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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Gave the Reform movement in Scotland


These

two causes, an undeniably corrupt condition and relentless punishment of those who blamed it as it well deserved, gave the Reform movement in Scotland, which was repressed but not stifled, a peculiar character of exasperation and thirst for vengeance.

Nor was it without a political bearing in Scotland as elsewhere. In particular Henry VIII proposed to his nephew, King James V, to remodel the Church after his example: and a part of the nobility, which was already favourably disposed towards England, would have gladly seen this done. But James preferred the French pattern to the English: he was kept firm in his Catholic and French sympathies by his wife, Mary of Guise, and by the energetic Archbishop Beaton. Hence he became involved in the war with England in which he fell, and after this it occasionally seemed, especially at the time of the invasions by the Duke of Somerset, as if the English, and in connexion with them the Protestant, sympathies would gain the ascendancy. But national feelings were still stronger than the religious. Exactly because England defended and recommended the religious change it failed to make way in Scotland. Under the regency of the Queen dowager, with some passing fluctuations, the clerical interests on the whole kept the upper hand. In spite of a general sympathy the prospects of Reform were slender. It could not reckon on any quarrel between the government and the higher clergy: foreign affairs rather exercised

a hostile influence. It is remarkable how under these unfavourable circumstances the foundation of the Scotch Church was laid.

Most of the Scots who had fled from the country were content to provide for their subsistence in a foreign land and improve their own culture. But there was one among them who did not reconcile himself for one moment to this fate. John Knox was the first who formed a Protestant congregation in the besieged fortress of S. Andrew's; when the French took the place in 1547 he was made prisoner and condemned to serve in the galleys. But while his feet were in fetters, he uttered his conviction in the fiery preface to a work on Justification, that this doctrine would yet again be preached in his fatherland.[193] After he was released, he took a zealous share in the labours of the English Reformers under Edward VI, but was not altogether content with the result; after the King's death he had to fly to the continent. He went to Geneva, where he became a student once more and tried to fill up the gaps in his studies, but above all he imbibed, or confirmed his knowledge of, the views which prevailed in that Church. 'Like the first Reformers of French Switzerland, Knox also lived in the opinion that the Romish service was an idolatry which should be destroyed from off the earth. And he was fully convinced of the doctrine of the independence of the spiritual principle side by side with the State, and believed that the new spiritualty also was authorised to exclude men from the Church, views for which Calvin was at that very time contending. Thus he was equally armed for the struggle against the Papacy and against the temporal power allied with it, when a transient relaxation of ecclesiastical control in Scotland made it possible for him to return thither. In the war between France and Spain the Regent took the side of France: she lighted bonfires to announce the capture of Calais; out of antipathy to Mary Tudor and her Spanish government she allowed the English fugitives to be received in Scotland. Knox himself ventured to return towards the end of 1555: without delay he set his hand to form a church-union, according to his ideas of religious independence, which was not to be again destroyed by any State power.


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