A CRACK ABOOT THE KlRK FOE KINTRA FOLK.
Saunders. Are ye gaun to lee' the Kirk, John?
John. Deed, Saunders, I am no vera keen about
it; are ye gaun to lee't yoursel'?
S. No yet, I am thinkin'; what for should I? I
ha'e been an elder in't for twenty years come the winter sawcrament, and
it's no a waur Kirk but a hantle better ane syn' I cam' till't, and until
it gets waur, I'll bide and end my days in't, and if it gets waur, I can
aye lee't whan I like.
J. Ye'll no ha'e heerd the deputations I'se
S. Wha me?
Did I no! if we are no wise it's no for want o' tellin.' It puts my auld
head in confusion a' this steer!
J. They're surely desperat' keen o' the
fechtan thae ministers wi' a' their crack about britherly love and peace!
S. Ye may say sae John, but
ye ken, as the auld sayin' haes't, "the best men are but men at the best."
J. Na', that's a truth! But pity me, could
they no maun to reform the kirk withoot sic a bizz? sic a fetchin' in
sessions, presbyteries, synods, and assemblies. Na, tha'll no do, thae
maun ha'e a Convention like the Chartists.
S. A Convocation, John.
J. Weel, weel, it's no the richt Parliament,
that's a'. And that's no eneuch, for they maun haud meetin's every ither
day in their ain parishes, and ower and aboon, they maun tak' their
neebours' parishes in hand. Na, they're no dune yet, for they maun ha'e
committees o' a' the impudent, speaking, fashious, conceited chiels, that
are aye first and foremost in every steer; and tae keep them hett, they're
aye bleezing at their. wi' circulars, newspapers, and addresses, and gif
ony o' them change their mind, be he minister or man, or daur to think for
himsel', he is cry'd doon for a' that's bad and wicked! Na, it's desperate
Deed, John, the speerit that's abroad 's gien me unco concern for the
welfare o' the Kirk o' Scotland, but mair especially for the Church o'
Christ in the land. It's richt that men should ha'e their ain opinions,
and if they think them gude, to haud them up and spread them in a richt
and Christian way; but this way the ministers ha'e enoo o' gaun to work, I
carina persuade mysel' is in accordance wi' the speerit o' the apostles,
wha gied themselves wholly tae prayer and the preaching o' the word, and
were aye thankful' whan they had liberty to do baith, and wha said that
"the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle towards all men,"
and "that tho' we should gi'e our bodies to he burned, we were nothing,
unless we had that love that thinketh no evil, that beareth all things,
that hopeth all things."
J. They put me in mind o' bees bummin' and
fleeing aboot and doin' little wark, and makin' nae kame in their ain
skaip just afore castin', or like thae writer bodies at an election gaun
gallopin' aboot the kintra, keepin' the steam up wi' speeehes, and
newspapers, till the poll be bye.
S. I canna weel understaun't, for there are
gude gude men amang them. They are surely sair mislaid? for nae doot they
think they're richt. I think that pledging way is a sad snare tae the
conscience; it baith keeps a man frae seein' that he's wrang, or when he
sees himsel' wrang, frae puttin' himsel' richt.
J. It wad he Faither Matthews, maybe, that pit
that plan in their head?
S. Oo, the men are perfect sincere, and gaun
aboot, doubtless, to pit folk in mind o' what they think their duty, and
o' their richts and preeveleges.
J. Sincere! It's nae comfort tae me tae tell
me whan a man's gaun to cut my throat that he's sincere; and as tae
stirrin' up the folk to mind their ain richts, they needna think that
necessar', for if the folk are wronged, they'll fin't oot wi' oot the
ministers tellin' them. If a man has a sair leg or a sick body ye needna
keep prokin' at him and roarin' in his lug a' day that he's no weel; or if
he's in jail, or turned oot o' his hoose tae. the streets, ye needna be
threepin' doon his throat that he canna be comfortable, he kens that
better than you ; but if ye get haud o' a nervish need waik body a doctor
can persuade him that he's deean, and mak' him ruin himsel' wi' pooders
and bottles ; and if he's hett tempered and proud, a Chartist can, maybe,
persuade him that he's a slave, and hound wi' airns. Noo, a' this mischief
comes frae gabby speakers wha mak' the evil, and then lee' decent folk tae
ower hett on't yerself, John, I con see gude on baith sides, and
difficulties on a' and muckle tae reform, tho' no eneuch tae destroy ; hut
here comes the Dominie and Will Jamieson, the tailor, alang the road, and
ye's get it noo. lad, for ye're in the hands o' the Philistines.
J. I am but a plain weever, Saunders, and no
fit tae argue wi' the Dominie, tho' I carena about stickin' up tae Will,
for him and me has mony a fecht at ineal hours about this Non-Intrusion;
but ye're an elder o' the kirk, and should staun' up for't. Let us sit
doon on the brigg here, it's a grand place for a crack.
Dominie Good day, Alexander—good day, John.
S. & J. Gude day tae ye baith.
Will. Ye'll be at yer auld wark, nae doot,
haudin' up the Kirk?
J. An' ye'll be at yer auld wark, pullin't doon?
S. Indeed, John and me war' jist cracking
aboot our auld Kirk, and he thinks ye're gaun tae ding it doon a'
J. Na, I
ken naething about it, Maister. Am unco concerned for its walfare, and me
and Saunders are muckle o' ae mind that there's something far wrang
whae'er haes the blame
D. You may say so, John; they are surely far
wrong when Ministers of the Gospel can he forced upon reclaiming
congregations against the will of the people; when the civil power can
interfere with the Church in the discharge of her spiritual duties; when
the State, not Christ, assumes to be head of the Church. When all power of
exercising Church discipline is taken from her, surely, then, Ichabod,
"the glory is departed," may be written upon her walls!
Will. An' the ministers maun gang noo tae the
Court o' Session tae get a text for their sermons, and tae sea wha's tae
be let into the communion table, for nae minister nor elder can cheep noo
unless wi' their bidding, and—
J. That's a wheen blethers, Will! an' it's aye
your way to run aff wi' the harrows. S. Stap noo lads, dinna begin the
fechtin' like twa dogs ower a bane. But I wad like, Mr. Brown, tae hear
your opinion anent this question. Ye ha'e mentioned mony a bad thing (as
ye say) that's come tae the Kirk, an' it's no easy to pick a' the threeds
out o' sic a ravelled hank, but gif the tae half was true o' what ye say,
I wadna stay in the Kirk anither sabbath, unless we could get things
mended! But either o' us are far mistaken. But first o' a', what think ye
o' the Non-Intrusion question?
