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The James Begg Society

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The Government of the Kingdom of Christ.— Part III.
by Rev. James Moir Porteous.
(Published in 1888.)

Chapter IX.
The Church of Scotland.

"O wild-traditioned Scotland! thy briery burns and braes
Are full of pleasant memories, and tales of other days.
Thy story-haunted waters in music gush along;
Thy mountain glens are tragedies, thy heathy hills are song.
Land of the Bruce and Wallace! where patriot hearts have stood,
And for their country and their faith like water poured their blood;
Where wives and little children were steadfast to the death,
And graves of martyred warriors are in the desert heath."


S COTLAND for many centuries was enveloped in gross moral darkness. No nation was more strongly bound by the chains of Papal Rome. Its condition was pitiable. The people were sunk in ignorance and superstition. Far from the vice and luxury of the Roman court, the Papal See was regarded with unbounded reverence. Multitudes of ignorant and immoral priests monopolised every office in Church and State, and well-nigh half the wealth of the land. Swarms of friars made preaching a pretext for beggary. The country groaned beneath the tyranny of Rome. God stretched forth His arm and delivered this enslaved and semi-barbarous nation.

As in Germany, preparatory influences were at work. Then came the Word and ambassadors of the Messiah. His Word was received, His message believed, His laws enforced. The usurper was cast down, the nation was free.

About the year 1525, many an inquirer sat at midnight, with barricaded doors and windows, earnestly poring over Wittemberg tracts and the New Testament of William Tyndall.

In the confessional, such conversations as this might have been heard:

'Quoth he — "Ken ye na heresie?"
"I wait nocht what that is" quoth she.
"Heard ye na Inglis' (Tyndall) book?"
Quoth she — "My maistor on them looks."
"The Bishop shall that knaw,
For I am sworn that for to shaw."'


The Word of God was precious in those days. The living voice was necessary. But who in the face of that tyrannical power will dare to speak for Christ? What man can be found whose social position shall secure for him a hearing? God provided the wise and noble Patrick Hamilton. Twice on the Continent his heart has been set on fire of love. Twice at St. Andrews and elsewhere his ministry was exercised, and then he, a martyr to the faith of Jesus, ascended in a chariot of flame. This was in 1528. By the merciful interposition of God, the lives of some hundreds of the most elevated men were preserved from the destruction prepared by Rome, and the Bible was by Act of Parliament permitted to be possessed and read in 1543. The way thus prepared, a fearless preacher appeared, and moved the hearts of multitudes in all parts of the country, and at length sealed his testimony with his blood. 'Think you,' said George Wishart, as the flames gathered up around him, 'think you that I fear this grim fire? I fear it not; I shall sup with my Saviour this night.' From the battlements the Cardinal with his clergy glutted their eyes upon the spectacle. Three months thereafter, in that year 1546, the lifeless body of that haughty and bloody man hung from these same battlements, a signal warning to tyrants. Thus mysteriously the Castle of St. Andrews was opened for a refuge. Men sung —

"As for the Cardinal, I grant
He was the man we weel could want;
And we'll forget him soon.
But yet, I think, the sooth to say,
Although the loon is weel away,
The deed was foully done."

Above: Rev. Porteous's chart of the History, Divisions, and Unions of the Church of Scotland (1560-1880). A larger version can be found here (436 KB, PDF file, requiring Adobe Reader).

Almost a year had passed away, when one day the little band of refugees, numbering about a hundred and forty, were solemnly engaged, within its little chapel, in the worship of God. The preacher was John Rough. His theme was ministerial election, and the power which every Christian congregation has, however small, to call one in whom they observe the gifts and grace of God, to labour for their spiritual good. Then, turning to one before him, the preacher said, 'Brother you shall not be offended although I speak to you that which I have in charge from all here present. In the name of God and of His Son, and of all who call you by my mouth, I charge you not to refuse this holy vocation. As you desire the glory of God, my comfort and assistance, I beseech you to take upon you the public office and charge of preaching.' Of the congregation Rough then demanded, 'Was not this your charge to me?' Together they replied, 'It was, and we approve it.' The person addressed rushed out of the assembly. Retiring to his chamber, he found vent to his feelings at the throne of grace. Such was the impressive manner in which John Knox was called to the work of the ministry — the initiatory example to the people of Scotland of their right and privilege.

On the Sabbath following that ministry commenced. The parish church of St. Andrews was filled with a multitude of priests and people. Knox preached of the horn in Daniel's vision, 'diverse' from others, speaking ' great words against the Most High,' wearing 'out the saints of the Most High,' and thinking to 'change times and laws' (Dan. vii. 24, 25). This, said the preacher, is a picture of the Papal Antichrist — that title being alone applicable to a great body governed by a wicked head. The Papacy is antichristian in the lives of the clergy, in the doctrines taught, and in the laws enforced. Thus was the axe laid to the root of that gigantic tree which had long darkened and impoverished the land. Reformation was to be attained, not by lopping off a few branches, but by its complete removal. Knox, as well as Hamilton and Wishart, discovered that grand fundamental principle in religion, that God speaking in His Word alone is supreme. By that infallible standard Popery was tried and found wanting. Knox proclaimed that the system was idolatrous and antichristian. More than this, that salvation is alone by faith in Christ. In a word, two grand outstanding scriptural principles were possessed in Scotland as on the Continent — viz., Calvinism in doctrine and Presbyterianism in government. By presbyters alone was the Papal hierarchy attacked, and eventually overthrown. How mysterious the ways of God to man! After the darkness light arose; corruptions were laid bare; The gospel was announced. The very man had come fitted for the conflict; the trump of war was sounded, the gospel-seed sown. But his work was scarce begun ere this leader was withdrawn, and Popery left triumphant. People could not but exclaim —

"Priests, content ye now, priests, content ye now;
Norman and his company have filled the galleys fou."

In these French galleys — a slave toiling at the oar — and during eight years of exile, Knox had further training for the great work to be accomplished. Not only was he exercised in patient self-control and resolute resistance to evil, from a higher stand-point he looked on the issues of the struggle. He was stimulated to do and dare great things for God.

Returning in 1505, the professing people of God were separated, so far as was possible, from the Church of Rome, and formed into congregations for meditation upon the Divine Word and prayer. And in 1560 victory was finally secured. The free Parliament assembled in Edinburgh, and by solemn deeds abolished Papal jurisdiction and Romish idolatry. The authority of God's Word in doctrine and sacraments was also formally recognised. By the order of the Parliament a confession of faith was drawn up and ratified. Reformation was accomplished.

That Parliament met in August, and on the 20th December in that year, 1560, the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland met. Of its forty members only six were ministers. These thirty-four ruling elders proclaimed the character of Scotland's Church. Thus, so soon as the legislature withdrew its sanction from the Popish system, the Church appeared an organised body, with a large representation of the people, ready to work for Christ in the land. The people, as ye have seen, had already exercised the right of election; now they were organised in separate congregations. These representative elders, teaching and ruling, assembled to devise measures for the proclamation of the gospel, instruction of the young, and relief of the poor throughout the nation. 'We,' they said, in words and in deeds, — 'we, as servants of Christ, have a work given us by Him to do. That work is to preach His blessed gospel in this land, and to provide for the preaching of it in all time coming. He whom we serve is the King of kings, to whom the earth belongs, and whose subjects earthly kings are. None may forbid our doing His work. So long as our rulers require of us nothing contrary to our obedience to Christ, we obey them. Whenever they set their authority against His, and put us to choose which of the two we shall obey, we obey Him.'

A book of discipline and government was framed by the same men who had drawn up the confession, and by the Assembly of 1561 that plan of presbyterial government was adopted. It embraced five leading topics:—

1. Ordinary officers were divided into four departments — pastor, doctor, elder, and deacon. The two first had simply diverse spheres of teaching; the elder assisted in government and discipline, while the deacon took charge of the poor and the revenues of the Church.

2. Two temporary officers were appointed to meet the exigencies of the time — superintendents for planting and watching over churches by itineration, and readers or exhorters for instructing the ignorant and supplying the lack of ministers. These both ceased on obtaining a full supply of ministers. The superintendents were (1) Not episcopally ordained. (2) They derived all their authority from the Church. (3) The exercise of their power was bounded and regulated by the General Assembly, to which they were accountable, and gave an account of their conduct at every meeting. (4) They were not acknowledged as holding any distinct or permanent office in the Church, but merely as persons to whom a provisional superintendency was committed from reasons of expediency at that period. (5) The bishops who embraced the Reformation were not admitted to exercise any ecclesiastical authority as bishops; and when some of them wished to be employed as superintendents, they were rejected for want of the requisite qualifications' (Dr. M'Crie).

3. The election of officers was intrusted to the people; and,

4. Four courts, or assemblies of representative elders, ordered the affairs of the Church. These were (a) the kirk-session, composed of the pastor, elders, and deacons; (b) the exercise or prophesying merging into the presbytery; (c) the provincial synods; and (d) the General Assembly. 'They took not their example, said Row, 'from any kirk in the world; no, not from Geneva; ' but drew their plan from the Sacred Scriptures. And then,

5. National, Scriptural, and compulsory education, under the guidance of the Church, was a grand feature in this scheme. John Knox, in the 'First Book of Discipline,' said — 'Of necessity it is that your honours be most careful for the virtuous education and godly upbringing of the youth of this realm.' 'And further, we think it expedient that in every notable town, there be erected a colledge. As also that provision be made for those that be poore, and not able by themselves nor by their friends to be sustained with letters, and in speciall those that come from landward. The fruit and commoditie hereof shall suddenly appeare. For first, the youth-head and tender children shall be nourished and brought up in vertue in presence of their friends, by whose good attendance many inconveniences may be avoyded in which the youth commonly fall, either by over much libertie which they have in strange and unknowne places, while they cannot rule themselves; or else for lack of good attendance, and [of] such necessaries as their tender age requires. Secondly, the exercise of children in every kirke shall be great instruction to the aged [and unlearned]. Last, the great schools, called universities, shall be replenished with these that shall be apt to learn, for this must be carefully provided, that no father, of what estate or condition that ever he be, use his children at his own fantasie, especially in their youth-head; but all must be compelled to bring up their children in learning and vertue.'

When that plan of government was presented to the Privy Council, though it was signed by several of the nobility and burgesses, yet it was not ratified. The most of the nobility seemed to be determined to obtain for themselves the property of the Church. They refused to agree to the division of the revenues according to the disinterested plan of Knox, or to adopt that discipline which might prove a check upon their rapacity. Still, being adopted by the Assembly, the Church has been for three centuries guided by that plan. So far as carried out, it has proved a rich blessing to Scotland, elevating her to dignity amongst the nations of the earth.

Popery, and the government that supported it in Scotland, fell together; but the reformers did not yield the liberties of the Church to the Parliament. They held — (1.) That no State can, without sin, countenance the Romish apostacy; and further, (2.) That every State is bound to embrace, acknowledge, and encourage the true religion. Hence they demanded the withdrawal of the national sanction to Popery, and readily prepared, at the request of the State, that summary of the truth of the Bible. They presented it for the consideration, recognition, and adoption of Parliament. The province of the State was not confounded with the province of the Church. The identity and independence of each were carefully preserved. The State did not form a confession and enforce that upon the Church. The Church, in preparing it, left the State to judge whether it should be recognised by the nation. Then, the Church entered upon her work, meeting in General Assembly, and organising herself, without leave or sanction of any kind asked or obtained from the State. Thus from the first the Church and State in Scotland were mutually allied, and yet free. They were each coordinate in their own jurisdictions, co-operating for the public good, but thoroughly independent of control, the one of the other.

