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Bishops Keith, Falconar, White, and Rait, it was resolved by these fathers, that they should constitute themselves into a regular synod for transacting the public business of the church; on which occasion Mr. Keith was unanimously chosen PRIMUS, and Mr. Alexan. der, the new bishop, was appointed clerk. Availing themselves of the ecclesiastical knowledge and matured experience of the late Primus, Rattray, the bishops, being thus met together, proceeded to take into consideration the draught of certain canons which he had bequeathed to them, for the more formal exercise of their authority in the government of their districts; and, after a deliberate conference, they succeeded, -as well by making suitable alterations on those with which they were thus furnished, as by drawing up several new ones,—in producing a set of rules which gained at once the universal acceptance of the clergy, and also proved of considerable use in promoting uniformity of sentiment as well as of practice, in almost all the professional matters concerning which they had been formerly divided." P. xxxi.
Shortly after these events, the penal laws against Episcopalians were enforced with redoubled rigour, on account of the political bias manifested by members of that communion during the rebellion of forty-five. Little or nothing is known of Bishop Keith's public life, subsequently to that trying period. His principal works, the “ History of Scotland, and the Catalogue of Bishops, made their appearance towards the close of his career. The former is an unfinished work; and a few sheets of the second volume were found at his death. We close our account of this part of the volume with the following anecdote.
“ Amidst the scarcity of biographical incident, of which the reader has had cause to complain, he may be surprised to meet with the following notice, which I find regularly recorded in an authentic paper. - Bishop Keith, a married man, and having children, died worth only £450 at the most; and J.M.,' (his colleague or assistant,) a bachelor, died (proh dolor) worth about £3000 Sterling, and left not a farthing to the poor suffering clergy."" P. xliii.
The second original portion of Dr. Russel's volume, is a Supplement to the Dissertation on the History of the Caldees. In the first edition of the Catalogue, this Dissertation appeared under the title of “ Preface ;” and it was left to the present editor to point out its real author, Mr. Goodall, librarian to the Faculty of Advocates. The Supplement has been called into being by Dr.Jamieson's “ Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona;" a work in which the doctor attempts to prove, that Presbyterianism existed in Scotland while the English were yet unconverted to Christianity. A more difficult task no Presbyterian could undertake. While he confines himself to specious deductions from certain passages of Scripture, he may make out a case that requires to be answered." While he reasons from expediency and practice, he may occasionally gain a convert. But an appeal to history and antiquities is the forlorn hope of Presbyterianism. And whatever may be the ingenuity or the learning of Dr, Jamieson, he can at most only puzzle the ignorant. No reader of the early historians of England or Scotland, can hesitate or be deceived upon the subject. The contemporary writers, one and all, speak of episcopacy as universally prevalent; and the very example to which: Dr. Jamieson so confidently appeals, is a decisive authority against him. The new editor of Keith has discharged this part of his task with so much ability, that we shall content ourselves with quoting a few of his observations.
" What, then, is the amount of the evidence, and what is the value of the reasoning by which the erudite author of the Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees' attempts to establish the purer faith of these celebrated monks, as well as their systematic opposition to the Romish church in regard to rites and ceremonies ?
They are, in the utmost degree, trifling and frivolous ! Except in the disputed article of the Easter calendar and the affair of the tonsure, it is impossible to fix on any one thing in which, at the end of the sixth century, the Christians of Britain and Ireland differed from those of Italy; and it is well known that these points of difference were not confined to the British churches, but were agitated with equal zeal in other parts of Christendom; and, moreover, that the Scots yielded their assent to the dogmas of Rome on these very heads, and adopted both the tonsure and the new cycle, long before the Britons in the southern division of the island would depart from their ancient practice. The immaculate and conscientious Culdees of Iona, (if Culdees they must be named,) with their abbot at their head, set the example of compliance to the older Christians of the Roman province; but these sturdy believers, on the contrary, scórning the accommodating policy of the Columbans, continued to keep their festival on their own day, and shave their crowns after their accustomed fashion. The clergy of Pictland and Dalriad, therefore, are entitled to much less honour for opposing Romish innovation than the bishops and presbyters among the Britons; for though farther removed from temptation, the former yielded much sooner to the false reasoning or the secular inducements which were urged upon them by the Saxon primate and his busy emissaries. Wherefore, then, are the followers of Columba decorated, solely and exclusively, with the praise of firmness, purity, and sound views; why are they extolled as the only clergy, in ancient times, who had sense to perceive what was wrong, and principle enough to oppose it; why are they held up as prototypes of all the wisdom and zeal, and energy and self-devotedness, which are so justly ascribed to most, of the leading men who, at a later period, conducted the Reformation to its happy issue ;-and all this, too, in the face of the notorious fact that they succumbed and complied long before the great body of Christians in their neighbourhood were even shaken from their steadfastness? The answer is obvious: there have been authors in Scotland, in the course of the last hundred
who were determined to find, in the early annals of their country, a model and a warrant for the things which had become popular in their own days; and not being satisfied with making out that, in ecclesiastical concerns, they are now the purest society on earth, they insist upon also proving that if they ever were polluted by erroneous doctrine, or superstitious practices, it was only for a very short time, and by means of the most unprincipled and irre. sistible constraint.” P. lxxx.
