Historical Children's Literature Collection

The life and meritorious transactions, of John Knox, the Great Scottish Reformer [between 1840 and 1857?]

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iilFE OF
At the Reformation one half of the lands of Scotland were the property of the church, David I.
had made over almost the whole of those belonging
to the crown, and his example was imitated, not
only by many of his successors, hut by all orders
of men, with whom the founding a monastery, or
endowing a church, was thought to be a sufficient
atonement for the breach of every command in
the decalogue.
Besides the influence derived from the nature
and extent of their property, generally let on lease,
on easy terms, to the younger sons and dependants
of great families, the weight the clergy had in Parliament was very considerable. The number of temporal barons being extremely limited, and the lesser
barons and representatives of boroughs looking upon
it as a hardship to attend, combined with the mode
of choosing the Lords of the Articles. Its proceedings in a great measure were left under their direction and control.
The Lords of the Articles were a Committee
♦vhose business it was to prepare and digest all matters that were to be laid before Parliament. Every
motion for a new law was made in this committee,
and approved or rejected by the members of it;
what they approved was formed into a bill, and
presented to Parliament, what they rejected could
not he introduced into the house.    This commute*
owed the extraordinary powers vested initio the
military genius of the ancient nobles, and in this
way not only directed all the proceedings of Parliament, but possessed a negative before debate. It
consisted of eight temporal and eight spiritual lords,
of eight representatives of boroughs, and of eight
great officers of the crown, and when its composition is considered, it will easily be seen how much
influence it would add to the already too great power
of the clergy.
Their character also was held sacred ; neither
were they subject to the same laws, nor tried by
the same judges as the laity, a remarkable instance
of which occurred on the trial of the murderers of
Cardinal Beaton, one of whom was a priest. He
was claimed by a delegate from the clerical courts,
and exempted from the judgement of Parliament
on that account.
By their reputation for learning, they almost
wholly engrossed the high offices of emolument and
trust in the civil government; but even this was
not for acting in their capacity of confessors, they
made use of all these motives which operate so
powerfully on the human mind, to promote the in*
terest of the church, so that few were allowed to
leave the world without bestowing on her some
marks of their liberality, and where credulity failed
to produce this effect, they called in the aid of law.
(When a person died intestate, by the 22d Statute
of William the Lion, the disposal of his effects was
vested in the bishop of the diocese, after paying his
funeral charges and debts, and distributing among
his kindred the sums to which they were respectively entitled* it being presumed that no Chfitti&tfc
^ould have chosen to leave the world without destining some of his substance to pious purposes.)
Their courts bad likewise the cognisance of all testamentary deeds and matrimonial contracts,
to these engines of power, and often in their hfiflds
of oppression, they super-added the sentence of ex-
communication, which besides depriving the ui>
happy victim on whom it fell of all Christian pri-
rileges, cut him off from every right as a man or
citizen. To these, and other causes of a similar
nature, may be ascribed the power of the Popish
church; and to these, also, combined with the celibacy to which by the rule of their church they were
restricted, may be attributed the dissolute and licentious lives of the clergy, which in the end destroyed that reputation for sanctity, the people hat/
been accustomed to attach to their character.
According to the accounts of the reformers, confirmed by several popish writers, the manners of the
Scottish clergy were indecent in the extreme. Cardinal Beaton celebrated the marriage of his eldest
daughter with the son of the Earl of Crawford,
with an almost regal magnificence, and maintained
a criminal correspondence with her mother to the
end of his days. The other prelates were not more
exemplary than their primate, and the contrast he*
tween their lives, and those of the reformers, failed
not to make a considerable impression on the minds
of the people. Instead of disguising their vices thf
Popish clergy affected to despise censure; instead
ef endeavouring to colour over the absurdity of iht*
established doctrines, or found them on Scripture?
they left them to the authority of the church an J
decrees of the councils; the only apology they bat &
 ever been able, even to the present day, to offer for
f he monstrous absurdity of their system. The du-
ty of preaching was left to the lowest and most illiterate of the monks.