The covetous eye of several of the nobility led them to desire another form of government than that which was ratified by the General Assembly. They could not obtain the Church revenues without an arrangement to which these high-principled reformers would not stoop. Subserviency being much more readily obtained under the prelatic system, they resolved by all means to have it introduced. A loop-hole was found in the order of temporary superintendents now established. By the influence of Regent Morton, a Convention of ministers and superintendents met in 1572 at Leith, the same year in which John Knox expired. From that Convention a resolution was obtained that the episcopal titles of the old faith should be retained. That, however, was not in any proper sense a General Assembly. By a committee of this Convention and of the Privy Council, John Douglas was appointed Archbishop of St. Andrews. The titles were bestowed on condition of restoring the best portion of the revenue to the patron. This simoniacal practice gave rise to the appellation of tulchan bishops. As the stuffed calf-skin was then employed to induce the cow to yield her milk, so the title of bishop brought the civil lord the material substance which ought to have gone for the support of religion. Davidson of Prestonpans wrote regarding this change:

"Had gude John Knox not yet been deid,
It ne'er had cam unto this heid;
Had they but mintit (hinted) sic ane steir (such a change).
He had made heaven and earth to heir."

But Knox was not alone in his detestation of Prelacy. Beza wrote from Geneva, 'I would have you, my dear Knox, and the rest of the brethren, to remember that which is before your eyes. As bishops brought forth the Papacy, so these false bishops, the reliques of Popery, shall bring in infidelity. Let them be wary of this plague, whosoever wish the safety and good of the Church. And seeing ye have once banished it out of Scotland, I heartily pray you never admit it again, albeit it seem plausible, with the pretence of keeping unity; which pretence deceived the ancient fathers of the Church, yea, even many of the best of them.' This was an advice worthy of Geneva to bestow, and of Scotland to receive and act upon, not only in the past, but also in the future.

John Knox had pronounced an anathema against both the giver and receiver of the bishopric, and Andrew Melville was raised up after Knox's death to stand in the breach. Adamson, the successor of Douglas, was interdicted by the Assembly from the exercise of his prelatic authority. Morton endeavoured to intimidate Melville by asserting, 'This General Assembly of yours is a convocation of the king's lieges. It is treason for them to meet without his permission.' 'If such it be,' replied Melville, 'then Christ and His apostles must have been guilty of treason, for they convocated hundreds and thousands, and taught and governed them without asking the permission of magistrates; and yet they were obedient subjects, and commanded the people to give what was due unto Caesar.' 'There will never be quietness in this country,' cried Morton, 'till half-a-dozen of you be hanged or banished the country.' 'Tush! sir,' said Melville; 'threaten your courtiers after this manner. It is the same to me whether I rot in the air or in the ground. The earth is the Lord's. My country is wherever goodness is. I have been ready to give my life at the pleasure of my God. Let God be glorified. It will not be in your power to hang or exile His truth' No wonder that the man of the world quailed before this intrepid man of God. In 1578 it was ordained that the bishops submit themselves to the Assembly, which the Bishop of Dunkeld immediately did. In 1580 an Act of Assembly was passed, without any dissent, declaring that 'the office of a bishop, as commonly understood, is destitute of authority from the Word of God; and that all persons in possession of the said pretended office should simpliciter demit it, and appear before the provincial synods to signify their submission.' All the bishops except five yielded obedience in the course of the year.


drawn up by the learned Andrew Melville, was ratified by the Assembly of 1678, and virtually, though not formally, sanctioned by a Commission of Parliament appointed to consider it. They marked 'agreed' on the margin of the most important articles; others were 'referred to further reasoning.' According to that 'Second Buik of Discipline, or Heids and Conclusions of the Policie of the Kirk,' the Presbyterian Church government was established by law in 1592 and in 1690.

A few extracts will show how fully the whole subject had been considered in the light of the Divine Word.

It contains thirteen chapters. The first treats of the 'Kirk and Policie in generall.' Here is given a declaration that 'It is a title falslie usurpit be Antichrist to call himself heid of the Kirk, and aucht not to be attribute to angel nor man, of what estate whatever he be, saving to Christ, the onlie Heid and Monarch of the Kirk.'

Again, 'The magistrat handles externall thingis for externall peace and quyetnes amongis the subjects: the minister handles externall things onlie for conscience cause.' 'The magistrat aught to assist, mentain, and fortifie the jurisdiction of the Kirk. The ministers sould assist their princes in all thingis agreiable to the Word, providing they neglect not their awin charge be involving themselfis in civill affaires.'

After chap. 2 has spoken of the ordinary officers as in the 'First Book of Discipline,' it declares, that 'All the ambitious titles inventit in the kingdome of Antichrist, and in his usurpit hierarchic, quhilkis ar not of ane of these four sorts, aucht all utterlie to be rejectit.'

'Election,' says chap. 3, 'is the chusing out of a person or persons maist abile to the office that vaikes (is vacant), be the judgement of the elderschip and consent of the congregation.' 'It is to be eschewit (avoided) that na person be intrusit (intruded) in ony of the offices of the Kirk contrar to the will of the congregation.' 'Ordinatione is the seperatione and sanctifying of the person appointed be God and His Kirk, efter he be weill tryit and fund qualifiet. The ceremonies of ordinatione are fasting, earnest prayer, and imposition of hands of the elderschip.'

In chap. 4, on 'pastoris,' it is laid down that 'Na man aucht to ingyre himselfe, or usurpe this office without lawfull calling.' Chap. 5 relates to doctors or teachers 'in schools, colledges, and universities.' Chap. 6 explains that 'it is not necessar that all elders be also teichars of the Word, albeit chiefly they aucht to be sic.'

Chap. 7 proclaims that 'Assemblies ar of four sortis. For either ar they of particular kirks and congregations ane or ma, or of a province, or of ane haill nation, or of all and divers nations professing one Jesus Christ;' and that 'the finall end of all assemblies is first to keip the religion and doctrine in puritie, without error and corruption. Next, to keip cumelines and gude order in the Kirk;' and further, that 'this Assemblie sould tak held that the spirituall jurisdiction and civill be not confoundit, to the hurt of the Kirk.

In chap. 8 the distinction is clearly made that 'The word διαχονος (diaconos) sumtymes is largely takin, comprehending all them that beir office in the ministrie,' and those 'unto whom the collection and distribution of the almes of the faithfull and ecclesiastical gudes does belang.' 'This they aucht to do according to the judgement and appoyntment of the presbyteries or elderschips (of the quhilk the deacons are not), that the patrimonie of the Kirk and puir be not convertit to privet men's usis, nor wrangfullie distributit.' Chap. 9 says: 'To tak only of this patrimonie be unlawfull mends, and convert it to the particular and profane use of ony person, we held it ane detestable sacrilege befoir God.'

Chap. 10 declares that 'It perteinis to the office of a Christian magistrat to assist and fortifie the godly proceedings of the Kirk in all behalfes; and namely, to sie that the publique estait and ministrie thereof be mainteinit and susteinit as it appertains according to Godis Word;' but that the civil magistrate, in advancing the interests of the Church, is to do so 'without usurping ony thing that perteins not to the civil sword, bot belangs to the offices that ar meirlie ecclesiastical. And although kings and princes that be godlie sumtymes be their awin authority, when the Kirk is corrupit, and all things out of order, place ministers, and restore the trew service of the Lord, efter the examples of sum godly kings of Judah; yet quhair the ministrie of the kirk is anes lawfullie constitute, and they that are placit do their office faithfullie, all godlie princes and magistrates aucht to heir and obey their voice, and reverence the majestic of the Son of God speiking be them.'

'As to bischops,' says chap. 11, 'if the name επισχοπος (episcopos) be properly takin, they ar all ane with the ministers — for it is not a name of superioritie and lordschip, bot of office and watching. Yet because in the corruption of the Kirk this name (as others) hes bene abusit, and yet is lykelie to be, we cannot allow the fashion of thir new chosin bischops, neither of the chapiters that ar electors of them.' 'It agries not with the Word of God that bischops sould be pastors of pastors, pastors of monie flocks; and yet without ane certaine flock, and without ordinar teiching. It agries not with the Scriptures that they sould be exemit fra the correction of their brethren, and discipline of the particular elderschip of the kirk where they shall serve; neither that they usurpe the office of visitation of other kirks, nor ony other function besyde other ministers, bot sa far as sall be committit to them be the Kirk.' 'Heirfoir, we desyre the bischops that now ar, either to agrie to that order that God's Word requyres in them, or else to be deposit fra all functions in the Kirk.'

The two last chapters are devoted to heads of reformation sought, and the benefits necessarily resulting therefrom.

The slightest glance will convince every candid mind that in Scotland more than any other nation was the Reformation thoroughly carried out both in doctrine and in government. Whatever was wanting arose not from lack of apprehension or desire, but from obstructions that could not be removed. This 'Second Book of Discipline' best illustrates the presbyterial order of government established in Scotland, in which all ecclesiastical discipline is based upon the Headship of Christ, and assemblies are convened for — (1.) Purity of doctrine and efficient discipline; (2.) A bond of unity; and (3.) Harmonious co-operation with the civil authorities for the common good. Lechler, the German historian, says — 'The Church of Scotland, by its earnest and persevering struggle for the complete independence of the Church, in contradistinction to the State; and by the province assigned to the magistrate, avowing the important and practical truth that Christ is the only Head of the Church, shows itself beyond question in advance of all the Reformed Churches.' By the influence of the more worldly politicians, the State had withheld its sanction from the 'First Book of Discipline.' But although not established or sanctioned by the State, the Church proceeded in her essential competency independent of that sanction. Each acted as a co-ordinate and mutually independent power in its own province. For seven years the Church of Scotland continued in that unendowed condition. During that period she held fifteen General Assemblies, exercising all necessary functions, legislative, judicial, and administrative, filling up and maturing her organisation.

At the period of her establishment in 1567, the Church was recognised by the State as an existing spiritual institution. In the Act of the first Parliament of James VI, this first step of recognition is expressly stated: — 'Declair first, That the ministeris of the blessit Evangell of Jesus Christ, quh God of His mercy hes now raisit up amangis ws, or heirefter sall' — 'agreing with thame, that now leif in doctrine and administratione of the sacraments, and that part of the people of this realme that professis Jesus Chryst, as now,' &c., 'may be declarit the onlie trew Kirk of Jesus Chryst within this realme.' The provision of requisite means for the support of the Church — the second step in the process of establishment — was not made by the purchase of the spiritual independence of the Church. For, first, 'it is statute and ordained that the examination and admission of ministers shall be only in the power of the Kirk;' and secondly, 'it shall be lawful to the patron to appeal to the superintendent and ministers of that province where the benefice lies, and desire the person presented to be admitted, which, if they refuse, to appeal to the General Assembly of the whole realm, BY WHOM THE CAUSE BEING DECIDED, SHALL TAKE END AS THEY DEEM AND DECLARE.'

Thus the entire settlement of ministers was made over to the jurisdiction of the Church. The root of bitterness contained in that act of establishment lay not in any assumed control by the State over the Church, but in the lay patronages reserved to the ancient patrons. 'In the Bible, no mention is made of patrons at all.' The whole system 'flowed from the Pope and the corruption of the canon law,' and has led to incalculable evil in rending up the Church in Scotland. The corruption of the Church was much averted by that Discipline, or Constitution. 'It has secured the cordial attachment of the people of Scotland: Whenever it has been wrested from them by arbitrary violence, they have uniformly embraced the first favourable opportunity of demanding its restoration, and the principal secessions which have been made from the National Church have been stated, not in the way of dissent from its constitution, as in England, but in opposition to departures, real or alleged, from its original and genuine principles' ('Life of Melville,' p. 125).

Notwithstanding the express statements of the Church's 'Book of Discipline' and declarations by the General Assembly, the appointment of tulchan bishops went on by those in power. On the death of Archbishop Boyd of Glasgow, a grant of the revenues was made to the Duke of Lennox, and he, to make the grant available, put Robert Montgomery into the office, on giving his bond to pay to the Duke �1000 Scots, with horse, corn, and poultry. Not only Prelacy, the spiritual independence of the Church was involved, and the Church did not hesitate how to act. The State determined to make the Church prelatic. It might (a) have remonstrated with the Church to bring her to the same view. It might (b) have withdrawn the recognition and endowment by which the Church was civilly established. Instead of these, it adopted a third method. (c) The State attempted by force civil pains and penalties — to compel the Church to receive episcopal officers.

