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With regard to the sentiments contained in the work, I cannot but be aware, that while stating my own feelings and opinions, what I have written will not be equally agreeable to all. I have no wish to give unnecessary offence to any ; but in my opinion, no person ought to attempt to write history, who has not both an honest desire to ascertain the truth, and sufficient courage to state it freely and impartially when ascertained. And it is perfectly impossible to write the History of the Church of Scotland, without relating events which cannot fail to excite strong moral indignation against the two systems by which that Church has, at different periods, been persecuted and oppressed. It has been my desire to abstain from unnecessary asperity of language, even when detailing acts of perfidy and cruelty, rarely equalled in the annals of persecution; not because I think that Scottish Prelacy has any peculiar claim to be leniently treated, but because the plain and simple statement of ihe truth will best display the spirit and character of that intolerant system.
Painful, indeed, has been the task of tracing the course of worldly policy and ecclesiastical corruption and despotism, which prevailed throughout the last century and the beginning of the present; and most reluctantly have I felt myself constrained to record the deeds which were done in Scotland during the long reign of Moderatism. But it was felt to be an imperative duty to do so, both as required by historical fidelity, and as rendered peculiarly necessary by the present circumstances of the Church. It would be a very instructive chapter in the history of the errors which the spirit of the world has superinduced upon Christianity, to give a full view of the rise, progress, and complete developement of the system which has been called Moderatism. I have not, however, sought to do so, further than appeared absolutely necessary for the purpose of displaying so much of its real essence and character as might sufficiently prove, that the true Presbyterian Church of Scotland is not justly chargeable with the actions of a secular system, which had its origin in hostile elements, which gradually usurped, and long exercised over her the most cruel and oppressive tyranny, and whose whole procedure was one continuous endeavour to destroy her principles and subvert her constitution.
To those Gentlemen who have kindly favoured me with the perusal aluable books, to which I could not otherwise have easily obtained access, I take this opportunity of returning my grateful thanks. And I now lay my work before the public, in the hope, that what was undertaken solely from a strong conviction of duty to the Divine Head of the Church, to the Church of Scotland, and to my countrymen in general, may, through the blessing of God, be of some avail in removing ignorance and prejudice, correcting erroneous misrepresentations, and enabling the community to form an accurate conception of the real principles and character of the Church of Scotland.
In preparing this edition of the History of the Church of Scotland, it has been thought expedient to continue the narrative of events till the Disruption which took place in May last, and resulted in the formation of what is now termed THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, --in which are still preserved entire the constitutional principles, the unfettered freedom, the vital energy, the doctrinal purity, and the spiritual fervency that have, in its best periods, always distinguished the testimony-bearing Church of our fathers.
W. M. H. FREE MANSE, TORPHICHEN,
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.
mencement of the Reformation.
influenced by religion, and impelling
men frequently to act directly contrary FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO to every thing which he would deem SCOTLAND, TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE politic and expedient. Not only this
class of motives, but the course of events Introductory Remarks--Statement of General Princi- also, will often be found to lie equally ples involved in all Church History – Divine Truth beyond his reach adequately to compreMan's Fallen Nature-Characteristic Principles of hend and explain. He will often find troduction of Christianity into Scotland - The Cul: means and arrangements apparently the dees-Peculiarities of their System–Introduced into wisest and most sufficient, utterly fail of oppose the Culdees. They retire to Scotland--The accomplishing the proposed end; while Prelatic System of Rome introduced the Culdees others, which seem ill advised and feeble, Tenets of the Culdees--Progress of Popery-Its will be crowned with the most remarkaWealth and Power--State of Scotland at the Com- ble success. Frequently, therefore, must
he content himself with recording the THERE are certain general principles course of events, of which the impelling involved in all Church History, greatly causes and controlling agencies are to more profound in their character and im- him altogether unknown. Man as he portant in their consequences than those is, in short, impelled by the passions and which appear in, or can be deduced from, alsured by the interests of his known and the records of Civil History. The civil common nature,—circumscribed, as he historian has to deal with man merely as at present appears, within the limits of the mortal inhabitant of this world; and, space and time, of his earthly pursuits however deeply his philosophical know- and mortal life,-forms the object of the ledge of the human mind may enable civil historian's important yet incomplete him to penetrate into those undeclared researches. motives by which sovereigns and states- But Church History has to deal with men are often influenced, and the affairs the deeds and characters of men in that of nations controlled, there is still one de- very department into which the civil hispartment, and that the mightiest of all, torian cannot enter. It views man as a into which it is not his province to enter. moral and spiritual being, fallen from his He may unravel the twisted intrigues of original condition of purity and happimere worldly policy; he may detect and ness, the slave of guilty passions, degraconfute the sophistries of worldly wis- ded by low and grovelling pursuits, and dom; but, except he be something more blinded by inveterate prejudices, yet cathan a philosophical historian, he will pable of recovery from his depraved and remain utterly unable to understand the miserable condition, and at present under meaning and the power of conscience, la dispensation divinely fitted to restore him to more than the purity and eleva-ciples. The inevitable consequence is, tion from which he feil. He is seen, that its genuine effects are very greatly therefore, as constantly impelled by the impaired by the disturbing influence of one or the other of two contending influ- human depravity and prejudice. Some ences, directly hostile to each other; of the most important religious principles the one, the influence of his fallen and are frequently obscured, because they corrupt nature, striving to perpetuate all its have been either imperfectly understood, own evil tendencies, and to impede and or are so opposed to the natural predilecpervert all the efforts of its opponent; the tions of fallen man as to be disliked, and other, the influence of revealed religion, therefore perverted. They do indeed reof Christianity, striving to expel corrup- appear from time to time, as peculiar tion, remove