Lecture given at the Protestant Reformation Society,

Regent’s Park College, Oxford, 2007

The Troubles at Frankfurt

A Vindication of our Martyrs’ Legacy


The tiny enclave that rescued the Reformation in England

     Readers of Asterix will be familiar with a tiny fortress, a mere dot on the map of the Roman Empire, which was to bring Rome to its knees. So much for fairy-tales. Solid fact are better than airy fiction. The real Frankfurt of 1553-59 was also a tiny bastion on the Roman Catholic map which because of its hospitality to the bulk of the Marian refugees, succeeded, by God’s grace, in providing the doctrinal and spiritual power which brought down a more dangerous Rome in Reformation England. Sadly this blind world loves fiction more than fact and the story of Frankfurt has become obscured by party myths, political legends and denominational squabbles. There are thus roughly three version of the so-called Troubles at Frankfurt. The most radical is illustrated by M.A. Simpson’s 1975 work entitled John Knox and the Troubles Begun at Frankfurt. Simpson, in an effort to erase all false interpretations of the events, pronounces all the records, whether from the pens of Calvin, Grindal, Ridley, Jewel, Knox, Cox, Whittingham, Samson, or whomsoever, as so manipulated that they are rendered useless. Thus the bulk of the writers during the Marian persecutions and Elizabeathen Settlement can be discarded as representing post-event party trends. Simpson builds on another critical work, Christina Hallowell Garrett’s The Marian Exiles, published in 1938 and reprinted by OUP in 1966, which is also more of a curiosity than a helpful history. Garrett had rejected the theological and doctrinal motives which caused the Frankfurt trouble and puts the whole matter down to politics. Simpson goes a step further and rejects any theological or political importance whatsoever. It is merely a propaganda exercise. (Note debt to Derek)

     The second version is that propagated by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book The Puritans. Lloyd-Jones combines both the political and doctrinal aspects and sees a direct link between the troubles at Frankfurt and the Great Rebellion at the time of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. Though Knox paid only a relatively brief visit to Frankfurt, Lloyd-Jones makes Knox the leading political and religious rebel whose work at Frankfurt paved the way for the disestablishment of the church of England and ushered in the Puritan movement, Of Knox at Frankfurt, Lloyd-Jones says: 

     “Here he was ahead of Calvin, and this is again a sign of true Puritanism. I maintain that one cannot truly understand the revolution that took place here in England in the next century except in the light of this teaching. Here was the first opening of the door that led to that later development.”[1. The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, p. 275. ]

     This, according to Lloyd-Jones, the troubles at the relatively tiny church at Frankfurt in the middle of the 16th century, sparked off the terrible bloodshed of the civil, Commonwealth and denominational wars of a century later. Lloyd-Jones sees this as a positive trend and regards the English Reformers as Miles Coverdale, Edmund Grindal, John Jewel, John Fox and Richard Cox as representing a false and lost cause. Knox is Lloyd-Jones’ Asterix, spelt differently, but Knox’s foe was not Rome but the Church of England. Some of our modern Ultra- Puritans have criticised me for daring to be objective on Knox. Scotsman Andrew Lang, perhaps the most well-known of Knox’ biographers, warns against the hagiographical ignorance of lovers of Knox and explains that the shocking writings of Knox are not, as a rule, set before the public by his biographers. Giving Carlyle much of the blame, as I do also for the unhistorical figure of Cromwell he has conjured up, Lang says: 

     “Mr Carlyle introduced a style of thinking about Knox which may be called platonically Puritan. Sweet enthusiasts glide swiftly over all the Reformer that is specially distasteful to us.”[2. John Knox and the Reformation, pp. ix-x. ]

     After presenting some of Knox’s extraordinary exaggerations and before going on to list several pages more, England’s own John Strype says in his 1709 Annals of the Reformation, “This is enough to show the Hot Spirit of this Man, and the Prejudice he had, for some Cause or other conceived against this Church and Kingdom: where he had once been kindly harboured.”[3. Ibid, p. 121.] Commenting on Knox’ ‘rude vehemencie and inconsidered affirmations’[4. See Laing, Knox’s Works, Vol. 5, p. 5. Knox is writing to Foxe who had criticises Knox’s politcal and revolutionary ideas as signs of ‘coler’.] whenever he thought of Elizabeth and the Reformed Church of England, Lang concludes: 

     “The truth is that Knox contemplates a State in which the civil power shall be entirely and absolutely of his own opinions; the King, as ‘Christ’s silly vassal’ to quote Andrew Melville, being obedient to such prophets as himself. The theories of Knox regarding the duty to revenge God’s feud by the private citizen, and regarding religious massacre by the civil power, ideas which would justify the Bartholomew horrors, appear to be forgotten in modern times.”[5. Lang, John Knox and the Reformation, p. 85.]

     Those who support the Lloyd-Jones version make the Troubles at Frankfurt a fight between the Coxians (alleged followers of Richard Cox, Chancellor of Oxford and tutor to Edward VI) and the Knoxians (alleged followers of John Knox, former Anglican minister of Berwick.). The great challengers of Rome on the ‘Coxian’ side, such as Grindal, Whitehead, Sampson, Jewel, Sandys, Lever and Fox(e) are depicted as if they were dyed in the wool papists at heart. The Knoxians are displayed anachronistically as being the revolutionaries, politicians and Puritans of a later but brief Presbyterian age.

Knoxian basics briefly listed

     The supposed scenario is that a Reformed group of English believers, all Calvinists, except for one Anglican, settled in Frankfurt, drew up a simple church order and called Knox as their pastor. The following year, a minority group of Highchurchmen, led by nigh-Papist Richard Cox, came from Strassburg, took over the church and insisted on introducing popish ceremonies in popish regalia. This led to a mass exodus from Frankfurt and the founding of the Church in Geneva under Knox. It is interesting to note that though Simpson has obviously studied the sources diligently but comes to the wrong conclusions, the position held by Lloyd-Jones appears to be absolutely void of any research and is merely put forward as what must have happened according to Lloyd-Jones’ political and Dissenting principles. We are back to the pure myth of the Asterix comic-strips. Sadly, the Lloyd-Jones scenario is accepted by many otherwise competent scholars.

