History of the Bishoprick continued – Presbytery abolished in 1610
– Re-established in 1638.
After closing the tragedy of the celebrated Mr. John Ogilvy, we return to the spiritual part of the history of the bishoprick, and find in the year 1610, our sagacious sovereign James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, bringing to bear his favourite maxim, No bishop no king. Driving this theory into practice, he had managed matters so well, as to prevail on the great and learned Mr. John Spottiswood, to become his friend, and to accept of the see of Glasgow. He was accordingly consecrated by the bishop of London, and after his induction to the see, caused the general assembly, (whose sittings were then ambulatory) to meet at Glasgow, where the bishop managed matters so much, in conformity to the interest, or at least, to the views of his royal master, that, to use his own words, “after purging the assembly of a great number of its members who adhered to presbytery, that form of church government was abolished, by their act, and episcopacy established.” This act was amended by the parliament, which sat down in Edinburgh soon afterwards, and brought to its true meaning, so as to establish episcopacy in conformity to the mode of worship established in the church of England. That parliament was made up of four orders, viz. the king, the church, the barons, and the knights of the shires and burgesses. The last three of these orders sat in one house, where, it may be presumed, the powerful barons, in the strength of the feudal system, maintained their influence over the votes of their vassals, the knights and burgesses.
Another general assembly was held at Glasgow, in the year 1638, of which we shall now give an account. Before entering upon it, however, it may be necessary to premise, that, in the preceding year, 1637, there had been obtruded upon the church of Scotland, a service-book, arranged under the direction of Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, in which, it was thought, the service of the mass preponderated, more than in the English liturgy. On this account that prelate became the subject of popular abuse in Scotland. He had been previously highly censured in England, for the innovations he introduced into the church, by reviving the superstitious sentiments and ceremonies that prevailed during the fourth and fifth centuries. He was equally condemned for performing the most solemn acts of devotion, in a manner which was tainted with the rites of superstition. His bowing at the name of Jesus, and the ceremonies employed by him in the consecration of St. Catherine’s church, were the objects of general scandal and offence.
Of this consecration it may not be improper to give some account. Upon his approach to the west door of the church, a loud voice cried, or sung, from the 24th psalm, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be уe lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.” Immediately the doors of the church were thrown open, and the bishop, entering, fell upon his knees, expanded his arms, and uttered these words – “This place is holy; the ground is holy; in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I PRONOUNCE IT HOLY!”
In going to the chancel, he several times took up from the floor some of the dust, and threw it in the air. When he approached, with his attendants, near to the communion-table, he bowed frequently towards it: And on their return, they marched round the church, repeating some of the psalms. A form of prayer was then said, which concluded with consecrating the church, and separating it as holy ground, not to be profaned any more to common uses. The rest of the ceremony consisted of imprecations on such as should afterwards pollute that holy place; and of blessings upon those who had been concerned in framing and building the sacred edifice, as well as upon such as had given, or should give to it, any ornaments, or utensils. The sermon followed, after which, the bishop consecrated and administered the sacrament.1 The whole of the ceremonies were conducted in a manner, which was thought, at the time, to be a mixture of the rites of the Jewish, and Romish churches, with those of the Lutheran reformers. Such ceremonies would never have been relished by the church of Scotland; and they could not fail of being also disagreeable, in the extreme, to the English church, which was then puritanical.
This prelate was remarkable for severity of manners, and for polemical knowledge; – for unrelenting zeal in the cause religion, and for the unceasing industry with which he studied to exalt the prelatical character. His influence with the king gave him an opportunity of exerting these qualities. – But the fury of his zeal created a universal alarm, and produced in time a revolution in church and state, both in England and Scotland; became the cause of his own imprisonment and execution, and was at last the means of bringing his too easy sovereign to the scaffold.
This much we have thought it proper to observe, concerning Laud and his service-book, as the disgust, occasioned by the introduction of that liturgy, had a considerable effect upon the procedure of the assembly. Of these proceedings we shall now enter upon the detail.
