Roberts Liardon tells us that in the mid-1540s, the Protestant regent died. Mary of Guise assumed the role of regent, acting for her daughter. She was extremely Catholic. She established new guidelines abolishing the Protestant policies, and death threats for those who opposed her or Catholicism began to circulate throughout Scotland.
At this time, a wonderful Protestant evangelist named George Wishart made his way into history. Ignoring the threats from the Catholics, he continued to travel throughout Scotland, preaching Reformation to all who would hear. Knox had heard the touching stories of Wishart’s messages, so he went to hear him. Listening to his message, Knox saw the simple truth that Wishart proclaimed and was very moved by the evangelist’s character. Before long, Knox joined Wishart’s team but not as a fellow evangelist. Instead, Knox was given a job as Wishart’s bodyguard and, with his new position, was handed a two-edged sword, which he wore at all times at his side.
I can just see Knox standing beside Wishart with his sword gleaming, his arms folded, and his eyes darting back and forth among the crowd, looking for any aggressive movement. What a sight that must have been!
Wishart Dies in Knox’s Absence
Roberts Liardon tells us that for five weeks, Knox followed Wishart as his bodyguard and, overtime, became his friend, confi dante, and student. Though Knox wanted to stay with Wishart, Wishart insisted, “Nay, return to your bairns [pupils], and God bless you. One is suffi cient for one sacrifi ce.” But in Knox’s absence, the corrupt archbishop of St. Andrew’s, Cardinal David Beaton, ordered the arrest of Wishart. The evangelist was tried and found guilty of heresy. On March 1, 1546, he was led to the stake to burn to death. Considering Knox’s disposition, it is unlikely that these events would have taken place if he had continued as Wishart’s bodyguard.