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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

At the time when Pope Clement was encamped before Ferrara


There is a contemporary narrative of the decay of the Church in Scotland which begins from this date. For here, it was thought, ended the period during which the word revealed from Sinai and Zion to the apostles and prophets was the only rule of doctrine and Church discipline without any mixture of Babylon or the City of the Seven Hills, or of policy of man's devising; when the Church was 'Beautiful as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners.'

James, who regarded all this as due merely to the opposition of enemies, went on his way without bestowing further consideration on the depth, strength, and inward significance of this spirit which was destined once more to agitate the world. He again took up in serious earnest the design of erecting a Protestant episcopacy which had been entertained by Mar and Morton. Not only was this necessary for the constitution but for the sake of the clergy also: as George Gladstaine explained before a large assembly at Dundee, it was desirable that they should take part in the exercise of the legislative power. A small majority, but still a majority, in this assembly decided in favour of the proposal. The King assured them that he wished neither for a Papistical nor for an English prelacy; he wished only that the best clergy should take cognizance of the affairs of the Church in the council of the nation. In order to unite both interests he desired that the General Assembly should propose to the King six candidates for each vacancy and should have the right of giving instructions to the King's nominee for his Parliamentary action, and of demanding an account from him of his execution of the same. The King esteemed it a great triumph when in the Parliament of 1600 he was able actually to introduce two bishops whom he had nominated with the concurrence of a Commission of the Synods.

It appears a general result worth noticing that he had again brought both parties in the country into subjection to the crown, the one however by open battle, the other by compliance which had somewhat the air of inclination towards it.

_Preparations for the Succession to the English Throne._

That the former of these parties was properly speaking Protestant, and the latter in its sentiment Catholic, created a certain feeling of surprise. Queen Elizabeth, who had been attacked and insulted by the Presbyterians sometimes even from the pulpit, could not find fault with the crown for liberating itself from the ascendancy of the new Church as it had done from that of the old: on the contrary she had expressly approved of this policy; but she warned the King not to allow himself to be so blinded by personal preference as again to put confidence in any traitor, and not to separate himself from the flock which must fight for him if he wished to stand. In the case of Scotland, as well as in the case of her own dominions, she always kept before her eyes the contrast between the Catholic and the Protestant principle, in comparison with which all other differences appeared to her subordinate.

In his own views less rigid and consistent, King James had on the contrary even made advances to the Papacy. He at one time found it advisable to enter into relations with Pope Clement VIII, whose behaviour about the absolution of Henry IV showed that he did not at least belong to the party of Spain and the zealots. A letter to the Pope was forwarded from the Scottish cabinet addressing him as Holy Father, with the signature of the King as his obedient son. A Scot, by profession a Catholic, afterwards made the statement that, at the time when Pope Clement was encamped before Ferrara, he had been sent to him in order to seek his friendship, and to promise him religious liberty for the Catholics if King James should ascend the English throne.[308]


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