Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

he again withdrew his pretensions. In the end Hugh went to Rome, was absolved and confirmed in his election. We have dwelt at some length on this passage of history, as affording a significant comment on the confessorship of S. Thomas of Canterbury. Similar in many things, the difference in the character of the principal individuals concerned in the two struggles altered the complexion of either. The times were the same—the contest was in principle the samc—the kings Henry and William not unlike,

but in Scotland there was the vacillating worldly John Scott, and in England was the saintly and heroic Thomas Becket, and the result was, that Scotland became a corrupt Church, beyond all the corruptions of Western Europe, and England received a blessing in the blood of her martyr, which protected her through many an age of secularity and sin, and made her the only nation in which, in the evil days of the sixteenth century, a pure and undoubted Episcopacy was saved from the wreck of the old system. The result of the struggle at S. Andrews was immediate, the See on the death of Bishop Hugh, was given to the king's cousin Roger, son of the Earl of Leicester, who built him a feudal castle, (now in ruins,) and left off living with the Canons. He was not consecrated for ten years, owing no doubt to the disputes with the Archbishop of York about the Metropolitan's power, and was succeeded by William Malvoisin, who, with the Bishops of Glasgow and Moray, and the Abbot of Kelso, attended at the celebrated Lateran Council, summoned by Pope Innocent III., in 1215. During the year after this, Scotland was again under an interdict, but under the next poutificate of Honorius III., the Bishop of S. Andrews had given him the germ of metropolitical power,-he had always had a precedence over the other Bishops. He was now made Conservator totius Cleri Scoticani.

Bishop Malvoisin introduced the Dominican order into Scotland; he seems to have been a good man of business, a zealous protector of the temporalities of the Church, but too fond of the pleasures of the table. The next two Bishops' lives proved without much interest: during that of Bishop Gameline we find a desperate attempt on the part of King Alexander III. and his courtiers to plunder (Scotice to reform). the whole ecclesiastical polity (p. 119).

“ In the very

first

year of Gameline's Episcopate, we find Pope Alexander II. inquiring how to prohibit the King of Scotland from seizing any part of the property of his Church.

Two years afterwards, the Pope writes to Henry III. of England, to engage him to use his utmost endeavours to gain the same object. In this letter his Holiness complains of the evil counsellors who had beset the throne of the Scottish monarch, and by perverting his tender mind had led him to trample under foot the liberty and property of the Church, and to banish Gameline, not only from his Bishopric but from his country, Yet Henry was so far from listening to the entreaties of the Pope, that he determined to take part with his son-in-law, the King of Scotland, and in 1258, issued an order that the Bishop should be seized and imprisoned, if he landed in any part of his dominions, on his return from the Court of Rome, to which it would appear from this he had gone. But it was not only against the Bishopric of S. Andrews that the hostility of Alexander and his courtiers was directed; the priory, also, came in for a share of their ill-treatment, though on what account and to what extent we are not informed; for in the above year we find the Pope giving authority to the Bishop of Dunkeld, to inquire into a complaint made by the Prior and Canons, that certain noblemen who are mentioned by name, had injured them in regard to their property; and to pronounce sentence according to the merits of the case without leave of appeal, enforcing the same if necessary by ecclesiastical censure. Finally, in 1259, we once more find the Pope calling on Bishop Gameline to prohibit Alexander III. from meddling with the property of the Church of S. Andrews. There can be no doubt that in the end the Church got the better of the King.” On Bishop Gameline's death, William Wishart, Bishop-elect of Glasgow, Archdeacon of S. Andrews, Chancellor of Scotland, and rector or prebendary of twenty-two churches, succeeded : he was present at the Council of Lyons in 1274, and was followed by William Fraser, in whose episcopate the contest between Bruce and Baliol began. This was a stormy time in Scottish politics. The interference of the English King to place Baliol on the throne, a right which he possessed as suzerain of Scotland, was resisted by that people under the leading of William Wallace and the elder Bruce, the latter of whom at first acknowledged Edward's superiority, but finding that on impartial examination that monarch assigned the crown to Baliol, (a decision, certainly in accordance with our ideas of succession, inasmuch as he was the descendant of the elder sister,) in the end leagued himself with the insurgents. Bishop Fraser, and probably the Church in general, took Edward's part in the beginning of the struggle; but Lamberton, his successor, in spite of many oaths to the contrary, was, in fact, an adherent of the national party. Various times did he take the most solemn vows of allegiance to King Edward, " sur le cors de nostre Seignor, et la cros de Neyt, et la blake rode d'Escosse,” but as often relapsed into rebellion. The battle of Bannockburn made his cause triumphant, and in a.d. 1318, the solemn consecration of the Cathedral took place in the presence of King Robert Bruce, that monarch's excommunication notwithstanding. It was at the election of this Bishop that the contest between the Canons regular and Culdees, in the matter of the choice of the Bishop, being determined by the Pope in favour of the former, the latter gradually fell into obscurity, and soon ceased to be heard of in history. On the death of Bishop Lamberton, Pope John XXII. bestowed the See upon James de Bane, who, after the battle of Dupplin, died in exile at Bruges, and the Bishopric remaining vacant for nine years, Edward III. earnestly besought the Pope to bestow it on an Englishman, but appears to have received no answer to his letter. Possibly the Pope being a Frenchman, was to a certain degree actuated by his national prejudices, and knowing that Scotland was too weak a country to support itself without foreign aid, with the unworldlike wisdom, which the worst enemies of the Roman See allow it, saw the policy of strengthening the hands of France by establishing the supremacy of Scotland. Accordingly we find him appointing William de Landelys, who, whatever the object of his elevation, was an improvement on the previous Bishops. Fordun says, that he was Lord of all the lands of Lauderdale, yet modest and

