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Chapter IV – Religion in Scotland–The Reformation and the Covenant


Had not the Lord been on our side,
May Israel now say;
Had not the Lord been on our side,
When men rose us to slay;
They had us swallowed quick, when as
Their wrath did 'gainst us flame;
Waters had covered us, our soul
Had sunk beneath the stream,
- PSALM cxxiv.
(Scottish version).

The Martyrs' Hills forsaken--
The simmer's dusk sae calm,
There's nae gathering now, lassie,
To sing the evening psalm!
But the martyrs' grave will rise, lassie,
Aboon the warrior's cairn;
And the martyrs soun' will sleep, lassie,
Aneath the waving fern.
- ROBERT ALLAN :
The Covenanter’s Lament.

The Scottish Church, both on himself and those
With whom from childhood he grew up, had held
The strong hand of her purity; and still
Had watched him with an unrelenting eye.
This he remembered in his riper age,
With gratitude, and reverential thoughts.
- WORDSWORTH :
The Excursion.

The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The sire turns o'er wi' patriarchal grace,
The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care;
And 'Let us worship God!' he says, with solemn air.

* * * * * * *

From scenes like these auld Scotia's grandeur springs
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad;
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
‘An honest man's the noblest work of God.'

- BURNS: The Cotter's Saturday Night.

It is a delicate task to attempt any exposition of Scotland on its religious side; still it is obviously impossible to form a just and adequate conception of the Scottish character, as it has been developed, at home and abroad, without taking one of the chief factors in the reckoning into account. Religion, chiefly in the Presbyterian form, plays too important a part in Scottish history, and in the moulding of national characteristics, to be slighted or ignored. It is not necessary, however, for the present purpose, to plunge through the white coating of those red ashes, which still glow through the surface, or to burn one's fingers with questions of dogma and Church government. Taking for granted the essential sincerity and earnestness of the disputants, whether oppressors or victims, victorious or vanquished, it seems possible to scan, with a vision, more or less sympathetic, the struggles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as they radically and definitively affected Scottish character. In order to take a dispassionate view of these ecclesiastical troubles, it is necessary to bear in mind that there are three religious communions to be taken into account - the ancient or Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian or National Church of the Reformation, with its numerous offshoots, and the Episcopal Church - the representative in Scotland of the Established Church of England. The last may be referred to hereafter; mean while let us glance briefly at the old creed, and the process by which the faith of an overwhelming majority of Scotsmen was evolved, or rather fought its way out from it.

It is extremely natural that the Presbyterian Scotsman, even though he be an historian, "should depreciate the real service performed in mediaeval times by the Church of Rome in Scotland. Even now, centuries after the fiery struggle has spent its strength, and the persecuted believers became conquerors, the fire of the furnace still smoulders, and the attempt to be impartial seems to the ardent religious patriot a sin scarcely less heinous than overt apostasy. Still, it is well to be reminded that if the ancient Church had finished its work in the sixteenth century, or even earlier, it had a work to do which was accomplished with ardour and sincerity. As Mr. Froude remarks, "the traditions of the struggle survive in strong opinions and sentiments, which it is easy to wound without intending it; - yet that is no reason for refusing to gauge fairly the good wrought by a system, even although it may have survived its usefulness and been perverted to mischief. * There may be truth on both sides, if only the great religious principles on which the belligerents are agreed; and the spirit of conservatism in religion -"the use and wont" - will often attach men sincerely not only to the truth which means vitality, but to the error which evidences decay. Not in Scotland alone, but all over Europe, modern society owes more to the mediaeval Church than it has been willing to acknowledge since the Reformation.

In the main it was the civilizer, the instructor and the peacemaker in the midst of rude, savage and merciless nations of illiterate and uncouth warriors, governed by barbarous and tyrannical chiefs or kings. Between the oppressor and the oppressed the Church was the only bulwark, and it stood firm and unshaken when the tide of anarchy and violence lashed its potent billows against that solid rampart. All these things ought not to have been forgotten when the fabric rotted to decay, and the bats and owls, and all unclean things found a refuge in its ruined cloisters. In England, such names as those of Lanfranc and Langton, Archbishops of Canterbury, and Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln might well rescue any Church from obloquy; and in Scotland the aid afforded by the Bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow to Wallace and Bruce entitle them to everlasting gratitude.

That the Church of St. Ninian, St. Patrick, St. Mungo and St. Cuthbert was not hierarchical or ultramontane is certain; indeed it can hardly be called episcopal; and the Culdees, whatever they were, had extremely loose ideas about apostolical succession. The Saxon Church in process of time became more closely united to Rome; but neither at first, nor in the early Norman time, was its submission to the Holy See perfect or voluntary. In Scotland the bishops were almost invariably patriots and the friends of education. They first established not only the great seats of learning, but the Grammar Schools. The University of St. Andrews was founded in 1410; that of Glasgow, in 1450; that of Aberdeen, in 1495; and even the University of Edinburgh, though not formally established till 1582, was chiefly endowed by a sum bequeathed many years before, by Reid, the Catholic Bishop of Orkney.**

In 1495, the Scottish Parliament - in which the clergy were the leaders, not less on account of their cultured intelligence than their sacerdotal claims - enacted a law, compelling all barons and freeholders to send their eldest sons to the Grammar Schools, under pain of a heavy fine. It is not an excess of charity to believe that the Scottish bishops saw in religious education the one great agent in civilizing the untutored race around them, and of reducing to something like order the frightful chaos in which Scotland was involved.

The wealthy endowments, no less than the patronage, bestowed upon the Church by kings from Malcolm and St. David onwards, no doubt caused it to gravitate to the side of royalty; yet it is not unreasonable to suppose that the clergy were also influenced by the patriotic conviction that, in the strengthening and consolidation of the monarchy, lay the only prospect of permanent relief from so wretched a condition of affairs. On the other hand the nobles saw with dismay the gradual absorption of the nation's slender resources by religious foundations, and they knew well how hopeless it was by any ordinary effort, to unclinch the rigid "dead hand" of the Church, when it, had once closed upon the possessions within its reach. Religion "waxed fat, and kicked;" became of the world, worldly; filled with avarice and carnal ambitions, weak in faith and corrupt in morals.*** To the degenerate hierarchy had gone forth the solemn warning heard by the Apocalyptic seer and addressed to the Church at Sardis, - "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." During the minority of James V. the struggle between the nobles and the Church assumed definite shape. Albany, the Regent, had retired in disgust, and for a time the Douglases reigned supreme. They had turned James Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, out of the Chancellorship; but their triumph was short-lived. In 1528, the clergy had again asserted their supremacy and maintained it for the next thirty-two years, until the first General Assembly met to garner in the fruits of the Protestant victory. Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical influence was advancing, by sure but rapid strides, to the supremacy. The clergy gradually got possession of all offices of trust and emolument; the chiefs of the nobles were exiled or imprisoned; the burning of heretics became a sacerdotal business and a royal pastime. To make bad worse, James took as his second wife - Mary, a daughter of the bigoted and ruthless family of Guise, or as Kirkton terms her, "ane egge of the bloody nest of Guise." In 1539, David Beaton, who had been raised to the cardinalate, succeeded his uncle as Archbishop of St. Andrews, and from that time till his assassination was the king's sole adviser. James had received from the Pope the title Henry VIII. had forfeited, of "Defender of the Faith," and the outlook for Scotland became altogether dark, lowering and hopeless. But the doom of the ancient Church was pronounced at the very moment, when flushed with their triumph, the clergy were enacting new and more sanguinary penal laws against heresy. They had even registered for death no less than six hundred of the aristocracy in what Watson has called "the bluidy scroll."

Step by step, as the breach widened between the clergy and the nobles, the doctrines of the Reformation were diffused all over the East and the Lowlands. Brutal measures of repression only exasperated the aristocracy and ere long the entire people. Violence begets violence; and, although there had been a time when conciliation might have appeased the lords and delayed the impending change in religion, that time was now past. Cardinal Beaton and his fellow clerics had made the struggle one of life and death, and the defiant challenge they had hurled at their foes was taken up eagerly and savagely. The first consequence was a temporary eclipse of the monarchy. Henry VIII. had been in correspondence with the recalcitrant Scot Lords, and James V. called upon them to assist him in an invasion of England. They refused, and the result was the shameful defeat at Solway Moss, in 1542. The chivalrous monarch, in the utter despair of shattered pride and wounded honour, would hear no words of comfort but turned his face to the wall and died, leaving as his successor the new-born babe, which had better have yielded up its little life and been laid beside its father in the grave.

