Church: a Brief Popular History
by an Old Schoolmaster
Lay Reader, and Sometime President of the Scottish Episcopal Working Men’s Society
[new and revised memorial edition]
transcribed by Mr Ian B Pitt
THIS brief story of the SCOTTISH CHURCH, based upon a very able Lecture delivered by the author in various centres in Scotland, has already passed through several editions and more than one revision. In all these forms it received commendation from the authorities of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, and as now revised is reprinted in the hope that it may supply the present lack of any simple and popular account of the Church for ordinary readers. The little volume does not pretend to be exhaustive, nor to be written with any lofty impartiality. It is the narrative, sufficiently vouched, of a not uneducated man who had studied the records and arrived at certain definite conclusions and convictions. From these and from their application he did not shrink.
William Inglis was sometime a schoolmaster in Leeds. Probably of Scottish parentage, he served long in England, and on retirement, became a licensed Lay Reader in the Episcopal Church at Dumfries, Invergowrie, and Port Glasgow. He was an ardent Temperance worker, with a marvellous stock of fresh and convincing addresses on his subject. He could influence men in ways of self-denial and bring many to religion and the Church under very difficult conditions. All his work was thorough and intelligent: much of it is still remembered and goes on bearing fruit.
As President of the Scottish Episcopal Working Men’s Society, and also of the Church of England Men’s Society, Mr. Inglis was well known a generation ago. A memorial edition of this History was issued by friends after his death, and like the others speedily made its way. The present revised reprint may well have the same success, for it is presented to the same classes of readers.
ALTHOUGH the claims of the Old Church of Scotland are fully admitted by the Church of England, and there is the closest inter-communion between the Churches, the history of that venerable Church is still but little known to a vast number of Churchmen and others on either side of the Border.
In England she is too often confused with the Presbyterian Kirk established by an Act of Parliament in 1690.
In Scotland again there is the popular mistake that she is the Church of England making energetic efforts to introduce and popularise her doctrines and forms of worship in antagonism to Presbyterianism. This, no doubt, partly arises from the Book of Common Prayer being used in her worship, and from the similitude of the Church Government. The complete and continual intercourse between the two countries makes this a necessity, if there were not much higher grounds. Both Churches are but portions of the One Catholic Apostolic Church, believing the same Creeds, teaching the same doctrines, and using a liturgical form of prayer as their mutual heritage, drawn mainly from primitive sources, “when the Church was in its purest state and its houses of prayer the caves of the rock.” “They are one in Faith and doctrine,” yet in jurisdiction and administration quite independent of each other, in two distinct countries.
Political intrigue, and a created prejudice have done much to confuse the minds of the people, and from generation to generation, for the last three hundred years the same cunningly devised fables have been handed on and taken for granted because they spoke disparagingly of the Catholic Church in our own country. I am convinced it only wants a fair and unprejudiced study of the Church’s claims to open men’s eyes, when her position and status would be cheerfully conceded, and there would be true and loyal adhesion, where we have now strong antagonism.
The early history of the Scottish Church is lost in the mists of antiquity, where legend, like a will-o’-the-wisp, gives a glimmering light but not a trustworthy guidance. There is the ancient and oft repeated legend of the arrival of St. Regulus, or Rule, and his faithful followers on the headland of Muscross or Kilrymont, in Fife, bearing with them the relics of St. Andrew, the Apostle. It is said they built their first church at Kindroghet, on the Braes o’ Mar, and there won the sympathy of the Pictish King; then a second church was erected at Monichi, in Angus, and a third at Forteviot, in Strathearn. On their first landing, Kilrymont “was hallowed like the Irish Glendalough by its seven Churches, built on the wide territory which King Hungus gave to God and St. Andrew by the symbol of a turf offered upon the Altar.” (Robertson.) It is now known as St. Andrews. From the above legend, and from the dispute that arose at a later period with the Roman Mission about the proper time for celebrating Easter, and the form for the ecclesiastical tonsure, and from other proofs there can be no doubt that the introduction of Christianity was from an earlier source, quite distinct from the Mission of St. Augustine in the South-east of England, in 597.
With the life of St. Ninian, the light becomes clearer and steadier. This Apostle of the Scottish Church was born about A.D. 360, at Wigton, on the coast opposite. His father was a Christian British Prince. St. Ninian was educated at Rome, then famous for its schools, and after a time was consecrated a Bishop by Siricius about A.D. 397. He then proceeded home, calling on his way at Tours, in Gaul, where he remained for a time with St. Martin, making himself thoroughly acquainted with the Monastic system introduced by that Saint. On arriving at Whithorn, he built a monastery after the pattern at Tours, and also a stone church – the first of its kind in the country – which received the name of Candida Casa, i.e., “the white church,” from the colour of the stones. It may be well to say here :– “These early monasteries were not merely religious retreats, they were schools of education, and in a special manner the seminaries of the Clergy.” (Grub.)
It is said St. Ninian’s diocese extended from the now modern Glasgow to Stanmore Cross, on the Borders of Westmoreland. He also converted the Picts dwelling in the country between the Firth of Forth and the Grampians. He died at Candida Casa about A.D. 432. The Scotch name of St. Ninian was St. Ringan.
With the advent of St. Palladius, consecrated a Bishop in Gaul, we have further evidence. Ecclesiastical history records the labours of this great Missionary in the Mearns, and also those of his disciples and fellow labourers, St. Serf and St. Ternan, and not only are their names enrolled in history, but they are kept in memory by the folk lore of the locality, as witness such names as “Paldy’s Fair,” “Paldy’s Well,” “Banchory Ternan,” and “Sansares Fair,” after St. Serf or Servanus. St. Serf’s ordinary residence may have been the Monastery of Culross, on the Forth, where he brought up and educated another great Scottish Missionary, St. Kentigern, better known as St. Mungo, in whose honour Glasgow Cathedral is dedicated.
But it is with St. Columba that fuller historical light comes, and tradition may be laid aside for recorded facts. It may truly be said that all the brave devoted missionaries who preceded him did well, but this noble servant of God from Donegal excelled them all. Compelled to leave Ireland by troubles and disputes, he sailed to settle with twelve companions upon the little island of Iona on the western coast. There they erected their rough dwellings and built their simple church, forming a company of evangelists ready to preach the Gospel in Scotland, and travelling even into England. “Wherever Columba and his followers went monasteries were established on the model of Iona, and from these again the monks went forth to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation.” (Grub.)
St. Columba, although ordained in Ireland only in priest’s orders, exercised as Abbot of Iona a powerful jurisdiction, and received unusual deference from the Bishops of the Church. From this circumstance attempts have been made to assert that the Church of Scotland had really no Episcopal Order in Columba’s time, but was ruled by a parity of ministers as in the Presbyterian Kirk nowadays.
A careful study of the history of Iona and its polity will dispel that mistake. There can be no doubt that St. Columba acknowledged the superiority of the order of Bishop above that of a priest, and that he never dreamed of usurping the Episcopal office. The Ulster Annals, a book of great antiquity, having been written about the year 1040, tell us – as Usher remarks – that there was a Bishop always resident on Iona among the brethren of the community. We have it on the authority of the Venerable Bede that in A.D. 634, when Sergenius was Abbot, Aidan was consecrated at Iona, and sent to be Bishop of Holy Island in the kingdom of the Northumbrians, and was succeeded in that Bishopric by Finan, Colman, and Tuda, each in succession, and all clothed with the Episcopal character, “and all receiving that character from the Episcopal ruler in Iona.” (Ancient Church of Scotland.)
All these Scottish missionaries were at this very time engaged in a controversy with the Roman Mission which had arrived in England, but their opponents never questioned the validity of their Scottish Episcopal ordination, which certainly would have been done had they received their orders from the hands of a Presbyter only, contrary to all Catholic precedent. St. Columba had entered into his rest about the time St. Augustine began his mission from Rome to the Saxons located in Kent. For a considerable period after his death, the Church of Scotland was merely missionary with no settled organisation. It was at such a period that the Gospel was brought to my own neighbourhood in the east of Scotland by a missionary Bishop St. Boniface, who, with seven like minded soldiers of Christ, landed at the mouth of the Gowrie Burn, and there – where stands the old ivy mantled ruin in Dargie Churchyard – built possibly the first church in this part of Forfarshire, and dedicated it to St. Peter. He also built the churches of Tealing, Meigle, Restenneth Priory in Angus, Abernethy on the Spey, and Rosemarkie, near Fortrose.
In the reign of Kenneth McAlpin, the first king of all Scotland, an attempt was made at ecclesiastical organisation. On his victory over the Picts, who had a Bishop with a See at Abernethy on the Tay, his first steps towards introducing order and unity between the Picts and Scots was to translate “the Episcopal See from Abernethy to Kilrymont which he ordered to be called St. Andrews, and the Bishop of it he styled Maximus Scotorum Episcopus, the chief Bishop of the Scots.” (Ancient Hist. of the Scottish Church.) This of course implies that there were several Bishops of the Pictish Church now united to the Scottish as one Church under all the Bishops.
From this period the Church made rapid strides – kings became “her nursing fathers and queens her nursing mothers.”
Malcolm Canmore, aided by his devoted Queen St. Margaret, besides assisting the venerable Sees of Whithorn and Glasgow so closely identified with St. Ninian and St. Mungo, also created the Northern Sees of Moray and Caithness. King David, their son, whose zeal for the Church earned for him the title, “ane sair sanct for the croon,” removed the ancient See of Murthlach in Mar to Aberdeen, and added four more Bishoprics, viz., Dunkeld, Dunblane, Brechin, and Ross. The Sees of the Isles, Orkney, Argyll, and Edinburgh were added in later times.
