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they could carry in the General Assembly, or supreme court, a measure that would enlist in their favour the great mass of the common people, and do much to keep out thereafter any of the moderate or high-church portion of the clergy from church ferment. A wild section, small in number and unimportant in influence, tried to agitate the repeal of patronage; which is, in plain terms, to deprive by force the patrons of their hereditary property. In this they, of course, failed. But they did not faint. They enrolled themselves into the "Anti-patronage Society," for the repeal of patronage; and finding repeal perfectly utopian, they proposed raising funds to buy up all the benefices of Scotland, and then hand them over to the people. The cannie Scots were willing enough to have the patronage, but were by no means disposed to pay for it. The Antipatronage Society purchased one living, and then settled down on its lees, partly from its progress in good sense, and partly from that cohesive attraction which binds a Caledonian's sovereign to himself. That many of its members were men of disinterested zeal and real piety, it is alike just and pleasing to admit; but that they acted wisely or well it is imperative to deny.
A larger section of the clergy than these last, devised what they deemed an intermediate position-a point at which they thought the rights of patrons and the claims of parishioners might meet and act in harmony. This point is called, in the new nomenclature, "The Veto." Its working is as follows: The patron presents a licentiate (anglicè, one in Deacon's orders) to be tried by the Presbytery, and, if found qualified, to be ordained and inducted to the pastoral cure, temporal fruits, and all duties and emoluments connected with the benefice. If he is found unfit, or unlearned, or immoral, or in any tangible shape disqualified, the presentee may be, as he always has been in such circumstances, rejected, and the patron required by law to present another. But, according to the prescriptions of the "Veto," the presentee is not ushered by the patron to the court of his ecclesiastical superior, the Presbytery; but is sent into the pulpit of the parish to which he has been presented, there and then, for three successive Sundays, to preach, not as an ambassador of Christ, nor as a teacher of the people, but as a candidate for votes-a humble suppliant for the approbation of his auditory. If the people, through caprice or prejudice, or
There are two parties in the Kirk called "high-church" and "low-church," or, otherwise, "moderate" and "wild." The former entertain Arminian sentiments the latter are decided followers of the Genevan reformer.
political antipathy to the patron, reject him, that rejection terminates the presentation, ties up the hands of the Presbytery, and renders it obligatory on the patron to throw open the market, give them a more popular article, or that upon which they may have previously set their minds. This course is the most complete invasion of the "Headship of Christ," to use an ancient Scottish rallying cry, that ever was perpetrated. If the despotic power which thus commands the Presbytery not to touch the presentee, or try him, but leave him in the hands of the people, had been the crown, all Scotland would have reclaimed and resented; but because it is the people, all Scotland, at least, the lower classes of it, are perfectly delighted. The intrusion of a royal or aristocratic hand the masses would have resisted; but the intrusion of a thousand plebeian paws, overawing the Presbytery, deciding on the fitness and functions of the ministers, and, de facto, determining who shall and who shall not be the future clergy of the cures of Scotland, is thought so sacred a thing that none dare resist it. It is on this simple principle that the Rev. Dr. Muir, incumbent of St. Stephen's parish, the St. George's, Hanover Square, of Edinburgh, one of the most learned, distinguished, and spiritual men in the Kirk, has taken his position, and protested against the wild and tumultuous course of the dominant party in the General Assembly. He has, of course, been assailed by vulgar ignorance and popularity-hunting Presbyters, with storms of hisses, amid which the still small voice of righteousness was, nevertheless, heard beyond the limits of the northern capital. But, when the day of sobriety shall come, then will his name and his conduct be remembered with gratitude by the Presbytery of Scotland, though perhaps too late. We quote the following excellent remarks from his letter addressed to his congregation:
"The Ministers are 'to take heed to themselves, and to all the flock over whom the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers-to feed the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood' to preach Christ crucified'-to' declare all the counsel of God,' and ' to speak the words of the Lord, whether men will hear or forbear'-to watch for souls, as they that must give an account'-to be the elders that rule well, and so be counted worthy of double honour-and to 'commit the things which they have heard to faithful men, who shall be able to teach them also.' They, again, whom the Ministers of the Church are appointed to teach and superintend, are to suffer the word of exhortation' to 'receive with meekness the ingrafted word'—not to become enemies to their teachers, because they tell them the truth'-' to know,' or acknowledge them which labour among them, and are over them in the Lord, and admonish them'-to obey those that have the rule over them, and to submit themselves,' and to pray for them."-p. 5.
