Page images
PDF
EPUB

that synod " for using so long that great treasure of rational devotion (I mean our Liturgy) in his church at Cambusnethan 1.” Andrew Fairfoul, priest, was the son of a respectable burgess of Anstruther; of whom the prejudiced Wodrow says, “ he was a man of some learning and neat expression 2." He had been ordained priest, most probably by archbishop Spottiswood, on a title as chaplain to the earl of Rothes; he was next presented to the living of North Leith, and at the time when Charles was in Scotland he was parish priest of Dunse, and had several times the honour of preaching before his majesty, and so much to his majesty's satisfaction, that after the Restoration he nominated him, of his own free choice, to the see of Glasgow. Wodrow's account of these men is very bad indeed; but his object is not only transparent throughout his work, but the editor has confessed what were his views, by publishing the advice of a Mr. Redpath in a memoir of Wodrow's life :-“ That what is merely circumstantial might be left out, except where it is necessary for illustrating the matter, or of AGGRAVATING the crimes of our enemies 3." At no time does he ever lose sight of this advice, and never admits a good quality without a qualification, in those whom he calls their enemies. Burnet also assists in heaping obloquy upon them in his selfsufficient gossiping way; for he bears false witness against them all. Robert Leighton, a lay-minister, was the son of that Dr. Leighton, who, in the beginning of the troubles which led to the late rebellion, wrote “ Zion's Plea against the Prelates," which he dedicated to the parliament, in which he incited the members to smite the prelates under the fifth rib; and advised the Commons, in case the king should dissolve them, not to quit the state vessel; that is, to sit in defiance of the crown. Even Burnet admits that “ he was a man of a violent and ungoverned heat. He sent his son Robert to be bred in Scotland, who was accounted a saint from his youth up. ... He soon came to see into the follies of the presbyterians, and to dislike their covenant, particularly the imposing it, and their fury against all who differed from them. He found they were not capable of large thoughts: theirs were narrow as their tempers were sour: so he grew weary of mixing with them. He scarce ever went to their meetings, and lived in great retirement, minding only the care of his own parish at Newbottle, near Edinburgh. Yet all the opposition that he made to them, was, that he preached up a more exact rule of life than seemed to them consistent with human nature : but his own practice did outshine his doctrine. In the year 1648 he declared himself for the engagement of the king.... He entered into a great correspondence with many of the episcopal party, and with my own father in particular, and did wholly separate himself from the presbyterians. At last he left them, and withdrew from his cure, for he could not do the things imposed on him any longer. ... The mastership of the College of Edinburgh falling vacant some time after, and it being in the gift of the city, he was prevailed with to accept of it,' because it was wholly separated from all church matters. He continued ten years in that post, and was a great blessing in it; for he talked so to all the youth of any capacity or distinction, that it had great effect on many of them. ... Thus he had lived above twenty years in Scotland in the highest reputation that any man in my time ever had in that kingdom 2.” Burnet gives Leighton a most wonderful reputation, but it must be received with many grains of allowance; for altogether he has made him a most inconsistent character. It is not improbable that Burnet has put many of his own sentiments into the bishop's mouth; for so good and mortified a man as he represents him to have been, would never have been so dissatisfied with the conduct of his superiors as to amount almost to sedition. His avowed contempt of his col. leagues bore the appearance of envy, and was inconsistent with that humility and self-abasement so absolutely essential to the saintly character which Burnet gives him, but which must have proceeded from spiritual pride. That is, provided we can believe Burnet in either case--for his praise is as little worthy of belief as his censure,- of whom it has been said, “ he happens to stand so ill in the opinion of the world, as to be ranked with one sort of men, who are never believed, even when they speak the truth 3.”

1 Account of the Family of Broomhill, p. 56. ? History, i, 236.

3 Page 8.

THE BISHOPS elect were summoned to London by the following circular letter :

“ CHARLES R. “TRUSTY and well-beloved, we greet you well. Whereas, we have given order to our council to intimate our pleasure concerning the settlement of the church by bishops, as it was

1 This is not correct; Leighton was appointed by Cromwell, who was the head of the kirk, because he belonged to the party most devoted to his interest. Vide ante, ch. xxv. p. 364.

3 Burnet's Own Times, i. 242-246.

3 Historical and Critical Remarks on Bishop Burnet's History of his own Times, by Bevill Higgons, gent. 1727; pp. 93, 94.

[graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

forts tchshit fit hozhere's étekoistan sivik tomato ya lo tiene

[blocks in formation]

in the reigns of our grandfather and father of blessed memory. These are therefore to require you to repair to London with all the speed you conveniently can, where you shall receive our further pleasure. You are to obey such directions, concerning the time of your journey, as shall be given you by our chancellor and president of our council. So expecting your ready obedience, we bid you farewell.-Given at our Court, at Whitehall, the 14th day of August, 1661, and of our reign, the thirteenth year.

“By his majesty's command, LAUDERDALE."

By a commission from the king, under the great seal of England, the four Scottish bishops were consecrated, in Westminster Abbey, by Gilbert Sheldon, bishop of London ; George Morley, bishop of Worcester; Richard Sterne, bishop of Carlisle, and Hugh Lloyd, bishop of Llandaff. Neither the archbishop of Canterbury nor of York officiated on this occasion, from the same motive that induced king James to exclude their predecessors from the consecration of archbishop Spottiswood, lest the presiding of either of them at this consecration might afterwards be considered as a revival of the metropolitical claim of jurisdiction by the see of York, which had formerly caused so much contention. Upon inquiry it was discovered that Sharp and Leighton had only received presbyterian admission, but had never been ordained to any holy function; and therefore they were mere laymen, as were some of those that had admitted them. The precedent of Spottiswood's consecration was adduced against the necessity of ordination; and Burnet says, it was king James himself that then overruled bishop Andrews' objection. But the late revolt of the Scottish church, and the persecution which the Covenant had produced, had brought men's minds to a stricter sense of their duty, and a firmer determination to act up to it. The English bishops made a distinction betwixt the present and the past times, when the Scottish church was in an imperfect state ; but of late it had been in a state of revolt and schism, and had thrown off the order of bishops altogether; so that it would have been a recognition both of revolt and schism to have consecrated mere laymen in opposition to the constitution of the primitive church. The consecrators were justly peremptory in this determination, and after some little opposition, Messieurs Sharp and Leighton were privately ordained deacons and priests, and afterwards, with the others, consecrated bishops publicly in the Abbey church, Westminster. Fairfoul and Hamilton had been in priests' orders before VOL. II.

3M

« PreviousContinue »