Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
John Knox
By Peter Heylyn (1599–1662)
From Aerius Redivivus

THE CASTLE being yielded, and the country quieted, the French returned with their booty, of which their prisoners which they brought along with them made the principal part, not made the tamer by their sufferings in the enemy’s galleys, insomuch that when the image of the Virgin Mary was offered to them to be kissed on some solemn occasion, one of them snatched it into his hands, flung it into the sea, and said unto them that brought it, in a jeering manner, that her ladyship was light enough, and might learn to swim. Which desperate and unadvised action (as it was no other) is said by Knox to have produced this good effect, that the Scots were never after tempted to the like idolatries. Knox at this time was prisoner in the galleys among the rest, and, with the rest, released upon the peace made between France and England, at the delivering up of Boulogne; for which he passed over into England, where he was first made preacher at Berwick, next at Newcastle, afterwards to some church of London, and finally in some other places of the South: so that removing like our late itinerants from one church to another, as he could meet with entertainment, he kept himself within that sanctuary till the death of King Edward, and then betook himself to Geneva for his private studies. From hence he published his desperate doctrine of predestination, which he makes not only to be an impulsive to, but the compulsive cause of men’s sins and men’s wickednesses: from hence he published his traitorous and seditious pamphlet, entitled The First Blast of the Trumpet, in which he writes most bitterly, amongst other things, against the Regimen of Women, aiming therein particularly at the two Maries Queens of Scotland, Mary Queen of England, and Mary Queen-Dowager of Hungary, Governess of the Low Countries for Charles the Fifth: and finally, from hence he published another of the like nature, entitled An Admonition to Christians; in which he makes the Emperor Charles to be worse than Nero, and Mary Queen of England to be nothing better than Jezebel. According to which good beginning, he calls her in his history (but not published hence), that idolatrous and mischievous Mary of the Spaniard’s blood, a cruel persecutrix of God’s people, as the acts of her unhappy reign did sufficiently witness. In which he comes as close to Calvin as could be desired.
  By this means he grew great with Calvin, and the most leading men of the Consistorians, who looked upon him as a proper engine to advance their purposes; but long he had not stayed amongst them, when he received an invitation from some friends of his of the same temper and affections, as it after proved, to take charge of the Church of Frankfort, to which some learned men and others of the English nation had retired themselves in the reign of Queen Mary: which call he first communicated unto Calvin, by whose encouragement and persuasion he accepted of it, and by his coming rather multiplied than appeased the quarrels which he found amongst them; but siding with the inconformable party, and knowing so much of Calvin’s mind touching the liturgy and rites of the Church of England, he would by no means be persuaded to officiate by it; and for that cause was forced by Dr. Cox, and others of the learned men who remained there, to forsake the place, as hath been shown at large in another place. Outed at Frankfort, he returns again to his friends at Geneva; and being furnished with instructions for his future carriage in the cause of his ministry, he prepares for his journey into Scotland, passeth to Dieppe, from thence to England, and at last came, a welcome man, to his native country, which he found miserably divided into sides and factions. Mary their infant Queen had been transported into France at six years of age; the regency, taken from James, Earl of Arran, given to Mary of Lorraine, the Queen’s mother, not well obeyed by many of the nobility and great men of the country, but openly opposed and reviled by those who seemed to be inclinable to the Reformation. To these men Knox applied himself with all care and cunning, preaching from place to place, and from house to house, as opportunity was given him. In which he gathered many churches, and set up many congregations, as if he had been the apostle-general of the Kirk of Scotland; in all points holding a conformity unto Calvin’s platform, even to the singing of David’s Psalms in the English metre, the only music he allowed of in God’s public service. From villages and private houses he ventured into some of the great towns and more eminent cities, and at the last appeared in Edinburgh itself, preaching in all, and ministering the communion in many places, as he saw occasion. This was sufficient to have raised a greater storm against him than he could have been able to endure; but he must make it worse by a new provocation. For at the persuasion of the Earl of Glencairn, and some others of his principal followers, he writes a long letter to the Queen Regent, in which he earnestly persuades her to give ear to the Word of God, according as it was then preached by himself and others: which letter being communicated by the queen to the Archbishop of Glasgow, and dispersed in several copies by Knox himself, gave such a hot alarm to the bishops and clergy, that he was cited to appear in Blackfriars’ Church in Edinburgh, on the 15th of May: and though upon advertisement that he came accompanied with so great a train, that it could not be safe for them to proceed against him, he was not troubled at that time, yet he perceived that having made the queen his enemy, he could not hope to remain longer in that kingdom, but first or last he must needs fall into their hands.  2

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