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was released from the French galleys. He preached in England till 1554, and after a visit to the Continent, where he became intimately acquainted with Calvin, he returned in September 1555 to his native land. Here his vehement preaching soon gathered round him numbers of every class. and he received special support from John Erskine of Dun and William Maitland of Lethington. The Bishops, taking the alarm, summoned him to appear in the Church of the Black Friars at Edinburgh, on the 15th of May 1556. This he did not do, but wrote a letter to the 'excellent Ladie Marie, Dowager Regent of Scotland,' defending his behaviour and his opinions. The letter was delivered into the Queen's hand by the Earl of Glencairn; and a day or two afterwards she gave it to the Archbishop of Glasgow, saying laughingly, 'Please you, my lord, to read a pasquil.' John Knox took mortal offence when he heard of her remark, and composed a long addition to his letter, wherein he gave vent to his wounded feelings—' If no more ye esteem the admonition of God nor the cardinals do the scoffing of pasquils,' he said, 'then He will shortly send you messengers with whom ye sall not be able on that manner to jest.' He volunteered to prove that the Catholic religion is 'damnable idolatrie,' made a pointed allusion to Jezebel, and drew the most profane comparisons between himself and certain saints of the Old Testament. While Knox was thus engaged, a letter arrived from the Protestants in Geneva, praying him to come over and be their minister. Knox accepted the invitation, and sending his wife Marjory and his mother-in-law on before, he preached farewell sermons to his numerous friends, and followed his household in July. He had just departed when the Bishops again summoned him, and, on his non-appearance, sentence was pronounced against him, and his effigy was burned at the Cross of Edinburgh On this his ever-ready pen produced 'The Appellation of John Knoxe, from the cruell and most unjust Sentence pronounced against him by the false Bishoppes and Clergie of Scotland, with his Supplication and Exhortation to the Nobilitie, Estates, and Commonaltie of the same realme.' On the 3d of December 1557 the Earls of Argyle, Glencairn, and Morton, the Lord Lorn, Erskine of Dun, and other Protestant chiefs, drew up and signed a bond, pledging themselves, as the 'congregation of Christ,' to spread their opinions by strenuous efforts, and renouncing the 'congregation of Sathan.' They subsequently decreed that the Common Prayer should be read on Sundays and other festival days 'publicly in the parish kirks, with the Lessonis of the New and Auld Testament, conform to the order of the Buik of Common Prayeris.' They also arranged 'that doctrine, preaching, and interpretation of Scriptures be had and used privily in quiet houses, without great conventions of the people thareto,' for the present. On the 1st of September, St. Giles's Day, in the following year, there was an uproar in Edinburgh. The Protestants had stolen the image of St. Giles, and when another was borrowed from the Grey Friars to be carried in the procession, they only tarried till the Queen-Regent had retired to dinner to trample it under foot, and the magistrates had hard work to suppress the tumult. The Lords of the Congregation1 sent persons through town and country to collect subscriptions to their bond, and their strength had increased so rapidly that they presented an Oration and Petition to the Queen-Regent. In moderate and respectful language they ask for 'justice and your gracious help,' and lay before her Grace their desires. They were—that they might lawfully meet publicly or privately 'to common prayers in the vulgar tongue ;' that it should be lawful for ' any qualified person in knowledge to interpret any
hard places of Scripture that shall happen to be read in the meetings; that baptism and the Lord's Supper be administered in the vulgar tongue, and this last in both kinds;' that the wicked and scandalous lives of churchmen be reformed according to the rules contained in the New Testament, the writings of the ancient Fathers, and the laws of Justinian the Emperor. The Queen's answer to the Congregation was —' That all they could lawfully desire should be granted them in a proper season, and for the present they might use their prayers, etc., in the vulgar tongue; but with this exception, that they should not assemble publicly in Edinburgh or Leith, for preventing of tumults.' 'Ane woman crafty, dissimulate, and false,' says Knox ; but the Congregation were fully satisfied.
