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Old Church Life in Scotland
Lecture III.—Communion Services in Olden Times

Preparatory and Accompanying Services on Week Days—Examination of Congregations—Reconciliations—Purging the Roll—The Preparation Sermon on Saturday—The Fast Day—Object of the Fast—Distribution of Tokens— Monday's Thanksgiving Service—Furnishings for the Sacrament—The Tables— Purchasing of Tokens—Communion Cups—Bread and Wine—Service on Communion Sabbath—Frequency and Infrequency of Celebration—Communion Extended over Several Sabbaths—Communions Early in the Morning—Order of Service—Admission to the Table—Kneeling or Sitting—Assistants at Communion—Communion Crowds—Disorders at Communions—The Mauchline Sacrament in Mr. Auld's Day—Number of Communicants and Tables—Month and Day of Communion often Changed.

Having shewn how the ordinary services of the Sabbath were conducted in the Church of Scotland long ago, I have now to give an account of the communion services. Notwithstanding the great notoriety that the Mauchline communion has acquired, I am sorry to say that the references to the communion in our existing Parish Records are so few and brief that, as in last lecture, I shall be obliged to draw my illustrations mostly from the Records of other Parishes.

The first matters to be considered in connection with communion celebrations are the old law and the ancient practice of the Church of Scotland regarding preparatory and accompanying services on week days.

The Directory for public worship, framed by the Westminster Divines, and in 1645 adopted by the Church of Scotland, states that when the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper cannot with convenience be frequently administered in a parish, there should be some services in the way of preparation for that solemnity. Public notice of the administration should be given the Sabbath before, and either then or some day of the intervening week something concerning the ordinance and its proper observance should be taught from the pulpit. This direction was in accordance with the old customs of the Church of Scotland, but it was not passed at Westminster without considerable opposition. "The unhappy Independents," says Baillie, "would mangle the sacrament of the supper. No catechising nor preparation before, no sacramental doctrine or chapters in the day of celebration, yet all this and much more with God's help we have carried over their bellies to our practice." In another of his works, the same author, in describing the uncouth customs of the Independents, brings out indirectly what was the practice of the Church of Scotland per contra. "They, the Independents," he says, "have no preparation of their flock before, they are so happy as to have all their members prepared always sufficiently for the Lord's Table from their first entrance into their Church to their dying day, for all this time there is no catechising among them, this exercise is below their condition and altogether needless in any of their congregations. They will have no sermon in the week before, nor so much as any warning of the communion. They use not so much as a little application of the doctrine in the sermon before it to that occasion."

The book from which this last quoted passage is taken was published in 1645, and the passage quoted may therefore be held as shewing that at that date it was the settled practice in the Church of Scotland to have both an examination of the congregation and a week day preparation sermon before the communion. The Westminster Directory says nothing about this examination, and in regard to the preparation sermon it says that that sermon may be given either the Sunday before the communion or on some day of the week immediately preceding the communion Sabbath. When the Westminster Directory was adopted by the Church of Scotland in 1645, a number of resolutions on points left open or untouched in the Directory were also framed and agreed to by the General Assembly. One was that congregations be still tried and examined before the communion according to the bygone practice of the Kirk, and another was that there be one sermon of preparation delivered in the ordinary place of public worship upon the day immediately preceding the communion. The preparatory work for the communion, enjoined by Act of Assembly in 1645 (conform as we shall see to old use and wont), was thus, in the first place, an examination of the whole congregation, old and young, proposing to communicate for either the first or the fiftieth time ; and, in the second place, one sermon on the Saturday before the administration.

The trial or examination of congregations before the communion is expressly stated in the Act of Assembly, 1645, to be an old custom in the Church. As far back as 1566 it was a thing of use and wont. A minute in the Records of the Canongate for that year states that the Kirk ordained examination to begin before the communion, and appointed the minister publicly to warn and exhort all communicants "to cum and keep their aun quarter with thair househalds for guid example unto the waiker." Other kirk records, of dates nearly as old, speak of the examination as an understood and an invariable preliminary to the ministration of the Lord's Supper. A minute in the records of the kirk-session of Perth, for the year 1595, relates that "for as meikle as sundry within this congregation are found ignorant of the principles and grounds of religion, notwithstanding that there is a yearly trial and examination before the celebration of the Supper of the Lord, therefore the minister and elders appoint in time coming, on some days of the week, a particular trial and examination of particular persons within families, that all may be instructed and catechised." ["Anent the examination before the communion, the General Assembly of 1590, 'thought meet for the common profit of the whole people that an uniform order be kept in examination, and that a short form of examination be set down by their brethren, Messrs. John Craig, Robert Pont, Thomas Buchanan, and Andrew Melville, to be presented to the next Assemblie.' " At one time people went at a very early age to the Lord's Table. John Livingstone states that he communicated at Stirling when he was at school there, and he left school in 1617, when he was only fourteen years old.]

This examination was a special examination in view of participating in the sacrament, and was quite distinct from the weekly catechising all the year round, except in seed time and harvest, referred to in last lecture. This fact is brought out very clearly in a complaint that the parishioners of Craigie made against their minister at a Presbyterial visitation of the Parish in 1644. "There was no catechising," they said, "but once in the year by examination before the communion." And how essential before communion this examination was regarded, is shewn in a petition to the Presbytery of Ayr, by the Kirk-Session of Cumnock, in the year 1642. The parish was then vacant, but the Kirk-Session petitioned the Presbytery to allow the sacrament to be administered " because the people were all examined by John Somervail," a probationer at Cumnock. The practice, however, of insisting on an examination as an essential preliminary to admission to the Lord's Table led, in the course of time, to some evils. Its non-performance was made by ministers an excuse for putting off the communion. An overture was accordingly moved in the Presbytery of Ayr, in the year 1710, that the fact of a minister's "not having examined all of the paroch every year is not a sufficient argument" for not having the sacrament celebrated, because "those who have been examined and admitted before, may be admitted of new upon the former evidence of their knowledge, and those of whom the minister is doubtful, or who are known to be ignorant, may thus be more easily overtaken." But it was specially mentioned as a proviso in that overture, that this course "should hold only in case of palpable inability to examine all the communicants, lest otherwise it furnish encouragement to negligence." [It is probably to such examinations that the following minute of the kirk-session of Dumbarton refers. The date of the minute is 28th May, 1620:—"The quhilk day the sessione ordained that everie persoune being warned to come to the examination, if they refuse to cum ane of the two days quhilk sail be appointed to them sail pay everie ane 4s. Leikwayes that if any persoune so cumes to be examined be fund ignorant of the prayer, belief, or commands, in that case they sail pay for everie ane of thes quhairof they sail be ignorant 12s., except that within the space of sax weiks theraftir they lerne them." This resolution was passed, not in the rigorous days of the covenant, but in the pleasant days of Episcopacy.]

It may be assumed that this sacramental examination would be gone about much more strictly and faithfully by some ministers than by others. It is not unlikely that by some easy-going men it would be altogether neglected. Not the least valued privilege which the city of Aberdeen enjoyed before the days of the covenant, was immunity from this annual and oppressive inquisition. The Aberdonians took it much amiss, therefore, when Mr. Andro Cant deprived them of that comfortable privilege. The town council entered on their records a vehement protest against what they considered Mr. Cant's innovations, especially "that none should be admitted to the communion except such only, as in ane pharisaical way, offered themselves to be tried by him and those whom he called his Elders." And the whole community in Aberdeen had cause to feel sore at Mr. Cant's procedure, for it led to the casting of a very great slur on their reputation. No communion, says Spalding, in 1642, was given by Cant for two years' space to the town of Aberdeen, till first "they wer weill catechist, because he alledgit they war ignorant." [Mr. Cant's zeal for purity was not accompanied with much compassion for frailty. He not only debarred the profane and the grossly ignorant from presumptuous approach to the Lords Table, but he prohibited all that were "ordinarie sleepers in tyme of sermon if they were strong and healthy persons."] In our own Parish Records we find traces of these sacramental examinations at dates comparatively recent. In the year 1735, during Mr. Maitland's ministry, it was intimated from the pulpit, on the 16th August, that the sacrament would be celebrated that day fortnight. Diets of examination were also appointed as they had been the two previous Sabbaths. On the following Sunday, being the Sabbath before the sacrament, the minister further "intimated Monday for examination of absents, and Tuesday to converse with such as never communicated in this place, and have now a design."

Either at these examinations, or at special meetings called in Church on some week day shortly before the communion, the labours of the Kirk Session were directed to the removal of offences in the congregation and the reconciliation of people at variance. And this was not a practice peculiar to the Church of Scotland. It is expressly laid down in the book of Common Prayer for the Church of England, that the Curate shall not suffer those betwixt whom he perceiveth malice and hatred to reign to be partakers of the Lord's Table until he know them to be reconciled. For the removal of eyelists and offences before the communion, it was at one time common in Scotland to convene publicly and specially the "haill brethren and honest neighbours within each congregation ;'" and ministers as well as people were considered unfit and unauthorised to take part in communion services if they were at variance with any one and had not made overtures of peace. [Pardovan says, "When notour scandalous breaches and differences do happen! in that case the parties should be obliged to a formal agreement by conversing in presence of those whose work it is to compose such differences, but even then they can be obliged to continue in no more friendship than a common converse imports." A hundred years before Pardovan's time there were people ' who abstained from the communion under colour of deadly feuds and other light causes,' but the Assembly (1600) gave orders that every person of age should communicate once a year at least, under pain of being delated to the King's Majesty as a contravener of a penal act. Both in Episcopal times (1633) and in Presbyterial times (1647) we find in the Galston Records cases of people delated and rebuked for 'byding at home on the communion Sabbath and neglecting the communion.' "] So recently as the year 1716, complaint was made to the Presbytery of Ayr, by Lady Coilsfield, that her parish minister, the minister of Tarbolton, went to the Lord's Table at St. Evox, in July last, without seeking to have her husband, the laird of Coilsfield, reconciled to him. It turned out, however, that the minister was free from blame in that matter, for the "very night in which Coilsfield did him injury, he shewed inclination to have all differences done away, and his overtures were declined."' The procedure that took place in the reconciliation of persons at variance is shewn to us in an old minute of the Kirk Session of Galston. The date of the minute is 1634, and the subject of the minute is an accusation brought by a woman against a man for defaming her character. The man pled guilty to the woman's charge, but averred that he was under the influence of drink when he spoke the words libelled, and that "he kend nothing to hir bot honesty.' In token of contrition he then humbled himself before the Session —that is, went down on his knees—and the woman, in token of her satisfaction with that abasement, "tuke him up be the hand."

These public meetings for examination and reconciliation came in the course of time to be altogether abandoned. Meetings of Kirk Session, however, were held before the communion, to go over the "examine roll," [It may be presumed that the examine roll was generally very carefully and conscientiously made up by the minister. But there were cases in which this work was alleged to have been slopped. In 1714 it was complained by the people of Coylton, that their minister was in the way of making up his examine roll, by taking the "names of those who, after intimation, come to attend catechising, from the beddal who informs him who are present." And it was further objected that his roll was incomplete, for if people did not come forward at the hour advertised, he declined to catechise them, though they came within "an hour or half-an-hour after."] deal with delinquents, and determine who should be admitted or refused admission to the Lord's Table. About the beginning of last century, the Kirk Session of Galston met for this purpose on a week day, "at nine of the clock in the forenoon," and after spending "a good time of the day"—several hours it is stated in one or two instances—in prayer, they proceeded to business. In 1752 a very questionable practice was introduced in Mauch-line by Mr. Auld, as appears from the following minute of date 2nd August:—"The Session being constitute, and having the celebration of the sacrament in view, the examination roll was read over in order to know who in the Parish were unfit to receive tokens, at which time also the Session took a list of the scandalous persons, and in consequence of an intimation from the pulpit, about three months before, that all scandalous persons who should not apply to the Session to get their scandals issued in a regular way, should have their names read publicly before the congregation. This, accordingly, was appointed to be done." What authority beyond their own sweet wills Mr. Auld and his Kirk Session had for this procedure I cannot tell. More than once the General Assembly had directed that the names of people under particular scandals should be publicly read out from the pulpit before the communion. In 1705, for instance, it was ordained that the names of all persons under the censure of lesser excommunication should be so announced. And in 1649, when extreme measures were thought necessary to stem the tide of grievous and common sins in the land at that "present time," it was propounded among other things that persons grossly ignorant be debarred from the communion, and that when persons were so debarred for the third time, their names should be expressed. It will be seen, however, that what Mr. Auld did in 1752 was quite different from what the Assembly ordained or propounded in 1705 and 1648. And whatever may have been the precedent that Mr. Auld had for his procedure in 1752, experience taught him long before his death the expediency, if not necessity, of discontinuing all invidious disclosures from the pulpit. [John Livingstone states in his autobiography, that when he was in Ireland, about 1630, it was customary there for delinquents to confess their scandals before the congregation at the Saturday's sermon before the communion, and then they were absolved and admitted to the sacrament. Such delinquents as did not do so had their "names, scandals, and impenitence," declared to the congregation, and were publicly debarred from the Lord's Table. This proclamation, says Livingstone, inspired such a wholesome terror, that very few contumacious people were found.]

