilwinning. 
The scandal was often disguised under the practice of ap 
pointing to benefices in commendam (i. e. , in trust) ; the ap 
pointment being nominally temporary (to supply a vacancy), 
but practically permanent. 

H John Knox 

in the pound. 1 Among extortions which pressed 
hard on the peasantry was the carrying off by 
the priest of the "upmost cloth" or bed-cover, 
and also of what was called the "kirk-cow," as 
clerical dues after a death 2 ; while Candlemas 
and Easter offerings, fees for baptism, marriage, 
and other ceremonies, clerk-mail, teind-ale, and 
other exactions, caused the priest to be regarded 
as a "devourer of widows houses" and a greedy 
absorber of poor men s gains. 3 

Not a Protestant historian, but Lesley, the last 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Ross, thus describes 
the ecclesiastical demoralisation which he dates 
from the death of Bishop Kennedy in 1474. The 
"secular" clergy "fell from all devotion and god 
liness to the works of wickedness." "Foul dis 
grace infected monasteries and monks through all 
Scotland." "Idleness, luxury, and all bodily in 
dulgence crept into religious houses." "God s 
service began to be neglected." "Through such 
accumulated abuses the clergy incurred the ha 
tred of the common people." 4 Not a Protestant 

1 Robertson, Statuta, ii., 78. 

2 The "kirk-cow" was so called from its being regarded as 
a recompense to the priest for service. See Lyndsay (Satyre 
of the Three Estaites, vv. 1971-2000), where the pauper is 
represented as accounting for his "misery" through the vicar 
taking one cow when his father died, a second at the death of 
his mother, and the third and last after his wife s funeral. 

3 See First Book of Disc., vi. ; Major, Greater Brit., iii., n. 

4 Lesley, Vernac. Hist, of Sc., 1436-1561, p. 40; and his 
larger Hist, of Sc., in Sc. Text Soc. s ed., ii., 90-91. 

Introductory Survey 15 

controversialist, but the Romanist, Ninian Winzet, 
a contemporary and literary antagonist of Knox, 
candidly admits that the bishops and clergy in the 
age preceding the Reformation were " for the most 
part" so "ignorant or vicious, or both," as to be 
"unworthy the name of pastors." 

"Were not the sacraments of Christ Jesus" so he 
addresses the prelates of his church "profaned by 
ignorant and wicked persons, neither able to persuade 
to godliness by learning nor by living: of the which 
number we confess the most part of us of the ecclesi 
astical state to have been unworthily admitted by 
you to the ministration thereof." 

Such scandals he declares to be "the special 
ground of all impiety and division this day within 
ye, O Scotland!" 

IV. Indignation and disgust at ecclesiastical 
abuses were shared in Scotland, as elsewhere, by 
many who were quite satisfied with the Church s 
dogmas ; but by the close of the fourteenth cen 
tury the presence of revolt against Roman doc 
trine is discernible; for, in 1398, it was enacted 
that the King at his coronation should take an 
oath to put down heresy. 2 

Although Scottish jealousy of England had been 
developed and embittered by the Wars of Indepen 
dence, the earliest notable impulse to Protestantism 

1 See First Tractate and Last Blast of the Trumpet (Ninian 
Win zet s Works, i., 5, 44). 

3 Acts of Parl. of Sc., i., 573, 640. 

16 John Knox 

in Scotland appears to have been received from the 
other side of the Border. During the period of 
John Wyclif s labours as "Doctor Evangelicus" 
in Oxford (1361-1380) a large number of Scots 
men studied at that university r ; and some of 
these, it may be presumed, came more or less un 
der his reforming influence. Within twenty -two 
years after Wyclif s death in 1384, his doctrine 
was openly propagated in the northern kingdom. 
In 1406, or somewhat earlier, James Resby, 2 one 
of those itinerant home missionaries mostly 
priests 3 whom the Reformer had organised in 
1380 as evangelical rivals of the degenerate men 
dicants, arrived in Scotland ; driven thither, per 
haps, by persecution at home, or, more probably, 
impelled by missionary zeal. Resby is stated to 
have denied the authority of the reigning Pope, 
as well as of any pontiff not personally holy 4 ; 

1 There is evidence that in 1365 eighty-one Scots were 
students at Oxford. See T. M. Lindsay, in "Scot. Hist. 
Rev.," April, 1904, p. 267. 

2 The common misnaming of Resby as John (by Burton, 
Cunningham, Bellesheim, Andrew Lang, and others) appears 
to be derived from Spottiswoode (Hirf. of Ch. of Sc., p. 56, orig. 
ed.). In the margin, however, of that work the "heretic" is 
correctly called James, as in the Scotichromcon, by Resby s 
contemporary, Bower. 

3 Hence the name "poor priests" given to the class. 
Resby was literally a priest (Scotichr., xv., 20). 

^Scotichr., xv., 20: Papa de facto non Christi Vicarius. 
The two Popes de facto, Benedict XIII. and Gregory XII., 
were at this time so much estranging their own adherents 
that preparations were being made for the Council of Pisa, 
which deposed both. 

Introductory Survey 17 

and also to have rejected compulsory confession 
and priestly absolution; while as a follower of 
Wyclif he may be assumed to have abjured tran- 
substantiation, and to have maintained strenu 
ously the supreme authority of Holy Writ. 1 
Bower, who was Resby s bitter opponent, testifies 
to his popularity as a preacher and to the wide 
spread sympathy which his views obtained. 
The most learned Scottish churchman of his 
time, Laurence of Lindores, who bore the title 
of "Inquisitor of Heresy," "refuted" Resby s 
errors; the civil and ecclesiastical authorities 
united in condemning him to the stake; but 
through this Wycliffite priest evangelical truth 
obtained a footing in Scotland which, notwith 
standing severe persecution, was never afterwards 

Soon after Resby s martyrdom the University 
of St. Andrews was founded by Bishop Wardlaw, 
who had taken a leading part in the prosecution 
of the English preacher. It was expected that 
this new institution would be a bulwark of the 
Church s faith, as well as a training-college for 
her clergy. Yet, so early as the year 1416, it was 
found needful to demand from all Masters of Arts 
an oath against "the assault of the Lollards 2 ; 

1 The Scotichronicon refers generally to forty conclusiones 
periculosissimcB of Resby. 

2 McCrie, Life of Melville, p. 405, where a MS. record of the 
University is quoted. 

1 8 John Knox 

and Wyntoun, writing about 1420, bears witness 
to the prevalence of "heresy" at that time when 
he speaks of Regent Albany as a man who 

"All Lollard hated and heretic." J 

In 1422 a "heretic" was burnt at Glasgow 2 : and 
two years later the Scottish Parliament passed an 
Act enjoining bishops to search for Lollards 
through the "inquisitores," with a view to their 
punishment by the secular power. 3 

To the diffusion of Wycliffite views in Scotland 
was added ere long the propagation of kindred 
Hussite heresy. 4 In i433, s Paul Crawar, a phy 
sician from Prague and disciple of John Hus, 
settled in St. Andrews and gathered many ad 
herents. He taught them to renounce tran- 
substantiation, purgatory, saint-" worship," and 
priestly absolution, as well as to study for them- 

1 Orig. Cronykil, ix., 2773. 

2 Knox, Hist, of Ref., i., 5 (Laing s ed.). 

3 Acts of Par. of Sc., ii., 7 ; Robertson, Statuta, i., p. Ixxix. 

4 Intercourse between England and Bohemia had become 
considerable at this time, owing (i) to King Richard II. s mar 
riage, in 1382, to Anne of Bohemia, who embraced Wycliffite 
views; (2) to Bohemian students (including Jerome of Prague, 
the future martyr) being attracted to Oxford by the fame of 
its teachers, and English students similarly to Prague. Ox 
ford University provided a link between Bohemia and Scot 

s So Bower, Scotichr., xvi., 20; Knox (H. of R., i., 6) gives 
the date as 1431. 

Introductory Survey 19 

selves Holy Writ. 1 Again the now aged Laurence 
of Lindores (who had become one of the original 
professors at St. Andrews University) confronts 
the heretic whose "expertness in biblical know 
ledge and quotation" Bower candidly acknow 
ledges. Again, the civil power, now personally 
administered by the restored King, endorses the 
ecclesiastical condemnation. Crawar was burned 
in 1433; but the ball of brass put into the mar 
tyr s mouth at the stake to intercept his dying 
testimony, could not prevent the diffusion of the 
truth which he had boldly propagated in the re 
ligious metropolis of Scotland. 2 

History is silent for sixty years after Crawar s 
death regarding the progress of Reformed belief. 3 
Bishop Kennedy s reforming activity, outside the 
sphere of doctrine, may have led to temporary 
decline of sympathy with movements against 
Rome of a more radical character. Notwithstand 
ing hierarchical repression, however, or diminution 
of popular support, the revolt against Roman dog 
ma must have continued ; for in 1494 it reappears 

1 Scotichr., I. c.; Bellesh., Cath. Ch. of Sc., ii., 56, 57. 
Crawar went beyond Hus and followed Wyclif in rejecting 
transubstantiation. Bower s statement that Crawar s sect 
denied the resurrection of the dead and held communistic 
views is not confirmed by other authority. 

2 Knox, H. of R.,L, 6. 

3 Archbishop Graham, indeed, was deposed in 1478, partly 
for "heresy" (Theiner, Monum., 480-481), but this charge 
seems to have referred to fanatical pretensions, which suggest 
insanity (Bellesh., ii., 93). 

20 John Knox 

on the surface of history. In that year thirty 
persons, belonging to different parts of Ayrshire, 
several being men and women of high social posi 
tion, were summoned before the King and his 
Privy Council, at the instance of the Archbishop 
of Glasgow, to answer the charge of " Lollardism." * 
These thirty were probably prominent representa 
tives of considerable communities: for Knox de 
scribes the district as " an ancient receptacle of the 
people of God." The strong hold over the country 
which Wycliffite views had obtained since Crawar s 
time is significantly indicated by the procedure at 
the Council. Not only was no penalty inflicted on 
the accused, but their spokesman, Adam Reid of 
Barskimming, was allowed to turn the tables on 
his archiepiscopal prosecutor, and to charge him 
and his fellow prelates with forgetting their 
divine commission, which was "to preach Christ s 
Evangel and not to play the proud prelates." 

About the time of this notable trial a poem was 
written by Walter Kennedy, In Praise of Aige, 
containing these significant lines : 

"The Schip of Faith tempestuous wind and rain 
Dry vis in the sea of Lollerdry that blawis." 2 

1 Knox, H. of R., {., 12. An interesting relic of these 
Lollards of Ayrshire was published in 1901 by Dr. T. Graves 
Law, viz., a MS. of Wyclif s New Testament "turned into 
Scots by Mordoch Nisbet," of Loudoun, near Kilmarnock, 
whose "eyes were opened to see the vanity and evil of Pop 
ery, some time before the year 1500 " (N. T. in Scots, p. x.). 

2 G. Bannatyne, Ancient Scottish Poems, p. 258. 

Introductory Survey 21 

No doubt even in that age there were men, like 
Bishop Elphinstone of Aberdeen, who adorned 
their ecclesiastical office by blameless life and 
beneficent service. But amid the discreditable 
ignorance, vitiated doctrine, licentious laxity, and 
disreputable greed of a large proportion of the 
"kirkmen" who at this period manned the vessel 
of "Holy Church," the shipwreck not only of 
Church, but of faith, appeared imminent. Yet 
the darkest hour is that which comes before the 
dawn; and in the earlier part of the sixteenth 
century came the dawn of a brighter day for 
Scotland and for Christendom. 



1513 (OR i5os)-i543 

JOHN KNOX was born at or near Haddington 
early in the sixteenth century, but the year 
of his birth is uncertain, the month and day 
are unknown, and pilgrims to his birthplace find 
themselves confronted with diversity of opinion 
as to its location. 

I. Two contemporaries of the Reformer Sir 
Peter Young, by 1579 a citizen of Edinburgh, and 
Theodore Beza of Geneva, a personal friend of 
Knox indicate by their statements regarding his 
age at death that he was born at some time be 
tween the 24th November, 1513, and the 24th 
November, 1515. The traditional date, on the 

1 Young (who shared with George Buchanan the responsi 
bility for the education of James VI.), in a letter to Beza, 
dated November, 1579, writes that Knox died in his fifty- 
ninth year (see Hume Brown, Life of John Knox, ii., 323). 
Beza (Icones Illust.Virorum, Ee iii.) states that the Reformer 
died "after having attained to the age of fifty-seven." 

[1513-1543] Early Years 23 

other hand, is 1505. It rests almost entirely on 
the authority of Archbishop Spottiswoode, who 
wrote the History containing his testimony about 
half a century after the Reformer s death. 1 Some 
apparent confirmation of Spottiswoode s state 
ment is afforded by the fact that a John Knox 
entered the University of Glasgow in October, 
1522 2 , when John Major, under whom, according 
to Beza, Knox studied, occupied a chair in that 
seat of learning. But the University Register 

1 Spottiswoode, Hist, of the Ch., ii., 180 (edition 1850). 
The same statement is made by David Buchanan in his Life 
and Death of John Knox (pp. i, 7), prefixed to his edition of 
Knox s History of the Reformation. Buchanan s work was 
published in 1644, five years after Spottiswoode s death, but 
eleven years before the latter s History of the Church was 
given to the world. The two testimonies, however, are not, 
as is often assumed, independent of each other: for inter 
nal evidence suggests that Buchanan had access to Spottis 
woode s unpublished MS. before writing his own account of 
Knox. For example : (a) both authors speak of Knox as 
born in Gifford of "honest parentage"; (6) Buchanan s 
statement that "under Master John Mair, a man very famous 
for his learning," Knox became so proficient that he was 
"advanced to Church orders before the time usually allowed," 
is an obvious repetition of Spottiswoode s assertion (ii., 180) 
that "he [Knox] made such profit in his studies under that 
famous Doctor, Mr. John Mair, as he was held worthy to 
enter into orders before the years allowed"; (c) when Bu 
chanan writes, "He betook himself to the reading of the 
ancients, especially of Augustine," and "was exceedingly 
solaced," he seems to echo Spottiswoode s testimony, "by 
reading the ancients, especially the works of St. Austin, he 
was brought to the knowledge of the truth." 

3 Munimenta Univ. Glasg., ii., 147. 

24 John Knox [ ISI3 _ 

shews that in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen 
turies about forty Knoxes (of whom eight are 
called John) were students at Glasgow l ; and 
Beza (followed here by David Buchanan) states 
distinctly that Knox was under Major at the Uni 
versity of St. Andrews, where the latter held office 
from 1523-1525, and from 1531 to 1549-50. 2 
Until the discovery, moreover, by Dr. McCrie, 
about a century ago, of the entry in the aca 
demic Register at Glasgow, Knox s alleged con 
nection with the university there appears never 
to have been suggested by any writer. On the 
whole, while the date of the Reformer s birth 
remains a subject of controversy, it appears to be 
most probable, in accordance with our earliest 
authority on the point, that he was born at the 

1 Munimenta Univ. Glasg., ii. and iii. 

2 ^Eneas Mackay, Life of Major (prefixed to translation 
of the latter s Greater Britain}, pp. Ixx., ciii., civ. The ab 
sence of Knox s name from the Matriculation Roll at St. 
Andrews is by no means conclusive against his having 
been a student of the university there. Dr. Hay Fleming 
has pointed out (in a letter to the "Scotsman" of date 27th 
May, 1904) that the matriculation records are manifestly 
defective. By the courtesy of Mr. Maitland Anderson, the 
scholarly University Librarian, who is preparing the aca 
demic Registers for publication, the present writer has been 
able to examine the portion of the records referring to the 
years 1511-1532. The existence of lacuna is obvious. In 
1529, for example, when Knox might very well have entered 
the university, if he was born in 1513, only three "incor 
porations " are recorded, as compared with about forty in 
the year preceding and in the year following. 

1543] Early Years 25 

close of the year 1513, or in the course of 

II. In a hamlet called Giffordgate, adjacent to 
Haddington, within the bounds of the parish, and 
near the ancient parish church, although on the 
opposite bank of the Tyne, there stands a memor 
ial oak tree planted by direction of Thomas Car- 
lyle. A tablet beside the tree bears the inscription, 
"Near this stood the house in which was born 
John Knox." The local tradition, accepted by 
Carlyle, was referred to as old in 1785. 2 In its 
favour is the fact that, when Knox was admitted 
as a burgess of Geneva, he was registered as "a 
native of Haddington," 3 and that he is so desig 
nated by his contemporary detractor, Archibald 
Hamilton. 4 This site is also consistent with the 
description of the Reformer by Beza and Spottis- 
woode as a Gifford man 5 ; for Giffordgate, which 
was part of the estate of the Giffords of East 
Lothian, is repeatedly referred to, in ancient local 

1 See Additional Note at the end of this chapter. 

2 By the Rev. Dr. George Barclay, at a meeting of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (see Trans, of Soc. of Ant., 
i., 69). The genuineness of the site was afterwards vin 
dicated by Mr. John Richardson (Proceed, of the Soc. of Ant. 
of Scot., iii. 52-55,), and it has been accepted by Dr. David 
Laing (Works of Knox, vi., p. xviii.), Prof. A. F. Mitchell 
(Scott. Ref., 79), Dr. Hay Fleming (O. S. Mag. 1889) and 

3 See Registre des Bourgeois of Geneva. 

4 De Confusione Calv. Secta? apud Scotos, p. 64. 

s Beza refers to Knox as " Giff ordiensis " (Icones}; Spottis- 
woode, as "born in Gifford" (Hist, of Ch., ii., 180). 

26 John Knox [1513- 

documents of the fifteenth century, not as a 
mere "gate" or roadway, but as a district of 
land. 1 

The question has not been decisively settled ; for 
the testimony in favour of Giffordgate is not 
ancient enough to command universal acceptance. 2 
Something may be said for the village of Gifford, 
four miles from Haddington the site favoured 
by Dr. McCrie in his Life of John Knox. The 
adoption of this site as Knox s birthplace would 
account most satisfactorily for the language of 
Beza and Spottiswoode. But the absence of any 
village of that name in detailed maps and descrip 
tions of the seventeenth century 3 is an objection 
which can hardly be surmounted, unless evidence 
come to light of a more ancient Gifford hamlet 
which, in the interval between the time of Knox 

1 See local charter of 1427, transferring by excambion "the 
fourth part of Yester, Duncanlaw, Morham and Giffordgate," 
and also a confirmatory charter, dated 1441, in similar terms. 

2 Two instruments of sasine, indeed, dated 1607 and 1611, 
describe certain "butts" of land in Giffordgate as bounded 
by lands called "Knox s Walls"; so that before 1607 the 
name of Knox was associated with the locality. Richardson 
and others adduce this fact as evidence of the antiquity of 
the testimony to the Giffordgate site. But such connexion 
of the name of Knox with the district is not decisive; for the 
name was common in East Lothian ; and the association of 
Knoxes with Giffordgate might be held to have given rise 
to the tradition of the Reformer s birth there. 

3 Font s map of the county made in the time of Charles I. 
(see Chalmers s Caledonia, iv., 535; ed., 1889), and Moni- 
pennie s Scots Chronicles. 

i S 43] Early Years 27 

and the reign of Charles I., had become extinct. 1 
A claim may also be advanced in favour of Mor- 
ham, four miles from Haddington the site pre 
ferred by Dr. Hume Brown. 2 Morham was within 
Haddington constabulary ; so that a parishioner of 
the former might consider himself to be "of Had 
dington." In the fourteenth century, the Morham 
estate came through marriage into the possession 
of the Giffords; and it is inferred by those who 
favour this site that the lands acquired might, in 
consequence, come to be known as Gifford. The 
birth of Knox in Morham, moreover, would ac 
count most adequately for the Reformer s appar 
ent acknowledgment of the Earls of Bothwell as 
entitled to receive feudal service from his family 3 ; 
for in 1490-1 half of the Morham property passed 
into the hands of the Bothwells 4 ; whereas GifTord- 
gate does not appear ever to have been theirs. 5 

1 The case for Gifford village has been well stated by 
the late Mr. Kerr, minister of Yester, in a pamphlet entitled 
Where was Knox Born? He and Dr. McCrie, however, 
wrote before attention had been called to the omission of the 
village from ancient maps. 

2 Life of John Knox, i., 10. 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 323, where he states that his "grand 
father, goodshir [mother s father] and father had served 
under the Bothwells"; and he adds, "This was part of the 
obligation of our Scottish Kyndness." 

4 There is a charter in Register House, Edinburgh, record 
ing a grant to this effect by James IV. to Patrick, Earl of 
Bothwell, and to his heirs. 

s The facts and arguments favourable to Morham have 
been presented by Mr. David Louden, formerly schoolmaster 

28 John Knox [i 5 i 3 - 

Against these considerations, however, must be 
placed not only the lack of evidence that Morham 
ever was called Gifford, but positive testimony to 
its retention of the original name long after its 
conveyance to the Gifford family : for, as we have 
seen, local charters of the fifteenth century refer 
to the estate as "Morham." It is highly improb 
able, therefore, that any native of Morham would 
speak of himself on that account as "born in 
Gifford . The obligation of Scottish Kyndness, 
on the part of Knox s father and grandfather, to 
follow the Bothwell standard may have been 
based on the fact that the Earls of Bothwell had 
been for three generations sheriffs of the county ; 
the phrase being fairly understood not in the 
technical sense of feudal allegiance, but in the 
more general meaning of dutiful loyalty, arising 
out of close relationship combined with territorial 
subordination. On the whole, Giffordgate is the 
site for which most and against which least can 

of the parish, in History of Morham (1889), pp. 34-51. In 
addition to what is stated above, he draws attention to the 
indisputable fact that Morham was a habitation of Knoxes. 
Nine old tombstones in the parish churchyard commemo 
rate persons of that name, the oldest dating back to 1660. 
Giffordgate, however, with its "Knox s Walls," may also 
claim to be an abode of members of the clan (see note, p. 
26). Mr. Louden adduces, further, the oral testimony of an 
old man, Nelson, born about 1800, who remembered his 
grandfather pointing out a spot in the parish which in his 
(i. e., the grandfather s) boyhood was spoken of as John 
Knox s birthplace : but in favour of Giffordgate a similar 
local tradition has existed. 

i 5 43l Early Years 29 

be urged; and Carlyle s oak still "holds the 
field." 1 

III. John Knox s parentage, although not dis 
tinguished, was respectable. " Descendit but of 
lineage small" is the testimony of a personal 
friend and admirer, John Davidson of Preston- 
pans. 2 The Reformer s father, William, and both 
his grandfathers served, as we have seen, under 
Earls of Bothwell; and two of these died under 
the standard of that family. This was probably 
on what Knox describes as "that unhappy field" 
of Flodden, in 1513; for an Earl of Bothwell was 
slain in the battle, with most of his followers, in a 
gallant attempt to retrieve the fortunes of the 
day. 3 Of the Reformer s mother all that we cer 
tainly know is that her name was Sinclair a name 
which Knox occasionally used for concealment in 
times of trouble 4 ; but she may have been re 
lated to Marion Sinclair, wife of George Ker of 
Samuelston, for whom Knox acted repeatedly as 

* The writer is indebted for information regarding ancient 
documents connected with Haddington, and also for several 
suggestions embodied in this paragraph, to Dr. J. G. Wallace- 
James, Provost of Haddington, whose archaeological research- 
work regarding the charters of the burgh is well known. 

2 In his Breif Commendation of Uprichtness, Stanza 
xiv., reprinted as an appendix to McCrie s Life of John 
Knox. Archibald Hamilton describes the Reformer as 06- 
scuris natus parentibus (De Conf. Calv. Sectoe, p. 64). Had 
there been anything discreditable in Knox s parentage, 
Hamilton would have stated it. 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 313; Laing, W. of K., vi., p. xvi. 

4 Laing, iv., 245. 

30 John Knox [1513- 

notary, and whose daughter married the second 
Lord Home, Chancellor of Scotland. On his 
mother s side, therefore, the Reformer may have 
been well connected. 1 We know of only one 
brother of John Knox, William, who became a 
merchant of considerable standing at Preston 
(East Lothian), and was the father of three sons 
who became ministers of the Church of Scotland. 2 
IV. At the period of Knox s birth and boy 
hood, Haddington was a prosperous burgh. Its 
position, indeed, on one of the main roads leading 
from England to Edinburgh, had exposed it re 
peatedly to English ravage and incendiarism : but 
the fertility of the soil in the surrounding district 
enabled the town always to rise out of its ashes 
into renewed prosperity. It was already distin 
guished as the birthplace of King Alexander 
II., in 1198, and of the historian, Walter Bower, 
in 1385. Haddington was a notable ecclesiastical 
centre. About a mile east of the town stood a 
Cistercian Abbey, founded in 1170 by Ada, the 

1 Laing., vi., p. xv. ; Proceedings of Soc. of Antiq., iii., 67. 

2 Rogers, Geneal. Memoirs of John Knox, pp. 60-70. In 
the Record Office there is a letter from Regent Arran to 
Edward VI., dated Feb., 1552, and seeking "letters of safe 
conduct" for "our lovit William Knox in Prestoun"; and in 
Sept. 1552, he received liberty to trade in any part of Eng 
land. His eldest son, William, became minister of Cockpen 
(Midlothian) in 1567; the second son, Paul, of Kelso in 1574; 
the youngest, John, was minister successively of Lauder and 

; of Melrose between 1576 and 1623, and signalised himself by 
opposition to episcopacy and to the Five Articles of Perth. 

1543] Early Years 31 

mother of William the Lion. 1 Within the burgh 
itself was a church, consecrated to the Virgin, old 
enough to have been mentioned in 1134; three 
chapels dedicated respectively to St. John, St. 
Catherine, and St. Anne; a chapel of St. Martin 
on the east of the Nungate, whose ruins remain; 
and a church and monastery belonging to the 
Blackfriars. 2 Chief of all was a church of the 
Grey friars, dating from the thirteenth century 
the "Lamp of Lothian," of which the present 
parish church by the riverside, with ruined choir, 
but with nave still used for worship, is in part a 
survival. 3 Educationally, as well as ecclesiastic 
ally, Haddington was well equipped. It had a 
grammar school, at which Walter Bower pro 
bably, and the more illustrious John Major, cer 
tainly, had received their education. 4 At this 
institution, even if his birthplace was a few miles 

1 Wyntoun, Orig. Cronyk., vii., 960. 

2 Barclay, Trans, of Soc. of Ant., \., 64-66; Chalmers, 
Caledonia, iv., 515. 

3D. Miller, Lamp of Lothian, pp. 377-385. The name 
was given to the edifice either from its architectural beauty, 
or from the tower being visible from afar by travellers, or 
from the moral illumination which the church imparted. 
The ground adjoining the churchyard is still called "Friars 

4 In the dedication of his treatise on Book IV. of Lom 
bard s Sentences, Major refers to Haddington as "the town 
which fostered the beginnings of my own studies, and in 
whose kindly embraces I was carried on in my education 
to a pretty advanced age." See ^Eneas Mackay s transla 
tion of Major s Greater Britain, p. xxxii. 

32 John Knox [i S i 3 - 

distant, Knox acquired, we may presume, his 
facility in speaking and writing Latin. 

V. There is no evidence that during Knox s 
boyhood the Reformation had extended to Had- 
dington, where even in 1546 the movement met 
with a cold reception J ; but if the year 1513-14 
be accepted as the date of the Reformer s birth, 
he must have heard something, before leaving 
school for university, of the great religious ques 
tion of the time. The degeneracy of the Francis 
cans, who held the chief place, ecclesiastically, in 
the town, had been satirised by William Dunbar 
and David Lyndsay, both connected with East 
Lothian. 2 By 1525, the circulation of Lutheran 
books and tracts in Scotland had become so no 
torious that the subject was brought before Par 
liament 3 ; and in the following year copies of 
Tyndale s English New Testament found their 
way to seaports on the east of Scotland. 4 

In 1527, while John Knox would be still at 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 136-138. 

2 Dunbar s Visitation of St. Francis, and the Friars of 
Berwick, usually attributed to him, were written early in the 
sixteenth century. His connection by birth with East 
Lothian is mentioned by himself in his Flyting, line no. 
Lyndsay s earliest printed satire against the clergy and 
religious orders (the Papyngo) was published about 1530; 
but as he was born in 1490, and his father had an estate 
two miles from Haddington, he was doubtless locally notable 
before 1530 for his exposure of clerical immorality. 

3 Acts of Parl. of Sc., ii., 295; Lorimer, Scott. Ref., pp. 2, 3. 

4 A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., p. 23. 

1543] Early Years 33 

school, or, if the traditional date of his birth be 
adhered to, a student preparing for the priest 
hood, the brief ministry was inaugurated of a 
leading pioneer of the Scottish Reformation- 
Patrick Hamilton, the son of a Linlithgowshire 
knight, and a kinsman of the noble families of Ham 
ilton and Albany. He preached at St. Andrews, 
in the spring of 1527, the Lutheran doctrine which 
he had imbibed at Paris under Lefevre, and had 
afterwards studied more fully in Luther s own 
controversial tracts. The Primate, James Beaton, 
was not anxious to come into conflict with a repre 
sentative of two powerful families: yet he dared 
not incur the suspicion of countenancing heresy. 
He sent, accordingly, to Hamilton a citation to 
appear, which was probably intended, and at any 
rate was accepted, as a warning to disappear. 
During the greater part of the year 1527 Hamilton 
lived at Marburg in Hesse, under the potent pro 
tection of Landgrave Philip. He signalised his 
Protestantism there by the publication of a series 
of theses on Justification, which were afterwards 
eulogised by Fryth, the English martyr, as contain 
ing the " pith of all Divinity." * Late in the au 
tumn he returned to Scotland, fortified by further 
study of Reformed doctrine, as well as by inter 
course with Protestant divines. He resolved now, 
at whatever risk, to vindicate the truth in which 

1 Foxe, iv., 563. The theses are embodied by Knox in his 
H. of R.,i., 21-35. 


34 John Knox [1513- 

he believed. To crowded congregations in Lin- 
lithgow he preached the evangelical doctrine of 
justification by faith. The Primate refrained at 
first from renewing the former citation. He in 
vited the young Reformer to a friendly conference 
and treated him at the outset with conciliation, in 
the hope, doubtless, that he would be induced to 
retrace his steps. When this expectation proved 
vain, Hamilton was ensnared into such a definite 
declaration of his views as sufficed to bring home 
to him the charge of heresy. The old summons 
was then reissued and was boldly faced. A single 
day witnessed his trial, condemnation, and mar 
tyrdom. At the stake he prayed that God would 
open the eyes of his fellow-citizens; and when 
unable any longer to speak he held up his half- 
burnt hand, in response to the appeal of a sym 
pathetic bystander, as a token of steadfast faith. 2 
VI. It was a common saying at the time that 
the "reek of Patrick Hamilton infected as many 
as it blew upon " ; and we can hardly imagine that 
Knox, who reports this saying, was himself en- 

1 The citation is given in full by Prof. Mitchell in his 
Scottish Reformation, App. B. Among the charges against 
Hamilton were (i) denial of any reward of salvation for good 
works a misrepresentation of his doctrine of justification; 

(2) repudiation of image -(worship) and prayers for the dead; 

(3) assertion that tithes were not exigible, sacraments in 
themselves not reliable, and Church censures not authorita 

2 Alesius (Hamilton s friend), Comm. on Psalm xxxvii.; 
Lorimer, Patrick Hamilton, Appendix 2. 

i 543 ] Early Years 35 

tirely unaffected. 1 If he became a student at St. 
Andrews in 1529, the memory of Hamilton would 
still be fresh in the city: even if he entered the 
university a year or two later, the impression 
would not have become faint. The following 
warm words in Knox s History have the appear 
ance of a personal reminiscence : 

"When those cruel wolves had, as they supposed, 
clean devoured their prey, they found themselves in 
worse case than they were before: for then, within 
St. Andrews, yea almost within the whole realm, 
there was none found who began not to enquire 
wherefore was Master Patrick Hamilton burnt ? And 
so, within short space many began to call in doubt 
that which they held for a certain verity." 2 

During the seventeen years, however, which fol 
lowed Hamilton s martyrdom, there is no evidence 
of Knox having said or done anything which in 
volved adherence to the cause for which Hamilton 
died. He refrained, indeed, from taking his de 
gree as "Magister Artium," not improbably on 
account of the oath against "Lollardism" which 
the university demanded from its "Masters. "3 
It appears also, as already has been incidentally 
indicated, that at this period (possibly under 
the influence of Gavin Logie, Principal of St. 
Leonard s College) Knox became a student of the 

i Knox, H. of R., i., 42. 
3 Ibid., 36. 
3 See page 1 7 

36 John Knox [i S i 3 - 

ancient Fathers, especially of St. Augustine, from 
whom he would learn to crave for a more script 
ural theology than the Church then supplied. 1 At 
some date, however, prior to December, 1540, he 
was ordained as a priest of the Church of Rome 2 ; 
and in 1543 he is found signing himself a "Minis 
ter of the Holy Altar." 3 During the five years 
or more which succeeded his ordination he exer 
cised, like many other priests of that time, the 
office of notary; and also acted as a private tutor.* 
Up till the latter part of the year 1545, no public 
support, so far as is known, was given by him 
to the Reformation movement. 

1 Beza, Icones, Ee. iii. ; Spottiswoode, Hist, of Ch., ii., 180; 
D. Buchanan, Life and Death of Knox, p. i. 

2 The requisite age was twenty-five, so that he might have 
been admitted in 1538; moreover, Spottiswoode, as we have 
seen, declares (Hist, of Ch., ii., 180) that "he was held worthy 
to enter into orders before the years allowed " ; but the earliest 
evidence of his priesthood is a legal document, dated Decem 
ber, 1540, in the burgh archives of Haddington. In this 
document Knox is called Sir John Knox, a title given to 
priests who were not "Masters." See Laing, W. of K., vi., 
p. xxi. 

3 Ibid., p. xxii., and Facsimile. Ninian Winzet (Certane 
Tractatis, ii.) describes Knox as " esteeming that ordina 
tion null, by which sometime ye were called Sir John." 

4 Laing, W. of K., vi., p. xx. ; Archibald Hamilton, De 
Conf. Col. Sect., p. 64. As Knox appears to have exercised 
notarial functions repeatedly at Samuelston, three miles 
from Haddington, Dr. Laing conjectures that he lived 
with the Kers of Samuelston (one of whom was married to a 
Sinclair), and may have acted as priest in the little Chapel 
of St. Nicolas on the estate. 

1543] Early Years 37 

VII. This long period of reserve and reticence 
in a man (as the issue proved) of strong convic 
tions, ardent temper, and openness of speech, 
has been an enigma to all students of the Re 
former s history. The difficulty is enhanced if we 
adhere to the traditional date of Knox s birth, and 
thus postpone his avowal of Protestant views 
until he was forty years of age. Even, however, 
if we accept 1513-14 as his birth-year, his inaction 
throughout early manhood and professional life is 
remarkable and calls for explanation. 

(i) Some restraint may have been exerted at 
first over Knox by John Major, who, after an ab 
sence of six years, returned to St. Andrews 
University in 1531. His name and fame as a dis 
tinguished ex-alumnus of Haddington Academy, 
and as the " Prince of Paris Masters" T must have 
been previously familiar to Knox, who testifies, 
that Major s "word was then holden [i. e. at St. 
Andrews after 1531] as an oracle in matters of 
religion." 2 His influence over the future Re 
former, who at some period was his scholar, can 
be traced in various spheres of thought. From 
Major, who was a Schoolman, Knox probably 
learned that dialectic resourcefulness which 
George Buchanan also a pupil of Major dis 
parages somewhat unfairly as "sophistry." Such 
argumentative aptitude, blended with moral 

i So he is called by Melanchthon, Op. i., 398. 
a Knox, H. of R., i., 37. 

38 John Knox [i S i 3 - 

earnestness, rendered Knox afterwards a potent 
controversialist as well as a heroic Reformer. 
From Major, also, Knox apparently first imbibed 
those advanced views of the limitations of mon 
archy, which the Reformer afterwards unfolded 
and vindicated. "From the people" so this 
"Master" declared "kings have their institu 
tion, and on them [the people] royal power de 
pends." "The nation is above the king, who 
exists for the people s good, not they for his." * 
In the sphere of religion, Major had been the 
leader in France of the ecclesiastical party who 
united loyal adherence to Roman doctrine with 
strenuous opposition to papal despotism and 
urgent demand for practical reform. 2 While 
Knox, therefore, might hear from his teacher 
a free disparagement of papal bans and denun 
ciation of clerical abuses, he would also receive 
from him a scholastic defence of transubstantia- 
tion, saint-worship, compulsory celibacy for the 
priesthood, and other Roman Catholic tenets; 
without any word of sympathy for that Reformed 
teaching which Hamilton had recently vindicated. 
Major s prestige as an "oracle," along with his 

1 Major, Greater Britain, Book IV., 17; Comm. on Lomb. 
Sent., Book IV., 76. 

2 Comment, on Matthew, fol. 18. In later years Major s 
zeal against the Papacy cooled, owing probably to his alarm 
at the Protestant doctrine of the right of private judgment. 
A disputation against papal assumption, contained in the 
original edition of the above-mentioned commentary, is 
significantly omitted in the later edition of 1529. 

1543] Early Years 39 

personal influence as a native of East Lothian, 
may have contributed to prevent Knox from 
publicly committing himself, during his academic 
course, to the Reformation cause. 

(2) The burning of Hamilton was the inau 
guration in Scotland of a stern policy of repression 
and persecution such as constrained many re 
formers to conceal their convictions. Beaton and 
the hierarchy, having crossed the Rubicon, were 
impelled to go forward, both by increasing symp 
toms of revolt and by influential approval of their 
policy. On the one hand, even within the archi- 
episcopal precincts of St. Andrews, Gavin Logie 
taught doctrine so suggestive of Protestant truth 
that suspected heretics were said to have " drunk 
at St. Leonard s well." 1 On the other hand, 
John Major, although fully alive to the Church s 
abuses, congratulated Beaton on having "man 
fully removed Hamilton ; while the University of 
Lou vain, sent a warm letter of approbation. 2 
The young King, moreover, James V., endorsed 
the episcopal policy, not from any favour for 
persecution, but from his obligation to support 
the hierarchy as the price of their co-operation 
in resisting the encroachments of the nobility. 
During the fourteen years, accordingly, which 
intervened between the martyrdom of Hamil 
ton and the death of James in 1542, frequent 

1 Calderwood, Hist, of Kirk, i., 104; Knox, H. of R., i., 36. 

2 Calderwood , i., 80-82. 

40 John Knox [1513- 

" inquisition " was made, under the primacy of 
James Beaton and that of his nephew David, for 
those who showed any leaning towards Reformed 
views. 1 Various repressive enactments were 
passed by Parliament 2 ; numerous martyrdoms 
of priests, friars, and laymen took place 3 ; many 
escaped death only by flight and exile. 4 Was 
it wonderful that amid such persecution not 
a few remained reticent who sympathised intel 
lectually with the Reformation movement, but 
who had not experienced those deep spiritual as 
pirations which the evangelical truth, proclaimed 
by the Reformers, awakened? 5 

(3) Neither of these two influences, however, 
adequately accounts for a man of Knox s tem 
perament refraining so long from any act or word 
which would commit him on the great religious 

1 See Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 15, which records "a great 
abjuration of the favourers of Martin Luther." 

2 See Chap. II., p. 52. 

3 Among notable martyrs were Henry Forrest, a Benedict 
ine of Linlithgow; Thomas Forret, Norman Gourlay, and 
Duncan Simpson, priests; John Keillor, John Beveridge, and 
Jerome Russell, friars; D. Straiton and N. Kennedy, gentle 
men of Kincardine and Ayrshire respectively. (Knox i., 

4 Among distinguished exiles were Gavin Logie, James 
Hamilton, the brother, and Alexander Alane (Alesius), 
the friend, of Patrick Hamilton; Alexander Seaton, the 
King s confessor, George Buchanan, the historian, and John 
Mac Alpine, a Dominican, who as Machabasus became Pro 
fessor of Theology at Copenhagen, and one of the translators 
of the Bible into Danish. (Ibid. 36, 54-71). 

s See Chap. II., pp. 51, 53. 

1 543] Early Years 41 

question of the time. His self-reliant disposition 
would prevent him from being unduly restrained 
by Major, especially after his entrance into 
the priesthood. On the other hand, any natural 
" fearfulness " would in his case be more than 
counterbalanced by that impatience of secrecy and 
time-serving, and that habit of "speaking his 
mind" whether men approved or not, which 
were apparently essential features of his char 
acter. In a time of religious conflict, moreover, 
it is difficult for any earnest man, even although 
without the highest kind of spiritual experience, 
to maintain for years a position of neutrality 
regarding matters which intimately concern his 
profession. The solution of the problem of Knox s 
long reserve is to be found mainly, we believe, in a 
prominent characteristic of the future Reformer, 
which appears throughout his entire public career, 
his warm patriotism. While other Protestants of 
the period who fled from Scotland Alesius, 
Seton, Logie, MacAlpine, William, and many 
more found permanent spheres elsewhere, and 
"did never after" (as Knox pathetically expresses 
it) "comfort their country with their bodily 
presence, (j- he, on the contrary, as we shall 
see, repeatedly declined permanent promotion in 

1 Knox spoke of himself (on his death-bed) as a "fearful 
man," but immediately afterwards qualified the confession 
by the statement that he "feared not the faces of men" 
(Laing, W. of K., vi., 637). 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 56. 

4 2 John Knox [1513- 

England ; kept himself through correspondence in 
constant touch with his countrymen ; and thrice 
left his Genevan flock when Scotland claimed 
his service. There is a suggestive passage in a 
treatise written by Knox in 1554, when religious 
work in Scotland was impracticable. " Sometime 
I thought that it had been . . . impossible 
that any realm or nation could have been equal 
dear unto me." 1 Throughout his correspondence 
anxiety for the welfare of his own country is fre 
quently revealed ; and his History of the Reforma 
tion in Scotland is a continuous manifestation of 
a keenly patriotic as well as of an earnestly re 
ligious character. 

Now, during the period with which we are en 
gaged, there was not a little to cause a patriotic 
Scot to refrain from identifying himself with the 
Protestant party, even although he might be in 
sympathy with the Protestant cause. For the 
question of religious reformation was then com 
plicated with politics, and in particular with the 
rival policies of England and of France. Ever 
since the marriage of James IV. to Margaret 
Tudor in 1503, there had been a Scottish party 
favourable to friendlier relations with English 
neighbours than with more distant French allies. 
The endeavour of James V., moreover, to humble 
a too powerful aristocracy had issued in a section 
of the nobility identifying their interests with the 

1 Laing, W. of K., iii., 133. 

1 543] Early Years 43 

policy of Henry VIII., and in some cases even 
transferring to him their allegiance. 1 Through 
the rupture between King Henry and Rome, in 
1534, a fresh bond of connection was constituted; 
many who favoured the Reformation in Scotland I 
now looked to England for sympathy and support. 
Henry VIII. saw in this altered attitude an op 
portunity of reviving the old project of Edward 
I. to incorporate the northern with the southern 
kingdom, or at least to establish over Scotland 
an English suzerainty. He proposed a marriage 
between his daughter Mary and his nephew, James 
V., just as at a later stage, after James s death, 
he proposed a betrothal between his son Edward 
and the infant Mary Stuart. He attempted to wile 
James V. into England for conference, with the 
object (as State Papers have revealed) of getting 
the Scottish King into his power. Repeatedly he 
sent an army across the Border, with the design, 
if not of subjugating Scotland, at least of forcing 
upon it a civil and ecclesiastical policy. 2 

The result of Scottish disloyalty, real or ap 
parent, and of English aggression, open or dis 
guised, was a strong patriotic sentiment among the 
nation against the English alliance. The Beatons, 

Burton, //. of Sc., iii., 150-152 (edit. 1876); State Papers, 
Henry VIII., vol. iv. 

2 Burton, iii., 162, 178, 181-183. At a later stage, in 1542, 
Henry actually published a manifesto, claiming the Scottish 
throne on essentially the same grounds as those advanced 
by Edward (Ibid., iii., 365.) 

44 John Knox [1513- 

and the Scottish hierarchy as a whole, who pro 
moted an alliance with France and had rescued the 
King from English control and from Scottish allies 
of England, were widely regarded as bulwarks of 
Scottish independence. 1 The Reformed party, on 
the other hand, being associated so far with the 
unpatriotic English faction in Scotland, lost mean 
while the support of many who believed in the 
necessity of reformation, but were influenced for 
a time more by patriotic feeling than by Protest 
ant conviction. Among these we may with con 
siderable probability include John Knox; and he 
would be more likely to avoid identifying himself 
with any movement which encouraged, even in 
directly, English aggression or interference, if he 
knew of a remarkable interview which took place 
in 1531 between the Sheriff of his native county 
the Earl of Bothwell and the Earl of Northum 
berland, Henry s trusted agent in regard to Scot 
tish affairs. At that meeting substantial aid, to 
the extent of at least seven thousand men, was 
promised to the King of England by Bothwell, 
on behalf of himself and other noblemen, in the 
event of an English invasion of Scotland ; and the 
hope was held out that ere long Henry would be 
crowned in Edinburgh. 2 There were many to 

1 Herkless, Cardinal Beaton, p. 162. 

2 State Papers, Henry VIII., iv., 597, 598; Burton, iii., 151.; 
Herkless, 115. Even if such promises were never meant to 
be fulfilled, the rumour of their having been made would 
strengthen the Roman and anti-English party. 

is43] Early Years 45 

whom the Reformation was no more than a highly 
desirable event, for which the country might 
wait; whereas the virtual, if not actual, annexa 
tion of Scotland by England was a near and 
imminent peril. For all such Scotsmen, Cardinal 
Beaton, notwithstanding his heinous faults, could 
not but appear a more trustworthy political 
leader, on the whole, meanwhile, than nobles 
whose reforming sympathies were associated with 
unpatriotic self-seeking, if not with the yet graver 
delinquency of treason. 


The contempory and local testimony of Sir Peter 
Young, in itself stronger than that of Spottiswoode, 
is fortified by the following considerations: 

i. When Young sent his letter to Beza in 1579, 
George Buchanan, his senior colleague in the royal 
household, with whom he must have been in con 
stant communication, was still alive. Can we sup 
pose that Young wrote about Knox s age (especially 
if any doubt existed), without consulting Buchanan, 
who was Knox s friend, 1 and born in 1506 ? and is it 
likely that the historian would misstate the age of a 
friend and contemporary by eight years? 

1 Knox submitted part of his History to Buchanan s re- 
visal (H. of R., ii., 134), and bears witness to "the rare graces 
of God given to that man, His servant" (ibid., i., 71). Bu 
chanan, on the other hand, refers repeatedly to Knox in 
favourable terms, particularly testifying to his excellence as 
a preacher (Hist, of Sc., Book xvi.). It was with Knox s 
good-will, doubtless, that Buchanan was chosen Moderator 
of Assembly in 1567. 

4 6 John Knox [i 5 i 3 - 

2. Beza was on terms of friendship with Knox, 
whom he must have known in Switzerland; and 
the friendship was kept up by correspondence (Laing, 
W. of K., vi., 565, 613). We can readily believe 
that from imperfect memory, or through inadvert 
ence (notwithstanding Young s letter), he represented 
Knox as dying in his fifty-eighth instead of in his 
fifty-ninth year. But that an intimate friend should 
have deliberately declared Knox to be nine years 
younger than he really was, is not very credible. 

3. Young s testimony as to the date of Knox s 
birth, and Beza s statement that the Reformer studied 
in St. Andrews under Major, who returned to the 
university of that city in 1531, harmonise suggestively 
with certain records in the Reformer s History re 
lating to the time during which he would most probably 
have resided there as a student. Knox s account of 
proceedings at St. Andrews between 1529 and 1535 is 
particularly detailed and graphic. He knows what 
was said then and there about the recent burning of 
Patrick Hamilton in 1528. He refers to the teach 
ing of Gavin Logie, who left Scotland about 1535 
and to the "novices of the Abbey," who under the 
influence of the sub-prior (probably Wynram, the 
future Reforming leader) " began to smell somewhat 
of the verity." He recalls a private interview in St. 
Andrews at that time between John Major and a 
friar, William Airth, who shared Major s views about 
clerical abuses; he mentions the names of the chief 
auditors on a particular occasion in the parish church ; 
and he gives details of discourses preached in St. 
Andrews at this period by friars Airth and Seaton, 
who both fled soon afterwards to England, and ceased 

1543] Early Years 47 

to have further connection with the Scottish Reforma 
tion (Knox, H. of R., i., 36-47). In reading this 
portion of Knox s History, it is difficult to avoid the 
impression that he is drawing material from the 
storehouse of personal reminiscences at St. Andrews- 
4. If Knox was born in 1513, instead of 1505, and 
if his connection with Glasgow University be surren 
dered, several circumstances in his life become more 
easy of explanation, (a) His apparent lack of in 
terest in Glasgow, whose university was supposed to 
be his Alma Mater. He was very seldom there in after 
life; whereas St. Andrews, next to Edinburgh, was 
his favourite abode (Laing, W. of K., i., 185, 228, 347; 
vi., 70, 79-85, 602-606, 615-620). (6) If he was not 
born until 1513, the statement of Spottiswoode and of 
David Buchanan (see p. 23) that he received orders 
before the usual age (i. e., twenty-five) becomes more 
credible; for the earliest reference to his priesthood 
relates to 1540, when, according to the traditional 
date of his birth, he would have been already a priest 
for over ten years, (c) The very long period during 
which, if the date 1505 be correct, there is absolutely 
nothing known about the future Reformer is sub 
stantially shortened, (d) The difficulty involved in a 
man of Knox s ardent nature not committing himself 
to the Reformation cause until 1545, is lessened by 
the acceptance of Young s date, (e} Knox s attitude 
of discipleship towards Wishart, and his practice of 
attending that Reformer with a "two-handed sword" 
(see p. 60) are more natural if Wishart, whose birth 
is usually assigned to the year 1513, was Knox s sen 
ior, or at least his equal as to age, and not his junior, 
as would be the case if the traditional date of 1505 be 

48 John Knox [1513-1543] 

maintained as the year of Knox s nativity. The Re 
former s attitude of docile reverence towards Calvin 
(see Chap. V.), who was born in 1509, is also more in 
keeping with the supposition that he was junior and 
not senior to the great Swiss divine. (See articles by 
Andrew Lang and the present writer in the Aihenceum 
of 5th Nov. and 3rd Dec., 1904). 

1 Since the above was printed, Mr. D. Macmillan, in his 
John Knox (p. 311), has argued that Beza, although living at 
Lausanne, near Geneva, could not have known Knox person 
ally. Otherwise Young would not have thought it necessary 
to send Beza a "pen-portrait of the Reformer" in 1579. 
But Knox had left Geneva twenty years before; and Young, 
doubtless, considered it desirable, in view of Beza s forth 
coming memoir of Knox, to recall the details of the latter s 






THE death of King James V. in December, 
1542, issued in a political crisis. Cardinal 
Beaton, the leading counsellor of James, in 
his anxiety not only to frustrate Henry VIII. s 
designs against Scottish independence, but to keep 
in his own hands the government of the country, 
aroused against himself a jealousy and hostility 
which imperilled at once his person and his policy. 
It was asserted at the time, and widely believed, 
that the royal testament, which appointed Beaton 
as Regent during the minority of Mary Stuart, had 
been drawn up by the Cardinal after the King s 
death ; and that the parchment, while still blank, 
had been signed by the dying or dead sovereign s 
hand, guided by Beaton himself. 1 According to 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 91-93; Spottisw., H. of Ch. of Sc., i., 
141. Bishop Lesley admits that the Cardinal s appointment 
by the King could not be proved (H. of Sc., ii., 264, Sc. T. 
Soc.). Hay Fleming (Mary Queen of Scots, pp. 3, 180, and 


50 John Knox [i 543 - 

another contemporary report, endorsed by Knox, 
there was found on the King s person after his 
death a long list of nobility and gentry, prepared 
by the Cardinal with a view to their prosecution 
and the confiscation of their property. 1 Even if 
these charges were calumnious, there was a gen 
eral and well-founded belief at the time that Bea 
ton was determined to rid the Court of every man 
of position who could not be won over to his 
party. A temporary reaction, accordingly, against 
both the hierarchy and the French alliance 
ensued. In January, 1543, the nobility, forgetful 
for the time of private jealousies, nominated to 
Parliament as Regent the Earl of Arran, whose 
sentiments were believed to be strongly against 
both Rome and France. Three weeks later, the 
Cardinal was arrested and imprisoned as a con 
spirator against the welfare of the realm. 2 

I. The new Government proceeded without de 
lay to manifest its willingness to enter into an Eng 
lish alliance, as well as to favour the Reform cause. 
When the Estates met in March, 1543, and 
confirmed Arran s regency, they declared, at his 
instigation, their readiness to inaugurate negotia 
tions, as King Henry proposed, for the betrothal 
of the infant Mary Stuart to the boy who became 

"Cont. Rev.," Sept., 1898) and Hume Brown (H. of Sc., ii., 
4) favour the charge of forgery against Beaton; Andrew 
Lang takes the other side (H. of Sc., i., 459-461). 

i Knox, H. of R., i., 82. 

3 Lesley, H. of Sc., ii., 265 ; Hume Brown, H. of Sc., ii., 4, 5. 

1546] Early Reformation Days 51 

Edward VI. 1 Certain important stipulations, 
however, were laid down as essential. The young 
Queen of Scots was not to be removed to England, 
as Henry had demanded, until she had completed 
her tenth year ; the English proposal that certain 
Scottish fortresses should be surrendered mean 
while, as guarantees, was rejected; Scotland was 
to remain an independent kingdom always under 
the government of a native ruler: and if issue 
from the marriage failed, the next Scottish heir 
was to succeed to the throne. 2 Henry was ir 
ritated at conditions which prevented him from 
recognising the betrothal as a virtual acknowledg 
ment by Scotland of English suzerainty; and he 
accepted the stipulations only because he hoped 
to secure their eventual withdrawal. 

What caused dissatisfaction to the King of 
England, however, removed a ground of suspicion 
from many in Scotland who favoured the Reform 
ation movement, but had disliked its apparent 
association with subservience to a rival people. 
This change of sentiment manifested itself in a 
remarkable alteration of attitude. Not a few who 
from patriotic reasons had hitherto supported, 
or at least refrained from opposing, the hierarchy 
were now ready to promote legislation in favour 
of the Protestant cause. In 1535 Parliament had 
passed a stringent law against the introduction, 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 102; Lesley, H. of Sc., ii., 266. 

2 Acts of Parl. of Sc., ii., 411-413; Tytler, H. of Sc., v., 325. 


52 John Knox [i 543 - 

possession, or use of any heretical books, among 
which Tyndale s New Testament was known to be 
included. 1 So, recently as 1541, in James V. s last 
Parliament, repressive statutes had been enacted 
prohibiting even private conventions for the dis 
cussion of Holy Scripture; declaring it criminal 
to help or harbour persons cited to answer a 
charge of heresy; and imposing the penalty of 
death on all who questioned the Pope s supreme 
authority or spiritual infallibility. 2 Now, in 1543, 
the Estates ordained the lawfulness of possessing 
and of reading Holy Scripture in the vernacular; 
an enactment which Knox describes as "no small 
victory of Christ Jesus, nor small comfort to such 
as before were holden in bondage . " " The B ible , 
he continues, " might now be seen on almost every 
gentleman s table, instead of being hid away in 
some out-of-the-way corner." The Regent Arran 
was esteemed to be "the most fervent Protestant 
in Europe." 3 

1 Acts of Parl. of Sc., ii., 342. 

2 Ibid., ii., 370; Tytler, H. of Sc., v., 285. 

3 Knox, H. of R., L, 100, 101. The version circulated was 
that of Tyndale. According to Knox, the Spiritual Estate 
made a very ineffective resistance to the enactment regarding 
vernacular Scripture. The prelates first contended that the 
Church had forbidden the Bible to be read except in Hebrew, 
Greek, or Latin. When confronted with Christ s command 
that His Word be "preached to all nations," they pleaded 
that vernacular versions must be certified as "true." When 
it was demanded "what could be reprehended" in Tyndale s 
translation, "nothing could be found but that Love was put 
in the place of Charity" (in i Cor. xiii.). 

Early Reformation Days 53 

It was at this juncture that we find the earliest 
trace of John Knox s sympathy with Protestant 
truth; and it is not unlikely, as already sug 
gested, that the emphatic dissociation, under 
Regent Arran, of the Scottish Reform movement 
from an unpatriotic policy, was in his case, as in 
that of others, one cause of an altered ecclesiasti 
cal attitude. A more personal and spiritual mo 
tive contributed to Knox s new departure. The 
Regent had appointed as his chaplains two evan 
gelical friars, Thomas William of Athelstaneford, 
in East Lothian, whom Knox describes as a man 
"of wholesome doctrine" and "prompt utter 
ance"; and John Rough, "not so learned," but 
"more vehement against all impiety." These 
chaplains were not mere Court officials: they 
preached frequently in Edinburgh, and sometimes 
apparently elsewhere. 1 William probably included 
Haddington, four miles from his home, within 
the sphere of his evangelistic activity. At all 
events, the Haddington notary-priest (possibly a 
former school-fellow) was somewhere among the 
hearers of this Dominican friar; and we have it 
on testimony which, although not contemporary, 
is sufficiently ancient to command acceptance, in 
the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that 
while listening to William, Knox first received a 
"taste" and a "lively impression of the truth," 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 95-96 (with Laing s Note); Spottisw., 
i., 143-144; Foxe, Acts, etc., viii., 433. 

54 John Knox [i S43 - 

and was much moved thenceforth to the earnest 
study of the Holy Scripture." I The passage of 
the Word of God on which he "cast" his "first 
anchor" (according to his own testimony) was 
the seventeenth chapter of St. John. 2 

II. The Reforming policy inaugurated by 
Arran in the Parliament of 1543 was short-lived. 
The Regent was a man of no stability of character. 
He was unable to withstand the combined in 
fluence of the Queen Dowager, Mary of Guise, to 
whom the Reformation and the proposed English 
marriage were alike distasteful ; of the hierarchy, 
who interdicted the mass during the Cardinal s 
imprisonment ; 3 of all thorough Romanists, in 
whose eyes the treatment of the Primate was 
sacrilege; and of the party who, without any 
strong ecclesiastical convictions, preferred the 
time-honoured alliance with France to the new 
born alliance with England. The Regent s ille 
gitimate brother, John Hamilton, Abbot of 
Paisley, who arrived in Scotland from France 
soon after the meeting of Parliament, added his 
personal influence on the side of Romanism. He 
alarmed Arran by reminding him that the legality 
of his mother s marriage, and therefore his own 
legitimacy, depended on the validity of the divorce 
granted by the Pope to his father from a former 

1 Calderw., H. of the Kirk., i., 156; Dav. Buch., in Life and 
Death of Knox, p. 18. 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 643. 

3 Hamilton Papers, i., 426. 

1 54 6] Early Reformation Days 55 

wife. If the papal authority so the Abbot 
argued were repudiated by Scotland, then the 
Regent was a bastard with no legal claim either 
to the earldom, to the regency, or (in the event 
of Mary Stuart s death without issue) to the 
throne. 1 Before the end of April, the English 
ambassador, Sadler, observed tokens of Arran s 
tergiversation. The Cardinal had been virtually 
released, and was conspiring against the English 
party 2 ; the Protestant chaplains had been dis 
missed from the Court 3 ; men with reforming 
aspirations, like Sir David Lyndsay and Henry 
Balnaves, who had been admitted to the Regent s 
confidence, were now replaced by Romanist 
counsellors 4 ; ten thousand adherents of the 
French faction assembled in Leith to intimidate 
the vacillating Earl. 5 Up to the 25th of August, 
however, when the terms of the betrothal were 
approved by the Regent, the semblance of a 
policy favourable to the Reformation and to 
England was retained: but eight days later, 
in the Franciscan Church of Stirling, Arran 
recanted his Protestantism, renounced his policy 
of alliance with England, and received absolution 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 105; Spottisw., i., 146; Ham. P., i., 49. 

2 Ham. Papers, i., 483; Sadler Papers, i., 83-90. 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 105; Spottisw., i., 44. According to 
the latter, Rough was not distnissed from the Regent s 
service, but " on some colour dimitted to preach " in 

4 Knox, H. of R.,i., 106. 
s Diurnal of Occur., p. 28. 

56 John Knox [1543- 

fromthe Primate himself. 1 The political outcome 
of the Regent s apostasy was the repudiation of 
the matrimonial proposal by the Scottish Parlia 
ment in December, 1543 (nominally on account of 
the seizure of certain Scottish ships by the Eng 
lish), and the devastation in the following May 
of part of Scotland by an English army, as 
a chastisement for alleged broken faith. 2 The 
ecclesiastical issue was the renewal of persecu 
tion, particularly in Perth and Dundee, under the 
auspices of the triumphant Cardinal, and with the 
reluctant acquiescence of the humiliated Regent. 3 
III. The seed of evangelical truth, which had 
been sown in Knox s heart by Chaplain William, 
fructified under other husbandry. In May, 1544, 
or possibly in July, 1543, George Wishart, the 
son or nephew of a laird of Pitarrow, in Kin- 
cardineshire, 4 returned, after long absence, to his 

1 Knox, H, of R., i., 109; Sadler Papers, i., 277-278; Ham. 
Papers, i., 522. 

2 Diurn. of Occur., 30; Tytler, v., 353. It was on this 
occasion that Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso, and Coldingham 
Abbeys were destroyed by English soldiers, and not, as is 
often supposed, at the time of the Reformation by fanatical 
Scottish Protestants (Burton, H. of Sc., chap. xxxv.). 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 117; Foxe, Acts, v., 623; Spottisw., 
i., 147; Herkless, Cardinal Beaton, 283-285. Four men 
were hanged and one woman drowned at Perth, early in 
1544, for alleged heresy. 

4 The date of Wishart s return is disputed, and the ques 
tion has some bearing on the controversy (see pp. 64 sqq.) as 
to his alleged complicity in the assassination of Cardinal 
Beaton. See Laing s W. of K.,i., 125 and App. ix. ; A. Petrie, 

1546] Early Reformation Days 57 

native land. Six years before, while a teacher 
of Greek in Montrose, Wishart had come under the 
suspicion of heresy, through his practice of reading 
the Greek New Testament with his pupils. He was 
cited to appear before the Bishop of Brechin ; fled 
to England; visited subsequently Germany and 
Switzerland; and eventually became a tutor in 
the University of Cambridge. An admiring pupil 
there, Emery Tylney, describes him in 1543 as a 
man of tall stature, comely in person, courteous, 
lovely, glad to teach, desirous to learn, fearing 
God, hating covetousness. " If I should declare 
his love to me, and all men, his charity to the poor 
in giving, relieving, caring, helping, providing, yea 
infinitely studying how to do good to all and 
hurt to none, I should sooner want words than 
just cause to commend him." 

The immediate occasion, probably, of Wishart s 
resolve to return to Scotland was the Regent s 
original Protestant policy, which appeared to 
promise opportunities of freely propagating Re 
formed doctrine. Prior to his actual return, Arran s 
apostasy and the Cardinal s restoration to power 
had completely changed the situation. Wishart, 
however, was not deterred from delivering his 
testimony, first at Montrose in a private house; 
afterwards more publicly at Dundee, in spite of 

Compendious History, ii., 182; N. B. Rev., xlix. ; Rogers, Life 
of Wishart, p. 19; Hay Fleming, in Contemp. Rev.,lxx.iv., 380; 
Andrew Lang, H. of Sc., i., 469. 

* Foxe, Acts, v., 625-626 ; Rogers, Life of Wishart, 6, 7, 17. 

58 John Knox [ 1S43 - 

pestilence and attempted assassination, of ecclesi 
astical malice and magisterial opposition; in 
numerous parishes, also, of Ayrshire, under the 
protection of the Earl of Glencairn, Hugh Camp 
bell of Kinyeancleuch, and other influential friends 
of the Reform movement. Sometimes he 
preached in churches, occasionally in the fields, 
and once, at least, in the street at the East Port 
of Dundee, so that he might be heard both by 
the plague-stricken crowd outside the gate, and 
by the healthy multitude inside. 1 Early in De 
cember, 1545, he ventured, against the remon 
strance of friends, to preach in Leith, under the 
shadow, as it were, of the Regent s palace; and 
afterwards at Inveresk, a few miles from Edin 
burgh. 2 

It was at this stage that Knox came under 
Wishart s potent influence. The former had be 
come tutor some time before in the family of 
Hugh Douglas of Longniddry in Haddington- 
shire, an ardent adherent of the Reform cause; 
and he had "waited upon Wishart from the time 
he came to Lothian." 3 The house of Douglas 
was Wishart s abode during a portion of his five- 
weeks stay in the district. 4 Knox was probably 
present at the service in Inveresk, about eight 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 125-133; Cook, H. of R., i., 272-278. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 134, 135. 
* Ibid., i., 137, 139. 

4 Ibid., p. 134. 

!v?rffc *Cr> 

r -* \ \ 

IS4 6] Early Reformation Days 59 

miles off; and he could hardly fail to be one of 
the congregation in the neighbouring church of 
Tranent on the two succeeding Sundays, when, as 
he testifies, Wishart "preached with the like 
grace, and like confluence of people." We are 
expressly told that he was with the Reformer 
on the occasion of the latter s evangelistic visit to 
Haddington in January, 1546. The acquaint 
ance between the two men speedily ripened; 
on Wishart s side into a fulness of brotherly 
confidence which throws significant light on the 
sympathetic phase of Knox s character; on 
Knox s part into a warmth and chivalry of per 
sonal devotion, which prove that Tylney s 
eulogy of Wishart rested on a solid founda 
tion. He was "a man" according to Knox, "of 
such graces as before were never heard [of] 
within this realm, yea, and are rare to be found 
yet in any man." On the Sunday before his 
arrest, while he was preparing his thoughts 
for his last service in Haddington church, 
Wishart was in a state of deep depression, 
caused partly by the apparent lukewarmness of 
the people of the town as compared with those of 
other places, and partly by a letter which he had 
just received, and which he interpreted as a sign 
that "men began to weary of God." Knox was 
the friend whom Wishart summoned to his pres 
ence, to whom he imparted his disappointment, 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 136, 137. 

60 John Knox 


and from whom he sought strengthening sym 
pathy. When "the time of sermon approached," 
Knox "left the preacher for the present to his 
meditation ; but he remained near enough to 
know that "Master George spaced up and down 
before the high altar more than half an hour, 
and that his very visage declared the grief of his 
mind." Many years afterwards Knox recalled 
vividly Wishart s solemn judgments on the town 
which would not " know the time of God s merci 
ful visitation," along with his "exhortation to 
patience, to the fear of God, and to works of 
mercy" on the part of God s people. 1 

It had been arranged that the preacher should 
pass the night at the house of Cockburn of Ormis- 
ton (about six miles off), and Knox relates his 
departure on foot with that laird on a night "of 
vehement frost," when riding was impracticable. 
Knowing Wishart s depression and foreseeing dan 
ger (for Cardinal Beaton was then in the vicinity, 
with five hundred armed men), Knox " pressed to 
have gone with Master George " and appeared with 
a "two-handed sword," which he or others carried 
about for the Reformer s defence. But Wish- 

1 H. of R., i., 137-138. The letter which had depressed 
Wishart was from certain "gentlemen of the West," in 
cluding the Earl of Cassilis, who had undertaken to meet 
the Reformer in January at Edinburgh, and to procure for 
him the opportunity of "disputation" with the bishops at 
the Provincial Synod (Knox, i., 131). The letter informed 
Wishart of the inability of these friends to keep the 

1 54 6] Early Reformation Days 61 

art, also foreboding trouble, unselfishly declined 
the valued company of his chivalrous friend. 
"Nay, return to your bairns [i. e., his pupils at 
Longniddry]; one is sufficient for one sacrifice." J 
There is no evidence that the two friends ever 
met again ; but the disciple heard of the midnight 
arrest of his master by Lord Bothwell in the Cardi 
nal s name; of the prisoner s transference from 
Bothwell s castle, Elphinstone Tower, first to 
Edinburgh, and eventually, with the Regent s 
sanction, to St. Andrews; of Wishart s trial on the 
last day of February (the anniversary of Patrick 
Hamilton s condemnation and martyrdom) in the 
cathedral of that city, before the two archbishops 
and other dignitaries of the Church. 2 Wishart s 
condemnation was a foregone conclusion ; and the 
execution, illegally carried out without the sanc 
tion of the Regent, 3 took place on the day after 
the trial. If Knox was not present on the occa 
sion, eye-witnesses doubtless reported to him the 
particulars recorded in his History, including the 
martyr s Christ-like declaration at the stake, "I 
forgive them [his accusers] with all my heart"; 

1 Knox, i., 137-139. 

2 Ibid., i., 139-167. The reconciliation of the Primate and 
the Archbishop of Glasgow (Dunbar) at this time, after 
a recent quarrel, is compared by Knox to the restoration of 
friendship between Pilate and Herod over the trial of Christ. 

