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Observer, June 1, 172.

would look with dire horror, could they rise again, at the kind of thing which an English Parliament can create and baptize as a Christian Church. To them the Church is essentially a self-existent, self-governing community, teacher of all political communities, ruler of all political communities, but absolutely incapable, without forfeiting the very name of Church, of accept. ing from political communities its doctrines, discipline, and the law of its life. Do not think, I pray you, that the Anglican Establishment, to which our fathers were ready to die rather than conform, was simply the old Medieval Church with a Royal instead of a Papal head. The whole thing was set in an entirely new key. The constituted political authorities in the State took in charge the establishment and management of the truth and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus in this English land. We may grieve, as would Mediæval Churchmen, as do modern High Churchmen, over the degradation of Christian ideas and of the Christian spirit involved in the very existence of such a worldly, rich, pompous, prelatical, Erastian institution as this. But its special character has had one good result. It has kept it alive. I mean alive with the life of the nation. It has kept up a free circulation of the juices of the national life in its limbs and organs, and presents it at this day, in point of vitality, in very favourable contrast to the churches in Europe, which, born at the same time, were not welded in, so to speak, as ours has been with their national political life. Much as I sadden over the miseries and the wrongs of which the English Establishment has been the parent, I can conceive of something still worse, far worse, for England: a powerful Church, highly endowed, and free to govern itself, and to press the yoke of spiritual tyranny on our English necks. From that the founders of our Establishment delivered us, They have given us a Latitudinarian Church, whose doctrine is just as elastic as the lay. theological intellect, and whose discipline is a farce; but bad as it is, it is better than the ecclesiastical tyranny which, had their army triumphed, the Scotch Presbyterial party would have crushed upon us in its room. You remember Bailie's speech in the Westminster Assembly, on the debate on the elderships. “ 'This is a point of high consequence, and upon no other we (the Presbyterians, expect so great difficulty, except alone Independency, wherewith we purpose not to meddle in haste, till it please God to advance our army, which we expect will much assist our arguments.” We must take just views of history. There is, one thing worse than an Erastian Establishment, and that is an Establishment in which Priest-writ large or small-Presbyter, or Pope is supreme.

The broadest and most characteristic feature of our natural development- that which is peculiarly English-is the deep religious spirit which has possessed the nation in the critical moment of its development, the crises of revolution by which nations pass into new and higher stages of life. Somehow, we will say a word about the how directly, our great revolutions have been conducted for distinctly religious ends. The controversy with prelacy was at the root of the movement which is known as the Great Rebellion; the controversy with Popery was really at the root of the great revolution of 1688. In England men have won their political in struggling for their religious liberties. This sacred element in political conflict, the fear of God in the hearts of the men who were fighting in the forefront of the political battle, has been in all ages a leaven of incalculable value to our higher national life. And this we owe to the elder Nonconformity. Our fathers were perforce made political as well as religious reformers. The political character of the Establishment inevitably gave.

Observer, June 1, '72.

political direction to all movements for ecclesiastical reform. Inevitably I say. Men were driven into it. The head of the State and the head of the Church being one, religious discontent.assumed a tinge of political complaint and protest. The enemies of the Church as by law established were counted emenies to the State and the Royal prerogative ; and thus a great religious party of reformers was organized which, in two generations grew strong enough to lay both Church and King in the dust.

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There is yet one point on which a word must be said in closing-the influence which the elder Nonconformity exercised, not on the morals only, but on the morale of our country; and on the measure of elevation, of honesty, of purity, which characterises our domestic, social, and political life. There can be no question, the proofs are, alas! abundant and conclusive, that it was a foul world, as well as a tyrannous world, against which our fathers rose up in judgment. There can be no question—the proofs again are bappily abundant and conclusive-that the victory of the Nonconformists was the purification of the national life. The army of the Independents was a model of discipline, military and moral. Such an army the world bad never seen before, has never seen since; and its triumph everywhere was the triumph of mercy over cruelty, gentleness over brutality, sobriety over drunkenness, and chastity over lust, and it breathed its spirit through society. The Commonwealth was the purest, the most sober, continent, selfrespectful, self-governed, as well as God-fearing State which has ever existed in this world. Then came the flood of the Restoration. Impurity, blasphemy, obscenity, gambling, servility, treachery, bribery, everything against which the elder Nonconformists had witnessed and striven, and which they had

put down in England, as they had never been put down in this world, returned with sevenfold malignity, and took possession of the land. We speak of those days as days of unexampled license, and talk as if all the fruits of the great struggle had been swept away by this new deluge of sin. It is a great mistake. The purity, the domestic fidelity, the domestic courtesy and grace, the culture, the dignity of the elder Nonconformity,

It betook itself with the Nonconformists of the second exodus to quiet

, godly country homes, and was nursed and cherished there by godly Nonconformist ministries, in tears and pain, as most noble things are cherished, until it had lent a tinge to the whole middle-class life of Eng.

