The Early Kings of Norway: Also An Essay on the Portraits of John Knox

By Thomas Carlyle | Go to book overview

II.

Will the reader consent, at this stage of our little enterprise, to a few notices or excerpts direct from Knox himself; from his own writings and actions: perhaps it may be possible from these, even on the part of outsiders and strangers to Knox, to catch some glimpses of his inward physiognomy, though all credible traces of his outward or bodily lineaments appear hitherto to have fallen impossible. Here is a small touch of mirth on the part of Knox, from whom we are accustomed to expect very opposite things. It is the report of a Sermon by one Arth, a Black or Gray Friar, of the St. Andrews neighbourhood, seemingly a jocular person, though not without serious ideas: Sermon, which was a discourse on 'Cursing' (Clerical Excommunication), a thing the priests were wonderfully given to at that time, had been preached first in Dundee, and had got for poor Arth from certain jackmen of the Bishop of Brechin, instead of applause, some hustling and even cuffing, followed by menaces and threatened tribulation from the Bishop himself; till Arth got permission to deliver his sermon again in the Kirk of St. Andrews to a distinguished audience, who voted the purport and substance of it to be essentially true and justifiable. Here, at second hand, is Knox's summary of the discourse, written many years after:

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