3 See Pitscottie, H. of Sc., ii., 56 (Sc. Text Soc. ed.), where 
it is stated that the Regent "would not consent that any 
skaith shall be done to that man at that time." 

62 John Knox [i S43 - 

his prayer to Christ to "forgive them that have 
condemned me to death this day ignorantly ; and 
his solemn warning to the prelates and those asso 
ciated with them, that "if they will not convert 
themselves from their wicked error, there shall 
hastily come upon them the wrath of God." T 

If Wishart s teaching corresponded with the 
testimony which he gave at his trial, we know 
what doctrines Knox would specially receive from 
him. He would learn the supremacy of Holy 
Scripture above all. fallible ecclesiastical councils ; 

i Knox, H. of R., i. , 169, 170. The words last quoted 
contain, probably, the germ out of which the myth of Wish- 
art s alleged prophecy of the death of the Cardinal was after 
wards developed: "He who from that high place feedeth 
his eyes with my torments, within few days shall be hanged 
out at the same window, to be seen with as much ignominy 
as he now leaneth there in pride." This "prediction" is not 
contained in the original and anonymous account of the 
martyrdom published in London in the following year, and 
attributed by Rogers (Life of Wishart, p. 49) and by Andrew 
Lang (H. of Sc., i., 488) to Knox himself. It is not referred 
to in Knox s narrative of the proceedings an omission the 
more significant because Knox elsewhere credits Wishart 
with foreknowledge. It is also not found in the first edition 
of Foxe s Acts, (1563). The earliest reference to the al 
leged prophecy occurs in a reprint of Foxe s work (1570), 
where the words occur in the margin : Mr George Wishart 
prophesieth of the death of the Cardinal." George Buchanan, 
in his History of Scotland (Book xv., fol. 178), expands this 
into the sentence: "He who looks down upon us so proudly, 
will within a few days lie no less ignominiously than he now 
arrogantly reclines." Not till 1644, in the edition of Knox s 
History by David Buchanan (who takes many liberties with 
the text), does the saying appear in full form (p. 171). 

Early Reformation Days 63 

the universal priesthood of believers, as distin 
guished from any exclusive sacerdotalism ; the doc 
trine of justification by faith, as unfolded in the 
Epistle to the Romans ; the recognition of " those 
Sacraments only which were instituted by Christ " ; 
the rejection of transubstantiation, purgatory, 
"saint-worship," compulsory celibacy, enforced 
auricular confession to a priest; and the disa 
vowal of superstitious belief in exorcism, holy 
water, the duty of abstaining from flesh on Friday, 
and other mere ecclesiastical observances. 1 

Through Wishart, moreover, Knox would be 
come acquainted with an important doctrinal 
manifesto of Swiss Protestantism the earliest 
Confession of Faith of the Helvetian churches, 
prepared by Bullinger and other Reformers for the 
Congress of Basel in 1536. Wishart had translated 
this Confession into English, 2 and he could hardly 
have failed to show it to his loyal follower. To 
this early embodiment of Protestant doctrine, 
with its emphatic testimony against images, al 
tars, elaborate vestments, and "unprofitable cer 
emonies," as well as to Wishart himself, who was 
doubtless in substantial accord with what he had 
been at pains to translate, may be traced prima 
rily the radical and Puritanic character of Knox s 
Reformation, as distinguished from the more 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 153167. 

2 See Wodrow Miscellany, pp. 7-23. The MS. was printed 
after Wishart s death. 

64 John Knox [i S43 - 

conservative and moderate policy which guided 
the founders of the Lutheran and Anglican 


Alleged complicity of George Wishart in the con 
spiracy against Cardinal Beaton. 

The charge of complicity beforehand was made by 
the Roman Catholic Dempster (Hist. Eccl. Gentis 
Scot., ii., 599), in the seventeenth century; and it has 
been endorsed in recent times, to the extent, at least, 
of the expression of grave suspicion, by Tytler 
(H. of Sc., v., chap, v.), Burton (H. of Sc., iii., chap, 
xxxvi.), Cunningham (H. of Ch. of Sc., i., chap, viii.), 
Stephen (Scot. Ch., i., 527, 528), and others. Andrew 
Lang regards the question as unsolved (H. of Sc., i., 

The unauthenticity of Wishart s alleged prophecy 
of Beaton s death "within few days" removes one 
foundation of the charge. The other two grounds 
of suspicion are: (i) Documentary evidence (a) 
that in April, 1544 "a Scottish man called Wish- 
art" carried from Scotland to England a letter from 
Crighton of Brunston, the contents of which referred 
to a conspiracy against the Cardinal, and (6) that 
the said Wishart had an interview with Henry VIII. 
(State Papers, Henry VIII., v., 377). If George 
Wishart did not return to Scotland until May, 1544 
(see p. 56), he could not, of course, have been the 
bearer of this letter. But, even if he returned in 
July 1543, there is no evidence that he was the man 
referred to. Dr. Burton argues that "if there had 

IS4 6] Early Reformation Days 65 

been another Wishart so important as to get private 
audience of Henry VIII., he could be identified." 
But secret agents, even between nobles and kings, 
when the business on hand is discreditable, need 
not be persons of social distinction. The vague 
designation, moreover, "a Scottish man called 
Wishart," hardly suggests a Master of Arts in Orders 
who had been a tutor in Cambridge University. It 
has been ascertained, however, that there were 
several Wisharts of standing at that time, including 
a second George Wishart, who became a baillie of 
Dundee some time before 1560; a third George 
Wishart (connected with the Pitarrow family), who 
was a procurator in 1565; and John Wishart, a 
kinsman of the martyr, who was a member of the 
Reforming Parliament of 1560. Any one of these 
may have been the Wishart referred to in the State 
Papers; particularly the last, who became an as 
sociate of Kirkcaldy of Grange, one of the assassins 
of the Cardinal (Rogers, Life of Wishart, pp. 58, 82- 
87; Laing, W. of K., i., 536). 

(2) Wishart was undoubtedly, at the close of his 
life, on terms of some intimacy with Crighton, of 
Brunston; but with the actual assassination of the 
Cardinal, Crighton had nothing to do; and even 
if he still cherished a murderous purpose against 
Beaton, there is no indication of his having confided 
his designs to Wishart. The Reformer was also on 
intimate terms with the Earls of Glencairn and 
Cassilis, and with other members of the English 
party in Scotland. These were in frequent cor 
respondence with representatives of Henry VIII., and 
there is evidence of the Earl of Cassilis having, in 

66 John Knox [i 543 - 

May 1545, corresponded with Sadler, the English 
ambassador, regarding a "killing of the Cardinal" 
(Tytler, Hist., v., 460). But Wishart s relations 
with this nobleman and others of the English faction 
appear to have been in connexion only with his 
preaching, at which they acted as his protectors. 

While the arguments for Wishart s connivance are 
thus without substantial weight, the following con 
siderations point strongly in the opposite direction: 
(i) The Cardinal was well aware of plots against 
his life. Had he suspected Wishart of complicity 
he would have made the most of these, especially 
with a view to securing the Regent s sanction (which 
was withheld) to Wishart s trial and execution. (2) 
No contemporary writer, Catholic or Protestant, 
alludes to Wishart s supposed connexion with the 
conspiracy. (3) What is otherwise recorded of 
Wishart militates against his complicity. Apart 
from the general testimony of Tylney and Knox to 
his gentleness of character, we have (a) his demeanour 
at Mauchline, when he was excluded from the church 
there, and when his friends were about to force an 
entrance. "It is the word of peace that God sends 
by me," he declared: "the blood of no man shall be 
shed this day for the preaching of it " (Knox, H. of 
R., i., 128). (6) At Dundee, when a priest attempted 
to assassinate him, and when the infuriated multitude 
would have lynched the assassin, Wishart "took him 
in his arms, and said, Whosoever troubles him shall 
trouble me " (Ibid., i., 131). (<;) We have seen (p. 
62), how, prior to his martyrdom, he besought Christ 
to forgive those who had condemned him. Unless 
Wishart was the most shameless of hypocrites (which 

IS461 Early Reformation Days 67 

is not asserted by his accusers), he could not have 
uttered that prayer, if all the while he was acces 
sory to a plot against Beaton s life. It was not the 
living Reformer, but the dead martyr, through the 
natural resentment excited by his execution, who 
conspired to kill the Cardinal. 1 

i In addition to works quoted, see a tract by William 
Cramond of Cullen (1898), The Truth about George Wtshart; 
\ndrew Lang s article in Blackwood, March, 1898, on The 
Truth about the Cardinal s Murder; and Hay Fleming s reply 
in Content. Rev., Ixxiv., 375~3 8 9- 




THE assassination of Cardinal Beaton followed 
within three months after the martyrdom 
of Wishart. Plots had long been devised against 
him, but Wishart s death was the immediate 
occasion of the final and successful conspiracy. 
Early in the morning of the 2gth May, 1546, the 
Primate s castle was surprised by an armed band 
headed by Norman and John Leslie of Rothes, 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, and James Melville of Raith. 
The Primate was found in his bedchamber and 
solemnly summoned to repent of his wicked life, 
especially of the shedding of Wishart s blood. 

"That blood," said Melville, "cries for vengeance, 
and we are sent from God to revenge it: for here 
before God I protest that neither hatred of thy per 
son nor love of thy riches, nor fear of any trouble thou 
couldest have done to me, moveth me to strike thee, 
but only because thou hast been and remainest an 
obstinate enemy against Jesus Christ and His holy 


[1546-1549] Early Ministry 69 

"And so," adds Knox, "he struck him twice or 
thrice ; and so he fell ; never a word heard out of 
his mouth but I am a priest, I am a priest : fy, fy, 
all is gone. " x That Melville and perhaps others 
of the conspirators sincerely believed themselves 
to be divinely appointed instruments of just re 
tribution, need not be disputed ; but the familiar 
lines attributed, although on inadequate author 
ity, to Sir David Lyndsay, express probably the 
sentiment of most contemporary Reformers, and 
the general verdict of Protestant posterity : 

"As for the Cardinal, I grant, 
He was the man we weel could want, 

And we 11 forget him soon : 
And yet I think that sooth to say, 
Although the loon be weel away, 
The deed was foully done." 2 

What bearing has the Tragedy of the Cardinal on 
the character of Knox ? He had no share in the con 
spiracy and assassination 3 ; but unquestionably he 
condoned the murder after it had taken place. Ten 
months later, as we shall presently see, he identified 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 174-177. 

2 The stanza is not contained in any edition of Lyndsay s 
Tragedy, and the metre is not the same. Wodrow is the 
earliest author who ascribes the verse to Lyndsay. See Hay 
Fleming s editorial note in A. F. Mitchell s Scott. Ref., p. 81. 

3 Knox s Roman Catholic detractor, James Laing, ex 
pressly accuses him of instigating the "removal " of the Cardi 
nal (De Vitaet Moribus Hereticorum,p. 113); but his charges 
against the Reformers generally are so virulent as to be un 
trustworthy in the absence of distinct evidence. 

70 John Knox [i S4 6- 

himself with the conspirators by repairing to the 
Castle of St. Andrews, of which they had taken 
possession after committing the crime ; and in his 
History he refers to the deed as a "godly fact" of 
which he was able to write even " merrily" as one 
of God s " just judgments, whereby he would ad 
monish the tyrants of this earth that in the end 
he would be revenged of their cruelty." T Knox 
apparently justified the killing of Beaton on the 
ground that when cruel oppressors, instead of 
being punished, are protected and supported by 
the civil authority, that authority ceases so far 
to have any claim to be the "minister of God" 
and the sole executive of public justice. In such 
circumstances the individual has the right to in 
tervene, in order to discharge a neglected corpor 
ate duty ; so long as he avoids acts of revenge 
for private wrongs and confines himself to retri 
bution for public evil-doing. The principle is 
obviously a dangerous one and liable to gross 
abuse in its application. It may partly explain, 
but cannot justify, Knox s condonation of the 
murder; and in any case his "merriness" in the 
narration of the tragedy must be condemned. 
One may charitably believe that his ardent affec 
tion for the martyred Wishart helped to obscure 
his vision and to distort his judgment. 2 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 177, 180. 

2 On another occasion, Knox was careful to declare that 
even prisoners unjustly confined must not "shed any man s 
blood for their freedom" (Knox, H. of R., i., 229). 

Early Ministry 71 

Knox had continued, after Wishart s arrest and 
martyrdom, to discharge the duties of tutor to 
Francis and George Douglas, sons of the Laird of 
Longniddry, as well as to Alexander Cockburn, 
son of John Cockburn of Ormiston. 1 The ruins 
of a chapel near the site of the former mansion- 
house of Longniddry still bear the name of "John 
Knox s Kirk." 2 In that chapel, doubtless, were 
held those readings from the Gospel of St. John 
with which Knox supplemented his instruction in 
"grammar" and "human authors," and to which 
others besides his three pupils were admitted. 3 
As a disciple of Wishart, however, Knox must 
have felt, even before the Cardinal s death, that his 
liberty, if not his life, was in danger : and after the 
assassination the peril increased. His continuous 
residence at Longniddry became impracticable: 
he had to remove from place to place by reason 
of the persecution that came upon him," at the 
instance, he believed, of Beaton s successor, 
Archbishop Hamilton. His original purpose, ac 
cordingly, was to leave Scotland for a time. 
"Of England," he declares, "he had then no 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 185. Of Knox s three pupils, the last- 
named alone attained to distinction. An inscription on his 
tomb at Ormiston commemorates his "insignem linguarum 
professionem " and includes a testimony to his learning by 
George Buchanan. Dempster (Hist. Eccl., p. 182) speaks of 
having seen three literary works by Alexander Cockburn, 
who died in 1564, at the age of twenty-eight. 

2 Laing s note 2 in W. of K., i., 185. 

3 Knox, H. of R.,i., 186. 

72 John Knox [i 54 6- 

pleasure"; "the Pope s name being suppressed, 
his laws and corruptions remained in full vigour ; 
but he intended "to have visited the schools of 
Germany." The anxiety, however, of the lairds 
of Longniddry and of Ormiston to retain him as 
the tutor of their sons induced Knox to acquiesce 
in their proposal that he should avail himself 
of the protection of the Castle of St. Andrews, 
and should take his three pupils thither. 1 To 
this deviation, at the instance of others, from his 
original purpose was due, humanly speaking, the 
transformation of Knox out of a mere sympa 
thetic adherent into the protagonist of the Scot 
tish Reformation. 

Knox and his pupils arrived in April, 1547. 
During the autumn of 1546 the Castle had been 
ineffectually besieged by the Regent, whose own 
son, captured at the time of the Cardinal s death, 
had been detained as a hostage. In December, 
however, a truce had been arranged, according to 
which the Castle was to remain in the hands of 
the conspirators and their friends until a "suffi 
cient absolution" should be received from the 
Pope "for the slaughter of the Cardinal." Such 
absolution was deemed necessary before the 
surrender of the fortress and the delivery of the 
hostages could be accepted as the price of civil 
indemnity for those implicated in the crime. 

1 Knox, PI. of R., i., 185. 

2 Ibid., i., 183, 184. 

1549] Early Ministry 73 

II. The company within the Castle numbered 
at this time I50, 1 including the conspirators 
themselves and those who had joined them out of 
sympathy or from fear of persecution. Among 
the most notable of the latter were John Rough, 2 
ex-chaplain of the Regent, who acted as minis 
ter of the Castle congregation, and Henry Bal- 
naves, the Regent s ex-Secretary of State, a 
leading promoter of the Act of Parliament in 
1543, authorising the use of vernacular Scripture. 
Among frequent guests at the Castle, although 
not constant inmates, was Sir David Lyndsay, 
the unsparing castigator, as we have seen, of 
clerical vice and ecclesiastical abuse, whose Trag 
edy of the Cardinal had been issued shortly before 
Knox s arrival. ^ The "Castilians" appear to 
have been rather a "mixed multitude" as re 
gards character. On the one hand, there were 
godly men in whom Knox recognised a genuine 
"Congregation of the Faithful"; on the other 
hand, regarding a large proportion of the garrison, 

1 Keith, Church and State in Sc., i., 124. 

2 Rough, who retired to Kyle in Ayrshire after the Re 
gent s recantation, had repaired to St. Andrews on hearing 
of Beaton s death. He left St. Andrews prior to the capture 
of the Castle, and resided for six years in England, holding 
a benefice near Hull. At Edward VI. s death, he fled to 
Friesland ; but during a visit to London in 1557 he was ar 
rested, and burnt at Smithfield. (Calderwood, H. of the 
Kirk, i., 251 ; Laing s note in Knox s H. of R., i., 187.) 

3 Compare line 267 with date of printing as given by Laing, 
Works of Sir David Lyndsay, i., 371. 

74 John Knox [ 154 6- 

he testifies sorrowfully to "their corrupt life"; 1 
and George Buchanan accuses them of "depreda 
tions with fire and sword" as well as of gross 
impiety and immorality, "from which they could 
not be restrained by Knox s frequent admoni 
tions." 2 The Reformer continued in the Castle 
chapel at St. Andrews those semi-public exposi 
tions of the Gospel of St. John which he had 
begun in the chapel at Longniddry. His pupils 
were also instructed in a Catechism, 3 " an account 
of which he caused them to give publicly in the 
parish Kirk" ; an incidental evidence that the re 
lations between the "Castilians" and the ecclesi 
astical authorities were at this juncture moderately 
friendly. 4 It was not long before the tutor of 
boys was called to become the leader of men. 
The Bible readings and catechetical exercises 
were attended by a numerous audience : and the 
more intelligent hearers soon discovered that 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 204. 
2 H. of Sc., Book xv., folio 179. 

3 Possibly the Catechism of Calvin (published in Latin, 
1538), which Wishart might have brought home from Swit 
zerland along with the Helvetian Confession. The First 
Book of Discipline directed it to be introduced into the 
Scottish Church (1560) as "the most perfect that ever yet 
was used" (Knox, H. of R., ii., 239). 

4 Knox, H. of R., i., 186. Prior to the settlement in 1549 
of the recently appointed Primate Hamilton, the ecclesiasti 
cal government was in the hands of the Vicar-general Wyn- 
ram (afterwards a Protestant Superintendent of Fife), who 
already sympathised with the Reformation. 

Early Ministry 75 

they had among themselves a man of gifts and 
power. Rough, in particular, a preacher "with 
out corruption" and "well liked of the people," 
but "not the most learned," soon realised that 
for pulpit ministry to the Castle garrison, for 
the conversion of the citizens to evangelical 
doctrine, and above all for controversy with 
the divines of the Church and University, a 
preacher more eloquent, more erudite, and more 
powerful in argument than himself was required. 
With fine self-abnegation, accordingly, he joined 
with Balnaves in pressing on Knox privately the 
office of preacher. At first Knox "utterly re 
fused." His ordination as a priest by Roman 
hands was for him no adequate warrant : and he 
declared to his friends that he "would not run 
where God had not called him; " meaning so he 
himself interprets the utterance that he would 
do nothing "without a lawful vocation." J 

The "lawful vocation" was not long of coming. 
Rough and Balnaves took counsel with Lyndsay 
and others; and the outcome was a formal call 
to the ministry of the Castle congregation. Knox 
himself gives a graphic description of the scene. 
It was at the ordinary service, and apparently 
Knox had received no warning of what was 
intended; but the subject of Rough s sermon 
the right of a congregation to choose as their 
minister one in whom they discerned the gift of 

1 Knox, //. of R.,i., 184-186. 

76 John Knox [1546- 

God, and the heavy responsibility of refusing such 
a call prepared him for the personal application. 

"Brother, ye shall not be offended," said Rough, 
"albeit I speak unto you that which I have in charge, 
even from all those that are here present, which is 
this: In the name of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, 
and in the name of these that presently call you by 
my mouth, I charge you that ye refuse not this holy 
vocation: but that as ye tender the glory of God, the 
increase of Christ s kingdom, the edification of your 
brethren and the comfort of me, whom ye understand 
well enough to be oppressed by the multitude of 
labours, that ye take upon you the public office and 
charge of preaching, even as ye look to avoid God s 
heavy displeasure, and desire that He shall multiply 
His graces with you." 

The preacher concluded by publicly asking those 
present whether he had not fulfilled their charge. 
When an answer in the affirmative had been given, 
"the said John, abashed, burst forth in most 
abundant tears and withdrew himself to his cham 
ber" ; and " no man saw any sign of mirth of him, 
neither yet had he pleasure to accompany any 
man, many days together." T The call, however, 
was not declined : and an occasion for the inaugur 
ation of Knox s ministry soon presented itself. 

III. Among the notable divines of St. An 
drews at this time was Dean John Annand, Prin 
cipal of St. Leonard s College, who "had long 

i Knox ; H. of R., I, 186-188. 

1549] Early Ministry 77 

troubled Rough in his preaching." Knox had 
already supported his colleague in some contro 
versy with a tract, which has perished ; and the 
Dean had been constrained to fall back on the 
authority of the Church, whose condemnation, he 
argued, of the new doctrine rendered further dis 
putation superfluous. At the close of a sermon 
to this effect by Annand, Knox publicly offered 
to prove that "the Roman Kirk, as now cor 
rupted, was the synagogue of Satan"; that "the 
Pope was the Man of Sin, of whom the Apostle 
speaks," and that neither accordingly possessed 
the authority which the preacher had claimed. 
Scotsmen are notoriously fond of a theological 
tournament; and those present "cried with one 
consent : let us hear the probation of that which 
ye have now affirmed ." The following Sunday 
was appointed for the purpose. Knox has pre 
served a summary of this first sermon after his 
call, preached before his now aged preceptor, 
John Major, before his future colleague in 
the Reformation, Vicar-general Wynram; and 
before numerous canons and friars, as well as lay 
enquirers. Taking Daniel vii., 24, 25 as a text, 
he showed how the lives of clergy, from popes 
downwards; how the doctrines of the Church, 
particularly that of justification through "works 
of man s invention"; how ecclesiastical enact 
ments such as clerical celibacy, compulsory 
fasting, and observance of days; and how such 

78 John Knox [ IS4 6- 

" blasphemous " pretensions as those which claimed 
papal infallibility and power over purgatory all 
combined to prove that the Roman Church was 
not Christ s body, but the "whore of Babylon," 
and the Pope not the "Vicar of Christ" but 
"Antichrist." Knox s sermon became the talk 
of the town. "Others," it was said, "sned 
[lopped] the branches of the Papistry; but he 
strikes at the root, to destroy the whole." " Wish- 
art," some declared, "spake never so plainly, and 
yet he was burnt : even so will he be " ; while 
others warned the dignitaries of the Church not 
to rely on "fire and sword" as "defences"; since 
" men now have other eyes than they had then." l 
Archbishop Hamilton heard with astonishment 
of the heresy allowed to be preached in his metro 
politan city, and he sent to his Vicar-general a 
letter of remonstrance against such scandalous tol 
eration. Wynram found himself constrained to 
take some action. He summoned Rough and Knox 
to a theological convention in St. Leonard s Col 
lege ; but he stated at the outset that the object 
of the gathering was not a judicial trial, but 
a friendly colloquy. Passing by the main points 
at issue, regarding which he was anxious, proba 
bly, to avoid committing himself, the Vicar-gen 
eral opened discussion on the comparatively minor 
question of the lawfulness of certain ecclesiasti 
cal ceremonies. On this subject Wynram main- 

i Knox, H. of R., i., 189-192. 

15491 Early Ministry 79 

tained the moderate position that ceremonies 
which have a "godly signification" are lawful, 
although not prescribed by the Word of God; 
while Knox took his stand on what afterwards 
became known as the Puritan doctrine, that 
nothing in worship is pleasing to God or lawful 
for man except what "God in express words has 
commanded." At this stage the Vicar handed 
over the argument to a Franciscan friar, Arbuckle 
by name, who had probably shown himself eager 
to enter the lists. Arbuckle, less cautious than 
Wynram, undertook to demonstrate not merely 
the lawfulness but the divine institution of various 
ceremonies (such as the use of oil, salt, candles, 
spittle, etc., in baptism); and ere long was en 
tangled by his opponent into the position that 
when the Apostles wrote their Epistles, in which 
there is no reference to such observances, "they 
had not yet received the Holy Spirit." "Father, 
what say ye? " interposed the Vicar-general. " God 
forbid that ye affirm that; for then farewell the 
ground of our faith." The discomfited friar 
failed to recover himself : the discussion was not 
prolonged: other things were "scooft over"; and 
after this (so Knox declares) the Roman party 
"had no great heart for further disputation." 
The Vicar-general did not encourage discussion; 
and the Roman clergy adopted the prudent ar 
rangement that henceforth the Sunday sermon 
in the parish church should always be preached 

8o John Knox [i S4 6- 

by one of themselves. Knox s teaching was thus 
relegated to week-days, when the congregation 
was smaller, and the Roman preachers avoided 
controversial topics, delivering " sermons penned 
to offend no man." 

The labours of Knox were abundantly fruitful. 
"A great number of the town openly professed" 
Reformed doctrine; and he was emboldened to 
take a step which inaugurated a significant de 
velopment in Protestant organisation. Hitherto 
adherents of the Reformation movement either 
abstained from a participation in the Holy Com 
munion, at least in public, or took part in the 
mass with an express or a tacit repudiation 
of the superstitious observances connected with 
the celebration. Knox was the first, apparently, 
in Scotland to introduce the public celebration of 
the Sacrament (probably in the Castle chapel) 
according to a Reformed ritual and without any 
acknowledgment of transubstantiation. The Pro 
testant movement began thus to be transformed 
into the establishment of a Reformed Church. 2 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 192-201. Knox himself is our sole 
atithority for the incidents above described; but we may 
presume he would be particularly careful to relate accurately 
proceedings in which Wynram, his own colleague in the min 
istry of the Reformed Church, was concerned. 

2 Ibid,, pp. 201-202. Wishart is said to have privately cele 
brated the Holy Communion in the Castle on the morning 
of his execution (Geo. Buchanan, H. of Sc.,B. xv., folio 178; 
but Knox is silent as to this incident. It is probable that 
Wishart celebrated the Lord s Supper privately at Dun (see 
A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., p. 78). 

1549] Early Ministry 81 

IV. Meanwhile, about midsummer, the papal 
absolution of the conspirators arrived ; but owing 
to the ambiguous terms " remittimus irremis- 
sibile" the garrison refrained from making a 
surrender, which they were now inclined to post 
pone through fresh hope of succour from Eng 
land. Before the end of June, however, foreign 
intervention took place from a different quarter. 
In response to the Regent s repeated appeals, a 
fleet of twenty-one French galleys arrived before 
St. Andrews; while the Scottish army co-operated 
on land. Eventually (after a month) the simul 
taneous assault by land and sea, combined with 
an outbreak of pestilence and the cutting off of 
supplies, led to the garrison (120 in all) surrender 
ing on fair conditions. According to Knox, their 
lives were to be spared: they were to be trans 
ported to France: thereafter they were to be 
removed at the French king s expense to any 
country except Scotland which each prisoner 
might select. 1 

Knox had forewarned the garrison of impend 
ing trouble, as the manifestation of divine dis 
pleasure at their evil doings. Before any French 
galley had appeared, "from the time he was called 
to preach," he testified that "their corrupt life 
could not escape punishment of God." While the 
garrison were rejoicing over early successes, "he 
lamented, and ever said they saw not what he 

i Knox, H. of R.,i., 203-206. See note, p. 82. 


82 John Knox [1546- 

saw." When they boasted of the Castle s strong 
and thick walls, he replied that these would prove 
to be "egg-shells." When they reckoned con 
fidently on rescue by an English army, he had 
predicted, "Ye shall be delivered into your 
enemies hands." l 

The conditions on which the garrison are stated 
to have surrendered were not faithfully fulfilled. 
The lives of the "Castilians" were spared: but 
instead of liberty on arrival in France, and the 
choice of an abode thereafter, all were either com 
mitted to prison or consigned to the galleys. 2 
Among those who endured the latter form of 
bondage was Knox. About a year and a half of 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 204-205. 

2 Tytler (H . of Sc., vi., 17) and Andrew Lang (H. of Sc., ii., 
1 8) decline to accept Knox s statement of the conditions, 
and therefore question his charge of bad faith. Buchanan 
(B. XV., fol. 179) speaks of the garrison as "incolumitatem 
modo pacti," a phrase which may mean either that they 
were guaranteed merely against personal injury, or that their 
lives only were to be spared. Lesley (Vern. Hist, of Sc., 
p. 194) limits the promise to the sparing of their lives 
"if the King of France thought this to be done." It is 
of course possible that Knox confused the terms asked for 
with the terms granted (as Lang suggests) ; but the Reformer s 
statement on a matter in which he was personally concerned 
is very precise; and it is more probable, that the descrip 
tions of Buchanan and Lesley were founded on what actually 
was done with the captured men. Knox, moreover, accounts 
definitely for the alleged breach of faith, as owing partly to a 
letter from the Pope to the King of France counselling 
"severity," and partly to an embassy from Scotland demand 
ing that "those of the Castle should be sharply handled" 
(Knox, //. of R., i., 207). 

Early Ministry 83 

his life, from September, 1547, were spent in the 
galley service. What his normal experience 
probably was may be realised from the descrip 
tion of a Huguenot galley-bondman during the 
persecution which followed the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes in 1685. Food and clothing 
were scant and coarse : shelter from the elements 
was allowed only in winter. The galleymen were 
"chained by the neck in couples," and were so 
bound to the benches that they could "neither 
sit nor stand upright," nor yet "lie down at full 
length." At night they slept under the benches, 
closely packed together, " on a little straw gnawed 
by rats and mice." They were sometimes obliged 
to row ten or twelve hours without interruption ; 
and their labours were stimulated by frequent 
strokes of the cowhide whip and by fear of the 
more terrible bastinado. Any galleyman who 
professed to be wounded or infirm was lashed 
"to discover whether he was not feigning." 
All the time their faith was tried by constant as 
surances poured into their ears by the chaplain, 
that by renouncing Protestantism they would 
obtain immediate liberation. 1 Long afterwards 
Knox referred to the torment which he sustained 
in the galleys; to the "sobs of his heart" ; to his 
feet "chained in the prison of his dolour"; and 

i See Autobiography of a French Protestant (Jean Marteilhe), 
trans, from the French (R. T. S.), pp. 69, 81, 134, 203, 209, 

84 John Knox [i S4 6- 

to his "lying in irons, sore troubled by corporal 
infirmity, in a galley named Notre Dame." I 

Knox, however, was not the man to sink under 
tribulation. "From the very day they entered 
into the galleys" so he testifies 2 he declared 
that God would deliver them " from that bondage 
to His glory, even in this life." Through three 
recorded incidents during this period we catch 
glimpses of his uniform hopefulness amid occa 
sional depression, of his power of mental effort 
amid bodily affliction, and of that vein of humour 
which helped him, to bear patiently misfortune and 
malice, (i.) Persistent efforts were at first made 
to entice or threaten the Scottish captives into con 
formity to Roman usages. One Saturday, at 
Nantes, the Salve Regina was sung, and a painted 
wooden image of the Virgin was brought to 
be devoutly kissed. When the image was "pre 
sented to one of the Scottish men" (not improb 
ably to Knox himself, who relates the incident) 

1 H. of R., i., 349; Epis. Dcdic. prefixed to Knox s summary 
of Balnaves s Justification by Faith (Laing, W. of K., iii., 8). 
We can hardly doubt, also, that the Reformer had this 
period of his life in mind when in his Treatise on Prayer 
(Laing, W. of K., iii., 89, 101) he speaks of having called to 
God "with sore oppressed heart from the deep pit of tribula 
tion," and when in the same writing he recalls the "grudg 
ing and murmuring complaints of the flesh," and the "anger, 
wrath, and indignation which it conceiveth against God, call 
ing all His promises in doubt." Partial relief, indeed, must, 
occasionally, have been given, for Knox was able to do some 
literary work (see p. 85 and Stalker, John Knox, 27). 

2 H. of R., i., 228. 

1549] Early Ministry 85 

he refused to touch what he called "ane idol ac 
cursed. The painted brod was then violently 
thrust in his face and put between his hands; 
whereupon the indignant Protestant threw the 
image into the Loire, exclaiming, "Let our Lady 
now save herself; she is lycht aneuch." "After 
that," adds Knox, "was no Scottish man urged 
with that idolatry." l (2) A second notable in 
cident took place in the winter of 1548, when 
Knox s galley lay at Rouen, and his fellow- 
captive, Henry Balnaves, was imprisoned in the 
palace of that city. Balnaves had been occupy 
ing his leisure with the composition of his treatise 
on Justification by Faith, and had somehow 
got it put into the Reformer s hands for revisal. 
In spite of what, with grim humour, Knox 
calls "incommodity of place, as well as imbecil 
ity of mind" (the result of excessive manual 
labour and bodily infirmity), he contrived to edit 
his friend s treatise, dividing it for convenience 
into chapters, drawing up a "summary," adding 
annotations, and preparing a "commendatory 
ErJistle." The work thus revised and supple 
mented was despatched to Scotland: it consti 
tutes a remarkable memorial of literary labour in 
circumstances the most unfavourable. 2 (3) The 
third incident occurred while the Notre Dame 

1 H. of R., I, 227. 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 4, 8, 9. For some unexplained 
reason the work was not published until after Knox s death. 

86 John Knox [i 54 6- 

happened to be lying between Dundee and St. 
Andrews. 1 Knox was so ill at the time that 
"few hoped his life." Sir James Balfour, then a 
trusted friend and fellow-captive, although after 
wards he proved himself unworthy of the Re 
former s confidence, 2 bade him "look at the land, 
and asked him if he knew it." 

"Yes," was the reply, "I know it well; for I see 
the steeple of the place where God first opened my 
mouth in public to His glory: and I am fully per 
suaded, how weak that ever I now appear, that I 
shall not depart this life until my tongue shall glorify 
His godly name in the same place." 3 

Knox had no scruple about advising some of his 
friends who asked his counsel Kirkcaldy, Kirk- 
michael, Robert and William Leslie, to make 
their escape from prison, provided they could do 
so without bloodshed ; and in this, eventually, they 
succeeded. For a chained galley-man to escape 
was much more difficult ; and Knox does not 

1 It was probably one of the galleys which in June, 1548, 
brought over from France an army of 6000 to help the Scots 
in their conflict with England (And. Lang, H. of Sc., ii., 12). 

2 Spottiswoode (Hist., i., 177) states that he obtained his 
freedom by "abjuring his profession." He returned to 
Scotland, was appointed Official of Lothian by the Primate, 
and eventually in 1567 became Lord President of the Court 
of Session (Laing, notes on Knox s //. of R., i., 202, 235). 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 228. He states that Balfour reported 
this incident "in presence of famous witnesses many years 
before" his (Knox s) final return to Scotland. 

Early Ministry 87 

appear ever to have attempted it. He was 
"assured that God would deliver them," and was 
content to "abide for a season upon His good 
pleasure." T There is some uncertainty about the 
circumstances of his release, which took place in 
February or March, 1549 2 : but there can be no 
doubt of its being due to negotiations for the 
exchange of prisoners. These negotiations were 
initiated by the English 3 with the Scottish and 
French Governments so early as the spring of 
1548; and they issued ultimately in the deliver 
ance of all who had surrendered at St. Andrew s, 
except James Melville of Carnbee who had died a 
natural death in the Castle of Brest.* 

1 Knox, H. of R., {., 228-230. 

2 Laing, W. ofK., iii., 31. 

3 Knox and his gifts would become known to the English 
Government through Balnaves, who had twice visited the 
English Court on business during his abode at the Castle of 
St. Andrews (Laing, W. of K., iii., 410). 

4 See Bain, Calendar of State Papers, i., 102, containing 
letter of Huntly to Somerset, 2gth March, 1548; Tytler, 
Reigns of Edw. VI. and Mary, i., 295 ; Knox, H. of R.,i., 233. 



i549- I 554 

DURING the year and a half of Knox s servi 
tude as a galley-man the Reformation cause 
in Scotland made little progress, owing partly to 
the lack of any notable Reforming preacher, and 
partly to renewed suspicion, among many other 
wise inclined towards Protestantism, of the Eng 
lish alliance with which the religious question had 
been complicated. The vindictive devastation of 
Scotland by the English in 1544, after the matri 
monial negotiations had been broken off, had not 
been forgotten ; and Romanism was still widely 
identified with patriotism. Henry VIII. had died 
early in 1547 ; but his favourite policy of annexing 
Scotland to England by marriage contract did 
not die with him. About a month after the cap 
ture of St. Andrews by the French, a large army 
under Protector Somerset crossed the Border. It 
came to force upon Scotland a renewal of that 
betrothal between Edward VI. and Mary Stuart, 

[IS49-ISS4] In England 89 

to which the Scottish Parliament had assented in 
1543, during the brief period of Protestant ascend 
ency. Somerset had counted on the support of 
the Reformers in Scotland: but even those who 
approved of the marriage did not welcome the 
invasion: it was "not the right way to woo 
and win a woman." l At such a juncture the 
Roman clergy showed themselves at their best. 
The Primate united with the Regent in raising an 
army to resist the English. The sinews of war 
came largely from the higher clergy: and at the 
battle of Pinkie, on loth September, 1547, as 
Knox records, with involuntary admiration which 
tempers his detestation, "No men were stouter 
than the priests and canons." 2 The battle re 
sulted in the defeat of the Scots with the loss of 
10,000 men : but the issue, nevertheless, was amoral 
discomfiture for England and the English policy, 
while it added moral strength to the Roman cause 
in Scotland. Somerset was not strong enough to 
follow up his victory : he effected nothing but the 
humiliation and irritation of the people whom it 
was his interest to conciliate. The Primate and 
his fellow-prelates, on the other hand, were glori 
fied in the eyes of the nation, as the patriotic, 
even if unfortunate, champions of Scottish inde- 

1 Mary of Guise, in an interview with Edward VI., in No 
vember, 1551, expressly attributed to Somerset s invasion 
the final withdrawal of Scotland from the proposed matri 
monial alliance. See Keith, Ch. and State in Sc., i., 138. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i.. 200. 210. 

90 John Knox [i 549 - 

pendence; while the cause of Reform was in 
jured by its association, even indirectly, with 
English aggression. The Roman party, moreover, 
made the most of a document, found among 
the papers of Balnaves in the Castle of St. 
Andrews, containing the signatures of two hun 
dred noblemen and gentlemen who had secretly 
bound themselves to the service of England. 1 
Renewed English invasions in the winter and 
spring of 1547-48, and the arrival in June of a 
French army of 6000 to assist the Scots in their 
straits, strengthened the Romanist party in 
Scotland which favoured a French against an 
English alliance. The way was thus prepared 
for the betrothal in July of Mary Stuart to the 
Dauphin with the approval of the Estates; and 
before the end of that month the young queen 
was despatched to the country which for thirteen 
years was to be her home. 2 

Even before the capture of St. Andrews, in the 
summer of 1547, the resumption of persecution 
had been foreshadowed by a resolution of the 
Privy Council, in response to a petition from the 
clergy, to enforce the laws against heresy. 3 After 

1 Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 19, 20. Among the two hundred 
were the Earls Marischal, Cassilis, and Bothwell. Comp. 
Hay Fleming, Mary Queen of Scots, p. 192, who gives evi 
dence of Argyll having received a thousand crowns to incline 
him to the marriage." For evidence of Glencairn s treachery 
see Bain, Cal. St. Pap., i., 10. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i. , 214-216; Diur. of Occur., pp. 46, 47. 

3 Robertson, Statuta, i., p. cxlvi. 

1554] In England 91 

Hamilton s settlement in his See, accordingly, it 
was only to be expected that Church and State 
would combine in a policy of repression. At a 
Provincial Church Council held at Edinburgh in 
November, 1549, along with the laudable enact 
ment of some reforming canons, it was resolved to 
make a "diligent inquisition as to heresies." * 
The return of Knox to Scotland at this time, even 
if the terms of his liberation allowed it, must thus 
have appeared perilous for himself and useless 
for the cause. Gratitude to the English Govern 
ment which had secured his release : sympathy so 
far with Cranmer and other Reformers who were 
endeavouring to make the English Church not 
merely anti-papal but genuinely Protestant; and 
the conviction that his vocation to the ministry 
could not meanwhile be effectively fulfilled in his 
native land combined to induce Knox to accept 
an invitation to settle in England. 2 

At the time of Henry VIII. s death the Church 
of England differed from the Church of Rome in 

1 Robertson, Statuta, ii., 81, 127. For reasons afterwards 
to be stated, however, there was only one very notable out 
come of this fresh inquisition. See Chap. VII., p. 183. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 231 ; Lorimer, John K. and the Church 
of England, p. 5. Knox s anxiety to resume the vocation of 
the ministry somewhere is shown by his prayer, written 
towards the close of his servitude in the galleys, and incor 
porated in the Epistle Dedicatory prefixed to Balnaves s 
Justification by Faith : "Continue, O Lord, and grant unto us 
that as now with pen and ink, so shortly we may confess 
with voice and tongue, the same [Confession of our Faith] 
before Thy Congregation" (Laing, W. of K., iii., 9). 

92 John Knox [i 549 - 

little more than the repudiation of the papacy, 
the suppression of the monasteries, and the au 
thorised use of a vernacular Bible and liturgy. By 
the spring of 1549, when Knox arrived, consider 
able progress had been made, under the direction 
of Cranmer and the Protector, notwithstanding 
the indifference or opposition of the majority 
of the English clergy. Images which had been 
idolatrously venerated were removed; Reformed 
Homilies and a Protestant Catechism had been 
introduced ; the Cup had been restored to the 
laity in Holy Communion; the earlier English 
Prayer-book of Edward VI. had come into use; 
marriage of the clergy had been legalised. 
Knox was conscious of his gifts ; and England 
presented a favourable field of labour with a 
fairly congenial environment. 

The Reformer was by no means the first Scot 
tish Protestant who entered the service of the 
English Church. In 1535, under Henry VIII., 
through Cranmer s influence, Alexander Alane, 
the friend of Patrick Hamilton, held a lecture 
ship in divinity at Cambridge: he is believed 
to have been the first in that university who ex 
pounded the Old Testament in the original. 1 
During the same reign and in the same univer 
sity, as we have seen, Wishart had propagated 
evangelical truth. Four distinguished Scottish 
Dominicans, also, had rendered similar service 

i A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., 266. 

i 554 ] In England 93 

in England. Alexander Seton, had become 
chaplain to the Duke of Suffolk and a popular 
London preacher. 1 John MacAlpine had been 
presented to a canonry of Salisbury Cathedral. 2 
Thomas William, Knox s earliest instructor in 
the Reformed faith, had become a Protestant 
evangelist in Bristol. 3 John McDowel, whom 
Knox eulogises for his "singular prudence" as 
well as "learning and godliness," had been ap 
pointed chaplain to the Bishop of Salisbury, and 
was the first in the diocese to assail publicly the 
doctrine of papal supremacy. 4 In the earlier por 
tion of Edward VI. s reign three other Scots were 
enrolled in a list of eighty accredited preachers- 
John Willock, a Dominican from Ayrshire, after 
wards one of Knox s leading colleagues in Scot 
land s; John McBriar of Galloway, eventually 
Vicar of Newcastle ; and John Rough, the ex- 
chaplain, and future martyr under "Bloody 
Mary." 6 It is evident that at a time when the 
mass of the English clergy were either lukewarm 
or hostile, the Protestant cause benefited sub 
stantially by Scottish refugees. 

The chief service, however, which England 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 54, 55, 531; Lorimer, Precursors of 
Knox, 184. See p. 40. 

2 Knox, i., 55; Spottisw., Hist., i., 131; Lorimer, 186. 

3 Knox, i., 105; Lorimer, 189. 

4 Knox, H. of R., i., 55; Lorimer, 187. 

s Knox, H. of R., i., 245 and note 2; Lorimer, 190. 
6 Laing, W. of K.,i., 529, 530, 538-9. 

94 John Knox [1549- 

received at this period from Scotland was rendered 
by Knox. His first sphere of labour was Berwick, 1 
which had been finally ceded by Scotland about 
seventy years before. This town, with its mixed 
population partly of English, partly of Scottish, 
extraction, was doubtless regarded as an ap 
propriate pastoral charge for a patriotic Scot in 
England, who desired to keep in touch with his 
own fellow-countrymen. Knox ministered there 2 
from the spring of 1549 to the spring of 1551, 
Berwick lay within the diocese of Durham, of 
which Tunstall 3 was the Bishop. He was one of 
the reactionary prelates who acquiesced in the 
Reformation of Henry VIII., but had no sym 
pathy with Cranmer s moderately progressive pol 
icy, and adhered to Roman doctrine and ritual. 
The licensed preachers, however, held their com 
missions directly from the Privy Council, and were 
virtually independent of diocesan jurisdiction. 

Knox s parishioners at Berwick, like his con 
gregation at St. Andrews, consisted of two dis 
tinct sections garrison 4 and citizens. The field 

1 Laing, W. of K., i., 231; vi., p. xxvi. 

2 The Church has been transformed through repeated 
restoration ; and the old pulpit, popularly believed to be that 
from which Knox preached, belongs probably to the early 
part of the seventeenth century. 

3 Tunstall was imprisoned and deprived in 1552 through 
Northumberland s influence for alleged treason; was re 
stored under Mary, and again deprived for non-compliance 
under Elizabeth (Froude, chaps, xxviii., xxx., xxxvii.). 

4 The normal strength of the garrison in time of peace was 

i 55 4] In England 95 

was not favourable for spiritual husbandry. The 
northern counties of England were less affected by 
the Reformation than most other districts of the 
country ; the influence of the Bishop was hostile ; 
and the moral tone of both soldiers and civilians 
was bad. Sanguinary quarrels were common 
among the garrison; disorder and robbery pre 
vailed among the townsmen. In a letter ad 
dressed to Protector Somerset, in November, 1548, 
it is declared that "there is better order among 
the Tartars than in this town ; and that a stern 
disciplinarian as well as a stirring preacher will be 
required to work out a moral and social reform." 
Knox was well fitted by character to fulfil these 
requirements ; and his brief ministry in the Castle 
of St. Andrews had prepared him for his work in 
the Border town. The earnest spirit in which he 
laboured may be discerned from a letter ad 
dressed by him to the congregation in 1552, 
after his departure. He declares that he had 
"preached Christ among" them "in much weak 
ness and fear," yet "with rude boldness and zeal 
towards God s glory and" their "salvation." 2 
Long afterwards, when Queen Mary Stuart re- 

600; but during the first year of Knox s ministry, prior to 
the Treaty of Boulogne (March, 1550), the number of soldiers 
required for defence against Scottish invasion by land and 
French assault by sea must have been abnormally large. 

1 Lorimer, John Knox and the Ch. of E., 18; Knox, H. of 
R., ii., 280. 

2 Lorimer, 263. 

96 John Knox [ I549 - 

peated to him some calumny about his having 
been "the cause of great sedition and slaughter in 
England," he was moved to testify regarding the 
visible fruits of his ministry : " I shame not, Madam, 
to affirm that God so blessed my weak labours that 
in Berwick, where commonly before there used to 
be slaughter, by reason of quarrels among sol 
diers, there was as great quietness, all the time I 
remained, as there is this day in Edinburgh." r 
The repeated promotion and offers of further 
promotion which Knox no place-hunter or time- 
server received in Engand, indicate that the 
efficiency of his pastorate at this period was fully 

The preachers appointed by the Privy Council, 
when stationed in some town, were expected 
to propagate Reformed doctrine also in the sur 
rounding district ; and in such work Knox appears 
not to have spared himself. Evidence will be 
given afterwards 2 of his aggressive Protestantism 
in the diocese of Durham : and a casual letter ap 
pears to indicate his evangelistic diligence even in 
its less frequented parishes. In May, 1551, John 
ab Ulmis, then in England as a refugee, refers 
incidentally in correspondence to the Island of 
Lindisfarne as a place "not far from the town 
of Berwick," where, notwithstanding its isolated 
situation, he found the "inhabitants rightly 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 280. 

2 See page 103. 

1554] In England 97 

instructed in religion." I To John Knox, directly 
or indirectly, we may ascribe, with the highest 
probability, such instruction ; and it is interesting 
to think of the island which, in the seventh cent 
ury, under the Scottish monk Aidan, became a 
second lona, receiving now, after nine hundred 
years, from a Scottish Reformer, a fresh diffusion of 
the light which in the interval had become obscured. 
Knox was instrumental at Berwick, not only in 
propagating Protestantism, but in sowing some of 
the earliest seeds of English Puritanism. When 
he arrived in the town the First Prayer-book of 
Edward VI. had already been sanctioned and 
issued. Apart from its being composed in Eng 
lish, it diverged considerably from the old Roman 
service-book: but it retained kneeling at Com 
munion, prayers for the dead, the ceremony of 
exorcism, and the use of the ancient vestments. 
The public employment of this liturgy was ordered 
to commence on Whitsunday, 1549: but in many 
dioceses and districts the strong opposition to the 
book by Romanists on the one hand, and a section 
of Protestants on the other, prevented its wide 
spread introduction. 2 Among the leading dissen 
tients from the Act of Uniformity which imposed 
the new service-book was the Bishop of Durham. 3 

1 Lorimer, 46. By "rightly instructed in religion" John 
ab Ulmis evidently meant instructed in religion according to 
Reformed doctrine. 

2 Perry, Ref. in Engl., pp. 72-76. 

3 Froude, //. of E., iv., 386. 


98 John Knox [i 549 - 

For once, although on very different grounds, 
Knox agreed with Tunstall. The Privy Council 
do not appear to have constrained the Scottish 
preacher to use a book to which he had strong 
objections. An extant fragment of the " Practice 
of the Lord s Supper used in Berwick-upon-Tweed 
by John Knox" shows that he introduced into 
the worship there forms of service distinctly Puri 
tan in character. The Communion office is partly 
borrowed from Swiss and German sources : prob 
ably it was based on materials privately used and 
.supplied to Knox by Wishart. 1 Prominent among 
the features of Knox s service was the discontinu 
ance of kneeling at the Holy Communion. He 
regarded this attitude as a symbolical endorse 
ment of transubstantiation and of the idolatry of 
the host. 2 Objection to this posture became one 
of the distinctive "notes" of Puritanism in Brit 
ain : and it is interesting to find the earliest prac 
tice, so far as is known, of sitting at Communion 
in the Berwick service 3 conducted by a Scottish 

1 Lorimer, 290-297; A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., 77, 78. 

2 "Kneeling in that action, appearing to be joined with 
certain dangers in maintaining superstition, I thought good 
amongst you to avoid; and to use sitting at the Lord s 
Table, which ye did not refuse" (Letter of Knox to the 
Congregation of Berwick, Lorimer, 201). 

3 In 1550, Bishop Hooper advocated the same posture; 
but a letter sent from England in 1552 from the Reformer 
Utenhove to Bullinger indicates a sermon of a Scot (pre 
sumably Knox) as the chief occasion of the movement against 
kneeling (Drysdale, Presbyterians in England, 66). 

1554] In England 99 

Reformer. This wa the first of a series of acts 
and testimonies which justify Carlyle s designa 
tion of Knox as the "chief priest and founder" 
of English Puritanism. 1 

III. The Reformer s ministry at Berwick was 
a memorable period, not only in his public career, 
but in his domestic life. Among his congre 
gation was Mrs. Elizabeth Bowes, the daughter 
of Sir Roger Aske of Yorkshire. Her hus 
band, Richard Bowes, was Captain of Norham 
Castle, a few miles from Berwick, and belonged 
to a Northumbrian family of whom one 
had been knighted for his prowess at Flodden. 
Husband and wife, as often happened at that 
time, were differently affected on the great re 
ligious question of the day. Richard Bowes, like 
most of the northern gentry, was a keen Roman 
ist: Elizabeth Bowes, even before the arrival of 
Knox, sympathised with the Reformation. Under 
his ministry this sympathy developed ; it issued 
eventually, as we shall find, in separation from a 
husband with whom she could dwell in peace only 
at the cost of fidelity to truth. 2 Mrs. Bowes had 
ten daughters, and at some date prior to 23rd 
June, 1553, Knox and the fifth daughter, Marjorie, 
had "pledged themselves to one another before 
witnesses"; although, in consequence of her 
father s opposition, the marriage did not take 

1 Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-Worship, p. 133. 
Knox, H. of R., i., 253. 

ioo John Knox [ 1S4g _ 

place till 1555 or 1556. x No record remains of the 
early period of Knox s acquaintance with his future 
wife. The marriage, so far as appears, was a happy 
one: but from incidental references one receives 
the impression that the engagement was due to 
the arrangement of the prospective mother-in-law 
rather than to any ardent mutual affection, at first, 
on the part of the young lady and the ex-priest, 
who was probably her senior by many years. Cer 
tainly this was the view taken by friends, as Knox 
himself candidly declares. 2 It cannot be said that 
even according to the prosaic standard of modern 
courtship Knox was a model lover. The defect- 
iveness of his ardour may be inferred from a 
curious and suggestive expression in his earliest 
extant epistle to his betrothed: "I think [!] this 
be the first letter ever I wrait to you"; and the 
writing, is entirely occupied with warnings against 
"false teachers" and references to her mother s 
conflicts with "the accusatour of God s elect"! 3 
It must be remembered, however, in extenuation, 
that when Knox wrote this letter he was forty or 

1 Knox s first extant letter to Mrs. Bowes as his future 
mother-in-law is dated 23rd June, 1553; but the betrothal 
may have been considerably earlier (Laing, W. of K., iii., 
343). His first letter to Marjorie Bowes is undated (ibid., 
395). As to the time of the marriage, see p. 134. 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 37. "It is supposed that all the 
matter [of the betrothal] comes by you and me." So Knox 
writes to Mrs. Bowes; and he is at no pains to deny the 
truth of the "supposition." 

3 I bid., W. of K., iii., 395. 

1554] In England 101 

more ; and that he had been accustomed to fulfil 
the office of pastor to Marjorie Bowes for some time 
before he entered into the relationship of lover. In 
his correspondence with her, amid much spiritual 
counsel there gleams from time to time a sober af- 
fectionateness. Thus, in one letter he writes to his 
" most dear sister," " Be sure I will not forget you 
and your company," adding, however, as if he 
had gone too far, "so long as mortal man may 
remember any earthly creature." In another 
letter, addressed to his mother-in-law, he declares 
that "there is none with whom I would more 
gladly speak," i. e., than with Mrs. Bowes; but 
he at once corrects himself with the addition, 
" only she excepted whom God hath offered to me, 
and commanded me to love as my own flesh." 2 
Lovers do not usually base their affection on offers 
and commands! 

Knox s correspondence discloses his mother-in- 
law as a kind-hearted and devout woman, whose 
converse was a source of comfort and edification 
to her future son-in-law ; yet at the same time as 
a spiritual valetudinarian, morbidly introspective, 
constantly complaining about her religious con 
dition, and living in habitual dread of reprobation. 
On the one hand, he bears grateful witness to the 
"motherly kindness ye have shewn unto me at 
all times since our first acquaintance" 3 ; and 

1 Laing, W. of K., iii., 358. 

2 Ibid., iii., 370. 

3 Ibid., iii., 378. 

102 John Knox [i S49 - 

when he was in straits, after Mary Tudor s acces 
sion, she offered him pecuniary aid, which he had 
the self-respect to decline. 1 He testifies, also, to 
her helpfulness in higher ways. He declares that 
from "the first day that it pleased the Providence 
of God to bring you and me in familiarity, I have 
always delighted in your company, . . . for I 
find a congruence betwixt us in spirit." 2 In one 
pathetic passage he relates that the unfolding by 
her of her own spiritual troubles and infirmities 
was "a very mirror" wherein he beheld himself 
"so rightly painted that nothing could be more 
evident": and he recalls how "often when with 
dolourous hearts we have begun our talking, 
God has sent great comfort to us both." 3 On the 
other hand, he naively admits that "her com 
pany," although "comfortable, yea honourable, 
and profitable," was "not without some cross"; 
for his "mind was seldom quiet for doing some 
what for the comfort of her troubled conscience." 4 
The Reformer s careful and patient treatment of 
her doubts and "desperation," as revealed in his 
long letters, indicates an amiable feature of his 
character; but one can readily understand the 
depressing influence of even a "dearly beloved 
mother" who was in constant dread of "apos 
tasy"; in continual "battle with Satan"; com- 

1 Laing, W. of K., iii., 372. 

2 Ibid., iii., 337~339- 

3 Ibid., iii., 338. 

4 Ibid., vi., 514. 

1 554] In England 103 

paring herself with the people of Sodom, and 
groaning with more force than taste over her 
spiritual "adultery." T 

IV. During the ministry of Knox at Berwick 
he paid at least one memorable visit to Newcastle. 
This visit exerted considerable influence on his 
career, occasioned his earliest conspicuous effort 
in literary controversy, and placed him in the 
front rank of the more thorough English Re 
formers. It was natural that a reactionary pre 
late like Tunstall should regard with disfavour 
Knox s aggressive Protestantism. As the latter, 
however, held a commission direct from the Privy 
Council, the Bishop, in his episcopal capacity, had 

Laing, W. of K., iii., 361, 364, 372, 382, 385. The relations 
subsisting between Knox and Mrs. Bowes occasioned, prior 
to his marriage at least, some unfounded scandal which in its 
turn formed the basis of vile insinuations by the renegade 
Archibald Hamilton (DeConf. Calv. Sect., p. 65). The scandal 
was magnified through the dislike of some of the Bowes 
family towards Knox, on account of his Protestant views 
and influence over his future mother-in-law. "The slander 
and fear of men," so he writes, "hath impeded me to exercise 
my pen so often as I would ; yea very shame hath hoi den me 
from your company when I was most surely persuaded that 
God had appointed me to feed your hungry and afflicted 
soul" (Laing, W. of K., iii., 390-391). A few months before 
his own death, after Mrs. Bowes had passed away, he felt im 
pelled to "declare to the world what was the cause of our 
great familiarity"; which was "neither flesh nor blood, but 
a troubled conscience on her part which never suffered her to 
rest but when she was in the company of the faithful, of 
whom (from the first hearing of the Word at my mouth) she 
judged me to be one" (Laing, vi., 513). 

104 John Knox [ I549 _ 

no power to interfere; and probably he would 
have been content to remain quiescent but for 
the complaints of a section of his clergy that 
Knox was denouncing the mass as idolatry. 
These complaints led Tunstall to summon Knox, 
in April, 1550, before the Council of the North, 
of which the Bishop was a leading member. This 
Council was composed of twenty-three representa 
tive clergy, nobility, and gentry; and one of its 
functions was to secure conformity to the parlia 
mentary enactments about religion. 1 

Knox, however, was not cited as an ecclesiasti 
cal offender, but to "give his confession why he 
affirmed the mass to be idolatry," and a large 
congregation assembled in the Church of St. 
Nicholas at Newcastle to hear his address. The 
Bishop had furnished the preacher with an 
opportunity of effectively propagating his views 
on a burning question of the time. 2 In the First 
Prayer-book of Edward VI., the elevation and 
adoration of the host were significantly discon 
tinued. Accordingly, when Knox declared that 
the mass, as celebrated by Romanists, was idola- 

1 Burnet, H. of R., ii., 36, 310; Strype, Memorials, ii., 
Part II., 161. The headquarters of the Council were at 
York, but annual sessions were held at Hull, Durham, and 
Newcastle ; and it was presumably to the regular session at 
Newcastle that Knox was cited. The Earl of Shaftesbury 
was President of the Council, and Sir Robert Bowes was a 
member of it 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 3370 (where the discourse is given 
in full); Lorimer, Knox and the Ch. of E., pp. 51-65. 

1554] In England 105 

trous, he was in harmony with a parliamentary- 
statute, and his declaration could not be made 
the ground of a charge against him. It is signifi 
cant, however, that in his discussion of the ques 
tion he goes far beyond the standpoint of the 
Prayer-book. He uses the term "idolatry" in a 
wide sense, embracing not a little which Cran- 
mer and his colleagues would have declined to 
condemn. The latter were content to omit from 
the Communion office whatever involved or sug 
gested transubstantiation. With this part of the 
subject Knox deals effectively in the latter por 
tion of his discourse, and shews the unscriptural 
character of the doctrine of the mass, as an 
alleged "sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the 
dead." But in the earlier part of the address 
he adopts by anticipation the Puritan position 
that "all worshipping, honouring, or service in 
vented by the brain of man in the religion of 
God, without His own express commandment, is 
idolatry." On the basis of this contention he 
includes under "idolatry of the mass" all the 
non-scriptural ceremonial with which the Com 
munion had been associated, and thus con 
demns not only what the Prayer-book proscribed 

1 Laing, W. of K., Hi., 65. 

2 Ibid., iii., 34. This is the position taken up by the West 
minster Confession (XXL, 1.) and by the Shorter Catechism 
(Q u - 5 1 )- The unlawfulness of unprescribe modes of wor 
ship had already been affirmed by Knox at St. Andrews 
(see p 79). 

io6 John Knox [1549- 

but also not a little which it approved. He 
denounces the introduction and consecration of 
altars, the use of candles and certain vestments, 
the unauthorised addition of certain words to the 
scriptural formula of institution, and various 
"ungodly invocations and diabolical conjura 
tions." At the close of the discourse, he calls 

"God to record that neither profit to myself, 
hatred of any person or persons, nor affection or 
favour that I bear towards any private man, causeth 
me to speak as ye have heard, but only the obedience 
that I owe unto God in ministration, and the com 
mon love which I bear to the salvation of all men. " 2 

The discourse of Knox, so far from occasioning 
any interference with his liberty, brought him 
prominently before Court, Church, and people 
as a powerful champion of Reformed doctrine. 
Early in 1551, he was removed, by order, doubt 
less, of the Privy Council, from Berwick to 
Newcastle. In this more influential sphere he 
continued, along with the preaching of Protestant 
truth, to celebrate worship in conformity, not 
with the authorised Prayer-book, but with his own 
Puritan ideas. In addition to the propagation 
of evangelical doctrine among the citizens of 
Newcastle and the population of the North gen- 

1 Laing, iii., 49. The reference is to the pleading of the 
merits of saints and to exorcism. 

2 Ibid., iii., 69. 

In England 107 

erally, he attracted to the town numerous Scots 
"chiefly for his fellowship." J 

V. The ecclesiastical standing and distinction 
of John Knox in England at this period are 
illustrated by two offers of promotion, one of 
which was accepted, the other declined, and also 
by two instances of his influential intervention in 
Church affairs. At some date between December, 
1551, and October, 1552, he was appointed one 
of six royal chaplains. 2 Two of these chaplains 
at a time resided at Court ; the other four itinerated 
in various districts of the country. Through this 
office Knox s influence was largely increased. He 
had as frequent listeners to his preaching not only 
the King himself, but ministers of the Crown and 
officials of the Court, while he had also the oppor 
tunity of delivering his testimony at important 
centres in different parts of the country. 3 

Before the close of 1552, a yet more important 
charge was within the Reformer s reach. The 
Duke of Northumberland, who, after Somerset s 
fall, became the most powerful statesman in the 
kingdom, occupied the post of Warden of the 
Borders. In that capacity he was often in 

1 See Lorimer (p. 78), who quotes a letter from the Duke 
of Northumberland to Cecil, Sept., 1552. 

2 Lorimer, 79-80. Knox was not one of the original six, 
appointed in Dec., 1551; but on 27th Oct., 1552, there is an 
entry in the Register of the Privy Council authorising the 
payment to him of 40 " in way of the King s Majesty s 
reward. " 

3 Laing, vi., p. xxix.; Lorimer, 48. 

io8 John Knox [1549- 

contact with Knox, whose headquarters, after he 
became chaplain, continued to be in the North, 
and the Duke repeatedly heard the Reformer 
preach. Partly to strengthen the Protestant 
cause in the south, and partly to rid the Borders 
of a preacher whose independent spirit and 
Puritan attitude he did not like, Northumberland 
recommended him for the vacant See of Rochester. 1 
Knox appears to have had no objection to epis 
copacy as such, but he disapproved of "your 
proud prelates great dominions and charge, im 
possible by one man to be discharged." 2 He 
gives a further reason "foresight of trouble to 
come." 3 He had also, one may assume, no 
desire to come under obligations to a statesman 
whose unprincipled character, afterwards dis 
closed, he seems already to have discerned; and, 

1 In a letter from Northumberland to Cecil (State Pap. 
Edw. VI., xv. 35; Tytler, Reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, ii., 
142), of date 28th Oct., 1552, the former writes: "he [Knox] 
would not only be a whetstone to quicken and sharp the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, whereof he hath need, but also he 
would be a great confounder of the Anabaptists lately sprung 
up in Kent." He adds, as a further reason for the Re 
former s promotion, that Knox "should not continue the 
ministration in the North contrary to this set forth here" 
[i. e., the prescribed liturgy]; "and that the Scots now in 
habiting Newcastle chiefly for his friendship would not con 
tinue there." 

2 Laing, W. of K., v., 518; comp. iii., 26, where Knox de 
clares that no bishop should mix himself with temporal or 
secular business, but should continually preach, read, and 
exhort his flock. 

3 Ibid., iii., 122; comp. iv. , 221. 

1554] In England 109 

moreover, as a patriotic Scot, he would be un 
willing to undertake responsibilities which might 
have permanently severed his connection with 
his native land. Accordingly, after a personal 
interview with the Reformer Northumberland 
later reports that he had found Knox "neither 
grateful nor pleasable," adding, "I mind to have 
no more to do with him, but to wish him well." x 
The offer of the See of Rochester was thus de 
clined. Nearly twenty years afterwards, when 
Knox was requested to take part in the installa 
tion of John Douglas as Bishop of St. Andrews, 
and when his refusal to do so was ascribed to 
personal disappointment, he was moved to recall 
this long-past incident in his career, and to de 
clare that he had refused a greater bishopric than 
ever it [St. Andrews] was." 2 

The Second Prayer-book of Edward VI., sanc 
tioned in April, 1552, and the Forty-two Articles 
promulgated in the following year, bear each 
some mark of Knox s influence. The practice of 
sitting instead of kneeling at Communion had 
become frequent by 1552, among those who 
favoured it being Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester. 
The Puritan party were not strong enough to pro- 

1 Letter of yth Dec., 1552, from Northumberland to Cecil, 
(State Pap. Edw. VI., xv., 66) quoted by Tytler, Reigns of 
Edward VI. and Mary, ii., 148. The Duke, however, did not 
cease to regard Knox as a man worthy of consideration (see 
Tytler, ii., 158, 159). 

2 Richard Bannatyne s Memorials, p. 256 (Bann. Clubed.). 

no John Knox [1549- 

cure the introduction of any change of posture 
into the new service-book, but an important con 
cession was secured which so far met their views. 
There was inserted what High Churchmen have 
called the " Black Rubric," deleted after the ac 
cession of Elizabeth to propitiate Catholics, re 
placed at the Restoration to conciliate Puritans, 
and still retained. This rubric significantly de 
clares that by kneeling no adoration is intended 
either of the sacramental bread and wine," or 
"of Christ s natural flesh and blood." The inser 
tion of the caveat was assigned in 1554 by 
Dr. Weston (afterwards Dean of Westminster) to 
the authority of a " run-a-gate Scot." I That this 
Scot was Knox appears from the fact that about 
this time he preached before the King a sermon 
against kneeling, and that a memorial to the Privy 
Council, dated 1552, in favour of sitting at Com 
munion was substantially Knox s work. 2 His in 
fluence appears in another kindred matter. In 
October, 1552, the Forty-five Articles (afterwards 
reduced to Forty-two, ultimately to Thirty-nine) 
were submitted for consideration to the royal 

1 Foxe, Acts, etc., vi., 510; Laing, iii., 80. 

2 Lorimer, pp. 99-107, 267-284; Gairdner, Eng. Ch. in Six 
teenth Cent., p. 307 ; Drysdale, Presbyterians in England, p. 68. 
Having secured the insertion of the rubric, Knox soon after 
advised his former congregation at Berwick to adopt the 
kneeling posture for the sake of peace (Lorimer, 259-263): 
but he appears never himself to have conformed. (See 

1554] In England in 

chaplains. Knox could not but object to Article 
Thirty-eight, which, in the original draft, endorsed 
the ceremonies of the Prayer-book, as "in no way 
repugnant to the wholesome liberty of the Gos 
pel." In the final form this clause is significantly 
altered; all reference to ceremonies has disap 
peared. 1 These are probably only specimens, ac 
cidentally disclosed, of the ecclesiastical influence 
exerted by the Scottish chaplain. They corrobo 
rate the testimony of a friendly Flemish resident 
in England 2 that Knox " wrought upon the minds 
of many," and they account for the complaint of 
the hostile Weston that "this one man s authority 
so much prevailed." 3 

The standing and influence of Knox are further 
illustrated by the vain efforts made to get rid 
of him, and by the toleration which he received, 
notwithstanding his nonconformity, from the 
Privy Council. The earliest attempt to dis 
place him was made by the Mayor of Newcastle, 
Sir Robert Brandling, after a sermon by Knox on 
Christmas Day, 1552. The Reformer had dis 
coursed on the "obstinacy of the Papists" who 
were "thirsting for the King s death"; and had 
affirmed that whoever opposed the Reformed doc 
trine was not only an "enemy to God," but a 
"secret traitor to the Crown and Common- 

1 Lorimer, pp. 108-110, 126129; Gairdner, p. 308. 

2 John Utenhove in letter to Bullinger, dated Oct., 1552 
(quoted by Lorimer, p. 98). 

3 Foxe, vi., 510; Lorimer, p. 134. 

ii2 John Knox [i 549 - 

wealth." T The proceedings against Knox failed, 
largely through the intervention of Northumber 
land, who, in spite of the Reformer s refusal 
of a bishopric, held over him the aegis of his in 
fluence and condemned the Mayor s "malicious 
stomach." 2 Two or three months later, " heinous 
delations," laid against the Reformer before the 
Privy Council, equally failed to undermine his 
credit, and issued, as he himself expresses it, in 
"Satan s confusion" and the "glory of God." 3 
Once more, in April 1 5 53, he was summoned before 
the Council to explain his refusal of a presenta 
tion to the vicarage of Allhallows in London. 
He replied that while he was ready to fill an 
office like that of royal chaplain, which gave 
him the opportunity of preaching Christ s Gos 
pel, he considered that no beneficed minister 
could discharge his office before God in England 
without fuller power of discipline authority 
to "divide the lepers from the whole." There 
was another reason, however, for his citation. He 
was asked to explain "why he kneeled not at 
the Lord s Supper"; and when he pleaded the 
example of Christ at the original institution, 
he was dismissed with "gentle speeches" and a 
recommendation to reconsider the question, but 

1 Laing, W. of K., iii., 297. 

2 Tytler, Reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, ii., 158. 

3 Laing, W. of K, iii., 364 (letter to Mrs. Bowes, 23rd March, 

1554] In England 113 

without any threat of deprival. 1 Obviously, not 
withstanding his Puritanical nonconformity in 
some details, Knox was regarded as a valuable 
champion of the English Reformation. 

