Imágenes de páginas

incumbent, no Episcopal clergyman has conducted the public worship of the parish. It may not be wholly correct to describe the Rev. Michael Robe, M.A., as the successor of Walter M‘Gill. He was sprung from a Cumbernauld family who held those estates now in the possession of Messrs. Brown and Duncan. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, and was a young man of good parts and ripe scholarship. He became a tutor in the family of the distinguished James Wodrow, afterwards Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow. Robe was appointed to a meeting-house in the Newtown of Monyabroch, and received ordination 7th December, 1687. He ministered to the parishioners who rejected Episcopacy. His stay was short. After three years he was appointed minister of the parish of Easter Lenzie (Kirkintilloch) and Cumbernauld in 1690. Seeing he was the father of the renowned James Robe, one of the foremost ministers of his time, it is interesting to note in this connection that he attacked with great vigour those who fostered schismatical divisions in the Church, and frequently proclaimed against the stage as a spring of vice and leading to error and profanity. Whilst in Monyabroch he married Isabella Dundas, the 6th February, 1688, and besides James had another son Thomas. He died 1718, in his 74th year.

The Rev. James Hay was translated from Kilmalcolm, and his induction took place the 29th December, 1692. He was a laborious and faithful minister, and in the yellowing leaves of the parish records there is to be obtained many an interesting glimpse into the habits and circumstances of the people. The names of the elders are names still familiar in the parish. These, amongst others, may be mentioned: John Murdoch, James Rennie, Walter Rankine, John Young, William Gray, John Provan, Andrew Adam, Patrick Grindlay, John Baird, John Burns, John Shearer. They had to deal with many a curious case, but there is not one, excepting those where parties were fugitives from discipline, that was not brought to a satisfactory termination. A parishioner was accused “of using charms to cure his beasts that were not well.” He had employed a professional charmer, but there being a paucity of witnesses, he was “seriously exhorted to beware of these things " and dismissed. Lists were regularly given in of those who habitually absented themselves from public worship. The elders had difficulties with the poor, and they decreed that “no poor should have charity unless they came to kirk and attended diets of examination if able.” They became unmannerly, and troubled the members of session, privately blaming them for uncharitableness. To put an end to this, they had to appear before the session before receiving their allowances. The new arrangement only lasted for a short time. Intimation was made that "no burials were to be brought into the churchyard after the sermon was begun, and that all who did not partake of the sacrament were to be deprived of the privileges of baptism." They took steps against those who vagued and wandered to the woods and parks after public worship on the Lord's day.” Penny weddings were prevalent. The minister discouraged them, and one held at Auchencloach gave rise to much scandal. Mary Lyle and Janet Sinclair were before the court on the charge of promiscuous dancing. The former confessed that “she danced a springe with Wigtoun's footman.” They were admonished that “if they did not carry better in tyme comminge, they would be made publick examples.” A scandal was tabled against a farmer that “he had thacked and crowned his stacks on the Lord's day.” Witnesses were examined but no action taken. The blacksmith of Queenzieburn was an occasion of trouble. Having publicly in his smithy maintained that catechisings or examinations were not warranted by the Word of God, he was summoned before the session. In defence he said he had spoken in point of argument to try what answers those to whom he was speaking could give. He was informed that such expressions were of dangerous consequence and stumbled those that were weak. He was sharply rebuked, and ordered to be more cautious in the future. In a few months the smith was involved in another affair, an attempt to poison the mind of a young woman against the young man to whom she was engaged. John Forrester, the young man, was deeply wounded by the smith's conduct and language. In the libel which he prosecuted, he averred, amongst other things, that the smith said "there was no grace in his face, and that there was no grace of God within the place where he dwells—meaning the toune of Kilsyth—save only three families, and that they worshipped God politically.” The smith denied the charges, but the court found the case fully proved, and he was appointed to appear in the place of public repentance next Lord's day. Cases of slander were of frequent occurrence, and it is pleasant to read how frequently the session were able to reconcile differences and restore broken friendships. That a man should curse his neighbour was rightly regarded as a most heinous offence. The discriminating reader will regard one illustration of this sphere of parochial administration as sufficient. “Walter Zuill complained in his libel against Agnes Hog, making mention that Agnes Hog, in Nether Gavell, abused him after the following manner. First : She wishing he might be his own hangman. Secondly : She wishing God's curse upon him. Thirdly : That as many might wonder at him as there are grass piles on the ground. Fourthly : That witches and warlocks might be his company through eternity. Fifthly: That he might be -- here and hereafter.” The case was put to trial, and Agnes was condemned to do public penance.

In one of these cases there is evidence of the estimation in which Mr. Hay was held. A parishioner, having cursed the minister, “ wishing the devil to be both in him and in his words," and having denominated his wife "a toothless old runt,” he was called to answer for the expressions used. The parishioner confessed that he had used part of the language, but that he had received great provocation, as the minister had taken his maillen over his head.” One of the witnesses called was William Sword of Auchinvole, who had been a tenant of the Kirklands, i.e., Bogside, and he deponed that, than the minister, “he had never lived beside a better neighbour, that he had visited him when he was sick, and had lent him money and other things that he stood in need of.” This was a long case, and part of it, as was proper, was heard while another minister - Michael Robe of Cumbernauld—was moderator. Eventually the parishioner was pronounced a malignant and notorious liar. Strange to say, after a long time had passed away he came forward and confessed his fault and was publicly rebuked.

During Mr. Hay's ministry the sum collected at the church door ranged from twenty to forty shillings Scots, and the salary of the kirk officer was ten merks a year and four loads of coals. On the 1st June, 1710, the session having taken into consideration “the valetudinary condition of our minister Mr. James Hay, and the earnest desire he expresses to have an assistant in the work of the Lord among us, and having several times heard Mr. James Stewart, Preacher of the Gospel, unto our great satisfaction. .. do therefore unanimously concur in chusing the said James Stewart to be assistant to our said minister.” The help had come too late to be of service. That was the last session meeting at which this faithful pastor was present. In the month following he passed to his rest in the seventieth year of his age and the twenty-third of his ministry.

« AnteriorContinuar »