“ Dr. Jamieson must be aware, that there are limits to the argu. ment which he derives from the supposed existence of lay members in the convent of Iona ; for, as in the narrative of Bede, there is no vestige of evidence that the abbot was present, more than the bishop, at the deliberation of the monks and the subsequent ordinations which took place, he may find himself carried a little farther than he would willingly chuse to proceed ; and, in his eagerness to flee from Episcopal supremacy, reduce the commission of his favourite Culdees to a mere warrant issued by laics. But there is no reason whatever for believing that any of the Columban monks were laymen. The Doctor, himself, informs us, it has been supposed that, AS TWELVE PRIESTS accompanied Columba from Ireland, and settled with him in Iona, they afterwards retained this number, in imitation of the conduct of their founder ;'-but he has neglected to tell us at what time within the few years which had elapsed between their first settlement and the request of Oswald to have a bishop, they departed so far from the original model of their institution as to admit laymen into their sacred college. It is only better, it would seem, that they should all be laymen, even though they might be detected in the foolish trick of ordaining bishops for a Northumbrian king, than that any one of them should be bona fide a presbyter, and afterwards found to have submitted to a second and higher ordination inflicted upon him by the hands of prelates.' P. xciii.
" Still, the Doctor demands a reason why the church historian does not tell his readers that bishops were really employed in con. ferring orders, and, more especially the order of the episcopate, in the monastery of lona. Lloyd gives a sufficient answer when he observes that Bede was not likely to imagine that such a question would ever be asked." P. xcviii.
These passages are not only decisive upon the merits
of Dr. Jamieson's hypothesis, but they also establish Dr Russel's claims as a writer of ecclesiastical history. He is evidently master of his subject. He is acquainted with the antiquities not only of his own church, but of all Christian communities; and he reasons upon their peculiarities or discrepancies in a very plain and convincing manner.
In the present instance it must be confessed that he had an easy task, for the speculations which he controverts are speculations merely. Bede tell us that the Northern Picts were converted by Columba, and the Southern by Ninias, or St. Martin. The churches established in the lowlands were destroyed by the unconverted Saxons, and Christianity was preserved in that district alone which had received its religion from Columba. The isle in which he had dwelt became the chief seat of the church, and his successors her most respecta ed servants. This is the true and simple explanation of facts which the Presbyterians of the fifteenth century contrived to warp into something like an authority for their platform; and these are the circumstances to which Dr. Jamieson now recurs, as tending in an enlightened age, to vindicate the antiquity of an unepiscopal church. To all the support which such circumstances can give, he is fully and freely welcome.
The Appendix professes to inquire into the more prominent causes by which the subversion of the national Episcopalianism in Scotland was brought about. It is written in a good spirit, and with great ability. The subject, not naturally interesting to Englishmen, has been rendered in some degree familiar to us all, by the works of the author of Waverley. And Dr. Russel's more sober historical essay agrees in the main with the splendid fictions of that inimitable writer : we say inimitable, because there are many who attempt to tread in his path, and without even a smattering of his erudition, or a tithe of his talents and impartiality, make the bistory of Scotland a vehicle for unmeasured abuse of Episcopalianism in all its branches. To such writings Dr. Russel's Appendix will prove a well timed antidote. Many of his remarks are new; and that wbich has been said before, he repeats with his usual conciseness.
Having devoted so many pages to this useful publication, and repeatedly expressed our opinion of its merits, we shall conclude by pointing out what we conceive to be its defects. The continuation of the Catalogue to the present day might have been drawn up at greater length. A collection of births, and preferments, and deaths, is not a very interesting performance; and the excuse offered by Dr. Russel, that the addition of more matter would have unduly augmented the bulk of the work, is an excuse which the publishers should not have condescended to put forth. The other deficiency, and it is one which we particularly lament, is a view of the present state of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Such a document would have been well received in both countries. Here little is known respecting our brethren of the north, even by those who take the liveliest interest in their welfare. In their own land, it is the fashion to underrate the Episcopalians; and a statement of their increasing numbers, respectability, and influence, would produce many salutary effects. If the republication of Keith's Catalogue obtains the patronage to which it is so well entitled, we shall hope to see these deficiences supplied, either in a future edition, or in a separate work.
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