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.
my common consuetude when anything pierces or touches my heart.  Call to your mind what I did standing at the cupboard at Alnwick; in very deed I thought that no creature had been tempted as I was”—­not by the charms of Mrs. Bowes, of course:  he found that Satan troubled the lady with “the very same words that he troubles me with.”  Mrs. Bowes, in truth, with premature scepticism, was tempted to think that “the Scriptures of God are but a tale, and no credit to be given to them.”  The Devil, she is reminded by Knox, has induced “some philosophers to affirm that the world never had a beginning,” which he refutes by showing that God predicted the pains of childbearing; and Mrs. Bowes, as the mother of twelve, knows how true this is.

The circular argument may or may not have satisfied Mrs. Bowes. {43}

The young object of Knox’s passion, Marjorie Bowes, is only alluded to as “she whom God hath offered unto me, and commanded me to love as my own flesh,”—­after her, Mrs. Bowes is the dearest of mankind to Knox.  No mortal was ever more long-suffering with a spiritual hypochondriac, who avers that “the sins that reigned in Sodom and Gomore reign in me, and I have small power or none to resist!” Knox replies, with common sense, that Mrs. Bowes is obviously ignorant of the nature of these offences.

Writing to his betrothed he says nothing personal:  merely reiterates his lessons of comfort to her mother.  Meanwhile the lovers were parted, Knox going abroad; and it is to be confessed that he was not eager to come back.


No change of circumstances could be much more bitter than that which exile brought to Knox.  He had been a decently endowed official of State, engaged in bringing a reluctant country into the ecclesiastical fold which the State, for the hour, happened to prefer.  His task had been grateful, and his congregations, at least at Berwick and Newcastle, had, as a rule, been heartily with him.  Wherever he preached, affectionate women had welcomed him and hung upon his words.  The King and his ministers had hearkened unto him—­young Edward with approval, Northumberland with such emotions as we may imagine—­while the Primate of England had challenged him to a competitive ordeal by fire, and had been defeated, apparently without recourse to the fire-test.

But now all was changed; Knox was a lonely rover in a strange land, supported probably by collections made among his English friends, and by the hospitality of the learned.  In his wanderings his heart burned within him many a time, and he abruptly departed from his theory of passive resistance.  Now he eagerly desired to obtain, from Protestant doctors and pontiffs, support for the utterly opposite doctrine of armed resistance.  Such support he did not get, or not in a satisfactory measure, so he commenced prophet on his own lines, and on his own responsibility.

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John Knox and the Reformation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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