1902 Encyclopedia > Free Church of Scotland

Free Church of Scotland




THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND is the name of a well-known ecclesiastical organization which includes a considerable proportion of the inhabitants of Scotland. In one sense the Free Church dates its existence from the Disruption of 1843, in another it claims to be the rightful representative of the National Church of Scotland as it was reformed in 1560. In order to indicate the nature of the grounds on which this claim is made, it will be necessary briefly to point out how the leading facts of the ecclesiastical history of Scotland during the last 320 years are accentuated and construed by those who read them in a Free Church sense.

In that history the Free Churchman sees three great reforming periods. In his view these deserve to be called reforming on many accounts, but most especially because in them the independence of the church, her inherent scrip-tural right to exercise a spiritual jurisdiction in which she is responsible to her Divine Head alone, was both earnestly asserted and practically maintained. The first reformation extended from 1560, when the church freely held her first General Assembly, and of her own authority acted on the First Book of Discipline, to 1592, when her Presbyterian order was finally and fully ratified by the parliament. The second period began in 1638, when after 20 years of suspended animation, the Assembly once more shook off Episcopacy, and terminated in 1649, when the parliament of Scotland confirmed the church in her liberties in a larger and ampler sense than before. The third period began in 1834, when the Assembly made use of what the church believed to be her rights in passing the Veto and Chapel Acts. It culminated in the Disruption of 1843.

The fact that the church, as led first by Knox and afterwards by Melville, claimed an inherent right to exercise a spiritual jurisdiction is notorious. More apt to be overlooked is the comparative freedom with which that right was actually used by the church irrespective of state recognition. That recognition was not given until after the queen's resignation in 1567 ;J but, for several years before it came, the church had been holding her Assemblies and settling all questions of discipline, worship, and administra-tion as they arose, in accordance with the first book of polity or discipline which had been drawn up in 1560. Further, in 1581 she, of her own motion, adopted a second book of a similar character, in which she expressly claimed an independent and exclusive jurisdiction or power in all matters ecclesiastical, " which flows directly from God and the Mediator Jesus Christ, and is spiritual, not having a temporal head on earth, but only Christ the only king and governor of his church:" and this claim, though directly negatived in 1584 by the " Black Acts," which included an Act of Supremacy over estates spiritual and temporal, continued to be asserted by the Assemblies, until at last it also was practically allowed in the Act of 1592. This legisla-tion of 1592, however, did not long remain in force. An Act of Parliament in 1606, which " reponed, restored, and reintegrated " the estate of bishops to their ancient dignities, prerogatives, and privileges, was followed by several Acts of various subservient assemblies, which, culminating in that of 1618, practically amounted to a complete surrender of jurisdiction by the church itself. For twenty years no Assemblies whatever were held. This interval must necessarily be regarded from tho Presbyterian point of view as having been one of very deep depression. But a second reformation, characterized by great energy and vigour, began in 1638, The proceedings of the Assembly of that year, afterwards tardily and reluctantly acquiesced in by the state, finally issued in the Acts of Parliament of 1649, by which the Westminster standards were ratified, Jay-patronage was abolished, and the coronation oath itself framed in accordance with the principles of Presbyterian church government. Another period of intense reaction soon set in. No Assemblies were permitted by Cromwell after 1653 ; and, soon after the Restoration, Presbytery was temporarily over thrown by a series of rescissory Acts. Nor was the Revolu tion Settlement of 1690 so entirely favourable to the freedom of the church as the legislation of 1649 had been. Pre-lacy was abolished, and various obnoxious statutes were repealed, but the Acts rescissory were not cancelled; pres-byterianism was re-established, but the statutory recognition of the Confession of Faith took no notice of certain quali-fications under which that document had originally been approved by the Assembly of 1647 ; the old rights of patrons were again discontinued, but the large powers which had been conferred on congregations by the Act of 1649 were not wholly restored. Nevertheless the great principle of a distinct ecclesiastical jurisdiction, embodied in the Confession of Faith, was accepted without reserva-tion, and a Presbyterian polity effectively confirmed both then and at the ratification of the treaty of Union. This settlement, however, did not long subsist unimpaired. In 1712 the Act of Queen Anne, restoring patronage to its ancient footing, was passed in spite of the earnest remonstrances of the Scottish people. For many years afterwards (until 1784) the Assembly continued to instruct each succeeding commission to make application to the king and the parliament for redress of the grievance. But mean-while a new phase of Scottish ecclesiastical politics com-monly known as Moderatism had been inaugurated, during the prevalence of which the church became even more indifferent than the lay patrons themselves to the rights of her congregations with regard to the " calling" of ministers. From the Free Church point of view, the period from which the secessions under Erskine and Gillespie are dated was also characterized by numerous other abuses on the Church's part which amounted to a practical surrender of the most important and distinctive principles of her ancient Presbyterian polity. Towards the beginning of the present century there were many cir-cumstances, both within and without the church, which conspired to bring about an evangelical and popular reaction against this reign of " Moderatism." The result was a protracted struggle, which is commonly referred to as the Ten Years' Conflict, and which has been aptly described as the last battle in the long war which for nearly 300 years had been waged within the church itself, between the friends and the foes of the doctrine of an exclusive ecclesiastical jurisdiction. That final struggle may be said to have begun with the passing in 1834 of the "Veto" Act, by which it was declared to be a fundamental law of the church that no pastor should be intruded on a congregation contrary to the will of the people, and by which it was provided that the simple dissent of a majority of heads of families in a parish should be enough to warrant a presbytery in rejecting a presentee. The question of the legality of this measure soon came to be tried in the civil courts ; and it was ultimately answered in a sense unfavourable to the church by the decision (1838) of the Court of Session in the Auchterarder case, to the effect that a presbytery had no right to reject a presentee simply because the parishioners protested against his settle-

