« AnteriorContinuar »
the particular case of the Sovereign of England and her subjects, by Knox, who insisted principally on three points;First, that Queen Mary was a woman, and as such a creature under the curse of God. Secondly, that she was illegitimate, and therefore an usurper. Thirdly, that waiving the question of her sex and birth, and supposing for the sake of argument that she had come fairly to the throne, yet she had shown herself to be a tyrant, and ought to be crushed like a viper. These points cannot always be kept separate in discussion ; but they will show themselves plainly enough in passages which will be laid before the reader.
Knox, indeed, comes to the point at once by beginning his “ Blast with these words :
“Wonder it is, that amongest so many pregnant wittes as the Ile of greate Brittany hath produced, so many godlie and zelous preachers as England did sometime norishe, and amongest so many learned and men of graue iudgement, as this day by IESABEL are exiled, none is found so stowte of courage, so faithfull to God, nor louing to their natiue countrie, that they dare admonishe the inhabitantes of that Ile how abominable before God, is the Empire or Rule of a wicked woman, yea of a traiteresse and bastard; and what may a people or nation left destitute of a lawfull head, do by the authoritie of Goddes worde in electing and appointing common rulers and magistrates. That Ile (alas) for the contempt and horrible abuse of Goddes mercies offred, and for the shamefull reuolting to Satan frome Christ Iesus, and frome his Gospell ones professed, doth iustlie merite to be left in the bandes of their own counsel, and so to come to confusion and bondage of strangiers.
“But yet I feare that this vniuersal negligence of such as sometimes were esteemed watchemen, shall rather aggrauate our former ingratitude, than excuse this our vniuersall and vngodlie silence, in so weightie a mater. We se our countrie set furthe for a pray to foreine nations; we heare the blood of our brethren, the membres of Christ Iesus, most cruellie to be shed; and the monstruous empire of a cruell woman (the secrete counsel of God excepted.) we knowe to be the onlie occasion of all these miseries : and yet with silence we passe the time as thogh the mater did nothinge appertein to vs. But the contrarie examples of the auncient prophetes moue me to doubte of this our fact. For Israel did vniuersalie decline frome God by embrasing idolatrie vnder Ieroboam. In whiche they did continue euen vnto the destruction of their common welthe. And Iuda withe Ierusalem did followe the vile superstition and open iniquitie of Samaria. But yet ceased not the prophetes of God to admonishe the one and the other. Yea, euen after that God had poured furthe his plagues vpon them. For Ieremie did write to the captiues in Babylon, and did correct their errors, plainlie instructing them, who did remaine in the middest of that idolatrouse nation. Ezechiel frome the middest of his brethren prisoners in Chaldea, did write
his vision to those that were in Ierusalem, and sharplie rebukinge their vices, assured them that they shuld not escape the vengeance of God by reason of their abominations committed.
“The same prophetes for comfort of the afflicted and chosen saintes of God, who did lie hyd amongest the reprobate of that age (as commonlie doth the corne amongest the chaffe) did prophecie, and before speake, the changes of kingdomes, the punishmentes of tyrannes, and the vengeance whiche God wold execute vpon the oppressors of his people. The same did Daniel and the rest of the prophetes euerie one in their season. By whose examples and by the plaine precept, which is geuen to Ezechiel, commanding him that he shall say to the wicked, “Thou shalt die the death,' we in this our miserable age are bounde to admonishe the world and the tyrannes therof, of their sodeine destruction; to assure them, and to crie vnto them, whether they list to heare or not, that the blood of the saintes, which by them is shed, continuallie crieth and craueth vengeance in the presence of the Lorde of hostes.