When the diet of the assembly drew near, it was considered by the tables or committee at Edinburgh, that it would be proper, besides the commissioners, to draw thither the gentry of the country, in order to guard the assembly, and make it terrible to gainsayers. For this end they fell upon a very curious device. They caused a report to be spread, that these robbers, then in the highlands, would come down, beset the ways, and do violence to the commissioners in their journey to Glasgow; and that it was therefore fit, that all who were zealous in the cause, should convey their commissioners to the assembly, and guard them during their sitting.2 This being done, the concourse of people was very great; and the assembly contained not only the influence of the crown, but the power of the feudal nobility, joined to the ministers and commissioners of the church.
Of the first day’s sitting, the following account is given by the learned and ingenious Doctor Robert Bailie, afterwards principal of the University of Glasgow, one of the first men of the age in which he lived, and who acted a principal character in the important transactions of these times. “On Friday 18th November, we in the west, as we were desired, came to Glasgow; our noblemen, especially Eglinton, backed with a great number of vassals; and on Saturday, came in, most of our eastland noblemen, barons, and ministers; the earls of Rothes, Montrose, and many of our folks, went out to meet his grace the commissioner.3 As for myself, I am well lodged. Indeed the magistrates had taken such order, that rooms were found in plenty and at a reasonable price, with large provision, above all expectation, for which they got much thanks and credit. This town can lodge easily at once, council, session, parliament, and general assembly, if need should require.” Where the general assembly was held, he does not mention, but as the inner, and outer church, were by this time fitted up for worship, in the manner they now are, we presume, the choir to have been prepared for the assembly, in the manner of Westminster-hall, in cases of state trials. “With great difficulty, we were set down; the commissioner in his chair of state. At his feet before, and on both sides, the chief of the council, the treasurer, privy seal, Argyle, Marr, Murray, Angus, Lauderdale, Wigton, Glencairn, Perth, Tullibardine, Galloway, Haddington, Kinghorn, register, treasurer-depute. justice-general, Amount, justice-clerk, Southeske, Linlithgow, Dalziel, Dumfries, Queensberry, Belhaven, and many more. At a long table in the floor, – our noblemen and barons, elders of parishes, commissioners from presbyteries; among whom were, Rothes, Montrose, Eglinton, Cassilis, Lothian, Wemyss, Loudoun, Sinclair, Balmerino, Burleigh, Lindsay, Yester, Hume, Johnston, Keir, Auldbar, Sir William Douglas of Cavers, Durie younger, Lamington, Sir John Mackenzie, George Gordon, Philorth, Tairie, Newton. Few barons in Scotland, of note, but were either voters or assessors from every burgh. From Edinburgh, the chief burgh, James Cochran and Thomas Paterson, from all the sixty-three presbyteries except a very few, three commissioners each, – from the four universities also, – all sitting in good commodious forms, rising gradually around the low long table. A little table was set in the middle, fronting the commissioner, for the moderator and clerk. At the end a high room, prepared chiefly for young noblemen, viz. Montgomery, Fleming, Boyd, Areskine, Linton, Creighton, Livingston, Ross, Maitland, Drumlanrig, Drummond, Keir, Elcho, and sundry more, with great numbers of people, ladies, and some gentlemen, in the vaults above.
“Mr. John Bell4 had a very good and pertinent sermon, sharp enough against our late innovations, and episcopacy. The pity was, the good old man was not heard by one sixth part of the beholders. That service ended with hearty prayer, which I, with many more, I trust, seconded, with hearty tears. My lord gave in his commission to Mr. Thomas Sandilands, as depute from his father, Mr. J. Sandilands, commissar of Aberdeen, clerk to the last general assembly. His grace harangued none at all as we expected he would. We found him thereafter, as able to have spoken well, what he pleased, as any in the house. I take the man to be of a sharp, ready, solid, clear wit, of a brave and masterly expression; loud, distinct, slow, full, yet concise, modest, courtly, yet simple and natural language. If the king have many such men, he is a well served prince.”