D. I think that no man should be minister in
any parish contrary to the will of the people. I thought this question was
settled in the mind of every good man.
S. Do ye mean that nae man should be a
minister o' a parish if the folk jist say they'll no ha'e him, wi'oot
gi'en rhyme or reason, wi'oot sayin' why or wherefore, wi'oot sayin'
black's yer e'e or ought against him!
D. Just so, if the Christian people say no—no
it must he. For who dare say yes?
S. That was aye the opinion
o' the Dissenters, but I ne'er kent that it was the law o' the Kirk, so
that it couldna be a Kirk at a' wi'oot it.
D. It it the law ; read from First and Second
Books of Discipline.
S. I ha'e read them, an' I
couldna see that law in them; at least, if it was in them I ne'er kent the
state had agreed till't.
Will. Tak' oot yer Books o' Discipline,
Maister, and read the bits tae Saunders, he an' the like o' him are keepit
canna be in darkness wi' sic a new light as you, Wull; tho' I am afeard
ye'll prove but a penny dip after a'!
D. Here are the Books of Discipline. Let us
look at them; there is the first book,. chap, iv.,—"It appertaineth to the
people and every several congregation to elect their minister."
S. There was nae Pawtronage
then at a', it seems.
D. No, there was not in the Protestant Church,
and the people had a right to elect their minister; but, if within forty
days they did not exercise this right, the superintendent and his counsel—
J. He was a kind o' Bishop,
I tak' it.
mind—but he presented, after examination, a minister to the vacant
congregation. Now, observe these words,—"altogether this is to be avoided,
that any man be violently intruded or thrust upon any congregation;"
there, ye see, is the Non-Intrusion in the First Book of Discipline.
S. Let me see't, sir. But what say ye, Mr.
Brown, to the rest o' the passage? It's no fair the way you Non-Intrusionists
aye stop at that part o' the sentence, for it gangs on to say,—" But
violent intrusion we call not when the counsel of the Church, in the fear
of God, and for the salvation of the people, offereth unto them a
sufficient man to* instruct them, whom they shall not be forced to admit
before just examination." An' quite richt that, but see, they daurna
reject this man wi'oot "just and sufficient reason," for it says, " that
they shall be compelled, by the censure of the counsel and church, to
receive the person appointed and approved by the judgment of the godly and
J. That's no your kind o'
Non-Intrusion, Will; there can be nae reasons in your liberty-line?
S. But they tell me this First Buke o'
Discipline was ne'er agreed tae by the State: that it was just made by the
Kirk whan she was in the voluntary way, an' whan she might mak' what laws
she liked wi'oot losing her Establishment, for she wasna established at
Will. Tak' him,
Mr. Brown, then, tae the Second Book o' Discipline, if this ane 'ill do
there can he little doubt what the mind of the. Church was in reference to
Non-Intrusion when that book was composed. In chap. xii. it is declared
"the liberty of the election of persons called to the ecclesiastical
functions, and observed without interruption so long as the Kirk was not
corrupted by antichrist, we desire to be restored and retained within this
realm. So that none be intruded upon any congregation either by the Prince
or any inferior persons without lawful election, and the assent of the
people over whom the person is placed, as the practice of the apostolical
and primitive Kirk, and good order, craves. And, because this order which
God's word craves cannot stand with patronage and presentation to
benefices used in the Pope's kirk, &c., &c, and for so much as that manner
of proceeding has no ground in the word of God, but is contrary to the
same, and to the said liberty of election, they ought not now to have
place in this light of reformations." So, you see, that patronage is
"against the word of God," "flows from the Pope's church," and cannot
stand with the liberty of election and of consent which the people should
dae ye surely, Saunders?
S. I see the teetle o' that chapter is
"Certain special Heads o' Reformation which we crave." But I ha'e been
telt, and ne'er heard it contradicted, that the State ne'er gied them this
Second Book of Discipline was agreed to by the State.
S. But no this bit o't, for surely wi' a' they
say against pawtronage they tuik it?
J. I'se warrant they wadna tak' Kirk wi' sic
an unholy thing,—did they, Maister?
D. Why—why, I believe they did.
J. Did they fac'. an' yet they say that what
ye ca' Non-Intrusion couldna statin' wi't!
Will. But do ye no see that if they hadna
ta'en the Kirk wi' patronage then, they couldna ha'e got a Kirk
established at a'?
I see that as weel as you. I see they couldna keep Non-Intrusion in ane
hand and Establishment in the ither; that these couldna staun' thegither;
but were they no gleg tae hand a grip o' a' gude establishment wi' manses,
glebes, and stipends, wi'oot Non-Intrusion, than to ha'e a voluntary Kirk
wi'oot patronage,—that's what they should dae yet.
D. They cannot do it ; for even though
Non-Intrusion (as it is in the Books of Discipline) might not have been
agreed to by the State,—tho' I say it was—it is yet in the Word of God,
and that is enough for me,—for the Church rests her claims, not on her
Books of Discipline only, but also on the immovable foundation of the Word
S. I am verra
dootfu' aboot this way o' fatherin' ilka thing that conies into ane's head
on the Word; I ne'er could see ae way o' Kirk government in the Word o'
D. What! you an
elder who have in the most solemn manner declared that you believe the
Presbyterian form of Church government to be agreeable to the Word of God!
you to speak thus?
Aye! agreeable tae the speerit o' the Word, but maybe no found in the
letter o' the Word.
D. But can you think that the great Head would leave no directions to His
Church as to its government?
S. Directions! there's nae doubt he has left
directions; he has telt us that the field o' our wark is the world, that
the seed is to be sawn, and he has appointed ministers and office-bearers
for the sawing o' the seed, and all is to be dune that much fruit may be
brought forth to the glory o' God; but I quastion if He has gien verra
preceese directions aboot the way the workmen in the vineyard are to be
appointed, or aboot a' the various kinds o' instruments, the pleughs, the
harrows, that are to be used for cultivating the field, or for workin't,
sae that it may bring forth a gude crap.
Will. That's queer doctrine! Did he no tell
Moses that a' things were to be made accordin' to the pattern gien him on
speakin' aboot moses, Ise warrant he was obliged to mak' a' things
accordin' tae the pattern because he got ane! aye, a pattern o' the verra
candlesticks, and o' their nobs! And doe ye no think that God could hae
gien as preceese a pattern o' the Christian Kirk if it had been his wull,
that there should be ae form for the whole world? or as Saunders would
say, If every field and every soil was just to be ploughed, harrowed, and
sawn doon in the same way?
