John Knox (1505 to 1572) was an activist for the reformation
John Knox was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland at the time when John Calvin began the Reformation of Geneva. The idea of the English Reformation began in Scotland in the heart and mind of Knox’s close friend George Wiseheart. Being familiar with Edinburgh, Wiseheart was chosen by King Henry VIII to go to Scotland to influence the potential marriage of Mary Stuart, the infant “Queen of Scots,” with Edward, the infant son of the King of England. Wiseheart was an unwilling servant of King Henry in this matter and his action set Catholic Scotland against him. When Wiseheart was burned at the stake by Cardinal Beaton, the action fired the heart of John Knox. From that hour he was the enemy of the Roman Catholic Church. Two years later, Beaton was assassinated by “parties unknown.”
Shortly after the death of Beaton, John Knox came to Edinburgh as a newly ordained priest, having been accused of “hatching the plot” against the cardinal, even though he did not personally take a hand in executing it. Soon Knox had a growing group of followers. He accused the Catholic clergy of Scotland of being “gluttons, wantons and licentious revelers, but who yet regularly and meekly partook of the sacrament.” Knox travelled to Geneva three times to study under Calvin who had a high regard for the young Scotsman. Knox returned to Scotland, was married at age 38, and was widowed a few years afterward.
John Knox had a personal feud with Mary Queen of Scots. Mary’s mother was Mary of Guise, a French woman married to King James of Scotland. Knox bore a terrible hatred toward Mary of Guise. His book, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, had Mary Tudor, Mary of Guise, and Mary Queen of Scots, in mind. As soon as Mary Queen of Scots had landed on Scottish soil, Knox fled fearing for his life. Before long he returned to Scotland and sought a personal interview with the queen, then 20-years-old, “with intent to bring her heart to Jesus.” Mary then tried her hand at converting Knox back to Roman Catholicism with bribes of political power. Stormy interviews followed, punctuated by lawsuits
In response to Knox’s prayers, Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have said: “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”, Mary fled Scotland due to the rising resistance of the Scottish Reformers and was later put to death by an English court which had accused her of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I. Knox was survived by the Scottish Covenanters, who drew up a compact in 1638 asserting their right, under God, to national sovereignty.
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