The Saturday's preparation sermon, enjoined by the General Assembly in 1645, was also, I have said, an ancient institution in the Church of Scotland. Bishop Sage says otherwise. The Saturday's preachings, he says, were never heard of till they were recommended by the Committee of the Innovating Assembly, which introduced so man)' novelties, in 1645. That these preachings were never enjoined by special enactment before 1645 may be true, but they were certainly in general use long before that date. They were known too all over the Church by the name of the Preparation Sermon. For instance, in the year 1643, the six sessions of Edinburgh instructed a committee of their number to urge on the town council the expediency of appointing a collection for the poor, "upon the Saturday immediately preceding the celebration of the communion, while the people is convening to the sermon of preparation, and that according to the custom universally practised through the whole kingdom." As far back as 1567 there is mention, in published records, of the Saturday service as a customary preliminary to the communion. On the 11th January of that year, the Session of Canongate appointed the minister to intimate from the pulpit that the communion would be celebrated on the 19th of that month, and that " the exhortation would be given on the Saturday afternoon afoir." And in the records of our own parish we have notice of a Saturday's service preparatory to the Lord's Supper as far back as 1680, and I may say constantly ever afterwards when the sacrament was administered. But just as the Westminster Directory leaves the precise day for the preparation sermon unfixed, so did ministers and kirk sessions before the passing of the act 1645 consider themselves not exactly restricted and tied down to the Saturday for the service. Spalding, in his journal for 164.1, incidentally mentions, that on "Frydday, 4th June, our minister preached ane preparation sermon befoir the giving of the Communion the nixt Sabboth." [In 1634 the communion was celebrated at Galston, on Sunday, the 27th April, and on Sunday, the 4th May. On the Saturday preceding each of these days there was service in Church and a collection made for the poor. On the one Saturday the collection amounted to 16s., and on the other to 21s., whereas, on the Sabbath before the communion, it was only 14s., and on the Sunday after the communion 10s.]

The Saturday's sermon of preparation, however, came in course of time to be completely overshadowed by the solemnities of another preparatory service. This was the sacramental fast. Such fasts, we all know, are nowhere prescribed in Scripture, and they were never observed by the Apostles and first Christians. They never were enjoined either by any Act of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. They are simply a custom or the special appointments of particular Kirk Sessions. It is admitted that they were at least not common in Scotland till after 1651, but it is contended by some people that there arc on record one or two instances of sacramental fasts previously. In the appendix to Principal Lee's lectures, it is stated that "there appears" to have been a fast ordinarily observed at St. Andrews [In support of this opinion, Principal Lee quotes from a reply of the minister of St. Andrews, to a charge of neglecting an Act of Assembly appointing a special fast in 1574. The words founded on are, the fast " wes observit and concludit with ye ministration of ye Supper of the Lord, according to the order observit hidderto in our kirk." But what is the meaning of these words? Is it that a fast was always observed in connection with and in preparation for the Lord's Supper, or is it the converse, that the Lord's Supper was always celebrated in connection with and as a completion of the observance of a solemn fast ? That the latter view is not without historical support, may be inferred from the following words of Calderwood, vol. ii., page 324, Anno, 1566:—"It was appointed a publick fast sould be holden the two last Sabboth dayes of Julie, in respect of the dangers imminent wherewith the kirk is like to be assaulted, and that the Lord's Supper be ministered upon the same day if it can be done convenientlie." Fasts sometimes lasted a whole week, with two diets of worship daily.] in connection with the communion as far back as 1574, and that the good custom was still kept up in 1598. I have looked over the Session Records of Galston from 1626, and I have not noticed, or at least not noted, any instance there of a week day sacramental fast till long after 1651. There was at one time a Sunday fast before the communion, in Galston. In 1626 the communion was held on the 30th July, and Sabbath the 23rd July was called "the day of Fast." In the records for 1645, I find the expression, [The Sunday fast before communion seems to have been not uncommon at that date. In the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr for 1642, we find the following appointments minuted for the vacant Parish of Cumnock,—Messrs. A. and 13. "to celebrate the sacrament respectively on Sunday come twenty days and Sunday come a month," also, "Mr. Summervail to celebrat the publict fast thair upon Sunday come a fyfteen dayes." Possibly this was not a Sacramental Fast, but it looks like one in the light of other minutes.] "Sunday, the 1st of June, being the fast before the Communion," and a similar expression occurs in the records of the previous year. In 1642 the sacrament was administered at Galston, on the 18th and 25th September. Each day of communion was preceded by a Saturday's and followed by a Monday's service, and the Wednesday before the first day of communion is described as "being ane fasting day." I cannot but think, however, that if that fasting day had any connection at all with the communion, its appointment must have been due to some very exceptional circumstances. [Sometimes a fast appointed for one purpose was made to serve for another. In the Records of Galston Session for 1726, there is a minute which states that the Kirk Session desired that "the national fast which falleth the Thursday following, be observed as a day of preparation before the sacrament."] Neither in 1641 nor in 1643 was there any such week day preparatory fast at Galston. In 1640 there were two Sabbaths of communion, each preceded by a Saturday service, but neither of them preceded by a Wednesday's fast nor followed by a Monday's thanksgiving. On the Monday after the sacrament in 1673, a minute was made regarding the collection which was gathered " upon Sabbath was eight days being the Fast day and upon Saturday, Sabbath, and this day." It is quite certain, therefore, that week day sacramental fasts [So far from Parochial fasts before communion being universal even after 1651, we find religious men providing for their own necessities by holding private fasts. Brodie of Brodte, in 1652, made the 3rd May, which was a Monday, a day of humiliation for four specified reasons, the second of which was that the Lord would fit him for participation at the Lord's Table at the coming communion. John Livingstone, in 1634, made the Saturday before communion a day of private fasting, prayer, and sacramental preparation, and it may be mentioned here that the custom of holding private fasts for reasons personal, had not altogether died out a hundred years ago. In 1794, Andrew Fuller, the celebrated English baptist, took to himself, at the age of forty, a second wife, and shortly before his marriage he thus wrote in his diary,—"I devoted this day to fasting and prayer on account of my expected marriage, to entreat the blessing of God upon me and her who may be connected with me."] were not common till after 1651, and they were in some cases not introduced till 1700. It was the Protesters of 1651 that made the sacramental fast what is vulgarly called an institution. And from their point of view, Fast Days were a necessary preparation for communion. The whole Kingdom was in a state of variance,—neighbour against neighbour and brother against brother,—and not only so, but the King and his Government, and all who complied with their proceedings, were guilty of treason against high heaven in repealing the Act of Classes and allowing malignants to hold office in the army and the state. Communion services had consequently to be suspended altogether for a while, and when they came to be administered, they had to be preceded by a special humiliation which was most fittingly expressed in fasting. "The Protesters," says Bishop Burnet, "gave the sacrament with a new and an unusual solemnity. On the Wednesday before the communion they held a fast with prayer and sermons for about eight or ten hours together. On the Saturday they had two or three preparation sermons, and on the Lord's day they had so very many, that the action continued above twelve hours in some places, and all ended with three or four sermons on Monday for thanksgiving. A great many ministers were brought together from several parts, and high pretenders would have gone forty or fifty miles to a noted communion." It might be expected, as a matter of course, that if Protesters introduced Sacramental Fasts, Resolutioners would set their faces against Fasts, and such was the case. Both in pamphlets and sermons the Resolutioners inveighed loudly against the new custom as a violation of the order established in the Church, and as causing prejudice against faithful ministers who would not adopt the new ways. These new ways, however, were popular; and more and more ministers, year after year, went in with them, till by-and-by the holding of Sacramental Fasts, although neither enjoined in Scripture nor instituted by Act of Assembly, came to be an universal practice over Scotland. And for a long while these Fasts, if not Fasts in the literal sense of the term, were at least days of genuine humiliation and devotion. Wodrow, writing about communions in his neighbourhood, in 1729, says, "there is something like a spirit of wrestling and prayer on our Fast Days." And no Christian will deny that, so long as that was the case Fast Days did good ; but when they came to be spent not in humiliation, but in gaiety—not in prayer, but in the pursuit of worldly pleasure—not in sobriety, but with a good deal of public drunkenness—not in the house of God, but as far from it as possible—not with any view to communion with Christ, but in railway excursions and sometimes on racecourses, where sport was provided for the occasion—they were a public scandal to the Church, and a means of demoralising far more than of spiritualising men's minds. [Zeal for fasting amounted to a mania about the time of the Westminster Assembly, and for many years after. The divines at Westminster kept a monthly Fast. This was for a special reason. They were engaged in a great work which concerned the Church of Christ and the glory of God. The Protesters are said by Baillie to have instituted monthly Fasts in Scotland, and these lingered in some places till near the end of the seventeenth century. Curate Calder, who wrote after the coronation of William the III., speaks familiarly of them and says, "once in the monthly Fast Day I heard Mr. Kirkton discourse." In the Session Records of Fenwick, I find that in 1693 "John Stiel was delated for driving kine to Strathaven mercat upon the monthly Fast Day in Julie instant, and was appointed to be summoned to the next Session."]

What, then, it may be asked, was the special purpose of the Fast Day's service as distinguished from the Saturday's preparation sermon? Long ago, it was very common, in appointing Fast Days, whether National, Synodical, Presby-terial, or Parochial, to specify their causes and occasion. When a National Fast was appointed, some national sins or national calamities were specified as the causes of the Fast, and when Parochial Fasts were appointed, some Parochial sins or Parochial calamities were mentioned as the reason for the appointment. In the Records of this Parish, for instance, I find that in 1703 the Kirk Session appointed a day of humiliation "for the outbreakings of sin and wickedness in the Parish." And so when Sacramental Fasts were first instituted, it was not unusual to indicate the reason of their' appointment. In the Records of the Kirk Session of Dunfermline there is a minute dated July, 1656, in which it is said that "it is thought fit that there be a day of fast before the communion for the sins of the people in this Paroche." This minute shews that Sacramental Fasts were originally appointed as Kirk Sessions thought fit, and that the object of these Fasts was humiliation on account of the prevalence of sin in the Parish. Pardovan says that some people think it not very proper that stranger ministers should conduct the Fast Day services, for "the design of that day being a Congregational Fast, on which the sins of that Parish are to be mourned before the Lord, no other minister can have such particular knowledge thereof as he who labours and travels among them." And at one time it was not uncommon for the minister of the Parish to officiate part of the day at least on his own Parish Fast. In the Records of this Parish it is minuted that on the Sacramental Fast in 1732 the minister preached in the forenoon and Mr. Lindsay of Sorn in the afternoon, while in 1734 the minister preached in the afternoon and a stranger in the forenoon. [Judging from the heading of a sermon in a manuscript volume of Mr. Lindsay's in my possession, I think it must have been common in Sorn as well as in Mauchline about 1730, for the Parish minister to preach one of the sermons on his Sacramental Fast Day.] At what date it will now be asked were Sacramental Fasts introduced into this Parish? Bishop Sage, writing in 1695 about "the practice of our present Presbyterians" in regard to the ministration of the Lord's Supper, says, that "in many places, particularly in the west, a Fast is kept on some day of the week before the sacrament is celebrated." It would seem, therefore, that before the end of the seventeenth century, Sacramental Fasts had become common, but not universal, in Scotland, and that they were most common in the west. I was very hopeful of finding information about early Sacramental Fasts in the Session Records of Fenwick, but I was disappointed. Fenwick was a famous covenanting Parish, and its minister, William Guthrie, was a noted Protester. The old records of Fenwick, however, say little about the ministration of the sacrament. The earliest notice of a Sacramental Fast that I happen to have observed in them, occurs in the records of the year 1693. That year there was a day formally and specially appointed by the Session "to be observed as a day of fasting and humiliation by the congregation before the communion." A similar appointment was minuted in 1694. In the Records of Galston Session there is mention of a man's being in 1697 delated and publicly rebuked "for the scandal of breaking the Fast Day (which was keeped before the communion) by leading coals." Roth the offence libelled and the clause bracketed in this minute, indicate that the Sacramental Fast was then a new institution in Galston Parish.

