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mob, induct Mr. Edwards into the parish of Marnoch on the 21st day of January last.
What a medley have we here? What direct conflict betwixt the church and the law by which the church as an Establishment exists! What successful defiance of ecclesiastical power by Churchmen, under the sanction of civil law! First, the Church passes a law, which the civil authority annuls. Next the Church adheres to its annulled law in defiance of the civil authority. Then patron, presentee, and presbytery within the Church, defy the law of the Church. The Church rebels against the law of the land, and Churchmen rebel against the law of the Church. The Church suspends rebellious Churchmen; and the law liberates those whom the Church suspends. Ministers suspended from office exercise the office from which their own Church suspends them; and avowedly in obedience to the civil law, set apart to sacred office one prohibited by the Church from entering into that office an office from which those conferring it are themselves suspended! Where now is the independence of the Church? And where is non-intrusion ?
Such is a brief sketch of the present position of the Church of Scotland. Our readers may be disposed to ask with eagerness, what shall be the end of these things? It is not difficult to pronounce what the course ought to be with all consistent friends of independence and non-intrusion on the Scottish Church. They denounce patronage, not as an incumbrance only, but as a sin ; in itself a violation of the will of the Head of the Church, and leading, as they truly declare, to many other sins. One would imagine, then, that it must be sin to hold patronage—to exercise patronage—above all, it must be sin, in those specially who entertain such views, to accept the patron's sinful gift, and to live by the fruit of patronage and presentation. It is not only a disreputable, a dishonorable, but a sinful way of living, according to anti-patronage advocates. Is not the answer plain? 'Suffer, then, rather than sin-renounce this sinful mode of living-take for your example the con
fessors and martyrs of other days, should such a lot be as' signed to you—or rather, since you are not called to suffer for a good conscience to any formidable extent, renounce state pay, and live like your brethren of other denominations. Then in regard to spiritual independence, the demand of duty seems equally urgent; for how can any man with his eyes open fail to perceive the incompatibility of such independence with the position of a Church established by law ? Among the many vagaries of Dr. Chalmers in these proceedings, one of his proposals to Lord Aberdeen is the concession by the state to the Church of what he calls · liberum arbitrium; that is, that the state should simply pay the clergy, and grant to them the
liberty of doing what they like; a proposal as modest and as sane as if the officers of the army and navy should demand from parliament pay without control, a military and naval liberum arbitrium to fight with what weapons, with what foes, on what arena they may fancy, either to fight or not to fight, to be the guardians of peace, or the fomentors of discord. Spiritual independence in a state-supported Church! How can any man, in the Scottish Church particularly, entertain himself with such a vision? Has not that Church in express words condemned laypatronage as an evil, and has not the state for two centuries and a half compelled the Church to endure that evil? Is this independence ? The statute of 1592 is boasted of as 'the charter
of the Church of Scotland ;' yet that parliamentary statute contains these remarkable words, the Church shall be bound ' and astricted to admit any qualified person whom the patron 'shall present.' Is a Church ‘bound and astricted' by the state, and to a practice which the Church denounces as sinful, independent ? Indeed, the state has done what it liked with the Church in the matter of patronage. In 1592, it ‘bound
and astricted' the Church to bear the yoke. During the struggles in the reign of Charles the First, and the Cromwellian interregnum, the Church threw it off for a time. At the restoration it was re-imposed. In 1690, it was modified by the state, being vested in heritors (proprietors) and kirk-sessions. It was restored by statute in 1712; and in spite of remonstrance has been continued by the same statute to this day. Is this independence? Recently the Church passes her Veto law, without consulting the state, and glories in her independence and liberty ; but the state interposes, declares her Veto illegal, interdicts the measures which the Veto law appoints, suspends the effects of spiritual censures, drags her ministers before civil tribunals for obeying Church laws, and appoints ministers whom the Church has suspended to perform spiritual services which the Church has forbidden. Is all this independence? But the worst remains to be told. The ministers of the Church have all subscribed her Confession of Faith without reserve or limitation, and that confession contains the following words respecting the power of the civil magistrate : ‘He hath authority, and it is
his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in ' the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions or abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, ' and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and
observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to 'call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.' Can he consistently call the Church independent over which,
with his own hand and heart, he has solemnly conceded such powers to the magistrate?
But in these circumstances what remains for those who honestly believe that the Church of Christ ought to be independent of all State control, and that they dare not surrender this independence as they shall be answerable to their Divine Master? Can there be any answer but this one ?-quit a position in which their liberty is denied them, and occupy one to which they have direct access, which hundreds of thousands around them happily occupy, and which the Christian church, by apostolic sanction, occupied in the beginning.