The following anecdote will give a lively idea oi
their mode of preaching:—M The prior of the
Black Friars at Newcastle, in a sermon at St Andrews, asserted that the Paternoster should be said
to God only, and not the saints. This doctrine not
meeting the approbation of the learned of that city,
they appointed a Gray Friar to refute it, who choose
for his text, *' Blessed are the poor in spirit /' which
he illustrated in this manner. Seeing we say,
good day, father, to any old man in the street, we
may call a saint pater, who is older than any alive ;
and seeing they are in heaven, we may say to any
of them, " Oar father who art in heaven ;" seeing
they are holy, we may say," hallowed he thy name;"
and, since they are in the kingdom of heaven, may
add, " thy kingdom come;" and as their will is
God's will, " thy will be done ;" hut when he come
to " give us this day our daily bread,*' he was much
at a loss confessing it was not in the power of the
saints to give us our daily bread; 4C yet they may
pray to God f»r us,'' he said, U that he may give
us our daily bread.'' The rest of his commentary
being not more satisfactory, set his audience a
laughing and the children on the streets calling after him, Friar Paternoster, he was so much ashamed
that he left the city.
The only device by which they attempted to
bring back the people to their allegiance wTas equally unfortunate and imprudent; they had recourse
to false miracles,  which the vigilance of the refur-
xners detected and exposed to ridicule.    The b*s*e»
(aced impositions that were practised by the monks
on the credulous, are almost inconceivable.--Among
other customs of those times, it was common  for
them to travel to Rome and come home laden with
relics, blessed by his holiness, dispensations for sin,
by which they wheedled the credulous out of theii
money.     One of these, on a holiday, endeavouring
to vend  his wares to the country people, among
other things shewed them a bell with a rent in it,
possessing the virtue of discovering the truth oi
fallacy of an oath ; for, as he pretended, if any one
swore truly, with his hand on the bell, he could
easily remove it, without any change;  hut if the
oath was false, his hand  would stick to it, and the
bell rent asunder.     A farmer, rather more shrewd
than the rest of his auditors,  suspecting the truth
of this assertion, asked liberty to take an oafh in
the presence of those  assembled,  about an   affair
which nearly concerned him.     The monk could not
refuse; and the farmer addressing the crowd, t-aid,
*k Friends, before I swear, yon see the rent, how
large it is, and that 1 have nothing on my finger?
to make them stick to the hell."    Then laying his
hand on it, he took this oath.—" I swear, in  the
presence of the living God, and before these good
people, that the pope of Rome is  Antichrist, and
that all the rabble of his clergy, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, monks,  with all the re&t of
the crew, are locust, come from hell, to delude the
t people, and to withdraw them from God; moreover,
I promise they will all return to hell;" and lifting
his hand he added. " See, friends, I have lift
ed   my hand   freely from the hell, and the rent
h ao larger, this sheweth that I have sworn the
The cause of reformed religion, was powerfully
supported by the ambition of the Queen-dowager.
(Mary of Guise) After the death of James V. her
husband, the Earl of Arran, was appointed Regent ri the kingdom during the minority of her
daughter ; and from that situation she wished to exclude him, that she might enjoy the first honours
of the state alone, and promote the designs of her
brothers upon Scotland. For this purpose she applied to the favourers of the Reformation, as being
the most numerous of the Regent's enemies, and
forming a respectable body in the state; and although her promises of protection were insincere,'
they, in a very considerable degree, abated the fury
of persecution.
John Knox, who contributed so much, both by
precept and example, to work out the Reformation
from Popery; was the descendant of an ancient
family, and born at Giftbrd, near Haddington, in
1505. On finishing his education at the grammar
school, he was removed to St. Andrew's, to complete his studies under the celebrated John Mair,
by whose instructions he made such progress that
he received orders before the time prescribed by the
rules of the church. After this, he quitted scholastic learning, so much in reputation at that period,
and applied himself with diligence to the reading
of the fathers of the church, particularly St Angus-
tine, from which, attending the preaching of one
Thomas Euillam, a Black Friar, and the conversation of Mr George Wishart, a celebrated reformer,
who came from England in 1545 with the commie*
sioners sent by Henry VIIL to conclude a treaty
with the Earl of Arran, after the death of James
V. he attained a more than ordinary degree of scriptural knowledge, and entirely renounced the Roman
Catholic religion.
. On leaving St Andrew's, Mr Knox acted as tutor to the sons of Douglas of Longniddry, and
Cockburn of Ormiston, whom, besides the different
branches of common education, he carefully instruo
ted in the principles of the reformed religion, having
composed a catechism for their use, besides reading
lectures to them on various portions of the scriptures.
