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The Liberum Arbitrium-The Culsalmond Case--The

ly Assumed by the Church-The Commission of Au.

THE CONVOCATION--Sir James Graham's Letter

deemer's mediatorial crown. And though | peril, and to triumph in the strength of there were some preliminary stages her Divine Head, or to perish gloriously through which the conflict had to pass, in his sacred cause. It seems expedient, before that momentous question could be therefore, to trace briefly the outline of so cleared from all extraneous, or merely the most important of those events which concomitant matter, that it might be put in a manner hedged in the path of the directly and alone, in a manner becom- Church, leaving her but one course of ing its great and solemn importance; procedure—to go forward--unless she yet it was not doubtful to discerning were prepared to abandon all her most minds, that the progress of events was sacred and cherished principles, and to rapidly reducing the controversy to its become the degraded slave of civil courts. primary elements

, and hastening to pro- The extraordinary meeting of Comduce a crisis, not merely in the history mission, held on the 25th of August of the Church of Scoiland, but in the re- 1841, in consequence of the declaration ligious history of the world.

of the Moderate party, that they meant to take steps for ascertaining whether they or the majority were to be regarded as constituting the Established Church,

led, as has been related, to the adoption CHAPTER XI.

of a series of resolutions, in which the

leading principles of the Church were Introductory Remarks-Progress of the Controversy- plainly stated, and her determination to its Proceedings-Remarks on the Position thus final declared. So far the warfare of arguMiddle Party- Meeting of the Assembly-Outline of maintain them at all hazards solemnly gust-Second Decision in the Auchterarder Casement seemed to be at an end ; for both Depitations sent through Scotland, or Preparations determinations, and it seemed only to reReply of the Commission-The Stewarton Case parties had declared their principles and Commons Proceedings of the Civil Courts and the main for the Legislature to decide to Moderate Party-Continued Preparations--State of which of them it meant to give its sancTION—THE FREE ASSEMBLY-Its I'roceedings. The tion and support. This, however, was Aberdeen's Bill-Progress of the Free Church rather a delicate matter. The new adBicentenary Commemoration of the Westminster ministration had scarcely assumed their Assembly-Concluding Remarks.

offices, and it would have been a very The proceedings of the Church of rash course for them suddenly to have Scotland in the General Assembly of adopted the views of the minority, at the 1842, may be regarded as having fully hazard, if not with the certainty, of ejectdeveloped, so far as that depended on the ing the majority of the Church, thereby Church, all the leading principles of her ensuring its speedy overthrow. There constitution, involved in the late struggle, was instituted also, about the same time, as exhibited in her Standards. These a series of negotiations, conducted chiefly had all been, at different times, fairly and through the medium of Sir George Sinearnestly stated and defended by the evan- clair, with the General Assembly's Nongelical and reforming party; but some Intrusion Committee. These 'negotiaof them had not received the due sanctions have been since published ; and tion of a majority, so that they remained they show sufficiently, that the object of in comparative abeyance, many being Government was to induce the Church afraid to bring them prominently and au- to accept Lord Aberdeen's bill, formerly thoritatively forward, Jest the hostility of rejected, and again produced, with the opponents should be increased both in ex- insertion of a clause prepared by Sir tent and degree. But the course of events George Sinclair, the effect of which gradually led even the most cautious to seemed to be, to enable the Church courts, perceive, that all temporising expedients in the exercise of their discretionary were and must be in vain ; and that the liberty of judgment, to reject a presentec time was at length come for the Church if they should be of opinion that the ob of Scotland openly to declare all her jections and reasons against his settleprinciples, and to take the ground on ment, entertained by the parishioners, which she was willing to encounter every were so strong, or entertained by such a

