« PreviousContinue »
of the unwilling testimony that had been given by two of the most respectable of the presbyterian party, that the people were hankering after bishops—had no love to presbytery-but were feeding themselves with the prospect of episcopacy. And it also shews that the petition of the synod of Aberdeen was founded on the well-known desires of all ranks of the people of Scotland for the restoration of the primitive discipline of the church.
THE ARCHBISHOP and the other three bishops determined to wait till the arrival of the lord commissioner, the earl of Middleton, before they should consecrate the bishops elect; and he did not arrive at Holyrood House till Wednesday, the 4th of May. The lord commissioner, and all the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, who had come to town for the purpose of attending parliament, were present, as also the lord provost and magistrates of the city in their official robes and ensigns, at the consecration, which took place in the chapel royal of Holyrood House, and as many of the citizens as the chapel could contain were admitted by ticket. The archbishop of St. Andrews was the consecrator, assisted by the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Galloway; and Mr. Nicol, who was present, says, “ they ordered that business very handsomely and decently." The following bishops were consecrated on this day, all of whom had been in priests' orders during the primacy of archbishop Spottiswood, before the grand rebellion :-George Haliburton, minister of Perth, a “ very worthy good man," who had been harassed by his brethren as a malignant, and deposed for conversing with Montrose, in the year 1644, but who had been protected by his friends, was consecrated for the see of Dunkeld. Murdock Mackenzie, who had so far forgotten his sacred office as to become a rigid covenanter during the prevalence of that madness, was consecrated to the bishoprick of Moray. He was descended from a branch of the noble family of the earl of Seaforth, and had been ordained by bishop Maxwell, of Ross. He was born in the year 1600, and went first abroad as chaplain to a regiment in the service of Gustavus Adolphus. On his return he was presented to the parish of Contin, near Dingwall, in the bishoprick of Ross: he was afterwards removed to the parish church of Inverness, and lastly to Elgin. John Paterson, one of the ministers of Aberdeen, was promoted to the see of Ross: he had been compelled, after much hesitation, to sign the covenant, “ but was still a quiet and peaceable man.” David Fletcher, parson of Melrose, in the diocese of Glasgow, was presented to the see of Argyle; he was the lord advocate's brother, and was indebted
for his promotion to the friendship of the earl of Middleton. Keith states that he was advanced in January, and leaves it to be inferred that he was consecrated at that time; but Baillie says that he refused the patent for the bishoprick of Argyle, “ the rent being naught:" that godly saint, the marquis of Argyle, hail robbed the bishoprick of its whole property, and therefore he was never consecrated. Mr. Robert Wallace, minister of Barnwell, in the county of Air and diocese of Glasgow, was consecrated for the bishoprick of the Isles : it is more than probable that the revenues of this see were also “ naught.” These four, Fletcher not being included, were consecrated in the chapel royal on the 7th of May, and the commissioner entertained them at a sumptuous dinner in the palace the same day, and at the king's expense; and it seems, the king had also liberally defrayed all the expenses of the four prelates, who were consecrated at London, during their residence there?
THERE IS some difficulty in reconciling the different accounts of the consecrations on the 7th of May. Keith, who should be an authority, is exceedingly careless in stating both the dates and the names of the consecrators, and it is only by incidental notices in other authors that the real circumstances are discovered. Keith says that Fletcher was advanced to the see of Argyle“ on the 18th of January, 1662 ; but he continued his pastoral function at Melrose till his death, which fell out anno 1665.” He does not say that he was consecrated, but only that he was advanced; Baillie asserts that he refusea his advancement, and as he still continued to act as a parish priest, we may reasonably infer from both these circumstances that he was not consecrated at all. Four other bishops were consecrated at St. Andrews on the first of June. Mr. Nicol was present at the consecration of the prelates in May at the chapel- royal, and gives the following account of it :" The archbishop of St. Andrews sat there with his episcopal cap, or four-cornered bonnet. All that was said by the bishop at the consecration was read off a book, and their prayers also were read. The first prayer was the Lord's Prayer, and some short prayer or exhortation after that; next was the belief read, and some little exhortation after it; thirdly, the ten commandments were read, and after them some few words of exhortation; much more to this purpose not necessary to be written." It appears, therefore, that the ordinary morning service of the church of England had been read, and that the “ Form of ordaining or consecrating an archbishop or bishop” had been used, with which it cannot be supposed that honest Nicol could be acquainted. In all the consecrations of the successors of these much-maligned prelates, from that day to this, and in the ordination of all deacons and priests, the same office has been used, without exception, in the Scottish branch of the catholic church. The church of England decrees, that “the book of the consecration of archbishops and bishops, and ordering of priests and deacons, doth contain all things necessary to such consecration and ordering: neither hath it any thing that of itself is superstitions and ungodly.” And therefore the church of England decrees, that “whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the rites of that book, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same rites, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered 2.” In the "Form of Church Government" attached to the “ Westminister Confession of Faith,” the validity of the consecration of the Scottish bishops is likewise fully acknowledged; for it is there said—“If a minister be designed to a congregation, who hath been formerly ordained presbyter according to the form of ordination which hath been in the church of England, which we hold for substance to be valid, and not to be disclaimed by any who hath received it; then there being a cautious proceeding in matters of examination, let him be admitted without any new ordination 3.” In these two citations, one from the Thirty-nine Articles, and the other from the "Form of Church Government, &c." there is a concurrent testimony for the validity of the orders of the bishops of the church of Scotland, who have always been consecrated, and the priests and deacons have also been ordained since that time, by the formularies of the church of England. From these consecrations, the present Fathers of the catholic church of Scotland have descended in a regular unbroken succession: and may that succession continue unbroken by either rebellion or schism, till Christ, the great shepherd and bishop of souls, shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father!
