John Knox in Controversy

John Knox in Controversy

John Knox in Controversy

John Knox in Controversy

Excerpt

When I received the invitation in 1947 from Princeton Theological Seminary to deliver the Stone Lectures there during Session 1948-9, it was accompanied by the suggestion that a Scottish subject, relating to one of the significant epochs of our Church History, would be most acceptable. About two years before the invitation a leading towards a possible theme had come to me. Making my way one day to the National Library I came across a goodly company of men in uniform--mostly American--who were viewing the sights of Edinburgh, conducted by a guide. At the moment of my encounter with them, they were being shown the 'I. K.' on the causeway which marks the grave of John Knox. Almost immediately one of the company--in chaplain's uniform--stepped forward and solemnly spat on the stone, saying, 'I promised my dad away back in Wisconsin (or was it Minnesota?) that if ever I came to Edinburgh I would spit on the bully's grave.' On pondering the incident I came to the conclusion that he had confused two things which he had heard from his father, who, doubtless, had told him about John Knox's grave and also about the Heart of Midlothian, formed of causeway stones in the paving near by, and of the habit, still continuing, of spitting on the Heart, with its unsavoury memories of the Old Tolbooth and of the Porteous Riots. But . . .

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