proportion of them, as to preclude the was repeatedly thrown into a state of prospect of his ministrations proving great agitation and alarm, lest the Church useful to that particular congregation should be induced to consent to an unThis discretionary liberty of the Church satisfactory measure. This alarm was courts received the designation of a industriously increased by the periodical Liberum Arbitrium, and a long, tedious, press favourable to the Moderate party, and intricate course of diplomatic man- for the purpose, apparently, of sowing agement was pursued by statesmen and distrust between the Church and the lawyers, with the view, apparently, of people.--confidently asserting that the deluding the Non-Intrusion Committee Non-Intrusionists were willing to abandon into the belief that it would indeed enable all their principles, and to accept any setthe Church to give effect to her own fun- tlement which might secure to them their damental principle in each specific case, emoluments, let the issue with regard to although not by means of a general law. the rights of the people be what it might. But at length it appeared that the con- Never, perhaps, was the Church of Scotventional term, mutually employed by land in greater peril than during the both the Government and the Church, course of these diplomatic transactions ; was understood by each party in a man and for a time it seemed as if she was ner essentially different from that in fairly ensnared by the tortuous policy of which it was understood by the other. weak expediency-framing friends and The Church understood it to secure to wily statesmen. And when these mazy the presbyteries the power of refusing to entanglements were rent asunder, and intrude any presentee into a parish con- she was again placed on the free and trary to the will of the people, merely in open path of rectitude, her deliverance consequence of their declared unwilling- was regarded by wise and pious men, as ness to receive him as their pastor. The nothing less than the signal interposition Government understood it to mean the of Divine Providence, guided by the unpronouncing of a judgment upon the ob erring and gracious hand of her Eternal jections or reasons stated by the people King. against the presentee, with liberty to the While these diplomatic proceedings presbytery to give effect to these objec- were in progress, various other events tions or reasons, by adopting them as took place, which must be briefly stated. their own, and thereby giving them judi- Two different papers were drawn up by cial validity, but that the absolute fact of the Non-Intrusion Committee, and prethe people's continued opposition was not sented to Government, containing in very to form itself the ground of the presby. clear and explicit language, a statement tery's decision. In reality, a settlement of the leading principles of the Church of the controversy, on a ground so am- of Scotland involved in the present conbiguous, would have been equally dis- test

, a summary of the facts which had graceful to the Church and insulting to occurred during its course, and a view of the people; it would have destroyed one the various methods by means of which of her fundamental principles, and le- these principles might be most easily and galised possible intrusion. No sooner efficiently realized. In the opinion of was that clearly seen, in spite of the unprejudiced men, these two papers, misty illusions of diplomatic craft

, than “ Memorial" and the “ Statement," ought the Non-Intrusion Committee declared to have enabled the Government fully to against any such mode of settlement, ex- understand the matter, and might have pressing their views in such plain terms, convinced them that they would best disthat the Secretary of State for the Home charge their own duty, and Department (Sir James Graham) found peace and welfare of the empire, by passit impossible to evade returning a direct ing a legislative enactment, securing to answer, which he did in language of an the Church the free exercise of those ungracious, if not insulting character ; great constitutional principles which she and all further negotiations between Go- had declared to be essential to her very vernment and the Church on that basis existence. As if to counteract the effect {crminated.

which these documents might produce During these negotiations the country the Moderate party also drew up a "Me

the

promote the

On

morial," addressed to her Majesty's Go- these duties being discharged in the invernment, prepared, it appears, by a terim by the Rev. William Middleton, as Committee appointed by that party in an ordained assistant. The patron at August. This Memorial may be re. length issued a presentation in favour of garded as one of the most important Mr. Middleton, which was sustained by documents produced during the whole the presbytery in the usual form course of the controversy. It contains a the 28th of October 1841, the presbytery statement of the principles held by the met at Culsalmond to moderate in the Moderate party, in their own language, call. It then appeared that there was a and set forth by their own authority; and majority of male heads of families comthe most decided opponent of Moderatism municants dissenting from the settlement could not possibly wish for better mate- of Mr. Middleton as their pastor. The rials on which to proceed in condemning majority of the presbytery (seven to five) that system as essentially Erastian and refused to sustain this dissent as a reason unscriptural, and also, by irresistible to stop procedure according to the standlogical inference, unchristian, and leading directions of the General Assembly, ing, as even Sir George Sinclair per- and determined to proceed with appointing ceived, to infidelity. There is no reason a day for the settlement, as if no dissents to suppose that those by whom the Me had been offered, defending this course by morial was prepared and subscribed were the assertion that the Veto Act was illegal. fully aware of its true character, and of The people, by their law-agent, then ofthe conclusions to which it inevitably led; fered special objections against the settlebut while this consideration may exonerate ment, but the majority refused to receive them from moral guilt, at the expense of these objections. The minority of the their intellectual capacity, it the more presbytery complained, and protested strongly proves the baleful character of against this conduct, appealing to the Moderatism itself, which both involves synod; as did also the people, in due such consequences, and blinds and dead-form. But the majority, setting all usual ens its adherents.

