Scotland, Episcopal Church of

Scotland, Episcopal Church Of.

In the latter part of the 16th century, the Scottish nation, disgusted with the lasciviousness, inconsistency, and oppression of the Romish clergy, became unanimous for reform. The papal party soon dwindled to nothing — their bishops forsook their sees and went abroad; but the ancient churches of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, etc., still continued and were presided over by archbishops and bishops, some of whom had been constituted before the Reformation. Of this old episcopate, James Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, was the last survivor, dying April 24, 1603. James I revived the order (October, 1610), when John Spottiswood, Andrew Lamb, and Gavin Hamilton were consecrated respectively bishops of Glasgow, Brechin, and Galloway by the bishops of London, Ely, and Bath. But the Solemn League and Covenant .followed soon after, and this succession came to an end :in the person of Thomas Sydserf, bishop of Orkney, who died in 1663. Charles II was scarcely seated upon the throne when he was advised to restore episcopacy, and to suppress, if not all at once, yet by gradual encroachments, the Presbyterian government in the Scotch Church. By the advice of James Sharp, lord Clarendon, high in favor with the king, discouraged the recall of the old Episcopalians who had been long absent from Scotland. The management of the whole affair -was left to Sharp, who was placed at the head of the establishment as archbishop of St. Andrew's. On Dec. 15 (or 16), 1661, James Sharp, Andrew Fairfull (Fair- foul), Robert Leighton, and James Hamilton were consecrated to the sees of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, Dunblane, and Galloway by the bishops of London, Worcester, Carlisle, and Llandaff. The selection was unfortunate. Sharp was chiefly known, through the whole period of his episcopate, as the unrelenting foe of the Presbyterians; Hamilton was good-natured and weak, and both he and Fairfull had been zealous in past times to enforce the Covenant; Leighton was a man of primitive holiness and an accomplished scholar, but in other respects not qualified for his office. The conduct of Sharp, especially in forbidding the clergy to meet in their presbyteries "till such time as the bishops should appoint," greatly irritated the people. The first act of the new Parliament vested the whole government and jurisdiction of the Church in the several dioceses in the bishops, whereas previously the presbyteries had possessed a voice in the administration of the diocese. A proclamation was issued that all who had not obeyed the late act — that is, who held their livings only by virtue of a call from the people and an appointment by the presbytery — should desist from preaching and other ministerial functions. Above two hundred churches were closed in one day, often men of weight and ability being displaced by men unfit, by lack of education and morals, for the pulpit. The Conventicle Act (q.v.), passed by the English Parliament in 1663, was immediately adopted by the Scotch Legislature. Another act followed, substituting a national synod in the place of the General Assembly. The business of the synod was to be laid before it by the crown, and if agreed to by the president, the archbishop of St. Andrew's, and sanctioned by the king, it then became one of the ecclesiastical laws of the land. In 1666 the Covenanters rose in arms, but were entirely subdued, many of them being hanged for rebellion. The course of Sharp in securing hostile legislation and in persecuting the Covenanters was disapproved of by many of the clergy and bishops of the Church. A compromise was proposed by Leighton and approved of by Charles (1667). It was substantially to the effect that the Church should be governed jointly by the bishops and clergy assembled in ecclesiastical court, the bishop acting only as )resident; that the Presbyterian ministers, in taking their seats, might declare that their recognition of a bishop was made only for the sake of peace. Other concessions were made, so that the episcopacy was reduced to the lowest point of authority compatible with its bare existence. But neither the Covenanters nor Episcopalians would accept the compromise, and matters grew worse until, in 1679, Sharp was assassinated; then a rebellion, and fresh severities on the part of the government. In 1688 the Scotch Convention; in their claim of rights, stated the conditions upon which they admitted William, prince of Orange, to the vacant throne. They affirmed in this state paper that "all prelacy was a great and insupportable grievance,s The bishops retired from the convention, the Presbyterians were left to carry, matters as they pleased, and episcopacy was once more abolished. At this date the Episcopal Church of Scotland stood thus: there were two archiepiscopal provinces — St. Andrew's and Glasgow — with twelve bishoprics. The clergymen were about 900, some of whom transferred their allegiance to William and Mary, but the greater part declined to do so, and formed a union with the Nonjurors of England, with whom their history is closely entwined for ninety years, until the latter disappeared. In 1702 queen Anne wrote to the privy council, expressing her desire that the Episcopal clergy should be permitted the free exercise of public worship — an act of generosity, as they still