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JOHN KNOX’s apologetical Defence of his First Blast &c. to Queen ELIZABETH.

12 July 1559. John Knox to Sir William Cecil.

The spreit of wisdom heall your hart to the glorie of God and to the comforte of his afflicted mind.

On[e] caus[e] of my present writing is ryght honorable humblie to requyr you to Deliuer this other lettre enclosed to the quenes grace quilk conteaneht in few and sempill wordes my confession what I think of her authoritie, how far it is Just, and what may make it odious in goddis presence.

I hear there is a confutation sett furht in prent against the first blast. God graunt that the writar haue no more sought the fauours of the world, no less the glory of God and the stable commoditie of his country then did him who interprised in that blast to vt[t]er his Conscience. When I shall haue tym[e] (which now Is Dear and straitt vnto me) to peruse that work I will communicat[e] my Judgement with you concernying the sam[e]. The tym[e] Is now sir that all that eyther thrust Christ Jesus to r[e]ing in this yle, the liberties of the sam [e] to be keapt, to the inhabitantes therof, and theire hartis to be joyned together in love vnfeaned ought rather to study how the sam[e] may be brought to pass then vainly to trauall for the maintenance of that wharof allready we have seen the daunger, and felt the smart.

State Papers, Scotland, Vol. Art. 57. in Public Record office, London.

20 July 1559. John Knox’S Declaration to Queen Elizabeth.

To the verteuus and godlie Elizabeht by the grace of GOD quen of England etc John Knox desireht the perpetuall Encrease of the Holie Spiritt. etc.

As your graces displeasur against me most Iniustlie conceaned, hath be[en] and is to my wretched hart a burthen grevous and almost intollerabill, so is the testimonye of a clean conscience to me a stay and 58vphold that in desperation I sink not, how vehement that ever the temptations appear, for in GODDis presence my conscience beareht me reacord that maliciouslie nor of purpose I inoffended your grace, nor your realme. And therfor how so ever I be ludged by man, I am assured to be absolued by him who onlie knoweht the secreatis of hartes.

I can not Deny the Writeing of a booke against the vsurped aucthoritie and Iniust regiment of wemen, neyther yet am I mynded to retract or to call any principall point or proposition of the sam[e], till treuth and veritie do farther appear, but why that eyther your grace, eyther yit ony such as vnfeanedlie favourthe libertie of England should be offended at the aucthor of such a work I can perceaue no iust occasion.

For first my booke tuchheht not your graces person in especiall, neyther yit is it preiudiciall till any libertie of the realme yf the tyme and my Writing be indifferently considered. How could I be enemy to your graces person? for deliuerance quhairof I did mor[e] study, and interprise farther, than any of those that now accuse me. And as concerning your regiment how could? or can I envy that? which most I haue thrusted and for the which (as obliuion will suffer) I render thankis vnfeanedlie unto GOD that is, that it hath pleased Him of His eternall goodnes to exalt your head (which tymes wes in Daunger) to the manifestation of his glorie and extirpation of Idolatrie.

And as for any offence whiche I haf committed against England eyther in writeing that or of any other werk I will not refuse that moderate and indifferent men Iudge and decerne betwixt me and thost that accuse me. To witt Whither of the partijs Do most hurt the libertie of England, I that afferme that no woman may be exalted above any realme to mak[e] the libertie of the sam[e] thrall to a straunge, proud, and euell nation, or thai that approve whatsoeuir pleaseth princes for the tyme.

Yf I were wer[e] asweall disposed till accuse, as som of them (till thair owne schame) haue declared thame selves I nothing dowbt but that in few wordis I should lett ressonabill men vnderstand that som that this Day lowlie crouche to your grace, and lauboure to make me odious in your eyes, did in your aduersitie neyther shew thame selvis faithfull frendis 59to your grace, neyther yit so loving and cairfull ouer thair native cuntry as now thai wold be esteamed.

