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ture unsurpassed in the kingdom, and cultivation creeping up and up the barren mountains, and encroaching gradually but surely on the heathy wastes; you will find the people active, industrious, happy, clean, healthy, and well informed-you will find that to them civilization has carried her richest blessings, because they have received her with open arms, and welcomed her approach with smiles of greeting. And yet, my Lord Duke, it was here-in Aberdeen, and in Aberdeenshire-that the curse of Scotland-the Episcopal Churchhas been, and is strongest. Many of those hardy fishermen who venture on the dangerous deep in weather that would terrify your pawky Highlanders many of those industrious farmers and peasants, whose labour and perseverance have overcome all the disadvantages of climate, soil, and situation, and turned a desert, if not into a paradise, at least into a fertile country-all (in round numbers) of those landlords, under whose auspices, and by whose zeal and countenance all this has been accomplished, have been for generations, and still are, attached members of this Church which you choose to call the curse of Scotland, if not in express terms, at least in very plain and explicit insinuations.
It was certainly a bold step in THE Duke of Argyll to start the question of baneful influence on the progress of Scottish civilization, or on the history of the Scottish nation. It leads men to investigate what that influence has been, and to inquire whether those Highland chieftains, who, like his Grace the Duke of Argyll, do all they can to stem the tide of civilization, and to perpetuate a system of barbarism, or rather the shadow of such a system, which possesses all the evil characteristics of the feudal system, with little of its endearing influences, and none of its poetry; who delight to be surrounded with all the paraphernalia of barbaric pomp, and sacrifice the interests of their dependants to an absurd, selfish sentimentalism, and a bastard romance-whether these be not the bane of Scotland and her greatest curse, rather than a Church whose aim and object, and influence and tendency, it has been to elevate the national character, to inspire the people with noble ideas, and to imbue them with the holy influences of pure religion. It was a bolder step, however, in a Duke of Argyll to allude to the history of the two preceding centuriesexcept it had been to offer some explanation or apology for the conduct of his ancestors. Let any one peruse the history of the period we allude to, he will find it stained with dark and unholy deeds, as the history of every nation is, when the wave of advancing civilization
dashes on the rock of barbarism; but let him inquire whence those deeds originated; in nine cases out of ten they will be found to have been the deeds of some 'fause Argyle.'
No, no! my Lord Duke-if you must needs read of the curse of Scotland and the bane of her past history, read it in the history of your race; and if you must know of the present curse and the present bane, look to the conduct of yourself and your brother 'Highland chieftains. The influence which the Episcopal Church of Scotland could have exercised on the history of Scotland, in inciting rebellion and disturbing the peace, has long since passed away. But the baneful results of trusts betrayed, duties unperformed, opportunities neglected, influences misapplied-these tell on the history of a nation, these can never pass away. And where, may we ask, are we to look for instances of trusts betrayed (the trust of those committed to their charge) of duties unperformed (the duties of the situation in which they were placed)-of opportunities neglected (the opportunities of doing good which they possessed)-and of influences so egregiously misapplied (the influence which their position lent them)—if not in the Highland chieftains and Irish landlords?
When next, therefore, the Duke of Argyll takes up his pen to write a diatribe against the Church which he fancies he has caught in a heinous crime, let him assure himself, ere he throws the stone, that he is himself free from all imputation of guilt. Nothing is easier now-a-days than to write a popular pamphlet against the Church; no matter how absurd or how false, if it be directed against the Church, it is sure of a meed of praise from Whig reviews and magazines, corresponding to the violence with which it attacks the truth. This is the prospect which has tempted the Duke of Argyll to rush into the arena of polemics, and doubtless he has not calculated without his host.
We have another bit of advice for his Grace. Let him mind his own business, and fulfil his own duties let him look after the interests, spiritural and temporal, of those committed to his charge-let him try to ameliorate the condition, and improve the character, of his tenantry and the Highlanders at large-let him lead the van in a crusade against all that mass of absurd custom which blocks up the passage of improvement in the Highlands-let him do his endeavour to fulfil the duties of his high station, and leave polemics to those whose vocation they are. Then, however far we may differ from him, we shall not fail to appreciate his merit and to admire his cha
racter; and if he performs the duties assigned to him, we shall not quarrel with his acting up to, and maintaining the principles of, the sect which he professes, provided always he does not continue to sacrifice truth to prejudice, and to distort the facts of history into consistency with his own peculiar notions.
But since he has chosen to enter the arena, and give forth a challenge, we should fail in our duty as journalists did we not draw attention to the book. We trust our doing so will not be without effect, and that when we again allude to the subject, as we probably soon may, we may have at the same time to notice a victorious defence of the Church by some of her able sons. Do we venture beyond our sphere when we express a hope that the learned editor of Bishop Sage's works, or the erudite historian of St Andrews, will not allow the challenge of the Knight of Established Presbyterianism to remain unanswered? but will don their armour and teach the ducal charlatan, that he who would tilt against the facts of history, or the truth of the Church, must wear a helmet of harder material than the tinsel of a ducal coronet, and a cuirass of a denser texture than the tawdry velvet of a pauper dukedom.
ON Wednesday, September 6, a meeting of the Committee of the Episcopal Society was held in the Hopetoun Rooms, Edinburgh, and was numerously attended. There were present, the Primus, the Bishops of Moray, Edinburgh, Argyll, and Brechin, and the Bishop elect of Glasgow; the Deans of St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Argyll; upwards of twenty parochial clergy; a few lay gentry, and the usual attendance of Edinburgh lawyers.