But will this be the issue? With Mr. Rose, we suspect not, - at least, with a very few only. We much fear that the old fable of mountains in labor, and producing only a ridiculous mouse, is about to be realized in Scotland. Few of the ministers of the Scottish Church are, after all this ado, hostile to a modified patronage,-and the State knows this. Indeed, how can they be, when they all accept the living by the patron's bounty? The whole moderate party, occupying probably a majority of the old parishes, are the declared advocates of patronage. Lord Moncrieff, the lay leader of the other party, and other ministers of the same party, in their parliamentary evidence, have recorded their judgments in its favor. Dr. Chalmers has never disguised his sentiments in favor of patronage, and has held that the Veto law was meant to be conservative of it. The law is abundantly decisive, 'binding and astricting' the former. Probably ninetenths of the larger landed proprietors go along with the law. Among the clergy there are excellent persons, who honestly deplore the evil, and desire its entire and final removal; and who, possibly, in spite of all their natural and excusable predilections towards the Church, may, for the sake of a good conscience, put themselves at the head of a new secession. But Mr. Rose knows well the men of whom he speaks, and he augurs nothing very lofty of the most fervent agitators; and right sorrowfully and slightingly does this honest man talk of the verbal and noisy professions of a regard * to the rights of the Christian people, made by many non
intrusionists of the present day.' If such be the men, there must be a great lack of that sturdy virtue which led the seceders of other days to disregard all compromise, and to leave the church, manse, glebe, -everything, without one vaunting word, desirous only to have peace within, and to approve themselves to their Great Master. If Mr. Rose is right, and he probably is so, there will be a reaction soon; the church that has given an example of boldness, will see it her duty to set one of becoming meekness-she who has broken and defied the law will revert to her former practice, and be all sub
mission to the law-to the people she will talk smoothly, very reverently to the judges and to the State-the rigid law will relax a little (she would have a heart of adamant if she did not, when she sees a chastened sobbing church on her knees at her feet): some medium measure, such as Lord Aberdeen's Bill, with some verbal alterations, will be found to answer the great end of peace; and, with the desertion possibly of a few, and the misgivings of many, things will revert to their old course for a season. We are bold enough to hazard this vaticination.
But let us not be mistaken. We are persuaded that this Scottish movement, be its result what it may, will incalculably favor the principles of religious liberty, and of enlightened dissent. The eyes of the country are now open to these facts of vast moment—that among dissenters, and with them alone, spiritual independence and ecclesiastical liberty are enjoyed; and that if Churchmen will have spiritual independence, they must leave the Church, or the Church must bid adieu to the State. With one consent the Moderates ring this in the ears of their opponents in the Assembly. With equal solemnity and sarcasm the judges have pronounced the same sentiments from the bench. With two or three inconsiderable exceptions, the whole periodical press of Scotland declares the same thing. It is in every one's mouth. A further result is, that scriptural liberty is gaining friends by thousands within the Church itself, within whose pale, it delights us to know, there is a growing mass of religious intelligence, piety, moral worth, and Christian zeal and beneficence. And the same effect of the continuance of this agitation is to convince the more reflecting portion of the private members of the Church, that liberty and state connexion cannot co-exist; and that if they would be independent of State control, they must be independent of State pay. The concluding sentence in the Quarterly on this subject finds a response all over the land—' while the Church re
mains an Established Church, her absolute independence of • the law is a dream.'
The grand evil to be dreaded from the continuance and enlargement of the existing ecclesiastical establishments, is their pernicious influence on the piety of the country, corrupting and depressing, by secularizing it, and perpetuating while they exist a proud and repulsive sectarianism, with all its concomitant mischiefs. But next in order is their baneful effect on civil and religious liberty. A free State, and an endowed Church, are necessary antagonists. To the latter, excellent persons may belong, many who have little of their spirit. But as corporations, unjust in their very constitution, they inure and reconcile the public mind to practical injustice, while they
vitiate the spirits of their more devoted adherents, especially their clerical adherents, to an extent of which they are themselves unconscious; inspiring them with the bitterest acrimony against those whom they most injure, and against all who call in question their unrighteous monopoly, and rendering them tenacious almost to desperation of exclusive pay and exclusive power. Even Dr. Chalmers regards the new churches as good stepping-stones to new endowments; and actually proposes to recall the Veto law, for which he fought so stoutly, because it is now discovered that thereby' they would 'incur the loss of the
temporalities ;' and, notwithstanding the kindliness of his nature, no man has indulged more than he in ferocity in tone and diction towards voluntaries, declaring, among other things, that they are the friends of anarchy, and would burn up all the synagogues of God in the land. The natural allies of Churchmen are that party in the country who have been the hereditary enemies of liberty, and are once more within reach of power. Let them have it, and endowed prelacy and presbytery will rally around them; the government will strengthen bý more largely endowing the friendly churches; and the conciliated ecclesiastics, in thousands, will be government agents, in every parish, in every house to which they have access, and in every contested election, parliamentary and municipal. For such a temporary result, the way is already prepared, under Church and Tory influence, in both parts of the island. The clergy of Canterbury are a specimen of the clergy over all England, and, with honorable exceptions, over all Scotland. Every pulse beats in unison with the heart. The established clergy, form an organized power, universally ramified, and pervaded by one will, in as far as the temporal wealth and power of the corporation are concerned. In Scotland, we understand, its effects in the counties are truly deplorable. In Ayrshire, at the first election after the passing of the Reform Bill, out of about 3,000 voters, 2,400 voted for the Liberal, and 600 for the Tory candidate. At the last election, by the combined influence of the proprietors and the clergy, the Liberal candidate lost by several hundreds. We cannot but declare our apprehension that a period of trial awaits the consistent friends of civil and religious freedom; a season of augmented Church and Tory sway, short, we trust, yet such as may demand some simultaneous and undesirable national effort to displace it for ever.
We can afford space only for a few words respecting the pamphlets, with the titles of which we have headed our article. Dr. Brown's is marked by his usual intellectual vigour, honest and noble intrepidity, and steadfast adherence to Bible truth, and to the great principles of civil and religious liberty. He justly holds that while dissenters should co-operate in civil mea