« EelmineJätka »
which the Church of Scotland endured | lawless pillage of the licentious soldiery, from perjured and remorseless Prelacy, by which whole districts were almost and the absolute despotism of the Brother turned into a wilderness. Surely those Tyrants.
who talk of the possibility of Prelacy It would not have been strange if the ever becoming the religion of Scotland, Presbyterians had inflicted a terrible must expect it to be preceded by such a retribution on their merciless oppressors. revolution both in the constitution of the But they acted in general like men con- human mind and in the frame of nature, scious of a glorious cause, which they as shall completely sweep away all remight not permit their own passions to cords of the past; for so long as our sully and disfigure. When the rumour mountains, heaths, and glens, are studded that an Irish invasion was intended with the gray memorials of our martyred reached the Covenanters, they immedi- fathers, and so long as the free blood ately mustered in a considerable body, courses more warmly and the heart beats and prepared to defend their country and higher in one true Scottish bosom, at the their friends from the invaders; but find narrative of their glorious sufferings and ing the rumour groundless, they resolved the savage cruelty of their merciless perto take that opportunity of expelling the secutors, so long must it be absolutely imprelatic curates from the parishes which possible for Prelacy to be regarded in they had so long polluted with their pre- Scotland with any other feelings than sence and devastated with their cruelty. those of indignant reprobation, as alike They accordingly seized upon these hostile to the principles of civil liberty, wretched men, turned them out of their and contrary to the mild and gracious usurped abodés, marched them to the spirit of Christianity. boundaries of their respective parishes, In taking a retrospective glance over and sent them away, without offering that dark and stormy period of the them further violence.* No plunder, no Church of Scotland's history between the bloodshed, stained the hands of the Cove- Restoration and the Revolution, there are nanters.
As their constancy through the some topics which force themselves upon long period of fiery trial had been almost the mind so strongly as to demand a brief unparalleled, so their high-principled investigation before proceeding further. self-government was conspicuous in their What was the ruling motive which inhour of bloodless triumph. How glori- duced Charles and James to persecute the ously different the conduct of the Scottish Presbyterian Church with such relentless Presbyterians from that of their prelatic cruelty ? In the case of Charles, it could persecutors, rendering it manifest to the not have been his preference of Prelacy world, as if written with a sunbeam, on religious grounds, as he was evidently which of these two forms of Church a man of no religion at all. In the case government possessed most of the princi- of James, it was as manisest, that if he ples, and displayed most of the charac- preferred that form of church governter of the gospel of peace and good-will. ment, it was only because he regarded it
When the landing of the Prince of as less directly opposed to Popery, on the Orange, and the revolution which fol- re-establishment of which his heart was lowed, put an end to the persecution bent. The steady and unswerving perwhich had continued for twenty-eight severance with which the whole course of years, a computation was made from public affairs was guided in Scotland, towhich it appeared, that above eighteen wards the effecting of one object, during thousand had suffered by death, slavery, so many years, proves clearly that some exile or imprisonment, inflicted in the one ruling principle was in continual. vain endeavor to destroy the Presbyterian operation all the while. That principle, Church of Scotland, and establish Prela- we think, Burnet's “ History of His Own cy on its ruins.†This is exclusive of Times” furnishes the means of detecting. the desolation spread over the country by From that work, as well as from many oppressive fines, assessments, and the other sources, we learn that Charles had
joined the Church of Rome before he left Cruickshank, vol. ii. p. 474; Burnet's Own Times, France. Burnet tells us further, that + Memoirs of the Church of Scotland, pp. 290-294.
soon after the restoration, Charles in con
vol. i. p. 805.