VI. Before Easter, 1553, Edward s approach 
ing death had been anticipated, and Northumber 
land s plot to disinherit Mary Tudor had already 
been devised. The Reformer and his fellow- 
chaplains appear to have discerned at an early 
stage the Duke s unprincipled policy, and were 
not afraid to allude from the pulpit to iniquity in 
high places. 2 It was the turn of Knox to officiate 
in April, 1553; and in the last sermon which he 
preached before Edward and his Council, he boldly 
referred to the "young and innocent king being 
deceived by crafty, covetous, wicked, and ungodly 
counsellors, whom he compared to Ahithophel, 
Shebna, and Judas. 3 

Edward s death in July was to Knox, as to other 
Protestants in England, a grievous calamity, 
which he interpreted as a divine judgment. " We 
had a king," he writes, "of so godly disposition 
towards virtue and the truth of God that none 
from the beginning passed him" ; and he accuses 
"no less his own offences than the offences of 
others," as the "cause of the away -taking of that 
most godly prince." 4 No fear, however, of what 

1 Calderwood, Kirk of Scot., i., 280, 281. 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 176, 177. 

zlbid., W.ofK,, iii., 282; Lorimer, 169-172. 
4 Laing. W. of K., iii., 175. 

ii4 John Knox [i 549 - 

might happen under Mary Tudor tempted Knox 
to give any countenance to the usurpation which 
was forced on the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey; 
and he was careful not to omit public prayer that 
God would " illuminate the heart of our Sovereign 
Lady, Queen Mary." " Inflame the hearts of her 
Council," he added, "with Thy true fear and 
love," and "repress the pride of those that would 
rebel." T Yet he was not blind to impending 
peril. Amid the "joy and riotous banqueting at 
the proclamation of Mary" he foresaw "troubles" 
and "destructions" all the more certain to follow 
on account of the conspiracy which had proved 
futile. 2 He w r as in no hurry, however, to leave 
his post. On the 2 6th of July, a week after Mary s 
accession, we find him preaching at Carlisle; in 
August he speaks of himself as labouring in Kent ; 
in September he asks the prayers of Mrs. Bowes 
for his ministry in London. 3 In* November a re 
actionary Parliament enacted that from the 2oth 
December there " should be no other form of ser 
vice but what had been used in the last year of 

1 Laing, W. ofK., in., 107. 

2 Ibid., 1 68. 

3 Ibid., 365, 374, 376. On i6th Aug., a proclamation of 
the Queen forbade Protestants and Catholics to interrupt 
each other s services, but prohibited all preaching on either 
side without a royal license (Froude, H. of E., v., 236). Knox, 
however, probably regarded his chaplaincy as a virtual 
license, until it became clear that his appointment was not 
to be renewed under Mary. 

1554] In England 115 

Henry VIII." Before that date the mass had 
been restored; and the majority of Reforming 
leaders were in prison or in exile. Yet Knox re 
mained and continued to preach after the interval 
of toleration had expired. On the 22nd of Decem 
ber he writes that " every day of this week I must 
preach, if this wicked carcase will permit " 2 
With the death of Edward, however, his royal 
chaplaincy, as well as his commission as a preacher, 
came to an end; and neither appointment was 
renewed. His special responsibility as regards 
England accordingly ceased; and when the in 
tercepting of his letters convinced him that his 
apprehension impended, he yielded, although re 
luctantly, to the counsel of friends and escaped 
to Dieppe early in I554. 3 

That Knox left England with some misgiving 
appears from his anxiety to vindicate himself by 
anticipation from the charge of faint-heartedness. 
"Some," he writes, "will ask, Why did I flee? 
Assuredly I cannot tell; but of one thing I am 
sure; the fear of death was not the chief cause. 
. . . By God s grace I may come to battle 

1 Lorimer, p. 186; Perry, Ref. in Eng., p. 116. 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 113. 

3 There is some doubt as to the date of Knox s departure 
from England. On the authority of a P. S. to his "Exposi 
tion of Ps. VI., "Upon the very point of my journey, the last 
of February" (Laing, iii., 156), Professor Hume Brown dates 
the Reformer s flight on that day. But Knox probably refers 
here to his departure from Dieppe. 

n6 John Knox [1549- 

before all the conflict be ended." We catch 
from his correspondence some incidental glimpses 
of the circumstances and motives under which he 
acted. He mentions on the 6th January his 
"very weak health," and he may not have been 
in a physical condition to face a conflict. 2 He 
seems, also, to have felt the responsibility of 
remaining when this could not be done "without 
danger to others," referring probably to some of 
his future wife s kindred and to some intimate 
friends in London. 3 But what weighed doubtless 
above all with Knox was his consciousness that 
he was a man with a mission, endowed with 
gifts which would enable him to take, in the 
future, an effective part in the Reformation 
of the Church. With this expectation deeply 
rooted in his soul, and with a Scotsman s prac 
tical instinct moving him to reserve his life 
until he could surrender it for the manifest good 
of the Church of Christ, Knox was not inclined 
to throw himself and his power away on a hope 
less contest in a country not his own. Cyprian 
and Athanasius, in early Christian times, had fled 
for a while from the dioceses to whose ministry 
they had been solemnly consecrated, in order to 
preserve themselves for later conflicts. Knox, 
with no official responsibility to discharge, escaped 

1 Laing, W. ofK., Hi., 120. 

3 Ibid., 120. 

3 Ibid., iii., 236; iv., 219222. 

1554] In England 117 

from what was, after all, a foreign land, in order 
not to* forfeit the opportunity of afterwards aiding 
his fellow-countrymen. 

"My prayer is," he writes, "that I may be restored 
to the battle"; and "my hope is that I shall be so 
encouraged to fight that England and Scotland shall 
both know that I am ready to suffer more than either 
poverty or exile for that doctrine whereof it has 
pleased His merciful Providence to make me a 

1 Laing, iii., 154. 






THE four years and some months which Knox 
spent on the Continent were far from being 
merely an interval of exile and of comparative 
inactivity. They constitute in three respects a 
memorable part of the Reformer s active life. 
During this period he contributed at least one 
notable service to Continental Protestantism ; his 
personal ministry among refugees, and his letters 
as well as other writings, exerted a considerable 
influence over the English, a powerful influence 
over the Scottish, Reformation; and he received 
impressions which were afterwards communicated 
by him to the Reformed Church of Scotland, and 
helped to mould its character and polity. 

I. "Out of sight" with Knox was not "out of 
mind." On his arrival at Dieppe his chief anxiety 
appears to have been to minister in absence to 
those who had been deprived of his presence. An 


[1554-1559] On the Continent 119 

Exposition of Psalm VI., begun before his depart 
ure from England, was now completed and de 
spatched to Mrs. Bowes, for whose melancholic 
temperament and trying circumstances Psalm and 
commentary were deemed to be specially appro 
priate. 1 This work was his fulfilment of domestic 
duty. "A Godly Letter to the faithful Christ 
ians in London, Newcastle, Berwick, and to all 
others within the realm of England that love the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" was simultane 
ously prepared for publication. 2 "From a sore 
troubled heart he recalls past religious privileges 
and national un worthiness, providential warn 
ings and national disregard of them; and he 
exhorts the faithful to avoid the contamination of 
prevalent "idolatry." That was the Reformer s 
fulfilment of pastoral responsibility towards his 
former congregations in England. Scotland was 
not forgotten, although no record of any Scottish 
correspondence at this period remains. Part of 
Knox s time at Dieppe was occupied with the 
preparation of four questions "concerning the 
Kingdoms of Scotland and England" for submis 
sion to the Swiss divines ; and three of those ques 
tions related to his native land. 3 

II. We may assume that on his arrival at 
Dieppe, Knox would not fail to communicate with 
the Scottish colony who resided in the long street, 

1 Laing, W. of K., iii., 113-156. 

2 Ibid., 159215. 

3 1 bid., 219-226; see below, p. 121. 

John Knox [ ISS4 _ 

still called Rue d Ecosse, close to the harbour of 
that town ; and he may have lodged there with 
some former Scottish acquaintance, or friend of an 
acquaintance. The relations, commercial as well 
as political, between Scotland and France were 
close, and he doubtless received probably from 
a fellow-countryman news about his native land, 
of later date than any which he was likely to have 
heard in London. Knox s stay at Dieppe, how 
ever, on this occasion was limited to a few weeks 
at most. The Reformation had not yet secured 
for itself any visible footing in the town; and 
by the ist of March he had set out for the more 
congenial atmosphere, spiritually at least, of 
Switzerland. 1 

His Swiss tour lasted fully two months. There 
was little appreciation in that age of romantic 
scenery ; and the Reformer would have been sur 
prised if any one had asked him about his impres 
sions of Mont Blanc, the Bernese Oberland, or the 
lakes of Lucerne and Geneva. " I have travelled," 
he writes, "through all the congregations of Hel 
vetia, and reasoned with all the pastors and many 
other excellently learned men." 2 At Geneva he 

1 Laing, iii., 159. In 1547 Knox thought of visiting Ger 
many (p. 72). In the interval he had come to know more 
about Lutheranism and Calvinism, and now showed his 
preference for the latter. His attitude towards Lutheranism 
incidentally discloses itself, when he complains that " perse 
cutors have imposed on us the name of Lutherans, schis- 
mastic and heretics." (Laing, W. of K., iv., 310). 

2 Laing, W. of K., iii., 235. 


On the Continent 121 

met with John Calvin, then in the plenitude of his 
power as religious dictator of the city, and spirit 
ual director of a large part of Reformed Chris 
tendom. At Lausanne he probably saw Theodore 
Beza, who wrote to him in after years as "my 
Knox, my very dear brother," and included 
the Reformer among his Portraits of Illustrious 
Men." T At Zurich he became acquainted with 
the leader of German Swiss Protestantism (after 
Zwingli s death in 1531) Henry Bullinger, to 
whom Calvin had commended Knox : and to Bul 
linger the four questions previously referred to 
were immediately addressed. The questions in 
dicated in what direction Knox s thoughts were 
running. The first related to the obedience due to 
sovereigns in their minority, and had a present 
reference to Mary Stuart, as well as a retrospective 
application to Edward VI., and to the validity of 
ecclesiastical arrangements made in his reign. 
The second question referred to the propriety, or 
otherwise, of female sovereignty, and to the right 
of a queen to "transfer" the government to her 
husband; with an obvious bearing on the posi 
tion of Mary Tudor, who was about to marry a 
Romish fanatic, and of Mary Stuart, who was 
affianced to the Dauphin of France. The third 
and fourth questions asked counsel as to the duty. 

1 Beza, Epist., i., 79; Icones, EC. iii. The portrait of Knox 
was sent to Beza by Sir Peter Young in 1579, and is recog 
nised as authentic (Hume Brown, John Knox, ii., 322). 

122 John Knox [i 5S4 - 

or otherwise, of submitting to a sovereign who 
enforced " idolatry," and as to the kindred obliga 
tion, or non-obligation, to aid and abet a religious 
nobility in resisting an idolatrous ruler. The 
latter enquiry was obviously suggested by the 
condition of Scotland at the time: the former 
referred to the position of Protestants both in 
Scotland and in England. Bullinger answered 
cautiously. A lawfully appointed ruler, he holds, 
even if a minor, is to receive "obedience": and 
although the law of God ordains woman to be in 
subjection, "it is a hazardous thing for godly 
persons to oppose political regulations." "We 
must not obey commands opposed to God and 
His lawful worship"; but any "rash attempt" 
at resistance is discouraged; the "only and the 
true deliverer" is God. 1 Knox did not accept 
Bullinger s moderate dicta without qualification. 
Soon after receiving the answers he wrote to his 
"afflicted brethren in England" that all is not 
lawful or just which is statute by civil law, neither 
yet is everything sin which ungodly persons allege 
to be treason. 2 At a later period, Bullinger s 
caution about opposition to female sovereignty 
was signally disregarded. 

By the zoth of May Knox had returned to 
Dieppe. He was anxious to "learn the estate of 
England and Scotland" through letters from his 

1 Laing, iii., 219-226. 

2 Ibid., iii., 236. 

On the Continent 123 

friends. 1 From England he would receive tidings 
of the imprisonment of all the leading Reform 
ers in that country, and also of the approach 
ing marriage of Mary and Philip of Spain the 
prelude to the bloody persecution which was the 
outcome largely of Spanish influence. From 
Scotland he would learn that, the regency had 
passed out of Arran s hands into the stronger grasp 
of Mary of Guise. From the new Regent the Re 
former had little hope of toleration for Protest 
ants ; 2 her policy of temporary conciliation until 
her daughter s marriage with the Dauphin had 
been consummated, was not yet generally known. 
To neither country, therefore, the path appeared 
open for Knox. No record remains of any com 
munications from him to fellow-countrymen at this 
time; but in two "Comfortable Epistles to his 
Afflicted Brethren in England " he exhorts them to 
bear patiently the cross of Christ, and uses strong 
language against the "false" Tunstall and the 
"cruel" Gardiner. 3 In the course of the summer 
he was in "great anguish of heart," owing to tid 
ings that many English Protestants "began to fall 
before that idol" (i. e., the mass). 4 He followed 
up his "Comfortable Epistles" accordingly, with 
a " Faithful Admonition to the professors of God s 
truth in England. 5 In his address he speaks very 
plainly of the Queen as one who "under an English 

1 Laing, iii., 253. 3 Ibid., iii., 231-249. 

2 Ibid., iv., 217. 4 Ibid., iii., 345- 

s Ibid., iii., 263-330. 

124 John Knox [1554- 

name beareth a Spaniard s heart," and of episco 
pal "traitors" who, after solemnly swearing that 
they would never consent to a foreigner reigning 
over England, had "adjudged the imperial crown 
of the same to appertain to a Spaniard." l 

III. In the lingering hope, probably, that some 
brightening of the ecclesiastical horizon might 
take place either in England or in Scotland, Knox 
remained for more than two months in Dieppe. 
Before the end of July, however, when the govern 
ment of Mary Tudor had been firmly established, 
notwithstanding her unpopular marriage, and 
when no prospect of useful service in Scotland 
had as yet been assured, the Reformer repaired to 
what had become the metropolis of Reformed 
Christendom and a chosen resort of persecuted 
refugees Geneva. He was instinctively drawn 
towards the man who was destined to exert a 
potent influence over him, and through him over 
Scotland. Within a few weeks, however, this 
second visit to Geneva was brought to a close by 
an invitation which came to him in September 
from Frankfort. 2 

The English Protestant refugees on the Con 
tinent at this period are believed to have been 
nearly one thousand in number. 3 Of these a 

1 Laing, Hi., 296, 297. 2 Knox, H. of R., i., 231, 232. 

3 See Burnet, H. of R., ii., 502. Article by Froude in 
Ed. Rev., Ixxxv., 398. The chief resorts, besides Geneva 
and Frankfort, were Emden in Friesland, Wesel in Rhine- 
land, Strassburg, Zurich, and Basel. 

1559] On the Continent 125 

considerable proportion settled in Frankfort, on 
account of its tolerant government, its central 
position, and its commercial connexions which 
facilitated communication with home. Twenty- 
one of these exiles, including John Bale, Bishop 
of Ossory, Thomas Cole, Dean of Sarum, and Wil 
liam Whittingham, afterwards Dean of Durham, 
despatched to Geneva a call to Knox to accept 
office as one of two pastors of the refugee congre 
gation. 1 Permission had been obtained from 
the magistrates to hold service in the Church of 
the "White Ladies" (Cistercian nuns), the use of 
which had already been granted to a Walloon 
congregation under the ministry of Valerand Pul- 
lain. The original membership of the English 
community belonged chiefly to the Puritan sec 
tion of Reformers ; and the privilege of worship 
ping in the church was accorded to them on 
condition of their adherence to the Walloon doc 
trine and ritual, which were modelled on those 
of Geneva. It was natural, therefore, for the 
refugees from England to choose as their pastor a 
gifted preacher like Knox, who had already mani 
fested Puritan tendencies. 

Knox was at first unwilling to accept the in 
vitation. He had already recognised in Calvin 
one from whom he could learn much; and, 
in the hope that an opportunity might ere long 
come to him of service at home, he was probably 

Laing, W. of K., iv., 13. 

John Knox [1554- 

reluctant to hamper himself with pastoral re 
sponsibilities. But the masterful will of the 
Genevan dictator operated effectually on the 
Scottish refugee. " At the commandment of that 
notable servant of God, John Calvin," so Knox 
himself relates, he obeyed the call and arrived at 
Frankfort in November, I554. 1 

It was in keeping with Knox s chequered for 
tunes throughout life that he found in his new 
sphere not a haven of rest, but a sea of troubles. 
Frankfort became the scene of a contention which 
presented a forecast in miniature of the conflict 
between Puritanism and Anglicanism. The Eng 
lish congregation, with mingled generosity and 
self-importance, had written to other refugee 
communities, informing them of the privileges 
which they enjoyed, and inviting exiles to join 
them. Negotiations commenced with the Eng 
lish at Zurich; but a service-book which Knox 
and his friends had drawn up for congregational 
use, 2 on the basis of the Liturgies of Calvin and 
of Pullain, stood in the way. These exiles were 
unwilling to set aside the Prayer-book of Edward, 
to which they had been accustomed at home, 
and which their Protestant brethren in England 
continued to use at the peril of their lives. The 
refugees at Strassburg were somewhat more ac 
commodating; but they made it a condition of 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 231, 232. 

2 A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., p. 124. 

the Continent 127 

their adherence that the substance of the English 
Prayer-book should be accepted. Negotiations, 
in consequence, were broken off and Knox offered 
to retire with a view to peace. Meanwhile, how 
ever, Thomas Lever, one of the Zurich community, 
accepted a call to be Knox s colleague, and be 
came the leader of a section of the Frankfort con 
gregation who favoured the introduction of the 
English Liturgy. Both parties agreed to submit 
the question to Calvin, who deprecated contention 
about forms of prayer as "too much out of sea 
son," but gave it as his opinion that the Prayer- 
book contained many " foolish things which might 
yet be tolerated" (tolerabiles ineptias] and "had 
not that purity which was desired." A compro 
mise was adopted in February, 1555, according 
to which the Liturgy as a whole was to be used, 
but the litany, congregational responses, and 
commemoration of saints were to be omitted ; the 
surplice was not to be worn, and sitting was 
to be substituted for kneeling at the Lord s 
Supper. "Thanks were given to God; the Holy 
Communion was, upon this happy agreement, 
ministered." 2 

Hardly, however, had this settlement been at 
tained when the conflict was reopened through the 
arrival in March of a fresh company of exiles 
under the guidance of Richard Cox, Chancellor of 

1 Laing, W . of K., iv., 28, 29. 

2 Ibid., iv., 31. 

128 John Knox [1554- 

Oxford University. The new-comers insisted on 
uttering the responses, as they had been accus 
tomed to do at home ; and one of them suddenly 
entered the pulpit and read the litany. Knox re 
strained himself at the time ; but in his sermon at 
afternoon service on the same day, he reproved 
those by whom the " godly agreement was ungodly 
broken." Owing to the recent accession, the 
majority were now in favour of the English 
Prayer-book. They found their action, however, 
hampered by the intervention of Johann von Glau- 
burg, an influential Calvinistic magistrate. So 
long as peace prevailed he had abstained from in 
terference ; but he now warned the congregation 
that unless the condition on which the use of the 
church had been given was fulfilled, the doors of 
the building would be closed against them. 1 

The discomfiture of the party led by Cox 
tempted them into an unworthy retaliation. 
In his "Faithful Admonition" published in the 
preceding July, the Reformer, with intemperate 
exaggeration, had referred incidentally to the Em 
peror Charles V. as "no less an enemy to Christ 
than ever was Nero." 2 Two members of the 
congregation 3 brought this epistle under the notice 

1 Laing, W. of K., iv., 32-37. 

2 Ibid., iii., 308. 

3 Edward Isaak, afterwards Sheriff of Kent, and Henry 
Parry, Chancellor of Salisbury (Laing, iv., 47). Among 
those by whose counsel they acted, Knox includes "Jewell of 
Oxford," afterwards Bishop of Salisbury. 

i SS9 ] On the Continent 129 

of the Frankfort magistracy. The magistrates 
were in a difficulty. Knox was the leader of the 
party who were loyal to municipal directions; 
his accusers belonged to the section whose ad 
vent had introduced dispeace and disregard of 
civic injunctions. On the other hand, Charles 
was then in Augsburg, within one hundred and 
sixty miles of Frankfort. He might receive an 
account of Knox s description of him; and the 
magistrates shrank from incurring the charge of 
having put the calumniator of the Emperor into 
a position of authority. Knox, accordingly, was 
first interdicted from preaching; and when his 
opponents urged the magistracy to take further 
action, the latter, unwilling to prosecute, yet afraid 
to let Knox alone, requested him to relieve them 
from their difficulty by voluntary departure. 
Whittingham, Cole, Foxe, and others followed 
him in his withdrawal from the city, some going 
to Basel, others to Geneva. 1 

1 Laing, iv., 38-51. The removal of Knox and his friends 
was not followed by "peace and prosperity. " "Cox and his 
partisans were not long of suffering from internal divisions. 
Robert Home, one of the party, in a letter dated February, 
1556, speaks of the Church of our exiles at Frankfort as 
almost ruined." See Etienne Huraut, John Knox et ses re 
lations avec les tglises reformees du continent, p. 49. It is an 
interesting circumstance (kindly communicated to me by 
the present English Chaplain at Frankfort, the Rev. G. W. 
Mackenzie,) that for nine months, in 1881-82, the still exist 
ing White Ladies Church was occupied by the English con 
gregation of the city. 


John Knox [ I554 _ 

In reviewing Knox s procedure at Frankfort, 
one cannot but regret that he allowed himself to 
be persuaded by Calvin to accept a position the 
difficulty of which he must have foreseen. That 
a representative body of English Protestants 
should discard (except through local constraint) 
the reformed ritual, established in England prior 
to Mary Tudor s accession, in favour of any other 
form of worship, was a "divisive course" which 
could not but weaken the Reform cause. On the 
other hand, that Knox, after being called to the 
pastorate of a congregation with whose form of 
worship he was in accord, should be constrained 
to efface his own and others convictions, in order 
to sat sfy the scruples of new-comers, was un 
justifiable and intolerable. His position at Frank 
fort was an impossible one. The comparison 
of Charles V. to Nero was equally unjust and im 
prudent ; but in that age even godly men, in the 
heat of controversy, often wrote of opponents with 
offensive rancour 1 ; and Knox s fault sinks into 
insignificance compared with the spiteful mean 
ness of those who dragged into public notice one 
rash word of a man whom their fellow Re 
formers had invited to be their pastor, and with 
whom, in things essential, they themselves were 
agreed. Both parties were anxious to have Cal 
vin on their side ; their letters to him are extant. 

1 I n I S4, Luther wrote about the Emperor as a "servant 
of the servants of Satan." Luthersbriefe, v., 275. 

On the Continent 

Calvin s sympathies, on the question of ritual, 
were with the Puritans, but he refrained from 
"moving a new contention of a matter which is 
well ended." "One thing," however, he adds 
significantly, "I cannot keep secret, that Master 
Knox was, in my judgment, neither godly nor 
brotherly dealt withal." 

IV. Knox returned to Geneva about the end 
of March, 1555. He arrived at a notable junc 
ture in the history of the town. A few weeks 
before, the closing scene had been enacted in a pro 
longed conflict of Calvin and his Puritan sup 
porters with the "Libertines" who inclined 
towards Antinomianism, and the " Patriots," who 
disliked the influx of foreigners. The two main 
points of controversy had been the authority 
of the Church, apart from the State, to inflict 
excommunication an authority essential, as Cal 
vin insisted, to spiritual independence; and 
the admission of strangers to the full rights of 
citizens a measure advocated by him as desirable 
both for the material prosperity of the city, and 
for its prestige as a chosen refuge of persecuted 
Protestants. Calvin and the Reform party had 
triumphed on both issues; the right of excom 
munication had been conceded to the Church ; and 
early in 1555 fifty foreigners had been admitted 
to citizenship. A few weeks after Knox s arrival 
the leaders of the Patriots and the Libertines 

1 Laing, W. of K., iv., 59. 

132 John Knox [1554- 

attempted to secure by lawless violence what 
they had failed to accomplish by constitutional 
procedure. On the night of the i3th of May, a 
riot was organised. By means of the watchword, 
" Geneva for the Genevese! " it was attempted to 
stir up the baser patriotism of citizens to revolu 
tion and bloodshed. The conspiracy failed; the 
revolutionary forces were mastered ; the intended 
assassination of foreigners was prevented ; four of 
the rebels were beheaded ; other leaders of the in 
surrection escaped execution only through flight; 
and Calvin s ascendency in Geneva was effectu 
ally established. 1 Three years afterwards, when 
Knox was composing his treatise on Predesti 
nation, the events of that memorable night were 
still fresh in his memory. He declares that be 
neath hatred of strangers there lay, as the real 
cause of the conspiracy, hatred of the "reforma 
tion of manners" by men "filthy in life," and he 
describes the remarkable intervention, as he be 
lieved, of Providence, through which a rebel mul 
titude were overcome and dispersed by a little 
band of loyal citizens. 2 

The spectacle of Calvin s triumph could not fail 
to impress itself upon Knox, and fortified him 
afterwards, doubtless, in his own ecclesiastical con 
flicts. Calvin s influence over him in the spheres of 
doctrine and Church government will afterwards 

1 Henry, Life of Calvin, ii., 315-317. 

2 Laing, W. of K., v., 212-214. 

15591 On the Continent 133 

come before us ; what impressed him in the first 
instance was the Swiss Reformer s moral power. 
The Church of Geneva so Knox wrote in 1556 
" is the most perfect school of Christ that ever was 
in the earth since the days of the Apostles. In 
other places I confess Christ to be truly preached ; 
but manners and religion so sincerely reformed I 
have not yet seen in any other place." J As one 
result of the triumph of Calvin s party, the coun 
cil not only admitted the English refugees to 
citizenship, but ordered accommodation to be pro 
vided for their common worship. Knox s posi 
tion as ex-pastor of the exiles at Frankfort led 
to his selection as minister of the Geneva congrega 
tion, a portion of which had been under his pastor 
ate in the former town. 2 Before many weeks had 
elapsed, however, he resolved somewhat suddenly 
to return, at least for a time, to Scotland. We 
have Knox s own testimony that this journey 
was " most contrarious to my own judgment," and 
that his future mother-in-law was the instrument 
to "draw me from the den of my own ease" at 
Geneva. 3 Scotland was not yet ripe, he believed 

1 Letter to Mrs. Locke, in Laing, iv., 240. 

3 In June, 1555, Calvin applied to the Council of Geneva, 
on behalf of the English congregation, for the use of a church. 
The church was not officially granted till five months later; 
but Knox probably began about the time of Calvin s ap 
plication to minister to a congregation already in course of 
formation, although he was not formally appointed as pastor 
until November, during his visit to Scotland (Ibid., 51). 

3 Letter to Mrs. Bowes, in Ibid., 2 if. 

134 John Knox [1554- 

for an aggressive Reformation movement. Mrs. 
Bowes, apart from any personal reason for desir 
ing Knox s return, had fuller means of knowing 
the more hopeful ecclesiastical condition of the 

V. Knox s visit to Scotland in 1555-56 will be 
described in the following chapter. He left Gen 
eva in the end of August, and paid a visit to Ber 
wick on his way to Edinburgh. 1 His marriage to 
Marjorie Bowes appears to have taken place on 
this occasion, or during his residence in Scotland. 
In the summer of 1556 he received a sum 
mons, which he obeyed, from his congregation 
at Geneva; and on the eve of his departure in 
July, he sent on before him, to Dieppe, not 
only his wife but his mother-in-law. 2 Mrs. 
Bowes s position in Berwick, as a zealous Pro 
testant amid Catholic environment, had appar 
ently become more difficult than ever to maintain. 
The party, accompanied by a pupil called Patrick 
and a man-servant, James, arrived in Geneva 
early in September. 3 The congregation of Eng 
lish exiles there had never ceased to regard Knox 
as their minister. In the preceding November, 
indeed, Christopher Goodman and Anthony Gilby 4 

1 Letter to Mrs. Bowes, in Laing, iv., 217. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 253. 

3 Lime des Anglois, p. 3 (A. F. Mitchell s ed.). 

4 Goodman and Gilby had both been adherents of Knox at 
Frankfort. Goodman, a native of Chester, followed Knox to 
Scotland in 1559, became minister of St. Andrews at the 

1559] On the Continent 135 

had been elected to " preach the Word of God and 
minister the Sacraments"; but Gilby was ex 
pressly appointed only "to supply the room till 
Knox returned"; and in December, 1556, the 
latter was reappointed, with Goodman as col 
league, to the pastorate. 1 

During Knox s absence the English exiles had 
been accommodated in the little Church of Notre 
Dame la Neuve, situated close to the Cathedral of 
S. Pierre, and used by Calvin as a lecture hall. 2 
The Lime des Anglois enumerates 212 persons who 
composed the regular membership of this Anglo- 
Genevan congregation. Among the " Seniors" or 
Elders (for the Genevan church polity had been 
adopted) were Miles Coverdale, the translator of 
the Bible, whose version of the Psalms is still used 
in the Church of England; Thomas Sampson, 
formerly Dean of Chichester who afterwards de 
clined the Bishopric of Norwich on account of his 
Puritan convictions ; William Whittingham, the 
husband of Calvin s sister-in-law, and Knox s 
successor in the Geneva pastorate ; John Bodley 
of Exeter, and his son Thomas, the founder of 
the Bodleian Library; Thomas Bentham, a 
distinguished Hebraist, afterwards Bishop of 

Reformation, and returned to England in 1565. Gilby be 
longed to Lincolnshire. After the accession of Elizabeth, 
he became Vicar of Ashby de la Zouch. 

1 Livre des Anglois, 49; Laing, W. of K., iv., 51. 

3 Hence its more usual designation L Auditoire. The 
building, with some structural alterations, still exists. 

i3 6 John Knox [i SS4 - 

Lichfield ; and James Pilkington, one of the Frank 
fort refugees, who became Bishop of Durham. The 
roll of members included ten persons in Orders be 
sides the pastors ; ten students preparing for the 
holy ministry; and numerous representatives of 
the gentry and mercantile class. 1 Among the women 
of the congregation one merits special notice 
Mrs. Anne Locke, who arrived in Geneva with her 
son and daughter in May, 1557. Her husband 
was a London merchant, with whom Knox had 
become acquainted in England. In a letter written 
from Geneva in 1556 to Mrs. Locke and another 
lady, the Reformer gratefully recalls the "special 
care of the two women over him, comparing it to 
that of mother over child. 2 His strong views re 
garding the unfitness of women to "bear rule" 
were united with a full appreciation of womanly 
ministry; and Mrs. Locke appears to have been 
particularly helpful through her intelligent sym 
pathy with his religious work and aspirations. 
In return he aided her with counsel in religious 
matters; and four days after her settlement in 
Geneva she needed his comfort on the sudden 
death of her daughter. 3 The form of service used 

1 A. F. Mitchell s ed. of the Livre des Anglois, 6-n. 

2 Laing, W. of K., iv., 220. 

3 Livre des Anglois, p. 15. Knox s extant letters to Mrs. 
Locke extend from 1556 to 1562. He kept her informed of 
his proceedings, sent to her more than one of his writings, 
confided to her his hopes and fears, and asked repeatedly to 
be remembered in her prayers. " The correspondence [so an 

i ss9] On the Continent 137 

by the congregation the Book of Geneva was 
substantially that which had been originally in 
use at Frankfort prior to the "troubles"; and it 
was "the Service-book which, with some modifica 
tion, became in 1560 the Book of Common Order 
in the Scottish Church. 

Knox s life at Geneva was no idle one, although 
he called it, by comparison with life in his 
native land, a "den of ease." Three months after 
his return from Scotland, he excuses himself 
for "bare and brief letters" on the ground of 
family cares and congregational work. The pre 
sence in his household of a mother-in-law who 
habitually required his spiritual counsel would not 

eminent author declares] testifies to a good, sound, down 
right friendship between the two " ; and in one of Kncx s 
letters occurs what the same writer calls the "truest touch 
of personal humility in all Knox s extant writings." Re 
ferring to his own constancy in friendship, although "of 
nature churlish," he modestly accounts thus for such con 
stancy: "I have rather need of all than any have need of 
me" (R. L. Stevenson, Men and Books, 272, 273; Laing, W. 
of K., vi., n). It must be admitted, however, in connec 
tion with Mrs. Locke s coming to Geneva, that Knox was 
somewhat selfishly inconsiderate of her husband s wishes and 
comfort. After hearing of Mrs. Locke s earnest desire to see 
himself, and expressing the "thirst and languor" which he 
had for her presence and sympathy, he writes to her: "Were 
it not that partly ye are impeded by empire of your head 
\i. e., her husband] ... in my heart I would have 
wished, yea and cannot cease to wish, that it would please 
God to guide and conduct yourself to this place " (Laing, 
W. of K., iv., 238, 240). This was a virtual encouragement 
to Mrs. Locke to extort from her husband permission to go 
to Geneva. 

138 John Knox [i 554 - 

lighten his burden; and there is a mixture of 
pathos and comedy in his reference to "daily 
troubles occurring in my domestic charge, where 
with before I have not been accustomed and 
therefore are they the more fearful." The stan 
dard of clerical public duty in Geneva was some 
what exacting. Calvin himself, besides his 
academic work preached thrice a week, and on a 
fourth day expounded Scripture. 2 The appetite 
for services (and these not remarkable for brev 
ity), among a congregation of foreigners, many 
of whom were without any stated occupation, 
was not likely to be less keen than that of an as 
sembly of busy Genevese. Knox accordingly, we 
may presume, followed Calvin s example ; and to 
minister acceptably to a flock which included a 
score of divines and divinity students, involved 
exposure to abundant criticism, and demanded no 
mere superficial preparation. During the two and 
a half years, moreover, of Knox s Genevan minis 
try he was constantly engaged in literary work. 
Not to speak of numerous private letters which, 
although described by himself as "bare and 
brief," occasionally reached the dimensions of a 
modern sermon^ the Reformer s literary publica- 

T Laing, W. of K., iv., 239. 

2 Schaff, Swiss Reformation, 445 ; Beza, Opera, xxi., 132. 

3 One letter is a long reply to " Sisters in Edinburgh " who 
enquired about " women s apparel." Knox pleads that the 
subject is " difficill and dangerous"; declares that there is 
"no uncleanness" in "silks, velvet, gold"; and that the 

i 5 59] On the Continent 139 

tions at Geneva included his First Blast against 
the Monstrous Regiment [i. e., Rule] of Women, 1 the 
amplification of a letter addressed by him to the 
Regent Mary of Scotland in 1556 ; an Appellation 
from a sentence pronounced against him in his 
absence by the Scottish hierarchy in the same 

evil lies in the " abuse of the same to ostentation" and 
"affectation of beauty other than nature has given." He 
commits himself, however, to the condemnation of hair-dye, 
farthingales, and wearing the " claithing of men." (Laing, 
W. of K., iv., 225-236). 

1 "To promote a woman to bear rule . . . above any 
realm, is repugnant to nature, contumely to God, a thing 
most contrarious to His revealed will and approved ordi 
nance; and finally it is the subversion of good order, of all 
equity and justice" (Laing, W. of K., iv., 373). He founds 
his main argument on the saying of St. Paul: "I suffer not a 
woman ... to usurp authority over the man," and on 
the sentence pronounced upon woman after the fall, "Thy 
will shall be subject unto thy husband"; since "she that is 
subject to one may not rule many"; but he ignores the 
modification of the law of subjection in such particular cases 
as those of Deborah and Huldah; and he supports his argu 
ment by unfair references to the "inordinate lust," "foolish 
fondness and cowardice," murderous "cruelty and phrenzy" 
of individual women. Knox was supported in his contention 
by Goodman and Whittingham; but Foxe wrote to him 
what Knox calls a" loving and friendly letter" of expostula 
tion. Beza declares that "as soon as we learned the 
contents" of the Blast, the "sale was forbidden"; Morel 
denounced it to Calvin as " pessimum et pestilentissimum " ; 
and Calvin himself censured Knox s "thoughtless arro 
gance." (Laing, iv., 356-8; v., 5; Calv. Opera, xvii., 541). 
I n J S59. after Elizabeth s accession, John Aylmer, an Eng 
lish exile during the time of persecution, replied to the Blast 
in a work entitled An Harbor owe for Faithful and Trewe 
Subjects. He recognises Knox s "honesty and godliness," 

140 John Knox [1554- 

year; a Letter to the Commonalty of Scotland, in 
1558 J ; and two treatises of a hortatory character 
in fulfilment of the obligations under which he 
lay to the people of England, and especially to 
"the inhabitants of Newcastle and Berwick." 2 
The long and elaborate treatise on Predestination 
was published in 1 560, when Knox had finally re 
turned to his native land ; but the composition of 
the work belongs to the period of his Geneva 
pastorate, when he was holding constant inter 
course with Calvin. 3 Notwithstanding engrossing 
labours, and occasional worries, this period was 
probably the happiest of the Reformer s mature 
life. That he looked back upon it with great 
pleasure was shown incidentally long afterwards 
by a private letter written in 1568, when his work 
in Scotland appeared to have been completed. 
He writes with kindliest memory of that "little 
flock" at Geneva, "among whom I lived with 
quietness of conscience and contentment of heart ; 

but blames him for lack of "moderation" and publication 
of the work "out of season." Knox himself in his letter to 
Foxe admits his "rude vehemency"; although he never dis 
avowed his arguments (Laing, iv., 351 ; v., 5). A year after 
wards we find him admitting that his Blast hath "blown 
from me all my friends in England" (ibid., vi., 14); and 
although in the interval he published the summary of a pro 
posed Second Blast (ibid., iv., 539), the intention, fortu 
nately, was never carried out. 

1 The significance of these works is indicated in Chap. VII. 

- Laing, W. of K., v., 469-522. 

3 Ibid., v., 9-468. See Note at the end of this Chapter. 

1559] On the Continent I4 1 

among whom I would be content to end my days, 
if so it might stand with God s good pleasure." l 
In Geneva Knox s two sons, Nathanael and 
Eleazer, were born: the former was baptised in 
May, 1557, with Whittingham as "god-father"; 
the latter in November, 1558, with Coverdale 
as "witness." 2 Of Mrs. Knox s life in Geneva, 
no record remains, but the impression she left 
upon those with whom she came in contact must 
have been agreeable; for Calvin describes her 
as suavissima and a wife whose like is not 
found everywhere. 3 For Knox himself the social 
and religious fellowship of Geneva and its vicinity 
could not fail to be quickening. In addition to 
Calvin, there were Theodore Beza, Professor of 
Greek in the adjacent town of Lausanne and 
afterwards Calvin s successor in the ministry; 
Peter Viret, pastor and teacher for twenty-two 
years in that town, which he left for Geneva in 
the spring of 1559; Farel, the founder of the 
Genevan Reformed Church, and at that time 
chief pastor of Neuchatel; Vico of Naples, who 
had organised an Italian congregation at Geneva 
a few years before Knox s arrival, and the two 
brothers Colladon Nicholas, who succeeded Cal 
vin as Professor of Theology, and Germain, who 
co-operated with Calvin in drawing up a code of 

1 Letter to John Wood (Laing, W . of K., vi., 559). 

3 Livre des Anglois, p. 73. 

3 Letters of Calvin in Laing, vi.,i24, 125. 

142 John Knox [i S54 - 

laws for Geneva. 1 Along with these were the Eng 
lish clergy already enumerated, most of whom 
afterwards exerted a notable influence in the 
Church of their own land. From these divines 
came forth the famous Geneva translation of 
the Bible and an English metrical Psalter. The 
former work was mainly composed by Whitting- 
ham; but others, including, doubtless, Knox, 
assisted in the revision. 2 It became at once the 
popular version in Britain, and retained its hold 
for many years after the "authorised" version 
was issued in 1611. The metrical Psalter formed 
part of the Book of Geneva, and consisted of fifty- 
one Psalms in metre. It was the nucleus of the 
original Psalter of the Reformed Scottish Church. 3 
To be pastor of such a congregation in such a 
city was for Knox both a high privilege and a 
source of power. Through intercourse with men 
like Calvin, Beza, and Vico, Coverdale, Sampson, 
and Whittingham, he was prepared for the great 

1 Stebbing, Life of Calvin, i., 109; ii., 84, 129, 140; Schaff, 
Swiss Reformation, pp. 248, 446, 464, 465, 518, 851-854. 

2 G. Milligan, English Bible, pp. 79-82; A. F. Mitchell, 
Scott. Ref., p. 91. Two hundred editions of the Geneva Bible 
were published. 

3 Of the fifty-one Psalms, forty-four were adopted, after 
revision, from an earlier work of Sternhold and Hopkins ; the 
remaining seven were supplied by Whittingham. The com 
pletion of the Scottish Psalter, in 1564, was due, chiefly, to 
the labours of Robert Pont and John Craig, who contributed 
versions of their own composition (J. C. Hadden, in Scottish 
Review for January, 1891, pp. 5-10). 

On the Continent H3 

work that lay before him in Scotland. On the 
other hand, his own strong convictions, religious 
and political, along with his habit of fearless ex 
pression, could not be without influence even on 
Swiss divines, and helped to fortify his fellow- 
refugees in attachment to the principles of Puri 
tanism and of constitutional government. 

VI. The ministry of Knox at Geneva was in 
terrupted a second time by an invitation which 
reached him in May, 1557, from four Protestant 
Scottish nobles Lords Lome, Glencairn, Erskine, 
and James Stewart. The letter containing this 
invitation refers to an improvement in the re 
ligious condition of the country from the Pro 
testant standpoint. On the one hand, there was 
now an absence of persecution, and those " enemies 
to Christ s evangel," the friars, were "in less esti 
mation." On the other hand, there was a readi 
ness not only to hear Reformed doctrine, but to 
"jeopard life and goods in the forward setting of 
the glory of God." A strong desire, accordingly, 
prevailed so the letter indicated that the Re 
former would return " to Scotland, to advance the 
cause by his presence." l 

It cannot be said that Knox hastened to obey 
this summons. His religious patriotism was not 
cooled; but conflicting responsibilities, domestic 
and pastoral, had to be weighed. He took coun 
sel, therefore, with other ministers of the city, 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 267, 268. 

H4 John Knox [1554- 

especially with Calvin. When these, however, ad 
vised, with one consent, that he could not refuse 
the vocation "unless he would declare himself 
rebellious unto his God and unmerciful to his 
country," he prepared for his departure in Sep 
tember of the same year. 1 There is no reason to 
doubt his anxiety to fulfil this vocation when 
accepted, or the reality of his disappointment 
when, on his arrival at Dieppe in October, he 
found two discouraging letters from Scotland 
awaiting him. These letters indicated that the 
invitation received in May had been sent without 
the concurrence of some of the Protestant leaders ; 
that fresh consultations were about to take place ; 
and that it would be better for Knox to remain 
meanwhile where he was. 2 His reply to these 
communications will come before us in a subse 
quent chapter. Unwilling to return to Geneva 
so long as it was possible that he might be re 
quired in Scotland, Knox remained at Dieppe as 
headquarters until the spring of 1558. In the 
course of the winter he paid a visit to Lyons, 
and another to Rochelle 3 ; in both cases, doubt 
less, with a view to the propagation of Pro 
testant truth; and it is interesting co find him, 
in a sermon delivered in the latter town, express 
ing the confident hope that within two or three 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 268-270. 

3 Ibid., i., 269. 

3 Laing, W. of K., iv., 260. 

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t W 4 R C (^ ^ L *i C L 

Letter from Knox to Queen Elizabeth, 

144 C I 554~ 

6th Aug., 1561. 
especially with Calvin. W>-.*m these, however, ad- 

vjspd with ODt i \ " " 
Grace from God the father throught our Lord Jesus, with perpetuall 

encrease of his holie Spiritt. 

rebellious unto hi.s (ix v---.-- unmerciful to his 

May it please your Majestic, that it is heir certainlie spoken that the 
Ouen of Scotland travaleht earnestlie to have a treatiss intitilled the " First 
Blast of the Trompett," confuted by the censure of the learned in diverse 
realmes, and farther that she labouoreht to inflambe the hartes of princes 
against the writer. And becaus that it may appear that your Majestic 
hath interest, that she myndeht to travail with your Grace, your Grace s 
counsall and learned men for judgement against such a commen ennemey 
to Women and to thare Regiment. It war but foolishnes to me to pre 
scribe unto your Majestie what is to be doune in any thing; but especiallie 
in such thingis as men supposs do tuech myself. But of one thing I think 
myself assured, and thairfor I dar not conceall it. To witt, that neyther 
doht our Soverane so greatlie fear her owen estate by reasson of that book, 
neyther yit doht she so unfeanedlie favour the tranquillitie of your Ma- 
jestie s reing and realme, that she wold tack so great and earnest panes; 
onles that her crafty counsall in so doing shot att a farther marck. Tuo 
years ago, I wrote unto your Majestie my full declaration tueching that 
work: experience since hath schawen that I am not desirus of innovations, 
so that Christ Jesus be not in his membres openlie troden under the feitt 
of the ungodlie. With farther purgation I will not truble your Majestie 
for the present, beseching the Eternall so to assist your Highnes in all 
effares that in his sight ye may be found acceptable, your regiment profit 
able to the commenwealht, and your factes to be such that justlie thei 
may be prased of all godlie unto the cuming of our Lord Jesus, to whose 
myghtty protection I unfeanedlie committ your Majestie. 

From Edinburgh, the 6 of August 1561. 

Your Majestie s servand to command in godlines, 


To the myghry and excellent Princess Elizabeht, the Quenes Majestie of 
England, be these delivered. 

*/. - ~ f ~^ /.: ,/i i, f ^ Y /L /^r JL.*3j(+, 

j"c--r~) , s\_^ /^x - -v,T 7.A 9 ; -s/ 


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Facsimile (on reduced scale) of Knox s letter to Queen Eli/.abeth, 
6th Aug., 1561. (From the original in the State Papers Office.) 



Reverse side of Knox s letter to Queen Elizabeth. 

1559] On the Continent 145 

years he would be preaching the Gospel publicly 
in the Church of St. Giles, Edinburgh. 1 

In the interval between the first and the second 
visit of Knox to Dieppe, a Reformed congrega 
tion had been secretly formed in the town through 
the influence of a Genevan travelling merchant, 
Jean Venable: and while Knox was still there 
Andr6 de Sequeran, a gentleman of Provence 
recommended by Calvin, acted as pastor, preach 
ing at night, sometimes in houses, sometimes in 
cellars. 2 We may be sure that Knox, who spoke 
French fluently, assisted in this propagation of the 
Reformed faith; but his time appears to have 
been pretty fully occupied with literary work. 
Three epistles of considerable length, addressed 
respectively to "the Nobility in Scotland" to his 
"Brethren in Scotland," and to "the Lords and 
others professing the Truth," are dated from 
Dieppe, and belong to this portion of the Reform 
er s career 3 ; and his prolific pen was occupied 
with another subject. A few weeks before his 
arrival in Dieppe, a hundred and twenty Pro 
testants had been consigned to dungeons in Paris ; 
and several of these had been executed for meet 
ing privately to celebrate the Lord s Supper ac 
cording to a Reformed ritual. The pagan charges 
of immorality against the early Christians, in 

1 Row, Historie of the Kirk, p. 8. 

2 S. Hardy, Eglise Protestante de Dieppe, pp. 36, 37. (Paris 

3 Laing, W . of K., iv., 261, 275, 286; Knox, H. of R., i., 269. 

146 John Knox [1554- 

connexion with their secret assemblies, had been 
reproduced, and applied to these Protestants by 
malignant Catholics. In the name of the victims 
an authoritative "Apology" was issued which 
Knox translated into English. In a preface of his 
own he attributes the vile calumnies to the Cardi 
nal of Lorraine, the uncle of Mary Stuart. 1 

VII. The English congregation at Geneva had 
meanwhile become aware of Knox s position re 
garding Scotland ; at their annual election on 1 6th 
December, he had again been chosen as one of 
the pastors; and at some date prior to the i6th 
March he was once more in Geneva. There he 
remained till about the end of January, 1559. 
Two months before, he had received a fresh 
invitation to return to Scotland from the leaders 
of the Reform movement, who simultaneously 
wrote to Calvin "craving that he would com 
mand" Knox to revisit his native land. 2 If 
previous experience might have prevented the Re 
former from responding to the summons without 
further enquiry, his hesitation was removed by 
the news of Mary Tudor s death on the iyth 
November, 1558. The majority of the Anglo- 
Genevan congregation might be expected to return 
to England ; and Knox s pastoral work would be 
diminished. Providence seemed to point the way 
back to Scotland. On the occasion of his final 

1 Laing, W. of K., iv., 289-347. 

2 Knox, H. of R.,l, 274. 

On the Continent 147 

departure from Geneva, he was honoured with the 
freedom of the city. 

While Knox, at this juncture, was interested 
chiefly in his own country, he was not unmind 
ful of England. Soon after the accession of 
Elizabeth, he had addressed a Brief Exhortation 
to the nation among whom he had lived and 
laboured for five years, urging them to the speedy 
embracing of Christ s Gospel, heretofore "sup 
pressed and banished." T 

It was the Reformer s strong desire to visit his 
English friends before proceeding to Scotland. He 
made several attempts to procure permission to 
pass through England on the way home; and he 
remained at Dieppe (where he arrived on the ipth 
of February) for over two months, partly, indeed, 
to receive the latest information as to the ecclesi 
astical situation in Scotland, but chiefly in the 
hope of obtaining a safe-conduct from the Eng 
lish Government. 2 The "Monstrous Regiment 
of Women" barred the way. In vain Knox 
assured the Queen of England, through her minis 
ter, Cecil, that he was no "enemy to the person 
nor yet to the regiment of her whom God hath 
now promoted"; and the work in question, al 
though the main arguments applied to all female 
government, had been obviously suggested by the 
persecuting policy of Mary Tudor. Elizabeth 

1 Laing, W. of K., v., 501. 

2 Ibid., vi., 20. 

John Knox [1554- 

refused to admit within her realm, even as a so- 
journer, a man whose avowed political sentiments 
impugned her own right to be on the throne at 
all. If Cecil showed to her Majesty Knox s let 
ter of explanation, it is not likely that she would 
be conciliated either by the Reformer s reference 
to her accession as a "miraculous work of God s 
comforting His afflicted by an infirm vessel," or 
through his counsel that "only humility and de 
jection of herself before God shall be the firmity 
and stability of her throne." z 

VIII. The ten weeks which Knox spent on 
this occasion at Dieppe were very far from being 
lost time. This last visit of the Reformer to 
the town constitutes a noteworthy chapter in the 
history of French Protestantism. During the 
interval between his departure from Dieppe in 
March, 1558, and his return in February, 1559, 
the little Reformed congregation had been min 
istered to by various preachers ; but the services 
had been held, as formerly, only at night. Knox 
put an end to what he regarded as censurable 
circumspection. 2 "Under his brief ministry "- 
so it is testified in a history written within a 
century of Knox s time "the number of the 
faithful so increased that they dared to have 
preaching in broad daylight"; and a list of 
prominent converts is given, including the Lieu- 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 19. 

2 Demarquets, M6moires Chronologiques, p. 112. 

On the Continent 149 

tenant-Governor of Picardy and a descendant of 
Charles Martel, who "through Knox s instruction 
and influence abjured the errors of the Church of 
Rome and made profession of the verity of the 
Gospel." T Disinterested testimony, also, is borne 
to the Scottish Reformer s power by a priest 
of Dieppe who, in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, on the authority of old manuscripts, 
describes Knox as a "learned man," "vehe 
mently zealous, " and "so eloquent that he con 
trolled the minds of men according to his will." 3 
Shortly before his departure a letter was addressed 
to Calvin by one of the " faithful," in the name of 
the Protestant congregation at Dieppe, requesting 
a minister to be sent to them: and this request 
is expressly based on the signal success of " Master 
John Knox, a singular instrument of the Holy 
Spirit, who, according to the graces bountifully 
poured out upon him by the Lord, has faithfully 
promoted, by his preaching, the glory of Christ, 
during the short time that it has been in his power 
to have fellowship with us." 3 The success of 

1 Histoire de la Reformation a Dieppe par Guillaume et Jean 
Daval (edited by Emile Lesens), i., 10, n. 

3 Guibert, Memoires pour servir a I histoire de la Ville de 
Dieppe, p. 105. 

3 Calvin, Opera, xvii., 497; Duval, i., 227. According to 
an old tradition, Knox preached in the Chapelle de la Mala- 
drerie (of which some very scanty ruins remain) in the im 
mediate vicinity of the town. See L abbe Cochet, Re pert, 
archeol. du Dep. de la Seine inf., col. 19 (1871). It is not 
probable, however, that at so early a stage any ecclesiastical 

150 John Knox [1554- 

Knox s ministry at Dieppe was exhibited in 
changed lives as well as in Reformed belief. 

" At this time God manifested wonderfully the great 
power of the Word ; for those who formerly were in 
corrigibly fierce, and addicted to the indulgence of 
their appetites, particularly the sailors, became tract 
able and orderly, abstaining from blasphemy, abhor 
ring houses of ill-fame and the customs of the tavern 
a result which could not have been previously 
secured, whatever prohibition might have been issued 
by the King, with severe pains and penalties." l 

The prosperity of the Protestant community 
at Dieppe continued after Knox s departure. At 
a celebration of the Holy Communion, a month 
after the Reformer had left the town, between 
six and eight hundred persons took part, including 
the Governor of the Castle and some of the 
leading inhabitants. Ere long two congregations 
were established; one of these being in the Rue 
d Ecosse. Knox kept up, through correspond 
ence, his connection with the church which, at a 
critical time, had been so deeply indebted to 

building would be at the disposal of Protestants, and it is 
more likely (as suggested to the writer by M. Hardy, the 
Pastor of the Reformed Church at Dieppe, that Knox con 
ducted service in the house of a wealthy Protestant lady, 
called He"lene Bouchard, in whose dwelling Jean Venable 
held his meetings in 1557 (Vitet, Hist, des anc. villes de Fr. 
i., 97, 98) (1833). The earliest historical record of any 
church building occupied by the Reformed community re 
lates to the year 1608. 
1 Duval, i., 13. 

On the Continent 151 

his active zeal: and he wrote several "comfort 
able" letters to the Protestant membership en 
couraging them to remain steadfast in the faith. 
Between 1625 and 1630 the number of adherents 
exceeded five thousand. 1 

During his entire public life Knox was resolutely 
opposed to a Scoto-French Alliance, which at that 
epoch involved the peril, if not the ruin, of the 
Scottish Reformation. But his brief yet effect 
ive ministry at Dieppe proves that the hardships 
which he had suffered from France detracted in 
no degree from his desire to devote freely to the 
genuine service of Frenchmen his time, gifts, and 


Knox on Predestination 

Predestination was a burning question in Geneva 
during Knox s ministry there. Shortly before his 
settlement in the city, Castellio, Professor of Greek 
in Basel University, had published a trenchant 
criticism of Calvin s utterances on the subject; and 
Calvin, as well as Beza, had replied at some length. 
Knox, as we have seen, had benefited in earlier life 
by the study of Augustine, whose predestinarian 
views he may have imbibed, even before he came 
under Calvin s influence. In 1557 he had already be 
gun the preparation of a treatise on a topic which must 
have been much discussed at Geneva. 2 Meanwhile, 

1 Huraut, John Knox, 69 ; Guibert, Mcmoires, I. c. 
3 Laing, W. of K., iv., 271. 

i5 2 John Knox [ I554 - 

an able anonymous work by an Anabaptist l against 
Calvinistic doctrine had been widely circulated in 
England; and the congregation of English exiles 
at Geneva received from their brethren at home a 
request for a reply to the work. Knox was selected 
for this task; and accordingly his treatise took the 
form of "An Answer to a great number of blas 
phemous cavillations written by an Anabaptist and 
adversary to God s eternal predestination." 2 

"How profound Knox was in Divinity," writes 
Calderwood, "that work of his on predestination 
may give evidence." 3 If the Reformer cannot be 
said to have added much to what "that singular 
instrument of Christ Jesus, John Calvin," 4 had 
already written, he shows much acuteness and ex- 
pertness both in reasoning and in the application of 
Scripture. He rejects the doctrine of opponents, 
that "the grace of God s election is common to all, 
but that one receiveth it and another receiveth it 
not." He is not afraid to state what Calvin 
himself called the decretum horribile of reprobation 
in terms only a little less stern than Calvin himself. 
"God in His eternal and immutable counsels hath 
once decreed whom He would take to salvation and 
whom He would leave in perdition. Those whom He 

1 Probably Robert Cooke, who held some post about the 
English Court under Elizabeth (Laing, W. of K., v., 16). 

3 The work must have been completed before his de 
parture, and left in the hands of Whittingham who superin 
tended the "imprinting." It extends to 450 pages in 
ibid., v. 

3 H. of the K., viii., 29. 

4 So Knox calls him in the treatise (Laing, v., 160). 

1559] On the Continent 153 

elected to salvation, He receiveth of free mercy with 
out all respect had to their own merits and dignity ; 
and them in time He calleth of purpose, who, as His 
sheep, hear His voice. But to those whom He hath 
decreed to leave in perdition, is so shut up the entry 
of life, that either they are left continually corrupted 
in their blindness, or else, if grace be offered, by them 
it is oppugned and obstinately resisted." x 

Like Calvin, Knox argues for this twofold predes 
tination not only from Scripture (particularly from 
Romans ix.), but from the analogies of nature, which 
constantly elects and reprobates, and from the spirit 
ual "necessity" of predestinarian doctrine, "to beat 
down all pride," that "man may be brought to true 
humility," and be "moved to praise God for His free 
grace received." 2 With Calvin, also, Knox repudiates, 
on the one hand, the notion that "God without just 
causes doth make any man to destruction," (these 
just causes, however, being admitted to be "incom 
prehensible to man" 3 ;) while, on the other hand, he 
magnifies the divine sovereignty. The Calvinistic 
obscuration of God s fatherly relation to all man 
kind, is reproduced in such words as these: "You 
make the love of God common to all men ; and that 
do we constantly deny, and say that before all 
beginning God hath loved His elect." * He em 
phasises the divine prescience: "all things have 
ever been before His eyes; so that to His eternal 
knowledge nothing is by past, nothing to come; all 

1 Laing, v. , 42. 

2 Ibid., v., 27, 76. 

3 Ibid., v., 1 60. 

4 Ibid., v., 61. 

154 John Knox |i 554 - 

things are present" T ; but he fails, like his Genevan 
master, to realise that the truth, "God willeth all 
men to be saved," is no less clearly revealed; and that 
we have no more right to build upon the divine fore 
knowledge an eternal purpose of reprobation, than 
to build upon God s desire for universal human 
salvation the assurance that under an omnipotent 
government all will actually be saved. 

Three things are noteworthy about Knox s treatise: 
i. His scrupulous care to state his adversary s argu 
ments at full length and in his (the adversary s) own 
words. 2. Amid censurable denunciations of his 
opponent s "profane subtlety," "impudent blasphe 
my," and "malicious lies," he displays a touching 
anxiety for his illumination. "God open your eyes 
that ye may see the light!" he exclaims; and 
solemnly assures him, "I take to record the Lord 
Jesus that I would bestow my own life, to join you 
fully to Jesus Christ." 2 3. When Knox leaves the 
arena of theological controversy for the yet more 
responsible work of drawing up a Confession of 
Faith for the Church, predestination doctrine recedes 
into the background ; for in the Confession drawn up 
in 1560, at the very time when his treatise was 
being published at Geneva, the word " predestina 
tion " never occurs; and the statement about 
election is so brief and general that Arminians, 
afterwards, could have cordially accepted it. "The 
same eternal God and Father, who of mere mercy 
elected us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the 
world was laid, appointed him to be our Head, our 

1 Laing, v., 35. 

2 Ibid., v., 247. 

On the Continent 155 

Brother, our Pastor and great Bishop of our souls 
. . . giving power to so many as believe in Him 
to be the sons of God." T Calvin himself, in one of 
his commentaries, when the influence of Holy Writ is 
greater than that of reason upon his mind, confesses 
that "predestination is a labyrinth from which the 
mind of man can by no means extricate itself." 2 In 
their less argumentative moods both he and Knox 
might have adopted Dante s memorable words: 

"O how far removed 
Predestination! is thy root from such 
As see not the First Cause entire ; and ye, 
O mortal men, be wary how ye judge." 3 

1 Chap, viii., in Laing, W. of K., ii., 100. It is possible, of 
course, that the article on Election may have been modified 
in revision by Knox s five colleagues to whom the first draft 
(composed by him) was submitted (Ibid., vi., 120, 121); but 
in any case Knox endorsed the moderate statement above 

a Calvin on Rom. ix., 14. 

3 Par ad., xx., 130 //. (Gary s Translation). 


IN the first year of Knox s residence on the 
Continent, the Scottish Reformation received 
a stimulus from two events which might have ap 
peared likely to operate in a contrary direction. 

I. One of these events was the appointment 
in 1554 of the Queen Dowager, Mary of Guise, 
to the regency. Her brothers, the Cardinal of 
Lorraine and the Duke of Guise, were leading 
opponents of Protestantism in France, and Mary 
herself was a thorough Romanist. Fortunately 
for Scotland and for the Reformation, she was 
also a keen politician and an ambitious mother. 
For years she had aimed at supplanting the Earl 
of Arran, who had held the regency since her hus 
band s death. To accomplish this purpose she 
privately befriended prominent Protestants, and 
thus established a personal influence among the 
Scottish aristocracy. When at length, in April, 
1554, she had attained her end, after Arran s 
abdication, she continued by a tolerant ecclesias- 


1555-1556] First Return to Scotland 157 

tical attitude to ingratiate herself with influential 
Reformers, in order to disarm opposition to 
another cardinal aim of her life the mar 
riage of her daughter, Mary Stuart, to the 
Dauphin of France. 1 The policy of conciliation, 
thus adopted by the head of the State, was not 
opposed meanwhile to any policy of severe perse 
cution by the head of the Church. Archbishop 
Hamilton was neither a bigoted nor a sanguinary 
ecclesiastic. He realised the necessity of some 
kind of reformation. He endeavoured to lessen 
priestly ignorance and incompetence by the pub 
lication of a Catechism remarkable for moderate 
doctrine as well as non-controversial tone 2 ; and 
he procured the enactment of statutes against 
clerical immorality statutes, however, which, in 
spite of his early reputation as "chaster than 
any maiden," he could not enforce without con 
demning himself. 3 While his policy as regards 

1 Buchanan, H. of Sc., xvi. ; Lesley, (vernac.) H. of Sc., 
234, 244-247; Hume Brown, H. of Sc., ii., 36-38; Mathieson, 
Politics and Religion in Scotland, 1550-1595, i., 40-44. 
Hamilton was partly constrained to resign the regency by 
the nobility whom Mary of Guise won over to her side, and 
partly bribed by the dukedom of Chatelherault, and the pay 
ment of his large debts. 

2 While distinctly Roman in doctrine, the Catechism is 
silent as to papal supremacy, ignores the indulgence system, 
refrains from forbidding or even discouraging the reading of 
vernacular Scripture by the laity, and describes love and 
good works, in accordance with evangelical theology, as the 
fruit of faith rather than an independent addition to faith. 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 124. 

158 John Knox [i SS5 - 

Protestantism was of necessity so far repressive, 1 it 
is significant that between his appointment to the 
primacy in 1546 and Knox s return to Scotland in 
1555, only one person in Scotland suffered martyr 
dom Adam Wallace, a layman of Ayrshire, and 
Knox s successor in 1550 as tutor at Ormiston. 2 
This comparative toleration in which Regent and 
Primate, from somewhat different motives, 3 con 
curred, issued naturally in numerous accessions to 
the Reform party from those whom fear had 
hitherto restrained from publicly professing their 

A further stimulus of a different kind was sup 
plied to the Reformation in Scotland by the en 
trance of the English Queen, a year after her 
accession, on that policy of truculent persecution 
which has branded her character indelibly as 
"Bloody Mary." Under the Protestant rule of 
Edward VI., numerous Scots, zealous for Reform, 
had been attracted to the southern kingdom. 
Some of these naturally returned home when the 
conflict became fiercer in England than in 
Scotland. Knox mentions particularly William 

See Chap. IV., note 6. 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 237; Foxe, v., 636-641. Knox de 
scribes Wallace as "a simple man without great learning, but 
zealous of godliness, and of an upright life." His martyr 
dom took place in July, 1550. 

3 The Primate had no desire to expedite the marriage of 
Mary Stuart, since, failing issue from it, his own brother was 
heir to the throne. 

1556] First Return to Scotland 159 

Harlaw and John Willock as among the "godly" 
men who at this period came back to their native 
land for the instruction of the people and the 
strengthening of the Protestant cause. 1 

II. About the end of September, 1555, Knox 
himself arrived in Edinburgh. He preached 
there, privately at first, in the house of his host, 
James Sym, a "notable man of God." But his 
return soon became known to the Reforming 
leaders, and under their auspices almost the entire 
winter and spring of 1555-56 were spent by him 
in evangelistic expeditions. Before he commenced 
his labours, however, there was one point on 
which he was anxious to have a decision. 
Among the memorable acts of his short minis 
try at St. Andrews in 1547 had been the open 
celebration of the Lord s Supper in accordance 
with Reformed doctrine and ritual. During 
the intervening eight years this example had 
not been widely imitated; and he found, on his 
return to Scotland, that many Protestant lead 
ers and a large proportion of their followers still 
attended mass. Knox protested against such con 
formity as a sinful countenance of deadly error. 

1 H. of R., i., 245. Harlaw was originally a tailor in Edin 
burgh; at the Reformation, he became minister to St. Cuth- 
bert s Church in that city. As to Willock, seep. 93. Among 
others were Paul Methven, of Dundee, and a Carmelite friar, 
named Douglas, who became chaplain to the Earl of Argyle. 
See Bellesheim, Cath. Ch. of Scot., ii., 220. 