Now began a terrible period of confusion and distress. Cardinal Beaton had been appointed, by the late king, guardian of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Governor of the realm; and he immediately set to work with unrelenting severity to extirpate heresy and to crush insubordination in Church and State. He was utterly without principle, religious only in name; his master passion was love of power, and, in its pursuit, he knew no scruples of conscience, no touch of pity, no restraint from honour or remorse. For a time dissensions among the nobles worked to his advantage. But, Angus and Douglas had returned from exile; Beaton was imprisoned at Dalkeith; and the Earl of Arran, who affected to be a Protestant when it suited his purpose, became Regent. The struggle, so far as the nobles were concerned, was not in any sense a religious one; they had a deadly reckoning of revenge to make with Beaton and the Church; looked with greedy eyes upon ecclesiastical wealth, and longed to lay their hands upon it. But they soon fell out as such men will do, over a division of the spoils; the clergy appealed to the people, and the Cardinal was again master of the situation. But if the lords were not in earnest, the people now rising into prominence soon proved that they were. In England, there was a popular power of opinion and action; in Scotland it was called into being by the religious contests of this age.+ This was the first great boon conferred on Scotland by the Reformation, and it has left indelible traces upon the Scottish character in all lands, and through every succeeding age. The common people, as in the early days of Christianity, heard gladly the preachers of the Gospel; and it was their horror at the brutalities of the hierarchy which sealed the fate of the ancient Church. Early in the fifteenth century, two "heretics" had been burned to death under Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrew's, who founded that University, in 1412; "which might have done him honour, had he not imbrued his hands in innocent blood." ++ But the first names enrolled in the new book opened by the Beatons in the Scottish martyrology are those of Patrick Hamilton, burned in 1527, and George Wishart in 1546.

Whether Cardinal Beaton would have been suffered to continue his sanguinary course, in any case, may be doubted; yet the popular indignation at Wishart's death was the proximate cause of his assassination. On the 20th of May, 1546, within three months after the martyr's execution at the stake, Norman and John Leslie, William Kirkcaldy of Grange, James Melville, and others, gained access to the castle and "stabbed him twice or thrice," ending his cruel and arbitrary career upon the spot.+++ The restrained energy and enthusiasm of the people at once burst forth. John Knox, although not privy to the murder, shut himself up with the chief actors in the castle of St. Andrew's, and made common cause with the Leslies and their associates; Calderwood and other Church historians characterize the murder as "a providential and stupendous act of Divine judgment," and it has seldom been spoken of as a deed requiring either defence or even extenuation.

The subsequent events of the history are too generally known to require recapitulation in detail. In 1554, Mary of Guise became regent in Arran's place - a step thus commented upon by Knox in a characteristic sentence - " a croune was patt upone hir head, als seimlye a sight (yff men had eis) as to putt a sadill upone the back of ane unrewly kow." Mr. Buckle suggests that Mary would not have ruled badly if her bigoted and ambitious relations, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine had left her alone. He quotes George Buchanan as saying that although she had been called ambitious and intriguing, she was regretted even by her opponents; that she possessed a distinguished mind and a disposition inclined to equity. But the master-spirit of the time was about to return, after a long absence to his native land. The character of John Knox has been drawn by many hands. To some he is the incarnation of stern probity, holy zeal and devout piety; to others a harsh, cruel and unscrupulous zealot, fond of power and quite willing to abuse it when in his hands. It is probable that he was brusque and uncompromising; needed the mailed hand stretched forth by a dauntless soul. Philip Melancthon in Scotland would never have perfected the work given to the Scottish Reformer to do. When a mighty upheaval like the Reformation is in progress, there is but one spirit fitted to cope with it, and direct its unruly energy - the spirit of a Luther or a Knox. It is the fashion now-a-days to look askance at the rugged heroes of the past, and to forget the vast debt of gratitude due them from posterity. Of all the Scottish heroes John Knox is the one who can best bear inspection. His character may appear to be angular, and sharply cut at that, but the angularities are those of the diamond, and, instead of detracting from its value, they serve to display more clearly its purity and worth. During the five years of struggle yet remaining his was the fiery and indomitable spirit which conquered all opposition, renewed the youth of Scotland, and placed her at once and forever on that higher plane up to which she was toiling at Stirling and Bannockburn.*+ Even the brief period referred to was broken by another visit to the Continent; but after 1559, Knox put all his energies to the task of completing the work of Reformation. In 1558, Mary of Guise married her daughter to Francis the Dauphin, eldest son of Henry II. of France, and brother of Charles IX., whose name has come down to us coupled with the massacre of St. Bartholomew. During that year Mary Tudor of England died, Elizabeth mounted the Throne, and the nobles made an offensive and defensive alliance under the name of "The Lords of the Congregation." In May, 1559, John Knox arrived once more. He was fifty-four years of age, and the work might possibly have been completed without him; but his presence seemed to send a sudden spasm of energy through the nation. Like his master, Wishart, he had appealed to the commonalty from the first; and, after his summons at Dundee, and especially at Perth, they rose, plundered the churches, destroyed the monasteries, and overthrew in a moment the old hierarchy. Mary, the Regent, moved troops; but the Lords of the Congregation were on the alert. Glencairn, Argyle and Murray came to their aid; Perth, Stirling and Linlithgow were seized; Elizabeth's contingent drove the French force out of Leith; Edinburgh was evacuated, and the Lords and their army entered the capital in triumph, The Queen Regent was suspended, because she opposed "the glory of God, the liberty of the realm, and the welfare of the nobles." In 1560, the entire face of Scottish affairs was changed. The English fleet was in the Firth of Forth; Norfolk was ready with an English army at Berwick, and so the Reformation definitively triumphed. It is impossible to say much for Elizabeth's part in the issue. She had, as usual, played with matrimonial schemes for the union of the realms; Protestantism, especially of the Scottish type, was not at all to her mind, her aim being simply to crush the cause of Mary, Queen of Scots, as a claimant to the English throne. For this purpose, in a feeble way, she had assisted the Lords in driving out the French and the Regent; but she had no heart in the cause, and Knox she detested, as was natural, because of his ungallant treatise on "The Monstrous Regiment (rule) of Women."

In addition to the triumph of the Reformation, the year 1560 was remarkable for three notable incidents, unconnected apparently, yet extending nevertheless to a common issue, so far as Scotland was concerned. Francis II., the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, ascended the throne of France in the spring of 1559 – a weakly youth of sixteen; he wore the crown during the shortest reign in French history - about eighteen months - dying in December, 1560. Within that brief period, the Guises and their enemies had been busy. There were plots and counter-plots, whilst poor Mary finished her education, with a Guise for mother, and Catherine de Medici for a mother-in-law. As for France, it knew no health or vigour through the reigns of those three wretched brothers, Francis, Charles and Henry, until Henry of Navarre ascended the throne, a Bourbon when that house could boast of nascent energy. In Scotland, the widowed Queen of France and of Scots, became the focus of converging lines traced by fate - the cause of woe, and yet herself the saddest and most pitiable figure in that long drawn tragedy. On the 19th of August, 1561, she landed at Leith as the historian pathetically phrases it, "a stranger to her subjects, without experience, without allies, and almost without a friend." During the same year the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was held, and there Knox made an open breach with the nobles who had espoused the Reformation solely to plunder and sequestrate the property of the church. He boldly demanded that what had ever been dedicated to sacred uses should be restored and devoted to the cause of the Gospel. The nobles having obtained the plunder - refused to surrender it, and thus the cause of the Reformation under Knox was thrown into the hands of the people. The pulpit rang with vehement declamation against the spoilation which had been committed. The money had been squandered upon the unprincipled nobility, - "Satan had prevailed, and the property had been given to profane men, court flatterers, ruffians and hirelings." Knox declared that two-thirds of the church endowments "had been given to the devil, and the remaining third divided between God and the devil," alluding to the arrangements proposed by the nobles. When the "First Book of Discipline" was presented to the Privy Council, the nobles refused their concurrence, not because they objected to its views on Church government, but because it provided that "the haill rentis of the Kirk, abusit in Papistrie sall be referrit again to the Kirk." Thus then the people under Knox were arrayed against the Crown and the nobility, whilst these were at variance, the one with the other. *++ In the same year, Knox who had aroused the commonalty or rather called them into active life, proposed the system of popular education which afterwards made the Scottish people at large what they have been at home and abroad in the field, the shop, the counting-house, at the bar and in the senate - a fairly cultured and eminently intelligent people. The scheme of Knox was not carried out in it’s entirety until 1640 when the first attempt was made, to be fully executed, "finally and permanently established" in 1696. *+++ Thus Scotland owes the initiation of its parochial system of education - the first honest effort to raise the people by general education made in Europe - and all the beneficent results which have flowed from it to the same bold hand which rent asunder the ecclesiastical bonds enthralling the people, taught them to be independent and free, and pointed out to the humblest the path of knowledge and success. John Knox accomplished a glorious work, not merely for Scotland but for the liberties of England and of the world, when he stood face to face with the Crown, and a time-serving aristocracy and defied them all in the name of God and in the cause of the people.

