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    John Knox

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    Chapter 6
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    The repentance of England requireth two things: First, the expulsion
    of all dregs of popery and the treading under foot of all glistering
    beauty of vain ceremonies. Next, no power or liberty must be
    permitted to any, of what estate, degree or authority they be,
    either to live without the yoke of discipline by God's word
    commanded, or to alter one jot in religion which from God's mouth
    thou hast received. If prince, king or emperor would enterprise to
    change or disannul the same, that he be the reputed enemy to God,
    while a prince who erects idolatry must be adjudged to death.

    --John Knox

    John Knox the Scotchman, Martin Luther the German, and John Calvin the
    Frenchman, were contemporaries. They constitute a trinity of strong
    men who profoundly influenced their times; and the epoch they made was
    so important that we call it "The Reformation." They form the undertow
    of that great tidal wave of reason and commonsense called the Italian
    Renaissance. And as the chief business of the Hahnemannian school of
    medicine was to dilute the dose of the Allopaths, and the Christian
    Scientists confirmed the homeopaths in a belief concerning the
    beauties of the blank tablet, so did Luther, Calvin and Knox
    neutralize the arrogance of Rome, and dilute the dose of despotism.

    Knox, Luther, and Calvin were hunted men. They lived stormy,
    tumultuous lives, torn by plot and counterplot. Very naturally, their
    religion is filled with fever and fear, and their God is jealous,
    revengeful, harsh, arbitrary, savage--a God of wrath.

    Only a bold man, rough and coarse, could have defied the reigning
    powers and done the work which Destiny had cut out for John Knox to
    do. His power lay in the hallucination that his utterances were the
    final expressions of truth. Had he known more he would have done less.

    Life is a sequence, and we are what we are because this man lived. To
    the memory of John Knox we acknowledge our obligation; but we realize
    that for us to accept and adopt the conclusions and ideals of one who
    lived in such tempestuous times is no honor to ourselves, nor to him.

    The Christian Church has preached five special phases of belief, as
    follows: First, Religion by Definition; Second, Religion by
    Submission; Third, Religion by Substitution; Fourth, Religion by
    Culture; Fifth, Religion by Service.

    All of these phases overlap, more or less, and the difference in sects
    consists simply in the amount of emphasis which is placed upon each or
    any particular phase. And this is largely a matter of temperament.

    The Catholic Church emphasizes definition above all things. You are
    told the nature of evil; the Godhead, the trinity, the sacraments,
    the "elements" are explained, and the syllabus and catechism play
    most important parts. Before you are confirmed you have to memorize
    many definitions: little girls of ten glibly explain the difference
    between a mortal and a venal sin, and boys in knee-breeches discourse
    upon the geography of other worlds, and the state of sinners after

    Next to Religion by Definition is Religion by Submission, and usually
    they go together. Persons too stupid to define can still submit.
    Service is not an essential, and in fact service without definition is
    usually regarded as hideous, "the righteousness of an unbeliever being
    as filthy rags." However, if it were not for the service rendered by
    the monks, priests and nuns, the Catholic Church could never have
    retained its hold upon humanity. Its schools, asylums, hospitals and
    houses of refuge have been its excuse for existence, and the undoing
    of the infidel. But service with the Catholic Church is emphasized
    only for the priesthood--the laity being simply asked to define,
    submit and pay. Culture and character are left to natural selection,
    and the thought that any person but a priest could have either is a
    very modern hypothesis. In way of Religion by Definition, Saint Paul
    was the great modern exponent. That the Theological Quibblers' Club
    existed long before his time we know full well. In fact, the chief
    invective of Jesus against Judaism was that it had degenerated into a
    mere matter of dispute concerning intricate nothings.

    When Paul was brought before Gallio, the brother of Seneca, Gallio
    paid his respects to the same quibbling propensities against which
    Jesus had inveighed, by saying, "If it were a matter of wrong or of
    wicked villainy. O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
    but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look
    to it yourselves; I am not minded to be a judge of these matters."

    Pity and piety have nothing necessarily to do with Religion by
    Definition. We can all recall men of acute minds who thought
    themselves pious, who had bartered their souls away in order to become
    senior wranglers. Intellect lured them on into wordy unseemliness;
    their skill in forensics became a passion, and to embarrass and defeat
    the antagonist became the thing desired, not the pursuit of truth.
    They fell victims to their facility in syntax and prosody--semi-
    Solomons in Scriptural explanations, waxing wise in defining the
    difference 'twixt hyssop and myrrh.