merit, bat was bound to disregard the veto (see CHALMERS, vol. v. pp. 376, 377). This decision elicited from the Assembly of that year a new declaration of the doctrine of the spiritual independence of the church. The "ex-clusive jurisdiction of the civil courts in regard to the civil rights and emoluments secured by law to the church and the ministers thereof" was acknowledged without quali-fication ; and continued implicit obedience to their deci-sions with reference to these rights and emoluments was pledged. At the same time it was insisted on " that, as is declared in the Confession of Faith of this National Esta-blished Church, ' the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of church officers distinct from the civil magistrate;' and that in all matters touching the doctrine, discipline, and government of the church her judicatories possess an ex-clusive jurisdiction, founded on the Word of God, which power ecclesiastical" (in the words of the Second Book of Discipline) " flows immediately from God and the Mediator the Lord Jesus Christ, and is spiritual, not having a temporal head on earth, but only Christ, the only spiritual King and Governor of His Kirk." And it was resolved to assert, and at all hazards defend, this spiritual jurisdiction, and firmly to enforce obedience to the same upon the office-bearers and members of the church. The decision of the Court of Session having been confirmed by the House of Lords early in 1839, it was decided in the Assembly of that year that the church, while acquiescing in the loss of the temporalities at Auchterarder, should reaffirm the principle of non-intrusion as an integral part of the constitution of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and that a committee should be appointed to confer with the Government with a view to the prevention, if possible, of any further collision between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. While the conference with the Government had no better result than an unsuccessful attempt at compromise by means of Lord Aberdeen's Bill, which embodied the principle of a dissent with reasons, still graver complications were arising out of the Marnoch and other cases, the nature of which has been briefly indicated in vol. v. as above. In the circumstances it was resolved by the Assembly of 1842 to transmit to the Queen, by the hands of the lord high commissioner, a " claim, declaration, and protest," complaining of the en-croachments of the Court of Session, and also an address praying for the abolition of patronage. The home secre-tary's answer (received in January 1843) gave no hope of redress. Meanwhile the position of the evangelical party had been further hampered by the decision of the Court of Session declaring the ministers of chapels of ease to be unqualified to sit in any church court. A final appeal to parliament by petition was made in March 1843, when, by a majority of 135 (211 against 76), the House of Commons declined to attempt any redress of the grievances of the Scottish Church. At the first session of the following General Assembly (18th May 1843) the reply of the non-intrusion party was made in a protest, signed by upwards of 200 commissioners, to the effect that since, in their opinion, the recent decisions of the civil courts, and the still more recent sanction of these decisions by the legislature, had made it impossible at that time to hold a free Assembly of the church as by law established, they therefore " protest that it shall be lawful for us, and such other commissioners as may concur with us, to withdraw to a separate place of meeting, for the pur-pose of taking steps for ourselves and all who adhere to us—maintaining with us the Confession of Faith and standards of the Church of Scotland as heretofore understood—for separating in an orderly way from the Establishment, and thereupon adopting such measures as may be competent to us, in humble dependence on God's grace and the aid of His Holy Spirit, for the advancement of His glory, the extension of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, and the administration of the affairs of Christ's house according to His holy word." The reading of this document was followed by the withdrawal of the entire non-intrusion party to another place of meeting, where the first Assembly of the Free Church was constituted, with Dr Thomas Chalmers as moderator. This Assembly sat from the 18th to the 30th of May, and transacted a large amount of important business. On Tuesday the 23d, 396 ministers and professors publicly adhibited their names to the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission by which they renounced all claim to the benefices they had held in connexion with the Establishment, declaring them to be vacant, and consenting to their being dealt with as such. By this impressive proceeding, the signatories voluntarily surrendered an annual income amounting to fully =£100,000.

