It does not appear that he was ever officially ordained, though he was already a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. An account of the proceedings connected with his call to the ministry, together with a report of the first sermon he delivered in St. Andrews, is found in his book, History of the Reformation. After Beaton's death, the castle at St. Andrews became a place of refuge for many Scottish Protestants, and Knox resided there in relative peace along with his pupils, the sons of Longniddry and Ormiston, for several months.
At the end of July , however, the castle was attacked and captured by pro-Catholic French forces. Knox and some of the rest of the refugees were taken prisoner, and forced to row in the French galleys. He spent eighteen months as a galley-slave, amid hardships and miseries which are said to have permanently injured his health:. How long I continued prisoner [and] what torments I sustained in the galleys, and what were the sobs of my heart, is now no time to recite. He never gave up hope of returning to Scotland and indeed was confident that he would eventually do so.
In his History he gave testimony to this fact by mentioning how, during the second visit of the galley to Scotland, he was asked by James Balfour a fellow prisoner whether he knew where he was. Knox, who at the time was so sick that few hoped for his life, replied:. Yea, I know it well; for I see the steeple of that place where God first in public opened my mouth to glory; and I am fully persuaded, how weak soever I now appear, that I shall not depart this life, till that my tongue shall glorify his godly name in the same place.
The French made attempts to have Knox renounce his Protestant beliefs and on one occasion asked him to kiss the feet of an image of the Virgin Mary. He threw it into the sea, saying "let our lady now save herself; for she is light enough; let her learn to swim. On his release early in through the apparent intervention of the English government, Knox found that he could be of little use in Scotland in its existing state.
Like many of his countrymen in that troubled time, he therefore submitted to voluntary exile, continuing in his absence to devote himself to ministerial labours in connection with the Reformed Church, while for the first five years he worked as a minister of the English Church. During the reign of Edward VI , the Church of England was in a transitional state; some of its most marked peculiarities to which Knox himself and others in Scotland and abroad afterwards objected were then in abeyance, or at least not insisted upon.
For example, the use of the prayer-book was not enforced, and neither was kneeling at the communion. Episcopal government was of course acknowledged; but Knox held his commission, as a reformed preacher, directly from the privy council, and was virtually independent of diocesan jurisdiction.
He seems to have had no strong objection to episcopacy itself, although he disapproved of "your proud prelates' great dominions and charge, impossible by one man to be discharged"; on this and other grounds he declined the bishopric of Rochester in The offices he held in the Church of England are briefly indicated in the History, which says, "He was first appointed preacher to Berwick, then to Newcastle; and last he was called to London and to the southern parts of England, where he remained till the death of King Edward VI of England " Works, i.
From other sources it appears that in he was appointed one of the six chaplains in ordinary to the king. In this capacity he joined the other chaplains in sanctioning, after revision, The Articles concerning an Uniformity in Religion of , which became the basis of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. From England, after the death of Edward, Knox proceeded to the continent, travelling for a time from place to place in some uncertainty.
In September , while living at Geneva , he accepted with Calvin's advice a call from the English Church at Frankfurt. Here controversies in connection with vestments, ceremonies, and the use of the English prayer-book awaited him and led in March to his resignation cf. He returned to Geneva, where he was invited to become minister of the refugee English congregation. In August, however, he was induced to set out for Scotland, where he remained for nine months preaching evangelical doctrine in various parts of the country, persuading those who favored the Reformation to cease attending mass and join him in celebrating the Lord's Supper according to a reformed ritual.
In May, he was cited to appear before the hierarchy in Edinburgh, and he boldly responded to the summons; but the bishops found it expedient not to proceed with the trial. In July an urgent call from his congregation at Geneva, probably combined with his desire to avoid persecution in Scotland, caused him to resume his Genevan ministry. His marriage to Marjorie Bowes, daughter of Richard Bowes, captain of Norham Castle, had meanwhile taken place, and his wife and mother-in-law joined him in Geneva.
Knox's life in Geneva was no idle one. To preaching and clerical work of an exacting kind he added a large correspondence; and he was constantly engaged in literary work, for example his long and elaborate treatise on predestination published His output at Geneva included his First Blast against the Monstrous Regiment of Women , published in , in which he unleashed a torrent of vitriol against female rulers:.
For who can denie but it is repugneth to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to leade and conduct such as do see? That the weake, the sicke and impotent persons shall norishe and kepe the hole and strong? And finallie, that the foolishe, madde and phrenetike shal governe the discrete and give counsel to such as be sober of mind.
And such be al women, compared unto man in bearing of authoritie. For their sight in civile regiment is but blindness; their strength, weaknes; their counsel, foolishnes; and judgment, phrensie, if it be rightlie considered. With the exception of some months spent in Dieppe, France , when he was contemplating a return to Scotland, he continued to officiate in Geneva, while remaining deeply interested in his native land and in constant communication with the reform party there, till January , when he finally left for home.
John Knox (c. – 24 November ) was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country's Reformation. He was the founder of . John Knox was indeed a man of many paradoxes, a Hebrew Jeremiah set down on Scottish soil. In a relentless campaign of fiery oratory, he sought to destroy.
He arrived in Edinburgh May 2, The time was a critical one. During his absence the reform party had become more numerous, more self-reliant and aggressive, and better consolidated. The queen dowager, Marie de Guise, acting as regent for her daughter, the young Mary I of Scotland , then in France, had become keener to crush the Protestants and determined to use force.
Civil war was imminent, but each side shrank from the first step. Knox at once became the leader of the reformers.
He preached against "idolatry" with the greatest boldness, with the result that what he called the "rascal multitude" began the "purging" of churches and the destruction of monasteries. Politics and religion were closely intertwined; the reformers were struggling to keep Scotland free from the yoke of France and did not hesitate to seek the help of England. Knox negotiated with the English government to secure its support, and he approved of the declaration by the lords of his party in October suspending their allegiance to the regent.
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