John Knox was the founder of the Presbyterian church. His mentor and teacher was George Wishart, born 1513. He was so recognized as a prophet in his day that the Cardinal, David Beaton, hated him.
George Wishart was the kind of man that he could walk into a town and start preaching from Romans and a crowd would gather and stay for his whole message and many would accept Jesus.
One day he was preaching in the city of Dundee in Scotland and David Beaton had gotten the magistrate to forbid him from preaching Jesus in their city again. Mill, the magistrate, waited for him to stop preaching and then walked up to him and handed him a summons that forbid to preach ever again in Dundee or he would go to jail.
Wishart took off his had and held it in one hand with the summons in the other, looked up into heaven for a few moments and then he looked down at the people.
Then he said, “God as my witness, I never desired your trouble, only your comfort. But rejecting the word of God and the servants of the word of God is no way to get comfort. If it be well with you long after I have left then I am not speaking to by the Sprit of God. But if sudden, unexpected trouble comes upon you, then know that this is the source. It is a judgement of God for your rejection of His ministers and His word and repent that He might remove the judgement.
Wishart stepped down for the scaffold and rode off on his horse to western Scotland. Four days after George Wishart left the city of Dundee one of the severest plagues in the history of that city broke out and starting killing people.
It took a month for the news to reach where Wishart was. Upon hearing the news he headed straight back to the city, dismounted at the east gate, stood in the middle of the gate with infected people on one side and the healthy people on the other. He opened up his bible to Psalm 107:20 and started to preach a sermon on “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
He then stayed among the people, helping them, until the plague was gone.
Another time Wishart was in a city and he received a message from one of his best friends, asking him to come because his friend was in a dire emergency. Wishart and two of his friends hopped on their horses and rode out of the city gate and then he pulled on his horse and stopped him. Then he said, “something is wrong. The Spirit of God is forbidding me to go.” He sat on his horse for a moment and then smiled and said, “I fear that our friend, the Cardinal, has laid a trap for us.” He said, “One day I shall die by his hand, but it will not be this day.”
He went back into the city but his two friends went on just in case Wishart had been wrong. Two miles down the road were 30 armed horsemen waiting to assassinate Wishart.
Finally Beaton did catch Wishart. Months before that God had revealed to him that he would soon die and he began to talk about his death being near.
In fact, if it had not been for Wishart knowing the very night of his death, John Knox would have died too. For John wanted to travel with him that night to the city of Ormiston, but Wishart told him, “One sacrifice will be sufficient for this night. You may not go.”
He was capture that evening. Illegal trials were set up. He was condemned to death, put in prison and on March 1, 1546 they came to his cell at dawn. They tied his hands and hung bags of gunpowder around his body and brought him out to the courtyard of the Cardinal’s palace.
Cardinal Beaton had furnished a room with lavished cushions and refreshments so that he and others could look out this huge window down into the courtyard and watch Wishart be burned at the stake.
So they led Wishart up to the platform and tied him to the stake, put the wood around him and asked him if he had any last words. He said, “Yes, I would like to pray.” He prayed and asked God to forgive all of his accusers. The executioner was so moved by that prayer that he asked Wishart for forgive him. Wishart, after kissing him on the cheek said, “I forgive thee. Now do thine office.” And the executioner lit the fire.
Within a few moments the gunpowder exploded, whirling Wishart’s body around till it faced the window where Cardinal Beaton was sitting. The captain of the guard, who was standing on the platform looked into his eyes and saw that he was still alive and said, “Oh sir, be of good courage.” Wishart said through the flames, “These flames have scorched my body, but they have not daunted my spirit. He who looks at me from yon window with such pride, not many days from now, shall lie in that castle in a shameful death.” And then he died. His last words were a prophecy about Cardinal Beaton.
He died on March 1, 1546. On May 28, 1546, less than three months later, Cardinal David Beaton, at 52 years of age, was murdered in that very castle and his body was hung outside that same window in shame.
Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere, 1998
The Fulfilling of Scripture by Robert Flemming, 1668