« AnteriorContinuar »
affect to find traces of their funda- people, thus, for the first time, anmental principle, either in the Canon nounced in general terms, was not lost Law or in the ecclesiastical polity of sight of, when the triumph of the rethe continental Protestants. For the forming principles in 1560 gave to same reason we shall assume, without John Knox and his brethren a fa. argument, that no such principle exists vourable opportunity of pressing on in the Church of England.
the notice of Parliament such views But the assertion of the fundamental as they deemed necessary to the proprinciple is rested mainly, we pre- motion of the Reformation. It was sume, on the history of the Reformed under these circumstances that the Church of Scotland, and the claims - First Book of Discipline” was comand pretensions to exclusive power and piled, and submitted to Parliament as jurisdiction which that Church has a system of ecclesiastical polity suited from time to time advanced.
to the improved principles and conconsideration of these we accordingly dition of the Church. Many of its proceed.
provisions, however, were In the year 1558, on the eve of the tasteful, especially to the nobility, Scottish Reformation, but while the that it never obtained the sanction Canon Law was still the law of the of the Legislature, but, on the conChurch, and as such the law of the trary, was generally denounced as land, immediately after the accession “ devout imagination.” † The auof Elizabeth to the English throne, thority of this book therefore is, to and while the Queen Regent in Scot- say the least, extremely questionable ; land was “ labouring what she could nor could it, with any show of reason, to make up the differences that had be relied on as evidence of the existarisen in point of religion," the ence of a fundamental law. But, as grievances of the CongREGATION (as illustrative of the views entertained on the Reformers were called) were pre- many important questions of polity, sented in an articulate form to the by the fathers of the Reformation in Regent, and by her remitted to a con- Scotland, it is beyond doubt a valuable vocation of all the ecclesiastics within monument, and well worthy of notice the kingdom. Among other demands, in such a discussion as the present. there is one
ating specially to the The fourth chapter concerns the setsettlement of ministers ; " That Bi- tlement of ministers, and the subject shops be elected by the consent of the is thus introduced : gentry of the diocese, and parish priests “ In a church reformed, or tending to by consent of the parishioners.” † reformation, none ought to presume either This is the first regular and formal to preach, or yet to minister the sacraintimation, so far as we know, of a de- ments, till that orderly they be called to sire on the part of any section of the
Ordinarie vocation consisteth Church of Scotland for the introduc. in Election, Examination, and Admission. tion of a new principle into this branch And because that election of ministers, of Ecclesiastical Law. The answer in this cursed Papistrie, hath altogether of the Convocation is, “ That what is been abused, we think expedient to indecreed by the Canon Law concerning treat it more largely.” the election of bishops and pastors, The initiative, or the right of elecought to be maintained entire. And tion, is then committed to the people: moreover, seeing the election of pre- “ It appertaineth to the people, and to lates was a privilege belonging to the every several congregation, to elect Crown, which required only the con- their minister.” But if the people did sent of the Pope to determine any not exercise their right within forty thing in opposition thereto, at a time days after the vacancy, the election when the Queen was so young, would was to devolve upon the superintendent be a piece of very high indiscretion and his council, in whose place the and insolence, and a treasonable en. presbytery now stands. In the first croachment upon the royal preroga. case of course, that of absolute poputive."
lar election, no minister could be electBut the demand on the part of the ed who was unacceptable to a majority
* Keith’s History, p. 78.
† Ibid, p. 82. # Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. p.19.
