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the fury of the presbytery broke upon the minister. He was summoned before the presbytery, "to hear himself deposed from the ministry at the kirk of Monyabroch, for inability to use discipline in said kirk as becomes." Taking no objection to sentence being passed, he was there and then deposed by the moderator "simpliciter and forever,"
Thus most unhappily terminated the long pastorate of thirty-seven years of Alexander Livingston, the first Presbyterian minister of Kilsyth. Possibly he was not so active in the discharge of his commission as he might have been; but surely to use a minister for the purpose of humiliating his near kinsman was, on the part of the presbytery, most indiscreet. There, however, the matter stands; Livingston, a grave old clergyman, tottering on the brink of the grave, was deposed, and the stigma attaching thereto remains; but the riddle of the right and wrong, who can read it now? His wife was Barbara Livingston of "the house of Kilsyth," by whom he had one son, William. He did not survive his deposition many months. Twenty-four years before him, the man "who neither feared nor flattered mortal flesh," the intrepid Knox, was laid to his rest, and now clear and bright there was shining another star in our ecclesiastical firmament. That star was Andrew Melville.
Prelate versus Presbyter—William Livingston, Voice and Appearance—The King, his Character—Melville, Welsh, and Bruce—Bishops Ordain Ministers—Perth Assembly—Jenny Geddes—W. Livingston Presented to Kilsyth—The Enmity of the King—Livingston Confined to his Parish—Deposed— Presented to Lanark—Second Deposition—Imprisoned—His Curious Dream—Before the High Commission—Addresses Marquis of Hamilton—Glasgow Assembly—Last Appearance— Death.
After the meeting of the Scottish Parliament in 1560, the country enjoyed a period of comparative quiet after the storm of the Reformation. This quiet was reflected in the life of Alexander Livingston. With the deposition of Livingston, however, and the coming in of the 17th century, there began new troubles and there arose new dangers. Then began that struggle between prelate and presbyter which was to last for the next hundred years. The stirring life and career of the Rev. William Livingston, the second minister of Monyabroch, as it begins with the year 1600, takes us to the very beginning of this controversy, and leads us right onward through the first half of it. William was very unlike his father; he had no taste for compromise, was full of energy, of a disposition essentially combative, and may be well credited with having inherited the ardour of his grandsire, who fought and died at Pinkie. He had a heart hatred of Episcopacy, and had it not been for such as he, so continued and determined were the efforts of the prelatists, there can be little doubt the rule of the bishops would have been established in Scotland. As it was, the
fathers of the Scottish Church stood like rocks in the midst of the waves and repelled every assault. In that war none acquitted himself with greater bravery than William Livingston. He possessed the voice of a Stentor and a forbidding countenance; and wherever he is found he is seen laying about him to excellent purpose.
King James was largely responsible for the ecclesiastical troubles of Scotland. He was ill-fitted by nature to act the part of a king. A shattered nervous system rendered him physically a coward. He was fond of his book and his bottle. Striving to be a master in theology he was a novice in practical religion. He was a curious compound of wisdom and folly, of vacillation and obstinacy. Now he was strongly Presbyterian, praising "the God who had made him King in such a Kirk as that of Scotland—the sincerest Kirk in the world." And then, again, with his "No Bishop, no King," he was equally strongly Episcopalian. Whatever form of Church government he really loved eventually, there can be no doubt he became the foe of Presbyterianism. He had rude memories of his Scottish life. George Buchanan had warmed his ears as a boy; Andrew Melville had plucked at his sleeve and called him "God's silly vassal," and then the raid of Ruthven was an undoubtedly bitter recollection. Melville was a fitting successor to Knox. He was a man of fixed purpose and determined spirit, and prepared for any emergency, Holyrood or Blackness, the pulpit or the gallows. James thought if he could get quit of Melville his ends would be gained in Scotland. With this view he invited him to London, and clapped him in the Tower. Melville had, however, by this time done his work. He had consolidated the labours of Knox, written the Second Book of Discipline, and given the Church that practical shape which she still retains. Two of his best known fellow-labourers were Welsh and Bruce. When the wife of theformer wentto London to begtheKingto releasehim, for he also had been imprisoned, the King said he would release him if he would submit to the bishops. Lifting up her apron and holding it towards the King, the brave woman is reported to have replied—" Please, your Majesty, I'd rather kep his head there." Robert Bruce was the son of the proprietor of Airth and one of the most popular preachers of his day. In the course of his life he became owner of Kinnaird, and was an ancestor of Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller. Because he would not acknowledge the guilt of Gowrie in the affair of the conspiracy, the King persecuted him with relentless hatred. His preaching was full of the richest spiritual matter, and his prayers always short, are spoken of as being like bolts shot up to heaven. His death was characteristic. One morning at breakfast he said to his daughter, who was serving him— "Hold, my Master calls me." Asking for the Family Bible, and finding his eyesight gone, he said, "Cast me up the 8th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and place my finger on these words, ' I am persuaded that neither death nor life shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now," he continued to his daughter, "is my finger upon the place?" and being told that it was, he added, "Then God be with you, my children; I have breakfasted with you and shall sup with the Lord Jesus this night," and so saying the good man expired. A cause supported by men like Melville and Livingston, Welsh and Bruce, was both in excellent keeping and nurture.
Among the chief events of the time were the ordination by English bishops of the three Scottish ministers, Spottiswoode, Lamb, and Hamilton; and the General Assembly held at Perth in 1618, which passed Acts in favour of kneeling at Communion, Confirmation, and the observation of Good Friday, Easter, and Ascension Day. The Scottish people having found it necessary that in the