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right of one man to form the convictions of hundred disinterested parsons have been many men in the department of morals, found in Scotland. Our surprise has been called politics. But is the press the only excited by the exhibition of a disregard of legitimate disseminator of moral convic- professed principles by the Liberal press, tions? Are the lords of the pen no longer quite as extraordinary as the sacrifices of content with sharing this power with the the free Kirkmen for their conscientious occupants of the professorial chair and the convictions. When, three years ago, we orators of the pulpit, setting up the preten- maintained the duty of helping the Kirk as sion that this power of disseminating con- the popular cause, amidst the numerous victions is legitimate only when used by notices with which our article was honored themselves? Two centuries ago the clergy there was not one single attempt made, wielded the power of forming the convic- though some were promised, to contest the tions of the people in the morality of poli- ground with us by argument, foot for foot, tics as well as in the spiritualities of religion. and inch for inch. We did not maintain a It seems as if the new power were becoming singular opinion: most of the gentlemen of intolerant of the old one, and newspaper highest reputation in London as interpreters editors, after stripping the clergy of their of Liberalism and Democraey coincided in political functions, were resolved to set up our views. They thought it impossible by in their stead, as also the instructors of the any logical process for Liberals to take any people in spiritual concerns. All that can other course than the one we recommended. be required of any men is that the power At the general election almost all the Libthey seek over others shall be the power of eral candidates adopted the views we had mind over mind, of genius over intelligence, promulgated. Those who did not were of intelligence over ignorance, and of in- unseated in burghs, and some of those who tegrity over selfishness. With a negative did won counties. Yet, with few excepor an affirmative power lodged in the popu- tions, in spite of its principles, the Liberal lar body, the people who aspire to lead them press took an opposite course, and the Nonby convincing them, and to rule them by Intrusionists were obliged to set up journals doing them good, are not actuated by a base of their own. but by a most honorable ambition. Instead of the fact of their aspirations entitling them to be abused, they give them claims on the gratitude and affection of their fellow men. We shall be prepared, ere we conclude this article, to show that even if the objects of the Evangelical party had been purely clerical, without a particle of popular aim in them, they would have been entitled to the help and sympathy of every man capable of taking enlightened views of the interests of civilization. But in the present case the clergy reserved no power for themselves, except the legitimate influences of superior wisdom. They sought to make the people their patrons. Their object was to make the communicants their masters in the matter of appointment to benefices. When the Liberal journalists opposed and vilified them, they so far betrayed the cause of popular rights, and outraged the great democratic idea of fair play to talent-of the Right of the Fit. In this case, in so far as Liberalism would make the poor stronger, these writers were false to it-in so far as Liberalism would establish the authority of justice and wisdom they thwarted it.
Our purpose in recapitulating these arguments is to direct attention to, perhaps, the most extraordinary phenomenon exhibited by the Kirk question in Scotland. We leave it to others to be astonished that five
To explain this strange fact; the Liberal journalists were actuated by a feeling stronger than their love of the rights of the people or of fair play to talent. They were animated by a hatred of Evangelism. An observer, unsurpassed in this age for his acquirements in the philosophy of politics, exclaimed to us,-"How much more true the newspapers have been to their infidelity than to their democracy!" We may remark that the infidelity to which these gentlemen have been true is not the most liberal or enlightened kind of it at present to be found in Europe. Theirs is a bigoted hatred of earnest belief-the feeling with which the courtiers of Charles the Second regarded the convictions of the Puritans; the hatred of a De Grammont for Cromwell; the fanaticism with which a Voltaire might have regarded a Wesley. To the most enlightened skeptics of London and Paris, fervid Christianity appears to be venerable and beautiful, the divine element in modern history full of blessings to society. They do not scoff-they perhaps envy the men in whose hearts Christianity is enkindled as a living fire. Among the Scotch journalists, however, the scriptural principles which have quickened in the hearts of their countrymen, and led in our day to so many instances of devotion to duty-to so many touching sacrifices for