The Diocese of Argyll was formed out of the See of Dunkeld. Evald was the first Bishop. Long afterwards Edinburgh was taken from the Diocese of St. Andrews, with the consent of Archbishop Spottiswoode, St. Giles’ Church was made the cathedral, and Dr. William Forbes the first Bishop in 1633.
It is evident that the Church among the Picts, and also among the Scots, thus united in Kenneth’s reign, was Episcopal, and knew no other form of Church government. Neither civil nor ecclesiastical history takes notice of any change from a Presbyterian form of government to an Episcopal, and can we suppose for a moment that such a radical innovation would have taken place in the Kingdom, without a protest, or that a whole nation would have submitted to it in silence?
As the early history of the Scottish Church clearly proves that she was from the first Episcopal so does it as undoubtedly bear witness that she was not Roman. It has been too easily assumed and too readily granted that the ancient Church of the country was Roman Catholic and under the Popes, much to her discredit and to confusion in people’s minds nowadays.
For a long period during her early history she acted independently of Rome, and combated Roman encroachments. Like the ancient British Church, the Scottish Church refused to conform to the use of the Western Church in regard to their time of keeping Easter, and the way in which the priests wore the tonsure. The Scottish Church, without any reference to the Popes, sent out Missionaries; as for instance, on the decay of Christianity in the Kingdom of Northumberland, Aidan, as we have already said, was consecrated a Bishop and sent there, followed by Finan, Colman, and Tuda in succession, yet neither Bede nor Baronius in their histories find any fault with them. The Consecration of Bishops took place at home without any reference to Roman authority, the cunningly-devised plan of granting the papal pall from Rome was not known in Scotland until 1468, Bishop Graham of St. Andrews being the first Scottish Bishop to receive it, from the hand of the Pope.
But for the first thousand years no legate of the Pope ruled the Church in this land. National Scottish Councils were held independently of the Pope, and even after the Roman encroachments the Bishops were allowed by Pope Honorius, 1225, still to hold Councils without the presence of a Papal Legate. Bishops were consecrated and Dioceses formed without consulting the Popes all through the history of the Scottish Church. Malcolm II founded a Bishop’s See at Murthlach which King David removed to Aberdeen. Malcolm Canmore created two Bishoprics to which his son David added another four – all of themselves with the consent of their own Clergy without the Pope interfering in the affair. And yet as Collier observes, the then Popes kept up correspondence with these Bishops and acknowledged their character, while they kept their independence. . . . . . The first time we hear of the Pope’s consent being asked in settling an Episcopal See in Scotland was as late as the year 1200, when John Scott, Bishop of Dunkeld, applied to Pope Clement III for dividing his Diocese and erecting the Bishopric of Argyll. But as for the ten older Sees, it is evident from all our histories they were erected at several times by the joint concurrence of King and Clergy without having recourse to the Pope as was commonly done in most of the Churches of Europe about that time.” (Ancient Hist. Scottish Church.) King James I, 1424, in a debate between William Brown, Monk of Dunfermline, and William Drake, Monk of Durham, about the Priory of Coldingham, by Crown authority in Parliament, without any advice from the Pope, determined in favour of Drake. James III highly resented in 1468 Bishop Graham’s application to Rome for the Metropolitan dignity, and his not being satisfied with the original right of precedence which always belonged to his See of St. Andrews. “In a word, it will be found that even when Papal Supremacy was in its greatest elevation, all the concessions the Nation in her Councils ever made were only forced from her when under some trouble – which trouble being passed, she recovered herself and so managed matters as neither to cringe entirely to, nor entirely break with the Pope.”
But in the reign of James IV (1488–1513) the papal interference got further opportunities in dealing with the rivalries between St. Andrews, the ancient headquarters of the Scottish Church, and the new Archbishopric of Glasgow. The authority of rival Popes was used in founding the three Universities of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Glasgow, by Bishops and ecclesiastics about this period. At the same time the vast property of the Church in Scotland was mismanaged. The people saw that a great deal of wealth was obtained by persons who abused it, and ruined the welfare of the National Church. Men who were not ecclesiastics at all, but often only the bastards of noblemen were thrust into positions where they could misuse the Church revenues shamefully. The illegitimate son of the King, a mere youth, became Archbishop of St. Andrews, by means of the papal interference in Scotland. At last came the awful disaster at Flodden, where the King himself, his son the Archbishop, nearly all the Scottish nobility and most of the officers of the Kingdom, with thousands of the best soldiers, perished in heaps on that fatal field. In the scramble for power and property that followed, many corrupt and unworthy men secured for themselves plunder of the Church lands and revenues. There was no government in the country able to stop them, or to prevent the Popes from interfering at every turn. Every unscrupulous robber appealed to the Pope’s lawyers, and bribed the papal courts to obtain unlawful gains. Everything went from bad to worse in the Kingdom.
The next King, James V, was not able to govern well, because the nobles were usually against him, and he could find no good men to assist him in the State or in the Church. He was himself easy-going and readily overlooked bad qualities in his courtiers. The actual government was carried on by Cardinal David Beaton, who was patriotic and able, but could not get rid of the papal interferences, nor stop the nobility from plundering the Church. The people were oppressed by having to pay all sorts of taxes to ecclesiastics, who were often only laymen related to the nobility. The burgesses in the towns began to ask why they should pay these robbers who only used the Church for their own gain. There was discontent everywhere.
So there was bound to come another disaster when the Scottish Army was again crushed at the rout of Solway Moss in 1542. The King died in despair, leaving only an infant daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. For the next eighteen years, nothing but confusion and disaster came to Scotland. The Reformation began at this period. French soldiers were landed at Leith to support the Regent. The Reformers were joined by the nobility determined to take all they could of the Church’s property. There was nothing but warfare, plunder, and lawlessness. So the changes that were forced on the country and on the Church made radical alterations as time went on. Destruction rather than Reformation made Scotland break away from the old Church when something entirely new was started by the Protestant party, in the Kingdom.
The destruction of the churches, abbeys, and cathedrals, with their valuable libraries and priceless documents, was not merely a gross act of vandalism, but worse still, it cut off the only means of exposing what was corrupt and restoring that which was Catholic and primitive. Looking back at that sad period of destruction and havoc, the words of St. Paul appear most appropriate – “Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege.” A heavy burden of responsibility rests upon the memory of John Knox. He had headed a party of fanatics who murdered Cardinal Beaton at St. Andrews, and had been in exile, as a criminal, for some years. Suddenly he returned to Scotland in 1559, and at once preached everywhere, giving his foolish, if not worse, advice to the infuriated populace – “Burn the nests and the rooks will flee awa.”
Indignation at the wholesale robbery and destruction of ecclesiastical property can only be exceeded by surprise at the supineness and indifference of the Bishops at such a time, “Although most of the Bishops lived a long time after the Reformation was begun, and particularly the two Archbishops, Hamilton of St. Andrews who died 1570, and Beaton of Glasgow, who lived until 1603, yet we do not find any endeavour made by them to act in their Episcopal character, or to preserve a succession of Bishops.” (Hist. Ancient Scottish Church.)
How different was this from the action of the Scottish Bishops of another sad period in the history of the Church, which we shall reach in time. Although these Archbishops and their fellows showed so much fear or indifference, and let their order become defunct, still, amid all the changes then taking place, there is no evidence that the first Reformers wished to drift away from Episcopacy when they renounced the papal supremacy in 1560. This is made plain from the fact that, when the succession of consecrated Bishops ceased, the Reformers continued a quasi-Episcopacy under the name of “superintendents.” This was a very imperfect substitute, I grant, but it was the only plan that presented itself to those who were the leaders in the ecclesiastical changes. With all its irregularity and imperfection, it was still an acknowledgement of principle. “In the General Assembly of the Reformed Church held at Perth in 1571, a nominal Episcopacy was adopted under the equivalent name and title of superintendents, and these superintendents speedily and by the law got the ancient titles of Archbishops and Bishops, according to the number and limits of the old Dioceses, but without the valid consecration by which the continuity of the Episcopal succession is secured.”
This very important step was necessary to maintain the proper lawful form of the Scottish Parliament, which had always included Bishops and other ecclesiastics. John Knox himself was consulted about it. In August 1572, being too frail to appear in the General Assembly, he wrote entirely approving there should be Bishops for the Church of Scotland. He insisted vehemently that the revenues of all the Bishoprics should be given up by the nobility and others who had grasped them without law or right of any kind. But they did no, in spite of Knox.
For fully fifteen years following the setting up of the Reformation in Scotland no such idea as that of the unlawfulness of any superiority of office in the Church above presbyters, which is the standpoint and contention among Presbyterians, was either professed or insisted on. John Knox was in no way opposed to Episcopacy, for he had actually been offered the Bishopric of Rochester by the English King Edward VI, and had been Vicar of Newcastle, and of Berwick, as a clergyman of the Church of England, before be returned to Scotland in 1559, but permitted a parity of ministers, in spite of Calvin’s warning – “Parity or equality in the government of the Church breedeth strife.”