3 H. of R., i., 246. See Chap. V., p. 133. 

160 John Knox [i 5S5 _ 

A private conference was held in Edinburgh 
at the house of John Erskine of Dun to dis 
cuss the question. There were present, be 
sides the Reformer and Erskine himself, John 
Willock, the preacher; David Forres, of Had- 
dington, Master of the Mint, a friend of Wish- 
art; Robert Lockhart, a lay "exhorter"; and 
William Maitland of Lethington, a man, as Knox 
testifies, "of good learning, and of sharp wit 
and reasoning." Knox opened discussion with 
the contention that it was "no wise lawful 
to a Christian to present himself to that idol ; 
while the usage was defended by Maitland, whom 
the Reformer, long afterwards on his own death 
bed, denounced for "carnal prudence otherwise 
manifested." "Nothing," writes Knox, "was 
omitted that might make for the temporiser." 
The example of St. Paul at Jerusalem was 
quoted, when he identified himself with certain 
Jews in a Levitical observance. But the Re 
former had no difficulty in shewing that the two 
cases were not parallel. St. Paul at most counte 
nanced a practice which was abrogated for 
Christians, but had been prescribed for Jews. 
Moreover, it was very doubtful whether in this 
instance St. Paul and St. James had acted 
rightly. Eventually it was admitted, according 
to Knox, by all present, that their "shifts served 
nothing" ; and it was resolved henceforth to meet 
as Reformed congregations for separate com- 

1556] First Return to Scotland 161 

munion. 1 The decision was signal. It was an 
act of ecclesiastical schism, justifiable, at this 
early stage, only on the ground that the mass, 
as a breach of the Second Commandment, was 
not a mere imperfect mode of worship, but a 
positive sin. Strategically the new departure was 
a distinct gain to the Reform party in their con 
flict. By this significant step the Protestants in 
Scotland acquired courage and consolidation. 
Those who were in earnest about the Reforma 
tion became better known to each other, and 
had fuller opportunity of mutual support: the 
organisation of the Reformed Scottish Church 
had begun. 

III. The question of attendance at mass hav 
ing thus been settled to his satisfaction, Knox 
devoted himself with all his strength to the work 
of propagating evangelical truth. He proceeded 
first to Forfarshire, where the memory of Wishart 
was still fresh. He resided for a month with 
Erskine at Dun, 2 preaching daily to congregations 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 247-249. 

2 Ibid. , i. , 249. Erskine had been marvellously illumined " 
more than twenty years before ; had been the friend of 
Straiten of Lauriston, who suffered martyrdom in 1534; and 
had afterwards been a sympathetic supporter of George 
Wishart (ibid., i., 132). He was one of those Reform 
ers who were equally zealous against English aggression 
and against Roman error; for he distinguished himself in 
the war of defence in 1548-49, and he was highly esteemed 
and trusted by the Regent Mary (ibid., i., 318 ; Spalding Mis 
cellany, iv., 48, 49, 51). Knox describes him as "most gentle 

162 John Knox [1555- 

which included the " principal men of the county." 
We find him afterwards in Linlithgowshire, 
under the protection of Sir James Sandilands 
of Calder, reviving the memories of Patrick 
Hamilton, and reiterating the truths for which the 
Proto-martyr suffered. During his residence in 
that county, he had as listeners to his preaching 
three young noblemen who became prominent in 
the history of the Reformation Archibald Lord 
Lome, afterwards fifth Earl of Argyle ; Lord James 
Stuart, a natural son of James V., eventually the 
"Good Regent" Moray; and Lord Erskine, sub 
sequently sixth Earl of Mar, Governor of Edin 
burgh Castle, and ultimately Moray s successor 
(after a brief interval) in the regency. In Decem 
ber Knox " taught commonly in Edinburgh" ; but 
after Christmas he again travelled from place to 
place. He preached and administered the Holy 
Communion in various parishes of Ayrshire; 
among other places in the ancient town of Ayr; 
in Mauchline, where he had the staunch sup 
port of Robert Campbell of Kinyeancleuch, whose 
father in like manner had stood by Wishart ; and 

of nature." Buchanan speaks of him as "equally pious and 
cultured." After the Reformation, he was ordained to the 
ministry, and became Superintendent of Angus and Mearns. 
Specimens of his discourses (5. M., iv., 101, 112) show him 
to have been a preacher who united effectiveness with charity. 
Queen Mary is recorded (Knox, H. of R., ii., 482) to have said 
that she "would gladly hear [preaching] the Superintendent 
of Angus; for he was a mild and sweet-natured man with 
true honesty and uprightness." 

i 5 s6] First Return to Scotland 163 

in the House of Ochiltree, where he must have 
seen the maiden who eight years later became his 
second wife. In the spring of 1556 the Reformer 
was at Kilmacolm on the Clyde, by the invitation 
of Lord Glencairn, whose residence, Finlayston, 
was in that parish ; the silver cups used on that 
occasion at the Communion are still preserved. 1 
A second visit to Calder in West Lothian and 
another to Dun, completed his journeyings up 
till the early part of May. 2 The welcome which 
the preaching of Reformed doctrine had received 
from the people during Knox s evangelistic tour 
far surpassed his expectations. "If I had not 
seen it with my own eyes," so he writes to Mrs. 
Bowes, "I could not have believed it." "The 
fervency here doth far exceed all others that I 
have seen," he continues; and he frankly con 
fesses that it constrained him to condemn his own 
"slothful coldness." 3 

IV. The success of "that knave Knox," as 
one of the bishops called him, 4 alarmed the hier 
archy; and the new practice of Protestant ab 
stention from mass revealed the magnitude 
of the ecclesiastical secession which was being 
consolidated into a rival church. It was neces 
sary to take steps to get rid of the man whom all 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 250 (Laing s Note). 
3 Ibid., i., 249, 250. 

3 Laing, W. of K., iv., 217, 218. 

4 Ibid. , iv., 439. From the context the bishop appears to 
have been James Beaton of Glasgow. 

1 64 John Knox [ 1SSS _ 

regarded as the origo mali. The laws against 
heresy were still unrepealed; although, since 
the change in the regency, they had no longer 
been enforced. While Knox was still the guest 
of Erskine at Dun he received a citation to trial 
before an ecclesiastical court at Blackfriars 
Church, Edinburgh, on the i5th of May. 1 The 
object of the bishops was probably the same as 
that of Primate James Beaton, thirty years be 
fore, when he sent a similar citation to Patrick 
Hamilton to drive an inconvenient intruder out 
of the way. As their procedure was unsupported 
by the Regent, the flight of Knox from Scotland 
was the issue which probably they most desired. 
They mistook their man: Knox arrived, openly, 
in Edinburgh, accompanied by Erskine and other 
gentlemen, a few days before the date fixed for 
his "compearance." The discomfited bishops de 
parted from the trial, either, as Knox suggests, on 
the ground of some "informality in their own 
proceedings," or because "they feared danger to 
ensue." The fiasco was an admirable adver 
tisement. On the very day on which he was 
to have been tried the Reformer preached to 
a larger audience than ever had listened to him 
in the city before; and, emboldened by non 
interference, he continued to preach for ten days 
in succession. 2 Such a triumph was enough to 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 251. 
3 Ibid., i., 251. 

iss6] First Return to Scotland 165 

exhilarate a much less ardent nature than that of 

"Rejoice mother" so he writes to Mrs. Bowes 
after three days ministrations "the time of our 
deliverance approacheth. The trumpet blew the old 
sound three days together, till private houses of 
indifferent largeness could not contain the voice of it. 
Sweet were the death that should follow forty such 
days in Edinburgh as I have had three." I 

V. Success fosters ambition. Knox had evan 
gelised a large portion of the people; he had 
fortified the Reforming nobility and gentry ; the 
Protestant party had been transformed into a 
Church; the hierarchy had been constrained to 
cower in the conflict and to beat a humiliating 
retreat. Not content with these triumphs, the 
Reformer was bold enough to essay the conver 
sion of the Regent herself. One recalls the jour 
ney of St. Francis of Assisi to Egypt for the 
conversion of the Mohammedan Sultan. The sug 
gestion of the attempt is ascribed by Knox to 
two distinguished adherents of the Reformation 
Earl Marischal and Henry Drummond of Rick- 
arton in West Lothian, who had been listening 
just before to one of his "exhortations." The 
promptness, however, with which he appears to 
have accepted the proposal, and the extreme care 
with which he carried it out, indicate that the idea 

1 Laing, W. of K., iv., 218. 

166 John Knox [1555- 

had already occurred to himself, and had proba 
bly been put into the minds of these two noble 
men through some pulpit reference to the Regent. 1 
He wrote a long and elaborate letter "to the 
excellent Lady Mary, Regent of Scotland," and 
caused it to be delivered by the friendly hand of 
Glencairn. His First Blast against the Monstrous 
Regiment of Women had not yet been blown or 
even prepared for issue ; the Reformer, so far as we 
know, was still in his attitude of an enquirer as to 
" whether a female can preside over and rule a king 
dom." The epistle, coming from a plain-spoken 
man like Knox, is a marvel of moderation and gen 
tleness, yet without any palpable deviation from 
sincerity. Compared with his usual trenchant style 
of writing, the composition is like the coo of the 
dove after the roar of the lion . He calls himself the 
Regent s "humble subject," and wishes "mercy 
and peace" for her. He blesses God "who by 
the dew of his heavenly grace hath so quenched 
the fire of displeasure in your Grace s heart, 
which is to my heart no small comfort"; and he 
rejoices in the "moderation and clemency that 
your Grace hath begun toward me and my most 
desperate cause." He assures her, if she "con 
tinue in like moderation and clemency toward 
others, and by godly wisdom bridle the fury and 
rage of them who regard not the cruel murdering 
of simple innocents," that "then shall He who 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 252. 

i 55 6] First Return to Scotland 167 

pronounceth mercy to appertain to the merciful 
first cause your happy government to be praised 
in this present age and the posterities to come, 
and last, recompense your godly pains and study 
with that joy and glory which the eye hath not 
seen, nor yet can enter into the heart of mortal 
creature." It may "appear foolish to many," he 
continues, that he, "a worm most wretched, a 
man of base state and condition, dare enterprise 
or admonish a Princess so honourable, endowed 
with wisdom and graces singularly." But he has 
"thought it some discharge of a part of my duty, 
if I of very love admonish your Grace of danger," 
"preferring your Grace s salvation and the salva 
tion of the people now committed to your care 
before any corporal benefit to myself"; and feel 
ing "if I should hide it from your Grace, I com 
mitted no less treason than if I saw you by 
imprudency take a cup which I knew to be poi 
soned, and yet would not admonish you to abstain 
from drinking the same." He then proceeds to 
emphasise the responsibility of rulers as well as 
bishops for the maintenance of true and pure 
religion; and shows that a form of "religion uni 
versally received" may none the less be "damn 
able and corrupted." Knox cordially admits that 
her Grace "cannot hastily abolish all superstition, 
neither yet remove from office unprofitable pastors 
which only feed themselves"; but this need not 
prevent her from " doing what " she " may " ; from 

168 John Knox dsss- 

" studying with all careful diligence how the true 
worshipping of God may be promoted," and how 
"the tyranny of ungodly men may be repressed." 
With that view he warns the Regent not to be "led 
away with that vain opinion that your Kirk and 
your prelates cannot err ; and he bids her rather 
" lay the book of God before your eyes, and let it 
be a judge to their lives, doctrine, and manners, 
as also to that doctrine which by fire and sword 
most cruelly they persecute." l 

Knox had not correctly diagnosed the disposi 
tion and policy of Mary of Guise. Her benevolent 
patronage, meanwhile, of Protestants was due, not 
to any real sympathy with their position, but to 
that statecraft which (along with some "graces" 
of character, as Knox avows) she shared with 
other members of her distinguished family. She 
read the letter, so Knox was assured, but it 
produced no impression either in the way of 
conviction or of irritation; for a day or two 
afterwards she handed it to Archbishop Beaton 
with the remark, " Please you, my Lord, to read a 
pasquil." 2 Knox, like most other men, disliked 
to be laughed at even more than to be persecuted. 
He printed his letter soon after it was sent, just 
as it reached the Regent s hands; and neither 
friend nor foe at the time informed him of the 
scornful reception which it had met ; but two years 

T The letter is contained in Laing, W. of K., iv., 73-84. 
2 Knox, H. of R., i., 252. 

1556] First Return to Scotland 169 

later, when the Regent s "supercilious mockery" 
had been reported to him, he showed his natural 
irritation by a reprint of the letter "now aug 
mented and explained." Never did the second 
edition of a publication differ so widely from the 
first. The original matter is all retained, but 
its marked moderation serves only, by sharp con 
trast, to emphasise the plain-spoken severity of 
the "additions" and explanations. "My duty to 
God," he now writes, "has compelled me to say 
that if no more ye esteem the admonition of God 
than the Cardinals do the scoffing of pasquils, then 
He shall shortly send you messengers with whom 
ye shall not be able in that manner to jest." He 
now denounces the Regent s own "avarice and 
cruelty," as well as the " superstition and idolatry 
which she had maintained." The First Blast had 
in the interval been sent forth. Knox does not 
hesitate to apply to Mary of Guise some passages in 
that work which had been originally intended for 
Mary Tudor; and with a presumption, it must be 
admitted, which strength of conviction and the 
provocation of a recent martyrdom may account 
for, but cannot justify, he attributes the Regent s 
loss of husband and of sons to her "maintenance 
and defence of most horrible idolatry, with the 
shedding of the blood of the saints of God." 2 
VI . The letter to Mary of Guise was not the only 

i That of Walter Milne in April, 1558. See pp. 183-185. 
aLaing, W. of K., iv., 450, 453, 454, 458. 

170 John Knox [1555- 

instance of Knox s literary activity during this 
visit to Scotland; although his evangelistic la 
bours were so multiplied and (as he expresses it) 
"Satan did so hunt me," that "small space was 
granted to writing." At the request of some 
who being "before in great anguish did confess 
themselves somewhat reclaimed by the doctrine," 
he committed to writing the substance of a 
discourse on the "Temptation of Christ in the 
Wilderness." 2 The most notable point in this 
treatise is his argument against the forty days 
fast of our Lord being regarded as an authority 
for the institution of Lent, which he calls a " super 
stitious fasting." Even if we knew the exact 
time of the year when Christ fasted, " Am I, or [is] 
any Christian bound," he asks, "to counterfeit His 
actions, as the ape counterfeiteth the act of man? " 
Christ fasted forty days when He was about to 
"take upon Him openly" His ministry, not to 
constrain us to follow literally His example, but 
"to teach us with what fear, carefulness, and 
reverence ought the messengers of the Word to 
enter on the vocation." 

To this period also belong, apparently, the Re 
former s Answers to some Questions concerning 
Baptism. 3 The small number of Reformed minis 
ters in Scotland had caused many Protestants to 

1 Letter to Mrs. Locke, in Laing, iv., 240. 

2 Laing, iv., 87-114. 
3 Ibid., iv., 116-140. 

First Return to Scotland 171 

ask whether they might offer their children to the 
papistical baptism." Knox answers without hesi 
tation, No . The ceremonial of baptism now used 
in the papistry is an adulteration and a profana 
tion," and "whosoever comrnunicateth with the 
papistical sacraments approveth before the world 
whatsoever doctrine and religion they [the Roman 
ists] profess." On the other hand, he gives a 
negative reply with equal distinctness to the fur 
ther question, "Shall we be baptised again that 
in our infancy were polluted with that adulterous 
sign?" "The fire of the Holy Ghost," he de 
clares, " hath burnt away whatsoever we received 
besides Christ Jesus simple institution"; and 
"the Spirit of Christ, illuminating our hearts, 
maketh the effect of that sacrament to work in us 
without any iteration of the external sign." 

About midsummer, 1556, Knox received from 
his congregation at Geneva a letter, somewhat in 
considerately yet not unnaturally peremptory, 
" commanding him in God s name, as their chosen 
pastor to repair unto them for their comfort." 
Knox discerned in this summons a providential call 
and before the end of July he had left Scotland 
for Geneva. 1 Tytler, followed by some other 
historians, 2 charges Knox with " want of courage" 
in thus "retreating" before danger. But surely 
his bold defiance of the hierarchy in Edinburgh, 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 252, 253. 

2 Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 94; Comp. Bellesheim, Cath. Ch. 
of Sc., ii., 227-228; Stephen, H. of Sc. Ch., i., 548. 

172 John Knox [1555- 

only two months before, indicates that cowardice 
could not have caused his departure. Apart from 
the claim which the congregation of Geneva had 
upon his services, there was some reason for be 
lieving that in existing circumstances the absence 
of Knox for a season from Scotland might be of 
more service to the Protestant cause than his 
presence. His visit of nine months had, indeed, 
been a conspicuous success, especially as a stimu 
lating tonic to those who favoured the Refor 
mation ; but the excessive administration of tonics 
is not wholesome in the moral any more than in 
the -physical sphere. A period, of quiet natural 
development, under the consolidating influence 
of Knox s recent ministration, and amid the 
practical toleration of the Regent s government, 
probably appeared at this stage to be desirable. 
With that view it was not expedient to drive the 
hierarchy, as Knox s continued presence was likely 
to do, into an attempted renewal of sharp persecu 
tion. Such an attempt would force upon the 
Regent the alternative of alliance with the prelates 
or of more active resistance to their policy ; and 
in the probable event of her adopting the former 
course as on the whole less dangerous and less 
disagreeable, a premature conflict would be precipi 
tated which the Protestant party were not yet 
strong enough to face. In any case Knox s with 
drawal from Scotland was in no sense a flight. 
It was neither secret nor hurried: the hierarchy 

1556] First Return to Scotland 173 

had abundant time for renewing their citation and 
arresting the Reformer. Before his departure he 
paid a farewell visit to almost every district where 
he had preached, and on the 7th of July he issued 
what he calls a " Letter of Wholesome Counsel to 
his Brethren in Scotland"; "not so much," he 
declares, "to instruct you, as to leave with you 
some testimony of my love." He admonishes his 
" beloved brethren " to meet regularly for congrega 
tional worship, " which I would were once a week" ; 
and he sketches for them an Order of Service, 
similar to that which he had adopted at Frank 
fort, Geneva, and also, doubtless, recently in 
Scotland. In the absence of a specially ordained 
ministry, he recommends that after some portion 
of Scripture has been read, "if any brother have 
exhortation, question, or doubt, let him not fear 
to speak or move the same, so that he do it with 
moderation." He adds considerately that "if 
anything occur within the text, or else arise in 
reasoning, which your judgment cannot resolve or 
your capacities apprehend ... I will more 
gladly spend fifteen hours in explaining [i. e., by 
letter], as God pleases to open to me, any place 
of Scripture, than half an hour in any matter 

Knox had not long left Scotland when the hi 
erarchy resumed proceedings against him. The 
huntsmen who had retired when the lion appeared 

The letter is contained in Laing, W. of K., iv., 133-140. 

174 John Knox [1555-1556] 

now became bold when their intended prey had 
retired. He was summoned in absentia before 
the Provincial Council; but no written citation 
ever reached him; and he declares that when a 
copy of the summons was demanded (presumably 
by his friends in Scotland) it was refused. For 
the Reformer s non-appearance, as well as for 
other offences, sentence of excommunication ap 
pears to have been pronounced against him fol 
lowed by the nominal surrender of his person 
to the civil power with a view to the penalty of 
death; for his body was "burnt in effigy at the 
Cross of Edinburgh." * 

Laing, W. of K., i., 254; iv., 471. 




DURING the interval between the departure 
of Knox from Scotland in July, 1556, and 
his return in May, 1559, the way was gradually 
prepared for the final conflict in which he was to 
take the leading part. The Reform party became 
more numerous and consolidated, more self-reliant 
and aggressive : the Regent s demeanour towards 
Protestants became less amicable and at length 
openly hostile: the hierarchy, encouraged by the 
altered attitude of the Court, and stimulated by 
the conviction that the Church was in peril, re 
sumed their policy of persecution; the alliance 
with France, although it appeared to be sealed by 
the marriage of Mary Stuart and the Dauphin, 
declined in popularity; and Romanism in conse 
quence lost the benefit which Henry VIII. s 


i; 6 John Knox [1556- 

unwise policy had conferred upon it, of association 
with patriotism in the minds of the Scottish peo 
ple. Each of these developments hastened the 
ecclesiastical crisis, and contributed, directly or in 
directly, to the ultimate triumph of Protestantism. 
I. In March, 1557, as we have already seen, a 
letter was despatched to Knox by a section of 
the Scottish nobility, craving his return to Scot 
land. His acceptance of the invitation and his 
detention at Dieppe, owing to discouraging letters 
from home, have already been related. 1 "Con 
founded and pierced with anguish," he wrote to 
the Lords, upbraiding them for having "fainted 
in their former purpose through fear of danger" 
and suggesting that they "preferred the friend 
ship of the wicked to the salvation of Brethren." 2 
His words, written in natural irritation, may have 
been, to use his own expression, "somewhat sharp 
and indiscreetly spoken." Moreover, subsequent 
reflection led him also to " suspect my own wicked 
ness," and to admit that along with the "doubts 
and cauld writings of some brethren" were the 
"cogitations" .of what he calls elsewhere his 
"natural fearfulness." 3 His letter, however, 

1 See page 144. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 271. 

3 See letter to "sisters in Edinburgh sent from Geneva in 
April, 1558." With a naivete which disarms criticism, Knox 
confesses that the "cause of my stop do I not to this day 
clearly understand." Apparently he had been from the first 
of two minds as to what he should do. A chivalrous and 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 177 

proved to be a salutary stimulus to Reforming 
zeal; while a recent attempt by the Regent, at 
the instigation of France, to involve Scotland in 
a needless and unprovoked war with England l 
had cooled Scottish favour for the French alliance, 
and thus weakened so far the cause of Romanism. 
" New consultation," accordingly, " was had, what 
was best to be done" ; and on the 3rd December, 
1557, there was drawn up at Edinburgh what was 
called a " Common Band," generally known as the 
first Scottish "COVENANT." It marks a fresh 
stage in the Reformation movement. By absent 
ing themselves from mass and celebrating the 
Communion with a Reformed ritual, the Protest 
ants had already organised themselves into a 
church for united worship and mutual edification ; 
by the adoption of this Covenant they took the 
further step of organising themselves into a league 
for common action and mutual defence. 

dutiful desire to stand by his Scottish friends conflicted with 
reluctance not only to risk his own life but to cause "tumults 
to rise" in Scotland, without real benefit to the cause. He 
left Geneva, however, resolved to act what he felt to be the 
nobler and bolder part. The discouraging letters received at 
Dieppe reawakened his doubts; in his vexation at having 
his courage thus undermined by those who had urged him 
on, he threw the whole blame on the lords; but in calmer 
mood he honestly shared the discredit, and could not under 
stand how he had allowed himself to be dissuaded from pro 
ceeding to Scotland, except that to "punish my former 
un thankfulness, it may be, God . . . permitted Satan 
to put in my mind sic cogitations as did impede my journey." 
i Lesley, H. of Sc. (Scott. Text Soc. ed.), ii., 368-372. 

1 78 John Knox [i 5S 6- 

"We do promise before the Majesty of God and 
this congregation" so ran the terms of the Band 
"that we by His grace shall with all diligence apply 
our whole power, substance, and our very lives, to 
maintain, set forward, and establish the most blessed 
Word of God and His congregation ; and shall labour 
at our possibility to have faithful ministers purely 
and truly to minister Christ s Evangel and Sacra 
ments. We shall maintain them, nourish them, and 
defend them, the whole congregation of Christ and 
every member thereof, at our whole power and war 
ing [i. e., sacrifice] of our lives, against Satan and all 
wicked power that does intend tyranny or trouble 
against the foresaid congregation." I 

The Covenant was signed by a large number of 
nobles and gentry, including the Earls of Argyle, 
Glencairn, and Morton, Lord Lome, and Erskine 
of Dun. The subscribers became known as the 
"Lords of the Congregation," and constituted 
themselves into a national Protestant council. 
Their aims were far-reaching: but their early 
procedure was moderate. In accordance, sub 
stantially, with Knox s "Wholesome Counsel" 
of July, 1556, regarding stated weekly public wor 
ship, it was "ordained that in all parishes of this 
realm the Common Prayers be read on Sunday 
and other festival days, publicly, in the parish 
Kirks, with the lessons of the Old and New 
Testaments, conform to the order of the Book of 

1 Knox, H. of R., i. ( 273. 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 179 

Common Prayers" ; the curates to be asked to 
discharge the office, if qualified and willing; fail 
ing these, the most qualified persons available. 
"Preaching and interpretation of Scripture," as 
distinguished from worship, were meanwhile to 
be held in private houses, "until God move the 

1 Knox, H. of R.,L, 270. It has been disputed whether the 
Second Prayer-book of Edward VI. or the Book of Geneva, 
published in the preceding year, be here intended. One might 
have supposed that Knox s influence would secure the use of 
the latter rather than of a liturgy of which he partly disap 
proved; yet evidence exists that even in June, 1559, the 
Prayer-book set forth by "godly King Edward" was read 
in parish churches (Laing, vi., 34) ; and this testimony is con 
firmed by an extant summons raised in 1 5 60 by the Vicar of 
Lintrathen for payment of teinds on this ground (among 
others) that he has caused the Common Prayers and Homi 
lies to be read weekly to the parishioners," referring appar 
ently to the Book of Homilies associated with the Prayer-book 
of Edward (Spalding Miscell., iv., 120). Moreover, the men 
tion (in the injunction) of the "Lessons conform to the order 
of the Book of Common Prayers" does not suit the Book of 
Geneva, which has no stated lectionary. The probable ex 
planation of the sanction of the English instead of the 
Genevan Liturgy at this time is that more copies of the 
former, being the older book, existed in Scotland; that 
the Service-book of Edward had come into considerable use 
before the Book of Geneva had been issued; and that Knox 
although disapproving of portions of the English liturgy, re 
frained from protesting against its use in Scotland, just as he 
had refrained from such protest while he was in England, so 
long as his direct sanction was not required. When the ar 
rangements of worship came afterwards under his own charge, 
the English liturgy was superseded by the Genevan Order 
(McCrie, Life of Knox, note DD; Laing, vi., 227; A. F. 
Mitchell, Scot. Ref., 128). 

i So John Knox [i SS 6- 

Prince to grant public preaching by faithful and 
true ministers." * 

The Protestant leaders had apparently in con 
templation not merely reformed worship in every 
parish alongside of the Romish ritual, but the 
eventual supersession of the latter by the former. 
This, however, did not mean necessarily the super 
session of the old by a new Church. There was 
still a widespread hope that, through the action 
of the State, supported by sympathetic churchmen 
who realised the need of reform, the existing or 
ganisation might be transformed without being 
demolished. The Lords of the Congregation, ac 
cordingly, followed up their enactments by a 
petition addressed to the Regent and presented 
in the spring of 1558 by the aged Sir James Sandi- 
lands of Calder. The petition craved, on the one 
hand, full liberty both of preaching and of public 
worship, including administration of the sacra 
ments "in the vulgar tongue," with Communion 
"in both kinds"; on the other hand, stringent 
ecclesiastical discipline, "that the wicked, scan 
dalous, and detestable life of prelates and of the 
State Ecclesiastical may be so reformed that the 
people have not occasion to contemn their min 
istry." The Reformers at this stage appear to 
have hoped that if a riddance were obtained of 
ill-living bishops and clergy, those who remained 
would acquiesce in a Reformed ritual and doctrine, 

i Knox, H. of R., i., 276. 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 181 

and "the grave and godly face of the primitive 
Church" would be restored. 1 The Regent gave 
the petitioners a conciliatory answer. On condi 
tion that they refrained from holding "public 
assemblies" in Edinburgh and Leith, she "prom 
ised her assistance to the preachers" of the Con 
gregation "until some uniform order might be 
established by a Parliament." By this time, 
however, as will presently be seen, she was on the 
eve, as she believed, of emancipation from depen 
dence on Protestant support; and subsequent 
events appear to corroborate the assertion of 
Knox that simultaneously " she gave signification 
of her mind to the clergy, promising that how 
soon any opportunity should serve, she should so 
put order in their matters, that after they should 
not be troubled." 2 

II. While the leaders of the Congregation were 
carrying out, with due caution, the terms of the 
Covenant, the Regent was bringing to maturity 
that matrimonial alliance between Scotland and 
France to secure which she was obliged to court 
for a time the support of the Protestant nobility. 
In December, 1557, the Scottish Estates were in 
duced to fulfil the agreement made with France 
nine years before ; and eight commissioners, includ 
ing Lord James Stewart and Erskine of Dun, pro 
ceeded to Paris to make the final arrangements 

Knox, H. of R., pp. 302-306. 
3 Ibid., p. 307. 

182 John Knox [1556- 

for the marriage of Mary Stuart with the Dau 
phin. On the i Qth April, 1558, the treaty of 
marriage was signed; the contract including an 
agreement according to which the Dauphin was 
to bear the title of "King of Scotland." Five 
days later the marriage was celebrated in the 
Church of Notre Dame. 1 The Regent s policy had 
thus apparently succeeded. Her son-in-law and 
her daughter seemed destined to become King 
and Queen of France and of Scotland ; the latter, 
as the smaller country, would become eventually, 
under their heirs, an appanage of France; the 
maintenance of the Roman Church in Scotland 
would be secured by French support and, if neces 
sary, armed intervention ; while France would be 
effectively fortified in any future conflict with Eng 
land. At once the motherly ambition, the Catholic 
aspirations, and the patriotic sentiment of the 
daughter of Guise were fully satisfied. From this 
time, accordingly, the relations between the Re 
gent and the Reformers began to cool. 2 Having 

1 D-iur. of Occur., p. 52; Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 80, 81. 

2 It was necessary, however, for the Regent to temporise 
meanwhile and to conceal her change of attitude, owing to 
her anxiety to comply with the request of the French Court 
that the Scottish crown should be sent to Paris for the coro 
nation of the Dauphin. Parliament gave its consent, in Nov., 
1558. Had the Scots become aware that three weeks before 
the marriage Mary Stuart had been induced to sign a secret 
contract, making over Scotland to the King of France in the 
event of her dying without offspring, the significance of this 
use of the crown would have been realised, and the insidious 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 183 

availed herself of the Protestant party to overcome 
the rivalry of the House of Hamilton, she was now 
prepared, at first with reserve, but ere long openly, 
to co-operate with Primate Hamilton in suppress 
ing Protestantism. She failed, however, to esti 
mate aright the strength of the Reformers whom 
she was about to force into conflict ; and her love 
of France blinded her to the fact that ten years 
of French alliance had taught to many Scots 
the lesson that, apart from the religious conflict 
altogether, the friendship of France involved for 
Scotland present trouble, with the possibility of 
eventual annexation. 1 

III. The policy of the Reformers and of the 
Regent affected the procedure of the Primate. 
The more aggressive action of the Congregation 
goaded him, the recently altered attitude of the 
Regent emboldened him, the failure of his own 
endeavours to stem, through internal reform, 
the progress of Protestantism constrained him 
to try the effect of renewed persecution. The 
victim selected to inaugurate the new policy 
was an aged priest of eighty-two years, Walter 
Milne, who in his earlier life had travelled in 

request would, doubtless, have been refused. The Scots never 
intended that the Dauphin should be recognised as King of 
Scotland, except as husband of their Queen ; and the Estates 
stipulated that if Mary died without issue the Dauphin was 
to renounce all claim to the throne (Diur., 52; Tytler, H. 
of Sc., vi., 83, 84; Hume Brown, H. of Sc., ii., 45. 
1 Hamilton Papers, ii., 616; Teulet, i., 414. 

184 John Knox [1556- 

Germany and had there imbibed Reformed opin 
ions. During the primacy of Cardinal Beaton he 
had become parish minister of Lunan in Forfar- 
shire : but his religious views became known, and, 
in order to escape a trial, he had abandoned his 
cure and lived in privacy, continuing, however, 
to preach secretly Reformed doctrine. He was 
at length discovered at Dysart, in Fife, by two 
priests in the employment of the Primate, and 
was brought to trial at St. Andrews in April, 1558, 
before a numerous assemblage of bishops, abbots, 
and theologians. His " heresies" included the de 
nial of seven sacraments, of transubstantiation, 
and of the obligation of priestly celibacy, which 
he had practically repudiated by marriage. When 
the old man entered the cathedral where the trial 
took place, he appeared so feeble that his judges 
doubted whether he could make himself heard. 
" But when he began to speak" so Foxe testifies 
" he made the Church ring and sound again with 
so great courage and stoutness that the Christ 
ians present were no less rejoiced than the adver 
saries were confounded and ashamed." When 
he was required to retract his "erroneous opin 
ions," " I will not recant the truth," was his brave 
reply, " for I am corn and no chaff; and I will not 
be blown away with the wind, nor burst with the 
flail, but I will abide both." He was handed over 
accordingly, as an obdurate heretic, to the secular 
power. With the Regent s tacit acquiescence, 

I5SQ] The Scottish Reformation 185 

although she afterwards disclaimed responsibility, 1 
he was burned at the stake on the 28th April, two 
days after that marriage at Notre Dame with which 
his exposure to hierarchical vengeance was, with 
out his knowing it, indirectly connected. " As for 
me," were his last words " I am fourscore and two 
years old, and cannot live long but a hundred 
better shall rise out of the ashes of my bones. I 
trust to God I shall be the hindmost that shall 
suffer for this cause." 3 The hope of the dying 
martyr was fulfilled, he was the last victim of 
Roman persecution in Scotland. 

IV. The burning of Milne was a blunder as well 
as a crime. It was already too late to terrify 
Protestants into submission: the martyrdom 
served only to discredit Romanism and to incite 
Reformers to more open defiance. The sufferings 
of an emaciated old man awakened general sym 
pathy; and the resumption of persecution unto 
death, after an interval of eight years, appeared 
to show that the comparative toleration recently 
enjoyed, instead of being the prelude to entire 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 308, 309; Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 102; 
Mathieson, Polit. and Rel. in Sc.. i., 56. The Regent could 
hardly be ignorant of the proceedings against Walter Milne, 
for he appears to have been detained for a considerable 
time in prison, with a view to recantation. Among his judges 
were the Bishops of Moray and Caithness, who must have 
received long notice of the trial, and eight days intervened 
between the sentence and its execution. 

2 Knox, I. c.; Foxe, ii., 623-626; Pitscottie, ii., 130-136 
(Sc. T. S. ed.); Keith, Ch. and St., i., 156. 

1 86 John Knox [1556- 

freedom of doctrine and worship, was only the 
temporary interruption, for strategic reasons, of a 
policy of oppression and bloodshed. 

Three significant indications of the growth of 
popular sentiment against the Roman Church 
were given during the year 1558. The first was 
in connection with the martyrdom of Milne. After 
his condemnation by the ecclesiastical court in 
St. Andrews, it was found difficult to obtain any 
competent secular authority to execute the sen 
tence. The Provost of the town and the Bishop s 
chamberlain successively declined the odious 
office ; it was at length undertaken by an official 
of lower standing, whom Buchanan describes as 
an " infamous man," and Pitscottie as a " crapinell 
[i. e., knave] of the devil." The merchants refused 
to sell any materials wood or cord, tar or powder 
for the burning; and "the people showed the 
intensity of their indignation by heaping up a great 
pile of stones in the place where the martyr suf 
fered, so that the memory of his death might not 
perish with his life." l The second incident re 
lated to a summons which, at the instigation of 
the hierarchy, the Regent had issued, ordering 
certain Protestant evangelists including Harlaw, 
Douglas, and Methven 2 to appear at Edinburgh 
on the 1 8th of July. The citation was probably 

1 Buchanan, 189; Pitscottie, ii., 135; Foxe, ii., 626. 

2 Harlaw had been exercising his gifts mainly in Edin 
burgh, Douglas in Leith, Methven in Dundee (Knox, H. of 
R.,l, 256). 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 187 

regarded as the easiest method of getting rid of the 
preachers, who might be expected to flee rather 
than to "compear." Following Knox s example, 
however, two years before, they responded to the 
summons. But they did not appear alone. 
"Many faithful men" from the West, headed by 
James Chalmers of Gadgirth in Ayrshire, pene 
trated into the room where the Regent and the 
bishops had assembled. They charged the Primate 
and his fellow-prelates with this fresh outbreak 
of oppression; plainly intimated to the Regent 
that they "would suffer this no longer"; and in 
token of their determination to add force, if re 
quired, to remonstrance, "every man put on his 
steel bonnet." The Queen Dowager perceived at 
once the necessity of timely concession ; declared 
that she "meant no evil" to them or to their 
preachers; called the intruders her "loving sub 
jects"; and then, turning to the bishops at her 
side, forbade them to trouble either the preachers 
or their champions. "And so," writes Knox, 
"the day of summons being discharged, began the 
brethren universally to be further encouraged." 1 
The third incident was of a different character, 
yet equally suggestive, in another way, of the 
growth of anti-Roman sentiment. It occurred in 
September, on the occasion of the annual com 
memoration of St. Giles. When the image of the 
saint was borne, as usual, in solemn procession 

Knox, i., 257, 258; Pitscottie, ii., 137. 

i88 John Knox [i 55 6- 

along the High Street of Edinburgh, "the hearts 
of the brethren" so Knox records "were won 
derfully inflamed" on "seeing such abomination 
so manifestly maintained." "Down with the 
idol!" was the cry. One of the onlookers "took 
him by the heels, and dadding [knocking] his head 
to the causeway, left Dagon without head or 
hands." "The priests and friars fled faster than 
they did at Pinkie Cleucht." "Down go the 
crosses, off goes the surplice"; while "a merry 
Englishman" who stood by exclaims in jeering 
tone, "Why fly ye, villains, now, without order? 
Turn, and strike every one a stroke for the honour 
of his god!" Knox significantly concludes his 
account of the incident with the remark, "After 
that Baal had broken his neck, there was no com 
fort to his confused army." r 

V. On the i4th July, 1558, a few days prior 
to the citation of the preachers, Knox printed at 
Geneva, for circulation in Scotland, two tracts 
which had an important bearing on the ecclesias 
tical situation. One of these was his " Appellation 
to the Nobility and the Estates of Scotland" from 
the sentence pronounced against him by the hier 
archy two years before. In form this appeal was 
somewhat belated : in substance, it was timely in 
a high degree. To Knox personally the sentence 
of the bishops was of little account: and evi 
dently he had bided his time until the renewal 

i Knox, i., 259-261. 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 189 

of persecution, in April 1558, provided an appro 
priate opportunity for his testimony. The real 
occasion of the " Appellation " was the martyrdom 
of Milne and the policy which it appeared to in 
augurate. He exposes the injustice of churchmen 
who are at once accusers and accused, being also 
allowed to assume the position of judges: he 
declares that the issues raised by himself and 
others could be properly tried only by a "general 
Council of the Church"; he claims, meanwhile, 
that "until the controversies be lawfully decided " 
he and other victims of persecution ought to be 
protected by the civil power, and that when a trial 
takes place, the standard of judgment must be 
"the plain Word of God." l He maintains, fur 
ther, the right of preachers "to appeal from the 
judgment of the visible Church to the knowledge 
of the temporal Magistrate, who by God s law is 
bound to hear their causes, and to defend them 
from tyranny." It was lawful in their case, to " ap 
peal unto Caesar." 2 If the visible Church, God s 
chosen organ for the diffusion of religious truth, 
flagrantly failed to fulfil its appointed function, and 
disregarded that Word of God which is its divine 
directory, there was no alternative except to ap 
peal to that other "Minister of God," the civil 
power, to accomplish the work which the Church 
had egregiously failed to perform. We shall see 

1 Laing, W. of K., iv., 469, 470, 
3 Ibid., p. 472-476. 

igo John Knox [1556- 

presently the effect of the "Appellation" on the 
Protestant leaders who were also members of the 
Scottish Parliament. 

Knox had a further appeal to his countrymen. 
It was possible that the Scottish Estates would 
be unfaithful to their responsibilities equally 
with the Church. Accordingly, from his watch- 
tower at Geneva he addresses a message, not 
merely to the nobility and Estates, but to the peo 
ple at large, in his " Letter to the Commonalty of 
Scotland." He bids them remember that they 
the people shared with their rulers the respon 
sibility for the religious condition of the nation ; 
for "in the hope of the life to come God hath 
made all equal." "You may lawfully," he con 
tinues, "require of your superiors that they pro 
vide for you true preachers, and expel such as 
under the name of your pastors devour and de 
stroy the flock." If, however, "your superiors 
be negligent, most justly ye may provide true 
teachers for yourselves," and with a view to their 
maintenance "withhold the fruits and profits 
which your false bishops and clergy most unjustly 
receive of you, unto such time as they be com 
pelled faithfully to do their charge and duties; 
which is to preach unto you Jesus Christ truly, to 
minister His Sacraments according to His own 
institution, and to watch for the salvation of your 
souls." "Nay, further," he adds, in a closing 
word of warning, "as your rulers are criminal, 

The Scottish Reformation 191 

with your bishops, of all idolatry committed, and 
of the innocent blood that is shed, because they 
[the rulers] maintain them [the prelates] in their 
tyranny " ; "so are you criminal and guilty of the 
same crimes, so many of you as give no plain con 
fession to the contrary, because ye assist and 
maintain your rulers." I It was a bold declara 
tion in that age. "This doctrine, I know," writes 
Knox himself, "is strange to the blind world." 2 
Fortunately, as regards the Reformation, the 
Scottish Estates fulfilled, so far at least, their 
obligations, in 1560; and the drastic intervention 
of the "Commonalty" was not required. But 
Knox, after all, in this letter only anticipated, of 
necessity vaguely and crudely, the great principle 
embodied in popular representative government, 
viz., that the real fountain of power in the State, 
along with the ultimate responsibility for national 
policy, belongs, or ought to belong, not to any 
privileged section of the community, but to the 
citizenship at large. 

VI. Knox s "Appellation," the recent renewal 
of persecution, and the popular sympathy with 
Protestantism thereby evoked, led to the Lords 
of the Congregation taking another step forward 
in realising the aims of the Covenant. In ac 
cordance with the terms of the "Appellation," 
they prepared a statement of grievances and a 

1 Laing, W. oj K., iv., 524, 525, 527, 528, 533, 534. 
3 Ibid., p. 535. 

i9 2 John Knox [1556- 

demand for redress, to be laid formally before 
the Estates in November, 1558. They "require" 
that Acts of Parliament giving " power to the 
Churchmen to proceed against so-called heretics" 
be suspended till a "General Council [of the 
Church] have decided all controversies in re 
ligion"; that "the prelates be removed from 
the place of judges," and be allowed to act 
only as "accusers" before a temporal tribunal; 
and that no condemnation for heresy be valid 
unless "the heretics be convicted" "by the 
manifest Word of God." 1 This "Petition of 
Rights" was presented beforehand to the Re 
gent, "because we were determined to enterprise 
nothing without her knowledge." 2 

Mary of Guise, although now resolved to proceed 
against the Protestants, was unwilling at this stage 
to lose their support ; for the question of giving 
the "Crown Matrimonial" to the Dauphin was 
to come before the approaching Parliament. She 
put off the petitioners with "amiable looks and 
good words," keeping, however, "their bill close 
in her pocket." The Reform leaders accordingly, 
on the 29th of November, went direct to the 
Estates with a trenchant manifesto, to which 
they gave the suggestive title of "Protesta 
tion." After referring to their previous petition, 
presented to the Regent for transmission, they 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 309-311. 
2 Ibid., i., 312. 

1559] The Scottish Reformation 193 

protest "against that most unjust tyranny which 
we heretofore most patiently have sustained ; 
solemnly testify that they are not to be held 
guilty "for violating such rites as man without 
God s Word hath commanded ; and significantly 
add that "if any tumult shall arise among the 
members of this realm" on account of the "di 
versity of religion," "the crime thereof be not 
imputed to us, who most humbly do now seek 
all things to be reformed by an Order." It was 
an emphatic warning that unless the constituted 
authorities took in hand the needful measures of 
reformation, the policy of "passive resistance" 
might at any moment be exchanged for active 
and, it might prove, violent conflict. 

VII. The death of Mary Tudor, and the acces 
sion of Elizabeth, in November 1558, a few days 
before the Scottish Parliament assembled, helped 
to precipitate the ecclesiastical crisis, and con 
strained the Regent to terminate the policy of 
friendly toleration. If Scotland was to be de 
livered from Protestant heresy and to be preserved 
for the Catholic Church, the object must be ac 
complished now, before a Protestant English 
Government had time to assist the Scottish 
Reformers. From this Parliament, accordingly, 
may be dated the final struggle, in which the Re 
gent, hence forward in open alliance with the hier 
archy and under the stimulus of the house of 

i Knox, H. of R., pp. 313, 314. 


194 John Knox [ I55 6- 

Guise, endeavoured to suppress the Reformation 
in Scotland. 1 In the spring of 1559, a fresh order 
was issued by the Privy Council prohibiting all 
preaching by unauthorised persons. The Regent 
resumed the repressive citations which the men 
with the "steel bonnets" had constrained her to 
cancel about nine months before. When four 
notable Reformed preachers, Harlaw, Willock, 
Christison, and Methven, supported by influen 
tial laymen, continued their "unauthorised" min 
istrations, they were summoned to appear at 
Stirling on the loth of May, to answer the charge 
of rebellious conduct. 2 

There is evidence that the Regent entered 
with some misgiving 3 on a conflict the outcome 
of which must have appeared at least doubtful. 
But French influence and policy combined 
with her own Catholic convictions and family 
ambition to urge her onward. France was at this 
time negotiating a treaty 4 with Spain and with the 

1 The hierarchy realised at this crisis that reform must ac 
company repression; and a Provincial Council, held early in 
March 1559, enacted numerous reforming canons. Fresh 
provision, also was made for the instruction of the people, in 
cluding a short manual of the mass, nicknamed the " Two 
penny Faith." But such " measures of reform " as Catholic 
writers admit, " came too late." Robertson, Statuta, ii., 142 ; 
Bellesheim, ii., 244-252; Lesley, ii., 397-399 (Sc. T. S.). 

2 Knox, H. of R. , i. , 3 1 7. Tumults also were stated to have 
been occasioned by their preaching. (See citation in McCrie, 
Note GG; A. Lang, Scot. Hist. Rev., Jan. 1905, p. 116). 

3 Sir James Melville s Memoirs, pp. 76, 77. 

4 The Peace of Cambrai, concluded on and April, 1559. 

i 559 ] The Scottish Reformation 195 

Empire. The main objects of that treaty were to 
crush Protestantism in Europe, and, as a means 
to that end, to depose the "illegitimate" Eliza 
beth from her throne in favour of the next heir, 
Mary Stuart, who had already assumed the arms 
of England. The persecution of the Huguenots 
was resumed ; and a special ambassador was sent 
to Mary of Guise to communicate the policy of the 
French Court, and to induce her to suppress Pro 
testantism in Scotland before the heretics should 
spread any farther." The triumph of Romanism 
in Scotland would be the prelude to the conquest 
of England (where Protestantism was not firmly 
established) for the Catholic Church, and for the 
future King and Queen of France and Scotland. 1 
Before the conflict, however, thus inaugurated, 
actually began, the protagonist of Scottish Pro 
testantism had reappeared on the scene. 

1 Sir James Melville s Memoirs, as above; Tytler, H. of Sc., 
vi., 109, no. 




KNOX arrived in Edinburgh from Dieppe on 
the 2nd May, 1559, eight days before 
the date at which the Reformed preachers were 
summoned to appear at Stirling. He was at 
once informed of the ecclesiastical crisis, and re 
solved to stand by his four fellow-preachers "in 
the brunt of the battle." By this time a 
large company of Reformers had been convened 
at Dundee to support the cited preachers. On 
the 5th of May, Knox hastened to the meeting- 
place and accompanied the assembly thence to 
Perth, where the Reformed Book of Common 
Prayer was already in use. 2 There the Protest 
ant host, already over five thousand in number, 
but mostly unarmed, remained; while "one of 
the most grave and most wise barons " Erskine 

1 Letter of Knox to Mrs. Locke (Laing, W. of K., vi., 21). 

2 Ibid., p. 22. 


[1559-1560] Final Return to Scotland 197 

of Dun proceeded to Stirling, in order to acquaint 
the Regent with their proceedings, and to per 
suade her, if possible, to withdraw the citation. 
Disconcerted by the prompt demonstration of the 
Reformers before she had assembled her own 
forces, the Regent temporised. Without ex 
pressly agreeing to postpone the summons, she 
"solicited Erskine to stay the multitude" from 
coming to Stirling, and promised to "take some 
better order." Erskine understood this promise 
to mean that if the Reformers refrained from 
advancing in force, she would refrain, meanwhile 
at least, from further proceedings against the 
preachers. At his advice, accordingly, the latter, 
along with their adherents, remained at Perth, and 
the Regent was saved from an unwelcome incur 
sion. Soon afterwards, with what was regarded as 
a breach of faith, she proclaimed the preachers 
outlaws for non-appearance. 1 The proclamation 
was a virtual declaration of war. It was now 
indicated that Protestant preachers were to be 
treated not as mere heretics, to be tried and (if 

i Knox (H. of R., i., 317, and W. of K., vi., 23), Buchanan 
(191), Spottisw. (i., 271), Tytler (vi., 115), Burton (iv., 65), 
and Hume Brown (H. of Sc., ii., 57), all represent the Re 
gent as guilty of a breach of faith in this matter. Andrew 
Lang (H. of Sc., ii., 48-50), relying mainly on Buchanan s 
statement that the Regent demanded of Erskine "that he 
should send the multitude home," holds that her promise was 
"conditional" as well as "vague." "She probably amused 
Erskine by some promise of taking better order " (Sc. H. 
R., Jan. 1905, p. 118). 

198 John Knox [i 559 - 

found guilty) condemned after a judicial process, 
but as rebels, to be summarily crushed, along 
with their open adherents, by military force. 
With the help of the hierarchy and the French 
Government, the Regent had now raised a con 
siderable army. It was ere long increased to 
eight thousand men, 1 partly Scots, partly French 
men; and her manifest policy was to suppress 

II. Meanwhile, a further development of the 
conflict took place at Perth. A sermon " vehe 
ment against idolatry," i. e., against the mass, 
had been preached by Knox on the nth of May 
in the ancient Church of St. John the Baptist, 2 
immediately after the news of the outlawry had 
been received. The congregation had not dis 
persed when a priest proceeded to celebrate mass 
at the high altar. A youth, who expressed the 
sentiments of persons older than himself, Knox 
describes him as standing "among certain godly 
men," exclaimed, " This is intolerable that, when 
God by His Word has plainly damned idolatry, we 
shall stand and see it used in despite." The irri 
tated priest struck the boy, who retaliated by 
throwing a stone. The stone missed the priest, 
but broke an image. It was as if a lighted match 

1 Hume Brown, H. of Sc., ii., 58. 

2 The Church was divided into the East and the West 
Church early in the seventeenth century, and in the eighteenth 
century a third or Mid Church was formed. 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 199 

had been applied to a heap of combustibles. "The 
whole multitude that was about began to cast 
stones," and to destroy with their hands "other 
monuments of idolatry." The report of the 
disorder brought many more on the scene 
not "gentlemen" or "earnest professors" of Re 
formed doctrine, as Knox is careful to record, but 
a "rascal multitude." These undisciplined sup 
porters of the cause, rinding the work of destruc 
tion sufficiently accomplished in the Church of 
St. John, proceeded to deal similarly, and even 
more violently, with the Franciscan, Dominican, 
and Carthusian monasteries, until only the walls 
of the buildings remained. 1 

Knox and those associated with him were con 
scious that the doings of the "rascal multitude" 
were not creditable, and might alienate influential 
sympathy from the Reform cause. He remained, 
accordingly, in Perth, as he himself naively ex 
presses it, to "instruct" and, presumably, to re 
strain " those who were young and rude in Christ." 2 
His hand is easily recognised in various missives 
or manifestos addressed at this juncture to the 
Regent, to the French ambassador (D Oysel), to 
the Scottish nobility, and to the "pestilent 

1 Knox, H. of R.,i., 321-323; Lesley, Vernac. Hist., p. 272. 
Knox gives in the History his deliberate opinion of those who 
took part in the work of destruction. In a letter written 
soon after the events related, he had unadvisedly included 
them among the " brethren " (Laing, vi., 23.) 

2 Knox, i., 324. 

200 John Knox [i 5S9 - 

prelates and their shavelings . " In these epistles all 
rebellious intentions are expressly repudiated ; the 
claim for liberty of preaching and worship is em 
phasised as what the Protestants are bound at 
all hazards to maintain; and the organisation of 
the Congregation is declared to be intended not 
for offence but for defence. So long, however, as 
open "idolatry" was preached and imposed, and 
cruel persecution continued, "just vengeance" 
would be executed, and a "contract of peace 
never be made." l 

It was manifest to both parties that a conflict 
was inevitable: yet neither side was prepared to 
precipitate hostilities. Lord James Stewart, more 
over, and the Earl of Argyle, although recognised 
as Reformers, remained in the Regent s camp; 
and their position there exerted over both parties 
a restraining influence. Through the mediation 
of these two leaders a treaty was arranged, by 
which Perth was surrendered to the Regent s 
forces: while its Protestant citizens were to have 
freedom of worship, and the city was to be exempt 
"from the garrison of French soldiers." 2 

III. The truce was only temporary: the con 
flict was soon resumed elsewhere. From Perth 
the Protestant centre of consultation and opera 
tion was transferred to St. Andrews: and again 
Knox is in the forefront. At this stage in the 

1 Knox, i. , 326-336. 

2 Ibid., i., 340-342. 

Interior of West Church, Perth, being part of the Church of St. John s, 
where Knox preached on nth May, 1559. The pulpit no longer 
exists, but its site is marked by the white cross in photograph. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 201 

end of May the Earl of Argyle, Lord James 
Stewart, and other notable Reformers departed 
from the Regent, on the ground that she had 
failed to fulfil the terms of the treaty. Soldiers 
in the pay of France, although of Scottish na 
tionality, were retained in Perth and allowed 
to assault members of the congregation. 1 An 
assembly of Protestant leaders was convened at 
St. Andrews on the 3rd of June. Among those 
who responded to the summons was Knox. He 
preached on the way at Anstruther and at Crail: 
he was resolved also to preach in the city of the 
Primate, and to realise his "assured hope" when 
he lay ill in a French galley more than ten years 
before. The Archbishop heard of his intentions, 
and threatened to have him saluted with a dozen 
"culverins" (firelocks). Many of the Reforming 
leaders counselled that "the preaching should be 
delayed for that day"; but Knox pleaded the 
requirement of conscience and disregarded the 
menace. He preached in the parish church on 
the "Cleansing of the Temple," not only without 
molestation, but with so much effect that the 
magistrates, supported by the majority of the 
citizens, proceeded "with expedition" to remove 
"all monuments of idolatry" from the Cathedral 
and other churches of the city. 2 

1 Knox, i., 346; Spottisw., i., 274, 275. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 348, 349. Simultaneously the monas 
teries of the Greyfriars and Blackfriars were destroyed, only 
the walls being left standing; but this appears to have been 

202 John Knox [1559- 

The Primate could hardly have been expected 
to submit tamely to such a defiance of his au 
thority. He repaired to the Regent, who by this 
time had reached Falkland with an army led by 
D Oysel and Chatelherault. She proceeded to 
wards St. Andrews to attack the Reformers, 
and actual warfare again appeared imminent ; but 
when a force of three thousand men under Argyle 
and Lord James Stewart barred the way at Cupar, 
a second truce or " assurance" for eight days was 
concluded, nominally with a view to a friendly 
conference, but really in order to cover a with 
drawal of the Regent to the south of the Forth. 
During this interval the "purging" of churches 
and monasteries continued; among other build 
ings dealt with was the Abbey of Lindores. 1 

IV. At the expiry of the truce on the ist of 
June, the Reformers took possession of Perth, 
which surrendered after a brief resistance 2 ; the 
citizens being for the most part in sympathy with 
the Protestant movement. A few days after 
wards, against the will of Knox and many others, 
the Abbey of Scone was destroyed by fire 3 ; Stir- 

the work neither of the Reformers nor of the magistrates, 
but of the "rascal multitude" (see Hume Brown, H. of Sc., 
ii., 60). "There is no contemporary evidence to prove that 
the Cathedral was demolished at the Reformation" (Hay 
Fleming, St. Andrews, p. 51). 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 353; Laing, W. of K., vi., 26. 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 357-359. 

3 Ibid., i., 359-362. "Whereat [writes Knox] no small 
number of us were offended." He and other Protestant 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 203 

ling was occupied by a military force, and all 
"monuments of idolatry" were removed from its 
churches ; Linlithgow Abbey was similarly purged. 
Before the end of the month the main body of 
armed Protestants, under Argyle and Lord James 
Stewart, entered Edinburgh, where a mob had 
already assailed the Blackfriars and Greyfriars 
monasteries, and "had left nothing but bare 
walls, yea, not so much as door or window." x 
Within a few days the Reformed forces, after the 
arrival of contingents, amounted to six thousand. 2 
It was a critical juncture. The destructive doings 
of excited and irresponsible multitudes tended to 
alienate influential sympathy from the Reform 
cause ; while the Regent and her partisans charged 
the Protestants with cloaking political revolution 
under so-called religious reformation. 3 To Knox 
was committed the task of publicly explaining and 
vindicating the Reformers position. On the very 
day of their arrival in Edinburgh, he preached in 

leaders appear to have done "what in them lay to have 
stayed the fury of the multitude." The notorious profligacy 
of Bishop Hepburn of Moray, who also held the abbacy of 
Scone, and was there at the time; the belief that "by his 
counsel was Walter Milne put to death " ; and the evil repu 
tation of the abbey as regards tolerance of immorality, com 
bined to stimulate popular violence. An old woman, who 
lived in the neighbourhood declared the burning to be a judg 
ment of God, and testified that "since my remembrance this 
place hath been nothing else but a den of whore-mongers." 
1 Knox, H. of R., i., 362, 363; Calderwood, H. of the Kirk, 

i-. 474, 475- 

3 Laing, W. of K., vl, 35. 3 Knox, H. of R.,i., 363. 

204 John Knox [1559- 

St. Giles , and, as the Regent herself declared, 
"took the greatest pains to defend the chief sup 
porters of the religion from the charge of aiming 
at the Crown, and of having any other object in 
view, except the advancement of the Gospel." : 
In a private letter, written prior to the delivery 
of the sermon, Knox states "that we mean no 
tumult, no alteration of authority, but only the 
reformation of religion and suppression of idol 
atry." 2 The discourse, accordingly, was followed 
up by a public manifesto, declaring that "in all 
civil and political matters" the Reformers will be 
"obedient subjects"; and that the entire object 
they had in view was liberty of conscience, the 
right ministration of Word and sacraments, de 
liverance from persecution, and here the patri 
otic element comes into view removal of the 
"burthen intolerable of the French soldiery." 3 

The Regent continued to treat the Protestants 
as rebels; and after receiving assurance that 
Lord Erskine, 4 the governor of Edinburgh Castle, 

1 Teulet, Papiers de I etat relatifs a I histoire de I Ecosse, 
i., 325; P. Forbes, Pub. Transact, in Reign of Elizabeth, i., 
1 80. At a later stage the Protestant lords contemplated the 
propriety of electing the Earl of Arran or Lord James Stewart 
as regent in the room of Mary of Guise (St. Pap. Eliz. Foreign, 
i., 446). 

3 Letter to Mrs. Locke (Laing, W. of K., vi., 30). 

3 Knox, H. of R., i., 365-367. 

4 Lord Erskine (afterwards Regent Mar) was one of those 
who "repaired" to Knox in 1556 (ibid., p. 249), and who 
invited the Reformer to return to Scotland in 1557. While 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 205 

would not be antagonistic to her, she advanced on 
the city with an increased force. The Reformers 
at first resolved to offer resistance; but the atti 
tude of Lord Erskine, along with the diminution 
of their ranks at the approach of harvest, led, on 
the 24th of July, to an agreement between the two 
parties to be valid until the loth of January. 
The army of the Congregation consented to 
evacuate the capital, and to refrain from injury 
to " Kirks" or " Kirkmen, " on the understanding 
that the Protestant citizenship and their preachers 
were unmolested in their worship. On neither 
side, however, was this "appointment" regarded 
as other than a temporary pacification. The 
Regent waited for French reinforcements, and 
the Reformers for assurance of more effective 
support from their countrymen or from England, 
before continuing the conflict and bringing it to a 
decisive conclusion. 1 

favourable to the Reformation from the ecclesiastical stand 
point, he was among those who were afraid of civil war. He 
refused to let either Regent or Reformers obtain possession of 
the Castle of Edinburgh ; but his attitude during this period, 
although nominally neutral, was more friendly towards the 
Regent than towards the Protestants. See "History of the 
Estate of Scotland from 1559-1666," in Wodrow Misc., p. 64; 
Knox, H. of R., i., 375. 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 378-382; Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 145. 
The agreement of the 24th of July, which Knox gives in full, 
contains no clause about the dismissal of French soldiers 
from the country : but the Reformers appear to have alleged 
that the Regent, on this occasion, promised to dispense with 
such foreign service; and when, instead of this, she received 

2 o6 John Knox [1559- 

V. By this time Knox had been appointed 
minister of St. Giles ; but his counsel and service 
were too valuable for the leaders of the Reform 
movement to lose, and on the 26th of July he 
departed from Edinburgh with the Protestant 
host, leaving John Willock in his room. 1 During 

fresh reinforcements from France, they accused her of break 
ing an engagement which she denied having made (Knox, 
H. of R., i., 397, 398, 413; St. Pap. Eliz. For., i., 409, 446; 
Sadler, St. Pap., i., 430, 431). Andrew Lang (Sc. Hist. R., 
Jan., 1905, p. 128) charges Knox with making "statements 
false and deliberately misleading about the agreement, par 
ticularly at an interview with Croft, Governor of Berwick, 
who certainly understood Knox to mean that a promise to 
dismiss the French was connected with the compact (St. Pap., 
Eliz., i., 446; Bain, Cal., i., 237). But, assuming that Croft 
understood Knox rightly, (i) if the latter deliberately mis 
informed the former, it is strange that he should have 
supplied so carefully in his History the proof of his own false 
hood. (2) Knox s view of the significance of the agreement 
was shared by other Reformers. Was there a general con 
spiracy of mendacity? (3) There is a possible solution of the 
difficulty without impugning the honesty of either the Re 
gent or the Reformers. Chatelherault, who then still ad 
hered to the Queen-dowager, acted as intermediary between 
her and the Protestant lords. In his anxiety to effect an 
agreement, he may have assured the Reformers rather too 
confidently that if they accepted loyally the terms of the 
compact, the Regent would be able to send away the unpopu 
lar French auxiliaries; and this assurance may have been 
interpreted as involving a promise by Mary such as she never 
intended to give. 

1 Knox was publicly elected by the congregation of Edin 
burgh" on 7th July (Wodrow Miscellany, p. 63). Willock 
had arrived in Scotland from Friesland in October, 1558, and 
had preached in the interval at Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayr, and 
other places (Knox, H. of R., i., 256; note, 388). 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 207 

the autumn of 1559, Knox takes the leading 
part on the Reform side in religion and even 
in politics. His chief task was to enlighten 
the people as to the real nature and import 
ance of the conflict on which the Protestants 
had been constrained to enter. In a letter 
written from St. Andrews on the 2nd of Septem 
ber, he speaks of having "travelled through the 
most part of this realm " ; he declares with thank 
fulness that "men of all sorts and conditions em 
brace the truth"; that "the trumpet soundeth 
over all the land" ; and that a "ministry is es 
tablished" in Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Dundee, 
Perth, Brechin, Stirling, and Ayr. 1 About the 
same date, Sadler, the English ambassador, testi 
fies that " the preachers have so won the people to 
their devotion, their power is now double that 
[which] it was in the cause of religion." 2 

Knox had other work, less congenial, on hand 
during this period of truce. The substantial sup 
port, in the form both of money and military force, 
which the Regent and the Catholics were receiving 
from France, must so it was considered be 
balanced by like support being secured for the 
Reformers from England : and Knox was regarded 
as, on the whole, the fittest person to conduct the 
necessary negotiations. He had served effec 
tively the cause of the English Reformation ; he 

1 Letter to Mrs. Locke, in Laing, W. of K., vi., 78. 

2 State Papers, i., 431. 

2o8 John Knox [ I559 - 

had undergone peril and endured exile among 
English churchmen during Mary Tudor s reign; 
and although his "First Blast" had prejudiced 
him in the eyes of Elizabeth, her Prime Minister, 
Cecil, and the ambassadors to the French and 
Scottish Courts, Throgmorton and Sadler, were 
fully aware of his integrity and influence. 1 The 
Reformer accordingly was instructed to propose 
to the English Government a league for the de 
liverance of Scotland from the double incubus of 
Roman superstition and French interference. 2 In 
the beginning of August, he conferred at Berwick 
with Sir James Croft, governor of that town, 
and was prepared to proceed to Stamford in Lin 
colnshire, where an interview between Cecil and 
himself had been arranged. But his arrival in Ber 
wick had been observed by spies and reported to 
the Regent; the Government of England did not 
yet see its way to an avowed alliance with Scottish 
Protestants which would have affected prejudici 
ally English relations with France and Spain ; and 
Knox returned home with no more than a letter 
from Cecil, in which the latter offered moral sup 
port to the Scottish Reformers, but refrained from 
committing his country to actual intervention. 

1 See letter from Throgmorton to Cecil, yth June, 1559, in 
Forbes s Public Transactions, i., 119. "Forasmuch as Knox 
is now in Scotland in as great credit as ever man was there, 
it were well done not to use him otherwise than may be for 
the advancement of the Queen s Majesty s service." 

3 Laing, W. of K., vi., 56: Teulet, i., 326. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 209 

It was due, however, partly to Knox s plain 
speaking in connection with these negotiations that 
England eventually took the step which the in 
terests of both nations demanded. He set before 
Queen Elizabeth, through her ministers, the real 
aim of France in its endeavour to establish a 
paramount influence in Scotland. That influence 
was not an end but a means a means of strength 
ening the position of France as regards England. 
Now (so Knox contended), while there was no 
reason to question the sincerity of the Reformed 
and of the anti- French party in Scotland, still 
French subsidies on the one side and Scottish 
impoverishment on the other were likely to issue 
in the triumph of the Regent unless help arrived 
from England for the Protestants. 1 By the middle 
of August, as the outcome of the negotiations con 
ducted by Knox, the English Government resolved 
to enter privately into the alliance for which the 
Scottish Reform party pleaded, and it inaugur 
ated the league with a subsidy of ^3000. 2 The 
assistance was comparatively small; but it con 
vinced the Protestant leaders that England had 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 60-69. Cecil was doubtless well 
aware of the designs of France, but it strengthened his hands, 
in his communications with Elizabeth, to have the French 
policy plainly declared by other testimony. 

2 Sadler, St. Pap., i., 387. The resolution was come to, 
indeed, before the letter of Knox to Cecil was received; 
but what the Reformer wrote to the Prime Minister was, 
in effect, what had previously been set forth by him at 
Berwick to Sir James Croft, and transmitted to headquarters. 

210 John Knox [ I559 - 

at length recognised their cause as also hers ; and 
it encouraged them to maintain a conflict in which 
England could not afford to allow them to be 

VI. In one other sphere the judgment and 
courage of Knox advanced the Protestant cause. 
Hitherto the Reformers had refrained from any 
formal renunciation of the Regent s authority; 
they had taken up the position of men who had 
been driven into armed opposition on religious 
grounds because freedom of preaching and of wor 
ship had been withheld. Mary s own procedure 
at this juncture supplied an adequate occasion 
for the Protestant leaders throwing off, or at least 
suspending, their allegiance on patriotic grounds. 
We have seen that, not without good reason, the 
fear of actual or virtual annexation by France 
had been awakened in Scotland. On the loth of 
July, the Dauphin, on whom the Scottish Crown 
Matrimonial had been bestowed, became King of 
France. He bore also the title of King of Scot 
land; and in the event of Mary Stuart s death, 
especially if she left no issue, then, with a French 
Regent on the throne and a French army in the 
country, the danger to Scottish independence 
would obviously be real and imminent. On the 
igth of September, accordingly, the Lords of the 
Congregation, with whom, by this time, Chatel- 
herault had allied himself, demanded the dismissal 
of foreign troops. The Regent declined to comply; 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 211 

and when the demand was repeated a month later, 
the refusal was renewed. At a convention of nobles 
and representatives of burghs, the propriety of re 
nouncing allegiance was discussed. It was thought 
expedient that the judgment of the preachers should 
be required." Knox and Willock were summoned 
to the meeting. They gave it as their opinion that 
as the Regent had "denied her chief duty to the 
subjects of this Realm, which was to minister 
justice to them indifferently, to preserve their 
liberties from invasion of strangers, and to suffer 
them to have God s Word freely and openly 
preached among them," therefore "for the pre 
servation of the Commonwealth," the " born 
counsellors, nobility, and barons of the Realm" 
might "justly deprive her of all regiment and au 
thority." Knox took care, however, to require 
that "no such sentence be pronounced against 
her, but that, upon her known and open repent 
ance, and upon her conversion to the Common 
wealth, place should be granted to her of regress 
to the same honours from which she justly might 
be deprived." z Allegiance was to be suspended, 
not permanently withdrawn. The advice of the 
preachers commended itself to the Lords who, on 
the 23rd of October, resolved to suspend Mary of 
Guise from the regency. They emphasised in their 
protestation her "planting of strangers" in the 
realm, her "sending continually [to France] for 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 442, 443. 

