« PreviousContinue »
the bloody extinction by the sword, not only of the prelates themselves, but of men of all ranks and conditions who were loyal to their sovereign, and faithful to God's holy church.
During their session, the Assembly issued “a solemn and seasonable warning” to all ranks of the people, as well as to the army, in which they make great protestations of their loyalty to the king; but the following clauses will shew the hypocrisy and utter worthlessness of such pretensions. The successes of the king and of Montrose alarmed them, and they considered theni as rods of affliction; and so they say," that which the rod pointed at is not any guilt of rebellion or disloyalty in us, as the sons of Belial do slander and belie the solemn league and covenant of the three kingdoms, which we are so far from repenting of, that we cannot remember or mention it without great joy and thankfulness to God as that which hath drawn many blessings after it. ... The danger (of our cause] is not less, but greater than before, and that from two sorts of enemies :- first, from open enemies; we mean those of the popish, prelatical, and malignant faction, who have displayed a banner against the Lord, and against his Christ, in all the three kingdoms, being set on fire of hell, and by the special inspiration of Satan, who is full of fury because he knows he hath but a short time to reign. The cockatrice, before hatched, is now broken forth into a viper. . . unless men will blot out of their hearts the love of religion and the cause of God, and cast off all care of their country, laws, liberties, and estates, yea, all affection to the preservation of themselves, their wives, children, and friends, and whatsvever is dearest to them under the sun, (all these being in danger of a present ruin and destruction,) they must now or never appear actively, each one stretching himself to, yea beyond his power. It is no time to dally, nor to go about the business by halves, nor by almost, but altogether zealous. Cursed be he who doeth the work of the Lord negligently, or dealeth falsely in the covepant of God! ... Whoever he be that will not, according to public order and appointment, adventure his person, or send out those that are under his power, or pay the contributions imposed for the maintenance of the forces, must be taken for an enemy, a malignant, and a covenant-breaker, and so involved both into the displeasure of God and the censures of the kirk, and, no doubt, into civil punishments also, to be inflicted by the state 1."
On the 13th of February they made an act for “censuring
1 Johnston's Collections, 271.284.
the observers of Yule-day [Christmas-day], and other superstitious days, especially if they be scholars ;” in which it is ordained, “ that whatsoever persons hereafter shall be found guilty of keeping the aforesaid superstitious days shall be proceeded against by kirk censures, and shall make public repentance thereof in the face of the congregation where the offence was committed ... and because scholars and students give great scandal and offence in this, that they be severely disciplined aird chastised therefor by their masters ;” and the teachers were subjected to severe penalties and dismissal if they should encourage such superstition. A fast was ordained on Easterday, at Aberdeen, and the houses searched by the lay-elders to see that no meat was cooked 1.
THE ASSEMBLY renewed the commission, in which Argyle's name is the first among the lay-elders, and “gave them full power and coidmission to do all and every thing for prosecuting, advancing, perfecting, and bringing the said work of uniformity in religion, in all his majesty's dominions, to a happy conclusion.” The answer to the letter of the Westminster Assembly contains nothing but the usual cant about that uniformity which they were so forward in forcing upon the realm of England. Considering the delusion under which the minds of the godly ministers then laboured, and the hypocrisy which actuated all their councils and actions, it is not surprising to find the Assembly addressing a “humble remonstrance" to the king, in which, at the very moment when the ministers were reading proclamations from their pulpits ordaining a conscription of the eighth man to serve in the war against him, they protested their “ loyalty and faithful submission,” and that it was “ far from their intentions to diminish his majesty's power and greatness.” In the following passage their insolence was equal to their impudence:-“ We make bold to warn your majesty, that the guilt which cleaveth fast to your majesty, and to your throne, is such as (......) if not timely repented, cannot but involve yourself and your posterity under the wrath of the ever-living God; for your being guilty of the shedding of the blood of many thousands of your majesty's best subjects; for your permitting the mass, and other idolatry, both in your own family, and in your dominions. . . . For all which it is high time for your majesty to fall down .... to make your peace with God ....and to be no longer unwilling that the Son of God reign over you and your kingdoms, in his pure ordinances of church government and worship 2.” This was cer.
1 Johnston's Collections, 285.-Spalding, ii. 311.
• Ibid. 293.
tainly a piece of as modest assurance as could have been put forward; and which meant, in other words, to submit to the sovereignty of the General Assembly, and their commission which they called the reign of king Jesus.
On the 4th of February, the moderator of the Assembly and six ministers appeared at the bar of the parliament, and presented the Directory for worship, and which was ratified at once; and, on the 10th, the Assembly presented a remonstrance to the house respecting the execution of justice on deJinquents and malignants; and a general fast to be kept through the kingdom for a speedy course to be taken against the rebels, that is, the king's loyal subjects. The warning above named was presented by the Assembly, but, as it was first cast, there were so many harsh expressions in it that it was remitted back for revisal ; when thus amended, it was ratified and printed.
