Page images
PDF
EPUB

years and a-half, or till April, 1418, the anti-Pope having by that time abdicated, and been succeeded by Cardinal Colonna as Martin V. In the course of various sessions held during 1415, John Huss and Jerome of Prague were condemned to the stake, and suffered death for teaching the new doctrines, sometimes called after Wickliff, but more commonly known as “Lollard.” Forty-five articles said to have been extracted from the writings of Wickliff were condemned as heretical and erroneous, while the Reformer's dust, which for over 30 years had been lying within the quiet churchyard of Lutterworth, was with senseless malignity, ordered to be separated from the "faithful,” if possible, and cast upon a dunghill. Thirteen years later this sentence was executed by the Bishop of Lincoln, as demanded by Pope Martin. Instead, however, of being thrown on a dunghill, the disinterred bones were burned, and the ashes thrown into a neighbouring brook called the Swift, which, wrote Fuller in his quaint way, “conveyed them into the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, the Severn into the narrow seas, and they to the main ocean; and thus the ashes of Wickliff are the emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed all over the world.” The rage of the Council also fell heavily on such disciples as its far-reaching power could grasp. Some, it would appear, submitted; some fled; some sealed their faith with their blood; some received the wages of apostasy. Sawtrey was burnt; Repingdon died a cardinal (“Qr. Rev.," vol. 104, p. 148). The flame which Wickliff lighted is admitted by his enemies never to have been quite trampled out even by the iron heel of persecution. But to those who have examined the position most carefully, it seems that the flame kindled by Wickliff, which burnt so brightly, was nearly all but extinguished, because neither England nor Scotland, for a century and a-half following his death, were so well prepared as in his own time for shaking off the most corrupt form of the most corrupt church ever known to exist. So utterly had the new doctrines been trampled down, that in 1451, when Cade put himself at the head of a revolutionary population, not one of the demands made touched upon religious reform.

Among the disciples who fled northward, and sought to propagate the new doctrines, the two best known are John Reseby, and Paul Crawar, a Bohemian,

both executed for holding Lollard principles—the first at Perth, 1407, the other at St. Andrew's, where he had taken up his residence, 1433. The opening sentence of Knox's “History of the Reformation” is to the effect that in one Record, vaguely described, in some now unknown Register, as the “Scrollis of Glasgu,” mention is made of one “whais name is not expressed, that in the year of God, 1422, was burnt for heresye; bot what war his opinions, or by what ordour he was condempned, it appearis not evidentile.” Historians have frequently fixed upon Reseby as the name intended to be “expressed,” but the dates vary so widely that it is safer to conclude reference is made to some other poor Lollard, nameless, no doubt, but doubtless also, like so many of his brethren, zealous and venturesome.

Where or when the term “Lollard" came to be first applied to those who held the new doctrines, or even how the word itself came to be so applied, are points far from clear. Antwerp would seem to have been the early home of the sect, and the word may be taken from Low-German “lollen," as expressive of a lullaby or chanting of prayers. It has, however, affinities with the English “loll” and “lollers,” equivalent to loungers or idle vagrants. In this sense “Lollard ” might be used by orthodox Churchmen as a term of reproach towards the followers of Wickliff. From such terms in the language of scorn it is known we have “Puritan,” “ Quaker,” and even “ Christian” itself, the disciples being first so called in derision by the nimble-witted citizens of Antioch. But how originated or when first applied need not occupy more space. By the early part of the fifteenth century the name had come to express in Scotland a well-defined set of religious principles hostile to the Church as it existed, and also to the priests who ministered at her altars. Wyntoun, in his “Metrical Chronicle,” composed about 1420, writes of Robert, Duke of Albany, appointed fifteen years earlier Governor of Scotland, as “a constant Catholike, all Lorrard he hatyt, and Hereticke." The execution of Reseby at Perth during his exercise of power, shows that the compliment such as the worthy Prior of Lochleven intended was not ill merited. The prevalence of Lollard opinions is still more evident from the terms of an oath framed for the newly-founded University of St. Andrews in June, 1416, requiring

that all who commenced Masters of Arts should swear, among other things, that they would resist all adherents of the sect of Lollards. Again, in 1424, and suggestively enough in Perth, the city of Reseby's martyrdom, a Parliament James I. passed an Act “Anentis Heretikis and Lollardis,” providing that “Ilk Bischop sall ger inquyr be the Inquiscione of Heresy, quhar ony sik beis fundyne, and that thai be punnyst as lawe of Haly Kirk requiris ;" and, finally, that secular power be called in for helping of the Kirk.

