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The whole was wound up by an exhibition which might be likened to academic saturnalia. A group of professors and students were summoned from his own college of Edinburgh to appear before him in Stirling, and there hold a “ disputatio" in the established academic fashion. This practice, otherwise known as the "impugnment of theses," was an exhibition of logical gladiators. Some one stated certain “ theses" or propositions which he was prepared to support, while others impugned them. It was a practice then beginning to infest the universities, so as to choke the progress of true knowledge with formalities. Those engaged in the contest were only to make use of the laws and practice of formal logic: the truth of the question before them, as a matter of experimental philosophy, did not belong to the programme. This practice, long stubbornly pursued, brought the science of logic into a discredit from which it has hardly yet recovered. The assemblage round the king gave their small contribution to this cause of discredit. When taking up “the nature of local motion,” and “the origin of fountains and springs," they did their logical manipulations so neatly as to call from their master the compliment that “these men know the mind of Aristotle as well he did himself when alive.”
As on all these occasions, those who met their king were profuse in deference and flattery. His visit was so far a succession of delights; but he left behind him morsels of serious work attended by recollections of a different order. The king attended a session of the Estates, who passed an Act for perfecting the structure of the new hierarchy by the restoration of the Dean and Chapter of each See. The election of the bishop was to be by the Crown presenting and the chapter electing the person so presented, after the famous and illogical model of the congé d'élire in England. A far more serious portion of the measure was the restoration of the temporali
fender of the Faith, &c., at his Majesty's happie Returne to his old and native Kingdome of Scotland, after xiii years' absence, in anno 1617. By John Adamson.'
ties of the Deaneries, Canonries, and Prebends' stalls, so far as these temporalities could be recovered. In this we see a device for widening the arena for that game of selfishness, coercion, and chicanery which we have found in the dealings with the revenues of the bishops. Another Act of this Parliament, little noticed in history, created a great change in the condition of the clergy. It was called an Act “anent the plantation of kirks," and set out with the preamble, that “there be divers kirks within this kingdom not planted with ministers, wherethrough ignorance and atheism abounds among the people; and that many of these that are planted have no sufficient provision nor maintenance appointed to them, whereby the ministers are kept in poverty and contempt, and cannot fruitfully travail in their charges." 2 The Act appointed an independent Parliamentary commission of thirty-two persons, being eight out of each Estate-prelates, nobles, lesser barons, and burgesses. Their powers and duties were, out of the teinds or tithes then dispersed among various hands, to assign a stipend to the minister of each church. The minimum allowance was equivalent to 500 merks, a sum estimated at £27, 155. 6d. sterling ; the maximum reached 800 merks, estimated at £44, gs. sterling. As ecclesiastical lawyers and antiquaries find that the complaints of the Churchmen about their incomes were much modified after this commission began its work, there is the inference that it gave them some satisfaction.3 We may further infer, that to the extent to which the clergy were pleased and satisfied, the several greedy unscrupulous classes of men who had got possession of the tithes became discontented and hostile.
A thing was begun in this Parliament, and left undone, which yet in after-times became more memorable than any of its completed business. The king desired the Estates to pass an Act to the effect " that whatsoever conclusion was taken by his majesty, with advice of the archbishops and bishops, in matters of external policy, the same
i Act. Parl., iv. 525. 3 Connel on Tithes, 186.
should have the power and strength of an ecclesiastical law." The bishops who were immediately consulted by him on this project recommended him to revise and enlarge it, on the principle “for that in making of ecclesiastical laws the advice and consent of presbyters was also required." The proposed clause was therefore altered so as to stand thus: “That whatsoever his majesty should determine in the external government of the Church, with the advice of the archbishops, bishops, and a competent number of the ministry, should have the strength of a law."
