« AnteriorContinuar »
ness for them, and advised them to return home; which they did. Secretary Cecil sent also an answer to the Protestant nobility and gentry, concerning their proposals to
Q. Elizabeth ; which was so general, that they were very near resolving to break off the negotiation, had not Mr Knox interposed with so much earnestness, that they allowed him once more to write to the secretary.
To Knox's letter there was quickly sent an answer, desiring that some person of credit might be sent to confer with the English at Berwick; and the same letter informed them, that there was a sum of money ready to be delivered for carrying on the common cause ; assuring them, that if the lords of the congregation were willing to enter into a league with Q. Elizabeth upon honourable terms, they should want neither men nor money. Upon this answer, Mr Henry Balnaveis, a man well respected in both kingdoms, was sent to Berwick, who soon returned with a sum of money, which defrayed the public expence till November ; when John Cockburne of Ormiston being sent for the second support, received it, but fell into the hands of Earl Bothwell, who took the money from him. In the interim, Mr Knox was chosen minister of Edinburgh in July; but being obliged to attend the lords, while the agreement was in dependance, Mr Willock was left in Edinburgh to officiate in his room. The effect of these negotiations was the sending an army under the command of the duke of Norfolk; which being joined by almost all the great men in Scotland, at last a peace was procured and concluded between the two kingdoms, on the eighth of July in the year 1560.
Mr Knox and the rest who had formed themselves into congregations, being freed by this peace from any disturbance, made several regulations for the farther propagating and establishing the Protestant religion ; and in order to have the Reformed doctrine preached through the kingdom, a division was made of it into twelve districts (for the whole number of the reformed ministers at this time was only twelve,) and the district of Edinburgh was assigned to Mr Knox. These twelve ministers also composed a confession of faith, which was afterwards ratified by parliament; they also compiled the first books of discipline for that church.
In December this year, Mr Knox buried his first wife Margery Eowes, an English woman, for whose loss he was much grieved. In January the following year, viz. 1561, we find our Author engaged in a dispute concerning the
controverted points of religion, against Mr Alexander Anderson, sub-principal of the King's-college at Aberdeen, and Mr John Leslie, parson of Une, afterwards bishop of Ross.
In March 1560-1, Mr John Spottiswood was admitted superintendant of Lothian by Mr Knox. And the same year, August 20th, 1561, the queen arrived at Leith from France. From her first arrival, her majesty set up a private mass in her own chapel, which afterwards, by her protection and countenance, was much more frequented : This excited the zeal of Mr Knox, who expressed himself with great warmth against allowing it; and an act of the privy-council being proclaimed at the market-cross of Edinburgh, forbidding any disturbance to be given to this practice under pain of death, on the twenty-fifth of that month, Mr Knox openly, in his sermon the Sunday following, declared, « that one mass was more frightful to “ him, than ten thousand armed enemies, landed in any “ part of the realm.” This freedom of speech gave great offence to the court, and the queen herself had a long conference with him upon that and other subjects. In this conference, her majesty having charged him with writing the “ Blast,” he avows it, and then proceeds thus : " I hear that an Englishman hath written against it, but “ I have not read him. If he hath sufficiently improved “ my reasons, and established his contrary propositions « with as evident testimonies as I have done mine, I " shall not be obstinate, but shall confess my error and « ignorance. But to this hour I have thought, and yet “ think myself alone to be more able to sustain the things « affirmed in that my Work, than any ten in Europe « shall be able to confute it.” The queen likewise charged him with denying her just authority: To which he pleads the privilege of the learned in all ages, and cites Plato in particular, who had publicly taught doctrines contrary to the common opinion, without disturb. ing the society, bearing with patience the errors and imperfections which they could not amend. “ Even so, is (says he,) madám, am I content to do in uprightness “ of heart, and with the testimony of a good conscience « I have communicate my judgment to the world; if " the realme finds no inconveniency in the regiment of « a woman, that which they approve shall I not farther “ disallow than within my own breast, but I shall be as “ well content to live under your grace as Paul was to « live under Nero; and my hope is, (concludes he,) that
« so long as you defile not your hands with the blood of " the saints of GOD, that neither I nor the book shall “ either hurt you or your authority ; for, in very deed, “ Madame, that book was written most especially against “ that wicked Jezebel of England.” What part he bore in the affairs of the church, during the remainder of this year, 1561, may be seen in his History, to which we refer the curious Reader.
In the year 1562, we find him employed in reconciling the earls of Bothwell and Arran, which is an evidence how much he was regarded by the most eminent persons of the kingdom, and how much interest he had with them. The same year, the queen being informed that her uncles were like to recover their former interests at the court of France, received the news with great joy: Mr Knox hearing of her behaviour, and apprehending that the power of the queen's relations would produce dismal effects, in prejudice of the Reformed interest in these parts, thought fit to preach a sermon, wherein "he taxed the ignorance, « vanity, and despite of princes, against all virtue, and “ against all those in whom hatred of vice and love of “ virtue appeared.” This and other expressions, in reproof of dancing for joy at the displeasure taken against GOD's people, coming to the ears of the queen, her majesty sent for him, and had a second conference with him. The message was brought by Alexander Cockburne, who had been formerly his scholar, and the conference ended with the queen's declaring, she had been misinformed. This year he was appointed, by the general assembly, commissioner to the counties of Kyle and Galloway; and, by his influence, several of the most eminent gentlemen of Kyle, Cunningham, and Carrick, entered into a bond, or covenant at Air, either the same, or one similar to that entered into at Edinburgh, in the year 1557, which was subscribed September the fourteenth, one chousand seven hundred and sixty-two.
