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§ 90. The Scotch Covenants and the Scotch Kirk.
The Covenants are added to some Scotch editions of the Westminster Standards. The Solemn League and Covenant was often separately printed.
James Aikman: An Historical Account of Covenanting in Scotland, from the first Band in Mearns, 1556, to the Signature of the Grand National Covenant, 1638. Edinburgh, 1848 (82 pp.).
National Covenants or politico-religious agreements for the maintenance and defense of certain principles and privileges are a peculiar and prominent feature in the history of the Kirk of Scotland. They were copied from Jewish precedents.13261326 Josh. xxiv. 25: 'So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance at Shechem;' 2 Kings xi. 17: 'And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's people;' also Isa. xliv. 5. They originated in critical 686periods, when the sacred rights and convictions of the people were in imminent danger, and when the religious and national sentiments were inseparably blended. They are not properly confessions of faith, but closely connected with them, and must therefore be noticed here. They are solemn pledges to defend the doctrines and polity of the Reformed Kirk against all hostile attempts from within or from without, and to die rather than surrender.13271327 Dr. M'Crie says of the Scotch Covenants (p. 120): 'Although they have been condemned as unwarranted in a religious point of view, and dangerous in a political, yet are they completely defensible upon the principles both of conscience and policy. A mutual agreement, compact, or covenant, is virtually implied in the constitution of every society, civil or religious; and the dictates of natural law conspire with the declarations of revelation in sanctioning the warrantableness and propriety of explicit engagements, about any lawful and important matter, and of ratifying these, if circumstances shall require it, by formal subscription, and by a solemn appeal to the searcher of hearts. By strengthening the motives to fidelity and constancy, and thus producing mutual confidence among those who are embarked in the same cause, they have proved eminently beneficial in the reformation of churches and nations, and in securing the religious and political privileges of men. The misapplication of them, when employed in a bad cause and for mischievous ends, can be no argument against their use in a legitimate way, and for laudable purposes. And the reasoning employed to prove that such covenants should not be entered into without the permission of rulers would lead to the conclusion that subjects ought never to profess a religion to which their superiors are hostile, nor make any attempts to obtain the reform of abuses, or the redress of grievances, without the consent and approbation of those who are interested in their support.' From Scotland the custom of covenanting passed to the Puritans in England and New England, and remains to-day in the shape of solemn engagements assumed by individual Christians when they enter into full communion with a church. Such covenants take the place of confirmation vows customary in the Lutheran and Anglican Churches.
The earlier Covenants were safeguards against popery, the later against episcopacy. In the ecclesiastical history of Scotland since the Reformation we may distinguish three main periods: the period of anti-popery (1560 to 1590), the period of anti-prelacy (until 1690), and the period of anti-patronage (until 1875).
The first Covenants were made for mutual protection against the Romanists by a number of Protestant nobles and gentlemen, at Mearns, 1556, at Edinburgh, Dec. 3, 1557, at Perth, Dec. 31, 1559, before the Reformed Kirk was properly organized.
THE NATIONAL COVENANT, 1581 AND 1638.
Far more important is the 'National Covenant,' or the 'Second Scotch Confession,' also called the 'King's Confession,' and the 'Negative Confession.' It was drawn up in English and Latin by the Rev. John Craig, a noble, well-educated, and devoted man, a colleague of 687Knox and author of two Catechisms, who, after an eventful and romantic career, died in 1600, in the eighty-eight year of his life. It is a solemn indorsement of the Confession of Faith of 1560, with the strongest possible protest against 'all kind of papistry in general and particular heads,' especially against the 'usurped tyranny of the Roman Antichrist upon the Scriptures of God, upon the Kirk, the civil magistrate, and consciences of men; all his tyrannous laws made upon indifferent things, against our Christian liberty; . . . his five bastard sacraments, with all his rites, ceremonies, and false doctrine added to the ministration of the true sacraments without the Word of God; his cruel judgment against infants departing without the sacrament;13281328 This is the first confessional declaration against the damnation, and, by implication, in favor of the salvation, of unbaptized infants; and agrees with the private opinion previously expressed by Zwingli and Bullinger. his absolute necessity of baptism; his blasphemous opinion of transubstantiation; his devilish mass; his blasphemous priesthood; his profane sacrifice for sins of the dead and the quick; . . . his worldly monarchy and wicked hierarchy; his three solemn vows; his erroneous and bloody decrees made at Trent, with all the subscribers and approvers of that cruel and bloody band conjured against the Kirk of God.' No other Protestant Confession is so fiercely anti-popish.