212 John Knox [1559- 

greater forces," and her evident purpose to "sup 
press the liberty of our native country," and "to 
make us and our posterity slaves to strangers for 
ever." Such a policy, it was declared, " is intoler 
able in free countries," and "prejudicial to our 
Sovereign Lady [Mary Stuart] and her heirs." 1 
It was a straightforward and patriotic policy; 
and if it deprived the Reformers of the support 
of some who shrank from the peril of civil war, it 
won the sympathy of others who were determined 
to prevent Scotland from becoming a province of 
France. It helped, apparently, to decide at least 
one distinguished waverer. A week after the 
withdrawal of allegiance had been declared, Mait- 
land of Lethington left the service of the Regent 
and rejoined the ranks of his former associates in 
the Reformation movement. 2 

Knox, of course, had other reasons for resist 
ing Mary of Guise than the fear of French en 
croachment on Scottish liberty. In his eyes the 
despotism of Rome was a greater evil than the 
domination of France. But the national senti 
ment by which, from the outset, he was charac 
terised never departed from him. He was a Scot 
to the core; and we have no reason to believe 
that the patriotic element which had entered into 
the Protestant policy was regarded by him with in 
difference. When national independence appeared 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 444, 445. 

2 Ibid., i., 463. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 213 

to be at stake, the religious Reformer became also 
the Scottish patriot. Knox s solicitude for his 
country at this time is attested by three private 
letters written soon after the 5th of November, 
when the Protestants were defeated in a skirmish 
near Holyrood by the Regent s troops, newly re 
inforced by a fresh contingent from France. To 
Sir William Cecil, on the i8th of November, he 
describes the gloomy outlook " unless greater force 
remove the Frenchmen." T To Sir James Croft, a 
month later, he writes anxiously that " the French 
have on hand some hasty and great enterprise ; 
"for they have shipped much ordnance." 2 To 
Mrs. Locke, a few days afterwards, he declares that 
"one day of trouble since my last arrival in Scot 
land [referring to the $th of November] hath 
more pierced my heart than all the torment of 
the galleys." 3 Amid heavy burdens of public 
anxiety at this period, Knox had the alleviation 
of domestic comfort. In September 1559 his wife 
and children arrived in Scotland. In spite of poor 
health, she appears to have supported him not only 
with her sympathy, but with practical help as his 
amanuensis. 4 

1 Laing, W . of K., vi., 99. 

2 Ibid., vi., 102. 

3 Ibid., vi., 104. 

4 Ibid. In his letter to Mrs. Locke, above quoted, Knox 
mentions incidentally that his wife was unable to find some 
extract; and he states in explanation that "her rest hath 
been so un restful since her arriving here, that scarcely could 
she tell on the morrow what she wrote at night." 

214 John Knox [i S59 _ 

VII. The defeat of the Congregation by the 
French forces, the attitude of the Governor of the 
Castle, who "would promise unto us no favours," 
and the desertion of many of the rank and file in 
the Protestant host, who "did so steal away that 
the wit of man could not stay them," led to a 
pause in the conflict. The apparent lukewarm- 
ness at this crisis of many who, as the event 
proved, sympathised with the Reformation move 
ment, was the result probably of various causes. 
Knox mentions the "impoverishment" of the 
leaders who were unable on that account to main 
tain an army. It is not unlikely, also, that the 
covetous motives of some lay promoters of the 
Reformation may already have become manifest, 
and thus have cooled popular sympathy. Many, 
moreover, who were Protestants by conviction, 
may have clung to the hope of a pacific Reforma 
tion, or have shrunk from a conflict in which 
men might have to fight against kinsmen and 
friends. Dispirited, accordingly, through defeat, 
and still more through inadequate national sup 
port, the Reformers retired from Edinburgh im 
mediately after the engagement at Holyrood and 
took up their quarters in Stirling. 1 It was "a 
dolorous departure," writes Knox: the situation 
seemed desperate; but he was not the man to 
despair of what he believed to be a righteous 
cause. On the day after the arrival in Stirling 

1 Knox, H. of R., i., 464, 465; ii., 3. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 215 

he preached in the Greyfriars Church a sermon 
(from Psalm Ixxx.) in which he confesses char 
acteristically that some of them had good reason 
to humble themselves before God for trusting in 
" their own strength and an arm of flesh ; while 
others of them had been, up till recent days, "a 
great comfort to their enemies, and a great dis 
courage" to themselves. 1 Nevertheless, he de 
clares emphatically his conviction that their 
"cause, in spite of Satan, shall prevail, for it is 
the eternal truth of the Eternal God." 2 Knox 
himself states that after that sermon "the minds 
of men began wondrously to be erected ; and 
that this idea was no mere outcome of self-esteem 
is indicated by the testimony of contemporaries, 3 
and by the resolution of the Council of the Con 
gregation that very afternoon to continue the 
conflict, and to apply again to the English Gov 
ernment for assistance. 4 The fresh application 
to England, especially when a sovereign like 

1 On the 1 8th November (Laing, W. of K., vi., 100), 
Knox had already discovered that "amongst us were such 
as more sought the purse than Christ s glory." 

2 Knox, H. of R.,i., 471, 472. 

3 Buchanan (H. of Sc., xvi., 196) writes Knox s "bright 
and clear discourse " (luculentam concionem), and of "his rais 
ing the minds of many into a sure hope of speedy deliver 
ance." The Historie of the Estate of Scotland from 1559 to 
1566 represents the lords at Stirling as "taking new courage, 
partly being persuaded by a godly sermon made by John 
Knox" (Wodrow Misc., p. 72). 

4 Knox, H. of R.,i., 473. 

216 John Knox [ I559 - 

Elizabeth had to be approached, required a high de 
gree of diplomatic sagacity. Diplomacy was not 
Knox s strong point : he was better fitted for bold 
testimony than for skilful manoeuvre : and he re 
garded not as a disappointment, but as a relief, 
the supersession of himself on this occasion by 
Maitland as ambassador from the Congregation to 
the English Government. For such an office Mait 
land was specially qualified both by natural gifts 
and by experience; while Knox had little apti 
tude for it, and less inclination. 1 

VIII. During Maitland s absence in England, 
Knox made St. Andrews his headquarters. He 
writes from there on the i8th of November with 
mingled feelings; they "hope deliverance" but 
"stand universally in great fear." 2 The fear 
was well founded. Fresh reinforcements were ar 
riving from France. On Christmas Eve a strong 
detachment was sent to surprise and overwhelm 
the Reformers at Stirling, and these escaped 
capture only by hasty flight. 3 St. Andrews was 
the centre next threatened; and although the 
Protestants, with a little army of six hundred, 

1 Diplomacy without dissimulation is difficult: and even 
the straightforward Knox once deflected from strict honesty 
in his negotiations with England. He met the plea of Eng 
lish statesmen, that military support of Scottish Protestants 
would lead to war with France, by suggesting that they 
might send a thousand men to Scotland and then "declare 
them rebels!" (Laing, W. of K., vi., 90, 94). 

2 Ibid., vi., 101. 

3 "Hist, of the Estate of Scot.," in Wodrow Misc., 74, 75. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 217 

valiantly withstood the advance of four thousand 
Frenchmen at Kinghorn, at Kirkcaldy, at Cupar 
(where Knox inspirited them with a "comfortable 
service"), 1 and finally at Dysart, the annihilation 
of the Reformed forces in Fife appeared immin 
ent. At this crisis, however, the first-fruits of 
Maitland s embassy were reaped. On the 2$th 
of January an English squadron appeared in the 
Forth, seized two French vessels which carried 
provisions for the Regent s army, and blocked the 
estuary against the advance of ships from France 
with additional reinforcements. The tide had 
turned. The French army, which had approached 
within six miles of St. Andrews, "retired more 
in one day than they had advanced in ten." 2 
Queen Elizabeth and her Government had at 
length fully realised the danger to England of 
French predominance in Scotland: and this 
timely appearance of the English fleet was fol 
lowed up, in the end of February, at Berwick, by 
a "contract" between the two countries. It was 
agreed that a "convenient aid of men of war on 
horse and foot" should be despatched without 
delay from England to assist the Scots in driv 
ing out the French; the Scots, on the other hand, 

1 He preached appropriately from John vi., on the disci 
ples in the midst of the sea while Jesus was on the mountain. 
"The fourth watch," he said, "is not yet come"; they 
"must abide a little"; but he was "assuredly persuaded 
that God shall deliver us" (Knox, H. of R., ii., 8). 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 108. 

218 John Knox [i S59 _ 

undertaking to perform a like service for Eliza 
beth in the event of an invasion of England. 1 

IX. The Regent and her party became now 
defenders instead of assailants. Her army, on 
tidings being received of the approach of the Eng 
lish, retired within the fortifications of Leith. 
She herself, along with the Primate and other 
dignitaries, civil and ecclesiastical, was admitted 
by Lord Erskine into the Castle of Edinburgh. 2 
Meanwhile, on the 2nd of April, 1560, the 
English army, under the command of Lord Gray 
de Wilton, had crossed the Border and was met 
two days later at Prestonpans by the Scottish 
forces under Chatelherault, Lord James Stewart, 
and other leaders of the Congregation. 3 Such a 
sight had never before been witnessed. The an 
cient alliance between Scotland and France had 
been broken, through the selfish policy of the 
latter to make Scotland a tool for the promotion 
of French interests; the alliance was destined 
never to be renewed until modern times. The 
ancient quarrel with England, although not for 
gotten (for the English army received no warm re 
ception from the people), was subordinated to 

1 Knox, H. of K., ii., 47-49; Wodrow Misc., pp. 79, 80. 
The English contingent amounted to ten thousand; and the 
Scots bound themselves to furnish England, if invaded, with 
"two thousand horsemen and two thousand footmen." 

2 Ibid., ii., 58; Lesley, H. of Sc. (Sc. Text Soc. ed.), ii., 

3 Knox, H. ofR.,ji.,S7, 58. 

i 5 6 ] Final Return to Scotland 219 

patriotic as well as religious considerations, a 
prelude to the more cordial and permanent union 
of later days. 

Before the united army left Prestonpans to lay 
siege to Leith, a final appeal was addressed to the 
Regent. She was asked to render the armed co 
operation of England unnecessary by the dismissal 
of those French soldiers whose continued presence, 
it was declared, constrained the Reformers to seek 
and obtain English assistance. 1 No satisfactory 
answer, however, at this stage was expected ; and 
on the 2yth of April a " Band " was signed by lead 
ing Scottish nobles and gentry. In accordance 
with the patriotic character which the Protest 
ant movement had now assumed, they pledged 
themselves not only, as they had formerly done, 
to "set forward the Reformation of religion, 
that the truth of God s Word may have free 
passage within the realm, with due adminis 
tration of the sacraments"; but to* "take part 
with the Queen of England s army for the expul 
sion of the [French] strangers, oppressors of our 
liberty," and for the government of the country 
"under obedience of the King and Queen, our 
Sovereigns, by the laws and customs of the coun 
try and born men of the land." 2 

1 Buchanan, xvi., 197. 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 61, 62. This Band, which Knox 
gives in full, was probably drawn up by himself; the putting 
of the religious aim of the conflict in the forefront betokens 
his hand. The signatures include forty-nine leading nobles 

220 John Knox [1559- 

X. The siege of Leith proved to be an arduous 
undertaking. The "ordnance of the town" gave 
great annoyance to the assailants; whereas the 
breaches made in the walls during the day were 
promptly repaired by the French soldiery during 
the night. In the skirmishes outside the walls, 
on the occasion of sudden sallies, the Frenchmen 
had, on the whole, the advantage. 1 Amid the in 
effectiveness of the Scottish military forces, on 
both sides, the issue appeared to depend mainly 
on whether France or England would be the 
more ready to despatch reinforcements. But 
at this time the French Government, owing 
to the unsettled condition of affairs at home, 2 
grudged men, while Queen Elizabeth, as on 
former occasions, grudged money. England 
and France both desired a termination of the 
conflict ; and accordingly commissioners were ap 
pointed by the Governments of each nation to 
meet in Edinburgh and to treat for peace. Before 
they met on the i6th of June, two hindrances in 
the way of pacification had been removed. On 
the one hand, the false position into which the 

and gentry, among whom were Lord James Stewart, Chatel- 
herault, Argyle, Glencairn, and Rothes. The adhesion of sev 
eral prominent Catholics, as Lords Huntly and Somerville, 
notwithstanding the Protestant character of the document, 
indicates the strength of the patriotic and anti-French senti 
ment which the Regent s policy of dependence on France 
(apart from the religious question) had fostered. 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 59, 60, 66, 67. 

3 The conspiracy at Amboise had intervened. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 221 

Regent had drifted by her subservience to French 
policy and her employment of French forces; on 
the other hand, the attitude of rebellion which 
the Reformers had been constrained to adopt 
through the necessity of suspending, on patriotic 
as well as religious grounds, their allegiance to 
the Regent these two causes of strife had been 
terminated by the death of Mary of Guise on the 
loth of June. When her end approached, she 
sent for Argyle, Lord James Stewart, and other 
Protestant nobles. Her dying counsel was to 
procure the withdrawal both of English and of 
French soldiers from the land. 1 

Within a month of the Regent s death a 
treaty was signed in which England and France 
were nominally the contracting parties, but 
Scottish affairs were the main subject deter 
mined. The French and English armies were 
both to depart; an Act of Oblivion was to be 
passed by the Estates, to be afterwards confirmed 
by Queen Mary and her Consort ; and the govern 
ment of the country, in the royal absence, was to 
be in the hands of a Council of Twelve, five to 
be chosen by the Estates and seven by the Queen, 
out of twenty-four persons selected by Parlia 
ment. The subject of religion, out of which the 
whole conflict had arisen, was by common consent 
ignored. France could not afford to endorse Pro 
testantism; England, or at least Elizabeth, was 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 70, 71. 

222 John Knox [1559- 

not prepared to be a party to the establishment 
of Calvinism or Puritanism; the settlement of 
ecclesiastical questions was left to the Scottish 
Estates. 1 To Knox, the issue so far was satis 
factory; and to his suggestion, we may presume, 
was due the solemn thanksgiving on the ipth of 
July in St. Giles Church. In his discourse on 
that occasion he gives thanks to God for 
"setting this perishing realm at a reasonable 
liberty"; and for having "partly removed our 
darkness, suppressed idolatry, and taken from 
above our heads the devouring sword of merciless 
strangers. 2 

XI. The Estates assembled on the ist August, 
1560. From the strictly legal standpoint this 
Parliament was informal ; for the Sovereign was 
neither present in person nor represented by 
a commissioner. A minority, accordingly, of 
the membership objected to the validity of 
the procedure ; but the unusually large attend 
ance gave to the convention an authority which 
at a national crisis no informality could in 
validate.- 3 While a portion of the clergy and 
laymen present were opposed to the Reforma- 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 85, 86. 

2 Ibid. 

3 The attendance included one duke, thirteen earls, and 
nineteen other lords, the Primate, five other bishops, and 
twenty abbots and priors; one hundred and ten barons; 
and the representatives of twenty- two burghs (Teulet, i., 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 223 

tion, the Parliament as a whole was strongly 
Protestant. Knox did his utmost, in his own 
sphere, to secure due consideration for the re 
ligious needs of the time. From his pulpit in St. 
Giles he applied to existing circumstances the pro 
phecies of Haggai, and enforced the national duty 
of rebuilding the house of God and of preferring 
divine honour to selfish advantage. 1 The " mock- 
age" of some, indeed (even among those friendly 
to the Reformation), foreshadowed coming disap 
pointment; but the prevailing evangelical senti 
ments were embodied in a largely signed and 
trenchant supplication to Parliament by the 
barons, gentlemen, burgesses, and others, "true 
subjects of this realm, professing the Lord Jesus 
Christ." In this supplication are recounted the 
erroneous doctrines of Romanism ; the unfounded 
pretensions of the papacy ; the (idolatrous) minis 
tration of the sacraments; the immorality, ra 
pacity, and persecuting cruelty of leading clergy ; 
and the petitioners crave a remedy for a "bur 
den intolerable upon the Kirk of God within the 
realm." 2 

It was indicated at the outset on which side the 
sympathies of the Estates lay by the resolution 
to ask from those who objected to Roman doctrine 
a detailed statement of their own belief. The 
drawing up of this Confession of Faith was 

1 Knox, H. oj R., ii., 88. 
3 Ibid., ii., 89-92. 


224 John Knox [i SS9 - 

intrusted to six ministers Knox, Row, and Wil- 
lock, who belonged to the more advanced section 
of the Reformers; Wynram, Spottiswoode, and 
Douglas, who represented the more moderate 
party. 1 The first draft was composed by one 
man, presumably Knox himself 2 ; but Wynram, 
and also Lethington, to whom the document was 
committed for examination, while approving the 
doctrine, are stated to have "mitigated the 
austerity of many words and sentences." 3 Knox 
states that "within four days" of the parlia 
mentary order, the Confession (consisting of 
twenty-five chapters) was presented; but we 
need not infer that the work was prepared with 
in this brief interval. 4 It bears no marks of 
hasty production. Knox had doubtless spent 
many days upon its composition, in anticipation 
of the task which devolved upon him; and the 
four days were occupied, presumably, in revision. 
Like other Reformed Confessions, this product of 
Scottish Protestantism emphasised the suprem- 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 128. By a coincidence all the six 
bore the name of John. 

2 Randolph, letter to Cecil, in Laing, W. of K., vi., 120. 

3 Ibid. , p. 121. Wynram and Maitland appear also, from 
Randolph s letter, to have recommended the omission of the 
strongly worded chapter on the Civil Magistrate; but ap 
parently the commission did not endorse that recommenda 
tion, unless Prof. A. F. Mitchell s conjecture be adopted 
(Scott. Ref., p. 101), that they objected only to a particular 
sentence regarding the limits of obedience. 

4 A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., p. 99. 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 225 

acy and sufficiency of Holy Scripture as the rule 
of faith; the worthlessness of human works as 
the ground of a sinner s pardon; and the deter 
mination of the true Church not by antiquity, 
succession, or general prevalence, but by the 
faithful preaching of the Word, the right admin 
istration of the sacraments, and the fidelity of 
ecclesiastical discipline. The Church as a divine 
institution is firmly upheld ; but there is no shrink 
ing from the investiture of the civil magistrate 
with the power of "dealing" with a corrupt ec 
clesiastical organisation. We have seen how, at 
an early period of his career as a Reformer, Knox 
appears to have been influenced by the first Hel 
vetic Confession, which George Wishart trans 
lated and brought back with him to Scotland ; and 
the strong statement of that manifesto, that they 
who "bring in strange or ungodly opinions should 
be constrained and punished by the magistrates," 1 
finds its echo in the declaration of this Scottish 
standard of doctrine that to the civil magistrate 
belong the power and duty of " suppressing all 
idolatry and superstition." 2 

The Confession of the early Scottish Reformers 
is, in most particulars, conspicuously broader than 
that of the Westminster divines 3 : and it is sig 
nalised by three other admirable features. (i) 

1 Chapter xxiv. of "Helvetic Conf.," Wodrow Misc., 21. 

2 The Confession of Faith professed and believed by the Pro 
testants within the realm of Scotland, chap. xxiv. 

3 See Additional Note at the end of this Chapter. 

226 John Knox [1559- 

Amid the general backwardness of early Protest 
ant Christendom in recognising its evangelistic 
responsibility it is refreshing to find on the title- 
page of the Confession the grand missionary 
motto: "This glad tidings of the Kingdom shall 
be preached through the whole world for a witness 
to all nations." (2) Amid arrogant claims at 
various periods to a jus divinum both by Episco 
palians and by Presbyterians, and amid the nar 
row views at once of Ritualists and of Puritans as 
to forms of worship, the testimony of this old Con 
fession of 1560 is significantly liberal: "Not that 
we think that one policy and one order of cere 
monies can be appointed for all ages, times, and 
places." (3) Once more: in no Confession of any 
age is the fallibility of its own testimony so ex 
pressly and so finely set forth : 

"Protesting that if any man will note in this our 
Confession any article or sentence repugning to God s 
Holy Word, it would please him, of his gentleness, 
and for Christian charity s sake, to admonish us of the 
same in writing: and we of our honour and fidelity, 
do promise unto him satisfaction from the mouth 
of God (i. e., from His Holy Scriptures), or else 
reformation of that which he shall prove to be amiss." 1 

The promptness with which the Confession was 
presented is equalled by the expedition with 
which it was sanctioned. We have two accounts 

Knox, H. of R., ii., 94, 96, 113. 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 227 

of the proceedings in Parliament from men who 
were present that of Knox, and the one given 
by the English ambassador, Randolph. To the 
former, strong in the conviction that the declara 
tion of faith contained "the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth," it occasioned, 
apparently, no surprise that although numerous 
adversaries of the Reformation were members of 
the Estates, there was little expressed dissent 
and still less disputation. "The Confession," he 
writes, "was willingly accepted, without altera 
tion of any one sentence." But the English on 
looker records his astonishment. " I never heard 
matters of so great importance neither sooner dis 
patched nor with better will agreed to." 2 

Reformed ministers were in attendance, " stand 
ing upon their feet, ready to have answered in case 
any would have defended the papistry" ; but their 
services were not required. The Primate and two 
other bishops Crighton of Dunkeld and Chis- 
holm of Dunblane contented themselves with 
giving an adverse vote on the ground that 
" they had not sufficient time to examine" the 
document 3 : otherwise they "spake nothing." 4 
They were joined in their dissent by five tem 
poral lords who gave no further reason for their 
vote than the ultra-conservative maxim, "We 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 92, 121. 

2 Randolph, letter to Cecil, in Laing, W. of K., vi., 116. 

3 Ibid., p. 117. 

4 Knox, H. of R., ii., 122. 

228 John Knox [i S59 - 

will believe as our fathers believed." T The 
oldest peer of the realm, Lord Lindsay, whom 
the English ambassador designates "as grave 
and goodly a man as I ever saw," uttered a 
Nunc Dimittis : rejoicing that it " hath pleased 
God to let me see this day"; while the Earl 
Marischal grandfather of the founder, on Pro 
testant lines, of Marischal College and Uni 
versity at Aberdeen declared that seeing the 
"pillars of the Pope s Church here present speak 
nothing to the contrary of the doctrine proposed, 
I cannot but hold it to be the very truth of God." 2 
How much the attitude of the Romanists, and 
especially of the prelates, was due to fear, to lack 
of thorough conviction, to argumentative inabil 
ity, to apathy engendered by hopelessness it is 
impossible to estimate ; but the significant absence 
or ineffective presence of the leaders of the Roman 
Church, and their apparent acquiescence in the 
ruin of their cause, was an "imbecile attitude," 3 
which must have helped to determine the course 
of waverers and time-servers, and thus to turn this 

1 The Earl of Athol and Lords Somerville and Borthwick 
are mentioned by Knox; the Earls of Caithness and Cassilis 
by Randolph. Athol was at first a strong adherent of Mary 
Stuart, but afterwards signed the warrant for her custody in 
Lochleven. Borthwick was a staunch supporter of Mary of 
Guise; he died in 1565. Somerville, as we have seen, had 
signed the "Band" of April, 1560. The Earl of Cassilis 
subsequently became a Protestant (Knox, H. of R., ii., 533). 

3 Randolph, letter to Cecil; Knox, H. of R., as above. 

3 Andrew Lang, H. of Sc., ii., 78. 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 229 

parliamentary victory of the Reformation into a 
permanent ascendency. 

The adoption of the Confession of Faith was 
followed by other ecclesiastical procedure. All 
former Acts of Parliament inconsistent with the 
Confession were annulled ; all doctrines and usages 
contrary to it were declared illegal. A fresh stat 
ute formally abolished the "jurisdiction and au 
thority of the Pope in this Realm," and interdicted 
under pain of exile and civil disability the solicita 
tion of any title or privilege from him. Another 
Act rendered it penal to celebrate or even to hear 
mass: the penalty for a first offence being con 
fiscation of property; for a second, banishment; 
for a third, death. 1 It is impossible, of course, to 
defend this policy of intolerance and threatened 
persecution. The principle of religious toleration 
was not then understood in Scotland any more 
than in other parts of Christendom. 2 It is fair 
to remember, however, that the intolerance of 
the Scottish Reformers in 1560 was consistent 
with their previous remonstrances against per 
secution. The complaint of Scottish Protestants 
against their persecutors had been founded on 
Roman intolerance, not of religious dissent, but of 
divine truth; on the infliction of pains and 

* Acts of Par I. of Scot., ii., 24th Aug., 1560; Knox, H. of R., 
ii., 123, 124. 

2 Cranmer the martyr had been also Cranmer the persecu 
tor; and the endorsement of the burning of Serve tus the Uni 
tarian by Calvin and other divines is well known. 

230 John Knox [ IS59 - 

penalties not in itself, but through illegal and un 
just procedure, 1 and because of wholesome testi 
mony against noxious error. 

Three circumstances, moreover, in connection 
with this persecuting enactment against Roman 
Catholics deserve to be noted: (i) What Parlia 
ment now made penal was not Roman doc 
trine as a whole, but one particular external 
manifestation of Romanism, viz., saying or hear 
ing mass : and this on account of the blasphemous 
idolatry which was believed to be involved. From 
the Reformers standpoint, penal statutes against 
the mass were so far parallel to the laws still in 
force against scandalously blasphemous repre 
sentations of things sacred, such as shock the 
religious sentiments of the nation at large. (2) 
The severe measures which the Reformers ap 
proved against "mass-mongers," as they were 
called, must be judged in the light of the fact 
that adultery, perjury, and blasphemy were also 
offences whose appropriate punishment was con 
sidered to be death. 2 The stern policy of early 
Scottish Protestants regarding the mass was thus 
due, not to pure ecclesiastical intolerance, but 
to severe principles regarding the punishment of 

1 The Reformers complained: (i) that the standard of 
judgment was not the Word of God, but the mere traditions 
of the Church; (2) that the accusers were also the judges; 
(3) that in particular cases, like that of Wishart, the death 
penalty was exacted without the sanction of the civil power. 

2 Book of Disc., vii. (Knox, H. of R., ii., 227). 

1560] Final Return to Scotland 231 

what they regarded as moral offences, and to the 
theocratic identification of sin with crime. (3) 
While the penalty of death was ordained by 
Scottish Parliament (in the event of a third 
offence) and endorsed by our early Reformers, 1 in 
no single instance is that extreme penalty known 
to have been actually imposed in the lifetime of 
Knox. Primate Hamilton, indeed, after enjoying 
a considerable portion of his former revenues for 
eleven years, was executed in 1571 ; not, however, 
for saying mass, but for complicity in the assas 
sination of the Regent Moray. 2 There is also a 
case of four priests, who were condemned to death 
in 1569 for taking part in a mass at Dunblane; 
but the pillory and exile were substituted for the 
scaffold. 3 The only authenticated cases of the 
death penalty being actually exacted are those of 
two priests who were hanged for saying mass in 
1573 and 1574 respectively. ^ No record remains 
of the special circumstances which led to such 
exceptional severity: and it is significant that 
both cases took place in the interval between the 

1 "We dare not prescribe tin to you [i. e., the Privy Council] 
what penalties shall be required of such [referring to those 
who profaned the sacraments either with the idolatry of the 
mass or through unauthorised ministration]; but this we 
fear not to affirm that the one and the other deserve death," 
Book of Disc., (Knox, H. of R., ii., 254; comp. 441, 446.) 

2 Richard Bannatyne s Memorials, p. 104. The Bishop 
" confessed the Regent s murder." 

3 Bellesh., Cath. Ch. of Sc., iii., 205. 

4 Buchan., Hist., 242; Diur. of Occ., 341. 

232 John Knox [ ISS9 _ 

death of Knox and the return of Andrew Melville 
to Scotland, while the Church was without any 
eminent leader. The Reformers hearts were on 
this question sounder than their heads : and while 
they maintained that the "idolatry of the mass" 
was a crime which deserved death, they refrained 
from urging the civil power to enforce the ex 
treme penalty. 




1. The earlier document is only three-fifths of the 
length of the later ; and as the style is much less con 
cise, it contains a considerably less proportion of 
theological material. 

2. Nine of the chapters have the same titles in 
both documents God, Creation, Holy Scripture, Sin, 
Good Works, the Church, Church Councils, Sacra 
ments, the Civil Magistrate. In the old Scottish 
Confession an article is devoted to each of the great 
objective facts of Christianity the Incarnation, 
Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ: 
while there is a conspicuous absence of such articles 
as appear in the Westminster Confession on various 
acts and operations of divine grace Effectual Calling, 
Justification, Adoption, Sanctification. 

3. There is a warmth of sentiment and diction 
in the earlier document such as one misses in the 
more precise and logical Confession of the subsequent 
century. The former "breathes the spirit of true 
confessors." "Long have we thirsted, brethren," 

i S 6o] Final Return to Scotland 233 

so the preface begins "to have notified unto the 
world the sum of that doctrine which we profess. 
. . . To our weak brethren we would communicate 
the bottom of our hearts, lest that they be troubled 
or carried away"; and the preface closes with an 
expression of firm "purpose to abide to the end in the 
Confession of this our Faith." 

4. As regards doctrinal details; (a) while the 
equality of the three persons of the Godhead is dis 
tinctly enunciated in both documents, the older Con 
fession, unlike the later, is silent as to the procession 
of the Spirit from Son as well as from Father; thereby 
testifying to the non-essential character of one of the 
main questions which led to the schism between 
Eastern and Western Christendom. (6) The omission 
of the word " Predestination," and the broad state 
ment about election have already been noted (p. 154). 

(c) In the chapter on Original Sin, while the image 
of God is said to be " utterly defaced " through Adam s 
transgression, there is nothing corresponding to the 
statement of the Westminster Divines that the guilt 
of Adam s sin was imputed to all his posterity (vi. 3.). 

(d) Similarly there is no express reference to that im 
putation of Christ s righteousness which the West 
minster Confession emphasises, (e) There is in the 
Confession of 1560 (ch. ix.) no such limitation of the 
purpose of the Atonement to any particular section 
of mankind as is made by the Westminster Divines 
(C. of F., iii. 6.). (/) The older Confession, while 
repudiating transubstantiation as emphatically as that 
of Westminster, goes further than the latter in the 
direction of declaring that the bread and wine be 
come, after consecration, the channel for genuine 

234 John Knox [ IS59 _ 

believers, of spiritual participation in and nourishment 
by Christ s body and blood. The authors of the 
older Confession "confess and undoubtedly believe 
that the faithful do so eat the body and drink the 
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He remaineth in 
them and they in Him: yea, they are so made flesh 
of His flesh, and bone of His bones, that as the Eter 
nal Godhead has given to the flesh of Jesus Christ 
life and immortality; so doth Christ Jesus flesh and 
blood, eaten and drunk by us, give unto us the same 
prerogatives" (ch. xxi.). (g) Polemical as the older 
Confession is against Roman error, it exhibits no 
parallel to the extreme anti-papal invective of the 
Westminster Divines, who describe the Pope as 
"anti-Christ," the "man of sin," and the "son of 
perdition" (ch. xxv.). (h) The duty assigned by 
the earlier document to the civil magistrate of "the 
maintenance of the true religion," and "the sup 
pressing of idolatry and superstition" (xxiv.), is 
substantially re-imposed by the later Confession, when 
it enjoins the magistrate to "take order that all 
heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses 
in worship and discipline prevented or reformed " 
(xxiii). (T) While in most particulars the Confession 
of Knox and his colleagues is broader than its suc 
cessor, it is narrower as regards salvation outside the 
visible Church. " There shall none be participant 
thereof but such as ... in time come unto Him 
[Christ], avow His doctrine, and believe into Him" 
(chap. xvi.). With greater caution the Westminster 
standard refers to the visible Church "out of which 
there is no ordinary possibility of salvation " (chap, 




BY the Parliament of 1560 the doctrine, wor 
ship, and government of the Roman Church 
in Scotland had been overthrown ; Romanism had 
been disestablished, and Protestantism had been 
established as the national religion. Acts of Par 
liament, however, can neither make nor unmake 
churches, although they may contribute to the 
process ; and the work of Knox and his colleagues, 
lay and clerical, had only begun. There were 
little more than a dozen recognised and effective 
Reformed preachers to instruct the nation ; and 
while the majority of the people probably sym 
pathised with the Reformation, the Protestant 
congregations were few and devoid of ecclesiastical 
cohesion. A Reformed Creed had been recognised : 

1 These included, besides Knox himself and his five asso 
ciates in the production of the Confession (see p. 224) : David 
Lyndsay, at Leith; Christopher Goodman, at St. Andrews; 
John Christison, at Dundee; Adam Herriot, at Aberdeen; 
David Ferguson, at Dunfermline ; Paul Methven, at Jed- 
burgh; and John Carswell, in Argyle. 


236 John Knox [1560- 

a Protestant Church had still to be organised, 
with an orderly ministry and government, an 
authorised ritual and discipline, an adequate and 
reliable temporal provision. To secure these 
objects, a church polity had to be framed. 

I. So early as April, 1560, the Lords of the 
Congregation, probably at Knox s own suggestion, 
had anticipated future requirements, and had in 
trusted the task of drawing up a constitution to 
the Reformer himself, and to the other five minis 
ters associated with him in the composition of the 
Confession of Faith. 1 The outcome of their la 
bours was the Book of Discipline, which had 
been presented as a draft to the Council of the 
Congregation in May, i56o. 2 It was kept, appar 
ently, in retentis until after the dissolution of 
Parliament in August, when the commission to 
Knox and his colleagues was formally renewed. 3 
Subsequently it was submitted, in the form of a 
Latin translation, to Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, and 
other Swiss Reformers, 4 prior to its being laid be 
fore the Privy Council in January, i56i. s 

This remarkable document was never accepted 
by the Estates ; but it was adopted by the Church 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 128, 183. 

2 Ibid., ii., 257. The document was afterwards called the 
First Book of Discipline, to distinguish it from the later 
polity drawn up by Andrew Melville. 

3 Ibid., ii., 128. 

4 Laing, W. of K., vi., 119. 

5 Knox, H. of R., ii., 257. 

1561] Organisation of the Church 237 

as of ecclesiastical authority; and not the least 
interesting portions are those which remained a 
dead letter through lack of civil sanction. They 
embody the ideal church constitution which the 
Reformers, and particularly John Knox, the chief 
author of the work, endeavoured, although in part 
ineffectually, to realise. 1 

II. The Book of Discipline recognised five class 
es of church office-bearers, three of which were 
certainly designed to be permanent the minister, 
elder, and deacon. The additional office of reader 
was apparently intended to be temporary; re 
garding that of superintendent there is room for 
divergent opinions. To the minister belonged the 
public preaching of the Word, the ministration of 
the sacraments, and, along with the elders, the 
exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and disci 
pline. He was to be elected by the people, but 
examined and (in the event of approval) admitted 
by the superintendent and other ministers of the 
province or district. The admission was to be 
without imposition of hands; this ceremony, it 
was considered, might appear to signify not only 
the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, which 
the Reformers acknowledged, but also the com 
munication of supernatural gifts, which they dis 
avowed. 2 The elders were to be men of "best 

1 See A. F. Mitchell, Scot. Ref., pp. 144-183. 

2 Knox, H. of R., 189-193. The Second Book of Dis 
cipline (followed by the Westminster Form of Church Govern 
ment), restored the "laying on of hands." 

238 John Knox [1560- 

knowledge in God s Word and cleanest life." It 
was their function to assist the minister in the 
government of the Church, and in the discipline 
and supervision of the congregation. They were 
also to take heed to the doctrine, diligence, and 
demeanour of the minister, to admonish him if 
necessary, and to bring any case of flagrant de 
linquency before the superintendent and ministers 
of the district. 1 To the deacons belonged the duty 
of receiving and administering congregational reve 
nue ; of collecting and distributing alms ; and of 
"assisting in judgment" the minister and elders. 
Elders and deacons were to be elected by the 
congregation, and only for one year at a time, 
"lest by long continuance of such officers men 
presume upon the liberty of the Church." 2 The 
readers were intended to supply, so far, the place 
of the ministry until sufficient qualified ministers 
were obtained. Their duty was restricted to the 
reading of Scripture and of the Common Prayers ; 
but they were encouraged to aspire to the higher 
office ; and those who were found qualified mean 
while to address the congregation received the 
further designation of "exhorters." 3 To the su 
perintendents (who were to be "ten or twelve," 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 192-194, 233-235. The Presbytery, 
to which this responsibility afterwards belonged, had not 
yet been constituted. 

2 Ibid., 234. The Second Book of Discipline enacted that 
election should be for life. 

3 Ibid., 199, 200. 

i S 6i] Organisation of the Church 239 

although this number was never actually at 
tained) the "charge and commandment" were to 
be given "to plant and erect Churches, to set, 
order, and appoint ministers," and meanwhile to 
"travel in such provinces as to them shall be 
assigned," so that "Christ Jesus may be univers 
ally preached throughout this realm." 

The superintendent resembled a bishop in so far 
as he held an office superior in authority to that of 
an ordinary minister, and exercised territorial su 
pervision over a province. But he differed from a 
bishop in so far as his office was not a new order ; 
no additional rite of consecration being required. 
Ordinary ministers of the province, moreover, took 
part in his admission, and he was subject to their 
admonition as well as to the jurisdiction of the 
General Assembly. 1 It is commonly supposed 
that the office of superintendent, like that of 
reader, was from the first designed to be tem 
porary; and, as a matter of fact, it erelong dis 
appeared. There appears to be ground, however, 
for believing that the institution was rather a ten 
tative arrangement, the result, perhaps, of a com 
promise between divergent views in the Church 
as to the retention of the episcopate in modified 
form; so that the continuance or discontinuance 
of the office might be intended to depend on its 
effectiveness or ineffectiveness after a fair trial. 2 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 201-208. 

2 That the superintendentship was intended from the 
first to be only a temporary provision is maintained by 

240 John Knox [i S 6 - 

The Book of Discipline contains no formal 
regulations as to church courts ; but the existence 
of Kirk Session, Synod or Provincial Court, and 
General Assembly is throughout implied. The 

McCrie (L. of Knox, Chap, vii.) ; Lee, Const-it. H. of Ch. of 
Sc., i., 169); Cunningham (Ch. of Sc,, i., 283), and others; 
somewhat hesitatingly by Grub (Eccles. H. of Sc., ii., 99) and 
Rankine (Story s Ch. of Sc., ii., 440). The language of the 
Book of Discipline in two places is regarded as supporting 
this contention. "We have thought it good to signify such 
reasons as moved us to make difference between preachers 
at this time," "We have thought it a thing most expedient 
for this time, etc." The reasons given, moreover, viz., the 
small number of ministers and the limited number of con 
gregations, are circumstances which were expected to pass 
away. On the other hand, (i) there is no hint in the Book 
of Discipline either of Presbyteries or of any other kind of 
executive which might afterwards supersede the superin- 
tendentship; (2) express provision is made for filling 
vacancies in the office, without any suggestion that suc 
cessors might not be required; (3) the two reasons given for 
the institution of superintendents are reasons rather for the 
appointment of (a) "exhorters" or readers to supply for a 
time the place of ministers, (6) special commissioners with 
the limited function of "planting" new congregations. 
These various considerations suggest that the institution of 
the superintendentship was intended to be experimental 
rather than of necessity temporary. The compilers of the 
Book may have come to no final decision as to the con 
tinuance or discontinuance of the office; and the cautious 
phrases "at this time" and "for this time," as well as the 
adducing of reasons which might erelong cease to exist, 
may indicate merely that, amid some doubt as to the suc 
cess of the experiment, it was deemed expedient to avoid 
committing the Church at that stage to any permanent 
arrangement. Archbishop Spottiswoode, who must have 
received the information from his father, states that "divers" 
of the six compilers of the Book favoured the retaining of 

1561] Organisation of the Church 241 

Presbytery as a court was afterwards developed 
under Andrew Melville. In the time of Knox it 
existed only in germ as a weekly meeting of 
neighbouring ministers and elders for the study 
of Holy Scripttire. 1 The Kirk Session consisted, 
as at present, of the minister and elders of the 
parish; the Synod, of the ministers and elders of a 
province, presided over by the superintendent ; the 
General Assembly, of all the ministers (including 
superintendents, without official precedence) and 
of lay commissioners from churches which chose 
thus to be represented. In the renunciation of a 
hierarchy ; in the institution of an eldership with 
out the function of preaching ; and in the recog 
nition of the right of the laity to share in the 
Church s government, the Scottish Reformers and 
their Book of Discipline exemplified the influence 
of Calvin and Geneva. 

III. For the public Worship of the Church, the 
Reformers adopted the Book of Geneva used by 
the congregation of English refugees in that city. 
It was now revised and issued in Scotland, with a 
view to Scottish use, under the name of the Book 

the ancient policy," i. e., the episcopate (see Keith, Ch. and 
St., iii., 15, who quotes an unpublished note in Spottis- 
woode s MS.); and the elder Spottiswoode, two years before 
his death in 1585, declared his regret that the episcopate had 
been abolished (Spottisw., H. of Ch., ii., 337). Such diver 
gence of view among the leaders of the Reformation might 
very well have led to the adoption of a compromise which 
left both parties free as to ultimate arrangements. 

1 A. F. Mitchell, Scott. Ref., 159; Knox, H. of R.,ii., 243. 


242 John Knox [ I5 6o- 

of Common Order. 1 This Book contains forms 
of prayer and praise for ordinary public worship 
and for the ministration of the sacraments and 
other religious ordinances ; but, unlike most other 
liturgies, it leaves to the officiating minister con 
siderable freedom both of modification of and 
supplement. 2 Among its notable features are (i) 
the absence of a lectionary; although the Book 
of Discipline enjoins continuous reading of the 
Bible at divine service, without "skipping and 
divagation" 3 ; (2) the omission, as in Calvin s 
liturgy, of congregational responses 4 ; (3) the 
inclusion not only of Psalms in metre and of 
metrical versions of other parts of Scripture, 
but of doxologies and "human hymns," includ 
ing the "Veni Creator"; (4) the exclusion of 
any prayer for the sanctification of the ele 
ments in the Holy Communion, in order to 
avoid the appearance of transubstantiation doc 
trine 5 ; (5) the celebration of marriage in church, 

1 See Ch. V., p. 142. In the Book of Discipline the Com 
mon Order is said to be already " used in some of our Kirks" 
(Knox, H. of R., ii., 186) ; by 1564 its use was enjoined in 
ordinary church worship as well as in the special services 
(Cald., H. of K., ii., 284. Sprott and Leishman (Book of 
Common Order, etc., 240, 241, 253) described in detail the 
" Pedigree of the Book of C. O." 

2 Book of Common Order, pp. 22, 31, 86, 125. 

3 Book of Disc., ch. ix., Knox, H. of R., ii., 240. 

4 This omission was due perhaps, in part, to Knox s ex 
perience of responses at Frankfort. 

5 The prayer of sanctification was restored in the West 
minster Directory of Worship. 

1561] Organisation of the Church 243 

"in open face and public audience" of the 
congregation, the most convenient time being 
"Sunday before sermon" ; (6) the strong dis 
couragement of prayer at burials, and the absence 
of all provision for it, in order to guard against 
prayers for the dead 2 ; and (7) the non-observance 
of church festivals and commemoration of saints, 
chiefly, as it appears, "because in God s Scriptures 
they have neither commandment nor assurance," 
but also on account of the prevalent abuses and 
superstitions connected with such "holidays." 3 

IV. As regards ecclesiastical discipline, in the 
more special sense, provision is made in the Book 
of Discipline for the private admonition of those 
whose offences are "secret or known only to a 
few ; and if the offender promise amendment 
and fulfil his promise, this "secret admonition" is 
deemed sufficient. For open and flagrant offences 
a profession of penitence before the congregation 

1 Book of Disc., ch. ix. in Knox, H. of R., pp. 247, 248. 

2 Ibid., 249-251; Sprott and Leishman, B. of C. O., 78, 
243. The authors of the Book of Discipline do not ab 
solutely prohibit a burial service; they only "judge it 
best" that there be "neither singing nor reading" (i. e., of 
prayers) ; and, as if conscious that in guarding against su 
perstition, they might discourage religion, they add; "Yet 
notwithstanding we are content that particular kirks use 
them [singing and prayers], with the consent of the ministers, 
as they shall answer to God, and to the Assembly of the 
Universal Kirk gathered within the realm." 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 185, 186. Somewhat inconsistently, 
however, the days are inserted in the ecclesiastical calendar 
prefixed to the Book of Common Order. 

244 John Knox [1560- 

is required: and what this involved is illustrated 
by references, in early kirk session records, to 
the "pillar of repentance" at which the offender 
stood, clad in sackcloth, with bare feet, and neck 
encircled by the iron ring attached to a pillar or 
to the wall of the Church. After such discipline 
had been undergone, however, and tokens of re 
pentance had been shewn, the Church was to 
receive back the offender into fellowship: she 
"ought to be no more severe than God." On the 
persistently impenitent person excommunication 
is to be pronounced; and all, except members of 
his family, are prohibited from intercourse with 
him, except from what is necessary or expedient 
for his conversion. Yet his case is not to be treated 
as hopeless ; his "most discreet and nearest friends " 
are to "travail with him, to bring him to know 
ledge of himself"; and "all are to call to God" 
on his behalf. Various offences in addition to 
murder, viz., blasphemy, idolatry, perjury, and 
adultery, are declared to be beyond the sphere of 
the Church s discipline, because those who commit 
such transgressions ought to be "taken away by 
the civil sword." With a fine inconsistency, how 
ever, the Book provides that, "in case" such 
offenders "be permitted to live," and do after 
wards give evidence of repentance, the minister, 
elders, and chief men of the Church are, in the 
name of the congregation, to "receive that peni 
tent brother into their favour, as they require 

1561] Organisation of the Church 245 

God to receive themselves when they have 
offended"; and "one or two, in name of the 
whole, shall kiss and embrace him with all rever 
ence and gravity, as a member of Christ Jesus." 

The Book of Discipline makes it clear that the 
congregation, and not merely the minister and 
elders, excommunicate and absolve. The min 
ister s duty is to move the offender to penitence, 
and the congregation to excommunication or ab 
solution. The elders function is to assist the 
minister in such offices, and to offer the right 
hand of restored fellowship to the penitent. But 
with the congregation the administration of dis 
cipline is held really to lie. It was this concep 
tion of congregational power and responsibility 
which made public confession of, and satisfaction 
for, heinous sin appropriate. When the Re 
formed Church afterwards went back to the pre- 
Reformation standpoint regarding discipline, so 
far, at least, as to transfer the exercise of it from 
the congregation to office-bearers, the publicity of 
the ordeal ceased to have the old significance. 
Public exposure became purely punitive instead 
of being, as originally intended, restorative; and 
so, slowly but steadily, it passed away. 

V. The Book of Discipline emphasises the 
necessity of the "virtuous education and godly 
up-bringing of the youth of this realm." If Scot 
land owes to enlightened Roman prelates three 

1 Book of Disc., Head VII., Knox, //. of R., ii., 227-233. 

246 John Knox [ is eo- 

out of her four universities, she is indebted 
mainly to Knox and the early Reformers for her 
parochial-school system; and if adequate pro 
vision for secondary education, as the link be 
tween parish school and university, has been left 
to modern times, this postponement has been due 
to the fact that the counsels of the Reformers 
were, on this point, in great measure ignored. 
The Book lays down that in every parish there 
should be not only a church, but a school, at 
which secular and religious instruction were to be 
given ; and, " further, that in every notable town " 
an academy or "college" should be erected, at 
which suitable preparation J might be supplied to 
promising youth for future study at the "great 
schools called Universities." 

The authors of the Book of Discipline antici 
pated our legislature by more than three cen 
turies in advocating compulsory education; the 
children of the well-to-do, were to be educated 
at their parents expense; but "the children of 
the poor on the charge of the Church." The en 
couragement of university training was to be 
secured by the establishment of bursaries on a 
liberal scale, viz., seventy-two for St. Andrews, 
as the oldest and at that time the largest uni 
versity, and forty-eight each for Glasgow and 
Aberdeen. "If God shall move your hearts," so 

1 Among the subjects mentioned as requiring to be taught 
in these "colleges" were "Logic and Rhetoric." 

1561] Organisation of the Church 247 

the authors of the Book address the Privy Coun 
cil, "to establish and execute this order, and put 
these things in practice, your whole realm, 
within few years, will serve itself of true 
preachers, and of other officers necessary for 
your Commonwealth." 

VI. Of special importance are the proposals of 
the Book of Discipline regarding the Church s 
patrimony. At the dawn of the Reformation, as 
we have seen, the possessions of the Church, in 
cluding landed property or "temporalities," and 
ecclesiastical teinds or "spiritualities," amounted 
nominally to about one-half of the wealth of the 
kingdom : but during the generation preceding the 
fall of Romanism, the revenues had been largely 
diminished through actual or virtual alienation. 
Still, much remained; and the compilers of the 
Book set. forth how it might be used. They 
proposed to revert to the spirit of the usage 
which prevailed in the best days of the Roman 
Church. Support of monks and beneficed clergy ; 
establishment and endowment of schools and 
universities; maintenance of hospitals and dis 
tribution of alms ministry, that is, for the soul, 
culture for the mind, relief for the body, these 
had been the three channels in which the wealth 
of the old Church had run, before accumulated 
abuses had diverted it into lay and clerical 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 209-220; A. F. Mitchell, Scot. Ref., 
pp. 174-178. 

248 John Knox [1560- 

aggrandisement. Knox endeavoured to secure sub 
stantially similar arrangements. While vexatious 
ecclesiastical exactions, such as "the uppermost 
cloth," funeral perquisites, Easter offerings, etc., 
were to be abrogated, the legitimate property of 
the Church, he maintained, ought to be devoted 
entirely to the sustenance of the ministry, the 
education of youth, and the relief of the poor 
by kirk sessions. The provision proposed for the 
ministry was by no means excessive. "We re 
quire it to be such that ministers may have 
occasion neither of solicitude nor of insolence 
and wantonness." For the ordinary pastor is 
indicated a stipend equal probably in purchasing 
power to the recognised minimum of 200 (not, 
however, yet universally realised) at the present 
day 2 ; and the rational principle is laid down that 
pastors having families should have a somewhat 
larger stipend than those who have none. For 
superintendents, whose duties involved much 
costly travel, the stipend proposed was probably 
equal in real value to that of the present livings of 
leading city charges. In a time anterior to the 
establishment of funds for widows and children 
of the clergy, the Book of Discipline strongly ad 
vocates the sustentation of the families of deceased 
ministers who "did faithfully serve the Kirk of 

1 Book of Disc., Head V., Knox, H. of R., ii., 197. 

2 For a detailed calculation of the value of ministers 
stipends as proposed by the Book of Discipline, see Principal 
Lee, Constitutional Hist, of Ch. of Sc., i., 162. 

i S 6i] Organisation of the Church 249 

God." The proposed destination of ecclesiastical 
revenue to education has already been indicated. 
As regards relief of the poor, the authors are care 
ful to state that they would be no "patrons of 
stubborn and idle beggars, who make a craft of 
begging: those must be compelled to work, or 
else be punished by the magistrate." But "for 
the widow and fatherless, the aged, impotent or 
maimed, who neither can nor may travail for their 
sustentation : for such, as also for persons of hon 
esty fallen into decay and penury, ought provi 
sion to be made," and "their indigence relieved." T 
VII. In the development and expansion of the 
Scottish Reformed Church, a main factor, at once 
of consolidation and of progress, was the General 
Assembly. The Assembly, unlike the hierarchy 
which it superseded, was the exponent of the lay 
as well as of the clerical opinion of the Church; 
a bond of union for all the Reformed congrega 
tions of the country ; a national institution which 
rivalled Parliament in its influence: an agency 
for enactments affecting the religious life of the 
nation; the directress of popular sentiment in 
spiritual concerns. The General Assembly was 
intended to be the great " Living Epistle" of the 
Church of Scotland the Confession of Faith and 
the Book of Discipline embodied together in the 
personalities of living men. The first General 

1 Book of Disc., Heads V. and VI., Knox, H. of R. t ii., 

197, 198, 2OO, 2OI, 221-225. 

250 John Knox [1560- 

Assembly of the Church met in Magdalen Chapel, 
in the Cowgate of Edinburgh, on the 2oth De 
cember, 1560. It consisted of only forty-two 
members, 1 who assembled as "ministers and com 
missioners of the particular kirks of Scotland, 
convened upon the things which are to set forward 
God s glory and the weal of His Kirk in this 
realm." The main business of this first Assem 
bly was to sanction the appointment of such as 
were "best qualified for the preaching the Word, 
ministering of the Sacraments, and reading of the 
Common Prayers." 3 We cannot doubt, however, 
that the Book of Discipline was carefully con 
sidered by the members of the court, prior to its 
presentation in the following month to the Lords 
of the Council, with a view to ratification by the 
Estates. The Assembly adjourned till the 1 5th of 
January/ the date on which Parliament also was 
to meet ; and although no record of this adjourned 
meeting now remains, it may be assumed that the 
Book of Discipline then received the Church s 
approval; for at the ensuing Assembly of May, 

1 Only six out of the forty-two were ministers, viz. : Knox, 
Lyndsay, Goodman, Row, Christison, and Harlaw (Calder- 
wood, Hist, of the Kirk, ii., 44). 

2 Book of the Universal Kirk, p. i. 

3 Calderwood, Hist, of the Kirk, ii., 45-46. Thirty-five 
ministers and eight readers were appointed. Among those 
ordained to the ministry was Erskine, the Laird of Dun, 
who was thereafter appointed Superintendent of Angus and 

4 Ibid., p. 47. 

1561] Organisation of the Church 251 

1561, the document is twice referred to as an 
ecclesiastical authority. 1 

Very different was the reception of the Reform 
ers polity by the Estates. The Book was sub 
scribed, indeed, by over thirty members of the 
Privy Council, with a reasonable provision that 
the life-interests of beneficed men should be re 
spected, on condition of the maintenance of a 
Reformed ministry in their respective benefices. 2 
If the document had consisted merely of regula 
tions for the worship, organisation, and govern 
ment of the Church, it would probably have been 
endorsed by the Estates ; for the Reformed Church, 
during this earliest period of its existence, was 
allowed by the State, in such matters, to have 
a pretty free hand. But the recommendations of 
the Book regarding the ecclesiastical patrimony, 
and the assumption that the Reformed Church 
was eventually to inherit the entire property of 
its predecessor, could find no favour with land 
owners who (themselves or their fathers) had 
already "greedily gripped to the possessions of 

1 Calderwood, Hist, of the Kirk, ii., p. 127. 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii., 257, 258. The list of signatures in 
cludes the names of the Duke of Chatelherault, Lord James 
Stuart, Earl Marischal, and the Earls of Argyll, Menteith, 
and Morton. Maitland of Lethington afterwards declared, 
however, that "many subscribed in fide parentum, as the 
bairns are baptised " (Calderwood, H. of K., ii., 160) ; and his 
sneers at the signatures suggest that some subscribed in the 
full knowledge that there was no prospect of the Book ever 
being ratified by Parliament. 

252 John Knox [1560- 

the Kirk," or looked on her remanent wealth with 
covetous eyes. 1 Knox now fully realised the mer 
cenary motives of a portion of those who had 
zealously joined in the attack on the old Church. 
"Everything," he writes, "that repugned to their 
corrupt affections was termed, in their mockage, 
devout imaginations." He "wondered how men 
that profess godliness could of so long continuance 
hear the threatenings of God against themselves," 
yet "never have had remorse of conscience," nor 
have "intended to restore anything of that which 
they had stolen" ; and he recalls the ancient pro 
verb, "The belly hath no ears." 2 

The claim of Knox and his colleagues on behalf 
of the Reformed Church to the whole ecclesiastical 
patrimony was undoubtedly a large one; but in 
view of the national duties which the Church 
undertook to discharge, charitable and educa 
tional as well as religious, it could not be stigmat 
ised as selfish: and a substantial assessment on 
ecclesiastical as well as secular wealth might have 
sufficed for the maintenance of other national 
objects. If the claim had been conceded, not only 
would the provision for national religion, popular 
education, and relief of the sick and poor have 

1 It must in fairness be stated, however, that such land 
owners pleaded that the church property had been bestowed 
by their own forefathers largely in return for the promise of 
masses for the dead, which they were now taught to regard as 
profitless and blasphemous services (see p. 13). 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 128, 129. 

i S 6i] Organisation of the Church 253 

been permanently adequate without the imposi 
tion of national burdens, but, as an incidental 
benefit, the bitter conflict which lasted for a 
century between Presbyterianism and Episcopacy 
might have been avoided. For the covetous 
policy of misappropriating church property, 
adopted by leading landowners, led, as we shall 
find, to the earliest movement for the restora 
tion of the episcopate, and thus inaugurated a 
protracted strife which was terminated only by 
the Revolution Settlement of 1690.* 

VIII. If the Scottish Parliament gave scant 
encouragement to the claims of Knox and the 
Reformed ministers as regards the Church s 
patrimony, it supplied them with a fresh op 
portunity of vindicating the Church s doctrine. 
A discussion was arranged in presence of the 
Estates between representatives of the old faith 
and of the new. On the Romanist side were 
Principal Anderson of King s College, Aber 
deen; John Lesley, the historian, afterwards 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Ross; and two other 
ecclesiastics of less note. On the Protestant side 
were Knox, Willock, and Goodman. Two accounts 
of the disputation are extant one by Lesley, the 

1 See p- 350. The lack of adequate sustentation was also 
one cause of the superintendentship failing, at least in part, 
to fulfil the purposes of its institution; and this office, with 
its subordination to the General Assembly, might have been 
accepted as a convenient compromise between the episco 
pate and the presbyterate. 

254 John Knox [1560- 

other by Knox. Each narrator, as was to be 
expected, maintains that the opposite party was 
discomfited and silenced. 1 According to both 
historians the "Sacrifice of the Altar" occupied 
the attention of the controversialists 2 ; and ap 
parently the chief point of interest in the 
discussion was an apparent disavowal by the 
Romanists of the propitiatory efficacy of the mass. 
Anderson is represented as declaring "Christ 
offered the propitiatory: and that could none do 
but He: but we offer the remembrance." If the 
Principal has been correctly reported, we can 
imagine (in view of the Protestant claim for the 
conservation of the Church s patrimony) the 
mingled feelings with which Knox would listen 
to the interpolation of some nobles who were acute 
enough to discern the bearing of the question on 
their own reappropriation of church lands " If 
the mass may not obtain remission of sins to the 
quick and to the dead, wherefore were all the 
abbacies so richly endowed with our temporal 

IX. The twelve months which followed the 
establishment of the Reformation were for Knox 

1 Lesley, ii., 448-450; Knox, H. of R., ii., 138-141. 

2 Lesley states that the Protestants asked of "the verity 
and manner of the blessed sacrament and sacrifice of the 
altar"; and Knox declares "we required of the Papists 
principally that the mass, and the opinion thereof by them 
taught unto the people, be laid to the square-rule of God s 

1561] Organisation of the Church 255 

a year not only of public activity, but of liter 
ary labour and of domestic trouble. During 
the autumn of 1560, while the Book of Disci 
pline was being revised by the Swiss Reformers, 
Knox occupied himself with that portion of his 
History of the Reformation which was originally 
intended to be the whole, viz., the narrative 
of the final conflict in which he and his fellow- 
Reformers had just been engaged. 1 He desig 
nates this part of the History as a "Confession"; 
and the original motive of its composition was 
fully as much apologetic as historical. It is a 
vindication of the Scottish religious revolution 
and of its chief promoters before their fellow- 
countrymen and before the world. 

" In this our Confession," he writes, " we shall faith 
fully declare what moved us to put our hands to the 
reformation of religion; to the end that as well our 
enemies and our brethren in all realms may under 
stand how falsely we are accused of tumult and re 
bellion: as also that our brethren, natural Scotsmen, 
of whatever religion they be, may have occasion to 
examine themselves if they may with safe conscience 
oppose themselves to us who seek nothing but Jesus 
Christ s Evangel to be preached; His holy sacra 
ments to be truly ministered; superstition, tyranny 
and idolatry to be suppressed; and finally our 
native country to remain free from the bondage 
of strangers." 2 

1 This is the portion of the History now contained in Book 
II. and part of III. 2 Pref . to Book II. in H.of R.,i., 278. 

256 John Knox [1560- 

The first express reference to the work as in 
progress is found in a letter of Knox, dated 23rd 
October, 15 59 ; but it must have been com 
menced at a considerably earlier date. 2 By the 
end of September, 1560, one Book (what is now 
the Second) had been completed, bringing the 
History down to November, 1559 3 ; and the Re 
former had probably written part of what is now 
Book III. before the close of the year, in a brief 
interval of comparative exemption from public 
work and worry. 4 One cannot but marvel at the 
diligence with which Knox, amid pulpit and pas 
toral work, "care of all the Churches," and con 
stant employment in ecclesiastical business and 
negotiations, nevertheless occupied his few leisure 
hours with the composition of a History for which 
he himself was largely providing the materials. 
He undertook the task with a view to no im 
mediate controversial advantage (for he declined 
to let the work be published in his lifetime s ), but 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 87. 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 383. In October, 1559, he was writing 
about events which took place so late as August of that year. 

3 Letter of Randolph, in Laing, W. of K., vi., 121. 

4 The other Books, viz., what is now Book I. (containing a 
narrative of earlier struggles after Reformation), and Book 
IV., bringing the record down to June, 1564, were completed 
in 1566 (Laing, i., p. xxviii.). Book V., which continues 
the History to Queen Mary s abdication, was afterwards 
added by an unknown hand, on the basis, probably, of 
documents found among Knox s papers after his death. 

s Laing, W. of K., vi., 558. 

1561] Organisation of the Church 257 

in order to supply an effective vindication of him 
self and of his colleagues after his removal from 
the world. It is not the manner of fanatics, 
among whom Knox has sometimes been classed, 
thus to look beyond the turbid judgment of con 
temporaries to the calmer verdict of posterity. 
That Knox s History should be one-sided was in 
evitable; that his language is sometimes intem 
perate is undeniable ; his chronology is sometimes 
inaccurate ; but the honesty of the writer and the 
substantial trustworthiness of his record of events 
within his own experience have been generally ad 
mitted. As a literary work the History holds a 
notable place on account of its vivid descriptions, 
its trenchant diction, and its dramatic union of 
grim earnestness with bright humour. 

Along with literary labour this first year of the 
Scottish Reformed Church brought to Knox heavy 
domestic trouble. In December, 1560, the wife 
for whose arrival in Scotland he had longed, 1 and 
to whose self-denying helpfulness during a period 
of labour and anxiety he bears, as we have seen, 
incidental testimony, was taken away; and the 
Reformer was left a widower with the two boys 
born at Geneva, who had scarcely yet emerged 
from infancy. A brief but pathetic parenthesis in 
his History describes the "no small heaviness" 
which he suffered "by reason of the late death of 
his dear bed-fellow, Marjorie Bowes" 2 ; and her 

i Laing, W. of K., vi., 27. 3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 138. 

258 John Knox [ Is6o - 

place in his household was but imperfectly sup 
plied by a mother-in-law who continued to vex 
her own and her son-in-law s soul with her 

troubled conscience . " Among those who wrote 
to comfort Knox in his sorrow was John Calvin, 
to whom the bereavement of "his most excellent 
brother, . . . deprived of the most delightful 
of wives," was "grief and bitterness." 2 

This domestic grief came to Knox amid political 
anxiety. The French Government had not rati 
fied the Treaty of Leith, entered into by its 
own representatives. The Queen of Scots and her 
Consort, King Francis, had declined to confirm the 
recent Acts of the Estates. The powerful house 
of Guise was impelled at once by religious 
and by personal considerations to promote a 
policy of French intervention. The Scottish 
Catholics, accordingly, had reason to hope, and 
the Scottish Protestants to fear, a French inva 
sion; while the Queen of England, who grudged 
the cost of the expedition of 1559, was in no mood 
to promise a renewal of assistance. " When all 
these things came to our ears," writes Knox, 
"many were eff rayed"; and it required all the 
power of himself and of other Reformed preachers 
to assure the people that God would "perform in 
all perfection that work which was not ours but 
His own." 3 What was regarded as a "wonder- 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 513. 

2 Letter of Calvin, in Laing, vi., 124, 125. 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 131, 132. 

1561] Organisation of the Church 259 

ful deliverance" unexpectedly took place. By 
the death of King Francis, on 5th December, 
1560, "the pride of the Papists in Scotland began 
to be abated." " They perceived God to fight for 
us." The danger of Scotland becoming an appan 
age of France, and of French policy and religion 
being imposed by force on the Scottish people, 
was removed. Mary might or might not con 
form to the faith of the majority of her sub 
jects; but at any rate she would no longer be 
supported in her policy by the power of a French 
husband and sovereign who claimed to be King 
of Scotland. 1 Still, as the Queen s widowhood 
practically involved her return to Scotland, the 
deliverance in which the Reformer rejoiced 
was accompanied by a peril which he had good 
cause to fear. If, however, as appears to be the 
case, he was the confidant of the Protestant 
Earl of Arran in the latter s aspirations at this 
time after Mary s hand, 2 he may have hoped, 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 137. Incidental testimony is borne to 
the personal importance of Knox, and to his intimacy with 
well-informed and influential friends on the Continent, by the 
fact that he appears to have had the earliest intimation in 
Scotland of the French King s mortal illness. 

2 Knox records the fact of Arran s letter to Mary with the 
significant accompaniment of a ring, and also the receipt by 
the Earl of a discouraging answer. He adds that the Earl 
"bare it more heavily than many would have wist" (Knox, 
H. of R., ii., 137) ; as if he (Knox) knew more of the circum 
stances than others; and Randolph, on the same subject, 
declares (January, 1561) that "of all these matters there is 
no man privy except Knox" (Laing, W. of K., vi., 122). 

John Knox [1560-156:] 

not unnaturally, that a young widow of eighteen, 
under the guidance of a Protestant husband as 
well as a Protestant brother, and removed from 
the immediate influence of a Catholic Court and 
kindred, would not give serious trouble to the 
Scottish Reformed Church. He was destined ere 
long to discover that Mary Stuart, as Queen of 
France, was in reality much less a cause for Pro 
testant anxiety than Mary as resident Queen of 


THE encounter between John Knox and Mary 
Stuart not only constitutes one of the most 
interesting episodes in the biographies of the 
Reformer and of the Queen, but occupies a 
conspicuous place in Scottish history. No two 
personalities could be more dissimilar than the 
Puritan Protestant who revered Calvin as master, 
and the bright young Queen who had presided over 
the gayest Court in Christendom. No two stand 
points could be more divergent than those of the 
man whose life-work was to build up a strong and 
independent Reformed Church, and of the woman 
who had been educated in the belief that absolute 
submission to princes was a religious duty, and 
that her own mission was to restore the Roman 
Church in Scotland. A keen encounter between 
the two was predetermined : unpleasant personal 
relations were almost inevitable. 

I. The leaders of the Scottish Reformation 
do not appear to have questioned the propriety, 


262 John Knox [i 5 6i- 

however some of them might anticipate the dan 
ger of the Queen of Scots living and reigning, after 
the death of her husband, the King of France, 
henceforth in her native land. Their attention in 
the early part of 1561 was devoted to the best 
means of preventing her presence from injuring 
the Protestant cause. There was reason for 
vigilance and consideration. Three hundred let 
ters had been despatched by Mary to various 
Scots of standing in the prospect of her early 
return. The Catholic bishops assembled at Stir 
ling in the spring of 1561 to take counsel in 
view of the changed and (from their point of 
view) more hopeful circumstances. The Catholic 
lords were credited with a design to seize the 
capital. In the month of April, Bishop Lesley 
was in France with authority to propose, on 
their behalf, that the Queen should land some 
where in the north of Scotland, where Romanism 
was strong, and be received by an army of 10,000. 
"The Papists," writes Knox, "began to brag as if 
they would have defaced the Protestants." J 

i. The first object of the Reformers was to 
strengthen the new edifice of the Protestant 
Church, in order to increase the difficulty of 
undermining its stability and of interfering with 
its polity. Here the General Assembly took 
the initiative. The Church had failed, as we 
have seen, to secure the transference to herself of 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 156-161; Lesley, H. of Sc., ii., 450. 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 263 

the ancient ecclesiastical patrimony; but much, 
nevertheless, had been accomplished. A Re 
formed Confession had been adopted; the mass 
had been proscribed as idolatry; the General As 
sembly, as a supreme ecclesiastical court, had been 
constituted; a Reformed Order of Worship had 
been instituted; the ranks of the Reformed min 
istry had been largely supplemented ; and five out 
of ten proposed superintendents had been ap 
pointed for the completion of the Church s organ 
isation and for the supervision of her work. 1 The 
General Assembly which met in May, 1561, en 
deavoured to fortify yet further the position of 
the Reformed Church. It addressed a Supplica 
tion to the Privy Council demanding the suppres 
sion of the already prohibited mass, the removal 
from churches of all remaining monuments of 
idolatry, and the further "plantation" as well as 
adequate sustenance of Reformed superintend 
ents, ministers, exhorters, and readers. These re 
quirements were approved by the Privy Council ; 
and thus, according to Knox, whose influence in 
framing the petition and securing its favourable 
reception is apparent, "gat Satan the second 
fall." 2 

2. The next point was to make it clear to the 
Queen that French interference with Scottish 

1 These superintendents, although nominated on 2oth 
December, 1560 (Universal Kirk, 1-3), were not actually 
set apart until March, 1561 (Knox, H. of R., iii., 144). 

