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vileges above all other churches for a long time, "that there had been ministers in Scotland that had the gift of working miracles and prophesying, which he tould instruct: and that he had heard French, Dutch, English, Irish, ami other ministers preach, and yet there have been and are ministers in Scotland that preach much more from the heart and to the heart than any he had ever heard.'"—Life of Damel Cargell, p. 34.
From all we know of the author, he seems to have been a serious and well-meaning man, not superior certainly to the prejudices of his time and sect, and credulous therefore in what flattered them, but incapable of perverting the truth so far as it was known to him, and having opportunities as a clergyman of eminence in his party, and from his connexion with a man of talents and fortune like Jerviswood, to collect much accurate information.
The ' Secret History of the Church of Scotland' unfortunntely only embraces the period betwixt the Restoration and the year )678, when, as we have seen, the reverend author was compelled to fly to Holland. Mr. Sharpe has added something to the narrative by printing the account of the murder of Archbishop Sharp, by James Russell, one of the actors.
In reviewing the history of the church of Scotland, it will not be expected that we should draw a parallel between its discipline and that of England. We believe that the doctrines of both in spiritual matters, unless perhaps upon some very dark and abstruse points of divinity, coincide with much exactness. However great therefore the external difference in respect to government, it will be now readily granted by Christians of both persuasions, that each church contains and teaches that which is essential to salvation. And touching the points of external discipline in which they differ, we -shall not perhaps greatly err in supposing that different kinds of church-government may suit a wealthy and a poor country, one where the reformed doctrines were introduced peaceably and under the authority of the civil ruler, aud another in which those by whom the Reformation was received were necessarily obliged to plead their cause in arms and assert'their liberty of conscience in opposition to Roman catholic rulers. The great Shepherd of our souls, who, through all his works, has led us to seek our spiritual good by the means best adapted to our relative situations, has been pleased, from the very commencement of the Restoration, in both kingdoms, to make so wide a distinction betwixt England and Scotland that as the attempt to introduce the Presbyterian form of church government into the former would have been like insanity; so in Scotland, such was the aversion and so absolute the overthrow not only of the Roman Catholic doctrines, but of all rights, privileges, and property belonging to the national church, that it became came a matter of absolute necessity to establish a more popular and less expensive form of church government.
In England, the rule adopted by Queen Elizabeth was to preserve all that could be saved of the old fabric, transferring the supremacy of the church from a foreign priest to the domestic aud natural sovereign, and renouncing those vain superstitions and human devices with which a long tract of usurpation and priestcraft had darkened the lustre of the true religion. Not only the graduated ranks of the clergy and their former means of support were carefully assured to them, but many circumstances of dress and ceremonial were retained, some as laudable and decorous, some as indifferent, yet proper to be kept up, lest an alteration, in itself very extensive, should be rendered violent by being urged farther than was absolutely necessary. Even in assuming the supremacy of the church, Elizabeth was anxious to guard against the misconstruction of such perverse persons as contended that she challenged the authority and power of ministry of divine service, protesting that she challenged nothing more than the sovereignty aud rule, under God, of all her native subjects, ecclesiastical or temporal, of whatsoever class or religious belief.
Nothing could be a stronger contrast to these cautious and deliberate measures than the progress of the Reformation in Scotland, which was literally brought in with a strong hand and an out-stretched arm. All was there prepared, not for a partial but for a total change, and the hierarchy, long previously undermined, subsisted only by the countenance of the sovereign. The Scottish prelacy, long before their final downfall, had become objects of envy and jealousy to the powerful and proud nobles. They saw with deep sentiments of hatred Beatoun and other churchmen of mean birth raise themselves by talents and learning to places of honour and dignity which they considered as their own birthright, and held those by whom such offices were, as they conceived, usurped, in high contempt and hatred. On the other hand, the dissolute lives aud profound ignorance of the lower orders of the Roman clergy rendered them the scorn of the middling and lower classes in Scotland. The exactions of the church were resented by the inferior ranks; their lands were coveted by the nobles and gentry. Add to all this, the natural turn of the Scottish nation for metaphysical discussion, induced them to receive the doctrines of the Reformation with general interest and favour. And when it is recollected, that doctrines excellent in themselves and recommended by so many various passions and second causes were withstood by a feeble regency with the obnoxious assistance of a foreign power, it will not seem surprizing that the work of reformation in Scotland was carried through with an overbearing force, which left but few
vestiges vestiges of the ancient church against whom it was directed. Yet the form of church policy adopted by the Reformer John Knox, in 1560, in a mixed plan taken from the foreign churches of Geneva and Germany, not only admitted and enjoined a form of common prayer, but also a body of ten superintendents, whose office did not greatly differ from that of Bishops, saving that they were to be themselves preachers, and, to use the words of .tlie Form itself, 'were not to be suffered to remain idle as the bishops had done heretofore.' Thus it was apparently the purpose of Knox to retain something resembling, in appearance, at least, the ancient form of church discipline. He is said to have received a message on this subject by a monk called John .Brand, afterwards a preacher, from the catholic archbishop of St. Andrew's, warning him either to retain the old foim of church-government, or put a better in place thereof before he shook the other. And it was, perhaps, in conformity to such advice, though coming from an enemy, that Knox, in his first Book of Discipline, endeavoured, too late, to save from dilapidation such of the church revenues as had not yet been swallowed up by the secular nobles. He proposed that the church rents should be collected by officers called deacons, and employed in support of schools and colleges. But this was rending the prey from the lion. The Earl of Morton treated the proposal as a 'devout imagination;' and this cold reception from one of the most zealous lords of the congregation was followed by the miscarriage of that part of the scheme. In fact, the regent, and the nobles whose interest it was necessary for him to consult, were in the act of using an indirect mode to possess themselves of the church-lands by soliciting and obtaining grants of them both in lease and in property from those who held them under title of bishops, deans and chapters, and other dignitaries of the Scottish church. How this game was played, and what arguments were used to induce the churchmen to this system of alienating the rights of their order, we learn from the following singular incident quoted by a contemporary annalist, Richard Bannatyne, the zealous secretary of John Knox.
