John Knox - Sermon (1559)

John Knox was the man sent by God to lead the Reformation. His devotion and zeal, now fully matured in the school of suffering; his sincerity and uprightness; his magnanimity and courage; his skill in theological debate, and his political insight, in which he excelled all living Scotsmen; the confidence and hope with which he was able to inspire his fellow-countrymen; and the terror in which the prelates stood of his very name, all marked him out as the chosen instrument for his country's deliverance. The result was very much in doubt. Half the nobles, the church and the Highlands were for Catholicism, and of the half of the nobles who supported the Reformation, most were more interested in personal gain rather than faith. The greatest support for the Reformation came from the merchants and traders. Knox went to join the four preachers at Perth, before going on to Stirling. A large band of men from Dundee and Angus also came to Perth to support the preachers. John Erskine went ahead to assure the Regent that the men came in peace, but she panicked, telling Erskine that the men did not need to appear before her. Erskine returned to tell the men to go home, but the Regent was lying again, and as soon as nobody showed for the trial, the four were outlawed. On hearing the news Knox preached a powerful sermon at St John’s, Perth, denouncing lies and the idolatry of the mass. After the service a monk, very unadvisedly, celebrated mass. A boy threw a stone at the monk; it missed, hitting and breaking an image and a riot ensued, where everything in the church was destroyed. Others joined in, destroying three monasteries in the town. It had not been Knox’s sermon that had brought about the destruction, but the lies and perfidy of the Regent and the Catholic party. The Regent was so angry when she heard the news that she said she would destroy every man woman and child in the town and raze it to the ground. She sent an army of 8,000 French soldiers to attack Perth, but the Protestant lords knew what was planned and raised up an army of their own. The Regent was forced to make terms, the lords withdrew to allow her to enter Perth.