In this practice he continued till Easter 1547,
when werried out by the repeated persecutions ol
Cardinal Beaton, he left Longniddry for St. Andrew's, resolved to visit Germany, the state of England proving unfavourable to his views. Against
taking this step, however, he was persuaded by the
gentlemen whose children he had the charge, to remain in St. Andrews, the castle of that place being
in the hands of the reformers.
Here he continued to teach his pupils in the usual manner, but his lectures were now attended by
a number of people belonging to the town, who
earnestly intreated him to preach in public. This
task he at first declined, but afterwards accepted a
call from the pulpit, and in his very first sermon
discovered such zeal, learning, and intrepidity, as
evinced the prudence of their choice, and how eminently qualified he was for the discharge of those
duties. This success caused such alarm among the
Popish clergy, that a letter was sent to the sub-
prior by the abbot of Paisley, natural brother of the
Regent, who had been nominated to the archbish*
 10 I
oprio reproving him for his negligence, in allowing
such doctrines to be taught without opposition. A
meeting of the clergy was held in consequence, and
every scheme they could devise put in practice to
hurt Mr Knox's usefulness; hut, in a public disputation, he replied to all their arguments with so
much acuteness as completely to silence them, and
gained many proselytes, who-made profession of their
faith by partaking of the communion openly, which
he was the first to administer in the manner practised
at present.
This success was not of long duration, for a body
of French troops was sent to besiege the castle, and
it was compelled to surrender on the 23d July,
when he, along with the garrison, was sent prisoner to France, and confined in the gallies till the
year 1549. On obtaining his liberty he retired to
England, where he preached sometime at Berwick,
afterwards at Newcastle and London, and was at
last chosen one of the itinerants appointed by Edward VI. to preach the Protestant doctrine through
England. Upon the death of that prince, on the
6th July, 1553, he went to Geneva, where here-
sided when he was chosen by the English church
at Frankfort, on the 24th September, 1554, to
be their pastor, a situation he accepted by the advice of the celebrated John Calvin, but which he
did not long enjoy, for having opposed the introduction of the English liturgy, and refused to celebrate the communion according to the forms prescribed by it, he was deprived of his office § and,
such was the malice of his enemies, that, taking
advantage of a passage in his " Admonition to
England," wherein he compares the Emperor to
Nero, end the Queen of England to Je&ebal, they
accused him to the magistrates of treason. These
gentlemen perceiving the spirit by which his accusers were actuated, found means to apprise him
of his danger; and on the 26th march, 1555, he
left Frankfort for Geneva, from whence he proceeded
to Dieppe, and shortly afterwards to Scotland, where
he arrived in the month of August.
On his arrival he found the reformers much increased in number, and after assisting them to rectify some errors which had crept into their practice,
accompanied John Erskine of Dun to his seat in
the Mearns, where he continued a month, preaching
to the principle people in that country. He afterwards resided at Calder-house, the residence of Sir
James Sandilands, where he was attended by a
number, of personages of the first rank; and, a-
rnong others, by the prior of St Andrew's afterwards earl of Moray, During the winter he visited Edinburgh ; preached in many places of Ayrshire; and in the beginning of 1556, at the request of the earl of Glencairn, administered the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper to his lordship's
family, and a number of friends, at his seat of Fin-
In this way did Mr Knox continue preaching,
sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another,
when his success excited so much attention that the
Popish clergy summoned him to appear before them,
on the 15th of May, in the church of the Black
Friars in Edinburgh. He did appear, but attended by such a number of followers that the clergy
deemed it prudent to desist from their intended
prosecution; and that same day he addressed a
much greater audience than ever he had done on
any prior occasion, and continued to do so for ten
Tiie earl of Glencairn, one of his firmest friends,
prevailed on the earl Marshal, and Mr Henry
Driimmond, to attend one of Mr Knox's sermons,
they were so highly gratified with it that they persuaded him to address a letter to the Queen, in the
hope she also mighube induced to hear the doctrine
rrf* the reformers. In this letter, contending for
the truth of what he taught, he says, " Albeit,
Madam, that the messengers of God are not sent
this day with visible miracles,, because they teach
no other doctrine than that which is confirmed with
miracles from the beginning of the world, yet will
not he (who hath promised to take charge over his
poor and little flock to the end) suffer the contempt
of their ambassage to escape punishment and vengeance, for the truth itself hath said, * he that hear*
eth you heareth one, and he that contemneth you
eontemneth one.' I do not speak unto you, Madam, as Pasquillus doth to the Pope and his carnal
cardinals, in the behalf of such as dare not uttef
their names, but I come in the name of Christ Jesus ; affirming, that the religion ye maintain is
damnable idolatry, which I offer myself to prove,
fly the most evident testimony of God's Scriptures ;
and in this quarrel I present myself against all the
Papists in the realm, desiring no other armour but
God's holy word, and the liberty of my tongue/
It was delivered to the Queen by the earl of Glen-
aalrn, and by her to the bishop of Glasgow7, (nephew of Cardinal Beaton) with this observation,
*V Please jou, my lord,  to read a pasquil/' which
fomhig to the ears of Mr Knox, was the occasion
\f his making a number of additions when the letter was printed afterwards at Geneva.