Lloyd-Jones says very critical things about Englishmen in general and Anglicans in particular for their tendency to avoid extremes and indeed compromise. He argues that we must choose black or white. He, I believe, made the wrong choice. I shall outline a third way which steers clear of the extremes of both Lloyd-Jones and Simpson. This factual version is presented in my book The Troublemakers at Frankfurt: A Vindication of the English Reformation. It is a version which is not built on the re-writing of history which occurred in England during the Presbyterian putsch, long after the events they purport to describe, though I have consulted those documents diligently. It is based largely on 16th  century evidence and further studies made in 18th century Europe on this period. These works are in French, German, Dutch, Latin and English. These studies have often helped me to reconstruct texts in English which Simpson claimed had been tampered with for propaganda reasons. A case in point is Calvin’s letters which at times were obviously altered by those wishing to discredit the church at Frankfurt and associate Calvin with the English radicals.

A historical, not denominational or political overview of the Troubles

     My version is best explained by a historical overview of the situation. On Mary’s coming to power many hundreds of Christians fled to the Continent, including the large number of foreign refugees whom Edward had sheltered. These multi-national refugees found asylum in Duisburg,[6. Called Densborugh by the English exiles. ] Wesel, Strassburg,[7. Called Argentine by the English exiles.] Frankfurt[8. Spelt Frankfort by the English exiles.], Emden, Zürich[9. Called Tigury by the English exiles.] and Aarau[10. Called Arrow by the English exiles. Aarau is in Switzerland.]. Some travelled as far as Poland, Italy and Spain. Duisburg on the Dutch-German border was usually the entrance point into Germany because of the large Ruhr-Rhine harbour. The city records show that the English exiles gathered for worship there in 1553. Amongst these early refugees was Richard Cox. The Duisburg historian von Roden, relates that these Anglicans first introduced what he calls the ‘Calvinistic Lord’s Supper’ to Duisburg in 1553[11. Op. cit. p. 264.]. This is worthy of note for two reasons. a. Knox told Calvin that these early Anglican exiles practised the Roman rite. b. The pro-Knox party argue that Cox came directly from England to Frankfurt in the following year. 

     Duisburg was a mere collecting ground for the weary travellers who soon moved to Wesel and other cities where the Lutherans had promised them asylum. Because the Lutheran welcome was less than half-hearted, many left for Strassburg with its Reformed Marin Bucer and Peter Martyr connections and finally to Frankfurt where Charles V had offered the exiles the freedom of the city, later adding the proviso that they took on Frankfurt citizenship, paid taxes and took up occupations. As there seemed no hope of return, Mary being young, such stalwarts as Coverdale, Grindal, Sandys and Fox decided that a future in Frankfurt was possible. Incidentally, these men were all Coxians. The members of the Strangers’ Church at Glastonbury under the leadership of Vallerand Poulain, which included Anne Hooper, wife of the martyr, also made for Frankfurt. Poullain received permission to found a congregation for the Dutch, French and English exiles in March, 1554. Initially they joined in worship using Poullain’s Liturgia Sacra, which gave those conducting the worship great freedom. This had been roughly the form used in Strassburg and which Calvin modified for his own Geneva worship when exiled there himself.

Seeking a pastor

     On 29 July 1554 the English under the leadership of John Bale, former Bishop of Ossory and one of the first recorders of the English martyrs, established a separate church and, because of Bale’s age, they invited James Haddon, Lady Jane Grey’s former tutor and Dean of Exeter, now at Strassburg to lead the flock. Haddon refused the offer but later joined the church as a normal member. A number of believers preferred a plurality of pastors so Thomas Lever, and John Knox were now invited. At the time, Lever, formerly Master of St. John’s College Cambridge, was ranked with Latimer as the spearhead of the English Reformation. Martyr Ridley said Lever was one of the four best preachers in England. John Ponet (Poynet), formerly Bishop of Winchester,[12. John Ponet died in Strasburg on 2 April, 1556.] Richard Cox, the former Chancellor of Oxford University and John Scory formerly Bishop of Chichester were all suggested. None of these men were keen to take over the pastorate so on 24 October, 1554 the members elected John Whitehead to that office. Whitehead, one of the most non-conformist of the Reformed Church of England, had been offered an Archbishopric by Edward, which he had refused. Henry Bullinger, whose seniority and leadership in the Reformation was widely accepted amongst the Anglicans, urged his friend Thomas Lever to accept the pastorate so in the autumn of 1554, Lever was ordained pastor, probably alongside Whitehead. By this time, the English and the Dutch were meeting at alternate times to the French and they had begun to use a modified version of Edward’s Reformed Book of 1552, to suit the demands of the city magistrates. No vestments were used, the congregation stood to receive the Lord’s Supper and crucifixes and candles were banned from the Table. The litany, in cooperation with the French orders was occasionally used because of its prayer that God would deliver the Reformed Church from the “the tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities.” and the Word of God was publicly read out in morning service. Public responses as used in Poullain’s order were allowed but probably only used when reciting the Litany. These played a prominent part in the troubles that were to come. By November, 1554, the congregation were using an order formed by mutual agreement and had planned to unite with a large group of English exiles from Strasburg. Then, late in November, John Knox unexpectedly arrived. He immediately told the church that he could not agree with any of the orders hitherto used, whether they were based on the Prayer Book or Continental forms. Then John Fox came up with a suggestion which found the agreement of the church. We read in the 1575 collection of records entitled A Brief Discourse of the Troubles at Frankfurt:          

     “At length, it was agreed that the Order of Geneva which then was already printed in English, and some copies there among them, should take place, as an Order most godly, and farthest of from superstition. But Master Knox, being spoken unto, as well to put that Order in practice as to minister the Communion, refused to do either the one or the other. . . . neither yet would he minister the Communion by the Book of England.” [13. See Troubles at Frankfort, p. 42. ]

     Note here that Lloyd-Jones tells us that Knox was for the original orders used at Frankfurt and the ‘Anglicans’ were against them but the truth is that Knox refused to have anything to do with all the orders suggested by the church majority. Knox rejected the call to become pastor but asked to be allowed to stay on as preacher. This request was granted him.

Searching for a compromise

     William Whittingham took sides with Knox and the two caused a good deal of trouble in the church. This caused the Senate in February,1555, before the so-called Coxians had arrived, to demand that the church produced an order and Articles of Faith immediately. Lever and Parry thus strove to make a compromise with Knox and Whittingham. Knox affirmed that he would first ‘discharge his conscience’ and then if the other members of the committee would not agree with him, he would resign from the committee but not hinder the work. Both sides then agreed on a provisional order of worship which was to last until the Strassburger party arrived. This was accepted by the church majority and for the first time in three months harmony prevailed.

     The order drawn up was basically the same order as that initially rejected by Knox and consisted of “some part taken forth of the English Book; and other things put to, as the state of that church required”[14. P. 53.] and included the litany. Though Knox had promised to abide by the new order, he immediately began to attack it.

