The Martyrdom of the Blessed Servant of God, Walter Mill – John Knox

The Martyrdom of the Blessed Servant of God, Walter Mill – John Knox

Walter Mill was the last Protestant martyr in Scotland before the Reformation. He was born in 1476 and became a Roman Catholic priest, but like John Knox [link to First Reformation – Reformers – John Knox] later on, he became convinced that the Roman Catholic mass was idolatry, so he stopped holding it and ran away to Germany. He returned to Scotland in 1556, aged eighty years old, and was arrested two years later. He was arrested not just because of his beliefs, but because he had got married, which priests weren’t allowed to do.

He was sentenced to be burnt at the stake in St Andrews, but the people refused to provide the wood and rope needed for the execution. The burning eventually went ahead, but his death horrified people everywhere and helped bring about the end of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. People didn’t usually live to be as old in those days, so the death of an 82-year old priest upset people even more than the death of younger men such as Hamilton and Wishart. Before he went to the stake he warned the people not to believe the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but to ‘depend only upon Jesus Christ and His mercy, so that you may be delivered from condemnation’.

“That blessed martyr of Christ, Walter Mill, a
man of decrepit age, was put to death most cruelly the 28th April, 1558.” – John Knox

John Knox (1514 – 1572) was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country’s Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

The exact time of John Knox conversion is not known, however it is clear that by the end of March 1543 he was committed to the Christian gospel. It was at this time that he was persuaded to take a more public stand for the gospel and act as the bodyguard for the preacher George Wishart. who had been accused of conspiring to assassinate Cardinal Beaton, the Roman Catholic emissary to Scotland. Only five hours after Knox eventually left him George Wishart was arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned to death.

The exact time of John Knox conversion is not known, however it is clear that by the end of March 1543 he was committed to the Christian gospel. It was at this time that he was persuaded to take a more public stand for the gospel and act as the bodyguard for the preacher George Wishart. who had been accused of conspiring to assassinate Cardinal Beaton, the Roman Catholic emissary to Scotland. Only five hours after Knox eventually left him George Wishart was arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned to death.

Having been Wishart’s bodyguard meant that Knox himself was now in danger, after being harried around Scotland for a while he ended up fleeing to St Andrews where a group of gentry and their supporters had killed Cardinal Beaton and taken over his castle. While in St Andrews Knox was officially appointed preacher, and preached his first sermon on Daniel 7:24-25. It soon became apparent that Knox was prepared to strike at the very root of the Catholic system. When The castle of St Andrews finally surrendered to the French backed forces of Mary Stuart in August 1547, Knox was sentenced to serve as an oarsman in the French galleys. While this was a time of great physical suffering it was also a time of great strengthening spiritually.

After his release from the galleys in 1549 Knox settled in England and became a minister in the Church of England, which was then at the height of its own reformation. It was not long however before differences began to show themselves between Knox and those in the Church of England who only wanted a partial reformation of the Roman Catholic system.

When in 1553 King Edward VI died and was succeeded by his sister Mary who was an ardent Catholic, Knox felt it was time to leave England for continental Europe. It was not long after this that he was appointed Pastor of an English speaking church in Frankfurt, this did not last long though as the church became dominated by those who insisted upon an Anglican form of worship rather than one with gospel preaching at its center. Knox moved on to Geneva where he began to Pastor the first true Puritan church, a church which held preaching to be the center of church worship.

After the death of Queen Mary of England the Geneva church decided to transfer home to England, this allowed Knox to return to his home country of Scotland in 1559. Things were not straightforward for Knox even then. In Scotland Mary of Guise was ruling as Queen of France and Scotland. Knox preached around Scotland gaining support for the reformation, while Mary used French troops in an attempt to gain a decisive military victory over the Protestants. Her victory was not to be, While Mary looked for support from France, The Protestants had secured support from Elizabeth in England.

In July 1560 Mary of Guise died and by August 1560 Scotland was declared Protestant by an act of Parliament, a National Reformed church was established and John Knox was active in organizing it. While all of this was going on Mary Queen of Scots was living in France with her husband. In December he died, and Mary was allowed to return to Scotland on the condition that she did not attempt to bring back the blasphemous Catholic mass to Scotland. Mary did not keep to this agreement and was soon using every available subterfuge to promote Catholic influence throughout Scotland.

He preached for the last time on 9 November 1572 and was taken ill a few days later and he died on 24 November 1572.

About Rich Moore

I will be sharing videos from my YouTube channel to this blog in the hope that others might be blessed and God glorified. Here is a description of my channel: A large video collection of classic hymns, contemporary Praise and Worship songs, and the works (audio books, devotional readings, and sermons) of men greatly used of God, such as: Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, John MacArthur, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, and many more, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. May your time spent here be blessed. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) https://www.youtube.com/user/stack45ny
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