Previously to the commencement of business, much time was oc cupied by a very ill-judged motion brought forward by Mr Garden, of St Paul's Church, Edinburgh, on which we shall presently remark. That being disposed of, the business of the day proceeded without interruption. The sums applied for, to increase the stipends of clergymen, and for the maintenance of schools, were voted; the minimum of £90 for the former, as settled at the meeting of last year, being still adhered to. £200 were also voted for the building of churches and clerical residences. A committee was nominated to consider the subject of schools, and their arrangement; and another to report on the general business brought before the general committee, with a view to its classification.
We have purposely abstained from entering into the details ar
ranged at the meeting, as these, we presume, will appear in the annual report, which we hope will be printed as in former years, and not in the incomplete manner adopted upon the last occasion.
To revert to Mr Garden's motion. The meeting was expected to be an ominous one; and something was known to be in the wind. Somebody was to be crushed, or something to receive a coup de grace. Something was to be carried overwhelmingly by 10 to 1. At length the expected prodigy was ushered into light, amid noise and bluster. It proposed a Test-a test of purity. Every presbyter who stood in need of aid from the Society's funds, was to subscribe a declaration, that he had not received a bribe of money to induce him to introduce the National Communion Office:-for such, though not in precise words, was the gist of the motion. We need not enlarge on the offensiveness of this motion. It is not pleasant, under any circumstances, for a presbyter who needs an addition to his stipend, to pass the ordeal of the Edinburgh meeting, especially if he adopts the Îine not in favour with the Edinburgh coterie. Ungracious comments are made for his exclusive benefit, and he meets with the reception of an Irish pauper at the hands of the Edinburgh board. We consider this species of petty persecution, inflicted by the Secretary downwards, to be quite punishment enough for such an offence as using what the Canon declares to be of primary authority. But Mr' Garden requires a farther torture: a declaration of every presbyter who may apply for aid, that he is an honest man-that he has not been bribed. But did not Mr Garden consider, that if any of the Scottish clergy were so venal and corrupt, so base and grovelling, as, with such vehemence of diction and emphasis, he painted them, his 'test' would be a mere dead letter? They who could be as vile as he describes would not hesitate to swallow that or any other test.
Of course, the motion did not pass. It was too offensive for a meeting of clergymen and gentlemen to adopt. Whatever might have been the intention of Mr Garden's pledged supporters, it was obvious that the better feeling of the meeting was against it. It was also unfairly brought on, and took the meeting by surprise. Mr Boyle very properly pointed out the rule, that a notice should have been given; for the motion was a fundamental alteration in the Society's laws, by which no consideration was to be entertained of any other point in making grants, but that the congregation had used proper exertion to procure an income for their clergyman, and had made the canonical offerings for the Society. Let us, however, explain to the uninitiated the history of Mr Garden's motion. Ever since the amalgamation of the English Chapels with the Scottish Church, there has been a tendency to substitute the English communion office for that of CANONICAL PRIMARY AUTHORITY; and in many places every opportunity was taken to tie down congregations to the irrevocable use of the former. Hence the formation of the Church Building Society, the object of Mr Garden's attack. It was intended to protect congregations from the undue influence unscrupulously used on one
side, and its rules forbid any application of its funds excepting to congregations using the office of primary authority. If a Society of this nature can be said to bribe-be it so. We are not now arguing in favour of that office. Writing for the Church at large, we have all along avoided discussing a topic prone to excite controversial feelings, and disturb harmony; but we object to all unfair modes of attacking that, or any other use; nor, whatever are our sentiments, would we allow an adversary to depreciate the Primitive Oblation and Invocation, which the English and Roman offices alike are lacking-which Taylor, Overall, Bramhall, and Wilson desired for themselves. It cannot be, that what has stood the test of every examination and inquiry, shall fall before the slanders heaped upon its admirers.
Mr Garden obstinately adhered to his motion, until after a few sensible observations were made by the Bishop elect of Glasgow, when he reluctantly withdrew it. At the close of the meeting, he gave notice of one of similar tendency for the general meeting in December; but as there is ample time for reflection before that period shall arrive, we sincerely hope that higher and more Christian feelings will prevail in the breast of a clergyman, who has ability for better things, and whose brilliant talents might be far more usefully employed than in sowing the seeds of disunion and schism in the small Scottish Communion. We assure Mr Garden, that although no good can arise from these attempts, much evil may; and if any effect at all be produced, it will be most prejudicial to the Church in which he is now ministering.
DIOCESE OF ARGYLL AND THE ISLES.
ON Tuesday, August 8, the first Synod of the united Dioceses of Argyll and the Isles, since their restitution to separate diocesan privileges, was held at Oban. After divine service-(the morning prayers being read by the Dean; the lessons in Gaelic by the Rev. Duncan Mackenzie of Ballachulish, and the ante-communion office by the Bishop)-a charge was delivered by the Bishop to the surrounding clergy. The chief topic of discourse seemed to be an injunction to preach the gospel, and to take care that it be the gospel which is preached. The holy communion was then administered, and after an interval the business of the Synod commenced.
On Thursday following, the greater number of those who remained in Oban sailed with the Bishop to Iona. On landing there they were joined by a large party from the steamer which at this season visits Staffa and Iona from Oban, and the whole then proceeded to the ruins of the ancient Cathedral, where divine service, according to the rites of the Church, was once more celebrated after the lapse and silence of ages. The Very Rev. the Dean then read the Litany service, and the Bishop preached from the words' Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.' From this text, he first showed what the Lamb of God means, and how it is that Jesus Christ, being