    Forty years ago no town in America was free from joint debates where
    the disputants would argue six nights and days together concerning
    vicarious salvation, baptism, regeneration, justification and the
    condition of unbaptized infants after death. Debates of this kind set
    the entire populace by the ears, and at post-office, tavern, grocery,
    family table, and even after the disputants had gone to bed, reasons
    nice, and subtleties hairsplitting were passed back and forth, until
    finally the party getting worsted fell back on maternal pedigrees, and
    epithet took the place of logic.

    If the matter ended merely with the weapons of wordy warfare, it was
    fortunate and well, for these eyes have seen a camp-meeting where
    singletrees, neck-yokes, harness-tugs and scalding water augmented
    arguments concerning foreordination as taught by John Calvin and
    freewill as defined by John Knox.

    Theological wrangles belong essentially to a pioneer people: an
    earnest, stubbornly honest people, whose lives are given over to a
    battle with the elements and the brute forces of Nature, always

    Submission is not recognized in their formula except as a word, and
    their abnegation takes the form of a persistent pursuit of the thing
    desired, by following another trail. Such persons are always very
    proud, and the thing upon which they most pride themselves is their
    humility, and absence of pride.

    "Morality comes only after physical self-preservation is secure," says
    Herbert Spencer, and with culture it is the same, and so the word is
    not in the bright lexicon of pioneers. All of their service is of the
    Connecticut variety--if you need things, they have them for sale. And
    so we get the wooden-nutmeg enterprise, and the peculiar incident of
    the New Haven man at the Pan-American Fair, who sold wooden nutmegs
    for charms and bangles. But one day, running out of wooden nutmegs, he
    went to a wholesale grocer and bought a bushel of the genuine ones,
    and these he palmed off upon the innocent and unsuspecting, until he
    was brought to book on the charge of false pretenses. Human service,
    as taught by Jesus of Nazareth, has only been tried in a very
    spasmodic way, except for advertising purposes. The world has now, for
    the first time in history, reached a point where as a vital problem
    the production of wealth is secondary to the question of how we shall
    distribute it. And so the Religion of Service is being seriously
    considered, and perhaps will soon be given a trial. The man who said
    that the number of marriages was in exact ratio to the price of corn
    spoke wisely. What he meant was that physical well-being directly
    affects all of our social relations. It is exactly the same with our
    religion. Economics and religion are very closely related. People in a
    certain physical environment have a certain religion. A tired and
    overworked people, enslaved as chattels or by the spirit of the times,
    find solace in a mournful religion, and a haven of rest hereafter--
    also, in the contemplation of a Hell for those who believe differently
    from what they do. They sing, "All Days Will Be Sunday By and By," or
    "Sweet Rest in Heaven." If they are oppressed by debt and mortgages
    that gnaw, they sing, "Jesus paid it all, yes, all the debt I owe." A
    warlike people whose wealth has come from conquest will shout the
    English National Hymn and take joy in such lines as "Confound their
    knavish tricks," expressed as a prayer.

    The Religion of Culture flowers best in those with seven generations
    of New England clerical ancestry, or a carefully pruned F. F. V.
    family-tree. It goes with just a little and not too much C. B. & Q.
    and Old Colony eight per cent guaranteed, or wide ancestral acres.
    Most Unitarians and Episcopalians hold a caveat on culture and have
    character by the scruff. The Religion of Culture has a flavor of thyme
    and mignonette, and a gleam of old silver plate handed down as
    heirlooms. It means leisure, books on the shelf, well-filled
    woodsheds, and cellars stocked with vegetables.

    It is leisurely, kindly, intelligent, gentle beautiful. The Religion
    of Culture is exclusive, and slips easily into social caste, which is
    spiritual and mental ankylosis. Its disadvantages are that to pursue
    culture is to frighten her far afield, and have her elude you. To
    strive for character is to lose it.

    People who strive for health are headed for the sanatorium, for
    vitality plus comes only to those who do not think much about it; and
    likewise character is evolved best by those who forget character and
    lose their lives in service. Dyspeptics are people who have no faith
    in their digestive apparatus.

    The Reformation revolved around Definition and Substitution. We escape
    the doom we deserve through the death of some one else. This belief in
    Substitution goes with an age that never doubted the beauty of capital
    punishment, and was worked out by men familiar with block, broadax and
    basket. Luther, Calvin and Knox possessed the elements of Submission,
    Character and Service only in rudimentary form. Substitution and
    Definition were their cornerstones.

