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should know precisely what were to be the doctrines and constitution of that Church which they were endeavouring to establish; accordingly, on 29th April 1560, they gave a most solemn charge to six of their Ministers whom they thought most able, viz. Mr. John Spottiswood, Mr. John Winram, Mr. John Willock, Mr. John Knox, Mr. John Row, and Mr. John Douglas, “to commit to writing, their judgment touching the Reformation;" they required them to do this 66 in the name of the eternal God, and as they should answer in his presence."
This was a very important work with which the brethren were charged, who seem to have been turning their thoughts towards it beforehand, for, on the 20th May following, they presented to the Lords of the Congregation * the First Book of Diseipline, fully written; and, it appears, that, at the same time, they had prepared the old Confession of Faith. If, at this period, the form of Church Government for Scotland had been modulated according to that of the Reformed Church in England, it would not have been matter of surprise. Mr. Spottiswood and some of the other Preachers in Scotland, had successfully availed themselves of the support and directions which they received from persons of the English Church; there were others of the Ministers who wished to retain the ancient policy, and to purge it from the corruptions and abuses which had crept into it, for as much as they said they were not to form a new Church, but to reform the old.
Mr. Knox, however, who had the greatest sway, liked that course best which stood in extreme opposition to the Church of Rome, and studied, by all means, to conform the government of the Church to that which he had seen and practised at Geneva. It seems to have been greatly owing to this circumstance, that the simplicity of the Presbyterian form of Church Government has been settled in Scotland.
* The designation given to the Leaders of the Reformation.
When the Reformation took place, it was found necessary to allow the Roman Catholic Clergy, on their retirement, twothirds of their former livings for life; the other third being divided among the Reformed Clergy, and those who exercised the functions of the Crown. In a transition so great and so unexpected, it is not surprising that there were a number of Clergymen and others, whose minds were not completely at rest regarding the new doctrines; our Reformers, therefore, found it necessary to appoint certain Clergymen, distinguished for their piety and abilities, to inspect and preside over the Churches in certain districts; Mr. John Erskine, Baron of Dun, was therefore appointed Superintendent of Angus and Mearns; Mr. John Spottiswood, of Lothian; Mr. John Winram, of Fife; Mr. John Willock, of the west; and Mr. John Carsewell, of Argyle and the Isles. Although the districts over which these Superintendents presided, were termed their dioceses, they had no Episcopal consecration, and were subject to the Assembly; the appointment was, therefore, to be considered at an end when Presbyteries were appointed. Although the Presbyterian form of Church Government was established by law, and a General Assembly instituted and convened in 1560, the predilection of our Princes and their Courtiers for Episcopacy, was so great, that the following changes took place: from 1560 to 1572, the Presbyterian form was attended to; from 1572 to 1592, a sort of Episcopacy obtained in the Church; from 1592 to 1610, the Church Government was strictly of the Presbyterian form; from 1610 to 1638, the Government of the Church was Episcopal; from 1638 to 1662, the Presbyterian Government was exercised in its fullest rigour; from 1662 to 1688, Episcopacy was the form of Church Government; and from the Revolution, down to the present time, the Church of Scotland has been uniformly governed according to the Presbyterian form. Although General Assemblies were instituted at the Reformation, it does not appear that any Synod had met before 1568, nor were Presbyteries appointed till 1581.
At this period, the Assembly declared the office of Bishop, as then exercised, to have no foundation in the Word of God. Congregational Sessions were held from the beginning of the Reformation, administering government and discipline; it was not, however, till 1592, that the Church was divided into Synods and Presbyteries, by Act of Parliament. King James VI., was present in the General Assembly, held at Edinburgh, on the 4th of August 1592. At this period, his Majesty seems to have been deeply impressed with the propriety of establishing the Presbyterian form of Church Government in his kingdom, for, rising from his seat, he took off his bonnet, and with his hands and eyes lifted up to heaven, he said, “I praise God that I have been born into the world at a time when the light of God's Word clearly shineth forth, neither eclipsed with the mist of ignorance, nor prevented by the false lights of superstition.—I thank God who has honoured me to be King of a Country, in which there is the sincerest Kirk in the world, these words, “the sincerest Kirk in the world,” he repeated three times). The Kirk of Geneva keep Pase and Yule * What authority have they in God's Word for these? where have they any institution for them? As for our neighbours in England, their service is an evil-said mass in English, they want nothing of the mass but the lifting t”. Then turning to every side of the Church in which the Assembly was sitting, he said, “I charge you, my good People, Ministers, Doctors, Elders, Gentlemen, and Barons, to stand to your purity, and to exhort the people to do the same; and I, forsooth, so long as I brook my life and crown, shall maintain the same against all deadly $.”