In this superb, though dangerous assembly of the church, and of the nobility and land-holders of the kingdom, the presbyterian party carried every thing before them; and, what was astonishing, the nobility who headed the presbyterian clergy, managed matters so well, as to keep the priesthood only in hopes, concerning the division of temporalities, for which there had been a violent scramble among the patrons and patronised; about which they had wrangled during the sitting, and for which, in this and the former age, they and their predecessors, had silently found themselves the tools of their patrons. Their venerable successors of the present age, the first race of men of that description in the world, in looking to their families, and their scanty income, regret this political frenzy which pervaded their predecessors, when they departed from the paths of peace, in so far as to forget their own interest and that of their successors. – They never were at any period of so much importance in the state; they lost the opportunity of remaining so, and, for the pitiful honour of governing the minds of a bewildered people in the affairs of state, they left themselves in want, and their flocks in rebellion, against their sovereign, as will be seen in the following pages.
When the nobility, who headed the presbyterian clergy, had carried every thing before them at the expence of fair promises to their deluded voters, – his grace the marquis of Hamilton, his majesty’s commissioner, after he had lost the cause of his errand, and the division of the spoil of what remained of the temporalities of the archbishoprick of Glasgow, laid hold of them in a masterful manner, as our law expresses it, and left the spiritualities to the town ministry, which was but a small matter. But to content Glasgow, the bishoprick of Galloway was afterward given to the college, under deduction of a stipend to the cathedral.
The first day’s sitting of the assembly, was on Wednesday, the 21st of November. We have already given part of the proceedings. The remainder of this diet was occupied, with calling over the presbyteries, burghs, and universities, and receiving their commissions. Those from the presbyteries, were almost uniform in tenor and words; and each contained power to three ministers, and one elder, to reason, vote, and conclude, in all things to be proponed, according to the word of God, and the confession of faith of the church of Scotland, as they should be answerable to God and the church.
On Thursday, the second diet, the moderator for the time, offered to the commissioner, a leet, or list, upon which votes might pass for the election of a new moderator. The treasurer, Sir Lewis Stewart, argued with great eagerness, that, before any synodical action, the validity of the commissions should be discussed. Against this motion, as “rooting up all possibility ever to settle any assembly, but at the commissioner’s discretion,” Rothes, Loudon, and others, reasoned, that custom, equity, and necessity, enforced the chusing a moderator and clerk, before the commissions should be discussed, or any thing else done. Much subtile and passionate pleading having ensued, the commissioner retired to consult with the council. “After a long stay in the chapter-house,”5 he returned and signified his consent to permit voting for the moderator; protesting, that his voting should not import his approbation of the commissions, or his acknowledgement of any voter as a lawful member of the assembly. He protested also, “That the nomination of a moderator should be nowise prejudicial to the lords of the clergy, their office, dignity, or any privilege, which law or custom had given to them.” These were followed by counter protests, by Rothes, in name of the presbyteries and burghs; and the commissioner having proposed to read a paper presented to him in name of the bishops, the assembly became clamorous against it, whereupon his grace protested, that the refusal of hearing that paper was unjust. All were tired with the multiplication of protests, except the clerk, who received with each a piece of gold. They were, nevertheless, continued upon various preliminary points. At last the assembly were permitted to chuse a moderator. Messrs. John Ker, John Row, J. Bonner, William Livingston, and Alexander Henderson, were put in the leet, or list, by Mr. John Bell; and Mr. Henderson was almost unanimously elected. In conclusion, it was resolved, to have but one session in the day, from ten, or eleven, till four, or five. “So,” says principal Bailie, “we were all relieved of the expences of a dinner. A breakfast only put us off till supper, for commonly we sat an hour with candle light.”
With respect to the protests, which took place at this diet, principal Bailie observes, “How needless soever many of his grace’s protestations seemed to be, yet I was glad for his way of proceeding. It gave me some hopes of his continuing among us. I thought that this way of protesting had been resolved wisely in council, whereby the commissioner might sit still till the end, and yet, by his presence, import no further approbation to any of our conclusions than he found expedient.” The principal, however, was disappointed in his expectation, as will appear in the sequel.