versation with him, reprobated the liberty this intention, and were willing to become that, under the reformation, all men took the base instruments by which it should of inquiring in matters of religion, from be accomplished; yet their conduct and which they proceeded to inquire into their written sentiments not only supportmatters of state; adding, that he thought ed, but too often seemed to lead the government was a much safer and easier the full establishment of the most arbitrathing when the authority was believed ry and cruel tyranny, And it must nevinfallible, and the faith and submission of er be forgotten, that the execrable design the people were implicit. The king's of reducing Britain to a state of abject predilection for Popery was evidently not slavery was, under Providence, frustrated on the ground of conscience, but because solely by the unconquerable fortitude with by its means alone he could hope to ac- which the Presbyterian Church of Scotquire absolute power, and to reduce the land endured every extremity of suffering people to the implicit obedience of slaves, which a long, relentless, and desolating To effect this tyrannical intention was persecution could inflict. the constant endeavor of both Charles At the same time it must be observed, and his brother; and there are many sig- that the resistance of the Presbyterian nificant indications, that even in the case Church proceeded from a far higher of James, the love of Popery was subor- principle than merely the determination dinate to the love of despotism. This to defend the civil liberties of the country, view completely explains both the direct -a principle without which civil liberty endeavors and the evasive changes and can never be fully realized, and which, fluctuations of these two reigns. Lau in free and active operation, would renderdale appears to have early penetrated der the dire counterparts-absolute power into the king's designs, and to have made and abject slavery--for ever impossible. the attempt to realize them the ruling aim This great principle, as abstractly stated and effort of his whole administration. and most tenaciously maintained by the Remembering also, that it was the pres- Church of Scotland, is, " That the Lord ence of the Scottish army in England Jesus Christ is the sole Head and King of which turned the wavering balance in fa- the Church, and hath therein appointed a vor of the parliament during the civil government distinct from that of the civil wars, he made it his steady endeavour to magistrate." In the form in which it bring Scotland into a state of such com- practically appears, this great principle plete subserviency, to the king, that a realizes such a disjunction of the civil powerful army might be raised in sup- and the ecclesiastical powers from each port of his majesty, should any contest other as to assign and secure to each a arise between him and his English sub- separate, co-ordinate, and independent sujects. In this view, the act which Lau- | preme court for the exercise of their rederdale procured from the Scottish par- spective functions.
The direct conseliament in 1663, offering to the king an quence of this great and sacred principle, army of twenty thousand foot and two thus realized, is, that it preserves the thousand cavalry to be at his own dispo- whole region of the conscience entirely sal, was no empty bravado, as it has gen- free from the control of external power, erally been regarded, but a significant and where the conscience is free, men hint from that despotic statesman, that the cannot be enslaved. The attempt to estime for the monarch's assumption of ab. tablish an absolute despotism, involved, solute power was near at hand. The of necessity, the destruction of this prin. oath of supremacy, and the acts enforcing ciple: and the oath of supremacy was it became, when viewed in this light, not the weapon by which it was directly and only perfectly intelligible, but pregnant fiercely assailed. The cruel policy of with meaning of fearful import
. They the assailants needs little explanation. It were all so many steps towards that abso- was an easy matter for them to enact an lute despotism which the king desired to unjust and irreligious law, such as that establish, and that state of utter slavery which virtually declared that the soveto which he wished to reduce the king- reignty of the Church should be taken dom. It is not necessary to suppose that from Christ
, and given to the king, and the prelatic party were fully aware of then to shout, “Obey the law, obey the law!" proclaiming men rebels and trai- was indeed a substantial confirmation of tors, and persecuting them to the death, the justness of their bold opinions. But because they could not yield obedience to still, for any section of a community to a law which required the violation of proclaim and act upon such opinions, their allegiance to the Divine Redeemer, must unavoidably expose them, as citibut chose to obey God rather than man in zens, to the charge of rebellion, and as matters of religion. It requires but little ministers and members of the Christian Christian principle, metaphysical acumen, Church, to the charge of interfering with or knowledge of the general principles of matters beyond their legitimate province. jurisprudence, to perceive that no law can There seem to be but two conditions by possibly be binding upon man which which such a course of procedure can be is manifestly contrary to the law of God. fully justified, either of which can rarely So reasoned and so felt our covenanted occur, and the one of which cannot be fathers; and in defence of that sacred known beforehand, and, therefore, ought and eternal principle they “endured a not to be assumed as a primary cause. great fight of afflictions," through which These are, the direct command of God, they were triumphantly borne by the of which the Bible relates various inmighty power of God, unfolding and stances; and ultimate success, which, correalizing in the fearful struggle, what, rectly speaking does not justify the atthough of subordinate importance, was tempt, but merely ratifies the deed, from still of inestimable value, that noblest which it may be inferred, that the entercharter of civil liberty which man has prise was accordant with the will of ever framed, the British Constitution. Divine Providence. This second con
The only accusation which can, with dition, we are aware, may be both misunany degree of propriety, be urged against derstood and misrepresented, as if it were the Covenanters is, that they did to a cer- identical with the false principle, that the tain extent misunderstand and overpassend justifies the means.
