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the next (sixth) Lecture, groups together with much skill, and in a fair and manly spirit (not untinctured with an occasional spice of irony, almost of banter) the events of a sufficiently stern and ungenial character which call for notice during the long and changeful period from 1572 to 1660—that is, from the death of Knox to the Restoration of the monarchy in the person of Charles II. And throughout this survey the philosophic eye is no less conspicuous than the skilful hand. It recognises the Nemesis displayed in the fact that the clause of the Act of June 1592 —“known as the Magna Charta of Presbyterianism in Scotland—which stripped the bishops of the most essential attribute of their office ” —collation to benefices —" and gave it to the presbyteries "—was the very clause “which in 1843 split the Church asunder, from the Church's refusal to take on trial the presentee to Auchterarder : thus the bishops who were dispossessed in 1592 were avenged in 1843” (p. 169 et seq.) And again, when Cromwell became supreme, and one of his colonels in 1653 entering the Assembly, asked by what authority they had met, and then told them to be gone—treating them as his master had shortly before treated the Long Parliament,-it is the recognition of a similar Nemesis, which, half indignantly half pathetically, exclaims, “ And it was for this ” —the overbearing supremacy of Cromwell
—“the Church of Scotland had given up its own Confession, its own Prayer-Book, its own Traditions ! The glorious vision of a great united Church on the Presbyterian model, in Scotland, England, and Ireland, had vanished for ever; and sectaries of every kind, who scorned the Covenants and preached universal toleration, carried everything before them ” (p. 187 et seq.)
We must not indeed expect to find, even in this candid and liberal-minded Lecturer, all that we, with our sentiments, could wish. We can go along with him heartily when he exposes the blundering and unconstitutional attempts both of King James (pp. 172-174) and of his son (pp. 178-182) to
imam hich, at their mingland, sh there, we na way
bring about an ecclesiastical unity between their two kingdoms upon an episcopal and liturgical basis; which proved in the end as great a failure as the similar attempt of the Covenanters to unite the three kingdoms on the Presbyterian model. And still more heartily can we join with him when he expresses his regret that the friendly relations of which, at one time, in Knox's day, there appeared so fair a promise for their mutual benefit between the Churches of this country and of England, should have been broken off (pp. 188 et seq.) But here and there, we must confess, our Lecturer falls short of our expectations in a way for which we were not prepared. For example, he tells us (p. 164) that, under the influence of Andrew Melville, the Assembly of 1575 (three years after Knox's death)" declared that the name 'bishop' properly belongs to all who had charge of a flock; and all scholars are now agreed that, according to Apostolic usage, the Assembly were right.” How strange it is that a man of so much intellectual acuteness as our Lecturer undoubtedly possesses, should have failed to see the fallacy that lies in that statement! I have no hesitation in saying that “all scholars ” who are gifted with the least logical sagacity, are aware that the Assembly “was” not “right” in that instance, but wrong. They were misled by not discerning that the Greek word Emio Kotos has a wider, and so far a different, meaning in the New Testament from that which the Anglo-Saxon word “bishop,” though derived from it, has ever had, nay, than the Greek word itself, and its Latin derivative “Episcopus,” have always had from the second century downwards. “Apostolic usage” of the word (when the Apostles themselves, and Apostolic men, such as James at Jerusalem, Timothy at Ephesus, and Titus in Crete, &c., were themselves " bishops” in the sense of our Anglo-Saxon nomenclature) was one thing, and post-Apostolic usage was another; when the name Apostle being, for obvious reasons, dropt, the word “ Episcopus ” in a restricted sense (just as the word “Diaconus” became restricted too, about the same time)
was wanted to designate the first order of the threefold ministry—which order the Apostles and Apostolic men had previously occupied—and it soon ceased to be applied to the second order (see Hooker, quoted below, p. 96). “A little learning is a dangerous thing ;” and although I do not doubt that Andrew Melville was a scholar of real eminence, yet in this instance, in which, according to our Lecturer, he “obtained his first victory through his accurate knowledge of the Greek Testament," it is certain his scholarship was, practically, at fault.1 And something more important than scholarship was at fault, when he followed up that victory by inducing, as he did, the Assembly in 1580 to declare “the office of diocesan bishop to be unlawful, and without warrant in the Word of God ;” whereby the whole Catholic Church, both East and West, from the beginning, was condemned of gross ignorance or wilful disregard of Scripture by a Scottish General Assembly! It is to be regretted that that Assembly do not appear to have remembered the words of Knox (see above, p. 4) how that, “in the most antient Councils the learned and godly Fathers did examine all matters by God's Word.”