With mingled firmness and forbearance the Church first of all dealt with Montgomery, her rebellious member. Secondly, She addressed earnest remonstrances to the King and Council. Thirdly, Public action was taken in church courts imposing the authority of the Church, and watching Montgomery's conduct; and Fourthly, when interdicted by the civil court from proceeding, the Church — standing upon Scripture and her constitution — declined the jurisdiction of the court in spiritual things, and summoned the offender to answer for his conduct. Finally, When Montgomery had broken the pledge he had given by resuming acceptance of the office of archbishop, they pronounced upon him the sentence of excommunication. This was the first direct conflict of the State with the Church — the presage of many endeavours to bind upon this spiritual kingdom the yoke of an earthly sovereignty. The struggle was violent: at times the Church was worsted by acts and persecutions, but ever anew she arose, more glorious and free. 'Who dare subscribe these treasonable articles?' demanded the Earl of Arran of the deputation in the presence of the King. 'We dare,' exclaimed Melville. Advancing, he seized a pen and subscribed his name. 'These are my instructions,' said he on another occasion, unclasping his Hebrew Bible and placing it before them on the table. 'See if any of you can judge of them, or show that I have passed my injunctions.' Such intrepid words and deeds alone suited the occasion. (See Hetherington's 'Hist. Ch. of Scot.' and 'Ten Years' Conflict.')

The King was bent upon the introduction of Prelacy into the Scottish Church, hence 'the Black Acts' of 1584 were passed, making all treasonable that had been done in its abolition. When, however, he had experienced the value of the Presbyterian ministers in the promotion of civil peace during the six months he was absent in Norway, a settlement of protracted conflicts was obtained. Articles prepared by the General Assembly were ratified by Parliament in June 1592, which, on account of their value, have been termed the Great Charter of the Church. It ratified the jurisdiction and discipline of the courts, and the reading propositions in the 'Second Book of Discipline' as to their power. An extract will best explain the estimation in which this decision was and is still held. It is termed 'An Act for abolishing of the Actis contrair to the trew religion.' 'Oure souerane Lord and Estaitis of this present Parliament, ratifies and apprevis all liberties, privileges, immvnities, and freedoms quhatsumevir, given and grantit be his Hienes, hes regentis in his name, or ony of hes predecessouris, to the trew and hally Kirk presentlie establishit within this realme. And sicklyke ratifies and apprevis the Generall Assemblies appoyntit be the said Kirk, and declairis that it sall be lauchfull (lawful) to the Kirk and ministrie ewierilk yeir at the leist, and ofter pro-renata as occasioun sall require. And in case nathir hes Majestie nor hes said Commissioner beis present for the time in that toun quhair the saide Generall Assemblie beis haldin, than and in that caise, it sall be lesum to the said Generall Assemblie be thame selffis to nominate and appoynt tyme and place quhair the nest Generall Assemblie of the Kirk sallbe keepit and haldin as they half bene in vse to do thyr tymes bipast.' 'What she now obtained was a legal recognition of those powers which she had long claimed as belonging to her by scriptural institution and the gift of her Divine Head. She had now a right, by human as well as by divine law, to hold her assemblies for worship and discipline, and to transact all the business competent to her as an ecclesiastical society, without being liable to any challenge for this, and without being exposed to any external interruption or hindrance whatever, either from individuals or from the executive government' ('Life of Melville,' i. 322).


The struggles for freedom did not terminate with the important Act of 1592. On the ascension of James VI. of Scotland to the throne of Britain in 1603, renewed exertions were made to bring about Episcopal domination. By unconstitutional means Prelacy, for two periods of twenty-eight years, obtained the ascendancy as the established religion.

The FIRST PRELACY lasted from 1610 to 1638. Not that Prelacy held undisputed sway during that period, but it was more or less clothed with authority in the Church by the civil power. In 1610 the Angelical Assembly was held in Glasgow. Gold coins, termed angels, were freely employed to bribe. These 'angels' procured a declaration that the royal prerogative was necessary in the calling of assemblies. So also were bishops elevated as moderators of synods, and put into possession of other powers. Hitherto bishops in Scotland had been ordained by presbyters. Now Spotswood, Lambe, and Hamilton proceeded to London to obtain 'apostolic consecration,' so as to bestow legitimate succession. The poor tulchan bishops were utterly disowned. These first Prelacy lords had to submit to degradation, disowning their former ministry.

Another packed Assembly was held at Perth in 1618, when five articles were adopted — 1. That the holidays of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost were binding on the Church. The Scottish Church found sufficient authority for the hallowed observance of one day in seven. Occasional days of humiliation and thanksgiving were also approved. These annual holidays were regarded as having only human authority. 2. Confirmation was commanded. This also was by the Church regarded as only a human ordinance, destitute of apostolic precept or example, and liable to deceive. 3. The ordinance of the Supper was to be received kneeling. This practice the Church held to be destitute of the institution of Christ, and tending to superstition and idolatry. 4. Private baptism was to be enforced; as also, 5. Private communion, which were alike discouraged by the Church, as leading to the idea that these ordinances are essential to salvation.

For three years the Court of High Commission had been in operation, and now these acts and articles were ratified by Parliament — in effect subverting the Presbyterian Church. Persecution was intensified, and many of the most godly ministers, as Samuel Rutherford and Dickson of Irvine, were banished from their parishes. But in these times of darkness God gave the suffering Church many tokens of His gracious presence. Revivals of religion were experienced at Stewarton, the Kirk of Shotts, and other places. Thus prepared of God, when the Service-book of Laud was commanded to be used by the King's authority, the Church arose and threw off prelatic tyranny in the second Reformation.

Many had dared to refuse conformity to the five articles of Perth, and denied that they were adopted in a free assembly. This grand effort of the first Prelacy was its last. For, first, Prelacy and these five articles were together renounced by the renewal of previous national covenants, under the leadership of Alexander Henderson, in the Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, in 1638. Then, secondly, prelatic bishops, as the moving springs of the reigning absolutism, were solemnly tried and deposed in the Glasgow Assembly, held in its venerable Cathedral Church that same year.

In thethird Stage, Scotland, England, and Ireland united in opposition to Prelacy in the Solemn League and Covenant. This was afterwards sanctioned by the British Parliament and people. Opposition to Prelacy now rested not on the act of any assembly or parliament, but upon the oath of the three kingdoms. Fourthly, The Church renewed her approbation and acceptance of Calvinism in doctrine and Presbyterianism in government, as presented in the documents of the Westminster Assembly. In 1647 the old confession of Knox gave place to this, in which the Church determined what she believed to be the true faith. Fifthly, In 1649 patronage was abolished. An Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed, discharging 'for ever hereafter all patronages and presentations of kirks, whether belonging to the King or any lay patron, presbyteries, or others within the kingdom.' The Church was freed from control until its restoration thirteen years after. The Act declared that patronage was prejudicial to the liberty of the people, the planting of kirks, and the calling of ministers. 'At the King's return, every parish had a minister, every village had a school, and every family almost had a Bible, yea, in most of the country all the children of age could read the Scriptures, and were provided of Bibles either by their parents or ministers. There were no fewer than sixty aged people, men and women, who went to school, that even then they might be able to read the Scriptures with their own eyes. I have lived many years in a parish where I never heard an oath, and you might have ridden many miles before you heard any. Also, you could not for a great part of the country have lodged in a family where the Lord was not worshipped by reading, singing, and public prayer. Nobody complained more of our Church government than our taverners, whose ordinary lamentation was that their trade was broke, people were become so sober' ('Kirkton's Hist.' pp. 64, 65, 1817).

Thus Presbyterial government was again triumphantly established. Its principles were enunciated in the Glasgow Assembly of 1638, particular respect being given to the rights of the people. This declaration was issued — 'Anent the presenting of pastors, or readers, and of schoolmasters, to particular congregations, that there be a respect had to the congregation, and that no person be intruded into any office of the Kirk contrary to the will of the congregation to which they are appointed.'

The SECOND PRELACY arose from the restoration of Charles II. 'Not till after that restoration were the privileges of the Church formally disallowed and entirely overthrown. By the first Act of the second session of his Scottish Parliament in 1661 he succeeded in expressly annulling "all Acts of Parliament by which the sole and only power and jurisdiction within this Church doth stand in the Church," and also all Acts by which it would seem that the office-bearers of the Church had any "church power, jurisdiction, or government other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon and subordination to the sovereign power of the King as supreme." The same Act, by restoring Prelacy, subverted the Presbyterian form of Church government in Scotland; while a subsequent Act, the first of his second Parliament in 1669, asserted directly and positively "His Majesty's supreme authority and supremacy over all persons, and in all causes ecclesiastical, within his kingdom."' He had at his coronation taken the most solemn vow to maintain the Presbyterian Church and uphold the Covenant. But these were violated, and during the twenty-eight years of the Second Prelacy, that ran from 1661 to 1689, Charles and his prelatic agents shed torrents of Scottish blood. The history of the 'Fifty Years' Struggle of the Covenanters' must be studied that its importance may be felt, and that those engaged in and suffering from it may be fully sympathised with. (See 'Dodds' Hist.,' and 'Simpson's Traditions.') Then the great principles that sustained them may be recognised and honoured. Four hundred ministers in Scotland, and two thousand in England testified to the value of these principles. They allowed themselves to be ejected from their livings in 1662 rather than prove false to Christ; and their noble testimony was carried on and vindicated by upwards of a quarter of a million of persons who were slain on mountain, moor, and glen, and sea —

"Their blood is shed
In confirmation of the noblest claim —
Our claim to feed upon immortal truth,
To walk with God, to be divinely free,
To soar, and to anticipate the skies.
Yet few remember them. They lived unknown,
Till persecution dragged them into fame,
And chased them up to heaven."

From the mighty Argyll, the greatest of Scottish subjects and patriots, to the most humble peasant and the weakest woman or child, the same testimony was given. It was that Presbytery is the only government appointed for the Church by the King of Zion.

Long and bloody was the struggle maintained against Prelatic domination. There was in the interests of Prelacy a determination to crush all who opposed absolutism. The work of persecution unto death of helpless thousands seemed to secure silent submission. Ah! there came voices from loathsome dungeons, sequestered valleys, secure passes, as that of Enterkin, near Wanlockhead, the shores of the sea, and the lonely mountains, that made tyrants tremble upon their thrones. Little wonder that men were roused on various occasions to a spirit of determined resistance. 'Hunted down like wild beasts, tortured till their bones were beaten flat, imprisoned by hundreds, hanged by scores, exposed at one time to the license of soldiers from England, abandoned at another time to the mercy of troops of marauders from the Highlands, they still stood at bay in a mood so savage that the boldest and mightiest oppressor could not but dread the audacity of their despair' (Macaulay's ' Hist. of Eng.,' i. 187). From the gibbet-ladder the last martyr, the eloquent Renwick, gave utterance to their testimony. 'I die,' said he, 'for owning the Word of God as the only rule of faith. I leave my testimony against Popery, Prelacy, and Erastianism, and particularly against all encroachments upon Christ's rights — the Prince of the kings of the earth — who alone must bear the glory of ruling His own kingdom.'

Then came the hour when the race of the Stewarts, who had already by Cameron been disowned, were driven finally from the throne. Torbay, white with sails, bore onward the fleet of William of Orange, and the Revolution of 1688 was easily accomplished. Grateful hearts filled with joy sang praise. Dreadful as were the persecutions inflicted in Scotland and Ireland at the hands of the Papacy, they failed to reach the magnitude and atrocity of those which Presbyterians were made to endure at the instance of Prelacy. The record of these cruelties in Scotland are lasting as her mountains and glens, and will ever send forth a protest to her people against showing favour to the system for which these actions were enforced. Fain would the Scottish prelatist blot out the record from the page of history, and strenuous efforts have been put forth in at least one instance to prove that the martyrdom at Wigton is only a myth. But that effort was abortive, and recoils with powerful effect on that intolerant system. (See Burton's verdict in his 'History.')

