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Devoted in false outlay, it will at least diminish the weight and worth of your crown, and cast a shade over its brightness.
Then, what shall be said concerning a number of Christians, who, on account of limited means, were debarred the privilege of exercising charity, or were even obliged to be receivers of aid? Shall they be doomed to wear a lighter crown because hard necessity did shut against them the door of opportunity? Will a feeling of inferiority and pauperism haunt them even in heaven? We think not. It is true that the final judgment will take note of our actual doings. We shall be rewarded according to our works. But the judgment will run deeper. God will judge the hearts of men. "Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” 1 Kings vii. 18. He will credit you for all the good you really meant, or felt, to do, but could not. His omniscience enables him to know how much or how little you would have done, if able. Those who were pinned down to a low and suffering condition, if they have a less reward for active labours, will have a larger on the score of endurance. Their tribulation and poverty, contentment and resignation, will be calculated to an exactness by him that "weigheth the spirits." The patience of the poor may be as amply rewarded as the beneficence of the rich. There is, therefore, no need for the one class to feel degraded by the necessity they were in of receiving aid, and no room for the other to cherish the pride of benefactors.
We commend our remarks to the grave consideration of such as are able to communicate in any degree, and close up by reminding you that no loss is sustained by what is given in this direction. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." 2 Cor. ix. 8. May all bountiful people ever have abundAmen.
ART. IV. JOHN KNOX.
F all the illustrious men whom Scotland has produced there is no one whose memory the people of that country cherish with such profound love and reverence as the memory of John Knox. An exception may perhaps be made in favour of William Wallace, the patriot hero, whose romantic valour stemed the tide of AngloNorman invasion, and kindled in the breasts of his countrymen
that ardent love of freedom which, under the chivalrous generalship of Bruce, secured the independence of the country. But the two men, Knox and Wallace, ought scarcely to be placed in rivalry. The spheres they occupied are different, and each is pre-eminent in his sphere. What Wallace achieved for the civil liberties of Scotland, Knox achieved for its religious liberties. By his unflinching courage, his indomitable perseverance, his uncorruptable integrity, by the sagacity of his counsels, the fire of his eloquence, and the ardour of his zeal, he did incalculably more than any other single man to deliver his country from a tyranny worse than that of the Normans,-a spiritual tyranny, under whose hateful influence the souls of the people were destroyed.
In presenting the readers of the "Ambassador" with a sketch of this illustrious reformer, we shall avail ourselves freely of Dr. M'Crie's "Life of Knox," collating it with Knox's own History of the Reformation," and with Dr. Robertson's "History of Scotland."
At the period of Knox's birth, which occurred in the year 1505, the Popish religion had obtained undisputed and universal ascendency in Scotland. The light of Divine truth which, for several • ages, the Culdees sacredly conserved and zealously disseminated, had, by the schemings, the assumptions, and the successive encroachments of the Popish priests, been extinguished, and in its place was substituted the mock-light, or, we should rather say, the thick darkness of a blind and blinding superstition. Popery in its most approved form, the form it assumes in Protestant countries, is a gross and grievous delusion, a soul-destroying corruption of the sublimely simple religion of Christ; but the Popery of Scotland was of the very worst type, destitute altogether of redeeming qualities. Ignorance and ambition, licentiousness and rapacity, constituted the leading features of its priesthood. Devoted to secular pursuits or abandoned to sensual pleasure, the regular clergy devolved the work of teaching the people upon a class of mendicant monks, who, ignorant of the Gospel themselves, tickled the ears and deluded the souls of their hearers with frothy jests and unmeaning fables. But though blind and indifferent to their duties as the ministers of religion, the clergy were quick to observe and vigilant to repress every indication of religious freedom or earnestness in the people. If, by some happy accident, any person was fortunate enough to obtain a glimpse of Gospel truth amidst the pervading gloom, and imprudent enough to proclaim his new convictions, he was instantly branded as a heretic, cast into prison, and, if he did not recant, committed to the flames. Patrick Hamilton, a young man of royal lineage, of spotless reputation, of distinguished attainments, and of amiable spirit, had the honour of being the first martyr for the truth in Scotland. Brought
himself by some unknown means to the light of the Gospel, and grieved in spirit at the prevailing superstition, he burned with fervent desire to impart to his countrymen the truth by which his own mind had been made free. His first attempts to enlighten the people aroused the ire of the clergy, and being decoyed to St. Andrew's, under the pretence that the Archbishop desired to have a free consultation with him, he was summarily condemned as a heretic and burned to death. This happened in the year 1528. The sentiments which brought Hamilton to the stake soon began to take root in many minds, chiefly by means of printed copies of the Scriptures and other Protestant books procured from England. These books being under the ban of the Church, and exposing their possessors to the most terrible inflictions, were read in secret; and it was no unusual thing for persons whose hearts God had touched to meet by stealth at midnight, and with bated breath to edify one another with lessons from the book of God. Many persons detected in such exercises as these were committed to the flames; but instead of this cruelty repressing, it seemed rather to foster the growth of the obnoxious opinions; and not only many of the common people but several of the gentry and nobility were brought under their influence. The clergy were furious; they chafed with rage at the abortiveness of their repressive measures; but, resolved not to be baulked of their design to purge the country of the pestilential heresy, and having the confidence of the king, they attempted to gain the royal signature to a decree by which all the principal persons of the kingdom, suspected of favouring the reformed doctrines, should by one bloody stroke be cut off; and they probably would have accomplished their atrocious intentions had not the unexpected death of the king occurred just before his signature could be obtained. The Earl of Arran, who succeeded to the regency of the kingdom, favoured the reformed doctrine at the beginning of his administration; but being of a weak, unstable character, he afterwards succumbed to the influence of the clergy and abetted their cruelties. By the united scheming of the regent and the clergy, the young queen was betrothed to the Dauphin of France, and sent into that country to finish her education. Meanwhile, in defiance of persecution, the Protestant doctrines continued to spread, avowed defections from the Popish Church became more frequent, while many persons, wanting the courage to proclaim their conversion, cherished the new faith in secrecy, hoping for better times. Among the converts to the truth, and by far the most distinguished of them all, was John Knox.
