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Oliver was called a saint, although he never suffered them to meet, but dispersed their Assemblies by military force.
The presbyterian discipline consists of a series of courts from parochial to national, kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods, and national assemblies, each of which are indispensable to the working of the system, and, as they say, to the divine institution of presbytery. But Oliver unceremoniously put an entire stop to general assemblies in the year 1653, and there never was another convocation till 1692; and during his headship over the kirk, their provincial synods and presbyteries were not allowed to meet openly; so that in this maimed and mutilated state it is doubtful whether or not presbyterianism was in existence at the Restoration. When any of these courts did meet, it was clandestinely, and in the most secret manner possible ; and then the remonstrators and resolutioners had rival synods and communions, like the popes and antipopes of Rome, and the former imitated the latter in the article of cursing and excommunicating each other, and deposing the ministers which the opposite parties inducted. By this means there was a decided and inveterate schism in the presbyterian body, which no establishment could have healed; and now that presbytery is established, the schism exists as invincibly in the middle of the nineteenth century as it did in the days of Guthrie and Gillespie. At the restoration, the kingdom was divided into three distinct and irreconcileable parties; first, the majority of the nation which lay chiefly north of the Tay, secretly attached to the episcopal church; second, the moderate presbyterians, called resolutioners, scattered over the dioceses of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, but who were not very numerous; and third, the genuine ultra presbyterians, called remonstrators, who were more numerous than the moderates, and were chiefly in possession of the dioceses of Glasgow, Galloway, and Argyle. Setting aside other and better motives, as a matter of expediency, the episcopalians being more numerous and influential than the moderate presbyterians, it was reasonable to suppose that their claims would meet with more attention than the moderates; and as for the remonstrators, it would have been an act of madness to have established them with their extirpatory covenant in their hand. So that when these things are considered, and with Charles's own personal knowledge of the three parties to guide his choice, it is not by any means surprising to find that he selected the party for establishment which had been supported by his father and grandfather, and who had evinced as much loyalty and attachment to himself as the power and oppression of the presbyterians would permit.
1660—Argyle arrested.-Proclamation against seditious meetings.—Meeting of
the estates.-Meeting of remonstrators—their address-arrested and sent to the Castle and other gaols.-Signs of reaction.-King's letter to the presbytery of Edinburgh.-A parliament summoned.-Death of the duke of Gloucester.—More signs of reaction.-Synod of Lothian's address to the king.–The public records lost at sea.-The regalia restored.—The lord commissioner's arrival--his character. - 1661.-Meeting of parliament—the riding-—first transactions.-Power of the crown restored.-Acts-declaring the covenant illegal—against jesuits-approving of the “ Engagement."-RECISSORY—for the restoration of the church-for keeping the 29th of May-for restoring patronage.--Remarks.-Remonstrators ordered to leave the capital.- Amnesty proposed.-Trial of Argyle-his indictment-execution.-Guthrie's trialcondemned, and executed.-Other remonstrators recant.--Parliament rose. The king's popularity.—Concluding remarks.
1660.-At the restoration, Argyle's conscience instinctively warned him that his head was in danger for the part he had acted in the late troubles, especially in consenting to the late king's murder. He concealed himself for some time, and applied to his son, who had worn the mask of loyalty, and had served the king, to intercede for him, which he did, but received no satisfactory answer. But his secret uneasiness induced the marquis to venture within the precincts of the court, and lord Lorn begged of the king to admit his father to his presence; instead of which he was immediately arrested and committed to the Tower, and afterwards sent down and committed close prisoner to Edinburgh Castle, on the 20th of December. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Johnston of Warriston, but some friendly hand gave him intimation of it, and he made his escape to the continent: sir James Stuart, late provost, and sir John Chiesley, were arrested. It had been resolved in council that some examples should be made, and Argyle, Warriston, and Guthrie, were selected as the most guilty in their several orders. These arrests alarmed the covenanters, and they began to hold “privy meetings,” when the committee of estates issued a proclamation prohibiting all meetings and conventicles without his majesty's special authority, and against the publication of all seditious papers. Another proclamation ordered Rutherford's “ Lex Rex,” and Guthrie's “ Causes of God's Wrath,” to be suppressed, and these books to be delivered to the solicitor-general under the pain of treason. Another proclamation was issued against leasing-making or spreading false reports betwixt the king and his people, which inferred the pains of treason; and under this head were contained all public declarations against the settlement and hierarchy of the church of England. Still there was no mention whatever made of reviving the Scottish episcopacy. Lauderdale pressed Charles on political grounds to confirm presbyterianism; and he so far succeeded with the king as to persuade him to confirm the Assemblies that met at St. Andrews and Dundee whilst he was in Scotland, and also the Public Resolutions which the moderate party and the episcopalians had entered into for his service.