    * * * * *

    That sturdy reformer, Martin Luther, was born in Fourteen Hundred
    Eighty-three. He was nine years old when Columbus turned the prow of
    his caravel to the West and persistently sailed on.

    Luther's father was a miner--a day laborer--and the lad's childhood
    was grim and cheerless. He sang on the streets, and held out a ragged
    cap for pennies. His fine, sweet voice caught the ear of a priest, and
    the boy's services were used at the altar. The lad was alert, active,
    intelligent, ambitious. Very naturally he was educated for the
    priesthood. He became a monk, and evolved into a preacher of worth and

    A prosperous and successful church always produces a class of
    dignitaries given over to sloth and sensuality. From a sublime idea,
    with a desire to benefit and to bless, the church degenerates into an
    institution for the distribution of honors, and an engine for
    punishment for all who oppose it. To Martin Luther religion was a
    matter of the heart, and his soul was filled with the thought of
    service. At the same time he had ability in the matter of definition.
    He began calling upon the Church to reform, and demanding that priests
    repent. Very naturally the priests thought it absurd for Luther to try
    to bring the righteous to repentance. They laughed. Later they
    scowled. Then they called on Doctor Luther to mend his manners, and
    not make the Church and himself ridiculous in the eyes of the world.

    Had Luther had an eye on the main chance he would at this time have
    pulled in his horns, and chosen other texts, and been promoted in due
    course to a bishopric; for although the man was small in stature, yet
    he carried the crown of his head high and his chin in. What he had
    before simply stated he now began to prove. The small hand of
    authority, gloved in imitation velvet, here lifted Luther out of a
    position of power and honor as "District Vicar," a place that spelled
    promotion, and put him back as a grade school-teacher. Had the Pope
    been really infallible and the church authorities all-wise, they would
    have killed Luther, and that would 'a' been an end on 't. Leniency
    just then was an error in judgment. Luther set about bolstering his
    mental position. The more he thought about it, the more firmly
    convinced was he that his cause was just.

    Where thinkers are, there is thought. Thinkers think anywhere, in
    country, village, town--in prison. Wittenberg was obscure, more than
    half of the students were charity boys, the professors were thin,
    dyseptic and glum, or fat and opinionated--all repeated the things
    they had been taught, save Martin Luther alone.

    And on the thirty-first day of October, Fifteen Hundred Seventeen,
    Luther tacked upon the church-door his ninety-five theses, and offered
    to debate them 'gainst all the Church Fathers that could be mustered.

    Trite, indeed, are the propositions now. Rome has really accepted them
    all, even to that one which hints that we, too, are divine in degree,
    just like our Elder Brother. Challenges on the church-doors of
    colleges were common, but coming from a semi-silenced priest, and
    directed at the Pope's emissary, ah! that was different. Even at that,
    the whole affair would have been lost in local oblivion, had not the
    few zealous boys who loved Luther started their two printing-presses
    in the cellar of the church, and worked night and day pulling proofs.
    The printing-presses did it! Without the typesetter, the make-ready
    man, and the sturdy lads who pulled the lever, Luther's voice would
    not have reached across the campus.

    But lo! Luther was talking to the world, not to sleepy Wittenberg!
    Luther was requested to appear at the Vatican--more properly, the
    Castle Angelo. He ignored the invitation. Another summons followed.
    Luther went into hiding. He was arrested, tried and condemned, and
    sentence suspended. He was again tried, this time by the Emperor and
    the Electors, and again condemned. The formal sentence of death only
    awaited, and then for him the fagots would flare and the flames

    His friends captured him, they of the printing-presses, helped by
    others, and bore him away to a prison where his enemies could not
    follow. Many a man has been thrown into prison by his enemies, but who
    besides Luther was so treated by his friends! Public sentiment was
    with him--Germany stood by him--but best of all the printers pulled
    the proofs, and four-page folders edited by Martin Luther went
    fluttering all over the world, protesting man's right to think.

    So he lived out his days, did Martin Luther, on parole, under sentence
    of death, working, thinking, writing, printing. And over in France a
    serious, sober young man, keen, mentally hungry, translated one of
    Luther's pamphlets into French, and printed it for his school-fellows.
    Having printed it, he had to explain it, and next to defend it--and
    also his action in having printed it. The young man's name was Jean
    Chauvain. He spelled it "Caulvain" or "Calvain." The world knows him
    as John Calvin.