     Meanwhile arrangements with Strassburg were going through a difficult phase as news of the troubles at Frankfurt had reached them. The transactions were led by Bale on the Frankfurt side and Edmund Grindal and Chambers on the Strassburg side. Cox had been asked to join the Strassburg party to mediate between Knox and the Frankfurt church. Knox now openly agreed that on the arrival of the Strassburg families, the united church should use a modified form of the Reformed Prayer Book of 1552. Thus Knox, joined Fox, Bale and other Reformers in welcoming the Strassburg men, giving them full membership. Daniel Neal’s often quoted words that Grindal insisted on ‘absolute conformity’ to the English Prayer Book is quite wrong as the extant documents show. Indeed, Christopher Goodman, who had worked closely with Knox on his works on political revolution, supported the moderate and mediating work of Grindal and Chambers.

Knox and Whittingham act dishonestly

     Now Knox acted most dishonestly. Assisted by Whittingham, he sent Calvin a version of a make-believe Latin liturgy, claiming that they had omitted parts out of pity for those who believed such things and they were too bad to utter. This garbled, Latinised fake, (Professor Arber calls it a ‘scoffing analysis’), he assured Calvin, was to be the Frankfort church’s order of service after the arrival of the Strassburg party. It included vestments, crucifixes, candles and a host of paraphernalia abhorrent to all the Anglican exiles. Knox did not tell Calvin that he alone had rejected Calvin’s own form of worship. As Wotherspoon points out, it is also “significant that Calvin is told nothing of the willingness of Chambers and Grindal, as representatives of the Strassburg group, being content with its ‘substance and effects’ and to omit ceremonies and other things “which the country could not bear”.[15. Wotherspoon, p. 26.] There was no sense whatsoever in Knox’s action apart from sheer spite. It was now clear, however, that Knox wished to present his brethren at Frankfurt to Calvin as papists unmasked. A further obvious reason was that the Frankfurters and Strassburgers looked to Bullinger, Martyr and Bucer, as did Calvin, for their leadership, whereas a small group of Hyper-Calvinists and Precisianists were striving to boost Calvin against them as a more strict legalist.

     As yet, Knox had done nothing whatsoever to come up with an alternative form of worship. He stood almost alone in England and Scotland his criticism and equally alone in not producing an alternative. Even John Rough, Knox’ Scots co-chaplain under Somerset did not agree with Knox. Rough was a Prayer Book man. He was brought before Bonner in 1557 on a charge that, “in some places where godly people were assembled he did read the prayers of the Communion Book set forth in the reign of Edward VI. And being asked what his judgement was of the said Book, he confessed, That he did approve the same as agreeing in all points with the word of God.”[16. See Wotherspoon, pp. 35-36.] Rough was martyred at Smithfield on November 21 of that year, his testimony to Bonner being one of the chief reasons. Wotherspoon takes this as further evidence that the Scottish Reformers still looked on the Book of Common Prayer as ‘their’ book, as they did for many years to come. Not so Knox.

     Nevertheless, though the Frankfurt, church majority had spoken in favour of adopting an order which catered for German requirements, and the so-called Coxians were inclined to adopt Poullain’s ‘French’ liturgy as a working compromise, Knox told Calvin that these Englishmen who had settled down so happily in a foreign country and were happily adopting Frankfurt citizenship, insisted on having a church ‘with an English face’ and adhering slavishly to the Book of Common Prayer.

Knox gives Strasburg a cold reception

     To repeat. The English exiles in Strassburg and Zürich had originally intended joining the Frankfurt church in February but because of the troubles caused by Knox, they had postponed their journey, hoping for a more peaceful opportunity to join their brethren. This fact is important in accessing the troubles at Frankfurt as the bulk of pro-Knoxian commentators argue that peace reigned all along at Frankfurt until the Coxians came. Actually, the Strasburg exiles, who were all anti-ritualists, had been greatly alarmed, through their correspondence with fellow-exiles and with Calvin, to find that Lever and his friends had been gravely misrepresented by Knox and Whittingham. As it now appeared that preacher Knox was willing to work with, if not under, pastor Lever, they now hoped that their joining the church would be well received by both former factions. The Strasburg men thus left for Frankfurt on 13 March with their families and personal effects, looking upon Richard Cox, the former Chancellor of Oxford University, as the ideal arbitrator in any future strife because of his reputation as a sound Reformer, a fierce contender against Rome, a close friend of Henry Bullinger’s and because of his great learning. From the point of view of the Strasburg men at least, their journey to Frankfurt was a mission of peace to calm the troubled seas of Frankfurt and help unite the work of the Reformation amongst the exiles. There aim was to set up a centre of Reformed preaching and learning in Frankfurt similar to that founded by Bullinger in the fifteen- thirties in Zürich for the training of ministers and evangelists. When the Strasburg group arrived, Knox made it quite clear that he looked on the more learned, more experienced, peace-loving Cox as an unwanted rival and said things against him which cannot be claimed to have been from Christian motives, but rather, as Fox argued, they derived from Knox’s ‘colera’ or erratic temper.[17. Fox’s letter has not been preserved but Knox’s brief reply is extant in which he says, “My rude vehemencie and inconsidered affirmations, which may appear rather to procead from coler then of zeal and reason, I do not excuse.” Lang, The Works of John Knox, Vol. 5, p. 5.]

     The author of Troubles at Frankfort shows what a cold reception Cox and his party received from Knox and the few hardliners who supported him. He wrote concerning the new arrivals “At which time, Doctor Cox, and others with him, came to Frankfurt out of England; who began to break that Order which was agreed upon.”[18. Troubles at Frankfort, p. 54.] Needless to say, Cox neither broke any order that had been agreed upon nor had he and his party come directly out of England. Furthermore, there were men in his party who had been Knox’s closest confederatres in England and Geneva. Actually, Cox led a fine bunch of Non-Conformists[19. The author uses the term ‘Non-Conformist’ in the Anglican sense of the word. The term ‘Non-Conformist as a synonym for Dissenter originated in post- Cromwellian times.] and Puritans that were to be greatly used of God in the future and to make names for themselves as Reformers, preachers, pastors, teachers and authors of sound expository literature. They were, with the majority already in Frankfurt, the cream of the English Reformation and the true legatees of the martyrs.