In 1565, Mary married her cousin Henry Darnley, son of the Earl of Lennox; then followed the Rizzio episode. The birth of James, the miserable tragedy of Kirk o' Field, the marriage with James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the battle at Carberry Hill, and the imprisonment of Mary at Lochlevin. Murray was made Regent, and then came in fated order the escape from her island prison, the battle of Langside (1568), the flight over Solway Firth, imprisonment and ultimately death by the headsman at Fotheringay. Meanwhile all was danger, and apprehension. The Queen had abdicated and fled to England; her friends were in arms, and the Spaniards under Alva threatened to land in England. In 1570, Murray, the only honest man amongst the lay leaders - "the one supremely noble man," was removed by the dagger of the assassin, and no trustworthy member of the nobility was left. **+ Knox alone, weak, broken in body and scarcely able to stagger up the pulpit stairs, still thundered in the parish church; and his voice, it was said, was like ten thousand trumpets, pealing in the ear of Scottish Protestantism. During three years of civil war, it was the genius of Knox, unaided by the vacillating and parsimonious Elizabeth, or by the nobles, split up as they were into factions, which saved Scotland. At last all was over, and the knell of Mary's cause sounded in the tocsin, which awakened the perpetrators of St. Bartholomew's massacre. In the same year, John Knox died quietly in his bed, the deliverer of his country, the bold, devout, stern old preacher of righteousness, "who, in his life, never feared the face of man," as Morton said at his grave, "who hath been often threatened with dag and dagger, but hath ended his days in peace and honour." He died on the 24th of November, 1572, exactly three months after the fatal Day of St. Bartholomew.**++

After the battle of Langside, and from the field, Mary saw Scotland no more. Without waiting to ascertain what reception she was likely to receive in England, "she got into a fisher-boat, and with about twenty attendants (May 16, 1568), landed at Workington in Cumberland, and thence she was conducted with many marks of respect to Carlisle" (Robertson; History, B. V.). Before the escape from Lochleven, Murray had been appointed Regent, and began the work of evolving order from confusion. Mary had resigned the Crown to her son; but she entertained hopes of aid from Elizabeth as a sister-queen, who had no sympathy with rebellious subjects anywhere, still less at her own doors. Unhappily for Mary, the English Queen was in one of her ever-recurring fits of perplexity. She had no deliberate intention to be cruel; but her natural, overpowering desire was to be safe. Therefore, she simulated and dissimulated, both at once, or each in turn, as it suited her. The embarrassment of the situation was, doubtless, trying; but the affectation of regard and sympathy for Mary, the underplotting by which she kept the contending parties embroiled in Scotland, from Carlisle and Bolton to the last sickening scene at Fotheringay in 1587, all is intrigue, darkness, conspiracy, faithlessness, and perfidy. Murray's purpose as Regent once more, honest as it no doubt was, had hardly unfolded itself, when he was cut off by the hand of an assassin. Amongst the prisoners taken at Langside, were six men, distinguished by birth or position, who had been condemned to death, but pardoned by Murray at the intercession of Knox. One of these, Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, it was, who fired at Murray, from a house at Linlithgow, and caused his death in 1570. Henceforward there was a dreary time of plot, counterplot, dissension and civil war. Lennox, the father of the wretched Darnley, fell in fighting the malcontents, it is believed by the order of Lord Claud Hamilton. Mar, who succeeded him by the voice of the nobles, an ardent lover of peace and order, sank under the troubles of that chaotic period, and died of a broken heart. It was during Mar's rule, in 1570, that Morton, at heart a traitor and a hypocrite, throughout, made a simoniacal compact with the bishops, by which the nobles obtained the bulk of the church temporalities and episcopacy was re-established. Morton himself had secured from the Crown the property of the archi-episcopal see of St. Andrew's. According to Robertson, he obtained the appointment of Robert Douglas, rector of the University, as archbishop, giving him a small annuity, but retaining the bulk of the wealth for his own use. Other nobles were anxious to have a share in the church lands, and the result was an arrangement in 1570, for the re-establishment of episcopacy, ten years after the first General Assembly by which the Reformation had been accomplished. Knox, upon whom the hand of death was already laid, protested vehemently against the compact; but he was unable to attend the meeting, and died in 1572, in his sixty-seventh year, the bold, courageous and vehement apostle to the Reformation he had been from first to last. The resolution referred to ran in these terms: "That the house and office of the archbishop and bishop shall be continued during the King's minority, and these dignities should be conferred upon the best qualified among the Protestant ministers; but that, with regard to their spiritual jurisdictions, they should be subject to the General Assembly of the Church."

At Mar's death, Morton secured the prize of his ambition, the Regency, which he retained for eleven troublous years, from 1570 until he mounted the scaffold in 1581. During that period the history of Scotland is a mass of confused negotiations with England, intrigues on behalf of Mar, and struggles for supremacy amongst the nobles, upon which we need not enter. Morton was not without administrative genius; but such efforts as he made to settle public affairs were marred by his unscrupulous ambition, his lack of principle, his avarice and extortion. His strong-handed rule became intolerable, and he gradually arrayed against him the nobles and the people under Argyle and Athole. James was young, but, during his whole life, he was swayed by favourites. Lennox seemed, in 1580, the rising star; and, in order to remove so dangerous a rival, Morton declaimed against him as a foe to the reformed religion. Therefore, Lennox, with an accommodating conscience, not at all singular amongst the nobles of the time, listened to some divines sent to him by the King, "renounced the errors of Popery, in the church of St. Giles, and declared himself a member of the Church of Scotland by signing her Confession of Faith." All was soon over with Morton; the King was restive, and Lennox accused the Regent of intending to seize the royal person and fly to England. He was taken prisoner, confined in Edinburgh Castle, and, under the sinister management of Arran, tried, and found guilty of complicity in Darnley's death at Kirk o' Field, fourteen years before. He was beheaded, and his head affixed to the public jail at Edinburgh.

During Morton's Regency, the second great name on the roll of the Scottish Church became prominent. If John Knox was the father of the Reformation in that country, it was Andrew Melville who stamped upon it its Presbyterian character with indelible distinctness. Knox had no peculiar views of his own on Church government; and; although he declined the archbishopric of St. Andrews, it does not appear that it was on any ground of Scripture or conscience. He was anxious to draw as close as might be to the Church of England, and almost his last signature, "with a dead hand, but a glad heart," was subscribed after that of the Archbishop of St. Andrews.**+++ But when Melville reached Scotland from Geneva in 1574, he saw, with admirable sagacity and prescience, the drift of civil and ecclesiastical affairs, and took his measures with characteristic boldness and vigour. If Melville bearded James VI. as Knox had confronted Mary, it was because he could detect, in the King, that twin-headed form of absolutism in Church and State which the Stuarts strove to impose upon both England and Scotland. James preached and endeavoured to establish the divine right of bishops, because he saw in it the main-stay of the corresponding dogma, so dear to his heart - the divine right of kings. In 1572 Knox was " taken away from the evil to come," without, perhaps, having detected the signs of the storm in that heated atmosphere and lowering sky which were gathering their forces in cloud and tempest. Andrew Melville arrived to be his successor, an Elisha more trenchant and uncompromising than the Elijah whose mantle descended upon him. And it was no common struggle which he undertook. It meant the battle of freedom, civil and religious, against absolutism; of moral and spiritual force, against tyrannical power, which Melville and his colleagues fought with desperate and stubborn perseverance. It may suit the canons of modern taste, philosophical or other, to call that indomitable heroism in faith and fight, bigoted; but men cannot afford to weigh the proprieties, or be mealy-mouthed in defining their beliefs or ill expressing them, when the flames of cruelty and persecution, having already singed their garments, threaten to enwrap their bodies in a fiery embrace. There is much in the religious literature of those days to repel, and perhaps offend; but it was not intended to tickle fastidious palates, or to provoke digestion in jaded and dyspeptic stomachs. The people of to-day enjoy the fruits of what such men as Knox and Melville sowed for them amid storm and mist; and, therefore, so far from quarrelling with the uncouth husk, we ought to be eternally thankful to those who, as sturdy husbandmen, committed the seed to the earth, and invoked upon it the blessing of Heaven.

