Extract From "History of Protestantism", by James Wylie
At last one not unworthy to succeed Knox came forward to
fill the place where that great leader had stood. This man was Andrew Melville,
who in 1574 returned from Geneva to Scotland. He was of the Melvilles of
Baldovy, in the Mearns, and having been left an orphan at the age of four
years, was received into the family of his elder brother, who, discovering his
genius and taste for learning, resolved to give him the best education the
He acquired Latin in the grammar-school of Montrose, and Greek from Pierre de Marsilliers, a native of France, who taught in those parts; and when the young Melville entered the University of St. Andrews he read the original text of Aristotle, while his professors, unacquainted with the tongue of their oracle, commented upon his works from a Latin translation.
From St. Andrews, Melville went to prosecute his studies at that ancient seat of learning, the University of Paris. The Sorbonne was then rising into higher renown and attracting greater crowds of students than ever, Francis I, at the advice of the great scholar Budaeus, having just added to it three new chairs for Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. These unlocked the gates of the ancient world, and admitted the student to the philosophy of the Greek sages and the diviner knowledge of the Hebrew prophets. The Jesuits were at that time intriguing to obtain admission into the University of Paris, and to insinuate themselves into the education of youth, and the insight Melville obtained abroad into the character and designs of these zealots was useful to him in after-life, stimulating him as it did to put the colleges of his native land on such a footing that the youth of Scotland might have no need to seek instruction in foreign countries.
From Paris, Melville repaired to Poitiers, where, during a residence of three years, he discharged the duties of regent in the College of St. Marceon, till he was compelled to quit it by the troubles of the civil war. Leaving Poitiers, he journeyed on foot to Geneva, his Hebrew Bible slung at his belt, and in a few days after his arrival he was elected to fill the chair of Humanity, then vacant, in the famous academy which Calvin had founded ten years before, and which, as regards the fame of its masters and the number of its scholars, now rivaled the ancient universities of Europe. His appointment brought him into daily intercourse with the scholars, ministers, and senators of Geneva, and if the Scotsman delighted in their urbanity and learning, they no less admired his candor, vivacity, and manifold acquirements. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew took place during Melville's residence in Geneva, and that terrible event, by crowding Geneva with refugees, vastly enlarged his acquaintance with the Protestants of the Continent. There were at one time as many as 120 French ministers in that hospitable city, and among other learned strangers was Joseph Scaliger, the greatest scholar of his age, with whom Melville renewed an acquaintance which had been begun two years before. The horrors of this massacre, of which he had had so near a view, deepened the detestation he felt for tyranny, and helped to nerve him in the efforts he made in subsequent years for the liberties of his native land. Surrounded with congenial friends and occupied in important labours, that land he had all but forgotten, till it was recalled to his heart by a visit from two of his countrymen, who, struck with his great capabilities, urged him to return to Scotland.
Having obtained with difficulty permission from the Senate and Church of Geneva to return, he set out on his way homeward, with a letter from Beza, in which that illustrious man said that "the Church of Geneva could not have a stronger token of affection to her sister of Scotland than by despoiling herself of his services that the Church of Scotland might therewith be enriched." Passing through Paris on the very day that Charles IX died in the Louvre, he arrived in Edinburgh in July, 1574, after an absence of ten years from his native country. "He brought with him," says James Melville, "an inexhaustible treasury of learning, a vast knowledge both of things human and divine, and, what was better still, an upright and fervent zeal for true religion, and a firm resolution to devote all his gifts, with unwearied painfulness, to the service of his Kirk and country without recompense or gain.
On his arrival in Scotland he found the battle against the Tulchan episcopate, so incongruously joined on to the Presbyterian Church, halting for one to lead. Impressed with the simple order which Calvin had established in Geneva, and ascribing in large degree to that cause the glory to which that Church had attained, and the purity with which religion flourished in it, and believing with Jerome that, agreeably to the interchangeable use of the words "bishop" and "presbyter" in the New Testament, all ministers of the Gospel were at first equal, Melville resolved not to rest till he had lopped off the unseemly addition which avaricious nobles and a tyrannical Government had made to the Church of his native land, and restored it to the simplicity of its first order. He began the battle in the General Assembly of 1575; he continued it in following Assemblies, and with such success that the General Assembly of 1580 came to a unanimous resolution, declaring "the office of a bishop, as then used and commonly understood, to be destitute of warrant from the Word of God, and a human invention, tending to the great injury of the Church, and ordained the bishops to demit their pretended office simpliciter, and to receive admission as ordinary pastors de novo, under pain of excommunication."Not a holder of a Tulchan mitre but bowed to the decision of the Assembly.
While, on the one hand, this new episcopacy was being cast down, the Church was labouring, on the other, to build up and perfect her scheme of Presbyterian polity. A committee was appointed to prosecute this important matter, and in the course of a series of sittings it brought its work to completion, and its plan was sanctioned by the General Assembly which met in the Magdalene Chapel of Edinburgh, in 1578, under the presidency of Andrew Melville. "From this time," says Dr. McCrie, "the Book of Policy, as it was then styled, or Second Book of Discipline, although not ratified by the Privy Council or Parliament, was regarded by the Church as exhibiting her authorized form of government, and the subsequent Assemblies took steps for carrying its arrangements into effect, by erecting presbyteries throughout the kingdom, and committing to them the oversight of all ecclesiastical affairs within their bounds, to the exclusion of bishops, superintendents, and visitors."
It may be well to pause and contemplate the Scottish ecclesiastical polity as now perfected. Never before had the limits of the civil and the ecclesiastical powers been drawn with so bold a hand as in this Second Book of Discipline. In none of the Confessions of the Reformation had the Church been so clearly set forth as a distinct and, in spiritual matters, independent society as it was in this one. The Second Book of Discipline declared that "Christ had appointed a government in his Church, distinct from civil government, which is to be executed in his name by such office-bearers as he has authorized, and not by civil magistrates or under their direction." This marks a notable advance in the Protestant theory of Church power, which differs from the Popish theory, inasmuch as it is co-ordinate with, not superior to, the civil power, its claims to supremacy being strictly limited to things spiritual, and subject to the State in things temporal.
Luther had grasped the idea of the essential distinction between the two powers, but he shrank from the difficulty of embodying his views in a Church organization. Calvin, after a great battle, had succeeded in vesting the Church of Geneva with a certain measure of spiritual independence; but the State there was a theocracy with two branch the spiritual administration of the consistory, and the moral administration of the senate and hence the impossibility of instituting definite boundaries between the two. But in Scotland there was more than a city; there were a kingdom, a Parliament, a monarch; and this not only permitted, but necessitated, a fuller development of the autonomy of the Church than was possible in Geneva. Hence the Scottish arrangement more nearly resembles that which obtained in France than that which was set up in Geneva; besides, Mary Stuart was Romish, and Knox could not give to a Popish sovereign the power which Calvin had given to the Protestant senate of Geneva.