As the rich livings were made vacant, they stirred the cupidity of greedy nobles and insatiable court minions who longed for them, but were held at bay by the law that laymen could not hold Church benefices. But the difficulty was overcome by the Earl of Morton through the superintendents or sham Bishops. The contrivance is thus noted by a recent writer strongly biassed against the Church, and his quaint description is so telling that I must quote it: -”The Archbishop of St. Andrews was dead, having had the misfortune to be hanged at Stirling. Morton beckoned to him one Mr. John Douglas. ‘Mr. John, listen, I shall get you raised to the Archbishopric of St. Andrews. A part of the revenue shall be yours – the rest mine. You understand?’ And so the thing was done. Mr. John had the title and a part of the revenue, but the bulk of it went to the Earl. The example thus set was soon followed. A crop of Bishops and Archbishops soon sprang up. They got the droll name of Tulchans, a tulchan being a stuffed calf placed in the stall to induce the cow to yield her milk.”
In 1574, two years after the death of John Knox, the real author of Presbyterianism appeared on the scene. His name was Andrew Melville, a Scotchman, who had been a disciple of Beza, and lived for some time Geneva. On his return to his native country he set about vigorously to spread the foreign religious system. Being a man of strong will, and the times favourable, he succeeded to a large extent. Bishop Sage thus describes Andrew Melville: “He was a man by nature fierce and fiery, confident and peremptory, peevish and ungovernable. Education in him had not sweetened nature, and his republican principles made him hate the crown as much as the crosier.”
We see Melville and his headstrong associates, like Knox and his friends in the first beginning of the Scottish Reformation, taking the fullest advantage of all the political troubles due to the King’s long minority. But it was only after a severe struggle of twenty years duration that Melville succeeded in setting up the novel Presbyterian system he had brought with him from Geneva to Scotland. For a time, like all novelty, the new fashioned Presbytery was “run after by the lower and more ignorant portion of the people,” and as the system thus introduced by Melville served for a safe and easy method of keeping the Church lands, it was allowed by those who held unlawful possession of ecclesiastical property. Many of the estates still held by the Scottish nobility have been retained on those terms ever since.
It may be wondered why King James VI did not from the outset oppose Meville’s violent and high-handed innovation, which in later years James openly detested. The fact is that under Melville, the General Assembly of the Kirk steadily usurped much of the power of the Parliament and the Crown. It made itself nearly independent of every other authority in the Kingdom. Melville plotted to get rid of even the nominal or tulchan Bishops, but was not completely successful in this, because the Bishops had to be in Parliament. By getting other men to argue whether Bishops are considered necessary in the new Testament Scriptures, and in time by using political force to silence his opponents in this discussion, Melville practically compelled the young King to concede the Act of Parliament in 1592 which for the first time established Presbyterianism in Scotland as the State religion, a generation after Knox’s different plan in 1560.
But there was another difficulty in the King’s path whenever he tried to do anything to restore the former Episcopal order in the Church as he wished to do. A good deal of the old ecclesiastical property, especially of the Bishoprics had been attached to the Crown by the various Regents, partly for their own benefit. Some of the old Bishops, like Leslie of Ross, his mother’s most faithful friend, and Archbishop Beaton of Glasgow who acted as Ambassador in France and drew the revenues of his See till 1603, could not very well be replaced by others appointed by the King. If he also attempted to fill up the Bishoprics by properly consecrated men, that brought the King into collision with the truculent Assembly, with the nominal Bishops already in Parliament, and with a violent party of the nobility. Moreover to get consecration for the Bishops involved application to England, and that step, James well knew, would render him unpopular with all parties in his Kingdom. The King had to observe all the constitutional ordinances of his Realm, or else his opponents would have strengthened their own claims to act independent of the national order, – as indeed, Melville and his friends did repeatedly. So it happened that James unwillingly conceded a measure of Establishment to Presbyterianism, ten years before he succeeded to the throne of England. But even during that period, there were still the nominal Bishops in the General Assembly of the Kirk, and also in Parliament. As soon as the King was settled in England, he took the steps, long in his own mind, for restoring the proper Bishops of the Church in Scotland, and for reducing the Assembly to its subordinate position in the Kingdom, under the Crown. It suits Presbyterian writers to describe this resolution as some kind of treachery against their party. But the change which the King wished, had always been intended by important men in the Church itself. These had stood up to Melville and his party throughout, and some of the supporters of the Bishops had actually been Knox’s associates in 1571, and knew that he strongly advised there should be Bishops for the Church of Scotland. It took time, however, for the King’s policy to bear fruit, for there were fanatical Presbyterians entrenched in strong positions in the General Assembly, defiant of any authority but their own, in ecclesiastical matters. They were soon seen to be only a very noisy minority, whose account of things is too often the only history of these times which our countrymen have ever heard or read. The King, as he was lawfully entitled to do, nominated John Spottiswoode to the vacant See of Glasgow on July 20, 1603, carefully stating “in place of James Beaton, late lawful Archbishop thereof.” After seven years of debate and contention by the unyielding Presbyterians, at length the General Assembly itself, disregarding the handful of implacable disputants, unanimously decided that the nominal Bishops of the Church of Scotland should be properly consecrated and thus, by lawful authority, the Episcopate of Scotland should be fully restored, after a lapse of fifty years. Armed in spite of the malcontents, with this sanction from the Church, Spottiswoode later in the same year (1610) went to London, along with Hamilton, Bishop of Galloway, and Lamb, Bishop of Brechin. On Sunday, October 21st, by the Bishops of London, Ely, Rochester, and Worcester, they received consecration as true and valid Bishops of the Universal or Catholic Church.
Isaac Casaubon, an intimate and valued friend of Andrew Melville, was present at the service and made the following entry in his diary :– “This Lord’s Day, by God’s blessing, was not ill spent, for I was invited to be present at the consecration of an Archbishop and two Bishops of Scotland. I witnessed that ceremony and the imposition of hands and the whole service. O God, how great was my delight! Do Thou, O Lord Jesus, preserve this Church and give to our Puritans who ridicule such things, a better mind.” Casaubon himself friendly with many Continental Protestants, was no opponent of everything Episcopal as Melville had bitterly contended.
Returning to Scotland, Spottiswoode with the others carried through the consecration of the full number of Scottish Bishops, and two years later the Scottish Parliament ratified the action of the General Assembly in thus restoring the Bishops to their proper spiritual position. This is a matter of great importance to Scotsmen, because they are usually told that those consecrated Bishops in the State Church, which had been legally Presbyterian for about eighteen years, were not lawful. But even a Presbyterian must admit that if the Crown, the Parliament, and the General Assembly agree in laws passed for establishing Bishops, then no other authority in the Kingdom can dispute the lawfulness of what is thus done. Melville and his friends, as we know, were a law unto themselves in their new religious government for Scotland, but at the very most, they could not dispense with the authority of the Crown and Parliament, in the first setting up of their own Presbyterianism. It was exactly the same authority, together with the General Assembly itself, which restored the Bishops to their proper place in the Church and Kingdom of Scotland, in 1610.
The Bishops’ task was a formidable one, because the religious customs of Melville’s friends had almost wiped out any recollections of the ancient traditions of the Church. Any improvements were vigorously denounced by the extreme Presbyterians, who were becoming fiercely Puritanical in their ideas of religion, and spent their time accusing every one who did not agree with them. The General Assembly, however, gave instructions to prepare forms of service that would have added to Knox’s Book of Common Order, which was a Prayer Book already in use by all parties in Scotland. In 1618 the Assembly enacted the famous Articles of Perth, intending to bring reverence and decency into public religion. These Articles were ratified by the Parliament also, and were entirely lawful in the Kingdom. They prescribed (1) kneeling, instead of sitting, at the Holy Communion; (2) observance of Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, and Whitsunday, which had been forbidden by the headstrong Reformers for sixty years; (3) Communion to be administered to the sick at home, instead of being restricted only to those present in Church; (4) children to be taught the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Commandments; (5) Baptism of Infants privately if necessary. These decent ordinances were immediately attacked by the Puritanical preachers, during the next twenty years, and when they violently threw down the established order of the Church, as we shall see, these customs disappeared among Presbyterians, and are still absent to this day.
By the consecration of the three Prelates, as above mentioned, the broken continuity of the Apostolic Order and Catholic Unity was repaired for the Church of Scotland. Although two at least of the pre-Reformation Bishops had joined with Knox in forming the new arrangements, yet to their everlasting disgrace they allowed their order to die out, without a single effort to preserve it. The new Genevan Presbyterianism did nothing to repair that shameful neglect, until it was impossible to do so in Scotland, but deliberately cut itself off from the Catholic Church by forbidding for the space of twenty years (1560–1581) the proper use of ordination by the laying on of hands for the ministry as “useless and superstitious.” By this deplorable act, the present popular Presbyterian system is only a fellowship of people for religious purposes, but without any basis of spiritual authority as a portion of that Church founded by the Apostles whom Christ Himself breathed upon and commissioned. This may seem a harsh judgment, God knows how I would like to soften it, but with the records of History, the universal usage of the past, and the Light of Holy Scripture, I am compelled to witness that there has never been any other way of speeding on the Church of Christ, but by the “laying on of hands,” and there has never been an age since the Apostles received the Charter of The Church, without Bishops who have had entrusted to them the office of ordination. This Genevan departure was a new thing and without Scriptural or historical precedent. I cast no slur upon, nor bring a “railing accusation” against those who have been born and brought up under the popular system. I cannot doubt but God has blessed it to many souls, who knowing nothing better, sought God in sincerity and truth according to their light, as did Cornelius; but I am constrained still to say, “We have no such custom, neither the Churches of God.” The venerable Bishop Wordsworth of St. Andrews, in a letter to the late Principal Tulloch, has put the whole contention in a nutshell. “The question,” says the Bishop, “is not whether many men under Presbyterianism, and in spite of its manifold disadvantages, have not by the great and good works which they have done, and the holy Christian lives which they have led, proved themselves of the true Israel, nor whether many men under Episcopacy, and notwithstanding the advantages which it offered them, have not proved themselves the reverse – neither of which will admit of doubt – but the question is one of the doings and design of God for the welfare, and the progress, the peace, and unity of the Church on earth. And if it can be proved, as I think it can, that all reason, and all authority, human and divine, are in favour of a threefold ministry, and the system which belongs to it – if this be so, then we must say to those who have not only bound themselves to deprive the former ministry of its ‘just rights,’ but who train up others to bind themselves to a persistency in the same injustice – we must say to all such, as Leighton said to the Covenanters: ‘The continuance of the divisions through which religion languishes must be at your doors.’"