In the extant records of Mauchline Parish, there are entries shewing clearly that a communion was held here in 1673, and there are entries of early date which make it appear probable that the communion in 1673 was nt the first that Mr. Veitch had after his return to the Parish in 1669. But it is not till 1680 that we find any entry to shew what extra days of preaching there were at the communion time. That year there was a Fast on the Sunday preceding the communion, and from what has been said about the Fast Sunday at Galston, we may suppose this Fast to have been in preparation for the sacrament. All that is said about this Fast, however, is contained in two entries of collections. The first of these entries is " Collected, October 10 and n, being the Fast Sabbath and the Monday thereafter, 13 12s. 0d.," and the other entry is "Collected, 16, 17, 18 days of October being the Saturday before the Communion, the Communion Sabbath and the Monday thereafter, 50." The next year in which we have an account of preaching days at the communion of Mauchline is 1691, and that year also there was no week day Sacramental Fast. Nor is there anything said about the previous Sunday's having been a Fast Sabbath; but, whether it was or was not, it was at least a day of unusual interest, on which there was a more than common congregation in the Church, for the collection amounted to 4 9s. 2d., whereas on ordinary Sabbaths it reached little more than half that sum. It might be an open question whether the records shew that in 1702 there was or was not a week day Sacramental Fast in Mauchline, but in the records for 1705 the following explicit statement occurs:— "August 9th, being Wednesday, the Fast before the communion, there was collected 3 1s. 10d." And it may be assumed, in absence of proof to the contrary, that from 1705 to 1882 there was always a week day Fast before and in connection with the summer communion here. But the fact that for many years prior to 1882 there was no Sacramental Fast before the winter communion, shews that Fasts were never reckoned essential preliminaries to the celebration of the Lord's Supper. And that Fasts were for long considered not so closely connected with the communion as the Saturday's and Monday's service i.s proved by the fact, that for many, many years, the collections on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, were slumped together as one, and were sometimes specially stated to be "for the poor," that is, for immediate distribution among the poor, while the collection on the Fast Day was entered by itself, and nothing was said about its destination. In later times, 1750 for example, the form of entry was changed, and the phrase used was "collected on Fast and following days," shewing that the Fast Day's collection was then considered part and parcel of the charities of the communion season.

One of the ends commonly served at present by Sacramental Fasts or preparation services on the Saturday before the communion is the distribution to intending communicants of tokens for admission to the Lord's Table. In very ancient times, however, it was not the practice of Kirk Sessions to distribute tokens in Church on either the Fast Day or the preparation Saturday. In 1574 the Session of Edinburgh ordained that the "haill communicants cum in proper person upon Friday next, at twa hours efternoon, and ressave their tickets in ye places of examination." But to come nearer home and nearer the present day, the Session of Galston, in 1673, "laid down a way how to distribute the tickets to those that are to communicate," and that way was, to give to the Elder of each quarter, a certified list of all the communicants within his district, and as many tickets as there were names upon his list. In Fen wick, the Kirk Session, in 1698, met a week before the Fast Day "for the judicial distribution of the tokens," and the following year it was minuted that the Session "divided themselves into committees in order to the admission of persons to the Lord's Table." There is nothing in our own records to shew what was the practice in this Parish with regard to the distribution of tokens two hundred years ago. But it is stated that on the Fast Day in 1732, the minister "intimated how the people were to be served in tokens for the communion," and that in 1735 the Session met after sermon on the Fast Day, and "the Elders received tokens to distribute to their respective quarters."

It is not necessary to say much about the Monday's service of thanksgiving after the communion. This service, like the Fast Day service, had neither Scriptural nor statutory origin. It was simply a custom of spontaneous generation. If it did not exactly originate in 1630, it at least was popularised then by the signal blessing that was seen to attend the preaching of John Livingstone, at Shotts, on the memorable Monday after the communion there in June of that year. By 1644 it must have become a common communion custom in Scotland, for Baillie, in one of his Westminster letters, expresses astonishment at the Independents having not only no preparation sermon before, but no thanksgiving sermon after, their communions. In this Parish there was a Monday service after the communion in 1680, which is the first year in which we have any account or enumeration in the Session Records of the different preaching days in connection with the celebration of the sacrament.

The word thanksgiving, which was the name given to the Monday's service, almost implied that the Monday was a more joyous day than the other preaching days. It was a day on which the bow was unstrung and the long pent up spirits were relaxed. It was a day to eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing was prepared. But so apt is festivity to degenerate into jollity, and the natural reaction from intense emotion and restraint to pass into hilarious excitement, that the communion Mondays soon came to be a byeword and a matter of slight reproach to the Church. As far back as the year 1697, the Presbytery of Ayr were exercised on the subject, and a committee of their number was "appointed to think on some overture anent the inconvenience and offence of great preparations and multitudes dining on the Monday after communion." The outcome of this appointment was a resolution by the Presbytery to forbid ministers '-to invite any to dinner on the foresaid day, but such as have been assisting at their communion." And that this prohibition was not to be considered a mere farce, threat, or fulmen brutiim, the Presbytery ordered the clerk to transmit a double of it to each minister within the bounds. Far be it from me, however, to insinuate that the Monday's sociality always or usually verged on either excess or levity. On the contrary, gatherings more pure and pleasant than these Monday meetings at the social board generally were, could scarcely be either wished or conceived.

What may be termed the furnishings and material preparations for the communion in olden times, are the next things we have to consider. Some of these furnishings and preparations seem rather odd now. At the present day, communicants, when receiving the elements, either sit in their ordinary pews, the book-boards in front being covered for the occasion with clean white linen, or they sit in special pews linked together (as in Mauchline Church, between the two passages) so as to resemble a long table. At the Westminster Assembly the Independents kept the divines in discussion "long three weeks upon one point alone, the communicating at a table." They were content, says Baillie, that the elements should be received by the communicants sitting, instead of kneeling as the Episcopal ritualists in Scotland at one time insisted on, but they did not see the necessity for communicants rising out of their pews and going to a table. They did not raise the question either whether communicants should sit at the table with their hats off or on, although some of them held that the covering of the head was significant of their table honour, and of their sitting there as children not as worshippers. They considerately waived that crotchet, and directed all their efforts to overthrow the table system. And the result of their debate was that some vague and general expressions were devised, which could meet the views and suit the purpose of all parties, but which, said Baillie, would "by benigne exposition infer our (Scottish) practices." The general expressions thus referred to by Baillie arc to be found in the following clause, in the Directory for Public Worship:—"the table being before decently covered, and so conveniently placed, that the communicants may orderly sit about it or at it" By a benign exposition this clause might be taken to mean that all the communicants were to sit round or about the table in the sense of sitting at it; but by a benign construction it might also mean that the communicants were to sit in their pews around the table, in the sense of being about it on the same floor. The General Assembly perceived the ambiguity, and in approving the Directory for Public Worship, they made a special declaration that the clause in the section on the Lord's Supper "which mentioneth the communicants sitting about the table or at it, be not interpreted as if in the judgment of this Kirk it were indifferent or free for any of the communicants not to come to and receive at the table." [And as recently as 1827 the General Assembly pronounced a deliverance declaring that it is the law, and has been the immemorial practice of the Church of Scotland, to dispense the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to the people seated at or around a communion table or tables, and enjoining Presbyteries to use their best endeavours when Churches are rebuilt or reseated to have a suitable table or tables provided for the solemn service of the Lord's Supper.] So much importance being thus attached to the seating of communicants at a table, it was generally in the olden times a literal table, and frequently it was a table specially made for the occasion, that was used at the sacraments. Sometimes too the table was fenced in a literal sense, not by words of warning and threatening from the minister, but as was the case in Edinburgh in 1562, by a wooden paling, or as it is termed, "ane travess for holding furth of ye non-communicants."

In Mauchline, the erection of the tables for the communion was for many years a matter of regular contract. In May, 1673, two of the elders were appointed " to meet with George Wilson, carpenter, and search what will be found necessar for mounting and making readie tables and formes for the communion, that it may be done betwixt and July 10th." And among the items of expenditure by the Kirk Session in December of that year was a sum of 6 (Scots) " for eight dales to be the communion tables." Twenty years later, in 1693, there was again given to George Wilson, for setting up the communion tables, 4, besides a sum of 8s. to the " wright for morning drinks." In 1674 two trees were purchased at a cost of 2 14s., to mend the tables, and Wilson was paid 5 8s. for work. As late as 1753 there is an entry in the Session Books of 2 14s. iod. for setting up tables. And long ago there was expense incurred also, as there still is, in dressing the tables. In 1681 there was given to Bailie Hunter, who seems to have been either a draper or a merchant, 6 for table cloths at three communions." In 1691 there happens to be minuted a very full and detailed account of communion expenses. The fitting up of the tables cost 3; the furnishing of the table cloths with knittings cost 2 3s. 0d.; and there was given to a man for helping at the tables, whatever that may mean, 2 [The Records of Galston contain a similar tale of expenses, such as for "setting the table buirds and mending the bridge;" "for nails to fix the communion tables, 13s. 4d., and for timber to be standers to the tables, 5s. 8d.;" "27 elnes linning cloth to cover the table buirds, and to be keipit for that use, at ios. 4d. the elne, $ 19s.;" "new furmes and renewing table buirds, 9 17s. 4d.;" and paid "to the bedall for the sope to wash the baptisme cloth this last year, 6s." In 1676 the Galston Kirk Session found it necessary to invest in a full equipment of communion linen, and the account of the "table cloathes" shews what appearance the communion service must have presented. "One (cloth) the lenth of the Church betwixt the two north doors, another of equal lenth, divided in two, for the south side, item, a short one for the midd table. Two napkins and linen to be a codware to keip them in."] Another source of expense to Kirk Sessions in connection with communions in olden times was the purchase of tokens. These tokens, although generally called tickets in old writings, were made of lead. But although they might have lasted for ever, they somehow did not. They were either worn out of shape or they were lost,and new ones had to beprovided from time to time. In 1672, the Session of Mauchline, paid to the smith, a sum of 40s., for casting communion tickets. A slight economy, however, was effected under this head in 1768, by the presentation to the Session of a set of cams or moulds, from a good Samaritan named Muir, who lived at Gadgirth. The famous Water-of-Ayr stone, of which so much has recently been heard in the courts of law, had thus, we see, been used and prized for some works of art—even ecclesiastical art—a hundred and twenty years ago. And the Kirk Session had, at least, an opportunity of trying the capabilities of Mr. Muir's cams, for in 1779 it was found that there were only 1026 tokens to the fore, and that 300 more were needed. [At the first communion of the Seceders, at Ceres, in Fifeshire, which was held in August, 1743, and at which it is said there were 2000 communicants, the tokens distributed "were circular pieces of leather, about the size of a shilling, with a hole perforated in the centre."—M'Kelvie.]

Communion cups were also, like tokens, sources of occasional and indeed of very considerable expense to Kirk Sessions. This expense, as well as the expense of providing communion tables and table cloths, has ever since 1617 fallen, by Act of Parliament, on the heritors. But just as Kirk Sessions had, long ago, notwithstanding the Act of Parliament, to provide tables and table cloths for the communion, so had they to provide communion cups. In 1691 there was paid by the Session of Mauchline, 1 12s., for dressing the cups, and in 1777 the Session minuted that they were "determined to get new communion cups, as the old ones can serve no longer." The Session seem to have been determined also not to pay for the new cups, for although beautiful silver cups were got that year, it was not at the Kirk Session's expense, nor at the Congregation's expense, but at the cost of the Heritors. Lovers of antiquities will be pleased to hear that these cups are still in use, and that they look as fresh and bright as on the day they were made. [A not uncommon form of gift to a parish by an heritor or an heritor's lady was Church plate. Lady Anne Whiteford, for instance, gave to the Session of Mauchline, in 17SS, a beautiful baptismal basin, and in 1730 the Kirk Session of Galston received "Four silver cups, dedicated by the late Lady Polwarth, for the use of the Parish."]