It is under the conditions provided for in this Act of Parliament that we are brought face to face with the Lollards of Kyle. In 1494, the sixth year of the reign of James IV., when Luther was a lad at Mansfeldt School, and 23 years before he had nailed his famous challenge thesis to the church door of Wittenberg, information was conveyed to Robert Blackadder, Archbishop of Glasgow, that about 30 people within his jurisdiction, most of them in Kyle, but a few in Cunningham, were infected with the Lollard leprosy, introduced into that quiet pastoral district, it was unknown by whom, but spreading with alarming haste. Blackadder, of the house of Tulliallan, who had been Prebendary of Cardross and Bishop of Aberdeen before his elevation to the see of Glasgow, was much engaged in his day in missions to the Papal Court, and must have known well all about the rise and progress of Lollardism in his native country as well as on the Continent. The daring heretics were instantly summoned to answer for their offence at a Council, held in presence of the King. Among those who answered to the charge

George Campbell of Cessnock, Adam Reid of Barskimming-of “Blaspheming," Vautroullier transcribes in his very defective edition of Knox's “History")- John Campbell of Newmilns, Andrew Shaw of Polkemmit, the Lady Polkellie, related to Cessnock, and Marion (or Isabella) Chalmers, Lady Stair, from whom descended Lord-President Stair.

The charges made before the Council against these early Worthies of Kyle amounted to 34 in number. Briefly stated, they were accused of believing that neither images nor the relics of saints were to be worshipped; that the “power of the keys” ended with the Apostle Peter himself; that tithes ought not to be paid ;

were

that

every faithful believer was a priest ; that the Pope was not the successor of St. Peter, and deceived the people by bulls and indulgences; that the blessing of a Bishop was of no value ; that excommunication was not to be feared ; that priests might marry ; that prayer ought not to be offered up to the Virgin; and, worse still, for it lay at the core of all heretical teaching, that the pretended sacrifice of the mass was idolatry. “ Adam Reid (said the Bishop) believe ye that God is in heaven ?” Reid answered—“Not as I do the Sacraments seven ;" "whairat the Bischop (we now follow Knox), thinking to have triumphed, said — Sir, so he denys that God is in heaven ;' whairat the King, wondering, said, “ Adam Reid, what say ye?' The other answered— Please your Grace to heir the end betwixt the churle and me.' And thairwith he turned to the Bishope and said, 'I nether think nor beleve, as thou thinkis, that God is in heavin ; but I am most assured that he is not only in heavin, bot also in the earth. Bott thou and thy factioun declayre by your workis, that eyther ye think thair is no God at all, or ellis that he is so shut up in the heavin, that he regardis not what is done into the earth ; for yf thou formerlie believed that God war in the heavin, thou should not mack thy self check-mate to the King, and altogether forgett the charge that Jesus Christ the Sone of God gave to his Apostles, which was to preach his Evangell, and not to play the proud prelatts, as all the rabill of yow do this day. And now, sir (said he to the King), judge ye whither the Bischop or I believe best that God is in heavin.' Whill the Bischope and his band could not weill revenge thame selfis, and whill many tantis war gevin thame in thair teith, the King, willing to puttane end to farther reasonying, spoke to the said Adam Reid, “Will thou burne thy bill ?' (a sign of recantation). He answered—Sir, the Bischope and ye will.' With these and the lyik scoffis the Bischop and his band war so dashed out of countenance that the greatest part of the accusatioun was turned to lawchter.” Bishop Blackadder, it may be mentioned, who is described by Lesly as “ane noble, wyse, and godlie man,” died in the summer of 1508, soon after he had set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,

No more prosecutions for belief are heard of till the youthful Patrick Hamilton acquired the undying distinction of being the first Scottish martyr for Reformation principles by suffering at the stake in front of the College of St. Salvador, St. Andrews. Ayr, however, was not much later in furnishing a confessor “faithful unto the death” in the person of young Kennedy—he was only eighteenwho in 1539 was burnt in Glasgow at the instance of Bishop Gavin Dunbar, and certain assistants, whom Knox described as “beasties,” sent west by Cardinal Beaton. Young Kennedy, whose Christian name is conjectured to have been Thomas, suffered along with Jerome Russell, a learned and pious Cordelliere Friar. They both met death with great heroism, each inciting the other to endurance at the stake here for the life of blessedness to come—“Playing the man,” as honest Hugh Latimer expressed it to his fellow-sufferer, “Master” Ridley, and, too, like these later martyrs for the same principles, “lighting a candle in Scotland which should never be put out.” “I am ready to die (said Kennedy), and free from the fear wherewith I was once oppressed."

[ocr errors]

THE EARL OF EGLINTON SHOT BY A POACHER.

In the prime of life, high in official station, popular wherever he was known, and
esteemed by his tenantry, as most of the house of Montgomery have ever been,
few deaths could have been more unlooked for, and none less likely to be the result
of violence, than Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton. In the fatal altercation with
his assassin on the shore at Ardrossan, it almost seemed as if humane confidence
led him for a moment to forget the cautious motto of his house—“ Gardez Bien”-
“ Take good care." His father was that Alexander, ninth Earl, less known probably
for his exertions in favour of the Hanoverian succession during Mar's Rebellion in
1715, or en for having cleared the estate of encumbrances and added to its
extent, than for having as third Countess the amiable Susannah Kennedy of

« PreviousContinue »