The advocates of the Genevan Schism, after 1610, with a zeal worthy of a better cause, plotted and planned continually for the overthrow of the Church once more planted in Scotland; the Bishops were evil spoken of, the worst passions of the ignorant classes were appealed to. Many of the nobility were opposed to the restoration of a real Episcopacy, for, having appropriated to themselves much of the Church lands, they were afraid that if a lawful settlement took place, there would be a reckoning day, and that they would have to give up their ill-gotten gear. One is constrained to say here that no doubt the King was moved by the best of motives, but there was some unwisdom in carrying out his plans for the restoration of Episcopacy on Reformed lines. No allowance was made for the time that the Genevan leaven had been working, and its effect upon the people. The appointment of the Bishops on the King’s authority, although they were canonically consecrated, weakened their position, and gave a handle to the enemies of a three-fold ministry. The people would have easily accepted Episcopacy, but they were fed with alarms, and too readily listened to interested parties who persuaded them that they would soon lose their Religious Liberty and the Gospel.
One great mistake, which is seldom, if ever, mentioned, had most unfortunate consequences as time went on. The King in 1609 insisted on appointing the Bishops to control the restored “consistorial courts” of the old national Church. These-courts dealt with legal judgments about marriages, divorces, legitimacy, and inheritence of property, and therefore touched every man’s personal concerns. The nobility whose family affairs were often very irregular, and whose estates were largely held by very doubtful claims, thought that they were threatened by this revived legal authority of the Bishops’ courts.
When Charles I. passed the law in 1633 that set up the parish schools which John Knox intended but failed to establish, the means for this national system were taken from the old Church property snatched by the nobility and burgesses, much to their dissatisfaction. They became thoroughly hostile to the King and also to the Bishops. That is the real though secret cause of the long and at last successful enmity which was used to the uttermost by the Presbyterian party all through the seventeenth century.
Another grave mistake was made in Charles’ reign in introducing a new Service Book in 1637 without due preparation and careful explanation, and by wretched vacillation after its introduction had begun. The apocryphal story of Jenny Geddes and her famous creepie is of so telling a character that it has been raised to the dignity of an historic fact, and, in the worst of taste, commemorated by a memorial tablet. There is no question now but that the “plan of campaign,” culminating in that scandalous riot, was an organised scheme on the part of the Presbyterian leaders, Lords Lindsay, Loudon, Balmerino, Coupar, and the Marquis of Hamilton, with such Malcontents and Puritan ministers as Henderson, Dickson, and Cant. A concerted attack was made on the Church and the Service Book, the latter being described as Popish, which was simply untrue. Next, the Bishops were attacked and the foulest slanders were spread abroad to inflame the populace against them. The Presbyterian faction was in rebellion, and a committee was appointed to foster it, designated the “Tables.” This committee consisted of a table of nobles, table of gentry, table of burghs, table of ministers, with a general table formed of commissioners from the other four. The King’s authority was openly set at defiance both in England and Scotland under different forms. The Puritans mad against the Monarchy, and the Presbyterians enraged against Episcopacy, were both determined to have their own way at any cost.
While professing the greatest loyalty and claiming the King’s authority for themselves, the “Tables” were secretly gathering all their forces together to oppose the King; the first step being the drawing up of a seditious document called the “National Covenant.” The principal object of this document was to uproot Episcopacy and again establish Presbyterianism. It was signed with a great show of enthusiasm in the Greyfriars’ Churchyard, Edinburgh, March 1st, 1638.
A General Assembly was called at Glasgow, November 21st, 1638, the Marquis of Hamilton being the King’s Commissioner. The words and acts of this Assembly were so thoroughly lawless that the Commissioner was compelled to dissolve it. These pretended loyal subjects then threw off the mask, and showed the worth of their loyalty by defying the King’s Commissioner, and continuing their sitting. It would be well to note that this became a gathering without a shadow of authority, and moved by malice; there was no freedom of election, it being a packed gathering; it was no longer a lawfully constituted Synod, neither was there a calm and deliberate examination of the subjects discussed. The whole of its acts were dictated by a few individuals who had arranged everything beforehand, chief of whom were Rothes, Balmerino, and Loudon. Of these three ring-leaders, Rothes had been a Roman Catholic and was moved more by political than religious motives; Balmerino was convicted of treason and had been pardoned by the King, but he still cherished a deep feeling of resentment; Loudon was a conscientious Presbyterian and acted from the best of mistaken motives.
This illegal gathering prepared a statement accusing the Bishops of every conceivable infamy and crime, and then proceeded to depose them upon the strength of it. They did not profess to say that each Bishop had committed the whole category of crime laid to their charge, but that possibly he had committed some of them, and so should be dealt with summarily. The University and City of Aberdeen boldly refused to acknowledge the acts of this so called assembly, but they were shortly after compelled to agree by mere force of arms, the Presbyterians having now the command of an army to enforce their acts. Another document had now been drawn up after some discussion and called “The Solemn League and Covenant.” It received the sanction of the General Assembly and Estates, next the approval of a body of Puritan Divines (then sitting at Westminster, and commonly called the Westminster Assembly), the English House of Commons, and the few temporal Lords who were still permitted to call themselves the “Upper House.” On being returned to Scotland it was adopted, signed, and sworn to by the Committee of Estates and by the Commission of the Church, on October 13th, 1643. It was a more ambitious document than the “National Covenant of 1638.” It proposed the reformation of religion in England and Ireland, as well as in Scotland, and also the extirpation of “Popery, Prelacy, Superstition, Heresy, Schism, Profaneness, and everything else contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness.” Copies of this document were sent to the Moderators of all the Presbyteries. It was to be read and explained on the Sunday after being received, and sworn to and subscribed on the Sunday following. Those who could write were to subscribe with their own hand, and the Clerks of Parochial Sessions were to sign for those who could not write. Refusal was to be punished by ecclesiastical censures, and confiscation of goods. Radical changes were also made in the form of worship. Knox’s Book of Common Order, used for 70 years in the Church of Scotland by Bishops and Presbyters alike, was cast aside, the Gloria Patri was forbidden as superstitious, the Creed was no longer recited at Baptisms, the Lord’s Prayer was given up, and spoken of by some with great irreverence. The English Puritans made friendly overtures to the Scotch rebels. Archbishop Laud was cruelly beheaded, and the King was shamefully betrayed by the Presbyterians and the majority of the nobility, who, for £100,000, sold him to the English Parliament, an act that must ever remain a blot upon the National history, and a disgrace to Presbyterianism, for such a shameful deed admits of no defence, and of no palliation. Two years after his betrayal the King was murdered at Whitehall by the extreme Puritan faction. Cromwell came to Scotland and trod the Kirk in subjection under his iron heel. On attempting to hold a General Assembly in Edinburgh its members were summarily dismissed by Lieut.-Colonel Cotterell, acting in Cromwell’s name. In a short time after this the Presbyterians were divided into two hostile bodies, one called Resolutioners, the other Protestors. The country was in a deplorable condition, and religion existed but in name. The following description is from the pen of one carefully observant of these sad times: -”Under heaven there was not greater falsehood, oppression, division, hatred, pride, malice, and envy, than was at this time, and divers and sundry years before, ever since the subscribing of the Covenant every man seeking himself and his own ends under the cloak of piety which did cover much knavery.” (Nicoll’s Diary.) Cromwell’s conquest lasted for over ten years.
Soon after the Restoration Charles II determined to bring the ecclesiastical chaos into something like order. An Act Recissory was passed and Presbyterianism was abolished. The Resolutioners were now the loyalists, the Protestors were the disloyal party refusing to acknowledge the King or even to pray for him. The Bishops had all but died out, the only one alive was Bishop Sydserf of Galloway, who had been living for some time in France and afterwards in England. It was necessary that the Apostolic line should again be restored. Before this was done, in the Scottish Parliament held January 1st, 1661, the “Covenant” of 1643 was declared no longer binding, and on March 28th, the Acts of Parliament, 1640, 1641, 1644, 1645, 1646, 1647, and 1648 were declared null and void, and their acts and deeds rescinded and annulled. On the same day a Statute was passed by which the King declared his firm resolution “to maintain the true Reformed Protestant Religion in its purity of doctrine and worship as it was established under his royal father and grandfather, and in regard to the Church Government, he would take care to settle and secure the same in such a manner as should be most agreeable to the Word of God, most suitable to the Monarchy, and most in accordance with the public peace and quiet of the Kingdom.”