One of the questions asked by Presbyteries long ago at the visitation of Parishes was, what utensils have been provided for the administration of the sacraments? In the year 1698, Mr. Maitland reported that in Mauchline there were neither any mortifications for the poor nor any utensils for the celebration of the sacraments. Five years later, however, Mr. Maitland informed the Presbytery that there had been mortified for the poor, 100 merks Scots, by the Laird of Glenlee, and six pounds Scots by Mr. Hodge. Also that there were provided for sacramental use, two silver cups, but no other utensils. In 1719 matters had still further improved in the Parish, and not only were there "two silver cups for the sacrament, but there were also a peuther plate for carrying the bread and a basin for baptism." And Mauchline was no worse off in respect of sacramental utensils than other Parishes in the district. In 1706 there were many Parishes reported to be wholly unprovided with such articles. In 1709 there were at St. Ouivox "no communion cups nor other utensils for the sacraments except a basin to hold water." The only sacramental possessions in other Parishes that same year were table cloths. In 1723 the whole stock of sacramental utensils at Auchinlcck were "a siller queff, ane stoup, table cloaths, and two cloaths used when children are baptized."

The question may well be raised, how came it that after the re-establishment of Presbytery in Scotland, at the Revolution, there was such a scarcity of sacramental utensils in so many Parishes? Did the outed Episcopal ministers make off with all the Church belongings they could lay hands on ? It is just possible, and the ministers may have thought that in so doing they were preventing old benefactions from being misappropriated. After the establishment of Episcopacy in 1661, the Bishops complained that the outed Presbyterian ministers had stowed away their decreets of locality. [See Register of Synod of Galloway from 1664 to 1671, page 10.] Thirty years later, when tables were turned, Episcopalians may have taken their revenge, and made off with what they could seize, on any feasible pretence. Certain it is, that a great many ecclesiastical records, pertaining to the second period of Episcopacy, have disappeared. In the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr there is a blank from 1650 to 1687. It is but a few years since the Record of the Synod of Galloway from 1664 to 1671 was accidentally discovered; and that communion cups have been lost to Parishes by ministers in much the same way as Church Records have been lost by the Clerks of Church courts, is at least commonly believed, if not positively ascertained. In the Session Records of Irongray there is a curious entry anent the loss of communion cups. In 1697 the elders of that Parish were directed to make enquiry about the loss of the utensils of the Church,— cups, table cloths, and other things,—and a week later they reported that nothing could be heard of the missing articles except " that they were carried away by Mr. John Welsh, his plenishing." [Harper's Rambles in Galloway. This John Welsh, grandson of the great John Welsh of Ayr, was not an Episcopalian but a Presbyterian.] It is quite possible that a similar fate befell many parochial possessions at transition and troublous times. But it is pleasant to have to say that there are instances of Episcopal ministers endowing Parishes with communion plate. Among the Parishes reported in 1696 to have had no utensils for the sacrament, was the large and wealthy Parish of Maybole. Forty years later, at a visitation of that Parish, the minister and elders informed the Presbytery that they had "got two silver cups for the sacrament of the supper, from Mr. Alexander------------, their late Episcopal minister, which he hes mortified to the Paroch for the said use."

The plenishing of the communion table with bread and wine is an expense that at the present day falls on the minister, but it is an expense for which a fixed allowance is appointed, by the Court of Teinds, to be paid to the minister by the heritors. In some Parishes, but Mauchline is not one of these, when the sacrament is administered oftener than once a year, there is an extra grant for communion expenses, made to the minister, by the Kirk Session. But in the old Parishes it is only in the case of extra communions that Kirk Sessions make any payments for communion elements. And this present practice is of old standing. An Act of Parliament, passed in 1572, imposed on the parsons of all parish kirks [Pardovan, 281.] the burden of furnishing bread and wine to the Communion as often as it should be administered.! The General Assembly of 1638 made an addendum to this Act, and declared that where allowance was made for furnishing communion elements only once a year the charges should rather be defrayed out of the day's collection than that the congregation should want a more frequent celebration. [In 1572 the General Assembly "concluded that the persone (parson) should find bread and wine to the communion, unless the vicarage exceed the sum of forty pounds, and in that case the vicarage to furnish the same in time coming."—Book of Universal Kirk.] It might be supposed, therefore, that subsequent to the year 1572, when the above cited act of Parliament was passed, there would not be found in Kirk Session Records any entries of expense for communion elements, unless the communion had been celebrated oftener than once a year. Nor are there in Session Records many entries of expense on that score. But there are some. In the Galston Records for 1642 there is an entry of 11 18s. 0d., "to mak out the elements by and attour the 40 merks qlk Cessnock, Barr, and Gastoun peys." And it is proper to explain that the Act 1572 is apt to be misunderstood by lay readers. The parsons on whom was laid the burden of providing the communion elements were not the stipendiary parish ministers, who received only a stipend out of the parish teinds, but the few ministers who at that date were parsons in the strict sense of the term, and had for their livings the whole benefice of the parish. In parishes where there were no parsons, but only stipendiary ministers, the burden of providing the communion elements was held by some authorities to devolve on the titular of the teinds; and I refer to this matter chiefly because this construction of the Act possibly affords the explanation of a curious entry in our own Session Records. In 1680 there is an entry " given to Thomas Stewart, servitor to my Lord Loudoun for carrying the elements, 13s. 8d." The carrying of the elements probably meant the carriage of the elements to Mauchline, for in 1674 and 1691 there are similar entries in the following words, "for bringing the wine to the communion, 12s.," and "for bringing home of the bread and wine, 1 2s. 0d." Lord Loudoun, it is well known, was the patron of the parish and the titular of the teinds, and if the construction just mentioned of the Act, 1572, was held by Lord Loudoun to be the proper construction, we can understand his providing the elements and the Session's being at the expense of conveying them to Mauchline. [Since this paragraph went to press, I have chanced to light on the following note in Chalmers' Caledonia:—"Acta Pari., iv. 323. Lord Loudoun and his heirs were obliged to pay to the Crown 100 merks Scots yearly, and to pay to the ministers serving the cure at the Church of Mauchlin, 40 bolls of oatmeal and 300 merks Scots yearly, and to furnish bread and wine for the celebration of the communion."] In the Galston records we find similar entries of outlay for the "wyne fetching."

[The following extracts from the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr are interesting, as shewing how communion elements were provided or failed to be provided long ago:—

1642—"It was regreated by the said Mr. Johne (the minister at Kirkos-wald), that some of the Parochiners refused to pay their part for the furnishing of the elements to the communion, according to the direction of the platt thereanent, through the which neglezt and omission the communion wes not celebrated twyse in the year, as the minister affirms he would willingly do, if the said neglect were helped.-'

1644—The town of Ayr furnished the communion elements for the Church.

1697—"At Symington the minister reported that he had not wherewith to defray communion elements."

1702—The minister of Kirkoswald reported that he has "a decreet of ocality containing allowance for communion elements for which he gets nothing, the Heritors alleging they are out of use of payment. No utensils for sacraments.']

The peace of some congregations has recently been broken by a controversy regarding the particular kind of wine that should be used at the communion. It may perhaps not be generally known that the wine commonly used now is not the same kind of wine as was used very long ago in Scotland. The wine now in use is port wine, the wine used long ago was claret, and the quantity of it consumed at a sacrament was enormous. It was at the cost of the city that the communion elements for the churches of Edinburgh were in the sixteenth century provided, and in the Dean of Guild's accounts for 1590 the following entries occur, " ist communion ane puncheon of claret wine, 36 10s., 9 gallons mair, 16 16 ; 2nd communion 1 puncheon of claret wine, cost 35, 6\ gallons mair, 14 6s." And these quantities were not beyond common. In 1578 there were used at one communion in Edinburgh 26 gallons of wine which cost 41 12s. 0d.; in 1575 at what is called the second table, "ane puncheon of wyne, 27 10s., mair bochtfra Gilbert Thorne-toune's wyfc, 11 quarts and ane pynt, 5 15s.; in 1574 ane puncheon of wyne, 30; and in 1573 ane puncheon of wyne, 18, and sax quarts mair, 32s." [Lee's Lecture, Appendix. K.] Coming down to the times of the Covenant we find that in 1641 there was paid by the town of Glasgow to Robert Campbell and others for "wyne to the communion," the sum of ^84 10s. 8d., while in 1656 there was purchased by the same liberal corporation for the same good purpose a hogshead of wine at the cost of 160. It is quite plain that in these old Reformation and second Reformation days communicants had partaken at the Lord's table in a different way from what they now do. For one thing the wine used was lighter, and more of it might be rationally and innocuously taken by each person. It is not unreasonable to think, also, that the laity, after having with no small effort secured for themselves the privilege of communicating in both kinds, with wine as well as bread, might, by way of protesting against the popish practice of refusing the cup to the people, have made a point of shewing that they appreciated the privilege by returning the "queff" either empty or visibly lightened of its contents.

[I have had the privilege of examining a selection of old papers belonging to the Kirk Session of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, with manuscript notes thereon by George Lorimer, Esq., and I find that the following account for wines, etc., was given in to that Session in 1687, by the beadle, who was by trade a publican. The bill is not large as compared with those quoted above, but the congregation is estimated, by Mr. Lorimer, to have been not more than two or three hundred. It will be seen from this bill that in old times, when the services were very protracted, a considerable amount of liquor was at least provided for, if not consumed by, the several sets of Church officials, viz.:—the minister and his assistants, the precentor and his helps, the elders and deacons, the officers and the attendants. The wine was light wine, either Claret or Burgundy:—

To the Kirk, 9 pynts wyne and 2 pynts ale, - - ,8 6 0

Mr. Hepburn (Minister), 4 pynts wyne, - - 3 12 0

John Wishart (Trecentor), 2 pynts wyne, - - 1 16 0

Elders and Deacons, 4 pynts wyne, - - - 3 12 0

William Byers (Beadle), 2 pynts wyne, - - 0 18 0

The Officers, 3 pynts wyne, - - - - 2 14 0

The Baxter, 1 chopin wyne, 2 pynts ale, - - 0 13 0

Ane pynt of ale to the man yt drew ye wyne, - 0 2 0

A Scotch pint was equal to three bottles, and a chopin half that quantity. The sums quoted both in this note and in the text above are of Scots money.]