forms at defiance, refused to receive these The hostile attitude assumed by the complaints and appeals, and determined Moderates was rendered more determined, to proceed to the settlement on an appartly by the fact, that several of their pointed day, contrary to a special act of leading men had not merely preached in Assembly passed in 1732, prohibiting the pulpits still held by the deposed presbyteries from completing a settlement Strathbogie Seven, but had also assisted when an appeal has been taken. On the at the pretended dispensation of the Sacra- 11th of November 1841, the presbytery ment of the Lord's Supper, conducted by again met, and, contrary to all legal and men wh' were no longer ministers of the ordinary procedure, and in the midst of gospel; and partly by a new act of un- great confusion, caused by their own arconstitutional violence committed by bitrary and oppressive conduct, went another northern presbytery. Proceed through the form of inducting Mr. Midings had been instituted against the minis- dleton, not in the church, but in a private ters who had held communion with the room in the manse. The Commission deposed seven, in the presbyteries to of the General Assembly, upon a petition which they respectively belonged; but in from the parishioners, cited the parties consequence of protests and appeals, all complained against to answer before the these cases were referred to the next supreme Church courts; and in the General Assembly. The new cause of meantime prohibited Mr. Middleton from collision arose out of the proceedings of officiating in the parish, and appointed the Presbytery of Garioch, in the case the minority of the Presbytery of Garioch of a presentation to the parish of Culsal- to provide for the administration of sacred mond. The main facts of the case were ordinances in the parish of Culsalmond. as follows:

Mr. Middleton, and the majority of the The Rev. Ferdinand Ellis, minister of presbytery, applied to the Court of Session Culsalmond parish, in the Presbytery of to suspend the proceedings of the ComGarioch, had, it appears, been laid aside mission,--to interdict the intimation or from his official duties for several years, execution of its deliverance, and to interdict also the minority of the presbytery sition made up of compromises and confrom obeying the directions of the Com- cessions, on which a settlement might mission. This interdict was refused by possibly be effected. At the meeting of the Lord Ordinary (Lord Ivory); but, the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, in April, being carried before the First Division a declaration was laid before that court of the Court of Session, was granted as by Dr. Leishman, subscribed, as was craved, on the 10th of March 1842. In said, by forty ministers, expressing their this case the warfare of actions certainly anxiety for a settlement, and giving it as carried both the Moderate party and the their opinion, that they could consciencivil courts beyond their former hostile tiously submit to Lord Aberdeen's bill, positions. The Moderate majority of the with the insertion of Sir George Sinclair's Garioch Presbytery, contrary even to the clause, if that were passed into a law. usual and declared course of that party, This was the first public divulgement of refused to receive special objections the course of policy intended to be against the presentes; and refused also pursued by the middle party; as it was to stay procedure, in consequence of ap- then stated that they had entered into peals to superior Church courts, contrary communication with Sir. James Graham, to all former usage, as well as to express and entertained sanguine expectations act of Assembly. The civil courts, on that a settlement not absolutely intoleratheir part, reviewed and interdicted a sen- ble might yet be obtained. It further tence of the Church court, when no civil appeared, from a speech of Dr. M'Culinterest was directly involved, but when loch of Kelso, that while he had joined a superior ecclesiastical court was inter- the middle party, and was willing to aid posing to check the disorderly conduct them with all his influence, he enterof a subordinate court in a matter unde- tained such opinions as would have perniably spiritual.

mitted him to submit to the entire sacriIt has been stated that the Non-Intru- fice of the Non-Intrusion principle itself. sion Committee ceased to hold intercourse This might have pleased the Moderates, with Government, upon discovering the but must have galled many of the forty, essentially different interpretations put by who sincerely detested intrusion, but had them and those with whom they had been been drawn, by their love of peace, into corresponding, respecting the meaning what thus threatened to become an abanof that phrase, the Liberum Arbitrium, or donment of principle. Still the report free discretionary power of presbyteries, was most industriously propagated, that which had been proposed as the basis of the middle party was increasing with a settlement. But there was a small mi- prodigious rapidity, and would very soon nority of that committee who still con- form a majority of the entire Church of tinued to think that a settlement might, Scotland. The real weakness of the after all, be framed upon that ambiguous party, however, even numerically, was phrase, if not such as the Church ought so far discovered at the meeting of the to ask, yet such as she might submit to, Synod of Mid-Lothian, early in May, without absolute dereliction of principle, when Dr. Simpson, the acknowledged since, as they reasoned, it was impossible framer and leader of the party, could obthat any thing more satisfactory could be tain, even with the aid of the Moderates obtained. Immediately some of the most in the synod, but a small minority to supactive of that small minority began a port his views. They continued, nevercourse of private negotiations, partly with theless, to boast loudly of their secret the most timid and undecided of those strength, and of the favourable manner ministers who had generally acted along in which their overtures were met by with the Non-Intrusionists chiefly on the Government. It may be added, that Sir ground of expediency, and partly with James Graham seems to have imagined the least violent of the Moderates. Ru- that he had now a prospect of reintromours began to arise of the formation of ducing the lately abandoned measure; as a middle party, which was to unite the he induced Mr. Campbell of Monzie to most cautious and temperate of the other postpone a bill identical with that fortwo, thereby weakening both, and assum- merly brought forward by the Duke of ing a new, or at least an intermediate po- | Argyle, expressing his hope, arising out

