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Ils trium! being pects of est trac
their fate ; but if the wicked finally triumph, we experience & sort of impatience and dissatisfaction at not being present at the punishment of those crimes, the progress and effects of which we have traced. We shall find, that in most of our finest tra gedies, the innocent suffer, yet the guilty never escape. Thus is tragedy a picture of God's dispensations on earth, more perfect, and perhaps, more complete than we can trace in history or the lives of our fellow-creatures around us, in the first place, because in history and real life we merely behold persons, their actions and the consequences of them; of their motives we can but at best conjecture ; now the skilful tragic poet not only represents our actions, but betrays to us the secret workings of the mind within ; does not merely tell us that Othello slew his wife, but shews us by what process the mind was wrought to this act of frenzy ; we are admitted into the secret council-house of a man's own bosom, even what is hidden to himself is anveiled to us. In the second place, because it is the high privilege of tragedy, not only to select from the every-day occurrences of life, what is striking and imposing, and to separate it from all external intrusion, but to array it in stronger and more determined cojours, to invest its agents with a more lofty, more powerful, more distinct esistence. Neither do we think that tragedy, when it waves this exalted privilege, and simply represents, without poetical aggrandizement, the sorrows and vicissitudes of life, devoid of benign influence. We must all have felt or ex. perienced the salutary effects of sickness or misfortune upon our characters; in these states the mind is cast back upon itself, its thoughtlessness is sobered into reflection, it is softened, and at the same time its manliness and fortitude is exerted. Surely to some of us, lapt in luxury and knowing suffering but by name, the fictitious grief excited by domestic tragedy may produce a similar effect. We cannot see sorrow among beings so like ourselves without some consciousness of our own infirmities. The giddy and the dead of feeling may thus be forced into thinking. Before such minds poetry and its splendid visions pass, seen but not felt; to them the moralist may argue, against them the preacher may thunder, the habit of vapid pleasure is inveterate. But if you can make them feel, there is hope they may feel nobly; make them think, they may think rightly. This we confess is a secondary office of tragedy, because it operates chiefly on minds of a less tine and exalted order, though we must think there are few of us, even of those capable of higher things, on whom at some periods it might not produce a happy effect, for the very reason that it is conversant about beings of a more lowly character, because it is more homely, because instead of carrying us with it to a loftier sphere, it stoops to walk ·
with us in our more humble one. If then these be the powers of tragedy in its higher and inferior province, let them be applied to the best purposes. Restore to her her office, let her still, by her living delineations of high passions and high actions, attemper the melancholy, which the sense of our nothingness ever must excite, with a proud gratitude to Heaven for making us beings of such wonderful powers and extended prospects.
Art. V. History of the Church of Scotland, &c. &c.
(Continued from p. 166.) .
WHEN James ascended the English throne, he had much to apprehend both from the Catholics and Puritans, because both had formed expectations which it was impossible for him to gratify. Regarding him as the son of an unfortunate queen, who, in her last moments, had declared her unshaken attachment to their faith, and being aware, at the same time, that his Scottish subjects had charged him with an undue veneration for the See of Rome, the former had not failed to flatter themselves with the hope that the new sovereign would restore their Church to her ancient splendour and power. The latter trusting, perhaps, to his assurances that the discipline of the Church of Scotland was the model which he preferred for the ecclesias, tical polity of all his dominions, and encouraged, it is said, by promises of protection, conveyed to them in the most direct and positive terms, hailed the arrival of James as the era of their triumph and the consummation of their fondest wishes. It is unnecessary to state how grievously both parties were disappointed, and how virulently mischievous was the reaction which followed, upon their discovery of the king's real intentions. .
Some writers have been of opinion, that James might easily have conciliated the Puritars, by granting to them the few in. dulgencies which they claimed, as to the vestments and ceremonies, Dr. Cook seans to this view of the subject, and even blames the Government for their stiffness iu not yielding to conscientious clergymen, in matters of so little moment. We hestate pot to say that our opinion is directly the reverse, and that, from the character of the age and the spirit of the body in question, we are convinced nothing short of a complete reorganization of the Church would have given them satisfaction. We are not accustomed to refer to David Hume as a safe guide in matters
of religion ; but with regard to this particular topic, his observations are so just, and so powerfully supported by subsequent experience, that we make no apology for quoting the following passage from his history : “ The Puritans," says he, “ formed a sect, which secretly lurked in the Church, but pretended not to any separate worship or discipline. An attempt of that kind would have been universally regarded as the most unpardonable enormity: and had the king been disposed to grant the Puritans a full toleration, it is certain, from the spirit of the times, that this sect would have despised and hated him for it, and would have reproached him with lukewarmuess and indifference in the cause of religion. They maintained that they themselves were the only pure Church; that their principles and practices ought to be established by law; and that no other ought to be tolerated. It may be questioned, therefore, whether the administration at this time could with propriety deserve the appellation of persecutors with regard to the Puritans. Such of the clergy, indeed, as refused to comply with the legal ceremonies, were deprived of their livings, and sometimes in Elizabeth's reign, were otherwise punished: and ought any man to accept of an office or benefice in an establishment, while he declines compliance withi the fixed and known rules of that establishment? But Puritans were never punished for frequenting separate congregations ; because there were none şuch in the kingdom, and no protestant ever assumed or pretended to the right of erecting them. The greatest well-wishers of the puritanical sect would have condemned a practice which in that age was universally, by statesmen and ecclesiastics, philosophers and zealots, regarded as subversive of civil society. Even so great a reasoner as Bacon thought that uniformity in religion was absolutely necessary to the support of Government, and that no toleration could with safety be given to sectaries.”
