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(In Ep. ad Eph. Hom., xi. 34). And we have to remember that while the Canaanites had only the light of reason to guide them, the Covenanters had also the light of the Gospel ; and, moreover, that the position which the latter had taken up, and obstinately adhered to, was one of irreconcilable antagonism to the authority, not only of the ecclesiastical, but of the civil powers.
We shall presently be told by the author of the next of these Lectures that “one of their main intentions must be to soften rather than to harden ecclesiastical prejudices, and to make the controversies and asperities of the past a warning for our better guidance rather than a stimulus to our unspent feuds.” How far that good and amiable intention is likely to be fulfilled by the language of Dr Story, which I proceed to quote, the reader will judge; it follows in the same page as that which contains the passage of Mr Hallam, just referred to :
“The incarceration of all the bishops in Scotland would have evoked no such loyal sentiment,”—as that of the wellknown Cornish song in honour of Sir J. Trelawney, one of the seven bishops,—"in any region between Whithorn and Kirkwall. Not a hundred of their countrymen could have been found to strike a blow for them.” It does not occur to Dr Story that, as Christian bishops, they might have declined to have a blow struck for them. “They fell, and no one held out a hand to lift them up. They were hustled out of Church and State, and no man bade them stay, or said God bless them, as they and their hated order and tarnished honours passed away. The mind and conscience of the country felt relieved when they were gone. Men breathed more freely. ... The overthrow of Prelacy lifted the weight of a nightmare - like oppression from the national breast.”
Now I say nothing at present of the charity of all this, - I am concerned only with its truth; and to convict it of historical misrepresentation we shall require no other witness than Dr Story himself. This will also be seen
presently. Meanwhile, let me ask, is it wonderful that the bishops and their friends should have disappeared before the storm, when we consider the impunity that was given to Cameronian lawlessness and fanaticism during those two or three unsettled years from 1688 to 1690? Moreover, does Dr Story remember that even Bishop Leighton, of whom Professor Flint only a fortnight before had testified in that same S. Giles's Church, that “a purer, humbler, holier spirit than his never tabernacled in Scottish clay" (p. 204), was allowed to withdraw into voluntary exile in England, and there to spend the last ten years of his life (1674-84)—born and bred Scotchman as he was—without any expression of regret, so far as we know, from any of those whom, as a bishop for fourteen years, he had been so anxious to make good Christians like himself, with labours and prayers night and day? This was only a short time before the period Dr Story is describing; and was this also “a relief to the mind and conscience of the country"? Was this also “the lifting up the weight of a nightmare-like oppression from the national breast”? Alas! to many it probably was.
But we pass on two pages further, and there read as follows. Our Lecturer is speaking of the treatment received, at the time of the Revolution, by many of the Episcopal clergy at the hands of the Covenanters : “This was that “rabbling of the curates' over which their representatives and apologists may, to this day, be heard to bleat and whimper (!). Never were enormous wrongs so leniently retaliated. Never in the day when power had passed from the oppressors to the oppressed, was the oppression so lightly revenged ” (p. 234).
Here, again, I am obliged to question not only the charity but the truth of Dr Story's representation. As to its charity, I am constrained to ask, Is this the language of a minister of the Gospel? Is this the sympathy of a disciple of Jesus Christ, in speaking of brother ministers of the Gospel, not less than 200 (see p. 224) turned out of
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their homes with wives and children, and often without the means of shelter and of livelihood ? Is this the teaching which is to assist our fallen nature to overcome its propensity to envy and all uncharitableness ? I must ask these questions, though at the risk of being told that “I bleat and whimper.” And what is the alleged justification of such callousness? It would seem as if Dr Story, in speaking of “retaliation ” and “ revenge," had forgotten our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and had gone back, like the Covenanters, and adopted the spirit of the Old Testament rather than of the New. But are his words to be justified even so ? Can any one pretend, with the least regard to historical accuracy, that the case was as Dr Story has put it, when he speaks of “power having passed from the oppressors to the oppressed ? No! The “rabbled curates” themselves never were “the oppressors ;” and the power taken from them did not pass to "the oppressed," as Dr Story himself admits and complains further on (see p. 238 and p. 242), if by “the oppressed” is to be understood the adherents of the Covenant who had suffered persecution. The character of those to whom, at the Revolution, the power really went, is thus described by Dr Story: “The politicians themselves, we may remark in passing, were, as a rule, singularly corrupt and untrustworthy. The very bench of justice was defiled with bribery, favouritism, and servility. The religious contentions of the Church, or some other equally noxious cause, had been fatal to a high tone of public or private morality" (p. 240). Is it then to be wondered at that the bishops thought it prudent quietly to withdraw rather than submit their cause to the uncontrolled ascendancy of such instruments ?