the cause of God, are regarded as things to to them on account of their vital Chrisbe covered with contempt and crushed with tianity. Looking on Establishments as the ridicule. Sixty years ago Robert Burns pieces of silver given the Church for the was abreast of the literary and philosophic betrayal of her Lord, the Voluntaries despirit of his age, when the satirist of Evan- nounced the Evangelicals as corrupters of gelism he wrote his 'Holy Willie,' and his Christianity. The skeptics abused and Holy Fair' but the Scotch journalists, vilified them as fanatics who would restore who feebly express his spirit and repeat his the black despotism of superstition. A jokes, are two generations behind their age. common Christianity was not so strong to Their political philosophy belongs to the unite as a difference about Establishments. last century. Like the Protestant parsons was to dissever the Dissenters from the at Rome, who are said to have gone to learn Evangelicals. Common democratic tendenthe Protestant religion from the Pope, they cies could not prevent men from encounteracquire their notions of faith from unbe- ing each other as enemies-to one party of lievers, and study Christian history under whom Christianity is The Truth, while to David Hume, the infidel. To be just to a the other party it is Fanaticism. faith, or to the believers of it, you must have loved it or them. Tell us where a man's contempt begins and we will tell you where his ignorance begins. Of the spirit of Robert Burns these journalists have caught nothing but the satiric part of it. They feel not with him the beauty of the scene described in his 'Cotter's Saturday Night,' nor the emotion which gushed up in the heart of Robert Nicoll at the mention of the Big Ha' Bible.
Scotland is called a religious nation. Presbyterianism, it is said, has protected the Scotch from skepticism. Unlike the countries in which Catholicism has continued the religion of the State, Scotland, they say, has never produced a Voltaire. But David Hume was an Edinburgh man. The brilliant philosophers and literary men who made Edinburgh the mental metropolis of the empire towards the end of the last century, were skeptics to a man. Nowhere is earnest piety treated with more unsparing ridicule than in Scotland at the present hour. In Paris, in London, in Berlin, and Vienna, there is abundance of disbelief of Christianity, but nowhere is vital faith in it treated with less respect or encountered with a more unflinching hostility than in Presbyterian Scotland. But, in fact, Scotland is not Presbyterian. A million of Voluntaries, Catholics, and Episcopalians, -a million of Free Kirkmen who have just left the Establishment,-and a million of persons avowedly unbelievers, or mere rational gentlemanly adherents of the Establishment, these make up the three millions of the Scotch. Hence the explanation of the course pursued by the Liberal journalists. In opposing the Evangelical Kirkmen they were giving utterance to the principles and passions of two-thirds of their countrymen, the million of Dissenters hostile to the Evangelicals on the principle of Establishments, and the million of Moderates hostile
We extract a sketch of the nature and history of the principles involved in the Kirk question from a recent tract.*
The point at issue in Kirk affairs is, whether the will of the patron or the will of the communicants shall be the dominant thing in making the licentiate the pastor of the parish. Out of this question another has arisen-Whether the clergy are liable to civil damages for what the law courts deem wrongs of commission or omission in their ecclesiastical procedure.
The non-intrusion struggle is part of the battle between aristocracy and democracy. The power of making parish ministers is the thing contested. Who shall lord it over the process which makes a licensed preacher a parish pastor? This is the point of contention between the patrons and the communicants. Whose will shall be clothed with the dominancy of the matter; the will of the Home Secretary of the day, and a small body of the landlords, or the will of the recipients of the eucharist in the parish
the patronate or the congregational will? In the name of the law and the civil courts the patrons claim the dominancy for their will. The communicants by the Church Courts maintain, in the name of the Constitution and of Christ, that their will ought to be dominant in making the preacher the pastor.
The contest and the claims of both parties are old. History shows that each party has had its victories. Law also shows the fact in an abundance of contradicting statutes.