During this second Prelacy, although the prelatists supposed themselves possessed of the virtue of apostolical succession, and certainly enjoyed the temporalities of the Church of Scotland, yet they had not dared since the storm of 1638 to introduce either a liturgy, creed, or ritual. The Westminster standards alone were in force.

Prelacy, maintained by blood-shedding intolerance, resulted in the enthronement of a Popish prince, and efforts after full Papal domination. This at last aroused the nation. Principles formerly decried when acted on by the Covenanters were now acknowledged. Life, liberty, and happiness came with the Revolution. Prelatic bishops refusing to acknowledge King William were termed nonjurors, and thus the way was cleared for the re-establishment of Presbytery. William was in favour personally of Prelacy, but listened to the well-timed advice of Dr. Carstairs. The Claim of Right presented to the King declared that King James VII 'hath, by the advice of evil and wicked counsellors, invaded the fundamental constitution of the kingdom, and altered it from a legal limited monarchy to an arbitrary despotic power, and hath exercised the same to the subversion of the Protestant religion, inverting all the ends of government, whereby he hath forefaulted the right to the crown, and the throne is become vacant,' &c. Further, 'That by the law of this kingdom no Papist can be king or queen of this realm, nor can any Protestant successor exercise the regal power until he or she sware the coronation oath.' In conformity with that claim, an Act was passed abolishing Prelacy, and another ratified the 'Confession of Faith,' and Presbyterian Church government. In this last it is declared, 'That Prelacy, and the superiority of any office in the Church above presbyters, is abolished. Therefore, their Majesties do establish, ratify, and confirm the Presbyterian Church government and discipline; that is to say, the government of the Church, by kirk-sessions, presbyteries, provincial synods, and general assemblies.' By that Act of 1690, the 'Confession of Faith' was engrossed word for word in the statute book, and thus became part and parcel of the law of the land. There it is declared that 'the civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven;' the power, in other words, of exercising or controlling the discipline and spiritual government of the Church. Defective in other respects as was the Revolution settlement, this was a greater attainment than had previously been gained, giving hope that the defection might yet be overthrown. In the estimation of Prelatists, that Act of Parliament which overthrew, and thereby destroyed, the persecuting power of Prelacy in 1689, is the greet sore which has yet to be healed. That Act not only disestablished the Christian ministry, but also the Catholic creed! Poor Scotland! how sad your condition! how low art thou sunk amongst the nations, destitute of a Christian ministry and Catholic creed! Why don't you send as deputies your sons on their bended knees to implore the prelatic bishop of St. Andrews, or any other who can, to restore to you these blessings? Why don't you substitute at once a hierarchy for your wretched Presbytery, and the Catholic creed for your revolting Westminster Catechisms and Confession? Scotland knows why.


Happy as was the deliverance effected, two roots of bitterness were left to the Church by the Revolution settlement. First, The re-establishment of Presbytery was placed on no higher ground than the popular will. The Act simply gave, as a reason for the change, that this was agreeable to the majority of the people, while the Acts that had cut off Presbytery were not cancelled. Secondly, A great number of men who held prelatic views were allowed to retain their position as Presbyterian ministers. If they had, on reasonable grounds, changed their views, this would have been a right course; but it was questionable, when the outer change was only to secure the emoluments of office. One hundred and eighty of these men were, in 1692, assumed into ministerial communion and participation in Church government on subscribing the formula. Four-fifths of the prelatic ministers thus remained in possession of their endowments; and, as to others, instead of having treated them with rigour, both ministers and magistrates contributed to their relief. This conduct towards their persecutors ought to be remembered to the honour of the Presbyterians of those days. But this act of kindness, as the result showed, was carried too far in admitting them to an equal share in a government to which they had proved themselves to be thoroughly opposed.

The Reformed Presbyterian Church arose out of these defects, a party of covenanters refused to receive the benefits of the Establishment on the grounds offered. They held, as was declared by Richard Cameron at Sanquhar in 1680, that Charles II., having broken the conditions on which he had received the crown — viz., adherence to the covenants — could no longer be regarded as a constitutional sovereign, and had forfeited all right to their obedience. Declining to take the oath of subjection to any sovereign who had not sworn to maintain the covenants, these parties have been popularly termed Covenanters or Cameronians. Various societies for spiritual improvement had been organised by Renwick. When their petitions to the General Assembly for relief to their conscientious convictions were utterly disregarded, and when Mr. M'Millan was deposed in 1707 for holding the principles of these societies, that sentence was repudiated, and at length a Presbytery was formed in 1743, and a Synod in 1811. This first rending of the Church of the Revolution was thus the fruit of unjust domination. This was a fruit of that prelatic root. The 'Vindication' prepared by Renwick, and their actions, show that at the beginning this Reformed Church did not stand so austerely aloof from all Churches, and from their duty as citizens, as some of their descendants. While repudiating the assertion that the dominion of Christ is founded in grace (see Goold in Enc. Brit.), their cardinal doctrine as a Church was the headship of Christ over the nations. Their position all along has therefore been in order to bring about a thorough harmony of our civil constitution and institutions with that doctrine. On this account, until 1863, they would neither take the oath of allegiance, nor employ others as their representatives who did so.

They said, even in that time of suffering, 'Not that we would martially oppose and rise up against all such, but by our profession, practice, and testimony, we would contradict and oppose them; we positively disown, as horrid murder, the killing of any because of a different persuasion and opinion from us.' Declaring that there are men who have complied with the demands of the Government, whom we 'love in the Lord, and acknowledge to be ministers of His Church,' and 'with whom we would not refuse accidental or occasional communion as brethren and Christians.' They were willing to associate in common religious enterprises 'with some as Christians, holding the same fundamentals.' 'As these people, however reproached by their enemies as the cold, anti-monarchical, enthusiastic, lunatic Cameronians, were amongst the first in Scotland who took up arms for the Prince of Orange, so they were the first men in Scotland that petitioned the 'Convention of Estates to place the crown of Scotland on the head of their deliverer, King William' (Crookshanks). In a single day they raised a regiment of 800 men, who, marching under Cleland to Dunkeld, defeated General Cannon at the head of 5000 soldiers.

The Reformed Presbyterians justify their refusal to embrace the Revolution Church on several grounds; as that — (1.) The Church courts were composed of men against whom they had weighty objections; (2.) The Assembly submitted tamely to the dictation of civil rulers; (3.) The Reformation, in its most advanced state, was abandoned in the Revolution settlement; and (4.) The principles on which that settlement was conducted were of a political rather than of a religious character. Still they do not maintain that even the second Reformation was free from blemishes, and they specify some actions that are justly censurable. (See 'Test. of R. P. Church,' pp. 65-105.) On the other hand, it has been felt that this most advanced state being confessedly imperfect, and the Revolution bringing about a normal condition, in which it was impossible to bring the nation back to that advanced state, it might be the best possible and most hopeful position to 'let bygones be bygones,' and to begin anew upon the Reformation basis. It became also a serious civil question, whether it is a right thing either for any who enjoy all civil benefits, to refuse allegiance to the supreme civil power as lawful magistracy, or for any to denude themselves of their privileges and responsibilities as citizens. If these positions were to be universally acted upon by Christian men, then necessarily the entire power and influence of the nation must pass into the hands of the irreligious portion of the community, and all hope of bringing about national subjection to Christ is gone. Nevertheless, posterity have more effectually rescinded the act recissory than could have been done by the Revolution settlement, and there has confessedly been a gradual approach practically to the principles embodied in the documents of the second Reformation, and most Presbyterians would rejoice could they be fully acted upon.

New light dawned upon the majority, and in 1863 their restriction was removed. It was declared, 'That members of the Church, who may be led by the resolution to exercise the elective franchise, or take the oath of allegiance, shall not be visited with the infliction of ecclesiastical penalties to the effect of suspension and expulsion from the privileges of the Church.'

Some thought the old spirit of domination was manifested, when the protest presented by the faithful minority was shuffled out of the church in Glasgow where the Synod sat. That protest, signed by the Rev. William Anderson, and seven others, was 'against the decision now adopted as the law of the Church by the majority of this court, as opposed to the Word of God and to the testimony of this Church, and unconstitutionally adopted; and seeing that they have thereby abandoned the principles, we do hereby protest and claim for those adhering to us to be constitutionally the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland,' &c. (See 'Test of R. P. 'Church,' Glasgow, 1866.) The (Old School of the) Reformed Presbyterian Church has 2 presbyteries, 13 congregations, and 7 ministers. It receives a supply of preachers chiefly from the Synod in Ireland. It had 1,120 communicants. It holds communion with the R.P.C. Of America (121 churches), and of Ireland (38 churches), and has a Foreign Medical Missionary in Antioch, Syria. A distinguishing peculiarity of this Church is that it binds its members to take no civil office, or to vote for representatives in Parliament — subjecting those who do so to discipline.


True Presbyterians within the Church of Scotland were not fully satisfied with the measure of security granted at the Revolution. But it was felt to be a blessed relief after the death-struggle in which the Church and country had been engaged. They chose the least of two evils, and hoped for the best, and for a time stood upon their watch-tower.

Thus, at the era of the Union (1707), the Scottish Parliament passed an Act vesting the powers of the crown, in the event of a vacancy, in their own Parliament, directing to choose as sovereign only one adhering to the Protestant religion, and only on the condition of maintaining the complete independency of the nation, and the integrity of her institutions. The commissioners were thereafter forbidden to treat at all regarding union, unless certain fundamental principles were guaranteed. They were not to treat of 'any alteration of worship, discipline, and government of the Church of this kingdom.' Consequently, the Scottish Act of Parliament ratifying the articles of union in 1707 confirmed these privileges. 'And sicklike her Majesty, with advice, &c., resolving to establish the Protestant religion and Presbyterian Church government within this kingdom, has passed in this present session of Parliament an Act entitled "Act for securing the Protestant religion and Presbyterian Church government," &c., therefore her Majesty, &c., doth hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion, and the worship and discipline and government of this Church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations,' &c. By Act of the English Parliament, ratifying the union, these Acts are declared: 'Forever be held and adjudged to be observed as fundamental and essential conditions of the said union; and shall, in all times coming, be taken to be, and are hereby declared to be, essential and fundamental parts of the said articles of union.' These solemn treaties were soon broken. Efforts were made to have the crown restored to the Popish brother of Queen Anne, an elder branch of the house of Stewart.

Then, in 1712, patronage was restored by a bill hurried through Parliamentin one month ! 'The British Legislature violated the articles of union, and made a change in the constitution of the Church of Scotland. From that change has flowed almost all the dissent now existing in Scotland....Year after year the General Assembly protested against the violation, but in vain; and from the Act of 1712 undoubtedly flowed every secession and schism that has taken place in the Church of Scotland' (Lord Macaulay, Speeches, ii. 180). Yet the patrons did not exercise their rights for several years, and enforced settlements of ministers, contrary to the wishes of the people, were not insisted on for half a century.

At length strenuous resistance to forced settlements arose. Ebenezer Erskine denounced the corruptions of the Church in a Synod sermon at Stirling, which led to his secession in 1733 (and deposition in 1749). This he did, however, not from opposition to the constitution of the Church as the National Church. He severed from 'the prevailing party,' or defective majority, appealing to the first free, faithful, and reforming Assembly. Others, who with him left the Church, refused to return, and formed themselves into the Associate Presbytery. Still, besides the so-called Moderate party adhering to patronage, another remained in the Church who upheld Calvinistic doctrines, and the liberties of the people. The constitution being unchanged, they had hope. (As the subsequent history of the branches of the Scottish Church is somewhat complicated, the chronological diagram prefixed to this chapter should be kept before the eye.)