James Sharpe, minister of Crail; Andrew Fairfoul, minister of Duns; James Hamilton, minister of Cambusnethan; and Robert Leighton, who had resided for some time in England, were consecrated in London by the Bishops of London, Worcester, Carlisle, and Llandaff, thus once more providing a valid ministry. Sharpe was made Archbishop of St. Andrews; Fairfoul, Archbishop of Glasgow; Hamilton, Bishop of Galloway; Leighton, Bishop of Dunblane; and old Bishop Sydserf was translated to Orkney. So determined were the Scottish Churchmen that their Church should be free and independent, that at this Consecration as at the preceding one it was arranged that neither the Archbishops of Canterbury nor York should be present, lest at any time it should serve as a pretext for claiming jurisdiction over the Scottish Church. That spirit of independence has still continued and gives a direct denial to the oft-repeated statement, that the old Church of Scotland is but the Church of England wishing to gain a footing in Scotland. Matters might now have proceeded favourably had it not been for the turbulence of the West Country Presbyterians, aided by some of the dissatisfied nobles, who had been plundering the revenue of the Bishoprics.
It is a proof of the wish for a peaceful settlement that out of 860 parish ministers, only 182 refused to conform and take the oaths. This minority, nearly all of them placed in the South and Western districts, caused infinite trouble; they gathered the people around them at illegal conventicles, where the preaching savoured more of open rebellion than Evangelical religion. Many parishes were unprovided for, and some of them in the rural districts were filled by inexperienced youths. This is the greatest fault that can be brought against them, for the charges of idleness and vice, when carefully enquired into, fall to the ground, having no foundation; in fact, it is a clear case of “Them that dinna like me, winna speak ony guid o’ me.” Not content with comparing the conforming clergy to Amalek and Babylon, and counselling their destruction even as the Canaanites were cut off from the land, the fanatics proceeded to put their teaching into practice by arming themselves and defying the King’s troops. This led to several engagements, and, sad to say, many of the misled Covenanters having been taken with arms in their possession, were executed – not for religion, be it distinctly understood, but for open and clear rebellion, as they were ready to state.
No one could defend the cruel tortures to which some of the rebels were subjected, but we must also remember that it was a cruel age and neither side knew much mercy. If the ruling powers were over harsh, the provocation they received was also great. The murder in cold blood of the Archbishop of St. Andrews emphasized the troubles, and clearly showed that the Government must no longer parley with the leaders of the rebellion. Unfortunately the hatred too often arising from religious differences intensified the disorders of the period, and a good deal of odium has been cast upon the Bishops for their alleged share in the punishments awarded to those who were apprehended. This is not just, for the struggle was one much more political than religious. “The question was whether the King or a clique of wild fanatics should rule in Scotland.” (Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
Even the more moderate of the Presbyterians were shocked at the cruel slaughter of Archbishop Sharpe, who was murdered with revolting savagery in the presence of his daughter. This caused an open rupture in the Presbyterian ranks, the irreconcileables under the leadership of a seditious preacher named Richard Cameron, separated themselves under the title of Cameronians, and openly disclaimed the authority of Charles Stewart, as they called the King, and they also declared war against him. Richard Cameron was slain, and some time after Cargill, another of the same stamp, was also killed. Two women, Isabel Allison and Marion Harvey, were hanged at Edinburgh for treason; they had publicly taught that it was lawful for anyone to kill the King. I mention the execution of these women particularly and for a purpose, because there were no other women that suffered death in Scotland during the reign of Charles II and James VII.
It is difficult to trace the long period that now ensues. Much of the record comes from the pens of those who were prejudiced, and who considered it a sacred duty to make Churchmen as black as they could. Professor Aytoun says, “I am convinced that a large portion of our National Annals has been unfairly perverted, and that party strife and polemical rancour have combined to distort facts and to blacken names for mere temporal and political purposes.” There was never one so foully and shamelessly slandered as John Graham of Claverhouse, “Bonnie Dundee,” though it is clear from his contemporaries, and also from recently discovered letters, that he was the very opposite to what he was represented to be by his enemies. A biographer of his own times bears testimony to his high sense of honour, and fidelity to his word, and also gives proof of his deep seated religious principles – “For besides family worship, performed in his household regularly morning and evening, he entered into his closet at certain hours and employed himself in private prayer. This I affirm on the testimony of those who lived in his neighbourhood, in Edinburgh, where his duties as Privy Council often obliged him to be; and particularly from a Presbyterian lady who lived long in the same house where he resided, and who was otherwise so rigid in her opinions that she could not believe a good thing of any person of his persuasion all his conduct obliged her to rectify her mistake. He kept up the same pious custom in the army.” Much more might be said in refutation of the slanders heaped upon this loyal subject and true Churchman, but space forbids.
It would be well for “Puir auld Scotland’s sake,” if much of the so called Covenanting times could be expunged from her annals. It is evident that learned and intelligent men on both sides blush for the past and would wisely counsel that “byganes should be byganes.” One thing is also certain that with the gradual decay of polemical prejudices, historical truth is now more readily listened to. Principal Story, of Glasgow, in his “Life of Carstairs,” speaking of Scotland, as William of Orange had to deal with it at the Revolution period, says, “Its factions were embittered with a bitterness hardly known in England. Its political life was demoralised to an extent a. stranger could scarcely understand. Its public men were needy, selfish, and unprincipled. Its Highlands were inhabited with a half savage people, alien in race, language, manners, and religion, from the Lowlanders, and the two races were full of hatred and distrust.” To quote again from Principal Story, “Political considerations ruled the destinies of the Church; her own voice was not consulted. Had a General Assembly been invited to decide how the Church was to be governed, the vote of the majority would undoubtedly have declared for Episcopacy, and therefore Parliament took care to put that question out of Court before a General Assembly should get leave to sit; and took care to summon such an Assembly as should be certain never to recall the question. The Revolution settlement was, of all conceivable settlements, the most erastian.”
William of Orange played fast and loose with the Presbyterians and Episcopalians, until he could see which would best suit his purposes. “When the Bishop of Edinburgh sent to his Court on behalf of the Scottish Bishops, declined to ‘follow the example of England,’ the Prince, we are told, ‘turned away without speaking another word.’ The fate of the Church as an Establishment was then sealed, and Presbyterianism became the established religion. On the 2nd July, 1689, the Earl of Annandale brought a draft act before the Scottish Parliament for the abolition of Prelacy, and giving power to William and Mary, to settle the Presbyterian Government of the Church in the way “most agreeable to the inclinations of the people and the Word of God.” Next day on the second reading the draft was altered, the word “Presbyterian” being left out in that part which related to the future settlement of the Church Government. Two days after, another change was made, nothing being said about “the Word of God,” and in this form the Bill was passed on July 22nd, 1689.
By this Act, Episcopacy was abolished and all the acts favourable to it passed in the reign of Charles II were rescinded. It further gave authority to the King and Queen of England, with the consent of Parliament, to settle in the Kingdom of Scotland that form of Church Government which was “most agreeable to the inclinations of the People.” It is worthy of note that no reference was made in the Act to either the “National Covenant” or the “Solemn League and Covenant,” for no doubt William was far too politic to take any step that would alienate the supporters of the Church in England, by reviving two such dangerous documents; and it must also be clearly noted that neither at that time nor at any later period has there been any claim that Presbyterianism exists “jure divino” – by divine right derived from the Founder and Head of the Church.
Whatever claim the present “Establishment” may have upon the people by her activity or godliness, she must bear upon her escutcheon the blot “Created by Act of Parliament.”
It has ever been a famous plan of Presbyterians to create an interest in their system by sentimental tales. Most of these resolve themselves into myths when closely scrutinised. Take for instance the oft-repeated but not “ower true tale” of the drowning of Margaret Lauchlison and Margaret Wilson, at Wigton, May 11th, 1685.
Each story teller tries to make the incident more thrilling and more dramatic. So great a favourite has been this tale, and so effective in rousing indignation against “Black Prelacy,” that we have nearly as many different versions of the “martyrdom” as there are story tellers. Some say there were three females, an old woman, a maiden, and a young girl; others, that there was an old woman and a maiden; one tells the story briefly, another weaves out of it a thrilling narrative, and its latest turn is a beautiful marble memorial to the “martyrs” in the Cemetery at Stirling, which represents them as two young girls, guarded by an angel. Unfortunately for those who keep the story in stock, modern research and the recovery of documents bearing on the subject, take away all interest and place the thrilling narrative on the same level with the interesting and affecting myth of Jessie Brown at the Siege of Lucknow. That Margaret Lauchlison and Margaret Wilson were tried for contumacy and sentenced to be drowned is quite another thing. Let us just glance at the leading evidence against the truth of the tale. The first authority for the story was Alexander Shields, the author of “The hind let loose,” published in 1687, two years after the alleged martyrdom. He mentions no names in his brief account. Of this man, Macaulay, in his “History of England,” speaks in the severest terms.
No other writer in the seventeenth century asserts specifically that these women suffered death by drowning. Woodrow mentions the story in 1721–2, and of him Principal Tulloch says – “Woodrow’s stories everywhere bear the stamp of his imaginative development.” And even Woodrow has to acknowledge that the story “was denied by many,” whose personal knowledge could easily go back 37 years.
Patrick Walker, the packman, has also to acknowledge that “some deny it to be a matter of fact.”
The Kirk Session of Penningham, having appointed an agent to collect all the accounts of those who suffered under “Black Prelacy,” record and attest this tale among others, but only from hearsay. There is no attestation of eye witnesses, and no names are given of those who were present. It is true that Woodrow and the Kirk Session, say a brother of Margaret Wilson was ready to testify to the truth of these things, but there is no record of his ever attesting them, which was the object of the inquiry.
Woodrow says in his account that Provost Coltrane of Wigton took an active part in the drowning of the women. The Burgh records undeniably prove that at the date specified the Provost was in Edinburgh, being then absent on Parliamentary duties for seventy-three days.
The only women executed from 1660 to 1688 were those already mentioned, viz., Isabel Alison and Marion Harvey, and both for treason, not for religion.
