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John Knox (c.1505-1572) was the leader of the Scottish Reformation. He was born near Haddington, of respectable parents, and received a broad education. As a Roman priest he began studying Fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, and he came to a saving knowledge of Christ while still in his youth. He became strongly attached to George Wishart, whose early martyrdom did not daunt him but rather stirred him to continue steadfast in the faith. After a time of preaching in the castle of St Andrews, Knox was captured by the French (1547) and used as a galley-slave until his release in 1549. He preached in England under Edward VI until the accession of 'Bloody Mary' in 1553, when he fled for his life to Europe. In Geneva he came into contact with the Frenchman John Calvin, and helped to translate the Geneva Bible. Receiving a call from Scotland he returned in 1559, where, by the grace of God, he saw the emergence of a Protestant nation. Knox's boldness and influence were unsurpassed, and he was not ashamed to speak the truth before hostile rulers. He had a great love for Jesus Christ and His infallible Word, his doctrine being warmly evangelical and imprinted with a firm knowledge that truth cannot reign safely alongside error. Today John Knox is widely known not only as a Reformer, but also for his controversial treatise "The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women", in which he opposes the woman usurping authority over the man.




No sooner did the clergy understand that [John Knox] had quitted the kingdom, than they, in a dastardly manner, renewed the summons against him, which they had deserted during his presence, and, upon his noncompearance, passed sentence against him, adjudging his body to the flames, and his soul to damnation. As his person was out of their reach, they caused his effigy to be ignominiously burned at the cross of Edinburgh. Against this sentence, he drew up his Appellation, which he afterwards published, with a supplication and exhortation, directed to the nobility and commonalty of Scotland. It may not be improper here to subjoin his summary of the doctrine taught by him, during his late visit to Scotland, which was declared to be so execrable, and subjected the preacher to such horrible pains. He taught, that there was no other name by which men could be saved but that of Jesus, and that all reliance on the merits of any other was vain and delusive; that He, having by his one sacrifice, sanctified and reconciled to God those who should inherit the promised kingdom, all other sacrifices which men pretended to offer for sin were blasphemous; that all men ought to hate sin, which was so odious before God that no other sacrifice could satisfy for it, except the death of his Son; that they ought to magnify their heavenly Father, who did not spare the substance of his glory, but gave him up to suffer the ignominious and cruel death of the cross for us; and that those who were washed from their former sins were bound to lead a new life, fighting against the lusts of the flesh, and studying to glorify God by good works. In conformity with the certification of his Master, that he would deny and be ashamed of those who should deny and be ashamed of him and his words before a wicked generation, he further taught, that it was incumbent on those who hoped for life everlasting, to avoid idolatry, superstition, and all vain religion, in one word, every way of worship which was destitute of authority from the word of God. This doctrine he did believe so conformable to God's holy scriptures, that he thought no creature could have been so impudent as to deny any point or article of it; yet him as an heretic, and his doctrine as heretical, had the false bishops and ungodly clergy damned, pronouncing against him the sentence of death, in testification of which, they had burned his picture: from which sentence he appealed to a lawful and general council, to be held, agreeably to ancient laws and canons; humbly requiring the nobility and commons of Scotland, until such time as these controversies were decided, to take him, and others accused and persecuted, under their protection, and to regard this his plain appellation as of no less effect, than if it had been made with greater solemnity and ceremonies.




Thomas McCrie, The Life of John Knox (pp. 97-98). Free Presbyterian Publications, 1960.