     On 17 March, when the first Sunday service after the arrival of the Strasburg party came round, the so-called Coxians automatically according to the author of Troubles at Frankfort, “answered aloud after the Minister” during the service. In other words, they did what they had been used to doing in Strasburg where lay-participation in the service was welcomed. This much criticised incident has been blamed wholly on the Coxians by many writers, though it appears that Cox had nothing, at least directly, to do with it. Indeed, Knox wrote, “Master LEVER brought in one to preach, who had been at Mass in England, and had subscribed to blasphemous Articles: who read the litany in the pulpit, the people answering.” Here, Knox is totally ignoring that the French, Belgian, Dutch and British exiled Reformed churches had accepted a majority vote in favour of using the litany. Knox, however, lost sight of the pan-Reformed movement in his petty squabble and put his brethren’s action down to the “subtle undermining of Master Lever: who ought of the same to have been Patron and Defender, as he was chosen by them Minister and Pastor.” In other words, Knox refused to acknowledge his own pastor. This explanation is most revealing. It was not a member of Cox’s party who asked the stranger to enter the pulpit but the pastor of the church himself. Further on in his account, Knox says that Lever was backed by others in the church. It can thus hardly be considered a crime for the pastor of a church, supported by members, to invite a visiting preacher to enter the pulpit. Particularly when that pastor had been formerly invited to shepherd the church by a majority vote. Furthermore, it could not be a crime for a church to use the liturgy its members had unanimously decided to use, Knox included! ‘Criminal’, however, was the adjective Knox used to describe it.

The Jewel of the English Reformation presented as an enemy of true religion

     Why, we ask, did Knox not name this papist preacher? This is obviously because the naming of the Reformed Church of England clergyman who preached, John Jewel, would have immediately made Knox’s statement ridiculous. This nigh blameless man of God was one of the greatest protagonists of the English Reformation and comparable with Peter Martyr for his refutation of Roman novelties and myths. Fellow exile and Non-Conformist Laurence Humphrey, Jewel’s first biographer, calls his subject, “the first and fairest primrose in this late spring of the church.”[20. Fathers of the English Church, Vol. VII, p. xxiii.] When Jewel’s magnum opus against Rome Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae reached Peter Martyr’s hands in 1562, he wrote to say how well it had been received by the Continental Reformers. He told Jewel that the Reformation had received a setback on the Continent, but Jewel’s works had caused a turn in opinion. He told his friend, “whilst you live, the Reformed religion shall never want an advocate against its enemies.”[21. The full letter is printed in Biographia Evangelica, Vol. 2, p. 132.] This great pioneer of the English Reformation and the Elizabeth Settlement was thought by Knox to be unworthy of even having a name put to him.

     Jewel was not a member of Cox’s Strassburg party but had indeed just arrived from England and had made straight for Frankfurt. He thus neither represented the Frankfurt group nor the Strasburg group. In other words, far from the Cox party causing a disturbance, these men had nothing to do with the action as neither Lever, who had arrived from Zürich, nor Jewel were of their party. Jewel’s sole reason for journeying to Frankfurt was because he had been informed that the largest number of exiles were settled there. Thus only a most prejudiced and ill-informed mind could have associated Jewel with the ‘popish plot’ that Knox imagined was afoot. Jewel, called by Spurgeon ‘a Father of the English Church’, had been in Christ quite as long as Knox so it seems most strange that Knox would hold Jewel’s popish past against him. If Knox were born in 1505[22. There are various reports concerning Knox’s year of birth which span ten years.], he was Jewel’s senior by seventeen years and was serving in the popish church and adoring the mass some twenty-two or three years before Jewel was ordained into the Edwardian Reformed Church of England in 1552. This was according to Cranmer’s new Ordinal of 1550 which showed much of Martin Bucer’s influence on the English Reformer. Jewel had thus been ordained, not as priest but as pastor and teacher. In other words, Jewel hardly knew the Roman hierarchy from inside, whereas Knox, like many more of the exiles, had sworn allegiance to that superstitious system, had taught it and spread it for years but had happily repented of it and joined the Reformation. It appears, however, and this is one of the many paradoxical features in Knox’s character, that though Knox constantly denounced the popish sacramental ordination of ministers, he never challenged his own Roman past in this respect and always considered that his popish ordination was valid in his case only. We may also add that Knox held to a sevenfold ministry to his dying day on the pattern of the Romanists who were quick to point out that Knox quarrelled with Protestants more than papists and had kept up over forty papist practices.

     After blaming Cox for introducing Jewel, one of the authors of The Troubles at Frankfurt says that the ‘Seniors’,[23. P. 54. ] of the congregation admonished Cox for his breech of the peace. Who were the ‘Seniors’? John Bale, the eldest cannot be meant as he protested to Calvin concerning Knox’s behaviour. Thomas Lever, the pastor cannot be meant as he had Jewel preach. So, too, pastor Whitehead could not be meant as he became Knox’s most hefty critic and a sturdy supporter of Lever’s position. Edwin Sandys, Chambers and Sampson were the very men who had urged Jewel to accept Lever’s request. So one can go through all the office-bearers bar Knox and not find any who criticised Cox. Even Knox did not attack Cox here. The last word must be given Non-Conformist, Puritan and fellow exile, Laurence Humphrey[24. See Fathers of the English Church, Vol VII, Containing Various Tracts and Extracts From the Works of John Jewell, With a Memorial of His Life, pp.xix-xx.], who remained close to Jewel all his life and was his first biographer. Humphrey relates how not an eye was dry in the congregation after Jewel spoke and “all embraced him, as a Brother in Christ, yea as an Angell of God.”  No man Humphrey tells us was not deeply moved by Jewel’s words. No man? Humphrey, one of the most radical of the Non-Conformists, had not reckoned with Knox.

