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monarchies of the elder world have long since passed away; the kingdoms which were the early contemporaries of the Church, those which beheld the dawn of her youth, now live only on the page of history. Yet she still rides the waves, and as she has passed along, has made all tributaries to herself; gathering from each spoils to enrich her Master, jewels to gleam in His unfading diadem. With her hopes just now as bright and glorious as ever, she remains in her organization what she was in the apostles' days. The same Episcopal government which Timothy then exercised at Ephesus, and Titus in Crete, and which they 'committed to faithful men,' is now with us. The same orders of Apostles, Pastors, and Teachers, of which St Paul spoke, under changed names but unchanged nature, God has still given to us: orders which nothing can change but a new and direct revelation from heaven. It can be done by no human authority. We are not foolish enough to try to improve or interfere with things which God hath settled. The well-worn path is before us, and we will not wander from it. If the Rechabites were blessed, because they reverenced antiquity, and walked in the way which had been pointed out to them in distant ages, is it not well for us, as a Christian Church, to imbibe their stedfast and unchanging spirit? We feel, too, that we belong to a cause which in the end must triumph. The heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth may stand up, and the rulers take counsel together;' yet the Church they cannot overcome. 'There shall no divination prosper against Israel.' He who is its protector shall laugh them to scorn, and its Lord shall have them in derision.' Truly, the past may be with us a pledge for the future. If for eighteen centuries the Apostolic Church has breasted the storm, and uninjured, unchanged, come down to us; if now we trace in every lineament that here is the same Church which existed in 'our fathers' days and in the old time before them,' then we may believe that thus she shall continue to go on in the greatness of her strength, until the trumpet of the archangel shall proclaim that her warfare on earth is accomplished. Her ancient ministry shall never be wanting. Her holy succession of Bishops shall be uninterrupted till the last who may bear that sacred office shall stand amid the ruins of a crumbling world.
Are we then united to this Church, not only outwardly but also in heart and spirit? Are we sharing in her trials here, that we may partake of her triumph hereafter? Shall we, in the hour of
her glory, stand with her upon the holy mountain, and help to upraise that anthem which the redeemed shall sing for ever?
Christian warrior! the conflict is raging around you,—the Church is summoning you to her aid, the voices of apostles, martyrs, and confessors, come down to you from the ages of a distant antiquity, urging you to live for the cause, for which they were willing even to die. Will you turn away from this appeal? Will you prove recreant to this high trust? Your daily, hourly life, is furnishing the answer.'
BRIEF ACCOUNT OF SCOTTISH SEES.
SEE OF CAITHNESS.
NOTHING is known of the foundation of this See, which comprised the counties of Caithness and Sutherland. It was existing, however, in the reign of King David I., which commenced in 1124. At that time, Andrew was Bishop here, and so continued in the following reign, when he died. He appears to have had a successor of the same name, who was present at the Council of Northampton in 1176, and died in December 1185.
John, the next Bishop, is said to have been murdered by Harold, Earl of Orkney and Caithness.
Adam, Abbot of Melrose, was consecrated Bishop of Caithness in 1214. He went to Rome in 1218, together with the Bishops of Glasgow and Moray, to crave absolution of the Pope, and returned the following year. In the year 1222, it is said that this Bishop also was murdered by the Earl of Caithness.
Gilbert Moray succeeded. He had distinguished himself, as is said, at the convention of Clergy holden at Northampton by the Pope's legate, in 1176, in the presence of William King of Scotland, and the King of England. To this assembly the Scottish Bishops went, with a great number of their clergy, having been cited by the apparitus of the legate; and at this meeting the said legate, who was called Hugo, and styled Cardinal de St Angelo, endeavoured to persuade the Scottish Prelates to submit themselves to the Archbishop of York, as their metropolitan. The Bishops, unwilling to offend the legate, kept silence; but at
last, this Gilbert Moray, then a young canon, rose up, and made a spirited harangue, in which he deprecated placing the Church of Scotland, which had always been a free and independent Church, under the power of one, who in case of peace being broken between the two countries, would then be their enemy, and could not discharge any duty among them; and that they had learned and wise prelates among themselves, fully capable of determining any controversies, without having recourse to foreign authority. His remonstrances produced much effect; and the Archbishop of York, who did not anticipate opposition from such a quarter, called the young canon to come to him, and laying his hand upon the other's head, exclaimed,-Ex tua pharetra nunquam venit ista sagittathis arrow never came out of your quiver; meaning, that he had been set on to speak by some others of greater note. So the legate perceiving little chance of success, broke up the meeting; and this Gilbert, having become deservedly popular, was judged worthy of good preferment, and eventually became Bishop of Caithness.
Such is the substance of Archbishop Spottiswood's narrative, as quoted by Bishop Keith; but there is an obvious discrepancy in dates, which will not bear out the conclusion, that the appointment of this Gilbert Moray to the See of Caithness, for this Council of Northampton is stated to have taken place in 1176, and Gilbert did. not become Bishop until 1222, forty-six years afterwards. It is obvious, therefore, supposing the speaker at the Council of Northampton to have been the same individual who was made Bishop (which in itself is not very probable), that the two events could have had no connection. This Bishop is said to have built and consecrated the Cathedral Church of the diocese at Dornoch, and died at Scrabister in the year 1245.