Will. I would think, John, the truth wad be
truth in every part; that if a thing was true in Scotland, it wad be true
in every ither part o' the world.
J. I would think sae tae, Will, but we are no
speakin' aboot the truth, but aboot the way o' getten't, and it doesna
hinder a man to get the truth as weel as you, tho' he doesna clap on your
specks tae see't!
But, Alexander, I think it is hardly possible for any unprejudiced man to
read the New Testament, and not to see clear intimations of the will of
the great Head of the Church, in reference to the right inherent in its
members to elect their pastors; or at all events, to exercise such an
influence in their selection, as to prevent anyone being placed over them
without his first being tried by the people.
S. I canna say, Mr. Brown, that I ever saw
that very clearly set doon in the word o' God; whar do ye find't?
D. In the history we have of the election of
an Apostle, and of a Deacon, and in the commands which are given to the
Christian people, to beware of false prophets, to try the spirits;
examples which if followed, and commands which if obeyed, are utterly
inconsistent with any view of Church Government but the one recognised by
the popular parry in the church of Scotland. J. That's a' verra full text
that ye hae, maister.
Will. Break it doon for them, and gie them't
in parts then ; begin wi' the election o' the Apostles and Deacons.
D. That's easily done, and I candidly think
ought to convince. We have an account of the election of an apostle in the
first chapter of the Acts. It is there said, ''And they appointed two,
Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they
prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show
whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this
ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he
might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots: and the lot
fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles." Is not
that popular election?
S. I candidly tell you that I'm verra doubtful
about it; for ye'l notice, in the first place, when it's said "they
appointed two," and "they prayed," and "they gave forth their lots," it
doesna say wha did this, the people or the apostles. Then see again it
wasna them that selected but Christ; "shew whether of these two Thou hast
chosen," for He had chosen all the others; and lastly, the mind of Christ
was found out by lot! My opinion is, that this was a supernatural way o'
choosin' out an office-bearer,—ane that's no in the Christian Church at a'
noo, viz., an apostle.
Will. It proves to my mind that folk should
hae a say in the election o' a minister.
J. It proves jist as weel
vote by ballot!
am merely stating you my opinion, and you have a perfect right to state
yours. I think of course that the election of Matthias is intended to
guide the Christian Church in all ages. This opinion is confirmed by what
took place in the electing of a deacon.
J. We hae nae deacons at a' noo; the only ane
I ever kent was auld Jock Morton, the deacon o' the tailors.
S. Whist, John, wi' your nonsense; mony o' our
Kirks hae deacons, and we would hae them here if the office o' the deacon
wasna performed by the elders, and I think the two offices should be
distinct in every Christian congregation. Will. And elected by the people.
D. That I think is intimated very clearly and
beyond all doubt, in the history given us in the sixth chapter of the
Acts. There can be no doubt that they were elected by the people, for we
read that the twelve called the multitude and said, "wherefore, brethren,
look ye out among you men whom we will appoint over this business, but we
will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word,"
and it is added that the saying pleased the people, and that they elected
the deacons accordingly; what can be plainer?
S. But a deacon's no a minister, he doesna
teach—but looks after the poor; and it was but richt and fair that the
folk that subscribed the money should elect frae amongst them, them that
were to pay it awa; and when the people pay their ministers it will be
time eneuch to quastion whether they should elect them.
J. It's my mind, frae readin' that history,
that had it no been for the grumbling o' the Grecians against the Hebrews,
for their widows no gettin' their ain share o' the puir's money, there wad
hae been nae deacons at a'! There's twa things, hoo'ever, gien us plain
there, namely, that the kirk had deacons then, and that the ministers gied
themselves wholly to prayer and preaching o' the word then, but I canna
see thae twa things in the kirk noo, and surely thae things are plainer
D. If the people then were enabled to judge of men having such high
qualifications as these "Men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and
wisdom," I think they can hardly ever be called upon to judge of higher.
Would that they had a body from whom they could make such noble
S. Ye may
say sae, maister! and would that we had sic' a body o' communicants as
electors, and that we had sic a presbytery as the apostles to chack their
election! that's what I say, that, things that might work weel eneuch then
will no dae noo.
Will. I'll ne'er agree tae that! There's naething surely should be in the
Christian Church noo that wasna in the Christian Church then; if there is,
it canna be accordin' to the word o' God.
J. Naething in the Christian Church noo but what was in't then! Whare will
ye get parishes, and parish Kirks, and stipend, and glebes, and heritors'
meetings in the early Christian Kirk? I wunder. Will, hoo ye ever cam
intae the Kirk o' Scotland wi' that wheen nonsense? If ye hadna some scent
o' sense in ye, I wadna wunder tae hear ye propose that a' the
communicants noo should kiss ane anither, as they did then.
Will. The matters ower serious for that jokin'; ye're frightened for the
argument aboot tryin' the speerits; that's aye hair in yer neck.
S. I wish ye would baith tak' an example frae Mr. Brown, wha states his
arguments calmly and decently, and then lets folk judge it. What's your
mind on that passage aboot tryin' the speerits?
D. The passage is this, "Beloved, believe not every spirit but try the
spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone
into the world." These are. the words of the beloved disciple, who
probably had in his eye the equally clear commandment of his master,
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly are ravenous wolves."
S. And what do these passages, do you think, prove?
D. They prove that "the spirits," "the prophets," or "ministers" are to be
tried by the disciples: that this is not a privilege conferred upon them
by the Church, which they may or may not exercise, which the Church can
give or take away ; but that it is a solemn duty which the Christian
people must perform, as they shall answer to their great Head; now our
Kirk, believing that the Christian people had during the sway of
moderatism been deprived of this right, and desiring to legislate
according to the word of God, did in 1834 pass the much abused veto-law.
J. A lang text again, Mr. Brown! but I dootna Saunders would gie a gude
S. It seems tae me verra doobtfu' what is meant by the command "try the
spirits." Some commenters think that it was an extraordinary gift o' the
Speerit which the early Christian Church had—this power o' discernin' the
speerits o' ither men—tae ken whether they should be admitted as church
members, or tae ken whether the prophets were tellin' the truth or tellin'
lies when they were foretelling things to come. But even grantin' that the
meanin' o' the passage is such as you mak' it oot, what's tae hinder the
disciple frae trying speerits noo as then, and frae being beware of false
prophets? Every disciple in the parish Church should try the speerit of
the parish minister, and if he doesna think that he is guided by the
Spirit of God, that he's no preaching the gospel, he should try the
speerit o' anither minister.