The question what kind of wine should be used at the sacrament was copiously debated by ecclesiastical writers long before the present wise generation of disputants came into being. Pardovan in his collections refers to the question, and says, "Any kind of wine may be used in the Lord's supper, yet wine of a red colour seemeth most suitable." [The fact of the wine being a symbol of the blood shed for sinners is perhaps why Pardovan thinks that red wine is more suitable than white wine for the sacrament of the supper. Some strange conceits, however, on the subject of red and white wine have been enunciated by religious writers of what may be termed the allegorical school. In a book printed at Paris in 1575, under the title of Quadragesimale  Spiritual?, or Lent's Allegory, it is said, "there are two kinds of wine, white and red, the white signifieth the hope which is in Christ Jesus, and the red the love which he hath shewed us in purchasing of the foresaid glory. . . . The white teadieth us the way to heaven, fur it giveth good courage to a man, legs of wine and boldnes of joy. The red sharpeneth the wit and understanding, and helps the memory to remember that the precious blood of Christ gushed out of his side for rvr salvation. This wine is chief of choice among all liquors, ekctus ex mi/.'itit\\" Stephen's World of Wonders, London, 1607. Wodrow states that in his day the wine used at communions in Holland was white wine, and that in Norway and Denmark it was not wine at all that was used but malt liquors.] And, what will be grateful to the cars of total abstainers, he adds, " in case a society of Christians should want [not be able to procure] the fruits of the vine of all sorts, I cannot think but it might be supplied by some composure as like unto it as could be made."' In the first liturgy of Edward the VI., there was a rubric which directed the Priest on pouring the wine into the chalice or some fair convenient cup, prepared for that use, to add thereto " a little pure and clean water." This was a very ancient custom in the Christian Church, and it was, says a learned author, " in opposition to two contrary sects, first the Arminians, who held that it was only lawful to use wine alone without water; secondly, against the Hydroparastatac, who officiated with water unmixt with wine. The reason of this mixture was partly in imitation of our Saviour's act in the first institution of the Eucharist, agreeable to the custom of that hot climate, which constantly used to allay the heat of the wine with water, and partly because that when our Saviour's side was pierced with the lance there issued out both water and blood." The same custom was at one time attempted to be introduced into the Church of Scotland, and in some places the attempt met with success. In Aberdeenshire it continued to be more or less general for a hundred and fifty years. But in Ayrshire popular feeling was against it. The Covenanters denounced it, and it was regarded consequently with all the aversion that anything supposed to be associated with Episcopal ritual encountered in the west. Common people, who knew nothing of the philosophy of Christian symbols, exclaimed against the mixture as an intake, an imposture, and a shameless adulteration, and they attributed its introduction to clerical parsimony. So dangerous is it for ministers to attempt to do anything, however reasonable in itself, if the reason of it is not apparent to the most benighted of his flock. It may not be generally known that there has been almost as much diversity of opinion and custom in regard to the bread used at communions as in regard to the wine. The Roman Catholic monks, as might be expected, were very particular about the preparation of bread for the communion. The corn, if possible, was to be selected grain by grain, and, before it was ground, the mill was to be so purified that the flour for the host would not be polluted with any fretts. The table on which the flour was baked was to be without spot, and the servant that held the irons for baking was to have his hands covered with rochets. During the process of baking there was to be dead silence in the room, and the baking was to be done over a clean fire, made of very dry wood, prepared on purpose many days before. After the bread was baked, it was put by the monks themselves, with ceremonies and prayers, into a mould marked with sacred characters ; and before consecration, it was cut in the form of a cross, by a special knife, and was mystically divided into nine parts with different designations. [Gordon's Monaslicon, p. 21.] It was deemed heresy to make the host of fermented bread ; and I may add that many of the Reformers, like the Catholics, have thought that the bread should be unleavened. In some parts of Scotland, short bread was till quite recently chosen as the most appropriate bread for the Christian passover. During the first year of my own ministry in Galloway, I was one day accosted by the beadle, and told that he and his friends were hoping I would give them short bread at the sacrament. We used to have it till three years ago, he said, and we thought it very shabby in the minister to change the old custom and give us plain bread. My answer was that altogether apart from the question of expense, I considered plain bread the most suitable for the occasion, and that, in this view, I was backed by the great ecclesiastical authority, Pardovan, who says, that "ordinary bread is to be used, and it is most decent that it should be leavened wheat bread." I cannot make out whether shortbread was ever used or not at the communion in Mauchlinc. I have heard old people say that in their fathers' or grandfathers' days it was used in some Parishes in Ayrshire, and the expression in our records two hundred years ago, "bringing home the bread," rather indicates that it was not ordinary bread that was used, but bread that had to be brought from a distance. [This is not an absolutely certain inference. Two hundred years ago there may possibly have been no baker in Mauchline. As recently as 1725 "there was only one baker in Dumfries, and he made bawbee-baps of coarse flour, chiefly hi an, which he occasionally carried in creels to the fairs of Urr and Kirkpatriek." Letter from Maxwell of Munches to Ilerrics of Spottes, quoted in Stat. Account of Scotland, Kirkcudbrightshire, page 207. The man to whom the West Kirk Session of Edinburgh made payment for communion bread in 1688 designated himself " Clark to the comon Bcackhows.'] At the present day, as may be seen from the last published volume of the Queen's Journal, the communion bread in some parts of Aberdeenshire is cut into small cubes like dice. These are put on large plates, and on the top of them are two or three longer pieces of bread for the ministers to break before distribution. The plates are then passed down the tables, and each communicant helps himself to one of the small cubes. If this mode of preparing the communion bread in the north is of very ancient origin, we may understand the astonishment of Spalding in 1643, at what he called the new in come customs, introduced then by Cant, although these are customs that in this part of the country we have been familiar with from our earliest years. "The communion breid, he says (was not), baikin nor distribute as wes wont, bot efter ane new fashion of breid, for it wes baikin in ane round loaf, lyke ane trynsheour, syne cuttit out in long schieves, hanging be ane tak. And first the minister takis ane schieve efter the blessing, and brakis ane piece, and gives to him who is narrest, and he gives the schieve to his nichbour, who takis ane piece, and syne gives it to his nichbour, whill it be spent, and syne ane elder gives in ane uther schieve whair the first schieve left, and so furth. The lyk breid and seruice wes nevir sein in Abirdene, befoir the cuming of Mr. Andro Cant to be thair minister."

I had occasion to indicate how the cost of the elements at communions in the Church of Scotland is defrayed. In the old Catholic Church, expenses of that kind were generally met by voluntary beneficence, stimulated by public praise and the hope of future reward. One of the old bidding prayers was,— "Ye shall pray for the good man and woman that this day giveth bread to make the holy loaf, and for all those that first began it, and them that longest continue." Whether the communion bread was supposed by its consecration to have some spiritualising influence impressed on it, or was merely endeared and made sacred to people by its use in the great mystery or symbol of redemption, it is certain that even in Scotland, and at no remote day, some communicants were in the habit of carrying fragments from the table, to shew or give to their friends at home, According to the learned author I have so often quoted, this was a very ancient practice in the Christian Church. At first, he says, the analects and remains of the supper were sent to absent friends "pledges and tokens of love and agreement in the unity of the same faith." The custom came at length to be abused, and was interdicted by the Council of Laodicea, which ordained that the consecrated bread be sent no more abroad toother Parishes at Easter, under the notion and in resemblance of the " blessed loaves." "As for the order of our Church " (the Church of England), adds our author, "it is very circumspect, for by saying the curate shall have it to his own use, care thereby is taken to prevent the superstitious reservation of the sacrament as the Papists practised.'' [I am informed that in some districts of Scotland it was customary for the minister and his assistants to consume what was left of the consecrated brew'. This was done to prevent the distribution of the fragments becoming a source of superstition. In 1703 a man was delated to the Kirk Session of Galston "for his scandalous and offensive carriage at the Lord's Table the preceding year, in putting up part of the bread in his pocket." He was cited to appear before the Sessio: and the charge having been found proven, he was publicly rebuked in Church.]

Having thus described the material preparations for the communion in olden times, I now pass on to describe the Church service on the communion Sabbath.

The Church of Scotland has always recommended frequent celebrations of the Lord's Supper, although the practice of the Church would scarcely lead one to think so. In the first Book of Discipline, 1560, it is stated that " four times in the year, we think sufficient to the administration of the Lord's Table, which we desire to be distincted that the superstition of times (Easter, Christmas, &c.) may be avoided." To wean the people from the observance of old popish holidays, Knox and his friends recommended that the communion days in the Church of Scotland should be the first Sundays of March, June, September, and December. The Westminster Directory and the Acts of Assembly subsequent to the second Reformation of 1638, only recommend that celebrations of the communion should be frequent, without specifying how frequent. There could, however, in the opinion of the most approved exponents of the Church's polity, be such a thing as over frequent as well as too infrequent celebration of the sacrament. Says Baillic, "Those who have seen the manner of celebration used by the Independents, professe it to be a very dead and comfortlesse way. It is not as in New England, once in the month, but as at Amsterdam, once every Lord's day, which makes the action much less solemn than in any other of the Reformed Churches, and in this too much like the daily masses of the Church of Rome."

Till within a very recent date there has been great irregularity, in respect of time and frequency, in the administration of the Lord's Supper by ministers in the Church of Scotland. As far back as 1565 that irregularity had become noticeable. At the General Assembly, held in the month of June of that year, there were ministers, says Calderwood, complained of and ordered to be tried and censured for " not ministering the communion for six years bypast." It was after the great disruption in 1651, however, that this irregularity became most scandalous. It is stated in some histories that the Protesters, in their zeal for the promotion of godliness, "ordained that the Sacrament of the Supper should be dispensed every month." [See Cunningham's Church History of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 171. Possibly the source of this error is a sentence in a letter of Baillie's, dated 19th July, 1654. This sentence is sometimes given as follows, —"From their meetings in Edinburgh they were instructed to have monthly fasts and communions." In Dr. Laing's edition of Baillie's letters, however, vol. iii., p. 245, the sentence is somewhat different, and if a comma be inserted after the word fasts, the meaning is very much altered,—"From their meeting in Edinburgh they were instructed to have monelhly fasts, and communions as they could have them." That must be a mistake. In all or most of the towns where the chief Protesters exercised their ministry, the sacrament remained unadministercd for years. The chief of the Protesters was James Guthrie of Stirling, and in the Session Records of Stirling the following minute occurs, under date, 5th Nov. 1657 :—"The Congregation have been without the enjoyment of that healing ordinance (the Lord's Supper) for the space of nine years." [This extract given me by Rev. Mr. Smith, North Parish, Stirling.] It was then appointed that the communion should be celebrated on the two Sabbaths, 15th and 22nd of the current month, and that the 12th of the month "be set apart for public solemn fasting and humiliation." In Edinburgh and St. Andrews, and I cannot tell how many other places, the communion was in like manner uncelebrated for years, notwithstanding the entreaties of congregations. Both Protesters and Resolutioners had a difficulty in regard to celebration. The whole community was at variance. Was there to be a communion without reconciliation? There were charges and counter charges of sin heard everywhere—charges of spiritual defection and counter charges of ecclesiastical contumacy— charges of denying Christ and counter charges of rebellion against the Church of Christ—and who was to judge in these matters or settle who should be received and who should not be received at the Lord's table? At a meeting of the six sessions of Edinburgh in April, 1652, it was concluded that the communion "cannot convenientlie be celebrate, as is now thought, till there be a lawfull judicatorie of the kirk to determine anent the present course of defection carried on amongst us ancnt the Covenant, and what censure it deserves." [In August of that year the General Assembly passed an act, ordaining ministers and Kirk Sessions "to debar from the Lord's table all such persons as are found not to walk suitably to the gospel, and being convinced and admonished thereof do not reform." Even this enactment, however, did not satisfy the Protesters.] After the deplorable schism in 1651 about a bagatelle, a question of politics and statecraft, it might have been said of the Church in the words of the prophet, " the ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts, all her gates are desolate, her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted and she is in bitterness." Not only, however, in the troublous times of the 17th century, but during the still times of the 18th century, there were many instances of a communion not being held in a parish for five, ten, or even more years. One of the grounds on which the General Assembly in 1705 deposed the minister of Urr was that he neither had "dispensed the sacrament of the Lord's supper to others nor partaken thereof himself for more than sixteen years." And this minister was not a man that was unconcerned and uninterested in things spiritual. He was, or affected to be, an extreme Puritan, and "asserted that communicating with persons scandalous made people guilty of communicating unworthily."

I am not prepared to say with what degree of regularity or irregularity the communion was celebrated in Mauchline before 1695, when Mr. Maitland became minister, nor indeed for a good many years after, but judging from such entries as I have seen, both in our own Kirk Session Records and in the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr, I am more than doubtful if the sacrament was administered every year in this parish for a considerable part of the seventeenth century if not also of the eighteenth. [All the years in which I have noted that a communion was held in Mauchline prior to the settlement of Mr. Maitland are 1673, 1674, 1677 (probably), 1679, 1680, 1681, 1691, and 1693. At the visitation of the Parish in 1723, during Mr. Maitland's ministry, it was stated that there had been no communion for three years.]

From the second Reformation in 1638 till the Disruption in 1651, it seems to have been the common practice with ministers in Ayrshire to have two communions a year. We have seen that in 1642 the minister of Kirkoswald "regraited" that the communion had not been celebrated twice a year in his Parish, and expressed his anxiety that it should be. In 1643 tne minister of Coylton was admonished by the Presbytery to give his people the opportunity of communicating twice a year. Judging from the following expression, which occurs in a minute of Presbytery, " the reasons that hindered the brethren to celebrate the Lord's Supper in their paroches this last season," it would seem that in 1710 it was neither expected nor required that communions should be held in a Parish more than once a year. And for a long while, from that date down, it was the practice of the Presbytery of Ayr to ask each minister in the bounds if he had had a communion in his Parish that season, and if not, what was the reason for the omission. In 1749, however, the Presbytery recommended that "every Parish should have the Lord's Supper celebrated twice in the year, and that there should be, besides a Fast Day observed as usual, one sermon on the Saturday, dropping the Monday's meeting altogether." The following year the Presbytery again declared their opinion that the more frequent celebration of the sacrament is highly desirable. They were constrained to admit, however, that this was "in a great measure impracticable without abridging the number of sermons that have been long in use on these occasions, and that there was difficulty in bringing about a reformation in this matter owing to the prejudices of the people, who seem to look upon such numbers of sermons as in some degree essential to the celebration of that sacred institution." All that the Presbytery could therefore do was to recommend that every minister in his public sermons, catechisings and visitations of families, should endeavour to remove from people's minds mistaken notions on this point, and that till the effect of this labour became, by the blessing of God, visible, enquiries should be made at every minister "once at least in two meetings of the Presbytery" what had been his diligence in this particular business.