of the congregation, and no collision revolted from the idea of giving effect could take place between the right of to objections, the grounds of which the nomination and the mera voluntas, people would not or could not state. the unreasoning dislike, of the people. If the First Book of Discipline is to But when the election fell to the be taken as an exposition at length of Church Court, let us see what provi- the views of those men who, in 1558, sion was made for consulting the wishes required the consent of the people in of the people. In the first place, it is the settlement of ministers, the earliest said that " the admission of ministers Reformers clearly looked to popular, to their offices” (as distinct from elec. or a mixture of popular and clerical, tion, and forming the third part of election as the most desirable system, “ ordinarie vocation") “ must consist and must, of course, have aimed at in [the] consent of the people and the total abolition of the ancient rights church whereto they shall be appoint of patronage. Indeed, it is impossible ed, and approbation of the learned to read the above quoted passages, and ministers appointed for their examina. to observe the studious omission of all tion.” And if the learned ministers" allusion to the patron's right and inapprove of the candidate; if his “ doc- terest to interfere, without arriving at trine be found wholesome, and able to the conclusion, that the authors of the instruct the simple, and if the Church First Book of Discipline wished and justly can reprehend nothing in his intended that lay patronage should life, doctrine, nor utterance, then we form no part of the new code of eccle. judge the church (i. e. the congre- siastical law. With the wisdom of gation) which before was destitute, the design we have at present no conunreasonable, if they refuse him whom cern ; suffice it to say, that the atthe Church did offer; and [that] tempts to abolish patronage in the they should be compelled, by the cen- sixteenth century were eminently unsure of the councell and church, successful. For not only was the First to receive the person appointed and Book of Discipline rejected by Parliaapproved by the judgment of the god ment, but in five years after its comly and learned.”_~ For altogether pilation, the leaders of the Church this is to be avoided, that any man be found themselves compelled to admit violently intruded or thrust in upon and acquiesce in the patron's right to any congregation ; but this liberty, present to benefices. In 1565, the with all care, must be reserved to General Assembly solicit her Majesevery several church to have their ty “that the Benefices now vaikand, votes and suffrages in election of their or has vaikit since the moneth of ministers. But violent intrusion we March 1558, or that hereafter sall call not, when the councell of the happin to vaike, be disposed to qualiChurch, in the feare of God and for fied and learned personis, able to the salvation of the people, offereth preach God's Word, and to discharge unto them a sufficient man to instruct the vocatioun concerning the ministrie, them, whom they shall not be forced be the tryall and admissioun of the to admit before just examination, as superintendents. This seems modest before is said."
and reasonable enough, but the Queen's Violent intrusion therefore, accord. answer betrays considerable jealousy ing to the“ First Book of Discipline," of the designs of the Church :-" To does not consist in compelling the con. the second article it is answerit, That gregation to receive a minister whom her Majestie thinks it na wayes reathey wish to reject without stating sonable that scho sould defraude herrelevant objections to his "life, doc. self of sa great a Pairt of the Patritrine, or utterance;" for this latter monie of her Crowne, as to put the course is recommended to the Church Patronage of Benefices furth of her Court, while violent intrusion is de- awin hands.”† The explanation of the nounced as inexpedient. Between General Assembly, in their “ Answers the Reformers of that day at least, and to the Queen's Answers," is a comthe framers of the Veto Act, there is plete submission and acquiescence in but small sympathy. The stern and the existence and exercise of patronage manly mind of John Knox must have within the Church :
“ Our mind is not that her Majestie, the office that vaiks be the judgment or any uther Patron of this Realm, sould of the elderschip and consent of the be defrauded of their just Patronagesi; congregation." And a little after (s but we mean, quhensoever her Majestie or
5):-“ “ In this ordinar election it is to aoy uther Patron does present any person be eschewit that na person be intrusit to a Benefice, that the person presentit in ony of the offices of the kirk, con. sould be tryit and examineit be the judge trar to the will of the congregation to ment of learned men of the Kirk, sick as
whom they ar appointed, or without presently are the superintendents ap
the voce of the elderschip.” This is pointed thereto : and as the presentatioun of Benefices pertains to the Patrone, sa
a very broad doctrine, boldly stated;
and, if it had been represented as a deaucht the collatioun thereof, be law and reason, pertain to the Kirk: of the qulilk have been a difficult task to reconcile
claration of the existing law, it might collatioun the Kirk sould not be defraudit,
it with the admissions of the Church in more nor the patrones of their presentatioun : For utherwayes, if it sal be lesum
their answers to the Queen in 1565. to the Patrone absolutely to present quhom But it is not a little remarkable that, ever they please, without Tryall or Exa
in a subsequent part of the book, minatioun, what, then, can abyde in the Melville and his coadjutors admit, that Kirk of God bot meere Ignorance without the system which they propose and all Ordour ?"*
admire is altogether impracticable in
conjunction with patronage--that the All, therefore, that the Church here
two are positively incompatible. In proposes as a check on the absolute
a subsequent chapter (Chap. XII. S exercise of patronage, is the trial and 9) they say:_" The libertie of the examination of presentees; and the election of persons callit to the ecclemotive for insisting on this is perfect- siastical functions, and observit withly satisfactory-viz. to prevent the out interruption swa lang as the Kirk intrusion of ignorant men into the was not corruptit be Antichrist, we ministry.