It must be very obvious, that in such circumstances every degree of concession would have proved vain. The principles of liberty, civil or religious, were not yet understood, and, consequently, all comparisons drawn from the happy effects of the more liberal policy which is adopted in modern times, must be quite inapplicable to the crisis now under consideration. There are, we admit, many parts of James's conduct, in relation to Church affairs, utterly indefensible, and no part of it, perhaps, less worthy of a great monarch, than his constant practice of debating, in person, with the lowest controversialist who might have a new tenet to advance : still we ought to make every allowance for the prejudices and bigotry of the age in which he lived, and moderate our censures, by calling to mind, that wiser men than he were not more liberal, while they were more than
equally equally disposed to substitute force for argument, in matters of faith.
Firmly bent on the re-establishment of episcopacy in Scot. land, James summoned, in 1606, several of the Presbyterian ministers to London, in order to hold a conference with himself and the bishops, on the subject of Church government, rites and ceremonies. He selected for this purpose some of the most determined anti-episcopalians of the North, among whom were the two Melvils ; and with the view of preparing their minds to accede to his favourite measure, he commanded them to attend his own chapel, and to listen to a course of sermons, which were preached against the principal doctrines which they were known to profess. The Bishop of Lincoln chose for his sub. ject the superiority of his own order to presbyters, and enlarged upon the inconveniencies and confusion which must result from equality among ministers. The Bishop of Rochester assunied to himself the task of proving the King's supremacy in ecclesiastical causes, associating papists and presbyterians as the .ene. mies of royalty. Chester, in his turn, expatiated upon the right of Kings to all synods and councils; and the series was closed by the Bishop of London, whose department it was to prove that lay-elders had no place or office in the Church, but that the order was a device of modern times, without support from Scripture or from antiquity. Thus prepared, the ministers were called to the conference, but, as might have been anticipated, they were more obstinate than ever; and James, in order to punish them with some shew of justice, addressed to theın sonte ensnaring questions about the legality of an assembly which had recently been held at Aberdeen, and finished this piece of nonsense and despotism, by prohibiting their return to Scotland. Andrew Melvil was sent to the Tower for writing an epigram on the ceremonies observed in the King's chapel ; and it was not till after a confinement of several years, that he was permitted to retire to Sedan, where, it is believed, he filled the chair of theology until the day of his death. His nephew, 'James Melvil, was likewise an exile the remainder of his life, and after a variety of fortune, died at Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Episcopacy continuing to gain ground in Scotland, James was induced, in 1610, to establish a High Court of Commission upon the same principles with that which was erected in England by Henry the Eighth. Indeed, there was one set up in each of the archiepiscopal provinces of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and a certain number of the bishops and some of the more distinguished laity were constituted members of these courts ; any five of them being declared competent to act, provided one of the five was an archbishop. The powers vested in these ju
dicatories were arbitrary and excessive. They were authorized to call before them all persons being offenders either in life or religion, all whom they held to be any way scandalous, and to proceed to their trial; and if they found them ini penitent, they were empowered to issue a mandate to the pastors under whose ministry they lived, to pronounce against them the sentence of excommunication. If the pastors refused to comply, the court was entitled to proceed against them by suspension, deposition, or imprisonment. They were also empowered to fine, at their discretion, such persons as had been dragged to their bar, and who might appear to them to be guilty. They could even imprison them; a warrant of the commissioners, signed by the archbishop, being sufficient, as it is observed by Dr. Cook, for all jailors to bury in dungeons the unhappy men who had fallen under the displeasure of this detestable inquisition. Nothing can exhibit in a stronger light the arbitrary nature of the governinent at that period than the erection of such a tribunal; and almost all the cruelties which disgraced the reigns of James's two grandsons in Scotland, are either directly chargeable upon the High Court of Commission, or upon the precedents which it established. ; • To constitute a regular and complete episcopal Church in Scotland, every step had already been taken by the King, but that of having his · nominal bishops canonically consecrated. That this deficiency might be supplied, James summoned to the metropolis, the celebrated Spottiswoode and two of his colleagues to be regularly consecrated by the Bishops of London, of Ely, and of Bath and Wells; and this measure, so' essential in the estimation of every good episcopalian, was, after some discussion as to the validity of presbyterian orders, fully accomplished. It was not, however, until 1616, that an assembly, held at Aberdeen, ordained that “a uniform order of liturgy be. set down, to be read in all Churches in the ordinary days of prayer, and every sabbath day before sermon, to the end the common people may be acquainted therewith, and by custom may learn to serve God rightly.” In the Scottish Church, there had been from the introduction of the Reformation, certain forms of prayer, which it was lawful to use; but every minister was at liberty to depart froin them, and to substitute such prayers as he thought the circumstances of his congregation required; but the design of the new regulation was to put an end to this discretionary power, and to secure the daily and regular use of a Jiturgy, as in our own Church. A new confession of faith, too, was drawn, in which the doctrines of the first reformers were explicitly asserted, and some judicious regulations were adopted Fespecting the religious instruction of children, frequeucy of