Will. But what if ye hae nae ither minister tae gang till; I maun tak' the
parish minister though ye dinna like him, or else want.
S. A sair, sair business, black business, if a presbytery o' ministers
meeting in the name o' Christ, pit in a man that doesna preach the glad
tidings o' the gospel fully and freely ! Sic things may be, but we are a'
sinfu' men, an' there's nae system perfect ; and even if there war popular
election, we read o' a time when they wull not endure sound doctrine, but
after their own lusts shall they heap tae themselves teachers, having
itching ears, and they shall turn away these ears from the truth, and
shall be turned into fables; and I'm auld eneuch tae ken that there's as
muckle pawtronage, o' as tyrannical a kind as e'er was in the Kirk, among
mony dissenters—that they're no a bit better pleased, nor sae weel pleased
mony o' them, wi' their ministers, than we are wi' ours, and they hae nae
cause tae be sae.
Will. But ist no an unnatural thing pawtronage?
S. It may be unnatural tae see a German lad and an English lassie owre the
great British empire, but like pawtronage, it works maybe better than if
the King was tae be elected.
J. But do ye think, maister, that a Kirk canna be a Kirk o' Christ unless
the folk hae the power ye speak o'?
D. No Church can be a Church of Christ unless it obeys Christ's commands.
J. Dootless; but then ye see a' the dispute is aboot what the commands o'
Christ are, an' if they be what ye mak' them oot tae be, if the people
maun a' try the speerits o' their pastors, what becam' o' the Kirk o'
Scotland up tae 1834? Wha tryed the speerits o' thae ministers that are
crying oot sae muckle aboot the richt o' the people tae do sae nco? Wha
tryed the speerit o' that lang-legged chiel, wha d'ye cae him, wi' the
spats and umberella, that cam' here wi' the deputation? I am telt there
wasna twenty signed his call.
Will. The pastoral relation canna be formed withoot full consent, for he
that cometh in, ye ken, by a wrong door, is a thief and a robber.
J. Sae be it; but if he comes in by the wrang door, and stays in, he is a
thief and a robber, till he gangs out and comes in by the richt way; but
will ony o' ye tell me what way the Kirk o' Scotland was before the
passing o' this veto?
D. For 112 years she was under moderate rule, and the lights of the
Christian people were trampled upon.
Will. The Christian people couldna cheep, they had nae power at a', and
the kirk wasna gaun accordin' to the mind o' God, but clean against.
J. We hae surely been in a desperate state.
Will. We couldna weel be waur.
J. I'se warrant the Kirk o' Scotland couldna be a Kirk o' Christ then.
Will. Deed she was far frae't.
J. I canna thole this nonsense! If she wasna a Kirk o' Christ, hoo did a'
they ministers that are bleezing against her come into her at a'? hoo did
ye become a communicant in her? hoo did God bless her, and mak' her a
blessing? And if she was a Kirk o' Christ without your vetoes, would she
no continue a Kirk o' Christ tho a' your vetoes were done awa' wi', and a'
this stramash put an end to, and she to gang back to what she was before
S. Tae gang back, but in truth tae gang forward ! for I'se desperate keen
for gude reform, and wad like the folk had mair power; but I wad like to
get it in a legal way; I would like to improve the machine, put in new
screws, and mend what was awanting, and gie't plenty o' oil; but I'm no
for breaking down the machine a' thegither that has done sae muckle glide,
because it's no fashioned to the pattern o' this man or that. It was that
veto law played a' the mischief!
J. Wi'oot even being agreeable to the word of God! according as Mr. Brown
Will. It was agreeable to the word o' God.
J. Was't? ye tell us that a' the disciples should try the speerits—that a'
the disciples should hae a say in the election o' a minister; noo ane wad
think that the Kirk would gie us popular election after that. Na, says the
Kirk, nane o' the female disciples— and the female disciples were among
the greatest ornaments of the early Kirk—nane o' them are to hae a say—nane
o' the young men are to hae a say—nane o' the servant-lads are to hae a
say—nane but the male heads are tae cheep—as if a' the sense o' the
congregation was in their heads ; and little sense after a' maun be in
them! for it's no expected o' them that they can hae sense eneuch tae gie
reasons; but just tae say, No! That's a droll way o' trying the speerits,
and being ready to gie a reason for the faith that's in them tae every
man. Noo the veto was nather agreeable to the word o' God as it's laid
down by you, nor was it agreeable to the law o' the land as laid down by
all the judges. And, if she has got into this scrape it wasna for want o'
tellin' and warnin'. Mony a time it was said in the Assembly that a' this
mischief wad come. Even the gude Dr. M'Crie, I'm telt by Mr. Struthers,
said before the House o' Commons afore it was passed, that the Kirk had
nae powers tae pass this law, and that it wad bring us into confusion.
S. I am clear about its unlawfulness, and that when the Kirk passed that
law she took the first word o' flyting, and that her determination to keep
that law, tho' it has been declared illegal, has been the grand cause o'
her late troubles.
Will. There ye gang with your Erastianism, putting the law o' the land
higher than the law of God—putting the ceevil courts aboon the Church of
Christ—making the king the head o' the Kirk.
J. Hae ye got into this line, Will, o' calling your neighbour nicknames;
and cramming doon folks' throats opinions they abominate, and putting
sentiments in their tongues they never uttered? It's no fair.
D. Neither is it fair for you to assert that the church disobeys the law
and is a rebel?
S. Does she no disobey the law?
D. No ! for she denies that it is the law.
S. But haena the ceevil courts declared that the Kirk broke the law, and
broke her bargain wi' the state, when she passed the veto; that she
interfered wi' the ceevil richts o' pautrons, and that as lang as she
keeps the veto she's breaking the law?
D. Yes, the civil courts have declared so, but the Church Courts have
declared otherwise. Now the Church Courts are as much courts of the
country as the civil courts are, and have an equal right with them to
interpret law as affecting the church; you surely do not think that the
civil courts should have the power of laying down the law to the Church;
as to what her duty is in spiritual matters; that would be subjecting the
Church to the State with a vengeance!
S. Na! naebody that I ken thinks sae, and Mr.
Simpson tells me that the ceevil courts intend nae sic thing, but only lay
doon the bargain the Kirk made wi' the State tae keep her till't. Let me
speir at you, Sir, are there ony laws o' the State aboot the puttin' in o'
ministers at a'? or has the State left the established Kirk to mak ony law
she likes—tae hae patronage or nae patronage—election by the male heads—an
election by the communicants, just as she pleases—tae try what man she
likes for a parish or no tae try, or are there ony Acts o' Parliament or
ony laws o' the land aboot thae things?
