Craig, John

Craig, John one of the Scottish Reformers, was born in Scotland about 1512. "Having spent some time as a tutor in England, he returned to Scotland and entered the Dominican order, of which he had not long been a member when he fell under the suspicion of heresy, and was cast into prison. On his release he traveled on the Continent; and after some time was, through cardinal Pole's influence, entrusted with the education of the novices in connection with the Dominican order at Bologna. While here, Calvin's Institutes fell in his way, and converted him to Protestant doctrines. Having openly avowed the change in his opinions, he was brought before the Inquisition, and sentenced to be burnt — a fate from which he was saved by the mob, on the death of pope Paul IV, breaking open the prisons in Rome, and setting the prisoners at liberty. Craig escaped to Vienna, and obtained some favor at the court of Maximilian II; but the news of his being there reached Rome, and the pope demanded his surrender as one condemned for heresy. The emperor, however, instead of complying with the request of his holiness, gave Craig a safe conduct out of Germany. He now returned to Scotland, and was appointed the colleague of John Knox in the parish church of Edinburgh. Thinking the marriage of queen Mary and Bothwell contrary to the Word of God, he, while holding this position, boldly refused to proclaim the banns. In 1572 Craig was sent 'to illuminate the dark places' in Forfarshire and Aberdeenshire, and remained in the North until 1579, when he was appointed minister to king James VI in Edinburgh. He now took a leading part in the affairs of the Church, was the compiler of part of the Second Book of Discipline, and the writer of the National Covenant signed in 1580 by the king and his household. He was a man of great conscientiousness, and was not slow to oppose the proceedings of the court when he deemed them opposed to Scripture, and to speak wholesome but unpleasant truths to his majesty himself. He died December, 1600."

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