ure,

of recent movements in Scotland, that| Thence arose the great West Kirk meet Government might be able to introduce a ing, and the noble resolutions passed measure by which the dissensions of the there, which stirred the heart of the king Scottish Church might be satisfactorily dom. Next came the period of diplomaadjusted. Yet, even in this compara- tic craft, in the negotiations respecting tively pacificatory declaration, the Home the Liberium Arbitrium,-a mode of Secretary stated the principles on which settlement which was very early, in the alone Government could frame a meas- course of this struggle, forced upon the

and these principles were essentially consideration of the Church; and which those of Lord Aberdeen's bill, in which had never been entertained but with exthe first and fundamental proposition, treme reluctance, and with the utmost governing

of course all the rest, was the danger of the sacrifice of principle. determination to maintain what was When both the Church and the people termed “the civil rights of patrons." | were in this state of stunned and helpless This might have opened the eyes of the alarm, and there seemed no way of esmiddle party, had they been either able cape from a disastrous and dishonourable or willing to see any thing but their own compromise, on a sudden, in answer preconceived wishes and impressions. doubtless to the deep-breathed prayers of

There had been several other minor, thousands, these lowering clouds parted though not unimportant, events and indi- asunder, the dangers vanished, and, recations during the course of these public suming her sacred principles, she stood and prominent occurrences. Men of un- again prepared fearlessly to act or suffer blemished character had been tried as in their defence. The lawless deed of implicated in what was called the Cul Culsalmond, -the military seizure of salmond riot, and honorably acquitted by Strathbogie,--and the haughty and con a jury of their countrymen. A military tumelious despotism of the Home Secre detachment had been marched into the tary, all doubtless intended to terrify hei district of Strathbogie, without the slight into submission, produced a very differ est apparent reason, but merely to sup- ent result; rousing the courage of the port the intrusion of a probationer into faithful ministers to higher daring, conthe parish of Glass, by means of the men straining the undecided to perceive that who had been deposed from the ministe- there was now no alternative but the rial office. And several glaringly ar- utter abandonment, or the resolute asserbitrary instances of despotic patronage tion of principle, and even imparting a had been perpetrated by the Home Sec- noble fortitude to many who had hitherto retary, accompanied with language indi- stood timidly aloof from the conflict. cating an insolent contempt for the feel- Last of all came the feeble muster of the ings and the petitions of the people. wavering middle-men, few of whom had

Such is a brief outline of the chief ever truly belonged to the reforming maevents which preceded the meeting of jority, and of these few, none had ever the Generz. Assembly, and such the borne a prominent part in the arduous general state of affairs when it met on struggle. This middle movement came 19th of May 1842: It seems impossible in time to call off the timid and the hesifor a thoughtful mind to contemplate tating, together with some who could these mazy and complicated movements, better suffer for truth and purity than without perceiving that they were all contend in their defence; but too late to guided by an invisible but an Almighty influence those of more penetrating hand. How many phases had the con- minds, capacious judgments, and calmly flict assumed within the course of one resolute hearts. It scarcely thinned the short year! Encouraged, apparently, defenders of the Church ; and it left no by the prospect of a change of Govern- weak and assailable points in their faithment, and the formation of an adminis- ful and united band. Surely in all this tration more favourable to their views, the overruling power and wisdom of the the Moderate party had cast off their Redeemer was most graciously apparent! previous reserve, and declared their in. It was not by man's prudence, but by tention to take such steps as must inevita- God's foreknowledge, that all had been ply cause a schism in the Church. so wonderfully ordered ; and in the full

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