Mr. Buckle, although he had but little appreciation for the honest and earnest conscientiousness of Melville, is ready to bear testimony to his "great ability, boldness of character, and fertility of resource." McCrie, in his biography, pourtrays the great leader of the second Scottish Reformation in nobler and more attractive colours: " Under God, save Knox," he says, "I know of no individual from whom Scotland has received such important services, or to whom she continues to owe so deep a debt of gratitude as Andrew Melville." His work, which extended over a quarter of a century, until his imprisonment in the Tower of London and subsequent exile to Sedan, must be rapidly surveyed. In 1575 the question of Church government was raised by John Dury, it is said at Melville's instance; but, although the latter spoke unfavourably of episcopacy, he acted cautiously as one feeling his way. In 1578, the General Assembly resolved that no new bishop should be made, and that those at present in possession should be called by their names and not by their sees. In the same year, the second Book of Discipline marked the important change which had come over Scotland since 1560 when the First Book was compiled, under Knox. That these works are essentially different admits of no question; yet, as Buckle urges, the charges of inconsistency in the Presbyterian leaders is untenable and unjust. "They were perfectly consistent, and they merely changed their maxims that they might preserve their principles." In truth, the positions of the parties had undergone a serious modification. In 1560, the nobles, with more or less sincerity, fought the battles of the Reformation against the Crown and clergy; in 1578 their intrigues and personal ambitions had alienated the hearts of the ministers and of the commonalty which preaching, devoutness, zeal and fervour, had summoned into existence. The natural leaders of the people had, in fact, deserted them, and were involved in plots of infinite variety - plots for their own aggrandizement, for the destruction of rivals, for the possession of the royal ear or person, for the restoration of Mary, and aid from France or Spain, or for the intervention of Elizabeth. When Scotland was not embroiled in civil war, it was a hot-bed of conspiracy. All this time the people had been suffering from a rigorous oppression which was only too real, and from fears which were hardly less so. The Duke of Alva had been perpetrating his wholesale slaughter in the Netherlands, and, in 1572, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew sent a thrill of horror through Christendom, which aroused even the torpid heart of Elizabeth. The Duke preparing for a descent on Scotland and the French for an expedition to Leith to seize the capital. The commonalty, whose hearts and consciences the ministers had quickened into a new and vigorous life, recognised in them its only leaders against the cruelty and oppression which beset them. This confidence, as the event proved, was fully justified by the zeal and intrepidity of Melville and his colleagues.

In 1580, at the General Assembly, held at Dundee, with Melville as Moderator, the decisive blow was struck. The office of bishop was unanimously denounced as unlawful, unscriptural, of human invention, and at once to be abolished. All those who held sees were called upon to resign them or suffer excommunication. The language employed at Dundee was not finely phrased. The Church knew that it must expect a conflict and, as the sword was to be drawn, the people boldly flung away the scabbard. In the following year, so as to test the question, the Crown nominated Robert Montgomery to the Archbishopric of Glasgow. The Chapter refusing to elect, the Privy Council fell back on the royal prerogative; the General Assembly forbade the Archbishop to enter Glasgow, and he appealed for aid to the Duke of Lennox, bribing him with the bulk of the archiepiscopal revenues. The year 1582 was a very notable one in Scotland. The King ordered the General Assembly not to discuss the Archbishopric; but its members were men who knew not how to flinch, still less how to yield. They summoned Montgomery, deposed him from the ministry, and threatened him with instant excommunication. Fearing for his life, the Archbishop trembled and yielded, promising not to make any attempt to take possession of the see. The King and Arran were enraged; and, when some resolutions were presented by Melville and the other commissioners, denouncing these encroachments of the State upon the Church and seeking redress, "the Earl of Arran," says Howie, "cried out, 'Is there any here that dare subscribe these articles ?' Melville stepped forward and said, 'we dare, and will render our lives in the cause,' and then took up the pen and subscribed." But the Privy Council had material force on their side, and at once prepared to use it. Dury was banished; some of the other members were called to account; and more violent measures were preparing "when," says Buckle, " they were interrupted by one of those singular events, which not unfrequently occurred in Scotland, and which strikingly evince the inherent weakness of the Crown, notwithstanding the inordinate pretensions it commonly assumed." This event was known as the Raid of Ruthven. According to the historians, James was returning towards Edinburgh, after hunting, when he was invited to Ruthven Castle. Thinking probably that some further diversion might be on foot, he went thither; but he had some great cause for apprehension, as the castle was crowded with strangers and fresh groups were constantly arriving. The secret was soon disclosed; James was a prisoner, and remained in durance at Stirling or Holyrood for ten months. During this period the popular party had it all their own way; Lennox and Arran were astounded, and, for the time, paralysed. When James recovered his liberty in l583, he found himself confronted, not merely by the Presbyterian ministers, but by a new power, of which he had hitherto formed but a hazy conception - the sturdy adolescence of the Scottish Commons.

The King's release was the signal for a fiercer struggle which need not be followed in detail. It seems sufficient to note the altered tone of the popular leaders now that they had aroused their hearers by many a stirring and often violent appeal from the pulpit. They openly defied the King. By one he was likened to Cain; another denounced upon him the curse of Jeroboam, that he should die childless and that his race should perish with him - a prophetic denunciation unhappily falsified by the event. Simpson, Dury, Gibson, Black, Welch (Knox's son-in-law) and others were furious in their declarations, and Melville did not hesitate to upbraid James to his face of having perverted the laws of God and man. He even, according to the story "plucked him, as God's silly vassal, by the sleeve." In 1592 James, finding himself powerless to resist, re-established Presbytery in its complete form, and promised to maintain it, with the mental reservation, which gives its peculiar bias to Stuart perfidy, that he would break his promise at the earliest opportunity. Melville's struggles with the King extended over the rest of James' reign in Scotland, and for three or four years after he ascended the English throne. He was several times before the Council, yet never yielded one jot of his principles, even when death seemed certain and imminent. During four years he was imprisoned in the Tower, the years during which the authorized version of the Scriptures was in process of making. The "setting of that bright occidental Star, Queen Elizabeth," had occurred eight years before; and then as the fulsome preface tells us, came "the appearance of your majesty as of the Sun in his strength," to dabble in dark and foul matters with Essex, Villiers, and the rest of that diabolical crew, and when the Bible, as we have it, emerged with these words of flattery prefixed, in 1611, Andrew Melville was permitted, at the solicitation of the Duke de Bouillon, to retire to France. At Sedan - a name of renown in more times than one - "the Apostle of Presbyterianism in Scotland," as Archbishop Spottiswoode terms him, breathed his last, in the year 1622, having attained the good old age of seventy-seven years.

Let us pass over an interval of some fifteen years to the year 1637, the twelfth of the reign of Charles I. His predecessor had attempted to restore episcopacy in the fitful way characteristic of his sinister genius; but he was too wary, and had too much on his hands in England to venture his arm farther than he could draw it safely back. Before Laud mounted the episcopal bench, James had found it necessary to restrain him "because he had a restless spirit," and again and again strove to curb him in a career which ended on the scaffold.+* Charles, however, was a monarch of a different turn of mind. He was stubborn without firmness, crafty without tact, yielding without pliability, placable without grace or ingenuous feeling. In the hands of William Laud, he was plastic enough, and that narrow-minded prelate soon managed every thing ecclesiastical in his own way. In 1626, the year after Charles' accession, he was made Bishop of Bath and Wells; in 1628 transferred to London; and in 1633 raised to the see of Canterbury. On the 23rd of January, 1637, the first symptoms of the turbulent "stomach" of the Scottish people showed themselves in the historical church of St. Giles, Edinburgh. Whether Jenny Geddes really "discharged the famous stool" at the devoted head of the Dean of Edinburgh,+** and was imitated by ladies or their maids until a volley of "fauld stools" were hurled at the reading-desk, has been disputed; yet it is quite certain that a determined resistance to the Anglican liturgy was excited on that memorable Sunday, by the words, gestures, or actions of some woman or women. Episcopacy had been nominally restored in 1610, and the free General Assemblies prevented from meeting; aggression after aggression had been committed upon the established faith of Scotland, and the people were determined to submit to these encroachments no longer. "General causes," says Buckle, "had made the people love the clergy, and made the clergy love liberty. As long as these two facts co-existed, the destiny of the nation was safe. It might be injured, insulted, trampled upon; but the greater the harm the surer the remedy. All that was needed was a little more time, and a little more provocation." The time had been spent in patient preparation; the provocation came in the attempt to force the English liturgy - "the black service book," the peculiar appanage of "foul Prelacy" - upon the people. Riots began in Edinburgh, and the contagion soon spread over the country until in the autumn the entire nation had risen in sturdy resistance. In 1638, "in a paroxysm of enthusiasm," says Robert Chambers, "unexampled in our history," the National Covenant was signed by all classes throughout the country.+*** It was a national defiance, a religious Declaration of Independence, a solemn protest against absolutism in Church and State, destined to make its potent influence felt, not only there in Scotland, but in England, and, in later ages, over every quarter of the globe. In November, 1638, Charles I. was prevailed upon to allow a free General Assembly - the first for twenty years - to meet at Glasgow. This concession, yielded in consequence of the universal uprising of the nation, came too late. The Commissioner was arbitrary, and, on the whole, matters were made worse by the characteristic tardiness in yielding, the ungracious manner and want of sincerity manifested throughout that unhappy king's career. The Marquis of Hamilton, the Royal Commissioner, first threatened to withdraw, and then ordered the Assembly to break up. They refused to separate until they had finished the work, deposed the bishops, and put an end to the "foul sin of Prelacy." Nothing remained but an appeal to arms. The King repudiated the existing treaty, and in 1640 the Scots invaded England, with an army of 25,000 men, defeated a detachment sent against them at Newburn, and took Newcastle. Charles again made an armistice and proposed a treaty. In 1641, Strafford and Laud perished along with their policy of "Thorough." During the autumn of that year the King visited Scotland; was lavish in promise and concession as usual, professed to conform to the Presbyterian worship, and appointed several Covenanters to his Council. Then followed "The Grand Remonstrance," the arrest of the five members and civil war in England. It is not too much to assert that to the religious resistance of Scotland, the first blood drawn by the Scots on the Tyne, and the example as well as the invaluable aid they afforded England, the triumph of its liberties was largely due. Without the stubborn opposition of Scotland, it is highly probable that Charles might have continued to trample upon his rebellious subjects in the south; and thus, as Buckle, Froude, and most modern historians cheerfully acknowledge, England owes a lasting debt of gratitude to Knox, to Melville, and to the champions and martyrs of the Covenant. ++*