+ Elevation of the host. # Douglas, in his Peerage of Scotland, says, that the Eucharist was celebrated in Scotland, in the Presbyterian form, for the first time, in the Great Hall of the House of Cadder, in 1556. This, however, seems to be a mistake, as it that Mr. Knox had previously celebrated it in that manner in the House of Finlaystone, at the Earl of Glencairn's, and that the silver cups used on that occasion, are still retained by the Representatives of that noble family.
* Easter and Christmas.
The members of the Assembly, Calderwood says, were in a devout ecstacy, and, for a considerable time, nothing was heard but praising God and praying for the King. But this exultation was not of long duration, for eleven years had only elapsed, when James, seated on the English throne, had so far changed his opinion respecting Episcopacy, that his favourite expression, of " No Bishop, no King,” passed into a proverb; and, on the 24th of March 1603, he prevailed on. Mr. John Spottiswood, a learned and popular Divine, to accept of the Archbishoprick of Glasgow. This Prelate had the address to procure an Assembly to meet at Glasgow *, and to manage it so, that the results were in favour of Episcopacy.
In 1637, whien the government of the Church was Episcopal, Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, during Charles I.'s reign, ordered a Service-Book to be read in the Scotch Churches, which was thought to savour more of the mass than the English Liturgy. As this innovation gave offence to the great body of the people, it afforded å fit opportunity for the friends of the Presbyterian form to exert themselves in its cause, they, therefore, with great assiduity, procured another General Assembly, which was holden at Glasgow, in 1638. As the formation and results of this memorable Assembly, forms a prominent feature in the history of the Church, the following description, chiefly abstracted from the Works of Mr. Robert Baillie, who was one of its distinguished Members, and afterwards Minister of the Tron Church, and Principal of the University of Glasgow, will give some idea of its importance:
When the diet of the Assembly drew near, the friends of the Presbyterian form of worship, the better to ensure a full attendance, not only of the members, but of the nobility and gentry who were friendly to their cause, gave it out, that as the Highlands were infested with robbers, it would be necessary for all those who were zealous in the cause, not only to escort
* At that time the Assembly was ambulatory.
the Commissioners to Glasgow, but to guard them during their sittings. This stratagem had the desired effect, for the Assembly contained not only the influence of the Crown, but the feudal Nobility, joined to the Ministers and lay members. The first day's sitting was on Wednesday 21st November. Although Mr. Baillie does not distinctly say where the Assembly was held, there can be no doubt, from concurring circumstances, that it was in the Quoir of the Cathedral. This magnificent space it would seem was fitted up in the form of an amphitheatre, having a large flat space in the centre. His Grace the Commissioner (Marquis of Hamilton) was surrounded by the chief of the Council, the Treasurer, Privy Seal, Argyle, Marr, Murray, Angus, Lauderdale, Wigton, Glencairn, Perth, Tullibardine, Galloway, Haddington, Kinghorn, Register-Deputy, Treasurer, Justice General, Justice-Clerk, Southesk, Linlithgow, Dalziel, Dumfries, Queensberry, Belhaven, and many more; at a little distance sat the Commissioners from Presbyteries, Elders of Parishes, Noblemen and Barons, among whom were Rothes, Montrose, Eglinton, Cassillis, Lothian, Wemyss, Loudon, Sinclair, Balmerino, Burleigh, Lindsay, Yester, Hume, Johnston, Keir, Auldbar, Sir William Douglas of Cavers, Durie Younger of Lamington, Sir John Mackenzie, George Gordon, Philroth, Fairie, Newton, &c. &c. There being very few Barons of note in Scotland, but were either Voters or Assessors from Burghs. Three Commissioners attended from each of the sixty-three Presbyteries, and a like number from each of the four Universities. A little table was placed in front of the Commissioner, for the Moderator and Clerk. At the end of the Quoir, the young noblemen were placed, viz. Montgomerie, Fleming, Boyd, Erskine, Linton, Creighton, Livinstone, Ross, Maitland, Drumlanrig, Drummond, Keir, Elcho, and sundry more, while a vast number of ladies and gentlemen filled the back seats. The venerable Mr. John Bell, the Senior Minister of the Laigh Kirk, preached; after' which, His Grace gave in his Commission, without any