The first care of the voluntarily disestablished church was to provide incomes for her clergy and places of worship for her people. As early as 1841 indeed the leading principle of a " sustentation fund " for the support of the ministry had been announced by Dr Candlish; and at "Convocation," a private unofficial meeting of the mem-bers of the evangelical or non-intrusion party held in November 1842, Dr Chalmers was prepared with a care-fully matured scheme according to which " each con-gregation should do its part in sustaining the whole, and the whole should sustain each congregation." Between November 1842 and May 1843, 647 associations had been formed; and at the first Assembly it was announced that upwards of ¿£17,000 had already been contributed. At the close of the first financial year (1843-44) it was reported that the fund had exceeded £61,000. It was participated in by 583 ministers; and 470 drew the full equal dividend of ¿£105. Each successive year showed a steady increase in the gross amount of the fund ; but owing to an almost equally rapid increase of the number of new ministerial charges participating in its benefits, the stipend payable to each minister did not for many years reach the sum of ¿£150 which had been aimed at as a minimum. Thus in 1844-45 the fund had risen to ¿£76,180, but the ministers had also increased to 627, and the equal dividend therefore was only ¿6122. During the first ten years the annual income averaged £84,057 ; during the next decade £108,643; and during the third £130,246. The mini mum of £150 was reached at last in 1868; and since then the balance remaining after that minimum has been provided has been treated as a surplus fund, and distributed among those ministers whose congregations have contributed at certain specified rates per member. In 1878 the total amount received for this fund was up-wards of £177,000; in this 1075 ministers participated. The full equal dividend of £157 was paid to 766 ministers ; and additional grants of £36 and £18 were paid out of the surplus fund to 632 and 129 ministers respectively.

To provide for the erection of the buildings which, it was foreseen, would be necessary, a general building fund, in which all should share alike, was also organized, and local building funds were as far as possible established in each parish, with the result that at the first Assembly a sum of £104,776 was reported as already available. By May 1844 a further sum of £123,060 had been collected, and 470 churches were reported as completed or nearly so. In the following year £131,737 was raised, and 60 additional churches were built. At the end of four years considerably more than 700 churches had been provided.

During the winter session 1843-44 the divinity students who had joined the Free Church continued their studies under Dr Chalmers and Dr Welsh; and at the Assembly of 1844 arrangements were made for the erection of suitable collegiate buildings. The New College, Edinburgh, was built in 1847 at a cost of £46,506 ; and divinity halls have subsequently been set up also in Glasgow and Aberdeen. In 1878 there were 13 professors of theology, with an aggregate of 230 students,—the numbers at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen respectively being 129, 69, and 32.





A somewhat unforeseen result of the Disruption was the necessity for a duplicate system of elementary schools. At the 1843 Assembly it was for the first time announced by Dr Welsh that " schools to a certain extent must be opened to afford a suitable sphere of occupation for parochial and still more for private teachers of schools, who are threatened with deprivation of their present office on account of their opinions upon the church question." The suggestion was taken up with very great energy, and with the result that in May 1845 280 schools had been set up, while in May 1847 this number had risen to 513, with an attendance of upwards of 44,000 scholars. In 1869 it was stated in an authoritative document laid before members of parliament that at that time there were connected with and supported by the Free Church 598 schools (including two normal schools), with 633 teachers and 64,115 scholars. The school buildings had been erected at a cost of £220,000, of which the committee of privy council had contributed £35,000, while the remainder had been raised by voluntary effort. Annual payments made to teachers, &c, as at 1869, amounted to £16,000. The total sum expended by the Free Church since the Disruption for educational purposes has beennotless than £600,000. In accordance with certain provisions of the Education Act of 1872 most of the schools of the Free Church were voluntarily transferred, without compensation, to the local school boards.