At this time he received letters from the English church at Geneva, which had separated from
the one at Frankfort, commanding him, " in Gods
name, as he was their chosen pastor, to repair to
them for their comfort."    Having preached in almost every congregation he had formerly visited*
and sent his wife and mother-in law before him to
Dieppe, he sailed from Scotland in the month of
July for Geneva.     No sooner had he left the kingdom than the bishops summoned him to answer a
charge of heresy;   and,   on   his   non-appearance,
burnt him in effigy at the cross of Edinburgh.     A-
gainst  this sentence,  in   1558, he published his
"   Appellation," addressed to the " Nobility and
Estates of Scotland."    In this composition, which
has been much admired, after appealing " to a lawful and general council," and requiring of them that
defence which, as princes of the people, they were
bound to give him, he adds, €i these things 1 require I of your honours to be granted unto me,
viz. that the doctrine which our adversaries condemn for heresy may be tried by the plain and simple word of God ;  that the just defences be admitted to us that sustain the battle against this pestilent battle  of  Antichrist;   and that they be removed from judgment in our cause, seeing thatoni
accusation is not intended against any one particular person, but against that whole kingdom which
we doubt not to prove to be a power usurped against
God, against his commandments,  and against the
ordinance of Christ Jesus, established in his church
 I 14
by his chief apostles; yea, we doubt not to prove
the kingdom of the Pope to be the kingdom and
power of Antichrist, and therefore, my lords, I cannot cease, in the name of Christ Jesus, to require
of you that the matter may come to examination,
and that ye, the estates of the realm, by your authority, compel such as will be called bishops, not
only to desist from their cruel murdering of such as do
study to promote God's glory, in detecting and disclosing the damnable impiety of that man of sin the
Roman Antichrist; but, also, that ye compel them
to answer to such crimes as shall be laid to their
charge, for not righteously instructing the flock
committed to their care.
In March, 1557, sensible of his importance, a
letter, subscribed Glencairn, Erskine, Lorn, and
James Stuart, was transmitted to Mr Knox at
Geneva, entreating him to return home. Having
communicated its contents to his congregation, for
which he provided another minister, and taking the
advice of John Calvin, and other ministers, he set
out for Scotland.
Addressing himself to the lords who had invited
his return, Mr Knox expostulates with them on
their rash conduct, as having a tendency to cause
both them and him to be evil spoken of.—** For
either," said he, " it shall appear that I was marvellous vain, being so solicited, where no necessity
required, or else that such as were my movers thereto lacked the ripeness of judgment in their first vocation." Along with this letter he sent one to the
whole nobility, and others to particular gentlemen,
advising them in what manner they ought to proceed.    On their receipt a new consultation was held,
and a bond subscribed at Edinburgh on the 13th
December, 1557, whereby they agreed to " forsake and renounce the congregation of Satan, with
all the superstitious abominations and idolatry thereof." From this period those subscribing, and their
adherents, were known by the title of the Congregation. Previous to this agreement, however, a
number of letters were sent off to Mr Knox, and
to John Calvin, that he might use his influence in
persuading him to return.
This year (1558,) the Queen Regent, through
the concurrence of the Protestant party in Parliament, obtained an act to be passed, conferring the
matrimonial crown  on the Dauphin,  the nusband
of her daughter, the unfortunate Mary.    They had
been induced to forward her views in this favourite
scheme, that  they  might  obtain  from her an exemption from that tyranny with  which the ancient
laws armed the ecclesiastics against them, and enjoy the free exercise of their religion.     No sooner,
however, had she obtained  the gratification of her
wishes, than the accomplishment of a newr scheme,
the placing her daughter on  the throne of England, and to which she had been prompted by the
ambition of her brothers,  the princes of the house
of Lorraine,   at that time in the plenitude of their
power at the Court of France,  rendered  an union
with the Catholics necessary.    It was vain to expect the assistance of the Scots Protestants to dethrone Elizabeth,   whom all  Europe considered as
the most powerful defender of the Reformed faith.
