Page images

displeasure. After all this, to impute the behavior of the non-conformists to obstinacy and peevishness, was very uncharitable. What could move them to part with their livings, or support them under the loss, but the testimony of a good conscience? When they could not but be sensible their NON-CONFORMITY would be followed with poverty and dis. grace, with the loss of their characters and usefulness in the church; and with numberless unforeseen calamities to themselves and families, unless it should please God in his allwise providence, to soften the Queen's heart in their favor.

In Scotland all things were in confusion. The young Queen Mary, after the death of her husband Francis II. returned into her own country, August 21, 1561, upon ill terms with Queen Elizabeth, who could not brook her assuming the arms of England, and putting in her claim to the crown, on the pretence of her bastardy, which most of the popish powers maintained, because she was born during the life of Queen Katherine, whose marriage had been declared valid by the pope. Elizabeth offered her a safe conduct, if she would ratify the treaty of Edinburgh ; but she chose rather to run all risks than submit. Mary was a bigotted papist, and her juvenile amours and follies soon entangled her government, and lost her crown. As soon as she arrived in Scotland she had the mortification to see the whole nation turned protestant, and the reformation established by laws so secure and strict, that only herself was allowed the liberty of mass in her own chapel, and that without pomp or ostentation. The protestants of Scotland, by the preaching of Mr. Knox and others, having imbibed the strongest aversion to popery, were for removing at the greatest distance from its superstitions. The general assembly petitioned her majesty, to ratify the acts of parliament for abolishing the mass, and for obliging all her subjects to frequent the reformed worship. But she replied, that she saw no impiety in the mass, and was determined not to quit the religion in which she was educated, being satisfied it was founded on the word of God. To which the general assembly answered a little coarsely, that Turcism stood upon as good ground as Popery; and then required her, in the name of the eternal God, to inform herself better, by frequenting sermons, and

conferring with learned men : But her majesty gave no ear to their counsels. In the year 1564, the Queen married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnly, who was joined with her in the government. By him she was brought to bed of a son June 15, 1566, afterwards James I. King of England; and while she was with child of him, she received a fright by her husband's coming into her chamber with his servants, and putting to death her favorite David Rizzo an Italian musician, who was sitting with her at table. This was thought to have such an influence upon the prince that was born of her, that he never loved the sight of a sword. Soon after this the King himself was found murdered in a garden, the house in which the murder was committed being blown up with gunpowder, to prevent the discovery. Upon the King's death the Earl of Bothwel became the Queen's favorite, and as soon as he had obtained a divorce from his lawful wife, she took him into her marriage-bed, to her very great infamy, and the regret of the whole Scots nation, who took up arms to revenge the late King's murder, and dissolve the present incestuous marriage. When the two armies were ready to engage, Bothwel fled to Dunbar; and the Queen being apprehensive her soldiers would not fight in such an infamous cause, surrendered herself to the confederates, who shut her up in the castle of Lock-Levin, and obliged her to resign the crown to her young son, under the regency of the Earl of . Murray. From hence she made her escape into England in the year 1568, where she was detained prisoner by Queen Elizabeth almost 18 years, and then put to death. Bothwel turned pirate, and being taken by the Danes, was shut up for ten years in a noisome prison in Denmark till he lost his senses and died mad. The Earl of Murray being regent of Scotland convened a parliament and assembly at Edinburgh, in which the pope's authority was again discharged, and the act of parliament of the year 1560, for renouncing the jurisdiction of the court of Rome was confirmed, and all acts passed in former reigns, for the support of popish idolatry, were annulled.—The new confession of faith was ratified, and the protestant ministers, and those of their communion, declared to be the only true and holy kirk within that realm. The examination and admission of ministers, is declared to be only in the power and disposition of the church; with a saving clause for lay-patrons. By another act, the Kings at their coronation, for the future, are to take an oath to maintain the reformed religion then professed: And by another, none but such as profess the reformed religion are eapable of being judges or proctors, or of practising in any of the courts of justice; except those who held offices hereditary, or for life.

