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preserve what he has wrought for us, and to return thanks to God for bringing this assembly to so comfortable a con
The assembly having thus left the oath of abjuration to be taken or not, according to the discretion of individuals, it became a grievous snare to the church of Scotland. Many ministers absolutely refused it; and many members declined all communion with those who took it. Many of those, too, who took it, took it with explanations, which went to render their taking it of no utility, and made them objects of pity to their nonjuring brethren, and of contempt to their enemies the Jacobites, who were watchful spectators of their conduct, and did not fail to represent it in the most odious light.t
• Index to unprinted Acts of Assembly, 1712.
† The following is a copy of the oath :-“I A. B. do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify, and declare, in my conscience, before God and the world, that our sovereign lady, queen Anne, is lawful and rightful queen of this realm, and of all other her majesty's dominions and countries thereunto belonging. And I do solemnly and sincerely declare, that I do believe, in my conscience, the person pretended to be prince of Wales, during the life of the late king James, and since his decease pretending to be, and taking upon himself the style and title of king of England, by the name of James the third, or of Scotland, by the name of James the eighth, or the style and title of king of Great Britain, hath not any right or title whatsoever to the crown of this realm, or any other the dominions thereunto belonging. And I do renounce, refuse, and abjure any allegiance, or obedience to him. And I do swear that I will bear faith and true allegiance to her majesty, queen Anne, and her will defend to the utmost of my power, against traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever which shall be made against her person, crown, and dignity. And I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to her majesty and her successors all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which I shall know to be against her, or any of them. And I do faithfully promise to the utmost of my power, to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the crown against him, the said James, and all other persons whatsoever, as the same is and stands settled by an act entituled, An act declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the crown to her present majesty, and the heirs of her body being protestants; and as the same by another act entituled, An act for the further limitation of the crown, and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject, is and stands settled and entailed, after the decease of her majesty, and for default of issue of her majesty, to the princess Sophia, electress and dutchess dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being protestants. And all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear, according to the express words by me spoken, and
These latter had also the craft to raise an opinion which was widely spread, and readily reported by some of the jurant presbyterians, to bring discredit upon their nonjuring brethren, that the scruples they had against the oath were raised by
according to the plain and common sense and understanding of the same words, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever. And I do make this recognition and promise, heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the true faith of a christian. So help me Godh”
The following is the declaration, which was made at taking the oath, by the synod of Dumfries, and it may be presumed that explanations made in other places would be of a similar tendency :-“We, the ministers of the established church of Scotland, in the synod of Dumfries and sheriffdom thereof, undersubscribing, are come hither to take the oath of abjuration, required of us by authority; which the act of security, for our church government, obliges us to understand only in a sense that is not any way contrary unto, or inconsistent with the true protestant religion, presbyterian church government, worship, and discipline, established by the said act, conform to an address from this church to her majesty, graciously received by her : and, therefore, we do declare, that we take it only in the said sense; and that we reckon ourselves nowise obliged, from any thing in this oath, to approve of, or support the hierarchy, or ceremonies of the church of England, or any thing contrary to the said presbyterian church government, worship, and discipline. The which declaration we conceive to be agreeable to the true meaning of the words of the oath: and, therefore, crave the same to be recorded in the justices of the peace of the said sheriffdom their books, as the only sense wherein we take the said oath. Signed at Dumfries," &c. &c.*
The following account of the matter, by Lockhart of Carnwath, has a good deal of bitterness, but, we are afraid, at the same time, a great deal of truth.
“ It is also well worth remarking, that such of the presbyterian brethren as, in compliance with this law, became jurors, acted as odd a part, in the way and manner of their taking, as Mr. Carstares did in obtaining the oath of abjuration; for, as a great many, especially in and near to Edinburgh, would not by noncompliance run the hazard of incurring the penalties in the act contained, they were at the same time very solicitous to retain their reputation with the populace, and, in order thereto, framed ane explanation, containing the sense in which they took the said oath, viz. in so far as it was consistent with their known principles, and no further. After the brethren of the presbytery of Edinburgh, and I was told they followed the same method in most other places, had sworn and signed the oath, which to them was administered by a full meeting of the justices of peace, they retired to a corner of the court, where Mr. Carstares repeated, or rather whispered, over the aforesaid explanation, in his own and his brethren's names, and thereupon he took instruments in the hands of a public notar, brought thither by him for that effect.
* Rae's History of the Rebellion, p. 16.
the Jesuits, for no other purpose but to create dissension; and this silly surmise had, in several instances, a more mischievous tendency, and tended to create disgust and disaffcction, in a higher degree than even the oath itself. Upon the whole, however, the effect of these measures was far different from what their projectors anticipated, and, instead of forwarding the views of the Jacobites, were the principal means of blasting them for ever.