She therefore began to treat them with coldness and
contempt,  and not only approved the decrees  of a
coruscation of the Popish clergy, in which the prin-
eiples of the Reformation were condemned, hut at
the same time issued a proclamation enjoining the
observance of Easter according to the ritual of the
Romish church.
Alarmed at these proceedings, and still more at
an order summoning ail the Reformed clergy in the
kingdom, to attend a court of justice at Stirling, on
the 10th May,   1559, the earl of Glencairn, and
Hugh Campbell of Louden, were deputed to wait
on her and intercede in their behalf*     On urging
their peaceable demeanour, and the purity of their
doctrine, she said, " In despite of you, and your
ministers both, they shall be banished out of Scotland, albeit they preached as true as ever did St.
Paul."     And on pleading her former promises of
protection, she replied, " The promises of princes
ought not to be too carefully remembered, nor the
performance of them exacted unless it suits their
Perth, in the meantime, having embraced the
Reformed religion, added to the rage which agitated the   Queen against the Protestants, and she
commanded the provost (Patrick Ruthven,) to suppress all their assemblies.     The answer of this gentleman deserves to be recorded for its manly freedom.     " I have power over their bodies and estates," said he, " and these I will take care shall
do no hurt;  but have no dominion over their consciences."    The day of trial now approached, and
the town of Dundee, and the gentlemen of Angus
and Mearns, in cornformity of an old custom which
prevailed in Scotland,  resolved to accompany their
pastors to the place of trial.     Intimidated by their
sMi^ibers, though unarmed, she prevailed on Jolm
Erskirae of Dun, a person of great influence among
them, to stop them from advancing nearer to Stirling, while she, on her part, promised to take no
further steps towards the intended trial. This proposition was listened to with pleasure, the preachers
and some of the leaders remained at Perth, and
the multitude quietly dispersed U: thejfc respective
Notwithstanding this promise, on the 10th May,
the queen proceeded to the trial of the persons summoned ;  and, on their failing to appear, sentence
of outlawry was pronounced upon them.     This upen
and avowed breach of faith added greatly to the
public irritation, and the Protestants boldly prepared for their defence.     Mr Erskine having joined
his associates at Perth, his representation of the
j   Queen's irreconcilable hatred so inflamed the peo-
le. that scarcely the authority of the magistrates,
r the exhortations of their preachers, could prevent
them from proceeding to acts of violence.
At this juncture, Mr Knox landed in  Scotland
from France, and, after residing two days in Edinburgh, joined his brethren in Perth, that he might
aid them in their cause, and give his confession a-
\ong with theirs.     On the 11th, the day after the
sentence of outlawry was pronounced, he made a
rehement discourse against idolatry, and while the
minds of the people were yet in a state of agitation,
from the impression made upon them by his ser-
jnon,   a priest prepared to celebrate  mass,  which
made a youth observe, ** This is intolerable, that
when  God in his word hath plainly   condemned
idolatry we shall stand and see it used in despite."
The irritated priest struck him a blow on the ear*
 and the youth in  revenge threw a stone at him,
which broke an image of one of the saints.     This
was the   signal of tumult,  and ere two days had
elapsed, all the churches and convents about Perth
w7ere destroyed.     Such w?as the anger of the Queen
on receiving this intelligence, that she avowed to
reduce Perth to ashes, and ordered M.   D'Ossal,
the commander of a corps of French auxiliaries, at
that time in  the service of Scotland, instantly to
march, and carry her threats into execution.     Both
parties, however, were desirous of accommodation,
and a treaty was concluded, in which it was stipulated that the two armies should be disbanded, the
gates of Perth set open to the queen, but that none
of her French soldiers should approach within three
miles of that city, and that a Parliament should
be immediately held to settle the remaining differences.
' No sooner were the Protestant forces disbanded,
than the Queen violated every article of the treaty.
