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.
a substitute who could.  Plain expositions of the sacraments were made out, were to be read aloud to the congregations, and were published at twopence ("The Twopenny Faith").  Administration of the Eucharist except by priests was to be punished by excommunication. {98a} Knox himself desired death for others than true ministers who celebrated the sacrament. {98b} His “true ministers,” about half-a-dozen of them at this time, of course came under the penalty of the last statute.

He says, with the usual error, that after peace was made between France and England, on April 2, 1559 (the treaty of Cateau Cambresis), the Regent “began to spew forth and disclose the latent venom of her double heart.”  She looked “frowardly” on Protestants, “commanded her household to use all abominations at Easter,” she herself communicated, “and it is supposed that after that day the devil took more violent and strong possession in her than he had before . . .  For incontinent she caused our preachers to be summoned.”

But why did she summon the same set of preachers as before, for no old offence?  The Regent, says the “Historie,” made proclamation, during the Council (as the moderate Reformers had asked her to do), “that no manner of person should . . . preach or minister the sacraments, except they were admitted by the Ordinary or a Bishop on no less pain than death.”  The Council, in fact, made excommunication the penalty.  Now it was for ministering the sacrament after the proclamation of March 13, for preaching heresy, and stirring up “seditions and tumults,” that Methuen, Brother John Christison, William Harlaw, and John Willock were summoned to appear at Stirling on May 10, 1559. {99a}

How could any governor of Scotland abstain from summoning them in the circumstances?  There seems to be no new suggestion of the devil, no outbreak of Guisian fury.  The Regent was in a situation whence there was no “outgait”:  she must submit to the seditions and tumults threatened in the Protestation of the brethren, the disturbances of services, the probable wrecking of churches, or she must use the powers legally entrusted to her.  She gave insolent answers to remonstrances from the brethren, says Knox.  She would banish the preachers (not execute them), “albeit they preached as truly as ever did St. Paul.”  Being threatened, as before, with the consequent “inconvenients,” she said “she would advise.”  However, summon the preachers she did, for breach of her proclamations, “tumults and seditions.” {99b}

Knox himself was present at the Revolution which ensued, but we must now return to his own doings in the autumn and winter of 1558-59. {100}


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