Scarcely a year passed, from 1710 to 1750, in which there were not more or fewer ministers who reported to the Presbytery of Ayr that they had been hindered from having the communion celebrated "this last season." [In 1716 it was reported to the Presbytery that the sacrament had been administered at Tarbolton only three times during the last eight years. An explanation, however, was given, which the Presbytery accepled as a sufficient excuse. The minister of Cumnock had no sacrament for many years on account of an unhappy state of feeling in the parish about an Act of Parliament. In 1717 the moderator was appointed to write to the minister of Coylton that the Presbytery were dissatisfied that the sacrament had not been celebrated in his parish for several years.] The reasons why they were hindered from that necessary work were also stated, and sometimes the reasons given were sustained and sometimes not. When the reasons were not sustained an admonition followed, which was recorded, like the Second Book of Discipline, in memoriam perpetuam. Some of the reasons might be called laughable, and others lamentable. In 1711 one minister gave as his reason for having no communion "that the kirk being like to fall through the shutting out of both the side walls he could not venture to have a considerable meeting of people in it." This excuse was not sustained, and the minister was told that rather than have no communion he should have it in the churchyard. In 1716 one minister assigned as his reason for having no communion that some of his congregation were so scrupulous as to take exception to the brethren he had asked to assist him, on the ground that "these brethren had taken the oath of abjuration." [In an Act passed by the General Assembly in 1715 it is said, "The General Assembly, considering that the distinguishing course taken by ministers in the choice of their assistants at the celebration of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which ought to be the bond of unity and love among Christians, does exceedingly contribute to the confirming of people in thsir unjust prejudice against ministers, and in their divisive practices, do therefore earnestly obtest all the ministers of this church carefully to guard against this, as they would not be found to lay a stumbling block before the people."] This excuse was sustained because it showed that the minister had at least endeavoured to have a communion. The same year another minister stated that the communion in his parish was hindered because of "disorders occasioned by some irregular ministers that came into his bounds." In other words, the parish had become so demoralised by these itinerant preachers and so much bad feeling between neighbours had been created, that it was inexpedient to convene the congregation to a banquet of love in their present state of mind. These reasons, however, for postponing communions are neither so paltry nor so amusing as one that the great Samuel Rutherford gravely relates in one of his letters. "To my grief," he says, "our communion at Anwoth is delayed till Sabbath come eight days, for the laird and lady hath earnestly desired me to delay it, because the laird is sick and he fears he be not able to travel because he hath lately taken physic. The Lord bless that work. Commend it to God as you love me, for I love not Satan's thorns cast in the Lord's way. Commend the laird to your God."

In olden times it was very common to have the communion celebrated on several successive Sabbaths. And this was done not only in large towns but in country parishes. In the records of the Presbytery of Ayr we find that during a vacancy in Cumnock in 1642 the parishioners petitioned to have the sacrament administered to them, "whereupon the Presbytery did voyce and nominate Mr. William Scott to celebrate the communion at Cumnock upon Sunday come twenty days, and Mr. James Nesmyth on Sunday come a month." In the Session Records of Galston, too, we find it was for many years the usual practice to have two successive Sundays set apart for the communion in that parish. In his history of the sufferings of the Church, Wodrow states that Mr. Thomas Wyllie of Kirkcudbright, and formerly of Mauchline, had, on the 8th June, 1662, his first day of distribution of the sacrament, because he had so many communicants and such numbers joined with him that they could not all communicate in one day. We might infer from this statement of Woe row's that no person was allowed to communicate on two successive Sabbaths in the same church. But there was no such restriction of spiritual privileges. Spalding says that in 1642 the communion was given in Old Aberdeen for the first time on the 17th April, for the second time on the 24th April, and for the third time on the 8th May, and that on each of these occasions Dr. Forbes of Corss communicated, although he had never, as was required, subscribed the Covenant "and still stood out." The practice of having communions extending over successive Sabbaths had been either entirely or generally given up in the Church of Scotland before the date at which the extant records of Mauchline parish begin, and in these records there is therefore no trace of the old custom.

At a very early period there used to be a morning service at the communion. This service commenced at five or sometimes at four or even at three o'clock, and doubtless it originated in the old Popish notion that the sacrament should be taken fasting, not after a Fast Day, but fasting, ["For the honour of that great sacrament the body of Christ should have the precedence of entering in at our mouths before ordinary meat." Augustine Epist., quoted in Alliance of Div. Off. 152.] and that nothing common should be eaten for so many hours afterwards. These matutine communions involved an expenditure on lights. In Edinburgh, for instance, in 1563, there was expended on two dozen torches for the communion, a sum of 3, and on candles for "baith the days," 18d. or more probably 18s. And in those days there were in large cities simple and effectual arrangements for raising money for all legitimate Church purposes. The Kirk Session of Canongatc, for instance, just passed a resolution and framed a minute appointing the magistrates to supply torches for the communion, and the magistrates had the goodness to do as they were directed by their spiritual rulers. In 1565 that Session required "everilk bailyic, everilk diocone of craft with uther faythful men that thai and everilk ane of them have ane torch agane the morning service (of the communion), the quhilk they promisit to do.:) In 1613, however, the Session of Canongatc, in appointing the days of communion, specially minuted and caused to be intimated that the communion was to be "without morning service." This resolution probably indicates the date at which morning services at communions came to be generally given up in the Church of Scotland.

There is no doctrine so self-evident or demonstrable, that some people will not stoutly maintain the truth of its contrary; and so, while morning communions, after the manner of the Catholics, were common in the Church of Scotland for fifty years after the Reformation, there were other denominations of Christians that took the opposite course of having their communion services at night. This was one of the discordant practices of the Independents about the time of the sitting of the Westminster Assembly. The Lord's Supper, says Baillie, they desire to celebrate at night, after all other ordinances arc ended. And, indeed, it may well be a matter of wonder that these views have not been more strongly and more widely held than they have been, for it was certainly in the evening that the original supper, which is the recognised pattern of the sacramental banquet, was partaken of by our Lord and His twelve Apostles.

Except during the periods when Episcopacy was established in Scotland, the form and order of the Sabbath service on communion days have from the earliest times been very much the same as they are now. Public worship began as on ordinary Sabbaths, with prayer and praise, reading and preaching of the word. The sermon preached on that occasion was called the action sermon or the sermon at the action, in distinction from the sermon of preparation preached on the Saturday or other preaching week day. As far back as 1574, the manner of the holy communion and the order thereof at Edinburgh are indicated as follows in a minute of Kirk Session:—"Ye bell to begin to ryng upon Sonday at four hours in ye morning, ye sermon to begin at five hours, and ye ministration to begin at sex and sua to continue. Item, the bell of new agane to begin to ryng at aucht hours, ye sermond to begin at nyne and sua to continue." [In 1765 public worship in Edinburgh on the communion Sunday began at ten.]

Previous to the distribution of the elements there are three ministerial acts performed in the communion service. One is called the exhortation or fencing of the tables, another is the reading of the words of institution, and the third is the blessing of the bread and wine, or prayer of consecration. The order and manner of performing these acts have varied slightly at different times, and probably vary slightly yet in different parts of the country, or with different ministers. In the book which Charles attempted to thrust on the Church in 1637, the order of service before communion was, first, exhortation, then confession, and thirdly, absolution. After which it was directed that the "minister kneeling down at God's boord" shall say a collect of humble access to the holy communion, and "then the Presbyter standing up shall say the prayer of consecration."

It is commonly supposed that the Presbyterian ritual always forbade kneeling at the Lord's Table. This is not exactly the case. The Presbyterians set their faces against communicants receiving the elements kneeling, but Presbyterian ministers sometimes knelt in prayer at the table. Spalding writes, that in 1643, after Episcopal ritual had been fairly suppressed, the minister at Old Aberdeen, on the day of communion, "when the first table was full of people, said ane prayer upon his knies, the people at the table pairt sitting, pairt kneeling. There-efter, and efter sum schort exhortation, he gave the communion to the people all sitting at that table." Both minister and part of the people therefore knelt in prayer at the table, but the people all received the elements sitting. Apparently Mr. Cant did not allow the people to kneel even at prayer, for in the same year, 1643, Spalding writes that the communion was given in New Aberdeen, "not efter the old fashion kneilling, bot sitting, nor the people suffered to pray when Mr. Andro Cant prayed, as thair custom wes befoir, bot all to be silent and dum." The tendency in the Scottish Church has been rather to magnify exhortation and to depreciate the importance of devotion in Church services, and consequently the fencing of the tables came, in the course of time, to be regarded as one of the chief parts of the communion service. In the hands of not a few zealous but indiscreet ministers this act degenerated into something very like a profane farce. The different sins that disqualify people from partaking worthily of the Lord's Supper were elaborately detailed, and among these were specified by name the various forms of minced oaths and senseless interjections used in common parlance.

It may be remarked here in connection with the fencing of the tables, and the debarring of unworthy persons from the communion, that one of the subjects most vehemently and lengthily discussed in the Westminster Assembly was the principle on which admission to the Lord's table should be regulated. In different churches different standards of requirement have been set up. The historical principle of the Church of Scotland has been that three things are required of those that seek access to communion privileges, first, "that they have a good measure of knowledge, and profess to believe the truth; secondly, that in their life and conversation they be without scandal, and thirdly, that they be submissive to the discipline of the Church." [Baillie's Dissuasive, p. 22] To these three qualifications some Churches have added a fourth, and have required that all applicants for communion privileges publicly declare "such clear and certain signs of their regeneration" as will satisfy the minister and the elders, and sometimes the majority of the congregation, that they are true Christians born of God and sanctified by the holy spirit.f What the English Parliament however, wished the Westminster Assembly to do was to enumerate all the sins and shortcomings that justify the exclusion of a man from the Lord's table, and to make this list of scandalous offences in the hands of a magistrate the hard and fast rule of admission and rejection. The Assembly complied so far with this request as to draw out a long list of offences that would justly exclude a man from the enjoyment of communion privileges. But there were two things that the Assembly would not do. They would never say that their list was complete, and they would never allow that the title of a man's admissability to the Lord's table was to be judged by the civil magistrate in accordance with the tenor of this list of offences. [The catalogue of deadly sins drawn up by the Westminster Assembly was very lengthy, and it included "drinking of healths." And apropos of this it may be here stated that in 1646 a list of enormities and corruptions observed to be in the ministry with the remedies thereof, was drawn up in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Among the enormities specified in this list were "dissoluteness in hair and shaking about the knees, tippling and bearing company in untimous drinking in taverns and alehouses." And among the remedies propounded were that "care be had of godly conferences in Presbyteries even in time of their refreshment, and that ministers in all sorts of company labour to be fruitful, as the salt of the earth seasoning them they meet with, not only forbearing to drink healths (Satan's snare leading to excess) but reproving it in others."] The Parliamentarians said to the Divines—give us your advice as to what sins should exclude from the communion, and we will ratify your advice so far as it meets with our approval, and then leave it to the local magistrate to decide on communion claims as on any other matter of civil law. One member of Parliament, in advocating this erastian scheme, took on himself to say, "the civil magistrate is a church officer in every Christian commonwealth. In Scotland, the nobility and gentry live commonly in the country, and so the clergy are moderated as by a scattered parliament." The divines, however, would not yield to the erastian demands of the statesmen, but maintained that the right to judge of the fitness of persons to come to the sacrament belongs to the officers of the Church, ["The Zurichers did by their civil law seclude from the sacrament vitious or scandalous per*ons, and did compel these to communicate who neglected it.'' Brodie's Diary, p. 94. This was true erastianism.] "To these officers,'" they said, "the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power to shut that kingdom against the impenitent both by the word and censures, and to open it unto penitent sinners by the ministry of the gospel and by absolution from censures as occasion shall require." In the end the divines carried their point, and the admission and exclusion of people to and from the communion have been ever since allowed to lie with Kirk Sessions, subject to the directions of the superior courts of the Church. And the terms of admission to the Lord's Table have not been always the same in the Church of Scotland. Three years after the adoption of the Westminster Directory, the General Assembly enacted that all persons must subscribe the Covenant before their first admission to the communion. Hence the argument of the Protesters, that defection from the Covenant excludes from the sacrament. It is stated in the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr, that in November, 1648, the attention of ministers was called to an Act of the Commission of the Kirk, which must have been even more stringent than the Act of Assembly of that year. This Act of Commission was entituled an " Act anent those who suld be debarred from renewing of the Covenant and from the Lord's Supper." And the act seems to have been promptly and lovingly put into execution in Ayrshire, for, at a meeting of Presbytery soon after, the brethren reported the names of those whom they had so debarred. Of course in the year of the engagement at Mauchline Moor, it could not be supposed that there would be in this Parish any outcasts from the covenant. Neither were there, and in this respect Mauchline was honourably distinguished from some other Parishes in Ayrshire. In the Revolution settlement of the Church, the covenants, it is well known, were ignored, and subscription of the covenant was never, after 1690, made in the Church of Scotland a condition of Christian communion. [The Presbytery of Ayr, in 164?, ordered all subscriptions of the covenant, by malignants, to be deleted. Among other subscriptions deleted by the Presbytery was that of Lord Montgomerie. The Commission of Assembly, however, to whom the case was referred, advised his subscription to be received anew.]