It has been already seen that during the period of the Ten Years' Conflict the non-intrusion party strenuously denied that in any one respect it was departing from ac-knowledged principles of the National Church. It con-tinued to do so after the Disruption. In 1846, however, it was found to have become necessary, " in consequence of the late change in the outward condition of the church," to amend the " questions and formula " to be used at the licens-ing of probationers and the ordination of office-bearers. These were amended accordingly; and at the same time it was declared that, " while the church firmly maintains the same scriptural principles as to the duties of nations and their rulers in reference to true religion and the Church of Christ for which she has hitherto contended, she disclaims intolerant or persecuting principles, and does not regard her Confession of Faith, or any portion thereof when fairly inter-preted, as favouring iptolerance or persecution, or consider that her office-bearers by subscribing it profess any princi-ples inconsistent with liberty of conscience and the right of private judgment." The main difference between the "formula" of the Free Church and that of the Established Church is that the former refers to the Confession of Faith simply as "approven by General Assemblies of this Church," while the latter describes it as " approven by the General Assemblies of this National Church, and ratified by law in the year 1690, and frequently confirmed by divers Acts of Parliament since that time." The former inserts an addi-tional clause,—" I also approve of the general principles respecting the jurisdiction of the church, and her subjection to Christ as her only Head, which are contained in the Claim of Bight and in the Protest referred to in the questions already put to me; " and also adds the words which are here distinguished by italics,—" And I promise that through the grace of God I shall firmly and constantly adhere to the same, and to the utmost of my power shall in my station assert, maintain, and defend the said doctrine, worship, dis-cipline, and government of this church by kirk-sessions, presbyteries, provincial synods, and general assemblies, to-gether with the liberty and exclusive jurisdiction thereof; and that I shall, in my practice, conform myself to the said worship and submit to the said discipline [and] government, and exclusive jurisdiction, and not endeavour directly or indirectly the prejudice or subversion of the same." In the year 1851 an Act and Declaration anent the publication of the subordinate standards and other authoritative documents of the Free Church of Scotland was passed, in which the historical fact is recalled that the Church of Scotland had formally consented to adopt the Confession of Faith, catechisms, directory of public worship, and form of church government agreed upon by the Westminster Assembly; and it is declared that " these several formularies, as ratified, with certain explanations, by divers Acts of Assembly in the years 1645, 1646, and particularly in 1647, this church continues till this day to acknowledge as her subordinate standards of doctrine, worship, and government.''

In 1858 circumstances arose which, in the opinion of many, seemed fitted to demonstrate to the Free Church that her freedom was an illusion, and that all her sacrifices had been made in vain. Mr John Macmillan, minister of Cardross, accused of immorality, had been tried and found guilty by the Free Presbytery of Dumbarton. Appeal having been taken to the synod, an attempt was there made to revive one particular charge, of which he had been finally acquitted by tbe presbytery; and this attempt was successful in the General Assembly. That ultimate court of review did not confine itself to the points appealed, but went into the merits of the whole case as it had originally come before the presbytery. The result was a sentence of sus-pension. Mr Macmillan, believing that the Assembly had acted with some irregularity, applied to the Court of Session for an interdict against the execution of that sentence ; and for this act he was summoned to the bar of the Assembly to say whether or not it was the case that he had thus appealed. Having answered in the affirmative, he was deposed on the spot. Forthwith he raised a new action (his previous application for an interdict had been refused) con-cluding for reduction of the spiritual sentence of deposition, and for substantial damages. The defences lodged by the Free Church were to the effect that the civil courts had no right to review and reduce spiritual sentences, or to decide whether the General Assembly of the Free Church had acted irregularly or not. Judgments adverse to the defenders were delivered on these points ; and appeals were taken to the House of Lords. But before the case could be heard there, the lord president took an opportunity in the Court of Session to point out to the pursuer that, inasmuch as the particular General Assembly against which the action was brought had ceased to exist, it could not therefore be made in any circumstances to pay damages, and that the action of reduction of the spiritual sentence, being only auxiliary to the claim of damages, ought therefore to be dismissed. He further pointed out that Mr Macmillan might obtain redress in another way, should he be able to prove malice against individuals. Very soon after this deliverance of the lord president, the case as it had stood against the Free Church was withdrawn, and Mr Macmillan gave notice of an action of a wholly different kind. But this last was not persevered in. The appeals which had been taken to the House of Lords were, in these circumstances, also departed from by the Free Church. It is perhaps to be regretted, from the legal point of view, that the case did not advance sufficiently to show how far the courts of law would be prepared to go in the direction of recognizing voluntary tribunals and a kind of secondary exclusive jurisdiction founded on con-tract. But, whether recognized or not, the church for her part continued to believe that she had an inherent spiritual jurisdiction, and remained unmoved in her determination to act in accordance with that resolution " notwithstanding of whatsoever trouble or persecution may arise."

