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FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 75 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND  . In one sense the
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Free Church of Scotland dated its existence from the Disruption of 1843, in another it claimed to be the rightful representative of the
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National Church of Scotland (see SCOTLAND, CHURCH OF) as it was reformed in r56o.' In the ecclesiastical
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history of Scotland the Free Churchman
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sees three
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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 scriptural 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
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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
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Chapel Acts . It culminated in the Disruption of 1843 . The fact that the Church, as led first by John Knox and after-wards by Andrew Melville, claimed an inherent right to exercise a spiritual jurisdiction is notorious . More
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apt to be overlooked is the
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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;2 but, for several years before it came, the church had been holding her Assemblies and settling all questions of discipline, worship, and administration as they arose, in accordance with the first book of polity or discipline which had been
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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
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independent and exclusive jurisdiction or power in all matters ecclesiastical, " which flows directly from
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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 1592.3 This legislation 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
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complete surrender of jurisdiction by the church itself .

For twenty years no Assemblies whatever were held . This

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interval must necessarily be regarded from the Presbyterian point of view as having been one of very deep depression . But a second reformation, characterized by greatenergy and vigour, began in 1638 . The proceedings of the Assembly of that
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year, afterwards tardily and reluctantly acquiesced in by the state, finally issued in the acts of parliament of 1649, by which the Westminster
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standards were ratified,
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lay-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,
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Presbytery was temporarily over-thrown by a series of rescissory acts . Nor was the Revolution Settlement of 16go so entirely favourable to the freedom of the church as the legislation of 1649 had been . Prelacy.was abolished, and various obnoxious statutes were repealed, but the acts rescissory were not cancelled; presbyterianism was re-established, but the statutory recognition of the Confession of Faith took no
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notice of certain qualifications under which that document had originally been approved by the Assembly of 1647; 4 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 reservation, 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
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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 meanwhile a new phase of Scottish ecclesiastical politics commonly 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 Ebenezer

Erskine and Thomas Gillespie are dated was also characterized by numerous other abuses on the Church's
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part which amounted to a
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practical surrender of the most important and distinctive principles of her ancient Presbyterian polity.' Towards the beginning of the
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present century there were many circumstances, 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
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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
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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,6 and by which it was provided that the
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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
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civil courts; and it was ultimately answered in a sense unfavourable to the church by the decision (1838) of the court of session id the Auchterarder case, to the effect that a presbytery had no right to reject a presentee simply because the parishioners protested against his settlement, but was bound to disregard the veto (see CHALMERS, THOMAS) . This decision elicited from the Assembly 4 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 William Carstares . See Act and Declaration of Free Assembly, 1851 . 6 This principle had been asserted even by an Assembly so
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late as that of 1736, and had been invariably presupposed in the " call," which had never ceased to be regarded as an indispensable pre-requisite for the settlement of a minister . 1 " It is her being free, not her being established, that constitutes the real
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historical and hereditary identity of the Reformed National Church of Scotland." See Act and Declaration, &c., of Free Assembly, 1851 . 2In the act Anent the true and
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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 tke Kirk .

' 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 the same is used and exercised within the

