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First Name. Last Name. Knox never forgave her for that remark. Soon, Knox was once more called to Geneva to be the leader of the congregation of exiles there. He readily accepted, sending Elizabeth and Marjorie whom he had recently married in Edinburgh ahead. He joined them in Dieppe accompanied by a servant and a student, and reached Geneva in September He was reunited with some of his colleagues from Frankfurt and could once more resume his preaching at leisure.

Elizabeth became his housekeeper and Marjorie his secretary. Their first son, Nathaniel, was born. Another friend of Knox's then arrived from London, Anna Locke. Anna was some fifteen years younger than Knox, and like Elizabeth, thirsted for Knox's spiritual guidance in the form of long and frequent letters. Again, the language and tone of the letters raise suspicions, but Anna's husband was quite happy to let her travel to the safer Geneva.

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Knox continued to keep in contact with her from wherever he was throughout the years. In May , Knox was once more dragged away from his congregation by the Protestant nobility, but only to find that he had made a wasted journey to Dieppe. Back in Geneva three months later, he began writing his most popular works "History of the Scottish Reformation" and the infamous "First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women".

In the latter, he attempts to demonstrate the inferiority of women and rambles on about his favourite subject of women and the state, openly attacking the rule of Mary I of England. Knox conveniently avoided mentioning this work to Calvin, in the knowledge that he would never approve such revolutionary ideas. Mary Tudor's response to the First Blast was to ban imports of seditious and heretical books into England, while Protestants at home and abroad were shocked at the tone Knox was taking.

Calvin dissociated himself completely from it and banned its sale in Geneva. Knox also found it necessary to publish various other tracts against Mary of Guise, relishing the loss of her husband and two baby sons, which he proclaimed, was God's punishment for her sins. Knox had become an extremist, inciting people to violence against their ruler. When Elizabeth I succeeded Mary in , she was also infuriated by Knox's insubordination and views against female rulers as a whole.

She refused to grant Knox a safe conduct through her realm when he was recalled to Scotland at the end of the year. Knox complained in vain and had to undertake the journey by sea instead, landing at Leith in May Marjorie, who had given birth to their second son Eleazer, stayed behind in Switzerland. Knox found Scotland in a state of turmoil. Mary of Guise no longer believed that the Protestants' demands were motivated by genuine religious reasons but rather by a political agenda.

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She intended to have the dissident preachers outlawed and banished at Stirling, but Knox and the Lords marched on Perth. There, on 11 May from the pulpit of St John's Kirk, Knox preached a violent sermon against idolatry, which later led to the widespread destruction of the contents of the same church and local friaries.

Knox was jubilant but later dissociated himself from the damage caused by attributing it to the "rascal multitude". Mary of Guise was forced into peace negotiations with the Scottish nobility but Knox still continued to vociferate against her and incite the mob to violence. So much so that Mary of Guise was compelled to seek French help while the Lords opened up negotiations with England, replacing the tactless Knox with Maitland of Lethington as their emissary.

Elizabeth remained wary and unwilling to be seen to be supporting rebels against their ruler but eventually, English forces arrived in Scotland and the siege of Leith followed. Mary of Guise had retired to the safety of Edinburgh Castle and was seriously ill with dropsy. This did not stop Knox who, alleging that she had gloated at the sight of English corpses hung on the walls of Leith from the windows of Edinburgh Castle which anyone who has ever been to Edinburgh will know is impossible , said: "within a few days thereafter, began her belly and loathsome legs to swell, and so continued till God did execute his judgment upon her.

By 10 July , Parliament passed a series of Acts which would make Scotland an officially Protestant country. The First Book of Discipline, on which Knox and other ministers had been working since the previous spring, contained detailed proposals concerning the policy and discipline of the Church of Scotland.

John Knox and The Scottish Covenanters

These wide-ranging proposals were passed on 27 January , but it would be a long time before these were fully implemented. Knox turned down the post of superintendent and was given comfortable lodgings in Trunk Close off the High Street, together with the highest salary payable to a minister.

In November Marjorie died, leaving Knox depressed and struggling to cope with his two sons. Mary of Guise might be dead and Scotland a reformed country but the French danger was still present in his mind. The French Dauphin had refused to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh and there were rumours that the French were planning to send more forces to Scotland.

Knox was relieved when he heard of the Dauphin's death in December , but saw the return of the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots with great foreboding. He was deeply suspicious of her from the very beginning and always refused to treat her as a fellow human being. His negative attitude towards her would grow into a most obsessive and unchristian hatred. A picture of the Virgin Mary was brought on board, while the galley was in port, to be kissed by the slaves. When Knox refused, the picture was thrust into his face.

Outraged, he flung the "accursed idol" into the river, saying "Let our Lady learn to swim. Now ruled by the protestant, Edward, England welcomed John Knox. He preached in a settled parish, learned much about reforming work, and became a royal chaplain.

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With the accession of the bloody queen, Mary Tudor, Knox became a Marian exile to avoid becoming a Marian martyr, and labored and learned at Frankfurt and in Calvin's Geneva. Those were retreats for preparation before advances for battle. In a letter to a friend, Knox wrote a sterling tribute to the moral quality of life in Geneva, calling it "the most perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of the Apostles.

In other places I confess Christ to be truly preached; but manners and religion to be so seriously reformed, I have not yet seen in any other place besides. As a result, many of the Scottish nobility banded together into a covenant in which they renounced "the congregation of Satan, with all the superstitious abomination and idolatry thereof" and affirmed the establishment of "the most blessed word of God and his congregation," and the defense of "the whole congregation of Christ, and every member thereof.

He was to leave the soil of Scotland no more. During and , the Scottish Parliament accepted the reformed confession of faith drawn up by Knox and others. The time of conflict seemed to be past, the time of building and organization seemed to have come.


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But a last great conflict was yet to be fought; this time it was to be with words. Those words, weapons at whose use the thundering Scot was most adept, were with the young queen, Mary, widowed in France at 18, whose mother was regent in her behalf over Scotland until her death in Mary, Queen of Scots, a Romanist, was strangely out of place in that northern country, having lived her life in France.

She came to rule a country which had become reformed in her absence and had to face the man who was more the leader of her people than was the queen. John Knox, in his History of the Reformation in Scotland, preserves the record of a total of five "conversations" with the queen. Mary erred in almost every calculation. She attempted to argue with one who was a master of disputation.

She attempted to restore the Roman mass in her private chapel which Parliament had outlawed. She flattered and tried to win Knox with tears and pleadings. She openly lived a life of paramours and suspected adulteries. She married her second husband's presumed murderer. Her actions but paved the way to her own deposition. Knox had preached that one mass was more terrible to him than the landing of 10, armed invaders. From his pulpit at St. Giles, the cathedral church of Edinburgh, just up the street from the queen's Holyrood Palace, he thundered against the restoration of the church of Rome which the Lords of the Congregation, following his example, had termed the "Synagogue of Satan.

Only five of these were to be allotted to John Knox, but there were others to continue the work, as there had been Hamilton and Wishart to begin it.