In the third session, Friday, November 23, the moderator presented a leet, or list, of persons, to be voted upon for the office of clerk. The commissioner, with the view, either of having a clerk who would be submissive to the council, or of shewing his piety and equity, by maintaining every one in his right, pressed much that the young man, Mr. Thomas Sandilands, might serve as depute to his father, Mr. James Sandilands. For many reasons, however, particularly, because Mr. James Sandilands had been improperly elected to the office, by consent of a corrupt assembly, the clerk’s place was declared vacant.
The commissioner now moved, that his assessors might vote in the clerk’s election. Upon this motion a long debate ensued, and reasons in writing were produced, why the commissioner and his assessors should have but one voice. This great, yea highest question was closed by the renewal of the former night’s protestation on both sides.
Mr. Archibald Johnston was chosen clerk, with only one dissent, and being deeply sworn, was admitted to all the rights, profits, and privileges of the office. To him, Mr. Sandilands, in the face of the assembly, delivered two registers, containing the acts of the kirk since the year 1590, affirming that his father had never any more in his custody. The moderator lamented the loss of the other registers; and required the assistance of his brethren to procure their production. The commissioner expressed his willingness to do his endeavour for so good a work. Rothes entreated that the bishops might be caused to deliver them up; alledging it was known that king James had sent a warrant to Mr. Thomas Nicholson, late clerk, to deliver the church registers to the bishop of St. Andrew’s.
The assembly regretted the irreparable loss of these writings; but, to their great joy, the new clerk declared, that by the good providence of God, the books were come to his hand. He accordingly produced five books in folio, containing the full register from the reformation in 1560, to the year 1590, when Mr. Sandiland’s books began, except twenty-three leaves, which bishop Adamson had torn out. These had been left by one Winram, depute to Mr. Thomas Nicholson, to Alexander Blair his successor in office, from whom Mr. Johnston had got them; and the first, being an extract or compend, from 1560 to 1590, served, in a great part, to supply Adamson’s rapine.
The moderator craved that these books should be inspected by Argyle, Lauderdale, and Southesk; but the commissioner would not permit his assessors to undertake such an employment, since they were refused to vote in the assembly. A committee of the synod was therefore appointed to examine if these books were authentic and full registers, and to report as soon as they could.
The assembly were then required, by the moderator, to proceed to investigate the commissions. The commissioner moved, that, in the first place, the paper from the bishops should be read, as the former objections, of the want of a moderator and clerk, were removed. It was answered, once and again, that this could not be done, until, by the discussion of the commissions, the assembly should be constituted. Traquair said, that possibly the paper had exceptions against the lawfulness of the election of the commissioners, which it would be impertinent to alledge, if they were once approved. A long debate, and renewal of protestations, followed. Argyle observed, that as a party is entitled to except against assizers, before they are sworn, so, the bishops, might give in their exceptions against the assembly, which was now like an assize convened, but not sworn. The moderator answered, cuttedly, that the commissioner only should speak there; and Loudon took off the whole with this jest, that my lord Argyle’s instance was good, if the bishops had appeared, as impannelled men before an assize. With this tedious controversy, ended this day’s sitting.
At the fourth session, Saturday, November 24th, the assembly waited for his grace till near twelve. This delay was owing, not so much to his breakfast, which was daily magnificent and sumptuous, as to his consultations with his cabinet council, and the long accounts of occurrences, which were every day made up and dispatched to the king.
These commissions were now examined. These were in number 112, from presbyteries, burghs, and universities. The commissioner protested, that his silence should not be taken for an approbation of any man’s commission. Thirteen only were controverted, and we find, that the commissions of the presbytery, and college of Glasgow, were in the number of those rejected.
