Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, September 02, 2007

First Scottish Reformation: Hamilton, Wishart and Knox

1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to door of the church building in Wittenberg (31st October).

Popery prevails everywhere in Scotland except for the presence of many Lollards in the South-West. Prior to the Reformation, Lollards (possibly from the Dutch meaning "Singers", referring to their Psalm singing) were persecuted and a number were burned.

1517-20 Patrick Hamilton, the first Scottish Reformer, is converted through Luther’s writings in Paris sometime in this period.

1523 Hamilton returns to Scotland and preaches the true Gospel.

1527 Hamilton is charged with heresy and flees Scotland with three others for Germany, where he assists with the Lutheran Reformation. He returns to Scotland towards the end of the year.

1528 Hamilton is burnt to death in St Andrews (28th February). “The reek of Patrick Hamilton has infected as many as it did blow upon.”

1538 George Wishart is summoned for ‘heresy’, but escapes to England. He preaches and teaches in England, Germany, and possibly Switzerland, and translates the Helvetic Confession into English.

James V marries Mary of Lorraine, of the House of Guise.

1542 James V dies. The infant Mary Stuart becomes Mary Queen of Scots at the age of one week.

1543 The Earl of Arran becomes Regent and initially assists the Reformation.

Alliance with English annulled and old alliance with France renewed.

1543-5 Wishart returns to Scotland sometime in this period. John Knox attaches himself to Wishart.

1546 Wishart is burnt to death in St Andrews (1st March). Knox was willing to defend him with the sword, but Wishart sends him away for his own safety.

In total, 20 men and women would be killed, usually by burning, during the First Scottish Reformation. Others were banished, or punished in other ways.

1547 Knox is called to the ministry, but is captured by the invading French forces and made a galley slave.

1548 The Scots Parliament break-off the betrothal of Mary Queen of Scots with the godly ‘Boy King’ Edward VI of England, and engage her to the French Dauphin.

1549 Knox is freed, apparently through the influence of Edward VI, and preaches in England.

1550 Knox preaches against the Mass in Newcastle and is made to defend his opinion by the Bishop of Durham before a public assembly. He defends his position so well that he silences his opponents and the Reformation progresses in the North of England.

1551-52 Knox advises Thomas Cranmer on the revision of the English Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). He is offered the Bishopric of Rochester, but declines it.

1553 Mary Tudor, a devout Papist, becomes Queen of England, leading to the flight of some English preachers to Scotland, including William Harlow and John Willock.

1554 Arran is deposed from the Regency and it is given to the Queen Mother, Mary of Guise, a devout Papist.

Knox flees from ‘Bloody Mary’s” England to Dieppe in France. He settles in Geneva for a time. Knox is called to minister to the congregation of English exiles in Frankfort. He arrives to find disagreements between various parties over adherence to the forms of the 1552 BCP. He resolves this dispute, with Calvin’s assistance.

1555 Dr Cox comes to Frankfort from England and stirs-up trouble over the BCP again. Knox tries to conciliate the newcomers by allowing them to vote (against the advice of his friends) and is thanked for this by their voting that he should have no more influence in the congregation! The Coxians conspire against him and seek to cause trouble for him with the civil authorities. The authorities see through the Coxian rouse, but are constrained to advise him to leave.

1555-6 Knox visits Scotland, where he assists with the Reformation. He accepts a call from the Knoxian remnant from Frankfort, who had moved to Geneva. The Bishops in Scotland burn him in effigy after his departure.

1557 Protestant Scottish nobility draw up The First Covenant and become known as the ‘Lords of the Congregation’.

1558 Mary, Queen of Scots, is married to the Dauphin in France. Several of the influential Scottish Romanists are poisoned by their French co-religionists while attending this event!

The last Reformation martyr, Walter Mill, is burned at the stake (28th April).

1559 Knox returns to Scotland in answer to a call from the Protestant nobles.

Various civil measures are attempted by the Papists. The Protestant nobles are threatened with violence and take-up arms in self-defence.

Various bonds, or covenants, are sworn, which is a common practice among the Protestants throughout Europe.

Mary Queen of Scots’ husband becomes Francis II, King of France. She is still in France.

The Queen Mother, Mary of Guise, is deprived of the regency.

The Lords of the Congregation enter into alliance with the Protestant English Government of Queen Elizabeth.

1560 English forces assist the Scottish in expelling the French military forces, which have been assisting in the attempted suppression of the Reformation for 13 years.

Queen Mother dies of natural causes.

Scottish Parliament under the guidance of Knox declares the Reformed Faith to be the national religion. The Scots Confession and First Book of Discipline are produced by the ‘Six Johns’, including Knox. Parliament approves them and condemns Popery (17th August).

King Francis II of France dies (5th December) after only reigning for one year. Mary has only been married for two years.

The General Assembly of the Reformed Church of Scotland meets for the first time (20th December).

1561 The young Queen Mary Stuart returns to Scotland after being brought-up as a Papist in the licentious French court, and assumes the reins of government. She attempts to revive the interests of her faith by gaining the favour of the nobility.

1563 Mary tries to get Knox condemned for treason, but he is acquitted by the nobility.

1567-8 Mary's conduct and unprincipled marriage relationships alienate the nation and lead to her abdication. She flees to England and her infant son is proclaimed James VI of Scotland. The nation is governed by regents for 10 years.

1570 The Protestant Regent, the Earl of Moray, is assassinated (23rd January). Under the Regency of Mar and Lennox, the nobility are divided into factions again. Knox’s life is in such danger that he accepts the advice of friends to move from Edinburgh to St Andrews.

1572 “Tulchan Bishops” – Morton, Regent from 1572-8, introduces nominal bishops into the former benefices through means of a select convention of compliant ministers, so that he and other ‘nobles’ can benefit from the income of the church lands. This is similar to the avarice displayed by the English aristocrats, instead of giving back to the people what the ‘Church’ had amassed. The General Assembly opposes him.

“The greater part of the Scots ministers were a simple and facile race of men, easily deceived or overawed; that persons of weak or worldly minds were easily found, who, for fear of offending the great, or losing their livings, fell in with the measures of the court; and... had it not been for a few active and energetic spirits, stirred up from time to time by a gracious Providence to stem the tide of defection, they would, on more than one occasion, have bartered away their dearest privileges without a struggle.” (McCrie)

St Bartholomew’s Massacre in France (24th August).

Knox dies peacefully in his bed of old age, after a spiritual assault from the Devil (24th November). “Here lies he that neither feared nor flattered any flesh.” (Regent Morton)




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