The events that followed the outbreak of civil war in England, from August, 1642, when Charles raised the royal standard at Nottingham, until his defeat at Naseby, (June 14, 1645), hardly need particular reference here. Most readers are well aware of the essential service rendered by the Scots' army. It was they who turned the tide of victory against the King, and fought side by side with Fairfax and Cromwell at Marston Moor; and without their aid Naseby would not have left Charles hopeless and a fugitive to the land from which he sprang and which, through Wentworth and Laud, as well as by his own perfidy, he had so deeply outraged. The last battle of the war was, in fact, fought on Scottish ground. The chivalrous James Graham, Earl of Montrose, with his Highlanders, aided by a body of Irish, had defeated Lord Elcho at Tippermuir near Park, in the previous autumn. A victory at Kilsyth in 1645 had revived the drooping spirits of the Royalists, and for the moment placed Scotland in the power of Montrose. But on the 13th of September, four months after Naseby, Leslie defeated him utterly and irretrievably in the battle of Philiphaugh; and all was over. The only remaining episode was the landing of the second Charles, his treacherous dealings with the Scottish Church, and the signal defeat of the national forces by Cromwell at Dunbar. The inherited faithlessness of the Stuarts had induced Charles to take a false oath to the Covenant; the Scots fell into the trap and suffered for it. During the progress of the civil war, several important events had occurred, having a direct bearing upon the progress of Presbyterian principles. When Pym, in Mr. Green's words, "had resolved at last to fling the Scotch sword into the wavering balance, and in the darkest hour of the Parliament's cause," the first condition required by the Scots was "unity of religion." Accordingly, "in St. Margaret Church," says Dean Stanley, "beneath the shadow of Westminster Abbey, the Covenant was read from the pulpit article by article, in the presence of both houses of Parliament and of the Assembly of Divines. Every person in the congregation stood up with his right hand raised to Heaven, and took a pledge to observe it." This notable congregation vowed to "bring the Churches of God in the kingdom to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of church government, direction for worship and catechizing; that we and our posterity after us may live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to live in the midst of us; to extirpate Popery, prelacy, superstition, schism and profaneness, &c." ++** This agreement was the renowned Solemn League and Covenant. Of the effort to impose its terms by force it is only necessary to remark that it was in consonance with the arbitrary spirit of the age. Finally in 1648, the celebrated Westminster Assembly, which had met in the Jerusalem Chamber since 1643, presented the Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechism and the Directory of Public Worship which still constitute "the standards" of the Kirk of Scotland and the wide-spreading branches which have sprung from that common root.

From the Restoration in 1660, almost without pause, to the Revolution, Scotland passed through the fiery furnace of one of the most ruthless persecutions that ever disgraced one nation and tried the heroic faith and endurance of another. The Scottish Martyrs of the Covenant appear in no ecclesiastical calendar with the prefixed "St." of canonization; yet surely if there ever was a hagiology worthy of special prominence, it is that in which are enrolled those devoted witnesses and sufferers for conscience' sake in "auld Scotia." ++*** What Beaton had begun in the old time, and Laud continued under the first two Stuart monarchs of England, Lauderdale, Middleton, Sharp and Graham of Claverhouse finished after the Restoration. In perusing the bloody record of these terrible twenty-eight years, two powerful passions struggle for the mastery in any human soul - the one made up of horror, burning hatred and over-powering indignation at the brutal persecutions; the other of tender, pitying sympathy and intense admiration at the inspiring story of those who were so constant in faith, fervent in zeal, and heroic in life and unto death. It is exceedingly difficult to put forward any plea for Charles, and more especially for James, who was personally responsible for much of the brutality perpetrated - that will pass muster at the bar of posterity. Charles was not a zealot like Philip II or Mary Tudor; he could not claim the decent covering of religious conviction for his treatment of the Scots, since, from first to last, he was a profligate though by no means a heedless one. There was more method in his roystering madness than contemporaries gave him credit for. What his brother James did with the sour face of a bigot, and in a blundering style that proved his paternity, Charles, with easy and gentlemanly grace, could surpass. The elder brother wore the mask of comedy behind which the threatening grimace of evil passion was perpetually at work upon his countenance. James was not more arbitrary, more treacherous, or more cruel than his brother; but he wanted the vizor or the paint, and always appeared the brutal, sensual and unfeeling bigot that he was. Charles never had any religion at all, unless it were Hobbism which commended itself to his theory of divine right, or the other epicurean form of worship in which he was engaged on that fatal Sunday in February, 1685, when he enjoyed his last orgy at the palace with the Duchesses of Cleveland, Portsmouth and Mazarin. From it he retired to a dying bed, and made an arrangement with Heaven through the medium of

Father Huddlestone. Whether in Scotland or in England, his successor was an unmitigated ruffian; cruel for cruelty's sake, treacherous almost beyond the treachery even of a Stuart; perfidious, immoral, in every way base, but always on the surface a zealot, at heart either a conscious or unconscious hypocrite.

These were the men who hunted the simple-minded Covenanters of Scotland through the glens, over the passes, into the caves, where these pious Christian men and women had taken refuge, that they might worship the God of their fathers, in spirit, in truth, and, above all, in peace. Lauderdale, who contributed the final letter to the name of the infamous Cabal, was the chief agent in the work, after James had done his part. On one occasion, 8,000 Highlanders, of the wildest and most unruly clans, were let loose upon the entire south-western Lowlands, to murder, to rob, to torture and to outrage, as their savage natures bade them. In May, 1876, the world was excited over the atrocities of irregular troops in Bulgaria, not authorized certainly, but connived at and subsequently condoned by a semi-civilized power. But two centuries before, in Dumfries and Wigton especially, deeds were wrought by the agents of chivalrous and respectably veneered monarchs, in comparison with which the horrors of Batak and Philippopolis, sink to the common-place level of ordinary criminality. Nor was that all; for, behind the ruffianism of a brutal soldiery there sat, with a solemn show of justice, a bench of magistrates, whose names it would be grossly unfair to Jeffries and Scroggs to link together with theirs on the scroll of infamy. All the massacres and cruelties were not by any means the work of extra-legal agents. Every crime committed in Galloway, or elsewhere in the devoted district, was sanctioned by laws solemnly ordained by the Council, and enforced under such men as Claverhouse, in whose behalf much has been urged, and whose death at the moment of victory in the pass of Killiecrankie has done much to throw a glamour about his name. Prof. Aytoun has sung the praises of the Scottish cavaliers in the Jacobite resistance; but it would require infinitely more to redeem the memories of Dalyell, Lagg, Crighton, Bruce and Douglas from the posthumous hate with which they are weighted down amongst Scotsmen.

The plot, in fact, was of English manufacture, although its execution was entrusted to a packed Council, and a degenerate nobility. Puritanism was silent, but not inactive, in England; for amid the orgies of the Restoration period there reposed, in fitful and uneasy slumber, the earnest and quenchless spirit aroused during the Commonwealth. In Scotland and Ireland, however, as Mr. Green observes {p. 618), it seemed possible to undo the work, and once more to impose the yoke of absolutism, civil and ecclesiastical. By one statute, "the Drunken Parliament" repealed every Act passed during the previous eight-and-twenty years. The Covenant was abolished; the ordinary machinery of Church government shared the same fate as the General Assembly, which Cromwell had abolished in a fit of anger after Dunbar. Episcopacy re-appeared, and prelates sat again in Parliament. Under a monstrous perversion of the law of high treason, Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle, was beheaded by that ingenious instrument "the maiden," an anticipation of the guillotine, and a fresh proof of the execrable ingenuity which had already made "the boots" and the "thumbikins" to be the special delights of James. Argyle was the only noble opposed to arbitrary government, who appeared likely to be a leader in popular resistance, "the proto-martyr to religion since the Reformation," says Howie, "in a word, he had piety for a Christian, sense for a counsellor, courage for a martyr, and soul for a king." "If ever any was, he might be said to be a true Scotsman."+++* And now the crew who set themselves to the task of crushing the religion and freedom of a nation went to work in earnest. "The Government," says Mr. Green (p. 619) "was entrusted to a knot of profligate statesmen, who were directed by Lord Lauderdale, one of the ablest and most unscrupulous of the King's ministers, and their policy was steadily directed to the two purposes of humbling Presbyterianism - as the force which could alone restore Scotland to freedom, and enable her to lend aid, as before, to English liberty in any struggle with the Crown - and of raising a Royal army which might be ready, in case of trial, to march over the border to the King's support." Charles, who had the soundest head at his Councilboard, was no "idler and mere voluptuary;" on the contrary, he knew how to plot and plan the means of attaining the crooked ends he had in view.