The contrary evidence of the Knoxians

     So far so good. Some might be thinking, surely those who disagree with me must have a case. What is their proof for their contrary opinions? Most of their modern arguments are taken from Prof. Edward Arber’s 1907 edition of A Brief Discourse of the Troubles at Frankfurt, said to have been compiled in 1575. The trouble with these jumbled documents is that they cannot stand on their own as they contradict each other and extra research is necessary to prove them right or wrong. For instance, assuming from insufficient study of the documents that Edmund Sutton, William Whittingham, William Williams and Thomas Wood were the original members of the Frankfurt church and thus must have been the first church officers, Arber argues that of them, only Sutton was a Prayer Book man and the others were Calvinists. This hunch is unacceptable on theological and historical grounds. The idea that one could not be a Prayer Book man and a Calvinist is unfounded. The hunch that William Whittingham, William Williams and Thomas Wood rejected the modified Prayer Book used at Frankfurt quite contradicts the actual evidence. Besides, there was no such thing as ‘Calvinism’ in those days as the Church of England, through the influence of Bullinger and Bucer, who taught Calvin his Calvinism, was Calvinist long before Calvin who first became popular in England after the Frankfurt period amongst extreme Hyper-Calvinists and Separatists from whom both Calvin and even Beza distanced themselves. Historically speaking, the Reformed faith ought to be called Bullingerism, Bucerism or Jewelism rather than Calvinism. Arber admits that he is using both the terms ‘Anglican’ and ‘Calvinist’ anachronistically as the first known occurrence of the term ‘Calvinist’ appeared in 1579 and the term ‘Anglican’ was first used in the following century. Arber sticks to one late source which claims his four founders arrived in Frankfurt on 27th June, 1554, whereas contemporary records say the first English arrived in the previous Autumn and Spring and had been worshipping together since March, 1554 at the very latest. Indeed, Dutch, Belgian and English exiles had been worshipping in Frankfurt since the persecutions under Henry VIII. The Frankfurt archives say that forty further Dutch and English refugees arrived from England on 3 April, 1554, to join those already there. The German Historians Withof and von Roden say the English church at Frankfurt was there in 1553. I have traced the journeys of some hundreds of these early refugees and they were almost exclusively Prayer Book men. Even Knox was a Prayer Book man until he arrived at Frankfurt. Scotland’s Renwick argues that far from founding the Frankfurt church, Whittingham arrived with Knox in November, 1554. However, Whitingham remained in the Church of England and used her Prayer Book. Though Whittingham sided with Knox for a while, he eventually advised him not to be so cantankerous. A document is extant signed by Williams, one of Arber’s ‘Calvinists, on 3rd December testifying that he wished to use the Book of Common Prayer “with as little alteration as is possible.” Thomas Fuller lists twenty-eight founder members of the English church. If this list is in order of rank, as was usual at the time, Fuller places John Bale at the head, followed by Sutton, then Makebray, Whittingham and Cole. All Prayer Book men. Wood finds a place in the middle of the list. However, Wood, whom Patrick Collinson describes as ‘an extreme puritan’[25. Patrick Collinson, Archbishop Grindal, p. 236.] was also a Prayer Book man and continued as a minister of the Church of England. Arber’s theory thus falls flat. However, these lovers of the 1552 Prayer Book were all willing to give it up for the sake of weaker brethren, the strictures of the Frankfurt Senate and the many foreigners worshipping with them.


The Frankfurt Congregation was Reformed to a man

     The church’s call to Knox, signed on 24th September bears twenty-one signatories which does not list the sum total of members according to other documents. They were all Prayer-Book men. Also, Horton Davies’ findings show that both sides – if there ever were the sides that later commentators have suggested – were of Reformed-Puritan persuasion.[26. See his excellent overview of the situation in The Worship of the English Puritans, Soli Deo Gloria, 1997.] Marsden, in his excellent work The Early Puritans, shows how both parties in the controversy at Frankfurt were Puritan to a man and grew together rather than apart. This important side of the development is completely ignored by the pro Knox and pro Revolution faction as, shortly before Mary’s death, there was no trace of a Knoxian faction in the exiles churches whatsoever. Even Knox returned peacefully to using the orders he had formerly despised, but only under pressure from the Scottish Estate Lords and the Scottish Reformed churches ,.

     Arber gives no evidence whatsoever to show that Sutton did not believe in the doctrines of grace commonly called Calvinism. The fact that he remained in fellowship with Whitehead and other pronounced ‘Calvinists’ rather suggests that he was one in faith with them. S.C. Carpenter calls John Bale along with the later Frankfurt exile Thomas Becon, ‘intense reformers’. He was certainly a Calvinist and he also campaigned throughout his time in Germany and Switzerland for the use of the Prayer Book. It appears that Bale even took the initiative in inviting Knox to the Frankfurt pastorate. However, Bale only knew Knox as a moderate Prayer Book man and most certainly expected the Scotsman to continue with the same order of worship he had used throughout his duties as Edward VI’s chaplain. Yet, it was obviously a shock to Bale when Knox opted out of the majority vote concerning the modified use of the Prayer Book and when Bale joined the Basle church, he objected to the Knoxians who were striving to take over there as they had striven at Frankfurt.[27. Patrick Collinson, Archbishop Grindal, p. 73.] I cannot discuss the Calvinism and Prayer Book attachment of all the founders at Frankfurt here but their positions are listed in my book The Troublemakers at Frankfurt.

     It is sufficient to add the name of martyrologist John Fox. He also signed the letter inviting Knox to the pastorate and was perhaps less of a Prayer Book man than Bale but he accepted the Church of England order as being superior to the Genevan, though he had the same antipathy towards clerical gowns as did exiles Becon, Lever and Sampson. Thus it is no surprise that on December 3, 1554, after Knox had arrived at Frankfurt but before Grindal, Cox and their party had arrived, the church declared that they wished to use the Prayer Book which they described as ‘a most worthy Confession’ “with as little alteration as is possible.” Wonder of wonders, Knox put his signature to this statement! Less than three months later, he had radically changed his mind.

     Non-Conformist Whitehead had quite a time, striving to convince Calvin that Knox and his party had given a totally false picture of what the English exiles believed. Leaving all euphemisms aside, Whitehead tells Calvin that he has been told a pack of lies. It is thus no surprise and yet to be welcomed, that Andrew Lang, always striving to be objective and truthful in depicting the man whom he so much admired, comes to the point at the start of his work by explaining that in politics and history, Knox sailed as near the wind as he could. Lang warns his readers that they must get behind the Traditions[28. Lang uses a capital T to show what authority such Traditions have in modern opinion-building. ] regarding Knox, especially those tales told in Knox’s own History of the Reformation. Concerning this work, Lang, echoing several other commentators, tells us that Knox “needs such careful watching,” and that “it is difficult to determine the amount of truth it may contain.” Time and time again, we find Lang pointing out that Knox’s dating does not fit the events recorded and that sequences of events are ‘dislocated’, and statistics blown up by several hundred percent.[29. See, for instance, John Knox and the Reformation, pp. x-xi, 88, 93, 275 and passim.] The height of Lang’s many criticisms on Knox’s subtle use of ‘disinformation’ to gain his own ends is reached in his chapter ‘Knox’s Intrigues, and His Account of them’, where the author reveals deceit after deceit on the part of Knox and concludes “Knox uses his ink like the cuttle-fish to conceal the facts.”[30. John Knox and the Reformation, p. 145. ] Happily, Calvin, Beza, Bullinger and Gwalter eventually saw through the Knoxian deceit and Geneva, Zürich and England drew nearer together. This important development in the history of the Reformation is ignored by modern critics of the pre-Commonwealth Reformed Church of England.