2 Knox, //. of R., ii., 161, 164. 

264 John Knox im 

policy would not be tolerated. Here the Estates 
appropriately intervened. An opportunity for ef 
fective testimony in this direction arrived on the 
1 8th of February, when ambassadors came from 
Mary to Scotland, followed by a similar embassy 
from Catherine de Medici, the Regent of France. 1 
The main object of both legations was to obtain 
a renewal of the ancient French alliance ; and an 
attempt also appears to have been made to se 
cure for the Roman episcopate and priesthood the 
continued possession of the ecclesiastical patri 
mony. The Estates, at their meeting in May, 
made it sufficiently clear that they would enter 
into no such alliance with a nation which had 
"helped to persecute them" as would involve a 
breach of the existing league with those who had 
helped to deliver them; and " as Scotland had for 
saken the Pope and papistry," Scotsmen "could 
not be debtors to his foresworn vassals." 2 

3 . The third object was to ensure that the Queen , 
on her return, should abstain from overturning 
the new ecclesiastical settlement; and should re 
tain as her advisers those who were the recognised 
leaders of the nation. For the attainment of this 
end, Lord James Stewart, at the request of the 
Estates, although without any definite commis 
sion, visited Queen Mary in April. He had little 
difficulty in convincing his sister that, even from 

1 Diur. of Occ. . p 64 ; Labanoff, Letters of Mary Stuart, i., 80. 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii., 166, 167. 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 265 

her own religious standpoint, it would be unwise 
to attempt any reversal, meanwhile at least, of 
the Scottish ecclesiastical policy, or even to effect 
any substantial change in the personnel of her 
ministers of State. The same counsel appears to 
have been given to the Queen by her French ad 
visers. 1 Mary was a zealous Catholic, and her 
kinsmen in France were hopeful that through her 
instrumentality not only Scotland, but England, 
would eventually be regained for Rome. But the 
proposal of the more sanguine Scottish Roman 
ists to attempt at this juncture a political and 
ecclesiastical counter-revolution was regarded 
even in France as impracticable. It was neces 
sary (they considered) for Mary to temporise in 
order ultimately to triumph ; and for the present, 
accordingly, it was advised that "two should 
walk together" even although not "agreed." 

The danger to the Reformed cause from the re 
turn of Queen Mary was thus lessened ; but it was 
not removed. She resolutely declined, and was 
not constrained, to ratify the Treaty of Leith, 
according to which foreign troops were to be 
permanently withdrawn from Scotland; the pos 
sibility, therefore, of subsequent French in 
tervention, with the Queen s sanction, was not 
foreclosed. 2 She continued to refrain from 

1 Sir James Melville, Memoirs, 31 ; Nau, Mary Stuart, 1 16. 

2 See Throgmorton to Queen Elizabeth in Knox, H. of R., 
ii., 169-174. The chief reason of Mary s "refusal" to con 
firm the treaty was, doubtless, the acknowledgment which 

266 John Knox [1561- 

confirming the Parliament or Convention of 1560, 
by which Protestantism had been established ; and 
thus a door was left open for repudiation when 
opportunity might arrive. 1 She held out no hope 
of changing her religion, as Henry IV. afterwards 
did in somewhat analogous circumstances ; and her 
Romanism could not fail to foster a Catholic party 
both at the Court and in the country. Finally, her 
personal antagonism to John Knox had even then 
been manifested, and was known in Reformed 
circles. "The Queen of Scotland" so the Eng 
lish ambassador in France, Throgmorton, wrote 
to Queen Elizabeth in July, 1561 "is thoroughly 
persuaded that the most dangerous man in all her 
realm of Scotland is Knox." 2 

II. At the time of Mary s arrival in Scotland, 
on the i pth August, 1561, the attitude of Knox 
as well as of other Reformers was one of anxiety 
and suspicion. On the day of her landing at 
Leith he saw a "forewarning" in the "very face 
of Heaven, which did manifestly speak of dolour, 
darkness and all impiety." There was "cor 
ruption of the air"; "the mist was thick and 
dark . . . the sun was not seen to shine two 
days before, nor two days after." 3 The safe 

it contained of Elizabeth as legitimate Queen of England; 
but the exclusion of French soldiers was also, presumably, 
in the Scottish Queen s mind. 

1 Diur. of Occ., pp. 62, 280, 281. 

2 Tytler, H. of Sc., vi., 467. 

3 Knox, //. of R., ii., 269. 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 267 

arrival of the Queen, moreover, was signalised by 
the pardon of some criminals, riotous craftsmen 
of Edinburgh; and Knox discerned beneath this 
act of grace a sinister purpose, as the culprits (so 
he held) had committed their offence "in despite 
of the religion." l 

With more reason the preparations made for 
"that idol, the mass, to be said in the Chapel" of 
Holyrood, "pierced the heart of the Reformer." 
The service, indeed, was stated to be for the bene 
fit of the Queen s uncles and other Frenchmen 
who had accompanied her on the journey; but 
Knox was not deceived by this plea of the over- 
complacent (as the Reformer considered) Lord 
James Stewart, who stood as guard at the chapel 
door, in order, as he said, to stop all Scotsmen 
from taking part in the idolatry. 2 The Queen s 
personal participation in the mass was tacitly ad 
mitted ; and the Reformer was not pacified by the 
proclamation issued that morning by the Privy 
Council in the Queen s name. The proclamation 
began by threatening with death those who might 
" attempt any thing against the form [of religion] 
which her Majesty found publicly standing at her 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 270. They had violently rescued the 
deacon of the butchers, who had been accused of bigamy; 
but who pleaded that he had been "lawfully parted " trom his 
first wife " after the manner of the papistical religion" (-ibid., 

155)- _ 

2 Ibid., ii., 271. The chapel in which the mass was cele 
brated was not the Church of Holyrood Abbey, but a private 
chapel in the Palace (see Hay Fleming, Mary Q. o) S., 257). 

268 John Knox [1561- 

arrival in this her realm"; but it proceeded to 
warn all not to "molest any of her domestic 
servants, or persons whosoever came forth of 
France, for any cause whatsoever." I 

On the following Sunday Knox relieved his con 
science. From the pulpit of St. Giles he testified 
that "one mass was more fearful to him than if 
10,000 armed enemies were landed in any part of 
the realm, of purpose to suppress the whole re 
ligion." Four years later he acknowledged that 
he had "done most wickedly" that day; not be 
cause he had spoken too strongly, but because he 
had not gone further, and " done what in him lay 
to have suppressed that idol in the beginning." 2 
Our modern principles of religious toleration ren 
der it difficult for us to sympathise with Knox s 
Protestant thoroughness; yet, after all, he was 
only anticipating the provision made at the Revo 
lution of 1689, by which to this day "Papists" 
are "debarred from the British Crown," and the 
Sovereign of Great Britain renounces the doc 
trine of transubstantiation. The Catholics of 
Scotland, moreover, had not yet given up the 
hope of a counter-revolution; Scottish Protest 
antism was still in danger, and the event proved 
that Knox s fears were far from groundless. In 
any case the allowance of mass in Holyrood 
Chapel, after it had been proscribed by statute, 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 273. 

2 Ibid., ii., 277; comp. Laing, W. of K., vi., 131. 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 269 

was an obvious inconsistency, justifiable only as a 
necessary compromise adopted to prevent civil 
war. The Reformer received little encouragement 
in his protest. The only man of high rank, ap 
parently, who supported him publicly was the 
Earl of Arran ; and within a year this nobleman 
became insane. "As the Lords of the Congrega 
tion," writes Knox, "repaired unto the town, at 
the first coming they shewed themselves wonder 
fully offended that the mass was permitted; so 
that every man, as he came, accused them that 
were before him; but after they had remained a 
certain space, they were as quiet as were the 
former." He quotes with evident gusto a sarcastic 
saying of Robert Campbell of Kinyeancleuch, that 
the "holy water of the Court sprinkled on them 
took away all their fervency"; and he adds that 
men were blinded to the peril of toleration, on the 
one hand, by the Queen s constant outcry against 
the attempt " to constrain the conscience " ; on the 
other hand, by the subtle suggestion of some that, 
if gently dealt with, she might be won to the Re 
formed side. 1 It is not likely that Lord James 
Stewart and Maitland of Lethington, who became 
the chief ministers of State, were either fascinated 
or deceived; but they considered, doubtless, as 
men of the world, that the toleration of a single 
private mass in the Palace chapel was a moderate 
price to be paid for the practical endorsement 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii. , 274-276. 

270 John Knox [r 5 6i- 

which Mary had given to the establishment of the 
Reformed faith. 

III. A few days after his sermon in St. Giles , 
Knox was invited by the Queen to a private col 
loquy at Holyrood. The interview was presum 
ably approved and probably suggested by her 
brother and Maitland. They could have little ex 
pectation that Knox would persuade Mary to re 
nounce the mass ; but they may have had some 
hope that the Reformer might be won over by 
the Queen to their own moderate standpoint. 1 
For a detailed account of the conference we are 
dependent on Knox s narrative alone, 2 although 
Lord James was present ; but the record bears in 
ternal marks of truth. Mary was no unworthy 
antagonist, intellectually, at least, of the Re 
former. In a letter to Cecil, written six weeks 
after the interview, Knox admits that he observed 
in her a "shrewdness beyond her years" 3 ; and 
the report of the interview discloses no little 
acuteness in the Queen s reasoning. It is proba 
ble that Mary, at the outset, did not omit an 
endeavour to exert over the Reformer that fasci- 

1 In a letter to Throgmorton, written on the day of the 
interview, Randolph testifies to the great influence of Knox 
at this time, and indicates the need which must have been 
felt of securing his concurrence in the policy of moderation. 
I fear nothing so much as that one day he will mar all. . . . 
He ruleth the roost and of him all men stand in fear" (Laing, 
W. of K., vi., 129). 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii., 277-286. 

3 Laing, W. of K., vi., 132; comp. Knox, H. of R., ii., 286. 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 271 

nating influence which had been successful in the 
case of others; she declared afterwards that she 
had "sought" his "favours by all possible 
means," 1 but the conversation apparently soon 
drifted into a discussion of various grounds 
of complaint against him. Two charges against 
the Reformer were stated, which referred chiefly 
to his ministry in England. On one of these, how 
ever, little stress seems to have been laid. It was 
his alleged "necromancy" practised in England 
a fatuous invention of Romanists which simply 
attests the Reformer s acknowledged power. The 
reference to it by the Queen gave Knox an oppor 
tunity of saying that he, "wretched sinner," must 
patiently bear an accusation which had also been 
made against Christ Himself ; and that so far from 
being guilty of the offence, he could bring numer 
ous witnesses to his having "spoken against such 
arts, and against those that had used such im 
piety." The other charge, connected with his 
ministry in England, was that he had been "the 
cause of great sedition and slaughter there" a 
charge which rested, presumably, on his continu 
ing to preach Protestant doctrine after Mary 
Tudor s accession, and on his writings circulated 
in that country during her reign. From his own 
standpoint, Knox had no difficulty in answering 
that the charge was without foundation, unless 
"to teach the truth of God in sincerity, to rebuke 

/f. of R., ii., 387. 

272 John Knox [1561- 

idolatry, and to will a people to worship God ac 
cording to His Word be to raise subjects against 
their princes." The charge of causing sedition, 
however, was based chiefly on the Monstrous Regi 
ment of Women, and the publication of this work 
formed the third count in the Queen s indictment. 
This unfortunate treatise could not be disowned ; 
but Knox explains that the work had been com 
posed with special reference, not to her Majesty, 
but to Queen Mary of England; and he adds 
that "if the realm [of Scotland] finds no incon 
venience from the regiment of a woman . . . 
neither I nor that book shall hurt you or your 
authority." With characteristic plain-spoken- 
ness, however, even when wishing to be concilia 
tory, he designates Mary Tudor a "wicked 
Jezebel," and introduces with quite unconscious 
offensiveness, the assurance that he would be "as 
well content to live under your Grace as Paul 
under Nero" ! 

The interview between the Queen and the Re 
former culminated in the important question of 
subjects resisting their princes and rejecting their 
princes religion. "Ye have taught the people," 
said Mary "to receive another religion than 
that which their princes can allow, and how can 
that doctrine be of God, seeing that God com- 
mandeth subjects to obey their princes?" Knox 
quoted, in reply, the example of Daniel and his 
fellows under Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, in the 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 273 

Old Testament, and of the Apostles under the 
Roman Emperors, in the New. "But none of 
these," aptly interposed the Queen, "raised the 
sword against their princes." "God," rejoined 
Knox, "had not given to them the power and the 
means." " But, think ye," persisted Mary, "that 
subjects having power may thus resist?" Knox, 
in his illustrations from Scripture had evaded this 
crucial point; but the Queen s acuteness in rea 
soning constrained him now to avow a conviction 
in direct antagonism to the famous compromise 
of Augsburg in 1555 cujus regio ejus religio. He 
boldly proclaimed the doctrine which is now (at 
least in most civilised countries) a truism, but 
was then a paradox, and which the British nation 
learned only through the fiery ordeals of the sev 
enteenth century the principle of limited and 
constitutional monarchy. This doctrine, received 
by Knox and Buchanan long before from John 
Major, 1 was now enunciated with great plainness 
before Mary. "If princes exceed their bounds, 
and do against that wherefore they should be 
obeyed, there is no doubt that they may be re 
sisted even with power." Knox illustrates the 
duty of subject to prince by that of child to par 
ent. A frenzied father might attempt the life of 

1 See p. 23. Buchanan afterwards unfolded the doctrine 
in his De Jure Regni (1579) the possession of which book 
was declared penal by the Scottish Parliament in 1584; while, 
a century later, the University of Oxford committed it to the 
flames. See Hume Brown, George Buchanan, 269, 270. 

274 John Knox [1561- 

his own children; if the children bound and im 
prisoned him till the frenzy was passed, would 
they be doing wrong? 

"It is even so with princes that would murder the 
children of God that are subject to them. Their 
blind zeal is nothing but a very mad frenzy; and 
therefore, to take their sword from them, to bind 
their hands, and to cast themselves into prison till 
they be brought to a more sober mind, is no dis 
obedience against princes but just obedience, because 
it agreeth with the Will of God." 

Mary was not accustomed to such plain speak 
ing. "She stood as it were amazed"; and at 
length answered somewhat pettishly, "I perceive 
my subjects shall obey you and not me." "My 
travail," said Knox, "is that both princes and 
subjects obey God." Afterwards, in reply to 
Knox s reminder that God "craves of kings that 
they be, as it were, foster-fathers to His Church, 
and commands queens to be nurses to His people," 
Mary declared readily, "Yes, but ye are not the 
Kirk that I will nourish: I will defend the Kirk 
of Rome ; for I think it is the true Kirk of God." 
Thereupon Knox, after the manner of the po 
lemics of the time, roughly denounced the 
Roman "harlot." Mary pleaded "conscience"; 
and when Knox responded that conscience 
must be enlightened by the Word of God, and 
proceeded to demonstrate that the mass was 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 275 

unscriptural, Mary dexterously referred to di 
verse interpretations by different doctors, adding, 
"Whom shall I believe?" "Ye are owre sair 
for me," she continued; "but if they were here 
that I have heard, they would answer you." 
Knox replied that the " Papists never would come 
to conference, unless they themselves were ad 
mitted for judges"; and that he "would to God 
the learnedest Papist in Europe were present 
to sustain the argument." But the Queen, hav 
ing already heard probably of Ninian Winzet s 
forthcoming controversial Tractates, 1 was able 
to tell her visitor, "Well, ye may perchance 
get that sooner than ye believe." The discussion 
was interrupted by the dinner hour; and Knox 
who, in spite of roughness of speech, begotten by 
constant controversy, had the heart of a gentle 
man, closed the interview with the loyal wish and 
prayer, in which a virtual surrender of the extreme 
doctrine of the Monstrous Regiment was implied, 
that the Queen might be "as blessed within the 
Commonwealth of Scotland as ever Deborah was 
in the Commonwealth of Israel." His hopeless 
ness, however, as to any change in Mary s attitude 
to the Reformed Faith was expressed in his em 
phatic answer to some " familiars" who asked him 
what he thought of the Queen. " If there be not 
in her a proud mind, a crafty wit, and an indurate 

1 The earliest of these was issued in February, 1562 See 
Additional Note at the end of this Chapter. 

276 John Knox [i S 6i- 

heart against God and His truth, my judgment 
faileth me." * 

IV. This first encounter between Queen Mary 
and Knox is a fair specimen of the relations which 
existed between them. Four other private inter 
views are recorded; each, like the first, being on 
Mary s own invitation, not at Knox s request. 
The earliest of these was in December, 1562, after 
a sermon at St. Giles , in which the Reformer had 
referred to princes that were "more exercised in 
fiddling and flinging than in reading or hearing of 
God s most blessed Word." Mary had evidently 
heard an exaggerated report of the sermon, and 
was so far appeased by Knox s assurance that he 
did not "utterly damn" dancing, provided "the 
principal vocation of those who use that exer 
cise" be not neglected, and the occasion of the 
dance be not unseasonable. 2 But when she re 
quested that if he heard anything about her that 
" misliked " him, he would come to herself and tell 
her ; and when she received the rather ungracious 
answer, that neither his " conscience nor the voca 
tion whereto God hath called" him, permitted 
him to "wait upon your chamber door or else 
where, and then to have no further liberty but 
to whisper my mind in your Grace s ear," Mary 
"turned her back upon him," offended. Knox 
overheard, as he left the room, some remark of 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 286. 

2 News had recently arrived cf fresh persecution in France. 
Ibid., ii., 330. 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 277 

surprise that he was "not effrayed" ; and replied, 
with mingled gallantry and scornful unconcern, 
" Why should the pleasing face of a gentlewoman 
effray me? I have looked on the faces of many 
angry men, and yet have not been effrayed above 
measure." * 

The next interview took place four months 
afterwards, in April, 1563, in that Castle of Loch- 
leven where, a few years later, Mary was to have 
so bitter an experience. At the preceding Easter, 
mass had been publicly celebrated, contrary to 
law, in various places. When the Government 
took no steps to vindicate the statute, some 
priests in the south-west country had been appre 
hended by ardent Protestants, who declared that 
they would "complain neither to Queen nor to 
Council," but would punish the "idolaters by such 
means as they might." Mary probably suspected 
that Knox was the source of this Protestant ebul 
lition; but she prudently sent for the Reformer 
and asked him to assist in its suppression. "She 
travailed with him earnestly two hours before sup 
per," he writes, urging him "to persuade the 
gentlemen of the west" to leave the priests alone 
and not to take her sword in their hand. Knox 
was ready with Old Testament precedents, from 
Phineas downwards, for private persons in special 
emergencies undertaking magisterial duty ; and he 
plainly told her Majesty that the remedy lay with 

1 Knox, //. of R., ii., 331-335. 

278 John Knox [1561- 

herself, viz., to "punish mass-mongers according 
to the law." The Queen received his advice in no 
good temper; but after a night s reflection, and 
some converse probably with her brother (who by 
this time had been created Earl of Moray), she 
looked at matters, or professed to look at them, 
in a different light. She sent for Knox early in 
the morning, when she was out hawking. After 
" long talk " on various topics, including the offer 
of a ring to herself by Lord Ruthven, "whom I 
cannot love," and an appeal to Knox for help in 
reconciling the Earl and Countess of Argyle, " for 
my sake," she reverted to the subject of the pre 
vious evening, and dismissed the Reformer with 
a promise that she would cause all offenders to 
be summoned for trial. He was courteous enough 
to assure her that by so doing she would "please 
God, and enjoy rest and tranquillity." The Queen 
kept her promise. Within about a month forty- 
eight " mass-mongers " were tried for breach of the 
law, and the majority of these (including Arch 
bishop Hamilton) were "committed to ward." 
But Knox became convinced afterwards that this 
loyal compliance with the law was "done of a 
most deep craft" to allay the suspicion of Pro 
testants, and to dissuade them from trying to 
"press the Queen with any other thing concern 
ing matters of religion at the Parliament which 
began within two days thereafter." 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 371-380. Knox candidly records that 
at the Lochleven interview the Queen warned him against 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 279 

The fourth interview between Queen and 
preacher was the least agreeable of all. It took 
place in the early summer of 1563, during the sit 
ting of Parliament. Knox had referred in a ser 
mon to a rumour of the Queen s marriage to Don 
Carlos of Spain. The proposal was seriously en 
tertained by Mary herself, and was believed at the 
time to be favoured even by some of her Protest 
ant counsellors. The possibility of such a mar 
riage between the Queen of Scots and the son 
of the arch-persecutor, Philip II., was too much 
for the Reformer, whose English experience had 
taught him to dread the issue of a matrimonial 
alliance with Spain. He declared from the pulpit 
that "whensoever the nobility of Scotland con 
sent that an infidel shall be head to your sover 
eign," they will "bring God s vengeance upon the 
country." Had the Queen been aware at the 
time of the character of Don Carlos, who appears 
to have been half imbecile and half monster, 
she might perhaps have excused Knox s interven 
tion, even although she disliked his reasons. But 
to one who, amid other more personal aims, had 
never lost sight of her mission as a prop of the 
Papacy, the prospect afforded by the Spanish 

Gordon, ex- Bishop of Galloway (who wished to be made a 
superintendent) as a "dangerous man." "Therein," writes 
Knox, "was not the Queen deceived" ; and whether he was 
influenced by Mary s counsel or not, at any rate Gordon, 
althottgh "the man most familiar with" Knox, was "frus 
trated of his purpose." 

280 John Knox [1561- 

alliance was attractive : and apart from this con 
sideration, Knox s interference with her matri 
monial affairs appeared to her as the consummation 
of meddlesomeness. The preacher was summoned 
to Holyrood, and was conducted into the royal 
presence by Erskine of Dun. The Queen, " in a ve 
hement fume," amid threats of vengeance mingled 
with womanly weeping, demanded indignantly, 
"What have ye to do with my marriage, and 
who are ye within this commonwealth?" Knox 
replied, with dignity, that "albeit neither earl, 
lord, nor baron," yet had God made him "a 
profitable member within the same," to whom 
it appertains to forewarn of such things as may 
hurt it"; and for the nobility to consent that 
their Queen should be "subject to an unfaithful 
husband " was "to do as much as in them liethto 
renounce Christ, to banish the truth from them, 
to betray the freedom of this realm, and perchance 
in the end do small comfort to " the Queen herself. 
Mary s answer, according to Knox, was "inor 
dinate passion" and "tears in abundance." Her 
emotion was apparently sincere, and Knox was 
touched. He declared that he had "never de 
lighted in the weeping of any of God s creatures." 
"I can scarcely well abide the tears of my own 
boys," he continued, "whom my own hand cor- 
recteth, much less can I rejoice in your Majesty s 
weeping." But "I must sustain, albeit unwill 
ingly," he added, "your Majesty s tears rather 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 281 

than I dare hurt my conscience, or betray my 
Commonwealth through my silence." The Queen 
was not appeased. The Reformer was asked to 
withdraw to the antechamber, where he enter 
tained the "fair ladies of the Court" with dis 
course upon the transitory character of all earthly 
things, and upon "that knave death, that will 
come whether we will or not." After the expiry 
of an hour, Erskine of Dun came from the Queen 
to bid him depart to his house until new 

" advertisement." x 

V. The last occasion, so far as is certainly 
known, on which Queen and Reformer met, was 
of a semi-public character. The meeting took 
place in December, 1563, when Knox was put on 
his trial for treason before the Privy Council. Two 
months previously he had been practically forced 
to take a bold step, which to timid Protestants 
appeared dangerous, but was dictated not by rash 
impulse, but by deliberate policy. During the 
Queen s absence from Edinburgh, in the summer 
of 1563, the existing arrangement that mass should 
be said in Holyrood only in her presence was 
notoriously disregarded. Two zealous Reformers 

Patrick Cranstoun and Andrew Armstrong 
openly protested at one of the celebrations against 
the breach of the law, and on the 24th of October 
were cited to trial on the charge of violent inva 
sion of the Queen s palace. If these two men 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 386-389. 

282 John Knox [ 15 6i- 

were to be punished, the law restricting the cele 
bration of mass would evidently become a dead 
letter. Knox, accordingly, wrote and circulated 
an epistle to the brethren, asking their "presence, 
comfort, and assistance" at Edinburgh on the day 
of trial, not only for the protection of the ac 
cused, but lest "a door be opened to execute 
cruelty on a greater multitude." l The case was 
postponed until the i3th of November, and no 
record of subsequent proceedings appears to have 
been preserved. A copy of Knox s letter, how 
ever, came under the royal eyes; and amid the 
eagerness of the Queen to strike the arch-enemy 
of the mass, the trial of the original protesters 
was, possibly, departed from. Moray and Mait- 
land, anxious to avoid a rupture with the Queen, 
sent for Knox, and endeavoured to persuade him 
to humble himself before her for his alleged offence 
of "convoking the Queen s lieges" without her 
authority. But Knox, firm in the conviction that 
he had only done his duty, and fortified by the 
private assurance of the Queen s Advocate (John 
Spens of Condie) that he had been guilty of no 
misdemeanour, replied to the two statesmen that 
he had a just defence for all he had done. The 
trial, accordingly, proceeded. As Mary entered the 
Council chamber, Knox observed her laughing, 
and overheard her say to some of her "placebos" 
(as he calls them), "Yon man gart me greet, and 

i Knox, H. of R., ii., 393-395. 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 283 

grat never tear himself; I will see gif I can gar 
him greet." She was doomed to disappointment. 
" I am in the place where I am demanded of con 
science to speak the truth," Knox declared, in the 
course of the proceedings, " and therefore the 
truth I speak, impugn it whoso list." He was 
able to plead numerous precedents for "con 
vocation of the lieges" during the Reformation 
struggle: and, indeed, every Sunday he con 
voked them to his preaching. The real and only 
question was whether the purpose of convocation 
were lawful. The Queen endeavoured to shew 
the treasonable character of Knox s action by 
quoting the warning in his letter about a door 
being opened to execute cruelty, and by suggest 
ing that the Reformer had ascribed such cruelty 
to herself. But the accused had no difficulty in 
showing that the warning was intended to refer 
not to the Queen, but to those " pestilent papists " 
who desired the extermination of "all such as 
profess the Evangel of Jesus Christ," and who had 
inflamed without cause her Majesty "against 
those poor men." The trial ended in the discom 
fiture of the Queen. Knox was acquitted by al 
most all the members of the Council, including 
even a personal enemy, Henry Sinclair, Catholic 
Bishop of Ross, and President of the Court of 
Session. On being sarcastically upbraided by the 
Queen, Sinclair replied that "neither affection to 
the man nor love to his profession moved" him 

284 John Knox [1561- 

"to absolve him, but the simple truth which ap 
peared in his defence." Had the Council con 
demned Knox on this occasion, the majority 
would have condemned themselves. 1 

The antagonism of the Queen to Knox was in 
tensified by his marriage, in March, 1564, to 
Margaret Stewart, daughter of Lord Ochiltree, a 
maiden of seventeen. The young bride seems to 
have been warmly attached to her husband, who 
was thrice as old as herself 2 : and there is no reason 
to believe that the union, although out of accord 
with general sentiment, was other than a happy 
one. Mary s indignation was excited, not by the 
disparity of age, but by what she regarded as the 
Reformer s presumption in allying himself, even 
remotely, with the royal family. "The Queen" 
so the English ambassador reported " storm - 
eth wonderfully; for that she [Margaret Stewart] 
is of the blood and name." 3 

VI. In reviewing the earlier relations of Knox 
with Mary, we must not lose sight of the constant 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 398-412; Calderw., H. of the K., 
ii., 233. The later relations between the Queen and Knox 
will be referred to in Chapter XII. 

2 "By sorcery and witchcraft," writes Nicol Burne, a 
Catholic detractor of Knox, "he did so allure that poor 
gentlewoman that she could not live without him" (T. Graves 
Law, Cath. Tractates, p. 162). We hear little of Margaret 
Stewart s wedded life with Knox except her ministration to 
him on his death-bed. Three daughters were born of the 

3 Laing, W. of K., vi., 533. 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 285 

danger which overhung the Reformation during 
the period of her personal reign in Scotland. That 
peril, always existing, became manifest, as we 
shall find, at the time of the Queen s marriage 
with Darnley, when the power of the Protestant 
leaders, both lay and clerical, was for a time 
paralysed: and this temporary paralysis, which, 
but for Mary s own folly, might have been perma 
nent, justified Knox in his attitude of persistent 
and unbending opposition to the Queen. This 
opposition could not but manifest itself in 
unpalatable testimony. The issues at stake re 
quired a plain-spoken prophet, not a smooth 
tongued courtier. It may be admitted, however, 
that the Reformer, even on his own shewing, 
while rendering due respect to his Sovereign in 
personal intercourse, sometimes failed in con 
sideration for her difficult position, as well as 
conscientious convictions, and was needlessly as 
well as unwisely repellent and unsympathetic. 
Did he thus miss the chance of removing the 
young Queen s prejudice, and even of influencing 
her character and policy? That long interview 
at Lochleven, when he was "oft willing to tack 
his leave," but when she detained him with 
confidential converse about a domestic trouble 
in which she asked his aid, and even about a 
love-affair connected with herself, suggests that 
although Mary regarded Knox as her chief antago 
nist, she was not insensible to that underlying 

286 John Knox [1561- 

sympathy which, in spite of superficial hardness, 
attracted to the Reformer the confiding regard 
both of men and of women. What, then, pre 
vented Knox, in his earlier intercourse with the 
Queen, from seeking to win, rather than merely 
to withstand? To a man who believed in the 
grace of God and in his own power as God s minis 
ter, her "indurate heart" could, at the outset 
have been no adequate deterrent. May not his 
demeanour towards Mary be accounted for, to 
some extent, by the supposition that in the earlier 
part, at least, of her reign, he was not without 
some fear of her power of fascination, and that he 
steeled himself against it by adopting an aspect 
of unsympathetic harshness, which misrepre 
sented his true nature? We know from the Re 
former s intercourse and correspondence with Mrs. 
Bowes and Mrs. Locke, that he was far from being 
impervious to womanly influence; and his court 
ship of Margaret Stewart shows, what he himself 
once indicated, that he had a full appreciation of 
" the pleasing face of a gentlewoman." The occa 
sional relaxation, moreover, of his attitude to the 
Queen, even at interviews when he was, on the 
whole, stern, points to a kindlier, gentler, and 
more real self behind the demeanour of rough 
severity which, for his own protection, he felt 
himself constrained to assume. Eventually, how 
ever, Knox s heart became wholly hardened 
against her: and towards the adulterous accom- 

i S 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 287 

plice, as he believed, of her husband s murderer, 
his feeling was that of deep detestation. 


John Knox and Roman Catholic Controversialists 

1. Knox s encounter with Principal Anderson and 
(the future) Bishop Lesley has been already related. 1 

2. Ninian Winzet was one of the most estimable of 
the clergy who adhered at the Reformation to the 
Roman Church. He was Headmaster of Linlithgow 
School, and Provost of the Collegiate Church of the 
town. His significant admission as to the ignorance 
and vicious lives of the "maist part" of the clergy 
has already been recorded 2 but he was a strenuous 
opponent of Protestantism. He appears to have 
held a public discussion at Linlithgow with Knox 
regarding the mass, during a visit of the latter to the 
town in June, 1559. After the Reformation he was 
ejected for nonconformity. He came under Queen 
Mary s notice soon after her return to Scotland, and 
was probably one of her domestic chaplains at 
Holy rood. In February, 1562, he received permis 
sion from the Queen to address the Protestant 
leaders. He did so in a series of controversial Letters 
and Tractates, in which, among other subjects, he 
raises the question whether John Knox were a lawful 
minister, seeing that he had renounced and declared 
to be null his Roman ordination. Knox published 
no reply, contenting himself with pulpit references, in 

1 See page 253. 

2 See page 15. 

288 John Knox [i S 6i- 

which he declared that, like John the Baptist, he had 
been "extraordinarily called." Winzet s attacks 
upon Protestantism culminated in his "Last Blast of 
the Trumpet of God s Word against the usurped 
authority of John Knox and his Calvinian brethren," 
printed in July, 1562. The work was seized by the 
authorities as seditious, and Winzet had to flee to the 
Continent, where he renewed the controversy with his 
"Four Score Three Questions." Eventually he be 
came Abbot of the ancient Scoto-Irish monastery at 
Ratisbon. T 

3. On the occasion of a visit of Knox to Ayrshire in 
September, 1562, a disputation was arranged between 
the Reformer and Quintin Kennedy, Abbot of Cross- 
raguel in that county, and a son of the Earl of Cas- 
silis. The Abbot had previously signalised himself 
as a champion of the Roman Church by the issue, 
in 1558, of a "Compendious Tractive" in which 
Scripture is described as only the witness, and the 
Church (represented by Council or Pope) as the judge 
in all questions regarding the Faith. More recently, 
in 1561, he had published a belated reply to Knox s 
address at Newcastle before the Council of the North, 
in 1550. The disputation was held in the house 
of the Provost of Maybole, before a large company 
of Catholic and Protestant nobles and gentlemen, 
and it lasted three days. It was agreed that the 
first subject of controversy should be the mass: and 
the discussion began well; for the Abbot, after a 
preliminary caveat that he was not to be held as 
acknowledging that what General Councils had 
determined was really disputable, announced, to the 

1 Hewison, Ninian Winzet, i., Introduction and pp. 35, 47. 

i 5 6 3 ] Interviews with Queen Mary 289 

Reformer s satisfaction, that he would maintain and 
"defend no mass, as concerning the substance, in 
stitution, and effect, but that mass only which was 
instituted by Christ." He defined the mass to be 
"the sacrifice and oblation of the Lord s Body and 
Blood"; and promised that his arguments would be 
grounded "upon the Scripture of Almighty God as 
his warrant." But when he insisted on discussing, as 
his first scriptural testimony, the bread and wine of 
Melchizedek as a type of the oblation made by Christ 
at the Last Supper, the disputation drifted into the 
subordinate question whether Melchizedek s bread 
and wine were intended to be a sacrifice offered to 
God, as the Abbot contended, or a refreshment offered 
to men, as Knox maintained. For the better part of 
two days this minor point was discussed. In vain, 
on the third day, according to his own account, at 
least, the Reformer endeavoured to bring back the 
disputation to the main question, viz., whether the 
mass, as celebrated in the Roman Church, has or 
has not "approbation of the plain Word of God." 
The auditors, apparently, had become utterly 
wearied, and pleaded that they were " altogether 
destitute of all provision both for horse and man." 
The Abbot agreed to resume the discussion in Edin 
burgh if the Queen permitted; but no resumption 
actually took place, and within two years Kennedy 
died. 1 

4. Ten years after his encounter with Kennedy, 
Knox wrote a reply to the letter of a Scottish Jesuit, 
James Tyrie. The circumstances and nature of this 
controversy will be detailed in Chapter XIII. 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi. , 151, 220. 




AMID general agreement between Knox and 
the lay leaders of the Scottish Reformation 
upon the vital question of dethroning Romanism 
and establishing Protestantism, there was serious 
divergence of opinion on several important points 
affecting the success of the Protestant movement 
and the well-being of the Reformed Church. 

I. So early as 1555, after Knox s first re 
turn from exile, the question of principle against 
expediency, of thoroughness against compromise 
in reformation, had been involved in the discus 
sion which then arose as to whether Protestants 
ought, or ought not, to continue their attendance 
at mass. The divergence reappeared in 1559, 
after the Reformer s final return, in the earlier 
support given to the prosecuted preachers by 
Knox, along with the Earl of Glencairn and 
Erskine of Dun, against the more cautious atti 
tude adopted by Lord James Stewart, the Earl 


[1561-1565] Protestant Statesmanship 291 

of Argyle, and Maitland, who believed that the 
Reformation of the Church and the liberty of 
preaching might be obtained by peaceful means, 
until the duplicity of the Regent united the Re 
formers in the policy of resistance. The cleavage 
manifested itself again, at a later stage, during 
the interval between the establishment of the 
Reformation and the return of the Queen, in re 
gard to the question of the Church s patrimony. 

II. On the return of Queen Mary from France 
in August, 1561, the divergence between Knox 
and the statesmen, who were led by Lord James 
Stewart and Maitland, once more came to the 
surface, i. Knox, the man of principle, thor 
oughly convinced that his cause was that of God, 
and must ultimately prevail, would have adminis 
tered consistently the law which made the mass 
penal. In his view, the Queen s "liberty should 
be their thraldom ere it was long"; a bold and 
faithful course was the only true and safe policy. 
The "principal ministers" supported their leader, 
but "the votes of the Lords did prevail against" 
them. 1 The leading Protestant laymen, apart 
from that fascination which a young and beautiful 
Queen exerted over some of their number in the 
earlier years of her reign, had less faith both in 
their cause and in their countrymen. They believed 
that if Mary were prevented from worshipping 
God according to the faith and rites in which she 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 292. 

292 John Knox [1561- 

had been brought up, she would be constrained to 
ally herself with the reactionary party which aimed 
at the restoration of Romanism; and this party 
would be strengthened, while the Protestant cause 
would be weakened, by the parade which would 
be made of needless hardship imposed on the 
Queen. Knox acknowledged no real power save 
that of God, and believed that if the leaders of the 
Reformation were faithful to God s truth they 
would ultimately triumph. The Lords of the Con 
gregation, as men of the world, recognised that, 
rightly or wrongly, Mary was a power in the land ; 
and they desired by timely concessions to retain her, 
so far and so long as was possible, on their own side. 
2. Statesmen like Moray and Maitland, more 
over, were largely influenced by the political pur 
poses associated with their ecclesiastical aims. 
They discerned in the union of England and 
Scotland a consummation inevitable as well as de 
sirable; and they were anxious that the union 
should be accomplished in circumstances as fa 
vourable as possible to their native land. Mary 
Stuart was the nearest heir to the English throne. 
Her ambition to be Queen of both kingdoms 
united her policy, so far, with theirs; and they 
trusted to her gradually realising that, in order 
to secure her succession to the English realm, 
it was indispensable for her to relinquish the 
Roman faith. They could not achieve their pur 
pose without Mary s co-operation; they were 

1565] Protestant Statesmanship 293 

ready, accordingly, meanwhile, to make conces 
sions as to her personal religious profession, in 
order to retain her alliance ; and they hoped that 
the prospect of the double crown, along with a 
Protestant marriage, would render those conces 
sions ultimately unnecessary. For men like Knox, 
such political scheming had no attraction. He 
sympathised, doubtless, with the desire for union 
with England as a guarantee for the continuance 
of Scottish Protestantism ; but to surrender truth 
and to countenance "idolatry " for any mere politi 
cal object, or even for a religious as well as politi 
cal benefit, could not but appear to so thorough a 
Reformer as "traffic with Satan" and doing evil 
that good might come. 

3. Another occasion of contention between 
churchmen and statesmen was supplied by the 
powers claimed for the General Assembly. Those 
whose policy was to prevent an open rupture be 
tween Queen and Church foresaw the peril to 
peace which the Assembly involved. When the 
time, accordingly, of the half-yearly meeting in 
December arrived, after Mary s return, Maitland 
denied the power of churchmen "to assemble 
themselves, and to keep conventions" without 
the allowance of the Queen." "Take from us 
the freedom of Assemblies," was Knox s memor 
able answer, " and you take from us the Evangel. 
Without Assemblies, how shall good order and 
unity in doctrine be kept ? When complaint was 

294 John Knox [1561- 

made that the leading laymen were not taken into 
confidence by the clerical members of Assembly, 
the latter retorted that the Lords no longer, as 
before, " kept convention " with the ministers. 1 

4. The Protestant statesmen differed yet fur 
ther from Knox as to the proper way of speaking 
about the Queen. Knox did not scruple, after he 
had abandoned the hope of Mary s conversion, to 
refer to Queen Mary as "the slave of Satan" and 
to the divine "vengeance" as hanging over the 
realm by reason of her impiety. From a man 
of earnest character, who sincerely believed that 
the mass was idolatrous and offensive to God, and 
who discerned that the example of the Queen was 
drawing many of her subjects into sinful con 
formity, what else could be expected? He con 
tinued, indeed, to pray for his Sovereign at public 
worship; but to the supplication, " Illuminate her 
heart," the suggestive condition was added, "Gif 
Thy good pleasure be." To men like Maitlancl 
who, although Protestants by conviction, were not 
prepared to stigmatise Romanism as impiety, such 
language appeared to be a "rousing of the heart 
of her people against her Majesty, and against 
them that serve her." 2 

III. The crisis of divergence was reached in the 
early summer of 1563, when the first Parliament 
after Queen Mary s return was held. 3 Knox hoped 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 294-297. 

2 Ibid., ii., 427-43 i. 

3 Mary s advisers postponed as long as possible the meeting 

i 5 6 5 ] Protestant Statesmanship 295 

that advantage would be taken of this occasion to 
put the Reformed Church on a firmer constitutional 
basis, and to legalise the Book of Discipline; or 
at least to secure a more adequate sustenance for 
the Protestant clergy 1 and a more faithful adminis 
tration of the statutes against the mass. To the 
Reformer s disappointment and disgust, the Lords 
were in no mood to "urge the Queen," in case she 
might refuse to hold a Parliament at all. With 
what appeared to Knox miserable pusillanimity, 
they counselled the postponement of any de 
mands from Mary in the ecclesiastical sphere until 
her expected marriage approached. It would 
then so it was argued be easier to make con 
ditions with her, in return for grants and privi 
leges solicited by her: and the "first thing that 
should be established would be the Reformed 
Religion." 2 Knox showed his disappointment 

of the Estates, to avoid the inconvenient discussion of 
"affairs in Church and State." 

1 Early in 1562, the Privy Council assigned one-third of the 
ecclesiastical patrimony to the crown and to the ministers; 
the remaining two-thirds being left in the possession of the 
Roman clergy until the death of the existing beneficiaries. 
The share allocated to the Reformed ministers was about 
24,000 pounds Scots, out of which were paid stipends of 100 
to 300 merks, (5, us, id to 16, 135, 4^); the purchasing 
power of money, however, being probably twelve times as 
great as at present. Poorer ministers complained that 
"neither were they able to live on the stipends appointed, 
neither could they get payment of that small thing that was 
appointed." (Knox, H. of R., ii., 307-311.) 

2 Ibid., ii., 382. 

296 John Knox [1561- 

and indignation in a sermon preached at St. 
Giles during the session of Parliament. He 
"poured forth the sorrow of his heart"; plainly 
declared that the Lords of the Congregation were 
"betraying God s cause" when they had it "in 
their own hands to establish it"; and could see 
in their procedure "nothing but a recalling [re 
lapse] from Christ Jesus." 

IV. At the ensuing General Assembly (June, 
1564), from which "the lords that depended on 
the Court" were conspicuously absent, an at 
tempt was made, through a private conference 
between politicians and preachers, to arrive at a 
common understanding. Maitland was the chief 
speaker on the one side, Knox on the other. Two 
points were discussed. The first was the general 
question whether a subject could lawfully resist 
his sovereign. Maitland appealed to Romans xiii., 
i ("Whosoever resisteth the power resisteth the 
ordinance of God") ; and demanded to know how 
the "person placed in authority may be re 
sisted, and God s ordinance not transgressed." 
Knox had not forgotten his scholastic training 
under Major. He drew a distinction between the 
divine ordinance of government and the individual 
human administrator. The former was "con 
stant, stable, perpetual," and therefore unalter 
ably binding. But particular " men, clothed with 
their authority," are "mutable, transitory, sub- 

1 Knox, H. ofR., ii., 384, 385. 

i S 6 5 ] Protestant Statesmanship 297 

ject to corruption"; therefore the prince who 
abuses his authority "may be resisted," while 
"yet the ordinance of God is not violated." 
Maitland quoted the opinions of Luther and 
Melanchthon, but was informed that what they 
opposed was the doctrine of "Anabaptists who 
deny that Christians should be subject to magis 
trates" at all; and Knox was able to produce a 
copy of the famous Apology of Magdeburg, drawn 
up in 1550 by its clergy in defence of the citizens, 
when these opposed the Emperor, Charles V. The 
Apology declared that "to resist a tyrant is not 
to resist God nor yet his ordinance." Let.iington 
glanced over the document and the list of sig 
natures. "Homines obscuri!" was his scornful 
comment; to which Knox gave the memorable 
answer, " Dei tamen servi." 

The second question discussed at the confer 
ence was more specific, viz., whether they might 
"take the Queen s mass from her." On this 
point the clergy as well as the laity were divided. 
Douglas, the Rector of St. Andrews University, 
and Wynram, Superintendent of Fife, followed by 
a majority of the nobility, maintained that if the 
Queen "opposed herself to the only true religion," 
they might "justly oppose themselves to her." 
"As concerning her own mass," however, they 
were "not yet resolved whether by violence we 
may take it from her, or not . On the other hand, 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 435, 436, 442, 453, 454. 

298 John Knox [ 1S 6i- 

Knox and his colleague, Craig, led a party which 
reasoned that "as the mass was abomination, so 
it was just and right that it should be suppressed ; 
and that in so doing men did no more wrong to 
the Queen s Majesty than they that should by 
force take from her a poisoned cup when she was 
going to drink it." The conference broke up 
without any formal decision: the divergence of 
view had not been lessened, but rather empha 
sised ; and Knox declares that after that time the 
ministers that were called "precise" were "held 
of all the courtiers as monsters." J 

V. Particularly notable and detrimental to 
the Reformed Church was the estrangement 
between Knox and Moray. Referring to the 
period immediately preceding the Parliament of 
May, 1563, Knox writes that "the matter fell 
so hot between the Earl of Moray and John Knox, 
that familiarly after that time they spake not 
together more than a year and a half." The Re 
former wrote to the statesman a letter, in which 
"he gave a discharge to the said Earl of all fur 
ther intromission or care with his affairs." He 
reminds him, not without pathos, " in what 
estate he was when first they spake together 
in London" ten years before; and he recalls 
"how God had promoted him [Moray] and that 
above men s judgment," so that now " I leave 
you victor of your enemies," advanced "to great 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 454-461. 

i 5 6 5 ] Protestant Statesmanship 299 

honours," and "in credit and authority with your 
Sovereign." He had hoped that Moray would 
" ever have preferred God " to " his own affection," 
and the " advancement of God s truth " to his own 
"commodity." But he, Knox, had been "frus 
trate in this my expectation." " If after this"- 
so the letter concludes "ye shall decay, as I fear 
that ye shall, then call to mind by what means 
God exalted you; which was neither by bearing 
with impiety neither yet by maintaining of pest 
ilent Papists." r Knox admits that his altered 
relations with Moray were an occasion of "tri 
umph" to those who "envied that so great fam 
iliarity was between the said Earl" and himself; 
and he charges them with ceasing not "to cast 
oil on the burning flame." A quarrel between 
the chief Protestant noble and the leading Re 
formed minister must obviously have weakened 
the cause to which both were attached. It helped 
to pave the way for a temporary Roman reaction. 
VI. The estrangement between Moray and Knox 
arose from difference of standpoint and aim. i. 
Both were patriotic politicians and sincere Re 
formers ; but the one was a keen statesman who 
attached himself to the Protestant cause; the 
other was an ardent Reformer, constrained by 
his religious zeal to ally himself with a political 
party. Moray s chief aim in the interval between 
1561 and 1565 was to strengthen Mary Stuart s 

1 Knox, //. of R., ii., 382, 383. 

300 John Knox [1561- 

government and her chance of peaceful succession 
to the English throne. With this view he promoted 
a policy which would satisfy the more moderate 
Protestants both of England and of Scotland, 
without either driving Scottish Romanists into 
rebellion, or cooling the zeal of English Roman 
ists into political apathy. So long, therefore, as 
the Protestant ascendency in Scotland did not 
appear to be imperilled, he wished to be as tol 
erant towards Catholics as was practicable. He 
seems, moreover, to have hoped that Mary would 
be eventually persuaded to conciliate Elizabeth 
by a Protestant matrimonial alliance, and even 
to co-operate actively in completing the work of 
organising the Reformed Church, if not to become 
a Protestant herself. 1 Knox, on the other hand, 
was a Reformer first and principally ; a politician 
only in so far as the politics of the time had im 
portant bearings on religion. His aim was to 
make not only the government but the people 
thoroughly Protestant: and so long as a Catholic 

1 Maitland, with whom at this period Moray was in accord, 
wrote on 25th October, 1561, to Sir William Cecil about Mary: 
"I see in her [Mary] a good towardness, and think that the 
Queen your Sovereign shall be able to do much with her in 
religion, if they ever enter on a good familiarity (Laing, W . 
of K., vi., 137). Randolph writes to Cecil (January, 1562) 
that it was reported that even the Cardinal of Lorraine was 
content that the Queen (of Scotland) should "embrace the 
religion of England" (ibid., vi., 138); and Randolph per 
sonally was not without hope that Mary "may in time be 
called to the knowledge of His truth, or at least not have 
that force to suppress His evangell here" (vi., 147). 

i 5 6 S ] Protestant Statesmanship 3 01 

leaven was tolerated, he feared the increase of its 
influence, and trembled for the spiritual safety 
of the nation as a whole. He preferred internal 
conflict with all its hazards, while a Protestant 
ascendency was maintained, to internal peace 
which would give Romanists the opportunity of 
recovering their strength, increasing their num 
bers, and preparing for a future struggle. 2. On 
the subject of the Queen s marriage the views of 
Moray and Knox were less divergent than the 
latter probably supposed. It is very unlikely 
that either Moray or Maitland ever approved, any 
more than Knox himself, of Mary s contemplated 
marriage to Don Carlos of Spain. 1 They were not 
unwilling, however, for strategic reasons, to give 
some diplomatic consideration to the proposal. It 
was expedient to bring home to Elizabeth that 
unless a marriage approved both by England and 
Scotland were speedily contracted by the Scottish 
Queen, a matrimonial alliance hostile to English 
interests might be arranged by Mary and her 
counsellors. 2 Knox either did not understand 

i Knox states that Maitland was "not a little offended 
that any bruit should have risen of the Queen s marriage 
with the King [Prince] of Spain." H. of R., ii., 390. 

3 In a letter of Kirkcaldy to Randolph, of date April, 1654, 
Maitland is represented as stating that "all that was spoken 
of the marriage with Spain was done to cause England grant 
to our desires" (Laing, W. of K., vi., 540). This policy of 
the Scottish statesmen produced some effect; for, in March, 
1564, Elizabeth suggested the Protestant Lord Dudley as a 
suitable husband for Mary (Keith, Affairs of Ch. and St., ii., 

302 John Knox [1561- 

this diplomacy; or, if he did, condemned a du 
plicity which accustomed the people to the 
thought of their Sovereign marrying a Catholic. 
3. Knox appears to have had no such hope as 
Moray and other statesmen seem to have cherished, 
of the Queen s permanent acquiescence in the as 
cendency of Protestantism in Scotland as well as 
in England. Himself regarding religion as above 
politics, he gave Mary Stuart the credit of a 
resolution never really to sacrifice the Roman 
Church even to her own political aspirations. To 
him, accordingly, all humouring of the Queen 
with a view to her ultimate surrender of the hope 
of re-establishing Romanism was a vain policy 
which would issue certainly in disappointment 
and, possibly, in disaster. 1 

The breach between Knox and Moray was 
closed about the time of the Queen s marriage 
with Darnley, when the statesman became an 
exile and the Reformer the leader of a depressed 

224); and this alliance would have satisfied both Knox and 
Moray; but Elizabeth would not commit herself (in the event 
of the marriage) to the nomination of Mary as her successor ; 
and this was indispensable to the alliance being approved by 
the political advisers of the Scottish Queen. 

1 Randolph wrote to Cecil on the i6th December, 1562, 
that Knox "is so full of mistrust in all her [Mary s] doings, 
words, and sayings as though he were either of God s privy 
council, ... or that he knew the secrets of her heart so 
well that neither she did or could have for ever one good 
thought of God or of His true religion." Laing, W. of K., 
vi., 146. 

i S 6 5 ] Protestant Statesmanship 303 

Church. Common misfortune, apparently, was 
the means of healing discord. The " burning flame 
of contention ceased not to burn until God, by 
water of affliction, began to slocken it." Knox, 
moreover, on the one side, realised that if Moray 
had been a lukewarm promoter of Protestantism, 
he had been an effective protector of Protestant 
preachers: Moray, on the other hand, had to 
acknowledge that if Knox s policy of " thorough" 
might have led to civil war, his own policy of 
compromise had issued in grave detriment and 
peril both to Church and State. 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 303. 




THE brief period of two years between Mary 
Stuart s marriage to Darnley in July, 1565, 
and her abdication at Lochleven in July, 1567, 
constitutes the chief crisis not only of the Queen s 
life, but of Scottish Protestantism. Mary found 
and lost an opportunity of inaugurating, if not of 
accomplishing, an ecclesiastical revolution. The 
Reformed Church of Scotland, bereft for a while 
of its political protectors, owed its safety, under 
divine Providence, to Knox s influence over the 
people and to the Queen s passion and folly. 

I. In 1564, at the suggestion of Elizabeth, the 
Earl of Lennox, who had been banished for trea 
son in 1545, was allowed to return to Scotland 
and to reclaim his forfeited estates. In the fol 
lowing spring, his son Darnley, a great-grandson, 
through his mother, of Henry VII., and next to 
Mary herself in the line of the English succession, 


[1565-1568] Protestant Depression 35 

was also encouraged by both Queens to return to 
his native land. 1 From the outset it was gener 
ally believed that the restoration of Lennox was 
connected with a proposed marriage between 
Mary and Darnley. Moray and Maitland were 
under the impression that Elizabeth favoured the 
union; and they probably reckoned upon Darn- 
ley, who was a Catholic, but not particularly zeal 
ous, being willing to change his faith if conversion 
were eventually to be rewarded with two thrones. 
Darnley s first night in Scotland, the icth of 
February, was spent at Lethington, as Maitland s 
guest. 2 Within a fortnight he had "heard Knox 
preach, supped with Moray, and danced with the 
Queen." 3 Within a month, Mary Stuart s will 
ingness to consider him as a future husband on 
political grounds had been overshadowed by a 
personal predilection, which speedily developed 
into passion. Unexpectedly Elizabeth raised 
difficulties. Until she herself married, or had re 
solved not to marry, the succession to the Eng 
lish throne must remain unsettled; she objected, 
moreover, to the marriage with Darnley as pre 
judicial to "Mary and herself" and "dangerous 
to the weal of both countries." * The attitude 
of the Queen of England affected the policy of 
Moray and Maitland. The marriage, it now 

1 A. Lang, H. of Sc., ii., 136; Bain, Cal. ii., 124-127. 

2 Skelton, Life of Maitland, ii., 144. 

3 A. Lang, H. of Sc., ii., 137. 

* Knox, H. of R., ii., 474; Froude, H. of E., vii., 269. 

306 John Knox [1565- 

appeared, instead of promoting, would hinder the 
recognition of Mary as Elizabeth s successor, and 
might imperil the alliance of the two realms; 
while, as regards Scotland, the motive to Darn- 
ley s conversion being now removed, the marriage 
would be a cause of offence to the Protestant party. 
Moray, accordingly, exerted his influence against 
the nuptials: in addition to political and ecclesi 
astical considerations, he had probably by this 
time discerned Darnley s overbearing charac 
ter and his unfitness for the position of royal 
Consort. 1 Maitland, more cautious, endeavoured 
to persuade the Queen to "make no haste in the 
matter." 2 But Mary had resolved to set per 
sonal before political considerations. By this 
time, moreover, the influence of David Rizzio, 
her private secretary, superseded that of former 
counsellors; and Rizzio warmly espoused the 
cause of the man who afterwards became his 
assassin. A convention of the Scottish nobility 
at Stirling on the i5th of May gave its approval 
to the proposed marriage, and the nuptials were 
celebrated in Holyrood Chapel on the 2gth of 
July, is65. 3 Moray, along with other nobles and 
gentry, including Chatelherault, Glencairn, Ochil- 
tree, and Kirkcaldy of Grange, trusting to Eng 
lish help which never came, raised an insurrection 

1 Tytler, vi., 378, 390. 

a Ibid., vi., 386 (letter of Randolph to Cecil, 3oth March). 

3 Ibid., v., 393, 394. 

i 5 68] Protestant Depression 37 

first to prevent and then to protest against the 
marriage, but their enterprise received scant sup 
port: they were proclaimed outlaws, and had to 
flee into England. 1 

II. What was Knox s attitude towards the 
royal marriage? We have seen that when the 
alliance with Don Carlos was in contemplation, 
he declared in St. Giles that to allow the Queen 
to wed a Romanist was equivalent to the banish 
ment of Christ from the kingdom. The objection 
was equally applicable to the case of Darnley; 
and the opposition of Knox and Moray (even 
although from different standpoints) to a mar 
riage which both regarded as detrimental to the 
State and perilous for the Church, contributed, 
doubtless, at this period to their reconciliation. 

While statesman and Reformer, however, were 
agreed as to the danger which the marriage in 
volved, they differed widely in the steps which 
they took to meet the emergency. Moray and 
his friends raised a petty and fruitless insurrec 
tion: there is no evidence that it received any 
actual support from Knox. The Reformer used 
the opportunity to testify afresh against "papis 
try," and to warn Church and State against 
unseasonable toleration. Although his name is 
not specially mentioned in connexion with the 
General Assembly of June, 1565, we may with 

* Continuation of Knox, H. of R., ii., 496; Burton, H. of 
Sc., ii., 123. 

308 John Knox [1565- 

confidence ascribe to Knox s suggestion its 
main procedure. If the Queen was resolved to 
marry a Romanist, without parliamentary ap 
proval, then let the Church renew her demand for 
the long-postponed ratification of the Protestant 
statutes of 1560; and, in accordance therewith, 
let the "papistical and blasphemous mass be sup 
pressed throughout the realm, and that not only 
in the subjects, but in the Queen s Majesty s own 
person." T Probably no member of Assembly ex 
pected the Queen herself to renounce the mass; 
but it was regarded as important at this juncture 
to remind both Court and nation that the rite was 
illegal; and to the Assembly s testimony may, 
perhaps, be attributed the withdrawal of Darnley 
from the chapel, after his marriage, when mass 
was about to be celebrated. Three weeks later, 
with a view, presumably, to propitiate Protestants, 
yet without renouncing Romanism, the young 
King attended service in St. Giles . Knox s ser 
mon did not tempt him to return. He heard 
his own and the Queen s co-religionists repeatedly 
described as "pestilent Papists." A parallel also 
appeared to be suggested by the preacher between 
Darnley and Ahab, between Mary and Jezebel: 
and a significant reference was made to "boys and 
women being sent as tyrants and scourges to 
plague the people for their sins." 2 

1 Calderw., H. of Kirk, ii., 287-289. 

2 The sermon was published, and is contained in Laing, 
W. of K., vi., 233-273. In the evening of the day on which 

is68] Protestant Depression 39 

If we are inclined to think that the Church 
might have been more tolerant, and Knox more 
conciliatory, it is fair to remember that Scotland 
was then passing through an ecclesiastical crisis, 
and that the very existence of the Scottish Re 
formed Church appeared to be at stake. Con 
tinental Catholic powers were laying aside mutual 
jealousies, and were prepared to unite in accom 
plishing the suppression of Protestantism. 1 The 
numerous and powerful Catholics in the northern 
English counties were believed to be ready for 
co-operation. 2 Mary had succeeded in driving 
from her Court and Council the more zealous Pro 
testant statesmen, and in replacing them with 

he had preached, Knox was summoned from his bed before 
the Privy Council, at royal instigation. Darnley had come 
home " crabbit " (Diurn. ofOcc., 81). The Reformer declared 
that "he had spoken nothing but according to his text" 
(Knox, H. ofR.,il, 497, 498; Laing, W. of K., vi., 230). In a 
marginal gloss, inserted apparently by David Buchanan, 
Knox is represented as adding that "as the King (to pleasure 
the Queen) had gone to mass, so should God make her an 
instrument of his ruin"; whereupon "the Queen being in 
censed fell out in tears." But Mary does not appear to have 
been present; and the gloss is probably an alleged vati- 
cinium post eventum. The Reformer was ordered to ab 
stain from preaching so long as their Majesties remained in 
Edinburgh; but as they left the city very soon after, the 
prohibition was little more than nominal (Diurn. of Occ.}. 

1 The Catholic League of 1565 was not consummated until 
the autumn of that year, but arrangements with a view to it 
had already been made (Burton, H. of Sc., iv., 135, 136; 
Tytler, H. of Sc., vii., 18). 

2 Burton, //. of Sc., vii., 131. 

3 10 John Knox [i 5 6 5 - 

men not unfavourable to the restoration of Ro 
manism. She had told Knox plainly, long before, 
that she meant to maintain and defend the Church 
of Rome ; and her private correspondence with 
continental Courts and potentates reveals that 
she had been encouraged by others, and herself 
hoped to inaugurate a Catholic reaction. 2 The 
marriage with Darnley appeared to Knox not as 
a mere love match, but as part of an extensive 
Romanist conspiracy. 3 Even in itself the mar 
riage was objectionable. It was one thing for 
Scottish Protestants to tolerate a Catholic Queen 
who was the legitimate heir to the throne ; it was 
another thing to acknowledge as royal Consort 
one whose presence and high station would en 
hance the influence of the Court against the 

III. Few details are known of Knox s life and 
work between his sermon before Darnley in Au 
gust, 1565, and the General Assembly which met 
in the end of that year. But one outstanding fact 
is recorded. Although the Reformer had no share 
in the recent insurrection, he appears to have 
chivalrously stood by those who were at one with 
him in condemning the Queen s marriage as peril- 

1 See above, page 274. 

2 Labanoff, Lettres de Marie Stuart, i., 176, 177, 281, 343, 
345- 356. 

3 Before Darnley s return, Knox wrote to Randolph, the 
English ambassador, in reference to the proposed restora 
tion of Lennox and his son: "To be plain with you, that 
journey and progress I like not." Laing, \V. of K., vi., 541. 

is68] Protestant Depression 311 

ous to the Reformed Church. In his services at 
St. Giles he prayed for the banished lords, and 
spoke of them as " the best part of the nobility." I 
The autumn and early winter of 1565 were among 
the most "dolorous" periods of Knox s public 
life. The Queen, emboldened by her success 
against the nobility and gentry, " began to declare 
herself in the months of November and December 
to be a maintainer of Papists. Influential nobles 
"went to mass openly in her Chapel." Catho 
lics "flocked to Edinburgh for making Court." 
Friars received permission to preach publicly in 
the capital. "The faithful in the realm were in 
great fear, looking for nothing but great trouble 
and persecution to be shortly." 2 

In these depressing circumstances the General 
Assembly was convened on the 25th of December. 
One chief part of the proceedings was to arrange 
for a solemn Fast, on two successive Sundays, in 
order to escape "the plagues and scourges of 
God." Knox and his colleague, Craig, were ap 
pointed to "set down the form of exercise to be 
used." 3 It was the first national Fast since the 

1 Some of the Privy Council would have had Knox brought 
to trial for encouragement of rebellion; but Maitland, who 
was present at the services, testified that "nothing was 
spoken whereat any man need to be offended " ; and he re 
minded his fellow Councillors that Scripture bids us "pray 
for all men." Knox, H. of R. ii., 514. 

2 Ibid., ii., 515, 516. 

3 The Fast was to be on the last Sunday of February and 
the first Sunday of March. It was to be held from 8 P.M. on 

312 John Knox [1565- 

Reformation. Its appointment was grounded 
partly on the peril of the Reformed Church in 
Scotland as the outcome of national "sin and 
ingratitude," "declension and carnal wisdom"; 
partly on the dark prospect for evangelical truth 
throughout Christendom. At home, "that idol 
of the mass is now again in divers places erected." 
"Some whom God made sometime instruments to 
suppress that impiety have been the chief to 
conduct that idol throughout the realm." The 
Queen had signified "in plain words that the re 
ligion in which she had been nourished, and which 
is mere abomination, she shall maintain and de 
fend." Abroad the outlook was no less gloomy. 
"The Council of Trent had concluded that all 
such as are of the new religion shall be utterly 
exterminated " ; " the whisperings whereof are not 
secret, neither yet the tokens obscure." 1 

It was a critical time, indeed, as we have already 
seen, at once for the Scottish Reformation and 
for Protestant Christendom. The eyes of Europe 
were turned, with hope or with fear, towards the 
young Queen of Scots who had recently released 
herself from bondage to Protestant counsellors. 
If, at this period, Mary Stuart was restrained 
from taking fully and effectively the part in fa 
vour of Rome to which the Catholic League and 

each Saturday until 5 P.M. on the Sunday; but even at the 
latter hour food was to be limited to "bread and drink." 

i Calderw., H. of K., ii., 303-306. The order of the Fast 
is contained in Laing, W. of K., vi., 381-430. 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 3 ! 3 

her own ambitious zeal alike prompted her; if, 
at this crisis, the Scottish Reformed Church, al 
though depressed, was not suppressed, and the 
Scottish State was preserved from becoming the 
tool of continental Romanism against English 
Protestantism, the prevention of these issues was 
mainly due to the stirring power and educative 
influence of Knox s preaching and policy. The 
Reformer had created and maintained in Scotland 
such a force of popular antagonism to Rome as 
the Queen dared not ignore, much less provoke 
into conflict. 1 The resolute spirit of the Church 
under Knox s leadership in this time of trial is 
illustrated by two commissions given to the Re 
former by the General Assembly. On the one 
hand, a discreditable withholdment of ministerial 
stipends by the Exchequer having been reported, 
Knox composed, by order of the Assembly, a 
pithy pastoral to the "Faithful in the realm," 
exhorting them to let "the bowels of their 
mercy be opened," and not to let the " Papists re 
joice over us that our niggardliness banished 
Jesus Christ from us." 2 On the other hand, not 

1 See Moncrieff, "Influence of Knox and the Scottish 
Reformation on England," pp. 33-36 (Exeter H. Lectures, 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii*., 518; Laing, W. of K., vi., 431-436. 
Simultaneously, an address on the subject was presented 
to the Queen ; and the grievance was remedied, although 
tardily; for at the second Assembly after, in December, 
1566, an "assignation of money and victuals" is acknow 
ledged as an instalment of what "justly pertaineth to the 
patrimony of the Church." Calderw., H. of K., ii., 329. 

3 J 4 John Knox [ I56s - 

content with the maintenance, in such adverse 
circumstances, of Reformed congregations already 
existing, the Church resolved to "lengthen her 
cords " as well as to " strengthen her stakes " ; and 
Knox was instructed to "visit, preach, and plant 
[new] Kirks in the south, where there was not 
a superintendent" already intrusted with this 
duty. 1 His work, however, there was erelong in 
terrupted by an event which occasioned his re 
call to Edinburgh, 2 and proved to be the beginning 
of the end of the Catholic reaction in Scotland. 

IV. The power of Rizzio at Court was ob 
noxious to almost every party in Scotland; and 
men of different views were for a time united in 
desiring his downfall. Protestants saw in him 
the embodiment of the influences which had led 
Mary to depart from her earlier policy of acqui 
escence in the Reformation settlement, and to 
scheme for the toleration and eventual restoration 
of Romanism. Even Catholic nobles and gentry, 
who sympathised with the incipient Roman reac 
tion, could have no liking for a low-born foreign 
favourite by whom they saw themselves super 
seded at Court. The exiled lords and their friends 
at home attributed to Rizzio the threatened for 
feiture of their estates. Darnley himself, whose 

1 Calderw., H. of K., ii., 306. 

2 Knox speaks of his being "called back from exile" 
(Laing, W. of K., vi. 481). The Assembly which sent Knox 
to the south perhaps considered that his life was in danger 
at the time in Edinburgh. 

