The Works of John Knox
Unfortunately for many years hardback sets of Knox’s Works have been virtually unobtainable by, and inaccessible to, the general public. Now, to mark the 500th anniversary of his birth (probably in 1514) and the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first definitive edition of the Scottish reformer’s Works (1846-64), these rare volumes have been reprinted.
The present republication of the reformer’s writings provides a unique and remarkably affordable opportunity for a new generation of students to rediscover and get to know the real John Knox.
While these volumes will be invaluable for students, their message deserves a much wider readership. At a time when many are concerned how Christian influence is to be revived in the ‘post-Christian’ West, Knox tells the story of events set in what were, in many ways, days darker than our own. He both records and illustrates what he saw as the ultimate key: ‘God gave his Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance.’
The production of this six-volume set has been designed to last into the next century. It represents an important contribution to both a more accurate view of Knox and at the same time carries its own message for those who may be perplexed about both the contemporary condition and the future prospects of the church today.
About the Author
John Knox (1514-1579) was the most famous of all Scottish Reformers. Born in Edinburgh, England, he studied at St. Andrews and later served as a deacon and a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
Converted to Christ and the Reformation cause by the preaching of Protestant Thomas Guillame, Knox was then mentored by George Wishart, who was martyred in 1546. Knox was shortly afterwards pressed into public ministry by many who profited from his instruction and discussions, and he was so humbled and overwhelmed by the idea of such a calling, he went to his room and wept and prayed for days, after which he accepted the call.
When French warships attacked Scotland in 1547, Knox was taken prisoner and forced into a life of slavery in chains among other galley slaves. After 19 months he was set free by an almost inexplicable miracle, simply cut loose onto a barren shore by his French captors. Knox used his newfound liberty to travel to England where Archbishop Cranmer was working to promote the Reformation, and he was appointed once again to preach the Word, this time in Berwick. He passionately assailed the Roman Catholic mass as idolatry because it was ‘invented by the brain of man’ and not commanded by God.
By 1560, the First Scottish Reformation began to make great progress, as the Scottish Parliament outlawed the mass and banned the Pope as having any right or rule in Scotland. That summer, Knox became minister in Edinburgh. Public worship in Scotland was now, in answer to his prayers, based solidly on the reading, proclamation, and singing of God’s Word. Roman Catholic was broken in the land. Knox continued preaching for the rest of his life and died in 1572. When he was buried, it was said that ‘Here lies a man who in his life never feared the face of man’.