Several pamphlets were circulated, and public documents are still extant, all issued and written, covering a period of some considerable time before and after the date of the alleged drowning; they all complain of numerous grievances, and set forth many cruelties, but all are silent about “the Wigton tragedy.”
In a list of sufferings in Galloway, this very date, May 11th, 1685, is given when two men were shot, but not a word is said about these women being so cruelly killed.
There is preserved in the Register House, Edinburgh, an Act of Council, dated the last day of April, 1685, which says: “Margaret Wilson and Margaret Lauchlison, reprieved and recommended for a remission.”
Margaret Lauchlison’s petition for mercy and recantation of her contumacy are also in the Register House, Edinburgh, and although not dated, were evidently written and signed between April 13th, and April 30th, 1685.
From another order of Council, dated April 30th, 1685, it is clear that both women had been brought to Edinburgh and confined there – no uncommon thing at that time in the case of condemned persons about to be reprieved, and that document exonerates “the Magistrates of Edinburgh for putting off the said sentence of execution against them.” (Napier.)
In the face of such evidence, it is worse than folly to repeat this story with the intention of continuing ill-feeling among our countrymen.
Much that took place in these
days of intolerance admits of no apology, but the fault lay more in the times
than with the men. Fanaticism had
cast out the charity and purity of the Evangel, and ignorance allied to fierce
denunciation usurped the throne of inspiration, and the ravings of men – many
of them- semi-maniac – were accepted as a voice from Heaven.
What could be more deplorable than such teaching as the following, taken
from a book published in 1674: “the sending of the Archbishop’s head to the
King would be the best present that could be made to Jesus Christ.”
The word “Covenanters” was until lately a potent word to conjure with among Presbyterians, but time has dispelled much of the glamour that hung around the heroes of the Covenant, and while one cannot but grieve over the numbers of misled yet earnest peasants who lost their lives in the so called “Killing time,” nothing but severe condemnation remains for their fanatical and cruel leaders. The truth about those men and their times is only now becoming known.
One of the most eloquent apologists for the Covenanters has been compelled to own: “With this pervading earnestness in the Covenanters, there were mingled many elements of blindness and bigotry,” and, “there remain about them a form and shape of character, as well as modes of feeling and of thought, which constitute most undesirable models, and which indicate a sad declension from the days of primitive Christianity.” The same writer says; “the piety of the Covenanters has often been charged with cant. Nor are we disposed altogether to deny the charge. We find much in their spoken and written language calculated to offend our modern taste. We find undue familiarity with divine things, extravagant and absurd expressions of religious feeling, a profusion of such epithets as “Sweet Jesus,” “Dear Jesus,” and “To sleep in the arms of Christ my Lord,” &c., and a use of scripture language in circumstances which render it little else than disgusting.” Further on he adds, “The grand aim of the Covenanters was certainly not gained. The moment the persecution ceased the memory of the Covenant seemed silently to drop out of the minds of men. Loudly, indeed, did the Cameronians continue to bellow words of menace and to wail out notes of woe over ‘Covenants burned, broken, and buried.’ But their voice met with no response, save in the echo of the hills, which seemed to return it now rather in derision than in sympathy.” (Heroes of the Covenant.) Pity it is to dispel the delusion of a favourite dream, and with rude hand expose the clay which composes the image, but as long as the Covenanters and their times are lauded at the expense of truth and true religion, so surely will Churchmen search for and publish the real truth and the records-of history.
It would be thought that those who had passed through great tribulation themselves would have been softened, and chastened, and would have practised that which the Bible, they loudly boasted of, so plainly insisted on – forgiveness of enemies, but alas, it was far otherwise, for no sooner did Presbyterianism become the dominant power, than it poured out the vials of its wrath against Episcopacy. After the Revolution of 1688, when it was seen that nothing could shake the loyalty of the Episcopalians to their lawful but mistaken Monarch, their opponents now in control of the State threw off the mask and lent all its power and influence to crush the Church out of existence, and the bitter intolerance of the godly Presbyterian out-Heroded the worst faults of Prelacy. The Court feared the loyalty of Churchmen, who dared not break their oath of allegiance to the ancient dynasty, and the religious element served as a handy weapon to smite the loyalists, who still adhered to King James in exile.
In 1701, the General Assembly excommunicated as far as they could the Episcopal Clergy and their adherents. They were very much annoyed that the people clung to the Bishops, and that these latter still exercised their office and ordained clergy. At Edinburgh on the 7th March, 1701, the following Act was passed by the General Assembly: “The General Assembly upon report of their Committee for Overtures, did by their vote, and hereby do enact and declare that any persons who shall for hereafter receive either licence or ordination from any of the late Prelates, or any other not allowed by the authorities of the Church, shall be incapable of Ministerial Communion for the space of three years simpliciter, and even after that time, ay, and while the Presbytery to which he shall apply be satisfied concerning his repentance.”
This had but little effect in some parts of the Kingdom, especially in the North and East, where the parishioners in most of the parishes succeeded for a considerable time in preventing the Presbyterian Ministers even entering the churches. Although Episcopacy had been abolished by the “powers that be,” it was still the popular form of Church Government of a large majority of the people.
Bishop Torry says :– “Throughout the greater part of Scotland there was a strong attachment to the Church, and North of the Tay, comprising mere than one-half of the Kingdom, there were only three Presbyterian meeting houses before the Revolution.”
“It was only,” he adds, “after a succession of exterminating persecutions that the Church at the end of the last century was reduced to a handful of faithful men and women whom no suffering could drive- from her fold,” and who clung pertinaciously to the Church. “Of the twenty-three clergy in the Diocese of Caithness at the Revolution only one was actually received into the Presbyterian Communion.” (Craven.) “In 1707, nearly twenty years after the Revolution in the ‘Synod of Ross and Sutherland,’ comprehending nearly the whole of the two dioceses of Ross and Caithness which in 1688 had over fifty clergy, there were only ten ministers, so little progress had been made for Presbytery.” (Church in Ross.)
So late as 1721, Mr. Donald MacRae, Vicar of Kintail since 1681, was still the Episcopal Parish Minister. On his death many of his Episcopal fellow-clansmen, rather than accept the intruding Presbyterian, joined the Roman Catholic Mission then lately introduced.
These matters must he mentioned here, because attempts have been tried to make it appear that the re-introduction of Presbyterianism as the Established religion was by the wish of the people, and that William of Orange was only yielding to a popular demand. A fair and impartial enquiry into the history of the Church, for some time after the Revolution, will tell a different tale. Except in the South-west of Scotland, the people clung to Episcopacy. Dr. Carlyle, of Inveresk, a Presbyterian, says “that when Presbytery was re-established in Scotland at the Revolution, after the reign of Episcopacy for twenty-nine years, more than two-thirds of the people of the country and most part of the gentry were Episcopals, the restoration of Presbytery by King William being chiefly owing to the Duke of Argyle, Marchmont, Stair, and other leading nobles who had suffered under Charles and James, and who had promoted the Revolution with all their interest and power.” So acting, they secured their own estates.
It must be remembered that William of Orange was personally opposed to any persecution of the Episcopalians, as they came to be called. He complained bitterly that he had been shamelessly misinformed by their active opponents before he left Holland and even after his arrival in England. He never visited Scotland, but the actual government of the country was a separate Parliament and the Scottish Privy Council in Edinburgh. To prevent the attendance of any but the Presbyterian faction. The Earl of Leven posted an illegal levy of armed peasants from the Covenanting districts in the streets. The lives of the Bishops and those who sided with them were threatened. Laws were rapidly passed harassing those who would not accept the forcible changes thrust upon the country. Lists were drawn up of persons whose property was to be confiscated for the benefit of the ruling faction. All these things and much more to the same effect, though hidden from our fellow-countrymen, can easily be read in the acts of the Parliament and Council, and in the public records of the Revolution in Scotland.
During Queen Anne’s reign, I am glad to tell that the Bishops and their adherents got some relief from the legal persecutions thus aimed at them. But the good Queen’s influence could not altogether prevent their chapels, where they worshipped after being driven out of the Cathedrals and parish churches, being closed by the magistrates in different towns. Some of their clergy too were imprisoned for using “innovations,” which was the new General Assembly’s description of the Church services and sacraments. The Queen herself and friends in England sent quantities of the English Prayer Book for the distressed Episcopalian congregations, because there had been no Scottish Prayer Books used after the restoration of 1661. As a matter of fact, the public worship in the parish churches, although Presbyterians and Covenanters refused to attend, was almost identical with the sort of service their own ministers carried on in their own meeting houses. So it is not true to say that the Scottish people were driven even by armed dragoons, to hear a Prayer Book they detested, in their churches. That old fable has too often been repeated by people who should know better. Many Presbyterians still believe that their ancestors were justified in objecting to the imposition of certain forms of worship, which, if they knew it, were never used at all during the unhappy days of Charles and James. As for any objection to forms of worship, it was the Presbyterian General Assembly itself that threw out John Knox’s Book of Common Order to please the English Divines in 1645. After that time, and during the rule of Cromwell’s Independents and Puritans in Scotland, the new style of worship became common among Presbyterians, which was actually introduced from England. It was laid down in the “Directory for the Public Worship of God,” brought back from the Westminster Assembly by the Commissioners who forced it upon the Scottish people, although even the Scottish Parliament in its Act enforcing the Directory acknowledged that it was “an ordinance of the Parliament of England.” This is the real history of Presbyterian worship, though it does not suit their leaders to let their people know the facts.