Still the First Book of Discipline was incomplete as regards its arrangements. It was compiled to meet an emergency, and many of its provisions were necessarily temporary. But the Second Book of Discipline contained a scheme of Church polity, developed from the root idea of the supernatural origin of the Church, and which alike in its general scope and its particular details was framed with the view of providing at once for the maintenance of the order, and the conservation of the liberty of the Church. The Parliament did not ratify the Second Book of Discipline till 1592; but that was a secondary matter with its compilers, for in their view the granting of such ratification could not add to, and the withholding of it could not take from, the inherent authority of the scheme of government, which had its binding power from the Scriptures or had no binding power whatever. Of what avail, then, was the ratification of Parliament. Simply this, that the State thereby pledged itself not to interfere with or overthrow this discipline; and, further, it might be held as the symbol of the nation's acceptance of and submission to this discipline as a Scriptural one, which, however, the Church neither wished nor sought to enforce by civil penalties. It was out of this completed settlement of the Presbyterian polity that that great struggle arose which ultimately involved both England and Scotland in civil war, and which, after an immense effusion of blood, in the southern kingdom on the battle-field, and in the northern on the scaffolds of its martyrs, issued in the Revolution of 1688, which placed the Protestant House of Orange on the throne of Great Britain, and secured, under the sanction of an oath, that the constitution and sovereigns of the realm should in all time coming be Protestant.
CHAPTER 12 BATTLES FOR PRESBYTERIANISM AND LIBERTY
In 1578, James VI, now twelve years of age, took the reins of government into his own hand. His preceptor, the illustrious Buchanan, had laboured to inspire him with a taste for learning the capacity he could not give him and to qualify him for his future duties as a sovereign by instructing him in the principles of civil and religious liberty. But unhappily the young king, at an early period of his reign, fell under the influence of two worthless and profligate courtiers, who strove but too successfully to make him forget all that Buchanan had taught him. These were Esme Stuart, a cousin of his father, who now arrived from France, and was afterwards created Earl of Lennox; and Captain James Stuart, a son of Lord Ochiltree, a man of profligate manners, whose unprincipled ambition was rewarded with the title and estates of the unfortunate Earl of Arran. The sum of what these men taught James was that there was neither power nor glory in a throne unless the monarch were absolute, and that as the jurisdiction of the Protestant Church of his native country was the great obstacle in the way of his governing according to his own arbitrary will, it behoved him above all things to sweep away the jurisdiction of Presbyterianism. An independent Kirk and an absolute throne could not co-exist in the same realm.
These maxims accorded but too well with the traditions of his house and his own prepossessions not to be eagerly imbibed by the king. He proved an apt scholar, and the evil transformation wrought upon him by the counselors to whom he had surrendered himself was completed by his initiation into scenes of youthful debauchery. The Popish politicians on the Continent foresaw, of course, that James VI would mount the throne of England; and there is reason to think that the mission of the polished and insinuating but unprincipled Esme Stuart had reference to that expectation. The Duke of Guise sent him to restore the broken link between Scotland and France; to fill James's mind with exalted notions of his own prerogative; to inspire him with a detestation of Presbyterian Protestantism, the greatest foe of absolute power; and to lead him back to Rome, the great upholder of the Divine right of kings. Accordingly Esme Stuart did not come alone. He was in due time followed by Jesuits and seminary priests, and the secret influence of these men soon made itself manifest in the open defection of some who had hitherto professed the Protestant faith.
In short, this was an off-shoot of that great plot which was in 1587 to be smitten on the scaffold in Fotheringay Castle, and to receive a yet heavier blow from the tempest that strewed the bottom of the North Sea with the hulks of the "Invincible Armada," and lined the western shores of Ireland with the corpses of Spanish warriors. The Presbyterian ministers took the alarm. This flocking of foul birds to the court, and this crowding of "men in masks" in the kingdom, fore-boded no good to that Protestant establishment which was the main bulwark of the country's liberties: The alarm was deepened by intercepted letters from Rome granting a dispensation to Roman Catholics to profess the Protestant faith for a time, provided they cherished in their hearts a loyalty to Rome, and let slip no opportunity their disguise might offer them of advancing her interests.
Crisis was evidently approaching, and if the Scottish people were to hold possession of that important domain of liberty which they had conquered they must fight for it. Constitutional government had not indeed been set up as yet in full form in Scotland; but Buchanan, Knox, and now Melville were the advocates of its principles; thus the germs of that form of government had been planted in the country, and its working initiated by the erection of the Presbyterian Church Courts; limits had been put upon the arbitrary will of the monarch by the exclusion of the royal power from the most important of all departments of human liberty and rights; and the great body of the people were inflamed with the resolution of maintaining these great acquisitions, now menaced by both the secret and the open emissaries of the Guises and Rome. But there were none to rally the people to the defense of the public liberties but the ministers. The Parliament in Scotland was the tool of the court; the courts of justice had their decisions dictated by letters from the king; there was yet no free press; there was no organ through which the public sentiment could find expression, or shape itself into action, but the Kirk. It alone possessed anything like liberty, or had courage to oppose the arbitrary measures of the Government. The Kirk therefore must come to the front, and give expression to the national voice, if that voice was to be heard at all; and the Kirk must put its machinery in action to defend at once its own independence and the independence of the nation, both of which were threatened by the same blow.
Accordingly, on this occasion, as so often afterwards, the leaders of the opposition were ecclesiastical men, and the measures they adopted were on their outer sides ecclesiastical also. The circumstances of the country made this a necessity. But whatever the forms and names employed in the conflict, the question at issue was, shall the king govern by his own arbitrary irresponsible will, or shall the power of the throne be limited by the chartered rights of the people? This led to the swearing of the National Covenant. It is only ignorance of the great conflict of the sixteenth century that would represent this as a mere Scottish peculiarity.
We have already met with repeated instances, in the course of our history, in which this expedient for cementing union and strengthening confidence amongst the friends of Protestantism was had recourse to. The Lutheran princes repeatedly subscribed not unsimilar bonds. The Waldenses assembled beneath the rocks of Bobbio, and with uplifted hands swore to rekindle their "ancient lamp" or die in the attempt. The citizens of Geneva, twice over, met in their great Church of St. Peter, and swore to the Eternal to resist the duke, and maintain their evangelical confession. The capitals of other cantons also hallowed their struggle for the Gospel by an oath. The Hungarian Protestants followed this example. In 1561 the nobles, citizens, and troops in Erlau bound themselves by oath not to forsake the truth, and circulated their Covenant in the neighboring parishes, where also it was subscribed.
