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    John Knox and the Reformation

    by Andrew Lang

    Book Description

    PREFACE. IN this brief Life of Il tlox I have tried, as much as I may, to get behind Tradition, hicl1 has so deeply affected even modern histories of the Scottish 1iefortn ltion, and even recent Biographies of the Reformer. The tradition is based, to a great estent, on Iinoss own History, which I am therefore obliged to criticise as carefully as I can. In his valu ible John K zo, t-, n Biog a hyP, r ofessor Hume Bro vn says that in the History we have convincing proof alike of the writers good faith, and of his perception of the conditions of historic truth. AIy reasons for dissenting fro111 this favourable vie. will be found in the following pages. If I all1 right, if Knox, both as i politician and an historian, resembled Charles I. in sailing as near the wind a5 he c o l dth, e circumstance as another of his biographers remarks l only inakes him Inore human and intcresting. Opinion about Iinox and the religious Revolutio l in which he took so great a part, has passed througli several variations in the last century. In the E Ei zb l r t Revitw of 1816 No. liii. pp. 163-I o, is an article with which the present biographer can agree. Several passages from Knoxs works are cited, and the reader is expected to be shocked at their principles. They are certainly shocking, but they are not, as a rule, set before the public by biographers of the Reformer. Mr. Carlyle introduced a style of thinking about Knox which may be called platonically Puritan. Sweet ix PREFACE enthusiasts glide swiftly over all in the Reformer that is specially distasteful to us. I find myself more in harmony with the outspoken Hallam, Dr. Joseph Robertson, David Hurne, and the Edinburgh reviewer of 1816, than withseveral more recent students of I nox. The lieformers violent counsels and intemperate speech were remarkable, writes Dr. Robertson, even in his own ruthless age, and he gives fourteen examples. Lord Hailes has shown, he adds, how little I noss statements in his History are to be relied on even in matters which were within the Reformers own knowledge...

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