This Covenant was subscribed by King James VI., his household, and a number of nobles and ministers, at Edinburgh, Jan. 28, 1581 (or 1580, old style13291329 'They did not begin the year in Scotland, at that time, till the 25th of March.'—Dunlop's Collection, Vol. II. p. 101.); then by the Assembly and by persons of all ranks in March, 1581; again in 1590, together with a 'General Band for Maintenance of the True Religion and the King's Person or Estate;' it was solemnly renewed, with additions, in 1638 and 1639; ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1640, and signed by King Charles II., in exile, at Spey, June 23, 1650, and again when he was crowned at Scone, in Scotland, Jan. 1, 1651.13301330 See the text in Vol. III. p. 480; and in Calderwood, Vol. III. p. 502. Calderwood thinks (p. 505) that this confession, under the name of 'wicked hierarchy,' condemns episcopal government; but it is evident from the context that the papal hierarchy is meant.
The renewal of the Covenant in 1638, which is more particularly called the National Covenant, marks the Second Reformation. It includes the old Covenant of 1581, the Acts of Parliament condemning popery, and a protest against the government of the Kirk by bishops, all those measures of King Charles I. which 'do sensibly tend to 688the re-establishment of the Popish religion and tyranny, and to the subversion and ruin of the true Reformed religion, and of our liberties, laws, and estates.' The additions were prepared by Alexander Henderson and Johnston of Warriston, to meet a great crisis.13311331 See the additions in Dunlop's Collection, Vol. II. pp. 125–137, also the Acts of the Assemblies of Glasgow, 1638, and Edinburgh, 1639, pp. 114 sqq.
The introduction of the semi-presbyterian mongrel episcopacy of James was comparatively harmless. But when his son Charles and his spiritual adviser, Archbishop Laud, in criminal ignorance or contempt of public feeling, attempted to force upon the Scots the royal supremacy, with a Romanizing hierarchy and liturgy, it produced a revolution and civil war which extended to England, and culminated in the temporary triumph of Puritanism. Macaulay traces the freedom of England to this 'act of insane bigotry.' In 1633 Laud displayed the most elaborate pomp of ceremonial worship in Holyrood Chapel to impress the descendants of John Knox! His new service-book differed from the English in a marked tendency to popery. When it was first introduced, July 23, 1637, in the cathedral church of St. Giles, in the presence of the privy council, the two archbishops of Scotland, several bishops, and the city magistrates, a poor old woman, named Jenny Geddes, confounding 'colic' and 'collect,' indignantly exclaimed, 'Villain, dost thou say mass at my lug,' and hurled her famous stool at the head of the unfortunate dean, who read 'the black, popish, and superstitious book.' Instantly all was uproar and confusion all over the city. The people shouted through the streets, 'A pope, a pope! Antichrist! The sword of the Lord and Gideon!' The unpremeditated riot extended into a popular revolution. The result was the overthrow of the artificial scheme which bigotry and tyranny had concocted.13321332 'Never,' says Dean Stanley (p. 82), 'except in the days of the French Revolution, did a popular tumult lead to such important results. The stool which was on that occasion flung at the head of the Dean of Edinburgh extinguished the English Liturgy entirely in Scotland for the seventeenth century, to a great extent even till the nineteenth, and gave to the civil war of England an impulse which only ended in the overthrow of the Church and monarchy.'