Two years before Queen Anne died, it was the Parliament of Great Britain that dealt firmly with the persecuting Acts of the last Scottish Parliament, which had kept itself in existence for very many years, without any election by the Scottish people. An “Act of Toleration” was passed in 1712, giving legal permission to the Scottish Bishops and clergy “to use the Liturgy of the Church of England if they think fit,” and to administer their Church affairs, “protected by the sheriffs and magistrates in the worship of God held in any town or place, except parish churches.” Perhaps it was at this time that the wrong and misleading name of “the English Church” was first flung by their bitter opponents at the Episcopalians, who were altogether Scottish and quite as full of national independence as any of their fellow-countrymen. These same Episcopalians were also called “Jacobites,” by their political enemies. But it is conveniently forgotten that those Jacobites were above everything else determined that Scotland should be independent of England in every way, including religion. Surely it is plain to every Scotsman that they had no other reason for acting and suffering as they did.
It is necessary to know why the great separation between Episcopalians and Presbyterians came to pass in the eighteenth century. As early as Christmas, 1688, as soon as the Covenanters knew that King James had fled, they “rose,” and in the Western districts the Clergy were “rabbled,” they, their wives and children, were driven from the manses in the midst of a snowstorm, and more than one of the “ousted ministers” is said to have perished under the infliction. In spite of Queen Anne’s protection, the deprived Bishops and about three hundred clergy already thrust out of their parishes by persecution, could not do very much for their own people. Many of them were old men and fast dying out, under their troubles. At the same time, there were also other clergy, as many as 165 at the Union of Parliaments in 1707, who were still holding their manses and parish churches, mostly north of the Tay, and in the remote northern districts. There were then about 860 parishes in Scotland, and the law of the last Scottish Parliament forbade payment of the “teind” or tithe as stipends to anyone but a Presbyterian minister. Gradually as the working of this law was pushed on by the governing Presbyterians in Edinburgh through the Justiciary Courts, these remaining clergymen were “outed,” as I shall tell, sometimes by the force of law officers aided by soldiers sent for the purpose. And this was done, let it be clearly understood, years before the Jacobite misadventure of the ‘15, gave the Government some excuse for repressive measures. What I am now referring to was the effect of the action of the General Assembly which invoked the aid of the law and the military to thrust out all who did not conform to its decisions about religious matters. We can see it must have been difficult or impossible to pay over the legal teinds demanded by force for the new Presbyterian minister imposed upon the parish, and at the same time to provide for the “outed” clergyman driven from his house and living. The people were poor, and the lairds dared not go on risking the savage penalties under the increasing power of the Presbyterians. Even worse, as the clergy died out, they could not be replaced, because no Episcopalians could attend the Universities, in which to this day none but Presbyterians can hold any office or teach Divinity as Professors. So by such means and in many other ways, the adherents of the Bishops were prevented from having the benefits of any Toleration intended by the British Parliament, for their worship.
It suits many writers of Scottish history to represent that all the harsh treatment of Episcopalians was due to their unwise adherence to the exiled Stuart Kings and Princes. But there were always many Episcopalians who were not political Jacobites, just as there were many Jacobites who were never Episcopalians but Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. The story of the Risings of 1715 and 1745 makes that perfectly plain. The militant and defeated Jacobites were deprived of every political right, which was a proper penalty of their political misadventures. But to that was added the burning of Episcopal places of worship, prohibition of the ministry of the clergy under pain of banishment, and penal laws against religious worship. It is still more plain that many persons who had no political interest or any active part in Jacobite concerns, were savagely persecuted for their religion and in the exercise of it. The same convenient forgetfulness constantly conceals other facts from Presbyterian ministers and their congregations. They usually imagine that their Church contained all the population of Scotland within a year or two after it was established in 1690. But the fact is there were only sixty-one ministers in the country to form their new General Assembly, and that had to wait by the King’s orders for two years until Parliament gave it any authority to meet and pass Acts. Some of these ministers were gathered from England, Ireland, Wales, and from abroad. There were only two found in Galloway and all the West of Scotland. “None came from the north,” for there were none to come. It is noticeable that of the hundred and eighty members in 1690, by far the majority were laymen and lairds from the Lothians and Border districts. Moreover, many of them were already sitting in the Parliament that was arranging the Revolution. And there was likewise a group of noblemen deeply concerned to keep grip upon the deprived Bishops’ revenues and other ecclesiastical property already in their hands. They were able then, as before and since, to drive a very hard bargain with the General Assembly, as the price of the legal authority these sixty-one ministers obtained for establishing their own purposes. (Principal Cunningham. Hist. vol. ii. pp. 177, etc.).
Using these forces, the General Assembly and Presbyteries for years in vain “planted” ministers; the people either opposed their intrusion or left them in an all but empty Kirk – it being impossible in some northern parishes to find men for elders to assist the minister, so that the “ordinances” were not “dispensed” for years. Again, to quote from “Bishop R. Forbes’ Journal and Church in Ross,” to which I am deeply indeted for many facts connected with this period – “We learn from the minutes of a meeting held at Rosemarkie, 29th September, 1724, that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was then administered for the first time in that parish under Presbyterian rule, that is, thirty-six years subsequent to the disestablishment of the Church.” In 1725, “the Presbyterian Synod of Glenelg approved of an overture authorising some of their number to proceed to Inverness and invoke the aid of George Wade, Esq., Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in Scotland, and crave ‘his concurrence and assistance towards redressing the said grievances, and strengthening our hands in the Lord’s work.’ About the same time they were also appealing to Cæsar, in a petition to the King begging for itinerant preachers and catechists. ‘We would find,’ they wrote, ‘to our own sweet experience, that God had raised up your Majesty to be a nursing father to His. Church. For what success may not be expected when God is pleased to employ so glorious an instrument as your Majesty to advance and protect the Kingdom of His Beloved Son.’ It look long years of poverty and persecution to crush out the Church feeling from the hearts of the old and middle-aged, and to win over the young to the ‘Schism,’ as it was truly called. As a proof how difficult it was to crush Episcopacy, when Bishop Robert Forbes made a visitation of his distant dioceses of Ross and Argyll in 1770, he writes to Dr. Abernethy Drummond, of Hawthornden, under date July 2nd, that he had ‘confirmed already considerably above 1000 young and old, many of whom were baptised adults.’ “ (Craven.)
Mr. Alexander, the Parish Minister of Kildrummie, in Aberdeenshire, kept possession of his church until 1715. After that date more severe measures were resorted to, many chapels were burned by the King’s soldiers, and detachments of mounted dragoons scoured the country, and, acting on the information of the Presbyterian authorities, “harassed the nonjuring Clergy, spoiled their goods, shut up their places of worship, and except in the cases where the Clergy were in hiding, imprisoned their persons.”
The Bishops then, unlike the Prelates at the Reformation, were resolved at all hazards to continue their Order; but to do this they had to act with the greatest secrecy and caution. “The Prelates celebrated with a mournful privacy the august solemnities of the Church, the rites were shorn of the old Cathedral splendour. The Veni Creator must he murmured like a voice out of the dust. But yet they had with them the Eternal Pontiff, and the unfailing powers of His Kingdom. They were speaking His words and doing His work, and it was in full assurance of Him for their unseen Consecrator, that the Priests about to fill the places of these worn-out old men, knelt before them to receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of Bishops in the Church of God.” (Ranken.)
The Minister of Aberlour, in Strathspey, was banished the Kingdom for the crime of baptising an infant.
Mr. William Livingstone, Parson of Deer, was seized by a party of military and forced away from his family and flock. They rifled his house of everything of value within it, leaving not so many clothes as would cover his wife, and an infant a few months old. Mr. Alexander, the aged Minister of Kildrummie, who had kept so long possession of his Church, was seized and carried a prisoner to Aberdeen. From thence he was taken with Dr. Garden to Edinburgh. But on their way there they were both thrust into a noisome dungeon at Coupar Angus where the worst criminals were imprisoned, and after many months of suffering were at last set at liberty on bail. Nor did the faithful laity escape, they incurred sharp penalties for being present at the interdicted worship. Those of position were subjected to heavy fines in addition to their being incapacitated from any office of privilege or trust. If Peers, they were debarred from taking their places in the House of their Order; if Commoners, from being elected as members of Parliament or even from discharging the humble functions of Justice of the Peace. Statutes in 1719, 1746, and 1748 for the extinguishing of Episcopacy in Scotland forbade more than four persons assembling together for worship, and the clergyman performing such service was liable to a penalty of six months’ imprisonment for the first offence, and for the second offence, banishment to the Plantations in the West Indies for life, or, in other words, to be sold for a slave.
On 5th December, 1748, Alexander Greig of Stonehaven, John Petrie of Drumlithie, and John Troup of Muchalls, clergymen of the Diocese of Brechin, were condemned to imprisonment for six months in the Tolbooth of Stonehaven.
John Skinner of Linshart, who died Dean of Aberdeen in 1808, lay in the jail of the county town for six months, for the breaking of this law. Among the last of the persecuted clergy was Dr. Patrick Torry, Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, who died at a ripe old age at Peterhead, in 1852. Others also suffered.
In consequence of the severe persecution, the Church was reduced to a low state at the beginning of the last century; at that time her clergy were less than fifty, and four Bishops. There had been over two hundred in 1746.
It is necessary to dwell upon the sufferings of the Episcopal Church, for there is a conspiracy of silence on this matter; even the school histories are carefully “cooked,” so that while they laud and magnify the sufferings of the Covenanters, and hold up such brave men as Claverhouse to obloquy, not a hint is given of the persecution of the adherents of the historical and ancient Church of the land. In common fairness it is time that this was altered, and our youth taught from impartial histories, even if the truths contained therein are not always palatable.