Again : the aspirations which our previous harmony of sentiment may have raised, are doomed to still more bitter disappointment when our Lecturer delivers his judgment, that "it might be possible to conform the worship of the Church of Scotland to that of England; but its POLITY— NEVER” (p. 176). And from what follows it appears that the objection felt is not one of detail (in which we might have concurred, as not considering the English system, as at present worked, by any means perfect), but to Episcopacy in general, and of any kind; the judgment being based not upon any plea of divine authority or prescriptive right in favour of Presbyterianism—this is disavowed —but upon these two grounds : “ We can never now belie our history by surrendering our Presbyterianism, or renounce our reason by believing that religion depends upon a trinity of orders ” (p. 176). We need to rub our eyes as we read the words. The history of the past! The renunciation of reason! Surely our Lecturer ought to have depicted the history of the past during its most important century, in other colours, if he was intending to recommend it as a ground for the settlement of such a question. The colours in which he has actually represented it are not attractive : “High-handedness” (p. 181); “excommunications as terrible as the anathemas and interdicts of Rome” (p. 189); the existing standards of the Presbyterian Church“ looking like the cast-off slough of controversies long since dead” (p. 187); “internal dissensions—a legacy of bitterness” (p. 188); where also we find a full-drawn sketch of what the country had come to when it had cast off both Episcopacy and Monarchy in the middle of the seventeenth century: “The religion of Scotland at this unhappy period, sometimes so much vaunted, consisted mainly in the rival parties hating, cursing, and excommunicating one another. There were Engagers, Remonstrants, Resolutioners, and Protesters, all symbolising special feuds, and doing their best to propagate them. . . And all this uncharitableness blossomed and bore its fruit in an atmosphere heated with religion, or at least what was thought religion at that time." And with regard to that other plea which our Lecturer has alleged-viz., that “he cannot renounce his reason,” &c.—who has ever asked him to “believe that religion depends upon a trinity of orders”? What he has been asked—asked again and again—to do, is to accept the threefold ministry as the means which the Word and Providence of God would seem to have conspired to point out and recommend, to enable us to give effect to the prayer of Christ, and to fulfil the repeated and urgent injunctions of Scripture, for the unity of the Church
1 Any reader who wishes to be further satisfied upon this point, may consult my Outlines of the Christian Ministry, pp. 148-199, and especially Bentley's remarks, ibid., p. 151 et seq.
-to accept this means, or else to suggest some other and more probable method by which that end may be attained. But we must not complain. The same persistency (arising, for the most part out of national pride, and sacrificing to that pride, though unconsciously, the interests of religious truth) which induced Episcopalians of the last century to adhere to the house of Stuart, induces Presbyterians—not excepting such as our accomplished Lecturer—to adhere to the existing system of their Church, even when they themselves are secretly all but convinced that it is indefensible; and to adhere to it perhaps all the more doggedly in proportion to the intensity of their secret mistrust.
But we pass on to the next (seventh) Lecture, which also has a sufficient guarantee, not only for the excellence of its composition, but for the sobriety of its sentiments, and the fairness and elevation of its spirit, in the name of the Lecturer. What can be more just or more candid than the remarks which we read at p. 194? “The men who sought to force Episcopacy on Covenanting Scotland by physical constraint and pressure, were the worst enemies Episcopacy has ever had in Scotland. No Episcopalian need feel specially concerned to defend their memories; and no fairminded Presbyteriun will hold Episcopacy responsible for their measures.” 1 What can be more true or worthy of a Christian minister than the character, drawn at p. 221, of that despicable monarch, Charles II.? What can be more judicious or more equitable than the estimate formed at p. 203, and again at p. 214 et seq., of the conduct and character of Archbishop Sharp? Or, in contrast with him, what more kindly and enthusiastically appreciative than the tribute paid to the life and work and writings of Bishop Leighton ? Nor can I remember a single instance in this Lecture, though occupied with the difficult and critical period from 1660 to 1690, in which the writer has not carried me along with him, with the exception of one passage, in which I have not concurred, only, perhaps, because I do not feel sure that I understand it. The passage I allude to refers to
1 Yet this is what Dr Story has done in the next lecture. See below, p. 15.