John KnoxBy: John J. Murray
As well as modelling the Church in Scotland, Knox laid the foundation of an extraordinary forward-looking new state, way ahead of the time in such matters as education, social welfare and democracy. The Reformation had its effect in all spheres of national life. Knox roused the common man to a sense of his true dignity. He said: ‘Before God all men are equal. In matters of religion God requires no less of the subject, be he ever so poor, than of the prince and the rich man.'
Educationally the Reformation gave a great impetus to literacy as the common people learned to read the Bible for themselves. Knox brought forward the first comprehensive scheme of national education, where every parish would have a schoolmaster and every notable town a college, and where the children of the poor would have their education free. The importance of education became a basic characteristic of the Scots both at home and abroad.