At once the dogs of war were let loose upon the western Lowlands. The record of that fearful period has left a broad, black mark in history; but what is more to the present purpose, it has left unmistakable traces indelibly stamped upon the Scottish character. Englishmen look back with horror to the period of "bloody Mary," as she has perhaps, considering her unhappy life, been too harshly termed. But what were the handful of sufferers in the southern kingdom, as compared with the wholesale butchery, torture and outrage committed in the poor old realm of Scotland? The terrible story is related at length, in almost sickening fullness of detail, in Wodrow, upon whom Macaulay and most other authorities have drawn. In turning over those gloomy pages, one almost instinctively hopes that the chronicler may have grossly exaggerated the facts, and dipped his sombre landscape in Rembrandt tints to some extent for artistic effect. But alas! the truth is too dark in itself to be deepened by the resources of art. Defoe has left a record of the doings of Claverhouse and Douglas, with their "troopers, heritors, dragoons and Highlanders," when they swept Galloway from end to end in search of the hapless Covenanters. Those poor, pious, unoffending sufferers, for conscience sake, had been driven from their homes; they had been forced to worship on moors, in caves, or "among the thickets of woodland dells;" but even there the remorseless persecutors followed them. "This outrage," says Simpson of Sanquhar, "on the lives of the subjects was not committed by armed banditti on their own responsibility. It was committed by the regular military, by the license of the Government of the country." +++** He should rather have said, by the express command of James, whether as vice-regent or King, and of Sharp and Claverhouse. Many potentates have been permitted to live and rule, as scourges of mankind, but James II. was one of the few cruel and bloodthirsty men, high in place, to whom the spectacle of torture was a delight for its own sake. Many other monsters have plied the rack, the boots, the thumbscrew, and other diabolical contrivances of the sort; but the last Stuart attained the frightful eminence of positively gloating with delight over the feast of human suffering he had prepared. Buckle, no friend to the Kirk, in an eloquent passage, declaims with power and generous indignation against this royal miscreant. Speaking of his odious pleasure in witnessing torture, he says, "This is an abyss of wickedness into which even the most corrupt natures rarely fall." Men have often been indifferent to human suffering, and ready to inflict pain; "but to take delight in the spectacle is a peculiar and hideous abomination." When one contemplates James feasting his eyes, and revelling with fiendish joy, "over the agonies, the tears and groans of his victims, it makes one's flesh creep to think that such a man should have been the ruler of millions." Burnet relates that, although almost all the members of the Council offered to run away, when "the boots" were produced, James "looked on all the while with an unmoved indifference, and with an attention as if he had been to look on some curious experiment. This gave a terrible idea of him to all who observed it, as of a man who had no bowe1s nor humanity in him." Nor was the head of the hierarchy, Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, "a cruel, rapacious man" and an apostate to boot, far behind the Duke of York and Lauderdale in cruelty. Cardinal Beaton, alone of ecclesiastics in Scotland, can be compared with him for the intense hatred he excited in the breasts of an oppressed people; but, of the two, Sharp was unquestionably the meaner and the worse. In 1668, James Mitchell attempted to put him out of the way, and in 1679 he was murdered by John Balfour of Burley, and others, at Magus Muir, in Fifeshire, with a cruelty only to be palliated in consideration of the despairing rage and madness of the times. In 1666, the poor Covenanters made a hopeless effort at resistance, but were easily crushed at the Pentland Hills. After Sharp's assassination, the chief actors collected a small force which defeated the cavalry of Claverhouse, and made them temporarilly masters of Glasgow. But this slight success at Drumclog was in vain; they had mustered 8,000 men, but were finally routed by Monmouth at Bothwell Brig, on the Clyde, at midsummer, 1679.

Reference has already been made to John Graham, the "bluidy Claverhouse," as he is still called in every peasant home in the South of Scotland. No historic figure comes out with greater clearness of outline in the annals of Scotland; he finds panegyrists in the poetry of Aytoun, and the prose of Scott; yet neither the author of The Lays of the Cavaliers, nor the matchless artist who drew Dundee's portrait at full length in Old Mortality, can reverse the sober and deliberate verdict of history or efface the dark and fearful image of the man which fills a skeleton closet of its own in every Lowland heart. Those who choose may dwell upon the chivalrous devotion and unquestioned courage of Claverhouse, or the glorious death which became him better than almost anything else in his life; yet the influence of his career from first to last was undoubtedly pernicious and malign. After both uprisings in 1666 and 1679 his dragoons were set to their bloody work. Defoe relates that these men, "forming themselves into a great army, spread themselves from one side of the whole country to another, having their men placed marching singly at a great distance, but always one in sight of the other; so marching forward everyone straight before him, they by this means searched the rocks, rivers, woods, wastes, mountains, mosses, and even the most private and retired places of the country, where they thought we were hidden; so that it was impossible anything could escape them. And yet so true were the mountain men, as their persecutors called them, to one another, that in that famous march they found not one man, though many a good man, perhaps with trembling heart and hands lifted up to Heaven for protection, saw them, and were passed by them undisturbed." But in the inhabited country the slaughter was great. The same author says that Claverhouse alone killed over a hundred "in cold blood, making it his business to follow and pursue poor people through the whole country, and having at his heels a crew of savages, highlanders and dragoons whose sport was in blood, and whose diversion was to haul innocent men from their houses or hiding-places and murther them." Many were slain whose names and memories perished with them and "multitudes of graves are discernible in the wilds, of which no account can be given further than that they are the graves of the martyrs." Many perished of fatigue, cold and hunger, whose bones " were found bleaching on the moors after the troublesome times had passed away." It is impossible now to realize, in anything like their fearful truth, the horrors of that terrible persecution. But even that does not exhaust the tale. In addition to the work of military butchery, the civil power was perpetrating deeds of kindred wickedness under the forms of law. In the works before cited, the muster-roll of Scotland's martyrs and their piteous story may be read at length. Macaulay cites a few cases in his fourth chapter such as those of John Brown, "the Christian carrier," +++*** Gillies and Bryce. But the most touching story of all is the drowning of Margaret McLauchlan and Margaret Wilson, the former an aged widow, the latter, a poor girl of eighteen, a farmer's daughter of Wigtonshire. Their offence was that they had refused to take the oath abjuring "The Apologetic Declaration" of the Cameronians; their sentence, to be tied to stakes near the sea-shore and so drowned by the rising tide in the water of Blednoch, an inlet of the Solway. The widow died first being further from shore and then occurred the pathetic death-scene of the simple maid which touched the chords of many a heart after a lapse of nearly two centuries. The meek, untroubled calmness of the martyr, the gibes of the troopers, the fruitless efforts to induce her to recant; and the steadfast courage which made her victorious in death are not to be read of unmoved. The maiden's devotions at that trying hour, the Presbyterian simplicity that strikes one so forcibly in its manner and order - the Psalm (xxv, 7) in the Scottish version:

"Let not the errors of my youth,
Nor sins remembered be;
In mercy for thy goodness’ sake,
O Lord remember me, &c."

- the chapter and the prayer which was ended by a benediction from no earthly priest, but came to that pure devout heart from Heaven itself, all the circumstances seemed to shed a halo of celestial light upon the maiden martyr’s brow as she sinks beneath the wave to realize the beatific vision of which she fancied she had caught a glimpse on earth.

An attempt has thus been made to indicate, rather than trace in detail, the rise and progress of the Presbyterian faith in Scotland. It has not been possible, even were it relevant, to refer particularly to the many noble confessors, preachers or sufferers of that faith. Many names will occur to the reader of Scottish history, which ought to find a place in a systematic account of its religion, such as those of Richard Cameron, Samuel Rutherford, Alexander Henderson, Alexander Peden, Patrick Simpson, James Guthrie and James Reinwick. But the present purpose being to examine the influences which have made the Scot at home or abroad what he is, it seems sufficient to indicate these influences as they have moulded national character. Upon the merits of the creed or form of church government no opinion must be advanced, still as the question has often been raised, notably by Mr. Buckle, it seems well, in concluding this chapter, to inquire whether, on the whole, the church has been a benefit to the Scottish people and through them to the world. With purely aesthetical pleas, it is not necessary to deal; but charges of violence and intolerance have been made against the Reformers and of narrowness, bigotry, acerbity and over-bearing interference with freedom of opinion and with social life in its amenities and amusements. Dean Stanley in his Lectures has made some reference to the rather savage onslaught of Buckle; and the Church has been well defended from most of those charges by its authorized exponents. The writer of the unfinished History of Civilization laboured under the capital defect of not being able, from want of knowledge and want of sympathy, to understand and appreciate the religious character of the Scottish people. He can defend Knox and even Melville, execrate the Stuarts, Sharp, Lauderdale and the other agents of oppression; but, strangely enough, appears to suppose that after the Revolution, the sternness of the discipline, the contracted views of human life and destiny which he attributes to the clergy, and the robust piety of Covenanting times should have been mellowed all of a sudden and that the fiery rays which illumined the centuries of struggle and suffering should have been toned down as though it had entered " the studious cloisters pale" through

"Storied windows sickly dight,
Casting a dim religious light."