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realm " were abolished; and all " liberties, privileges, immunities and freedoms whatsoever " previously granted were ratified and approved . of that year a new declaration of the doctrine of the spiritual independence of the church . The " exclusive 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 qualification; and continued implicit obedience to their decisions 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 Established Church, `the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of church
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officers distinct from the civil magistrate '; and that in all matters touching the doctrine, discipline and government of the church her judicatories possess an exclusive 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
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conference with the government had no better result than an unsuccessful attempt at compromise by means of Lord Aberdeen's
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Bill, which embodied the principle of a dissent with reasons, still graver complications were arising out of the Marnoch and other cases) . In the circumstances it was resolved by the Assembly of 1842 to transmit to the queen, by the hands of the lord high
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commissioner, a " claim, declaration, and protest," complaining of the encroachments of the court of session,2 and also an address praying for the abolition of patronage . The home secretary's answer (received in
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January 1843) gave no hope of redress . Meanwhile the position of the . 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 en-joined 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 determined by the civil courts; (6) that the civil courts had power to supersede the majority of a church court of the Establishment in regard to the exercise of its spiritual functions as a. church court, and to authorize the minority to exercise the said functions in opposition to the court itself and to the
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superior judicatories of the church; (7) that processes 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
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left all civil rights and patrimonial interests untouched . 2 The narrative and
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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 followed by the " declaration " that the Assembly cannot intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations, or carry on the government of Christ's 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 contraventionof said government, discipline, rights and privileges, "are and shall be in themselves void and null, and of no legal force or effect."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
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appeal to parliament by petition was made in March 1843, when, by a majority of 135 (211 against 76), the House of
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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
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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
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separate place of meeting, for the purpose 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
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measures as may be competent to us, in humble ' dependence on God's grace and the aid of His Holy Spirit, for the
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advancement of His glory, the ettension of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, and the administration of the affairs of Christ's house according to His holy word." The
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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 3oth of May, and trans-acted a large amount of important business . On Tuesday the 23rd, 3964 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
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annual income amounting to fully £1oo,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
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ministry had been announced by Dr Robert Smith Candlish; and at " Convocation," a private unofficial meeting of the members of the evangelical or non-intrusion party held in November 1842, Dr Chalmers was prepared with a carefully matured scheme according to which " eacli congregation 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 up-wards of £17,000 had already been contributed . At the close of the first
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financial year (1843-1844) 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
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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
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stipend payable to each minister did not for many years reach the sum of £r 5o which had been aimed at as a minimum . Thus in 1844-1845 the fund had risen to £76,180, but the ministers had also increased to 627, and the equal dividend therefore was only £122 .

During the first ten years the annual income averaged £84,057; during the next

decade £108,643; and during the third £130,246 . The minimum of £150 was reached at last in 1868; and subsequently the balance remaining after that minimum had been provided was treated as a surplus fund, and distributed among those ministers whose congregations have contributed at certain specified rates per member . In 1878 the
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total amount received for this fund was upwards 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 3 The Scottish members voted with the minority in the proportion of 2 to 12 . 4 The number ultimately rose to 474 . 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
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building fund, in which all should share alike, was also organized, and
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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 6o additional churches were built . At the end of four years considerably more than 700 churches had been provided . During the winter session 1843–1844 the divinity students who had joined the Free Church continued their studies under Dr Chalmers and Dr David Welsh (1793–1845); and at the Assembly of 1844 arrangements were made for the erection of suitable collegiate buildings . The New College,
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Edinburgh, was built in 1847 at a cost of £46,506; and divinity halls were subsequently set up also in
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Glasgow and Aberdeen .

In 1878 there were 13 professors of

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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
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system of elementary
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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
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suggestion was taken up with very great energy, 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 . In accordance with certain provisions of the
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Education Act of 1872 most of the schools of the Free Church were voluntarily transferred, without compensation, to the local school boards . The normal schools are now transferred to the state . It has been seen already that during the period of the Ten Years' Conflict the non-intrusion party strenuously denied that in any one respect it was departing from acknowledged principles of the National Church . It continued 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 licensing 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 in-tolerant or persecuting principles, and does not regard her Confession of Faith, or any portion thereof when fairly interpreted, as favouring intolerance or persecution, or consider that her office-bearers by subscribing it profess any principles inconsistent with liberty of conscience and the right of private
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judgment." The main difference between the " formula " of the Free Church and that of the Established Church (as at the year 'goo) was that the former referred to the Confession of Faith simply as " approven by General Assemblies of this Church," while the latter described it as " approven by the General Assemblies of this National Church, and ratified by law in the year 1690, and frequently confirmed by
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divers Acts of Parliament since that time." The former inserted an additional 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 Right and in the Protest referred to in the questions already put to me "; and also added 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, discipline and government of this church by kirk-sessions, presbyteries, provincial synods, and general assemblies, together 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,
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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." 1 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 .

