Today marks the birthday of Scottish reformer John Knox (1513-1572). Anthony Curto provides an intriguing introduction to “John Knox: The Watchman of Scotland.” Best known for his fearless efforts to reform the Church of Scotland by uncompromisingly butting heads with the thrown, he also faithfully served to instill personal piety and adherence to the word of God in the homes of Christian families. In 1559 he wrote,
Dear brethren, if you look for a life to come, of necessity it is that you exercise yourselves in the book of the Lord your God. Let no day slip or want some comfort received from the mouth of God.
Open your ears, and he will speak even pleasant things to your heart. Close not your eyes, but diligently let them behold what portion of substance is left to you within your Father’s testament. Let your tongues learn to praise the gracious goodness of him, whose mere mercy has called you from darkness to life. Neither yet may you do this so quietly that you admit no witness. No, Brethren, you are ordained of God to rule your own houses in his true fear, and according to his word.
Within your houses, I say, in some cases, you are bishops and kings; your wife, children, servants, and family are your bishopric and charge. Of you it shall be required how carefully and diligently you have instructed them in God’s true knowledge, how you have studied to plant virtue in them, and [to] repress vice. And therefore I say, you must make them partakers in reading, exhorting, and in making common prayers, which I would in every house were used once a day at least.
But above all things, dear brethren, study to practice in life that which the Lord commands, and then be you assured that you shall never hear nor read the same without fruit. And this much for the exercises within your homes.