In 1863 a motion was made and unanimously carried in the Free Church Assembly for the appointment of a com-mittee to confer with a corresponding committee of the United Presbyterian Synod, and with the representatives of such other disestablished churches as might be willing to meet and deliberate with a view to an incorporating union. Formal negotiations between the representatives of these two churches were begun shortly afterwards, which resulted in a report laid before the following Assembly. From this document it appeared that the committees of the two churches were not at one on the question as to the relation of the civil magistrate to the church. While on the part of the Free Church it was maintained that he " may law-fully acknowledge, as being in accordance with the Word of God, the creed and jurisdiction of the church," and that " it is his duty, when necessary and expedient, to employ the national resources in aid of the church, provided always that in doing so, while reserving to himself full control over the temporalities which are his own gift, he abstain from all authoritative interference in the internal government of the church," it was declared by the committee of the United Presbyterian Church that, " inasmuch as the civil magis-trate has no authority in spiritual things, and as the employ-ment of force in such matters is opposed to the spirit and precepts of Christianity, it is not within his province to legislate as to what is true in religion, to prescribe a creed or form of worship to his subjects, or to endow the church from national resources." In other words, while the Free Church maintained that in certain circumstances it was lawful and even incumbent on the magistrate to endow the church and on the church to accept his endowment, the United Presbyterians maintained that in no case was this lawful either for the one party or for the other. Thus in a very short time it had been made perfectly evident that a union between the two bodies, if accomplished at all, could only be brought about on the understanding that the question as to the lawfulness of state endowments should be an open one. The Free Church Assembly, by increasing majorities, manifested a readiness for union, even although unanimity had not been attained on that theoretical point. But there was a minority which did not sympathize in this readiness, and after ten years of fruitless effort it was in 1873 found to be expedient that the idea of union with the United Presbyterians should for the time be abandoned. Other negotiations, however, which had been entered upon with the Reformed Presbyterian Church at a somewhat later date proved more successful; and a majority of the ministers of that church with their congregations were united with the Free Church in 1876.

The total income of the Free Church for the year 1877-78 was =£575,718. This included (1) sustentation fund, ¿£177,659 j (2) local building fund, £99,480 ; (3) mission ary and educational, £91,895; (4) congregational and miscellaneous, £190,775. Since 1843 an aggregate amount of nearly £13,000,000 has been raised. In 1878 the num-ber of congregations was 997, with a total membership of 270,000. 1075 ministers participated in the equal divi-dend. There were also 59 missionaries employed at 21 prin-cipal mission-stations in India, Africa, Syria, and Polynesia.

Literature.—An authorized edition of the Subordinate Standards of the Free Church, including the Claim of Right and Protest, was published in 1851 in an easily accessible form, along with the Act and Declaration of that year. Of these "standards" (the Holy Scriptures being held supreme as the " rule of faith and manners ") the most important is the Confession of Faith, which alone is imposed by subscription. The Catechisms (Larger and Shorter) are " sanctioned as directories for catechizing;" and the Directory for Public Worship, the Form of Church Government, and the Directory for Family Worship are " of the nature of regulations rather than of tests." A practical application of the doctrine of the Confession, called the Sum of Saving Knowledge, is also included among the " standards." The general subject of Scottish church history is handled in a considerable number of well-known works, which need not be enumerated here. Among books professedly dealing with tbe Free Church question, the most valuable are Sydow's Die Schottische Kirchen-frage (Potsdam, 1845), and The Scottish Church Question (London, 1845); Buchanan's Ten Years' Conflict (1849); Hanna's Life of Chalmers (1852); and Taylor Innes on The Law of Creeds in Scotland (1867). See also Cockburn, Memorials of His Time (Continuation, 1874); Walker, Dr Robert Buchanan: an Ecclesiastical Biography (1877); Annals of the Disruption (published by authority of a committee of the Free Church, 1876-77). (J. S. BL.)






