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SYMBOLS OF FAITH AND WORSHIP.
sion of Faith for the three kingdoms."1 In all this it had shown a sacrificing spirit—it had thrown aside its own “Confession of Faith,” and its own “Book of Common Order," both the legacy of Knox, that its Covenanted uniformity with England might be secured. Long ago repudiated by England, the Confession still remains the creed of the Scotch Church; but, of course, modern theology has, in some respects, outgrown it, as it has most of the scientific and speculative compositions of the period. But of all the compilations of the Westminster Divines, the “Shorter Catechism” is undoubtedly the best. Its admirable method ; the manner in which every question grows out of the answer which preceded it; its union of simplicity in statement with depth of doctrine, make it one of the most perfect of catechetical compositions. It has exerted a prodigious influence in moulding not merely the religious but the mental character of Scotland. To admit that it errs in some points is merely to admit that it is human.
The same Assembly which sanctioned the “Confession of Faith" had under its consideration a new metrical version of the psalms. Mr Rouse, a member of the English House of Commons, was the author of this version; but he had not disdained to borrow largely from a version at that period greatly despised, because it happened to bear the name of King James, but which was in reality the composition of Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, afterwards created Earl of Stirling. The Assembly appointed a committee to revise the poetical translation of Rouse, with instructions to make what use they could of the version of the Laird of Rowallan, and of Zachary Boyd, at that time well known to the lovers of sacred poesy. The result of their labours was that version of the psalms now sung every Sunday in our churches, and which, though neither so classical in its language, nor so melodious in its measures as we would expect from the age which produced a “Paradise Lost,” and “L'Allegro,” is yet so terse, so true to the original, and so natural, as to be upon the whole the best poetical trans1 See the Acts of these Assemblies.
? The last reference which I have found to the Genevan liturgy is in the Acts of the Assemby, 1649, in which the Church petitions the parliament to give the súms which had hitherto been given to the readers (evidently of the Liturgy) to schoolmasters, now that the Directory for Public Worship had been adopted. Explicit mention of the Liturgy is avoided. Was this intentional? Had the Church become ashamed of it? (Peterkin, p. 553.) In Nichol's Diary for 1650, there is a notice, that the Directory having been introduced in 1646, the ministers now began to deliver lectures in place of the morning and evening prayers.
lation of the psalms of which the English literature can boast. The present authorised version of the Bible had been published so early as 1611, under the paternal care of King James, and soon superseded the old Genevan translation, so that the Church of Scotland had now all these symbols of its faith and worship.
But the General Assembly still lacked catholicity of spirit. The Presbyterians in England were exhorted by their brethren in Scotland to use every effort to extirpate the sects which were so rapidly springing up in every part of the country. They were told that the unclean spirit which had been cast out was entering in again, with seven other spirits worse than himself; so that the latter end of England was like to be worse than the beginning. And, afraid lest the gangrene, as it was sometimes called, should spread northwards, an act was passed prohibiting all books in which the pestilent heresies of the Independents were maintained from entering the country.”
The summer and autumn of 1647 brought A.D. 1647. about revolutions in England which placed the king in the hands of the army, and laid the parliament prostrate at its feet. The people now found that they had evoked a spirit which they could not lay; and that military despotism was to be the first fruit of the civil war. The Scotch Estates, still loyal, toward the end of the year despatched the Earls of Loudon and Lanark to make a last effort to save the king. At Carisbrook Castle, the captive monarch, now sorely humbled, promised to give to the Solemn League and Covenant a parliamentary sanction, provided that none should be compelled to take it against their will; and to establish Presbytery in England for three years, provided that he and his household were allowed their own mode of worship; and after these three years, to establish permanently such a polity as the Westminster divines, with twenty commissioners of his nomination, should determine as most agreeable to the Word of God. These conditions were afterwards embodied in a treaty with the Scotch Estates, known as the Engagement.3
In March, the Estates met at Edinburgh; A.D. 1648.
the commissioners gave an account of their embassage ; and a resolution was agreed upon, by a large
1 They who wish to study the history of our psalmody must consult Baillie's Letters and Journals; together with a learned sketch in the Appendix to the Bannatyne Edition, by the editor, Dr Laing. See Acts of Assembly, 1647. 3 See Rushworth's Collections. Clarendon's History, &c.
majority, to put the nation in a posture of defence. This resolution was not come to without trouble. The Commis. sion of the Assembly—a body not constituted as at present, but composed of a nominated number—had for some years been rising into power, and now remonstrated violently against the proceedings of the parliament. They declared that the king's concessions were not enough. They held that Charles must not only take the Covenant himself, but compel all others to take it too; that he must not only establish Presbytery in England, but establish it permanently and at once, and become a Presbyterian himself. The parliament had for
years been in pupilage to the Church, and tried on this occasion to humour it by concessions; but finding that no concession would do, it broke its yoke, and acted for itself. An army was raised, and the Duke of Hamilton placed at its head.
In the month of July the Assembly met, and gave its approval to the proceedings of its Commission, and showed itself disposed to defy the Parliament. It complained of the parliament entering into such an Engagement without its consent; it declared the oath which the parliament had imposed to be an unlawful snare, and prohibited the people from taking it: it maintained that to unite with malignants against sectaries was to join hands with a black devil to beat a white one; and proved this from the case of Asa and Benhadad, Ahaz and the King of Assyria, Jehoshaphat and Ahab; and finally threatened with the highest censure ministers who should not speak out against the acts of the legislature. The pretensions of Hildebrand, which led to the war of investitures, were not so high as those of this conclave of presbyters in the Scottish Vatican.
