Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/325

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Knox
Knox
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omnipotence of God and the corruption of man, he accepts the necessitarian hypothesis, and substituting the will of God for law, applied the doctrine of necessity to the spiritual as modern science does to the physical world.

About this time Knox lost his wife, the faithful companion of his exile. Calvin, consoling him, calls her ‘Your friend and wife, whose like is not found everywhere,’ and refers to her in a letter to Goodman as ‘the most delightful of wives.’ Knox felt her death, but his few extant letters to her, and a letter to Foxe the martyrologist, in which he says, ‘I used the help of my left hand, that is of my wife, in scribbling these few lines to you,’ do not present him in the character of a fond husband. His opinion of the inferiority of the sex was too firmly rooted to admit exception, even in his own household.

Queen Mary's husband, Francis II, died 5 Dec. 1560, and in the convention of estates, 15 Jan. 1561, the confession was read, and a debate on the mass was held by Knox on the one side, and Lesley, bishop of Ross, on the other. The noblemen present readily accepted Knox's views. By the convention's order, Lord James Stewart was sent to Queen Mary in France, and found her at St. Dizier on 15 April. Before his departure Knox had warned him that if he consented to her having mass publicly or privately within Scotland he betrayed the cause of God. While opposed to public Lord James was willing to concede private celebration, asking who could stop her. Against this Knox protested, and in a letter to Calvin, on 24 Oct. 1561, Knox sends the greeting of James Stewart, the queen's brother, ‘who, alone of those who frequent the court, opposes himself to impiety; yet he is fascinated amongst the rest.’ There can be no doubt that Lord James gave his sister assurance that her own religious observances would not be interfered with.

While Lord James was absent a riot occurred in Edinburgh between the common people, who wished to play Robin Hood, and the magistrates, who put it down and sentenced the ringleaders. Knox was asked to intercede for the latter, but declined, for, as he pointed out, he feared the mob as little as the sovereign or the nobles.

On 19 Aug. 1561 Mary Stuart returned to Scotland, and the conflict that Knox had foreseen between her Roman catholic convictions and the protestant convictions of so many of her subjects at once commenced. On Sunday, 24 Aug., mass was celebrated in the chapel of Holyrood, Lord James keeping the door to prevent a riot. Next Sunday Knox preached, declaring ‘one mass was more fearful to him than 10,000 armed enemies.’ Four years later Knox reproached himself for want of fervency, that ‘I did not what in me lay to have suppressed that idol in the beginning.’ He was summoned to the queen's presence, and the first of the interviews which he has so vividly described—we have only his own account of them—took place at Holyrood. Mary accused him of raising her subjects against her mother and herself, and of writing against ‘the Regiment of Women.’ He answered he had only rebuked idolatry and taught people to worship God according to his word, and that the book had been written against the wicked Jezebel of England. While he maintained his opinion, he promised not to hurt her authority if she did not defile her hands with the blood of the saints. A conversation followed, in which he asserted the right of subjects to rise against a sovereign who opposed God's word. The queen declared the Roman kirk was hers, and that Knox wished her subjects to obey him instead of their sovereign. On leaving he prayed God she might yet be another Deborah, but when asked his thought of her by his friends, he answered, ‘If there be not in her a proud mind, a crafty wit, and indurate heart against God and his word, my judgment faileth me,’ and he wrote to Cecil, ‘In communication with her I espied such craft as I have not found in such age.’

In the autumn of 1561, after Mary's return from a tour through the country, mass was again celebrated at Holyrood on All Hallows' day (1 Nov.). A conference was at once held in James Macgill's house between the leaders of the congregation to consider the situation. Lord James, Morton, the Earl Marshal, Lethington, Bellenden the justice clerk, and Macgill himself were there, with Knox and other ministers. Macgill expressed the opinion that ‘her subjects might not lawfully take her mass from her.’ But the ministers were of a contrary mind, and proposed that letters should be sent to Geneva for the opinion of that church. Knox offered to write, but Lethington shrewdly remarked that there lay much in the information sent, and proposed to act himself as secretary. The lords prevailed, and no letter was written. In December the general assembly met, but Lethington objected to its sitting without the queen's sanction, to which Knox replied: ‘Take from us the freedom of assemblies and you take from us the evangel.’ The knotty point of the ‘Book of Discipline’ was again brought forward. To objections raised by Lethington, Knox rejoined ‘that the book had been read publicly and all knew its contents.’ He failed again to carry its adoption, but resolutions were passed that idolatry