    * * * * *

    John Calvin was a Frenchman, but it is well to remember that the
    typical Frenchman, like the typical Irishman and his brother the Jew,
    exists only in the comic papers, and on the vaudeville stage. The
    frivolous and the mercurial were not in Calvin's make-up.

    The parents of Calvin were of that same sturdy, seafaring type which
    produced Millet, Auguste Rodin, Jules Breton, and other simple,
    earnest and great souls who have done great deeds. Calvin was the true
    Huguenot type.

    Peasant ancestry and a nearness to the soil are necessary conditions
    in the formation of characters who are to re-map continents, artistic
    or theological. The Puritan is a necessary product of his time.

    However, Calvin had the advantage of one remove from actual hardship,
    and this evidently refined his intellect, and relieved him of world
    stage-fright. His father was a notary or steward in the employ of the
    De Mommor family. Very naturally, the boy mixed with the scions of
    royalty on an equal footing, for pom-pom-pull-away knows no caste, and
    a boy's a boy for a' that. At twelve years of age, he felt himself
    quite as noble as those of noble blood, and so expressed himself to
    his playmates. Probably they found it convenient to agree with him.
    Their nickname for him was, "The Accusative."

    The world accepts a man at the estimate he places upon himself. There
    was a De Mommor lad the same age of John Calvin, and one three years
    older. In his studies he set them both a pace, and so correct and
    diligent was he that when the De Mommor lads were sent down to Paris,
    the tutor insisted that John Calvin should go, too, and a benefice was
    at once made out for him providing that he should be educated for the
    priesthood. Legend has it that at this time, being then fifteen years
    old, he admonished his parents in the way of life, and instructed them
    how to conduct themselves during his absence.

    At eighteen he was preaching, and soon after was given a living and
    placed in charge of a country parish. It was about this time, when he
    was between nineteen and twenty years of age, that a copy of one of
    Luther's pamphlets fell into his hands. It was a pivotal point.
    Thrones were to totter, families be rent in twain, millions of minds
    receive a bias! This serious, sober young priest, freshly tonsured,
    took the pamphlet to his garret and read it. Then he set about to
    refute it. Luther's arguments did not so much interest Calvin as did
    the man himself, the man who had defied authority.

    And really Calvin did not like the man: Luther's rollicking, coarse
    and blunt ways repelled this studious and ascetic youth. The one thing
    that Calvin admired in Luther was his self-reliance. Suddenly it came
    over Calvin that life should be religion and religion should be life,
    and that in the claims of the priesthood there was a deal of pretense.

    In refuting Luther he grew to admire him. He resolved to eliminate the
    tonsure and dress in citizens' clothes. His resolution stuck, and as
    soon as his hair had grown out, he went home and told his father and
    patron that he had abandoned theology and wished to study law. And so
    he was sent to Orleans and placed in the office of the eminent judge,
    Peter de Stella.

    But theology is a matter of temperament, and instead of writing
    briefs, Calvin began translating Luther's Bible into French. He was
    requested to relinquish this pastime long enough to draw up a legal
    opinion concerning the divorce of our old friend Henry the Eighth.

    Calvin was never wrung by days of doubt nor by nights of pain. He
    parted from the Church without a struggle, and adopted as his motto,
    "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

    He again began to preach. He was a duly ordained priest in good
    standing--technically, at least--in the Catholic Church. He had all
    the confidence of a sophomore--age did not wither him, nor could
    custom stale his infinite variety. He questioned and contradicted
    everybody, young or old, regardless of position. But so cleanly was
    the man's mode of life, so intellectual, so personally unselfish and
    sincere was he, that although heretics were being burned in France by
    twos and sevens, yet for several years no hand was laid upon him.

    Finally, in spite of the De Mommors, a legal notice was served upon
    Calvin, signed by King Francis in person, asking him to desist, and
    giving him three months to get back in the theological traces, making
    peace with his superiors.

    Calvin always had a taste for printing, and now at his own expense he
    translated the "De Clementia" of Seneca into French and had the book
    printed, dedicating it to the king. This was his brief for clemency
    and at the same time an argument for free speech. Seneca's father had
    a college of oratory, and Seneca said: "Let the people talk. If they
    be right the king can not be harmed; but if they be wrong they will
    merely hurt themselves: kings can afford to exercise clemency."