The history of this secession is remarkable for the number of its divisions. This Associate Presbytery was in 1747 divided into two by the oath required of every person clothed with civil authority, in consequence of Jesuit intrigues, and dread of French invasion. That burgess oath declared that 'the individual taking it would defend the religion of his country as by law established.' One party in the Associate Synod held this oath unlawful, as approving of all the abuses of the civil establishment of the Church. Another party held that it simply bound them to defend the Protestant faith against secret and open enemies. Being free to take the oath, this party was popularly termed 'Burghers;' and those who refuse to be sworn, the 'Antiburghers.'

The Antiburghers went so far as to excommunicate and depose the Erskines and others of the Burgher party. Both of these portions were again split up by controversies regarding the obligations of public covenants, and what was popularly known as New Light views, or, plainly, the Voluntary principle. 'A great majority in both Synods denied the right of the civil magistrate to interfere with the Church, and of the Church to accept support from the State' ('Hist. of Secession Church,' p. 579). The abuse made them imagine that the thing itself was evil, and that continually. This change of sentiment was first publicly announced in a pamphlet published in 1780 by a member of the Burgher Synod. In 1799 the formula was, by a majority, altered to suit this change of sentiment; a minority reforming and retaining the views of the Old Light Burghers. In 1806 a similar split into New and Old Lights took place amongst the Antiburghers. Dr. Thomas M'Crie, the accomplished author of the 'Life of Knox,' adhering to the Old Light views and organisation, was deposed. The New Light Antiburghers departed furthest from the principles of the first seceders.

A union of the two parties that had embraced the New Light views took place in 1820, forming the United Secession Church, which had thus Voluntaryism for a cardinal position. A minority of ten New Light Burghers protested against that union and withdrew, and found a more congenial union in amalgamating with the Old Light Antiburghers in 1827 as the Original Secession Church. Meanwhile, the Old Light Burghers were approximating towards and finally united with the Establishment in 1839, recognising the Assembly as now the free, faithful, and reformed, to which their fathers had appealed. A few, however, declined to do so, and preferred to enter the Original Secession Church in 1842. That Original Secession, ten years later, by a majority of one, entered the Free Church. Again the minority declining, remain distinct to testify of Original Secession principles. The Synod of the United Original Seceders have 4 presbyteries, and 29 congregations; communicants under 3,500; 2 professors and 5 students, and 2 home and 2 foreign missionaries. There are 2 congregations not connected with the Synod, 1 in Edinburgh; and 1 Synod and 10 congregations in Ireland.

In 1752 another secession had occurred at Dunfermline. This was at the beginning of the 'Robertsonian' era, so named from a Moderate leader. The Presbytery were by the prevailing party commanded to proceed with a forced settlement of a minister contrary to the expressed wish of the people. Six declined to comply. In consequence, one venerable man, the Rev. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock, was deposed from the office of the ministry for contumacy. To this sentence he meekly answered, 'I rejoice that to me it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.' This second secession formed themselves eventually into the Relief Synod, which also, after the French Revolution, became very Radical in their views. They disapproved of public covenants and creeds or confessions, as tests of orthodoxy or terms of communion. The chief object of their separate religious fellowship was to afford relief to those suffering from patronage. At ordination, church officers owned the doctrine of the Westminster Standards, 'except where said Confession recognises the power of the civil magistrate in religious concerns.'

'The contest which ensued between the two branches of the Secession and the Relief is one of the most heart-rending pages in the ecclesiastical history of Scotland. It took place between parties professing in the main the very same religious principles.' ('Hist of Relief Church,' p. 14.) Notwithstanding, drawing nearer each other daily, the Relief and United Secession formed in 1847 the United Presbyterian Synod.

The UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH meets in Synod annually. In 1886 it had 32 presbyteries, 594 churches, and 610 ministers, of whom 4 are in England and 11 in Ireland, and 4,977 elders. The membership numbered 182,063 — an increase of 15,253 since 1872. It has thus made up for the loss of 15,000 members in England, who were disjoined by the union with the English Presbyterian Church in 1876. For congregational purposes, �237,300 was raised in 1886 — a decrease of �8,337, owing to a cessation of efforts by congregations erecting new churches; but �80,566 for missionary and benevolent purposes was a considerable increase. The total income was �373,545 — an average contribution per member of �1, 4s. 11d. �688,993 was paid for debt, and �1,265,348 for stipend — �24 being the share in the Surplus Fund. The amount raised since 1843 was �11,209,364. Stipends thus ranging from �184, with manse or allowance of �20 for house rent, to �1,000. In the elaborate — model — statistics given in the Reports for May 1887, ample evidence is adduced tbat 'in all its congregations the members are compacted together in the bonds of mutual sympathy, co-operation, and fellowship.'


From the beginning of the nineteenth century, a gradual reaction had come on the Scottish as on other Churches. Instead of the cold moral harangues and polished essays of the Moderate school, an evangelical and reforming spirit arose. Erskine, Moncreiff, Thomson, Chalmers, and others, are household names of men who were foremost in promoting the full and free proclamation of the gospel. Reforming measures commenced in 1834, when the call of the people was regarded as their rightful privilege. What was termed the 'Veto Act' was passed, by which a simple dissent rather than a positive call declared the mind of the people. In 1838, the Judges of the Court of Session, by a majority of eight to five, decided that the veto was illegal. This decision was confirmed by the House of Lords.

At that time the attention of the Church was fixed by Dr. Chalmers on the condition of our large towns, and church extension was greatly promoted. Foreign missions, also, had a large place in the affections of a revived Church, stimulated by Dr. Duff's labours and addresses.

The struggle commenced with the Auchterarder case. The patron having presented a Mr. Young to that parish, containing 3000 souls, only three individuals signed his call. The entire parish, with that exception, were opposed to his settlement as their minister. The principle on which every such settlement proceeded previous to 1843 was this, that the right of the patron respected the possession of the benefice, while the right of the congregation and of the church courts respected admission to the cure of souls. Rejected on this account by the presbytery, patron and presentee carried the case before the courts of civil law. The details of this case alone are voluminous. Other cases followed, as Marnoch, where only one individual would sign the call, and Strathbogie, which presbytery, by a majority, wished, and eventually did, force a minister upon an unwilling people. The Court of Session, on being applied to, sustained the Moderates in everything, and not only fined the Evangelical party, but commanded the Church, at its dictation, to perform spiritual functions — as the ordination and induction of ministers. Those guilty of moral offences, and those whom the Church had suspended or deposed, the civil courts freed from spiritual censure, and restored to their former position. Those refusing to obey the Church courts, which they had most solemnly pledged themselves to do, were declared guilty of no rebellion, encouraged and authorised by civil rulers. Appeals were carried in vain to the House of Lords and to the Legislature.

The most express laws of the Church and nation being broken by the ruling civil power, and no redress appearing possible, what remained for the Church but to free herself from that position? In the Assembly of 1842 the Claim of Rights was adopted. The Church (1.) claimed as of right freely to possess and enjoy her liberties of government and privileges according to law, and that she should be protected therein from unconstitutional encroachments; (2.) She declared that she could not intrude unacceptable ministers on reclaiming congregations, although the temporal benefits of her State connection were lost; (3.) She further protested, that whatever might be done without the consent of the Church and nation in alteration of her government and privileges, are void and null, and of no legal force or effect; and that, while submission would be given as to civil rights and privileges, though the decisions were unjust, yet, that it would be 'free to ministers and their successors,' when a prospect of obtaining justice presented itself, 'to claim the restitution of all civil rights and privileges, and temporal benefits and endowments.' This claim, transmitted to the Queen by the Marquis of Bute, was rejected by the State, although wrongfully, as Sir James Graham afterwards acknowledged. (See 'Ten Years' Conflict.') As the spiritual independence of the Church could no longer be exercised, along with the benefits of civil recognition and endowment, these benefits must be sacrificed that the Church may be free to obey her King. Erastianism, or subjection to the control of the State, being declared, as now, imperatively necessary if the Church continue to eat the bread of the State, then the Church must eat that bread no more. She must cast herself for sustenance on the providence of God and the benevolence of the Christian people. That solemn resolution was taken at the convocation meetings of 1842. Then also, Dr. Thomas Chalmers propounded his great sustentation scheme.

'The Assembly of 1843 met at Edinburgh with the usual solemnities. All the arrangements for the grave and momentous step, then and there to be taken, had been previously and elaborately made. Immediately after the Assembly had been constituted, the moderator, in presence of the royal commissioner read and laid upon the table a protest in which the whole case for the majority of the Assembly was embodied. It was signed by 203 of the members. Having done so, he at once withdrew followed by all who had subscribed the document, and immediately thereafter, in a spacious hall, in which not fewer than 3000 people were crowded together, constituted the first General Assembly of THE FREE PROTESTING CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. Every one of the 474 ministers, who then and there adhered to it, signed a deed of demission, by which he renounced all right and interest in the church, manse, glebe, and stipend. They held that 'the crown rights of the Lord Jesus Christ — the rights of the Christian people — the Lord Jesus Christ King in Zion and King of nations, are of important vital doctrine. (1.) The Lord Jesus Christ has Himself appointed a government in His Church, in the hands of ecclesiastical, not civil officers. And this government, in its own province, is wholly distinct from, and not subject to, the State or civil power. (2.) Then the Lord Jesus Christ, as King of nations, is to be honoured, obeyed, and served by nations, and by rulers and magistrates, as such; it being the duty of rulers and magistrates, as such, to promote Christ's cause by the influence and resources at their disposal. It was the conflict for these great principles that led to the Disruption. Rather than abandon them, ministers at the Disruption were enabled to give up their worldly all.

'It was not that they felt their position in the Establishment a sinful or false one. On the contrary, they were entirely convinced that the State was fulfilling a duty commanded by God in the Scriptures when it made provision for the maintenance of the ordinances of religion in all the parishes of Scotland. Every lawful means were therefore used to enable them to retain their position as ministers of an endowed Church; and it was in the face of an undoubting belief of the scriptural rightness of their position, and a strong conviction of the importance and desirableness of retaining it, that they found themselves compelled to abandon it' (Dr. J. J. Wood).

'Suppose that the House of Commons were to ask the mind of the Church — as a House of Commons, as good as any that ever sat, have done before now — the moderator's address would be pretty much this:— "You are over this kingdom, but Jesus Christ is over you. You are not set in your high place to advance the temporal interests only of the people you govern. You are set there for a far more exalted end, even to advance the interests of Christ's kingdom, and to serve the cause of truth and righteousness. On the throne, as well as off the throne, officially as well as unofficially, your chief end is to glorify God. Foster, encourage, and support the true religion. Promote it at home, and you will exalt the nation. Promote it in your dependencies. Have you learned no lesson from your Indian rebellion? Protect God's holy Sabbath; it is the poor man's greatest blessing. Give to the youth of the land a godly education; it is the true foundation of national greatness." This is the doctrine that Christ is King of nations, with its application. The lawfulness of pecuniary support given by the State to the Church is a part, but the smallest part, of this great and important truth. The State may grant, and the Church may accept, an endowment, provided she is not required to sell for it any of the rights of Christ, or any of the privileges of His people. That were sin and shame. But the question of endowments is light compared to the incalculable practical importance of the question, whether or no governors and government are to be regulated by the law of Christ? All through her history the Church of Scotland has stood up for this branch of Christ's crown rights. "Think not, madam," said Knox, in his first interview with Queen Mary, "that wrong is done to you when you are willed to be subject to God; for it is He that subjecteth people under princes. Yea, God craveth that kings be foster fathers, and queens nurses to His people. And this subjection to God, and service to His Church, is the greatest dignity flesh and blood can get upon earth" So spake the Reformer, and to this day the Church which he founded swerves not from the truth he then uttered' ('Our Banner and its Battles').