Footnotes

" It is her being free, not her being established, that constitutes the real historical and hereditary identity of the Reformed National Church of Scotland." See Act and Declaration, &c, of Free Assembly, 1851.

1 In tho Act Anent the true and holy Kirk, and of those that are declared not to be of the same. This Act was supplemented by that of 1579, Anent the Jurisdiction of the Kirk.
This principle had been asserted even by an Assembly so late as that of 1786, and had been invariably presupposed in the "call," which had never ceased to be regarded as an indispensable pre-requisite
The Second Book of Discipline was not formally recognized in that Act; but all former Acts against "the jurisdiction and discipline of the true Kirk as tho same is used and exercised within the realm " were abolished; and all "liberties, privileges, immunities, and free-doms whatsoever" previously granted were ratified and approved.
The most important of these had reference to the full right of a constituted church to the enjoyment of an absolutely unrestricted freedom in convening Assemblies. This very point on one occasion at least threatened to be the cause of serious misunderstandings between William and the people of Scotland. The difficulties were happily smoothed, however, by the wisdom and tact of Carstares.
See Act and Declaration of Free Assembly, 1851.
for the settlement of a minister.

1 According to the Free Church " Protest" of 1843 it was in these cases decided (1) that the courts of the church were liable to be compelled to intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations; (2) that the civil courts had power to interfere with and interdict the preaching of the gospel and administration of ordinances as authorized and enjoined by the church; (3) that the civil courts had power to suspend spiritual censures pronounced by the courts of the church, and to interdict their execution as to spiritual effects, functions, and privileges; (4) that deposed ministers, and probationers deprived of their licence, could be restored by the mandate of the civil courts to the spiritual office and status of which the church courts had deprived them; (5) that the right of membership in ecclesiastical courts could be deter-mined by the civil courts; (6) that the civil courts had power to super-sede the majority of a church court of the Establishment in regard to the exercise of its spiritual functions as a church court, and to autho-rize the minority to exercise the said functions in opposition to the court itself and to the superior judicatories of the church; (7) that pro-cesses of ecclesiastical discipline could be arrested by the civil courts; and (8) that without the sanction of the civil courts no increased provision could be made for the spiritual care of a parish, although such provision left all civil rights and patrimonial interests untouched.
2 The narrative and argument of this elaborate and able document cannot be reproduced here. In substance it is a claim " as of right" on behalf of the church and of the nation and people of Scotland that the church shall freely possess and enjoy her liberties, government, discipline, rights, and privileges according to law, and that she shall be protected therein from the foresaid unconstitutional and illegal encroachments of the said Court of Session, and her people secured in their Christian and constitutional rights and liberties. This claim is fol-lowed by the "declaration" that the Assembly cannot intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations, or carry on the government of Christ's merit, but was bound to disregard the veto (see CHALMERS, vol. v. pp. 376, 377). This decision elicited from the Assembly of that year a new declaration of the doctrine of the spiritual independence of the church. The "ex-clusive jurisdiction of the civil courts in regard to the civil rights and emoluments secured by law to the church and the ministers thereof" was acknowledged without quali-fication ; and continued implicit obedience to their deci-sions with reference to these rights and emoluments was pledged. At the same time it was insisted on " that, as is declared in the Confession of Faith of this National Esta-blished Church, ' the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of church officers distinct from the civil magistrate;' and that in all matters touching the doctrine, discipline, and government of the church her judicatories possess an ex-clusive jurisdiction, founded on the Word of God, which power ecclesiastical" (in the words of the Second Book of Discipline) " flows immediately from God and the Mediator the Lord Jesus Christ, and is spiritual, not having a temporal head on earth, but only Christ, the only spiritual King and Governor of His Kirk." And it was resolved to assert, and at all hazards defend, this spiritual jurisdiction, and firmly to enforce obedience to the same upon the office-bearers and members of the church. The decision of the Court of Session having been confirmed by the House of Lords early in 1839, it was decided in the Assembly of that year that the church, while acquiescing in the loss of the temporalities at Auchterarder, should reaffirm the principle of non-intrusion as an integral part of the constitution of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and that a committee should be appointed to confer with the Government with a view to the prevention, if possible, of any further collision between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. While the conference with the Government had no better result than an unsuccessful attempt at compromise by means of Lord Aberdeen's Bill, which embodied the principle of a dissent with reasons, still graver complications were arising out of the Marnoch and other cases, the nature of which has been briefly indicated in vol. v. as above. In the circumstances it was resolved by the Assembly of 1842 to transmit to the Queen, by the hands of the lord high commissioner, a " claim, declaration, and protest," complaining of the en-croachments of the Court of Session, and also an address praying for the abolition of patronage. The home secre-tary's answer (received in January 1843) gave no hope of redress. Meanwhile the position of the evangelical party had been further hampered by the decision of the Court of Session declaring the ministers of chapels of ease to be unqualified to sit in any church court. A final appeal to parliament by petition was made in March 1843, when, by a majority of 135 (211 against 76), the House of Commons declined to attempt any redress of the grievances of the Scottish Church. At the first session of the following General Assembly (18th May 1843) the reply of the non-intrusion party was made in a protest, signed by upwards of 200 commissioners, to the effect that since, in their opinion, the recent decisions of the civil courts, and the still more recent sanction of these decisions by the legislature, had made it impossible at that time to hold a free Assembly of the church as by law established, they therefore " protest that it shall be lawful for us, and such other commissioners as may concur with us, to withdraw to a separate place of meeting, for the pur-pose of taking steps for ourselves and all who adhere to us—maintaining with us the Confession of Faith and standards of the Church of Scotland as heretofore understood—for separating in an orderly way from the Establishment, and thereupon adopting such measures as may be competent to us, in humble dependence on God's grace and the aid of His Holy Spirit, for the advancement of His glory, the extension of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, and the administration of the affairs of Christ's house according to His holy word." The reading of this document was followed by the withdrawal of the entire non-intrusion party to another place of meeting, where the first Assembly of the Free Church was constituted, with Dr Thomas Chalmers as moderator. This Assembly sat from the 18th to the 30th of May, and transacted a large amount of important business. On Tuesday the 23d, 396 ministers and professors publicly adhibited their names to the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission by which they renounced all claim to the benefices they had held in connexion with the Establishment, declaring them to be vacant, and consenting to their being dealt with as such. By this impressive proceeding, the signatories voluntarily surrendered an annual income amounting to fully =£100,000.