    The book was really an insult to the king, since it assumed that
    Francis had never read Seneca. This doubtless was a fact; but Francis,
    instead of studying up on the old Roman, simply issued an order for
    the arrest of Calvin. Calvin quit Paris in hot haste, and no doubt
    thereby saved his head.

    Doctor Servetus, a physician and learned monk from Spain, was then in
    Paris giving popular lectures "against Lutherism and such other
    similar forms of grievous error." Servetus was a "Papal Delegate"--
    what we would call "a revivalist." Calvin thought Servetus had him
    especially in mind. So he issued a challenge at long distance to
    debate the issues publicly. Servetus accepted the challenge, but the
    arrangements fell through. Calvin found refuge in Strassburg, then at
    Basle, being politely sent along from each place, finally reaching
    Geneva. He was then twenty-four years old.

    At Geneva he at once made his presence felt by attempting to organize
    a reformed or independent Catholic Church. For this he was asked to
    leave, and then was expelled, living in retirement in the mountains.
    Two of the syndics who had brought about his expulsion died, as even
    syndics do, and Calvin returned, informing the populace that the death
    of the syndics was a punishment upon them for their lack of welcome to
    a good man and true.

    From this time Calvin turned Geneva into a theocracy, and the city was
    sacred to prayer, praise and Bible study. Students flocked from all
    over Christendom to hear the new gospel expounded. They came from
    Germany, France, England and Scotland. The air was full of unrest. And
    among others who came out of curiosity, to study, or perhaps because
    they were not needed at home, was a man from Edinburgh. He was six
    years younger than Calvin, but very much like him in temperament.

    His name was John Knox.
    Servetus was a rhetorician, controversialist and diplomat--gentle,
    considerate, gracious. He belonged to that suave and cultured type of
    Catholic that wins to the Church princes and people to education and
    wealth. He has been likened by John Morley to Cardinal Newman.

    After Calvin reached Geneva he entered into a long correspondence
    with Doctor Servetus, and the debate which had been planned was
    carried on by correspondence. Servetus proposed to Calvin that the
    postponed debate should take place in Geneva. Calvin replied that if
    Servetus came to Geneva he would burn him alive.

    Now, there were really many more Catholics in Switzerland than
    dissenters, or "Protestants," and Servetus, knowing Calvin's weakness
    for exaggeration, did not take his threat seriously. So Servetus
    journeyed by leisurely stages southward, on his way to Naples, but he
    never reached there. He stopped at Geneva, like other pilgrims, "to
    study the new religion."

    Geneva was the home of free speech, and this being so, Servetus had
    just as good a right there as Calvin. But Calvin looked upon the
    coming of Servetus as a menace, and honestly thought, no doubt, that
    Servetus was in the personal employ of the Vatican, with intent to
    collect evidence against "the new faith." Calvin aroused the community
    into a belief that their rights were being jeopardized.

    Servetus was arrested and thrown into prison. The charge was heresy--a
    charge that at this safe distance makes us smile. But the humor of
    heretics charging heretics with heresy, and demanding that they should
    be punished, did not dawn upon John Calvin.

    Heresy is a matter of longitude and time.

    The trial lasted from August until September. Calvin supplied the
    proof of guilt by bringing forward the many letters written him by
    Servetus. The prisoner did not deny the proof, but instead sought to
    defend his position. Calvin replied at length, and thus did the long-
    postponed debate take place.

    The judges decided in favor of Calvin.

    The next day Servetus was burned alive in the public square.

    "I interceded for him," said John Calvin; "I interceded for him--I
    wanted him beheaded, not burned."

    * * * * *

    The encyclopedia records that John Knox was born at Haddington,
    Scotland, in the year Fifteen Hundred Five. As to the place, there is
    no doubt; but as for the time, Andrew Lang, after much research,
    places the date as Fifteen Hundred Fifteen.

    Usually men, eke women, bring the date of their birth forward, but
    Knox with much care set his back. He justified himself in this
    because, when he was twenty, he was explaining the difference between
    truth and error with great precision, and to give the words weight he
    added ten years to his age, explaining to a finikin friend that at
    twenty he knew more than any man of thirty that could be produced. And
    this was doubtless true.

    John Knox came of a respectable family of the middle class. He was
    independent, blunt, bold, coarse, with an underground village
    vocabulary acquired in his childhood that he never quite forgot.