On the 25th February the house declared the loyal earl of Carnwath guilty of treason, and ordained him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, for his loyalty and fidelity to his sovereign; and further they added, “whosoever shall kill him, declares him to have done good service to his country!1” We know of no British king or lawful parliament who ever made such an unchristian ordinance; yet these men made the most deafening clamour against Charles's tyranny, and the neverceasing protestations of their own devotion to civil and religious liberty. During the sitting of this session of parliament the earl of Lauderdale, the president, died, and the earl of Crawford-Lindsay was chosen in his place. Parliament also ordained, that the lands and hereditaments of the royalists should be sold at ten years' purchase, and engaged the public faith to guarantee the purchasers, and for their personal protection. Yet all this injustice and oppression were done in the name of the king, and on his most faithful and devoted friends! The earls of Montrose, Huntly, Carnwath, and Traquair, were forfeited, and a commission appointed to collect the rents of their estates. The earl of Crawford, with generals Ruthven and King, three of the king's most loyal supporters, without any citation, were forfeited at the cross, and the loyal earl of Crawford's title was bestowed on the rebel earl of Lindsay, who was also made lord high-treasurer 2. “These,” says Mr. Skinner, “ were bold encroachments on the royal prerogatives of the crown, as well as impolitic strokes of wanton cruelty while the event of the contention was uncertain. But they were encou
Balfour's Annals, iji. pp. 267, 269, 273, 283. ? Stevenson's Church and State, 529-30.
the sins of the people, God had sent a lying spirit into the mouths of the prophets.' Blair was touched to the quick with this severe but just reproach, and fell into such a passion that he could not refrain from throwing out the most scandalous and contumelious reflections not only against sir Robert's father, who had been long dead, but against himself who was just about to die; thereby approving himself a worthy preacher of christian patience and long-suffering! But sir Robert having his mind intent upon higher matters, took no notice of them, and bore them with the greatest meekness and resignation. At last, with an undaunted air, and shewing no alteration either in voice or countenance, he submitted his neck to the fatal stroke, and uttered these his last words—“Merciful Jesus! gather my soul unto thy saints and martyrs who have run before me in this race.” And certainly, seeing martyrdom may be undergone not only for the confession of our faith, but for
any virtue by which holy men manifest their faith to the world, there is no doubt but he hath received that crown.
“Such was the fatal end of this great man-highly honourable indeed to himself, but extremely lamented by all good men. He was remarkable for his deep knowledge of things both divine and human; for his skill in the Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Arabic, besides the western languages, and an intimate acquaintance with history, law, and politics. He was the honour and ornament of his country and the age
for the integrity of his life, for his fidelity, for his justice, and for his constancy. He was a man of an even temper, ever consistent with himself; so that his youth had no need to be ashamed of his childhood, nor his more advanced years of his youth. He was a strict observer of the ancient worship, and yet not a vain and superstitious professor of it before the world; a man easy to be made a friend, but very hard to be made an enemy; insomuch that after his death he was exceedingly regretted even by many of the covenanters. His lifeless body was taken care of by Hugh Scrimgeour, an old servant of his father, and buried privately ; nor did he long survive the doleful office, for, not many days after, seeing the bloody scaffold upon which sir Robert suffered not yet removed out of the place, he immediately fell into a swoon, and being carried home by his servants and neighbours, died at his own threshold 1."
Bishop Wishart's Life of Montrose, cited in the Life of sir R. Spottiswood, prefixed to his works, and by the Rev. C. J. Lyon, in Episcopal Magazine, vol. ii. for 1840, pp. 572, 573.
THE COMMISSION of the Assembly urgently pressed the parliament that more blood might be shed on the scaffold, which was refused by the peers ; but instead, the brethren were requested to suggest in what way the other malignants might be punished short of their lives. This subject was fiercely debated in the commission; at last David Dick's opinion was adopted, who recommended the parliament" to shame them and herryi them,” which means to put some public mark of ignominy on them, and that their estates, goods, and gear, should be forfeited for the public service. Accordingly the parliament appointed a great committee to sit after it rose, at Linlithgow, upon February the 25th, and referred the rest of the prisoners to it to be deeply fined 2.
On the 31st January the commission received a copy of a letter from the Westminster Assembly to the parliament, shewing their state and posture, and of their endeavours to suppress heresies and schisms, and their efforts for the establishment of presbyterial government. After it had been read, the house ordained a letter of encouragement to be written in the name of the parliament, to be signed by the president, to the assembly of divines, giving them thanks for what they have done for the settlement of presbytery and the covenant, and willing them not to faint, but to proceed cheerfully in such a good and pious work. On the 2d of February an act was passed, books of divinity be printed or reprinted concerning church affairs, without the warrant of the General Assembly, or the commissioners of the kirk, read, voted, and passed 3.” These are some of the natural fruits of the covenant, which are, perhaps, better evidences of its diabolical malignancy than all the harsh comments that its enemies can justly make on it; and it must have supremely delighted its real authors, the worshipful company of jesuits, to see how well it worked for their purposes and objects. In an epistle from a member of this diabolical society, the author congratulates his pupils on the readiness with which they had adopted and improved on their teaching: “The church of God," says he,“ hath suffered too much already in the primitive times—she hath been too long in the category of passion, crying with tears, oramus non pugnamus ; she ought now to be in the predicament of action, with pregnamus et oramus, holding (that I may use your own words) a supplication in one hand and a sword in the other! To this
66 that no
1 To herry is utterly to spoil and waste, and is used by boys when they rob a bird's nest of its eggs or young-to herry a nest—a significant expression. Guthry's Memoirs, 169.
3 Balfour's Annals, iii. 367.9.