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hundred thousand of her people, are proofs that absolute patronage is irreconcilable with the genius of presbytery. What a man so honest and so able as Hardy might have done for the church, had life been given him, we cannot tell ; as it was, he had little more than time to lift the trumpet to his mouth, and to sound this jarring and dolorous blast in the ears of the moderates of his day, ere death summoned him from the church militant to the church triumphant. At this epoch moderatism may be considered to have fully developed itself as a system within the Church of Scotland. How far it had deflected from the doctrines and the spirit of the Reformers may be learned from two facts,—its leading lights had been the friends of Hume---their followers were the tools of Dundas.
SINGULARLY enough, to the pecuniary difficulties of the Edinburgh Town Council does Scotland owe it, that the dreary and leaden reign of moderatism was first broken. In 1810, Dr. Andrew Thomson was brought to Edinburgh; in 1814, he became minister of St. George's. His popularity was unbounded; he filled the coffers of the Town Council, and he destroyed the prestige of the moderates, who up to that hour had numbered in their ranks the leading intellect of the Church. This tribune of the people clothed himself with a threefold power; from the pulpit, the platform, and the press he assailed, with all the energy of his intensely-earnest nature, whatever opposed itself to the purity of God's truth, or the freedom of God's children. Five years after Thomson is settled in Edinburgh, Chalmers is settled in Kilmany-like stars in the horizon, one by one the evangelical leaders of the Scottish Church are appearing. From Kilmany Chalmers went to Glasgow ; from Glasgow to St. Andrews; from St. Andrews to Edinburgh. In Edinburgh, he was surrounded with a group of coadjutors worthy of himself,
of whom he was the central figure. The “voluntary controversy,” the elements of which had been gathering for nearly half a century, now burst forth over Scotland with the fury of a tornado. Soon the leading men, alike of the Establishment and Dissent, were drawn into its vortex. A spirit of the most rigorous inquiry and investigation was abroad, searching, as with a lighted candle, the corruptions, real or supposed, of the Scottish Church. In the pictures which the leading voluntary agitators drew of the Kirk of Scotland, her sons scorned to recognize their mother; denouncing their representations as caricatures, but conscious of the power they wielded over the popular mind. Dr. Chalmers,-irritated that the popular feeling threatened to leave the evangelical party
“Like some gallant bark,
-exclaimed, “The Voluntaries have taken the platform, we must follow them there.” They did follow them. The voluntary controversy merged in the non-intrusion controversy. The leaders of the evangelical section of the Scottish Church carried into her courts the sentiments to which they had given utterance from the platform. These sentiments, acted out, speedily brought them into conflict with the Court of Session and the Imperial Parliament. It was in the crisis of the struggle the quondam stone-cutter's voice was first heard as
a controvertist. A sleepless night passed by Mr. Miller, after learning the decision of the House of Lords in the Auchterarder case, resulted in "A Letter from one of the Scotch people to the Right Hon. Lord Brougham.* This letter was despatched from Cromarty, so soon as finished, to the manager of the Commercial Bank, Mr. Robert Paul, a gentleman who had shown Mr. Miller no small kindness. Mr. Paul carried the pamphlet to his minister, then the Rev. Mr. Candlish of St. George's. On perusing it in manuscript, the keen eye of the leader of the Free Church detected in its writer the man his party had been looking out for to edit their contemplated organ. At once, in the extent of its popularity, and in the circles into which it found its way, this first brochure was a successful hit. It was read by most of the members of the ministry of the day, including the late Lord Melbourne. Daniel O'Connell enjoyed its racy English, and Mr. Gladstone noticed it with approval in that elaborate work on “ Church Principles," which Lord Macaulay subjected to such a trenchant criticism.
Thus does the Cromarty-bank clerk address the ex-Lord Chancellor of England :
“ With many thousands of my countrymen, I have waited in deep anxiety for your lordship's opinion on the Auchterarder case. Aware that what may seem clear as a matter of right, may be yet exceedingly doubtful as a question of law,-aware, too, that your lordship had to decide in this matter, not as a legislator, but as a judge, I was afraid, that though you yourself might be our friend, you might yet have to pronounce the law our enemy. And yet, the bare majority by which the case had been carried against us in the Court of Session,—the consideration, too, that the judges who had declared in our favour, rank among the ablest lawyers and most accomplished men that our country has ever produced, had inclined me to hope that the statute-book, as interpreted by your lordship, might not be found very decidedly against us. But of you, yourself my lord, I could entertain no doubt. You had exerted all your energies in sweeping away the Old Sarums and East Retfords of the constitution. Could I once harbour the suspicion that you had become tolerant of the Old Sarums and East Retfords of the church! You had declared, whether wisely or otherwise, that men possessed of no property qualification, and as humble and as little taught as the individual who now addresses you, should be admitted, on the strength of their moral and intellectual qualities alone, to exercise a voice in the legislature of the country. Could I suppose for a moment that you deemed that portion of these very men which falls to the share of Scotland, unfitted to exercise a voice in the election of a parish minister or rather, for I understate the case, that you held them unworthy of being emancipated from the thraldom of a degrading law,—the remnant of a barbarous code, which conveys them over by thousands and miles square, to the charge of patronage-courting clergymen, practically unacquainted with the religion they profess to teach. Surely the people of Scotland are not so changed, but that they know at least as much of the doctrines of the New Testament, as of the principles of civil government,—and of the requisites of a gospel minister, as of the qualifications of a member of Parliament !
“ You have decided against us, my lord, You have even said that we had better rest contented with the existing statutes, as interpreted by your lordship, than involve ourselves in the dangers and difficulties of a new enactment. Nay, more wonderful still! all your sympathies on the occasion seemed to have been reserved for the times and the memory of men who first imparted its practical efficiency to a law under which we and our fathers have groaned, and which we have ever regarded as not only subversive of our natural rights as men, but of our well-being as Christians. Highly as your lordship estimates our political wisdom, you have no opinion whatever of our religious taste and knowledge. Is it at all possible that you, my lord, a native of Scotland, and possessed of more general information than perhaps any other man living, can have yet to learn that we have thought long and deeply of our religion,—whereas our political