Notwithstanding what has now been said, it may be doubted whether the contribution of this eighth Lecturer to the S. Giles's series will be much more acceptable to his colleagues, or to his fellow-Churchmen in general, than to ourselves. First, as to his colleagues, Professor Flint
whic,cause, her his bitterat, as to hiligion of
had told his hearers in the preceding Lecture that “no fair-minded Presbyterian will hold Episcopacy responsible for the measures of the last two Stuart kings, and of Sharp and his coadjutors ” (p. 194). And yet Dr Story, coming after him, took upon himself to tell the same auditory (borrowing for the purpose the words of Mr Hallam) that “ Episcopacy was a religion of the boot and the thumb-screw"! Next, as to his fellow-Churchmen at large : with all his bitterness against us, or at least against our cause, he is also singularly frank in the admissions which he makes concerning certain fundamental transactions, the principles of which he does not scruple to repudiate, though he is apparently well content to retain their fruits. He reminds us that in effecting the Revolution Settlement, “no steps were taken to call a General Assembly” (p. 238). And why? “Because a General Assembly, such as the clergy in the north clamoured for, would have been too wholly Episcopal to be safely summoned”! (See also p. 243 and p. 244.) “At Inverness the people defied, for no less than ten years, the attempts of the Presbytery to settle a minister among them.” Again : “ The presbyteries in the north, where Episcopacy was strong, were mere skeletons. The whole Synod of Aberdeen, containing eight presbyteries, had to concentrate itself into one; and even after the lapse of seven years could only muster sixteen clerical members ”! So enamoured were the poor deluded people in those parts of “ the weight of nightmarelike oppression ” which, in the person of Episcopacy, had sat “upon the national breast”! I said above, it may be remembered, that I should have occasion to call Dr Story himself as an all-sufficient witness to convict of untruth the statements which he has made respecting the strong and utter aversion of the nation-of the country in general—to Episcopacy. The reader will recollect, inter alia, the words : “ The bishops were hustled out of Church and State, and no man bade them stay, or said God bless them, as their hated order and tarnished honours passed away.”
Let these words be compared with the passages which I have just now quoted from other parts of Dr Story's Lecture. Again : at p. 239, it is admitted that the Act settling Presbyterian government, June 1690, “erred, as the legislation of the Parliament of the Restoration had erred, in an assertion and exercise of powers which, even though tempered by William's impartial tolerance, were too harsh and absolute." Again : at p. 240, “ The ground was now cleared for the meeting of a General Assembly. The clearance had been effected in the most Erastian way, by the authority of the State alone. ... It is one of the ugliest features of the epoch, and worst signs of the generally low standard of the national religion, that it was obviously thought unsafe to trust the settlement of Church affairs to Churchmen.”
Verily we have fallen upon evil times; and the times that had gone before do not fare much better in Dr Story's hands. All that we hear of John Knox is a sneer at his “ devout theocratic imaginations” (p. 242). All that we hear of Andrew Melville is a gird at "his haughty Hildebrandism.” Even the leaders of the Covenant are condemned of “ Judaic intensity” (ibid.) Still, however, the dregs of the bitter cup are reserved for Episcopacy. Though different now in many respects from what it was, and “having no longer any sympathy with, and, except in few cases, any knowledge of (!), its own historical ancestry, it is essentially an alien on Scottish soil; and in any of the great movements of thought, whether theological or political, exercises but little influence” (p. 249). Here, in this last remark, I must confess that Dr Story had done us a service, though without perhaps intending it, and not altogether in the kindliest way. It is true, as a body we have not yet learnt to exercise the influence to which we are entitled. There are various reasons to account for this, into which I cannot now enter. But if our censor's reproof should induce us to reflect more than some of us perhaps are wont to do,