National character is not modified by legislative unions; it may pass through vicissitudes which rub off its angles and divert the forces which together constitute its energy; but at bottom the race, and especially the religion of the race, where it has been forced into prominence, as in Scotland, is seldom altered radically. The characteristics of the people may take eccentric turns to all appearance; but they are obedient to law, and that most certain and unerring of all laws, heredity. The first instinct of the Scottish nature, wherever found, is the love of freedom, of action, of thrift, linked closely with a strong and earnest moral sense, and a deep reverence for the Maker and Giver of all that is good. Sydney Smith’s celebrated mot about the obtusity of the Scot’s head to pleasantry, is plainly absurd, if, by a joke he meant anything but that sort of sharp, verbal sleight-of-hand that passes for what is called wit. The Scot is a born humorist, full of quiet, paukie, good-natured fun, not often found so universally diffused amongst all classes of any people. Dean Ramsay’s entertaining Reminiscences show, and it was necessary, to all appearance, that it should be shown, that so far from the Scot being the slave of his minister, as Buckle seems to think, the minister was his slave, his butt occasionally, and always merely his representative in sacred things.

Democracy in Scotland was the fruit of long centuries of painful effort. It involved ages of struggle, endurance, sorrow and suffering; and to suggest that Scotland is "priest-ridden," in even a greater degree than Spain, is a paradox which disconcerted Mr. Buckle, but never suggested to him the possibility that his selected data and the conclusions he had determined to infer in advance, were altogether fallacious. Mr. Froude has well remarked that the Scottish people are not so gloomy as the philosophical historian would have us believe; indeed their literature, no less than their daily life, proves that they are not oppressed by the alleged gloom of Calvinistic doctrine or pulpit denunciation. That the clergy "thought more of duty than of pleasure," one might expect; but that simply shows that their over-exuberance of animal spirits appeared to religious minds to require rebuke.*+* Calvinism, whatever doctrinal or philosophical value it may have as a dogmatic principle, cannot exert an injurious effect upon a strong-headed, energetic, earnest and enterprising people. The Turk may be a fatalist, and the Scot may be a predestinarian; but in the one case there is the despondency and sluggishness which dispose to inaction, in the other, the virtue and energy of a race are nerved to action by a strong moral and religious impetus gathered by honest and free action, through many generations, as well as an inexorable sense of duty which forms a feature in the national type, and is inseparable from it. The Turk leaves all to destiny; the Scot, according to the injunction of the great Apostle, " makes his calling and election sure."

The illiberality of "the Kirk" is often insisted upon; but what would have become of the liberties of Scotland and England also, and measurably of the world, if Knox had spoken soft words to poor Mary Stuart, or Melville had picked phrases when he bearded her son? **+* How, when the Stuarts harried the Lowlands, could the people, physically helpless and under the heel of oppression, have endured like true disciples of their Master until the end, if a strong faith, stern and sharply defined, had not inspired and made heroes of them? It is a subject of complaint that Scottish religion is Judaic, and reverts unduly to the Old Testament; what could you expect of those who have experienced, under a new dispensation, the trials, reverses, and triumphs of Moses, David, Elijah, Josiah and all the sacred seers or leaders of the olden time? What it concerns us here to note is that their ancestral faith has made honest and God-fearing men of the Scots. There are bad men of Scottish birth, and a bad Scot, like an unworthy woman, is sure to appear in an aggravated form of wickedness - a result partly flowing from the exalted pattern set before him, and partly from a comparison we are apt to make between the pure and good and those who, through despair or reckless indifference, have drifted from their moorings, out upon the dark sea of vice and impiety.

Where a high standard of morals is kept before a people, and especially where it is reinforced by the solemn sanctions of a rigid and commanding creed, it is inevitable that those who leave the strict and narrow path shall wander far astray. But that is not the normal action of the Scottish religion. Inherited through centuries, its beneficient and healthy influences remain in the form of strong earnestness, a deep sense of duty, high aims and an unfaltering confidence in God and morality, whether in principle or in life. Dean Stanley quotes two testimonies to the high worth of the Scottish character from an outside point of view. The first relates to the Covenanters. "The soldiers of the Cameronian regiment," who, says one being among them, but not of them, "are strictly religious, and make the war a part of their religion, and convert State policy into points of conscience. They fight as they pray, and they pray as they fight. They may be slain; never conquered. Many have lost their lives; few or none ever yielded. Whenever their duty or their religion calls them to it, they are always unanimous and ready with undaunted spirit and great enterprises, despise dangers, and bravely rush to death or victory. ***+* In 1736, when John Wesley visited the Darien settlement of Scots, and was greatly shocked at the absence of a liturgy and of daily church services, "yet," he says, "it must be owned that in all instance of personal or social duty, this people utterly shames our countrymen. In sobriety, industry, frugality, patience, in sincerity and openness of behaviour, in justice and mercy of all kinds, being not content with exemplary kindness and friendliness to one another, but extending it to the utmost of their ability to every stranger that comes within their gates. ++**+ These testimonies to the essential worth of the Scottish character might be multiplied to any extent. The industry, enterprise and thrift of the Scot informed and sustained by sterling probity, sensitive pride, independence, self-respect, and an abiding regard to duty for its own sake, have made him an inestimable power for good all the world over. Individual Scotsmen may have renounced the faith of their ancestors; but they can no more divest themselves of the inherited traits of character they owe to their country’s religious history, than they can change their form and features, or the colour of their skin. The inestimable qualities, social and industrial, which have made the people of Scotland so prominent in almost every land in which they have settled, are the accumulated results of many ages of poverty, hardship, toil and suffering, and cannot be effaced by volition or effort. But the greatest factor of all in any right estimate of that character, and its value in colonists to British North America or elsewhere, is the moral bent it has acquired through centuries of severe discipline, and that is in the main due to the religious element which has formed the backbone of Scottish history during the last three hundred years. On that account, it has appeared necessary to enter at some length into the great struggles out of which the national genius of the Scot emerged, and became what it now is everywhere found to be.

* "My own conviction with respect to all great social and religious convulsions is the extremely commonplace one that much is to be said on both sides. I believe that nowhere, and at no time, can any such struggle take place on a large scale, unless each party is contending for something that has a great deal of truth in it. Where the right is plain, honest, wise and noble-minded men are all on one side; and only rogues and fools are on the other. Where the wise and good are divided, the truth is generally found to be divided between them." Froude: The Influence of the Reformation on the Scottish Character a lecture in "Short Studies on Great Subjects." First series. Amer. Edit., p. 103.

** Lecky: England in the Eighteenth Century. Amer. Ed. Vol. II. p. 47. It "must be acknowledged that a large part of the credit of the movement in favour of education belongs to the Church which preceded the Reformation; nor is any fact in Scotch history more remarkable than the noble enthusiasm for knowledge which animated that Church during the fifteenth century." Ibid.

*** "From the see of St Peter to the far monasteries in the Hebrides or the Isle of Arran, the laity were shocked and scandalized at the outrageous doings of high cardinals, prelates, priests and monk. It was clear enough that these great personages themselves did not believe what they taught; so why should the people believe it?" Froude (as above), p. 106.

+ "In this it was that the Reformation in Scotland differed from the Reformation in any other part of Europe. Elsewhere it found a middle class existing - created already by trade or by other causes. It raised and elevated them, but it did not materially affect their political condition. In Scotland, the commons, as an organized body, were simply created by religion. Before the Reformation they had no political existence; and therefore it has been that the fruit of their origin has gone so deeply into their social constitution. On them, and them only, the burden of the work of Reformation was eventually thrown; and when they triumphed at last, it was inevitable that both they and it should react one upon the other." Froude (as before), p. 108. To this peculiar feature in the Scottish Reformation, may no doubt be traced the democratic constitution of the Scottish Church.

++ The Scots Worthies: By John Howie. Edinburgh, 1870, p. 9.

+++ According to Howie, Wishart is reported to have said, just before his death: "This flame hath scorched my body, yet it hath not daunted my spirit; but he who, from yonder place, beholdeth us with such pride, shall, within a few days, lie in the same as ignominiously as he is now seen proudly to rest himself." (p. 30.) The fact of this reported saying has been seriously questioned; it has been represented as prophecy, but it is certain that the plot to take off the Cardinal was entered into a year before Wishart’s death.