a tinge of domestic purity, of self-restraint, of dignity, of piety, which it bears to this day, and which God grant that it may bear while England endures. It is a dreary mistake to imagine that all the virtues, or even the most precious part of the virtue of the life of the Commonwealth was swept away by that French deluge of the Restoration. We read about the court life of Charles II., and think that it is in England. But what is the Court life to the country life of a nation? It is as the coat to the man. Never mind the coat, see what kind of a man is beneath. And I

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the reformation, for reformation it was, which the elder Nonconformists wrought, betook itself with the Nonconformists of 1662 to the wilderness. It left courts and camps, and sheltered itself in quiet country homes, in county halls and farmhouses, among the gentry, in upper rooms, in towns among the tradesmen, in peasants' cottages, and in miners' huts, and there it brought an element inestimably precious into our national life. It made the great Nonconformist party, from 1662 till our own day, the champion of order, cleanness, sobriety, chastity, honesty, and liberty. Born in sorrow and nursed in affliction, it has not been afraid to suffer for England,

lived on.

land,

Observer, June 1, '72.

and to win, by its own pain and sacrifice, liberties and advantages in whose blessings now the whole nation shares. It has taught monarchy limitation, it has taught government its responsibility ; it has taught aristocracy its duty, and democracy its power. It has taught the State the law of Conservative progress; it has taught the Church charity and the voluntary principle : and it prays us now, with its worn, sad countenance, full of thorough noble endurance and conquering faith, to carry on and to com. plete with the same strength, and with the same high aim, the great enterprise of the gospel—to make this earth a kingdom of heaven,-unless we are prepared to declare ourselves, before God and man, unworthy of our noble traditions, our illustrious ancestry, our ever memorable and glorious history.

AN EXHORTATION FROM THE SICK ROOM.

To the Editor of the ECCLESIASTICAL OBSERVER. DEAR BROTHER, -As you are aware, I have been ill for some considerable time. About nine weeks ago I was seized with a species of the prevailing epidemic ; a medical practitioner was called in, who informed me I must expect a month's illness. Very soon the disease assumed a most virulent form, the symptoms were alarming ; the filling of the throat was most dangerous, my intellect was so affected that reason ceased to hold her proper sway; then at the suggestion of my medical attendant, the aid of an eminent physician was obtained and, with the blessing of God on the means used, the more dangerous symptoms subsided and consciousness returned. I had requested an interest in the prayers of the church ; and who can tell to what extent the Lord, in His providence and mercy, interposed on my behalf. I had been concerned respecting the more immediate wants of my family, but the prompt kindness of several near and dear relatives afforded me rest and pleasure. I am happy to say I felt greatly resigned to the Lord's will. Although I knew I had complied with the conditions of pardon, viz. :-belief in the Lord Jesus, repentance, and baptism, yet I felt that during my Christian life I had been less faithful than I might have been. Assured that the Lord had known all my circum. stances, and the obstacles in my path, pleaded, and trusted in, the righteousness of Cbrist my Saviour, I became gradually convalescent, but am still a prisoner. Previous to this attack, during the forty years of my life, I have been blessed with health, there fore have reason to be thankful.

Brethren in Christ, let us watch ! for we know not what a day may bring forth. Let us work while it is called day, for the night cometh when no man can work?

Yours in the one hope,

H. PICKERING.

Family Room.

AILSIE BRUCE, THE SCOTTISH MAIDEN.

“Howe'er it be, it seems to me,

'Tis only noble to be good ;
Kind hearts are more than coronets,

And simple faith than Norman blood." TRUE heroism is to be found in | lives dear unto them, that so they suffering for, or defending, the true might prove themselves faithful to and good. In every age and in every the high and holy cause which they clime, some of our noblest souls had espoused. And not only do we have dared death for the defence of find these moral heroes among the sacred principles, not counting their fathers and elders of the church

Observer, June 1, '72.

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among those with hoary hairs and summit of which his house stood. matured minds—but also among One glance was enough for him ; 'young men and maidens.”