In consequence of which  the earl of Argyle, and
the prior of St Andrew's, who had been her commissioners for settling the peace,  with some other
gentlemen,  openly left her.     Having warned the
confederates of her intention to destroy St Andrew's
and Cupar, a considerable army was soon assembled,
which assaulted  Crail, broke down the altars and
images, and proceeded thence to St Andrew's, where
they levelled the Franciscan and Dominician monasteries to the ground.     The  Queen immediately
gave orders to occupy Cupar, with the intention of
attacking them at St Andrew's, but in this she was
anticipated, an army equal to her own having occupied the place two days before.    Finding herself
too weak to encounter them in the field, she had
again recourse to negotiation ; but mindful of hw
former duplicity, the Protestants would only agree
to a truce for eight days, by which the Duke of
Chatelherault and D'Ossal became bound to transport all the French soldiers to the other side of the
Frith, and send commissioners to St Andrew's with
full powers to conclude a formal treaty of peace.
Several days elapsed without any person appearing on the part of the queen, and suspecting some
new plan to entrap them, the Protestants, after
concerting measures to expel the French garrison
from Perth, wrrote to her Majesty, complaining that
j     the terms of the first treaty were still unfulfilled,
and begging her to withdraw her troops from that
city in conformity with its stipulations.   Their let-
1      ters remaining unnoticed, they laid siege to Perth,
which surrendered, after a feeble resistance, on the
26th June, 1559.
Being informed that the Queen resolved to seize
Stirling, and cut off the communication between the
reformers on the opposite sides of the Frith, by a
rapid march they frustrated her plans, and in three
days, after they had made themselves masters of
Perth, the victorious reformers entered Edinburgh.
The Queen on their approach retired to Dunbar,—
where she amused them with hopes of an accommodation, in the expectation of being joined with reinforcements   from   France.      Intelligence,   in   the
meantime, was received of the death of the French
king, which, while it was favourable to the cause of
the reformers, rendered their leaders more negligent
, and secure.     Numbers of them left the city on their
private affairs, their followers were obliged to dis*
perse for want of money, and those who did remain
were without discipline or restraint.     The Queen
receiving advice of this, by means of her spies, marched with all the forces she could muster directly to
Edinburgh, and possessed herself, on the 25th of
July, of Leith.     She consented,   however,   to a
truce, to continue till the  5th January, 1560, by
which  liberty of conscience w7as secured; Popery
was not to be established again where it had been
suppressed, the reformers were not to be hindered
from preaching wherever they might happen to be,
and no garrison was to be stationed within the city.
These terms wrere preserved till she received the
expected reinforcements, when she fortified Leith,
from which all the efforts of the reformers were unable to dislodge her troops.     A mutiny also break,
ing out among their soldiers for want of pay, and
having been defeated in two skirmishes with the
French troops, it was resolved, by a majority of the
lords of the congregation, to retire to Stirling.   This
rash step was productive of great terror and confusion, and contrary to the advice of Knox ; who, notwithstanding, followed the fortunes of his friends,
animating and reriving them by his discourses, and
exhorting them to constancy in the good cause.
At a meeting held shortly after their arrival af
Stirling, it was resolved, to despatch William Mait«
land, who had lately deserted the Queen's party ta
England, to implore the assistance of Queen Elizabeth, and a treaty was at last concluded, by which
a body of troops was sent to their assistance. These
being joined by most of the Scottish nobility, a peace
was established on the 8th July,   1560, by which
the reformed religion was fully established in Scotland.
On the abolition of Popery, the form of church
goverment establishment in Scotland was, upon the
model of the church at Geneva, warmly recommended to his countrymen  by Knox,  as being  farthest
removed from all similarity to the Romish church ;
and at his suggestion, likewise,  the country was
divided into twTelve districts, for the more effectually propagating the doctrines of the Reformation, of
which Edinburgh was assigned to his care.     Knox,
assisted by his brethren afterwards composed a confession of Faith, and compiled the  first books of
discipline for the government of the church.     These
were ratified by a convention of Estates, held in the
beginning of the following year (1571), and an act
passed prohibiting mass and abolishing the authority of the Pope.