    At the grammar-school he was the star scholar, and at Saint Andrews
    quickly took front rank and set his teachers prophesying. And the
    peculiar part is that all of their prophecies came true, which proves
    for us that infant prodigies sometimes train on.

    John Knox became a priest and a preacher of power before he was
    twenty-five. In temperament he was very much such a man as Luther,
    save that Luther was considerable of a joker. Luther had more common-
    sense than Knox, but what Knox lacked in humor he made up in
    learning. In fact, his love of learning was his chief weakness. He
    was as self-reliant as a black Angus. At twenty-six Knox made a vow
    that he would no longer kneel. This led to a rebuke from Cardinal
    Beaton, followed by the retort courteous.

    About this time he met George Wishart, and the men became fast
    friends. Four years passed and a chapter in history was played that
    wrenched the stern nature of John Knox, and for once broke up the icy
    fastness of his heart and caused his tears to flow. That was the
    burning at the stake of Wishart on the campus in front of Saint

    That his Alma Mater should lend itself to such a horrible crime in the
    name of justice caused Knox to break forth in curses that reached the
    ears of those in power, and had he not fled, the Fate that overtook
    Wishart would have been his.

    George Wishart was of Scottish birth, but had spent some time in
    Germany, and had caught the spirit of Luther. All accounts agree that
    he was a gentle and worthy character, and very moderate in his
    expressions. He was a teacher at Cambridge, and his first offense
    seems to have been that he translated the New Testament from Greek
    into English, without permission.

    He came to Saint Andrews and gave a course of lectures, it being the
    custom then for colleges to "exchange pulpits." Knox attended these
    lectures and heard Wishart for the first time. The Catholics making a
    demonstration against Wishart, Knox became one of a volunteer

    Being on familiar terms with the great men of Edinburgh, Wishart was
    chosen by Henry the Eighth for the very delicate errand of going to
    Scotland and interceding for the hand in marriage of Mary Stuart, the
    infant "Queen of Scots," with Edward, the infant son of our old
    friend. Wishart seems to have been an unwilling tool in this matter,
    and his action set Catholic Scotland violently against him.

    Persecution pushed him on into unseemly speech, and Cardinal Beaton
    set the sure machinery in motion that ended in the death of this
    strong, earnest and simple man who had not yet reached the height of
    his powers.

    The fires that consumed the body of George Wishart fired the heart of
    John Knox, and from that hour he was the avowed foe of the papacy.

    Two years later, Cardinal Beaton was assassinated by "parties
    unknown." But Knox, having often cheerfully referred to Beaton as "a
    son of Beelzebub," was accused of hatching the plot, even though he
    did not personally take a hand in executing it.

    Shortly after the death of Beaton, Knox, believing the atmosphere had
    cleared, came back to Edinburgh and preached at the Castle. Soon he
    had quite a following, but of people who he himself says, in his
    "History of the Reformation," were "gluttons, wantons and licentious
    revelers, but who yet regularly and meekly partook of the sacrament."
    Knox saw plainly this peculiar paradox, that every reformer is
    followed and professed by lawbreakers who consider themselves just
    like him. These rogues who took the sacrament regularly were the cause
    of much annoyance to Knox, and gave excuse for many accusations
    against him.

    Knox preached a sermon entitled, "Killing No Murder," attempting to
    show how, when men used their power to subjugate other men, their
    death becomes a blessing to every one.

    The Castle was stormed by Catholics, in which a brigade of French took
    part. Knox and various others were taken to France, and there set to
    work as galley-slaves. Escaping through connivance he made his way to
    Geneva, attracted by the fame of Calvin.

    But his heart was in Scotland, and in a year he was back once more on
    the heather calling upon the papal heathen to repent.

    John Knox was in Geneva three different times. He was a heretic, too,
    and his heresy was of the same kind as that of Calvin. And as two
    negatives make an affirmative, so do two heretics, if they are strong
    enough, transform heresy into orthodoxy. To be a heretic you have to
    be in the minority and stand alone.

    Calvin had a high regard for Knox, but they were too much alike to
    work together in peace. Calvin was never in England, and in fact never
    learned to speak English; but Knox spoke French like a native, having
    improved the time while in prison in France by studying the language.
    There were several hundred English refugees in Geneva, and Calvin
    appointed Knox pastor of the English church. This was in Fifteen
    Hundred Fifty-four, the year following the death of Servetus. Knox
    deprecated the death of the Papal Delegate, but looked upon it
    lightly, a mere necessity of the times, and "a due and just warning to
    the Pope and the followers of the Babylonish harlot."