John

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Macmillan, minister of Cardross, accused of immorality, had been tried and found guilty by the Free Presbytery of
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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 the 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 suspension . 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
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action (his previous application for an interdict had been refused) concluding 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 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 Macmillan gave notice of an action of a wholly different kind .

But this last was not per-severed in . The appeals which had been taken to the House of Lords were, in these circumstances, also departed from by the Free Church . The case did not advance sufficiently to show 1 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
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Original Seceders were removed, and 27 ministers, along with a considerable number of their people, joined the Free Church in the following year . 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 contract.' 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
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resolution " notwithstanding of whatsoever trouble or persecution may arise." 2 In 1863 a motion was made and unanimously carried in the Free Church Assembly for the appointment of a committee to confer with a corresponding committee of the
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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 lawfully 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
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internal government of the church," it was declared by the committee of the United Presbyterian Church that, " inasmuch as the civil magistrate has no authority in spiritual things, and as the employment of force in such matters is opposed to the spirit and precepts of
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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 . (J .

S . BL.) In the last

quarter of the 19th century the Free Church continued to be the most active, theologically, of the Scottish Churches . The College chairs were almost uniformly filled by advanced critics or theologians, inspired more or less by Professor A . B . Davidson . Dr A . B . Bruce, author of The Training of the Twelve, &c., was appointed to the chair of
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apologetics and New Testament exegesis in the Glasgow College in 1875; Henry Drummond (author of Natural Law in the Spiritual
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World, &c.) was made lecturer in natural science in the same college in 1877 and became professor in 1884; and Dr George Adam Smith (author of The Twelve Prophets, &c.) was called to the
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Hebrew chair in 1892 . Attempts were made between 1890 and 1895 to bring all these professors except Davidson (similar attacks were also made on Dr
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Marcus Dods, afterwards
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principal of the ' See Taylor Innes, Law of Creeds in Scotland, p . 258 seq . 2 The language of Dr Buchanan, for example, in 186o was (mutatis mutandis) the same as that which he had employed in 1838 in moving the Independence resolution already referred to . New College, Edinburgh) to the bar of the Assembly for unsound teaching or writing; but in every case these were abortive, the Assembly never taking any step beyond warning the accused that their
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primary duty was to teach and defend the church's faith as embodied in the confession .

In 1892 the Free Church, following the example Of the United Presbyterian Church and the Church of Scotland (1889), passed a Declaratory Act:relaxing the stringency of subscription to the confession, with the result that a small number of ministers and congregations, mostly in the

Highlands, severed their connexion with the church and formed the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, on strictly and straitly orthodox lines . In 1907 this
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body had twenty congregations and twelve ministers . The Free Church always regarded herself as a National Church, and during this period she sought actively to be true to that character by providing church ordinances for the increasing population of Scotland and applying herself to the new problems of non-church-going, and of the changing habits of the people . Her Assembly's committee on religion and morals worked toward the same ends as the similar organization of the Established Church, and in her, as in the other churches, the standard of parochial and congregational activity was raised and new methods of operation devised . She passed legislation on the difficult problem of ridding the church of inefficient ministers . The use of instrumental
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music was sanctioned in Free Churches during this period . An association was formed in 1891 to
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pro-mote the ends of edification, order and reverence in the public services of the church, and published in 1898 A New Directory for Public Worship which does not provide set forms of prayer, but directions as to the
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matter of prayer in the various services . The Free Church took a large share in the study of hymnology and church music, which led to the production of The Church Hymnary . From 1885 to 1895 much of the energy of all the Presbyterian churches was absorbed by the disestablishment agitation . In the former year the Free Church, having almost entirely
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shed the establishment principle on which it was founded, began to
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rival the United Presbyterian Church in its resolutions calling for the disestablishment of the Church of Scotland . In spite of the offers of the Establishment Assembly to confer with the dissenting churches about union, the assaults upon its status waxed in vigour, till in 1893 the Free Church hailed the result of the general election as a verdict of the constituencies in favour of disestablishment, and insisted upon the government of the day taking up
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Sir Charles Cameron's bill . During the last four or five years of the century the Free and United Presbyterian churches, which after the failure of their union negotiations in 1873 had been connected together by a Mutual Eligibility Act enabling a congregation of one church to call a minister from the other, devoted their energy to the arrangement of an incorporating union .