On the return of Mary, daughter of Mary of
Guise, from France, and so well known afterwards
throughtout all Europe for her beauty, her accomplishments, and her misfortunes, after the death of
her husband Francis II. the celebration of mass in
the chapel royal excited a great tumult, many crying out, " The idolatrous papist shall die the death,
according to   God's law;" and John  Knox, in a
sermon preached the Sunday following after showing the judgments inflicted on nations for idolatry,
added, " one mass is more fearful to me than if ten
thousand armed enemies were landed in any part
of the realm, of purpose to suppress the whole religion."    In consequence of this language he was
sent for by the queen, who accused him of endeavouring to excite her subjects to rebellion, of having
 written against her lawful authority, and of being
the cause of great sedition.     To this he answered,
among other things, " that if to teach the word of
God in sincerity, if to rebute idolatry, and to  will
a people to wrorship God according to his word, be
to raise subjects against their princes, then cannot
I he excused; for it hath pleased God in his mercy
to make me one amongst many to disclose unto this
realm the vanity of the papistical religion.-—And
touching that book, that seemeth so highly to offend
your majesty, it is most certain that if I wrote it I
am content that all the learned of the land should
judge of it.     My hope is, that, so long as ye defile
^ot your hands with the blood of the saints of God,
that neither I nor that book shall either hurt you
or your authority; for, in very deed, Madam, that
book was written most especially against that wicked  Mary of England.''     To a question by the
Queen, if subjects, having power, may resist their
princes ?     He boldly answered they might, " if
princes do  exceed their bounds."    The  following
part of the dialogue will give a good idea of the
character of Knox, and the freedom of his speech :
Speaking of the church, the Queen observed, " but
ye are  not the church of Rome, fur I think it is
the true church of God."    " Your will, Madam,"
said he, 'Ms no reason; neither doth your thought
make  that  Roman  harlot  to be  the immaculate
spouse of Jesus Christ.     And  wonder not,  Madam, that I call Rome an harlot, for  that church
is  altogether polluted  with  all  kinds of spiritual
fornication, as well in doctrine as in matters/'   He
had afterwards two other conferences with the<jueen,
at the last of which she burst into tears, crying
out, " Never prince was used as I am."
Knox's situation became very critical in April,
1571, when Kircaldy received the Hamiltons, with
their forces,   into the   castle.     Their   inveteracy
against him was  so great, that his friends were
obliged to watch his house during the night.    They
proposed forming a guard for the protection of his
person when he went abroad;  but the governor of
the castle forbade this,  as implying a  suspicion of
him, and offered to send Melvil, one of his officers,
to conduct him to and from church.     " He wold
gif the woulf the wedder to keip," says Bannatyne.
Induced by the importunity of the citizens, Kircaldy applied to the Duke and his party for a special
protection to Knox ; but they refused to  pledge
their word for his safety, because " there were many
rascals and others among thern who loved him not,
that might do him harm without their knowledge."
Intimations were often given him of threatenings
against his life; and one evening, a musket ball was
fired in at his window, and lodged in the roof of the
apartment in which he was sitting.    It happened
that he sat at the time in a different part of the
room from that in which he had been accustomed to
take his seat, otherwise the ball, from its direction,
must have struck him.     Alarmed by these circumstances, a deputation of the citizens, accompanied
by his colleague, waited upon him, and renewed a
request which they had formerly made,   that he
would remove from Edinburgh, to a place where his
life would be in greater safety, until the Queen's
party should evacuate the town.    But he refused
to yield to them* apf lending that his eneiiuf
 wished to intimidate him into flight, that they
might carry on their designs more quietly, and then
accuse him of cowardice. Being unable to persuade him by any other means, they at last had recourse to an argument which prevailed. Upon this
he consented, " sore against his will," to remove
from the city.
In May, 1571, at the desire of his friends, and
for greater security, he left that city for St Andrew's, where he remained until the August following. The cause that forced him to change his residence having ceased to operate, at the express desire of his congregation he again returned, but could
not long continue to preside over it, on account of
the exhausted state of his health ; and on the 9th
November, abmitted Mr James Lawson, formerly
professsor of philosophy at Aberdeen, to be his
From this time till the 24th of the same month,
when he expired, about eleven o'clock at night, in
the 67th year of his age; his principal employment
was reading the Scriptures and conversing with his
friends ; and over his remains, which were accompanied to the churchyard by the Earl of Morton,
the Regent, and a number of other noblemen, and
people of all ranks, his lordship pronounced the following eulogium: " Here lies a man, who in his
life never feared the face of man ; who hath been
often threatened with dag and dagger, but yet hath
ended his days in peace and honour."


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