The first care of the voluntarily disestablished church was to provide incomes for her clergy and places of worship for her people. As early as 1841 indeed the leading principle of a " sustentation fund " for the support of the ministry had been announced by Dr Candlish; and at "Convocation," a private unofficial meeting of the mem-bers of the evangelical or non-intrusion party held in November 1842, Dr Chalmers was prepared with a care-fully matured scheme according to which " each con-gregation should do its part in sustaining the whole, and the whole should sustain each congregation." Between November 1842 and May 1843, 647 associations had been formed; and at the first Assembly it was announced that upwards of £17,000 had already been contributed. At the close of the first financial year (1843-44) it was reported that the fund had exceeded £61,000. It was participated in by 583 ministers; and 470 drew the full equal dividend of £105.

church subject to the coercion of the Court of Session; and by the
"protest" that all Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain passed without the consent of the Scottish church and nation, in alteration or derogation of the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the church, as also all sentences of courts in contravention of said government, discipline, rights, and privileges, "are and shall be in themselves void and null, and of no legal force or effect."
The Scottish members voted with the minority in the proportion of 25 to 12.
The number ultimately rose to 474.

Congregations, it ought to be noted, are permitted, and indeed expected, by collections or otherwise, each to " supplement" the income which its pastor derives from the general sustentation fund.

It may be added that, while the Free Church requires elders to subscribe the same formula as ministers, the Established Church requires them to sign an older and shorter one.
By this formal recognition of the qualifications to the Confession of Faith made in 1647 the scruples of the majority of the Associate Synod of Original Seceders were removed, and 27 ministers, along with a considerable number of their people, joined the Free Church in the following year.

See Taylor Innes, Lata of Creeds in Scotland, p. 258 seq.
The language of Dr Buchanan, for example, in 1860 was (mutatis
mutandis) the same as that which he had employed in 1838 in moving the Independence resolution already referred to.

===

5 This principle had been asserted even by an Assembly so late as that of 1786, and had been invariably presupposed in the "call," which had never ceased to be regarded as an indispensable pre-requisite



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