IS 68] Protestant Depression 3 ! 5 

dissolute habits had already alienated the Queen s 
affection, and whose political incompetency de 
prived him of her confidence, resented keenly his 
displacement as her adviser, and believed him 
self (probably without real foundation) supplanted 
even as a husband. 1 The outcome of all this an 
tipathy was the plot into which Darnley and 
Lennox entered with Morton, Ruthven, Lyndsay, 
and other Protestant lords to remove out of the 
way the hated Italian. 2 The terms of the com 
pact were that Darnley was to receive the Crown 
Matrimonial; that Moray and other exiles were 
to be pardoned and restored; and that the Re 
formed religion was to be maintained and con 
firmed. It was proposed at first that Rizzio 
should be tried and sentenced by the nobility; 
but Darnley objected to this course as "cumber 
some ; and the victim was assassinated at Holy- 
rood almost in the presence of the Queen, on the 
9th of March, 1566.3 

What share, if any, had Knox in this crime? 
Tytler endeavours to prove the Reformer s com 
plicity on the ground of a memorandum of uncer 
tain date but ancient authorship attached to a 

1 Ruthven, Relation of the Death of Rizzio, p. 30; Hay 
Fleming, Mary Q. of S., pp. 125, 398. 

2 Catholic lords who were in Holyrood on the night of the 
assassination, although they had no share in the plot, appear 
to have acquiesced in the issue, after receiving assurance of 
Darnley s complicity (Keith, Affairs of Ch. and St., iii., 270). 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 521; Calderw., H. of K., ii., 311-314; 
Keith, Affairs of Ch. and St., iii., 202-208. 

316 John Knox [i 5 6 5 - 

genuine and contemporary letter from the am 
bassador Randolph to Secretary Cecil. 1 The 
memorandum enumerates sixteen persons as 
consenting to Rizzio s death, and among the six 
teen are both Knox and Craig. Even, however, if 
this document be reliable, it may involve the two 
preachers in no more than what the Protestant 
conspirators at first designed, viz., not Rizzio s 
assassination, but his trial and execution on the 
charge of treason. There are strong reasons, how 
ever, for discrediting the trustworthiness of this 
anonymous memorandum. The document to 
which the list of conspirators is attached, and a 
subsequent letter of Randolph, dated 2jth March, 
both contain lists from which the names of Knox 
and Craig are absent. In an extant letter from 
Morton and Ruthven, the writers expressly refer 
to the assertion of some Papists that the mur 
der had been instigated by the ministers, and 
they declare upon their "honour that none of 
them were art and part in this deed." Finally, 
at a meeting of the Privy Council, held by the 
Queen soon after the assassination, it was resolved 
to summon seventy-one persons to answer the 
charge of complicity; yet even in this extended 
list of suspected accomplices, Knox and Craig, 
notwithstanding the Queen s desire to be re 
venged on the former, do not appear. 2 While 

1 Tytler, H. of Sc., vii., 427-438. 

2 McCrie, Sketches of Scottish Church History, App., Note A; 
Hume Brown, Life of Knox, ii., 304-310. 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 3*7 

Knox, however, had, in all probability, nothing to 
do with Rizzio s actual assassination, he certainly 
afterwards gave his approval to the "just act" 
of the conspirators "most worthy of all praise." 
He regarded the killing of Rizzio very much as, 
twenty years before, he had regarded the murder 
of Beaton. Rizzio, in his view, was a "great 
abuser of the Commonwealth," whom the Queen 
and her Government not only tolerated but fa 
voured. It was necessary, for the sake of Church 
and State, to put an end to his power of mis 
chief T ; and when those to whom God had 
committed the administration of justice failed to 
perform an obvious duty, those who stood next 
to the throne the nobles of the realm were en 
titled to intervene, to see that justice was exe 
cuted and the nation delivered from peril. Knox s 
religious patriotism, which saw in Rizzio a "vile 
knave, justly punished," 2 blinded him to the fact 

1 It appears to have been intended, at the Parliament 
summoned for March, 1566, not only to accomplish the 
attainder of Moray and his fellow-exiles, but to restore 
the Spiritual Estate, and to take the first steps "anent 
restoring the old religion " (letter of Mary Stuart in Laban- 
off, i., 343). The writer of the Fifth Book of Knox s His 
tory of the Reformation (using, probably, materials left by 
Knox) states that "if the Parliament had taken effect, it 
was thought by all men of the best judgment, that the true 
Protestant religion should have been wrecked and Popery 
erected." He adds that twelve altars were found in Holy- 
rood Chapel ready to be "erected in St. Giles Church" (H. 
of R., ii., 524). 

2 Knox, H. of R., i., 235. 

S 1 ^ John Knox [ IS 6 5 - 

that unless intermeddlers with justice, unauthor 
ised by men, can vindicate, by evidence, a claim 
to divine authority, his principles must issue in 
perpetual revolution and anarchy. 

The decision of Knox, however, to stand by the 
friends who, in his absence, had been guilty of 
assassination, was accompanied by painful heart- 
searching and severe depression. A pathetic 
prayer has come down to us, entitled " John Knox 
with deliberate mind to his God," composed by 
the Reformer in Edinburgh three days after the 
tragedy, and probably on the night of his arrival 
in the city. He who never quailed before men 
humbles himself in the dust before God, on ac 
count of "manifold sins, chiefly those whereof the 
world is not able to accuse me." " In youth and 
age, and now after many battles, I find nothing in 
me but vanity and corruption." " Pride and am 
bition assail me, on the one part; covetousness 
and malice trouble me on the other." While he 
gives thanks to God for "using my tongue to set 
forth Thy glory, against idolatry, errors, and false 
doctrine," he "would repose in" God s "mercy 
alone," and "in the obedience and death of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." But the burden of life and 
work in a troublous time, and his failure to find 
"justice and truth amongst the sons of men" 
drive him, like Elijah, to seek " an end to this my 
miserable life." "To Thee, therefore, O Lord," 
he cries, "I commend my Spirit; for I thirst to 

I5 68] Protestant Depression 3*9 

be resolved [released] from this body of sin ; and 
then, after a brief intercession for "the Kirk 
within this Realm" and for his "desolate" wife 
and "dear children," he closes with these words 
"tending to desperation," " Now Lord put an end 
to my misery." 

V. On the death of Rizzio, Moray, who had 
not been directly concerned in the plot, returned 
from exile, and was even received "pleasantly" 
by the Queen 2 ; while Knox, as we have seen, 
was recalled by the Church to Edinburgh in order 
to give his counsel as to the "duty of the faith 
ful" in a troublous time. 3 The baneful influence 
of Rizzio having been removed, and the King, 
being now pledged to support the Protestant 
cause, it was hoped, doubtless, that the states 
men favourable to the Reformed Church would 
again come into authority. But assassination is 
a dangerous pathway to power: and the Queen, 
for the time at least, skilfully circumvented the 
conspirators. Dissembling her wrath against 
Darnley, she affected to believe that he was 
merely a tool in the hands of others; and she 
persuaded her worthless husband virtually to 
renounce his recent compact, and actually to 
co-operate with Huntly, Bothwell, and others in 
antagonism to his former allies. 4 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 483, 484. 

2 Keith, iii., 274. 

3 Laing, W. of K., vi., 481. 

4 Tytler, H. of Sc., vii., 41-44. 

320 John Knox [1565- 

As the outcome of this unique transformation, 
Morton, Ruthven, and other leading conspirators 
against Rizzio fled across the Border; Moray 
found himself tolerated but impotent; Knox re 
tired to Kyle in Ayrshire to resume his interrupted 
"visitation," 1 and to occupy his comparative 
leisure with the completion of his History. His 
feelings at this time are expressed in the Preface 
to the Fourth Book of that work, written in May, 
1566. He mourns over the " miserable dispersion 
of God s people within this realm" when "good 
men are banished," while "such as are known 
unworthy" bear the whole "regiment"; and he 
attributes the unfortunate issue to that policy of 
unworthy compromise (as he considered it) which 
the Protestant statesmen had adopted after 
Mary s return to Scotland. "The most part of 
us," he writes, " declined from the purity of God s 
Word, and began to follow the world; and so 
again to shake hands with the Devil and idolatry. 
. . . From this fountain hath all our misery 
proceeded." 2 

1 The Diurnal of Occurrents for i-jth of March, 1566, states 
that on "this day John Knox departed from the said burgh 
[Edinburgh] with a great mourning of the godly." 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii., 265-267. The Reformer s visit to 
Ayrshire at this time was signalised by at least one gleam of 
comfort amid many grounds of depression. The Earl of 
Cassilis, through the persuasion of his Protestant wife, and 
also, perhaps, in part, through Knox s influence, renounced 
Romanism and became an earnest propagator of the Re 
formed Faith (ibid., ii., 533). He afterwards, however, went 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 3 21 

VI. During the summer of 1566 Knox appears 
to have remained in comparative retirement and 
security among the Protestants of Ayrshire. 1 He 
was absent from the General Assembly held in 
June, and his place as senior minister of St. Giles 
was temporarily supplied. 2 In the early autumn, 
however, he emerged from obscurity. By that 
time, in spite of the birth of their son, the future 
James VI., on the igth of June, the estrangement 
of the Queen from Darnley had become complete, 
and Bothwell s malign influence over Mary had 
been established. Knox could hardly, at this 
stage, have retained any respect for Bothwell; 
but the Earl professed to be a Protestant and had 
formerly received from Knox a double services 
The Reformer, accordingly, may have trusted that 
this nobleman s influence at Court would save him 
(Knox) from royal interference. We find him at 
St. Andrews in the beginning of September, 4 and 

over to the Queen s party, and fought for her at Langside 
(Keith, ii., 816). 

1 The Queen on one occasion wrote to a nobleman with 
whom Knox was residing, requesting the banishment of 
Knox from the house ; but apparently without result. See 
Letter of Bishop Parkhurst to Bullinger in Burnet, Hist, of 
Ref. in E., iii., 473). 

2 Calderw., H. of R., ii., 321 ; Keith, iii., 141, 142. 

3 Knox, H. of R., ii., 324, 325, 328. Knox, in 1561, had 
first reconciled Bothwell with the Earl of Arran, and had 
afterwards persuaded Moray and others that Arran s subse 
quent charge of treason against Bothwell was the outcome of 
"phrenzied fancy." 

4 Laing, W. ofK., vi., 548; Edin. T. C. Records, 25 Sept., 
1566 (quoted by Hume Brown, Life of J. K., ii., 231). 

322 John Knox [i S 6 5 - 

in Edinburgh before the close of that month. 
In the former city he procured a gathering of 
over forty ministers and professors, to consider 
a request, conveyed through him from Beza of 
Geneva, for an approval of the Second Helvetic 
Confession. The approval was cordially given to 
a document which is described as "resting alto 
gether upon the Holy Scriptures " and as expound 
ing "most faithfully, holily, piously, and indeed 
divinely," "whatever we have been constantly 
teaching these eight years." A characteristic 
caveat, however, is appended, "with regard to 
what is written in the Confession concerning the 
festivals of our Lord s Nativity, Circumcision, 
Passion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sending of 
the Holy Ghost." " These festivals," it is declared, 
"obtain no place among us: for we dare not re 
ligiously celebrate any other feast day than what 
the divine oracles have prescribed." The pro 
cedure of the St. Andrews Convention was rati 
fied by the subsequent General Assembly. 1 

No record remains of Knox s life and work in 
Edinburgh during the autumn of 1566; but at 
the General Assembly which met, as usual, on 
Christmas Day of that year, the Reformer is the 
leading actor. Under his guidance the Assem 
bly protested strongly, in a " Supplication " to 
the Privy Council, against a serious interference 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 544-548; Calderw., H. of K., ii., 
33I-33 2 - 

i 5 6s] Protestant Depression 3 2 3 

by the Queen with the Reformation settlement, 
at Bothwell s instigation, viz., the reinstate 
ment of that "conjured enemy to Christ" and 
"cruel murderer of our dear brethren," the ex- 
Archbishop of St. Andrews, in his ancient disci 
plinary jurisdiction. The issue showed that this 
restoration of the Primate was designed, not ex 
pressly as an encroachment on the Reformed 
Church, but as a means of enabling the archbishop 
first to declare nullity of marriage, owing to con 
sanguinity, between Bothwell and his Countess, 
and thereafter to pronounce sentence of divorce. 
This was a necessary preliminary to that subse 
quent marriage of Bothwell and the Queen which 
was even then in contemplation ; Mary hoping at 
this time to procure simultaneously a divorce 
from Darnley. To Knox, however, and to the 
General Assembly, the Primate s reinstature nat 
urally appeared to be the first step in the "setting 
up again of that Roman Antichrist within this 

VII. Another notable proceeding of this Gen 
eral Assembly bears still more conspicuously the 
marks of the Reformer s intervention. It was 
twelve years since he had ceased to be a minister 
of the Church of England ; but the zeal which he 
had manifested in former days for Puritan usages 
within that Church was not dead, but only 

1 Continuation of Knox, H. of R., ii., 539-548; Keith, iii., 
152-156; Calderw., ii., 326, 335-340. 

324 John Knox [i 5 6 S - 

dormant. It was now reawakened by the "dolo 
rous bruit" that many of her clergy, including 
"some of the best learned," had been punished 
with deprival for refusing to wear such gar 
ments as idolaters in time of greatest darkness 
did use, in their superstitious and idolatrous serv 
ice." At his own suggestion, we may assume, 
Knox was requested to prepare a letter of remon 
strance to the " Bishops and Pastors of God s 
Church in England." The letter is characteristic 
of the writer. It blends a broad spirit of ecclesi 
astical fellowship and a fine appeal to Christian 
charity, with some plain speaking which was not 
calculated to win concession. He recognises cor 
dially the Church of England as a sister com 
munion, " professing with us in Scotland the truth 
of Christ ; and he commits heartily her bish 
ops and clergy to the "mighty protection of the 
Lord Jesus." Nothing, moreover, could be more 
becoming than his reminder, "what tenderness is 
in a scrupulous conscience"; his "crave that 
Christian charity may so prevail with you that 
ye do to one another as ye desire others to do to 
you " ; and his personal appeal to his readers " not 

1 Among the deprived were several of Knox s personal 
friends, including Miles Coverdale, the translator of the 
Bible, Foxe, the martyrologist, and Sampson, Dean of Christ- 
church, Oxford. The special occasion of the deprival was 
nonconformity to the "Advertisements" of 1564, a series 
of strict injunctions regarding vestments and ceremonies. 
The Advertisements were enforced by the bishops under 
royal pressure (Marsden, Early Puritans, pp. 46-52). 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 3 2 5 

to refuse the earnest request of us your brethren." 
But when he proceeds to apply to the question 
the Apostle s words, "What hath Christ to do 
with Belial?" and to denounce "surplice, corner 
cap, and tippet" as "Romish rags, and dregs of 
that odious Romish beast," it is to be feared that 
most of the prelates addressed would be rather 
irritated than persuaded. 1 

Knox himself was probably the bearer of this 
communication to the English clergy ; for on the 
same day on which the letter was approved he 
received permission from the Assembly to "pass 
to the realm of England to visit his children, and 
to do his other business." Nathanael and Eleazer 
were by this time ten and nine years of age, and 
had been sent to live with their grandmother, 2 or 
some other of their maternal relatives, with a 
view to their education. The permission of the 
Church to Knox was accompanied by the condi 
tion that he should return to Edinburgh before 

1 Continuation of Knox, H. of R., ii., 544-547; Keith, iii., 
148-152; Calderw., H. of K., 332-335. In spite of his strong 
language, however, to the bishops, Knox did his best to 
dissuade deprived clergy from secession and schism at this 
time. A letter is extant, written to Knox in 1568 by one of 
the Puritans who did secede, thanking the Reformer for a 
"gentle letter" which he had addressed to the seceders, but 
adding: "it is not in all points liked," and indicating that 
Knox had expressed himself "not well contented" with their 
procedure. See Lorimer, John Knox and the Church of Eng 
land, 229-235, 298-300. 

2 Mrs. Bowes survived until a short time before Knox s 
own death (Laing, W. of K., vi., 513). 

326 John Knox [ I5 6s- 

the ensuing General Assembly (25th June, 1567), 
and by a warm tribute to his "inculpable life," 
"pure doctrine," and "fruitful use of the talent 
granted to him by the Eternal for the propaga 
tion of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ." I Of the 
six months or less spent by Knox in England at 
this time no record remains. His headquarters 
would naturally be Berwick or its neighbourhood, 
the abode of his wife s kindred. We cannot tell 
whether the voice, which had been so effective in 
the pulpit of Berwick parish church in former 
years, was again heard in the same place; but 
many old friendships with those who had been 
his fellow-workers in the town and throughout 
the county would be revived. That he would 
endeavour to follow up, by personal interviews 
with leading churchmen, the General Assembly s 
plea for those Puritans who were partly his own 
spiritual offspring, is what might be expected 
from his strong convictions, ardent aspirations, 
and dutiful self-assertion. 

VIII. During Knox s absence in England oc 
curred that tragic event which (whatever may 
have been Mary s relation to it) issued in her own 
life s tragedy the murder of Darnley at Kirk of 
Field, Edinburgh, on the loth of February, 1567. 
The mock trial and acquittal of Bothwell on the 
1 2th of April; the marriage of the infatuated 
Queen to the reputed murderer, on the i5th of 

1 Universal Kirk, 85; Keith, iii., 148, 149. 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 3 2 7 

May, confirming the widespread belief in her con 
nivance ; the outbreak of civil war, when an army 
composed of Catholics as well as Protestants was 
raised as a national protest against misgovern- 
ment and toleration of crime ; and the encounter 
between the Queen s supporters and opponents at 
Carberry Hill in Midlothian, issuing in the flight 
of Bothwell, the surrender of Mary, and her con 
finement in Lochleven Castle such was the series 
of events which took place in Scotland while 
Knox was still residing in England. 

On the 25th of June, nine days after the Queen 
became a prisoner, the regular meeting of the Gen 
eral Assembly was held . Knox, according to agree 
ment, had already returned to Edinburgh. He 
found the great mass of nobles and gentry hostile 
to Bothwell, but divided in opinion as to what was 
to be done with Mary. 1 On the one side were the 
Earls of Morton, Mar, and Glencairn ; Lords Lynd- 
say, Ruthven, and Ochiltree, Kirckaldy of Grange, 
and many others who would be satisfied with no 
thing less than the deposition of Mary, the corona 
tion of the infant Prince, and the establishment 
of a regency. On the other side were the Duke of 
Chatelherault, the Earls of Huntly, Argyle, and 
Crawford, Lords Boyd and Herries, Maitland of 
Lethington, and a numerous following, who were 
willing to restore the Queen to her position, if 

1 Calderw., H. of K., ii., 371 ; Con tin. of Knox, H. of R., ii., 
563; Laing, W . of K., vi., 552; Froude, //. of E., chap. xlix. 

328 John Knox [ IS 6 S - 

security were obtained that her connexion with 
Bothwell would cease. Moray was absent in 
France. It depended largely on the attitude of 
the Church which party in the State would prove 
the stronger; and the importance of the pro 
cedure of the approaching General Assembly was 
enhanced by the fact that, owing to the circum 
stances of the Queen, there could be no constitu 
tional meeting of Parliament. It lay with the 
supreme court of the Church to voice the national 

Knox, as the acknowledged leader of the As 
sembly, was practically master of the situation, and 
he had no difficulty in coming to a decision. At 
once as a patriot and as a Reformer, he saw in the 
continued rule of Mary, apart from her alleged crim 
inality (in which he believed) regarding Darnley s 
murder, the gravest danger both to Church and to 
State. 1 Bothwell, moreover, was still at large: if 
the Queen were restored to power he might be 
eventually reinstated ; and it was known that he 
harboured murderous designs against the infant 
son of his victim. For Knox, the only alterna 
tives as regards Mary could be imprisonment and 
compulsory abdication, or trial for complicity 
in her husband s assassination, involving, if her 
guilt was proved, a sentence of death. 2 From the 

1 Letter in Laing, W. of K., vi., 566; Knox s Prayer after 
the Regent s murder, in Calderwood, ii., 515. 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 553, 554; Tytler, vii., 164, 165. 

i $68] Protestant Depression 329 

ecclesiastical point of view, Knox, who knew 
the men on both sides, had much more to hope 
for the Reformed Church from the Confederate 
Lords, as they were called, who had imprisoned 
the Queen, than from the party, headed by 
Chatelherault, who were, for the most part, 
lukewarm Protestants or acknowledged Catholics. 
The Reformer allied himself with the Confed 
erate party. At his suggestion, probably, the 
Assembly was adjourned frqm the 25th June to 
the 2oth July, with a view to a more effective 
declaration of the Church s policy. A missive, 
signed by Knox and five other ministers, was sent 
to Protestant nobles and gentry of the Queen s 
party, who had absented themselves from the As 
sembly, urging them "in God s name" to give 
their "presence, labours, and concurrence" with 
a view to the removal of "impediments " which 
had stayed the Reformation. " A public Fast was 
appointed to be held on Sunday, the 1 3th of July, 
in order to bring home more impressively to the 
people the gravity of the situation. From his 
pulpit in St. Giles s, Knox denounced day after 
day the conduct of the Queen, as well as of Both- 
well, and prepared the public mind for the drastic 
policy which the Confederate Lords had already 
resolved to pursue. 2 When the Assembly met 
again on the 2oth of July, a conference was 

1 Calderw., ii., 368-370; Keith, iii., 164-168. 
3 Keith, iii., 171 ; Laing, W. of K., vi., 554. 

330 John Knox [ IS 6 S - 

arranged between representatives of the nobil 
ity and delegates of the clergy. Articles were 
adopted and signed by over sixty lords, by com 
missioners of the burghs, and by representatives of 
the ministers. The signatories bound themselves 
to "further the punishment of the horrible mur 
der of the King . . . upon all and whomsoever 
persons shall be found guilty"; and also to de 
fend the Prince against those that would do him 
injury. It was the prelude to the intended de 
position of the mother, and acknowledgment of 
the son as king. Thus the Church supported the 
politicians ; the politicians also undertook to sup 
port the Church. The signatories engaged, "in 
the first Parliament that shall be holden, to 
ratify and complete the establishment of the 
Reformed Kirk; to make more adequate provi 
sion for the ministry; and to "root out" all 
remaining "monuments of idolatry." J 

While the General Assembly was still in session, 
Mary was constrained to abdicate her throne in 
favour of her infant, James, and to sanction the 
appointment of Moray as Regent. A few days 
after the Assembly had been dissolved, the young 
King was crowned in the Greyfriars Church, Stir 
ling, by the Earl of Atholl; the Earl of Morton 
and Lord Home took an oath, on behalf of the 
infant Sovereign, that he would maintain the Pro 
testant religion; the Bishop of Orkney, who had 

i Calderw., ii., 378-383. 

1 5 68] Protestant Depression 331 

embraced the Protestant faith, anointed the 
newly crowned child according to ancient usage ; 
and Knox preached what George Buchanan eu 
logises as an "excellent sermon" from a pulpit 
still preserved, taking as an appropriate text the 
passage in II Kings which records the corona 
tion of Joash. Within a month a commission of 
regency was granted to the Earl of Moray, who 
had returned to Scotland early in August. 1 The 
great majority of the nobility, including many 
who had favoured less drastic measures, now ac 
cepted, or at least acquiesced in, the situation. 2 
There remained, indeed, a party, including the 
Hamilton faction, able and ready, as will be seen, 
when opportunity arrived, to give serious trouble. 
But the support of Knox and the Church, backed 
apparently by the majority of the people, rend 
ered the new Regent s party the strongest in the 
State; and the Parliament which assembled in 
December, 1567, reflected the national mind when 
it confirmed the Regency, as well as the policy, on 
the whole, of the Confederate Lords. 

Moray did not fail to recognise that to the 
Church, under Knox s leadership, he owed largely 
the position which he held; and the compact of 

1 Throgmorton to Elizabeth in Laing, W. of K., vi., 556; 
Contin. of Knox, H. of R., ii., 565; Calderwood, ii., 384. 
According to Calderwood, Knox "repined" at the ceremony 
of anointing, but his objection was either not persisted in or 
was overruled. 

3 Tytler, vii., 193. 

33 2 John Knox [i 5 6 5 - 

July between the General Assembly and Confed 
erate Lords was fairly kept. The Parliament of 
December, 1567, accordingly, marks an epoch in 
Scottish Church history. Among its enactments 
was the ratification of the Acts against Roman 
ism and in favour of Protestantism, passed by 
that Convention of 1560 which had virtually been 
a Parliament, but from which Mary Stuart had 
significantly withheld her imprimatur. The Re 
formed Church became thus constitutionally as 
well as practically established. Other statutes 
followed. In all schools, colleges, and universities 
there was presented to teachers the alternative 
of conformity to the Reformed faith or of depri 
vation. A more effective security was provided 
for the due payment of ministers stipends as a 
first charge upon the "thirds" of the ecclesiasti 
cal revenues; while some prospect was held out 
of the ultimate restoration of the teinds, as the 
Church s "proper patrimony," to ecclesiastical 
use. 1 The provision for the Protestantism of the 
Sovereign, which formed so important a feature in 
the revised constitution of England at the Revolu 
tion of 1689, was anticipated, as regards Scotland, 
by the enactment that "all kings, princes, or mag 
istrates occupying their place, shall at the time 
of their coronation take their great oath, in the 

1 According to Spottiswoode (ii., 83) "the Regent did what 
he could to have the Church possessed with the patrimony," 
but "it could not be obtained." 

i S 68] Protestant Depression 333 

presence of God, that they shall maintain the true 
religion now received, [and] shall abolish and with 
stand all false religion contrary to the same." 1 
So fully satisfied was John Knox at this time 
with the secure and hopeful position of the 
Reformed Church that, in February, 1568, pre 
maturely old through constant toil and frequent 
trouble, he thought of spending the evening of 
his life among the remnant of his congregation 
at Geneva, "if they stood in need of [his] la 
bours"; "seeing it hath pleased God s Majesty, 
above all men s expectation, to prosper the work 
for the performing whereof I left that company." 2 
For the Reformer, however, there was to be no 
quiet eventide. His life-work was not yet com 
pleted; and unforeseen "dolours" were in store 
for the Scottish Church and State. 

1 Calderw., ii., 388-390; Tytler, vii., 196-200. 

2 Knox to John Wood. Laing, W. of K., vi., 559. 




THE closing years of Knox s life were for the 
Reformer himself, for the Church, and for 
the country a period of trouble. 

I. The virtual deposition of Queen Mary was 
not followed by any effective foreign intervention 
in her favour. In the eyes of Catholics abroad, 
Mary, personally, had come under a cloud through 
her marriage with Bothwell and its attendant 
circumstances. France, moreover, at this period, 
was distracted by intestine warfare between Ro 
manists and Huguenots ; Spain was occupied with 
the suppression of rebellion in her Flemish do 
minions; the interference of England went little 
beyond remonstrances of doubtful sincerity. But 
trouble arose at home. First came the escape 
of the Queen from Lochleven in May, 1568, when 
a large proportion of the Scottish nobility, Pro 
testants as well as Catholics, including many who 


[1568-1572] Declining Years 335 

had acquiesced in Moray s regency, rallied to her 
standard at Hamilton. The defeat of the Queen s 
army at Langside and her flight into England 
lessened the strain, but did not remove the peril. 
The Hamiltons, Huntly, Argyle, and others occu 
pied several strongholds, and gave serious trouble 
in the north and in the west. At this crisis the 
staunch adherence of the General Assembly, which 
guided Protestant opinion and itself received di 
rection from Knox, was a valuable aid to the 
Regent s Government. The Assembly of Febru 
ary, 1569, appointed a Commission to use "all 
means possible" to bring the nobles to an "ac 
knowledgment of his authority." A letter com 
posed by Knox was directed to the Protestant 
Lords who had "made defection," charging them 
with "most treasonable" opposition to the "au 
thority most lawfully established," and exhorting 
them "speedily to return to obedience." 1 In 
November, 1569, a brief rebellion broke out in the 
north of England. The Earls of Northumberland 
and Westmoreland hoped, with the help of Scot 
tish allies, political and religious, to restore Mary 
to liberty and power, and to re-establish the Catho 
lic Faith in both realms. When the rebel leaders, 
after defeat, had fled into Scotland, the Regent 
offered to deliver the Earl of Northumberland to 
Elizabeth, on condition that Mary was surrend 
ered to himself, under a guarantee that her life 

1 Calderw., H. of R., ii., 481-484. 

33 6 John Knox [1568- 

would be spared. 1 In no other way, it appeared, 
could Catholic intrigues be suppressed. Knox 
supported the policy of Moray and sent a private 
letter to Cecil by the Regent s envoy, warning the 
English statesman that "if ye strike not at the 
root, the branches that appear to be broken will 
bud again." 2 

The negotiations regarding the removal of the 
Queen to Scotland were interrupted by the grav 
est trouble which at this period darkened Knox s 
life the assassination of the Regent at Linlith- 
gow on the 23rd of January, by James Hamilton, 
of Bothwellhaugh, a nephew of the ex-Primate. 
How great Knox s anxiety for Scotland was at 
the time of this tragic death is shown by the 
prayer which he offered up on the following day : 

"Seeing that we are now left as a flock without a 
pastor in civil policy, and as a ship without a rudder 
in the midst of the storm, let Thy presence, Lord, 
watch and defend us in these dangerous days, that 
the wicked of the world may see that as well without 
the help of man as with it, Thou art able to rule, 
maintain, and guide the little flock that dependeth 
upon Thee." 3 

1 Tytler, H. of Sc., vii., 299. 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 568. It is held by many that these 
words point to Mary being executed in England ; but in view 
of the occasion of the letter, they seem rather to suggest the 
impolicy of withholding Mary from the control of the Regent s 

3 Calderw., ii., 513; Laing, W. of K., vi., 568. 

1572] Declining Years 337 

To Knox the death of Moray was a heavy per 
sonal bereavement as well as public calamity. 
Their friendship had begun while the future 
Regent was a youth; to Knox s influence his 
religious convictions were largely due; and the 
letter of the Reformer to the statesman at the 
time of their estrangement, amid severe reflec 
tions on Moray s policy of concession and com 
promise, contains evidence that the affection of 
the writer was only repressed, not extinguished. 
If the Regent in his dealings with others was 
sometimes tortuous, he acted towards Knox a 
straightforward as well as friendly part. Dur 
ing the years which followed their reconciliation, 
the personal friendship appears to have been 
unclouded, and the ecclesiastical co-operation 
complete. At the funeral sermon, unfortunately 
not preserved, which Knox preached in St. Giles 
from the significant text, "Blessed are the dead 
which die in the Lord," the voice which was wont 
from that pulpit to rouse men like a trumpet- 
call to conflict, moved, by its words and tones of 
pathos, a vast congregation to tears. The scene 
was doubly memorable. It revealed that within 
the Reformer s rough exterior there was a tender 
heart; and it expressed the popular sentiment, 
attested afterwards by two historians of very 
different ecclesiastical standpoint, for whom 
the impression created by the tragedy of Lin- 
lithgow must have been one of the earliest 

33 8 John Knox [1568- 

memories of their childhood. "He moved three 
thousand persons to shed tears," writes Calder- 
wood, "for the loss of such a good and godly gov 
ernor." " Loved as their father whilst he lived," 
records Spottiswoode, "mourned grievously at his 
death, " and "to this day honoured with the title 
of the Good Regent. " 

II. To political trouble was added ecclesiasti 
cal anxiety. 

i. The coalition of Catholics and Protestants 
who aimed at Mary s restoration was naturally 
strengthened by the removal of the head of the op 
posite party who were responsible for her enforced 
abdication. The Earl of Lennox (now a professed 
Protestant) and the Earl of Mar (Lord Erskine), 
who successively held the regency between Moray s 
assassination and Knox s own death, had neither 
the sagacity nor the influence of their predecessor ; 
and the Earl of Morton, who mainly guided the 
policy of the party, while a man of high ability 
and a steadfast although self-seeking Protestant, 
did not possess and did not deserve the full 
confidence either of Church or of nation. After 
Moray s death, moreover, the "King s party" 
was weakened, and the Queen s party correspond 
ingly reinforced by a considerable number of se 
cessions from the former to the latter. Maitland, 
who under Moray s rule had been a secret ad 
versary of the Regent, now openly joined the 

1 Calderw., ii., 525, 526; Spottisw., ii., 121. 

1572] Declining Years 339 

other side, and was followed by Kirkcaldy of 
Grange, to whom Moray had intrusted Edinburgh 
Castle. 1 To Knox the secession of Kirkcaldy was 
a source of special sorrow. Both had been dis 
ciples of George Wishart. They had shared the 
perils of the siege of St. Andrews Castle, the hard 
ships of the French bondage, the toil of the Re 
formation conflict ; and the Reformer never forgot 
his former friend s " early courage and constancy 
in the cause of the Lord." 2 

The partisans of Queen Mary, including as 
they did a numerous and influential Protestant 
section, were careful not to alienate popular 
sympathy by giving their countenance to an 
ecclesiastical counter-revolution. Soon after Mo 
ray s death they "purged themselves of any in 
tention to alter religion," and declared that they 
"preferred the advancement" of the established 
religion "to their lands and lives." 3 At their so- 
called Parliament in June, 1571, they expressly 
ordained that none should "innovate, change, or 
pervert the form of religion and ministration of 
the sacraments publicly professed within this 
realm." 4 But Knox was too clear-sighted and 
far-seeing not to discern that along with the 
Queen s restoration, if accomplished, would be re 
newed erelong those Protestant concessions and 

1 Calderw., ii., 488, 555, 558. 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 657. 

3 Calderw., H. of K., ii., 551, 552. 

4 Spottisw., ii., 1 6 1. 

34 John Knox [1568- 

Roman aggressions which had almost issued, a 
few years before, in the restoration of the Catholic 

2. On the other hand, the policy of the defin 
itely Protestant King s party, which loyally ac 
knowledged the successive regencies and disowned 
the Queen s authority, was to Knox and the 
General Assembly only a little less obnoxious 
than that of their political rivals. The Reformed 
Church was wounded in the house of her pro 
fessed friends. Knox complains of "unworthy 
men who had been thrust [by patronage] into the 
ministry of the Kirk," and of " merciless devourers 
of her patrimony." He describes both factions as 
" fighting against God," and declares that his own 
political party "as little repented the troubling 
and oppressing the poor Kirk of God as ever they 
[their adversaries] did." "For if," he continues, 
"they can have the Kirk lands annexed to their 
houses, they appear to take no more care of the 
instruction of the ignorant, and of the feeding of 
the flock of Jesus Christ, than ever did the Pa 
pists." That these were not outbursts of indi 
vidual resentment on Knox s part appears from a 
strongly worded letter of remonstrance by the 
"mild" Erskine of Dun to Regent Mar against 
unrighteous usurpation and spoil of the Kirk 
by the civil authority 2 ; and also from various 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 603; Calderw., iii., 113-114. 

2 Ibid., iii., 156-162. 

Declining Years 34 r 

records of the General Assemblies held in the 
years 1570 and 1571. These Assemblies protest 
against simoniacal presentations and the appoint 
ment of minors, laymen, or otherwise unqualified 
persons to pastoral charges. They protest, fur 
ther, against the unlawful assignations to lay 
men from the Church s share of the "thirds," 
and against the illegal withholdment from minis 
ters of their lawful stipends. Against persistent 
offenders in such matters the General Assembly 
issued what was then the stern threat of excom 
munication. 1 The remonstrance and petition of 
the Church, however, although they received the 
personal approval of the Regent Lennox, were 
treated with contempt by the Estates through the 
influence of Morton, who "ruled all." The Com 
missioners of the General Assembly were stigmat 
ised as "proud knaves," and Morton declared "he 
should lay their pride, and put order to them." 2 
It is greatly to the credit of Knox and other 
leaders of the General Assembly, that the Church 
never allowed herself to be provoked by incon 
siderate treatment endured from the King s party 
into any negotiations with the opposite faction. 

1 Universal Kirk, pp. 122, 127; Calderw., iii., 5, 7, 38. 

2 Ibid., iii., 137, 138; Bannatyne, Mem., p. 186. This 
meeting of the Estates was held at Stirling in the end of 
August, 1571, a few days before the slaughter of the Regent. 
It was on this occasion that the young King a child of five 
noticing an aperture in the roof of the hall, remarked, with 
unconscious prescience, "There is a hole in this Parliament." 

34 2 John Knox [1568- 

The partisans of the Queen, at this period, would 
readily have conceded, for the time, almost any 
ecclesiastical demands, in order to secure the val 
uable support of the leaders of the Reformation. 
The loyalty of the Church, under Knox s leader 
ship, contributed largely to save the State from a 
successful political revolution, such as would have 
resulted primarily in the restoration of Mary, and 
might have issued eventually in the triumph of 
Romanism in both realms. 1 

III. In the case of Knox, troubles in Church 
and State were accompanied by private trials. 
In the autumn of 1 570 he had a stroke of apoplexy 
which affected his speech ; and although he speed 
ily recovered sufficiently to resume his preaching, 
his activity thenceforth was curtailed, infirmity 
began to manifest itself, and pulpit work was 
limited to Sunday ministrations. 2 In December 
of the same year, he came into personal contro 
versy with his former friend, Kirkcaldy, the Gov 
ernor of the Castle, who had broken into the city 
prison and rescued a man charged with man 
slaughter. Knox denounced this conduct from the 
pulpit; Kirkcaldy, to whom an exaggerated re 
port of the sermon had been given, brought the 
matter before the Kirk Session of Edinburgh, and 
demanded an apology, which Knox refused to 
give. When a report spread that the Governor 

1 Cook, H. of Church, i., 101, 159. 

2 Bannatyne, Memorials, p. 62. 

1572] Declining Years 343 

had " sworn himself enemy to John Knox and will 
slay him," a remarkable communication was sent 
to Kirkcaldy by thirteen noblemen and gentle 
men of the south-west, emphasising the "great 
care that we have of the personage of that man," 
and "protesting that the life of our said brother 
is to us so precious and dear as our own lives." l 
In the following March (1571) the Reformer was 
troubled with anonymous libels thrown into the 
meeting-place, or affixed to the door, of the Gen 
eral Assembly. The chief charges against him 
were his alleged defamation of the Queen in his 
sermons as an "idolatress, murderer, and adul 
teress," and his omission of her name from his 
intercessory prayers. The General Assembly re 
frained from any formal endorsement of the Re 
former s language, but "all said they would bear 
their part of the same burden with him." Some 
of his friends entreated him to "pass over such 
[anonymous] accusations with silence." But 
Knox regarded the libel as requiring a public an 
swer. Mary Stuart, although a prisoner in Eng 
land, was at this very time, as her correspondence 
proves, conspiring with Catholics at home and 
abroad for her own restoration and the advance 
ment of the Catholic cause. 2 The Castle of Edin 
burgh was in the hands of her adherents ; at least 
one-half of- the nobility were on her side ; at any 

1 Bannatyne, Memorials, pp. 72-82. 

2 Labanoff, iii., 222, 231. 

344 John Knox [i S 68- 

moment she might become a power in the realm. 
At the close of his sermon, accordingly, on the 
Sunday after the delivery of the libels, Knox re 
asserted his charges against Mary, although he 
denied that he had ever spoken of her as a " repro 
bate" who "cannot repent." He vindicated his 
refusal to pray for her as sovereign; "for sover 
eign to me she is not ; and ended by challenging 
his anonymous assailants to accuse him "face to 
face at the next General Assembly." l 

IV. Towards the end of April, 1571, Edin 
burgh became the scene of conflict between the 
two political parties conflict \vhich continued, 
with periods of intermission or truce, until after 
Knox s death, and was dignified with the title of 
" the wars between Leith and Edinburgh." 2 The 
Regent s forces, from their headquarters in Leith, 
threatened the Castle; the garrison of the Castle 
warned citizens who were not on their side to 
leave the town. The leaders of the Queen s party 
had no desire to injure Knox personally, but they 
declined to guarantee his safety at the hands of 
fanatical followers who regarded him as the chief 
enemy of their Queen. 3 The incident of a " bullet 
shot in at the window [of his house] of purpose 
to kill," and a plain intimation from Kirkcaldy 
that Knox must either take refuge in the Castle 

1 Bannatyne, Mem., pp. 91-100. 
3 Calderw., iii., 71. 
3 Ibid., iii., 72. 

1572] Declining Years 345 

or leave the city, 1 were used by the Reformer s 
friends, including his colleague, Craig, as a means 
of constraining him to leave Edinburgh for a time. 
Knox at first refused, till they said that if he 
stayed, it would be the " occasion of the shedding 
of their blood for his defence." 2 This considera 
tion moved him; and so, after joining in a last at 
tempt, at a private conference in the Castle, 3 to 
convince the leaders of the Queen s faction of 
their errors, Knox, on the 5th of May, left Edin 
burgh for St. Andrews. 4 After a visit to Abbots- 
hall, 5 on the way, he arrived early in July, with 
his wife and their three children, 6 in the city 
where "God had first opened his mouth." He 
took up his abode in the Novum Hospitium of 
the Priory ; it was to be his home for fully a year. ? 
Knox s ecclesiastical and academic environ 
ment was partly congenial, partly the reverse. 
On the one hand, the College of St. Leonard s a 
" well" of evangelical teaching from Gavin Logie s 
time was in full sympathy with the Reformer. 
Patrick Adamson, who had recently succeeded 
George Buchanan as Principal of the College, had 
not yet shown any of that subservience to the 

1 Calderw., iii., p. 242. 

2 Bannatyne, Mem., p. 118. 

3 Ibid., pp. 125-132. 

4 Calderw., iii., 73. 

s Bannatyne, Mem., p. 119. 

6 James Melville s Diary, p. 26. 

7 Bannatyne, Mem., p. 255 

34^ John Knox [i S 68- 

civil power which was afterwards rewarded with 
an archbishopric; and among the academic "re 
gents" was John Davidson, afterwards minister 
of Presto npans, whose Breif Commendation of 
Uprichtness, published in 1573, is mainly a lament 
ation over the death of Knox, 

" That fervent faithful servant of the Lord, 
A most true preacher of the Lordis word." 

St. Leonard s "yard" was Knox s favorite resort 
in leisure hours. There " he would call us scholars 
unto him and bless us" so an alumnus of that 
time testifies "and exhort us to know God and 
His work in our country; to stand by the good 
cause; and to learn the good instructions of our 
masters." 2 He publicly vindicated the St. Leon 
ard s students, because he knew their conduct to 
be "upright and just," when a serious charge was 
made against them by the head of the rival Col 
lege of St. Salvator. 3 If he was wont to give 
the young men solemn counsel, he was also ready 
to share in their innocent recreations; and one 
catches a glimpse of the broad sympathies of the 
Puritan Reformer, when we read how John David 
son "made a play at the marriage of Mr. John 
Colvin," a fellow-regent, "which," writes Mel 
ville, " I saw played [by the students] in Mr. 

1 McCrie, Life of Knox (ed. 1855), p. 451. 

2 Melville s Diary, p. 75. 

3 Bannatyne, Mem., p. 258. 

1572] Declining Years 347 

Knox s presence." x On the other hand, there 
were in St. Andrews at that time men in high 
position who were lukewarm Protestants, fa 
voured the Queen s party, and bore no good will 
to Knox as a steadfast supporter of the Regency. 
Robert Hamilton, one of the ministers of the city, 
accused the Reformer of being privy to Darnley s 
murder, but had to disavow the calumny. 2 Archi 
bald Hamilton, a regent of St. Salvator s College, 
who eventually renounced Protestantism and be 
came a bitter Romanist, began even at this time 
to defame Knox, whom after the latter s death 
he grossly maligned. 3 The Provost of St. Salva 
tor s, John Rutherfurd, while professing his " good 
opinion of Knox," discloses in correspondence and 
otherwise a scarcely friendly disposition 4 ; and 
the relations of the Reformer even with his old 
colleague, John Douglas, the Rector of the Uni 
versity, could not at this time have been very 
cordial, in view of the latter s readiness, as we 
shall see, to become a "tulchan" archbishop. 

In his correspondence with friends, Knox gives 
a somewhat doleful account of his physical con 
dition at St. Andrews. He describes the "daily 
decay of his natural strength" and forebodes his 
" sudden departure from the miseries of this life." 
He is "weary of the world"; and at the close of 

1 Melville, p. 25. 

2 Bannatyne, p. 260. 

3 Ibid., 262, 263 ; Archibald Hamilton, De Conf. Calv. Sect. 

4 Bannatyne, pp. 257, 258; Calderw., iii., 207. 

34 8 John Knox [1568- 

one of his letters refers to himself as "lying in 
St. Andrews half dead." But this "half -dead" 
man was far from being either torpid or idle. 
His "infirmity of the flesh" did not prevent him 
from preaching regularly in the parish church, 
and James Melville s memorable description of his 
pulpit efforts during this year supplies graphic 
testimony to his continued effectiveness as a 
preacher : 

" I heard him teach the Prophecy of Daniel that 
summer [1571] and the winter following. 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, the space of half an hour: 
but when he entered to application he made me so 
to grew [thrill] and tremble, that I could not hold a 
pen to write. ... I saw him every day of his doc 
trine go hulie and fear [slow and wary] with a furring 
of martricks about his neck, a staff in 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 be behoved to lean, on 
his first entry. But ere he had done with his ser 
mon, he was so active and vigorous that he was like 
to ding that pulpit in blads, and flee out of it." 2 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 605, 616. 

2 Melville, p. 75; comp. John Davidson in his Breif Com 
mend, of Uprichtness, referring specially to this period of 
Knox s ministry: 

For weill I wait [wot] that Scotland never bare 
In Scottish leid [language] ane man mair eloquent." 

1 57-a] Declining Years 349 

Preparation for the pulpit was not the only 
literary work which occupied Knox s time at St. 
Andrew s. From his extant correspondence it 
appears that he was engaged in collecting copies 
of important documents bearing on the four books 
of his History, already composed, as well as in 
arranging materials for a continuation of the 
work. 1 He also prepared for the press an elabor 
ate answer to a controversial letter addressed by 
James Tyrie, Professor of Theology in the Jesuit 
College at Paris, to his Protestant brother, David 
Tyrie, of Drumkilbo, Perthshire. The letter had 
been received about six years before, and had 
been forwarded at the time to Knox, with a re 
quest for a refutation which was hastily supplied 
but not published. In the interval, however, 
other Jesuits had been stirred up to trouble 
godly hearts" with similar arguments, and Knox 
now printed and issued Tyrie s letter along with 
his own reply. The Jesuit professor had endeav 
oured to discredit the Reformed Church as being 
"no Kirk," on account of its being "new found," 
not "Catholic," "invisible," and devoid of "apos 
tolic succession." Knox replies that the Church 
of the Reformers has in reality the "same an 
tiquity as that of the Apostles ; that Catholicity 
is no test of righteousness, otherwise "sin," being 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 608-612. These materials were 
afterwards used by David Buchanan in the composition of 
what is called Book V. of the History of the Reformation in 

35 John Knox [ IS 68- 

universal, "should have been good"; that the 
Reformed Scottish Kirk is visible in the same 
sense as the Churches of Corinth and Philippi; 
although the Church of Christ is also invisible in 
so far as it is not confined to any special building, 
place, or outward organisation, but exists wher 
ever Christ truly is; and finally, that the Re 
formed Church possesses what the Church of 
Rome lacks, genuine apostolical succession, inas 
much as "in our kirks we admit neither doctrine, 
rite, nor ceremony which by the Apostles writings 
we find not authorised." l 

V. During Knox s residence at St. Andrews, 
and under his own eyes in that city, an ecclesias 
tical policy was inaugurated which, for over a 
century, under four Stuart kings, became the 
fruitful source of discord, despotism, and perse 
cution; issuing in schism, rebellion, and revolu 
tion. A modified episcopacy was introduced into 
the Reformed Church of Scotland. 

After the Reformation, the bishops (as well as 
the abbots and priors) of the Roman Church, 
although deprived otherwise of ecclesiastical 
status, continued not only to receive two-thirds 
of their emoluments, but also to exercise par 
liamentary functions as the Spiritual Estate of 
the realm. In the eleven years, however, that 
had intervened, many of these prelates had died; 
and if the Spiritual Estate were allowed to become 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 471-512. 

1572] Declining Years 351 

extinct, the validity of parliamentary proceedings, 
in which one branch of the legislature was wholly 
unrepresented, might be subsequently challenged 
so it was believed by any party desirous of 
effecting an ecclesiastical counter-revolution. Ad 
ditional considerations, public and private, in 
duced the Government of the Regent, under 
Morton s influence, to revive the office of bishop 
in the Reformed Church. The King s party 
looked forward to the "union of the kingdoms" 
under James, at -Elizabeth s death: and it was 
considered prudent to bring the Scottish Church, 
by anticipation, into conformity so far with the 
Church of England. 1 The Government, further, 
lacked the money required to maintain its posi 
tion effectively against the Queen s party, which 
received financial support from France. To 
annex for secular purposes the entire episcopal 
revenues would have provoked the combined op 
position of the Church party and of the Marian 
faction ; whereas the appointment of bishops con 
tent to retain only a part of the revenues would 
render practicable an arrangement through which 
the larger portion of the emoluments would be 
transferred to the State. Members of the nobil 
ity, moreover, including Morton himself, had been 
invested, temporarily at least, with the posses- 
sion of episcopal or abbatial revenues, as the re 
ward of past or prospective services ; and it was 
1 Melville, Diary, pp. 47, 48. 

35 2 John Knox [i 5 68- 

obviously their interest to promote any enact 
ment by which their perpetual tenure of the 
greater portion of the spoil might be legalised. 
i Among the Reformed clergy there was from the 
f first a party who had no prejudice against an 
episcopate; and the ministry, along with the 
Church as a whole, while by no means enamoured 
of episcopacy, were not committed at this time 
to any belief in its inherent unlawfulness. The 
Presbytery, as a court possessing ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction, had not yet come into existence; it 
. was as yet nothing more than a gathering of clergy 
I for mutual edification. In the circumstances then 
existing, several considerations of expediency 
united to render the leaders of the Church willing 
to acquiesce in the appointment of Protestant 
bishops without the obnoxious powers of an 
ecclesiastical hierarchy. The proposal afforded 
some prospect of the Church recovering a further 
portion of her ancient patrimony. The organisa 
tion of superintendents, moreover, had never been 
completed. Owing mainly to the lack of suffi 
cient emoluments, only five out of the ten ec 
clesiastical provinces, into which Scotland was 
divided by the Book of Discipline, had been pro 
vided with these officials: their place was inade 
quately supplied by commissioners of the General 
] Assembly. The substitution of bishops for super - 
I intendents, with substantially similar authority, 
would remove the financial difficulty, and also 

1572] Declining Years 353 

restore to the Church direct parliamentary influ 
ence. Finally, the Regent s party, which inau 
gurated the new policy, although aggressive and 
illiberal (since Moray s death) in its relations with 
the Church, was less objectionable to steadfast 
Protestants than the Queen s faction, the triumph 
of which might eventually involve the disestab 
lishment and disendowment of the Reformed 
Church altogether. At once, therefore, to recover 
ecclesiastical revenue and to secure civil protec 
tion, the Church of that period was prepared to 
accept the restoration of the episcopate in a mod 
ified form. 1 

The outcome of negotiations between represent 
atives of Church and of State was the Concordat 
of Leith early in 1 5 7 2 : an agreement between the 
Privy Council, whose action was confirmed by the 
ensuing Parliament, and an ecclesiastical Conven 
tion, whose proceedings were ratified by a subse 
quent General Assembly. The main provision of 
this Concordat was the restoration (at least until 
the King should reach his majority) of the offices, 
dioceses, and emoluments of bishop and arch 
bishop, with the important proviso that the . 
members of this revived episcopate should be j 
subordinate, spiritually, to the General Assembly i 
as the supreme depositary of ecclesiastical juris 
diction. The Concordat was ratified in August, 
1572, by the Assembly at Perth, in terms which 

1 Cook, Hist, of the Ch., i., 163-173. 

354 John Knox [1568- 

indicate that the Church regarded the episcopate, 
not as ecclesiastically indispensable, or even as 
theoretically desirable, but as, on the whole, in 
existing circumstances, an expedient "interim" 
arrangement "until further and more perfect 
order be obtained." l 

VI. What was Knox s attitude towards the 
Concordat and the policy which it embodied? 
He was present neither at the Leith Conven 
tion nor at the Perth Assembly: but from his 
watch-tower at St. Andrews he was an inter 
ested onlooker; his mind and pen were occupied 
with the question, and an opportunity occurred 
of giving his practical testimony. The Reformer 
made no protest against episcopacy in itself. For 
five years he had ministered in the episcopal 
Church of England; and he had never, in subse 
quent days, condemned the office of bishop, under 
proper conditions, as unscriptural. There is no 
recognition of the Presbytery in the Book of 
Discipline as an ecclesiastical court ; and the insti 
tution of the superintendentship implies the law 
fulness of one minister being set over others. With 
Knox, apparently, it was a secondary matter 
whether the subordinate executive of the Church 
were vested in presbyter or in bishop, so long as 
the supreme jurisdiction remained in the hands 
of a non-hierarchical General Assembly composed 
of laymen as well as clergy. In a communication, 

Calderw., iii., 168-172. 

i S72 ] Declining Years 355 

accordingly, addressed to the Perth Assembly in 
August, 1572, he assumes, without protest, that 
the procedure of the Leith Convention will be 
confirmed. 1 Nevertheless, he had grave misgiv 
ings as to the outcome of the Concordat, withheld 
from it any positive approval, and warned the 
Church of the ecclesiastical abuses to which it 
might lead. Beza appears to have been consulted 
by him on the subject; for in April Knox re 
ceived a strongly worded letter from that Re 
former, declaring that "bishops brought forth the 
papacy," and warning his friend not "to admit 
again that plague in Scotland." 2 

Early in February the Earl of Morton had 
nominated John Douglas, Rector of St. Andrews 
University, to the archbishopric prematurely, 
for the proceedings of the Convention had not yet 
been ratified either by Parliament or by General 
Assembly. Apart from this irregularity, it was 
generally believed that a simoniacal compact as 
to the emoluments had been made between the 
Earl and the episcopal presentee. Knox declined 
to take part in the ceremonial of installation, al 
though he preached in Morton s presence the ser 
mon which preceded it. 3 His feeling towards 
Douglas was chiefly one of "pity" ; the new dig 
nity, he declared, "will wrack him and disgrace 

* Letter of Knox to Perth Assembly, with Articles, in 
Laing, W. of K., vi., 619-621. 

2 Laing, W. of K., vi., 614. 

3 Bannatyne, Mem., p. 223. 


35 6 John Knox [i S 68- 

him." T None the less (if Calderwood s testimony 
can be trusted), Knox, in "open audience of many 
denounced anathema to the giver, anathema to 
the receiver." 2 At a meeting of the General As 
sembly, held in March at St. Andrews (probably 
for the Reformer s convenience), "he opposed 
himself" so James Melville reports 3 "directly 
and zealously " to the making of bishops after the 
manner, at least, of the recent appointment ; and 
in his communication to the Perth Assembly in 
August, when the question was formally discussed 
and determined, he urged strongly the adoption 
of certain provisions (in addition to the safeguard 
of the bishops being subordinate to the General 
Assembly) in order to avoid ecclesiastical abuses. 
The main objects of Knox were, on the one hand, 
to prevent prolonged vacancies, and the appoint 
ment of laymen or otherwise unqualified persons 
to bishoprics; on the other hand to "ordain all 
bishops to give account of their whole rents and 
intromissions therewith once in the year." 4 The 
last provision was designed to protect ecclesiasti 
cal property from simoniacal alienation by sub 
servient bishops and "greedy patrons." The 
Assembly pronounced Knox s safeguards to be 
"both reasonable and godly." "We have taken 
like order as we could," they declare, "for the 

1 Melville, Diary, p. 31. 

2 Calderw., H. of R., in., 206. 

3 Melville, Diary, p. 31. 

4 Laing, W. of K., vi., 620, 621. 

1572] Declining Years 357 

furtherance thereof"; and in subsequent years 
we read of bishops undergoing trial by the 
General Assembly for "simoniacal paction" and 
"dilapidation of patrimony." But these ecclesi 
astical trials do not appear to have been effective ; 
and the popular nickname of "tulchan" bishops, 
during this period, was fully justified. "For the 
Lords got the benefices, presented such a man as 
would be content with the least commodity, and 
set the rest in feus, tacks, and pensions to them 
or theirs." 2 The bon-mot of Patrick Adamson, of 
St. Leonard s College, on the occasion of the in 
stallation of Archbishop Douglas, was none the 
less witty and trenchant because, by a grim irony 
of history, Adamson himself eventually became 
"tulchan" Primate. 

"There are three sorts of bishops," he is reported 
to have said, "the Lord s bishop, my lord bishop, 
and my lord s bishop. The Lord s bishop is the 
true minister of the Gospel ; my lord bishop was in 
the time of the papistry; my lord s bishop is now, 
when my lord getteth the benefice, and the bishop 
serveth for a portion out of the benefice, to make my 
lord s title sure." 3 

1 Calderw., iii., 330, 347, 361. 

2 Ibid., iii., 208. The tulchan was a stuffed calfskin 
placed before a cow in order to induce her to give milk more 
readily. The tulchan bishop facilitated the process of drawing 
ecclesiastical revenues, of which much the greater part, by 
a private compact, was appropriated by the lay patron. 

3 Ibid., iii., 206. 

35 8 John Knox [1568-1572] 


Catholic Calumniators of Knox 

Archibald Hamilton (De Confus. Calv. Sect. , 1577; 
Demonstratio, 1581), James Laing (De Vita et Moribus 
Heret., 1581), and Nicol Burne (Disputation, 1581), 
after waiting till Knox was dead, accused him of 
numerous gross immoralities, including repeated 
adultery and incest. The vileness of the charges and 
the virulence of the writers deprive them of credi 
bility in the absence of any real evidence. A fourth 
detractor, Alexander Baillie (in his True Information, 
1628), represents Knox as defending incestuous 
adultery. Similar charges, without substantial found 
ation, were brought against Luther, Calvin, Beza, 
and other Reformers, by Laing, Bolzec, and others. 
The calumnies against Knox appear to have taken 
their rise from: (i) the ill-natured reflections of some 
Catholic members of the Bowes family on Knox s 
pastoral intimacy (of which they disapproved) with 
his future mother-in-law (see p. 103) ; (2) a vile ac 
cusation made against Knox in 1563, by one Euphe- 
mia Dundas. From the Town Council Records of 
Edinburgh, for i8th June of that year, it appears that 
this woman, on being cited to give evidence, took 
refuge in a denial that she had said what was at 
tributed to her. Hamilton s earlier work was 
answered by Principal Smeton of Glasgow, in his Ad 
Virulentum Archib. Ham. Dial. Responsio, 1579. See 
Notes F F F and G G G in McCrie, Life of John 




EARLY in August, 1572, commissioners arrived 
at St. Andrews from Knox s congregation in 
Edinburgh. They brought a letter to the Re 
former, craving his return to the city and to his 
ministry. A truce had been arranged in the end 
of July between the Regent s party and the 
Queen s faction, whose conflicts in the capital had 
led to Knox s departure in the previous year. He 
would no longer be exposed either to peril of life 
or to interference in work. A coolness, moreover, 
between Craig and the congregation, arising out 
of the former s too friendly relations (as was 
thought) with the garrison of the Castle, had 
resulted in his translation from St. Giles to 
Montrose. In their "destitution" accordingly, 
the brethren desired "most earnestly" that if 
Knox s "person might sustain travel, his voice 
might once again be heard among them." 

Knox agreed to return to Edinburgh on the 

1 Bannat., Mem., p. 254. 


3 6 John Knox [i 572 ] 

characteristic condition that he should not be ex 
pected "in any sort to temper his tongue, or cease 
to speak against the treasonable dealings of the 
Castle." He left St. Andrews on the iyth Au 
gust, "not without dolour of the godly in that 
town, but to the great joy of the rest," especially 
of the " Hamiltons and their faction," who smarted 
under his invectives for "their murder of the Re 
gent." On the 23rd of the month he reached 
Leith by boat ; on the following Sunday he occu 
pied once more his pulpit in St. Giles . His voice, 
however, proved to be now too weak "to be heard 
of the whole multitude that convened"; and he 
preached thenceforth in what was called the Tol- 
booth a portion of the nave of the cathedral 
curtained off from the rest of the building, and 
otherwise used for Council meetings. Meanwhile 
steps had been taken to secure a new colleague for 
the Reformer, and his own choice, as well as that 
of the congregation, had fallen upon James Law- 
son, sub-Principal of Aberdeen University. " Be 
loved brother," so Knox wrote to him on the 
7th of September, "seeing . . . that I look 
not for a long continuance of my battle, I would 
gladly discharge my conscience into your bosom ; 
and the touching postcript is added, "Haste, lest 
ye come too late." The summons met with no 
tardy response : within nine days Lawson arrived. 2 

1 Bannat., Mem., p. 255. 

2 Ibid., pp. 263, 264; Cameron Lees, St. Giles , p. 157. 

[1572] Last Days 361 

II. Knox, however, was not the man to dis 
continue prematurely his pulpit ministry because 
relief was now within reach. The English Am 
bassador, Henry Killigrew, records on the 6th of 
October that the Reformer, although "now r so 
feeble as scarce can he stand alone, yet doth he 
every Sunday cause himself to be carried" to the 
church, "and preacheth with the same vehemence 
and zeal that ever he did." Two memorable 
pulpit functions were yet to be discharged before 
the voice which had stirred thousands of hearers 
was stilled. The first occasion was when tidings 
reached Scotland of the Massacre of St. Bar 
tholomew. That massacre had begun on the 
24th of August; but a declaration had been is 
sued, in the name of the King of France, to the 
effect that the slaughter of Huguenots had been 
accomplished in order to "prevent the execution 
of a detestable conspiracy ; and some weeks 
elapsed before reliable reports of the nature and 
magnitude of the carnage reached Edinburgh. 
When at length the truth became known, Church 
and State in Scotland joined in the reprobation 
of the bloody crime, which was widely expected 
to inaugurate a general uprising of Catholics 
against Protestants throughout Christendom. The 
Privy Council summoned a national convention 
on the 3rd of October to devise means of "defence 
from the furious rage of the bloody papists." 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi., 633. 

362 John Knox [ IS72 ] 

The General Assembly responded with the ap 
pointment of a "public humiliation," and with 
a demand that the Acts of Parliament against 
Papists be put in force. The ministers of Edin 
burgh "did most vehemently inveigh against this 
most beastly and more than treasonable fact." 
Knox, feeble in body but strong in spirit, hurled 
his anathema from the pulpit in the white heat 
of righteous indignation; and "bade declare to 
the French Ambassador to tell his master, that 
murderer the King of France, that God s venge 
ance shall not depart from him, nor from his 
house, and that none who come from his loins 
shall enjoy that kingdom in peace, unless re 
pentance prevent God s judgments." 1 

The other and last notable appearance of Knox 
in the pulpit was on the gth of November, when 
Lawson was formally inducted in St. Giles as his 
colleague and successor. The Reformer himself 
conducted the service, and "made the marriage, 
in a manner" to use Bannatyne s words "be 
tween Mr. James Lawson and the folk." "He 
declared to the whole assembly the duty of a 
minister, and also their duty to him"; "praised 
God," who had given to the congregation one in 
his own room; and prayed fervently that any 
gifts which he (Knox) had possessed might be 
bestowed on his successor "a thousand fold." 
But his "weak voice was heard" only by "a 

1 Bannat., pp. 271-273, 276. 

[1572] Last Days 3 6 3 

few" ; and he went home that day leaning on his 
staff and attended by his flock, from pulpit to 
death-bed. 1 

III. The details of the last fortnight of Knox s 
life have been graphically recorded by his devoted 
secretary, Richard Bannatyne, and have also been 
described by another witness, "who sat by Knox 
during his sickness until his latest breath." * On 
the Tuesday after Lawson s induction, the Re 
former s mortal illness began. He "was stricken 
with a great hoast," which so enfeebled him that 
by Thursday he was obliged to discontinue his 
"ordinary reading of the Bible." Thenceforth he 
listened while his wife or his secretary read to him 
daily portions selected by himself, including the 
53rd chapter of Isaiah, the iyth of St. John, and 
some portion of the Book of Psalms. On that 
Thursday he felt that his end was approaching; 

1 Bannat., 280-281; Laing, W. of K., vi., 648, 654. See 
Additional Note to this Chapter, on "John Knox s House." 

2 Bannat., Mem., pp. 281-289, also the anonymous Ex- 
imii Viri J . K. vera extremes mice et obitus Historia, ap 
pended to Sme ton s Reply to Archib. Hamilton s De Conf. 
Calv. Sect., and included in Laing, vi. , 649-660 (translated). 
Calderwood ascribed it to Smeton himself (iii., 238); but 
Laing attributes its composition, with greater probability to 
Lawson (Laing, vi. , 648). Where the two accounts differ 
(as to minor details) Bannatyne has been followed. The 
simplicity of the latter s work, and its apparent composition 
in the form of a diary, commend it as more likely to be ac 
curate in details than the rather verbose narrative in Latin 
of the anonymous writer. 

364 John Knox [i 572 ] 

for when he was paying Martinmas wages to his 
servant, James Campbell, he added twenty shil 
lings to the usual amount, saying, "Thou wilt 
never get more of me in this life." On Friday 
his mind was sometimes confused : for he "thought 
it was Sunday," and insisted on rising to "go to 
the kirk and preach," he said, "upon the resur 
rection of Christ," in continuation of a sermon on 
Christ s death delivered on the previous Lord s 
Day. On the Saturday two friends came to see 
him Archibald Stewart, and John Durie, ex- 
horter at Leith. He made an effort to "come to 
the [dinner] table, which was the last time that 
ever he sat at any"; and one realises how far 
this " chief priest of Puritanism" was from gloomy 
asceticism, when we read how he "caused pierce 
a hogshead of wine" for the use of his guests, 
and with mingled gravity and playfulness bade 
"the said Archibald send for the same so long as 
it lasted, for he [Knox] would never tarry until 
it were drunken." T 

On Monday, the lyth, he summoned to his bed 
side the elders and deacons of St. Giles , to "bid 
them his last good -night." The interview recalls 
the memorable farewell of the dying Calvin to the 
dignitaries of Geneva eight years before. Amid 
repeated acknowledgments of " unworthiness and 
vileness," he declared that " he had taught nothing 

i Bannat.,pp. 283, 285; Vera Historia, in Laing, vi., 654, 

Last Days 365 

but true and sound doctrine, and that howsoever 
he had been against any one, it was never for 
hatred of the person, but for discharge of his con 
science before God." He had "never made mer 
chandise of the Word ; in respect whereof (albeit 
he was weak, and an unworthy creature, and a 
fearful man) he feared not the faces of men : 
"therefore he exhorted them [his elders and dea 
cons] to stand constant unto that doctrine which 
they had heard of his mouth." " And thou, Law- 
son," he added, turning to his colleague, in the 
spirit of St. Paul addressing Timothy, "fight 
the good fight of faith, and perform the work of 
the Lord joyfully and resolutely." Shortly before 
this interview, a letter had been read to him from 
Maitland to the Kirk Session, complaining of Knox 
having slandered him as "an atheist and enemy 
to all religion," and craving redress. Knox was 
too infirm to prepare a formal answer: but he 
explained to the brethren that he had charged 
Maitland with doing "works" which were a "suf 
ficient declaration that he denied that there was 
any God to punish wickedness ; referring to the 
ex-Secretary s recent maintenance of the Queen s 
faction. Yet he did not fail to remember his 
fellow-Reformer in his prayers; although, as he 
sorrowfully declared, "he had no warrant that 
ever he [Maitland] would be well." At the close 
of the meeting Knox commended his office-bearers 
solemnly to God; and after the "prayer read for 

366 John Knox [ IS72 ] 

the sick" (from his own Book of Common Order), 
"they departed," we are told, "in tears." J 

The exertion of addressing his Kirk Session ag 
gravated Knox s malady. "After this speaking 
he was the worse"; and he "never spake almost 
but with great pain"; yet, with a brave deter 
mination to "die in harness," he continued to see 
any friends to whom "some exhortation and ad 
monition might be of service." Among other 
visitors was Lord Boyd, who had joined the party 
of the deposed Queen: he acknowledged that he 
had " offended" Knox "in many things." " I am 
come now," he said, "to crave your pardon." 2 

Lawson, his colleague, and Lyndsay, minis 
ter of Leith, were much with him and enjoyed 
his full confidence. Robert Campbell of Kin- 
yeancleuch, a staunch adherent of long stand 
ing, received from the dying man the charge of 
his wife and children. Specially memorable were 
Knox s words to Morton, whom, as head of the 
King s party, he supported but did not love, and 
his farewell message to Kirkcaldy, the leader of 
the Queen s faction, whom he loved but strenu 
ously opposed. Long afterwards, when Morton 
was about to be executed, nominally for alleged 
complicity in the murder of Darnley, he told the 
story of his interview. The Reformer pointedly 

1 Bannat., pp. 282-285; Vera Historia, in Laing, vi., 656; 
Calderw., iii., 234. 

2 Bannat., p. 285. 

Last Days 367 

asked the statesman whether he was really privy 
to the murder; and after receiving an assurance 
to the contrary he charged Morton, who was on 
the eve of becoming Regent, to use the many 
benefits which he had received from Heaven, 
"first to God s glory, to the furtherance of the 
Evangel, and to the maintenance of the Kirk of 
God and His ministry ; next for the welfare of the 
King s realm and true subjects." "If so ye shall 
do," said the dying man, "God shall bless you 
and honour you. But if ye do it not, God shall 
spoil you of those benefits, and your end shall be 
ignominy." Morton neglected the counsel; and, 
after ten years of power, came to an evil end. 
Before his death, amid penitent testimony, he 
declared, regarding Knox s forewarning, "I have 
found it true." 