On the 23d of August, the committee of estates sat down, with the chancellor Glencairn presiding, and Wodrow says, “the members were all of one kidney, and hearty in prosecuting the designs now on foot;" but the late head of the kirk had shorn it of its beams; there was now no commission to domineer over and direct the committee. However, to make up for that deficiency, “ Mr. James Guthrie having met before at Edinburgh and elsewhere with divers of his party, did tryst (concert] it so, as he and they met in Robert Simpson's house, the next door almost to the meeting of the estates, and did draw up a petition to the king, making many professions of their joy for his return, but withal reminding him of his covenant to suppress bishops and ceremonies in England, and to beware of putting the government of Scotland into the hands of malignants." And, with his usual veracity, Burnet says, “ They made terrible denunciations of heavy judgments from God on the king if he did not stand to the covenant, which they called the oath of God;" but there is not one word of these “terrible denunciations" in the document itself, which is as follows:—“.... We are bold, in the integrity of our hearts, and in the zeal of the glory of God, and of the good of his church (as before noticed there were three parties, each of which claimed to be the church, but, of course, the church in this remonstrance means the remonstrator faction), and of your majesty's honour and happiness .... humbly to represent unto your majesty the great danger that threatens religion and the work of reformation ... from the designs and endeavours of the popish, pre. latical, and malignant party therein, which is beginning again to lift up its head . .. and also to overthrow that blessed work [the covenant and its fruits), and to reintroduce prelacy, and the ceremonies and the service-book, and all these corruptions which were formerly cast out as inconsistent with the pure and spotless rule of church government and discipline ... We do with bowed knees (although they could bend their knees to gain their ends to an earthly monarch, yet they counted it superstition to fall down on their knees without any metaphor before the King of kings], and bended affections, humbly supplicate your majesty that you would employ your royal power .... to the extirpation of popery, prelacy, superstition, leresy, schism, profaneness, &c. ... and that there may be no further proceedings in these things, which grieve the Spirit of God, and give offence to your majesty's good subjects ... and that your majesty shall give your royal assent to acts and ordinances of parliament, past or to be past, enjoining the same in your other dominions (of establishing presbytery and extirpating prelacy), and that you shall observe these in your own practice and family, and shall never make opposition to any of these, or endeavour any change thereof. And we desire to be persuaded, that no length of time hath made your majesty to forget, or weakened upon your heart, the sense of the obligation of that great and solemn oath of God in the covenant, &c. ?”
They also wrote letters to Mr. P. Gillespie, and the chiefs of their party in the west, to meet them at Glasgow the following week, with so many as they could bring with them. The committee hearing of this, immediately sent some of their number to them, seized on their papers, and brought them before the council. “They were sorry, at their first sitting down, to have to do with ministers; but Mr. Guthrie's restless and proud insolence did irritate, especially when all their number ... and sundry other, did absolutely refuse to acknowledge any fault. Surely, continues Baillie, they had no warrant to meet, being no kirk judicatory, and their ill band of remonstrance could give them no privilege in a body to admonish the king how to govern England, and tax him for making malignants members of judicatories. Upon their obstinacy, all were sent to the Castle. At once Mr. Thomas Ramsay went stark mad : he was always but a weak foolish thing. Sundry of them fell sick, and were sent to their own houses, as at last all were sent to their lodgings in Edinburgh. Mr. James Guthrie was con
fined to the Tolbooth of Dundee, and Mr. Gillespie to the castle of Stirling; Mr. James Simpson to the Tolbooth (gaol] of Edinburgh; as also Mr. John Dickson, minister at Rutherglen, for many odious speeches in pulpit against the statesmen. Mr. James Naysmith, for speeches in pulpit, was confined to his chamber in Edinburgh. But above all, Mr. Rutherford was disgraced ; his book, Lex Rex?, burnt by the hand of the hangman at the cross of Edinburgh and St. Andrews; himself confined to his chamber, his stipend sequestrate, and himsel. cited before the parliament. Mr. Andrew Cant, preaching against Mr. Rutherford's hard usage, was accused before the magistrates of treason. He dimitted his ministry, and came to his son at Libberton, where both live very quietly. The commissioner used the old man very courteously, and likely will protect him from trouble 2."
The chief of the remonstrant ministers were called on to subscribe a paper renouncing the remonstrance; and, after some hesitation, and having the fears of imprisonment before their eyes, they all subscribed. “That whole party was clean run down, to the contentment of the most ; for they have been ill instruments of irreconcileable division for twelve years, both in kirk and kingdom 3." Baillie corroborates Douglas's former assertion of the reaction in public opinion, respecting the episcopal order. “Our state is very averse to hear of our league and covenant. Many of our people are hankering after bishops, having forgot the evil they have done, and the nature of their office. An exceeding great profanity and contempt, both of the ministry and religion itself, is every where prevalent: a young fry of ministers in Lothian and Fife, and elsewhere, look as if they intended some change, without any fear or reverence to the elder ministers, who lately put them in their places 4." Here are two of the most respectable of the presbyterians acknowledging, although with regret, that the people of their own accord were anxiously desirous of slipping their necks out of the intolerable tyranny of the “ godly discipline,” and of having the episcopal regimen restored to them, and consequently the presbyterian assertion, that presbytery was the national choice, is altogether without foundation. Douglas asserted that “the generality of the new upstart generation had no love for presbyterial goverument,” nay, more, that they had a “heart hatred”
1 As one of the signs of the times, we regret to see this infamous book has ecently been republished.
Baillie's Letters, iii, 446-7.-Burnet's Own Times, i. 205. 3 Baillie's Letters, iii. 448.
4 Ibid. iii. 448, VOL. II.