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.

The version is wonderfully close to the original Latin.

Meanwhile, Francis was hardly cold before Arran wooed his idolatrous widow, Queen Mary, “with a gay gold ring.”  She did not respond favourably, and “the Earl bare it heavily in his heart, and more heavily than many would have wissed,” says Knox, with whom Arran was on very confidential terms.  Knox does not rebuke his passion for Jezebel.  He himself “was in no small heaviness by reason of the late death of his dear bedfellow, Marjorie Bowes,” of whom we know very little, except that she worked hard to lighten the labours of Knox’s vast correspondence.  He had, as he says, “great intelligence both with the churches and some of the Court of France,” and was the first to receive news of the perilous illness of the young King.  He carried the tidings to the Duke and Lord James, at the Hamilton house near Kirk o’ Field, but would not name his informant.  Then came the news of the King’s death from Lord Grey de Wilton, at Berwick, and a Convention of the Nobles was proclaimed for January 15, 1561, to “peruse newly over again” the Book of Discipline.


This Book of Discipline, containing the model of the Kirk, had been seen by Randolph in August 1560, and he observed that its framers would not come into ecclesiastical conformity with England.  They were “severe in that they profess, and loth to remit anything of that they have received.”  As the difference between the Genevan and Anglican models contributed so greatly to the Civil War under Charles I., the results may be regretted; Anglicans, by 1643, were looked on as “Baal worshippers” by the precise Scots.

In February 1561, Randolph still thought that the Book of Discipline was rather in advance of what fallen human nature could endure.  Idolatry, of course, was to be removed universally; thus the Queen, when she arrived, was constantly insulted about her religion.  The Lawful Calling of Ministers was explained; we have already seen that a lawful minister is a preacher who can get a local set of men to recognise him as such.  Knox, however, before his return to Scotland, had advised the brethren to be very careful in examining preachers before accepting them.  The people and “every several Congregation” have a right to elect their minister, and, if they do not do so in six weeks, the Superintendent (a migratory official, in some ways superior to the clergy, but subject to periodical “trial” by the Assembly, who very soon became extinct), with his council, presents a man who is to be examined by persons of sound judgment, and next by the ministers and elders of the Kirk.  Nobody is to be “violently intrused” on any congregation.  Nothing is said about an university training; moral character is closely scrutinised.  On the admission of a new minister, some other ministers should preach “touching the obedience which the Kirk owe to their ministers. . . .  The people should be exhorted to reverence and honour their chosen ministers as the servants and ambassadors of the Lord Jesus, obeying the commandments which they speak from God’s mouth and Book, even as they would obey God himself. . . . " {182}

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