Page images
PDF
EPUB

“Saturday last, in the evening, as the archbishop of St. Andrews and bishop of Orkney were going abroad, the archbishop being in his coach and the other stepping up, a wicked fellow standing behind the coach, did shoot the bishop of Orkney beneath his right-hand, and broke his left arm a little above the wrist, with five balls, and immediately crossing the · street, went down a lane and escaped, there being no person near at the time but those who were so taken up about the bishop of Orkney, that they could not observe the person, nor whither he went. That same night all possible search was made both within and about the town, and this day a proclamation was issued forth for the discovery and apprehending of him, whereof a copy is sent to your secretary to be presented to your majesty, whom we shall acquaint from time to time, &c. i"

THE CONDUCT of the covenanters, even as it is displayed by the versatile bishop of Sarum, was such as might convince any man that they were not to be gained by concessions. The government, in the spirit of erastianism, offered to concede to them the point of ordination, and to relieve them from episcopal jurisdiction, to break the statute law, and put them into the vacant livings, upon the simple condition that they would refrain from preaching against episcopacy, and from administering the sacraments to the inhabitants of other parishes without the permission of their several incumbents. But these restrictions were reckoned such insupportable grievances, such soul-destroying conditions, that even the temptation of a good benefice could not at first overcome their spirit of contradiction, so as to bring them to enter cordially into a treaty; and Burnet assures us that “none of them would engage to observe any limitations whatever." Upon this occasion the words of the jesuit Lysimachus Nicanor are very applicable—“The next point, he says, is detractatio imperii ; this you have done excellently, by not only refusing obedience to his [the king's] laws, civil and ecclesiastical, and to his proclamations, but also by continual protesting against him, and exhorting all to stand to the covenant. You have also kept your councils of war, provided armour, laid taxation on the people to defray the charges; and the king is publice hostis declaratus, publicly declared to be your enemy by the ministers, pressing them io arms by your learned informations .... and lastly, you are

I Acta Secreti Concilii. Extracted from MSS. Books of Council, in the Register-office, Edinburgh, anno 1668, p. 97. VOL. II.

4H

[ocr errors]

HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. [CHAP. XXXI.

come so near to Ferro perimere, that you have met him with offensive arms. But, I pray you, what made you stand here? what made you make a period where was no comma ? Can you think it unlawful to kill a king, and yet set your muskets, pikes, and cannons, before the face of a king, and shoot at random? It cannot be that you have learned Knox and Buchanan so ill, and you deserve no reward. Let that golden sentiment of Buchanan never be forgotten: whiles, he says in De Jure Regni apud Scotos,‘it were good that rewards were appointed by the people for such as should kill tyrants, as commonly there are for those that have killed either wolves or bears, or taken their whelps 1.'”

THE INNOCENT Lives of the much calumniated clergy of the two dioceses where the presbyterians chiefly predominated, is noticeable from an indirect circumstance, that when an inquiry was made by a committee into the clamorous charges that were made against them by their mortal enemies, there was not one clergyman convicted of having lived unsuitably to his profession; but they were obliged to censure the insolent behaviour of the presbyterians towards the clergy. Notwithstanding all the calumnies that bishop Burnet has inserted against the clergy in his posthumous work, yet in his Four Conferences, published in the year 1673, he says, “the outrages of these fiery zealots (the presbyterians] were such, that worse could not have been apprehended from heathens.” The government and the church were and still continue to be very unjustly accused of persecution; but what government would have permitted the violence and constant recurrence of sedition which the presbyterians kept up. The bishops, in reality, were on the defensive, and had no concern whatever with those mea. sures which the ministers were compellcd to adopt to curb the insolence of the presbyterans, and to prevent their collecting in arms to attack and overturn the government. The fraternity of thieves and robbers might complain with as much justice of persecution, because the law punishes them with transportation or death for their crimes, as the presbyterians, who only suffered the natural and just punishment of their crimes. Their robberies and personal violences against the clergy were such, that many of them were compelled to desert their cures and remove to Ireland, for that protection which was denied them at home, from the barbarous usage with which they met from their presbyterian countrymen.

Epistle Congratulatorie, pp. 13, 44.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER XXXII.
THE PRIMACY OF ARCHBISHOP SHARP.
THE INDULGENCE-ACT RESCISSORY-THE ACCOMMODATION.