“And further, it is our dutie to open the truthe reueled vnto vs, vnto the ignorant and blind world, vnlest that to our owne condemnation we list to wrap vp and hyde the talent committed to our charge. I am assured that God hath reueled to some in this our age, that it is more then a monstre in nature, that a woman shall reigne and haue empire aboue man. And yet with vs all, there is suche silence, as if God there with were nothing offended. The naturall man, ennemy to God shall fynd, I knowe, many causes why no suche doctrine oght to be published in these our dangerous dayes. First, for that it may seme to tend to sedition : secondarilie it shal be dangerous not onlie to the writer or publisher, but also to all such as shall reade the writinges, or fauor this truth spoken : and last it shall not amend the chief offenders, partlie because it shall neuer come to their eares, and partlie because they will not be admonished in such
How he pursued the subject thus broadly opened will appear from the following extracts;
“Yf any think that the empire of women, is not of such importance, that for the suppressing of the same, any man is bounde to hazarde his life, I answer, that to suppresse it, is in the hand of god alone. But to vtter the impiety and abomination of the same, I say, it is the dutie of euerie true messager of God, to whome the truth is reueled in that behalfe. For the especiall dutie of Goddes messagers is to preache repentance, to admonisbe the offenders of their offenses, and to say to the wicked, “thou shalt die the death,' except thou repent. This, I trust, will no man denie to be the propre Office of all Goddes messagers, to preache (as I have said) repentance and remission of synnes. But nether of both can be done, except the conscience of the offenders be accused and conuicted of transgression. For howe shall any man repent not knowing wherein he bath offended? And where no repentance is founde, there can be no entrie to grace. And therfore I say, that of necessitie it is that this monstriferouse empire of women (which amongest all enormities, that this day do abound vpon the face of the hole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openlie reueled and plainlie declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and be saued. And thus farre to the first sorte.”-Knox, Pref. p. 5.
* To promote a woman to beare rule, superioritie, dominion or empire aboue any realme, nation, or citie, is repugnant to nature, contumelie to God, a thing most contrarious to his reuelled will and approued ordinance, and finallie it is the subuersion of good order, of all equitie and iustice."-Knox, p. 9.
“But now to the second part of nature: In the whiche I include the reueled will and perfect ordinance of God, and against this parte of nature, I say, that it doth manifestlie repugne that any woman shal reigne or beare dominion ouer man. For God first by the order of his creation, and after by the curse and malediction pronounced against the woman, by reason of her rebellion, hath pronounced the contrarie.
“First, I say that women in her greatest perfection, was made to serue and obey man, not to rule and command him: As saint Paule doth reason in these wordes : Man is not of the woman but the woman of the man. And man was not created for the cause of the woman, but the woman for the cause of man, and therfore oght the woman to have a power vpon her head (that is a couerture in signe of subiection). Of whiche words it is plaine that the Apostle meaneth, that woman in her greatest perfection shuld haue knowen, that man was Lord aboue her: and therfore that she shulde neuer haue pretended any kind of superioritie aboue him, no more then do the angels aboue God the creater, or aboue Christ Jesus their head. So, I say, that in her greatest perfection woman was created to be subiect to man.
“ But after her fall and rebellion committed against God, there was put vpon her a newe necessitie, and she was made subiect to man by the irreuocable sentence of God, pronounced in these wordes : I will greatlie multiplie thy sorowe and thy conception. With sorow shalt thou beare thy children, and thy will shall be subiect to thy man : and he sbal beare dominion ouer the. Herebie may such as altogither be not blinded plainlie see, that God, by his sentence, hath deiected all woman from empire and dominion aboue man. For two punishmentes are laid vpon her, to witte, a dolor, anguishe and payn, as oft as euer she shal be mother: and a subiection of her selfe, her appetites and will, to her husband, and to his will. Frome the former part of this malediction can nether arte, nobilitie, policie, nor lawe made by man, deliuer womankinde, but who soeuer atteineth to that honour to be mother, proueth in experience the effect and strength of goddes word. But (alas) ignorance of God, ambition, and tyrannie haue studied to abolishe and destroy the second parte of Goddes punishment. For women are lifted vp to be heades ouer realmes, and to rule aboue men at their pleasure and appetites. But horrible is the vengeance, which is prepared for the one and for the other, for the promoters, and for the persones promoted, except they speedilie repent. For they shall be deiected from the glorie of the sonnes of God, to the sclauerie of the deuill, and to the tor
ment that is prepared for all suche, as do exalte themselves against God.
Against God can nothing be more manifest, than that a woman shall be exalted to reigne aboue man. For the contrarie sentence hath he pronounced in these wordes : Thy will shall be subiect to thy husband, and he shall beare dominion ouer the. As God shald say: forasmuch as thou hast abused thy former condition, and because thy free will hath broght thy selfe and mankind into the bondage of Satan, I therfore will bring the in bondage to man. For where before, thy obedience shuld haue bene voluntarie, nowe it shall be by constreint and by necessitie : and that because thou hast deceived thy man, thou shalt therfore be no longar maistresse ouer thine own appetites, ouer thine owne will nor desires. For in the there is nether reason nor discretion, whiche be able to moderate thy affections, and therfore they shall be subiect to the desire of thy
He shall be Lord and gouernour, not onlie ouer thy bodie, but euen ouer thy appetites and will.