What we mean some of the essential distinctions between is this, that when an attempt is made by things civil and things sacred. But this any considerable party in a nation, for an cannot justly either excite our surprise or object which appears to be in accordance call forth our censure. Few seem yet to with Scripture, reason, and civil liberty, have any accurate perception of these dis- its failure may prove it to have been pretinctions; and many seem disposed to mature, but will not prove it to have been deny that they either do or can exist, or, wrong; whereas its success will go far to at least, that they can be so specifically prove it to have been essentially right. marked out as to prevent the incessant The first, many of the Scottish Covenantmutual encroachments of the civil and ers conceived themselves to have, both by the ecclesiastical jurisdictions upon the reasoning from Scripture analogies, and respective provinces which rightfully be- from the directly unchristian character of long to each. It was not strange, there the principles attempted to be enforced by fore, that the Covenanters partially erred, their opponents: the second they obtained especially when engaged in such a deadly when the Revolution completed what they struggle. The contest was, on their part, had begun and carried forward with at first waged solely in defence of the cen- determined resolution, heroic fortitude, tral principle of religious liberty. But as and Christian patience; and it must be civil and religious liberty exist or perish remarked, that they never doubted of the together, they were soon compelled to ultimate triumph of their sacred cause, contend equally for both, and thus the even in the most disastrous periods, and scene of conflict was both enlarged and amidst the darkest horrors of the fierce altered, involving a complication of in- exterminating persecution directed against terests which tended to produce confusion. them by their despotic and merciless opIt was this which led them to the idea of pressors
. Any censure, therefore, which disowning the king, and declaring what could justly be pronounced against them, they explained to be a “defensive war” must be exceedingly slight, and, when against him, as against a lawless tyrant, compared with the vast debt of gratitude whose own acts involved the invalidation due to them by the entire empire, must beof his right to reign. The Revolution come almost invisible, like a speck in the
TO THE TREATY OF UNION IN 1707.
sun. Still, while such must be the senti-them on account of the pernicious, treach. ments of every enlightened lover of free- erous, and murderous principles which dom, it is the true spiritually-minded they were said to hold, than the fact, that Christian alone who can enter fully into when their principles had free scope, the the feelings of these much-enduring and most remarkable characteristic which devoted men, comprehend the true nature they displayed was the forgiveness of of the great and sacred principles in de their fallen enemies. The expelling of fence of which they encountered the perils the curates, which has been already noand suffered the extremities of poverty, ticed, was in truth nothing else but the imprisonment, exile, torture, and death, ejection of lawless intruders from positions and appreciate the real value of the and property on which they had wrongservice rendered by them to the cause of fully seized, with the view of having vital piety, and to the interests of the thern restored to their rightful owners. Divine Redeemer's spiritual kingdom. Still, the condition of the country was full
of peril, which was held in check by the power of religious principle alone; and it was the manifest interest of all classes
to reconstruct the disorganized frame CHAPTER VIII.
of society as speedily as possible. On
this account men of all political par. FROM THE REVOLUTION, IN THE YEAR 1688, ties hastened to London, to hold inter
course with each other and with the
Prince of Orange, to ascertain their reMeeting of the Convention of Estates-Declaration and
Claim of Right--Petition of the Covenanters --Their spective strength, and to deliberate on
[1689.] The legislature of England Prelacy, ratifying the Confession of Faith, establish- met in the form of a convention, avoiding age--Meeting of the General Assembly--Acts of the term parliament, as not being called State of the Conflicting. Parties-The restored Min. by the king, and, after considerable dis isters, the Conformists, the Covenanters Views of cussion, voted, " That James the Second, Prelatic Party-Origin of the Moderate Party-The having endeavored to subvert the con Commission --The Assembly forcibly adjourned-Its stitution of the kingdom, by breaking the and Peace of the Church--Its Character and Conse original contract between the king and threatened- The King and Carstares-Meetings of the people, and, by the advice of Jesuits the Assembly- Proceedings of the Church-Conduct and other wicked persons, having vioof the Jacobites and Prelatists-Act against intruding lated the fundamental laws, and withtions-The Rabbling Act--Misrepresentations of the drawn 'himself out of this kingdom, has --Political Intrigues agninst the Church-Proposals abdicated the government, and the throne for a Union-Act of Security-The Union--General
is become vacant." After some further
discussion, the vacant throne was given The dissolution of the Scottish privy to the Prince and Princess of Orange, as council relieved the country instantly and joint sovereigns, the title constantly runcompletely from a tyranny and persecution ning William and Mary, King and under which it had groaned and bled for Queen of England,--the sole administra. a period of twenty-eight terrible years; tion resting in the king. On the 8th but it left the kingdom in a state of of January, 1689, William assembled anarchy dangerous to the peace and wel- the leading Scottish noblemen and gentlefare of the community. Had the Presby- men who were in London, and after reterians been influenced at all by the spirit ferring to his Declaration, told them that of revenge, there was nothing to have he had called them together to ask their prevented them from inflicting a dreadful advice respecting the best method of retribution upon their paralyzed and de- securing the civil and religious liberties fenceless oppressors in their hour of utter of their country. Their advice
Their advice was, that weakness. Nothing, therefore, could | he would assume the administration of have given a more perfect proof of the affairs till a convention of estates could injustice and falsehood of the accusations be held in Edinburgh, and a proper formerly urged so vehemently against settlement be effected, which convention
View of the State of the Church
they requested to be empowered to meet Hamilton was named by the Presby. on the 14th of March, and to this he terians; the Prelatists gave their support gave his assent.