Kirkcaldy was at the time in the Castle, but 
kept away from Knox: the Reformer, however, 
was mindful of his former friend. "The man s 
soul is dear to me," he declared; "I would not 
have it perish, if I could save it." He was "ear 
nest with God anent" him; and he bade Lawson 
and Lyndsay "go tell him, in my name, that un 
less he is yet brought to repentance, he shall die 
miserably" ; that he " shall be hung on a gallows 
in the face of the sun, unless he speedily amend 
his life, and flee to the mercy of God." a The 

1 Calderw., iii., 569. 

3 Vera Historia, Laing, vi. , 657. 

368 John Knox [1572] 

Governor was then under Maitland s baneful in 
fluence, and the message at the time was fruitless ; 
yet Knox, after earnest intercession on Kirk- 
caldy s behalf, declared, "God assureth me that 
there is mercy for his soul." This assurance of 
the Reformer was afterwards reported to Kirk- 
caldy and moved him profoundly. A few months 
later, when the Castle had been surrendered, and 
when the ex-Governor, as Knox had foretold, was 
led out to be hanged, he confessed to David Lynd- 
say that he now perceived well that Knox was 
the Lord s "true servant"; and the memory of 
the past encouraged him to meet his doom not 
with despair, but with penitent faith and hope in 
the divine mercy, "according to the speech of that 
man of God." 

Illustrations have been given of the relations 
of mutual sympathy and helpfulness which sub 
sisted between Knox and various women. We 
are not surprised to find among visitors to his 
death-bed "several pious women of high descent 
and education." One of these, wishing to com 
fort the dying Reformer, "began to praise him" 
for the great work which he had accomplished. 
" Tongue, lady, tongue," was the prompt interrup 
tion, "flesh of itself is over proud, and needs no 
means to esteem itself." 2 "I have been tempted 
of Satan," he said to another friend ; " he tempted 

1 Calderw., iii., 234, 284. 

2 Bannat., 286; Vera Historia, Laing, vi., 658. 

[1572] Last Days 3 6 9 

me to trust and rejoice in myself ; but I repulsed 
him with this sentence, What hast thou which 
thou hast not received? Not I, but the grace of 
God in me " ; and he protested often that he did 
" only claim to the free mercy of God showed to 
mankind in the blood of his dear Son, Jesus 
Christ." 1 

On Sunday the 23rd of November, the day be 
fore he died, Knox passed the time chiefly in the 
delectable land of silent meditation ; but every 
now and then, "when he would be lying in a 
sleep," writes Bannatyne, "he burst forth in 
such words as these : Live in Christ, and let 
never flesh fear death ; I have been in heaven 
and have possession ; I have tasted of these 
heavenly joys where presently I am. " To the 
last, however, the care of Church and country 
rested on his spirit. 

" I have been in meditation of the troubled Kirk 
of God, the spouse of Jesus Christ. ... I have 
called to God for her, and I have committed her to 
her Head, Jesus Christ. . . . Lord grant true pas 
tors to Thy Kirk, that purity of doctrine may be 
retained; and restore again peace to this common 
wealth, with godly rulers and magistrates. 
Come, Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my 
spirit." a 

On the following day his last upon earth he 

1 Bannat., p. 288; Laing, vi., 660. 

2 Bannat., p. 287; Laing, vi., 658. 


37 John Knox [1572] 

sat in lis chair for half an hour in the forenoon, 
but the end was visibly drawing near. There were 
present in his chamber only a little company, in 
cluding his wife and his physician, Dr. Preston; 
his secretary, Bannatyne, and his old friend, 
Campbell of Kinyeancleuch ; probably, also, his 
colleague Lawson. In the afternoon he asked 
the 1 5th of i Corinthians to be read. "Is 
not that a comfortable chapter? " he declared. 
By and by came a request to his wife, "Read 
where I cast my first anchor." Mrs. Knox 
understood well what he meant: it was his 
favourite iyth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, 
to which he appears to have ascribed his earliest 
realisation of the Christian hope. Between seven 
and ten o clock he lay, for the most part, still. 
Thereafter the group of watchers "went to or 
dinary prayers." " Heard ye the prayers ? whis 
pered Preston to his patient. To the dying man 
the gate of Heaven appeared to have been already 
opened, and the sounds of earthly devotion had 
been transmuted into celestial voices. "I would 
to God that ye and all men heard them as I have 
heard them. I praise God of that heavenly 
sound." " Now it is come," he added soon after 
wards. These were his last words; but when 
asked to make some sign that he "remembered 
upon the comfortable promises which he had 
taught to others," he raised his hand as if in re 
sponse to the appeal. " Incontinent thereafter, 

[i S7 2] Last Days 37 l 

he rendered the spirit, and slept away without any 

The Reformer was buried on the following 
Wednesday, 26th November, in what was then the 
churchyard of St. Giles , at or near the spot after 
wards indicated by his initials between the church 
and Parliament House. The concourse of people 
who followed his remains to their resting-place 
was preceded by a procession of nobility headed 
by Morton, who had been appointed Regent on 
the very day of Knox s death. " He was con 
veyed," writes Bannatyne, "with many a soreful 
heart." In his contemporary diary, James Mel 
ville records that after Knox s death the Regent 
gave him an honourable testimony that he neither 
feared nor flattered any flesh; and when the 
remains had been laid in the grave "without ex 
ternal ceremony," doubtless, as the Book of Dis 
cipline enjoined, but not without many a heart 
being uplifted in silent invocation, Morton re 
peated his disinterested witness in the often- 
quoted words, "Here lieth a man who in his life 
never feared the face of man." 

IV. The leading features of Knox s character 
reveal themselves prominently in the story of his 

i. Morton s panegyric at his grave indicates 

1 Bannat., 288, 289. 

2 Melville, Diary, 60; Bannat., 290; Vera Historia, Laing, 
v:,, 660; Calderw., iii., 242. 

37 2 John Knox [1572] 

what most impressed his contemporaries. The 
man who began his career as a Reformer by stand 
ing, sword in hand, beside his "Master Wishart" 
amid peril, and accepted afterwards the pastorate 
of a besieged congregation which included Wish- 
art s avengers; the man who denounced before 
King Edward s Court the intrigues of royal coun 
cillors; who taught publicly, for several months, 
Reformed doctrine under Mary Tudor, and who 
preached to the Protestants of Dieppe, not as 
they had been preached to before under the veil 
of night, but in the light of day; the man who, 
in 1556, boldly faced the prosecution of the Scot 
tish hierarchy; who hastened, on his return to 
Scotland in 1559, to the "brunt of the battle" in 
support of his fellow-preachers; and who him 
self entered the pulpits of Perth, St. Andrews, 
and Edinburgh, in defiance of interdicts from the 
heads of Church and State; the man who, in the 
days of Mary Stuart s power, told her plainly that 
when princes exceed their bounds they are to 
be resisted by force, and who denounced publicly 
not only "pestilent Papists " but unfaithful Pro 
testants who pandered to the Queen, plundered 
the Church, or betrayed the cause such a man 
certainly merited a testimony to his fearlessness 
from one who himself had recently endured the 
Reformer s anathema. 

2. Beneath Knox s courage towards men was 
his steadfast faith in God, in his own call to be 

[1572] Last Days 373 

God s servant, and in the ultimate triumph of 
what he firmly believed to be the divine cause. 
He had, like other men, indeed, hours of depres 
sion, but none of complete despair ; and his pre 
vailing mood was devout and heroic confidence; 
confidence not only in God but in himself, yet in 
himself only as an instrument in the divine hands ; 
for he repelled all self-complacent thoughts as 
temptations of the devil. 1 The ground of his self- 
reliance was the conviction that the mind of God 
had been revealed to him; that he was a man 
with a mission which he dared not neglect, and 
with a message which he dared not withhold. 
His memorable utterance at his trial in 1563, 
has been accepted by posterity as the motto of his 
life : "I am demanded of conscience to speak the 
truth ; and therefore the truth I speak, impugn it 
who so list." 2 With this confidence in God and 
in himself as God s prophet, he was able himself 
to rise above the anxiety caused by temporary 
disaster, and also to impart somewhat of his own 
faith to others. The galley-man knew that he 
would again preach God s truth in St. Andrews; 
the exile on the Continent inspired his brethren 
at home with the trust in God and zeal for truth 
which produced the First Covenant : the defeated 
and depressed host of Protestants who retired 
from Edinburgh to Stirling in the autumn of 1559 

1 See p. 368. 

2 Knox, //. of R., ii., 408. 

374 John Knox [i S72 ] 

were raised to fresh hope and effort by his assur 
ance that God was on their side ; and in the dark 
days of the Roman reaction under Mary, amid 
"the miserable dispersion of God s people," he 
was able to recall for his own and others comfort 
the divine promise, "They that wait on the Lord 
shall renew their strength." 

3. The very strength of Knox s faith in the 
Reformation movement as the cause of God im 
bued him with an intolerance towards Romanists, 
as well as towards Romanism, with which it is 
impossible for us, amid altered circumstances, 
to sympathise, and in which many even of his 
Protestant contemporaries did not share. For his 
uncharitable judgments, on some occasions, re 
garding the actions and motives of opponents 
the best apology is that when a man is fighting 
for what is dearer than life it is not easy for 
him to keep his brain cool. His condonation 
of Beaton s and of Rizzio s assassinations, how 
ever unjustifiable, had as its foundation the firm 
belief that these men were enemies of God and 
of the people, enemies whom "the powers that 
be" persisted in supporting. Regarding his in 
tolerance of the "Papistry," we must remember 
the great difference between the Roman Church of 
Scotland in the sixteenth century and the same 
Church in the twentieth. In the eyes of Knox, 
Romanism was the incurable embodiment not 

1 Knox, H. of R., ii., 263. 

[ IS72 ] Last Days 375 

only of idolatry and superstition, but of shame 
less immorality. The Church had for him become 
the "Synagogue of Satan"; and the testimony, 
previously adduced, of contemporary Romanists, 
like Ninian Winzet, shows the foundation on 
which the belief was based. Moreover, Knox s 
intolerant zeal was kindled and sustained by the 
fear that tolerance of Romanism would issue in 
the reascendency of Rome. The event proved 
that his anxiety was far from needless ; for, as we 
have seen, humanly speaking, during the critical 
years 1565-66, it was, in great measure, Mary s 
unforeseen folly that saved the Reformed Church. 
Had the government of the country in the six 
teenth century been in the hands of representa 
tives of the people, Knox could have afforded to 
be tolerant. But with a Catholic Queen on the 
throne, with a considerable portion of the nobility 
and people still Romanist in sympathy, and with 
France and Spain ready to embrace any favour 
able opportunity of intervention, there seemed to 
be no effective security against the restoration of 
Romanism except its legal suppression. 

4. Knox was undoubtedly a stern man, when 
conscience demanded severity: even the misfor 
tunes of the Queen of Scots did not prevent him 
from censuring as "foolish pity" the omission of 
Moray to bring his sister to trial for the murder 
of her husband. But he was not all sternness. 
There was a vein of tenderness and sympathy in 

37 6 John Knox [i 572 ] 

the Reformer, of which lifelong conflict did not 
deprive him. One catches a glimpse of his do 
mestic tenderness in the almost intolerable pain 
which he felt when compelled to chastise his child 
ren, and in his pathetic recall, after nearly twelve 
years, of the benediction bequeathed to his two 
sons "by their dearest mother of blessed mem 
ory." J There must also have been many tokens 
of sympathy, and some amiable features of char 
acter in a man who was repeatedly called in to 
reconcile husband with wife and friend with 
friend 2 ; whom women consulted trustfully in 
their difficulties, undeterred by the severe things 
he had spoken of their sex in his Monstrous Regi 
ment; and whom a young and high-born maiden 
accepted as a husband when he was thrice her 
age. Even in Knox s intercourse with Mary, as 
we have seen, the uniform hardness of attitude 
which he felt constrained to adopt is tempered 
by an occasional kindliness not to be repressed. 
Between the lines of his letter to Moray, when 
their quarrel took place, one can discern the yearn 
ings of a wounded yet affectionate spirit 3 ; and 
the solicitude which he manifested on his death 
bed for the repentance and salvation of his for 
mer friend but eventual antagonist, Kirkcaldy, is 
surpassed by nothing in Christian biography. 

1 Laing, W. of K., vi. , p. Ivi. 

2 Knox, H. of R., ii., 376, 324. 

3 Ibid., ii., 382. 

[1572] Last Days 377 

5. Knox s unreserved self -dedication at once 
devout and patriotic to the Scottish Reforma 
tion stands out in fine relief, as compared with the 
self-seeking, or defective patriotism, which charac 
terised not a few fellow-labourers in the cause. 
Protestant nobles reaped spoil from the Church s 
patrimony; Knox lived and died comparatively 
a poor man. 1 He never made "merchandise of 
the Word." Scottish churchmen with Protest 
ant convictions left Scotland and failed to return 
when the cause of Reform had need of them; 
Knox was always in his own land when his pre 
sence was of real service; even in exile he min 
istered to the " faithful" at home through epistles 
of comfort or of admonition ; and thrice over he left 
the quiet haven and congenial society of Geneva 
for the toil and conflict of a ministry in his native 
land. His incessant labours after his final return 
to Scotland, notwithstanding "a weak and fra 
gile body" 2 ; his fearless maintenance of divine 
truth, by voice and pen, before high and low; 
and his heroic faith, through which the faith of 
others was sustained, in the ultimate triumph of 

1 See his Will. Laing, W. of K., vi., p. liii. Apart from 
over 800 pounds Scots due to Knox chiefly by his father-in- 
law, the Reformer s "inventory" after death amounted to 
less than 100 pounds Scots; and this sum included 100 
merks sterling received through his first wife, " which [he 
says] I of my poverty extended to five hundred pounds 
Scots, to the utility and profit of my two sons." 

2 Smeton, Responsio, p. 115. 

37 8 John Knox [i 572 ] 

what he believed to be God s cause justify the 
judgment of a modern English historian, that " in 
the entire history of the Reformation in this 
island ... no grander figure can be found than 
that of Knox." 

V. The influence of Knox upon Scotland has 
been signal and enduring. His assertion bold in 
that age of the lawfulness of opposing and even 
deposing rulers who transgress the laws or op 
press the people, fostered among his countrymen 
that opposition to royal despotism which culmi 
nated in rebellion rebellion which history has 
vindicated and posterity has ratified. To Knox s 
ministry, also, was largely due the growth of an 
intelligent and earnest-minded middle class, 
whom his preaching and writings educated and 
enlightened ; inspiring them with strong religious 
convictions, and imbuing them with a sense of 
national responsibility. Under his training the 
smaller landowners, along with the merchants 
and upper tradesmen the most loyal and zealous 
supporters of the Reformation began to occupy 
a distinct place in the national life and councils. 2 

To the educational sagacity of Knox Scotland 
owes, further, in great measure, that parochial- 
school organisation which during subsequent gen 
erations, when most other countries lagged behind 
in this regard, provided for the poorest in the 

1 Froude, H. of E., x., 193. 

2 Ibid., 194. 

[IS72 ] Last Days 379 

land a sound religious and secular education. We 
have only now, moreover, begun to realise some of 
the Reformer s educational ideals/ 

Knox was an ardent disciple of Calvin, and he 
propagated in Scotland that grand, although one 
sided, recognition of the absolute sovereignty of f 
God, which is the chief basis of Calvinism. It | 
was the realisation of this great truth which after 
wards sustained the Scottish Covenanters, as it 
had already upheld the Huguenots of France and 
the burghers of the Netherlands, in protracted 
struggles against oppression. For, to those who 
lived under a deep and devout sense of the Divine 
Sovereignty, earthly rulers were but fellow-vas 
sals, to be served and obeyed only in so far as 
they were faithful subjects and vicegerents of the 
King of kings. It was a moderate Calvinism, 
however, as we have seen, which Knox and his col 
leagues formally imposed, by authority of the 
Estates, on the Scottish Church, through the origi 
nal Reformed Confession, subsequently displaced 
by that of the Westminster divines. The older 
document is an embodiment of the more flexible 
theology which, but for the influence of English 
Puritanism, might have characterised the Scottish 
Church of later days. It remains as the possible 
starting-point from which a less rigid standard 
of doctrine might be formulated for the present 

1 See p. 246. 

380 John Knox [i S72 ] 

Scotland owes to Knox not its existing Presby 
terian government, this was the subsequent 
work of Andrew Melville, but that which is the 
chief feature and main strength of Presbyterian- 
ism, viz., the full recognition (lacking in Episco 
pacy) of the Christian laity in the administration 
of the Church, combined with that orderly sub 
ordination (which Congregationalism fails to se 
cure) of the whole Church to one representative 
and supreme authority. It is owing to Knox and 
his fellow-Reformers that the Scottish Church 
avoids the danger both of hierarchy and of an 
archy; all its courts consisting of ministers and 
laymen, and its supreme executive, being not a 
court of clergy, whether bishops, superintendents, 
or moderators, but a General Assembly of or 
dained ministers associated on equal terms with 
lay elders representing the Christian people. 
In the sphere of congregational worship, it must 
be admitted that in one important particular 
Knox has impoverished the Scottish Church. In 
his anxiety to escape from temporary abuses, he 
removed from Scottish Christendom what it is 
now only beginning to recover, the stated and 
united commemoration of the fundamental facts 
and truths of Christianity, a commemoration 
which is at once helpful to the Christian life, 
and a wholesome preservative against the ob 
scuration of vital Christian doctrine, or its su 
persession with a cold and semi-pagan morality. 

[is?*] Last Days 3 Sl 

Not to John Knox, however, and other founders 
of the Reformed Scottish Church, but to the later 
Puritanism of the seventeenth century, provoked 
by the offensive ecclesiastical policy of Charles I., 
is due the discontinuance in Presbyterian churches 
of that happy combination of "Common Prayer" 
and (within certain limits) "Free Prayer," which 
was exemplified in the Reformer s Book of Common 

2. The influence of Knox has notoriously ex 
tended to other countries than his own: to Eng 
land, to Ireland, and to all those lands, within 
and beyond the British Empire, which Scotsmen 
have helped to people. The English and Irish 
Presbyterian Churches claim the Scottish Re 
former as their virtual founder ; and even English 
Protestantism, as a whole, may recognise Knox 
as in some measure, at a critical period, its pre 
server. No biassed Scot, but the English his 
torian, Froude, has declared that "but for Knox, 
Mary Stuart would have bent Scotland to her 
purpose, and Scotland would have been the lever 
with which France and Spain would have worked 
upon England" until Elizabeth had either been 
"hurled from her throne," or been constrained to 
go "back into the Egypt " of Romanism. 1 It was 
the descendants, moreover, of men taught by 
Knox to withstand "the divine right of kings to 
do wrong," who set the example to England of 

i Froude, H. of E., x., 195. 

382 John Knox [i S72 ] 

effective resistance to the Stuarts resistance 
issuing eventually in the establishment of a con 
stitutional monarchy. "Thirty thousand armed 
Covenanters, sitting down on Duns Law" in 
1639, became, as Carlyle has epigrammatically 
expressed it, "the signal for all England rising 
up." 1 

Nowhere is the influence of Knox, more fully 
recognised than in the United States and in the 
Dominion of Canada. The Scottish Presbyterians 
whom persecution drove, or colonising enterprise 
drew, to North America in the seventeenth cent 
ury, carried with them the sturdy spirit of civil and 
religious independence which they had inherited 
from Knox and his successors; and the Presby 
terian churches which they founded comprising 
a population now more than double that of the 
Presbyterians in the United Kingdom hold the 
foremost place alike in the past historical develop 
ment and in the present theological activity of 
American Christendom. 2 In the political sphere it 
has been amply attested that during the period of 
struggle which issued in American independence, 
the earliest and most strenuous opponents of 
British despotism were, for the most part, de 
scendants of Scotsmen bred in the Church which 

1 Inaugural Address to the Students of Edinburgh, p. 63. 

2 Influence of the Scottish Church in Christendom (by the 
present writer), 140-143, 261, 272; Hodge, Presbyter. Ch., 
i., 214; Webster, Presbyter. Ch. in Amer., 66, 68. 


Last Days 3 8 3 

Knox had moulded. 1 It is not without signifi 
cance that a man whom Americans have specially 
honoured as a foremost champion in their great 
national conflict John Witherspoon, President 
of Princeton College belonged to a family which 
claimed kinship with Knox. 2 If, in the year 
when the Reformer and his work are specially 
commemorated, America is taking her full share 
in the veneration of his memory, this is not merely 
because she recognises him as one of the "heroes 
of the Reformation," but also because her own 
free institutions, educational achievements, and 
religious zeal can be traced in great measure, 
through acknowledged channels, to influence ex 
erted by John Knox on Scottish Christendom. 


Did John Knox live in "John Knox s House" ? 

Fully eleven years of Knox s life, after his final 
return to Scotland, were spent in Edinburgh; but for 
only one existing building in the city is the claim 
made that it was (substantially) a house in which 
the Reformer lived. This is the well-known house in 
the Netherbow, near the junction of High Street 
and Canongate, visited every year by thousands of 

ilnfl. of Sc. Ch., 190, 282; Hodge, ii., 398; Briggs, Amer. 
Presbyterianism, 347-351; R- E. Thompson, Presb. Ch. in 
U. S., 56, 57. 

3 Rogers, Genealog. Metnoirs of Knox, pp. 162-164. 

384 John Knox [i 572 ] 

pilgrims from all quarters of the world. The house 
is of considerable size, having four storeys, besides 
a sunk floor and a garret. The outside stair is a 
comparatively modern addition; but the motto: 
BOUR AS YI SELF" is ancient. On the first 
floor above the ground is the "Audience Chamber." 
The second floor contains a panelled room used pre 
sumably for sitting and dining ; a bedroom in which, 
according to tradition, the Reformer died; and a 
small apartment formed in the wooden casing of the 
house, and supposed to be his study. The claim of 
the building to have been Knox s home was discussed 
in papers read before the Society of Scottish Anti 
quaries in session, 1898-99 * by two learned members 
of that body, the late Mr. Robert Miller, Lord Dean of 
Guild, who regards the alleged connexion of the house 
with Knox as legendary, and Mr. Charles Guthrie, 
Q.C., who vindicates its claim to be one of the houses 
in which the Reformer lived. The case for and 
against the house in Netherbow stands thus : 

i. It was certainly not the abode of Knox, during 
the greater part of his Edinburgh ministry, (a) 
There is evidence of his having lived in another house 
from September, 1560 (soon after his permanent 
location in Edinburgh), until September 1566, a*?d 
probably until later. 2 This house, for which rent 
was paid to Robert Mowbray, on Knox s behalf, by 
the City Council, up to the latter date, was situated 

1 Proceedings of Soc. of Ant. of Sc., xxxiii. 

2 Robert Miller, John Knox and the Town Council of 
Edinburgh (in which the writer s contributions to the Society 
are embodied, with additions), p. 74. 

Last Days 385 

near the top of Warriston s Close in High Street. In 
the seventeenth century a new tenement was erected 
on the site which is now occupied by the City Council 
Chambers; while the ground, attached to the house 
as a garden in Knox s time, now forms part of the site 
of the Cockburn Hotel. 1 It was in this house that 
Marjorie Bowes, the Reformer s first wife, died, near 
the close of the year 1560. To this house, also, his 
second wife, Margaret Stewart, was brought home in 
1564. It was in this building that in 1561 the Town 
Council gave orders "with all diligence to make a 
warm study of deals to the minister, John Knox, 
within his lodging above the hall of the same." 2 (6) 
There is evidence, further, that in 1568 and 1569, 
Knox occupied a house belonging to one "John 
Adamson and Bessie Otterburn, his spouse," whom a 
minute of Council, in Nov., 1568, ordained to "cause 
mend and repair the necessaries of John Knox s 
dwelling-house." There is evidence, also, of rent 
having been paid for this house in Nov., 1569. The 
property may have been any one of three buildings 
which belonged to this couple, two of which were on 
sites now occupied by the modern St. Giles Street; 
while the third was situated on the north side of 
the High Street opposite the corner of the present 
Hunter Square. 3 

2. It is probable, in the absence of testimony to 
the contrary, that Knox would not have a second 
flitting prior to his departure from Edinburgh, in 
May, 1571; and that during the interval of a year and 

1 John Knox and the Town Council of Edinburgh, pp. 80-87. 

2 Ibid., p. 75. 

3 Ibid., pp. 88-107. 

386 John Knox [i 572 ] 

a half from Nov., 1569, to that date, he remained in 
the house repaired for his benefit. With regard to 
this interval, however, and also to the three months 
between his return to Edinburgh in August, 1572, and 
his death in November of that year, there is much 
uncertainty; for the Treasurer s accounts show a 
blank during the period 1567-1581; and there is no 
record of any meeting of Council between 1571 and 

I573- 1 

3. It is very improbable that what is called 
"John Knox s house" was occupied by him prior to 
his departure from Edinburgh in May, 1571. That 
house, as it is now admitted, was the property of 
James Mosman, goldsmith, and of his wife, from the 
year 1556 at latest; and in 1568 it was conveyed by 
them to their son John, with reversion to themselves 
of life-rent. In Feb., 1571, however, on the occasion 
of the father s second marriage, he bought back the 
fee from his son, and infeffed himself and his second 
wife in the house; apparently with the object of 
preventing her from being obliged to leave the family 
abode in the event of his pre-decease. 2 It seems all 
but certain that after this re-infeftment Mosman 
would continue to occupy the house during the three 
months which elapsed prior to Knox s departure for 
St. Andrews in May of the same year. It is only 
reasonable to assume that Mosman bought back the 
house from his son because he continued to need it 
for himself; and in the extant deeds connected with 
the property, there is no specification of the house as 

John Knox and the Town Council of Edinburgh, p. 131. 
Ibid., pp. 137, 138. 

[1572] Last Days 387 

that in which John Knox lived. Such specification 
was a common, although not invariable usage. 1 

4. There remains the period from August, 1572, 
when Knox returned to Edinburgh, until his death, 
in November of that year. Did he re-occupy during 
this period the Adamsons house? or did he reside in 
Mosman s house at the Netherbow? or did he live 
elsewhere? Certainty in this matter appears, mean 
while, to be unattainable; but we have a moderately 
old tradition in favour of the Netherbow house being 
for some time occupied by Knox ; and this seems to be 
the only possible period. In 1796, the Hon. Mrs. S. 
Murray visited Edinburgh. She describes the house 
in the Netherbow, incidentally, as the house "whence 
Knox thundered his addresses to the people"; and 
she writes, not as if asserting a fact recently dis 
covered, but rather as stating what was generally 
accepted. 2 Similarly, in a work published in 1806, the 
author mentions, not in a controversial way, but 
assuming, evidently, that no one would contradict 
him, that "among the antiquities of Edinburgh may 
be mentioned the house of the great Scottish Reformer, 
John Knox. It stands," he continues, "on the north 
side of the foot of High Street, projecting into the 
street." 3 The tradition, accordingly, must have 
been already of pretty long standing before the close 
of the eighteenth century, (a) Is there anything 
which renders the truth of the tradition improbable? 
(6) Is there any way of reasonably accounting for 

1 John Knox and the Town Council of Edinburgh, pp. 1 38-1 40. 

2 A Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland, 
p. 117. 

3 Stark, Picture of Edinburgh, p. 102. 

388 John Knox [i 572 ] 

the existence of the tradition except on the assump 
tion of its being true? 

(a) We have seen that in February, 1571, Mosman 
intended to remain in the hoase and to secure it as a 
home for his widow. But the times were troublous: 
the population of Edinburgh was divided into two 
factions, that of the Queen and that of the Regent. 
Mosman was a keen partisan of Mary. It is known 
that some of her adherents took refuge about this 
time in the Castle, which was held for the Queen by 
Kirkcaldy, and that at some date prior to 2Qth of 
May 1573, when the garrison surrendered, Mosman 
himself was received within its walls. 1 He had good 
reason to be afraid; for when the Marian party had 
been overcome he was executed, along with Kirk 
caldy, as a traitor. A truce for two months, indeed, 
had been arranged on the 3ist of July, 1572, and had 
afterwards been extended to the close of the year; 
but a goldsmith, who was also a "rotten Papist" 
and a keen politician, could not afford to run the risk 
of molestation and even spoliation amid civil war; 
and it is not unlikely that before the truce was 
concluded, Mosman had transferred himself, his wife, 
and his valuables to the safer precincts of the Castle. 2 
In these circumstances there was nothing to pre 
vent the Town Council, (who were responsible for 
Knox s accommodation) putting the Reformer, with 

1 See paper of Sir Dan. Wilson in Proceedings of Soc. of 
Ant. of Sc., xxv., 161. 

2 Miller s argument (John Knox and the Town Council of 
Edinburgh, p. 142) that "as a shrewd business man, Mosman 
would attend to his goldsmith s booth as long as he could" 
is not convincing, in the light of the danger which would thus 
have been incurred. 

[1572] Last Days 389 

Mosman s consent, or even without it, as a temporary 
tenant into the house from which the owner himself 
may by this time have fled. 1 Although differing 
from Knox, both in religion and in politics, he may 
have been glad, in such a time, to have his house 
safely occupied in his absence by a man whom his 
fellow-citizens, as a whole, respected, and whom 
Kirkcaldy himself, on account of former friendship, 
would be unwilling to molest. It has been argued, 
indeed, not without some force, that both the houses 
which Knox certainly received from the town as 
residences were in the close neighbourhood of St. 
Giles , in accordance with the ancient custom to have 
kirk and manse adjacent to each other; and that 
this arrangement was particularly necessary in Knox s 
weak condition. 2 But, on the other hand, we are 
told that Knox "caused himself to be carried to St. 
Giles " 3 (410 yards from the Netherbow) ; more 
over, to be close to St. Giles was also to be near the 
guns of the Castle; and the Reformer s friends in 
the Council may have preferred to locate him out of 
the reach of danger. 

(6) As regards the possible origin of the tradition, 
on the assumption of its being historically unfounded, 
ample evidence, it must be admitted, exists that even 
before the Reformer s time, the name of Knox, even 
that of John Knox, was associated with the Nether- 
bow. In the immediate vicinity were "Knox s 
lands" and "Knox s Close." 4 But this evidence, 

1 Guthrie, Proceedings, etc., xxxiii., 260, 261. 

2 Miller, pp. 146-149. 

3 Laing, W. of K., vi., 633. 

4 Miller, pp. 152-158. 

39 John Knox [i 572 ] 

although not to be disregarded, does not point 
definitely to the particular building known, at least 
since the eighteenth century, as John Knox s house, 
being associated with other Knoxes l ; and while a 
sufficient reason for the selection of this building 
(apart from any real connection with the John Knox) 
may exist, and afterwards become known, it is not 
yet forthcoming. 

On the whole, while the belief that this house in 
the Netherbow was the chief home of Knox must be 
given up, there is nothing intrinsically improbable in 
the supposition that the Reformer lived there during 
the last three months of his life; and while the 
tradition is not demonstrably old enough to be quite 
trustworthy, and may any day be contradicted by 
fresh documentary evidence, it cannot be dismissed 
as mere legend, and claims consideration as at least 
possibly, if not probably, true. 2 Even more interest 
ing, however, to many, although less generally re 
garded, is the indisputable fact that the chief part of 
the Municipal buildings in which the magistrates and 
City Council of Edinburgh conduct their proceedings, 
occupies the exact site where Knox lived not for three 
months, but for six or seven years years, moreover, 
which included the most influential period of his life. 

1 Guthrie, p. 270. " The nearest John Knox to John 
Knox s house he [Mr. Miller] locates no yards away." 

2 C}. Hume Brown, Life of Knox, ii., 319 (written, however, 
before the papers of Mr. Miller and Mr. Guthrie were con 
tributed to the Society of Antiquaries, in Session, 189899). 
" Against the tradition that points to Mosman s house as 
a residence of Knox no satisfactory evidence has been 

[i 572] Last Days 39 l 


Particulars Regarding Knox s Person and Family 

1. The Latin epistle sent by Sir Peter Young to 
Beza in 1579 (along with the portrait reproduced in 
the Icones) contains an interesting description of 
the Reformer s personal appearance in later years. 

His stature was a little under middle height; his 
limbs were graceful and well proportioned ; his shoul 
ders of more than average breadth ; his fingers long- 
ish ; his head of moderate size ; his hair black ; his 
complexion darkish; his face not unpleasing in 
appearance. In his countenance, which was grave 
and severe, a certain graciousness was united with 
natural dignity and majesty. 

When he was angry, his brow showed a masterful 
spirit. Beneath a rather narrow forehead, his brows 
stood out like a ridge ; and his cheeks were somewhat 
full (as well as ruddy), so that his eyes appeared to 
recede and to lie deep in his head. The colour of his 
eyes was dark blue [or a dark bluish grey] ; and their 
glance was keen and bright. 

His face was longish ; his nose beyond the average 
length; his mouth large; his eyes full, the upper lip 
being the fuller of the two ; his beard was black, with 
white hairs intermingled; it was a span and a half 
long, and moderately thick. (Hume Brown, Life of 
Knox, ii., 323). 

2. Knox s widow married, two years after his 
death, Andrew Ker, of Faldonsyde, near Melrose, and 
survived till about 1612. Knox s two sons, who had 
lived in Northumberland for five years or more, 
matriculated at the University of Cambridge in 1572, 

39 2 John Knox [i 572 ] 

eight days after their father s death, and were ad 
mitted to St. John s College at the age of 15^ and 14 
respectively. Nathanael died at Cambridge in 1 580. 
Eleazer, after an academic career of considerable 
distinction, became Vicar of Clacton Magna, in the 
archdeaconry of Colchester, in 1587, and died four 
years later. Neither son left issue. Of Knox s three 
daughters by his second wife, the eldest, Martha, 
married, in 1584, Alexander Fairlie, of Braid, 
near Edinburgh, the son of a friend of her father. 
The second, Margaret, became the wife of Zachary 
Pont (son of Robert Pont, minister of St. Cuthbert s) 
eventually appointed Archdeacon of Caithness in 
1608. The youngest, Elizabeth, married in 1594, 
the famous John Welsh, minister of Ayr, who was 
imprisoned and exiled on account of his opposition 
to the ecclesiastical policy of James VI. In 1621, 
when physicians recommended him to visit Scot 
land on account of his failing health, his wife ap 
plied personally to the King for permission. James 
asked her who her father was. "John Knox," she 
replied. "Knox and Welsh," exclaimed the King; 
"the devil never made sic a match as that!" "May 
be," was the smart rejoinder, "for we never speired 
his leave." The King said that her husband might 
return to Scotland if he would submit to the bishops. 
"Please, your Majesty," replied the high-spirited 
daughter of Knox, extending her apron, "I would 
rather kep [catch] his head there." 

There appears to be no certainty of any descendant 
of Knox being now in existence. (Rogers, Geneal. 
Memoirs of John Knox, 137-146; Laing, W. of K., 
vi., pp. Ixiii.-lxxii.) 

-fm W^ 

* ;LPUM 

" \/\s *\/?~*~.~^!~ ^l .W^J"*-* ^fffy _ I 

Stone, in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, marking approxi 
mately the place of Knox s grave in what was 
formerly the Churchyard of St. Giles . 



Absolution in early Re 
formed Church, 244-245 

Adamson, Patrick, his three 
kinds of bishop, 357 

Alesius, 34, 40, 41, 92 

Annand, Dean John, 77 

"Appellation" of Knox, 139, 
1 88 

Arbuckle, Franciscan Friar, 

Argyle, fifth Earl of, me 
diates between Regent, 
Mary, and Reformers, 200; 
Protestant leader, 203 

Arran, James, second Earl 
of, appointed Regent, 50; 
Protestant policy, 51-53; 
recantation and absolu 
tion, 54-56. See Chatel- 

Arran, James, third Earl of, 
aspires to marry Mary Stu 
art, 259; supports Knox s 
protest against the Holy- 
rood Mass, 269 

Assembly, General, of 1560, 
first, in 1560, 250; precau 
tions of, before Mary Stu 
art s return, 262-263; free 
dom of, demanded, 293 ; of 
June, 1565, demands rati 
fication of Reformation, 
308; of December, 1565, 
appoints national fast, 311; 
of December, 1566, pro 
tests against reinstatement 
of Archibald Hamilton, 

323; intercedes for English 
Puritans, 324; of June and 
July, 1567, supports Con 
federate Lords, 329; of 
February, 1569, supports 
Regent, 335; of 1572, ac 
quiesces in modified epis 
copacy, 353 


Balnaves, Henry, 73; his 
treatise on Justification by 
Faith, 85 

"Band," patriotic, April, 
1560, 2 19 

Bannatyne, Richard, me 
morials of Knox s last 
days, 363 

Bartholomew, Massacre pi 
St., 361; proceedings in 
Scotland on occasion of, 

Beaton, David, Cardinal and 
Primate, 45, 49; arrested 
and imprisoned, 50; re 
leased and triumphant, 55, 
56; causes Wishart s mar 
tyrdom, 61; assassinated, 
68, 69 

Beaton, James, Primate, 33, 

Berwick, Knox s ministry at, 


Beza, Theodore, friend of 
Knox, 22, 46, 121, 141; in 
cludes Knox among his 
Icones, 22, 1 2 1 ; warns 
Knox against prelacy, 355 


39 6 



Bible, Geneva, Version of, 142 

"Black Rubric," no 

Bothwell, Patrick, third Earl, 
conspires with England, 44 

Bothwell, James, fourth Earl, 
reconciled by Knox with 
Earl of Arran, 321 ; malign 
influence over Queen Mary, 

Bower, Walter, 17-19, 31 

Bowes, Mrs. Elizabeth, 99; 
relations with Knox, 101- 
102; induces Knox to re 
turn to Scotland, 133; 
accompanies Knox to 
Geneva, 134 

Bowes, Marjorie (first wife of 
Knox), her earliest letter 
from Knox, 100; marriage 
to him, 134; Calvin s testi 
mony to, 141; arrives in 
Scotland, 213; death of, 257 

Boyd, Lord Robert, 327, 366 

Buchanan, George, 40, 45 

Bullinger, Henry, 121 

Burne, Nicol, calumniates 
Knox, 358 

Calvin, John, first meeting of, 
with Knox, 121; persuades 
Knox to accept Frankfort 
pastorate, 126; sympathy 
of, with Frankfort Puri 
tans, 127, 131 ; triumph of, 
at Geneva, 131; influence 
of, on Knox, 132, 152; 
comforts Knox in sorrow, 

Campbell, Robert, of Kin- 
yeancleugh, refers sarcas 
tically to Holy Water of 
the Court, 269; receives 
from Knox the guardian 
ship of the latter s wife and 
children, 366 

Cassilis, Earls of, 65, 320 

Catholic calumnies against 
Knox, 358 

Catholic League of 1565, 310 

Charles V., Emperor, 128 

Chatelherault, Duke of, 
James, second Earl of Ar 
ran, leads the Regent s 
army, 202 ; deserts the Re 
gent, 210; head of Queen s 
party, 327 

Church, Scottish, its early in 
dependence of Rome, 1-4; 
independent spirit in Ro 
man period, 6; supports 
the national cause, 7 ; re 
sists papal aggression, 8; 
growth of sentiment 
against Rome, 11-20, 186 

Clergy, demoralisation of 
Roman, its causes and 
evidences, 9-13; testimony 
thereto by Lesley and 
Ninian Winzet, 14, 15; ig 
norance of, illustrated, 
11-12; covetousness of, 
12; multiplied pluralities, 
13 ; ecclesiastical exactions, 

Cockburn, John, of Ormis- 
ton, 71 

Columba, 3 

Common Order, Book of, 241 

Concordat of Leith, 353 

Confession of Faith, Re 
formed, 224; characteris 
tics of, 225 ; compared with 
Westminster Confession, 
232. See Helvetic 

Council, Provincial, at Edin 
burgh, 91, 194 

Covenant, first Scottish, in 
1557. 177-178 

Coverdale, Miles, 135, 141 

Cox, Richard, 127 

Cranmer and English Re 
formation, 91 

Crawar, Paul, teaches Re 
formed doctrine, 18; is 
burnt at St. Andrews, 19 

Crighton, Bishop of Dunkeld, 



Darnley, Henry, Lord, re 
turns to Scotland, 304; 
married to Queen Mary, 
306; conspires against Riz- 
zio, 315; is murdered, 326 

Davidson, John, Regent at 
St. Andrews (afterwards 
minister of Prestonpans) , 
eulogy of Knox, 346 

Diaconate in Reformed 
Church, 238 

Dieppe, Knox s ministry at, 

Discipline, Book of, drawn 
up by Knox and others, 
236; provisions of, regard 
ing ( i ) ministers and other 
office-bearers, 237; (2) 
church courts, 240; (3) 
worship, 241; (4) educa 
tion, 246; (5) ecclesiastical 
patrimony, 247; reception 
of, by General Assembly, 
250; by the Estates, 251 

Douglas, Hugh, of Longnid- 
dry, 58, 71 

Douglas, John, Rector of St. 
Andrews University, as 
sists in drawing up Con 
fession, 224; and Book of 
Discipline, 236; not against 
Queen s Mass, 297; ap 
pointed Archbishop of St. 
Andrews, 353 

Dunbar, William, 32 


Education, provision for, in 
Book of Discipline, 245; 
compulsory, advocated, 

Edward VI., of England, 
proposed betrothal of Mary 
Stuart to, 50, 89; First 
Prayer-book of, 97 ; Second 

Prayer-book of , 109; death 
of, 113 

Elder in Reformed Scottish 
Church, 238 

Elizabeth, Queen, refuses 
Knox a safe-conduct, 147; 
realises danger of French 
predominance in Scotland, 
217; grudges cost of war, 
220; objects to marriage 
of Mary and Darnley, 305 

England, negotiations of 
Scottish Reformers with, 
5 1 ; league of, with Scot 
tish Reformers, 209, 217; 
sends army into Scotland 
to aid the Protestants, 218; 
army of, besieges Leith, 
220; commissioners of, 
treat for peace, 221 

Erskine, John, fifth Lord, af 
terwards Earl of Mar, gov 
ernor of Edinburgh Castle, 
204; neutral in conflict 
between Regent and Re 
formers, 205; admits Re 
gent into Castle, 218; 
succeeds Lennox as Re 
gent, 338 

Erskine, John, of Dun, 160- 
1 6 1 ; commissioner to 
France, 181; interview of, 
with Regent Mary_ at Stir 
ling, 197; ordained as 
preacher, and appointed 
Superintendent, 250; with 
Knox at Holyrood, 280- 
281; remonstrates against 
"spoil of the Kirk," 340 

Exiles, Protestant Scottish, 



Festivals, not observed in 
Reformed Church, 242 

First Blast against the Mon 
strous Regiment of Women, 
139, 147; referred to by 
Queen Mary, 272 



Foxe, John, 139 

Francis, King of France, 
death of, 259 

Frankfort, Knox s ministry 
at, 126-130 

French army in Scotland, 89, 
207-211, 213, 216, 219, 

Funerals, prayer at, dis 
couraged, 242 


Galley service, hardships of, 


Geneva, Book of, 137, 142 

Geneva, Knox s ministry at, 
134-146; freedom of, con 
ferred on, 147; writings of 
Knox issued from, 188- 

Giles , St., image of, de 
stroyed, 1 88 

Glencairn, Alexander, Earl 
of, signs the "Band," 219 

Goodman, Christopher, 134 


Haddington, ecclesiastical 
importance of, 30 

Hamilton, Archibald, calum 
niates Knox, 358 

Hamilton, James, assassin 
ates Regent Moray, 336 

Hamilton, John, Abbot of 
Paisley, 54; appointed 
Primate, 78; his policy of 
Reformation, 157; of per 
secution, 183; threatens 
Knox at St. Andrews, 201; 
reinstatement in disciplin 
ary jurisdiction, 323 

Hamilton, Patrick, cited by 
Primate James Beaton, 
escapes to Marburg, re 
turns to Scotland, 33 ; his 
trial, condemnation, and 
martyrdom, 34 

Harlaw, William, 158, 194 

Helvetic Confession, First, 
introduced by Wishart, 63 ; 
Second, approved by Gen 
eral Assembly, 322 

Henry VIII., his designs 
upon Scotland, 43 ; mar 
riage proposals, 50 

Heresy, early Act against, 
15; prevalence attested, 
17-20; Wycliffite, 16; 
Hussite, 17 

Heretical books, laws against, 

5 1 

History of the Reformation in 
Scotland, Knox s, 255-257 

Huntly, George Gordon, first 
Earl of, subscribes the 
"Band" against the 
French army, 219 

Hymns in Reformed Scot 
tish Church, 242 

James VI., King of Scotland, 
birth of, 321; coronation 
of, 330 


Kennedy, Quintin, his dis 
putation with Knox, 288 

Kentigern, 3 

King s party (during Mary s 
imprisonment) inconsider 
ate of the Church after 
Moray s death, 340; loy 
alty of Church to, 341 

Kirkcaldy, Sir William, of 
Grange, one of the assas 
sins of Cardinal Beaton, 
68; imprisoned at Mont St. 
Michel, 86; joins Confed 
erate Lords, 327; secedes to 
Queen s party, 339; ac 
cuses Knox of calumny, 
342; acknowledges Knox 
as a "man of God," 368 



Kirk Session in Reformed 
Church, 240 

Knox, John, date of birth 
discussed, 22, 45; probable 
birthplace, 25; parentage, 
29; earliest contact with 
Reforming influences, 32; 
studies the ancient Fathers, 
36; ordained priest, ibid.; 
prolonged inaction on the 
religious question, 37 ; pro 
bable causes of this atti 
tude, 38; patriotic senti 
ment, 41-45; earliest trace 
of sympathy with evan 
gelical truth, 53 ; influence 
of Wishart over, 58; de 
sires to accompany him, 
60;- traces of Wishart s 
teaching, 63 ; condonation 
of Beaton s murder by, 69; 
goes with pupils to St. 
Andrews Castle, 7 2 ; called 
there to office of preacher, 
75; first sermon after call, 
77, 78; discussion with 
Wynram and Arbuckle, 
79; fruitful labours of, 80; 
public celebration of Holy 
Communion by, ibid.; sent 
to the galleys, 83-86; re 
lease of, 87 ; settles in Eng 
land, 91; at Berwick, 94; 
fruits of ministry there, 96 ; 
evangelistic diligence, 97; 
connection with Puritan 
ism, 97, 98; address on the 
mass in St. Nicholas 
Church, Newcastle, 104; 
removed to that town, 106 ; 
appointed royal chaplain, 
107 ; refuses See of Roches 
ter, 109; influence on 
Second Prayer-book of 
Edward VI., no; and on 
"Forty-two Articles," in; 
summoned before Privy 
Council, 112; laments 
King s death, 113; prays 

for Mary Tudor, 114; con 
tinues to preach, 115; 
escapes to continent, ibid.; 
reasons for flight, 116; lit 
erary labours at Dieppe, 
119; visits Switzerland, 
120; questions addressed 
to Swiss Divines, 121; in 
tends to settle in Geneva, 
124; accepts invitation to 
Frankfort, 126; the Frank 
fort troubles, 127-130; re 
turns to Geneva, 131; 
appointed minister there, 
133; visits Scotland, his 
marriage, 134; again in 
Geneva, ibid.; pastoral and 
literary work there, 135- 
141; his happiness in Gen 
eva, 140; invited back to 
Scotland, 143; discouraged 
by letters, 144; resumes 
work at Geneva, 146; final 
departure, 147; ministry 
at Dieppe, 148; arrival in 
Edinburgh , 1555, 159; pro 
tests against Reformers 
attending mass, 1 60; visits 
various districts of Scot 
land, 161-163; cited be 
fore ecclesiastical court in 
Edinburgh, 164; trial de 
parted from, ibid.; ad 
dresses letter to the Regent 
Mary, 165; answers ques 
tions about papistical 
baptism," 170; burnt in 
effigy at the Cross of Edin 
burgh, 174; tracts of, ad 
dressed from Geneva to 
Scotland, 188; final return 
to Scotland, 196; preaches 
at Perth against mass, 198; 
disavows rebellion, 200; 
preaches in St. Andrews, 
201; in Edinburgh, 204; 
appointed to St. Giles , 206; 
propagates Protestantism 
in Scotland, 207; nego- 



Knox Continued . 

tiates with England, 208; 
advises suspension of al 
legiance to Regent, 211; 
influenced by patriotic as 
well as religious motives, 
212; revives courage of Re 
formers at Stirling, 215; 
draws up the Band 
of 1560, 219; preaches 
Thanksgiving sermon, 222 ; 
prepares Confession of 
Faith, 224; and Book of 
Discipline, 236; condemns 
mercenary Reformers, 251 ; 
discusses doctrine of the 
mass with Principal An 
derson, 253 ; writes History 
of Reformation, 255; be 
reaved of his wife, 257; 
anxiety before, and at the 
time of Mary s return, 258, 
266 ; denounces the mass in 
Holyrood, 268; first inter 
view with the Queen, 270; 
defends himself against 
several charges, 271-272; 
enunciates doctrine of 
limited monarchy, 273; 
his opinion of Mary Stuart, 
275; other interviews with 
the Queen, 276-283; his 
views on dancing, 276; on 
the punishment of "mass- 
mongers," 277; on pro 
posed Spanish marriage, 
279; trial before Privy 
Council, 281; acquittal, 
283 ; review of his relations 
with Mary, 285; marries 
Margaret Stewart, 284; 
disputation with Quintin 
Kennedy, 288; divergence I 
between, and Protestant 
statesmen, 290; vindicates 
freedom of Assemblies, 293 ; 
crisis of disagreement, 294; 
estrangement between, and 
Moray, 298; opposed to 

Darnley as royal consort, 
307 ; preaches before Darn- 
fey, 308; prohibited from 
preaching in Edinburgh, 
309; prayers for the ban 
ished lords, 311; arranges 
national fast, ibid.; pre 
pares pastoral on susten 
ance of ministers, 313; 
justifies Rizzio s assassina 
tion, 317; painful depres 
sion, 318; retires to Ayr 
shire, 320; visits sons in 
England, and intervenes 
on behalf of Puritan clergy, 
325; supports Confederate 
Lords, 329; denounces 
Queen Mary in St. Giles , 
wid.; co-operates with 
Moray, 331; contemplates 
return to Geneva, 333; 
sermon after Moray s 
death, 337; laments suc 
cession of Kirkcaldy, 339; 
complains of both political 
factions, 340; yet supports 
loyally the King s party, 
341 ; struck with apoplexy, 
342; charged with defam 
ing the Queen, 343; fired 
at from outside his house, 
344; retires to St. An 
drews, intercourse and en 
vironment there, 345; his 
preaching described by 
James Melville, 348; re 
plies to James Tyrie, 349; 
acquiesces in modified 
episcopate, 354; with mis 
givings, 355; suggests safe 
guards against abuses, 356; 
declines to take part in the 
installation of Archbishop 
Douglas, 355; returns to 
Edinburgh, 359; preaches 
on the massacre of St. 
Bartholomew, 362 ; inducts 
James Lawson, ibid.; last 
days, 363; bids farewell to 



Knox Continued. 

Kirk-Session, 364; com 
mends wife and children 
to Campbell of Kinyean- 
cleugh, 365 ; interview with 
Earl of Morton, 366; sends 
message to Kirkcaldy, 367 ; 
is assured of K. s salva 
tion, 368; last words and 
death, 369; burial, 371; 
character, 371; influence, 


Knox, daughters of, 392 
" Knox s House" : did he ever 

live there? 383 
Knox, sons of, Nathanael 

and Eleazer, 141, 325, 391 
Knox, William, brother of 

Reformer, 30 

Laing, James, calumniator of 

Knox, 358 

Laurence of Lindores, 17, 19 
Leith, siege of, 220; treaty of, 

221 ; Concordat of, 353 
Lennox, Matthew, fourth 
Earl of, succeeds Moray as 
Regent, 338 

Lent, Knox s views on, 170 
Lesley, Bishop John, 14 
Lesley, Norman and John, of 

Rothes, 68 

Locke, Mrs. Anne, 136 
Logic, Gavin, 35, 39, 40 
Lollardism, thirty persons 

charged with, 20 
Lords of the Congregation, 
178; their address to the 
Regent, 180; Convention 
of, at St. Andrews, 201; 
make league with Eng 
land, 209; renounce al 
legiance to Mary of Guise, 
211 ; demand dismissal of 
French, 210, 219 (see Pro 
testant army) 

Lyndsay, Sir David, Tragedy 

of the Cardinal, 69 
Lyndsay, John, fifth Lord, his 

Nunc dimittis, 228 


Maitland, William, of Leth- 
ington, on attendance of 
Protestants at mass, 160; 
leaves Regent and joins 
Reformers, 212; ambassa 
dor to England, 216; politi 
cal aims, 292; discusses 
with Knox resistance to 
sovereigns, 296; attitude 
towards Mary s marriage 
to Darnley, 306; willing to 
restore the Queen, 327; 
openly joins the Queen s 
party, 338; personal con 
troversy with Knox, 365 

Major, John, teaching of, 37, 

Margaret, Queen, and her 
sons, 5 

Martyrs of the Scottish Re 
formation, 40 

Mary of Guise, Regent of 
Scotland, 156; reasons of 
her policy of conciliation 
towards Reformers, 157; 
treatment of Knox s letter, 
1 68; change of demeanour 
to Protestants, 182; al 
leged breach of faith with 
Reformers , 197; outlaws 
Protestant preachers, ibid.; 
concludes temporary truce 
at Perth, 200; at Cupar, 
202; charges Reformers 
with revolution, 203; 
charged with "planting of 
strangers," 211; occupies 
Leith with army, 218; her 
death in Edinburgh Castle, 

Mary Queen of Scots, be 
trothed to Dauphin, 90; 



Mary Queen of Scots Con. 
married to Dauphin, 182; 
discountenances revolu 
tion, 265; refuses to ratify 
treaty of Leith, ibid.; pre 
judiced against Knox, 266; 
returns to Scotland, ibid.; 
has mass in Holyrood, 267 ; 
first interview with Knox, 
270; declares that she will 
nourish the Kirk of Rome, 
274; second interview after 
Knox s sermon on danc 
ing, 276; third interview at 
Lochleven, 277; fourth in 
terview about her pro 
posed marriage, 279; 
charges Knox with trea 
son, 281; angry at Knox s 
marriage to Margaret 
Stewart, 284; marries 
Darnley, 306; excites his 
jealousy, 315; under Both- 
well s influence, 323; mar 
ries him, 326; imprisoned, 
327; abdicates, 330 

Mary Tudor, influence of her 
persecutions on Scotland, 

Mass, Reformers withdraw 
from, 1 60; celebration of, 
made penal, 229; death 
penalty for, never imposed 
in Knox s life-time, 231; 
doctrine of, discussed be 
fore Parliament, 254; cele 
brated at Holyrood, 267; 
protested against by Knox, 
268; discussed by Knox 
and Kennedy, 288; openly 
partaken of by nobles, 311 

Melville, James, of Raith, 68 

Milne, Walter, martyrdom of, 

Minister, the, in the Re 
formed Church, 237 

Morton, James Douglas, 
fourth Earl of, joins con 
spiracy against Rizzio, 

315; flees to England, 320; 
a leader of Confederate 
Lords, 327; directs King s 
party, 341; episcopate re 
vived through his influ 
ence, 351; interview with 
Knox on latter s death 
bed, 366 


Newcastle, Knox at, 103-106 
Ninian, i, 2 
Northumberland, Duke of, 

recommends Knox for 

bishopric, 1 08 


Ochiltree, Lord, 284, 327 
Order of Service, Knox s, 173 
Organisation of Reformed 
Church, Chap. IX. 

Palladius, 2, 3 

Parliament, Scottish, of 1543, 
sanctions reading of ver 
nacular Scripture, 52; of 
1560, its enactments 
against Romanism, 222; 
adopts Reformed Confes 
sion, 227 ; refrains from ac 
cepting Book of Discipline, 
251; of 1563, first after 
Mary s return, 294; of De 
cember, 1567, establishes 
Reformed Church on con 
stitutional basis, 331; pro 
vides for sustenance of 
ministers, 332; and for 
Protestantism of sover 
eign, ibid. 

Patrimony, ecclesiastical, 
Book of Discipline on, 247 

Persecution of Protestants, 
34, 39, 56, 91 

Perth, St. John s Church, 199 

Pinkie, battle of, 89 



Preachers, Reformed, cited, 
194; outlawed, 197; suc 
cess attested, 207; list of 
notable, 235 

Predestination, Knox on, 

Presbytery, germ of, 241 

Protestant army at Perth, 
196; at Cupar, 202; in Ed 
inburgh, 203; defeated 
near Holyrood, 213; inade 
quate support of, 214; re 
tires to Stirling, ibid.; has 
its courage revived, 215 

Protestant statesmen, object 
to Reformed Church s 
claim to patrimony, 251; 
in favour of concessions to 
Mary, 291 ; look forward to 
union with England, 292; 
jealous of power of General 
Assembly, 293; object to 
Knox s language about 
Queen Mary, 294; counsel 
postponement of ecclesi 
astical demands, 295 

Protestantism in Scotland, 
earliest impulse to, from 
England, 16; early pro 
gress of, 19 

"Protestation" of Reformers 
to Parliament in 1558, 192 

Psalter, metrical English, 142 

Puritans, English, interven 
tion on behalf of, by Gen 
eral Assembly, 324 


Queen s Party, after Mary 
Stuart s surrender, 327; 
strengthened by acces 
sions, 338; court Protest 
ant support, 339 


"Rascal Multitude," the, 199 
Reformation, Scottish, hin 

dered by English political 
designs, 44; helped for 
ward by a variety of influ 
ences, 157, 176 

Reid, Adam, of Barskim- 
ming, 20 

Resby, James, 16 

Rizzio, David, favours Darn- 
ley s suit, 306 ; plot against, 
315; assassination of, 315 

Rochelle, Knox preaches at, 

Roman Catholic bishops and 
peers dissent from Confes 
sion of Faith, 227 ; propose 
to raise an army for Queen 
Mary, 262 

Rough, John, chaplain, 53; 
his appeal to Knox in 
Castle of St. Andrews, 75 

Row, John, assists in draw 
ing up Confession, 224; 
and Book of Discipline, 

St. Andrews, theological con 
vention at, 78; siege and 
surrender of, 8r, 82; Knox 
at, 72-82, 201, 321, 345 

Sandilands, Sir James, of 
Calder, 180 

Scone, Abbey of, destroyed, 

Sinclair, Henry, Bishop of 
Ross, acquits Knox, 283 

Somerset, Protector, invades 
Scotland, 89 

Spottiswoode, John, assists 
in drawing up Confession 
and Book of Discipline, 
224, 236 

Stewart, Lord James (Earl of 
Moray), 162; Commis 
sioner to France about 
Mary Stuart s marriage, 
1 8 1 ; mediates between Re 
gent Mary and Reformers, 



Stewart, Lord James Con. 
200; departs from Regent, 
201; subscribes "Band," 
219; visits Mary Stuart in 
France, 264; allows mass 
in Holy rood, 267; counsels 
Knox to humble himself, 
282 ; estrangement be 
tween Knox and, 298; po 
litical and ecclesiastical 
aims of, 300; views of, re 
garding Queen s marriage, 
301 ; reconciliation of, with 
Knox, 303 ; opposes Mary s 
marriage to Darnley, 306; 
flight of, 307 ; return of, 
from exile, 318; Regent, 
331; services to the Church 
332; testimony to, by 
Knox, Calderwood, and 
Spottiswoode, 337 

Stewart, Margaret (of Ochil- 
tree), married to Knox, 
284; ministers to Knox on 
his death-bed, 363 

Superintendent, office of, 239 

Synod, in Reformed Church, 


Tulchan bishops, 357 

Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, 
94; summons Knox before 
Council of the North, 104 

Tyrie, James, Jesuit profes 
sor, 349 


Wallace, Adam, martyr, 158 
Welsh, Mrs. Elizabeth, 
daughter of Knox, Add l 
Note to Chap. XIV. 
Whittingham, William, suc 
ceeds Knox in Genevan 

pastorate, 135; chief trans 
lator of Genevan Bible, 

135. J 42 

William, Thomas, chaplain 
to Regent, 53 

Willock, John, takes Knox s 
place in St. Giles , 206; ad 
vises suspension of allegi 
ance to Regent, 211; as 
sists in drawing up Con 
fession, 224; and Book of 
Discipline, 236 

Winzet, Ninian, 15; testi 
mony of, to Roman abuses, 
15; his Tractates, 275; con 
troversy with Knox, 287 

Wishart, George, teaches 
Greek New Testament, 57; 
cited, and escapes, ibid.; 
returns to Scotland, and 
preaches in Dundee, Ayr 
shire, Leith, etc., 58; 
friendship with Knox, 59 ; 
in Haddington, 60; mid 
night arrest, trial, and 
execution, 61; last words, 
62; discussion of alleged 
complicity in Beaton s as 
sassination, 64 

Wynram, John, Vicar-Gen 
eral of Primate, 78; dis 
cussion with Knox at St. 
Andrews, 79; joins Re 
formers and assists in 
drawing up Confession, 
224; and Book of Dis 
cipline, 236; against pro 
hibiting the "Queen s 
mass," 297 

Young, Sir Peter, letter 
about Knox to Beza, 22, 

Jl Selection from the 
Catalogue of 


Complete Catalogues sent 
on application 

Heroes of the Reformation 



Professor of Church History, New York University. 


A SERIES of biographies of the leaders in the Protes 
tant Reformation. 

The literary skill and the standing as scholars of the 
writers who have agreed to prepare these biographies 
will, it is believed, ensure for them a wide acceptance on 
the part not only of special students of the period but of 
the general reader. Full use will be made in them of the 
correspondence of their several subjects and of any other 
autobiographical material that may be available. The 
general reader will be pleased to find all these citations 
translated into English and the scholar to find them 
referred specifically to their source. The value of these 
volumes will be furthered by comprehensive literary and 
historical references and adequate indexes. 

It is, of course, the case that each one of the great 
teachers whose career is to be presented in this series 
looked at religious truth and at the problems of Chris 
tianity from a somewhat different point of view. On this 
ground an important feature in each volume of the series 
will be a precise and comprehensive statement, given as 
nearly as practicable in the language of the original 
writer, of the essential points in his theology. 

It is planned that the narratives shall be not mere 
eulogies, but critical biographies; and the defects of 
judgment or sins of omission or commission on the parts 
of the subjects will not be passed by or extenuated. On 
the other hand they will do full justice to the nobility of 
character and to the distinctive contribution to human 
progress made by each one of these great Protestant 
leaders of the Reformation period. The series will avoid 
the partisanship of writers like Merle d Aubigne", and, in 
the opposite direction, of the group of which Johannes 
Janssen may be taken as a type. 


I. MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546). The Hero of the Ref 
ormation. By HENRY EYSTER JACOBS, D.D., LL.D. 
With 73 Illustrations. 12 . . . . . $1.50 

" The initial volume of the Heroes of the Reformation Series is a worthy in 
auguration of what cannot but prove an interesting and instructive contribution 
to a most important epoch of history. . . . Professor Jacobs is an exception 
ally sympathetic and competent biographer. . . . The author has availed 
himself of all the latest sources of information, and done the needful work of 
selection and condensation with excellent judgment and skill." Christian 

II. PHILIP MELANCHTHON (1497-1560). The Prot 
estant Preceptor of Germany. By JAMES WILLIAM RICHARD, 
D.D. With 35 Illustrations. 12 . . . . $1.50 

" This work will be valued by the general reader who likes a well-told biog 
raphy, and by the historian who is looking for facts and not opinions about facts, 
and by the wise teacher of the young who desires his pupils to read that which 
will at once instruct and inspire them with respect for what is great and honor 
able. For these purposes, I believe no other work on Melanchtnon can compare 
with this one." Universalist Leader. 

III. DESIDERIUS ERASMUS (1467-1536). The Hu 
manist in the Service of the Reformation. By EPHRAIM 
EMERTON, PH.D. With 36 Illustrations. 12 . . $1.50 

" Professor Emerton has done a thorough and skilful piece of work. . . 
He has given his readers a graphic, spirited, well-balanced and trustworthy study, 
which contains all which most readers care to know, and in a manner which 
they will find acceptable. The book is a valuable addition to the series." 

IV. THEODORE BEZA (1549-1605). The Counsellor of 
the French Reformation. By HENRY MARTYN BAIRD, Ph.D. 
With 24 Illustrations. 12" . . . . . $1.50 

"No one could so well present the life of Beza in its true relations and in so 
pleasing and popular a style as the accomplished historian of the Huguenots. 
Dr. Baird has not only exceptional familiarity with the period, but fullest sym 
pathy with the hero, and accordingly has produced a book of special interest and 
value." Christian Intelligencer. 

V. HULDREICH ZWINGLI (1484-1531). The Reformer 
of German Switzerland. By SAMUEL MACAULEY JACKSON, 
LL.D. With 30 Illustrations, a Special Map, Battle Plan, and 
a Facsimile Letter. 12 ...... $2.00 

" It is notable as the first adequate life of Zwingli by an English-speaking 
author . . . portrays the man, the accomplished scholar, social reformer, ardent 
patriot, the theologian, so far in advance of his time as to stand alone in the faith 
that all infants would be saved. But Professor Jackson is no eulogist and 
exhibits the defects of Zwingli with unsparing hand, defects which appear due 
to his time and circumstances, and far less serious in our judgment than some 
which lie at the door of those whose fame has overshadowed his." The 

For list of volumes in preparation see separate circular 


Iberoes of tbe IRefonnation 






With 21 Illustrations. Crown Octavo. Net, $1.35. 
(By mail, $1.50?) 

"The life of the eminent martyr is here presented in what were 
its true relations. Mr. Pollard has fullest sympathy with his subject ; 
he indicates faults as well as virtues and presents a vital picture of 
the great prelate." Detroit Free Press, 





With 28 Illustrations and 2 Facsimile Letters. 
Crown Octavo. Net, $i 35. (Postage, 15 cents.} 

"John Knox, by universal acknowledgment, is the hero of the 
Scottish Reformation. In the final revolt of Scotland against 
Rome, as well as in the establishment, organization, and consoli 
dation of the Reformed Church, his influence was paramount and his 
service unique." 

Heroes of the Nations. 

A SERIES of biographical studies of the lives and 
work of a number of representative historical char 
acters about whom have gathered the great traditions 
of the Nations to which they belonged, and who have 
been accepted, in many instances, as types of the 
several National ideals. With the life of each 
typical character will be presented a picture of the 
National conditions surrounding him during his 

The narratives are the work of writers who are 
recognized authorities on their several subjects, and, 
while thoroughly trustworthy as history, will present 
picturesque and dramatic "stories" of the Men and 
of the events connected with them. 

To the Life of each " Hero" will be given one duo 
decimo volume, handsomely printed in large type, 
provided with maps and adequately illustrated ac 
cording to the special requirements of the several 

Nos. 1-32, each $1.50 

Half leather 1.75 

No. 33 and following Nos., each 

(by mail $1.50, net 1.35) 
Half leather (by mail, $1.75) net i.6c 

For full list of volumes see next page. 


NELSON. By W. Clark Russell. 

R. L. Fletcher 

PERICLES. By Evelyn Abbott. 

Thomas Hodgkin. 



By W. Warde 

WYCLIF. By Lewis Sergeant. 

NAPOLEON. By W. O Connor 


F. Willert. 

CICERO. By J. L. Strachan- 


By C. R. Beazley. 

By Alice Gardner. 

LOUIS XIV. By Arthur Hassall. 

CHARLES XII. By R. Nisbet 

ward Armstrong. 

JEANNE D ARC. By Mrs. Oli- 

Washington Irving. 

Herbert Maxwell. 

HANNIBAL. By W. O Connor 

Conant Church. 

By William 
By Henry 
By H. 

Alexander White. 

Butler Clarke. 

SALADIN. By Stanley 


Benjamin I. Wheeler. 


Charles Firth. 

RICHELIEU. By James B. Per- 

ert Dunlop. 

SAINT LOUIS (Louis IX. of 
France). By Frederick Perry 

Davis Green. 

G. Bradley. $1.35 net. 

HENRY V. By Charles L. Kings- 
ford. $1.35 net. 

EDWARD I. By Edward Jenks. 

$1.35 net. 


Firth. $1.35 net. 


W. F. Reddaway. 


J. B. Firth. 

Other volumes in preparation are : 

MOLTKE. By Spencer Wilkinson. 


SOBIESKI. By F. A. Pollard. 

By Frederick Perry. 




By T. A. Archer. 

Ruth Putnam. 

Ruth Putnam. 

GREGORY VII. By F. Urquhart. 
MAHOMET. By D. S. Margoliouth. 


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The Hero of the 



June 19, 1981