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.

In the whole affair Knox acted the most open and manly part; in his “History” he declines to name the opponents who avenged themselves, in a manner so dubious, on his “Admonition.”  If they believed their own account of the mischief that it wrought in England, their denunciation of him to magistrates, who were not likely to do more than dismiss him, is the less inexcusable.  They did not try to betray him to a body like the Inquisition, as Calvin did in the case of Servetus.  But their conduct was most unworthy and unchivalrous. {58}


Meanwhile the Reformer returned to Geneva (April 1555), where Calvin was now supreme.  From Geneva, “the den of mine own ease, the rest of quiet study,” Knox was dragged, “maist contrarious to mine own judgement,” by a summons from Mrs. Bowes.  He did not like leaving his “den” to rejoin his betrothed; the lover was not so fervent as the evangelist was cautious.  Knox had at that time probably little correspondence with Scotland.  He knew that there was no refuge for him in England under Mary Tudor, “who nowise may abide the presence of God’s prophets.”

In Scotland, at this moment, the Government was in the hands of Mary of Guise, a sister of the Duke of Guise and of the Cardinal.  Mary was now aged forty; she was born in 1515, as Knox probably was.  She was a tall and stately woman; her face was thin and refined; Henry VIII., as being himself a large man, had sought her hand, which was given to his nephew, James V. On the death of that king, Mary, with Cardinal Beaton, kept Scotland true to the French alliance, and her daughter, the fair Queen of Scots, was at this moment a child in France, betrothed to the Dauphin.  As a Catholic, of the House of Lorraine, Mary could not but cleave to her faith and to the French alliance.  In 1554 she had managed to oust from the Regency the Earl of Arran, the head of the all but royal Hamiltons, now gratified with the French title of Duc de Chatelherault.  To crown her was as seemly a thing, says Knox, “if men had but eyes, as a saddle upon the back of ane unrewly kow.”  She practically deposed Huntly, the most treacherous of men, from the Chancellorship, substituting, with more or less reserve, a Frenchman, de Rubay; and d’Oysel, the commander of the French troops in Scotland, was her chief adviser.

[Picture of King James V and Mary of Guise:  knox2.jpg]

Writing after the death of Mary of Guise, Knox avers that she only waited her chance “to cut the throats of all those in whom she suspected the knowledge of God to be, within the realm of Scotland.” {60} As a matter of fact, the Regent later refused a French suggestion that she should peacefully call Protestants together, and then order a massacre after the manner of the Bartholomew:  itself still in the womb of the future.  “Mary of Guise,” says Knox’s biographer, Professor Hume Brown, “had the instincts of a good ruler—­the love of order and justice, and the desire to stand well with the people.”

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