John Knox

[John Knox] Presbyterian leader, born Haddington, Scotland, c.1505; died Edinburgh, Scotland, 1572. The facts of his early life are uncertain. His writings show that he had a knowledge of Latin, French, Greek, and Hebrew, and law and theology. He was a priest, and served as private tutor in 1547, when he was imprisoned in connection with the murder of Cardinal Beaton. In 1554 he was married, and visited Calvin at Geneva, from whence he returned, 1555, to begin his preaching career in Scotland. He was forced to leave for Geneva because of his hostility to Queen Mary of England but returned, 1559, upon the accession of Elizabeth. The Queen Regent of Scotland, Mary of Guise, died in 1560, and Knox and the Protestant party were triumphant. The Mass was abolished, and the death penalty was incurred by those who assisted at the sacrifice. Knox was commissioned by the Lords of the Congregation to compile a new creed, and produced the famous Scottish Confession. He violently opposed the policies and religion of Mary, Queen of Scots, who had entered Scotland, 1561. In 1569, five years after his second marriage, he suffered an apoplectic stroke from which he never fully recovered. Knox was the greatest Protestant writer in the Scottish vernacular of his time. His preaching powers were above the ordinary, but he himself was as gloomy, austere, and unforgiving as the creed he preached.

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