and, like a deer, he darted off to the Alice Bruce, or Ailsie," as her hills, which towered in wild majesty friends affectionately termed her, behind the house. He was well was one of these young Scottish acquainted with these mountain martyrs. She was the daughter of caves and dens in which the CoveJohn Bruce, a good man, who was nanters were hiding, and made for for some time marked by Claverhouse one of them. In about half an hour and his dragoons for destruction, he reached a long, dark heathery because of his attachment to the cave, and, on making a peculiar " Covenant.” “For the information signal, was admitted by tnose who of our young readers, we will explain were inside. Among the fugitives that the Covenant" was a confes- there were a half brother of his own, sion declaration of faith, drawn up and the former minister of the parish. and signed by the people of Scotland, Here he knew he was safe. during the reign of the Stuart While he was speeding off among dynasty, and which stated that they the hills, the soldiers had pressed would acknowledge only Christ as forward and entered the house. the head of the church; that in all Here they found only Mrs. Bruce matters of religion they would be and her little family, who were free to worship God according to cowered around her, afraid of their their conscientious understanding of lives; for the ferocious fellows who Christ's law; and that, being con- had invaded the sanctuary of their scientiously Presbyterians, they home hesitated at no wrong or would not be forced into Episcopal violence. In reply to all their insolent ianism (or “ Prelacy,” as they termed questions and brutal demands, Mrs. it ) by any king or government. Bruce declared, and declared truth. This was the occasion of a long and fully, too, that she had no knowledge dreadful

struggle between the of her husband's whereabouts, But government and the Scottish people. this would not satisfy the commander. Charles II. determined to force his Going up to her, and, presenting his own way on the people, and those musket at her head, he said: who would not conform,'

“ Tell me, woman, where can I persecuted, and many put to death find thy husband." with unrelenting severity ; so that

“I cannot tell,” replied she. many thousands are said to have “Before my Maker, I know not perished in the struggle.

where he has gone.” Ailsie was the eldest and favorite “Then you shall suffer the penalty. daughter of John Bruce, and had We will force it out of you with spent some happy years at the old the thumb-screws." homestead when the storm of perse- “ You may torture me, but I cancution burst over the land. One not tell. I do not know." day a neighbour rushed into the “ Search the house immediately," house stealthily and said :

returned Claverhouse, turning to his Fly, fly, John Bruce ! the men, " And if he is concealed any. Phillistines are upon thee!

where here, let us give the old hag a Bruce stayed to hear no more, but taste of the torture for her deception.” darting out of the house and looking On this the soldiers dispersed round, he saw the troop of dragoons, themselves over the house and commanded by Claverhouse, gallop- premises; but their search ing over the little burn which rippled fruitless, and one after another they along at the foot of the hill, near the returned to their captain with the

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Observer, June 1, 72.

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same story. Nothing was to be seen between the fugitives and their of Bruce.

friends. These were dangerous “Well, well, regale yourselves errands; for the dragoons and their with the best that the house affords.” spies were always on the lookout for returned he, “ And we will continue any carrying provisions or on the lookout for him. . And, as for lingering about in unfrequented you, madam,” said he, turning to places; and many had been put to Mrs. Bruce, “ If we can discover by the torture, with the view of making any means that you or your children them disclose the retreat of their are in the habit of holding any friends. communication with him, we will One evening just before the twiforce you to reveal his whereabouts light, Ailsie set out on her mission, by the torture.”

and proceeded part of the way in “What! forbid a wife and family safety. Her mind was full of the to hold any intercourse, or to give coming interview between herself succour to their ain husband and and her father. She would tell him her father!” exclaimed Mrs. Bruce, mother's messages of love and undy. when the soldiers had departed. ing affection, Hugh's wishes that he • Methinks they little ken the could see his father and Sandy's affection we bear to John Bruce." childish prattle as to the foreign land

Many days and weeks went on, to which he supposed his father had and the blushing spring gave place gone. Then she must tell him, too, to the brilliant summer ; but John to be very careful and avoid coming Bruce had not yet returned to his home, as Claverhouse and his troops family. He was still a proscribed were again in the neighbourhood, man, hiding in dens and caves of scouring the country over for those the hills, Sometimes at midnight Covenanters who were suspected. he would creep down to his home, All this, and much more, passed crawling on all fours among the through her mind, and she pressed heather and peat-moss, in order that on quickly toward the cave, when he might not be seen by any spies or suddenly she was accosted by a soldiers. How precious and how couple of moss-troopers, and comshort were those visits ! None knew manded to deliver up what she was of them but Mrs. Bruce and Ailsie; carrying. She stopped at once; for for it would not have been safe to disobedience to the order might cost have admitted any of the younger her her life. children to these dangerous "It's only a few barley bannocks confidences.

and a wee drop of whiskey," replied Ailsie was the only one of the the little maid tremblingly. family to whom was entrusted the sirs, dinna tak' away this little from duty of carrying supplies to the cave me.” where her father lay hidden. Her We shall not take it away, but journeys there were made mostly at you will have to go with us, and night-oftenest, indeed, when the inform the captain were you were stars were clouded, and silence and going, and for whom they darkness lay over all. When near intended." the cave, she would imitate the cry So saying, the brutal soldiers of the curlew, and after depositing seized the maiden and hurried her the burden among the peat-inoss at along by the side of their horses, a given place, would retire again. towards Claverhouse's quarters, On other occasions, if the way seem- She was only fourteen years old, and ed clear, she would creep into the small of her age, and the rough rude cave and carry messages to and fro grip of the soldiers made her quako

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