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Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


History of the Church of Scotland ... to 1841

by William Maxwell Hetherington

Excerpt:

In the preceding chapter a brief sketch has been presented to the reader of the usurpations of the prelatic and corrupt Church of Rome, and the final suppression of the Culdees, which we may regard as having been accomplished in the year 1297, that being the date of the last documents signed by them as a public body. But though from that time the Culdee form of Church government and discipline may be regarded as extinct, there is no reason to believe that their religious tenets were consigned to oblivion at the same instant. Indeed, such a result may be regarded as absolutely impossible. All forcible attempts to suppress religion but compel it to burn with increased intensity, and to be retained with increased pertinacity, within the secret heart; unless, indeed, such attempts be carried to the extreme of utterly exterminating the adherents of the persecuted faith,—a dire result, which has been several times produced in different nations. There is, besides, evidence, although but slight, to prove that the doctrines of the Culdees continued to survive long after the suppression of their forms of Church government. Sir James Dalrymple refers us to a clause in the bull of Pope John XXII. in 1324, conceding to Robert Bruce the title of king of Scotland, and removing the excommunication ; in which clause that pontiff makes mention of many heretics, whom he enjoins the king to suppress.1 There is every reason to believe that these were the adherents of the Culdees, against whom some of the Scottish Romanised clergy had complained to the Pope.

The great schism which happened in the Church of Rome, through the contentions of rival popes, gave occasion, as is well known, to those who had secretly disapproved of papal corruption, of assailing Popery more openly than before, and more boldly demanding some measure of reformation. Wickliffe, the morning star of the Reformation, began then openly both to censure the abuses of the Church of Rome, and to proclaim those great doctrines of Christianity which it had been the policy of that corrupt Church to conceal. It might have been expected that his doctrines would find a ready reception among the adherents of the Culdees of Scotland, if any were still remaining; and accordingly we find, that John Resby, an Englishman, and a scholar of WickliftVs, was condemned for maintaining that the Pope was not the vicar of Christ, and that no man of a wicked life ought to be acknowledged Pope.2 For holding and teaching these opinions, with certain others deemed also heretical, he was burned to death in the year 1407. It would appear that this cruel deed had for a time prevented at least the open avowal of similar doctrines in Scotland; as the next victim to Popish tyranny was found at the distance of twenty-five years. This victim was Paul Craw, a Bohemian, and a follower of John Huss. It does not appear on what account he had come to Scotland ; but having begun to disseminate the opinions of the Bohemian reformer, he was laid hold of by the instigation of Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St Andrews, convicted of denying the doctrines of transubstantiation, auricular confession, and praying to saints, then handed over to the secular powors, and

' Sir J. Dalrymple's Historical Collections, p. 52.
' Spotswood, p. 56.

by them committed to the flames, at St Andrews, in the year 1432. That he might not at the stake promulgate his opinions among the spectators by his last dying declaration, his destroyers adopted the barbarous policy of forcing a ball of brass into his mouth, then gazing, as they thought, in safety on the agonies of the voiceless sufferer.

The Popish clergy seem to have thought their triumph complete, and themselves at liberty to prosecute with even increased energy their schemes of aggrandisement. One method in which this was prosecuted deserves to be particularly noticed, as intimately connected with a subject to which we shall have repeated occasion to refer in the course of this work, viz. the subject of patronage. It has not been exactly ascertained at what time the system of lay patronage was introduced into Scotland. The late Dr M'Crie, whose opinions on all matters of Church History are of the very highest authority, held that it could not have been introduced before the tenth century. The first mention of Scottish patronages and presentations with which we are acquainted occurs in the Book of Laws of Malcolm II., who ascended the throne in the year 1004 ;1 and although the critical acumen of Lord Hailes has succeeded in casting considerable doubt upon the genuine antiquity of these laws, this much may at least be said, that no claim more ancient can be pretended for the assumed right of patronage in Scotland, at the same time that by these laws the right of deciding respecting " the advocation of kirks and the right of patronage," pertains to the jurisdiction of the Church. For a time, it would appear, the Scottish clergy followed the usual policy of the papal Church, holding every inducement to men to bequeath large sums for the erection and endowment of churches, monasteries, &c. as the best mode of securing their salvation; and allowing to such donors, and subsequently to their heirs, the right of presenting to the benefices thus bequeathed. But when they had obtained a very large proportion of the wealth of the kingdom into their own possession, the crafty churchmen became anxious to resume the patronages into their own hands; and putting the same machinery of superstition again to work, they prevailed on the lay patrons to resign the right of presentation to the

' Regiam Majestatem, pp. 2,11.

Church, by annexing it, as it was called, to bishoprics, abbacies, priories, and other religious houses. The benefices thus annexed or appropriated were termed patrimonial, and were no longer subject to the patronage of laymen. The civil power became at length alarmed at the prospect of the lands and wealth of the kingdom being thus placed in the hands of a body of men, who were not only beyond the control of the civil law, but were in fact the subjects of a foreign power. An attempt was therefore made to check this practice of annexation, by a statute in the reign of James III., in the year 1471 ; but so effectual had the schemes of the clergy been, that at the period of the Reformation there were in Scotland only two hundred and sixty-two non-appropriated benefices out of the whole number, consisting of about nine hundred and forty. Even of these two hundred and sixty-two, a considerable number, though not annexed, were in the hands of bishops, abbots, and the heads of other religious houses; so that the crafty and avaricious Popish clergy might deem themselves secure, being possessed of more than half the wealth of the kingdom, and that, too, placed beyond the power of any control, except that of an appeal to Rome,—a danger which they might well regard as not very formidable.


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