The fifth session was on Monday, November 26. The rest of the commissions were read, and several set aside. The presbyterian party, found, at last, to their great joy, the assembly fully constituted, AND THEN THE BUSINESS BEGAN. The first matter was the trial of the church registers; upon which, the committee were ordered to report next day. At this sitting, a curious circumstance occurred. Mr. Thomas Mackenzie, came with a commission from the Chanrie of Ross, and being rejected, gave in a protestation against ruling elders, with odious accusations against the tables of Edinburgh. Rothes, and the marquis craved instruments of the production of that protestation, “but the man at once went off the town.” Mr. Andrew Ramsay got up in a storm, and, with great confidence, undertook to prove, from scripture, fathers, consent of reformed churches, our own church practice, and assembly-acts, that ruling elders were lawful and necessary members of assemblies. The commissioner, professing his own insufficiency, promised to produce some who should prove the contrary. “Balcanqual,” says our author, “gibed in private at Andrew’s brag, likening him to the English champion, who provokes all the court to fight him in the king’s presence, in the quarrel of the king’s crown. Yet I think Mr. Andrew would have made his word good against any of his grace’s disputers, if they durst have come forward.”
Mackenzie, having been afterward found a subscriber of the bishop’s declinature, and a most vicious fellow, was deposed from his ministry.
At the 6th session, on Tuesday, November 27, the committee gave in their report of the five register-books of the assembly, and their reasons for concluding them to be authentic. The commissioner, resolved, it seems, to be a consenter to nothing, would not admit their authenticity. The moderator, on account of the importance of the subject, delayed voting upon it till the next day. He then proposed the naming of assessors to himself, and of a privy conference. This was over-ruled in consideration of the episcopal abuse of the privy conference, to enervate and subvert the assembly; but the moderator was permitted to name a committee, to meet with him an hour every day, for regulating the proceedings. The commissioner protested, that such nomination should not be prejudicial to the king’s right, of ordering the matters to be moved in the assembly. Rothes affirmed that right to be in the moderator. The committee were then named, consisting of four ministers, five of the nobility, viz. Rothes, Montrose, Lindsay, Loudon, and Balmerino; three of the gentry, and three of the commissioners from burghs.
Next came on, the long urged declinature and protestation of the bishops. So soon as it was read, lords Montgomery, Fleming, Elcho, Boyd, and young Durie, protested, in name of the complainers, that the bishops had acknowledged their citation, and appeared by their proctors, although they had wilfully absented themselves in person; and therefore craved, that sentence might be given against them, as present. The commissioner took a counter protest. He also produced three papers, one subscribed by the dean of Edinburgh and others, another by the ministers of Dundee, and the third by eight of the presbytery of Glasgow, containing each a protest against the assembly, if elders or commissioners should have a voice. These were suppressed, with the commissioner’s open indignation, after some papers had been read, in favour of the right of elders to sit in synods.
The presbyterian party were glad to observe, from this day’s procedure, that the number of protestors, with which they were threatened, was now found to be small, and of little consideration.
On Wednesday, November 28, before the sitting commenced, a report was propagated, that the commissioner intended to depart from the assembly that day, and to break it up, in so far as he could. The presbyterian party heard this with much concern; and indeed, it was beyond their expectation. They had but small hopes, at first, of the assembly’s sitting down with the commissioner’s consent; but, as it had commenced procedure, they thought, that the mode of protesting would have been continued by the commissioner, without his breaking up the assembly, at least, at so early a period: more especially, as he had often expressed his desire to sit till matters should be brought to some tolerable conclusion.
The first business of this day was the assembly books. The commissioner, testified his desire of seeing the church registers restored to her; but, of necessity, protested against these books as true and sufficient. The assembly, notwithstanding, in one voice, accepted of them as the authentic registers of the church.
The consideration of the bishop’s declinature being resumed, answers to it in writing were given in, and the moderator required the assembly to vote upon the question, whether they found themselves the bishop’s judges?
The commissioner thereupon produced the king’s instructions, subscribed and signed, “whereby” says principal Bailie “sundry things were granted to our desire; but nothing that gave us a tolerable security of any thing.” The moderator, in a learned speech, returned thanks for the king’s great favours, contained in that paper; and afterwards, pressed the assembly to proceed to the vote. A “sad, grave, and sorrowful discourse” ensued. The commissioner, in a speech, accompanied by tears, spoke much of his sincere endeavours to serve God, the king, and country; of his grief, yet necessity to depart. The causes he alledged were, the spoiling the assembly, by partial directions from the tables at Edinburgh; and the precipitant intrusion of lay-elders to vote in the assembly; and his grace added, that, instead of chusing elders, had the presbyteries applied to the king, he, out of his good liking to the assembly, would have taken the voice of so many noblemen and gentlemen conducible for his service, if they would have had patience to have the right of their interrupted possessions restored to them by order.