The Free Church contended that their alliance with the State was not destructive of her privileges, but rather an additional benefit, both to herself and to the nation. These had been secured to her by most solemn treaties, and therefore that as an Established Church she possessed a security for all her spiritual privileges which no dissenting Church could have. By means of patronage she had been brought under bondage to the civil power. But now that she had cast off that yoke, she had not cast aside any of her principles, or renounced her interest as 'The Church of Scotland,' in the civil benefits which reluctantly for the present she was compelled to forego. Dr. Chalmers, from the moderator's chair of the first Free Assembly, proclaimed, 'We quit a vitiated Establishment, but would rejoice in returning to a pure one.' 'We are not Voluntaries.' In these views the entire Free Church was implicated, for 'all offlce-bearers, on admission to office, must subscribe a formula, binding them to the Claim of Right, and the Protest' (Dr. Goold, Encl. Brit., p. 495).

The Free Church speedily took rank amongst the first of Christian Churches in the grace of liberality. Although all has not been accomplished that is desirable, the story of her success will form one of the marvels of the age. This has been a mighty stimulus to other Churches, and it is to be hoped that she will not rest content with this as the only result.


between the Free and United Presbyterian Churches extended from 1863 to 1873; and as these exposed the Free Church to the danger of disruption, along with other evils, the description bequeathed by the leader of the opposition possesses a peculiar interest.

Referring to the principles for which Free Church property is held in trust, he says: — 'No questions of the nature indicated did arise, or could possibly have arisen, for many years after the Disruption — indeed, until the mass of the Disruption fathers had gone to their rest. They had claimed to be the true descendants of Knox, Melville, Henderson, and Carstairs, who were all unhesitating supporters of Church Establishments. With them the Free Church of Scotland was simply "the Church of Scotland free." A great change, however, arose in connection with the Union negotiations. These were begun in 1863, coupled with a professed determination to carry them on with "due" regard, which was explained to mean "absolute" regard, to the principles of the Free Church. It soon appeared, however, that very different views were entertained as to the objects to be aimed at. The issue of ten years' protracted conferences, after several ruptures and much conflict and confusion, was simply to develop a scheme according to which the Free Church was to abandon her distinctive principles — for it was proved that if she abandoned one, she must abandon both — and sink to the level of the United Presbyterians, who glory in proclaiming that they are in principle the enemies of all Established Churches. The last shape which this contest took was an attempt to establish an absolute and unqualified mutual eligibility of ministers between the United Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian, and Free Churches, of course on the assumption that their principles were identical. This, however, was strongly resisted, and the assumption on which it rested strenuously denied; and had this project been pressed, it would have ended in a complete rupture of the Free Church in 1873. Indeed, when the Assembly of 1873 met, nothing else than a break-up was anticipated, and all necessary preparations were made accordingly. The crisis, however, in the good providence of God, was averted by a proposal made by Dr. Candlish, which proved satisfactory to all parties. This proposal embodied a clear admission of the principles of the Free Church on the subject of National Religion. The result of it was effectually to qualify the eligibility of ministers from other Churches by the express condition that they should previously receive, in every case of a proposed call, distinct information of the peculiar principles of the Free Church, and should clearly assent to these before their settlement. The form which the arrangement took was not what we anticipated or desired. We were anxious that the scheme should cease. At the same time we could not deny that the substance of our demand was conceded — and if confirmed, as was promised, conceded permanently — and therefore we most cordially united in giving thanks to God, who had so wonderfully interposed for our deliverance. This qualification of the Mutual Eligibility Overture has now become part of the permanent law of the Church, having been adopted by the Presbyteries under the Barrier Act. In accepting ministers from other Churches we are not expressing approbation of the constitutions of these Churches. We accept of the men as units. They accept of the "doctrine of the Confession of Faith" as the confession of their faith, including the doctrine of national religion as taught in the twenty-third chapter. They are now called to adhere to the preamble of the Act 1846, anent questions and formula, "as well as the enacting part," said preamble being as follows: — "That while the Church firmly maintains the same Scriptural principles as to the duties of nations and their rulers in reference to true religion and the Church of Christ for which she has hitherto contended, she disclaims intolerant or persecuting principles."'

Dr. Begg explained that the publication of this 'Memorial, with opinions of distinguished counsel in regard to the true principles of the Free Church of Scotland on the subject of Church Establishment,' was expedient in connection with that legislation which thus prevented the Church from being rent asunder, and that it became 'essential also in consequence of the new and violent agitation which has recently arisen for the overthrow of the existing Establishments.' Further, that 'the meaning of legal opinions is not that lawyers are to settle the principles of our Church, except in regard to property. They are not to determine their Scriptural truth or spiritual bearings; but in all questions of property the civil power is supreme. It is asked — Would you in any case appeal to the civil courts to decide such a question as Which is the true Free Church? Of course we would, in self-defence, if actually driven to it; but only for the purpose of deciding the matter of property. All property is under the control of the State and its courts, and we are to render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, as well as unto God the things which are God's. The Memorial embodies a full and candid statement of our case. The questions have reference simply to those great principles of the Constitution by which all are equally bound to abide. It will be seen that the eminent lawyers whose opinions are herewith published are unanimous in holding: — (1) That the Free Church has a Constitution which can be pleaded in a civil court, as was done in the Cardross case; (2) that the Establishment principle is embodied in that Constitution; (3) that this cannot be made an open question; and (4) that no majority, however great, can alter this against the will of any minority, however small.'

'This action is defended because of the importance of the questions that are raised. If the Established Churches are removed, what security have non-established Churches for their liberty and the maintenance of their principles? If a mere majority in the Church Courts may change the very fundamental principles of their Constitution, where is their security? While the true spiritual independence of the Church of Christ ought to be maintained at all hazards, it is a misunderstanding to suppose either that there can be an entire separation of Church and State, or that the civil government has truly recognised the spiritual independence of non-established Churches. Such Churches are simply recognised as Voluntary associations of individuals bound by contract, which contract the civil courts claim the absolute right of expounding and enforcing. This position is established by the opinion, amongst others, of Mr. Justice Bary, quoted by Lord Romilly as "laying down the law as to Voluntary Churches."' — Memorial Constitution of the Free Church, by James Begg, D.D. 1874.


The latter was formally united with the Free Church in 1876, when that Synod, in conjunction with the Free Assembly, adopted an Act of Union. This declared the acceptance of the Formula of the Free Church, as interpreted by the Preamble of 1846, and also of the Title of the Free Church, by the Reformed Presbyterians. It, however, reserved its separate name and existence, and to meet and act as courts of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, only 'in so far as regards civil rights and property.' The signing of the Act of Union was followed by devotional exercises; and the Moderator welcomed them as the representatives of those who had 'refused to accept of any indulgence from the faithless Stuart Kings — men of conscience, courage, and real worth.'

The Rev. Dr. Goold, Moderator of the R. P. Synod, in expressing thankfulness, said that 'Unity, as the normal condition of Presbyterianism,' was practically exhibited. 'The principle of Presbyterianism is, and must be, that wherever Presbyterians holding the same doctrines meet together they are bound to be one Church, or otherwise they betray their principle.' Its importance is seen in sending missions to the heathen. 'Under Episcopacy, diocese may conflict with diocese, while Congregationalism glories in the individualism or independence of its congregations.' Common action with Presbyterianism is the natural working or result of the system. Differing from the Missionary Societies of the South, as a Church Presbyterianism sends forth its missions, it was declared that 'the very genius and courage of the missionary spirit was in that old Church, in its resolute determination to pervade the life of a hard, rugged, stubborn nation with Christ's truth and Christ's name' (Rev. Dr. Rainy), and that Freechurchmen always regarded themselves 'as in some respects the immediate descendants of the Covenanters;' and also that their 'Church claimed descent from all the men who have struggled for similar principles from the days of John Knox' (late Rev. Dr. Begg). Congratulations were given by deputies from the United Presbyterian and English Presbyterian Churches. They showed that adherence to distinctive principles had produced some of the most glorious passages of Church history; but that 'attachment to Christian principle should be in harmony with attachment to the cause of Christian union' (Dr. Cairns). The Free Church was congratulated particularly by the Rev. Dr. Dykes in having received this 'tribute to its cherished claim to represent the true line of succession — the oldest line of Scottish ecclesiastical history.' Prelacy, as meaning the domination of hierarchs within the Church, is not what it was; but its Erastian disregard for the rights of the Christian people as such is hardly less. The fatal sacerdotalism which lay beneath the designs of Charles, and gave to the schemes of Laud their most malignant and fatal character, is as active and mischievous to-day as then. More than that, the Covenanting struggle, when you really go to the bottom of it, was, after all, a struggle for full freedom, for the rights of conscience, for the rights of nations, and for the rights of men, as truly and as really as it was a struggle for gospel truth. It was part of that battle which raged all over Western Europe during the mighty seventeenth century — in England, Scotland, Switzerland, in Holland eminently, and in Germany. That was a battle of Christian men for self-government in the State against Papal despotism on the one hand, as well as for liberty in the Church to serve and obey Christ alone on the other. And in that fight against the Stuart Kings, it was Scotland that met and broke the shock of dynastic and priestly power, and served as a bulwark and outwork for the protection of English liberty.' And, 'we have to thank these men for the passionate quest of a glorious ideal; for it is such ideals, even when they are unattainable, which light up the character of men and nations. Who can tell how much Scotland owes to this splendid vision which these men sought of a consecrated land of saints ruled by a covenanted king, loyal to Christ. It hovered before the rapt eyes of these saints of Scotland until it well nigh turned them into seers. It elevated them until it made them heroes. And, though the picture seemed to fade before the eyes of their children, as though it had been painted by the morning light on the mist of their own moorland; still it has done its work, for it has contributed mightily to educate the hearts of Scotchmen. But has it so faded? Or is it not simply thrown forward, as the old Jew learned to throw his Messianic hopes forward from one anticipated Christ to another, better and greater yet to come. When the King comes, the true King of the Covenant, then we may look for the Kingdom, and we shall then have the Covenant in its essence and the realm of the Bride and of the Lamb, and the glory of a Holy Church in a Holy Land.' — Proceedings of Gen. Assembly of Free Church, 1876.


has been attempted in various ways. Early in 1886 the draft of a BILL TO DECLARE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND was brought into the House of Commons by Mr. Finlay, M.P. for the Inverness Burghs, which ran thus:—

WHEREAS it is desirable to remove obstacles to the reunion of the Presbyterians of Scotland, BE IT DECLARED AND ENACTED by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, &c.

1.Exclusive Jurisdiction of Courts of Church of Scotland. — It is hereby declared that, by the Constitution of the Church of Scotland as by law established, on the basis of the Confession of Faith and the Presbyterian Church Government and Discipline, the Courts of the said Church have the sole and exclusive right to regulate, determine, and decide all matters spiritual within the said Church, and their procedure therein, and regulations and decisions thereon, are hereby declared to be not subject to Interdict, Reduction, Suspension) or any manner of review by any Court of civil jurisdiction.

2.Definition. — The expression 'matters spiritual' shall include all matters relating to the worship, discipline, and government of the said Church of Scotland, and in particular, all matters relating to the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of Sacraments, the election, appointment, and admission of the Ministers of the said Church to the pastoral office, and of the other Office-Bearers of the said Church to their offices, and their suspension and deprivation therefrom, the constitution of the Courts of the said Church, and the admission of Ministers and Office-Bearers to sit therein, the infliction and removal of Church censures, and generally all other spiritual matters.

3.Election of Ministers. — No Court of civil jurisdiction shall interfere by interdict or otherwise with the procedure of the Congregation, or of any Committee thereof, in the naming, proposal, election, or appointment of a minister.