D. There have certainly been many Acts of
Parliament about these matters.
Will. That's whaur the Voluntaries say we are wrang, tae hae thae things
in Acts o' Parliament at a'!
J. An ye would like tae hae Acts, and no tae
be bund by them! But what I say is this, there's nae harm to be bund tae a
thing we hae agreed tae, nor to be bund doon tae dae what's richt, and tae
walk in ae road when it's for the gude o' the hail community, it's better
this than tae hae a voluntary liberty o' loupin ower hedges and dykes.
S. You twa are desperate keen for a
colleyshangy, ye're aye interrupting me and Mr. Brown. Ye were saying,
Sir, there were different Acts aboot the puttin' in o' ministers; noo wha
passed thae Acts? and for what Kirk?
D. They were passed of course by the British
Parliament, for the protection of the Church of Scotland.
S. The British Parliament! is that a ceevil
it is! you cannot suppose it an ecclesiastical body?
S. Weel, surely the Acts o' a ceevil body are
ceevil Acts, and whatna court but a ceevil court should explain them?
D. But you will observe that these Acts refer
to spiritual and religious matters.
J. Sae do the Acts aboot the Sabbath-day; for
wasna Tarn Spoil's, that ne'er-do-weel, afore the Shirra, Friday was
aught-days, and tried by him for breaking thae Acts.
D. You observe, Saunders, what I before said
was, that while the civil courts should interpret these Acts, the Church
Courts should interpret them as well.
Will. And that's but fair play. If twa folk
war disputin' aboot a march dyke, it's surely richt that the ae man should
hae as muckle say aboot it as the tither; and sae whan the Kirk and State
differ aboot their march, it's but fair the Kirk should hae a say aboot it
as weel as the State.
J. Aye, Will—and baith should gang tae a third
pairty—the ceevil courts, that explain a' bargains, and refer the matter
tae them. But ye wad like the Kirk tae draw her ain march wi' the State,
and naebody tae challenge't wi'oot his being caad an enemy tae the
S. Weel! I
hae nae objections as an elder, that the ceevil courts should hae the sole
power o' sayan—no what a Kirk o' Christ should teach or do, that nae power
on yirth can say—but o' declaring what preeveleges the state has promised
tae gie the Kirk o' Scotland as an establishment, and what she has pledged
hersel tae dae while established. I ken mysel that I haena the education
nor the knowledge tae ken law—far less tae gie a vote against the judges
and the lord chancellor aboot the law o' the land. Nor do I think I'm gaun
against the headship in this; for I ne'er kent that tae explain Acts o'
Parliament was ane o' the preeveleges conferred on me as a Christian man.
And let me ax—if the twa courts hae the richt tae explain the verra same
Act—what's to be dune if they gie twa meanings tie't? they maun baith be
law? hoo can a man serve twa maisters?
J. Na, that's a truth. If the ceevil courts
say the Act means sae and sae, that the craw is black; and if the Kirk
Courts say it means sae and sae, that the craw's white; and if I maun obey
the law, and if my gude name, and my comfort, and the comfort o' a' my
family; na, maybe the peace and welfare o' the community and kirk depends
on my sayan whether the craw's white or black, what i' the world can I do,
when I want tae dae what's richt?
D. Let the Church Courts follow out their
interpretation with spiritual effects, and let the civil courts follow out
their interpretation with civil effects, and this prevents all clashing.
S. It's a guy confused business! and I wunder
hoo folk are sae mad at one anither when they differ on't, and hoo some o'
the lassocks and lads are sae gleg sure aboot it; and abune a' hoo they
would ding doon a Kirk aboot sic difficult questions. But yet I canna see
hoo your way can keep the twa Courts sundry ; for what if each o' them bid
a man do the same thing? And I'm tel't that this is just what they did.
The ceevil courts in explaining the law, said tae the presbyteries o'
Strathbogie and Auchterarder, "Gude or bad, the law is that ye are tae try
the presentee and no the folks, and if ye think him fit for the place the
bargain is, ye are to put him in; the craw's black.'" Then the Kirk Courts
said: "The law is that the folks are tae try him, and if they are no
pleased, ye are tae hae naething tae do with him ; that's the law; the
craw's white!" "Black it is!" says the Presbytery o' Strathbogie. "Gif ye
say sae," says the Kirk Courts, "doon wi' your lishences, and awa oot o'
your parishes." "We say sae," says the presbytery o' Strathbogie, "for we
think the ceevil courts hae alane the richt tae tell us what's the meaning
o' an Act o' Parliament." "Richt," says the ceevil courts! "and we'l
protect ye in your parishes, and no let ye be put to beggary for obeying
the law." " The crate's white?" says the Presbytery o' Auchterarder,'" and
we'l no try the presentee." "Wrang," says the ceevil courts, "we'l fine ye
for no doing your duty, and for keeping a man unlawfully frae the parish."
"Richt," says the church counts, "and ne'er gie in that the craw's black,
for if ye dae ye'll be enemy tae your Kirk." Say what ye like it's a
D. But I have a practical question to put to you, Saunders. Supposing the
civil courts were to command you to do anything contrary to the law of
God, would you as. an elder or a member of the Church obey it? Will. Ay,
that's the question.
S. Hoo can it be a question with a Christian man? Surely even a babe in
Christ kens that it is his duty, first and foremost duty, to obey God
rather than men, tho' these men should be members of Parliament, or
members of Assembly, statesmen or churchmen. J. Weel done, Saunders!
D, And what would you do then, if you were put
in this position, the civil courts telling you that, as an office-bearer
in the Establishment, you are bound to do something, which you think
contrary to your duty to Christ?
S. I would leave the Kirk, I wadna try and
break the bargain; but I would say tae the state, The bargain's a bad ane,
and I'll leave your service and be a Voluntary, and then I can mak a law
the day, and change it the morrow.
D. Leave the Church! when you are acting
agreeably to the mind of God, and obeying his most holy word! Is that not
giving up all spiritual independence, the right to act in spiritual
matters, uncontrolled by any power in earth.
S. I believe the Kirk has perfect liberty and
spiritual independence to do the wark she promised to do, to teach the
doctrines she agreed tae teach as an Established Kirk, but that she has
nae power tae gang beyond that without becoming a Voluntary Kirk.