This was answered by Rothes, Loudon, and others, and after many words, the commissioner protested, “that no act there should import his consent, and that nought done by the voices of the present members was lawful.” He also discharged them from proceeding any further. Whilst he was going, lord Rothes gave to the clerk a protestation in writing, prepared for such an occurrence; and after a short speech from Argyle, which was thought, at the time, rather ambiguous, followed by an answer from Loudon and Rothes, the commissioner and counsellors departed.
The assembly, being now left to themselves, and consisting of only one party, resolved, at all hazards, to adhere to the protestation against the commissioner’s departure, and to remain still to the end, till all things needful were concluded.
We have thought it proper to be particular in stating the various struggles and contests of the two parties. Our limits will not permit us to enter so minutely into the future proceedings, which we must therefore relate in a manner more general and concise.
Thursday, November 29th, was the eighth session. Argyle came back, and, although he was not a member of the assembly, was earnestly entreated by the moderator, to countenance their meetings, and bear witness to the righteousness of their proceedings. This to their great joy, he promised, and faithfully performed.
The assembly continued their sittings until the 26th of December inclusive, having in whole twenty-six sessions, or diets. During the eighteen sessions after the commissioner’s departure, they reasoned and decided upon various important matters, of the chief of which, the following is a summary:-
1st. After considering the confession of faith, and how far it excluded or admitted the posterior innovations of the church, an ordinance or decree was passed, by which episcopacy and the articles of Perth were declared to have been abjured in the confession; and were of new removed, and abjured, as abuses and corruptions.
2d. The books of service, canons, ordination, and high commission, were, by four several decrees, abolished.
3d. An investigation was made, into the proceedings of the six immediately preceding assemblies, which were found to be corrupt, and were termed “the inbringers of the innovation, and causes of the divisions, and evils, under which the church laboured.” They were accordingly declared to be null. And, from this declaration, were deduced as consequences, the freedom of all, from the oaths of conformity taken by the bishops; the restitution of presbyteries and assemblies to their rights, which, it was found, were never null, though for a time, by the violence and injustice of the bishops, suppressed; the validity of the admissions and depositions of ministers, passed lately by the presbyteries without the bishops’ consent; and other consequences of a similar nature, – all of which were set down by way of acts.
4th. The bishops, and sundry ministers, were tried, and deposed, for professing the doctrines of arminianism, popery, and atheism; for urging the use of the liturgy, bowing to the altar, and wearing the cope and rotchet; for declining the assembly; and for being guilty of simony, avarice, profanity, adultery, drunkenness, and other infamous crimes. Among those deposed, were the bishops of Galloway, St. Andrew’s, Brechin, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Ross, Glasgow, Argyle, and Dunblane, who were also excommunicated. Orkney was found guilty of profanity, simony, and other of the charges; but, having professed his dislike of the late innovations, and sent a letter of submission to the synod, was only deposed, and ordained to give tokens of repentance against a day appointed. The bishop of the Isles was deposed, and sentence of excommunication pronounced against him, to take place against a certain day, unless he gave the like tokens. Murray, not having been formally summoned, was not excommunicated. And Dunkeld, and Caithness, on account of their submission, received favour. Dunkeld was continued in his ministry at Semidores; and Caithness was to be re-admitted minister of some church, on giving satisfaction, or proofs of penitence.
5th. The covenant, being approved by a particular declaration, was ordered to be signed by every one, under pain of excommunication; and copies were prepared, to be subscribed by the assembly and council. The Commissioner, a few days before the last sitting, transmitted to the assembly, a declaration on the same subject, which he proposed, should be adopted. That declaration having been referred to a committee, was, upon their report, rejected, because it was in terms directly opposite to the declaration previously agreed upon by the assembly; the one declaring, that, by the covenant, episcopacy, and the Perth articles, were sworn to be defended; the other, that, by that covenant, both were abjured.
