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HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.
RETROSPECT ON THE POSITION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF
ROME-CONTINUED VITALITY UNDER PRESSURE-REASONS IN ITS EXISTENCE AS A DEPARTMENT OF THE EMPIRE-TENACITY OF THE CIVIL DEPARTMENT NATURALLY EXTENDED TO THE ECCLESIASTICAL-SECONDARY MOTIVES FOR THE PROSELYTISING ZEAL OF
STHOOD-THE DEVOTIONAL LITERATURE OF THE ROMANISTS IN SCOTLAND-JOHN HAMILTON-JOHN HAY-THE CATECHISM OF CANISIUS-A NEW CLASS OF CONTROVERSIALISTS CONTRASTED WITH THE OLDER CLASS — ARCHIBALD HAMILTON AND NICOL BURNE-RESOLUTION TO MAKE A MARTYR-THE EXECUTION OF OGILVIE-EFFECTS ON SCOTLAND OF THE STRENGTH OF THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE ACCESSION-STATE OF THE COUNTRY AT THE PERIOD-THE BORDERS — THE HIGHLANDS — PREDATORY PROPENSITIES OF THE HIGHLANDERS-THEIR MIGRATIONS INTO ULSTERATTEMPT TO “PLANT” THE HIGHLANDS – REVOLUTION IN THE INTERIOR CONDITION,
We are now at a period when for half a century the ecclesiastical history of Scotland has ostensibly been a contest between the two prevalent forms of Protestantism for supremacy. Since the tragedies of Queen Mary's reign, the old Church has had no place beside them as an institution able to wield any efficient power acknowledged
by the State. We have seen, however, that it still existed, and in a shape to make itself an object of fear. To tell what he can of the nature of that existence becomes part of the Historian's duty, and has perhaps all the stronger call on his attention that it is not easily rescued from the obscurity under which it has been buried by the conditions of the period.
Efforts thorough and vigorous were made to expel or crush Popery; but still it remained, lifting itself up in unexpected places, and frightening zealous Protestants, who felt like a settler in the wilderness when he believes that he has extirpated his venomous neighbours, yet beholds a viper gliding through the grass where his children are at play. This tenacity of life was attributed to the doing of Satan, who had found this method for harassing and frightening the Lord's people. On the other hand, it was held as a testimony that St Peter's chair was founded upon the Rock of Ages, and that the gates of hell were not to prevail against it. But any one not ambitious of reaching ultimate conclusions like these, may find an obvious secondary cause for the tenacious vitality of the old Church.
It was a department, and perhaps the most complete and powerful department, in that great Empire which had for so many hundred years concentrated to itself all the institutions by which civilised men were ruled. When we see how the secular institutions of the Empire have lived among us, there can be no wonder that the ecclesiastical side of the Empire had strong elements of life. Municipal institutions, Diplomacy, and the daily law of Europe, except England, were bequests of this Empire. England is even now dropping its clumsy protest against the Justinian jurisprudence, by seeking to make one combined system out of Common law and Equity. Even the fantastic science of heraldry has lived through the attacks of two powerful enemies—ridicule and taxationand that because it was rooted in the institutions of the Empire as an organisation for fixing the relative rank of every armiger from the emperor to the squire. Had the Romans been a recording people like the Normans, we would all have heard and known more of these things; but their presence is sensibly felt by those who study the middle ages, not in the histories of these ages, but in the sources of their history.
The civil or secular side of the Empire had been repeatedly shaken, while the ecclesiastical flourished in peace and prosperity. It was unshaken till the Reformation came, and this carried off its own separate portion, leaving the remainder only the more vigilant and cautious, as the result of the struggle. Among Protestants or seceders from Rome before Luther's day, there might have been isolated bodies from time to time in the secluded valleys of the Alps, or the equally inaccessible marshes of Holland; but they had not the apparatus of combination or central action. The countless “heresies,” according to the annals of the Popedom, springing up from time to time and disappearing, are the testimonies to so many isolated attempts at religious emancipation quietly smothered by the great organisation against which they struggled. But even after the establishment of the Reformation, the adherent of the old Church in any part of Europe, from Norway to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, however much he might seem isolated by Protestantism, could reach the great corporation whose central rule was in the heart of Europe. If there came a blank, a broken link, in the hierarchical organisation by which the adherents of the faith were kept together and served, there were those in reserve who could immediately fill it. With great patience, skill, and capacity for working in secret, the missionaries-Jesuits or “ trafficking priests”- thus kept their hierarchy alive through all dangers and diffifficulties.
The practical zeal of the Romish priesthood in the acquisition of proselytes is admitted even among Protestants to be more ardent than that of their own ministry ; but for this too we may find a motive cause among sublunary human influences, without accepting the conclusion, that the excess in the balance of zeal is due to a more pure and thorough belief in the truth of the faith which the missionary professes. The clergy of the old Church and those of the Reformation do not hold the same posi