*+ "This independence of the Scottish Church belongs in fact to the independence of the Scottish race. It was nurtured, if not produced, by the long struggle first of Wallace, then of Bruce, which gave to the whole character of the people a defiant self-reliance, such as, perhaps, is equally impressed on no other kingdom in Europe." Dean Stanley; Lectures on the History of the Church of Scotland. (Am. Ed.) p. 70.

*++ "I know of nothing finer in Scottish history than the way in which the commons of the Lowlands took their places by the side of Knox in the great convulsions which followed. If all other forsook him, they at least would never forsake him while tongue remained to speak and hand remained to strike. Broken they might have been, trampled out, as the Huguenots at last were trampled out in France, had Mary been less than the most. improvident or the most unlucky of sovereigns. But Providence, or those with whom they had to deal, fought for them." Froude, p. 112. Even Mr. Buckle, no friend to the Scottish Church, speaks in glowing terms of this turn in affairs, because it eventually produced the happiest results, by keeping alive, at a critical moment, the spirit of liberty." History of Civilization, Vol. III. 681.

*+++ Lecky: History of England, &c., Vol. II, p.48.

**+ "The only powerful noblemen who remained on the Protestant side were Lennox, Morton and Mar. Lord Lennox was a poor creature, and was soon despatched; Mar was old and weak; and Morton was an unprincipled scoundrel who used the Reformation only as a stalking horse, to win the spoils which he had clutched in the confusion, and was ready to desert the cause at any moment, if the balance of advantage shifted. Even the ministers of the Kirk were fooled and flattered over. Maitland told Mary Stuart, that he had gained them all except one. John Knox alone defied both his threats and his persuasion.. Good reason has Scotland to be proud of Knox. He only, in this wild crisis, saved the Kirk which he had founded, and saved with it Scottish and English freedom. But for Knox and what he was still able to do, it is almost certain that the Duke of Alva's army would have landed on the eastern coast," Froude, p.114.

**++Carlyle, in The Portrait of John Knox (p. 180), speaks of the great Reformer as one who "kindled all Scotland within a few years, almost within a few months, into perhaps the noblest frame of sacred human zeal, and brave determination to believe only what it found completely believable, and to defy the whole world and the devil at its back, in unsubduable defiance of the same." This is the master's view of his character; "Knox, you can well perceive, in all his writings, and in all his ways of life, was emphatically of Scottish build; eminently a national specimen; in fact what we might denominate the most Scottish of Scots, and to this day typical of all the qualities which belong nationally to the very choicest Scotsmen we have known, or had clear record of - utmost sharpness of discernment and discrimination, courage enough and what is still better, no particular consciousness of courage, but in all simplicity to do and dare whatsoever is commanded by the inward voice of native manhood; on the whole a beautiful and simple, but complete incompatibility with whatever is false in word or conduct; inexorable contempt and detestation of what in modern speech is called humbug. Nothing hypocritical, foolish or untrue can find harbour in this man; a pure, and mainly silent tenderness of affection is in him, touches of genial humour are not wanting under his severe austerity; an occasional growl of sarcastic indignation against malfeasance, falsity and stupidity; indeed secretly an extensive fund of that disposition, kept mainly silent, though inwardly in daily exercise; a most clear-cut, hardy, distinct and effective man; fearing God, and without any other fear." Carlyle; Portrait of Knox, p. 181.

**+++ Dean Stanley, Lectures, p.49.

+* After referring to the furious effort made by Laud, James remarks: "For all this be feared not mine anger, but assaulted me again with another ill-fangled platform to make that stubborn Kirk stoop more to the English pattern. But I durst not play fast and loose with my soul. He knows not the stomach of that people. But I ken the story of my grandmother, the Queen Margaret, that after she was inveigled to break her promise made to some mutineers at a Perth meeting, she never saw ‘good day,’ but from thence, being much beloved, was despised by all the people." Hackett’s Life of Williams, p. 14, quoted by Dean Stanley: Lectures, p. 80. Perhaps James had received this story from the preacher. In 1583, when they "bade him take heed what he was about, and reminded him that no occupant of the throne had ever prospered, when the ministers began to threaten him." Buckle, vol. III., p. 104.

+** " The person whose fervent zeal was most conspicuous on that occasion was a humble female who kept a cabbage stall at the Town Kirk, and who was sitting near the reading desk. Greatly excited at the Dean's presumption, this female, whose name was Janet Geddes - a name familiar in Scotland as a household word, exclaimed, at the top of her voice, ‘Villain, dost thou say mass at my lug,' and suiting the action to the word, launched the cutty-stool on which she had been sitting at his hood, ‘intending,' as a contemporary remarks, ‘to have given him a ticket of remembrance,' but jouking became his safe-guard at that time." Rev. James Anderson: The Ladies of the Covenant, Introd. p. xix. It is added in a note that Janet long survived this incident and kept her cabbage stall so late as 1661. Reference is made to Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time, Vol. I. p. 92, and Vol. II. p. 30.

+*** "It was in the Greyfriars’ Church at Edinburgh, that it was first received, on February 28, 1638. The aged Earl of Sutherland was the first to sign his name. Then the whole congregation followed. Then it was laid on the first gravestone still preserved in the church-yard. Men and women crowded to add their names. Some wept aloud others wrote their names in their own blood; others added after their names ‘till death.’ For hours they signed, till every corner of the parchment was filled, and only room left for their initials, and the shades of night alone checked the continual flow. From Greyfriar’s church-yard it spread to the whole of Scotland. Gentlemen and noblemen carried copies of it in their portmanteaus and pockets, requiring and collecting subscriptions publicly and privately. Women sat in church all day and all night, from Friday till Sunday, in order to receive the Communion with it. None dared to refuse their names. The general panic, or the general contagion caught those whom one should least expect. The chivalrous Montrose, the gay Charles II., the holy and enlightened Leighton, were constrained to follow in the universal rush. Dean Stanley: Lectures, p. 84.

++* See an eloquent passage in Buckle, Vol.iii. pp., 112-114, from which there is only space for a sentence or two: - "It is also well known that, in the struggle, the English were greatly indebted to the Scotch, who had, moreover, the merit of being the first to lift their hand against the tyrant. What, however, is less known, but is inadvertently true is, that both nations owe a debt they can never repay to those bold men who, during the latter part of the sixteenth century, disseminated, from their pulpits and assemblies, sentiments which the people cherished in their hearts, and which, at a fitting moment, they reproduced to the dismay and eventually to the destruction of those who threatened their liberties," See also Froud,'s Lecture (Short Studies, pp.118-121), and McCrie; Life of Melville, i, p. 302.

++** Dean Stanley: Lectures, pp. 84, 85. Green’s Short History, P. 534.

++*** See Macaulay: History of England, Vol. I. chaps. ii. and iv. Howle: Scot's Worthies. Simpson: The Banner of the Covenant. Anderson: The Ladies of the Covenant. Also The Cloud of Witnesses, and the individual biographies and Church histories treating of the time.

+++* See Howie's biograph of Argyle in Scots Worthies, pp. 242-257, and the account of Margaret, his Marchioness, in Ladies of the Covenant, p. 83.

+++** The Banner of the Covenant, p. 17.

+++*** Macaulay, quoting Wodrow, states that Brown's widow cried out to Claverhouse in her agony, - for the latter, in a rage at not finding an executioner had shot him dead like a dog - "Well, sir, well; the day of reckoning will come." His reply was, "To man I can answer for what I have done; and as for God I will take Him into my own hands."

*+* "Among other good qualities, the Scots have been distinguished for humour - not for venomous wit, but for kindly, genial humour which half loves what it laughs at - and this alone shows clearly enough that those to whom it belongs have not looked too exclusively on the gloomy side of the world. I should rather say that the Scots had been an unusually happy people. Intelligent industry, the honest doing of daily work, with a sense that it must be done well, under penalties; the necessaries of life moderately provided for; and a sensible content with the situation of life in which men are born - this through the week, and at the end of it the "Cotter's Saturday Night" - the homely family, gathered reverently and peacefully together, and irradiated with a sacred presence. Happiness! such happiness as we are likely to know upon this world, will be found there, if any where." Froude: Short Studies, p. 120.

**+* Suppose the Kirk had been the broad, liberal, philosophical, intellectual thing which some people think it ought to have been, how would it have fared in that crusade; how altogether would it have encountered those surplices of Archbishop Laud or those dragoons of Claverhouse: It is hard to lose one’s life for a ‘perhaps,’ and philosophical belief at the bottom means a ‘perhaps,’ and nothing more. For more than half of the seventeenth century, the battle had to be fought out in Scotland, which, in reality, was the battle between liberty and despotism; and where, except in an intense, burning conviction that they were maintaining God’s cause against the Devil, could the poor Scottish people have found strength for the unequal struggle which was forced upon them?" Froude: (as before) p. 118.

***+* Burton, vii. 460.

++**+ Wesley’s MS. Journal, "communicated by the kindness of Dr. Rigg." Stanley; Lectures, p. 157.


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