Except during the times of Episcopacy, when a more imposing and ornate ritual was observed, it was always the custom in the Scottish Church for communicants to receive the sacrament at the table, and in a sitting posture. At the Westminster Assembly there was no discussion about posture. Both Presbyterians and Independents held that the bread and wine should be received by the communicants sitting. The discussion between the two parties at Westminster was whether it was necessary or not for communicants to rise out of their scats and take their places at a table. But in earlier times there was a great controversy in Scotland about kneeling at the communion. In 1633 King Charles gave orders that in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood, which was in a manner his own private chapel, all that received the blessed sacrament should receive it kneeling. The King gave warrant also that the Lords of Privy Council, the Lords of Session, the Members of the College of Justice, and other, "be commanded to receive the holy communion once every year, at the least, in that our Chapel Royal, and kneeling for example sake to the kingdom." What was ordered by the King to be done _/<?r example sake in the Chapel Royal, was of course done in many other places, [In 1619 also the kneeling posture was enjoined, but to no purpose. "Those that kneeled, says Calderwood, were of the poorer sort, and kneeled more for aw nor for devotion, or were members of the Secret Council or of the College of Justice. Cold and graceless were the communions, and few were the communicants." Vol. VII., 359. John Livingstone stales that when he was at Glasgow College in 1619 or 1620, Law, the Bishop of Glasgow, urged all the people at the communion to fall down and kneel. "Some did so, but we (Livingstone and another student) sat still. Law came to us and commanded us to kneel or depait. Somewhat I spoke to him that there was no warrant for kneeling. He caused some of the people about us to rise, that we might remove, which we did,"] and in some places so much against the mind of the people, that the communions were deserted. [Some people, says the author of the Alliance of Divine Offices, think that kneeling is too good for the sacrament. " Miserable infatuation. Good God, how well mayst thou say to these misled souls as Augustine to him that entertained him meanly,—' I did not think you and I had been so familiar. Blessed Jesus, wert thou so gracious to us wretches as to leave and bequeath us this mystery of our eternal redemption, and great charter of all thy benefits, and shall we dare to receive it in any other than the lowest and humblest posture.......The danger of reverting to Popish idolatry is altogether vain, but the danger of apostatising from Christ is very great, and no way sooner occasioned than by a sitting posture, it being observed by the Popish church that the men who lapsed there into the Arian heresie were all such as addicted themselves to that posture at the communion,' " page 219.] In other places the innovation was approved. Spalding states that when the communion was celebrated at Aberdeen by Mr. Cant in 1642 the elements were received by the communicants "sitting at the table bot not kneilling as wes usit befoir, whereat sindrie people murmurit and grudgit but could not mend it." At the time when the communion was received by the people kneeling the elements were delivered by the minister personally to each communicant This had a priestly look which some of the self-assertive Presbyterians of Scotland did not like. In 1620, therefore, the citizens of Edinburgh, on the morning of the communion, desired that communicants might be suffered to distribute the elements among themselves. That, said the ministers, is what we are not at liberty to allow. Then followed a scene which for irreverent humour and sacerdotal bewilderment could not easily be matched out of Scotland. The minister "gave the thesaurer a shaive of bread, and the thesaurer made it to serve other five that were next him. The minister, perceiving his own error, would have given each of the five the element of bread again, but they answered they were already served!" The objection to ministerial distribution, however, was not shared by every one in Scotland, and after people got accustomed to it some thought it the more excellent way. In 1641 Spalding was horrified when, after seeing the minister give the bread to one or two on each side, he saw "the bassein and breid lifted by ane elder, and ilk man tak his sacrament with his own hand. Not done as was befoir," exclaimed the simple citizen, "for the minister gave ilk person communicating the blessed sacrament out of his own hand, and to ilk person the coup."

One of the graceless practices of the Independents, complained of by Baillie in 1644, was the "carrying of the elements to all in their seats athort the church." This was a practice that the Independents inherited from the Brownists. These were in the way of sending the elements from the pulpit by the hand of the deacon to all the congregation sitting up and down the church in their usual respective places. But Baillie's horror at the uncouth practice was mild compared with that of more ritualistic men. To him it seemed inorderly, to them it was worse. It was unchurchly,and contrary to the sacred usages of antiquity. "Certain it is," says our old author (of the Alliance of Divine Offices), "that the priest in primitive times did not run ambling with the elements up and down from man to man, but that the communicants came to him." The Service Book which Charles the First attempted to thrust on the Church in 1637, directed that the communion should be received kneeling. The words of the rubric on this point are,—" The Bishop, if he be present, or else the Presbyter that celebrateth, shall first [The old approved custom among Presbyterians, as well as Episcopalians, was for the minister to take and eat of the bread himself before distributing it to others, and to drink of the cup also before he handed it to the person next him. A minister in the south-east of Scotland tells me that the old custom is still the common practice in his district. It is certainly founded on good Scriptural authority, "He took the cup when he had supped, saying," &c.] receive the communion in both kinds himself, and next deliver it to other Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons (if any be there present), that they may help him that celebrateth, and after to the people in due order, all humbly kneeling." In 1638, when the people of Scotland had risen up in a body, and by public voice had put down the Erastian Episcopacy of Charles and Laud, we find it gratefully and pathetically minuted by the Kirk Session of St. Andrews, that "the holie communion was celebrate with great solemnity in the old fashion, sitting. My old Lady Marquess of Hamilton, my Lord Lindsay, and sundrie uthers Barons, ladyies, and gentlemen, strangers, being present thereat."

A question has been raised whether the present or rather the late practice of having a host of neighbouring ministers to assist at communions is of ancient standing. The minutes of the Kirk Session of Canongate shew that in 1566 the communion was administered according to the order, namely, once at four in the morning, and a second time at nine, that eleven hundred persons or thereby communicated, and that both of the services were given by the minister himself. In later times, when tables multiplied, it continued common, some people say, for ministers to celebrate the communion without assistance.

In support of this statement the instance has been adduced of old Carstairs, the father of the Principal, doing the whole work of a communion Sabbath himself, and addressing as many as fifteen tables. That, however, was a very special occasion, and was no illustration of common practice. The story is told by Wodrovv, and is to the effect that Carstairs, with some other preachers, was engaged to assist at the sacrament at Calder. The minister of Calder took unwell on the Sunday morning, and Carstairs was requested to take the minister's place and give the action sermon. This Carstairs did, and he likewise addressed the first table; and with so much power and unction did he speak, that the other preachers were overawed and could not be induced to undertake their parts in the service. The consequence was, that Carstairs had to serve all the tables; "I know not, says Wodrow, whether ten, twelve, or sixteen," but the effort was at the tune reckoned prodigious, and it was long before Carstairs recovered from the fatigue. It is certain that on the famous Monday after the communion at Mauchline i'm 1648, there were seven ministers at the political gathering which Middleton dispersed. It may be presumed that these or most of these ministers were at Mauchline ostensibly for the purpose of assisting in the communion service, more especially as some hundreds of men all the way from Clydesdale had come to communicate before rising in rebellion. Not only therefore, were there crowds of people at communions as early as 1648 and many years earlier, but there were sometimes also great bevies of ministers taking part in the services. On the other hand the tenor of several appointments by the Presbytery of Ayr in 1642 rather indicates that, while communions were then extended over several days, little or no ministerial help was usually required on the sacrament Sunday.

The addresses at the table were by Act of Assembly, 1645, directed to be brief, but it is difficult to say what brief was understood to be. In the newspaper account of an old centenarian, who died at Brechin last year, it is stated that in her youth (about the year 1800), sacramental services in small country Parishes like Dreghorn lasted from ten in the morning till five in the afternoon, and that there were a dozen or more tables served. According to that statement, the filling and serving of each table would occupy about twenty-five minutes, and as tables were small, the addresses before and after communion would average in length about eight or ten minutes. [Many of the table addresses of both the seventeenth and eighteenth century that are in print, are brief, in the modern sense of the term, some of them indeed very brief. Many of these addresses too, such as those of John Welsh of Irongray, are printed as if the address before and after serving the elements were one unbroken discourse. The words of distribution appear in the middle of the address. In the volumes of sermons published by Mr. Dun of Auchinleck, in 1790, there are one or two samples of table addresses printed in this form, and after the words of distribution, the following instructive note is added to shew the common custom of ministers at that date:—"Here a pause for a considerable time that communicants may devote themselves to God, etc. . . . Many ministers choose to speak on, but don't they rather disturb than assist?"] The words of the Act, 1645, anent the addressing of tables (and that Act has not been superseded by any more recent enactment), are, that " there be no reading in the time of communicating, but the minister making a short exhortation at every table, there be silence thereafter during the time of the communicants' receiving, except only when the minister expresseth some few short sentences suitable to the present condition of the communicants.'' Bishop Sage complains of this act as a grievous innovation, both in respect of its prohibition of reading during the time of communicating, and in respect of its institution of table addresses. "In the time of celebration," he says, "the Reformers had no exhortation at all, neither extempore nor premeditated. But the First Book of Discipline appointed thus —"during the action we think it necessary that some comfortable places of Scripture be read. . . This," he adds, "continued the custom of the whole Church for more than eighty years after the Reformation, without any attempt to innovate till the often mentioned Assembly, 1645." [Sage's Fundamental Charter, 365.]

The records of this parish contain no entries that either serve to illustrate or are explained by any of the old laws and customs I have described, regarding the mode of administering the communion. The older records of the parish generally say little more about the communion than that it was administered on such and such a day. What amount of assistance the minister had is rarely if ever mentioned. But in a little memorandum book of a session clerk, which happens still to be in existence, there arc several entries that show with what amount of oratorical parade the sacrament was administered in the beginning of the present century, and we may safely say during the greater part of last century. [Burns, in his account of the Holy Fair, refers to five different sermons preached in the tent by five different ministers, and seems to say that these were not all.] In the year 1801 the sacramental fast was held on Thursday the 6th August, and on that day Mr. M'Clatchie (then-a probationer and afterwards  minister of St. Giles, Edinburgh), preached forenoon and afternoon. On Saturday there were two preparation sermons preached, one in the forenoon by Mr. Moody of Riccarton, and one in the afternoon by Mr. Lawrie of Loudoun. On Sabbath, the day of communion, Mr. Reid, the minister of the parish, preached the action sermon and served the first table. The second table was addressed by Mr. Smith of Galston, the third by Mr. Lawrie, the fourth by Mr. Gordon of Sorn, the fifth by Mr. Ritchie of Tarbolton, the sixth by Mr. Moody and the seventh by Mr. Smith, who preached the thanksgiving sermon in the evening. And all the while that these table services were going on sermons were being thundered from a tent in the churchyard to such as were not communicating. On the Monday the preaching was resumed, and sermons were preached in the forenoon and afternoon by Messrs. Ritchie and Gordon respectively. It will be seen that including the parish minister there were six ministers occupied in the communion service on Sabbath, and that besides a table address (and in the case of some, a sermon in the tent), each had a sermon to deliver in the church on one or other of the preaching days. Whether in the time of Mr. Auld there was or was not a still greater number of ministers taking part in the communion service I am unable to say, but it is certain that in Mr. Auld's time there were more than twice as many tables as there were in 1801.