In some towns there were licensed “English Chapels” for Episcopal services, but these were supplied by priests who had received ordination either in England or Ireland, and had “qualified” themselves by taking the oaths to the Hanoverian Government. Most of these English chapels have ceased to exist, having been absorbed into the Scottish Church, acknowledging the jurisdiction of the Scottish Bishops.
It is interesting to note that the American Church owes its Eucharistic Office and its Episcopate to the poor persecuted Scottish Church when the severest penal statutes were still in force against her. Dr. Seabury having been chosen Bishop-elect by the clergy in Connecticut came from America to England hoping there to be consecrated to the Apostolic office. Erastianism put every obstacle in the way, and the English Bishops found themselves “unable to exercise their heaven-derived powers.” The possibility of this difficulty had been foreseen in America, and Seabury had received instructions from the Clergy of Connecticut that if he failed in his application at Lambeth he should apply to the Bishops of Scotland. In July, 1783, he arrived in London, and it was not till the end of August, 1784, that he gave up all hope of receiving consecration from the English Bishops and applied to the Scottish Bishops who readily gave the rich blessing with hearty good will. On 14th of November, 1784, in an upper room within the City of Aberdeen, Dr. Seabury was consecrated the first Bishop of the American Church, by Bishop Kilgour of Aberdeen, Primus, Bishop Petrie of Moray, Ross, and Caithness, and Skinner, Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen.
In 1792, Bishop Skinner of Aberdeen, aided by some of the English Bishops, obtained from Parliament the repeal of the Penal Laws which had operated so harshly ever since 1716, producing the decay of the Church that was certainly intended by the Government and the opponents of the suffering Churchmen. If they made grave political mistakes, it is also true that their religion was persecuted for exactly a century after the Revolution, far longer than any sufferings of the Covenanters, who were in conflict with the Government for scarcely twenty years, and had “indulgence” to worship in their own way under their own ministers if they cared to accept that privilege. Episcopalians had much harder treatment, and were persecuted for their religion as well as their politics, throughout the eighteenth century, as the acts of the General Assembly clearly show. By the repeal of 1792, the Church now stands as “tolerated” in a Presbyterian country, her Bishops are lawful officers among their own people, her clergy are free to officiate lawfully, “except in parish churches,” and her members have the same legal rights as anyone else who does not accept the Established Kirk. The Church of the Bishops receives no money from the Government or the nation, and depends entirely upon the offerings of her own faithful members, – a free Church in Scotland.
When the tyranny was once past, it was seen “that in spite of all that the severe policy of the Government had effected, the Scottish Episcopal Church had never failed to preserve unbroken the Episcopal succession, and that its priesthood had never died out.”
The Church having emerged from the dark cloud that so long enveloped her, and cheered by the warm sun of freedom, is now increasing in strength and growing in numbers. Past prejudices are fading away, and the descendants of her persecutors are timidly copying from her many things in the order and dignity of her worship.
The doctrines we have never ceased to hold are openly preached by the sons of those who preached and prayed against them. The festivals of Christmas and Easter, once ruthlessly condemned as Popish, are now observed in many Kirks, daily services and a liturgy are openly adopted, even the “Kist o’ Whistles,” once the abomination of true blue Presbyterians, is now a common accessory to public worship; and the grand words of that ancient hymn of praise, the “Te Deum,” have found a place within the Kirk’s book of praise. Longing eyes are looking towards the Order of Church government, and faint whispers are heard from some of the best men within the legal Establishment for Superintendents, as an improvement on the present system of parity of ministers. The late Principal Tulloch, at the General Assembly in 1882, said, “I am one of those who recognise that Episcopacy has a certain historic root in Scotland, it would ill become us to look with coldness upon the great work Episcopalians are doing, or to refuse them brotherly sympathy in their work.” When he was out-going Moderator of the General Assembly of 1879, he said in his sermon, “The true Church is Historical in doctrine and ritual . . . . No Church can, without injury, separate itself from the past – the inherited beliefs and traditions of Christendom,” and in 1872 he wrote in the Contemporary Review, “There are few wise Presbyterians who do not see weakness in their own system from the disuse of Episcopacy.” Another Presbyterian leader, Professor Milligan, who like Professor Tulloch, bore a name worthy of all honour among Christians, said in 1882, when Moderator of the General Assembly, “There is much to draw us to the Episcopal Church of Scotland – far more, I would fain say, did I not know how delicate is the ground upon which I am treading – than to the Church of England. The earliest and best of our Reformers had no objections to much that the Episcopal Church retains in doctrine, worship and government, while on the other hand, Scottish Episcopacy, especially in its earlier times, retained many Presbyterian elements. If in later times a spirit of mutual animosity prevailed, it was in no small degree because of temporary causes of alienation which might pass – which have in a great measure passed – away. These causes were indeed more political than religious, and they were deepened by that folly and sin on both sides which all parties now equally bewail.” Were this the opinion of all Presbyterians our unhappy differences would soon cease, but we cannot close our eyes to the vast amount of ignorance, prejudice, and animosity that still exists, like a huge wall preventing even an explanation of our position. From the want of instruction, and the perverted views of Church history instilled into them, the majority of the working classes are opposed to the Church, “because they love to have it so.” You may tell them certain facts and ask them to enquire further for their own satisfaction, but in nine cases out of ten, like Mrs. McClarty, they “canna be fashed.” Until this carelessness can be touched, the veil will still remain before the eyes of the people and they will remain antagonistic to the Church, not on principle, but because they know no better. The only way to meet this difficulty is for the Church laity, especially working men, to band themselves together into Branches of a Church Society, which will serve as a Mutual Improvement Society for storing their minds with correct views of the Church polity, doctrines, and government, and so primed, be able to converse with their Presbyterian fellow working men, with whom they come in daily contact. The mutual conversation, the exchange of ideas, the faithful answering of questions will all help to dispel much of the ignorance about the Church. There is no other way for reaching the working classes successfully but through and by the working classes. Every true and leal Churchman will at once recognise this as a duty. “The Church of Scotland’s Mission is of course an undying one. The goodly tree has again and again been cut down, even to the ground, but, blessed be God, it is now ‘again taking root downward and bearing fruit upward;’ slowly, no doubt, but on that account all the more surely.” (Ranken.)
It should always be made plain when pressing the claims of the Episcopal Church, that it is done not in a spirit of bigotry, or from a high platform of superiority, nor with the low motive of getting numbers, but rather with the consciousness that much as the Presbyterian has that is good, we can still give him more; we would restore what his forefathers, in a time of much excitement and bitter feeling, cast a way, and which the Episcopal Church retained as a sacred deposit. We have no new doctrines to offer, only the “Faith once for all delivered to the Saints.” We have no new way that leads to Heaven, we can only say, “seek for the old paths.” We are not insensible of the good work done, and the holy lives lived by many who are opposed to us; the daily knowledge of these faithful works and godly lives makes us yearn for a closer unity in the bonds of the Catholic Church. Until that unity is accomplished and the long prayed-for day arrives, when there will be One Church, as there is “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of us all,” the Lord’s work will be but feebly done, and the efforts of those who do battle for Jesus, be like, “him that beateth the air.” A venerable and faithful servant of Christ’s Church, thus closes his “Sketch of the Church of Scotland,” “May our daily and diligent work as Scottish Churchmen be, to rebuild the waste places of Zion, to rear and train afresh the imperishable vine, a slip of which St. Columba and his fellow Missionaries planted in our Scottish soil, but which the wild boar out of the wood hath all but rooted out and the wild beasts of the field devoured. And let our prayers go up for our dear Mother, the Church of Scotland, esto per petua, till the second Advent dawns and her King comes to claim His own from the stewards of His Mysteries.” (Ranken.)
Who can doubt that if the Church is but true to her Mission, and, like her Divine Master, yearns for souls she will yet again be a mighty power for good in the land, – and – in the prophetic words of an American Bishop –
“Where now the sons of havoc
Upon Thine Altars tread,
Thine own Liturgic Service
Shall bless the Cup and Bread.
only from the spoiler
That pure and ancient rite,
In Scotland’s Altar Service
All Churches must unite.
– as the Ark of Scotland,
Keep thou thy rightful name,
For thou’rt the Church of Scotland
Till Scotland melts in flame.”
NOTE on the LITURGY of the EPISCOPALCHURCH in SCOTLAND, commonly called the SCOTTISH COMMUNION OFFICE.
THE authorised Book of Common Prayer for the CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, issued by King Charles I in 1637, when the Bishops and Clergy were established and endowed in the Cathedrals and Parish Churches, was so violently used by Presbyterians as their excuse for the downthrow of the Church in 1638, that when the restoration of that establishment came in 1661, no Prayer Book of any kind was introduced into public worship in Scotland. After the Revolution of 1688 to 90, the Bishops and Clergy were extruded from their place in the National Church, and their ministrations were forbidden by law, under penalties enforced in the interests of Presbyterianism.
Early in the eighteenth century, however, the Bishops compiled a Communion Service, for the persecuted Church people, on lines closer to the model of the worship of the primitive Church. This Liturgy does not differ in principle or doctrine from that of the Church of England. But its parts are arranged in a somewhat different order, and with fuller expression. It does not admit of anything savouring of Romish doctrine of the Mass, and was actually drawn up and used both by clergy and people who regarded it as their greatest defence against Romanism and other errors.
In many of our Churches it is used to-day along with the English Communion Office alternatively, and it is the public lawfully authorised Office of the Church in Scotland.