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SCOTLAND, CHURCH OF

Poets (1880-1881), passim; H. Craik, English Prose Selections (1893-1896), passim; W. J. Courthope, History of English Poetry, i. and ii. (1895-1897); J. J. Jusserand, Literary History of the English People, i. and ii. (1895, 1906); T. F. Henderson, Scottish Vernacular Literature (1898); G. Gregory Smith, The Transition Period (1900), and Specimens of Middle Scots (1902); Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1901-1903); J. H. Millar, A Literary History of Scotland (1903); The Cambridge History of English Literature, ii. (1908).

 (G. G. S.) 

SCOTLAND, CHURCH OF. The purpose of this article is to trace the growth of the Scottish “Kirk” as a whole, defining the views on which it was based and the organization in which they took form. The controversies within the Church of Scotland have not arisen out of matters of faith but out of practical questions of church government and of the relation of church and state. Holding a church theory to which the rulers of the country were for a century strongly opposed, Scotland became the leading exponent of Presbyterianism (q.v.); and this note has been the dominant one in her religious history even in recent times.

The Scottish Reformation came out of a covenant in which the barons, inspired by John Knox, then abroad, bound Scottish Reformation. themselves in 1557 to oppose the Roman Catholic religion and to promote the cause of the Reformation. When parliament, on the 24th of August 1560, passed the acts abolishing the papal jurisdiction and the mass in Scotland, it was able, as Knox had been preparing for this crisis, to sanction a new confession of faith for the Reformed First Book of Discipline. church. Other documents of the new system were quickly forthcoming. The First Book of Discipline set forth the whole of the proposed religious and educational constitution, and this book speaks of “the order of Geneva which is now in use in some of our churches.” This order, afterwards with some modifications known as John Knox's Liturgy, and used in the church down to the reign of Charles I., is a complete directory of worship, with forms of all the services to be held in the church.

The type of religion found in these documents is that of Geneva, the unit being the self-governing congregation, and the great aim of the system the pure preaching of the Word. The congregation elect the minister; in no other way can he enter on his functions; but once elected and admitted he is recognized as a free organ of the divine spirit, not subject in spiritual things to any earthly authority but that of his fellow-ministers; the word of God is the supreme authority, and the spoken word of God the vital element of every religious act. The word of God is to prevail in all matters, in conduct as well as doctrine, and in the affairs of government as well as in the church. The terrible power of excommunication is claimed for the church; but the council of the realm also is called to use the power given them by God to put down all religion but the reformed, and to further the aims and carry out the sentences of the church. It was a matter of course that saints' days and church festivals were abolished as having no warrant in Scripture; Sunday alone remained, as the principal day of preaching. In towns a week-day was to be set apart for the “exercise” or public interpretation of Scripture, in which all qualified persons in the neighbourhood were to take part, as if the whole country were a school of the Bible.

The First Book of Discipline does not set forth any complete scheme of church government. Its arrangements are in part provisional. In addition to the minister, who is its most definite figure and proved to be the most permanent, it recognizes the superintendent, the lay elder and the reader. Ten or twelve superintendents were to be appointed, “a thing most expedient at this time.” They were parish ministers and subject like their brethren to church courts; their added function was to plant churches, and place ministers, elders and deacons where required. This was also the duty of “commissioners” who were superintendents over smaller territories and for a shorter term. Whether the superintendents were meant to be permanent in the church is not clear. The lay elder was very much what he is still. The reader was to conduct service when no minister was available, reading the Scriptures and the Common Prayer. When there was preaching, it was accompanied by free prayer; the liturgy was not then called for. Of church courts the assembly is taken for granted, having existed from the first; the minor church courts are not yet defined, though the elements of each of them are present. A noble scheme of education was sketched for the whole country, but neither this nor the provision made for ministers' stipends was carried out, the revenues of the old church, from which the expenses of both were to be paid, being in the hands of the barons.

The system naturally took time to get into working order. The old clergy, bishops, abbots and priests were still on the ground, and were slow to take service in the new church. In 1574 there were 289 ministers and 715 readers; in the district of the presbytery of Auchterarder, which now has fifteen parishes, there were then four ministers and sixteen readers. As the ranks of the clergy slowly filled, questions arose which the Reformation had not settled, and it was natural that the old system with which the country was familiar should creep in again. Presbytery was never much in favour with the crown—this was the case in other countries as well as in Scotland—and when the crown, so weak at the Reformation, gained strength, encroachments were made on the popular character of the kirk; while the barons also had obvious reasons for not wishing the kirk to be too strong. The first parliament of the Regent Murray (1567), while confirming the establishment of the Reformed church as the only true church of Christ, settling the Protestant succession, and doing something to secure the right of stipend to ministers, reintroduced lay patronage, the superintendent being charged to induct the patron's nominee—an infringement of the reformed system against which the church never ceased to protest. In 1572 a kind of Episcopacy was set up in the interest of the nobles, who in order to draw the income of the episcopal sees had to arrange with men possessing a legal title to them. These “tulchan”[1] bishops did not make the episcopal office respected in the country; but their appointment was not opposed by the church leaders. They had no episcopal ordination, nor did they exercise any authority over their brother ministers. Knox was called to preach the sermon at the admission of one of them, John Douglas, to the archbishopric of St Andrews, and while he denounced both patron and presenter for the corrupt bargain they had made, he did not protest against the office of bishop as contrary to the constitution of the church.

To this declaration, however, the church soon came. Andrew Melville (q.v.) came to Scotland at this time, and became the leader of the church in place of Knox, who died in 1572. He brought with him from Geneva, where he had been the colleague of Beza, a fervent hatred of ecclesiastical tyranny and a clear grasp of the Presbyterian church system. The Scottish church, hitherto without a definite constitution, soon espoused under his able leadership a logical and thorough Presbyterianism, which was expressed in the Second Book of Discipline, adopted Second Book of Discipline. by the assembly in 1577, and was never afterwards set aside by the church when acting freely. The assembly of 1575 decided that all ministers were bishops; that of 1578 abolished the name of bishop as denoting an office in the church, and that of 1580 in spite of a royal remonstrance abolished Episcopacy, a decree to which all the bishops except five submitted. The Second Book of Discipline recognizes four kinds of office in the church, and no one can lawfully be placed in any of them except by being called to it by the members. Pastor, bishop and minister are all titles of the same office, that of those who preach the word and administer the sacraments, each to a particular congregation. The doctor is a teacher in school or university; he is an elder and assists in the work of government. Elders are rulers; their function also is spiritual, though practical and disciplinary. The fourth office is that of the deacons, who have to do with

  1. “Tulchan,” a calf-skin filled with straw, supposed to induce the cow to give milk freely; hence a term of contempt for one who is used as a dummy for the advantage of another.