1 Keith's Catalogue of Scottish bishops, passim.-Perceval's Apology for the Doctrine of the Apostolical Succession.-Wodrow's History.-Nicol's Diary. Baillie's Letters.--Skinner's Ecclesiastical History.—Burnet's Own Times.
THE PRESBYTERIAN authors, Kirkton and Wodrow, assisted by bishop Burnet, exhaust their ingenuity in heaping calumny
· Diary, 366. ? Thirty-nine Articles, Art. xxxvi.
Form, &c. attached to West. Conf. Faith, p. 591.
upon the Scottish bishops after they had been appointed to their bishoprics; whereas they made no complaints against them before that time. Their malice against the primate was inextinguishable, and ended in his murder; but before that, the presbyterians considered him the most virtuous, discreet, and valuable man in the kingdom, and often declared that their whole dependence rested on his abilities and judgment. Baillie repeatedly expresses his respect and affection for him, as a man “ wise, grave, and fearing God,”—“I have always found him so kind a friend to myself that I will be loath to admit such thoughts of him," as that he was the sole adviser of “the king and statesmen, both Scots and English,”—“you were the most wise, honest, diligent, and successful agent of the nation in the late dangers of our church, in Cromwell's time,”—“whatever grief my heart has from our changes, and is like to have till I die, I hope it shall stand with terms of great respect to you, from whom I have received so many favours, and still expect to receive more.” But even Burnet himself, when age had softened his personal animosity against the primate and others, and notwithstanding the malicious and infamous falsehoods and spiteful gossip which he has set down in his History of his Own Times, speaks very differently of them in another publication. “I shall not add much of the bishops that have been in that church [of Scotland since the last reestablishing of the order: but that I have observed among the few of them, to whom I have the honour to be known particularly, as great and as exemplary things as ever I met with in all ecclesiastical history: not only the practice of the strictest of all the ancient canons, but a pitch of virtue and piety beyond what can fall under common imitation, or be made the measure of even the most angelic ranks of men; and I saw things in them that would look liker fair ideas, than what men clothed with flesh and blood could grow up to. But of this I will say no more, since those that are concerned are yet alive, and their characters are too singular not to make them be as easily known if I enlarged upon it as if I named them ?."
Whilst these gentlemen, of whom Burnet now speaks so highly, submitted to the presbyterian discipline, there was not a word of reproach ever uttered against either their moral or their professional characters; but no sooner did they accept the episcopal office than their presbyterian enemies discovered that they were atheists, drunkards, adulterers, infanticides, gamblers, blasphemers, avaricious, ambitious time-servers, and
1 Life of Bishop Bedell.—Preface.
secret papists. Those who were advanced to the prelatical dignity had been episcopal clergymen before the desolating revolt of the covenant; but had they united with the presbyterians, and assisted them in keeping up the agitation, there would never have been the least accusation against them. But they committed the unpardonable sin of remembering from whence their church had fallen, and they also repented and did their first works, as the chief bishop commanded the church of Ephesus to do. Ifthese worthy men had been guilty of these shameful crimes, it reflects great disgrace on the presbyterian discipline not only to have suffered them to minister in their communion but to hold them in the highest respect. Hypocrisy was one of the reigning vices of those times; but it would have been impossible to have concealed such gross vices from observation, unless we are to conclude that such immoralities were so common among the presbyterians as not to attract particular notice. “Many writers,” says Mr. Guthrie, “as well as bishop Burnet, have been severe, almost to barbarity, upon his (the primate's] memory. I have from unquestionable authorities represented the progression of that atrocious treachery of which he had been accused ; and I am far from saying, that he exhibited any specimen either of his delicacy or his magnanimity, by accepting of an honour so incompatible with the trust reposed in him by his brethren. We have the narrative of his behaviour and negociation in the words of his capital enemy, Mr. Robert Douglas, as they are printed by Wodrow. Neither of those authors, however, have been able to fix upon Sharp any other charge than barely that of accepting the archbishoprick. When we compare Sharp's own account with those of Wodrow, he seems, while he was charged with his commission from his brethren, to have acted not only honestly but zealously in his trust, even after he scarcely could have a reasonable prospect of success; and I cannot see how the transition from presbytery to episcopacy can merit the abuse that has been poured forth against Sharp's morals, especially by bishop Burnet?.”
THE SECOND SESSION of Charles's first parliament was opened on the 8th of May; and as a good foundation had been laid in the first session for the establishment of the church, so in the second the work was completed. Dr. Haliburton, the new bishop of Dunkeld, preached at the opening of the session. The first act was for the redintegration of the spiritual estate to their ancient places, and entitled—“For the restitution and
i General History, x. 99-100.