The Covenant from which the Protestants of Scotland sought to draw strength and confidence has attracted more notice than any of the above instances, from this circumstance, that the Covenanters were not a party but a nation, and the Covenant of Scotland, like its Reformation, was national. The Covenanters swore in brief to resist Popery, and to maintain Protestantism and constitutional monarchy. They first of all explicitly abjured the Romish tenets, they promised to adhere to and defend the doctrine and the government of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and finally they engaged under the same oath to defend the person and authority of the king, "with our goods, bodies, and lives, in the defense of Christ's Evangel, liberties of our country, ministration of justice, and punishment of iniquity, against all enemies within this realm and without." It was subscribed (1581) by the king and his household and by all ranks in the country. The arrangement with Rome made the subscription of the courtiers almost a matter of course; even Esme Stuart, now Earl of Lennox, seeing how the tide was flowing, professed to be a convert to the Protestant faith. The national enthusiasm in behalf of the Reformed Church was greatly strengthened by this solemn transaction, but the intrigues against it at court went on all the same. The battle was begun by the appointment of a Tulchan bishop for Glasgow. The person preferred to this questionable dignity was Robert Montgomery, minister of Stirling, who, said the people, "had the title, but my Lord of Lennox (Esme Stuart) had the milk." The General Assembly of 1582 were proceeding to suspend the new-made bishop from the exercise of his office, when a messenger-at-arms entered, and charged the moderator and members, "under pain of rebellion and putting them to the horn," to stop procedure. The Assembly, so far from complying, pronounced the heavier sentence of excommunication on Montgomery; and the sentence was publicly intimated in Edinburgh and Glasgow, in spite of Esme Stuart, who, furious with rage, threatened to poignard the preacher.
It shows how strongly the popular feeling was in favour of the Assembly, and against the court, that when Montgomery came soon after to pay a visit to his patron Lennox, the inhabitants of Edinburgh rose in a body, demanding that the town should not be polluted with his presence, and literally chased him out of it. Nor was he, with all his speed, about to escape a few "buffets in the neck" as he hastily made his exit at the wicket-gate of the Potter Row. The matter did not end with the ignominious expulsion of Montgomery from the capital. The next General Assembly adopted a spirited remonstrance to the king, setting forth that the authority of the Church had been invaded, her sentences dissanulled, and her ministers obstructed in the discharge of their duty, and begging redress of these grievances.
Andrew Melville with others was appointed to present the paper to the king in council; having obtained audience, the commissioners read the remonstrance. The reading finished, Arran looked round with a wrathful countenance, and demanded, "Who dares subscribe these treasonable articles?" "We dare," replied Melville, and, advancing to the table, he took the pen and subscribed. The other commissioners came forward, one after another, and appended their signatures. Even the insolent Arran was abashed; and Melville and his brethren were peaceably dismissed. Protection from noble or from other quarter the ministers had none; their courage was their only shield.
There followed some chequered years; the nobles roused by the courageous bearing of the ministers, made all attempt to free themselves and the country from the ignominious tyranny of the unworthy favourites, who were trampling upon their liberties. But their attempt, known as the "Raid of Ruthven," was ill-advised, and very unlike the calm and constitutional opposition of the ministers. The nobles took possession of the king's person, and compelled the Frenchmen to leave the country. The year's peace which this violence procured for the Church was dearly purchased, for the tide of oppression immediately returned with all the greater force.
Andrew Melville had to retire into England, and that intrepid champion off the scene, the Parliament (1584) overturned the independence of the Church. It enacted that no ecclesiastical Assembly should meet without the king's leave; that no one should decline the judgment of the king and Privy Council on any matter whatever, under peril of treason, and that all ministers should acknowledge the bishops as their ecclesiastical superiors. These decrees were termed the Black Acts. Their effect was to lay at the feet of the king that whole machinery of ecclesiastical courts which, as matters then stood, was the only organ of public sentiment, and the only bulwark of the nation's liberties. The General Assembly could not meet unless the king willed, and thus he held in his hands the whole power of the Church. This was in violation of repeated Acts of Parliament, which had vested the Church with the power of convoking and dissolving her Assemblies, without which her liberties were an illusion.
The Reformed Church of Scotland was lying in what seemed ruin, when it was lifted up by an event that at first threatened destruction to it and to the whole Protestantism of Britain. It was at this time that the storm-cloud of the Armada gathered, burst, and passed away, but not without rousing the spirit of liberty, in Scotland. The Scots resolved to set their house in order, lest a second Armada should approach their shores, intercepted letters having made them aware that Huntly and the Popish lords of the north were urging Philip II of Spain to make another attempt, and promising to second his efforts with soldiers who would not only place Scotland at his feet, but would aid him to subjugate England. Even James VI paused in the road he was traveling towards that oldest and staunchest friend of despotic princes, the Church of Rome, seeing his kingdom about to depart from him. His ardour had been cooled, too, by the many difficulties he had encountered in his attempts to impose upon his subjects a hierarchy to which they were repugnant; and either through that fickleness and inconstancy which were a part of his nature, or through that incurable craft which characterized him as it had done all his race, he became for the time a zealous Presbyterian. Nay, he "praised God that he was born in such a place as to be king in such a Kirk, the purest Kirk in the world. I, forsooth," he concluded, "as long as I brook my life and crown shall maintain the same against all deadly.
Andrew Melville had returned from London after a year's absence, and his first care was to resuscitate the Protestant liberties which lay buried under the late Parliamentary enactments. Nor were his labours in vain. In 1592, Parliament restored the Presbyterian Church as it had formerly existed, ratifying its government by Kirk-sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and National Assemblies. This Act has ever been held to be the grand charter of Presbyterianism in Scotland. It was hailed with joy, not as adding a particle of inherent authority to the system it recognized the basis of that authority the Church had already laid down in her Books of Discipline but because it gave the Church a legal pledge that the jurisdiction of the Romish Church would not be restored, and by consequence, that of the Reformed Church not overthrown. This Act gave the Church of Scotland a legal ground on which to fight her future battles.
But James VI was incapable of being long of one mind, or persevering steadily in one course. In 1596 the Popish lords, who had left the country on the suppression of their rebellion, returned to Scotland. Notwithstanding that they had risen in arms against the king, and had continued their plots while they lived abroad, James was willing to receive and reinstate these conspirators. His Council were of the same mind with himself. Not so the country and the Church, which saw new conspiracies and wars in prospect, should these inveterate plotters be taken back. Without loss of time, a deputation of ministers, appointed at a convention held at Cupar, proceeded to Falkland to remonstrate with the king on the proposed recall of those who had shown themselves the enemies of his throne and the disturbers of his realm. The ministers were admitted into the palace. It had been agreed that James Melville, the nephew of Andrew, for whom the king entertained great respect, being a man of courteous address, should be their spokesman. He had only uttered a few words when the king violently interrupted him, denouncing him and his associates as seditious stirrers up of the people. The nephew would soon have succumbed to the tempest of the royal anger if the uncle had not stepped forward.