D. You surely don't mean to assert that a
Church of Christ on becoming Established can give up a particle of that
liberty which essentially belongs to her as a Church of Christ!
S. Certainly not. ! but it's maybe no easy to
say what liberty essentially belongs to a Kirk o' Christ; but I ken this,
that there's mony a thing she might do as a Voluntary Kirk, that's
completely oot o' her power to do as long as she is an Established Kirk.
Will. I think ye'll no mak that oot, Saunders.
S. It's no ill tae mak that out. Hae we
spiritual independence to change ae doctrine in the Confession of Faith?
hae we spiritual independence tae put awa patronage? tae gie the election
tae the people? tae put down ony o' the Kirk Coorts? or tae pit up ony
mair? Hae the ministers power tae draw their stipends, and tae preach whur
surely hae na as an Establishment: nae doubt the Kirk o' Scotland might
mak' a' thae changes the morrow, but she would be nae langer the Kirk
Establishment. She maun gie up her connection wi' the State, or be bound
wi' the Acts that made her an established Kirk; gie up her bargain or keep
Will. But if the
Church cam' to the opinion, that ony Act was against the Word of God,
would she no be bound to disobey that, or would she hae nae leeberty tae
S. No! she would hae
liberty to become a Voluntary Kirk, but she could hae nae liberty as lang
as she remained in connection with the Steele to change the bargain
without the State agreeing. Do ye think, that if the State had agreed to
the veto law, that the Kirk could hae changed that law the week after and
gien the power the folk to elect the ministers? if the Kirk can do this, I
kenna what's the gude o' bothering itsel' to get Acts o' Parliament at a'.
J. There's a hantle o' talk aboot the Kirk
said this and the Kirk said that ; but after all, I'm thinking it just
means, that some ministers in Edinbro' said this and that, and they seem
tae think their mind must be aye the mind o' Christ; as far as I can see
what they're wanting is, that the State should gie them their manses and
glebes and power, and to pass an Act tae let the Kirk do whatever she
D. I must confess,
Alexander, that I think you are wrong in regard to spiritual independence;
the Church of Scotland should be every bit as free as a Voluntary Church.
S. I canna see hoo it's possible as lang as
there's ony Acts o' Parliament aboot her. I'll tell you in ae word my mind
on't. I hired a servant on Friday last, and I made a bargain with him,
that in winter he was to thrash sae mony hours in the day ; he agreed to
this, and I hae the bargain in my pouch; noo maybe some day when he's
thrashing, some o' the tramping duels will come smoking their pipes aboot
the barn-yard and say, "Ye're a poor slave, thrashin' awa' there instead
o' walking aboot the kintra and enjoying your freedom like us;" noo I
kenna what the lad might say ; as he is no wanting in gumption, may be it
might be this, "Lads! I was ance independent like you, but I had nae
clothes and nae meat, and was aboot tae wander frae place to place tae mak'
a fend, but o' my ain free consent, I made a bargain wi' the farmer to do
a particular work ilka day, and I am independent na langer except to keep
my bargain; for I bound mysel' by it, and if this be slavery, I would
advise you tramping chiels tae be slaves as fast as ye can!" This would be
speaking like a man of sense, but maybe his acquaintance might put clavers
into his head, and he might come to me and say, "I'll no trash in the barn
onymair." "What for?" quo I. "Because," says he, " I'm no independent ! I
canna do what I like !" "I ken that," says I, "but it was yoursel' agreed
to the bargain." "It's a bad ane," says he. "Bad or gude," says I, "a
bargain's a bargain, and ye maun, keep it or lee my service." What would
you think o' him if he would say, "I'll no lee your service, I'll eat your
bread, but I'll no do your wark!" And this just explains the sang aboot
the spiritual independence o' the Kirk; the feint the hate do the ceevil
coorts do, but explain the bargain and mak' the Kirk do it's work, or gang
oot the house; and naething else does the Kirk do than say, "I'll neither
do the tane or tither."
D. But granting, Saunders, for the present,
that the civil courts have the power of interpreting the bargain, is it
not clear that the bargain, as they have interpreted, is such as no Church
of Christ can accept of? They tell you that every presentee presented by a
patron must be taken on trials, and no objections can be made against him
except against his literature, his life, or his doctrines; that if these
objections are not agreed to by the presbytery, they are bound to induct
him, although the people should be against him; they have declared that a
minister deposed for drunkenness must still keep his manse and his glebe,
and be a minister of the Church of Scotland.
Will. Na; ye canna keep a man noo out o' the
communion table without asking leave o' the ceevil courts.
S. I ken every presentee maun be taen on trials, and that has aye been the
case since I mind. I ken that the law is now, as Lord Brougham says, that
ye can only object on the grounds ye speak o'; but I also ken that Sir
James Graham has said, that the Presbytery can try if a man's suitable,
and cast him on that, and ye ken weel enough that Mr. Sinclair or Sir
George got a bill agreed to by the government, gien power to the people to
mak' a' kinds o' objections that could come into their head, and gien
power to the Presbytery tae reject the man if the objections were gude: or
even if they werna gude, yet if they thocht they would staun in the way o'
his being useful in the parish; and the Kirk rejected it! And a grand
bargain it was! and they tell me we could get it yet if the Kirk would tak
D. The Kirk will
never take it.
They are surely ill tae please ; what's wrang aboot it?
D. Because though the Church has liberty to
reject at all times when they do not think a presentee suitable, yet when
they do think him suitable, it gives the Church the power to admit, though
the people should be against him.
S. And mair power than this we never had as a
Kirk, mair than this we'll never get, mair than this we should na get; for
mony a man may suit a place though the folk at first dinna like him; and
it will be an awful responsibility for them wha would put down the kirk wi'
sic muckle liberty.
D. I think acceptableness absolutely necessary for the forming of the
I think acceptableness a great blessing ane that presbyteries and pawtrons
should luik weel to, for it maks things work grand and smooth when a' are
pleased. But I'm no sae sure that it's essential, though beneficial. For
gif it be sae tae the making o' this relation at first, it's surely
essential tae its keepan up!
D. No. The marriage relation is not formed
without acceptableness, but this is not necessary for keeping it up.
S. I differ frae ye. The marriage relation is
formed when folk are married whether they're pleased wi' ane anither or
no. But I again say, that if a minister when he's no kent, when he has
only been in the parish ance or twice, preached twa or three sermons if he
canna wi'oot sin be placed ower a parish whaur he is no acceptable (though
may be they will love him dearly in a wi', when they ken him), surely he
canna wi'oot far greater sin be keeped ower the parish, when after hearing
him for years and kenna him weel, they come tae despise or maybe tae hate
him! Ye maun just tak the American way o't, a man by the sax months.