    When Luther was forty-two he married "Catherine the Nun," a most
    noble and excellent woman of about his own age, who encouraged him in
    his very trying position and sustained him in time of peril.

    Calvin married Idalette de Bures, the widow of an Anabaptist whom he

    Calvin was not a lover by nature, and explained to the world that his
    marriage was simply a harmless necessary _defi_ to Rome. Happily the
    venture proved a better scheme than he wist, and after some years, he
    wrote, "I would have died without the helpmeet God sent me--my wife,
    who never opposed me in anything." John Knox was married when thirty-
    eight to the winsome Marjorie Bowes, aged seventeen, the fifth child
    of Mary Bowes, whom he had ardently wooed in his youth. His boast to
    the mother that "Providence planned that you should reject me in order
    that I might do better," was an indelicate slant by the right oblique.

    Marjorie withered in the cold, keen atmosphere of theological
    definition, and died in a few years.

    And then Fate sent a close call for the Reformer in the daring,
    dashing person of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary's mother was Mary of
    Guise, a French woman discreetly married to King James of Scotland.
    Knox always bore a terrible hatred toward Mary of Guise, and all
    French people for that matter, for his little term in the galleys.
    Hisbook, "The Monstrous Regiment of Women," had Mary Tudor, Mary of
    Guise, and Mary, Queen of Scots, in mind. Queen Elizabeth paid a
    compliment to the worth of the author by outlawing him for "his insult
    to virtuous womanhood."

    Men who hate women are simply suffering from an overdose. Knox was a
    woman-hater who always had one especially attractive woman upon his
    list, with intent to make of her a Presbyterian. In this he was as
    steadfast as the leader of a colored camp-meeting.

    Mary, Queen of Scots, had no more landed on Scottish soil from
    Catholic France than Knox fled, fearing for his head. Ere long he came
    back and sought a personal interview with the young queen, just turned
    twenty, "with intent to bring her heart to Jesus." They seemed to have
    talked of other themes, for "she was exceeding French and frivolous
    and stroked my beard when I sought to explain to her the wickedness of
    profane dancing."

    Then Mary tried her hand at converting Knox to the "Mother Church."
    And as a last inducement legend has it that she offered to marry him
    if he would become a Catholic. Here John Knox coughed and hesitated--
    she was getting near his price. He was he saw the devil's tail behind
    her chair. He rushed from her presence, quaking with fear.

    Stormy interviews followed, back up by handy epithets in which they
    both proved expert. It was a pivotal point. Had John Knox married
    Mary, Queen of Scots, there would have been no Presbyterian Church, no
    Princeton, no Doctor McCosh, no Grover Cleveland.

    On March Twentieth, Fifteen Hundred Sixty-three, the banns were read
    between John Knox and Margaret "Stewart," or Stuart, daughter of Lord
    Ochiltree, and a forebear of our own Tom Ochiltree. The young lady was
    two months past sixteen years old. The Queen was furious, for the
    girl, being of Royal blood, "should really have consulted me before
    renouncing her religion for this praying and braying man with long

    There was full and just cause for indignation, for although Mary was
    then safely wedded to Darnley, preparing to have him assassinated (and
    later to lose her own head), she yet regarded John Knox as her private

    Marriage merely added another trouble to the stormy and burdened life
    of our great reformer. He had successfully fought the powers of Rome;
    the queenly daughter of Henry the Eighth, and Anne Boleyn had found
    him incorrigible and given him up as a hopeless case; Calvin could not
    tame him; but now a chit of a girl with retrousse nose, who should
    have been at work in a paper-box factory, led him a merry dance, and
    the voice that had thundered threat and defiance piped in forced
    assent. December strawberries, I am told, lack the expected flavor.

    When Knox died, he left a widow aged twenty-five, come Michaelmas. She
    wore deep mourning, and so did Mary, Queen of Scots, but Mary
    explained that her deep veil was merely to hide her smiles.

    In two years the widow married Andrew Ker, notorious for having once
    leveled a pistol at the Queen. The widow survived Knox just sixty-two
    years, and died undeceived, not realizing that she had once been
    wedded to a man who had shaped a great religion--one whom Carlyle, his
    countryman, calls the master mind of his day.
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