James VI and Andrew Melville stood once more face to face. For a few seconds there was a conflict between the kingly authority of the sovereign and the moral majesty of the patriot. But soon the king yielded himself to Melville. Taking James by the sleeve, and calling him "God's sillie vassal," he proceeded, says McCrie, "to address him in the following strain, perhaps the most singular, in point of freedom, that ever saluted royal ears, or that ever proceeded from the mouth of loyal subject, who would have sprit his blood in defense of the person and honor of his prince: "Sir," said Melville, "we will always humbly reverence your Majesty in public, but since we have this occasion to be with your Majesty in private, and since you are brought into extreme danger both of your life and crown, and along with you the country and the Church of God are like to go to wreck, for not telling you the truth and bring you faithful counsel, we must discharge our duty or else be traitors, both to Christ and you. Therefore, sir, as divers times before I have told you, so now again I must tell you, there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is Christ Jesus the King of the Church, whose subject King James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member... We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience; but again I say, you are not the head of the Church; you cannot give us that eternal life which even in this world we seek for, and you cannot deprive us of it. Permit us then freely to meet in the name of Christ, and to attend to the interests of that Church of which you are the chief member. Sir, when you were in your swaddling-clothes, Christ Jesus reigned freely in this land, in spite of all his enemies; his officers and ministers convened for the ruling and the welfare of his Church, which was ever for your welfare, defense, and preservation, when these same enemies were seeking your destruction and cutting off. And now, when there is more than extreme necessity for the continuance of that duty, will you hinder and dishearten Christ's servants, and your most faithful subjects, quarreling them for their convening, when you should rather commend and countenance them as the godly kings and emperors did?"
The storm, which had risen with so great and sudden a violence at the mild words of the nephew, went down before the energy and honesty of the uncle, and the deputation was dismissed with assurances that no favour should be shown the Popish lords, and no march stolen upon the liberties of the Church. But hardly were the ministers gone when steps were taken for restoring the insurgent nobles, and undermining the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The policy adopted for accomplishing this was singularly subtle, and reveals the hand of the Jesuits, of whom there were then numbers in the country. First of all, the king preferred the apparently innocent request that a certain number of ministers should be appointed as assessors, with whom he might advise in "all affairs concerning the weal of the Church." Fourteen ministers were appointed: "the very needle," says James Melville, "which drew in the episcopal thread." The second step was to declare by Act of Parliament that Prelacy was the third Estate of the Realm, and that those ministers whom the king chose to raise to that dignity should be entitled to sit or vote in Parliament. The third step was to enact that the Church should be represented in Parliament, and that the fourteen assessors already chosen should form that representation. The matter having reached this hopeful stage, the king adventured on the fourth and last step, which was to nominate David Lindsay, Peter Blackburn, and George Gladstanes to the vacant bishoprics of Ross, Aberdeen, and Caithness.
The new-made bishops took their seats in the next Parliament. The art and finesse of the king and his counselors had triumphed; but his victory was not yet complete, for the General Assembly still continued to manage, although with diminished authority and freedom, the affairs of the Church. The war we have been contemplating was waged within a small area, but its issue was world-wide. The ecclesiastical names and forms that appear on its surface may make this struggle repulsive in the eyes of some. Waged in the Palace of Falkland, and on the floor of the General Assembly, these contests are apt to be set down as having no higher origin than clerical ambition, and no wider object than ecclesiastical supremacy. But this, in the present instance at least, would be a most superficial and erroneous judgment. We see in these conflicts infant Liberty struggling with the old hydra of Despotism. The independence and freedom of Scotland were here as really in question as on the fields waged by Wallace and Bruce, and the men who fought in the contests which have been passing before us braved death as really as those do who meet mailed antagonists on the battlefield. Nay, more, Scotland and its Kirk had at this time become the key-stone in the arch of European liberty; and the unceasing efforts of the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Guises were directed to the displacing of that keystone, that the arch which it upheld might be destroyed. They were sending their agents into the country, they were fomenting rebellions, they were flattering the weak conceit of wisdom and of arbitrary power in James: not that they cared for the conquest of Scotland in itself so much as they coveted a door by which to enter England, and suppress its Reformation, which they regarded as the one thing wanting to complete the success of their schemes for the total extermination of Protestantism.
With servile Parliaments and a spiritless nobility, the public liberties as well as the Protestantism of Scotland would have perished but for the vigilance, and intrepidity of the Presbyterian ministers, and, above all, the incorruptible, the dauntless and unflinching courage and patriotism of Andrew Melville. These men may have been rough in speech; they may have permitted their temper to be ruffled, and their indignation to be set on fire, in exposing craft and withstanding tyranny; but that man's understanding must be as narrow as his heart is cold, who would think for a moment of weighing such things in the balance against the priceless blessing of a nation's liberties. The death of Queen Elizabeth, in 1603, called James VI to London, and the center of the conflict, which widens as the years advance, changes with the monarch to England.
When it became known at Rome that the reign of Elizabeth was drawing to a close, steps were immediately taken to prevent any one mounting her throne save a prince whose attachment to Roman Catholicism could not be doubted, and on whom sure hopes could be built that he would restore the Papacy in England. The doubtful Protestantism of the Scottish king had, as we have already said, been somewhat strengthened by the destruction of the Spanish Armada. It was further steadied by the representations made to him by Elizabeth and her wise ministers, to the effect that he could not hope to succeed to the throne of England unless he should put his attachment to the Protestant interests beyond suspicion; and that the nobility and gentry of England had too much honour and spirit ever again to bow the neck to the tyranny of the Church of Rome. These representations and warnings weighed with the monarch, the summit of whose wishes was to ascend the throne of the southern kingdom, and who was ready to protest or even swear to maintain any set of maxims, political or religious, which the necessity of the hour made advisable, seeing that his principles of kingcraft permitted the adoption of a new policy whenever a new emergency arose or a stronger temptation crossed his path.
Accordingly we find James, in the instructions sent to Hamilton, his agent in England in 1600, bidding him "assure honest men, on the princely word of a Christian king, that as I have ever without swerving maintained the same religion within my kingdom, so, as soon as it shall please God lawfully to possess me of the crown of that kingdom, I shall not only maintain the profession of the Gospel there, but withal not suffer any other religion to be professed within the bounds of that kingdom." This strong assurance, doubtless, quieted the fears of the English statesmen, but in the same degree it awakened the fears of the Roman Catholics. They began to despair of the King of the Scots - prematurely, we think; but they were naturally more impatient than James, seeing the restoration of their Church was with them the first object, whereas with James it was only the second, and the English crown was the first. The conspirators in England, whose hopes had been much dashed by the strong declaration of the Scottish king, applied to Pope Clement VIII to put a bar in the way of his mounting the throne. Clement was not hard to be persuaded in the matter. He sent over to Garnet, Provincial of the Jesuits in England, two bulls of his apostolical authority: one addressed to the Romish clergy, the other to the nobility and laity, and both of the same tenor. The bulls enjoined those to whom they were directed, in virtue of their obedience, at whatever time "that miserable woman," for so he called Elizabeth, should depart this life, to permit no one to ascend her throne, how near so ever in blood, unless he swore, according to the example of the former monarchs of England, not only to tolerate the Roman Catholic faith, but to the utmost of his power uphold and advance it.