4.Erection of Parishes quoad sacra, &c. — From and after the passing of this Act, all powers vested in and exercised by the Lords of Council and Session acting as Commissioners for the Plantation of Kirks and Valuation of Teinds, to disjoin and erect Parishes quoad sacra, or to erect Parishes without territorial districts, shall cease and determine; and it is hereby declared that the power to disjoin and erect Parishes quoad sacra, or to erect Parishes without territorial districts, belongs to and is exclusively vested in the Courts of the Church of Scotland.

5.Saving of Rights of Civil Courts. — Nothing contained in this Act shall abridge or prejudice the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in relation to any matters whatsoever of a civil nature, or to all or any of the temporalities conferred, or to be conferred, on the said Church, or to the civil consequences attached by law to the decisions in matters spiritual of the Courts of the said Church.

6.Saving of Rights of Church Courts. — Nothing contained in this Act shall abridge or prejudice any power, right, or jurisdiction now possessed by or competent to the Courts of the Church of Scotland.

7.Repeal of inconsistent Statutes, &c. — All Laws, Statutes, and usages inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed.

This draft, the result of a widespread desire to remove the hindrances that still barred the way to union, and to, if possible, heal old sores, prevent outstanding evils, and mobilise the two armies against the common foe, unfortunately met with small encouragement and much determined opposition. The Constitutional party in the Free Church, by meetings and petitions earnestly promoted, while the Disestablishment ranks as zealously opposed it. At the March Commission of the Free Assembly, the Bill was petitioned against as inadequate and delusive, and that it pointed to what was misleading and impracticable. At the Assembly in May, by a large majority, 'the Assembly approved this action of the Committee and Commission; and in harmony with the judgment of the Assembly of 1878, declared that no such measure would be regarded as a reason for resuming her connection with the State.' Principal Rainy's second motion adhering to previous declarations 'as to the propriety and necessity of Disestablishment and Disendowment' having been also carried, the following


were given in, for the following reasons:—

(1.) 'We, the undersigned, and as many as agree with us, dissent from the finding of the Assembly on Church and State, for the following reasons: — 1. Because we consider that it innovates upon and infringes the principles contained in the Claim of Right and Protest of 1842 and 1843, which documents embody the fundamental principles of this Church. 2. Because we consider that it innovates upon and infringes the basis of union agreed to in 1852 between the Free Church of Scotland and the Synod of the Original Seceders, who had for more than a century maintained outside the existing Established Church the principle of a national establishment of religion. 3. Because we consider that in present circumstances there exists an opportunity, such as has never before existed, of obtaining the national recognition of the principles contended for alike by the seceders of the last century, the Church of Scotland of 1842, and the Free Church of Scotland, for many years thereafter. 4. And because we consider that the present agitation for Disestablishment, pure and simple, is productive of serious injury to the peace of the Free Church, and the interests of true religion in Scotland.

— Wm. Ferguson, of Kinmundy; Andrew Jameson, Advocate.'

(2.) 'We, the undersigned, dissent from the motion now adopted, anent the relations of Church and State, because it is an abandonment of the distinctive principles of the Free Church, in regard to the duty of nations and their rulers to the true religion and the Church of Christ, as these are embodied in the Claim of Right of 1842 and the Protest of 1843, which set forth the true constitution of this Church.

— W. Ross Taylor, D.D.; John C. Brodie; Thomas A. G Balfour; John M'Ewan; M. Macaskill; Neil Taylor, Alexander Cameron, and others.'

(3.) 'I dissent from this finding on the ground: — 1. That it is in contradiction to an important principle which the Free Church maintained at the Disruption, and embodied in her constitution. 2. That the agitation for Disestablishment simply, is a hindrance to the eventual attainment of an equitable measure by which the national duty may be recognised, and the endowments of the existing Establishment may be applied to their proper use.

— T. Smith, Min.'


show that in 1886 there were 16 Synods and 73 Presbyteries, 1,018 charges, 71 stations, 1,131 ministers, and 12,000 office bearers, with 331,055 members and 1,000,000 adherents. The income, exclusive of �20,186 for Widows and Orphans, stood thus:—

Building Funds

� 61,923 5s 7d

Sustentation, &c.

� 182,055 11s 10d


� 201,373 10s 10d


� 20,974 3s 3d


� 22,893 11s 9d


� 104,556 13s 3d


� 273 4s 8d


� 594,050 1s 2d

This is a decrease of more than �27,000, accounted for by decrease in the local building funds. The congregations that had contributed �100 and upwards to the Sustentation Fund for the past ten years numbered 596, and 294 were self-sustaining. 821 ministers received the full dividend of �160, while 112 had not got a full year's dividend, and 198 were not entitled to it, their congregations not being on the Platform of the Equal Dividend. In 65 territorial and extension charges, the minister simply receives the sum contributed by his congregation; and this ranges from �22 (Cowgatehead) to �180 (Grangemouth, W.); but in this and in three other cases the excess above �160 was retained. A surplus dividend of �16 was given to ministers of congregations contributing 10s. per member, and of �8 to those giving at the rate of 7s. 6d. 130 ministers received retiring grants from the Aged and Infirm Fund, amounting in all to �8,230; and �1,838 in grants was given to mane up the incomes of 42 Pre-Disruption ministers.


justified continued connection with the State on three grounds — (1.) That the constitution was regulated by the law of patronage; (2.) That the decisions of the civil courts gave conflicting interpretations on the bearings of that Act; and (3.) That by a legislative Act (Lord Aberdeen's bill) sufficient scope was given to church courts to reject a presentee upon such grounds. This Act, however, and the regulations of the Church in connection with it, have not given the satisfaction that was expected. Both by recent votes in the General Assembly and also by individual expression, patronage has been pronounced a great evil, and efforts are being made for its abolition. As yet there seems a lack of apprehension of the great evil of the interference of the civil courts with the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church. 'The Cardross case,' which is said to have cost the Free Church �3,000, and which had no satisfactory termination, appears, on the other hand, to indicate that disestablished churches are not wholly free from such interference. The Disruption quickened those who remained. The influence throughout the country has been considerable; not only have 153 chapels been endowed and erected into parish churches quoad sacra, but progress is being made in carrying out generally the work of the Church.

At the Disruption, 289 ministers of parish churches and 162 chapel ministers went out and formed the Free Church — 451 in all. There remained 681 parish ministers and 71 chapel ministers — 725 in all. The total number of ministers at the Disruption of 1843 was 1,203; of these 970 were parish ministers. (See Turner's 'Hist. Sec. 1843.')


The 'Bill to Declare the Constitution of the Church of Scotland,' received little favour from the Church Interests Committee They declared that, 'This Church has no need on her own behalf of such a Declaration of her independence as is proposed,' whilst they regarded it with interest and sympathy as a 'proposal to remove obstacles to reunion.' The grounds of this cold treatment was alleged to be that it had been enacted as 'a fundamental and essential condition of the Treaty of Union with England that the Courts of the Church of Scotland were to possess exclusive juristdiction in all matters spiritual;' and that 'within the last forty years the civil courts of the realm have repeatedly and emphatically affirmed to the fullest extent the existence of that exclusive jurisdiction.'

The Church had, however, been aroused by the proposed Bill for its Disestablishment and Disendowment; and in the agitation called forth not only did an overwhelming majority of the people of Scotland show that they were opposed to such a proposal — e.g. 69 per cent in Midlothian, and 688,000 throughout the country, but strong desires were expressed for the reunion of the Presbyterians. Hence the committee were directed to instruct the people 'in the sacred importance of maintaining the national testimony to the Christian religion in an Established Church.' Following out that instruction, they said to the people, — 'Make of your Church all you would wish it to be. Reform and improve it. Remove any barrier that may still prevent other Presbyterians from uniting with it on the widest possible basis. Reorganise it; but do not overturn it. It will be a dark day for Scotland, and the old religion of Scotland, if you yield to the clamour of English secularism and sectarian rivalry.' The Assembly of 1886 resolved that 'the Church realised the obligation to do all in its power to carry into effect the desire for unity so widely felt;' and renewed the expression of its sense of the 'evils of disunion, and the assurance of its readiness to promote union on the basis of Establishment,' and meanwhile was 'heartily willing to co-operate in good works.'

The Free Assembly replied reciprocating that desire for 'mutual recognition as Christian Churches in their work at home and abroad'. They re-expressed their sense of the great evils of division, and the obligation to labour for their removal; but made known their resolution to adhere to former declarations 'as to the propriety and necessity of Disestablishment and Disendowment.' They added if the Established Church would 'treat the points of difference as open for discussion' they were ready to enter into conference.

As instructed by the Assembly, the Church Interests Committee in November 1886 replied that the letter of the Free Church seemed 'to be an indirect negative to the invitation of the Church of Scotland. That invitation was to consider how the benefits of the existing Establishment, and of the Ancient Endowments could be extended so that other Presbyterian Churches may share them.' While 'they are unwilling to construe the reply as actually closing the door of reconciliation, they do not think it necessary to enter into argument, as such a discussion would have no common ground.' If the Free Church would consider the present state of Scotland in the light of the standards common to both Churches, the Claim of Right, and the recent Abolition of Patronage, a conference might be profitable, and Union the possible result; but no good could come from acceptance of what the Free Church actually suggests.

The Free Church Committee continued to demand a Conference 'upon the whole case,' and 'to have scope for stating and weighing the known views of both sides,' and regretted that this 'condition of conference had been declined.'

This resolution not to accept 'a proposal which would even seem to imperil the religious advantages secured to the people of Scotland by the Revolution Settlement and the Treaty of Union,' was homologated by the General Assembly of 1887. 'Recording their profound regret that no ground appears to be left upon which they can continue correspondence, they instructed their committee to watch for any opportunity of kindly co-operation and intercourse with the Free Church and other Scottish Churches;' and also 'to prevent any action which might tend to widen the differences which unhappily separate these from the National Church.' Expression was also given to the belief 'that the honest efforts of the Church of Scotland in the direction of peace and conciliation have gained for her the sympathy and respect of many of the descendants of those who, at different times in her chequered history, have felt bound to separate themselves from her membership, but not from her doctrine or system of government.'

The ADMISSION OF MINISTERS of other Churches since the repeal of Patronage in 1874, has been simplified, and it is proposed to enact 'that it shall be competent for the congregation of a vacant parish to elect and appoint and call an ordained minister of a congregation of any other Presbyterian Church within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, adhering to the doctrine, government, and discipline of this Church.'

The Church of Scotland receives only �20,000 a year of direct grants from the State. Patronage, the root evil from which many of the divisions from the Church sprang, was abolished by the 'Church Patronage Act, 1874,' and 'Regulations, framed and enacted by the General Assembly, to be observed in the Election and Appointment of Ministers,' have since then been observed apparently with excellent results. At a meeting of the vacant congregation a committee of their own number is appointed to nominate one or more with a view to the election of a minister; and other directions are as careful in securing to the members their right of election. This is held to be a benefit brought about by the Free Church movement, in addition to its vast Church extension and evangelisation.


36 missions are supplied by preachers and students, and maintained by the Royal Bounty of �200 per annum.


from 1847 to 1887 number 356. In 1886 the numbers were 351 with 160,253 members, and contributing �138,118, 16s. 6d.; and of 260 chapels and stations, 122 are recommended to be endowed. The committee were instructed by the Assembly of 1887 to endeavour to secure a minimum stipend of �160. The report says, 'At the beginning of the period we find the Church of Scotland bent and broken — all but dead — from the disaster of 1843; and in the midst of a dispirited remnant, Dr. Robertson was found urging a proposal from which even Dr. Chalmers had turned away. He proposed that necessary endowments, which it was impossible to obtain from the State, should be found by Christian liberality; and in the end the Church rose to the undertaking, as it has seldom risen to any other enterprise, giving not only evidence of growing strength, courage, strong faith, and confidence in the 'Christian spirit of her members'.


led to the duty of supplementing the income of ministers up to �200 per annum — one third of these being quoad sacra parishes, and these received a large proportion. In 1886, the parishes dealt with were 313, which received �8,441; but there are still 226 livings with less than �200, and complaint is made that many regular parishes do not contribute to this object.


are incomplete, as several Presbyteries and parishes sent no report 1,414 churches and chapel, 535 stations, 1,480 ministers, 8,062 elders, 571,029 members — 15 parishes no elders. The increase of population is 1.12 per cent of average for five years. The increase of membership for the year is 1.18. Adherents estimated at half the population. �343,595, 14s. ld. was contributed for religious and benevolent objects. Seat rents in upwards of 400 churches and chapels �33,616, 13s. 8d. — �407,2l2, 7s. 9d. This report is exclusive of grants from the Ferguson Bequest, Baird Trust, or revenue arising from invested capital. �20,000 per annum is received in direct grants from the State.