desyre to be restorit and retenit with. Then follows the Act 1567, c. 7, in this realme, swa that nane be inwhich, in the spirit of the above com- trusit upon ony congregation, either munications, statutes and ordains, be the prince or ony inferior person, " That the examination and admission without lawful election and the assent of ministers within this realme be only of the people ower quham the person in the power of the Kirk, now openlie is placit; as the practice of the aposand publickly professed within the sa- tolical and primitive kirk and gudo min, the presentation of laick patron- order craves. And because this order, ages alwaies reserved-to the just and quhilk God's word craves, cannot stand auncient patrones.”
with patronages and presentations to Various attempts, however, still con- benefices usit in the Paip's kirk, we detinued to be made, to substitute the syre all them that trewlie fear God, earelection of the people or of the nestly to consider that, for swa meikle Church Court for the presentation as the names of patronages and beneof the patron. Of these, one of the fices, together with the effect thairof, most celebrated, and historically the have flow'd fra the Paip and corrupmost important, is contained in The tion of the canon law only, in so far Second Book of Discipline, compiled as thereby ony person was intrusit, by Andrew Melville and others in or placit owir kirks having curam ani1578—a work of which it is only ne- marum,” therefore they beseech all cessary to say, that, though some of true Protestants to join them in the its provisions received a partial and crusade against patronage. doubtful sanction from Parliament, On this passage we remark, in the that portion to which our attention is first place, that there is a clear admisat present directed, (Chap. III. § 4, sion, by the framers of The Second was certainly never admitted as law : Book of Discipline, that a right of • Ordinar and outward calling (it is election in the people cannot exist in said) hes twa parts, election and ordi- union with the exercise of the patron's nation. Election is the chusing out right of nomination; and if this be of a person, or persons, maist abile to morally true, we maintain, in the se
* Keith, ut supra.
NO, CCLXXXIX. VOL, XLVI.
cond place, that it must be historically venerable authority in Scottish law or untrue that the liberty of election in Scottish history, the Regiam Ma. the people was “ observit without in. jestutem, speaks of patronage as an terruption swa lang as the Kirk was undoubted, ancient, and well-recognot corruptit be Antichrist.” For nised part of the ecclesiastical constithis seems to imply that the introduc- tution :-“ Sed caveat sibi Patronus tion of patronage and the corruption laicus, quod vacante Ecclesiâ vel vicaby Antichrist were contemporaneous; riâ, presentet personam idoneam, in li. that the one did not exist before the teraturâ sufficientem, vitâ laudabili et other. Now, in what church is it as. sane morigeratum, et quod presentet serted that patronage did not exist, illum infra quatuor menses, ne dilatio and that the liberty of election in the ulterior suæ præsentationis præjudipeople was observed without inter care sibi valeat.". And the same ruption? Is it in the Church univer- book, in another place, states the necessal during the first ages, or at least sity of qualification (idoneitas) in the before Constantine? The history of presentee as the sole check on the those days, one would think, can be patron's absolute right. It is suffiot' little value in this question. The cient for our purpose thus to advert absence of patronage, where its exer- to the antiquity of patronage and cise was impossible, in a Church not its recognition in the law. Its ori. recognised by law and not possessed gin is ascribed to a very remote period of benetices or endowments of any by the learned Selden. So early as kind, is a fact of no force or relevancy the sixth century, we have traces of in a question of ecclesiastical history its existence in the Roman law.$ Be. or policy in a Church established and fore there was a church in Scotland, endowed. But if it be in the Church the canon law had received the maxim of Scotland that the liberty of election “ Patronum faciunt dos, ædificatio, in the people is said to have been ob- fundus," and till the Reformation the served without interruption, we chal. canon law was the only law of the lenge the supporters of this doctrine Church of Scotland. But in the days in the present day to point out any of Melville, it is impossible that such period, previous to the compilation of ignorance as he exhibits, whether preThe Second Book of Discipline, in tended or real, on the subject of which patronage did not exist, and was Church History, could have been at not acknowledged in this Church. all common among the educated class. There is a distinct statement made es; for Sir James Balfour of Pitten. that it did not exist till the age of cor- dreich, an eminent contemporary of ruption ; and, to justify this statement, Melville's, devotes a chapter of his there must be some record, there must « Practicks of the more ancient law be some authority, to which we can be of Scotland,"|| to the subject of “ Ad. referred for proof of the fact.
