The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


CHAPTER TWENTY: Knox and Napier Notable Scottish Expositors

I. The Setting of the Reformation in Scotland

England’s dominant idea in the Reformation was to free the throne from the pope’s supremacy; that of Scotland was the emancipation of conscience from the popish faith. So the chief result of the Reformation in England was a free state, while in Scotland the immediate product was a free church, 1 though these achievements were soon merged. PFF2 443.1


In 1525-1527 the Scottish Parliament sought to check the progress of the Reformed faith by stringent laws. All were forbidden to possess or to discuss any of the writings of Luther or his disciples. 2 But stanch Protestants bore their testimony in the face of death at the stake. Patrick Hamilton, studying abroad at the University of Marburg, heard Lambert of Avignon’s lectures on the Apocalypse. Inspired by the light of the prophetic Word, he returned to Scotland full of missionary zeal. But after witnessing for a time, he was accused, and died at the stake in 1528. 3 PFF2 443.2

No threats of burning, however, could deter the Scotch from secret meetings at night, or from bringing forth their Bibles from their secret hiding places and strengthening one another with newly gained light. GEORGE WISHART (c. 1513-1546), re turning from exile in 1544, when not permitted in churches, preached the gospel with apostolic zeal until he also was burned, in 1546. As a student, Knox learned about the unscriptural character of the Papacy from Wishart, sometimes accompanying him to protect him. But on his last trip Wishart bade him return, saying, “One is sufficient for one sacrifice.” 4 PFF2 443.3

Famous Reformation Wall in Geneva, With Giant Figures of Farel, Calvin, Beza, and Knox (Upper Left); Knox Thundering His Powerful Message from the Prophecies (Upper Right); Calvin’s Church in Geneva (Lower Left); and Francis Lambert, First French Convert to the Reformation (Lower Right). See Pages 425, 445, 433, and 302
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