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the crisis of the Revolution, and is as follows : “The action then taken by the Church of England was what, more than anything else, insured the fall of Episcopacy and the rise of Presbytery a second time in Scotland. Even in Scotland, hatred of Romanism was a much stronger passion than love of Presbytery-immeasurably stronger than admiration of the Covenants” (p. 223.) It can scarcely, I think, be intended to intimate that the Scotch bishops and clergy (however they might feel bound to James II. as their lawful sovereign) had shown less of hostility, or more of inclination, towards the Church of Rome than their English brethren; but if so—and this is the only meaning that suggests itself to me—such an intimation can be easily disproved. -See, e.g., Skinner's Eccles. Hist., vol. ii. p. 500 et seq. It is true they became Nonjurors, through an error of judgment (the chief motive of which deserves our respect, no less than do the patience and resignation with which the consequences of it were borne); but they shared the error, be it remembered, with the greater part of the ever-memorable "seven bishops” of England, who, headed by Sancroft and Ken, were content to suffer bonds and imprisonment rather than countenance their faithless sovereign in the unconstitutional exercise of the dispensing power. Perhaps some further light may be thrown upon this passage in a future edition of these Lectures.
It is not till we come to the eighth number of the course that we meet with anything that gives a serious jar to our Christian sensibilities; but now we are suddenly made to feel that we have to encounter a tone and spirit out of harmony with those of the preceding Lecturers. The very first sentence is sufficient to announce to us this unwelcome discrepancy. It runs thus :
“If Episcopal benediction and subserviency could have saved King James VII., he would have been saved from the consequences of his own fanaticism and tyranny. Two days before the Dutch deliverer landed at Torbay, the Scotch bishops were engaged at Edinburgh in concocting a letter to the king, whom they poetically addressed as “the darling of heaven,' assuring him of their unquenchable loyalty, 'praying God to give him the hearts of his subjects and the necks of his enemies.' ... The prayers of the right reverend fathers in God did not obtain for his Majesty the two impossible gifts they besought”i (p. 225 et seq.) How easy would it be to retort in a similar style ! For example, if Presbyterian intercession, combined with flattery and duplicity and hypocrisy, could have saved King James VII., he would have been saved from the consequences of his own fanaticism and tyranny. Little more than a year (July 1687) before “the Dutch deliverer landed at Torbay” (November 1688), two addresses to the king were drawn up in Edinburgh, and subscribed—one by the Presbyterian ministers, in their own names and in the names of the rest of the brethren of their persuasion, at their desire;' the other“ in the names and by the order of the citizens and inhabitants of the Presbyterian persuasion in the city of Edinburgh and Canongate.” The addresses were in acknowledgment of the king's so called Third Toleration. By the former he was assured that, “as they blessed the great God that He had put this in his royal heart, so they did withal find themselves bound in duty to offer their most humble and hearty thanks to his sacred Majesty,” and they conclude by praying him graciously to accept this their humble address, as proceeding from the plainness and sincerity of loyal and thankful hearts, much engaged by this royal favour to continue their fervent prayers to the King of kings for divine illumination and conduct, with all other blessings, spiritual and temporal, ever to attend his royal person and Government.” The language of the lay address is to the same effect, but rather more fervent: “Could we open our hearts, your Majesty would undoubtedly see what deep sense and true zeal for your service so surprising and signal a favour hath imprinted on our spirits, for which we reckon ourselves highly obliged, throwing ourselves at your Majesty's feet, to return your most excellent Majesty our most humble, dutiful, and hearty thanks." Nor do they fail to add " that this late refreshing and unexpected favour will much more engage us in great sincerity still to offer our desires to the King of heaven ... to bless your Royal Majesty's person and Government, and after a happy and comfortable reign on earth, to crown you with an incorruptible crown of glory in heaven.”— Wodrow, ibid., p. 428.
1 I have no desire to curtail the passage, except for the sake of brevity; and I hope the reader will turn it up for himself. He will rightly think it very bad; but perhaps, if candid, he will wish to remember that addresses to royal and noble personages in those days (e.g., dedications by authors) were commonly written in a style which we should not tolerate now. The whole address is to be found in extenso in Wodrow, iv. 468. Wodrow tells us (Dr Story does not) that two of the bishops (Argyle and Caithness) did not sign the letter to the king.