1669.- Proclamation against irregular baptisms.- Ministers summoned before

the council.—The INDULGENCE.—Burnet's egotism.-Douglass's advice.King's letter.—Opinions opposed to the Indulgence—a meeting of bishops to oppose it—the numbers indulged-objections to the Indulgence.—Mode of public worship-opposition from the people.—Parliament summoned.-Synod of Glasgowthe grounds of their dissatisfaction in acts of parliament.Remonstrance against the Indulgence.- Proceedings against Archbishop Burnet-confined to Glasgow--secluded from parliament-causes.-Parliament opened.--King's supremacy advanced.--Act Rescissory—the presbyterians averse to it—though the principal contrivers of it.-Act for the security of the clergy.-Observations.-Assaults on the clergy.-State of the western dioceses.

- 1670.–Archbishop Burnet suspended.-Reflections. Bishop Leighton appointed to the see of Glasgow in commendam.- Vacancies filled up.-Persecution of the clergy-more indulged.-Gilbert Burnet made professor of divinity at Glasgow-his character.-Leighton goes to Glasgow-state of the diocese. -Sufferings of the clergy.-Act of council.-Assaults on several clergymen.-The indulged ministers.—Carstairs' letter.-Conventicles.-Conventicle on Beith-hill—and Livingseat.-Session of parliament-acts.--Act against conventicles--and irregular baptisms-against separation.-Leighton's exertions—the AccoMMODATION_his visitation-his advances rejected-their ingratitude to him and the character they give him.--A conference-bishop Leighton's speech-not answered.--A meeting at Paisley-unsatisfactory.Proposals made.-Leighton's proposals unauthorised by the church.- 1671. -A meeting in Edinburgh-again unsatisfactory.—Counter proposals in note. -The bishop's speech.--Observations.--Tweeddale's plan for presbyterianising the church.—Bishop Patterson's Observations-private instructions to Lau. derdale.-Conclusion.

1669.-CONVENTICLES, or congregations of disaffected presbyterians, met in retired places for hearing sermons from the itinerant ministers of the covenant; where seditious measures were concerted, and where men went fully armed, either for offence or defence, as occasion might require. One rebellion having been only recently subdued, the government were naturally apprehensive that these field meetings might terminate in another attempt for Christ's crown and kingdom, and again involve the kingdom in the horrors of war. The council therefore issued a proclamation on the 4th of March, discharging all persons from having their children sprinkled by

the presbyterian ministers; but directing them to carry their children for baptism to the parish clergymen, under penalties according to the rank and means of the offenders; and the reason assigned is, that “the privy council considering what a scandal it is to the protestant religion, and how much to the increase of popery, schism, and profaneness, that persons should withdraw from ordinances and sacraments and baptize their children by persons not authorized by the church : do therefore prohibit and discharge all persons whatsoever to baptize their children by any other but such as are their own parish ministers, or such ministers as are established by the present government of the church 1.” The operation of this act, however, was confined to the counties of Lanark, Renfrew, Ayr, and Galloway, which shews that presbyterianism was confined to those districts, and the turbulence of the covenanters increased so much that it was found necessary to send more soldiers into these counties.

Ten of the ministers in Ayrshire were summoned before the privy council on the 8th of April, for having, in opposition to the above order, irregularly preached and used the forms of baptism. They answered frankly that they had both preached and baptized irregularly; and they were dismissed with an admonition, on their promising obedience to the laws; when Fullarton, one of them, addressed the chancellor, and making their usual distinctions and reservations respecting" the Lord's faithful servants,” and the “ giving unto God the things that are His, and unto Cæsar those that belong to him;" they asserted that, “ seeing they had received their ministry from Jesus Christ, and must one day give an account to their master how they had performed the same, they dare have no hand in the least to unministerthemselves; yea, the word was like firein their bosoms seeking for a vent.—And seeing, under the force of a command from authority, we have hitherto ceased from the public exercise of our ministry, and are wearied with forbearing; therefore it is our humble supplication to your lordship that you would deal with the king's majesty in our behalf, that at least the indulgence granted to others of our way within his dominions may be extended to us also.” The chancellor listened to this speech with patience, and then dismissed them with an exhortation to live peaceably and orderly, as men who had received their ministry immediately from Christ ought to do. After their dismissal the lord chancellor Rothes followed them, and entered into a familiar conversation in private with

i Wodrow's and Crooksliank's Histories.

« PreviousContinue »