The renewal of the Covenant took place in Greyfriars' Church, in Edinburgh, the 28th of February, 1638, and was a most solemn and extraordinary scene. No less than sixty thousand people flocked to the city from all parts of the kingdom. The dense crowd which filled the church and adjoining graveyard listened with breathless attention to 689the prayers, the addresses, and the reading of the Covenant. The aged Earl of Sutherland first signed his name with trembling hand upon the parchment roll. Name followed name in swift succession. 'Some wept aloud; some burst into a shout of exultation; some, after their names, added the words, till death; and some, opening a vein, subscribed with their own warm blood. As the space became filled, they wrote their names in a contracted form, limiting them at last to the initial letters, till not a spot remained on which another letter could be inscribed. . . . Never, except among God's peculiar people, the Jews, did any national transaction equal in moral and religious sublimity that which was displayed by Scotland on the great day of her sacred National Covenant.'13331333 Hetherington, History of the Church of Scotland, p. 91 (3d ed.).
Similar scenes were repeated throughout the Northern Kingdom. Noblemen and gentlemen carried copies of the Covenant in their pockets and portmanteaus, soliciting subscriptions. Women sat in church day and night, from Friday till Sunday, to receive the communion with it. To refuse signature seemed to some denial of Christianity itself.13341334 For fuller particulars, see Baillie's Letters, Vol. I., Rothes's Relation, Aiton's Life of Henderson, Burton (Vol. VI. p. 442). Accounts from the episcopal side, in Thomas Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, Vol. I. pp. 552 sqq.; Stanley, 1.c. pp. 80 sqq.
THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT, 1643.
'The Solemn League and Covenant for Reformation and Defense of Religion, the Honor and Happiness of the King, and the Peace and Safety of the Three Kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland,' is the last and the most important of these national compacts which grew out of the Reformation. It has neither the doctrinal import nor the ring and fervor of the National Covenant of 1580 and 1638, but it had a wider scope and greater effect. It is anti-episcopal as well as anti-papal. It is the connecting link between Scotch Presbyterianism and English Puritanism, between the General Assembly and the Westminster Assembly, between the Scotch Parliament and the Long Parliament. It aimed to secure uniformity of religion in the united realms, while the National Covenant, like the Confession of 1560, was purely Scotch, and never exceeded its original boundary.13351335 It is surprising that these two Covenants should be confounded by such a scholar as Dean Stanley, in his eloquent description of it, in Lectures on the Church of Scotland, pp. 83–86 (Am. ed.). Dean Hook makes the same mistake—Life of Laud, p. 267.690
We present first the text in full:13361336 From 'The [Westminster] Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, together with the Sum of Saving Knowledge, Covenants, National, and Solemn League,' etc. Edinburgh, 1788, pp. 501 sqq. Masson, in his Life of Milton, Vol. III. p. 13, gives the essential parts of the National Covenant. Fuller inserts it in full, Vol. VI. p. 255, and compares it (p. 259) to 'the superstitious and cruel Six Articles enacted by King Henry VIII.' Comp. Baillie's Letters, Vol. II. pp. 81–90; the Acts of the General Assembly for 1643; Stoughton, The Church of the Civil Wars, pp. 293 and 320; Masson, 1.c. Vol. III. pp. 6–15; Hetherington, l.c. pp. 110 sqq.
'We Noblemen, Barons, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, Burgesses, Ministers of the Gospel, and Commons of all sorts, in the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland, by the providence of God, living under one King, and being of one reformed religion, having before our eyes the glory of God and the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the honor and happiness of the King's Majesty and his posterity, and the true public liberty, safety, and peace of the kingdoms, wherein every one's private condition is included: And calling to mind the treacherous and bloody plots, conspiracies, attempts, and practices of the enemies of God, against the true religion and professors thereof in all places, especially in these three kingdoms, ever since the reformation of religion; and how much their rage, power, and presumption are of late and at this time increased and exercised, whereof the deplorable state of the Church and kingdom of Ireland, the distressed estate of the Church and kingdom of England, and the dangerous estate of the Church and kingdom of Scotland are present and public testimonies; we have now at last (after other means of supplication, remonstrance, protestation, and sufferings, for the preservation of ourselves and our religion from utter ruin and destruction, according to the commendable practice of these kingdoms in former times, and the example of God's people in other nations), after mature deliberation, resolved and determined to enter into a mutual and Solemn League and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us for himself, with our hands lifted up to the most High God, do swear,
'I. That we shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of God, endeavor, in our several places and callings, the preservation of the reformed religion in the Church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, against our common enemies; the reformation of religion in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the Word of God and the example of the best Reformed Churches; and shall endeavor to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of Church government, directory for worship and catechising; that we, and our posterity after us, may, as brethren, live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.
