"What," she would say, "has young blood to do with this bickering of kirks and old wives' lamentations?
[Footnote 16: In Lord Hailes's Extracts from the Book of the Universal Kirk.]
"Christ died on the tree; that built Dunscore Kirk yonder; that brought you and me together.
By Alloway's auld, haunted kirk.
Weel-mounted on his gray mare Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire, Despising wind and rain and fire; Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet, Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet, While glow'ring round wi' prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares: Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
Before him Doon pours all his floods; The doubling storm roars thro' the woods; The lightnings flash from pole to pole; Near and more near the thunders roll; When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees, Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze: Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing, And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
I doubted much which road to take, whether to go by the coast, or by Laurence Kirk and Monboddo.
We stopped at Laurence Kirk, where our great Grammarian, Ruddiman, was once schoolmaster.
Lord Gardenston is the proprietor of Laurence Kirk, and has encouraged the building of a manufacturing village, of which he is exceedingly fond, and has written a pamphlet upon it, as if he had founded Thebes; in which, however, there are many useful precepts strongly expressed.
Near it is the meanest parish Kirk I ever saw.
In a short Account of the Kirk of Scotland, which I published some years ago, I applied these words to the two contending parties, and explained them thus: 'The popular party has most eloquence; Dr. Robertson's party most influence.'
Seldon and Whitelock warned their colleagues to beware how they erected among them the tyranny of a Presbyterian kirk; and many in the two houses began to maintain that Christ had established no particular form of church government, but had left it to be settled under convenient limitations by the authority of the state.
On the other side the committees of the kirk and estates exulted in the prospect of executing the vengeance of God upon "the sectaries;" and afraid that the enemy should escape, compelled their general to depart from his usual caution, and to make preparation for battle.
Still the presumption of the six ministers who formed the committee of the kirk was not humbled.
A minister, James Guthrie, in defiance of the committee of estates, excommunicated Middleton; and such was the power of the kirk, that even when the king's party was superior, Middleton was compelled to do penance in sackcloth in the church of Dundee, before he could obtain absolution preparatory to his taking a command in the army.
Of these men, formidable by their talents, still more formidable by their fanaticism, the leaders were Wariston, the clerk register in the parliament, and Gillespie and Guthrie, two ministers in the kirk.
In parliament the party, though too weak to control, was sufficiently strong to embarrass, and occasionally to influence, the proceedings; in the kirk it formed indeed the minority, but a minority too bold and too numerous to be rashly irritated or incautiously despised.
Though it cost the young prince many an internal struggle, yet experience had taught him that he must soothe the religious prejudices of the kirk, if he hoped ever to acquire the preponderance in the state.
Vexation, indeed, urged them to reproach the king with inconstancy and ingratitude; but Charles, while he employed every art to lull the jealousy of Argyle, steadily pursued his purpose; his friends, by submitting to the humbling ceremony of public penance, satisfied the severity of the kirk; and by the repeal[a] of the act of classes, they were released from all previous forfeitures and disqualifications.
The Presbyterians of Lancashire had promised to rise, and Massey, a distinguished officer of that persuasion, was sent before to organize the levy; but the committee of the kirk forbade him to employ any man who had not taken the covenant; and, though Charles annulled their order, the English ministers insisted that it should be obeyed.
Most of the gentry put on mourning; the chair of state in the parliament house, the uppermost seats in the kirks, and almost all the pulpits, were clothed in black.
His devilish mass: His blasphemous priesthood: His profane sacrifice for the sins of the dead and the quick: His canonization of men; calling upon angels or saints departed; worshipping of imagery, relics and crosses; dedicating of kirks, altars, days; Vows to creatures:
At one of the country kirks the congregation was reduced to the minister and precentor.
They were ordered to return to their own session, and to stand at the kirk-door, barefoot and barelegged, from the second bell to the last, and thereafter in the public place of repentance; and, at direction of the session, thereafter to go through the whole kirks of the presbytery, and to satisfy them in like manner.
"Ah," said Dr. Henry, "an it hadna been for that, there wad hae been twa toom kirks this day."