But omitting the accusation of others for my owne purgation and for your graces satisfaction I say. That nothyng in my booke conceaued Is, or can be preiudiciall to your graces iust regiment prouided that ye be not found vngrate unto GOD. Vngrate ye shalbe proued in presence of His throne, (howsoeuir that flatterairs Iustifie your fact) yf ye transfer the glory of that honour in which ye now stand to any other thing, then to the dispensation of His mercy which onelye mackethe that lauthfull to your grace Which nature and law Denyeth to all woman. Neyther wold I that your grace should fear that this your humiliation befoir GOD should in any case infirm or weaken your Iust and lauthfull authoritie befoir men. Nay madam such vnfeaned confession of goddis benefittis receaued shalbe the establishment of the sam[e] not onelye to your self, bot also to your sead and posteritie. Whane contrariwise a prowd conceat, and eleuation of your self shalbe the occasion that your reing shalbe vnstabill, trublesum and schort.

GOD is witness that vnfeanedlie I both love and reverence your grace, yea I pray that your reing may be long, prosperous, and quyet. And that for the quyetnes which Christis membris before persecuted haue receaued vnder yow but yit yf I should flatter your grace I were no freind, but a deceavabill trater. And therfor of conscience I am compelled to say, that neyther the consent of peopill, the proces of tyme, nor multitude of men, can establish a law which GOD shall approve, but whatsoeuer He approveht (by his eternall word) that shalbe approued, and whatsoeuer he dampneth shalbe condampneth, though all men in earth wold hasard the iustification of the sam[e]. And therfor[e] madam the onlie way to retean and to keap those benefittes of GOD haboundandlie powred now of laitt Dayis vpon yow, and vpon your realme is vnfeanedlie to rendir vnto GOD, to His mercy and vndeserued grace the [w]holl glory of this your exaltatioun, forget your byrth and all tytill which thervpon doth hing[e], and considder deaplie how for feir of your lyfe ye did declyne from GOD, and bow till Idolatrie. Lett it not appear a small offence in your eyis, that ye haue declyned from Christ Iesus in the Day of his battale, 60neyther yit wold I that ye should esteam that mercy to be vulgar and commone which ye haue receaued. To witt, that GOD hath covered your formar offence, hath presented yow when ye were most unthankfull, and in the end hath exalted and raised yow vp not onlie from the Dust, but also from the portes [gates] of death to reull above his people for the confort of his kirk. It aperteaneth to yow thairfor to ground the iustice of your aucthoritie not vpon that law which from year to year Doth change, but vpon the eternall prouidence of Hym who contrarfy to nature, and without your deserving hath thus exalted your head.

Yf thus in GODDis presence ye humill [humble] your self, as in my hart I glorifie GOD for that rest granted to His afflicted flock within England under yow a weak instrument, so will I with toung and pen iustifie your aucthoritie and regiment as the HOLIE GHOST hath iustified the same In DEBORA, that blessed mother in Israeli, but yf these premisses (as GOD forbid) neglected, ye shall begyn to brag of your birth, and to build your aucthoritie vpon your owne law, flatter yow who so list youre felicite shalbe schort. Interpret my rud[e] wordis in the best part as written by him who is no ennemye to your grace.

By diuerse letters I haue required licence to vesitt your realme not to seik my self neyther yit my owen ease, or commodite. Whiche yf ye now refuse and. deny I must remit my [?] to GOD, adding this for conclusioun, that commonlie it is sein that such as luf not the counsall of the faithfull (appear it never so scharp) are compelled to follow the Deceat of flatteraris to thair owen perdition. The mighty Spreit of the Lord Iesus move your hart to vnderstand what is said, geve vnto yow the discretion of spirittes, and so reull yow in all your actlonis and interprisis that in yow GOD may be glorified, His church edified, and ye your self as a livelie member of the sam[e] may be an exempill and mirroure of vertew and of godlie Lief till others.

So be it. Off Edinburgh the 20. Day of Julij. 1559.

By your graces [w]holly to command in godlynes.

Endorsed. John Knox.

To the ryght myghty ryght high and ryght excellent princesse Elzabeth quen of England, etc.

Be these Deliuered State Papers, Scotland, Vol. 1 Art. 65.