'II. That we shall, in like manner, without respect of persons, endeavor the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy (that is, Church government by Archbishops, Bishops, their Chancellors and Commissaries, Deans, Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons, and all other ecclesiastical Officers depending on that hierarchy), superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness; lest we partake in other men's sins, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues; and that the Lord may be one, and his name one, in the three kingdoms.
'III. We shall, with the same sincerity, reality, and constancy, in our several vocations, endeavor, with our estates and lives, mutually to preserve the rights and privileges of the Parliaments, and the liberties of the kingdoms; and to preserve and defend the King's Majesty's person and authority, in the preservation and defense of the true religion and liberties of the kingdoms; that the world may bear witness with our consciences of our loyalty, and that we have no thoughts or intentions to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness.
'IV. We shall also, with all faithfulness, endeavor the discovery of all such as have been or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion, 691dividing the King from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any faction or parties amongst the people, contrary to this League and Covenant; that they may be brought to public trial, and receive condign punishment, as the degree of their offenses shall require or deserve, or the supreme judicatories of both kingdoms respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.
'V. And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace between these kingdoms, denied in former times to our progenitors, is, by the good providence of God, granted unto us, and hath been lately concluded and settled by both Parliaments; we shall each one of us, according to our place and interest, endeavor that they may remain conjoined in a firm peace and union to all posterity, and that justice may be done upon the willful opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent article.
'VI. We shall also, according to our places and callings, in this common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the kingdoms, assist and defend all those that enter into this League and Covenant in the maintaining and pursuing thereof; and shall not suffer ourselves, directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided and withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable indifferency or neutrality in this cause which so much concerneth the glory of God, the good of the kingdom, and honor of the king; but shall, all the days of our lives, zealously and constantly continue therein against all opposition, and promote the same according to our power against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what we are not able ourselves to suppress or overcome we shall reveal and make known, that it may be timely prevented or removed: all which we shall do as in the sight of God.
'And, because these kingdoms are guilty of many sins and provocations against God and his Son Jesus Christ, as is too manifest by our present distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof, we profess and declare, before God and the world, our unfeigned desire to be humbled for our own sins, and for the sins of these kingdoms; especially, that we have not as we ought valued the inestimable benefit of the gospel; that we have not labored for the purity and power thereof; and that we have not endeavored to receive Christ in our hearts nor to walk worthy of him in our lives; which are the causes of other sins and transgressions so much abounding amongst us; and our true and unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavor for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge, both in public and in private, in all duties we owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a real reformation; that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these Churches and kingdoms in truth and peace.
'And this Covenant we make in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall answer at that great day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed; most humbly beseeching the Lord to strengthen us by his Holy Spirit for this end, and to bless our desires and proceedings with such success as may be deliverance and safety to his people and encouragement to other Christian Churches, groaning under, or in danger of, the yoke of anti-Christian tyranny, to join in the same or like association and covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the peace and tranquillity of Christian kingdoms and commonwealths.'
The immediate origin of this international politico-religious Covenant was the combined application of the English Parliament, then at war with King Charles I., and the Westminster Assembly of Divines, then sitting under its authority, for the effectual aid of the Scots, who occupied a position of neutrality. Six commissioners—four from the Parliament (Sir William Armyn, Sir Harry Vane the younger, Mr. Hatcher, and Mr. Darley) and two from the Westminster Assembly (Stephen 692Marshall and Philip Nye)—appeared with official and private letters before the Scotch Convention of Estates and the General Assembly at Edinburgh, in August, 1643. The English desired a civil league; the Scotch were for a religious covenant, and made the latter a condition of the former. Alexander Henderson, a highly esteemed minister at Edinburgh, Rector of the University (since 1640), and then for the third time Moderator of the General Assembly, was intrusted with the preparation of the document. He had drawn up a part of the National Covenant five years before. The English suggested some modifications which gave greater prominence to the political feature. The draft was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted by the General Assembly and the Scottish Convention, Aug. 17, 1643. The people, who had not forgotten the Covenant of 1638, manifested their most hearty approval, and went into the new engagement with the 'perfervidum ingenium Scotorum.'