6th. An act was made against the civil power of churchmen, by which they were declared incapacitated to hold any place in parliament.
7th. Several ministers, and young noblemen, and barons, were appointed, not as commissioners for parliament, but as the assembly agents, to request the royal assent to their proceedings, and to petition a number of things in the name and behalf of the church; and a draught of a petition from the assembly to the king was read, approved, and ordered to be perfected, and presented.
“Thus,” to use the language of a celebrated historian, “episcopacy, the high commission, the articles of Perth, the canons, and the liturgy, were abolished and declared unlawful: And the whole fabric which James and Charles, in a long course of years, had been rearing with so much care and policy, fell at once to the ground.”6
Besides the proceedings before enumerated, the assembly decreed a visitation to the old college of Aberdeen, upon the supplication of Mr. John Lundie, professor of Humanity, on account of abuses introduced by the bishop – and another to the college of Glasgow, with power to depose such of the professors as had been deficient in duty, and to establish a professor of divinity. They were likewise employed, in appointing and transporting ministers to vacant parishes, and in fixing places for receiving penitent bishops. We find also, that they renewed the act of assembly against fishing on Sundays, and ordained an overture to be printed with regard to the Edinburgh and Glasgow markets on Monday; which were considered to be unavoidable profanations of the sabbath.
The last day of the assembly is said by principal Bailie to have been “a blyth day to all. In the end the moderator acknowledged the great goodness of God and the king; thanked much the town of Glasgow, and gave them a fair commendation for their care and pains to give the assembly all contentment; also Argyle, for the comfort of his assistance from the beginning to the end. Mr. John Row took up the cxxxiii. psalm, and the blessing being said, we all departed with great comfort and humble joy, casting ourselves, and our poor church, in the arms of our good God.”
So ended the labours of an assembly, which forms a memorable æra in the history of the Scots church. The firmness and resolution, the order and unanimity which pervaded and governed the whole of their procedure, were wonderful. Notwithstanding the opposition of the court, and the desertion of the commissioner, they continued to sit, to deliberate, and to resolve, upon matters of the highest consequence, in which they gave such decisions as could not fail to excite the displeasure, and even the vengeance of the king. And all this was done in the face of the dissolution pronounced by the commissioner; of an act which was drawn up the night of his departure, and proclaimed next day at the cross, discharging the assembly, under pain of treason; and of sundry proclamations and declarations, which were afterward framed by his grace, and published in Edinburgh.
In these proceedings, they were countenanced and assisted by the earl of Argyle, whose conduct in remaining among them, went much “against the stomach both of the commissioner and king.” And, hence, the singular respect which his majesty had formerly entertained for that nobleman, was instantly converted into hatred and revenge.
Argyle’s example, however, joined to the commissioner’s quiet deportment, in the midst of the country where his power lay, wrought so upon the lords of the council, and others of the nobility, who had formerly stood out, that many of them, during the time of the assembly, and others, shortly thereafter, allied themselves to the covenants.7
Although in the western counties of Scotland, an enthusiastic zeal prevailed, for the reformation of religion, and for the subsequent abjuration of episcopacy, it does not appear, that the inhabitants of Glasgow were, by any means, so active in the cause, as their neighbours. This supiness may be attributed, partly to the veneration which they entertained for their metropolitan; but, chiefly, to a sense of interest, in respect of the temporal advantages, which they derived from the riches of the bishop, and clergy. This last consideration would, no doubt, have the effect, of rewarding the progress of any desire in the citizens, for the abolition of the ancient religion; and of rendering them less eager for the destruction of an order of men, to whose existence, and influence, they were indebted, for the enjoyment of wealth, and consequent happiness.
1 Hume’s history of England.
2 Memoirs of bishop Guthry.
3 The marquis of Hamilton.
4 Minister of the city.
5 This seems clearly to point out that the cathedral was the place of sitting.
6 Hume’s history of England.
7 Memoirs of bishop Guthry.