The Earl of Cassilis, who from his great power in Ayrshire was usually called the King of Carrick, was desirous to obtain certain leases and grants of few affecting the lands of the abbacy of Crossraguel, in his neighbourhood. For this purpose he entrapped the abbot, Mr. Allan Stewart, in the month of October, 1570, to a small town over-hanging the sea, commonly called the Black Vault of Denure. Here, when the abbot expected to be treated with a collation, he was carried into a private chamber, where, instead of wine and venison, and other good cheer, he saw only a great barred chimney with a fire beneath it. In this cell the deeds were laid before him, and he was required to execute them. So
soon as be attempted to excuse himself the tragedy commenced. He was stripped naked and stretched out on the bars of iron, to which he was secured while the fire beneath was adjusted, so as now to burn his legs, now his shoulders, and so forth, while the earl and his brother kept basting him with oil. This procedure soon removed -the abbot's scruples about the alienation of the property of the church; and when, having intimated his willingness to subscribe the deeds required, he was released from his bed of torture, his inhospitable landlord addressed him with a hypocritical impudence which is almost ludicrous. 'Benedicite Jesu Maria! you are the most obstinate man I ever saw. If 1 had known you would have been so stubborn, I-would not for a thousand crowns have handled you in that sort.- I never did so to man before you.' These apologies the half-roasted abbot was compelled to receive as sufficient. The story, besides being a curious picture of the age, may serve to show that by force used or menaced the nobles of Scotland extorted from the catholic beneficiaries those surrenders and alienation of the church patrimony which took place at the Reformation. But it was plain that this course of proceeding must terminate, unless there were means retained of keeping up nominally, at least, those ranks of churchmen in whom the law vested church patrimony, and from whose grants the nobles might expect to secure it to themselves. Accordingly, it seems to have been chiefly with the purpose of continuing and legalizing this spoliation, that in the year 1672, by a convention held at Leith, the Book of Discipline was reviewed, and it was resolved that the names and titles of bishops and archbishops should remain in the church, being subject to the general assemblies of the church in spiritunlibus, and to the king in temporalibus. Even the resolute spirit of John Knox (though urged to resistance by Theodore Beza) seems to have acquiesced in this as a necessary measure; but we agree with the learned author of his life, that his doing so could only arise from the despair of being able effectually to oppose the introduction of this species of episcopacy. The bishops thus established as the means of -transferring the church rents and tythes by lease or sale to the nobility, were long known by the name of tulchan bishops, from a stuffed skin of a calf called a tulchan, placed before a cow to induce her to suffer herself to be milked. This species of church government was a mixture of episcopacy and presbytery, both of which might be said to exist in the same time and in the same country, the latter for actually exercising the duties of the ministry, the former for managmg or mismanaging what remained of the property of the church.
There ceased not to be a warm and violent opposition to the
name and order of bishops in the general assembles of the kirk,
i which which displayed itself at various times, and with more or less success, untill 15SO, when an act of the General Assembly declared the office of bishop, as then used in Scotland, to be an unwarrantable usurpation on the freedom of God's church. Soon after this period, however, King James, who had experienced much inconvenience, and sometimes gross insults, from the presbyterian clergy, and who was moreover desirous of obtaining and exercising a certain mfluence in church affairs,obtained, in 1585, from the General Assembly, a very limited acquiescence permitting the name and office of a bishop still to remain in the church. A statute, in 1598, ratified the sitting of such ministers in parliament as should be admitted by the king to the office of prelates—a provision so alarming to the more rigid presbyterians that one of them likened it to the Trojan horse, and another exclaimed ' Busk him as bonnile and bring him in as fairly as you can, we see him well enough, we see the liornsof his mitre.' In 1610 the king at length succeeded in obtaining the restitution of the order of bishops. And thus the church government of Scotland fluctuated from its mixed state to proper presbytery, and from thence to moderate episcopacy.
The order of bishops was thus restored, but upon the most limited footing, and differing in many respects from the more solidly founded and highly ornamented architecture of episcopacy in England. The Scottish prelates possessed no ecclesiastical jurisdiction »r pre-eminence; their sees were poorly endowed with the wretched remains of those temporalities which had not been alienated by the crown; their dress was a plain black gown, and the ceremonies used in the church were few, simple, and such as in themselvei were, to say the very least, decent and unexceptionable.
But while it would be difficult for an impartial person, at the present day, to see any thing in the order of bishops, as thus reestablished, which could threaten either the Christian or civil liberties of the kingdom of Scotland, and while on the contrary it seemed to provide for the order, dignity, and stability of the church, it must be owned that, considered with reference to the state of Scotland at the time, the experiment was ill-timed, and excited suspicion in all ranks of people.
The nobles, the proudest in Europe, were indignant at the pretensions of the spiritual lords to precede them on public occasions; while as the poorest in Europe, they were also aware that to support episcopacy on a respectable footing, they would be necessarily, sooner or later, compelled to refund a part of the temporalities of the church, which they enjoyed either by simoniacal compacts with former prelates, or by grants from the crown.
The inferior clergy, instead of considering the rank of bishops as an object of ambition to which their order might aspire, which