The Solemn League and Covenant became a signal of war and victory in the history of Puritanism. It was followed by the appointment of Scotch commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, who took a leading part in the preparation of the Westminster standards of doctrine, worship, and discipline. It was debated for three or four days in that Assembly, and approved, with a few verbal alterations, by all the members except the Episcopalians. On the 21st of September Parliament ordered it to be published and subscribed throughout England. On the 25th of September the members of the House of Commons (two hundred and twenty-eight) and the divines of the Assembly set the example in St. Margaret's Church,13371337 It is still used as a place of worship on special occasions by the Houses of Parliament. beneath the shadow of Westminster Abbey. It was one of the strangest and most solemn events in the history of England. It reminds one of the formation of the Swiss Confederacy on the green meadow at Grütli. After prayer and addresses by White of Dorchester, Philip Nye, and Henderson, the Covenant was read, article by article, from the pulpit, and every member, standing up and lifting his right hand to heaven, took the pledge, and then signed his name on the rolls of parchment. The House of Lords followed a few weeks afterwards (Oct. 15). The same solemn scene was re-enacted in almost every English town and parish where the authority of Parliament prevailed. Cromwell among the Commons, 693and probably, also, Milton as a householder, signed the document, though Cromwell afterwards made war on the Scots, and Milton came to the conclusion that 'new Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.' In vain did the King, from his head-quarters in Oxford, forbid the League (Oct. 9), as 'a traitorous and seditious combination against himself and the established religion of his kingdom.' It became the shibboleth of Puritan religion and patriotism. There were, however, some exceptions. England, after all, was not so zealous for Presbyterianism as Scotland, and not used to covenanting. Richard Baxter raised his voice against the indiscriminate enforcement of the Covenant, and prevented its being taken in Kidderminster and the neighborhood.13381338 Marsden (History of the Later Puritans, p. 77): 'Such is the weight of character: one country clergyman prevailed against the rulers of two kingdoms.'
From England the tide flowed back to Scotland, and Scotland, stimulated by the example, outran the neighboring country in zeal for the League. On the 13th of October, 1643, most of the nobles, including eighteen members of the Privy Council, solemnly signed it in Edinburgh, and from that day on for months there was 'a general swearing to the Covenant' by the people of Scotland, as by the Parliamentarians in England, from district to district, from city to city, from village to village, from parish to parish.13391339 Stoughton, Vol. I. p. 294; Masson, Vol. III. pp. 12, 13.
'O'er hill and dale the summons flew,
Nor rest nor pause the herald knew.
Each valley, each sequester'd glen,
Mustered its little horde of men,
That met, as torrents from the height,
In Highland dales, when streams unite,
Still gathering as they pour along,
A voice more loud, a tide more strong.'
On the 29th of November, 1643, the two countries entered into a treaty, by which the Scots promised to furnish an army for the war, the expenses to be refunded after the conclusion of peace. The Scots felt that they were playing the part of the good Samaritan towards the neighbor who had fallen among thieves. 'Surely,' says Baillie, 'it was a great act of faith in God, and huge courage and unheard-of compassion' on the part of the Scotch nation, 'to hazard their own peace 694and venture their lives and all, for to save a people so irrecoverably ruined, both in their own and in all the world's eyes.'
The united army fought under the banner of the Anglo-Scotch Covenant against royal and episcopal tyranny, and for the establishment of presbyterian uniformity. The negative end was gained, the positive failed. 'Trusting in God and keeping their powder dry,' the Puritans overthrew both monarchy and prelacy, but only to be overthrown in turn by the Nemesis of history. No human power could bring the two kingdoms under one creed and one form of government and worship. Presbyterian uniformity in England was as preposterous as Episcopal uniformity in Scotland.