* Rapin, p. 857.

The general assembly declared their approbation of the discipline of the reformed churches of Geneva and Switzerland ; and for a parity among ministers, in opposition to the claim of the bishops, as a superior order. All churchaffairs were managed by provincial, classical, and national assemblies; but these acts of the general assembly not being confirmed by parliament, episcopal government was not legally abolished, but tacitly suspended till the King came of age. However, the general assembly shewed their power of the keys at this time, by deposing the bishop of Orkney for marrying the Queen to Bothwel, who was supposed to have murdered the late King; and by making the Countess of Argyle do penance for assisting at the ceremony.


From the separation of the Protestant Non-Conformists

to the death of Archbishop Parker. THOUGH all the Puritans of these times would have remained within the church, might they bave been indulged in the habits and a few ceremonies, yet they were far from being satisfied with the HIERARCHY. They had other objections besides those for which they were deprived, which they labored incessantly throughout the whole course of this reign to remove. I will set them before tbe reader in one view, that he may form a complete judgment of the whole controversy.

First. They complained of the Bishops affecting to be thought a superior order to Presbyters, and claimed the sole right of ordination, and the use of the keys, or the sole exercise of ecclesiastical discipline. They disliked the temporal dignities and baronies annexed to their office, and their engaging in secular employments and trusts, as tending to exalt them too much above their brethren, and not so agreeable to their characters as ministers of Christ, nor consistent with the due discharge of their spiritual function.

Secondly. They excepted to the titles and offices of archdeacons, deans, chapters, and other officials belonging to cathedrals, as having no foundation in scripture or primitive antiquity, but intrenching upon the privileges of the presbyters of the several dioceses.

Thirdly. They complained of the exorbitant power and jurisdiction of the bishops and their chancellors in their spiritual courts, as derived from the canon law of the pope, and not from the word of God, or the statute law of the land. They complained of their fining, imprisoning, depriving, and putting men to excessive charges for small offences; and that the highest censures, such as excommunication and absolution, were in the hands of laymen, and not in the spiritual officers of the church. VOL. I.


Fourthly. They lamented the want of a godly discipline, and were uneasy at the promiscuous and general access of all persons to the Lord's table. The church being described in her articles as a congregation of faithful persons, they thought it necessary that a power should be lodged somewhere, to inquire into the qualifications of such as desired to be of her communion.

Fifihly. Though they did not dispute the lawfulness of set forms of prayer, provided a due liberty was allowed for prayers of their own composure, before and after sermon; yet they disliked some things in the public liturgy, established by law; as the frequent repetition of the Lord's prayer; the interruption of the prayers, by the frequent responses of the people, which in some places seem to be little better than vain repetitions, and are practised in no other protestant church in the world. They excepted to some passages in the offices of marriage and burial, &c. which they very unwillingly complied with ; as in the office of marriage, With my body I thee worship; and in the office of burial, In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, to be pronounced over the worst of men, unless in a very few excepted cases.

Sixthly. They disliked the reading of the apocryphat books in the church, while some parts of canonical scripture were omitted; and though they did not disapprove the homilies, they thought that no man ought to be ordained a minister in the church, who was incapable of preaching and expounding the scriptures. One of their great complaints, therefore, throughout the course of this reign, was, that there were so many dumb ministers, pluralists, and nonresidents ; and that presentations to benefices were in the hands of the queen, bishops, or lay-patrons, when they ought to arise from the election of the people.

Seventhly. They disapproved of the observation of sundry of the church festivals or holidays, as having no foundation in scripture, or primitive antiquity. We have no example, say they, in the Old or New Testament, of any days appointed in commemoration of saints : To observe the fast in Lent of Friday and Saturday, &c. is unlawful and superstitious; as also buying and selling on the Lord's day.

« PreviousContinue »