Armed with this authoritative document, the Romish faction in the kingdom waited till Elizabeth should breathe her last. On the death of the queen, in March, 1603, they instantly dispatched a messenger to announce the fact to Winter, their agent at the Court of Spain. They charged him to represent to his most Catholic Majesty that his co-religionists in England were likely to be as grievously oppressed under the new king as they had been under the late sovereign, that in this emergency they turned their eyes to one whose zeal was as undoubted as his arm was powerful, and they prayed him to interpose in their behalf. The disaster of the Armada was too fresh in Philip's memory, the void it had made in his treasury, and which was not yet replenished, was too great, and the effects of the terrible blow on the national spirit were too depressing, to permit his responding to this appeal of the English Catholics by arms. Besides, he had opened negotiations for peace with the new king, and these must be ended one way or the other before he could take any step to prevent James mounting the throne, or to dispossess him of it after he had ascended it. Thus, the English Jesuits were left with the two bulls of Clement VIII, and the good wishes of Philip II, as their only weapons for carrying out their great enterprise of restoring their Church to its former supremacy in England. They did not despair, however. Thrown on their own resources, they considered the means by which they might give triumph to their cause.
The Order of Jesus is never more formidable than when it appears to be least so. It is when the Jesuits are stripped of all external means of doing harm that they devise the vastest schemes, and execute them with the most daring courage. Extremity but compels them to retreat yet deeper into the darkness, and arm themselves with those terrible powers wherein their great strength lies, and the full unsparing application of which they reserve for the conflicts of mightiest moment. The Jesuits in England now began to meditate a great blow. They had delivered an astounding stroke at sea but a few years before; they would signalize the present emergency by a nearly as astounding stroke on land. They would prepare an Armada in the heart of the kingdom, which would inflict on England a ruin sudden, strange, and terrible, like that which Philip's fleet would have inflicted had not the "winds become Lutheran," as Medina Sidonia said with an oath, and in their sectarian fury sent his ships to the bottom. In September, 1603, it would seem that the first meeting of the leading spirits of the party was held to talk over the course the new king was pursuing, and the measures to be adopted. Catesby, a gentleman of an ancient family, began by recounting the grievances under which the Roman Catholics of England groaned. His words kindling the anger of Percy, a descendant of the House of Northumberland, he observed that nothing was left them but to kill the king. "That," said Catesby, "is to run a great risk, and accomplish little," and he proceeded to unfold to Percy a much grander design, which could be executed with greater safety, and would be followed by far greater consequences. "You have," he continued, "taken off the king; but his children remain, who will succeed to his throne. Suppose you destroy the whole royal family, there will still remain the nobility, the gentry, the Parliament. All these we must sweep away with one stroke; and when our enemies have sunk in a common ruin, then may we restore the Church of Rome in England."
In short, he proposed to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder, when the king and the Estates of the Realm should be there assembled. The manner in which this plot was proceeded with is too well known, and the details are too accessible in the ordinary histories, to require that we should here dwell upon them. The contemplated destruction was on so great a scale that some of the conspirators, when it was first explained to them, shrunk from the perpetration of a wickedness so awful. To satisfy the more scrupulous of the party they resolved to consult their spiritual advisers. "Is it lawful," they asked of Garnet, Tesmond, and Gerard, "to do this thing?" These Fathers assured them that they might go on with a good conscience and do the deed, seeing that those on whom the destruction would fall were heretics and excommunicated persons. "But," it was replied, "some Catholics will perish with the Protestants: is it lawful to destroy the righteous with the wicked? " It was answered, "Yes, for it is expedient that the few should die for the good of the many." The point of conscience having been resolved, and the way made clear, the next step was an oath of secrecy, to inspire them with mutual confidence: the conspirators swore to one another by the Blessed Trinity and by the Sacrament not to disclose the matter, directly or indirectly, and never to desist from the execution of it, unless released by mutual consent. To add to the solemnity of the oath, they retired into an inner chamber, where they heard mass, and received the Sacrament from Gerard. They had sanctified themselves as the executioners of the vengeance of Heaven upon an apostate nation. They set to work; they ran a mine under the Houses of Parliament; and now they learned by accident that with less ado they might compass their end. The vault under the House of Lords, commonly used as a coal-cellar, was to be let. They hired it, placed in it thirty-six barrels of gun, powder, and strewing plenteously over them billets, fagots, stones, and iron bars, threw open the doors that all might see how harmless were the materials with which the vault was stored. The plot had been brewing for a year and a half; it had been entrusted to some twenty persons, and not a whisper had been uttered by way of divulging the terrible secret.
The billets, fagots, and iron bars that concealed the gunpowder in the vault were not the only means by which it was sought to hide from the people all knowledge of the terrible catastrophe which was in preparation. "The Lay Catholic Petition" was at this time published, in which they supplicated the king for toleration, protesting their fidelity and unfeigned love for his Majesty, and offering to be bound life for life with good sureties for their loyal behaviour. When the plot approached execution, Father Garnet began to talk much of bulls and mandates from the Pope to charge all the priests and their flocks in England to carry themselves with profound peace and quiet. Garnet sent Fawkes to Rome with a letter to Clement, supplicating that "commandment might come from his Holiness, or else from Aquaviva, the General of the Jesuits, for staying of all commotions of the Catholics in England." So anxious were they not to hurt a Protestant, or disturb the peace of the kingdom, or shake his Majesty's throne.
The sky is clearing, said the Protestants, deceived by these arts; the winter of Catholic discontent is past, and all the clouds that lowered upon the land in the days of Elizabeth are buried in the "deep sea" of mutual conciliation. They knew not that the men from whom those loud protestations of loyalty and brotherly concord came were all the while storing gunpowder in the vault underneath the House of Lords, laying the train, and counting the hours when they should fire it, and shake down the pillars of the State, and dissolve the whole frame of the realm. The way in which this hideous crime was prevented, and England saved - namely, by a letter addressed to Lord Monteagle by one of the conspirators, whose heart would seem to have failed him at the last moment, leading to a search below the House of Lords, followed by the discovery of the astounding plot - we need not relate. There is evidence for believing that the projected iniquity was not the affair of a few desperate men in England only, but that the authorities of the Popish world knew of it, sanctioned it, and lent it all the help they dared. Del Rio, in a treatise printed in 1600, puts a supposititious case in the confessional: "as if," says Dr. Kennet, "he had already looked into the mine and cellars, and had surveyed the barrels of powder in them, and had heard the whole confession of Fawkes and Catesby."