The Presbyterian party among the clergy, hearing of a proposal which, as their historian says, “ was like to cut the cords of the remanent liberties of our Kirk,” had meetings and discussions about it. They prepared a full protestation against it, on principles so often referred to in the preceding pages that the omission of them will perhaps be pardoned. By an accident the king had an opportunity of seeing the protestation before it was formally presented. He then desired the Lord Register, who had charge of the Parliamentary proceedings, to cancel the clause, or “to pass by that article as a thing no way necessary, the Prerogative of his Crown bearing him to more than was declared by it.”] The view thus expressed by King James was brought up for discussion nineteen years afterwards, when his son, in issuing the ecclesiastical canons, claimed for the Prerogative a great deal “more than was declared” by the abandoned clause.2
Of the marks which the royal visit left behind it, those which belonged to the business of the Estates were not the most emphatic. In the chapel which he had prepared for himself in Holyrood House, the king had services in which all the ceremonials of the English Church were scrupulously repeated. This was done not quietly and
1 Spottiswood, 533 et seg. The two contemporary historians, the Prelatic and the Presbyterian historian— tell this affair, each from his own point of view, with a thorough coincidence as to the leading facts.' Calderwood, vii. 250 et seq.
2 Heylyn's Life of Laud, 301.
privately as if for the satisfaction of his own conscience, but with great bravado and display, as if he called on all men to admire what was so pleasing to himself. Such things caused much murmuring and foreboding among the zealous on the other side, who saw, and with too much reason, in the ceremonials of the Chapel Royal, the model to which all were to be subdued by the new temporal head of the Church. The promoters of the protestation" which had produced so curious a result were not forgotten. Some of the most conspicuous among them were “warded," and others threatened. David Calderwood, the chronicler of the Church affairs of the day so often quoted, was one of the most conspicuous of the Protesters; and when he appeared before the court of high commission, the king argued matters in the old fashion. Thus the historian of the Church had the glory of recording a long controversy in which his sovereign condescended to wrangle with him. The “protestation,” however, was rendered a mere casual and passing affair by the supreme importance of the measure called “the Five Articles of Perth,” which fulfilled even more than the worst fears of the protesters concerning coming innovations.
Perhaps it was the first intention of the Court to issue these Articles in the king's name as head of the Church, since we find the substance of one of them anticipated by a royal proclamation for the observance of holidays. It ordained “according to the example of the Kirk, when the same was in greatest purity, and most free from corruption and error," that there should be abstinence from business, and attendance on worship on Christmas-Day, Good Friday, Easter-Day, Ascension-Day, and Whitsunday. Whatever may have been the original design, the Five Articles—the fifth of which repeated the injunction as to holidays-were passed in a General Assembly held at Perth in the summer of 1618.
The first and most important of these Articles enjoined, that at the sacrament of the atonement the communicant
* Calderwood, iv. 250 et seq.; Original Letters (Bannatyne Club', 502.
should receive the elements kneeling. The second permitted communion in private houses in case of sickness ; and the third allowed private baptism on necessary cause : the innovation in these two articles was in making communion and baptism no longer a public act in which the congregation of the faithful partook, but a transaction apart between priest and layman. The fourth article enjoined the confirmation by the bishop of children eight years old ; and the fifth repeated the order for observing holidays.
To see how deep these simple rules of ecclesiastical ceremonial, or ritualism, cut into the prejudices of a large portion of the community, it may be proper to glance back at some conditions peculiar to the Reformation in Scotland. The stranger in a Scots Presbyterian church generally remarks that the form of service seems to have no other ruling principle save that of antagonism to the forms of all the Churches which have adhered, in whole or in pirt, to the traditional ceremonial of the Church of the iniddle ages. Where in these the suppliant humbly kneels in prayer, in Scotland he stands straight up, with his head erect, as if he would look the Giver of all in the face, and demand what he prays for. Then in the celebration of the sacrament of the atonement, while in other Churches the ceremonies are adjusted so that the communicant shall appear as a suppliant humbly receiving the great boon at the hands of those authorised to render it; in the ministration of the Lord's table in Scotland, scrupulous care seems to have been taken to give the whole as much
1 A high authority of the period says: “In private baptism the congregation is neglected. The Church hath interest in the baptism of the child as well as the minister, for the child is received into the congregation to be a member thereof. And therefore the confession of the parents should be given publicly before that the child receive the seal of the covenant." Calderwood, Altar of Damascus, 209. It is necessary to go back for such an explanation, as the doctrine it announces is now so obsolete that baptism in private houses is the general rule among the wealthy Presbyterians in Scotland, who are sometimes inclined to sneer at the punctiliousness that sends their Episcopalian neighbours to the porch of a duly-consecrated church.