vocatioun and Patronage of Kirkis," But if the challenge be declined, and every sentence of which goes to satisno attempt made to produce authority fy the reader that he is treating of a in support of the statement contained right which must have existed and in The Second Book of Discipline, we been recognised from the earliest pethink there is abundant means to show riod in the law of Scotland, Sir Tho. that that statement is historically false. mas Craig, too, who was alive in 1578, It is contradicted by the language of though his celebrated treatise had not the Act 1567, which reserves the an- yet been published, gives the most cient right of patronage. It is contra- direct testimony to the same effect. dicted by the admission of the General The result, then, of our examination Assembly in 1565, already quoted, of the two Books of Discipline, seems that “the presentation of benefices but little conducive to the support of pertaines to the patrone.” But the the principle of the Veto Act. John proofs on this subject are both numer- Knox treats the unreasonable or unous and direct.
The oldest and most explained objections of the people with
Regiam Majestatem, Lib. I. Chap. ii. $ 3.
Selden on Tithes, chap. 6.
Balfour's Practicks, p. 501,
wonderfully little respect, in recom. the numerous recent discussions on this mending their removal by the compul. subject; and the Legislature doubtsitor of Church censures ; and the in- less saw the necessity of fixing, by consistency of this rule with the pro- some unambiguous enactment, the fession of a desire to place the election limits of the Church's power in the of pastors absolutely in the hands of matter of collation. The Statute, acthe whole congregation, naturally ex- cordingly, in exact conformity with cites a suspicion, either that the First the tenor of the communications beBook is, in this matter at least, a com- tween the Queen and the General pilation as crude and ill-considered as Assembly in 1565,“ ordainis all premight be supposed from the haste with sentations to benefices to be direct to whch it was prepared; or, on the the particular presbyteries in all time other hand, that the true purpose of cumming, with full power to give colathe early Reformers was to procure the tion thereupon; and to put ordour to transference of patronage into their all maters and causes ecclesiasticall own hands-a purpose which they within their boundes, according to the veiled, in the mean time, under the pre- discipline of the Kirk : providing the text of giving a voice to the people, foresaid presbyteries be bound and and thus apparently liberalizing the astricted to receive and admit quhatconstitution of the Church. The Se- sumever qualified minister presented cond Book of Discipline, no doubt, be his Majesty or laick patrones.”. maintains the propriety of popular By this Act, therefore, the qualifica. election in unqualified terms. But tion of the presentee is the sole rethis is accompanied by an admission striction on patronage—the single parof its incompatibility with patronage, ticular in which the Church is priwhich nullifies the authority of The vileged to interfere. There is no Book in the present argument; while concession to the demand for popular the historical inaccuracy of the state- election, and still less is there any ment respecting the previous existence recognition of a right in the people to of patronage in the Church, whether dissent, without cause shown, from arising from ignorance or design, ob- the nomination of the patron. viously renders it an unfit source from Our conclusion then is, that in the which extract evidence of the anti. Reformed Church of Scotl in the quity or fundamental character of any sixteenth century, there existed no law, and tends, in no small degree, to fundamental law which authorized the bring both the work itself and its rejection of a presentee on the ground authors into disrepute.
of the dissent of a majority, or any Fourteen years elapsed between the part of the people, without objections publication of the Second Book of stated and verified. We have already, Discipline and the final settlement of we hope, sufficiently demonstrated the the Reformed Ecclesiastical Constitu- absence of any such law or principle tion in 1592. In this interval, many in the polity of the Church before the attempts were made to enhance the Reformation ; and the history of the influence both of the Church Courts seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and of Congregations in the settlement may, in the present question, be of ministers; and the uniform want of dismissed with a very few remarks. success which attended these attempts, For the present, however, we must shows the determined purpose of the pause, and reserve for another occaSovereign and the Parliament to re- sion our observations on the later sist the introduction of any element periods of the history of the Church, which should interfere with the exer- as well as the discussion of the more cise of the right of patronage. The practical and important part of this Act 1592, c. 116, had specially in view great subject.