[ocr errors]

ingenuous, and he loved his canons as much as if they were his own children. He is described by Wyntoun as ' that gude man,” and he is known to have had a great devotion for going to places of pilgrimage. In his time part of the Cathedral was destroyed, and he is supposed to have negociated the ransom of King David II. after the battle of Neville's Cross. The next actual Bishop was Walter Trail, one of those great prelates of the middle ages who stand out for the admiration of posterity. Fordun thus sums up his character. " This censor of morals, this corrector of faults, than whom no one was more severe in punishing, more gentle in admonishing, more forward in assisting, more hospitable in entertaining, or more affable in manners, was broken down by old age, and died in the Castle of S. Andrews, which he had re-constructed from the foundation. His gifts tò the Cathedral were sumptuous, and in it he is honourably interred, with this inscription.

“ Hic flos ecclesiæ, directa columna, fenestra

Lucida, Thuribulum redolens, campana sonora." After his death, a royal Bishop, Thomas Stuart, son of King Robert II., “modestissimi spiritûs vir et columbinæ simplicitatis,” was elected, but owing to the distracted state of the papacy, he was never consecrated. He was persuaded by the Regent to resign and yield his right to the cruel and impure Walter de Danyelstone, whose career of wickedness was short, and who was in his turn succeeded by the celebrated Bishop Henry Wardlaw. This great man, whose hospitality, love of learning, zeal for discipline, and for refraining luxury, were the admiration of his own times, founded the University of S. Andrews, in the year A.D. 141). In his Episcopate two misguided men, Resby and Craw, suffered at the stake on account of their opinions. He was succeeded by Bishop James Kennedy, grandson of King Robert III. "This Bishop, says Pitscottie, “was wondrous godly, and wise, and well learned in divine sciences, and preached the same to the glory of God and to the weal of His Church, for he caused all parsons and vicars to remain at their parish kirks, for the instruction and edifying of their flocks : and caused them to preach the word of God to the people and visit them that were sick. And also the said Bishop visited every kirk within his diocese five times in the year, and preached to the said parishioners the word of God; and inquired of them if they were duly instructed by their parson or vícar, and if the poor were sustained and the youth brought up and trained according to the order taken in the Kirk of God; and when he found not this order kept he made great punishment, to the effect that God's glory might shine in his diocese.” This prelate founded the College of S. Salvador, saved King James II. from the dominion of the Douglases, patronized the Observantines and entertained the saintly Henry VI. in his exile. On his death, Pope Sixtus IV. erected the See into an Archbishopric. The life of the first, Patrick Graham, was a sad one. Persecuted by his own court, and unsupported by the Apostolic See, he was by the intrigues of bis enemies suspended, imprisoned in the distant Iona, and at last having lost his senses he ended his miserable days at S. Serf's cell on Lochleven. Archbishop Shevez, a divine, and astrologer, succeeded, and gross and abominable laxity and corruption began to prevail in Holy Church.

