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the chief instrument and promoter of the reformation in Scotland,

, the chief instrument and promoter of the reformation in Scotland, was descended of an ancient and honourable family, and born 1505, at Gifford, in the county of East Lothian, Scotland. His parents gave him a liberal education, which in that age was far from being common. He was first placed at the grammar-school of Haddington, and after acquiring the principles of the Latin tongue, was sent to the university of St. Andrew’s under professor John Major, the same who was Buchanan’s tutor, a very acute schoolman, and deep in theology. Knox, however, examining the works of Jerom and Austin, began to dis-relish this subtilizing method, altered his taste, and applied himself to plain and solid divinity. At his entrance upon this new course of study, he attended the preaching of Thomas Guillaume, or Williams, a friar of eminence, whose sermons were of extraordinary service to him; and he acquired still more knowledge of the truth from the martyr, George Wishart, so much celebrated in, the history of this time, who came from England in 1554, with commissioners from king Henry VIII. Knox, being of an inquisitive nature, learned from him the principles of the reformation; with which he was so well pleased, that he renounced the Romish religion, and having now relinquished all thoughts of officiating in that church, which had invested him with clerical orders, he entered as tutor into the family of Hugh Douglas of Long Niddrie, a gentleman in East Lothian, who had embraced the reformed doctrines. Another gentleman, in the neighbourhood, also put his son under his tuition, and these two youths were instructed by him in the principles of religion, as well as of the learned languages, and he taught the former in such a way as to allow the rest of the family, and the people of the neighbourhood, to reap advantage from it. He catechised them publicly in a chapel at Long Niddrie, in which be also read to them at stated times, a chapter of the Bible, accompanied with explanatory remarks. The memory of this has been preserved by tradition; and the chapel, the ruins of which are still apparent, is popularly called “John Knox’s kirk.” It was not, however, to be expected, that he would long be suffered to continue in this employment, under a government entirely at the devotion of cardinal Beaton (see Beaton); and although he was, in the midst of his tyranny, cut off by a conspiracy in 1546, Hamilton, successor to the vacant bishopric, sought Knox’s life with as much eagerness as his predecessor. Hence Knox resolved to retire to Germany, where the reformation was gaining ground; knowing that, in England, though the pope’s authority was suppressed, yet the greater part of his doctrine remained in full vigour. He was, however, diverted from his purpose, and prevailed on to return to St. Andrew’s, January 1547; where he soon after accepted a preacher’s place, though sorely against his will.