The Knoxians Appeal to Caesar

     On 20 March, Whittingham, without consulting his church, complained to John Glauburg, a Senator, regarding the church majority for causing unnecessary disturbance. Another preacher had been scheduled to preach on the following Wednesday and Knox thought he ought to have been given the task. Glauberg knew what the true cause of the disturbance was and again demanded that the church should draw up a permanent order. He commissioned, Valerand Poullain to appoint two learned men to work out an order and then report back to Glauburg.”[31. Ibid, p. 56.] Note, Poullain chose Lever and Cox and not Knox and Whittingham. However, because he had been called to Frankfurt to ease the situation, Cox invited the two dissidents to join them. A measure of agreement appeared to have been reached when Cox put his finger on one of the central nerves of the Reformation: the public reading of God’s Word in the morning service. It had been the Reformers’ practice to provide early morning lessons each day with one reading from the Old and one from the New Testament to enhance the spread of the gospel. Thus the Word of God could be heard in its entirety during the ecclesiastical year. This had proved most successful in drawing in the unsaved and instructing them in the Word. Indeed, this was the method the Evangelicals of the Great Awakening such as Whitefield and Hervey turned to and which was again blessed by the Spirit. Knox and Whittingham now called a halt to the discussions, arguing that morning readings were a relic from popery and was Matins in disguise. Knox’s written comment was: 

     “then began the Tragedy, and our consultation ended. Who was most blame-worthy, GOD shall judge! and if I spake fervently, to GOD was I fervent!”

     Matins dated back to times of persecution when Christians met before dawn to avoid observation and worship undisturbed. Knox is merely being awkward here again as the Edwardian Prayer Books had rejected the old Breviary services of Matins, Lauds and Primes and substituted them by one of the most important Reformed parts of the new Prayer Book, i.e. Morning Prayer, which included copious Scriptural exhortations, Scripture readings, profession of faith, prayers and thanksgiving. Each service goes through the entire presentation of the gospel to sinners, dealing with man’s sins, the need for repentance, the kind of faith and worship acceptable to God and the love, hope, pardon and mercy to be found in Christ. Certainly, to deny these elements is to deny all that the Reformation stood for. To object to such a presentation of the gospel, renders the objector a matter of suspicion regarding his Reformed credentials. The First Edwardian Prayer Book Morning Prayer had started with the Lord’s Prayer but the Reformers did not wish to give the impression that they were addressing the congregation as if they were all born again Christians, so they substituted this in 1552 with a depiction of sin and the need for repentance.[32. See Daniel’s The Prayer Book, Morning Prayer, p. 78 ff.] Though the author of Troubles at Frankfort account sneers at the use of Morning Prayers, no part of the Prayer Book had more influence on it from the French Forms and Continental Reformers such as the Pole John Laski, the Italian Peter Martyr and the German Martin Bucer. Indeed, the Absolution in which it is stated that “He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe His Holy Gospel,” is very similar to the one used by Laski when he pastored the Belgic (Walloon) Church in London during Edward VI’s reign. In doing away with these Reformed elements in morning worship, Knox separated not only from Lutheran[33. One might fairly say that the First Prayer Book contained a substantial amount of Lutheran influence, whereas the Second Prayer Book was more according to the traditional ‘English’ doctrines of grace as taught by Bradwardine, Wycliffe and the earlier English Reformers often  termed ‘Calvinism’.] but also Continental Reformed and Reformed Church of England practice.

The Knoxians’ second appeal to Caesar

     Feeling that the ground was slipping from beneath their feet, Knox and Whittingham decided to present a second written protest to the magistrates, claiming that they spoke for the entire church. They argued that the Coxians were acting in defiance of the imperial city, abusing the Senate’s authority and planning to introduce ‘foolish and fond things’ and terrible atrocities which they could no even mention publicly. Knox and Whittingham added: 

     “But wherefore speak you of these things’ will you say, ‘that appertaineth nothing to us?’ Yea, verily, we think it toucheth you very much. For if these men, armed by your authority, shall do what they list, this evil shall be in time established by you; and never to be redressed: neither shall there for ever be any end of this Controversy in England.” If the Senate followed Knox, he and Wittingham told them “ not we alone that are here present; but our whole posterity, yea, our whole English nation and all good men, to the perpetual memory of your names, shall be bound unto you this great benefit.”

     No signatures were appended. Obviously very few signatories could have been found. Lever, the acting pastor, was certainly not privy to the deceit.

     On 22nd March, 1555, a rather exasperated Senator Glauburg presented the magistrates’ reaction to Knox’s protest to the English congregation. They should adopt the same doctrines and ceremonies as the French Church. According to the author of Troubles at Frankfort, Richard Cox (note, again, Cox and not Knox) replied “I have read the French Order; and do think it to be good and godly in all points.” He then advised all to comply with the magistrates’ ruling, the result being “the whole Congregation gave consent.” We notice here that whatever the imaginary difficulties were that Knox and Whittingham whispered in the Senate’s ear, the church was behind Cox and, according to the author of Troubles at Frankfort, voted that his motion should be passed.

Kox’s appeal to Ceasar backfires

      As in previous attempts to appeal to Ceasar against the church majority, Knox’s new ruse back-fired. The Senate appointed a lawyer to look into the matter and he came down fully on the side of the majority. Matters grew more serious as it was revealed that Knox had criticised the English church’s host, Charles V, who was frantically striving to find a working compromise for some kind of co-existence between Lutherans and Roman Catholics. He however, was most suspicious of the German-Swiss Reformed Church with which the Anglicans were allied. In the midst of these sensitive transactions, Knox claimed that Charles was “no less an enemy to Christ than was Nero,” and came very near indeed to advocating regicide. In his introduction to Troubles at Frankfort, Edward Arber comments: “How Knox could write such violent books, in such dangerous times, is another mystery in his life.”[34. Troubles at Frankfort, p. xvi.] As the situation in Frankfurt caused by Knox proved too precarious, the Senate asked Knox to leave the city. I might add here, though the records list the names of the English exiles who sought citizenship and paid taxes, Knox’ name is absent. If Knox did not apply for citizenship and did not pay taxes, this was called Stadtfriedensbruch in Frankfurt and punishable with death and the confiscation of all property, so Knox was probably let off lightly.