From this time the downward course in Scotland was rapid. Glasgow, imitating the example of S. Andrews, was made an Archbishopric in 1491 by Pope Innocent IV. The dignities of the Church were now good things, and were given to worthless younger sons. Even the primacy was bestowed on such, as were James Stuart, Ariosto's beau. tiful Duke of Ross, or Alexander Stuart, Erasmus's precocious pupil, or to intriguing unsaintly men, like Andrew Forman and James Beaton. The sumptuous life which the last of these led was curiously chequered with imprisonment and other miseries, endured at the hands of the factious nobles who were opposed to him. On one occasion he tended a flock of sheep for three months in order to conceal himself from his enemies. The career of the Archbishop was now one of secular politics, his spiritual duties done by deputy or most likely left undone, and as a consequence great carelessness existed : meanwhile symptoms of the coming storm began to appear, and it would be well had the Church then convinced that holiness is the true reforming power. The foundation of new colleges, and the burning of a few obstinate heretics, were not sufficient to ward off the advancing danger. Fire and faggot are not such persuasive preachers as Christ-likeness and sober religion, and where the rising party have something to allege in their behalf, are unsuccessful weapons ; for deeply as we abhor the Scotch reformation, and fully impressed as we are with the fatal results even at this time of that detestable event, it must not in due candour be forgotten that by a great general law of God's Providence, a violent effect is generally the result of an equally powerful cause, and that we may judge of motives pretty accurately from their consequences. Now, nowhere was the convulsion so powerful as in Scotland, and nowhere was there such a bloody havoc made in the old system, and we may conclude that nowhere was there so much provocation. It is true that it was in the case of the new religion, a conspiracy between the preachers and the nobles to destroy the Church and cripple the Monarchy, an act of unmitigated selfishness on the part of both, still there was some fault on the Church's part also. First of all, the hierarchy was shamefully rich -the more remarkably so, from the proportionate poverty of the kingdom. From the fact that the monks were all good husbandmen, the barren spots originally granted them had become among the finest and most productive heritages of the land. So valuable were the Abbacies, that in later times secular priests and even laics were intruded, who spent on their own sensual amusements what the piety of munificent founders had laid aside as the patrimony of the poor. Again, the parochial system seems never to have been very efficiently administered-pluralities prevailed to an exorbitant degree, the great tithes were in general impropriated by Cathedrals or Monasteries, the parishes were served by vicars for the most part, and the poor had no immediate interest in preserving things as they were. To this must be added the recollection that the moment the Church ceased to be unworldlike, it lost its hold upon the wild, factious steel-clad barons. These growing at once from the patriarchal into the feudal superiors, had ever maintained their ascen. dancy in Scotland, had ever controlled the King and of course had quarrelled with the Church, so soon as the Church attracted their envious notice. As long as holy and devoted times existed, the Church maintained its own against them, but when it became enfeebled by luxury, and its spirit was fled, and it began to fight the barons with their own weapons, mailed bands and strong castles, and court intrigues, the actual result might be expected. Still, making due allowance for this, there is not one redeeming point about the Scotch reformation. It has not even the doubtful merit of being a patriotic movement, wishing to free the country from the influence of a “foreign prince, person, or potentate "; for evidence is found in the State-paper Office, of the shameful way in which, from the end of the Regency of Mary of Guise to the accession of James to the British throne, the Scotch statesmen were bribed with English gold. Unlike the sister country, where, in spite of adverse influences, a certain moderation was observed, and when the identity of the new system with the old was jealously looked to, and when we may hope that only non-essentials were cast away with the superstitions of the times-unlike England, it pleased God, no doubt, for the former sins of His people, to withdraw His Presence for a time from that distant land. Every thing which had before been held sacred was swept away—the hierarchy and all that is the evidence of Christian existence to a community were crushed, and a sweeping and entire revolution in fact, though not in name, was the consequence. Neither can the advocates for the later system pretend that what they effected to seek, reformation of manners, succeeded. Not to mention the rapine and sacrilege committed by the nobles in seizing the lands of the Church, many of the opinions of the reformers with regard to the power of law were subversive of all justice except their own wayward wills, in this resembling some of the more extravagant sects on the continent. Their sense of morality seems to have been low, for provided a man agreed with them, it mattered little what his morals were. The man they appointed, not only to the presidentship of one of their colleges, but to the most sacred duty in the realm, the education of the young king, was a man, who, though a respectable Latin scholar, has polluted his works with the obscenities of a Martial or Ausonius, and is still among the common people of Scotland, the hereditary fatherer of all filthy and vulgar jests. Nor was this a single though glaring instance of the low tone of the reformers. Hear Mr. Lyon, no extravagant admirer of the old Church. “ The book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland, as it is singularly called, (in oth er ords the records of the General Assembly from the Reformation downwards) furnishes sad proofs of the disorder, immorality, and intolerance which prevailed throughout Scotland at the period we are now reviewing. We there read of numberless cases of fornication, adultery, and incest, some of them of a very disgusting character. Indeed, impurity seems to have been the besetting sin of Scotland at this time. In Perth alone, whose population did not exceed six thousand, there were on an average eighty convicted cases of adultery annually, even under the superintendence of Mr. Row, its first protestant minister. And Mr. Petrie informs us, that in Orkney there were six hundred persons convicted.

In the same record we read complaints against all the four super. intendents (the sham bishops appointed to supervize the preachers), and

*

*

« PredošláPokračovať »