The Marquis of Argyll, with the Earls of Cassillis and Eglinton, had always taken part with the rigid Covenanters; the Chancellor Loudon now ratted, reprobated a treaty which himself had devised, and did public penance for his backsliding in the High Church of Edinburgh. The army of the Engagers, ill disciplined and ill equipped, after dispersing an armed muster of the peasantry at Mauchline, penetrated into England, and being encountered at Preston by the invincible
battalions of Cromwell, was decisively defeated.
Hamilton, who had shewn himself incapable of command,
was taken prisoner, and soon afterwards paid for his loyalty with his life.3 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 339.
2 Peterkin's Records, p. 509. 3 Burnet's Memoirs. Baillie's Letters, &c.
More, appeared on the hills overlooking his stronghold on the shores of Loch Fyne. Argyll escaped in a fishing-boat, leaving his clan to the tender mercies of his most deadly enemy. Inverary was burned, and the whole country converted into a wilderness. Having scoured every glen, and seen the smoke ascending from the hamlets he had given to the flames, Montrose began his march toward Inverness; but while he was yet on his way, he heard that Argyll was again at the head of his sept, strengthened by some Lowland troops. Instantly wheeling about, he struggled along mountain-passes, and through drifting snow, till after a weary march he came upon the Covenanted host at Inverlochy, at the western extremity of the chain of lochs now connected by the Caledonian Canal. Argyll, before the battle began, put off from the shore in a boat, and from the loch beheld his banners borne down; and fifteen hundred of his followers laid dead upon the field. 1
The parliament and General Assembly were Feb. 1645. sitting when this battle was fought. Baillie and Urry were recalled from England to cope with this invincible warrior in the north. But still the star of Montrose was in the ascendant. He stormed and plundered Dundee; he defeated General Urry, first at Auldearn, and afterwards at Alford; and gathering adherents from the fame of his victories, he marched into the Lowlands, crossed the Forth some miles above Stirling, and, taking a westerly direction, arrived at Kilsyth, where he was confronted by Baillie and Argyll with an army eight thousand strong. Battle was joined; and once more the Covenanters were swept away by the wild rush of the Royalists. Five thousand of them are said to have perished on the field or in the flight. After the battle, Montrose marched toward Glasgow, which he entered in triumph; and all Scotland might be said to lie at his feet. The Covenanters were in dismay, and begged their favourite hero, old Leslie, to return to their rescue.
Montrose now proceeded toward the south, with the view of rousing the Border chivalry, and perhaps effecting a junction with the king, whose fortunes in England were well-nigh desperate. About the same time Leslie crossed the Tweed with a large detachment, chiefly of cavalry, and marched toward Edinburgh, to save his friends. On reaching Musselburgh, he suddenly faced about, and on the 12th of September took up his quarters at Melrose. The army of Montrose, now greatly
1 Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Balfour. Baillie. Burnet, &c.
BATTLE OF PHILIPHAUGH.
diminished in numbers, was lying the same night at Philiphaugh, on the left bank of the Ettrick, and not more than a mile from the town of Selkirk. That night Montrose spent in the town, little dreaming that Leslie was within a few miles of him. Early on the morning of the 13th, Leslie was in motion, and, favoured by a thick mist, was close upon the Royalists before his approach was perceived. Montrose flung himself upon a horse, and, crossing the river, was soon in the midst of his men; but the fatal effects of a surprise were apparent. All was in confusion. The valley of the Ettrick, widening at this point, afforded a large level space for cavalry to act; and Leslie's brigades soon dashed in full career against the halfformed battalions of Montrose. The struggle did not last long; and the gallant leader of the now vanquished Celts, after making a hopeless struggle to redeem the day at the head of his horse, cut his way through the enemy, and retreated up the banks of the Yarrow, attended by not more than thirty cavaliers.
A body of Montrose's infantry had taken shelter within an enclosure, and there gallantly defended themselves for some time; but at length laid down their arms, on the promise that their lives would be spared. The preachers who accompanied the Covenanting army cried out against this, and insisted, from Old Testament precedents, that they should be put to the sword. Leslie stained his laurels by yielding to their clamours. The helpless wretches were marched out to the open plain, and mercilessly shot down. Sir Robert Spottiswood, the late President of the Court of Session, and several others of noble and gentle birth, were taken prisoners, and shortly afterwards hanged, for no other crime than their loyalty. These barbarities were remembered afterwards, when the tide of fortune was turned.
We must now wander southwards, and see what is passing in England, as the Church of Scotland was extending her agencies beyond the Tweed. The Earl of Strafford had long ago been brought to the block, not for any crime known to the law, but because he was esteemed by the parliament too dangerous a man to be allowed to live. Archbishop Laud, after lying for three years in the Tower, was now led out to the same fate. Many thought it a pity that the blood of the
1 Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Among the Wigton Papers is one in which Sir Robert Spottiswood pleads hard for his life. As he knew that Hebrew precedents were likely to be quoted against him, he enters into an argument to show that such cases were not applicable.