Foreign Missions

� 34,281 7s 9d

Home "

� 22,176 17s 1d

Colonial "

� 4,176 13s 8d

Jews "

� 7,160 16s 6d

Smyrna Medical Mission

� 1,204 5s 3d


� 49,232 12s 8d

Small Livings

� 9,501 12s 11d

Foreign Churches

� 947 2s 2d

Aged and Infirm

�23,215 10s 0d

Highlands and Islands

� 2,045 3s 0d

'Royal Bounty,' forty-four agents

� 2,015 19s10d


� 2,245 12s 2d

'Life and Work'

� 782 0s 2d

Compensation to Patrons

� 1,511 0s 8d

Finances, Psalmody, &c.

� 1,917 11s 8d


�162,904 5s 6d

In respect to questions as to church property, presbyteries, in the eye of the civil law, are regarded as civil courts. The General Assembly, being representative, consists of 365 members, 200 ministers and 89 elders, elected by presbyteries, 67 elders by royal burghs, 5 ministers and elders by the universities, and 2 by the Church in India. The Sovereign is represented in every Assembly by a Lord High Commissioner. Although possessed of the highest executive authority, the Assembly (as also that of the Free Church) is restricted, and a check put upon hasty legislation, by the Barrier Act. This provides, that every act effecting a great change in government or discipline, must be sent down as an overture to presbyteries, and be sanctioned by a majority of these ere it can become binding. The concurrence of a majority of members in a quoad sacra church, and the securing of a competent endowment, is all that is necessary to secure the rights and privileges of a regular parish. 'The very first declaration which the Sovereign makes, taking precedence of the recognition of the rights and liberties of the English Church and nation, which are postponed until the day of the coronation, is that in which, on the day of the accession, the Sovereign declares that he or she will maintain inviolate and intact the Church of Scotland. In the Act of Union itself, which prescribes this declaration, the same securities are throughout exacted for the Church of Scotland as were exacted for the Church of England. No Scotchman, no Englishman, can see the meeting of the General Assembly in Edinburgh without feeling that it is the chief national institution of the country. No other ecclesiastical assembly in these realms meets with such a solemn and distinct recognition, with such "pomp and circumstance" of royalty, with such well-ordered and well-understood tradition of rights and privileges.'


was originated in 1884 in Edinburgh through the zealous efforts of Dr. Robert Young, the Rev. Thomas Downie, the late Rev. William Graham, and others. This was on the conviction that the three Presbyterian Churches should no longer remain apart and that the difficulties in the way are not insuperable. A Committee, consisting of seven representatives from each of the three Presbyterian Churches, was appointed to consider whether some solution of the question cannot be found — the Rev. Dr. Allison, Convener. On the 28th May 1885 this Committee agreed unanimously to the following resolutions: — (1.) 'That they recognise with gratitude to God the substantial unity of the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland,' in doctrine, polity, and worship; and they record their sense of the responsibility laid upon them by this fact, and the hopes of reunion which they are thereby encouraged to cherish. (2.) That civil government is an ordinance of God, for His own glory and the public good: that to the Lord Jesus Christ is given all power in heaven and on earth; and that all men, in their several places and relations and therefore civil magistrates in theirs, are under obligation to submit themselves to Christ, and to regulate their conduct by His Word: that it is the duty of the civil magistrate to embrace and profess the religion of Christ; and like other Christians in their places and relations, he ought, acting in his public capacity to further the interests of Christianity among all his subjects, in every way consistent with its spirit and enactments: and that he ought to be ruled by it in the making of laws, administration of justice, swearing of oaths, and in other civil jurisdiction.' The resolution on which the Committee disagreed was as follows: — (3.) 'That in any plan for the union of the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, the endowments of the Church of Scotland be conserved as the patrimony of the people for religious uses;' the last three words, 'for religious uses,' being objected to.

The report of the Committee, and generally adopted by the Association, was given in on the 10th June 1885 by Mr. Taylor Innes, which stated 'that in view of the attitude of the several Churches at present to disestablishment and disendowment, as shown in the resolutions of their supreme courts, and in view of opinion expressed by members of these Churches, there does not appear to this Committee to be sufficient ground in the meantime to proceed farther with their meetings, there being no reasonable probability as yet apparent of effecting a union between the Churches in the present state of ecclesiastical relations in Scotland. They, however, express the hope that the members of Churches, substantially at one in doctrine, government, and worship, will maintain their conscientious convictions on the points of difference, not only with careful regard to the claims of Christian brotherhood, but in the spirit of those so closely allied in faith and ecclesiastical constitution. In bringing these friendly conferences meanwhile to a close, the Committee continue to be of opinion that a better understanding between the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland is most necessary, and they further cherish the hope and desire that a way may be opened for entering into consideration of the subject of union in more favourable circumstances.'

At subsequent meetings for conference the Association expressed the widespread desire to encourage brotherly feeling and co-operation with prayer for union among the Presbyterian Churches, and to secure lectures in view of the question — How can Union of the Churches be attained without the compromise of their distinctive principles?

Thus there is ground for hope that if the desire for a comprehensive union be encouraged by prayerful enlightenment — continuous co-operation — that desire will be gratified in God's own good time and way.

The true solution appears to be in the plan of the late Rev. Dr. Begg: — 'So far as Scotland is concerned, the far more desirable object would be not only to arrange, if possible, a union of all Presbyterians on the old basis of the Reformation, but to secure the appropriation for this purpose of all existing ecclesiastical means and revenues, whether held directly under the authority of the State or otherwise, including also the appropriation of all the unexhausted teinds, amounting to about �150,000 a year, and also embracing all the free-will offerings of the people. This would be a restoration of the grand system for which Knox, Melville, Henderson, and Chalmers pleaded. Every shilling of this should be devoted to the service of a united and extended Church. This would be a union worth speaking of and contending for. This would make it possible to redivide all the parishes of Scotland which require division, to support ministers and teachers as they ought to be supported, and to make an effectual inroad upon the heathenism of our large cities and mining districts.'


arose in Scotland from the exertions of Robert and James Haldane near the close of last century. These retired naval officers were aroused to concern for the masses unreached by any Church. They were joined by two Established Church ministers, Messrs. G. Ewing and W. Innes, and Mr. Ralph Wardlaw, a Burgher. Not only did the Establishment warn the people against this 'set of men' threatening discord; the Antiburghers excommunicated some who simply dared to hear them preach.

The BAPTIST UNION in Scotland consists of 85 churches, and 5 others applying for admission, upwards of 100 preaching stations, a membership of 10,380 with 76 S. schools, and an income of �2,449.

In 1813, the Congregational Union was formed for annual consultation. Whilst disclaiming any power over congregations, this Union professes to be able to separate any from connection who swerve from its standard of orthodoxy. There are 97 congregations and a hall with 2 professors. (See Dr. Alexander's 'Life of Wardlaw.')

Another Independent community, called Morrisonianism, or the Evangelical Union, arose from the deposition of the Rev. James Morrison by the United Secession Synod in 1841, Dr. Brown alone dissenting. The libel was for unsound teaching on the doctrine of the Atonement. Dr. Brown was put on his defence for similar teaching in 1845, and acquitted by a majority. The Evangelical Union Church was formed in 1843. It numbers 92 congregations but not confined to Scotland, a divinity hall, and 4 professors. This 'religious body — with something of a Pelagian tinge, and also of Evangelical colouring — holds the usual doctrines of Arminianism' ('Life of Brown,' p. 226). It has, however, a doctrinal declaration or confession; and some of the ministers hold Presbyterian views. There are also 33 Wesleyan, 6 Primitive Methodist, 190 Roman Catholic, and 7 Unitarian chapels or congregations in Scotland.


Its first Episcopate was that of the Titular or 'Tulchan' Bishops, which is declared by their historians to be 'a miserable and contemptible system,' and that 'it is surprising that the Titulars could have considered themselves true Bishops in any sense' — 'a phantom Episcopate' ('Epis. Ch. of Scotland,' by J. P Lawson, M.P., I. ch. iv.). Its beginning is consequently ascribed (1) to the Acts of James (I. of England), who assumed 'supremacy over all Estates, persons and causes,' and declared 'the restitution of the Estate of Bishops' to be the National Establishment (1506); and (2) 'to that event which imparted to the Church its Episcopal Constitution, viz, the consecration of Spottiswoode, Lamb, and Hamilton,' in London, 1611. To an uncomfortable question as to whether true Episcopal ordination had been conferred, seeing they had not previously been ordained as Presbyters by a Bishop — it was replied that ' where Bishops could not be had, the ordination given by the presbyters must be esteemed lawful, otherwise it might be doubted if there were any lawful vocation in most of the Reformed Churches ' (Dr. Bancroft, ibid. p. 316). Arising out of the operations of the 'Court of High Commission,' the enforced introduction of Canons and a Liturgy, and the National Covenant — this Episcopate was overthrown in 1638; consequently a second Anglican consecration took place in London in 1661, the presentation charter of Charles II. stating that ' by these presents we do quake, create, and appoint Master James Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrews.' Another presentation appointed Mr. Andrew Fairfoul, Archbishop of Glasgow; Mr. Robert Leighton to Dunblane; and Mr. James Hamilton to Galloway. It is confessed that attempts to trace the succession of the Episcopate from 1662 to 1688 have failed. Then, the Revolution set aside the Episcopal Church; and again 'the Bishops had enough to do to keep up a pure Episcopal succession.' Canons for this end were, however, sanctioned in 1743, revised in a General Synod in 1811 and 1828, and these were amended in 1838. These declare that 'the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are of Divine institution;' that those ordained shall subscribe the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England; but that 'none but clergymen canonically ordained are to be permitted to officiate,' and that 'the Scotch Communion Office is of primary Authority.' In contrast with the Established, Endowed, and Incorporated Church in England, the Scottish Episcopal 'is only tolerated by the State; and as to all matters of spiritual concern, derives no support from the civil government' (Lawson, vol. ii ).

In 1812, the Prayer-Book was introduced, and Episcopalians obtained leave to marry, baptize, and meet for worship. Popular fury was expended upon their places of worship, because, in 1745, they generally joined in the Rebellion. In 1792, these descendants of the non-jurors were freed from civil disabilities. Many of the gentry and nobility adhered to this Church. In 1842, great discontent was excited by changes in the communion service, bringing the Church nearer to Popery. Congregations sprang up disowning the authority of the Scottish Primus and his college of bishops. The Rev. Sir William Dunbar, being excommunicated, raised an action and obtained damages in a civil court. The Rev. D. T. E. Drummond, Edinburgh, also stood out. In 1868, the Scottish Episcopal Church was taken into fellowship with the Established Church of England; but in 1869, the laity were disappointed, being refused to sit by representatives in the Diocesan and General Synods. A legacy of �200,000 provided for the erection and endowment of a cathedral named St. Mary's in Edinburgh. This Church is divided into 7 dioceses, and 299 chapels, missions, and private chaplaincies, with a college in Perthshire, and another in Cumbray; 255 clergy, and claims 76,939 of the population. Recently the ten English Episcopal chapels were united to the Scottish Episcopal Church, under the supervision of Bishop Beckles.