     Meanwhile, the Frankfurt Anglicans were in close touch with the imprisoned Reformers, soon to be martyred. Ridley told his former chaplain Grindal in Frankfurt that Knox could not defend his views from the Word of God and that his criticisms of his brethren’s position were total misrepresentations. Writing to Ridley on 6 May, 1555, Grindal told him that peace was now reigning at Frankfurt due to “the Prudency of Maister Coxe and other which met here for that purpose.”[35. Ibid, p. 239.] Knox’s short stay at Frankfurt was not his finest hour and it is no wonder that he merely skimmed over the events in his History of the Reformation of Religion. Grindal, obviously breathing a sigh of relief confessed to Ridley that now Frankfurt could get on with the business of evangelising and edifying, dealing with experimental religion instead of externals and finished with the words “So that now we trust God hath provided for such as will flye forth of Babylon, a resting Place, where they may truly serve hym and hear the Voice of their true Pastor.”

     Naturally, Knox’s self-righteous account was different. He was God’s Apostle and all the other’s had to bow at his command. He wrote, “O, Lord GOD! open their hearts that they may see their wickedness; and forgive them, for thy manifold mercies! and I forgive them, O, Lord from the bottom of my heart. But that thy message, sent by my mouth, should not be slandered; I am compelled to declare the cause of my departing: and to utter their follies, to their amendment I trust; and the example of others who, in the same banishment, can have so cruel hearts to persecute their brethren.”[36. Knox’s Account of his banishment, from Troubles at Frankfort, pp. 66-67. ] Knox thus showed no remorse but argued that in rejecting him, Frankfurt had rejected God’s messenger.

The election of new pastors, preachers, elders and deacons at Frankfurt

     On 26 March, all the ordained men of the English church comprising former deacons, deans, vicars, bishops, doctors and professors who had joined before and during Knox’s short period of stay at Frankfurt, came together to discuss the future of the church. They declared they would accept the freedom the Senate had given them but would avoid giving the church too much of an English face. Church of England titles were dropped and a pastor, two ministers or preachers, four elders and four deacons were elected by common vote. Whittingham, who did not depart with Knox, tried to twist this by complaining that the church had “neglect(ed) all Orders in the Election of their Ministers and other Officers.”[37. Troubles at Frankfort, p. 74] In other words, they had overlooked the ‘big names’. This was because before new church officers were voted in by the church, all former pastors, preachers, elders and deacons had to lay down their offices and the vote was then amongst what they called ‘private men’. Cox did not seek office and the church re-elected Whitehead. Though Knox had warned the Senate of all the popish titles and “huge volume of ceremonies”, the Frankfurt believers continued to reject popish vestments, crosses, private baptisms, kneeling at the Table and all un-Biblical ceremonies, in fact all that Knox claimed they would reintroduce in abundance. The public reading of God’s Word and lay-participation in church services were retained.

The ‘great schism’ myth exploded

     To save Knox’s face, his later adherents invented the story that when Knox left, he took the Frankfurt congregation with him. Neal tells us repeatedly in his History of the Puritans, that the original Frankfurt church now moved to Geneva en bloc.[38. History of Puritanism, Vol. I, pp. 80-81.] Fuller, however, states that only eighteen men (presumably with their families), whom he names,[39. Church History of Britain, Book VIII, p. 732 (Separate Section p. 32).] out of a probable hundred members and their families, left the church. Not one of these, however, left with Knox who only stayed at Geneva briefly to break his journey to France and Scotland. When a party did depart from Frankfurt over six months later, it was mostly to other cities. Those few allied with Knox who were never numerous enough to be considered a party, actually went to Basle and not Geneva. Indeed, so few were the exiles who eventually moved to Geneva that they are not even mentioned by many an authority. James Gairdner, for instance, writes that the controversy at Frankfurt “led to secessions from the congregation to Basle and Aarau.”[40. A History of the English Church in the Sixteenth Century from Henry VIII to Mary, p. 392. ] As Bale eventually led the Basle group and Lever the Aarau brethren, it would appear that it was basically the Prayer Book men who left rather than an imagined ‘Knoxian’ party. Furthermore, the person who drew the English Reformers to Switzerland was chiefly Bullinger and not Calvin as quite falsely supposed. This was part of the usual coming and going that had prevailed at Frankfurt since the church’s first days. Some of these went to Zürich to sit under Bullinger, some returned to Strasburg to sit under Peter Martyr or followed the latter to Zürich to escape Lutheran opposition in Germany. Indeed, the Lutherans were now putting pressure on the Frankfurt Senate against the English and French churches. Others English exiles left Frankfurt for Emden. Foxe also settled in Basle as did Sampson and Bale, who do not appear on Fuller’s list of those who moved. For a very short period, there were only thirty-five male members left in Frankfurt but these quickly increased when a group of Englishmen came from Switzerland. Furthermore, the relatively large English church at Wesel, influenced strongly by John à Lasco, left the city because of Lutheran intolerance. Some members left for Poland, some for Bergzabern, where Miles Coverdale pastured a German-speaking church, and some for Aarau in Switzerland. The bulk, however, did not go to Geneva but to Frankfurt. In other words, rather than a mass exodus of Puritan men leaving Frankfurt, they were but a trickle in comparison to the large number of the staunch Puritans, including à Lasco who moved to Frankfurt.[41.See Die Reformation in der Stadt Wesel, pp. 37-4; 144-145. The Berties later followed Laski to Poland. ]  Neal is incorrect in his account of Whittingham’s supposed flight to Geneva with Knox as he stayed at Frankfurt for some time, not wishing to create a schism. When he did move, it was initially to Basle. He later moved to Geneva when the exiled churches began to draw together again, faced with common enemies such as Rome the Lutherans, the Augsburg decrees and a common hope, i.e. the possibility of a quick end to Mary’s reign. Even Thomas Lever, whom Knox looked upon as his major opponent, eventually moved to Aarau from whence he strove diligently and with great success to mediate between the so-called Coxians and the odd Knoxian who caused more bother than the rest. The fact is that no more than fifteen, at the very most, of the Frankfurt congregation of approximately 100 male members moved to Geneva late in 1555, long after Knox’ departure. These few men did not move to be under Knox’ ministry as he was in Scotland with no immediate signs that he would return. Indeed, there was no English church at all in Geneva until 1 November, 1555. This was not founded by Knox as the myth goes but by Goodman and Gilby who were on the Coxian side during Knox’ troublesome visit. So, let it be said loudly, the Genevan English church was founded by Coxians, not Knoxians. Nor did the church use the supposed Knox Liturgy, as a further myth declares but it appears that they used an order at Calvin’s recommendation which appears to have been the Order of Compromise rejected by Knox at Frankfurt. Calvin, as hinted above, reacted against the Precisians and in 1561, discussed with his English brethren all the Reformed ceremonies and practices of the Reformed Church of England which had not been taken over by Geneva, showing his full approval in every case and declaring that he would like to carry the Reformation on to the Reformed Church of England’s standards but the weaker members of his own church made it impossible and he did not want to lose them. Calvin’s order was thus a bigger compromise than the Anglican liturgy and Articles.