The answer to the supposed case, which is that of the Gunpowder Plot, the names of the actors left out, forbade the divulging of such secrets, on the ground that the seal of the confessional must not be violated. This treatise, published at so short a distance from England as Louvain, and so near the time when the train was being laid, shows, as Bishop Burnet remarks, that the plot was then in their minds. In Sully's Memoirs there is oftener than once a reference to a "sudden blow" which was intended in England about this time; and King James was warned by a letter from the court of Henry IV to beware of the fate of Henry III; and in the oration pronounced at Rome in praise of Ravaillac, the assassin of Henry IV, it was said that he (Henry IV) was not only an enemy to the Catholic religion in his heart, but that he had obstructed the glorious enterprise of those who would have restored it in England, and had caused them to be crowned with martyrdom. It is not easy to see to what this can refer if it be not to the Gunpowder Plot, and the execution of the conspirators by which it was followed.
The proof of knowledge beforehand on the part of the Popish authorities seemed to be completed by the action of Pope Paul V, who appointed a jubilee for the year 1605 - the year when the plot was to be executed for the purpose of "praying for help in emergent necessities," and among reasons assigned by the Pontiff for fixing on the year 1605, was that it was to witness "the rooting out of all the impious errors of the heretics. Copely says that "he could never meet with any one Jesuit who blamed it." Two of the Jesuit conspirators who made their escape to Rome were rewarded; one being made penitentiary to the Pope, and the other a confessor in St. Peter's. Garnet, who was executed as a traitor, is styled by Bellarmin a martyr; and Misson tells us that he saw his portrait among the martyrs in the hall of the Jesuit College at Rome, and by his side an angel who shows him the open gates of heaven. That the Romanists should thus plot against the religion and liberties of England was only what might be expected, but James himself became a plotter towards the same end. Instead of being warned off from so dangerous neighbours, he began industriously to court alliances with the Popish Powers. In these proceedings he laid the foundation of all the miseries which afterwards overtook his house and his kingdom. His first step was to send the Earl of Bristol to Spain, to negotiate a marriage with the Infanta for his son Prince Charles. He afterwards dispatched Buckingham with the prince himself on the same errand to the Spanish Court a proceeding that surprised everybody, and which no one but the "English Solomon" could have been capable of. It gave fresh life to Romanism in England, greatly emboldened the Popish recusants, and was the subject (1621) of a remonstrance of the Commons to the king.
The same man who had endeavoured to stamp out the infant constitutional liberties of Scotland began to plot the overthrow of the more ancient franchises, privileges, and jurisdictions of England. While the prince was in Spain all arts were employed to bring him within the pale of the Roman Church. An interchange of letters took place between him and the Pope, in which the Pontiff expresses his hope that "the Prince of the Apostles would be put in possession of his [the prince's] most noble island, and that he and his royal father might be styled the deliverers and restorers of the ancient paternal religion of Great Britain." The prince replies by expressing his ardent wishes "for an alliance with one that hath the same apprehension of the true religion with myself."
(Stay with it, we havn't finished with Melville!)
A Papal dispensation was granted; the marriage was agreed upon; the terms of the treaty were that no laws enacted against Roman Catholics should ever after be put in execution, that no new laws should ever hereafter be made against them, and that the prince should endeavor to the utmost of his power to procure the ratification by Parliament of these articles; and that, further, the Parliament "should approve and ratify all and singular articles in favor of Roman Catholics capitulated by the most renowned kings." The marriage came to nothing; nevertheless, the consequences of the treaty were most disastrous to both the king and England. It filled the land with Popish priests and Jesuits; it brought over the titular Bishop of Chalcedon to exercise Episcopal jurisdiction; it lost King James the love of his subjects; it exposed him to the contempt of his enemies; and in addition it cost him the loss of his honour and the sacrifice of Sir Walter Raleigh. Extending beyond the bounds of England, the evil effects of this treaty were felt in foreign countries. For the sake of his alliance with the House of Austria, James sacrificed the interests of his son-in-law: he lost the Palatinate, and became the immediate cause, as we have seen in a previous part of this history, of the overthrow of Protestantism in Bohemia.
James VI did not grow wiser as he advanced in years. Troubles continued to embitter his life, evils to encompass his throne, contempt to wait upon his person, and calamity and distraction to darken his realm. These manifold miseries grew out of his rooted aversion to the religion of his native land, and an incurable leaning towards Romanism which led him to truckle to the Popish Powers, whose tool and dupe he became, and to cherish a reverence for the Church of Rome, which courted him only that she might rob him of his kingdom. And the same man who made himself so small and contemptible to all the world abroad was, by his invasion of the laws, his love of arbitrary power, and his unconstitutional acts, the tyrant of his Parliament and the oppressor of his people at home.
The first part of the mighty task which awaited Protestantism in the sixteenth century was to breathe life into the nations. It found Christendom a vast sepulchre in which its several peoples were laid out in the sleep of death, and it said to them, "Live." Arms, arts, political constitutions, cannot quicken the ashes of nations, and call them from their tomb: the mighty voice of the Scriptures alone can do this. Conscience is the life, and the Bible awoke the conscience. The second part of the great task of Protestantism was to make the nations free. It first gave them life, it next gave them freedom. We have seen this order attempted to be reversed in some modern instances, but the result has shown how impossible it is to give liberty to the dead. The amplest measure of political freedom cannot profit nations when the conscience continues to slumber. It is like clothing a dead knight in the armour of a living warrior. He reposes proudly in helmet and coat of mail, but the pulse throbs not in the limbs which these cover.
Of all the nations of Christendom there was not one in so torpid a state as Scotland. When the sixteenth century dawned, it was twice dead: it was dead in a dominant Romanism, and it was dead in an equally dominant feudalism; and for this reason perhaps it was selected as the best example in the entire circle of the European nations to exhibit the power of the vitalizing principle. The slow, silent, and deep permeation of the nation by the Bible dissolved the fetters of this double slavery, and conscience was emancipated. An emancipated conscience, by the first law of nature self-preservation immediately set to work to trace the boundary lines around that domain in which she felt that she must be sole and exclusive mistress. Thus arose the spiritual jurisdiction - in other words, the Church.
Scotland had thus come into possession of one of her liberties, the religious. A citadel of freedom had been reared in the heart of the nation, and from that inner fortress religious liberty went forth to conquer the surrounding territory for its yoke - fellow, civil liberty; and that kingdom which had so lately been the most enslaved of all the European States was now the freest in Christendom. Thus in Scotland the Church is older than the modern State. It was the Church that called the modern, that is, the free State, into existence. It watched over it in its cradle; it fought for it in its youth; and it crowned its manhood with a perfect liberty. It was not the State in Scotland that gave freedom to the Church: it was the Church that gave freedom to the State. There is no other philosophy of liberty than this; and nations that have yet their liberty to establish might find it useful to study this model.