The General Assembly never encouraged but rather discouraged the gathering of crowds from neighbouring Parishes at communions, and the employment of a host of ministers to assist in communion services. Bishop Sage would have it considered a part of Presbyterian polity, that great crowds be collected at communions, and he would have that polity considered a grave scandal on the Presbyterian Church. A great parade, he says, the Presbyterians must have at their communions. "Though there are but some scores, or at most but some hundreds to communicate, yet the communion is not solemn enough, there's a cloud upon the minister's reputation, something or other is wrong, if there are not some thousands of spectators." And he adds, "who knows not that hundreds, generally strangers to one another, who have no sense of, no concern for, no care about serious religion may meet on such occasions for novelty, for curiosity, for intrigues not to be named, for a thousand such sinister ends." These remarkable words were written by a bishop of the Scotch Episcopal Church ninety years before the famous satire of Burns was composed, and yet they bear the same testimony as Burns did to the abuses of communions. But before blaming the Church, as the Bishop does, for encouraging communion crowds, we must enquire a little into the facts of the case. The time when communion crowds began was during the establishment of Episcopacy, before 1638, The communion was then given in many places in a ritualistic way which the people disliked, and the malcontents made a practice of going at communion seasons to other Parishes where the ordinance was administered in a plain manner which was more to their mind. The Episcopalians, therefore, by their high-handed procedure, were the persons mainly responsible for the introduction of communion crowds. They forced people to have inter-communion out of their own Parishes. [In 1634 a Royal Proclamation was issued forbidding this practice. Chambers' Domestic Annals.] What began under Episcopacy in 1619 was, it may be admitted, carried much farther under Presbytery in 1651, when the great split took place in the Church, and Protesters would have no intercourse with Resolutioners. [In Galston Records it is minuted that in 1673 "several hunders of tickets ai distribute among strangers with sufficient testimonials from several places."] The Protesters gathered from far and near to their own communions, as if these solemnities were meant for demonstration. And so also in the times of the persecution, birds of a feather flocked together. The true blues mustered in full force at hillside communions. There was a spiritual exhilaration too, if not a spiritual benefit of more lasting kind derived from these great confluences. They accordingly became popular, and tended as time went on to increase. But the Church came to see very early that there were great evils as well as some, or perhaps much, good in the system, and she did what she could to repress these evils and introduce a more excellent way. She can hardly be said, therefore, to have been responsible, however much so some of her ministers may have been, for the state of matters that Sage denounced and Burns ridiculed. In 1701, a little after the time when Sage wrote, the General Assembly passed an Act recommending Presbyteries to take care that the number of ministers serving at communions "be restricted, so that neighbouring churches be not thereby cast desolate on the Lord's day." In 1724 the Assembly further enjoined Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions "to endeavour to reform disorders that sometimes take place at the celebration of the Lord's Supper"; and for this end the Assembly ordered "Presbyteries to take care that on the Lord's Day, upon which the sacrament is to be administered in any Congregation, the neighbouring Congregations be supplied with sermon;" and likewise ordered "ministers on the preparation day to give public warning that such as are guilty of disorder shall be censured according to the degree of the offence." Wodrow, who was minister at Eastwood, near Glasgow, writes in regard to his own communions about 1729 or 1730,—"We have many irregularities in the celebration of that holy ordinance that cannot yet be rectified, at least, not soon, especially here. I lie in the neighbourhood of the city of Glasgow, and we have confluences and multitudes. Perhaps I may have about 300 of my own charge who are allowed to partake, and yet we will have a thousand, sometimes eleven or twelve hundred at our tables. I am obliged to preach in the fields a Sabbath or more sometimes, before our sacrament, and a Sabbath after it. We must bear what we cannot help, and amidst our irregularities we want not a mixture of good tokens." This was the way in which good and godly ministers, so far back as 1729, lamented the confluences that took place at communions. As the communions in Mauchline Parish a hundred years ago have unfortunately acquired an immortal notoriety, and will for ever, by the readers of Scottish literature, be associated with grave scandals, [In a note to one of his printed sermons (1790), Mr. Dun of Auchinleck complains of the way in which the solemnities of the great communions in Scotland were caricatured and misrepresented by hostile critics. The following is what he says about Burns,—"A late author, indeed, who has abused his God and his King, has ridiculed the communion in the Parish where he lived, under the sarcasm of a holy fair, he pretends to be only a ploughman, though he mixes Latin with his mixture of English and Scottish, and is not like 'thresher Dick who kept at flail.'" Mr. Dun did not stick to his own flail either, for immediately under this note—in a volume of sermons be it remembered—he enlers the lists against Burns in the field of poelry, and prints a squib of his own under the title of "The Deil's address to his verra freen, Robin Burns." The Rev. Hamilton I'aul, who also, like Mr. Dun, was a Parish minister, calls the Holy Fair a delightful satire, and says that il contains "not a single sneer at the solemnity itself."] either real or fictitious, some people will naturally be curious to know whether any disorders at these communions are noticed in the Session Records, and whether any censures for such disorders were ever inflicted. I am happy to say that there are not many such cases on record in the Session books, but I would suppose that if cases of drunkenness and other sins occurred at the communion the parties guilty of such misconduct would generally not be parishioners, but strangers, who had come, as Bishop Sage says, for novelty, curiosity, and intrigues. There are, however, one or two cases of communion scandal recorded in the Session minutes. In 1774, a villager was reported to have been seen the worse of drink on the night of the Monday after the communion, and in his drunkenness to have committed outrages that alarmed sundry respectable families. In 1775 three men minuted as "belonging to------parish" which implies that it was not Mauchline parish, were reported to the Session as having been guilty of a riot on the night of the Monday of the sacrament. In 1780 a case came before the Session, of which it is needless to say more than that it is minuted "the confession answered to the Monday of the sacrament," the date at which the guilt was alleged to have been contracted. In the same year it is recorded that the Session were informed that a certain parishioner, whose name is given, was seen the worse of drink on the Monday of the sacrament, in both of the years 1779 and 1780, notwithstanding that he had been a communicant in both years. These are all the cases of disorder and scandal at communion times that I have found in the Parish records, and although it is to be lamented that there should have been two or three persons in one year that so far forgot themselves at a season of special solemnity, as to merit censure, it may yet be said, what are these among so many as the crowd comprised. It must be admitted, however, that there were scenes at these great communions that although unrecorded in Session Records were a scandal to religion. An old parishioner, who still lives amongst us, tells me that he remembers having seen at the Craigie sacrament a band of Kilmarnock "lads" ["Batch o Wabsler lads blackguarding frae Kilmarnock."—Holy Fair.] passing from the public house through the churchyard when the solemnities were proceeding, and pitching with drunken jeers the remains of their luncheon at the preacher in the tent. Many similar or even worse stories about these old communions could doubtless also be gathered from equally good authority. And yet there was a wonderful solemnity and refreshing from the Lord about these vast gatherings. People that came to them with a desire to be benefited seldom went away disappointed. They were worked up to a higher state of feeling than usual, and that elevation of spirit was a substantial boon to them. But the system was too open to gross abuse for any one to lament its discontinuance.

Notwithstanding all that the Church in her General Assemblies said, crowds did repair to communions from other parishes. Even Acts of Assembly, if they did not give an implied sanction to such promiscuous gatherings, at least made provision for their spiritual entertainment. In the Act 1645, so often referred to, it is said that "when the parochiners arc so numerous that their parish kirk [This was not uncommon, for churches were as a rule very small, and the number of communicants bore a large proportion to the entire population. It is stated in the records of the Presbytery of Ayr that in 1642 the number of communicants in the parish of Ochiltree was 1200, that the number in Cumnock was 1600, and that "the kirk cannot contain the half of the communicants."] cannot contain them the brother who assists the minister of the paroch may be ready if need be to give a word of exhortation in some convenient place, appointed for that purpose, to those of the paroch who that day are not to communicate, which must not be begun until the sermon delivered in the kirk be concluded." It was assumed in this act that at communions the minister would have a brother assisting him. It might have been presumed, therefore, that a neighbouring congregation would be left without a service at home. It was anticipated that there might be more people present than the church could hold, and arrangements were made for giving an out-door service to such as could not find accommodation inside the church. Besides a church, therefore, every parish required a tent. This tent was not like the so-called gospel tent which some zealous brethren are in the way of pitching in benighted districts now-a-days. It was not a tabernacle of canvas for sheltering the worshippers, but a moveable pulpit made of wood for the preacher to stand in. From an early period there was such a tent in Mauchline. How early the records do not indicate, but it was so early that in 1770 the tent had fallen to pieces with age, and its "remains," so says the minute of Session, were ordered to be rouped as soon as convenient. Whether a new tent was procured in 1770 is not said, but if one was procured then, it must have been like the Publican's Psalm-book, "ill bund," for in 1786 the Session again agreed that another tent should be got ready against the following summer.

Some idea of the size of the crowds that came to the communions at Mauchline may be gathered from the number of persons that are said to have sat down at the table at different dates. We have no account of the numbers that communicated at any one time during the ministry of either Mr. Veitch or Mr. Maitland, but from the year 1750 downwards, the number communicating at each sacrament is pretty regularly given. And that we may see what proportion the number communicating bore to the population of the Parish, I may state here that the earliest census on which much reliance can be placed, was taken in the year 1791. In that year the population of Mauchline was 1800. In the year 1755, a census that, more strictly speaking, was only an estimate of the population of the country, was drawn up by the Rev. Dr Webster of Edinburgh. According to Dr. Webster, the population of Mauchline in 1755 was only 1169. This number may confidently be put down as an under statement, but we have no known data for correcting it. Now in 1750 the number of persons that communicated at Mauchline sacrament was 578, and ten years later it was about the same. In 1771 the number rose to 850, in 1773 to 1000, in 1779 to 1100, in 1780 to 1300, and in the years 1786 and 1788 the number was the highest on record, 1400. [The Holy Fair was written in 1786.] Mr. Auld died in 1791, and the first notice we have of the number of communicants at a sacrament after his death was in 1793, and in that year the number had dwindled to 700, while in the following year it dwindled still further to 600. In 1805 the number went down to 500, and at that figure it continued a good many years, but in 1819 it declined to 400. By that date customs had changed, and the better way had come in, or was coming in, of people contenting themselves with their own parochial ministrations.

It may be asked how many tables did there use to be at the communions in Mauchline. It happens to be recorded that in 1752 there were " nine tables, wanting five or six persons at the last." In the year 1777, it is stated more expressly in the minutes, that there were " twelve tables and a few, amounting to about 1000." According to this statement, each table would hold about 80 persons. Suppose then that 80 was the number of communicants that each table held in 1788, when there were 1400 communicants, there must that year have been 18 table services. And I may mention that one of the old stories I have heard of the Mauchline communions is that on one occasion a boy, whom I remember as an old man, was present at the sacrament, and heard the beadle call to the preacher in the tent to "fire away, for the 17th table was filling, and there was no end to the work." Bishop Burnet says that in the days of the Protesters, communion services sometimes lasted twelve hours. It is difficult to see how the services at the Mauchline communions, in the latter days of Mr. Auld's ministry, could have been concluded in less than nine hours, and if table addresses were as prolix then as they were fifty years later, it may have taken an hour or two longer to get over the work. Wodrow states that at communions in his day it was sometimes late in the evening when the service ended.

I have just to add that the date of the communion—the month, and week of the month, in which the communion was celebrated—in this parish, has been frequently changed. It rests with Kirk Sessions to appoint the ministration of the sacrament at whatever date they think convenient In 1674 the communion was held on the 12th July, in 1691 on the 9th August, in 1680 on the 17th October, in 1706 on the second Sabbath of June, in 1751 on the 20th October, in 1786 on the 13th August. For a long time the communion continued to be held on the second Sunday of August, but in 1812 it was changed to the third Sabbath of June, and a few years later to the fourth Sabbath of June.

In the year 1711 the General Assembly "considering that in some places the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered only in the summer season, wherethrough people are deprived of the benefit of that holy ordinance during the rest of the year, did therefore recommend to Presbyteries to do what they could to get it so ordered that the Lord's Supper might be administered in their bounds through the several months of the year." Two years previously there had been discussed in the Presbytery of Ayr an overture to the same effect, with a recommendation that parishes having "clachans or touns at or near their church should have the communion in the winter season." In 1724 a scheme was drawn up by the Presbytery, appointing the sacrament to be administered at Ayr and Mauchline in January; at Monkton, Dalrymple, and Stair in April ; at Dailly, Auchinleck, Coylton, and Craigie, in May; at Barr, Dalmellington, Riccarton, Ochiltree and Tarbolton, in June; at Galston, Straiton, New Cumnock and Muirkirk in July; at Kirkmichael, Dalgain, Dundonald and Kirkoswald, in August; at Maybole and Symington, in October; and at Cumnock, Girvan and St. Evox, in November. In 1727 all the members of Presbytery reported that they had celebrated the sacrament at or about the time appointed, except Mr. Reid, of St. Evox, "who told he was desirous, but that his Session would not concur with him because they judged it very inconvenient to the people." The Records of Presbytery state that Mr. Reid was excused, and his Session were to be dealt with to comply with the Presbytery's appointment. But it is evident that the Presbytery's scheme was not adhered to for any length of time. Parochial convenience had more sway than Presbyterial orders. The first notice of a sacrament in Mauchline that I have observed in our Session Records subsequent to 1724 is in the register of 1735, and the sacrament that latter year was administered in October, as it was also at Tarbolton, whereas the Mauchline communion should have been held in January, and the Tarbolton communion in June.

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