20 March 1561. Thomas Randolph to Sir William Cecil. [From Berwick on Tweed.]

Master Knox in certayne articles geuen vnto my Lord James at this tyme hath mytigated some what the rigour of his booke, referringe myche vnto ye tyme that the same was wrytten /

State Papers, Scotland, Vol. 6, Art. 37.

5 AUG. 1561. John Knox's second Defence to Queen Elizabeth.

Grace from GOD the Father throught our Lord Jesus with perpetuall Encrease of his holie spiritt.

May it please your maiestie that it is heir certainlie spoken that the Queen of Scotland [Mary Queen of Scots] travaleht earnestlie to have a treatise intituled the first blast of the trompett confuted by the answere of the learned in Diuerse realmes, And farther that she lauboureht to inflambe the hartes of princes against the writar. And because that it may appear that your maiestie hath interest, that she myndeht to trauall with your grace, your graces counsell, and learned men for Judgement against such a common enemy to women and to thair regiment. It were but foolishnes to me to prescribe vnto your maiestie what is to be done in any thing but especialie in such thinges as men suppose Do tuoch my self. But of on[e] thing I think my self assured and therefor I Dar[e] not conceall it. To witt that neyther Doht our soueraine so greatlie fear her owen estate by reasson of that book, neyther yet Doth she so vnfeanedlie fauour the tranquilitie of your maiesties reing and realme that she wo[u]lde tack so great and earnest paines onles that her crafty counsall in so Doing shot att a farther marck.

Two yeres ago I wrote vnto your maiestie my full Declaration tuoching that work, experience since hath schawen that I am not Desirous of Innovations [i.e. in Government], so that Christ Jesus be not in his members openlie troden vnder the feitt of the vngodlie. With furthie purgation I will not trouble your maiestie for the present. Besechinge the Eternall so to assist your Highnes in all affaires, that in his sight you may be found acceptable, your regiment profitable to your common wealht, and your factes [deeds] to be such that Iustlie thei may be praised of all godlie vnto the cuming of the lord Jesus to whose mighty protection I unfeanedlie 62committ your maiestie.

From Edinburgh the 5 of August 1561

Your maiesties suruand to command in godlines

Endorsed John Knox.

To the myghty and excellent princess Elizabeth the Quenes maiestie of England be these deliuered.

State Papers, Scotland, Vol. 6, Art 55.

Despite this triumphant appeal to his quiet citizenship under Mary Stuart, the following description of her mother shows that the great Scotchman never altered his private opinion on this subject.

The peace as said is contracted. The Queene Dowager past by sea to F[r]aunce with gallies that for that purpose were prepared and tooke with her diuerse of the nobilitie of Scotland. The Earles Huntly, Glencairne, Mershell, Cassilles. The Lordes Maxwell, flying, Sir George Dowglasse, together with all the kings sonnes, and diuerse Barrones, and gentlemen of Ecclesiasticall estate: the Bishop of Galloway, and manie others, with promise that they should be rechlie rewarded for their good seruice. What they receaued we can not tell, but few were made rich at their returning. The Dowager had to practise somewhat with her brethren, the Duke of Gwyse and the Cardinal of Lora[i]ne. The weight wherof the gouernour after felt: for shortlie after his returning, was the gouernour deposed of the gouernement (Iustlie by GOD, but most iniustlie by man) and she made regent, in the yere of our Lord 1554. And a crowne put vpon her head, as seemelie a sight (if men had eyes) as to put a saddle vpon the back of an vnruly cow. And so beganne she to practise, practise vpon practise, how Fraunce might be aduanced, hir friends made rich, and she brought to immortall glorie. For that was her common talke, “So that I may procure the wealth and honour of my friendes, and a good fame vnto my selfe, I regarde not what GOD doe after with me.” And in verie deede in deepe dissimulation to bring her owne purpose to effect she passed the common sort of women, as we will after heare. But yet GOD to whose Gospell she declared her selfe enemie, in the end [did] frustrate her of her deuises. The Historie of the Church of Scotland, pp. 192-193. [Ed. 1584].


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