Mr Knox went from the shire of Air and Nithsdale and Galloway, and had several conferences about matters of great importance with the master of Maxwell; and from this county he wrote to the duke of Chatelherault, giving him cautions against both the bishop of St Andrews and the earl of Huntly, whose counsels he judged might prove prejudicial to the Reformed interest. At this time he accepted a challenge made by an eminent person among the Papists, a Mr Quintin Kennedy, a son of the house of Cassils, to a public dispute about the mass, which was
held in the village of Maybole, in Carrick, and continued for the space of three days, and was afterwards printed.
In the beginning of the queen's first parliament, in May, 1563, Mr Knox endeavoured to excite the earl of Murray to appear with zeal and courage, to get the articles of Leith established by law; but finding him cooler than he expected, there followed a breach between them, which continued for a year and a half. And after the bill was rejected, the parliament not being dissolved, he preached a sermon before a great many of the members, in which he expressed his sense of that matter with vehemency, and at the close declared his abhorrency of the queen's marrying a Papist. This gave great offence to the court; and her majesty, sending for him, expressed much passion, and thought to have punished him, but was prevailed upon to desist at that time.
The ensuing year, Lord Darnley being married to the queen, was advised by the Protestants about court to hear Mr Knox preach, as thinking it would contribute much to procure the good-will of the people. At their desire he went, on the nineteenth of August, to the high-church, but was so much offended at the sermon, that he complained to the council, who immediately ordered Mr Knox before them, and forbad him to preach for several days. His text was in Isaiah xxvi. 13--17. O Lord our GOD, other lords than thou have reigned over us, &c. From these words he took occasion to speak of the government of wicked princes, who for the sins of the people are sent as tyrants and scourges to plague them. And amongst other things, he said, “ that GOD sets in that room, (for the « offences and ingratitude of the people,) boys and wo" men.” There were also some other words uttered by him which gave great cffence to the king, as " that « GOD justly punished Ahab and his posterity, because « he would not take order with that harlot Jezebel.” These words the council told him had given great offence to his majesty, and they desired him to abstain from preaching fifteen or twenty days, and let Mr Craig supply the place. He answered, that he had spoken nothing but according to his text; and if the church would command him either to speak or abstain, he would obey so far as the word of God would permit him. The publisher of Mr Knox's history in 4to adds in the margin, that in answering he said more than he liad preached ; for he added, “ that as the king had for pleasure of the • queen gone to mass, and dishonoured the Lord GOD, « so should GOD in his justice make her an instrument
Tob his majesty, ahor twenty day at he had spokeould com
but ad him eished of God tory in 4.0. he had pure of the
" of his ruin ;” and so it fell out in a very short time; but the queen being incensed at these words, fell into tears, and to please her, John Knox must abstain from preaching for a time. i The general assembly, which met in December this year in their fourth session, appointed Mr Knox to draw up a consolatory letter in their name, to encourage ministers, exhorters, and readers, to continue in their vocations, which many were under great temptation to leave for want of subsistence, and to exhort the professors of the. realm to supply their necessities. He was also appointed by this assembly to visit, preach, and plant, the kirks of the south, till the next assembly, and to remain as long as he could at that work. · Mr Knox requested the general assembly, which met-at Edinburgh in December, 1566, that he might have leave to go to England to visit two of his sons, probably then at school, and for necessary affairs in that kingdom. Before he set out, he had ample testimonials from the assembly of his life, doctrine, and usefulness, and was by them recommended to all to whom he should come. The assembly limited his abode in England to the meeting of the next general assembly, to be held in June following. The general assembly being informed, that some worthy and learned divines in England were prosecuted by the bishops, because they refused to use the habits appointed by law for church-men, caused a letter to be written and sent by Mr Knox, in which with great earnestness they intreated, that they might deal gently with such ministers as scrupled the use of those vestinents. As this letter is too long for our insertion, we must refer those that are curious to read it, either to bishop Spottiswood's History of the Troubles at Frankfort, or to Mr Strype's Life of Archbishop Parker.
In the year 1567, Mr Knox preached a sermon at the coronation of K. James the Sixth of Scotland, and afterwards the First of Great Britain. This sermon is much commended by Buchanan in his History of Scotland. This year is very remarkable in Scotland, upon account of the great turn of affairs there by Q. Mary's resigning the government, and by the appointment of the earl of Murray to be regent. The first parliament which was called by the earl met on the fifteenth of December. It was a very numerous convention of all the estates, and Mr Knox preached a very zealous sermon at the opening of it; and he was extremely afflicted at the regent's death in 1569.