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The Monstrous Regiment of Women

January 3, 2008


Good morning, Iowa! 

For your caucus day enjoyment, here is a brief excerpt from The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, by John Knox, published in 1558:

“I am assured that God has revealed to some in this our age, that it is more than a monster in nature that a woman shall reign and have empire above man. And yet, with us all there is such silence, as if God therewith were nothing offended. I know the natural man, enemy to God, shall find many causes why no such doctrine ought to be published in these our dangerous days: first, for that it may seem to tend to sedition; secondarily, it shall be dangerous, not only to the writer or publisher, but also to all such as shall read the writings, or favour this truth spoken; and last, it shall not amend the chief offenders, partly because it shall never come to their ears, and partly because they will not be admonished in such cases….

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice….

“I am assuredly persuaded that if any of those men, which, illuminated only by the light of nature, did see and pronounce the causes sufficient why women ought not to bear rule nor authority, should this day live and see a woman sitting in judgment, or riding from Parliament in the midst of men, having the royal crown upon her head, the sword and the scepter borne before her, in sign that the administration of justice was in her power: I am assuredly persuaded, I say, that such a sight should so astonish them….Yea, they further should pronounce, that where women reign or be in authority, that there must needs vanity be preferred to virtue, ambition and pride to temperance and modesty; and finally, that avarice, the mother of all mischief, must needs devour equity and justice.”

There is a very good deal more to this timeless treatise, which may be read here.

During an interview with Mary, Queen of Scots (not to be confused with “Bloody” Mary Tudor of England) in 1561, Knox told the Queen,

“If the Realm finds no inconvenience from the government of a woman, that which they approve shall I not further disallow than within my own breast, but shall be as well content to live under Your Grace as Paul was to live under Nero. My hope is, that so long as ye defile not your hands with the blood of the Saints of God, neither I nor that book shall either hurt you or your authority. In very deed, Madam, that book [First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women] was written most especially against that wicked Jezebel of England [Queen “Bloody” Mary].” (1561)

Knox is not conceding his Biblical principles here for the sake of political pragmatism. As did his exemplar Paul, he demurs to God’s providential administration and recognizes deserved judgment–not the ultimate validity of his Queen’s entitlement of office.

It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Psalm 119:126

  1. Jane permalink
    January 3, 2008 8:07 am

    Oooo…..what a timely quote! It almost makes me shudder….at the folly of our times.

    The sweater looks lovely. I await the final result. Also love your pictures, esp the one of you and Vic. Your house looks great. The kitchen must be very bright and light now, a delight to work in! You can shower safely, without being afraid of the whole tub falling through the floor with you in it. Bravo.

  2. January 3, 2008 10:12 am

    May God, in His Providence, grant us a government that would honor him and do justly– and not one that we deserve.

  3. Jane permalink
    January 3, 2008 11:50 am

    Amen to that, Vic. Well said.

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