to the Marquis of Athol. The Duke of The Scottish convention met on the Hamilton was chosen by a majority of day appointed, the short interval having fifteen; and as this proved the superiority been employed by the two contending of the Presbyterian party, a considerable parties,--the adherents of James, who number of that wavering class of poliwere generally Prelatists, and the sup- ticians who act from selfish motives, porters of the Revolution, who were joined the side which they saw to be the Presbyterians --in the most strenuous strongest, increasing its majorities, though endeavours to muster their whole strength adding nothing to its moral influence. for the struggle
. It had been stipulated The struggle was no longer doubtful, so by the meeting in London, that in the far as regarded the transfer of the crown election of representatives to the conven- from James to William; but the adjusttion, none who were protestants should be ment of the many great interests therein excluded from legally voting, or from be- involved, was still a matter of an exing returned as members. This at once tremely difficult nature. Viscount Dunremoved the disabilities under which the dee, having in vain attempted to disturb oppressive acts of the preceding reigns or overawe the convention, abandoned had laid the greater part of the Presby- the wily arts of the politician, and deterterians, and enabled them to send to the mined to have recourse to the sword. convention a majority of right-minded His abrupt and threatening departure
Still the peril was great. Claver- ruined the plans of the adherents of house, who had been created Viscount James, by precipitating them into a conflict Dundee by James, was fully determined for which they were not prepared, and by to maintain the right of that despot by relieving the convention in a great meawar; and had brought with him to sure from the impediments which the Edinburgh a considerable body of armed supporters of despotism, had they reand desperate men to overawe the con- mained, might have thrown in the way of vention. There were no military forces the Revolution Settlement. The convenin the kingdom to prevent Dundee from tion then ratified the London Address, in any extreme to which his daring and all its tenor and conditions. A committee ferocious spirit might impel him; and was next appointed, similar to the Lords the castle was held by the Duke of Gor- of the Articles, for preparing the overdon, who also favoured the interests of the tures for settling the government;
and in fallen monarch. In this dangerous junc- this committee the prelates were omitted, ture recourse was had to the Cameronian -by which a sufficiently intelligible intiCovenanters, as the only body which mation was given what was likely to be both possessed the power and the inclina. the fate of Prelacy. Two letters were tion to protect their country's liberties, presented to the convention, the one from and might be trusted in this hour of King James, the other from the Prince of peril. They were requested to come to Orange; the first was disregarded, the Edinburgh, armed and prepared to resist other treated with great respect. An an.
. any outrage which might be offered to swer to the Prince's letter was prepared, the convention or the town by Dundee, and then the convention proceeded to detheir former relentless persecutor. This clare their opinion respecting the state of was a noble tribute to the character of the nation, and the necessary remedial these much injured and greatly calum- measures.
This declaration was pub. niated men. They had formerly been licly read and agreed to, on the 4th of hunted down as disturbers of peace and April, the day on which the Prince's letthe very enemies of society; they were ter in reply was received ; and having now sought and hailed as conservators of been embodied in the Claim of Right, peace, and protectors of the public wel in the conclusion of which was contained fare.
an offer of the Scottish crown to William T . first trial of strength in the con- and Mary, together with a brief and verilun took place on the subject of simple oath of allegiance, the whole docuchoosing a president. The Duke of ment was read, and the king and queen