The Synod of the United Presbyterian Church resolved in 1896 to " take steps towards union," and in the following year the Free Assembly responded by appointing a committee to confer with a committee of the other church . The

joint committee discovered a "remark-able and happy agreement " between the doctrinal standards, rules and methods of the two bodies, and with very little
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con-cessions. on either side a
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common constitution and common "questions and formula" for the
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admission of ministers and office-bearers were arranged . A minority, always growing smaller, of the Free Church Assembly, protested against the pro-posed union, and threatened if it were carried through to test its legality in the courts . To meet this opposition, the suggestion is understood to have been made that an act of parliament should be applied for to legalize the union; but this was not done, and the union was carried through on the understanding that the question of the lawfulness of church establishments should be an open'one . The supreme courts of the churches met for the last time in their respective places of meeting on the 3oth of
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October 1900, and on the following day the joint meeting took place at which the union was completed, and the United Free Church of Scotland (q.v.) entered on its career . The protesting and dissenting minority at once claimed to be the Free Church . They camps on confiscated
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Southern
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property, where they were cared for alternately by the war department and by the
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treasury department until the organization of the Freedmen's Bureau . At the head of the bureau was a commissioner, General O . O . Howard, and under him in each Southern state was an assistant commissioner with a corps of local superintendents, agents and inspectors . The officials had the broadest possible authority in all matters that concerned the blacks . The
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work of the bureau may be classified as follows: (1) distributing rations and medical supplies among the blacks; (2) establishing schools for them and aiding benevolent societies to establish schools and churches; (3) regulating labour and contracts; (4) taking charge of confiscated lands; and (5) administering justice in cases in which blacks were concerned .

For several years the ex-slaves were under the almost

absolute control of the bureau . Whether this control had a good or
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bad effect is still disputed, the Southern whites and many Northerners holding that the results of the bureau's work were distinctly bad, while others hold that much good resulted from its work . There is now no doubt, however, that while most of the higher officials of the bureau were good men, the subordinate agents were generally without character or judgment and that their interference between the races caused permanent discord . Much necessary
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relief work was done, but demoralization was also caused by it, and later the institution was used by its officials as a means of securing negro votes . In educating the blacks the bureau made some progress, but the instruction "imparted by the missionary teachers resulted in giving the ex-slaves notions of liberty and racial equality that led to much trouble, finally resulting in the hostility of the whites to negro education . The
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secession of the blacks from the white churches was aided and encouraged by the bureau . The whole field of labour and contracts was covered by minute regulations, which, good in theory, were absurd in practice, and which failed altogether, but not until labour had been disorganized for several years . The administration of justice by the bureau agents amounted simply to a ceaseless persecution of the whites who had dealings with the blacks, and bloody conflicts sometimes resulted . The law creating the bureau provided for the division of the confiscated property among the negroes, and though carried out only in parts of South Carolina,
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Florida and
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Georgia, it caused the negroes to believe that they were to be cared for at the expense of their former masters . This belief made them subject to swindling schemes perpetrated by certain bureau agents and others who promised to secure lands for them . When negro suffrage was imposed by Congress upon the Southern States, the bureau aided the Union
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League (q.v.) in organizing the blacks into a
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political party opposed to the whites . A large majority of the bureau officials secured office through their control of the blacks .

The failure of the bureau system and its discontinuance in the midst of reconstruction without harm to the blacks, and the intense hostility of the Southern whites to the institution caused by the irritating conduct of bureau officials, are indications that the institution was not well conceived nor wisely administered . See P . S .

Pierce, The Freedmen's Bureau (
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Iowa City, 1904) ; Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction (Washington, 1866); W . L . Fleming (ed.), Documents
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relating to Reconstruction (Cleveland, O., 1906) ; W . L . Fleming, Civil War and Reconstruction in
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Alabama (New York, 1905) ; and James W . Garner, Reconstruction in
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Mississippi (New York, 1901) . " (W . L .

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