The demise of Elizabeth called James away before he had completed his scheme of rearing the fabric of arbitrary power on the ruins of the one independent and liberal institution which Scotland possessed. But he prosecuted on the throne of England the grand object of his ambition. We cannot go into a detail of the chicaneries by which he overreached some, the threats with which he terrified others, and the violence with which he assailed those whom his craft could not deceive, nor his power bend.
Melville was summoned to London, thrown into the Tower, and when, after an imprisonment of four years, he was liberated, it was not to return to his native land, but to retire to France, where he ended his days. The faithful ministers were silenced, imprisoned, or banished. Those who lent themselves to the measures of the court shrunk from no perfidy to deceive the people, in order to secure the honours which they so eagerly coveted. Gladstanes and others pursued the downward road, renewing the while their subscription to the National Covenant, "promising and swearing by the great name of the Lord our God that we shall continue in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this Kirk, and shall defend the same according to our vocation and power all the days of our lives, under the pains contained in the law, and danger both of body and soul in the day of God's fearful judgment."
At length, in a packed assembly which met in Glasgow in 1610, James succeeded in carrying his measure - prelacy was set up. The bishops acted as perpetual moderators, and had dioceses assigned them, within which they performed the ordinary functions of bishops. Alongside of them the Presbyterian courts continued to meet: not indeed the General Assembly - this court was suspended - but Kirk sessions, presbyteries, and synods were held, and transacted the business of the Church in something like the old fashion. This was a state of matters pleasing to neither party, and least of all to the court, and accordingly the tribunal of High Commission was set up to give more power to the king's bishops; but it failed to procure for the men in whose interests it existed more obedience from the ministers, or more respect from the people; and the sentiment of the country was still too strong to permit it putting forth all those despotic and unconstitutional powers with which it was armed. Making a virtue of necessity, the new dignitaries, it must be confessed, wore their honours with commendable humility; and this state of matters, which conjoined in the same Church lawn robes and Geneva cloaks, mitred apostles and plain presbyters, continued until 1618, when yet another stage of this affair was reached. Seated on the throne of England, the courtly divines and the famed statesmen of the southern kingdom bowing before him, and offering continual increase to his "wisdom," his "scholarship," and his "theological erudition," though inwardly they must have felt no little disgust at that curious mixture of pertness, pedantry, and profanity that made up James VI - with so much to please him, we say, one would have thought that the monarch would have left in peace the little kingdom from which he had come, and permitted its sturdy plainspoken theologians to go their own w
ay. So far from this, he was more intent than ever on consummating the transformation of the northern Church. He purposed a visit to his native land, having, as he expressed it with characteristic coarseness, "a natural and salmon-like affection to see the place of his breeding," and he ordered the Scottish bishops to have the kingdom put in due ecclesiastical order before his arrival. These obedient men did the best in their power. The ancient chapel of Holyrood was adorned with statues of the twelve apostles, finely gilded. An altar was set up in it, on which lay two closed Bibles, and on either side of them an unlighted candle and an empty basin. The citizens of Edinburgh had no difficulty in perceiving the "substance" of which these things were the "shadow." Every parish church was expected to arrange itself on the model of the Royal Chapel.
These innovations were followed next year (1618) by the Five Articles of Perth, so called from having been agreed upon at a meeting of the clergy in that city. These articles were: 1st, Kneeling at the Communion; 2nd, The observance of certain holidays; 3rd, Episcopal confirmation; 4th, Private baptism; 5th, Private communion. A beacon-light may be white or it may be red, the colour in itself is a matter of not the smallest consequence; but if the one colour should draw the mariner upon the rock, and the other warn him past it, it is surely important that he should know the significance of each, and guide himself accordingly. The colour is no longer a trifling affair; on the contrary, the one is life, the other is death. It is so with rites and symbols. They may be in themselves of not the least importance; their good or evil lies wholly in whether they guide the man who practices them to safety or to ruin. The symbols set up in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood, and the five ordinances of Perth, were of this description. The Scots looked upon them as sign-posts which seduced the traveller's feet, not into the path of safety, but into the road of destruction; they regarded them as false lights hung out to lure the vessel of their commonwealth upon the rocks of Popery and of arbitrary government.
They refused to sail by these lights. Their determination was strengthened by the omens, as they accounted them, which accompanied their enactment by Parliament in July, 1621. On the day on which they were to be sanctioned, a heavy cloud had hung above Edinburgh since morning; that cloud waxed ever the darker as the hour approached when the articles were to be ratified, till at last it filled the Parliament Hall with the gloom of almost night. The moment the Marquis of Hamilton, the commissioner, rose and touched the Act with the royal scepter, the cloud burst in a terrific storm right over the Parliament House. Three lurid gleams, darting in at the large window, flashed their vivid fires in the commissioner's face. Then came terrible peals of thunder, which were succeeded by torrents of rain and hail, that inundated the streets, and made it difficult for the members to reach their homes. The day was long remembered in Scotland by the name of "Black Saturday." The king, and those ministers who from cowardice or selfishness had furthered his measures, had now triumphed; but that triumph was discomfiture. In the really Protestant parts of Scotland - for the Scotland of that day had its cities and shires in which flourished a pure and vigorous Protestantism, while there were remote and rural parts where, thanks to that rapacity which had created a wealthy nobility and an impoverished clergy, the old ignorance and superstition still lingered - the really Protestant people of Scotland, we say, were as inflexibly bent as ever on repudiating a form of Church government which they knew was meant to pave the way for tyranny in the State, and a ritualistic worship, which they held to be of the nature of idolatry; and of all his labor in the matter the king reaped nothing save disappointment, vexation, and trouble, which accompanied him till he sank into his grave in 1625.
Never would Scottish monarch have reigned so happily as James VI would have done, had he possessed but a tithe of that wisdom to which he laid claim. The Reformation had given him an independent clergy and an intelligent middle class, which he so much needed to balance the turbulence and power of his barons; but James fell into the egregious blunder of believing the religion of his subjects to be the weakness, instead of the strength, of his throne, and so he labored to destroy it. He blasted his reputation for kingly honour, laid up a store of misfortunes and sorrows for his son, and alienated from his house a nation which had ever borne a chivalrous loyalty to his ancestors, despite their many and great faults.
