John Knox and the Reformation eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about John Knox and the Reformation.

Being in England, Knox, of course, did not witness the events associated with the Catholic baptism of the baby prince (James VI.); the murder of Darnley, in February 1567; the abduction of Mary by Bothwell, and her disgraceful marriage to her husband’s murderer, in May 1567.  If Knox excommunicated the Queen, it was probably about this date.  Long afterwards, on April 25, 1584, Mary was discussing the various churches with Waad, an envoy of Cecil.  Waad said that the Pope stirred up peoples not to obey their sovereigns.  “Yet,” said the Queen, “a Pope shall excommunicate you, but I was excommunicated by a pore minister, Knokes.  In fayth I feare nothinge else but that they will use my sonne as they have done the mother.” {254b}


The Royal quarry, so long in the toils of Fate, was dragged down at last, and the doom forespoken by the prophet was fulfilled.  A multitude had their opportunity with this fair Athaliah; and Mary had ridden from Carberry Hill, a draggled prisoner, into her own town, among the yells of “burn the harlot.”  But one out of all her friends was faithful to her.  Mary Seton, to her immortal honour, rode close by the side of her fallen mistress and friend.

For six years insulted and thwarted; her smiles and her tears alike wasted on greedy, faithless courtiers and iron fanatics; perplexed and driven desperate by the wiles of Cecil and Elizabeth; in bodily pain and constant sorrow—­the sorrow wrought by the miscreant whom she had married; without one honest friend; Mary had wildly turned to the man who, it is to be supposed, she thought could protect her, and her passion had dragged her into unplumbed deeps of crime and shame.

The fall of Mary, the triumph of Protestantism, appear to have, in some degree, rather diminished the prominence of Knox.  He would never make Mary weep again.  He had lost the protagonist against whom, for a while, he had stood almost alone, and soon we find him complaining of neglect.  He appeared at the General Assembly of June 25, 1567—­a scanty gathering.  George Buchanan, a layman, was Moderator:  the Assembly was adjourned to July 21, and the brethren met in arms; wherefore Argyll, who had signed the band for Darnley’s murder, declined to come. {256a} The few nobles, the barons, and others present, vowed to punish the murder of Darnley and to defend the child prince; and it was decided that henceforth all Scottish princes should swear to “set forward the true religion of Jesus Christ, as at present professed and established in this realm”—­as they are bound to do—­“by Deuteronomy and the second chapter of the Book of Kings,” which, in fact, do not speak of establishing Calvinism.

Among those who sign are Morton, who had guilty foreknowledge of the murder; while his kinsman, Archibald Douglas, was present at the doing; Sir James Balfour, who was equally involved; Lethington, who signed the murder covenant; and Douglas of Whittingham, and Ker of Faldonside, two of Riccio’s assassins.  Most of the nobles stood aloof.

Project Gutenberg
John Knox and the Reformation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook