« AnteriorContinuar »
cond place, that it must be historically untrue that the liberty of election in the people was "observit without interruption swa lang as the Kirk was not corruptit be Antichrist." this seems to imply that the introduction of patronage and the corruption by Antichrist were contemporaneous; that the one did not exist before the other. Now, in what church is it as serted that patronage did not exist, and that the liberty of election in the people was observed without interruption? Is it in the Church universal during the first ages, or at least before Constantine? The history of those days, one would think, can be of little value in this question. The absence of patronage, where its exercise was impossible, in a Church not recognised by law and not possessed of benefices or endowments of any kind, is a fact of no force or relevancy in a question of ecclesiastical history or policy in a Church established and endowed. But if it be in the Church of Scotland that the liberty of election in the people is said to have been observed without interruption, we challenge the supporters of this doctrine in the present day to point out any period, previous to the compilation of The Second Book of Discipline, in which patronage did not exist, and was not acknowledged in this Church. There is a distinct statement made that it did not exist till the age of corruption; and, to justify this statement, there must be some record, there must be some authority, to which we can be referred for proof of the fact.
But if the challenge be declined, and no attempt made to produce authority in support of the statement contained in The Second Book of Discipline, we think there is abundant means to show that that statement is historically false. It is contradicted by the language of the Act 1567, which reserves the ancient right of patronage. It is contradicted by the admission of the General Assembly in 1565, already quoted, that "the presentation of benefices pertaines to the patrone." But the proofs on this subject are both numerous and direct. The oldest and most The oldest and most
venerable authority in Scottish law or Scottish history, the Regiam Majestatem, speaks of patronage as an undoubted, ancient, and well-recognised part of the ecclesiastical constitution:-" Sed caveat sibi Patronus laicus, quod vacante Ecclesiâ vel vicariâ, presentet personam idoneam, in literaturâ sufficientem, vitâ laudabili et sane morigeratum, et quod presentet illum infra quatuor menses, ne dilatio ulterior suæ præsentationis præjudicare sibi valeat."* And the same book, in another place, states the necessity of qualification (idoneitas) in the presentee as the sole check on the patron's absolute right. It is sufficient for our purpose thus to advert to the antiquity of patronage and its recognition in the law. Its origin is ascribed to a very remote period by the learned Selden. So early as the sixth century, we have traces of its existence in the Roman law.§ Before there was a church in Scotland, the canon law had received the maxim "Patronum faciunt dos, ædificatio, fundus," and till the Reformation the canon law was the only law of the Church of Scotland. But in the days of Melville, it is impossible that such ignorance as he exhibits, whether pretended or real, on the subject of Church History, could have been at all common among the educated class. es; for Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich, an eminent contemporary of Melville's, devotes a chapter of his "Practicks of the more ancient law of Scotland," to the subject of " Advocatioun and Patronage of Kirkis," every sentence of which goes to satisfy the reader that he is treating of a right which must have existed and been recognised from the earliest period in the law of Scotland. Sir Thomas Craig, too, who was alive in 1578, though his celebrated treatise had not yet been published, gives the most direct testimony to the same effect. P
The result, then, of our examination of the two Books of Discipline, seems but little conducive to the support of the principle of the Veto Act. John Knox treats the unreasonable or unexplained objections of the people with
* Regiam Majestatem, Lib. I. Chap. ii. § 3. Reg. Maj. III. xxxiii. 5.
Nov. IX. tit.6. cap. 18.
Selden on Tithes, chap. 6. Balfour's Practicks, p. 501.
Craig de Feudis, Lib. II.; Dieg. 8. § 37.
wonderfully little respect, in recommending their removal by the compulsitor of Church censures; and the inconsistency of this rule with the profession of a desire to place the election of pastors absolutely in the hands of the whole congregation, naturally excites a suspicion, either that the First Book is, in this matter at least, a compilation as crude and ill-considered as might be supposed from the haste with whch it was prepared; or, on the other hand, that the true purpose of the early Reformers was to procure the transference of patronage into their own hands-a purpose which they veiled, in the mean time, under the pretext of giving a voice to the people, and thus apparently liberalizing the constitution of the Church. The Second Book of Discipline, no doubt, maintains the propriety of popular election in unqualified terms. But
this is accompanied by an admission of its incompatibility with patronage, which nullifies the authority of The Book in the present argument; while the historical inaccuracy of the statement respecting the previous existence of patronage in the Church, whether arising from ignorance or design, obviously renders it an unfit source from which to extract evidence of the antiquity or fundamental character of any law, and tends, in no small degree, to bring both the work itself and its authors into disrepute.
Fourteen years elapsed between the publication of the Second Book of Discipline and the final settlement of the Reformed Ecclesiastical Constitution in 1592. In this interval, many attempts were made to enhance the influence both of the Church Courts and of Congregations in the settlement of ministers; and the uniform want of success which attended these attempts, shows the determined purpose of the Sovereign and the Parliament to resist the introduction of any element which should interfere with the exercise of the right of patronage. The Act 1592, c. 116, had specially in view
the numerous recent discussions on this subject; and the Legislature doubtless saw the necessity of fixing, by some unambiguous enactment, the limits of the Church's power in the matter of collation. The Statute, accordingly, in exact conformity with the tenor of the communications between the Queen and the General Assembly in 1565, “ ordainis all presentations to benefices to be direct to the particular presbyteries in all time cumming, with full power to give colation thereupon; and to put ordour to all maters and causes ecclesiasticall within their boundes, according to the discipline of the Kirk: providing the foresaid presbyteries be bound and astricted to receive and admit quhatsumever qualified minister presented be his Majesty or laick patrones."
By this Act, therefore, the qualification of the presentee is the sole restriction on patronage-the single particular in which the Church is privileged to interfere. There is no concession to the demand for popular election, and still less is there any recognition of a right in the people to dissent, without cause shown, from the nomination of the patron.
Our conclusion then is, that in the Reformed Church of Scotland, in the sixteenth century, there existed no fundamental law which authorized the rejection of a presentee on the ground of the dissent of a majority, or any part of the people, without objections stated and verified. We have already, we hope, sufficiently demonstrated the absence of any such law or principle in the polity of the Church before the Reformation; and the history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries may, in the present question, be dismissed with a very few remarks. For the present, however, we must pause, and reserve for another occasion our observations on the later periods of the history of the Church, as well as the discussion of the more practical and important part of this great subject.
BY WILLIAM E. AYTOUN.
HERMOTIMUS, the hero of this ballad, was a philosopher, or rather a prophet, of Clazomena, who possessed the faculty, now claimed by the animal magnetists, of effecting a voluntary separation between his soul and body; for the former could wander to any part of the universe, and even hold intercourse with supernatural beings, whilst the senseless frame remained at home. Hermotimus, however, was not insensible to the risk attendant upon this disunion, since, before attempting any of these aërial flights, he took the precaution to warn his wife, lest, upon the return of his soul, the body should be rendered an unfit or useless receptacle. This accident, which he so much dreaded, at length occurred; for the lady, wearied out by a succession of trances, each of longer duration than the preceding, one day committed his body to the flames, and thus effectually put a stop to such unconnubial conduct. He received divine honours at Clazomenæ, but must nevertheless remain as a terrible example and warning to all husbands who carry their scientific or spiritual pursuits so far as to neglect their duty to their wives.
It is somewhat curious that Hermotimus is not the only person (putting the disciples of Mesmer and Dupotet altogether out of the question) who has possessed this miraculous power. Another and much later instance is recorded by Dr George Cheyne, in his work entitled, The English Malady, or a Treatise of Nervous Diseases, as having come under his own observation; and, as this case is exactly similar to that of the Prophet, it may amuse the reader to see how far an ancient fable may be illustrated, and in part explained, by the records of modern science. Dr Cheyne's patient was probably cataleptic; but the worthy physician must be allowed to tell his own story.
"Colonel Townshend, a gentleman of honour and integrity, had for many years been afflicted with a nephritic complaint. His illness increasing, and his strength decaying, he came from Bristol to Bath in a litter, in autumn, and lay at the Bell Inn. Dr Baynard and I were called to him, and attended him twice a-day; but his vomitings continuing still incessant and obstinate against all remedies, we despaired of his recovery. While he was in this condition, he sent for us one morning; we waited on him with Mr Skrine, his apothe cary. We found his senses clear, and his mind calm: his nurse and several servants were about him. He told us he had sent for us to give him an account of an odd sensation he had for some time observed and felt in himself; which was, that, by composing himself, he could die or expire when he pleased; and yet by an effort, or somehow, he could come to life again, which he had sometimes tried before he sent for us. We heard this with surprise; but, as it was not to be accounted for upon common principles, we could hardly believe the fact as he related it, much less give any account of it; unless he should please to make the experiment before us, which we were unwilling he should do, lest, in his weak condition, he might carry it too far. He continued to talk very distinctly and sensibly above a quarter of an hour about this surprising sensation, and insisted so much on our seeing the trial made, that we were at last forced to comply. We all three felt his pulse first-it was distinct, though small and thready, and his heart had its usual beating. He composed himself on his back, and lay in a still posture for some time, while I held his right hand, Dr Baynard laid his hand on his heart, and Mr Skrine held a clean looking-glass to his mouth. I found his pulse sink gradually, till at last I could not find any by the most exact and nice touch. Dr Baynard could not feel the least motion in his heart, nor Mr Skrine the least soil of breath on the bright mirror he held to his mouth; then each of us by turns examined his arm, heart, and breath, but could not by the nicest scrutiny discover the least symptom of life in him. We reasoned a long time about this odd appearance as well as we could, and all of us judging it inexplicable and unaccountable; and, finding he still continued in that condition, we began to conclude that he had indeed carried the experiment too far; and at last were satisfied he was actually
dead, and were just ready to leave him. This continued about half an hour. As we were going away we observed some motion about the body; and, upon examination, found his pulse and the motion of his heart gradually returning. He began to breathe gently and speak softly. We were all astonished to the last degree at this unexpected change; and, after some further conversation with him, and among ourselves, went away fully satisfied as to all the particulars of this fact, but confounded and puzzled, and not able to form any rational scheme that might account for it."-CHEYNE'S English Malady.
It may be proper to state, that the metrical form of this ballad, although hitherto unemployed by English writers, is well known in Germany, and was exhibited in perfection by Goethe, in the composition of that beautiful poem "The Bride of Corinth." It never can become a favourite metre with our poets, on account of the paucity of double rhymes in our language, or at least of such double rhymes as can be used without exciting ludicrous associations. Still it is well worth a trial; and any German scholar willing to carry the experiment further, is recommended to try his powers upon Goethe's ballad, which has always as yet assumed a very different shape in passing through the alembic of translation.
"Wilt not lay thee down in quiet slumber?
Husband! come at last
Lay thy throbbing head upon my breast."
"Weary am I, but my soul is waking;
What would be thy lot,
If I came not back to thee, my bride?
"Music, like the lute of young Apollo,
Let me watch till day,
Fainter will they come, and disappear."
"Speak not thus to me, my own-my dearest!
I should hold thee fast,
Thou should'st strive against me but in vain.
"Eros will protect us, and will hover,
Jealous of thee, as of some fond lover
Canst thou feel afraid
When his torch above us burneth bright?