Will. But whot say ye aboot lettin drunken
ministers into the kirk and no having the power to keep out bad
say that the ceevil coorts never said that the church couldna put out
drunken ministers, but it is said that courts wi' the Chapel ministers had
nae legal power to try or depose a minister.
J. Nae mair than Will there has power to try a
man for murder.
And as to keeping out bad communicants, I solemnly tell ye that I would
not stay in the Kirk if she had not that power, but I am weel informed
that that power has ne'er been interfered wi'.
Will. And hoo do ye get quit of all thae
stramashes aboot Strathbogie and Auchterarder
S. That's beginning anither
lang story, but ae thing is clear to my mind, that all the mischief in
these parishes, and it's no little, has just come frae the Kirk driving
its veto law through thick and thin. But I'm no gaun tae defend a' the
Ceevil Coorts did, or a' the Kirk Coorts did; in some things, am thinking,
they're baith wrang. But I ken a' was quiet till that veto was tried—that
every dispute has been aboot it. And I canna think but thae presbyteries
in the North micht hae made things pleasanter tae if they had liked.
Surely some o' thae fauschious duels warna "suitable;" maybe some o' thae
fauschious folks werna verrie easy pleased.
J. I'll tell you my way o't, but I may be
wrang. The Kirk said to the State, Gie us manses, glebes, and pay, and
we'l teach the folk religion. What religion will ye teach ? says the
State. The Confession of Faith, says the Kirk. Done, says the State. But
how will ye place ministers ? We would like the people to elect them, says
the Kirk. It canna be, says the State; gang awa wi' ye. Bide a wee, says
the Kirk; will ye mak an offer? I wull, says the State; it's this, Ye may
lishence the men and see them fit for duty, and let the patron choose
wha's to be minister, for he has gien a gran glebe, manse, and stipend for
the gude o' the parish. And can the people no object ? says the Kirk. Oh
ay, says the State, they may; and if their objections are gude let the
presentee be rejected by the presbytery ; and if they are no gude let him
be put in ; and if the people are no pleased, let them bigg a Kirk and
Manse for themselves. Done, says the Kirk. We'l tak a note o' the bargain,
says the State. And for mony a year and day—130 years since the last
bargain—they worked brawly thegither; but in 1834 the Kirk rued and thocht
the bargain no a gude ane, especially as she had aye been braggin' to the
Voluntaries that she was as free as them, and sae she passed the Veto
law—a kind o' sly way o' jinking the State. Weel, a minister gets his
presentation and comes to the Presbytery and axes them to try him and see
if he was fit for the parish; Na, na, says the Presbytery, lad, thae days
are a' by: gang awa to the folk and see what they think o' ye. It's no
fair, says the lad, but I'll try. So he gangs and preaches to them, and
they a' glower at him, for the're desperate keen for anither man; and what
care they for the patron? No a dockan. So they cock their heads at him,
and tell him tae be aff tae his mither if he likes. No sae fast, says the
lad. So he comes to the Presbytery and says, that they maun see if he is
fit for the place. What says the folk to ye, quo the Presbytery? They say
naught, says the lad, but jist ta gang hame; the'l no tell me for what.
Weel, says the Presbytery, hame ye maun gang, and tak your presentation in
your pouch. It's a pity, says the lad, that the patron payed sae muckle
for't, for it seems little worth; but I think ye hae cheated me out o' my
place. So he gangs hame and tells the pawtron hoo they steekit the door on
him, and wadna speir a question at him. The patron says, quo he, baith o'
us are clean cheated; you oot o' your place, and me oot o' my richt o'
presentin' you till't, and they are gaun against law; for the law says
that them, and no the folk, are tae try ye, and see if ye are fit for the
place,— gang doon tae the Presbytery wi' my compliments, and tell them
that. So he gangs doon, and they flee on him and tell him the law is wi
them. We'll see that, says the paw tron; so he and the lad gang to the
court o' session, and the Kirk gangs tae, and spier at the judges what's
the law? The judges sae that the law is sae and sae, that the pawtron and
lad are richt. Auld Gowks! says the Kirk, they are wrang. Then, says the
pawtron we'll try the Lords. So the Lords say that the Kirk's wrang, and
that the duel's richt. We are no heedin', says the Kirk; so they tell the
lad ta gang aboot his business, and gif the Lords like they may gie him
the stipends; but if he gies mair gab, they'l tak hie lishence frae him.
But they say, says the lad, they canna gie me the stipends till ye open
the door and ordain me. We'll ne'er do that, says the Kirk. I ken, says
the pawtron, that nae power on yirth can mak ye do that, but certies ye
maun gie a compensation for the injury ye had done me and the lad, and
surely ye'll say that's ceevil effects!
D. After all I have said, and after all you
have heard from the various deputations, I see it would be useless to
carry on this discussion longer,—my mind is made up. I grieve to think it,
but I fear it will be my imperative duty to leave the church
establishment, to go out with those noble men, who are making so many
sacrifices for conscience sake, and to give a Free Presbyterian Church for
J. As tae
what they'l gie to Scotland, that's no ken't yet; but I see they're trying
tae take a gude Establishment frae her,—and whatna sacrifices are they
Will. Sacrifices! Castin'
their manses, glebes, stipends, and a' tae the winds.
J, I am tell't that they
are gey an' gleg aboot the siller, and desperat tae get it; they say they
are tae hae a central fund in Edinbro, and tae gie a' the ministers that
gang oot wi' them £100 a year, besides the tae half o' their ain winnings.
It'll be a gran lift to some o' they Cod Sakker chiels.
D. Quoad Sacra!
S. A bunder pound a year! they'll ne'er maun
tae keep an Establishment for Scotland.
D. I am not afraid of it;
the rich will give, the poor will give; for the old spirit is up; the Blue
Banner is abroad, and the whole world will see what Scotland can do. J. I
would rather see't than hear tell o't.
Will. See auld Mr. Smith in this verra parish,
what he has gien.