Just as certainly as the Revolution settlement placed William of Orange on the throne, did it establish the Kirk on a basis of non-intrusion and spiritual independence. Strike the Act of Aune out of the statutebook, and the dominancy over the appointment of pastors reverts to the communi*The Fall of the Kirk,' by Mr. John Robert
Edinburgh, now only a day distant from London, was in those days a fortnight. Carstares, Blackwell, and Baillie, a remonstrating deputation from the Kirk, hastened up to London. All in vain. Neither the chiefs of the legislature nor the chiefs of the literature of London heeded them. Strong in the support of the court, the Tories carried every thing before them. Few listened to the ideas of the Covenanters, when the French bel esprit was the mode. Small heed was given to the Presbyterian claims of spiritual independence by the clubs, which were then enjoying the humors of Sir Roger de Coverley, and the wit of the young poet of the Rape of the Lock.'
cants. By this Act the Jacobites regained land, the Tory Government made short the powers which the settlement of the work of restoring patronage in the Kirk. Constitution had given to the Kirkmen, In the towns and among the hills of Scotand, to borrow a phrase from the French, land, a thousand clergymen were peacefully effected a counter-revolution. It is one of pursuing the round of their duties, relying the most curious of historical episodes. for their privileges on the treaty of union. Shortly after the union of England and The Kirkmen expected no evil. But Scotland, two ladies were seated in familiar Scotchmen were put forward in Parliament talk in an apartment of the palace of St. by the Masham ministry to break the treaty James's. They called each other Mrs. of union. In six weeks an act was hurried Morley and Mrs. Freeman. The door was through both houses, which, as has now loudly and familiarly unlocked, and an abi- been decided by the courts of law, took from gail came tripping across the floor with a the Kirk courts their liberum arbitrium, subbold and gay air. Suddenly recognising a jected the co-ordinate power of Presbytery person she did not expect, she stops short, to the civil courts, broke the union treaty of and drops a grave curtsey, like a player, to two nations, and fastened the iron yoke of the haughtier-looking of the ladies. She lay patronage on the necks of the Scotch. then turned to the stout, dark-haired, and In three years after the royal sceptre had easy-tempered looking lady, and, without a touched the treaty which guaranteed the curtsey, says to her, in a faint, low voice- inviolability of the Church of Scotland, the "Did your Majesty ring, pray?" Thus did Church was violated by this abigail act. the abigail betray the ascendency she had acquired over her royal mistress. The haughty lady, honored with an obeisance before her Queen, was Sarah Duchess of Marlborough. The dark-haired, stout, and easy-tempered lady was Queen Anne. The abigail was Mrs. Hill, afterwards Lady Masham, a poor relative of the proud Duchess, the daughter of a bankrupt London merchant, a Baptist by religious profession, and a humble dresser in the court. Her object in seeking power was chiefly to marry the man she liked. This scene first showed the Duchess that her day of power was over, this scene was the first sign of a change of imperial power. Henceforth, for four years, the abigail was the sovereign ruler of the British empire. Anne was the nominal, the dresser the real Queen. Writing of the ministry which the abigail brought into place and power, instead of the cabinet to which he belonged himself, the Duke of Marlborough, in one of his let ters, says, the only persons who really have power are the abigail Masham and the premier Harley. In the end, the abigail who made, unmade the premier. Well did the clear-headed hero of Ramilies and Blenheim know that he had been defeated, degraded, and ousted by the abigail. The accom. plished, worldly, lazy, jocular Harley might be the intriguer,-Bolingbroke, a brilliant, superficial profligate, an English Alcibiades, in a peruke,-Don Juan might be the orator, and the proud and fitful humorist-the bitter-hearted and iron-headed Dean Swift, might be the journalist of the Tory Government-but the dictatrix who could make or destroy them all was Masham the abigail. To help Episcopacy and Jacobitism in Scot
Carstares, a man whose thumbs had been screwed for Whiggery, had a mastery over none but Kirk ideas. He returned to Edinburgh to persuade the Kirkmen to be thankful that the General Assembly itself had not been abolished. His was not the mind. to see the advantage to the wronged, when their oppressors add to the reality the conspicuous appearance of oppression. The temporary abolition of the General Assembly would have ensured the repeal of the abigail act after the death of Anne.
