John Knox: Portrait of a Calvinist

John Knox: Portrait of a Calvinist

John Knox: Portrait of a Calvinist

John Knox: Portrait of a Calvinist

Excerpt

For this biography I have gone chiefly to the writings of Knox himself, and to the usual contemporary records. The Reverend Dr. M'Crie's and Professor Hume Brown's Lives have also been of help, but my particular gratitude is due to Andrew Lang's John Knox and the Reformation, the one biography I have found which attempts to be critical.

My reading of Knox's life disagrees with that of most of his other biographers since M'Crie. It is on the whole supported, however, by the eighteenth century estimate represented by David Hume and Burns. If I show bias it is not, at any rate, theological bias.

The object of this book is somewhat different from that of the biographies which I have mentioned: it is to give a critical account of a representative Calvinist and Puritan. The temper in which I have attempted this may perhaps best be described as realistic; I assume, for example, that terms such as predestination and election do not actually describe for the present age the change which took place in Knox's life, and I assume equally that his firm conviction of his prophetic powers was a delusion. In other words I have attempted to tell in contemporary terms how a typical Calvinist and Puritan lived, felt and thought . . .

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