J. Aye; for the body's
desperat keen in the business; but think ye will his son Jock gie when
he's dead and gane? Na! I mind ance Dr. Chaumers comin' here, and a gay
thick way he has in his talk, tho' folk that understan' him say he's gran;—it
was at the church extension time, and he and them that were wi' him proved
hoo the Establishment, wi' a' that it had, and wi' the thoosands that it
was liftin' every year (and I'm thinkin' they got £300,000), and wi' the
help the Dissenters was gieing them, they couldna maun tae supply gospel
ordinances tae the kintra; and think ye will they maun't noo withoot an
establishment, wi' a' their bawbee collections? If they do, I can only sae
there hae been a hantle o' braw speeches cast away; and if they dinna,
it's no them but puir workin' men like me, that will be the sufferers; for
what care I to hae the election o' a minister, when I'm ower puir to hae
ane at a'?
D. Stay in
then, and bring back the reign of moderatism and of darkness, and see our
great schemes, the glory of the Church, destroyed, and behold our national
Zion become a desolation, a hissing, and a proverb. When she has deserted
her great Head, it is time for me to leave her. Will. An' for me tae!
S. And gif a' ye say was true, or had ae
particle o'truth in't, it would be time for us a' tae gang ; but as the
apostle says, "to him that thinketh it is unclean, to him it is unclean;
but let such man be fully persuaded in his own mind; let us not judge one
another, for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Let me
speak freely tae ye, Mr. Brown, before we part,—ye hae said mony things
that grieves my heart. As tae the reign o' moderatism, nae doubt Scotland
was ance what she's no noo. I mind mysel a time when there was na sic
faithfu' preachin' in the parish kirks as noo; but God in His mercy,—for
tae Him, and no tae this set o' men or that, be the praise—breathed by His
Spirit on this valley of dry bones; and I noo ken mony men whom ye ca'
moderates, because they're no convocationists, that are God-fearing,
zealous men, kent and loved in their ain parishes, tho' they're may be no
in the mouth o' the public; and I ken mony that are foremost eneuch in
this steer, that in my opinion, hae verra little o' the meekness and
gentleness o' Christ. Ye speak o' our schemes, and ye may weel ca' them
the glory o' the Kirk; but do these no prove jist what I say? Wha got up
the schemes for the Hindoos? Dr. Inglis, the head o' the Moderates. Wha
got up the education scheme for the Hielands? Principal Baird, a Moderate.
Wha was ower the Colonial Church scheme in Glasgow? Principal M'Farlan, a
Moderate. Dr. Chaumers, a gude man, and a man I lo'e, tho' I think he's
wrang, was ower the ither ane.
J. He's the only ane o' them a' that rued, for
he's for puttin' down the kirk noo a' thegither.
S. Whist John. As tae the Kirk deserting its
great Head, God forbid that that should be true ! I deny it, and am
ashamed that men that should ken better should put such disturbing
thoughts into the minds o' work Christians. I hae heard the sang afore noo.—the
M'Millans hae keepit it up for 100 years,—and it was aye their sough at
the redding o' the marches atween them and the Establishment on the Monday
o' their sacrament ; the Auld Lights took up the same sang when they left
the Kirk; it's no new tae my lugs, so it'll no make me leave the Kirk.
I'll bide in her! Her verra dust to me is dear! I was born agin within her
walls; so were some o' my bonny bairns that are sleeping outside o' them.
I hae been strengthened and comforted during my pilgrimage wi' her
ordinances, and I'll no break up her Communion table as lang as I hae
power—and it has ne'er been taken fae me yet—tae keep awa the ungodly and
the profane; and as lang as Christ is preach'd within her walls, I'll stay
tae help tae reform her, tae help tae purify her, and tae pray as lang as
breath is in my body, for her peace and prosperity.
J. I'll stay tae, for I canna get a better
Kirk nor our ain; the Dissenters are gude folic, but I'm no Voluntary.
Will. Gang tae the M'Millans if there's nae
free Kirk in the parish ; they are the best representative o' our
J. The M'Millans! It's no will I gang into
their Kirk, but will they let me in? Wi' reverence be it spoken, it's
easier tae get into the Kingdom o' Grace than tae get intae their Kirk; wi'
a baud o' the covenant o' grace by faith, I can enter that Kingdom ; but
this is nae pass at their door. I maun hae the Solemn League and Covenant,
and twa or three mair, or be keepit oot as a heathen and a publican! It's
black popery, putting the traditions o' our faithers on a footin' wi' the
Word o' God. As tae your wooden Kirks, nane o' them for me! they'l be
desparat cauld in winter, and hett in simmer,—I'll stick by the auld stane
and lime, and I'm mistaen if it'll no stan' a hantle deal langer than a'
your timber biggins!
S. Let us no pairt wi' "bitterness, wrath, clamour, and evil speaking."
Let us rather "Strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
Peace." Though we differ as tae the means, we a' agree I hope as tae
ends—we a' seek, if Christian men, the gude o' the Church o' Christ in
Scotland, and desire the glory of its great Head. As tae the best way o'
bringing this aboot I may be wrang, and sae may ye—for neither o' us are
infallible, but we may a' be upright—we may a' sincerely desire tae please
God; and if He has promised tae bless such, and tae gie them licht, and
tae "accept their willing mind," let us nae be accusing and judging ane
anither, casting the blame on a bad conscience rather than on a walk
understanding or want o' opportunity o' kennan the truth. We should tak'
care that in strivin' tae keep others frae castin' aff Christ as their
Head, we dinna cast Him aff oursels by disobeying His commands. It's a
great comfort tae think that the Lord reigns, and that wi' us, or in spite
o' us, He wull advance his ain cause. Let the earth be glad! It was a gude
sayan o' auld Mr. Guthrie, "in things essential, unity: in things dooblfu',
liberty; and in a' things, charity." Let us thus walk, and Oh ! speed the
time when we shall meet thegither in the general assembly above; when
"Judah shall no more vex Ephraim, nor Ephraim Judah." Friends and
neighbours shake hands!
D. With all my heart,—I respond to your
sentiments, and I know you to be good and honest. I pray that we may all "
be sincere, and without offence at his coming."
Will. There's my haun tae ye, We hae been auld
neebours and fellow-communicants, and it's right we shouldna forget "who
we are, and whom we serve." But yet I wad like a pure Kirk.
J. Mony a splore you and me hae had; but we
can shake hands yet. Lang may it be sae! As tae a pure Kirk, ye'll mind,
maybe, what the great and gude Mr. Newton remarked till a leddy that ance
said what you say noo. "We'll ne'er, my friend," said he, "get a pure
Kirk, till we enter the ane above; and ae thing is certain, that if there
was ane on yirth, it wad be pure nae langer, if you and me entered it!"—Gude
day wi' ye a'! (They shake hands and part, and sae ended the "Crack aboot