John Knox and the Reformation eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about John Knox and the Reformation.

CHAPTER X:  KNOX AND THE SCOTTISH REVOLUTION, 1559

Knox had learned from letters out of Scotland that Protestants there now ran no risks; that “without a shadow of fear they might hear prayers in the vernacular, and receive the sacraments in the right way, the impure ceremonies of Antichrist being set aside.”  The image of St. Giles had been broken by a mob, and thrown into a sewer; “the impure crowd of priests and monks” had fled, throwing away the shafts of the crosses they bore, and “hiding the golden heads in their robes.”  Now the Regent thinks of reforming religion, on a given day, at a convention of the whole realm.  So William Cole wrote to Bishop Bale, then at Basle, without date.  The riot was of the beginning of September 1558, and is humorously described by Knox. {107}

This news, though regarded as “very certain,” was quite erroneous except as to the riot.  One may guess that it was given to Knox in letters from the nobles, penned in October 1558, which he received in November 1558; there was also a letter to Calvin from the nobles, asking for Knox’s presence.  It seemed that a visit to Scotland was perfectly safe; Knox left Geneva in January, he arrived in Dieppe in February, where he learned that Elizabeth would not allow him to travel through England.  He had much that was private to say to Cecil, and was already desirous of procuring English aid to Scottish reformers.  The tidings of the Queen’s refusal to admit him to England came through Cecil, and Knox told him that he was “worthy of Hell” (for conformity with Mary Tudor); and that Turks actually granted such safe conducts as were now refused to him. {108a} Perhaps he exaggerated the amenity of the Turks.  His “First Blast,” if acted on, disturbed the succession in England, and might beget new wars, a matter which did not trouble the prophet.  He also asked leave to visit his flock at Berwick.  This too was refused.

Doubtless Knox, with his unparalleled activity, employed the period of delay in preaching the Word at Dieppe.  After his arrival in Scotland, he wrote to his Dieppe congregation, upbraiding them for their Laodicean laxity in permitting idolatry to co-exist with true religion in their town.  Why did they not drive out the idolatrous worship?  These epistles were intercepted by the Governor of Dieppe, and their contents appear to have escaped the notice of the Reformer’s biographers.  A revolt followed in Dieppe. {108b} Meanwhile Knox’s doings at Dieppe had greatly exasperated Francois Morel, the chief pastor of the Genevan congregation in Paris, and president of the first Protestant Synod held in that town.  The affairs of the French Protestants were in a most precarious condition; persecution broke into fury early in June 1559.  A week earlier, Morel wrote to Calvin, “Knox was for some time in Dieppe, waiting on a wind for Scotland.”  “He dared publicly to profess the worst and most infamous of doctrines: 

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