prejudices, and heal the junctures, under the guiding of Divine moral maladies of the soul, by the infu- Providence, call them forth; until their sion of the new and sacred principles of true character and value being thus forced eternal truth. Church History has, there- upon the perception of the general mind, fore, for its peculiar province, the infu- they are at length received, and opporsion into the soul of fallen man of the tunity thereby given for the similar prosacred principles of divine revealed truth, cess of developement to others, which --their influence in the social system, as had been equally neglected or opposed. they strive to pervade and mould it anew, This is the case, whether such principles --the opposition which they meet with have direct reference to the government, from the inherent depravity of the heart, the doctrine, or the discipline of the --the struggles of these contending in-Christian Church, as might easily be fluences of good and evil, of the world shown from the general records of and religion,—the convulsions occasion Church History. ally thereby produced, and the changes There is also a necessary continuity which take place in the aspect and struc-of character, as of being, in the life and ture of society, as the one or the other history of any Church; and that characfrom time to time obtains ascendency, ter can never be rightly understood, howputs forth its power, and exhibits its na- ever familiar we may be with the details tive character. It is thus evident that the of its general history, unless we have a history of the Church of any land is the clear and true conception of those leadhistory of the moral and spiritual life of ing principles which have always formed that land ; and that it clairs, as its own the master element of its essential existpeculiar domain, that very region of ence. By keeping them steadily
, in view, moral and spiritual principles and mo. we shall be able to trace distinctly all the tives into which the secular historian, as various changes and alternations of its such, cannot even enter, and yet without course, marking and understanding not some knowledge of which, much of what merely those external events which are is most important in the history of every manifest to the world, but those unseen nation can never be understood and ex- influences which move, and mould, and
animate the whole. Even in periods of In tracing the Church History of any comparative stagnation, when there seems country, we must expect to meet with to be a cessation of all active and vital much that we must both deplore and impulses, the knowledge of what forms condemn. For although the principles the essential characteristics of a national which Christianity introduces into the Church may enable us to detect the soul of man, and thereby into the social otherwise imperceptible progress of a system, are in themselves absolutely per- deep and calm under-current, preparing fect, yet they are rarely perfectly re- for some new and mighty developement ceived, and never have been perfectly of silently-ripened energies, by which developed. Divine truth does not, in- the whole structure of society may be deed, contract any portion of human error convulsed, and constrained to assume a by entering into the mind of man; but new aspect, more in conformity with the the depraved and prejudiced human mind character of its inward moral and reliobtains in general only a partial recep- gious life. tion and distorted view of its great prin- Every person who has paid much at
tention to Church History must be aware proved, and often has been proved, that that, of the great leading principles of the Episcopalian, or rather let us term it Christianity, some have been held in pe- now, and throughout this work, the Preculiar reverence, and defended with pe- latic form of church government, is one culiar determination, by one national of merely human invention; whilst the Church, and some by another; and from Presbyterian is of divine origin and authis has arisen in each that distinctive thority, and consequently is that which characteristic by which the various por- would of necessity be adopted and retions of the Church general maintain tained by any Church which held as its their individuality, notwithstanding their leading principle the sole headship and common resemblance. It would require kingly dominion of the Lord Jesus too wide a survey, and perhaps involve a Christ. But it is enough at present discussion too vague, to point out the dis- merely to have stated these general printinctive characteristics of the chief na- ciples, and suggested their application. tional Churches throughout the Christian If the candid reader will bear them in world ; but there can be little difficulty mind during his perusal of the following in making specific mention of that great pages, he will soon be able to decide for Christian principle which the Church of himself respecting their truth and their Scotland has always striven to realize importance. and defend,--namely, THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY HEAD AND The first introduction of Christianity KING OF THE CHURCH; whence it fol- into Scotland cannot, it appears, be now lows, by necessary consequence, That exactly, ascertained. It would be in vain ITS GOVERNMENT IS DERIVED FROM Him to refer to the legendary records of anALONE, AND IS DISTINCT FROM, AND NOT cient Scottish kings, given by some of SUBORDINATE IN ITS OWN PROVINCE TO, THE our historians, as furnishing authoritative CIVIL MAGISTRATE. The very remote- information respecting the events of a peness of Scotland from Rome, the seat first riod so far beyond the boundaries of our of imperial, and subsequently of ecclesi- nation's authentic annals. Perhaps the astical power,
tended to allow for a time earliest indication that the light of Chrisa more free developement of that great tianity had begun to dawn upon the reprinciple, and of its legitimate conse- mote regions of Caledonia, that can at quences, than would have been possible all be depended upon, may be found in had it been more accessible to the influ- the words of Tertullian, who asserts, that ence of Roman supremacy. It might, “those parts of Britain which were inacperhaps, be thought by some, that the cessible to the Romans had become subPresbyterian form of church government, ject to Christ.” And although we are rather than the great principle of the sole not to attach to the fervid language of a Sovereignty of Christ, has been, and is, rhetorician the same degree of credit the characteristic tenet of the Church of which we yield to the direct statements Scotland. But it requires only a little of a historian, yet, remembering the exdeeper investigation, or profounder treme rapidity with which Christianity thought, to enable any impartial and un- was propagated throughout the Roman prejudiced person to see, that the great empire in the apostolic age, it is by no principle of Christ's sole Sovereignty means improbable that it should have must prohibit the Church which holds it reached Britain, and even penetrated to from the adoption of any merely human the mountains of Caledonia, before the inventions or arrangements in that form close of the second century. The vioof government which He has given to lence of the persecutions which raged in the Church, his free spiritual kingdom, every part of Rome's dominion's during of which the Holy Scriptures contain the the third century, may readily be suponly authoritative enactment and declara- posed to have driven many of the Christion.