declined the oath of allegiance to the reigning family. The next year the Episcopalians presented her an address, in which they mention the suffering of the clergy in 1688 and 1689, and to which the queen returned a kind and gracious answer. Such toleration gave great offence, and the General Assembly addressed their remonstrances to the lord high commissioner. The Act of Union, by which England and Scotland were united, took place May 1,1707, but did not immediately benefit the Episcopalians, even the English regiments stationed in Scotland not being allowed the use of the English Prayer-book. Queen Anne died in 1714, and the next year the rebellion broke out in behalf of the Pretender The Episcopalians were supposed to be favorable to his cause, and were regarded with distrust, and met with very harsh usage. On taking the oath of allegiance, the Episcopal clergy were again permitted, by an act passed in 1719, to officiate in public and to use the English liturgy. They were undisturbed by the authorities until the second rebellion, in 1745, the principal cause of distraction being the controversy among themselves between the Nonjurors (q.v.) and their opponents. The second rebellion of 1745 nearly completed the destruction of Scotch Episcopalianism. The house of Hanover naturally regarded a Church whose bishops were up- pointed by the Pretender with suspicion. An act was passed forbidding every Episcopal clergyman to officiate without taking the oaths to the government, and in 1746 making more than four persons besides the clergyman's family an illegal meeting. In 1748 it was enacted that none but English or Irish letters of orders should be deemed sufficient to qualify any minister for the exercise of his office in Scotland, and the clergy were only permitted to officiate in their own houses. This state of things continued till the accession of George III in 1760. In 1765 the communion office was revised by the bishops, and brought to its present state. From this period the Church has used the English liturgy, with the exception of the communion office. From the time when the bishops met at Aberdeen and acknowledged George III as their rightful sovereign, the Church ceased to be a Nonjuring Church. In 1792 an act was passed which relieved them from the penalties imposed by the various acts of queen Anne, George I, and George II, but forbade the clergy from officiating in England "except in the case of such as shall have been ordained by some bishop of the Church of England or of Ireland." This prohibition was so far removed in 1840 as to allow them to thus officiate "only with the special permission of the bishop in writing, such permission extending only to two Sundays at a time." The Scottish bishops early in the present century resumed the titles which they had been compelled to lay aside, but these titles are not allowed by law. The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England were made the standard of faith, and in 1863 the Prayer-book was adopted as the authorized service-book of the Episcopal Church, permission being given in certain cases to use the Scottish communion office. Several flourishing congregations of English Episcopalians still (1854) declined to recognise the authority of the Scotch bishops or hold communion with their Church, regarding its usages and doctrines on the subject of the eucharist as unscriptural. In 1864 all restrictions on the clergy were removed, save that an English or Irish bishop might refuse institution to a Scottish clergyman on his first presentation to a benefice in England or Ireland. The dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church are seven, viz. Moray, Aberdeen, Brechin, Argyle, St. Andrew's, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. The bishops are chosen by the clergy of the diocese and by representatives of the lay communicants, a majority of both orders being necessary' to a valid election. One of the bishops, under the name of "primus," chosen by the other bishops, presides at all meetings of the bishops, and has certain other privileges, but possesses no metropolitan authority. The highest judicial body is the Episcopal College, composed of all the bishops. The highest legislative body is a General Synod, composed of two houses — the one of the bishops, and the other of the deans and the representatives of the clergy. Since 1834 the Church has increased quite rapidly. The livings are generally very small, the minimum fixed income being £100 a year, and very few rating higher, unless the ministers have private incomes. Few of the middling class are connected with the Episcopal Church, its members being made up principally of the wealthy nobles and the poor peasantry. In 1841 Trinity College was founded at Glenalmond, in Perthshire, and St. Ninian's Cathedral at Perth was consecrated by the bishop of Brechin in 1851. See Burnet, Hist. of his Own Times; Spottiswood, Hist. of the Church of Scotland (1625; new ed. Edinb. 1847-51, 3 vols. 8vo): Collier, Eccles. Hist.; Bishop Skinner, Eccles. Hist. of Scotland. etc. (Lond. 1788, 2 vols. 8vo); Russell, Hist. of the Church in Scotland (ibid. 1834, 2 vols. 8vo); Lathbury, Hist. of the Nonjurors ; Cunningham, Church Hist. of Scotland; Grub, Eccles. Hist. of Scotland; also Marsden, Dict. of Christian Churches, s.v.; Religions of the World (ibid. 1877).

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