It would be easy, I say, to retort thus; and, moreover, to add, that while the flattery and subserviency in the two cases were nearly equal, in the latter case—that of the Presbyterians — they were certainly less sincere; and whereas a zeal, “a burning zeal for liberty—for liberty of conscience and of life” (p. 226) is assumed by Dr Story to be altogether wanting in the former parties, and in the latter to be the great ruling motive of their conduct, it is quite certain that these latter, the Presbyterians, in thanking the king so warmly, and praying for him so heartily, in consequence of the toleration he had granted them, must have been fully aware that the gift which he gave could only be bestowed by the exercise of despotic power, in dispensing with the laws, in violation of his most solemn vow; and, moreover, that it was designed as even Wodrow points out, p. 427) not for their benefit, chiefly or in reality, but with a view to the restoration of Popery—the great foe to liberty, temporal and spiritual ; and that in thanking him as they did, they were virtually acknowledging his right to do these things, and were thanking him for doing them ! Yes. It would be very easy to retaliate thus; for the facts are undeniably true, and what is more, must, I should think, have been well known to our Lecturer, though he does not mention them: but such retaliation would be
utterly unworthy of the occasion, and the sacred character of those who are engaged in these discussions.
Again : a little further on in the same Lecture (p. 230 et seq.), we are reminded of “the words of the most dispassionate and sagacious of English historians—Henry Hallamwho, reviewing the Scotch Episcopacy of the seventeenth century, in calm and philosophical survey, says: “There was as clear a case of forfeiture in the Scots Episcopal Church as in the royal family of Stuart. It was very possible that Episcopacy might be of Apostolical institution; but for this institution houses had been burnt, and fields laid waste, and the Gospel had been preached in wildernesses, and its ministers had been shot in their prayers, and husbands had been murdered before their wives, &c., &c.; it was a religion of the boot and the thumb-screw, which a good man must be very cool-blooded indeed if he did not hate and reject from the hands that offered it. For after all, it is much more certain that the Supreme Being abhors cruelty and persecution, than that He has set up bishops to have a superiority over Presbyters.'”
Now I must beg the reader's attention for a moment to this well-known passage, which, steeped as it is in sophistry, of which the merest schoolboy might be ashamed, is now recommended to our notice as a specimen of " calm and philosophical” criticism! Have we yet to learn that abusus rei non tollit usum ?1 And is the abuse of the thing here spoken of (even if it were so—which for the most part it wus not,--but the action of the civil power, as the candid and more generous Lecturer who preceded Dr Story, freely admitted-see above, p. 11) to be held sufficient to condemn its use ? And why is “the forfeiture” to extend, in the one case, to the “institution of Episcopacy,” and in the other case to the “Stuart family” only, and not also to the institution of Monarchy ? It would have been quite as fair, and far more reasonable, if Mr Hallam had put his sophism thus: “It is much more certain that the Supreme Being abhors cruelty, &c., than that he approves of monarchical government;” and if he had gone on to argue in favour of a continuation of the Cromwellian Protectorship —some fruits of which may be seen below, p. 55 et seq.
1 How did Judas abuse his Apostleship! And yet it was necessary that he should have a successor.-See Acts i. 25.
But more than this. Are we to allow the axiom which approves itself so readily to the minds of Mr Hallam and Dr Story to pass unchallenged ? We know that God was equally peremptory in ordering the extermination of the Canaanites (which, many will tell us, was more “cruel” than the persecution which the Covenanters underwent), and in vindicating, through the punishment of death by stoning, the observance of the Lord's Day. Now, whatever Mr Hallam or Dr Story may think or say to the contrary, no less a divine than Richard Hooker has told us “not to fear to be herein bold and peremptory, that if anything in the Church's government, surely the first institution of bishops was from heaven, was even of God; the Holy Ghost was the Author of it” (Eccl. Pol., vii. 5, 60). So then we have the institution of Episcopacy and the institution of the Sabbath placed by this great divine pretty much upon the same footing. And without drawing the parallel too close—which the gentler and more spiritual character of Christianity forbids — we may assume that the vindication of His own ordinance in the former case as in the latter, is not a matter of indifference to God. Nor is this to be wondered at; for if it be—as the Primitive Church certainly believed—one great object of the institution of Episcopacy to form a bond of visible unity, then consciously and wilfully to frustrate this design of God may be no less, but even more, offensive to Him than the commission of cruelty and persecution. This is a point upon which our modern notions have become lax; but it was not so of old. S. Augustine could write: “The sacrilege of schism surpasses all other wickedness” (Contr. Parm., i. § 7). S. Chrysostom could write : "Nothing so much excites the wrath of God as a division in the Church”