The Solemn League and Covenant was weakened by the quarrel between the Presbyterians and Independents, and was virtually broken with the destruction of the monarchy and the execution of Charles I. (1648).13401340 The Westminster Assembly, or what was left of it, sympathized with Presbyterian Scotland in loyalty to the monarchy, and unanimously signified its desire for the King's release. Forty-seven ministers, meeting at Sion College, signed a document addressed to Fairfax, in which they protested most earnestly in the name of religion and the Solemn League and Covenant against the military usurpation and the violence intended to the King's person. Masson, Vol. III. p. 716; Stoughton, Vol. I. p. 529. The English army put down the Covenant which the Scotch army had set up. After the Restoration it became an object of intense hatred, and was publicly burned by the common hangman in Westminster Hall by order of Parliament (1661). Charles II., who had twice sworn both to the Solemn League and to the National Covenant as a part of his coronation oath in Scotland (June 23, 1650, and Jan. 1, 1651), broke his oath as soon as he ascended the English throne, and established the royal Supremacy and Episcopacy even in Presbyterian Scotland (1662). But the Covenanters fought for the institutions of their fathers with the heroic spirit of martyrdom through all those troubled times,
'Whose memory rings through Scotland to this hour.'
THE SCOTCH KIRK.
After severe struggles Prelacy was again overthrown and Presbyterianism permanently re-established in Scotland by Parliament in 1690, though with a degree of dependence on the state which kept up a constant irritation, and which led from time to time to new secessions.695
These secessions from the Established Kirk, down to the great exodus of the Free Church in 1843, were no new departures, but, like the sects in Russia, returns to the old landmarks. The system of Calvinistic Presbyterianism which the great Reformer had established in Geneva found in Scotland a larger and more congenial field of action, and became there more free and independent of the civil power. It was wrought into the bone and sinew of the nation which seems to be predestinated for such a manly, sturdy, God-fearing, solid, persevering type of Christianity. Romanism in the Highlands is only an unsubdued remnant of the Middle Ages, lately reinforced by Irish emigrants to the large cities. Episcopacy is an English exotic for Scotchmen educated in England and associated with the English aristocracy. The body of the people are Presbyterian to the back-bone. The differences between the Established Kirk, the United Presbyterians, the Free Church, and the smaller secession bodies seem insignificant to an outside observer, and turn on questions of psalmody, patronage, and relation to the civil government. The vital doctrines and principles are held in common by all. Differences of opinion, which in other countries constitute merely theological schools or parties in one and the same denomination, give rise in Scotland to separate ecclesiastical organizations. The scrupulous conscientiousness and stubbornness which clothe minor questions with the dignity and grandeur of fundamental principles, and are made to justify separation and schism, are the shadow of a virtue. Scotland is an unconquerable fort of orthodox Protestantism. In no other country and Church do we find such fidelity and tenacity; such unswerving devotion to the genius of the Reformation; such union of metaphysical subtlety with religious fervor and impetuosity; such general interest in ecclesiastical councils and enterprizes; such jealousy for the rights and self-government of the Church; such loyalty to a particular denomination combined with a generous interest in Christ's kingdom at large; such reverence for God's holy Word and holy day, that after the hard and honest toil of the week lights up the poorest man's cottage on 'Saturday night.'
The history of Christianity, since the days of the apostles, furnishes no brighter chapter of heroic and successful sacrifices for the idea of the sole headship of Christ, and the honor and independence of his Church, than the Free-Church movement, whose leaders—Chalmers, 696Welsh, Candlish, Cunningham, Duncan, Fairbairn, Guthrie, Buchanan, Arnot—have now one by one taken their place among the great and good men of the past, but will continue to live in the memory of a grateful people. Dr. Norman Macleod, himself one of the noblest of Scotchmen, who was a member of the disruption Assembly of 1843, and found it harder to stay in the Established Church as 'a restorer of the breach' than to go out of it amid the huzzas of popular enthusiasm, honored himself as much as Dr. Chalmers, his teacher, when he spoke of him after his death as a man 'whose noble character, lofty enthusiasm, and patriotic views will rear themselves before the eyes of posterity like Alpine peaks, long after the narrow valleys which have for a brief period divided us are lost in the far distance of past history.'13411341 Memoir of Norman Macleod, by his Brother, 1876, Vol. I. p. 263 (N. Y. ed.). In securing liberty for itself, the Free Church conferred a blessing upon the mother Church by rousing it to greater activity, and setting in motion an agitation which resulted in the total abolition of the Law of Patronage by Act of Parliament (1875).
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