Passing over four prelates whose names are of no historical interest, we find Allan St. Edmonds Bishop of this diocese in 1290. He was one of the Bishops who concurred with the Lords of the Regency in consenting to the proposal of king Edward I. of England, for a marriage between his son the prince, and the young Queen Margaret, daughter of Eric, king of Norway, by a daughter of Alexander III. of Scotland; and he was nominated in commission with Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, and Sir John Cumin, to negotiate that important affair. The death of the young Queen,*
* She landed in Orkney, on her way to take possession of the Crown, and died there in September 1290.
however, which was the forerunner of so many calamities upon Scotland, terminated the hopes of both parties.
In 1291, the Bishop was appointed Lord Chancellor, and took an oath of fealty to King Edward, as superior Lord of the kingdom. He died in 1292.
After thirteen other prelates had governed this See, we find Andrew Stewart, son (or as some say, brother) to John Earl of Athole, appointed Bishop here in 1518. He died in that station in 1542, being the last duly consecrated prelate of the ancient line in this diocese.
On his death, Robert Stewart, brother to the Earl of Lennox, and Provost of Dumbarton College, was elected Bishop, but he never was in priest's orders. However, he turned Protestant, and bore the title of Bishop of Caithness, and enjoyed the revenue till his death. After the death of Regent Moray, and the accession of his own brother, the Earl of Lennox, he procured a gift of the priory of St Andrews, which he retained during his life. In 1579, he was created Earl of March, and died at St Andrews on the 29th of March 1586, in the 70th year of his age, leaving one natural daughter. He disposed of much of the rents, both of the bishopric and priory.
After the death of the Earl of March, King James VI. offered the see to Mr Robert Pont, Provost of Trinity Collegiate Church in Edinburgh, and Rector of St Cuthbert's, but he declined to accept thereof without the consent of the Church, upon which it remained vacant till 1600, when it was conferred upon George Gladstanes, who was translated to the see of St Andrews in 1606. Thereupon Alexander Forbes, Rector of Fettercairn, in Forfarshire, was promoted to this See, which he held till translated to Aberdeen in 1615. But we hear nothing of the consecration of these individuals.
John Abernethy, minister at Jedburgh, was next preferred to the See of Caithness, and deprived by the Glasgow Assembly in 1638.
In 1662, Patrick Forbes, son of the famous Presbyterian incumbent at Alford, in Aberdeenshire, was advanced to this bishopric, and consecrated at St Andrews on the 1st of June, by the Archbishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, and the Bishop of Galloway. He died in 1680.
Andrew Wood, son of David Wood, a clergyman, by a sister of
John Guthrie of Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, was first minister at Spott, next at Dunbar, in East Lothian; then, in 1675, appointed Bishop of the Isles, where he had a royal dispensation to retain possession of his living at Dunbar, sacrilege having utterly wasted the revenues of that see. In 1680, he was translated to Caithness, which he held till the Revolution. He died at Dunbar, in 1695,
aged 76 years.
In after times, Bishop Robert Keith was appointed to the remote charges of Caithness and Orkney, in the year 1727, but resigned them in 1733.
In 1741, on a regular application from the clergy of Caithness and Orkney, Mr William Falconar, Presbyter at Forres, was consecrated thereto, on the 10th of September, by Bishops Rattray, Keith, and White. In 1762, this district having been long vacant, Mr Robert Forbes, minister in Leith, was elected by the Presbyters of these two northern dioceses, and consecrated at Cupar in Fife, on the 24th of June 1762, by Bishops Falconar, Alexander, and Gerard.
His register, or rather diary, for it commenced, as appears below, many years before he was consecrated, was in the hands of the editor of Bishop Keith's Historical Catalogue in 1824, who quotes therefrom the following memorandum of the year 1746:-'Here a great interruption has happened by my misfortune of being taken a prisoner at St Ninian's (in company with the Reverend Messrs Thomas Drummond and John Willox, Mr Stewart Carmichael and Mr Robert Clerk, and James Mackay and James Carmichael, servants), upon Saturday, the 7th of September 1745, and confined in Stirling Castle till February 4, 1746, and in Edinburgh Castle till May 29 of said year.' It was at that time, especially, that these capricious acts of tyranny and cruelty took place towards men whose sole crime consisted in being apostolically ordained ministers of Christ's flock.
Bishop Forbes died in 1776; and since his time no Bishop has been appointed to these distant charges. The Church, indeed, seems virtually extinct there, for there is not a single congregation in Caithness, Orkney, or Shetland !
The Cathedral of this diocese was in the town of Dornoch, a place once of some importance, being erected into a royal burgh by charter of King Charles I. in 1628, but now dwindled to a village.