“This sentence, I say, did God pronounce against Heua and her daughters, as the rest of the Scriptures doth euidentlie witnesse. So that no woman can euer presume to reigne aboue man, but the same she must nedes do in despite of God, and in contempt of his punishment and malediction.”—Knox, p. 15.
“For who wolde not iudge that bodie to be a monstre, where there was no head eminent aboue the rest, but that the eyes were in the handes, the tonge and mouth beneth in the belie, and the eares in the feet. Men, I say, shulde not onlie pronounce this bodie to be a monstre: but assuredlie they might conclude that such a bodie coulde pot long indure. And no lesse monstruous is the bodie of that common welth, where a woman beareth empire. For ether doth it lack a laufull heade (as in very dede it doth) or els there is an idol exalted in the place of the true head. An idol I call that, which hath the forme and apparance, but lacketh the vertue and strength, which the name and proportion do resemble and promise. As images haue face, nose, eyes, mouth, handes, and feet painted, but the vse of the same, can not the craft and art of man geue them : as the holy ghost by the mouth of Dauid teacheth vs, saying : they haue eyes, but they see not, mouth, but they speake not, nose, but they smell not, handes and feet, but they neither touche nor haue power to go.
“And suche, I say, is euerie realme and nation, where a woman beareth dominion. For in despite of God (he of his iust iudgement, so geuing them ouer in to a reprobat minde) may a realme, I confesse, exalt vp a woman to that monstriferous honor, to be estemed as head. But impossible it is to man and angel, to geue vnto her the properties and perfect offices of a laufull heade. For the same God that hath denied power to the hand to speake, to the bely to heare, and to the feet to see, hath denied to woman power to commande man, and hath taken away wisdome to consider, and prouidence to forsee the thinges that be profitable to the common welth : yea finallie he hath denied to her in any case to be head to man : but plainly hath pronounced that man is head to woman, euen as Christ is heade to all man. If men in a blinde rage shulde assemble to gether, and apointe them selues an other heade then Jesus Christ, (as the papistes haue done their romishe Antichrist) shuld Christ therfore lose his owne dignitie, or shulde God geue to that counterfet head power to geve life to the bodie, to see what soeuer might endamage or hurte it, to speake in defense, and to heare the request of euerie subject? It certein that he wold not. For that honor he hath apointed before all times to his onlie sonne : and the same will he geue to no creature besides : no more will he admit, nor accept woman to be the lauful head ouer man, although man, deuil, and angel will coniure in their fauor.”—p. 27.
“For nature hath in all beastes printed a certeine marke of dominion in the male, and a certeine subiection in the female, whiche they kepe inuiolate. For no man euer sawe the lion make obedience, and stoupe before the lionesse, nether yet can it be proued, that the hinde taketh the conducting of the heard amongest the hartes. And yet (alas) man, who by the mouth of God hath dominion apointed to him ouer woman, doth not onlie to his own shame, stoupe vnder the obedience of women, but also in despit of God and of his apointed ordre, reioyseth, and mainteineth that monstruouse authoritie, as a thing lauful and iust."-p. 30.
“ Albeit I haue thus (talkinge with my God in the anguishe of my harte) some what digressed: yet haue I not ytterlie forgotten my former proposition, to witt, that it is a thing repugnant to the ordre of nature, that any woman be exalted to rule ouer men. For God hath denied vnto her the office of a head. And in the intreating of this parte, I remembre that I haue made the nobilitie both of England and Scotland inferior to brute beastes for what they do to women, which no male amongest the common sorte of beastes can be proued to do to their females : that is, they reuerence them, and qwake at their presence, they obey their commandementes, and that against God. Wherfore I iudge them not onelie subiectes to women, but sclaues of Satan, and seruantes of iniquitie. If any man thinke these my wordes sharpe or vehement, let him consider that the offense is more haynous, then can be expressed by wordes. For where all thinges, be expressedly concluded against the glorie and honor of God, and where the blood of the saintes of God is commanded to be shed, whome shall we iudge, God or the deuil, to be president of that counsel ?"-p. 32.
The hint thus given to the Queen's Council must not be passed over without remark. It is, of course, highly important to notice it in an inquiry which turns so much on the question how far the proceedings of the government at home was influenced by the conduct of parties abroad. The idea is elsewhere repeated and amplified by Knox;
“For that woman reigneth aboue man, she hath obteined it by treason and conspiracie committed against God. Howe can it be