These views are too scriptural, too independent for the Vetomen. The command of the minister of Christ to his people is, "submit yourselves"-according to our views and those of Dr. Muir; but the Veto-folk invert it, and say, the command of the people to the ministers of Christ is, "submit yourselves." For our parts, we are fully convinced that the Presbyterian Establishment of Scotland is at this moment hovering-tremblingly hovering-between two systems, antipodes to each other-Independency and Episcopacy. Into one or the other -we trust and hope the latter--Dr. Chalmers and the young men who follow him must bring her. The shelving-off has already begun. Several hundreds of the most respectable members of St. George's parish, Edinburgh, have seceded from that church, and either united themselves to Dr. Muir's, or become Episcopalians. The ultimate result of persisting in the rejecting of Lord Aberdeen's bill, and in clamouring for the Veto, will be that the educated and more respectable or exalted Scotsmen will join the Episcopal Church, and the lower classes will drag the Presbyterian platform into the thraldom and anarchy of wild Independency, there to repress all free speech in the clergy and sink all dignity in the Church. It is obvious that the Reformers, who were reared the nearest to Independency, and the furthest from the ancient forms, never dreamed of lodging in the hands of the people, parishioners or communicants, an irreponsible veto. Lord Aberdeen, a lay-elder of the Scotch Establishment, in a speech replete with argument, precedent, and apposite proofs, has shewn this incontestibly with regard to the Kirk. And now, if the members of that communion may have grace to humble themselves, and acknowledge that they have been in error, the whole controversy will settle down, and "dying martyrs and suffering pastors for the headship," and all that sort of similar rhodomontade, will be forgotten and forgiven, as other platform ebullitions usually are. We say, solemnly and deliberately, that Scotland now has it in her power to lift many of her clergy, to say the least, from the Thorogood class. To talk of leaving the funds to the patron, and rejecting his qualified presentee, Dr. Chalmers knows to be mere quibbling. It is only a sort of pious fraud. In the first place, the patron does not receive the emoluments, and is deprived of his right and, in the next place, disobedience to the law, and surrender of chattels for conscience sake, is so truly parallel to the deeds and exploits of the church-rate "martyrs," that we cannot but deplore the unhappy blindness that has led to it.
In the number for Monday, May 18, of the " Record," a religious newspaper published in London, there appeared a judicious leading article on the subject.
We do not expect that there will be a cessation of ecclesiastical hostilities among the dominant majority of the northern clergy. The very commencement of the last General Assembly gives painful proof of the irritated state of feeling. Instead of the former Moderator nominating his successor, and all the existing Moderators confirming it, Dr. Chalmers rose, and uttered a violent and injudicious philippic against Dr. Hill, who was the choice of the wonted authorities, and declared, in set terms, that he (Dr. Hill) was an ecclesiastical heretic, and unfit for the chair. The Doctor, of course, carried his intemperate unchristian motion by a very small majority. To gratify party pique, therefore, the usual order of procedure was set aside, and the Vetoists gave living evidence of the badness of their cause, by shewing that they were under the necessity of having recourse to disgraceful expedients to support it. Dr. Chalmers, with all his acknowledged genius and eloquence, has done more to un-church the Kirk of Scotland than the worst of its enemies. In the recent collision with the Dissenters, he sunk the Church in the Establishment. A district, a parochial teacher, and an endowment, was the Doctor's definition of "the Church!" In the present collision with the patrons and the state, he tries, and tries with too great success, to sink the clergy in the parishioners; and the whole structure of the Scotch Ecclesiastical Polity in a sea of turbid and uproarious democracy. Dr. Chalmers should never be suffered to lead. He is totally unfit for it: he ought to be under orders. The object of attack should be specified, and the Doctor commanded to charge; and notwithstanding a few unhappy gashes which he may deal around him on his own supporters, he will yet make disastrous havoc with the Philistines. But if he gets the command, he will attack a windmill with the heroism wherewith he assails an infidel; or dart into his own camp and hew down his own fences, rend his own colours, and slaughter his own friends with ruthless fury. The deplorable fact is however too obvious, that this gifted and eloquent man has been chosen by the dominant party of the Scotch clergy as their leader, and in their pursuit of his ignis fatuus hallucination they have plunged into more than Serbonian bog. If they try to extricate themselves on the right hand, the House of Lords, supported by the law of the land, repels them; if they try to escape on the left, they are met by the sneers of the Dissenters, and their own mortified pride overpowers them. The manly, Christian, only course is to repeal the obnoxious Veto Act, and then legally and constitutionally pursue what plan to their wisdom seems most expedient.
Those who do not choose to submit can secede, and those who will not secede must submit. It is of no use attempting to keep up the reel of the Bogie" any longer. Tho Veto string must snap, and the performers pause.
The whole country gives painful evidence of the distracting effects of this Veto. The North of Aberdeenshire is a deep disgrace to the Scotch clergy. It cannot be new to the readers of this Review, far removed as many of them are from the more immediate arena of Scotch ecclesiastical politics, that seven parochial clergymen, the majority of the Presbytery of Strathbogie, have been suspended from the pastoral office, in consequence of their determination to proceed according to the form prescribed by the law of the land, the practice for nearly two hundred years before the Veto was heard of. If these men had acted on the Ecclesiastical or Veto law, they rendered themselves liable to intolerable fines and imprisonment. If they observed the laws of their country, as interpreted by all the civil tribunals, from the lowest up to the Lords, they became obnoxious to the spiritual penalties of their superiors. They determined to observe the civil law, believing in their consciences, as many thousands besides believe, that the Ecclesiastical Court had gone "ultra vires," and must necessarily succumb to the might of law and order. The consequence of this step was, that the commission of the General Assembly, which is the protracted executive of that body, and competent to carry out all the orders of the fountain-head of its jurisdiction, suspended at a blow the seven pastors, and sent seven others to supply their places. But the General Assembly had to learn a few useful lessons, the fruits of their own too severe and arbitrary measures. They have suspended the ministers from judicial functions, restraining them from conferring orders-intolerance we see can shew itself in Presbytery as keen as in Popery. It turned out, however, that in the eye of the law the rights of a parish incumbent were too sacred and secure to be thus summarily dealt with. The civil law interdicted, under the severest penalties, any ministers of the Established Church from touching the ecclesiastical rights of these clergy, entering the church or churchyard for the exercise of clerical function-nay, from any pastoral office within the parishes of the suspended clergy.
The General Assembly's commission sent clerical wasps to try the parishes, whether they would not raise a movement against their own ministers, and render the proceedings of the dominant party popular. But they signally failed. The intrusionists of the commission collected in meeting-houses,