For seventy or eighty years the General Assembly, at every one of its meetings, entered into a solemn protest against the breach of the treaty of union. At first the protest was a reality, in the course of years it became a formality. Lawyers now tell the Kirkmen they lost their privileges by their own slackness or laches. Perhaps a vigorous agitation begun in 1711 might have enabled the Kirkmen to gain back their rights. But it would have strength
ened the Jacobites by swelling their ranks and we know several who are-but skeptics in 1715 and 1745 with discontented Pres- receiving the pay of faith-why, it will byterians. That the Kirkmen did not agi- take much logic to make honest men of tate this question, when to do so would them. have endangered the succession of the House of Hanover to the throne, ought not to be deemed a fault, while the name of our sovereign is Guelph, and not Stuart.
The spread of Methodism during the end of the last and the beginning of the present century, and the reaction against the skeptical philosophy which forms so remarkThe act of the ministry of Harley and able a feature of the age, changed the spirit Bolingbroke soon filled the Kirk with men of the clergy of the Kirk. The reaction of kindred spirits with their own. Skep- against the philosophy of the eighteenth ticism became the fashion of the age. Of century, which in England has given exthe clergy produced by the abigail act, an pression to itself in Coleridge and Pusey, idea may be formed from the character of is represented in Scotland by Chalmers. their type and representative - William About the year 1834, the majority of the Robertson. The men hostile to the spirit clergy of the Kirk, quitting doubt and imand the ideas of the Kirk of Knox, who be- bibing faith, forsook the patrons for the came pastors under the abigail act, called people. The spirit of John Knox became themselves Moderates. William Robert-dominant once more in the church which he son was the flower of Moderatism. The founded. The ascendency passed away for morning of the 30th of May, 1751, saw a few years from the men animated by the the churchyard of the parish of Torphi- spirit and principles of William Robertson. chen thronged with rustics in their Sabbath Ten years ago a controversy raged in clothes. With sorrow and indignation they Scotland on the connexion between Church were to witness the settlement of a pastor and State. One of its results was, it quickover them in the teeth of their continued ened the conviction in the Evangelical and universal opposition. A cavalcade of clergymen and laymen of Scotland, that merry clergymen came riding up, headed the settlement of pastors in parishes was by Mr. William Robertson, the minister of a matter in which patrons ought not to Gladsmuir. He was a man about thirty, have unrestrained power. This controverwith a countenance which he has transmitted to his descendant Lord Broughamaltogether an active, keen, bright look. The cavalcade of clergymen were flanked and surrounded by a troop of dragoons. As the troopers and parsons dashed among the people, tradition says Captain Hamilton, of Westport, drew his sword, and shouted, "What! won't ye receive the gospel? I'll swap off the head o' ony man that ' no receive the gospel." Thus did William Robertson proceed to bestow the spiritual office. Many years elapse. He is the chief of the Kirk. He has won the crown of history. Writing to Gibbon in his days of celebrity, he gives the clue to his conduct when the dragoon-heading intruder at Torphichen. We find Principal Robertson the chief of the Kirk, congratulating the historian of the 'Decline and Fall' on his skilful management of superstition and bigotry in his chapters on Christianity. He thus gives us a glimpse of the moral theory of which the Torphichen intrusion was the application. The congratulation to Gib. bon, and the dragoon ordination, were only the abstract and the concrete of the same thing. David Hume once named, for the recommendation of Dr. Robertson, two persons for Kirk offices. Respectable, amiable, useful, and gifted a skeptic may be,
sy brought out more clearly than ever the fact that in the New Testament the settlement of pastors is an affair between the clergy and the Christian society, with which the aristocracy have no scriptural right to intermeddle. The voluntary controversy enkindled this bit of the New Testament in the hearts of the pious Kirkmen. Hence the Church resolved not to allow patrons to intrude pastors.
This was the origin of the non-intrusion controversy. When the General Assembly declared there should be no more intrusion, it was generally thought they had a perfect legal right to do what they did. A Scotch judge proposed, the crown lawyers of the day approved, and Lord Chancellor Brougham applauded the declaration.