The year of the king's death was rendered memorable by the rise of a remarkable influence of a spiritual kind in Scotland, which continued for years to act upon its population. This invisible but mighty agent moved to and fro, appearing now in this district and now in that, but no man could discover the law that regulated its course, or foretell the spot where it would next make its presence known. It turned as it listed, even as do the winds, and was quite as much above man's control, who could neither say to it, "Come," nor bid it depart. Wherever it passed, its track was marked, as is that of the rain-cloud across the burned-up wilderness, by a shining line of moral and spiritual verdure. Preachers had found no new Gospel, nor had they become suddenly clothed with a new eloquence; yet their words had a power they had formerly lacked; they went deeper into the hearts of their hearers, who were impressed by them in a way they had never been before. Truths they had heard a hundred times over, of which they had grown weary, acquired a freshness, a novelty, and a power that made them feel as if they heard them now for the first time. They felt inexpressible delight in that which aforetime had caused them no joy, and trembled under what till that moment had awakened no fear. Notorious profligates, men who had braved the brand of public opinion, or defied the penalties of the law, were under this influence bowed down, and melted into penitential tears. Thieves, drunkards, loose livers, and profane swearers suddenly awoke to a sense of the sin and shame of the courses they had been leading, condemned themselves as the chief of transgressors, trembled under the apprehension of a judgment to come, and uttered loud cries for forgiveness. Some who had lived years of miserable and helpless bondage to evil habits and flagrant vices, as if inspired by a sudden and supernatural force, rent their fetters, and rose at once to purity and virtue. Some of these converts fell back into their old courses, but in the case of the majority the change was lasting; and thousands who, but for this sudden transformation, would have been lost to themselves and to society, were redeemed to virtue, and lived lives which were not less profitable than beautiful. This influence was as calm as it was strong; those on whom it fell did not vent their feelings in enthusiastic expressions; the change was accompanied by a modesty and delicacy which for the time forbade disclosure; it was the judgment, not the passions, that was moved; it was the conscience, not the imagination, that was called hire action; and as the stricken deer retires from the herd into some shady part of the forest, so these persons went apart, there to weep till the arrow had been plucked out, and a healing balm poured into the wound. Even the men of the world were impressed with these tokens of the working of a supernatural influence. They could not resist the impression, even when they refused to avow it, that a Visitant whose dwelling, was not with men had come down to the earth, and was moving about in the midst of them. The moral character of whole towns, villages, and parishes was being suddenly changed; now it was on a solitary individual, and now on hundreds at once, that this mysterious influence made its power manifest; plain it was that in some region or other of the universe an Influence was resident, which had only to be unlocked, and to go forth among the dwellings of men, and human wickedness and oppression would dissolve and disappear as the winter's ice melts at the approach of spring, and joy and singing would break forth as do blossoms and verdure when the summer's sun calls them from their chambers in the earth. One thing we must not pass over in connection with this movement: in at least its two chief centres it was distinctly traceable to those ministers who had suffered persecution for their faithfulness under James VI. The locality where this revival first appeared was in Ayrshire, the particular spot being the well-watered valley of Stewarton, along which it spread from house to house for many miles.
But it began not with the minister of the parish, an excellent man, but with Mr. Dickson, who was minister of the neighboring parish of Irvine. Mr. Dickson had zealously opposed the passing of the Articles of Perth; this drew upon him the displeasure of the prelates and the king; he was banished to the north of Scotland, and lived there some years, in no congenial society. On his return to his parish, a remarkable power accompanied his sermons; he never preached without effecting the conversion of one or, it might be, of scores. The market-day in the town of Irvine, where he was minister, was Monday; he began a weekly lecture on that day, that the country people might have an opportunity of hearing the Gospel. At the hour of sermon the market was forsaken, and the church was crowded; hundreds whom the morning had seen solely occupied with the merchandise of earth, before evening had become possessors of the heavenly treasure, and returned home to tell their families and neighbors what riches they had found, and invite them to repair to the same market, where they might buy wares of exceeding price "without money." Thus the movement extended from day to day. The other center of this spiritual awakening was a hundred miles, or thereabout, away from Stewarton. It was Shotts, a high-lying spot, midway between the two cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Here, too, the movement took its rise with those who had been subjected to persecution for opposing the measures of the court. A very common-place occurrence originated that train of events which resulted in consequences so truly beneficial for Shotts and its neighborhood. The Marchioness of Hamilton and some ladies of rank happening to travel that road, their carriage broke down near the manse of the parish. The minister, Mr. Home, invited them to rest in his house till it should be repaired, when they could proceed on their journey. This gave them an opportunity of observing the dilapidated state of the manse, and in return for the hospitality they had experienced within its walls, they arranged for the building, at their own expense, of a new manse for the minister. He waited on the Marchioness of Hamilton to express his thanks, and to ask if there was anything he could do by which he might testify his gratitude. The marchioness asked only that she might be permitted to name the ministers who should assist him at the approaching celebration of the Lord's Supper. Leave was joyfully given, and the marchioness named some of the more eminent of the ministers who had been sufferers, and for whose character and cause she herself cherished a deep sympathy. The first was the Venerable Robert Bruce, of Kinnaird, a man of aristocratic birth, majestic figure, and noble and fervid eloquence; the second was Mr. David Dickson, of whom we have already spoken; and the third was a young man, whose name, then unknown, was destined to be famous in the ecclesiastical annals of his country Mr. John Livingstone. The rumor spread that these men were to preach at the Kirk of Shorts on occasion of the Communion, and when the day came thousands flocked from the surrounding country to hear them. So great was the impression produced on Sunday that the strangers who had assembled, instead of returning to their homes, formed themselves into little companies and passed the night on the spot in singing psalms and offering prayers. When morning broke and the multitude were still there, lingering around the church where yesterday they had been fed on heavenly bread, and seeming, by their unwillingness to depart, to seek yet again to eat of that bread, the ministers agreed that one of their number should preach to them. It had not before been customary to have a sermon on the Monday after the Communion. The minister to whom it fell to preach was taken suddenly ill; and the youngest minister present, Mr. John Livingstone, was appointed to take his place. Fain would he have declined the task; the thought of his youth, his unpreparedness, for he had spent the night in prayer and converse with some friends, the sight of the great multitude which had assembled in the churchyard, for no edifice could contain them, and the desires and expectations which he knew the people entertained, made him tremble as he stood up to address the assembly. He discoursed for an hour and a half on the taking away of the "heart of stone," and the giving of a "heart of flesh," and then he purposed to make an end; but that moment there came such a rush of ideas into his mind, and he felt so great a melting of the heart, that for a whole hour longer he ran on in a strain of fervent and solemn exhortation.
Five hundred persons attributed their conversion to that sermon, the vast majority of whom, on the testimony of contemporary witnesses, continued steadfastly to their lives' end in the profession of the truth; and seed was scattered throughout Clydesdale which bore much good fruit in after-years. In memory of this event a thanksgiving service has ever since been observed in Scotland on the Monday after a Communion Sunday. Thus the Scottish Vine, smitten by the tyranny of the monarch who had now gone to the grave, was visited and revived by a secret dew. From the high places of the State came edicts to blight it; from the chambers of the sky came a "plenteous rain" to water it. It struck its roots deeper, and spread its branches yet more widely over a land which it did not as yet wholly cover. Other and fiercer tempests were soon to pass over that goodly tree, and this strengthening from above was given beforehand, that when the great winds should blow, the tree, though shaken, might not be overturned.
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