Under the leading of Sacheveral, and the excitement of Oxford and Bolingbroke, the clergy of England had been brought to preach little else than the doctrine of indefeasible hereditary right; the irresistible power of princes, with the necessity of a constant succession of diocesan bishops; of all ecclesiastical administrations by priests episcopally ordained; of auricular confession to them, absolution from them, and of
This Jesuitical way of doing business, though it served as a pretext to justify them to some poor silly people, exposed them much to the censure of all sober thinking persons, it being cvident from hence, that, though they roared out against the mental reservations of the church of Rome, they could do the very same thing themselves when it served their turns. It proved that either they were scrub theologists, or men of no conscience; for, seeing all divines and lawyers agree in maintaining that all oaths are taken and binding in the sense and terms of the lawgiver imposing the same, any explanation contrary to the plain literal meaning of the words, and without the approbation of the lawgiver, hath no manner of import whatever. And, moreover, the explanation was not made publicly and adhered to in the face of the court, and at the time of swearing the oath, so as to stand on record; though, by the bye, the justices had no power to consent to and receive the same, being no furder authorized and required, than to put the laws in execution, by administering the oath in the terms of the act imposing the same. It is, therefore, evident, I say, that this explanation was altogether illegal and unwarrantable, a downright juggling with God and man, and a precedent for admitting the greatest cheats
, and performing the greatest villanies, for by the same rule, why might they not abjure Christianity and profess Mahometism, provided they secretly declared to be so only so far as consisted with their principles ? might they not falsely swear away any man's life and fortune, provided they privately declared that their oath was to be understood as probative, in so far only as it consisted with truth? But the baseness and bad consequences of such principles and practices are so conspicuous, and so detested by all men of honour and conscience, there is no need of enlarging turder, the bare recital of the fact, to which I was an eye-witness, being more than enough to create in such a just abhorrence of it, and all who act after that manner.” Lockhart Papers, vol. i. pp. 394, 385.
propitiatory sacrifices offered up by them, so that the poor people, ignorant at best, were every day becoming more so, and, careless of either civil or religious interests, were hasting to have their necks again enwreathed in the iron yokes of tyranny and superstition. So far, however, were the ministers of the Scotish establishment from imitating so pernicious an example, that they, for the most part, pursued exactly an opposite course; and from the inroads made upon the liberty of the church, took occasion to vindicate her institutions, to expose those false principles which guided her enemies; and to point out the doleful consequences that behoved to follow the completion of those superstructures, that were attempting to be founded upon her ruins.*
At the same time, it must be admitted, that the labours of the well affected part of the church of Scotland, were greatly counteracted by the zeal of their opponents. Assuring themselves that they had now the favour of the government, the disaffected of every class displayed peculiar activity, and Romish priests, under the patronage of the Jacobite nobility and gentry, swarmed in almost all parts of the country, particularly in the north, in the islands, about Aberdeen, and in the south, where Jacobitism was more prevalent than in the middle and western districts. These, under the protection of the chiefs of the faction, were so bold as to go about all the parts of their religion; and they were so successful as to subvert whole parishes, and retain even considerable districts in Romish darkness. This was particularly the case in Lochaber, Glengarry, Moydart, Arisaig, and the Island of Skye, where the light of protestantism had been but partially diffused, during the brightest periods of the reformation. A popish bishop of the name of Bruce, had even the confidence to fix his residence openly in Perthshire, where he lived in great splendour, sent forth emissaries in every direction, and performed the duties of his office as freely and formally as if he had had public authority for so doing. The people, at the same time, resorted to their idolatrous places of worship in the same manner as if they had been parish churches. In
* Rae's History of the Rebellion, pp. 56—38.
these they published banns, celebrated marriages, baptisms, and masses; and for their support schools were established, and the more promising youth sent beyond seas, to be prepared at foreign seminaries for supporting, and diffusing more abundantly over the country, the kingdom of darkness.
This zeal on the part of the papists, was warmly seconded by the Scotish episcopal clergy, who, for profanity of conduct, and heterodoxy of doctrine, for the most part came, at this time, very little, if any thing short of those of Rome; and they possessed some advantages for poisoning the public mind, which the others did not. These advantages they were very careful to improve. They had the name of protestant, and employed themselves assiduously to persuade the people, that the pretender might turn protestant-nay, many of them affirmed that he was protestant already. “And what a pity, " they exclaimed, “ that the lineal heir of our crown should be obliged to wander in foreign parts, while a family so remote as that of Hanover, not within the ninth degree of blood to queen Anne, should be brought in to reign over us.” They were also at immense pains to fabricate and to spread the most foolish, and false, and calumnious reports of the protestant successor; affirming that he communicated thrice a year with the Romish church, and so was popish as well as the pretender—which, had he done so, no reasonable man would have doubted—and still worse, he was also a pagan, and sacrificed to the devil, with many other unworthy but ridiculous things, which, though no man of common sense could believe, yet among the unthinking vulgar, who were not aware of the design, brought a certain degree of contempt upon his character, and had their own weight, even with many, who, it might have been presumed, would have been superior to such vulgar influence.*
Participating strongly in that general feeling of insult and indignity that prevailed through the country, the old dissenters under Messrs. John Mackmillan and John Macneil, felt themselves now called upon to make a still more decided appearance against what they supposed the defections of the
Rae's History of the Rebellion, p. 14.