tians beyond the boundaries of the emIt is not our purpose to enter here into pire, and thus to have aided indirectly in the controversy respecting forms of the diffusion of the gospel, and especially church government, farther than merely to have promoted its introduction into the to state our full conviction, that it can be territories of unsubdued nations. Many of those persecuted Christians may then ting to his own immediate neighbours as have found a refuge among the uncon- much instruction as he could impart, quered districts of Scotland and Ireland, or they could be persuaded to receive. where they would, of course, endeavour If any dependence may be placed upon to instruct the rude but not inhospitable the fabulous records of those ages, there natives in the knowledge of the truth as were too many convulsions and semi-revit is in Jesus.
olutions in both Scotland and Ireland, In what manner these early Christian caused by the contensions of rival races refugees commenced what may be termed and petty monarchies, to have permitted their missionary labours among the Scots the construction of any regular form of and Picts -and whether, as some authors church government; so that for a conassert, the greater number of them re- siderable period, while Christianity was sorted to Ireland, and there assembling gradually pervading both countries, it themselves together, resumed the form of was doing so almost imperceptibly, primitive ecclesiastical government to through the exertions of individuals, which they had been accustomed,—are without system and without combination, questions into which it would be fruitless farther than that invisible but strong harto inquire, it being now almost impossi- mony which is caused by identity of prinble to arrive at any certainty on these ciple and aim. In this manner Chrispoints. The records of those remote tianity might have been, and indeed times are so obscure and contradictory, appears to have been propagated extenthat they rather furnish material for con- sively throughout the British Isles, before jecture, than data from which any satis- it began to assume the external aspect of factory inferences may be drawn. There a Church, with a regular system and are, however, a few points on which all form of government. But when persecuancient records seem to agree. These, tion ceased, in consequence of the fall of therefore, we may assume as generally Paganism before the progress of Chrisadmitted facts, although party-writers tianity, and Rome began to be regarded have endeavoured to deduce from them as the central seat of ecclesiastical govthe most opposite conclusions; and while ernment, the Bishop of Rome very early we do not venture to claim for ourselves assumed a sort of supremacy over the absolute impartiality and freedom from whole Christian Church, and took it all biassing predilections, we shall do upon him to interfere with the arrangeour utmost to guard against the influence ments of the whole Christian world. To of prejudices,—to state nothing but what this, in all probability, we owe the visit we believe, after very careful investiga- of Palladius, about the object and consetion, to be the truth,—and to frame no quences of which so much fruitless coninferences but what seem to us to be nat- troversy has arisen. ural, direct, and inevitable.
According to the Archbishop Ussher, There is reason to believe, as has been Palladius was sent from Rome to.“ thé already stated, that the knowledge of Scots believing on Christ," in the year Christianity was to some extent commu- 431, by Celestine, at that time Bishop of nicated to the people of Scotland and Ire. Rome, as their first bishop," (primus land as early as towards the close of the episcopus).* Some writers assert, that second, and more especially during the by the word “Scots we are to underthird, century of the Christian era, in the stand the Irish to be meant; and are furtimes of those fierce persecutions which, ther to learn, that Palladius was sent to while they were meant to exterminate, be Primate of Ireland! It is not neceswere actually overruled to promote the sary to waste space in the discussion of progress of the Christian religion. There assertions which contain their own refuis no reason, however, to think that those tation in their absurdity. Whatever else persecuted and banished Christians at- may have been among the secret objects tempted at that early period to construct of the Roman Bishop Celestine in the any distinct frame of ecclesiastical govern- mission of Palladius, it appears suffi
They seem rather to have dwelt ciently evident from the above-quoted exin comparatively isolated solitude, each in his own retreat, and each communica- tory of the Culdees, pp. 7, 8.
Ussher, Primord., p. 801. See also Jamieson's HIS