Matters were indeed becoming very serious. On the one hand, the sins of the clergy had not diminished; on the other, those who would reform them were, with a few exceptions (although these exceptions were singularly sincere and earnest), exhibiting an uncharitableness, and a self-will, and an amount of spiritual pride, which mocked the Christian character. The primary object of their bitter hatred was the most awful and Holy Sacrament of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, the Shechinah of the New Law, the Holy of Holies. The devil knew that the souls who worthily fed on the Bread of Life were furthest from him. To overthrow the nature of that Blessed Sacrament, to profane it by unholy hands and an impious traffic, had been his first work; and now if men ceased to believe in its real existence, and the Sacrifice ceased to be pleaded, his triumph would seem to be complete in this unhappy land. Yet in these sad days we need not doubt that somewhere—in the family, in the cloister, or in loneliness—there were hidden saints of whom the world knew nothing, whose biography has never been written, but who were well known to God ; who, separated from the strife outside, and living by their Saviour, made Him their Sun and Centre; and, while erring men disbelieved and profaned, and the foundations of the spiritual world were about to be shaken, remembered that 'the Lord was above the water floods.' Provincial Councils for the promulgation of canons were the means adopted by the clergy for their own reformation; and ' one thing is clear from the canons of the Scottish Church enacted and published on the very eve of its fall, that our ecclesiastics, if they did sin, sinned not through ignorance or from want of admonition.' In July 1549 Archbishop Hamilton held a General Provincial Council at Linlithgow—the plague was raging at Edinburgh; and three months afterwards another Council assembled in the Blackfriars Church at Edinburgh, also presided over by the Archbishop, and attended by six bishops, fourteen abbots, and a number of other dignitaries, besides minor ecclesiastics. The statutes of Linlithgow were ratified, and others were enacted. They were prefaced by a remarkable confession, that the root and cause of the troubles and heresies which affected the Church were the corruption, the profane lewdness, the gross ignorance of churchmen of almost all ranks. The clergy, therefore, were enjoined to live chastely, under pain of deprivation of their benefices; to dismiss from their houses their illegitimate children ; not to promote such children to benefices, nor to enrich them, the daughters with dowries, the sons with baronies, from the patrimony of the Church. Prelates were admonished not to keep in their houses manifest drunkards, gamblers, whoremongers, brawlers, night-walkers, buffoons, blasphemers, profane swearers. The clergy in general were exhorted to amend their lives and manners, to dress modestly and gravely, to keep their faces shaven and their heads tonsured, to live soberly and frugally so as to have more to spare for the poor, to abstain from secular pursuits, especially trading. Provision was made for preaching to the people; for teaching grammar, divinity, and canon law in cathedrals and abbeys ; for visiting and reforming monasteries, nunneries. and hospitals ; for recalling fugitives and apostates, whether monks or nuns, to their cloisters; for sending from evenmonastery one or more monks to a university; for preventing unqualified persons from receiving orders and from holding cure of souls ; for enforcing residence, and for restraining pluralities; for preventing the evasion of spiritual censures by bribes or fines; for silencing pardoners, or itinerant hawkers of indulgences and relics ; for compelling parish clerks to do their duty in person, or to find sufficient substitutes. Statutes were also passed for registering the wills of persons deceased, and administering their estates ; for reforming the abuses of the consistorial courts, etc.
Strict inquest for heresy was ordered to be made by every ordinary in his diocese, by every abbot or prior in his convent; and the inquisitors were supplied with a schedule of the chief points of heresy. These were—speaking against the rites and sacraments of the Church; contempt of the censures of the Church ; denial of the reign of the souls of saints with Christ in glory ; denial of the immortality of the soul; denial of recompence for works of faith and charity; denial of purgatory; denial of prayer and intercession of the saints ; denial of the lawfulness of images in Christian churches; denial of the authority of General Councils in controversies of faith ; neglect of the feasts and festivals of the Church. Heretical books, especially poems and ballads against the Church or clergy, were to be diligently sought after, and burned. It was provided that the next Provincial Council should sit on the 14th of August in the following year, but if any Synod met at that time no trace of it remains.