     Political and economic reasons shrunk the Frankfurt church for a while, not the Knox affair. The English, French and Dutch were faring well in business, especially in the weaving trade. There were now 2,000 foreign tradesmen and craftsmen in Frankfurt. Inflation hit the town and the foreigners had to shoulder the blame. In 1555, the senate decided to double the taxes which had remained constant for many years. The wealthy in Frankfurt now protested that it was the English who had brought the city to its bankrupt state and so they argued that they must be extra taxed and not the rich landowners and patricians. Anti-foreign feelings became so strong that ideas of banning the foreigners competed with ideas of fleecing them. Now the Lutheran ministers joined the protesters and argued for the expulsion of the Anabaptists as they called the Anglicans and their fellow Reformed churches. Though many English also left, many others took their place, spotting loop-holes in the administration. All these matters had nothing whatsoever to do with Knox’s expulsion and merely shows how those who do not know the true historical facts are sadly often very quick to establish imaginary ones. When the Senate realised that they were frightening the foreign tax-payers away, they changed their tactics and the English returned to Frankfurt.

The Continental exiles show strong unity

     After Knox departure, Lever, Grindal, Jewel, Whitehead, Sandys, Whitingham to mention but a few of very many names, set up a pan-European project to unite the English exiled churches. There was especially frequent correspondence between Frankfurt and the Swiss German and Genevan churches. Particularly Lever became a great ambassador of peace as he dashed between Wesel, Frankfort, Aarau, Zürich and Geneva with his eirenicon. When the churches heard that Mary had been called to give an account of herself, all the churches strengthened their good-will to one another. Kethe visited Geneva from Frankfurt at once and was able to return back with a reply stating:

     “And because all impediments and cavillations of adversaries might be removed; it seemed good to have your godly counsel and brotherly conference herein, which we desire to learn by this bearer, our loving brother KETHE: that we might all join hearts and hands together in this great work; wherein, no doubt, we shall find many adversaries and stays Yet if we (whose sufferance and persecutions are certain signs of our Sound doctrine) hold fast together, it is most certain that the enemies shall have less Power; offences shall sooner be taken away; and Religion best proceed and flourish.

     For what can the Papist wish more than that we should dissent one from another; and, instead of Preaching JESUS CHRIST and profitable doctrine, to contend one against another, either for superfluous Ceremonies, or other like trifles; from the which, GOD, of his mercy, hath delivered us.

     Therefore, dear Brethren! we beseech you (as we doubt not but your godly judgements will think it so best) that whatsoever offence hath been, heretofore, either taken or given; it may so cease and be forgotten that hereafter GOD lay it not to our charges, if thereby his blessed Word should be anything hindered.

     And as we, for our Parts, freely remit all offences, and most entirely embrace you, our dear Brethren! so we beseech you in the Lord that unfeignedly you will do the like on our behalf: whereof albeit we assure ourselves as both by good experience we have proved, and also have received by your Letters: yet (to cut off all occasions from Papists and other cavillers) we thought it best to renew the Same amity, and to confirm it by these Letters.

     Most earnestly desiring you, that we may together reach and practise the true knowledge of God’s Word; which wehave learned in this our banishment, and by GOD’s merciful Providence seen in the best Reformed Churches, That (considering our negligence in times past; and GOD’s punishment for the Same) we may, with zeal and diligence, endeavour to recompense it: that GOD, in all our doings, may be glorified; our consciences discharged; and the members of JESUS CHRIST relieved and comforted. The which thing the Lord GOD (who hath mercifully visited and restored us) grant and perform. To whom be all honour, praise, and glory, for ever and ever.”

     The Frankfurt church were quick to assure their Genevan brethren that they were as open in 1558 as they had been in 1554, although few of the original members were now there:

     As for our Parts, as we have had no contention with you at all afore time; so we purpose not, as we trust there shall be no cause, to enter into contention with you hereafter.. . . . . But we trust that both true Religion shall be restored; and that we shall not be burdened with unprofitable Ceremonies. And therefore, as we purpose to submit ourselves to such Orders as shall be established by Authority, being not of themselves wicked; so we would wish you willingly to do the same.

     For where as all the Reformed Churches differ among themselves in divers Ceremonies, and yet agree in the unity of Doctrine; we see no inconvenience, if we use some Ceremonies diverse from them, so that we agree in the chief points of our Religion. Notwithstanding, if any shall be intruded that shall be offensive; we, upon just conference and deliberation upon the same, at our meeting with you in England, which we trust by GOD’s grace will be shortly, will brotherly join with you to be suitors for the reformation and abolishing of the same.

     In the mean season, let us, with one heart and mind, call to the Almighty GOD, that of his infinite mercy he will finish and establish that work that he hath begun in our country; and that we may all lovingly consent together in the earnest setting forth of his Truth that GOD may be known and exalted, and his Church perfectly builded up, through CHRIST our Lord.”

     Of note under this letter was the signature of Alexander Nowell the great Reformed teacher of the Elizabethan Settlement.

     Now that Mary the Bloody, that gruesome symbol of the Scarlet Woman, fell with all her Babylon around her, the English exiles began their pilgrimage to the new Zion which they were called to build on the ashes of the martyrs. Those who were too poor to make the journey were helped on their way by their more wealthy brethren. Continental friends such as Bullinger, contacted their vast number of correspondents to raise money for the home-goers, most of whom felt duty-bound to assist a country crying out for Reformation and the gospel’s healing powers to restore peace, prosperity and liberty in a once suppressed land. Those who were quite content to stay on the Continent such as Edwin Sandys were soon persuaded by such as Edmund Grindal to move forwards in order to help build the New Jerusalem on England’s soil. Both were to become Archbishops and lay great corner-stones for Zion. A few did remain on the Continent but even they had the final triumph of the gospel in England in view. Coverdale, Goodman, Sampson, Cole, Gilby and Whittingham[42. The Life of Dean Whittingham in Troubles at Frankfort, pp. 3-4.] stayed behind to finish off their translation of the Bible into English depending on Grindal to introduce what came to be called the Geneva Bible to the English public. It is a fitting close to this vindication of the English Reformers that these great men, now earnestly translating the Bible together, had been on opposite sides in the troubles at Frankfurt. Now their call to “rightly divide the word of God” had rescued them from all petty, human quarrels. May we pray for the day when once again Anglicans, Presbyterians and Dissenters will put Church before denomination and the gospel before statutes and constitutions and unite their energies in rightly dividing the word of God and building once again the much neglected work of Zion in unison and joint worship of their Saviour.