Knox was born at Haddington, and was educated at the University of Glasgow. So rapidly did he advance in learning, that before he had quite reached his twenty-fifth year he became lec
turer in philosophy, and was advanced to clerical orders. He pursued his studies about five years longer, unmoved it would seem by the new doctrines which were then producing no small commotion in different parts of the country. At length, becoming dissatisfied with the philosophy taught in the schools, the writings of Jerome and Augustine attracted his attention, and by this means he was led to the study of the Holy Scriptures. He had reached his thirty-fifth year before breaking his connection with Popery, and surrendering his mind wholly to the reformed faith. Knox was slow in arriving at conviction, not for want of aptitude or perspicacity of mind, but because he went to the root of the questions in dispute, and examined them in their diversified connections and bearings. Hence his opinions, once formed, were enduring, immovable, solidifying into a sort of granite-formation, resisting and defying all attempts to alter them. Thoroughly convinced of the errors and corruptions of Popery, he gave public utterance to his new views, first of all while delivering a course of lectures at St. Andrews. Measures of vengeance were immediately resolved upon by the clergy, to whose wrath he would certainly have fallen a victim had he not become apprised of their intentions and fled to the south of Scotland, where he fortunately obtained shelter in the house of a gentleman at Langniddrie. The hired assassins of Archbishop Beatoun tracked his steps; his life was in imminent jeopardy; but a gracious providence had him in safe keeping. Not long after this the Archbishop himself, a man of the most profligate and cruel habits, met with the fate he designed for Knox. Whilst revelling in sensual pleasure in the castle of St. Andrews, he was surprised and slain by a company of Protestant gentlemen, who were excited to this act of vengeance by his numerous and flagitious crimes. The death of the Cardinal was made the occasion of stigmatising the whole body of reformers as men of unscrupulous and violent spirit; but whatever might be their opinion of the act itself, they for the most part disapproved the manner in which it was executed. Their sentiments have been happily expressed in the following stanzas :--
"As for the cardinal, we grant,
He was a man we weel might want,
After killing the archbishop, his executioners entrenched themselves in the castle, where having obtained assistance from England by sea, they were able to set at defiance all attempts of the regent to dislodge them. Meanwhile the persecution of the Protestants throughout the country proceeded with increased fury, and Knox
was compelled to remove from one hiding place to another, to escape the vigilant pursuit of his enemies. Wearied with this kind of life, and concluding that if he remained in Scotland he must one day or other fall a victim to the wrath of the clergy, he resolved to leave the country; but at the earnest entreaty of his friends he gave up that design, and betook himself to the castle of St. Andrews, where his time was at first occupied in the education of two young gentlemen committed to his care. The congregation of reformers there assembled perceiving his superior abilities, and anxious to secure an efficient helper to the minister already settled amongst them, resolved unanimously to invite him to become his co-pastor. The Sabbath after this had been agreed upon, at the close of the public service, the preacher turned to Knox, told him the wish of the church, and solemnly required of him, if he would not offend the Lord and deprive his people of the aids they needed, to yield a ready compliance. He was thunderstruck with this address, tears gushed from his eyes, and, without saying a word in reply, he rushed to his chamber, where for awhile he remained prostrate in a state of extreme agitation. Gradually, however, he became calm, thoughtfully considered the whole case, and, believing it to be the will of God that he should become a minister of his truth, he surrendered himself to the work. In addition to the pastoral oversight of the garrison he preached frequently to the people of the town, and conducted several important discussions with the Popish priests, who, in every instance, were ignominiously defeated by his superior learning, sagacity, and eloquence. But his ministry at St. Andrews soon terminated. The regent having procured some French forces to reduce the castle, the defenders were besieged by sea and land, and, after making a gallant resistance, they surrendered to the French on honourable terms. It was stipulated that they should be taken to France and there set at liberty; but by the secret machinations of the priests, the terms of the treaty were violated. On reaching France, instead of being liberated, they were transferred to the state galleys and treated as criminals. This cruel treatment was imbittered by the idolatrous services of Popery performed in their presence, and by frequent attempts to persuade them back to the Popish church. But these Scotchmen proved inflexibly stubborn, and, sometimes, proudly defiant. An incident occurred on board the galleys which shows in a characteristic light the bearing they displayed to their Gallican masters. One day a finely adorned image of the Virgin being brought on board the galley where Knox was confined, he was required to give it the kiss of adoration. Revolting at the thought of the most distant compliance with idol-worship, he sternly refused, saying, that all such images were accursed of God. The officer who held the image attempted in rather rough style to