But mark the mournful farce of the law. The legality of non-intrusion has been tried. Five Scotch judges have maintained the view of the law which enabled the Evangelical Kirkmen to obey their New Testament convictions respecting the settlement of pastors. Eight Scotch judges have decreed the opposite, and a great deal more. The House of Lords, as the last court of appeal, found the Scotch clergy bound to ordain at the bidding of the civil courts. When the affair began, it was commonly thought that the spiritual courts could re
strain the civil courts in the settlement of that work of fear-asking the Universe ministers. It has been decided that the questions respecting the Great Spirit of it. civil courts can control, forbid, and com- But the freedom-the independence, is for mand the spiritual courts in all spiritual all. The spiritual views of genius ought to things; ordination, preaching, sacraments, be free for the sake of human advanceand excommunication. Men with the New Testament alive in their hearts could not submit; they therefore separated from their temporalities, and left an establishment which forbade them to obey in their spiritual procedure the Lord Jesus Christ and commanded them to obey the Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst.
The grossest notions prevail respecting the principle of spiritual independence. Historically we might show that this principle has rendered the noblest services to civilization. Philosophically it might be identified with the freedom of inquiry essential to the progress of science. Politically, it is the ecclesiastical aspect of that mental freedom on which so much eloquence has been expended, when called the Freedom of the Press. In fact, whether Sir Robert Peel and Lord Lyndhurst shall prescribe to Scotch Kirkmen their religion, or each man, after studying the Bible for himself, and being persuaded in his own mind, decide for himself, is the question for which five hundred clegymen have sacrificed their endowments, the principle for which in a few months, in a season of commercial distress, the Evangelical Kirkmen of Scotland have subscribed £300,000.
ment. All men ought to be free in spiritual affairs, because whenever they are in earnest in them they will be free or die. A crawling thing is the soul of that man who could take his spiritual theory from a Peel or a Wellington, or submit his spiritual actions to the dictation of a Lyndhurst or a Brougham. Yet this submission is the meaning of the supremacy of the state in all things. Largely and broadly viewed, spiritual independence means the right of every man to form and to fulfil his convictions respecting his moral and spiritual affairs. True, what the Non-Intrusionists contended for was the spiritual freedom of the Kirk. They struggled for their own highest interests. But the principle is all-important to all men. Free Kirkmen cannot confine it to themselves. They have been the martyrs of the general principle of spiritual independence by contending for free action in obedience to their own spiritual theory; a peculiar modification of Christianity. But the principle is the bulwark of all sincere spiritual belief, and the universal recognition of it would be a grand step in furtherance of civilization.
Now it is most important to observe that no Christian church in England deems the connexion between Church and State virtuous on the condition of the enforcement of spiritual offices by civil damages. Yet this was the condition imposed upon the Evangelical Church of Scotland.
It is difficult to give an idea of the effect of the adverse decisions of the civil courts on the spiritual liberty of the Evangelical Kirk. Suffice it, they gave the whole clergy and people of the Kirk less power over the collation of a layman to the cure of souls than is now possessed by a single English bishop. Unlike the bishop, the clergy were prohibited from refusing to make a layman a spiritual person, on pain of rebukes, damages, and imprisonments. Until recently, all that the civil courts could control was the temporalities, they have lately controlled, commanded, and enforced the spiritualities.
Noble as the conduct of its friends has been, the principle itself is nobler still. Spiritual independence is not merely one of the isms of a Scotch sect. It is a broad, a universal, a catholic principle-as old as Christianity itself, and held as a glorious and all-important docrine by all the sincere men who have ever labored or suffered for Christ. Paschal the Third wished to give up his endowments for it a thousand years ago. But it is not a principle peculiar to Christians. It is dear to all who love to be spiritually free. A Comte can contend for it as well as a Chalmers. That the moral and spiritual theory by which a man is to guide himself in life shall not be a prescription of statecraft but the adoption of a free and earnest soul:-this is the very vital idea of all individual and social civil ization. It is the first want of clear spirits. Nor is the importance or the nobleness of Observation of the course of the law in the principle lessened by the fact that in the progress of this controversy is not the case of the herd of men it can mean much calculated to increase our reverence only a liberty to choose among the creeds either for the law itself, or the functionwhich other and abler men draw up. Genius aries who administer it. After careful alone can enjoy aught of the highest free- perusals of the acts of Parliament involved, dom of the soul. Genius alone can attempt land the learned arguments founded upon